Ahead of making miss 5 a gift this year I asked her mum what she liked at the moment and the answer was Rainbows so this is the gift I have come up with.
The theme rainbows could take any direction, if you do a google search the ideas are endless. Sometimes too much choice can be overwhelming so I started to think about the patterns I already had in my stash and remembered the Kawaii Felt Purses pattern from One Thimble Issue 13 had a rainbow version of the bag so that is what I went with. The rainbow panel is done in applique, the hardest part was deciding what colours to use, yes I was singing “I can see a rainbow” as I making this.
With the exception of the handles which are made from cotton drill the bag is made from 100% wool felt. Wool felt is stronger than acrylic felt and so I thought for a bag it was a must. I followed the pattern to make this bag but put a twist on it. I turned the front rainbow panel into a pocket on the outside of the bag. When I attached my layers to together I stitched the rainbow panel into the bottom seam and part way up each side. I did hand stitching on the arc part way on each side to attach it to the main section of the bag. As a result you can see a small amount of hand stitching on the inside of the bag but I am not worried about that.
For my handles I used some drill I had in my stash. The pattern didn’t have these types of handles in it so I made it up. I folded the width of the fabric in half and cut a 3″ strip across it. I then trimmed down this 3″ strip until it looked about long enough for a small handle, as it was folded I ended up with 2 handles. I folded each strip into quarters to enclose the raw edges and finished off the short ends (must write a tutorial on how to do these) I only did a single row of top stitching on each handle but they are narrow so you don’t really need more. I stitched the handles to the outside of each bag because I thought it helped the bag sit better.
I cut all my pieces out from sheets of wool felt. To give my gusset piece a nice neat finish where I joined two strips to make the length I opened the seam flat then top stitched around it. Now you hardly even notice it. All my machine stitching was done in mono poly thread so it less visible.
I am really happy with how this bag turned out. It ticks the rainbow box. I enjoyed making this bag. I hadn’t sewn for some weeks and it was a great project to start back on.
I recently visited a new yarn shop The Wool Inn and purchased yet another skein of Noro Tokonatsu as well as some other items.
Shade 8 is a like a jade / deep turquoise colour. It is a very rich colour. As soon as I got home I started valiant cowl number 4 and knitted all afternoon until I got to about repeat 7 or 8 and then all of a sudden I stopped enjoying it. I don’t know if I just got tired or what but it just stopped being fun so I put it down for a week. The following Saturday I picked it back up and finished it off. I am not going to knit or do any craft if it isn’t fun so that is why I put it down. If I am going to wear something I need to enjoy the process of making it otherwise it will always have a negative vibe about it and never get worn. I think it also time to retire this pattern for the year at least.
Something interesting I did notice with this cowl is that I didn’t as many pattern repeats from it as I did with my other 3 cowls. This cowls feels thicker than the others so I am wondering if the ply is more dense and therefore I got less length in my 50g ball. It is still very much wearable just not as long as the others.
I haven’t worn this one yet but I am hoping to next week.
Earlier this year Bendigo Woollen Mills released a limited edition range Cotton Crush and it was love at first sight for me.
9 limited editions colours were in the range
- Bubble Gum
Within minutes of seeing them online I was ringing the store to place an order of every colour. Thinking about it a day later I went online to order another ball of each just so I would have enough for a blanket. These colours were very popular and sold out within days and from memory I think they did another dye lot. The colours are more brighter than the regular shades of cottons Bendigo normally has and I think that is why they were so popular. I’m hoping that this year they decide to add these colours to their regular range.
As soon I saw them I thought of a cotton blanket for summer. In my mind I kept tossing up the idea between crocheted and knitted. Maybe it just the way my washing machine works and the fact I don’t hang things outside on a washing line to dry and get softened in the breeze but cotton has a tendency to become stiff once I wash it and I didn’t want an oversized dishcloth after the first wash.
In the end I thought about the knitted cotton shawl I made back in 2013. It still lovely and soft and has been washed several times. It was made using the same 8ply cotton as these cotton crush cottons. So a knitted blanket was my final decision. After my success with knitting the beanies continental style I decided I would knit the blanket that way. I did a test piece on some other Bendigo 8ply cotton I had in my stash to see what my tension would be using 4mm needles. I was happy with how it was knitting up. It is isn’t super loose or super tight. I am using circular needles on a 150cm cable.
I couldn’t really find how many stitches to cast on for a basic rectangle blanket so I went with 222 just because I like the number 2. I roughly laid it across the bed and it seems wide enough but I will be totally honest and say I don’t know. I have a feeling it won’t be wide enough but I don’t care I will still use it in some capacity. I selected an order to do the stripes, I was fussy and didn’t want some colours next to each other (my blanket I make the rules) It is all knitted in garter stitch and I am slipping the first stitch of ever row perl wise. Each stripe is 10 rows wide. I am keep the rows an even width so it doesn’t look like a scrap blanket. I have no idea how large it will be, at this stage I am just knitting colour band after colour band until I use up both balls of each colour. I do have an extra 2 balls of the blue which may or may not get used on this, I will decide later on. At the time I wasn’t sure if I was going to do a crochet blanket so brought an extra ball of blue both times to be sure I had enough.
