Purple Paws

Do you ever see a design or pattern and instantly know who it is perfect for? Last year I came across the Meandering Paws patterns by Amy B Stitched. They are a series of crochet patterns with the key design of a set of paw prints. There are a number of patterns in the series now including scarves, beanie and mug cozy.

To learn the initial design I made a dishcloth which was one block repeat of the scarf pattern. These are always easy to practice on and an item that I can never have too many of. It was like doing a tension square when you are knitting. The pattern is easy to follow written in US terms with the only unusual element of the cross stitch in the centre of the paw, once you get the hang of it you will find it simple to do.

Thinking of my friends lifestyle I decide the blanket would be the best pattern to make her. The original blanket pattern is done in multicoloured stripes but the benefit of making gifts yourself is that you get to select which colours you want to make it in so I chose 2 shades of Stylecraft Special DK in purple tones Violet and Wisteria. I wanted a low fuss blanket that could easily be thrown into the wash without thinking so that is why I used this yarn, it is really soft too.

I crocheted mine a little different to the pattern. I chained 180 stitches (plus 2 extra) and used a 4mm hook. The original pattern has 3 paws to be a repeat of the pattern like I did in the dishcloth. The way I wanted to do even colour blocks this would have looked messy. By doing a repeat of the first 8 rows of the pattern I could line 2 paws up per colour block. I like the look of it, it doesn’t look cluttered if that makes sense. There is a bit of counting in this but really only in your set up row for each paw. Once you get that initial row in which has the gap in the base of the paw you then really don’t have to count because as you do the pattern you learn where you are meant to be in each section so for example if you are not one stitch off from where you need to do a chain 1 skip then you have made mistake somewhere. I did have to frog it back a few times the biggest was about half a colour block. Doing the 8 row repeat meant you learnt the pattern quickly.

For the border or edge I opted for something simple. I did one row of trebles half the blanket is light purple the other half in dark. It was a short edge and a long edge in one colour so at 2 opposite corners you can see the 2 shades. As I started my colour blocks in a light colour I ended in it a dark colour. On the border I did the opposite so the border frames it. I started this August 2017 and finished March 2018. A lot of tv crochet. It was very relaxing to do and once I finished it I missed it. I wasn’t sure how much yarn I needed so I purchased 6 in each colour. I used a 5 and a bit of each colour. The finished blanket measures 48″ x 72″ so it is a nice lounge blanket.

It is fitting that I write about this blanket today as it is the recipient’s birthday and she has received her gift.

Cassiy

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A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics

When Wendy Ward started showing previews of her latest book late last year I jumped online and pre-ordered a copy through an online bookstore in Australia. A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics is Wendy’s 3rd book. My book was delivered the same time that the book was released in the UK (ok maybe even a couple of days earlier than the official release date in the UK) It was one of those from the minute you flick through it you want to make things from it books. I love sewing with knits so this book was perfect.

The book has 6 projects in it

  • Peak t-shirt
  • Derwent wide leg pants
  • Winnats tank
  • Monsal lounge pants
  • Kinder cardigan
  • Longshaw skirt

So as the names of the projects suggests you get patterns to make a t-shirt, wide leg pants, tank top, cardigan, skirt and lounge pants which I would say are more like what we call trackie pants in Australia but stylish ones. What I love about this book and all of Wendy’s books really is that she gives you a basic pattern for the garment for example the t-shirt so that if you are a beginner you start with that or even if you are not a beginner anymore it is a wardrobe staple pattern, we all need a good crew neck t-shirt. She then gives detailed step by step instructions on how to alter the base pattern to change the style like turn the t-shirt into a dress. She lists what fabric requirements are needed for each style in every size and the pattern cutting layout on the fabric. These little checklists and visual pictures are a sewing confidence booster so if you are not a seamstress wizard who can visualize things in your head and miraculously than have them turn out the way you want in the end piece you can still give the project ago and it will work.

You could do an entire wardrobe for both summer and winter from this book. Some of the projects you can combine to make dresses which can be tank style or long sleeve. You could make both pant styles either as shorts or long pants, you could use lighter weight knits for summer or thicker knits for winter. The cardigan could be short sleeve or long sleeve. This book is very versatile and not just for beginners, experienced knit fabric people will also enjoy it. A note to point out is that I found the pattern sheets in this book a little easier to follow than I did Wendy’s skirt book, there isn’t as many pieces to the patterns in this book I don’t think so visually the pattern sheets looked less cluttered. I have been meaning to blog about this book for some time because I have actually made 2 Kinder cardigans already. I’ll post about them in the coming weeks but I will say they were simple to do and are very comfortable.

