Project Bag – Denim Hearts

In my last post I talked about fabrics that I thought might be a skirt but I know won’t, the denim fabric used on this project bag falls within the same category. I picked the piece up at a charity shop last year. It measured about 50cm wide x length of fabric, I wanted to make a skirt from it but there was no way I could unless I added other fabric to it. When I was rearranging my storage area and culling fabric I came across it. I couldn’t let it ago so I decided to make a bag from it.

The pattern I used was Essential Wristlet by Dog Under My Desk. I have made this pattern a lot now. I used the enlarged size that I made my rose bag and toiletry bag with. It is a nice size and holds a lot. Because of the thickness of the denim I didn’t use any lining in this bag. It does have a few dimples but for the most part there is enough structure in the denim for it to hold its shape.

On the inside I used some leftover fabric I again found in my stash. I used this fabric on the binding on my first ever blanket. As well as liking hearts I am a big fan of stars so I really like the combination of this bag having both. It is a stiffer quilting cotton so again works well to hold its shape. This fabric does soften a lot once it repeatedly washed and used but in a project bag you are not going to wash it a great deal. I added a simple little pocket that wasn’t lined or interfaced. The purpose of the pocket is so you have an easy place to stick a crochet hook or row counter, small notions you don’t want to lose in the bottom of your bag or get caught on things.

Within minutes of this bag coming off my sewing machine I was already using it. I am delighted that I have used the random piece of heart fabric that I came across in a practical way. No more sitting in my stash it now holds my little projects with a purpose.

Cassiy

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The Skirt That Wasn’t

As much as I like the idea I have come to the realisation I am not making myself a knitting needle skirt. Months ago I cut out all the pieces, overlocked the edges than never touched it again (except to shift it about out of the way on my craft table) The fabric is Sewing School by Jodi Carleton (Ric Rac) It is so cute and whimsical but I know in my heart it won’t be a skirt. Part of me is feeling like it is a waste of good fabric but from this, the piece I cut it from and another couple of fat quarters of it I have there is plenty of fabric to make bags from. In hindsight this fabric to me is more calling out bags rather than skirt.

This week I brought another piece of knitting themed fabric. I think I had seen it before at the shop but as it was reduced to half price so it took my attention more this time and I brought what was left on the bolt so just over 3m. I’m not a big yellow person but it is yarn so how could you not adore it. My first thought was bags than hours later I thought maybe it could be a skirt… No I am going to squash that idea now. As a skirt I won’t wear it but as a knitting project bag or tote bag I will use it all the time. If I am going to spend all that precious time sewing I need to make stuff that I am going to use and not just sit in the cupboard because in my heart the fabric is working for me in that project.

Stay tuned to see what I do actually make with these fabrics.

Cassiy

Grain Shawl

I knitted my stash!! I wanted to join a knit-along held by the Grocery Girls in their Ravelry group in which you knitted a pattern by Tin Can Knits. I set myself the rule that is if I was going to join in I had to knit yarn from stash, no buying new stuff for this.

The pattern I chose was the Grain Shawl, some Tin Can Knits patterns you do need to buy but this one is a free pattern. This pattern just jumped out at me so I knew I had to knit it. I used 8ply Bendigo Woollen Mills cottons I had in my stash, the colours I think are Kiwi, Fawn, Honeydew and Moss. The first 3 colours are still available but I am not sure if the dark green (moss) is.

This shawl was a new challenge for me where I learnt some new techniques. There are some fantastic tutorials that accompany this pattern which step you through how to things. I had never knitted a shawl where you start in the centre and work outwards, I did a provisional cast on for the first time. Another new thing believe it or not is I had never done a yarn over. I had to go learn how to do them just to make this. I used dangly stitch markers for the first time, they were an experience in themselves to learn how to use because if you didn’t flip them the right way you accidentally knitted them into your garment when you did your yarn overs.

There are several ways you can wear this. Personally I don’t think I will wear it wrapped around the front hanging down unless I had a jacket on. With the bulk of it and the fact my front is bulky as it is it I just look like I am wearing a giant bib.

The way I will wear it is wrapped around my shoulders. Although it a large shawl it looks slim line wrapped around, the bulk is spread out and not so in one spot. Summer or winter this will be great to wear in an office at work.

I knitted this on a 3mm needle. I decided to knit continental style and my tension is looser this way so I needed to go down to that size to get the fabric tension I wanted. I wanted to have this off my needles before I went to my sock class and mission accomplished. This flew off the needles and I finished it in about 22 days, I didn’t block it.  The pattern doesn’t tell you when to change colours so you could do as many or as little as you wanted. From the centre spine I was measuring around 7″ of rows for the greens and about 3″ for the fawn. Personally I am not a big fan of ombre or tonal fades so that is why didn’t do my colours lightest to darkest.