So why the name Bubble Bum? When Bendigo first put these for sale on their website there was a typo in Bubble Gum and it was written as Bubble Bum. When I rang and placed my order I read the name off the computer screen and ordered 2 balls of Bubble Bum as I honestly thought that was the colour name. The name has stuck and no matter what blanket I ended up making I was going to always call it Bubble Bum Crush.
Polka Dot Pup is based on Madame Sausage by Ric Rac. I have had this pattern in my stash for a number of years but never got around to making it.
I say Polka Dot Pup is based on the pattern as I haven’t done it exactly like the pattern. The pattern has little Miss wearing clothing, I used polka dot fabric I found in my stash instead to create interest, had I just chosen a plain fabric I think she would still looked ok. This polka dot fabric I was finding hard to use in any project so it was good to use it in this. Sadly little Miss sat in pieces for weeks (or maybe a month or two) before I recently had a deadline and finished her. It didn’t take long to stuff her and attach her arms. I think she is rather cute looking.
Did I learn anything from this project? Yes don’t put off doing the finishing a project. Had I not put her aside once she was assembled I could have had her finished in no time. I suddenly put myself in time pressure to finish things for a deadline when I didn’t need to had I finished them in the first place. Sometimes I have the attention span of a fruit fly and jump from one project to the next but that sometimes (ok often) means I don’t get projects finished. I think I need to stop and refocus and finish things to the end so I get them completed and off my to craft list.
After learning continental knitting at Knitting Camp I wanted a simple project to start on. I needed to make a couple more basic beanies for someone so it was the perfect project to start on.
For my beanies I use the Custard Beanie pattern from Better Homes and Garden 2014 Knitting and Crochet Collection magazine. In Australia each year Better Homes and Garden’s releases a special Knitting and Crochet magazine and it is worth getting your hands on as they always have some great patterns in them. This beanie pattern is so simple – essentially you knit a garter stitch rectangle, seam up the side then gather the top. In continental knitting it is recommended that you use smaller needles then the pattern indicates as your knitting if often looser so I used 4mm on these. I have made this pattern previously for the person and they asked if I could make it smaller this time so I only knitted my rectangle to a length of 43cm. I measured the piece around their head and it fitted so I knew it would be ok. To seam it the pattern has you join it one way then turn it and continue the join on the other side of the fabric of the brim so the seam is hidden behind the turned up section, I think you are also meant to stitch the brim up to hold it too. I didn’t do that on these I just seamed it all one way. The seam isn’t very noticeable and this allows the person to turn up the brim as much as they want too.
I used Lincraft Esther yarn which is an 8ply acrylic, easy to care for throw it in the wash. It took me a row or two to get into the continental knitting motion but once I got it again it became like second nature. My tension was pretty consistent all the way through. I can tell it much looser than when I knit English or throwing style. Even on the smaller needles the finished beanie is still stretchy so I am glad I went with the smaller needles. This was fast to knit up, a great tv or kids birthday party knit as it is pretty mindless. The first beanie took me a couple of weeks as I was also crocheting my shawl at the same time. The second beanie took me only a matter of days. I have tried to find this pattern online and this is the one I think it is based on although I haven’t downloaded the pattern to read it. This is my go to beanie pattern particularly if I want to make something for charity.
I have mentioned before I have an owl loving niece. I’m always looking out for new owl patterns so I can make her a different one each year. Sadly this year the pattern I chose wasn’t working for me so I put it in the naughty corner and this little guy came to the rescue.
I made this pattern for this years Softies For Mirabel toy drive. The pattern is Simplicity 1549. I found this fabric in my stash and thought it was perfect. The fabric is very crisp so it holds its shape for the toy well. I really like how it is the same print but in the contrasting colours, the print isn’t too distracting either. Once again I added pellon to inside the wings as you don’t stuff them. For the face I thought she needed lips so I added pom-pom trim and for the eyes used flat front shank buttons.
Sewing wise this was a really easy toy to whip up as the pattern pieces are very simple. If anyone is after a really basic soft toy pattern this would be a great pattern to get started on as there not too many pieces or difficult construction. I am sure I will make this toy again.
I have made another Funky Friends Factory Platypus. This is a really great pattern as it is very straight forward.
When I first thought of making this toy I imaged it would be purple and yellow. I’m not sure why I wanted this combination maybe I was thinking the colours would be a nice contrast to each other. I poured through my stash finding suitable fabrics and hit the jackpot. You need less than 2 fat quarters to make her. Once again I put pellon in the feet on both sides just to give them some texture as you don’t stuff them and the pattern doesn’t call for you to line them. I wanted eyes to stand out so I found some in my stash, I have never done red eyes before.
Once again on its own I thought it need something else so I made her the V Stitch blanket. I tried desperately to get matching yarn but the yellow they had in the shop looked more like a dark mustard/brown and not yellow so I went with pink and purple instead. You can never go wrong with purple and pink when making gifts for young girls.
Miss Purple Plattie has arrived at her new home and is settling in nicely.