From the previews of the book I thought I would make one or two patterns from it but once I got the book and saw all the patterns and the variations of them I’m now thinking I am going to sew my way through the book like I am the skirt book.

Cassiy

 

Granville Wrap Skirt

When I first read a Beginner’s To Making Skirts I fell in love with the Granville skirt, I have always wanted to make a wrap skirt. When I purchased a copy of a sewing magazine and it came with a free printed copy of the pattern too I thought ok this is a sign I really need to make this skirt at some point.

I had to decide whether I trace off the skirt from the paper pattern or the pattern sheets that come with the book. In my mind I’m thinking you don’t need 2 copies of the same pattern just give the paper pattern away. When I went to trace it from the book sheets I struggled a little, I love Wendy’s books but her pattern sheets can be a little confusing as so many designs and sizes are crammed into 3 double sided printed sheets. Plan B was so trace off the paper pattern and then give it away but when I pulled it out of the packet I realised you had to cut it and tape it in one section so you can trace the full piece. I then decided to be selfish telling myself “you paid for the pattern in terms that you brought the magazine, cut it and keep it!” and that is what I did.

For the fabric I used was a plaid fabric from Tessuti’s it is a cotton/linen blend which is actually what the pattern suggests you use. Tessuti’s were running a competition where you had to make an item of clothing from this fabric, I wasn’t sure if I would enter or not (in the end I didn’t as there were so many beautiful more complex pieces made) but at $15/m it was chance to try a new fabric and take me outside my comfort zone. I have never worked with linen before, never stitched with plaid and don’t wear white.

The skirt has various options you can make I decided to do the lined version with ties. The lining is a white cotton voile. In theory you can wear this version reversible but with the white lining I was never going to wear it reversed. When it came to the hem you were instructed to sew bias tape around the edges of the skirt so the 2 layers of the skirt remained separate. I initially stitched it this way until I realised it meant the 2 insides of my skirt would remain open between the layers leaving exposed seams that hadn’t been overlocked so they were all raw. I removed my bias tape and this time stitched it on the front of the skirt and rolled it back so the 2 layers were together and all inside seams were sandwiched between and not exposed. It means you can see the tape against the white on the inside but I don’t mind.

The opening gap in the side seams was a first for me. It was a bit relief when it came to pining the layers together to stitch the sides and top of the skirt to see that the gaps lined up. I had marked them on my pattern piece but somethings things go a miss.

I must have gotten a bit confused from the pattern illustration on which side to place my long tie which wraps the skirt around and my shorter tie. As a result my skirt ties up on my right and not the left like in the book. For me I think this is actually a better way as on the left I think it may get knocked against the crutch as I walk. The book says to wear it with the strap around on the inside of your body, I’m not sure if I will wear it this way as I am paranoid it will fall down. Personally I think I would wear the strap on the outside as it feels more secure.

In the book Wendy mentions Granville is where she went to college in the UK and it has a soft spot in her heart. In Sydney we have an education facility in a local suburb called Granville and it is in fact where I went to college and had my first proper job at so it has a soft spot for me too. I think the law is if you make a Granville skirt and you have a suburb called Granville you must go stand on the railway station and take photos… well that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

The photos on the railway were so much fun to do. The station is a fairly busy station but on a Saturday morning it is a little quieter. For the pole photos I was literally standing on a platform on my own whilst Mr StitchNSew was on the opposite platform snapping away. We don’t know if people were staring and we don’t care, the railway staff were great about it too as we weren’t going near the edges of the platform so they didn’t care what we were doing.

Size wise I made the largest size, it is just a fraction too big so maybe I could’ve graded down half a size. If I was to do this version again with the ties I would perhaps put belt loops to either on the inside or the outside to make it feel like it will stay up more. It may just be paranoia me but I may not have the hands to fix my skirt if it starts to fall down. I have only worn the skirts in the photos so far but it was pretty secure that day.

I have ambitions or a personal challenge really of sewing every skirt from a Beginner’s Guide To Making Skirts by Wendy Ward and now I have done 2 skirts from it.

Cassiy

Welsh Flag

The local library in the suburb where my Knitters Guild group meets is going to have a display of flags from around the world created out of yarn so I decided to contribute a flag to the display. You got to pick your country from the list they had and I chose Wales, my nan was Welsh and she was the knitter in our family.

