Demystifying Double Knitting With Sockmatician

Double knitting is a knitting technique which I tried to learn previously but at the time I just didn’t get it. If you are not familiar with the technique double knitting allows you to create a piece of 2 coloured piece of fabric which is reversible so the image you have on one side is the same on the other side but with the colours reversed. It looks really effective. I have liked the technique for some but unfortunately I tried to learn it I just couldn’t understand it, I didn’t know how to read charts which didn’t help and I wasn’t that used to switching between knit and purl stitches as I am now. I had some projects I wanted to do but I was scared cause I didn’t know how to the technique.

When I found out Nathan Taylor aka Sockmatician was coming to Australia and running a class on double knitting at Skein Sisters I thought here is my chance to learn. I’m not a total fan girl but Sockmatician is like the guru of double knitting. He has a knitting podcast and lots of tutorials on YouTube. His work is amazing so I needed to be in that class. I found out the date and time the classes were going to open on the Skein Sisters website to purchase a ticket and I literally sat there refreshing the browser on my phone every few seconds 5 mins before the time to ensure I could buy a ticket, I think I got like the first or second ticket. I’m so glad that I did he is an amazing teacher, from the minute he started speaking he had the whole room was engaged. The class was small with about 10 people and that was a good size as it allowed him to look around the room constantly as he spoke and make eye contact with everyone, as you student you could see the passion he had in his eyes as he spoke. He also has a slightly twisted sense of humour which matched mine so we got on really well. At the end we joked that we have the same hair style and by chance we have the same tattoo.

Sockmatician is a really great teacher, he has a lot of patience with every student, he is very reassuring to remind you that you are only learning you will make mistakes everyone does but when you make a mistake I’m going to show you how to fix it. He really broke down the components of double knitting into basic steps, and emphasized what part of your knitting you need to be concentrating on as you work. The sample we worked on was a basic square of 15 pairs of stitches, double knitting is always done in pairs of stitches in which you will knit the first one and purl the second one. The pattern we were doing was a square within a square, we didn’t even actually follow a chart he just told us the instructions. We didn’t change colour the first so many rows which allowed us to get a feel for moving the yarn forward and to the back of our work as we did our knit and purl stitches, he then told us knit 5 and change your colour for 5 stitches than the change back to the original colour. That bit did catch everyone up a bit including myself but he went through how to fix it, which stitches to concentrate on and after that I was fine. I found it really rhythmic to do.

 

I managed to half bind off my square before the class finished, had a I not stopped to listen and chat with a few people I would’ve got it finished. I am a very geometric person which is probably why I am drawn to double knitting. I am actually really proud of my test square. I really love it how the colours are reversed on the other side.

We were given a handout during the class which included a chart to make a little heart test square which is the pattern he normally teachers. On the chart not only is the picture but he has also broken down how many coloured squares are in each colour block, for me that is much easier to work charts if I can break it down to a small chunk of stitches. Before the class had even finished in my head I started a planning a scarf using that heart chart, as I have previously mentioned I adore hearts. In my head I thought I might actually do 2 repeats of the chart to make the scarf the width of a regular scarf, after the class I mentioned to him that I was planning a scarf now with the chart and he suggested doing the 2 repeats and I told him that I’d already thought of that. In my mind I can see how it will look. I purchased some yarn to make the scarf so I am hoping to get it on my needles very soon. I was so excited about the yarn I took a photo of it on the tram on the way home.

Sockmatician has an evil grand plan to take over the world with double knitting, each time he runs a class his aim is to get more people in his double knitting army. I’m part of that army now, double knitting has bitten me. Before the class I had 2 projects I wanted to do by the end of the class I had another 3. One thing he said is don’t be a student that is a serial class taker but doesn’t do anything with it. He wanted us to go away with the passion for double knitting and to use the technique, explore it and push the limits. That’s what I am going to do, maybe not push the limits at this stage but get out there and give it ago. If you ever get the chance to do a class with him I really urge you to do it as it was the best knitting class I have ever been too.

