Wednesday, June 27, 2007

babies' room curtain is *finally* complete!

You may remember the crib skirt I did for the foster babies room. Today I finally got around to working on the matching curtain. I'm not sure if it looks like it did in my head (no pattern!) but I like it anyway. It's a stagecoach curtain with the top 2/3 brown, and the bottom 1/3 the same stripe as the crib skirt. I decided that stripe was too much to put in the entire window, so the brown is my attempt to tone it down. I may have gone overboard with that since you can't see the stripe much at all when it's tied up, but that will just have to do!

close up

And a room shot from the doorway, where you get to see my nifty Charlotte's Web art, as well. I sacrificed the dust jacket off of my large "read aloud" edition of Charlotte's Web (my all-time favorite children's book) and framed it. I also scanned and printed my three favorite illustrations, which are hanging in a collage frame above the changing table (not visible in this picture--sorry!).

It's all coming together! The only thing I still want to do in the babies' room is to get those fun letters that hang on the wall and spell out a word above the crib. I'm leaning toward "blessing" in chocolate brown letters, but that project will wait until I make up my mind! Word suggestions welcome...

dye results!

I am so pleased with my fancy schmancy new prefolds! Here's how they came out...

in color piles:

My favorite feature is that the stitching on the t-shirts is not cotton so it didn't take the dye. I love the contrast white stitching on the colored shirts!

all laid out so you can see what all we've got here:

top row are infant prefolds, middle row are preemies, and tees (obviously!) at the bottom. I did two green t-shirts since so many of our little woolens would look good with green.

speaking of our little woolens...

oh, the possibilities for cuteness! Can you see 'em?

and the geek in me had to take this final picture:

It's a comparison of how the bleached Chinese prefolds and unbleached Indian prefolds took the dye. Bleached CPFs are the top row and unbleached IPFs are on the bottom. Overall, the unbleached have richer, darker colors (unsurprisingly), but they also seem to have fewer splotches. I think they actually took the dye more evenly. I like the "mottled" look of the bleached, too, but I found the comparison interesting. And those IPFs are soooo wrinkly! These prefolds are all the same size when stretched and measured, but the wrinkles crack me up!

Now, go dye something yourself, you hear?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I've been dyeing to do this!

couldn't resist the pun--sorry about that!

I'm dyeing some prefolds today! I'm so excited! I took some of my preemie and infant sized prefolds and some 0-3 month sized lap tees and am dyeing them fun colors!

I deviated from the directions on the packages of Dylon dye, so I'm very interested to see how these come out. Here's my process:

I placed two preemie prefolds, two infant prefolds, and one t-shirt in each of five gallon sized ziplock baggies. The package called for 4 tbsp of salt dissolved in enough water to cover the articles of clothing, but I didn't want to use that much water. I wanted my colors to be more concentrated if possible (I don't have any idea if this will help!). So I dissolved the 4 tbsp of salt in a cup of hot tap water by shaking it in a small Nalgene bottle. I added the salt water to the baggie.

Then I mixed the dye according to the package directions (dissolve in 4 cups of water) by shaking it in a large Nalgene. I moved the baggie to the sink to preserve my countertops and poured the dye in with the prefolds.

After squeezing the air out of the baggie and zipping it up, I just kneaded it until everything looked saturated. The amount of liquid was really quite perfect for the amount of fabric. That was totally luck!

The baggies are still sitting on my counter dyeing (inside casserole dishes in case one of them springs a leak--can you say paranoid?). I could go rinse them out, since the package said it only needed an hour, but I don't feel like it and think I'll wait until tomorrow to tackle that potentially messy project.

The colors I chose were sunflower (the yellow), poppy red, burnt orange (hook 'em!), lime green, and royal blue. I have no idea if the rinsed and washed product will be as vibrant as they now appear. My guess is not, but I'd love it if they were!

I'll update with finished pictures tomorrow!

one final trade...

I'm through with trades for a bit--too much to do with foster babies due any day now, but I had to show off this last one...

