Another Christmas gift completed.
I was planning on making a dinosaur tail earlier this year for a gift for this child but the fabric I had chosen wasn’t suitable, it was a stretchy knit type fabric and I thought it was going to end it tears if I tried to use it. The pattern I used was a free pattern by Running With Scissors, it is a great little tutorial to follow. I think I pinned this on Pinterest years ago and hadn’t got around to making it until this year.
I did do a couple of modifications to the original tutorial. Instead of doing straps that go around the waist to hold it in place I used cross grain ribbon. I wasn’t sure the size of the child so I didn’t know if the straps in the pattern would fit him. I thought by using ribbons it can be tied around him no matter what he was wearing or how he wants to wear it (he could even wear it on his head if he wants) The other modification I did was inside the spikes I used a fusible interfacing to stiffen them. I’m not sure the exact one I used but it like a heavy Vilene, I have used this before in bag making and fabric buckets. The spikes are still flexible but hold their shape. The easiest way I thought to add this was iron a flat rectangle piece of interfacing to the spike fabric first and the follow the rest of the tutorial. I used pinking shears to cut the spikes once they were stitched. My spikes are a little bit shorter than the pattern and that was due to the size of the scrap of interfacing I had. When your making something you make the rules and this dinosaur has spikes that don’t go to the end of his tail. The fabric is regular homespun I brought at the local shop, I was happy to find these colours as I had it my mind to be something like this. The ribbon I found in my stash that happened to match perfectly, I did seal the ends of it with a match to stop them fraying. I also had a to add a touch of fray stops to one of the spines as it didn’t fully catch in the seam but it should be ok.
So who says you can’t make these for adults. Ok so this one doesn’t exactly fit me but if the ribbons were longer I think it would. The finished size of this one is around 23″ long (it will be fun trying to find a bag big enough to post it off at Christmas) You could make it any size you wanted by following the directions in the pattern and adjusting your fabric. This was really quick to make so perfect for those last minute gifts or for a kids sleepover or when the kids are board and want to make something.
The first of my 2017 Christmas gifts have been finished.
For a pair of siblings I decided to make matching Hipster Teddies. One of the testers who made this toy prior to its release in issue 15 of One Thimble magazine made the teddy in a check print fabric and it looked good. Recently I was able to find check fabric in 2 colourways at my local shop and I thought it would be perfect for these bears. It really was a case of buy the fabric, prep it in the washing machine as soon as you get home, cut out the pieces the next day with these bears. In my felt scrap stash I was able to find all the facial features so they matched too.
The fabric isn’t a quilting cotton it is more like muslin or a linen perhaps. It is a lighter fabric and the weave isn’t as dense as a quilting cotton. It wasn’t so open weave that I needed to use double layers on all the pieces but I was worried it would fray as I stitched it so I cut out all my pieces with my pinking shears. This ended up serving 2 purposes.
- The fabric didn’t fray as I worked with it so I didn’t have hundreds of little fabric fibres on the floor
- I didn’t need to go around and clip all my seams after I stitched them.
I’m going to cut my pieces out with pinking shears again I think as it was a big timesaver. I did have to clip into a few inner curves and cut away excess fabric from my seam line when I stitched in the limbs but that is only a couple of snips.
I added pellon inside the ears again to make them squishy. If I am not stuffing the limbs or the ears I like having the pellon or wadding in that section just to plump the area up. Toys are meant to be cuddled and I like them to have that inviting feel that makes you want to snuggle up to them.
These bears were a really easy project to make multiples of. I cut each bear out at once. Where possible if the fabric is non directional I fold the fabric so I have 4 layers and cut out any pieces that way, if your fabric isn’t thick as you long as you have enough pins it is easy to do. On these bears I used black thread and chain pieces all the ears and limbs. I knew the machine would eat the fabric so at the start and end of each seam I placed tearaway stabliser underneath it. None of my pieces got caught in the feed dogs and it only took seconds to remove all the tiny bits of paper from the stitching when I was done.
2 gifts down more to go!
Clover row clickers are a tool I have been using for a number of years whilst doing my knitting and crochet. By the click of a finger they allow you to keep track of rows. You can either choose to click them at the start of a row eg Before you start row 1 click it once so if you put your work down you can easily see your doing row 1 or you can click them once you finish a row so if your clicker says 5 you know you are up to row 6. I click at the end of a row. You can click up to 99 rows before it automatically goes back to 00. To reset it at any time you just turn the little white dials on the side next to the numbers.