Cassiy

 

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Favourites Page – Yarn Suppliers

I have decided to create a special page at the top of my blog to put links in for all the shops, suppliers, books and pattern companies that I talk about all the time but always forget to put a link too (bad blogger I am)

I have a few links on the page already but this week I thought talk about the yarn shops I mentioned.

Skein Sisters
They are located in the Sydney suburb of Dulwich Hill. If you can’t get to the store (and I strongly recommend that you do if you are ever in Sydney) They have a great website and the postage is pretty cheap.

Skein Sisters have a lot of international brands as well as local indi designers. They are a good place in Australia to get yarns such as Sweet Geogria, Hedgehog Fibres, Legacy Fiber Artz brands that are from the US and can be expensive to order. Also sometimes you don’t know what a yarn feels like so if you go to Skein Sisters you can squish the yarn and get to feel if it is right for you. Skein Sisters also great thing they do in which each month called “Sisters Spotlight” where they focus on a particular indi designer usually from Australia or New Zealand and showcase their yarn for the month. It is a great way to discover new designers, the yarn is available both instore and online for the month.

In addition to all the lovely yarn they sell they also run classes. I learnt how to knit socks thanks to Skein Sisters. The classes are small with only about 10-12 people and are in a nice little cozy room. I have done a couple of classes now there and am actually going to another class next weekend. They are fun classes to go to and it doesn’t matter that you don’t know anyone there. You can sign up to their newsletter to find out specials and events that they are having.

Bendigo Woollen Mills
I have only ever purchased from them online or over the phone but they do have a shop located in Bendigo which I hear is fantastic.

The best thing about BWM is that their yarn balls are 200g and the prices are great. I would call their yarn more traditional but there is nothing wrong with traditional. If you are wanting to make something in plain colours in either cotton or wool this is the place to go to. When I need to crochet up a blanket for a baby I order from them because they have a 100% wool yarn that is machine washable.

All their yarn is very soft. I have many many balls in my stash and have made a lot of items from it. Their cotton is great for dishcloths but I have also used it in a shawl. My recent Magician’s Cape was yarn from BWM. They do have woollen blends so it isn’t just one fibre. The best thing about BWM is that you can request a shade card from them with a sample of all the different colour yarns. Once you are on their mailing list you get a shade card each time they have new yarns or specials.

The Wool Inn
This is a little yarn shop located in the Western Sydney suburb of Penrith. It is a small cozy yarn shop packed with amazing yarn and accessories. The staff are super friendly and helpful.

I have purchased a lot of yarn and knitting / crochet accessories from them. Thanks to this little shop I now have all the sizes of the Clover Amour hooks I like as well as my interchangeable needle set. Yarn wise they have a lot of local brands as well as international brands such as Noro and Madelinetosh and lots others. You walk into the shop and it like a candy cave as you don’t know what to squish first with all the glorious wool. I consider them my local yarn shop as it only takes me about 30mins on the train to get there (it gives me knitting time) They also hold classes and special guest events so it is worth checking out their website to see what is on.

The Wool Warehouse and Love Knitting
These are 2 online shops based in the UK that I buy yarn from, I always get the 2 mixed up and forget which one I brought stuff from. I buy all my Stylecraft yarn from them.

The Wool Warehouse has a lot of kits put together by designers such as Attic 24.  Sometimes it is nice to buy a kit with all the colours already put together for you buy the person who designed the pattern. The kits are fairly cheap even with the conversion rate, postage is reasonable and super fast, I have received yarn quicker from the UK than I have from within Australia. Both websites often have specials so it good to sign up to their newsletters or follow them on Instagram to get discount codes. I know there are places in Australia I can buy Stylecraft yarn but these 2 websites have all the colours and different ply’s so it just a little bit easier to buy them from there.

So these are my favourite yarn related places. If I discover anymore I will add them to the links page.

Cassiy

 

 

 

Patchwork Dolly Blanket

When I made Daniella I wanted to make a little blanket to go with her. My original plan was to crochet her one but the one I started with some scrap yarn in my stash looked terrible to I raided my fabric scrap stash and came up with this little blanket.