I have played around trying to read charts before but that was only a few lines and I never finished the project. This was the first project that I was doing colour work and following a chart. I found a chart on Ravelry which was perfect. I clipped the chart onto my lap app. It sat nicely on my lap and the magnet at the bottom held my pen in place between rows of marking lines off. This chart was very easy to follow, just a lot of counting squares per colour change. This was a tv off I need silence project though.

On the back my floats are a bit tight but not too bad. In long sections I tried to twist the yarn every 5-6 stitches to carry the yarn over the long sections. I watched Very Pink Knits video which was helpful. I think colour work and carrying floats is just something I need practice doing to get better. I enjoyed changing the colours. I knitted in English style as I need to practice my Continental knitting more before I do a complex project.

This does look very amateurish but I had ago and for a first attempt I don’t think it is too bad. It isn’t exactly the size they were after but once you stretch it out I’m sure the creators of the display will be able to join it with the other flags. It is an acrylic yarn so it won’t block out a lot.

I’m sure my nan would be proud of this.
Cassiy

5 Years In Blogging

Wow I can’t believe yesterday marked 5 years of me blabbing on this site!!! Every so often I go back and read my first post.

I was inspired to start blogging after following Rhonda’s blog Down to Earth, at that stage Rhonda was posting nearly daily and I would pop over to her site every morning to read what she had been up to. I was lucky enough to do a workshop with Rhonda the same year I started blogging which was a big treat. Also going to Urban Stitches when it was first held in Sydney also made me start itching to blog. At that stage I was mostly doing fabric crafts like sewing and embroidery and as they were mostly gifts I was giving them away so I wanted a place where I could document what I had made. I am bad at keeping a diary, as a teen I never had a secret one hidden away because I would only last a couple of days of daily journaling and then forget to write in it. I was a big writer of “letters” to my closest friends which I guess in a way was like a diary. Over night I could write 2-3 pages (or more) of just babble (teenage girl stuff) and then give it to my friend the next day or post it in the mail if I wasn’t near them. Now days I still babble but instead of music and boys it now over fabric and yarn!

This blog has been a great venue to document not only what I have made but also how I have made. I fully confess that I refer back to my own blog to remember how I made things. I forget what size I make things, techniques used, blog links to other sites, deviations to patterns I have made. Sometimes I will scribble notes as I go but often they are on scraps of paper or in a notebook that I write draft blog posts in and once the book is filled up I toss it out. If I blog my notes here at least I know I will be able to find them again.

I am proud to say that I have kept blogging every Tuesday for the last 5 years. Some months haven’t been easy and I struggled to do it each week if I had other things going on (Mr StitchNSew was very sick in hospital once for over 5 weeks) other months I have done 2-3 posts a week. Sometimes I just get the urge to blog and I run to the computer, my fingers can’t keep up with the thoughts in my head as I hammer the words out. I might try a new technique or do something by accident and I am like an excited little kid I just want to share it on here. I don’t know if anyone is actually interested but in my mind I need to get it out there. Other times a blog post can take a lot of work, I need to take photos and edit them, try and write the words so they make sense, spell check and grammar check (I am a terrible speller and words still slip through that are wrong)

My blog is literally like how my mind thinks. My posts jump from topic to topic. I can’t keep still, my thoughts don’t focus on any one thing. I can go from talking sewing, to knitting, to a new book. Sometimes I will finish a project and blog about it straight away other times it will go on my “to blog list” and it might be a few weeks before I post about it. At present I have 2 jackets and a skirt which I haven’t blogged about yet plus some gifts. Confession there are projects I have done that I have even forgotten to blog about. They have jus seem to slip through. The other thing is that the majority of the charity sewing and knitting that I do I don’t post on here as I have talked about it before. I regularly still sew and knit for WIRES.

I have never found blogging tiresome and that’s why I have kept doing it. Little blog secret is that you can write posts ahead of time and set them to publish at a certain date and time. I confess that is now how I do my Tuesday posts, I finish it all on either Saturday or Sunday morning and put the magic in place for it to publish on the Tuesday. On the odd occasion when I am full of projects half done or I haven’t had the time to spend crafting I have had become a little desperate for ideas but I have always found something to talk about. I want to keep blogging for years to come. I have a couple of ideas I want to do one example is creating a links page of all my favourite places that I purchase supplies or patterns from because at times I am hopeless at adding in links. I have never wanted to copy anyone else’s blog as there are many wonderful bloggers out there who have their own unique style. My style I guess is a bit Craft Scatterbrain, I never know what I will jump to next.

I would like to say a big thank you to anyone who has read any of my posts and also to those who have left comments. It still blow my mind that anyone is reading this and I think it is awesome. I am honoured to share my craft experiences with you, the good the bad the what was I thinking! I hope to continue sharing with you for years to come.

