Hello and welcome to my little corner of the internet. I intend to use this blog as a showcase for my latest crafting endeavours and to provide detailed reviews of patterns, kits and accessories on the market along with details on where to find everything yourself, should I inspire you to try it out. Please feel free to comment on my posts, provide your own thoughts on the subject, answer questions and even suggest posts.

It has always been my goal to add a post every Wednesday, but due to current circumstances posts may be as scarce as once a month. Appologies and I hope to return to my weekly posting shortly.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Ziggys baby sampler

Before she was even conceived, I knew what birth sampler I was going to do for my daughter! I'd seen it years ago and even though it was a picture and not an actual sampler, I had known that it was the only thing that would do for my daughter! It was a Mirabilia design called "fairy Tales" that had been released back in 1996! I absolutely adored it and spent years tracking the pattern down only to find myself unable to start it once I actually found out that I was pregnant. I couldn't understand it, I had wanted to do this for my child for years! Still...I couldn't start it. I didn't know why and spent months trying to motivate myself to start, I still loved it! Finally, I realized why I couldn't start it.

At first I hadn't known my babys gender, then I was convinced that she was a boy and as much as I love the design...it is a girls design. Somehow, I have no idea how, we settled on a bear theme for the nursery and even though I found out that Ziggy would be a girl, the design had absolutely no place in that room. It would stick out like a sore thumb and I really wanted to put it in that room! As much as I loved the design, I had known from the start that it wouldn't work. Not for what I wanted. I was disappointed, but I still adore the piece, so I will simply have to stitch it for myself later, but that did leave me with a problem... what was I going to stitch for her room?

Clearly it had to mesh with the bear theme. It had to be cute enough to suit the room, but I didn't want it to be babyish and it had to be something that both my husband and I liked. Easier said than done! Bear related birth samplers are surprisingly not the most common theme, and the ones that are out there tend to be with other things too or else really small, really childish or just ugly. It took us forever to find any that we liked! Finally we got lucky and found this lovely bear sampler from Tobin home crafts. It was the only one we really liked, and even then I was still unsure about it. Something about it just wasn't quite right and I couldn't put my finger on it, still... it was either this or nothing, so I went ahead and ordered the kit.

Designer: Tobin Home Crafts
Pattern: Tobin Baby - T21711
Available from: Sew and so
Price: £21.99
The kit arrived on the 8th of May and once I held it in my hands I knew right away what it was that was bugging me about the design. All the bears were boys! That and the stupid green stars in the border just look odd! Both problems were easily fixed! I would change two of the bears into girls and get rid of those stupid green stars! I began working immediately!

I started on the little bear in the bottom left and was surprised to find I'd finished his entire head in only one day! The design was just so much fun to work up! Once I started on it, I could not put it down! I loved every stitch and had finished him in only four days!!! I enjoyed stitching him so much and he looked so cute that at some point during those four days we had started calling him Upsie, the butterfly and part of the rattle came next and my husband and I being as we are, we decided to name the butterfly Bird, the reference for that choice being Bambi.

Next it was Sweetpeas turn, that's the one with the blanket and you pronounce it sweepy, (No, I don't know why we named them all, but we did) and she had to be changed. She was going to be one of my girls, but obviously if I changed the colours using kit thread then I would not have enough to do the actual charted part in that colour, so I chose a similar set of pinks from my stash and changed her romper from blue to pink and her blanket trim from pink to blue. One little colour swap and it made such a huge change to the overall look and feel of the design! It no longer felt like a boys sampler, the pink lifted it and made it lighter, without making it girly. I loved the change and felt empowered by it because it had worked so well!

Nest up was Scoot Scoot, that's the bear in the top right with the bonnet and the nappy. The only bear without blocks, so we've also decided that the present contains a block. You can probably tell just how much fun I was having with this design by the fact that we made up so much background information on the bears! But that's when the heatwave hit and I got really ill, I actually had three trips to hospital in the space of one week! My progress slowed quite dramatically and there were days where I either couldn't do much or couldn't touch it at all! Still, I enjoyed the work and Scoot Scoot was eventually finished.

Last came Baby Hope, who was also the hardest to name and the second bear to be treated to a gender swapping colour change. Out went her blue T-shirt and it was replaced with the same pink treatment I had given Sweetpea. Once again I felt the change helped to life the piece and change the feel of it quite beautifully. I could put this in my little girls room with pride and confidence!

That said, I must confess that the border was irritating. The long lines of yellow were incredibly tedious to work, and I'm so glad I'd chosen to work them as I worked the main design because the thought of putting them in all at once is daunting to say the least! The horrible green stars were replaced with purple stars to match the rest of the design and although the stars and hearts were small and fiddly, I even enjoyed working those. Heck, I even enjoyed the single stitch of blue between the motifs once I'd figured out an invisible way to secure the tail of the thread.

I finished on the 4th of July having spent only 32 stitching days on it! I was still pregnant and the final section could not be completed for...I didn't know how long. It was a bittersweet moment as I packed it back into the bag as I really loved it, but was sad to have finished it so soon. Still...I'd be getting it out again within a month to add her final birthing details and this one...this one we're getting professionally laced and framed! The piece and my daughter both deserve it!

If you're looking for a birth sampler, I honestly cannot recommend this one enough. It's such a delight to work, well worth the money I paid and it fits all my criteria for a good design.

Ziggys rather long princess dress

August brought an end to my pregnancy and saw me blessed with the most perfect little girl! Not the big baby we had all been expecting, but a tiny miracle! At 7.14 she didn't sound all that small, but tiny baby/early baby clothing, which is meant for babies up to 6lb, hung off her tiny frame. The weight...all in her legs as at 4weeks she's actually longer than my torso! Needless to say virtually everything I made for her is way too big for her at the moment and store bought clothing doesn't have the length she needs without drowning her, so she's mostly been hanging around in vests.

I'm very lucky though because not only is my little girl absolutely beautiful, but she's perfectly healthy and ever so well behaved!This means I've had the opportunity to work up a dress that actually fits her, although it looks somewhat strange on the hanger. More like a gown than a dress because it's so long but...

Designer: Elana Nodel
Pattern: Maxi top/Dress for babies
Available from: Ravelry
Price: Free Download
I'm a little late getting this out there because I actually staarted and finished this project in August! I'd chosen it because it's completely seamless and since it's worked top down I could make sure that I got the length right, which is very important when your childs legs are in clothing made for 3month olds while tiny baby is still large on the chest. Folowing a pattern exactly is not an option!Fortunately the adaption for this design is literally "work in pattern until it fits"

The pattern is designed to use two yarns, although you could work it i just the one if you wanted to. I chose two King Cole yarns (Baby Glitz and Melody). I went for the solid, sparkly pink Glitz as a contrast yarn, which I actuallypicked first, and then went for the pink and white melody to compliment it as I think the bands of soft pink in the main colour tie the bolder contrast yarn in beautifully while the white softens the colours and just works fantastically!

The pattern itself was really simple and easy to follow, making it a perfect project to work on while nursing as I could pick it up and put it down without much thought. It's written as either a tunic or a dress with two hemming options, I opted for a dress with the second, more ruffled edge.