Again, I made a knitting needle roll for a 'pin friend who did some knitting in return for me. Lea was so kind and generous through all of our talks about what I was looking for. I wanted a green soaker, knit in a specific pattern that I had seen and loved (Little Turtle Knits Hybrid Rib). But that's not all. I was even pickier. I wanted kelly and lime greens--no teal. And I wanted a rolled cuff on the legs instead of the one the pattern calls for. Now, who in their right mind would agree to do that for me in exchange for a measly knitting needle roll? Sweet Lea. And get this--she hand-dyed the yarn. Now, she does this all the time and even has an Etsy store for her yarn, so it wasn't that unexpected of her to offer, but enormously generous all the same. And then she sent me a surprise 2nd soaker. Stinker. When I told her she shouldn't have sent me two, she replied, "Well, what else was I supposed to do with 2 oz of hand-spun wool?" That's right--she spun the yarn for the blue one herself. I'm in awe. They're both breathtaking. I absolutely love them.

And what did I do for her? Well, it was one of my favorite needle roll assignments yet. Lea sent me a picture of her knitting bag and asked that it match, or at least not clash. So, how'd I do?

and yes--I did an extra one, too! travel sized, for the knitting bag.

Thanks, Lea! It was fun!

will work for prefitteds!

Trades are so fun! I made a knitting needle and crochet hook holder for Tammy of Tinkle Traps in exchange for her converting 6 of my premium prefolds into fitteds. She emailed today to say that they're finished, and I can't wait to get them! These will be serged in brown variegated thread with khaki colored velour doublers. Doesn't that sound dull and neutral like me? tee hee!

Tammy asked for her needle rolls to be coordinting, but not matching, in jewel tones, and not super girly. I hope these fit the bill!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

must. finish. before. vacation.

I had two baby gifts to deliver on vacation last week. I finished Courtney's mei tai the day before we left, and Jenny's longies and hat at the bed&breakfast about 15 minutes before we left to go to her house (cutting it close!).

Courtney's MT--she chose black and white, but I chose the exact fabric

a bonus pic of me and Courtney (we've been taking this same picture periodically for at least 15 years, and we're starting to look OLD!)

and the gender-neutral longies and (supposedly) matching hat for Jenny's little one due in October

and a bonus pic of me and Jenny

my summer wardrobe...

I'm totally into fun summer skirts this year. So much so, in fact, that I doubt I'll wear much other than skirts with tshirts and flip-flops all season. I've made two more since I last updated the ole' blog, and here they are...

browns and pinks, with an increasing about of pink in each layer

khaki linen with embroidered off-white polka-dots (you may need to click the pic to see the skirt well)

and as a bonus, you get to see the chalk wall in Charlottesville, VA, where we had dinner for our anniversary. I had written our wedding date on the wall, but I doubt you'll be able to see it amid the other scribbles up there.

when your airplane is diverted to San Antonio due to weather in Houston, you...

a. whine
b. try to nap, but can't get comfortable
c. crochet

Anyone? Well, the answer turns out to be all three, but I did finish up this soaker I had been experimenting with. This is a made-up-as-I-went-along soaker, with a fun twist. I decided to try to crochet two layers of wool through the wet-zone (um, crotch) for more waterproofness (is that a word?). I am so pleased with the way it came out. This yarn is super soft, and the choice of stitch that I used for the top 2/3 of the soaker is surprisingly stretchy for crochet, which has a reputation of not giving as much as knits do. I'm hoping Katy will like it and I'll get to do this pattern again for little Monwai in the coming weeks.

TWIN babies!

My sweet friend Kara from the Pecos House is the proud new mommy of twins! She and her husband Peter have a nearly three year old, and have been planning to add to their family a sibling pair through fostering-to-adopt. Imagine our joy and delight to hear that God had chosen to give their family a sweet sibling pair of newborn twins--a boy and a girl. The evening before I found out that Kara and Peter would be welcoming twins, I had begun work on this mei tai for no apparant reason. It's reversible--with a boy side and a girl side, and the fabrics were purchased WEEKS before these babies were even born. So let's just say that the reason I was making it became apparant pretty quickly!

boy side

girl side

and a toy sized mei tai for big sister to carry her baby dolls in, too

Miss T

Let me tell you about my fun 'pin friend Miss T. Not only is she the coolest gal on earth, she knits beautifully and is willing to work up fun trades with me! I made Tanya a knitting needle holder in exchange for an "umbilical cord" hat.

What did I receive in my mailbox? TWO hats, PLUS a lovely soaker!

She did spill the beans about going above and beyond our agreed trade, so I sneaked some stitch markers into her needle roll as a a surprise, too. Thanks, T! You're the best!