Up until this week I have only ever owned the red ones. I have 3 if not 4 of them now. If you have multiple projects on the go you need multiple clickers. They measure around 3″ x 1.5″ They are very light weight so you can have them placed on your lap or carry them in a project bag. The downside is that if you accidentally bump them and not realise your row count can be off. If you see it happen you can twist the dials until it is at the correct count but if you don’t realise your row count will be incorrect which is what has happened on my Bubble Bum blanket I’m working on. Instead of having 10 rows in one colour band I have 8, my clicker dropped off the lounge and must have gone up a row and in mind I know the even numbers are on one end of the blanket and the odd numbers are on the other end so I must have thought I never pressed the clicker because my ends didn’t match my row counter so I have given it an extra press and I ended up being 2 rows short.
I needed to purchase another couple of clickers but the shop only had one of the red in stock so I ordered a green one for the first time. I always thought this was one meant to look like a frog but it isn’t. The green ones are a mini clicker. They are about same width (1.5″) but are only about 2″ long. These are designed for you to be able thread cord through the bottom of them and hang them on something so you can take them out and about. You can hang them around your neck or to the side of your project bag. When I got hold of this one I realised it has a special locking feature. By moving a lever you can lock it so it doesn’t accidentally get pressed. This is great if you travel with your knitting or of if you have kids around who would be tempted to play with things or if your like me and prone to dropping things. You can unlock it to press it or use it when you have it on a table and when your done lock it or if think it will fall lock it between rows.
If you love your knitting or crochet these rows will be perfect for you tool kit. They are so handy.
It seems like ages ago I finished my shawl but I only started wearing it to work last week. In total this was on my hook for about 2 weeks. I didn’t do any other projects during that time so I think this is how I finished it so quickly.
I blocked it using the wet blocking method. I’m not sure how long you are meant to let things dry but I left it for a week. It took up my entire craft table plus had the center piece half hanging over the edge. I actually had the mats slightly off the edge so that the center section could balance more on the table. I will have to check if a week is too long or ok for sock yarn to dry.
I used metal T pins specially designed for blocking. They are very long and very sharp. I couldn’t find a suggested way to block it so I just placed pins at regular intervals along the straight edge and then evenly along the curves. I may of accidently pinned some of my curves wrong so they were a bit angular but in the final product you can’t really notice.
Although I am really happy with this I couldn’t use it as a shawl to cover my back. I’m a little bit on the wider side and although I have length on my back I don’t have the width. To wear it on my back I would need to need to increase the size so that my lower back had more coverage. This is just personal preference as I like my lower back covered.
The way I have been wearing it is wrapped around my neck. It is nice and comfortable. I was a little worried that it would look like a bib particularly as I have large surface area in front but it sits really nicely. Most days I was wearing another coat over the top of this but I could have the zipper open as my front was kept warm under the shawl.
To recap the pattern is the Virus Shawl. Bella Coco has a great tutorial on how to make it. I watched the tutorial twice. The first time without anything in my hands, the second time with yarn and hook doing each step along the tutorial. She also has a great additional clip which is very useful. From what I have read online this is a pattern you either love or hate just by the design, some people struggle to follow the pattern. You are only doing UK trebles and chains but you do have to do a little counting. You can also get print out charts of this pattern. After a few rounds I memorised the pattern and it was easy for me to build and grown my shawl. I hate keeping count but this wasn’t hard. I even worked on this over lunch in a crowded food court whilst chatting with friends. I only had to frog it back once for about a row and a half earlier on but after that I never had a problem. The yarn I used is Wren & Ollie sock yarn from Skein Sisters. This was the first time ever of buying fancy yarn and actually using it. Years ago I brought some alpaca yarn and ended up giving it to a friend as I knew I would never make anything with it but this yarn was special. It I am being brutally honest if I was to do this pattern again I wouldn’t use this colour yarn. It is maybe a little bit busy in the darker colours to see the pattern. Virus shawls in lighter colours show the pattern more. I love this shawl. I mastered a pattern that is difficult to some, I worked with sock yarn for the first time, I made something that was blue, I worked with a smaller crochet hook than I normally do. All these things make this shawl really special. It is my shawl.