I have a basket of scrap pieces just under my ironing board. This project actually started with finding the back fabric first. I found a rectangle scrap of the flannelette paw print fabric in the basket and measured it over the doll.  It fitted well so I decided to use this as the size blanket. The pink around the edge is part of the front boarder folded over and hand sewn in place to bind the edges. In between the 2 layers I placed a scrap piece of polar fleece to make it into a mini quilt.

In the basket I initially found a pile of the little aqua heart scraps that were offcuts from when I made a previous project, they were just bigger than a 2.5″ square so I decided to use them as the guide for my pieces. In the basket I also found pieces of the 2 grey bubble fabrics, these were perfect as the blanket was for the child that I used those fabrics in originally in. I love it when I can incorporate the same fabric into multiple projects for the same child. The other fabrics were from strips I found in the basket, I wanted to keep mostly pink to match the doll. I cut all the fabrics I found to a 2.5″ then played around to get them to fit the backing fabric nicely. I took a photo of the final layout on my phone to ensure that I stitched them in the correct order, thankfully I didn’t need to refer back to the photo as I got the order correct.

I am super happy with this little blanket as it turned out really well. The colours all match in with the doll and as a bonus I used fabrics from a previous gift for the child. The child can actually use this on the other toy I made her too if she wants. This project cost me nothing as it all came from my stash which was another bonus and it helped me declutter some of my scraps so everyone was a winner.

Cassiy

Daniella Aka Polly

I mentioned in a previous post that I was going to make another version of my go to softie dolly pattern… Introducing Daniella

Once again the pattern I used was Polly from The Big Book of Sofites. Polly is a really simple cloth doll pattern. Polly is a great doll to make from stash as you don’t need that much fabric to make her. As she doesn’t having any choking pieces this toy is great for a child under the age of 3. The only thing I needed to buy to make this doll was the yellow wool felt for the hair, all other fabrics used were from my stash. For this doll I have used the same fabrics on all the limbs but I have made other versions where the arms were different fabrics from the legs, this is can easily be made from scraps. The face is hand embroidered and I hand stitched it to the head with just regular embroidery floss.

This time on the back I decided to put the yellow felt on the back like hair, the original pattern has the back area plain. The child I am making this for has blonde hair so I wanted her doll to match. I made the hair piece a little shorter than the entire head piece as I wanted it to stand out as hair. I just did a row of hand stitching with embroidery floss to hold it down, the top section is just stitched into the regular seam allowance. I must point out that I make this doll a little larger than the pattern, I had length to the head and body sections and make the arms and legs slightly bigger. I just like the look of the slightly bigger doll. I am really happy with the main body section as I cut the pieces so that the stripes would continue the same way and line up at the sides and bottom. Little details that I know are there but aren’t that important. As you can see from the way she is sitting her limbs are fully flexible so she is perfect for cuddling.

Little bit sad now I don’t have anymore kids to make Polly for now, I think each family I make toys for has a Polly in their toy box.

Cassiy

Magician’s Cape

So whilst I haven’t been doing a lot of sewing the last couple of months I have been knitting.

Last year I think it was I picked up some Harlequin yarn on sale from Bendigo Woollen Mills, it was a merino bamboo mix. Instantly I knew I wanted to make some sort of cape with it. I brought 4 balls of the colourway Magician’s Hat. In May I finally got around to finding a pattern for it. The style I wanted was long at the back with a split front. On Ravelry I found the Beech Hill pattern and knew it was the one, it was the style I was looking for but had some slight detail running down the sides and centre back.