This is brilliant simple mindless knit pattern, you knit until you reach a stitch marker than you do something. As mentioned the tutorials that come with it are very informative and are perfect if you have never done anything like this before.

Cassiy

ChiaGoo Stitch Markers

Not everyone gets excited over stitch markers but I do. Before I visit a yarn shop I check out their online shop if they have one and make myself a shopping list. On my recent trip to Skein Sisters stitch markers were on my shopping list and I picked up these ChiaGoo ones. It was only when I got these home I realized how great they are.

The set has 5 different size stitch markers and you get 10 of each so a total of 50 markers. They range in sizes from 5mm – 15mm. Each size is a different colour so you can easily pick the size that you need from the pack which I found really useful. Price point wise they were fairly inexpensive at just over $6 which I think the amount you are getting is good value. The only draw back is that they are a fixed ring so they are only suitable for knitting projects and not crochet as you can’t undo them.

I used them to knit my socks. The different colours came in really handy as I used the colours as a code or reference point to the part of the sock I was knitting. When doing the gusset of the sock I knew that between the yellow markers was the decorative pattern I was following, the green markers were where I needed to do my decreases and the pink was the start of my row. Had I used the same colour marker throughout the entire sock I would have gotten very confused. Having 10 of each colour meant I was able to put markers in on both socks at the same time. It didn’t matter which socked I picked up the colour coding was the same. I was using 4mm needles and the 5mm just fitted. The colour I didn’t use was the blue.

These would be a great addition to your yarn notions stash.

Cassiy

On My Needles – Pumpkin Socks

I have cast on my first pair of socks!

I don’t have the sock bug yet but I am putting my newly learnt skills into practice. The pattern I am using is Rye by Tin Can Knits. The pattern comes in various sizes from baby to adult large, I am making size adult medium. I am very worried about second sock syndrome, a term given when you make the first sock of a pair and never get around to making the other sock. I have decided to knit 2 pairs at once but on separate needles and cables. You can do 2 pairs at once on one larger cable but until I get my head around knitting a pair I will do them separately. The pattern is broken into sections and so I am knitting one section at a time on each sock, first I did the ribbing on each pair, then I started the cuff section on each one. The design panel runs down the centre front of each pair and the rest of the sock is plain. The design section is pretty easy to follow, well in this first section anyway.

I did have a few mishaps with these. On my first pair when I joined my cast on stitches in the round I accidentally twisted my stitches so when I knitted in the round my stitches weren’t flat so I ripped it off and cast on again. It took me 4 attempts before I got it right. The second cuff I got right the first time. I was joining my round in a different way to what I normally do and that’s when I was twisting my yarn.

When I did my ribbing sections I had them on a different cable set. I transferred my first sock without issue to the smaller cable once I had done the ribbing section without issue but when I transferred the second one I had my needles the wrong way so instead of my needles pointing the same direction with the cable bent if half on one side I had a giant circle that I couldn’t magic loop with. To get around this I had to thread a darning needle with embroidery cotton and weave it through all the stitches on my incorrect needle than pull it out from my work so my stitches were on the thread, I then put the needle the right direction and picked up all the stitches from embroidery thread again. Thankfully it worked without any tears or tantrums.

I am really enjoying knitting these socks. I had reallllly long day at work last week and in the middle of it I had a 90min break. I ate lunch than sat and knitted for the rest of the time. I got a lot of my second sock (which had only just had the ribbing finished) done in that time. Knitting it was really relaxing and at the end of the day I wasn’t as exhausted as I was expecting to be and I think it was thanks to my knitting giving me the break from all the other stuff I had been doing that day.

My aim is to get these finished by hopefully October 31st so we’ll see.

Cassiy

Sock Knitting – Top Down Class

Sock knitting has been on my to learn list for years and I have now finally done a class to learn how at Skein Sisters.

Ok so I am calling my finished piece a hoof and not a sock. It has all the basics of a sock with a few errors thrown in too. It was a 3 hour class and I really enjoyed it even though I had a few mishap hence why I ended up with a hoof not a sock. Everything was completely new to me, up until that morning I had not done magic looping correctly (was frantically learning on youtube that morning) There was 6 of us in the class which was a really nice number of people as the teacher could spend time with us all.

My ribbing was a little off whack. I have knitted ribbing before but not in the round. Instead of continuing the pattern around as I switched needles I somehow managed to stuff it up so on the sides instead of having a knit column and a purl column I have 2 knit columns next to each other on each side. Because I was a little bit slow we stopped my ribbing short so I could move on to the cuff section. This is what we ended up having to do through the entire class so I could get through learning everything in the short time frame, another girl must have been knitting at the same pace as me as we seemed to be up to the same number of stitches each time so she ended up with a hoof as well at the end.