Last weekend I talked about how I have lost my sewjo and maybe what I needed was to spend some time at my sewing machine working on something simple, well that’s exactly what I did.
There was so many projects I thought of doing but I ended up making a drawstring bag. Drawstring bags are very practical for me as I can always use them. In my stash I found some fabric already washed and ready to go. Earlier this year I brought what was remaining on the bolt of this button print fabric. I had no idea what I would do with it but I knew it would get used somehow. The bag is a little longer than originally planned as when I was cutting it out I forgot to trim the length down that’s ok because it still very usable.
The bag is fully lined in the same fabric as are the casings and drawstrings. The casings and drawstrings were very easy to make. For the cases I folded the raw edges in 1/4″ and slip stitched them closed by hand. I attached them to the bag with a triple stitch to add strength. To make the drawstrings I folded the raw edges into the center to enclosed them and top stitched together.
I am going to use this as a project bag for my knitting. It will easily fit a couple of balls of yarn, needles and a project in there. I can see myself making a lot more drawstring bags for knitting on the go bags in the future. I think I mentioned it before but I use a canadian crutch (forearm crutch) to walk with, when I am knitting out and about I often hang my project bag off it or if I have a backpack on I hang my project bag via a clip I have. Drawstring bags are perfect for this. Next time however I don’t think I will make fabric drawstring instead I will just use ribbon. Also I may not bother lining the bags instead just doing the seams on the overlocker. These two changes will make the bags lighter.
I actually feel like sewing again so I think my sewjo is back!
I started this scarf last year and finished it on Sunday.
Last year I was going great guns on this scarf. I knitted on it most of last winter. I put it aside to work on other projects and managed to loose the pattern therefore couldn’t finish it. For months I have searched for the pattern and it is hiding somewhere. It was published in a Bettter Homes and Gardens bonus knitting special from memory. I know I also wrote the pattern down as it was only a 2 pattern repeat so I could take it with me on the go but I can’t find both items. I had actually packed it away in the cupboard as a naughty UFP until I could finish it as I was only going to knit it until I used up the 2 balls of wool I had remaining. On Sunday I had the urge to take it out and try it around my neck and it seemed long enough in fact it is over 2 metres long yes is long enough. The yarn is used Stylecraft Aran. It is very soft and squishy and very light even though it is so long. If the colours look familiar it is because earlier this year I actually used the remaining balls I had left to make the Pink Pepperment blanket for my nieces. Since I have cast this off now I do have an almost full ball left of each colour which will go into my scrap stash.
So what have I learnt from doing this project? Always check your knitting pattern is with your work or that you know where you can easily lay your hands on it online. I searched online and this pattern wasn’t anywhere. I was actually going to take it to Knitting Guild next time to see if anyone could read the scarf and tell me the pattern. It actually feels good to get this off my needles. Now I can start another scarf and this time not lose the pattern!
I will be completely honest and say over the last few months I have
Over the 4-5 months I have been doing a lot of knitting and crochet. I don’t think it is to do with the winter months I think it is because I have been avoiding sewing. I have done some sewing in that time. I’ve done a few toys and I am happy with them but not happy enough to get that sewing spark back. You know when you start sewing and you don’t want to stop so as soon as you finish one project you dive in to the next or in fact you have half finished the next project whilst still on the last stages of the first and you don’t break between them. I’m missing that spark or drive.
I have had a few projects that haven’t gone to plan or I have just lost interest in them. I have 2 skirts half done, one is the cutest knitting needle fabric in a skirt in a pattern I have made many times before. It is all cut out but I just don’t feel like sewing it. I have a dressing gown which I got half way through then I couldn’t work out a section in the pattern so it has been put on halt. I’m actually going to take it with me to my sewing guild meeting next month and ask the other members for help in the hope I can finish it and get motivated to then make another one.
Have you ever lost your sewjo? What did you do to get it back? I have tried looking through my stash for new patterns (toys and clothing) I have looked at all my notions and supplies and nothing is saying play with me, create with me. I’m now starting to worry about the my Christmas gifts. I have started sewing a heap of fairy wings for some kids and I have a heap of mermaid tails I cut out earlier this year but I just don’t feel like sewing them.
I think tomorrow I am just going to have to bite the bullet and get on my sewing machine for a few hours. Find a simple pattern that I have made before that isn’t a toy or clothing and just go from there. Maybe all I need to do is “A little less conversation a little more action please” and just start sewing