I didn’t realise at the time but there is a lot of knitting in this, it was mindless tv knitting so it didn’t feel like a big project until you saw it finished. Once blocked it measures 40″ x 66″ end to end. The front splits are 17″ x 31″ To block it I needed to purchase extra mats and it took up the entire length of my craft table for 4 days. It is fairly square so the only thing I wanted to fix was the centre fronts along the split as they rolled in. After blocking it still does roll a bit but not as much. Knitting wise this is a super simple knit. This was the first time I have ever split my work and left stitches on a cable to work later. I was glad to have my interchangeable needle set with all the extra cords and stoppers. At the split section I double the yarn to make it stronger, I got this tip from another on Ravelry who had made it previously.

I decided to do some outdoor photos in the local park for this. It was so much fun and I had no hesitation posing for photos as people walked past and my photographer (Mr StitchNSew) snapped away. I was proud of my new cape. Oh I have a new hairstyle. After years of wanting an undercut I have finally done it. Frugal me did it myself, I have been cutting our hair for a few years so it was easy for me to do. I now just need to re-shave it ever 2 weeks with the clippers. I’m saving money on haircuts so I can spend it on craft supplies!

The front section is a nice length, not too long but just enough to give you coverage. I think I knitted mine a little shorter than the pattern suggests but it is still well and truly long enough.

You have a several options on how you can wear this, wear it with a side over one shoulder, wear it open entirely or closed with a shawl pin. Personally I’ll wear it with shawl pin. For these photos I had it on for about an hour in windy conditions without issue. I got the pin from the craft show specifically for this shawl. I think the dark wood goes nicely with the black yarn. When I removed the pin it didn’t leave holes. 

If I wore it over one shoulder it would most likely fall off due to the way I walk. I have issues with things falling off my shoulders but if you don’t have that issue it would be fine. I could wear it open particularly if I am sitting at my desk at work, however I think the shawl pin would be my best option

I do love how this is fully open at the sides. I can freely move my arms which is perfect for work as nothing is getting in my way. I get hot arms and prefer just to have my torso covered with layers and my arms bare or with just a light shirt over them.

It wears nicely with the crutch I use to walk with. I recently got a new one and it is blue!! I have waited 20 years for a blue one.

The back length is great. It gives me the coverage over my lower back, I always paranoid about getting a chill in my lower back. Even though there is a lot of yarn in this it doesn’t feel heavy.

I found a boulder and tested out sitting. It is very comfortable, you don’t feel like the back section is pulling and choking you.

The pattern detail turned out great, it breaks up the look a bit so it doesn’t feel like a piece of flat fabric. The detailing was incredibly easy to do with only basic knit and purl stitches and is very effective. Stitch markers came in handy as I had them placed along each section where I had to switch between knit and purl stitches so didn’t have to keep count each row as I knitted.

This cape turned out the exact way I envisaged it would in my head if not even better. It is the biggest project I have ever knitted. I ended up buying a 5th ball of yarn to complete it but only used a small amount from it so I have started knitting a beanie to match it.

Cassiy

Owl Zipper Pouch

For the first time in months on Saturday I actually got on my sewing machine! I was one gift behind on my gifts this year so I got in and made this zipper pouch to get me up to date.

The pattern I used was my old favourite Dog Under My Desk pattern the Essential Wristlet. Without doubt this is my go to pattern whenever I want a zipper pouch. I have made so many of them over the years for gifts but also for myself. This is the enlarged version where the pattern piece I used measured 50% bigger than the regular size that comes in the pattern, it is simple to enlarge to set the printer to print at 150% not 100% and extend the length of your zipper by about 2″ I need to make more of these for myself, they are a great size bag for yarn projects.

If you have followed my blog over the years I’m sure you have guessed this is for my owl obsessed niece. I’m still always on the hunt for owl fabrics, when I went to the craft show this year my mission was to hunt down owl fabric for this pouch. I really like the outer fabric, it is fun but just a little bit grown up which means she can use this for years to come.

Cassiy

To Sew List Aug 2018

I was hoping to get some actually sewing done this past weekend but due to some unexpected plans I spent the time doing boring stuff like housework and I actually had to pack my sewing machine up, she looks so sad all packed away.