On my cuff I accidentally increased each row. I’m proud of myself because I actually worked out how once it was pointed out that I had. Doing the magic loop I would sometimes get a random strand of yarn on my needles at the end of a row and I was knitting it as a stitch, I didn’t know that you didn’t knit that bit. When I practiced magic loop at the morning the same thing happened. I was also struggling on where the working yarn should be as you swap your needles around, should it go in front or behind the needles.

I am very proud of my heel flap and turn. It wasn’t as scary as I thought. I didn’t really have any issues here other than I was slower the teacher had me cheat and I decreased more to catch up. I had no problem picking up the stitches for the gusset. Once I got the pattern in the my head of where I needed to do the decreases it was very easy to remember. The best thing was I wasn’t increasing that extra stitch as I was magic looping as I was conscious of it and not knitting that stitch it. Once again we stopped the foot early so I could get on to the toe.

The toe I did struggle with a bit. My biggest problem was I hadn’t gotten the pattern in my head so I wasn’t remembering to decrease on both sides. Had I fully gotten my head around it I’m sure I would have been fine. My Kitchener stitch wasn’t too bad for a first attempt (well I think so) Turns out I was pulling it too tight. I was worried it would be too loose.

Sock knitting was something I knew once I tried it would be something I either loved or hated. I haven’t fallen in love with it yet but I don’t hate it. It is very different to what I have ever done but it isn’t as complicated as it seems. One thing that will determine if I develop a love for it or not is if I can even wear knitted socks. I get eczema on my feet and I don’t know how my feet will react to socks. My feet react to even cotton socks, on the train on the way home from the class I could feel my feet flare up due to the heat of my socks in my sneakers. I can knit with wool fibres and don’t get any reaction to that and I have worn my Virus shawl which is again wool without irritation but it will be interesting on how my feet go. I have yarn to try a pair for me so the sock jury is out until those get made and worn.

Cassiy

First Attempt PJ Top K4088

It is not very often I do this but I have made an item of clothing from scratch in one morning and couldn’t wait to put it up on here. A top in a morning.

So a little background story. Last weekend in Sydney we experienced some unseasonally warm weather for September and it made me start thinking back to how hot the nights were last summer. If we are getting high temperatures at night in spring then we are in for another hot summer. I sleep in cotton knit t-shirts and in summer can go through several a night as I have don’t have air conditioning and don’t like to sleep in damp shirts so I am changing them all the time as I wake up sweaty (I’m being brutally honest here)

I was going to draft a pattern from an existing shirt I had but instead in my stash found a pattern that I am in the process of making another item from (the dressing gown) Kwik Sew K4088 is a men’s pattern but who says females can’t wear the items. Again being honest I don’t sleep in a bra and I am not tiny I need big comfortable baggy shirts to sleep in. From this pattern I view B but used the neckline of C, I wanted short sleeves with a round neck. This pattern was super easy to make this style with as the pattern pieces are the same for both views you can just choose the neckline or sleeve length you want from each pattern piece. I made size XXL, I thought it may be a little bit big but it is perfect for me.

I was worried about the neckline being too big but I am really happy with the fit. With the exception of joining the 2 ends of the neckband to form a circle I constructed it all on the overlocker (serger) I have a couple of tiny puckers in my neckline but I am not bothered by it. I found it fairly easy to attach the neckband whilst using the overlocker.

To reinforce the shoulders the pattern said to use fusible tape, I had a looked at one of my current shirts and it only uses a scrap of fabric so that is what I used too. For me as I am really fussy I would start scratching if I had fusible tape on my shoulders so the fabric is perfect. I pinned the fabric scrap to the back of each shoulder and then stitched the shoulders together as per the pattern.

Once the top was all stitched together I wasn’t sure if I would bother hemming it or not. I decided to just overlock the edges but instantly hated it. On one sleeve I have started removed the stitches the other I will do in the next day or so.

The bottom hemline is the same I am not happy with it and will remove the stitching. The stitching seemed to distort it and stretch it all out. On the arms I think the stitching would annoy me and you don’t really need it. This isn’t a fashion item this is a I want to sleep comfortably item.

I am over the moon with how this turned out. The fabric I used was a cotton knit I found in my stash and  I have already pulled out extra fabric from my stash to make more this weekend. This is a great fitting top for me. I think in a nice print I think I could even use this pattern as a regular summer t-shirt pattern for me. It doesn’t necessarily look like a PJ top it is essentially a t-shirt pattern. This was a really easy and quick top to make and I literally did everything in one morning (traced out the pattern, cut the fabric, stitched it up) Don’t you just love it when you find a great pattern like that.

Cassiy