Here’s some insta-inspiration for you this Monday!

Aren’t Alex’s stitched florals amazing?! I love her color choices, as well.

So lovely.

You can see more of her work on her Instagram @floralsandflossembroidery

And you can find her pieces on Etsy here.

Pattern Hack: Embroidered Ramona Cropped Ringer Tee

Well, I don’t know if this is technically a hack, but adding embroidery can make your garment more unique. While you can use any embroidery stitch, these flowers are simple and meant to look handmade, each one unique. So don’t worry about making them look too uniform. (You can find the pattern for the Ramona top in my shop here, and on Ravelry here.)

This hack takes a bit of of embroidery knowledge such as how to work French knots, but I’ve given a few general directions below. Again, any embroidery stitch can be used, this is just meant as inspiration.

For the flower petals:

1.) To join, I weave the thread end through the backs of a few stitches, and make a knot around the last loop.

2.) To start your petals, bring thread to the front, coming up near the center of crochet stitch.

3.) In nearby stitch bring thread through to back. Do this again in the same places. (Two thread stitches per petal.) Working around that center stitch, make five petals. Again, don’t worry about the petals looking uniform or exact.

4.) I spaced my flowers about 4 crochet stitches apart. In between flowers, weave thread through the backs of stitches. Before working next flower, give the section of the neckline just woven through a little stretch, to loosen the embroidery thread and keep the neckline and sleeve cuffs stretchy and usable. To fasten off, make knot at back of fabric and weave in end as in the beginning.

For the flower centers:

1.) The flower centers are simple French knots. Join thread the same as for the petals. Bring thread up in center of flower.

2.) Wrap thread around needle 2 times.

3.) For these French knots I pulled the thread taught – you can see me holding the thread end with my right thumb to tension it – and bring the needle back down through the center of the flower, just next to where thread was brought up.

4.) Weave thread between flowers the same as when making petals. Giving the fabric just worked through a stretch to loosen the embroidery thread between each flower center. Fasten off the same as for petals.

New Pattern: The Stella Cropped Sweater

Using worsted weight yarn and the crochet star stitch, Stella is a squishy, chunky cropped sweater that’s cozy and warm. You can find the pattern in the tales of butterflies shop here, or over on Ravelry here.

Project Notes: Crochet Toddler Striped Cardigan

I realized I’d never posted a finished look at the cardigan I made my son last year. I try to make him a sweater/jacket of some kind each year. So here it is, now a bit worn in, with perhaps a tiny toddler-made stain here or there, and a bit of cat hair.

You can see some cardigans and sweaters I used for inspiration on my kids knitwear and crochet Pinterest board here.

Overall, it turned out well, but I originally somehow miscalculated the sleevecap size and had to do some major sleeve surgery to shorten them. When I first tried it on my son for a size check, it looked like he was wearing shoulder pads, poor kid. Basically, I pulled out the stitching from the top of the sleevecap and left the armhole stitches intact, frogged quite a few rows of the sleeve cap, tried my best to make the stripes match well enough to the body now that the caps were shorter, and reshaped them a bit.

For most garments, and especially kid ones, I like to use single crochet to seam. It’s more durable and has stretch. I knew with the striping that if I used one color of yarn, it would show through more easily on the front, but I decided to go with it because the cardigan had a handmade, fun feel anyway with the little blue lapel pocket and alternating color buttons and just see how it looked. I think if I could go back, I’d just alternate the yarn color to match the stripes as I seamed, but it’s really not bad, and the cardigans only gotten compliments when he’s worn it. Plus I think it really looks fine overall. Perfect for a happy little toddler.

Oh, and I also decided that, after the whole reshaping debacle and some other issues I had designing these sleeves, that I’d probably stick to drop sleeves for toddler and baby garments, rather than set-in.

Really happy with how the ribbing and button plackets turned out. I typically use a hook one or two sizes down from the hook used for the main body of a garment when working ribbing.

For the shawl collar, I switched to the hook I used for the main body once I got to the top of the button placket, worked the collar rows, and then switched back to the smaller hook once I reached the button placket on the other side. This helped it be a little looser around the neck.

So, not the most perfect project, with several things I’d do differently, but I’m happy with it, and my kid loves it. And that’s a win, right?

January Things

A few things that stood out this January:

1. We had a few icy days this month. Not as bad as some in years past, but there was enough on the roads that school was cancelled for several days, and my husband missed a bit of work.

2. My son finally started back to preschool (they follow the local school system schedule), but since he only goes a couple days a week and there were so many cancellations for weather the first few weeks he went about one day and then had two weeks off.

