These were Christmas gifts for the niece and nephew.

Turns out his is ‘tickly’ (i.e., no more 100% wool garments for him) and hers contained a classic knitting faux pas: couldn’t fit over the head due to a too-tight cast-off edge.

On the bright side, the fit was spot-on for both!

I switched it up and did twisted rib instead of straight K1P1 on the pink one and I think I’ve convinced myself to make this my default 1×1 rib. I like it so much better and it seems to be sturdier somehow.

I also did the sleeves flat and then seamed them and this I will not be doing again. Definitely not a fan, despite worshipping following big proponents of the method.

Pattern is highly recommended. Besides the twisted rib, the only modification I made was to do a 2-stitch i-cord for the drawstring instead of a braid. Luckily I prefer the look of the i-cord because braiding hurts my hands in a uniquely unpleasant way.

(He still wears it, because he’s a very sweet boy. And hers was easily fixed with a quick unpick and re-do.)


Big Butt Baby Pants


I think I’ve made 12 pairs of these pants, though I seem to only have a photo of this pair from last Christmas.

I have made them with contrasting bums, matching bums, folded hems, side pockets, in denim, in quilting cotton, in old shirts, in fine wale corduroy…and every single one of them has been adorable.

My nephew is 2 years old now and I have, I will admit, given him a lot of gifts. A lot a lot. But he was my first one and I had years of baby craft ideas backlogged and it has just been so damn fun to make things for him, even when he couldn’t care less (and most of the time, frankly, he could not care any less). But these pants! They have been by far the most appreciated gift. Not by him, mind you, but by my amazing sister-in-law. (She really is an incredible woman. Truly, the works: smart, gorgeous, fun, caring, etc., etc. and who is just killing this whole parenting thing.) They easily fit over his cloth-diapered bum, but don’t look ridiculously huge when he’s staying over at Gran and Grampa’s and is wearing disposables. Finding fabric for them is endlessly fun and they take so little that, if it’s a non-directional print, I can sometimes eke a pair out of a quarter metre.


He’s a pretty small kid, so I usually make down an age size and I narrow the legs a little. I find this makes them look a little less like pyjama bottoms and a little more like pants he can wear to daycare.


Puzzle Ball


I made three of these guys a little while ago. They’re a great travel project since the pieces are small and they each require a lot of hand-finishing (they do require prep work at the machine, though).

For the record, they weren’t much of a hit with the baby boys who received them, but my little niece has been happily enjoying her barely-touched hand-me-down.




Made from a Martha Stewart pattern – the Oilcloth Pocketed Bib, to which I would love to link, but my cursory search turned up only a video and not the downloadable PDF. Great pattern, and easy to knock out assembly line style.

Used a variety of prints, most by Aneela Hoey, flannel for the back, and big snaps which needed to be hand-sewn on and which have not all stood up to the inevitable abuse they’ve suffered. Velcro likely would have been the wiser choice.

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Hot Air Balloon Mobile


I’ve made two of these (one with raffia baskets and one with hemp baskets) and the only advice I can offer is in the hanging stage.

First, you need to recruit a set of sympathetic hands to help you hold everything as you try, and try, and try, and try to balance things. Second, don’t lose hope when you begin to think that you’ve put so much work into this thing only to see it fail at the last step. Third, have a stiff drink, take a deep breath, and try again.

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Penguins & friend

My aunt and uncle gifted me a Singer 127 several months ago and after a thorough cleaning and oiling, belt replacement, and many hours of research I got her running. Being a vibrating shuttle, it’s a completely different system than I’m used to (one example: the thread goes through the needle from left-to-right, not front-to-back!) but I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s the first machine I’ve used (out of a grand total of three others – a later edition Singer, a Kenmore entry-level, and a vintage Bernina) where I can keep the speed steadily slow. This ability to maintain a relatively consistent speed has already improved the quality of my cornering.

The treadle has been replaced by an electric motor with a knee bar but the machine still gets a fair bit of independent momentum and doesn’t stop immediately after cutting power. This is actually kind of great because it’s almost like it has the ‘needle-down’ feature. The bobbins won’t wind perfectly evenly but it hasn’t seemed to affect the tension terribly.


These little gentlemen were the inaugural project on the new-to-me machine. I made up a pattern after seeing pictures of projects made from Fiona Dalton’s book ‘Hop, Skip, Jump’. Shipping from Australia is prohibitive so I will have to wait for a second printing of the book and hopefully wider distribution (I gather it sold out very quickly the first time) before I can get my hands on it.


I used scraps for everything: a slightly nubby poplin for the black, flannel for the bellies and underwings, and a peachy orange cotton for the beaks and legs. Bodies stuffed with recycled Polyfill, legs with flax seeds. As usual with stuffies, the eyes were the hardest decision, so some got 1/4” and some got 1/8” black safety eyes (reinforced with lightweight interfacing, the first time I’ve done that, but certainly not the last).


Instead of using a sweater sleeve cuff, I knit the toques from scrap wool. I surprised myself by opting to knit them flat instead of in the round. They’re really quite tiny and it’s just one seam up the back…I think that negotiating DPNs or a magic loop would have actually taken longer. Pompoms made with Clover pompom maker (total convert!).

The blue one was made from chambray scraps and instead of flannel, I used the wrong side of the fabric for contrast. After it was ‘pointed’ out to me that the penguin beaks could be a hazard to the extra wee ones, I opted for a simple triangle.

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A 2nd birthday teepee!

Fabric was a remarkable thrift store find a few years ago – someone else had sewn it into simple curtains for what must have been a pretty awesome bedroom. I had enough to get the four main panels going in the right direction, but the door is actually upside down. Used 1/2″ ribbon for interior and door ties. French and flat fell seams throughout should ensure that it can be washed repeatedly without suffering too much. Patchwork pillows made from the scraps to match.

Used 6′ dowels. Originally drilled holes through them about 6″ from the top – the thinking here was to feed the rope through to help hold the top together. Turns out it’s a lot easier to get things set up and stable without feeding the rope right through the dowels; alternately weaving it over and under works far better.

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