For a while now I was thinking instead of having my “To Sew List” in my head maybe I need to write it down on paper (or on screen) regularly so I can look it and tick items off as I make them or cross off items which I no longer want to make. I get more of a sense of achievement with a good list. My list is only going to include items for me and not for others.

So here is my list as of August 2018.

  • Concord t-shirt – Cashmerette
  • Springfield top – Cashmerette
  • Turner dress – Cashmerette
  • Cedar dolman top – Cashmerette
  • Concord t-shirt dress – Cashmerette
  • Scrundlewear – Stitch Upon A Time
  • Calista curvy bra – Stitch Upon A Time
  • York pinafore – Helen’s Closet
  • Hollings Circle skirt – Wendy Ward
  • Rusholme A-Line skirt – Wendy Ward
  • Finsbury  Bubble skirt – Wendy Ward
  • Fallowfield  pencil skirt – Wendy Ward
  • Roehampton culottes – Wendy Ward
  • Brighton Front Opening skirt – Wendy Ward
  • Derwent Wide Leg trousers – Wendy Ward
  • Winnats tank – Wendy Ward
  • Monsal Lounge pants – Wendy Ward
  • Longshaw skirt – Wendy Ward

So it looks like a long list but that is because I have included all the items from the 2 Wendy Ward books A Beginner’s Guide To Making Skirts and A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics that I haven’t made yet. I have mentioned previously I would like to sew my way through both of those books and I have already made a couple of patterns from each including my Granville skirt which has really surprised me as it white skirt and I wearing it all the time, I even ironed it and hung it in my wardrobe on Saturday I never do that to clothing!!!

All the patterns on that list I already own and are printed in some form ready for me to trace out. My stash is huge and I should have enough fabric to make each one in my stash already. I certainly have enough knit fabric to make the 2 Concords and Turner. I am hoping that I really going to fall in love with the basic Concord pattern and it be my go to shirt pattern.

I do have a Springfield top cut out, this is different to the practice one which I started during the 2nd Cashmerette retreat that I never finished (I got up to putting on the bias tape around the neck and arm holes) If it is successful I have some liberty fabric in my stash that I brought specifically for this pattern. The Cedar top I will need to pull out the pattern for because I can’t remember if I traced it out or not, I think I did but something is telling me at the retreat I retraced it as the sizing I picked was different. I have some cheaper fabric to make one in and if that is successful I have some silk to make one in.

The 2 Stitch Upon A Time patterns make me a bit nervy. Not so much the Scrundies because I have made undies before and they are pretty easy I just need to get in and make them. The bra pattern I am nervous about. I never thought I would buy a bra pattern. The pattern is a soft cup bra and reminds me more of a athletic sports bra. The pattern has a few options on how you can make it but I am going to choose the most basic full coverage at the front and a straight back. It looks comfortable from all the photos I have seen and I hope it works as if it does I’m going to make a few to wear at home. SUAT have a facebook group and this month they are doing a sew along for this pattern, I won’t be able to actually create mine at the same time but I will still follow along to pick up all the tips and tricks so I can relax a bit more when I do actually make it. I have all the fabric and notions in my stash ready to go for this.

The York pinafore is another pattern that the more I saw photos of it the more I liked it. I have heaps of denim in my stash that I should be able to use for it. I love the pocket on the front (when you walk with a mobility aid leaving you with only one free hand pockets are awesome) Reading the pattern the only think I will struggle with is how much room to adjust for the larger bust. I am not sure if cup sizes in the US and AUS are the same and the pattern tells you adjust by so much extra per cup size past… I may need to play around with this pattern a bit to see how much I should add, once I get past that hurdle it should be an easy sew.

I’m hoping to get back to my sewing machine next weekend. Why is the moment you find out you can’t do something that you really want to do it. My sleep routine is starting to get back to normal and I now trust myself to get behind a sewing machine again so the urge is coming back. I have an Essential Wristlet cut out ready to be sewn up for a gift which I need to get to first then I plan to get to my Springfield top. Over the weekend I wore some RTW pants that need hemming so I must also get to those so I can wear them to work.

Cassiy