3. I’ve been working on a new pattern and finished the front bodice section this month.

Waters Wears: T-Shirt With Embroidered Floral Sleeves Detail

I recently finished emrbroidering little flowers on a plain t-shit I had. Some of this inspiration came from this old Etsy listing I found on Pinterest. The colors I chose have more of a 70s retro inspiration, though.

It’s such a simple detail, but so sweet, I think.

Here are some detail pictures. I wanted the flowers to seem a bit random, so I roughly marked where I wanted them to be using a wash-away fabric pencil, then alternated the flowers colors and little leaf placement.

Each flower is worked individually, so the sleeve still stretches fine. I also left the sleeves unlined, as the back stitches seem very secure and I’m not worried about them needed extra protection.

I have a skirt I’m looking forward to wearing this with when it gets warmer, and I also think it would go well with this headband. ;)

How To: Stacked Single Crochet (STSC) Stitch

The Stacked Single Crochet (STSC) is mainly used as a stand-in for the first double crochet stitch in a row and eliminates the need for a starting chain. It looks nice, especially when worked into as you are creating a border or seaming two panels of crochet together. Here’s how to make the stitch!

Note: I crochet lefthanded, so the pictures reflect that. However, you can hover your mouse over the pictures and they will flip for you righthanded crocheters out there. ;)

1.) do not ch at beginning of row. Working into first st of previous row, yo and pull loop through.

2.) yo again and pull through both loops on hook.

3.) yo and pull loop though loop marked by arrow in 2.

4.) you and pull through both loops on hook. This completes STSC.

Full Days and Snow Days

With several projects ongoing, learning about digital art, and the toddler having school days off due to snow and ice, it’s been pretty full week. I’m trying to get business and design related things done when I can, while trying not to fall asleep in between.

One thing that’s made the past couple weeks more interesting is that my son has had another language development leap, and he’s starting to be one of those happy, bossy toddlers – “Mama, sit!” (So he can roll Hot Wheels from the couch arm into my lap.) “Get up.” (To his Dada, grabbing his hand and leading him into the kitchen to demand more banana bread.) “Pizza, pizza, pizza.” (A request for lunch one day.) Haha, it’s been fun but crazy. One friend described the point your toddler starts talking more fully as similar to going on a blind date, like, ‘Oh, so that’s your favorite food, that’s the show you want to watch, etc.’ Suddenly you get a deeper glimpse into their little minds, and it’s wild.

Well, back to editing! Gotta’ use that naptime break. :)

Waters Wears: Quince & Co. Striped Shell Stitch Infinity Scarf

I wore this outfit as my husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on a very, very cold night. It features my finished scarf using Quince & Co. Finch in glacier and chanterelle, which I am so happy with. The yarn is a lovely, soft, squishy wool, and an infinity scarf is still a favorite of mine.

As for the hat, I crocheted that as well several years ago. Beret style used to be a favorite of mine, but I honestly don’t wear it really at all now. I wound up pulling this one from my closet while I was looking for a hat that worked with this outfit colorwise. I originally wanted a beanie style, but this worked.

By the way, I love this skirt. I got it from my sister-in-law’s grandmother after a closet clean out. I love the paisley pattern, the colors, and the fact that it has a bit of form which makes it a bit of statement piece. I’ve worn it before for holiday parties, and tend to pair it with a tighter fitting top to balance out its flare.

December Things

A few things that stood out this December:

1. My son had his first real snow experience at the beginning of this month. Even though he’s two, last year it seemed to only snow while he was sleeping, and be mush or practically gone by the time he was awake. It was lovely to see how happy he was to be in it; he didn’t mind it swirling around his face or getting in his eyes. When I first took him out in it he walked back and forth saying quietly and happily, “‘No, ‘no.”

2. I was sick with various things pretty much all month, and the week before Christmas my husband and I had strep, while my son also had a double ear infection and possibly strep through. So that was just loads of fun. Being sick and on various antibiotics, especially during the part of the year where you’re supposed to relax and enjoy time with family, has worn me out. I’ve been drinking lots of hot tea with local honey.

3. We don’t do a big Christmas morning just the three of us, and we also don’t do Santa. Last Christmas, I made us each a stocking, and on a quiet morning around Christmas, when we’ll have time to spend at least a few hours together (even if it’s not on Christmas day), we look in our stockings. We try to get (or make, in my case) little gifts for each other that are not super expensive, but still fun. My husband and I get each other mostly a bit of candy and a small gift or two, if that, and for our son we usually base his little gifts on his latest interests or something he needs. This year I crocheted him a toy snake using this pattern here, and we got him a lollipop – of the kind that he always reaches for in the grocery store check out line. My husband also got him a little train set, and his little face was so excited when he saw it.

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