Cassiy

 

LOL Surprise Zipper Pouches

In previous years for my gifts I have made a lot of individual items which were often very detailed a little on the complicated side to make. Unfortunately this year I don’t have as much time and energy to spend on my gifts (even though I enjoy making them) I have decided this year I am keeping my gift making simple and letting the fabrics be the star so the kids are still getting gifts they are going to love.

At Christmas one niece was particularly obsessed with LOL Surprise dolls so when I saw that Self Confessed Fabrics Addicts had some fabric available with the dolls printed on it I ordered 1m. I had no idea what I would make but I knew 1m of cotton fabric would be enough.  I started seeing that the other girls I am make gifts for also like the dolls so I thought ok what is the maximum way I can stretch out my fabric to use in all the gifts.

The obvious choice was my tried and test zipper pouch pattern. I use the Boxed Corner version of the Essential Wristlet by Dog Under My Desk which I have enlarged to 150%. Kids love little bags they can put their treasures in, I use my zipper pouches all the time and I know they can hold a lot of things in them. This pattern is very easy to do (I still follow the instructions even though I have lost count of how many I have made) and it is a pattern you can sew in bulk which is perfect for gift making.

In total I have made 7 with the LOL fabric. 2 pouches have the fabric on both sides on the outside, the other 5 only have it on the front of the pouch. By doing it this way I could get the maximum pouches out of my fabric. The backing fabric I used on the 5 were a combination of some striped fabric I picked up at a recent fabric swap which matched in with the colours on the front and some purple fabric which I had already cut out for a zipper pouch but hadn’t made as I changed my mind. By having a combination it meant that if one family had 2 girls in it each one could have a different bag they knew was theirs which hopefully means no fighting.

Again on the inside of each one I used a combination of lining fabrics. Half the lining fabrics I had in my stash already the other half I picked up at the fabric swap. When I was at the swap I was “shopping” for fabrics I thought would go with the pouches and I think these do. All the zippers used came from my stash but I did stock up for zips at a recent sale with these pouches in mind. I need to restock my zipper pile now as I am running low on purple and pink zips.

I used sure sew medium weight sew in interfacing in the pouches. I brought a roll of it from McCalls last year. I placed a layer behind every piece so that is 4 pieces per bag. It give it some nice structure. In total I had to cut 56 pieces between the lining, outer and interfacing pieces. In the past I would’ve doubled over the fabric, pinned my pattern piece and then cut it out. This method is great if you are only doing one or two items but it does lead to waste and is time consuming. After watching others at the Cashmerette retreats trace out their pattern directly on to the fabric I decided to give it ago. The pattern piece is just a series of straight lines so I easily traced around it with my quilting ruler. For the LOL fabric it really meant I could squish my pieces together and get the maximum out of my fabric. On the interfacing I cut sections from the roll and doubled over the large piece so I could trace 2 pattern pieces at once. On straight lines this method was much quicker than my regular pinning method.

I am really pleased with these zipper pouches. I can remember being obsessed with different toys as a kid (and teenager) I think if I had gotten a gift like this I would be really happy. I now only have 4 more birthday gifts to make this year. I am hoping to get those done soon.

Cassiy 

MMMay 18

MMMay 18 stands for Me Made May and is a personal challenge for anyone who makes their own clothing or accessories to wear those items for the month of May. Zoe from So Zo What Do You Know created this challenge and it is now in its 9th year! If participants want to they can share what they are wearing each day on social media but this is not compulsory. It is open to anyone who makes things so the challenge isn’t just restricted to those who sew, knitters, crocheters, jewelry makers anyone makes things you can wear can join in the challenge.

Over the last few years I have been seeing people on Instagram post photos of what they are wearing. I have decided this year to sign up to the challenge. It is really easy to sign up all you do is click on the Sign Up post and follow the instructions to copy in the comments section of the post your sign up pledge. There are no set rules of what you must pledge so there is no obligation to wear an entire outfit of Me Made each day or wear an entirely different item for each day of the month. I have thought about my situation and have set myself the challenge of wearing one me made item to work each day in May. Some days I might have more than one item on, some weeks it may be the same item worn on 3 different days. Between the items I have sewn, knitted and crocheted I think this year I have enough items to participate. This is a no stress challenge and if by chance for whatever reason one day I can’t wear Me Made I’m not going to beat myself up about it, it is more about aiming to wear the items that I have put love into making and feeling good about them.

If you are interesting in setting yourself this fun challenge go check out Zoe’s blog and sign up.

Cassiy