Sock Ruler

I first saw the Sock Ruler about 18 months ago on the Grocery Girls podcast and thought if I really get into sock knitting it is a tool I’m going to get. I looked at buying it from overseas, the ruler itself wasn’t too expensive but the postage to Australia was a killer with the costs working out to be way more than the ruler. Luckily I found a local shop Kathys Fibres in Australia that sold it so I was able to get it from there – I may of also picked up a skein of yarn when I was there….

So what is a Sock Ruler? It is a rigid piece of plastic that is a measuring guide or as the name suggests a ruler that you can use when knitting socks to see how long each section is. Pretty simple when you think about it but really handy and useful as measuring socks can be a little tricky, it has a rounded tip so you can place it inside the sock to get an accurate measurement. It has both inches and centermetres marked on it so it caters for imperial and metric measurements – I always use inches when I measure things

At the moment I knit my socks cuff down. This is perfect for measuring how long the cuff and leg section is. You place the rounded tip inside the cuff section then flatten your knitting down the ruler to see how long it is. If you were to knit toe up socks you would place the rounded tip inside the toes and measure the foot section from there. For cuff down this is brilliant as I can measure how long the leg section is before starting my heel section.

Again on cuff down socks once you finish the gusset section you can measure to see how long the sock is before beginning the toe decreases. You fold your sock over and place the rounded tip snug into the heel turn to measure the foot length, on toe up socks you would place the tip in the same area but this time measure how long to make the leg section before beginning the cuff. I knit magic loop and my knitting tends to roll a bit when I try to measure it but by placing it on the ruler I can get it to sit flat and accurately see the length.

I have found that I’m not only using this on socks, it is a handy ruler to measure small items like the width of cowls. I’m so glad that I purchased this tool for my knitting. If you like sock knitting I urge you to go check this out, there are other sock rulers on the market but I really like the rounded tip that this one has.




Peak T-Shirt Dress

This dress is another pattern from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabrics, it is a variation of the basic Peak T-Shirt and is the pattern used on the front cover of the book.

When I was sewing my way through this book this dress was one of the pattern variations I thought I would like to try at some point, it looked comfortable and face it who doesn’t want to wear a t-shirt disguised as a dress.

For a couple of weeks I kept going on Zebra Fabrics website to look at this one geometric circle print in their remnant section which from memory was around 1m in length (give or take 20cm) I really liked this fabric but had no idea what I would make with it as it was a smallish piece, I could squeeze out a tank top but my fear was bad pattern placement and I would end up with giant circles on the centre of my boobs (that could be embarrassing) One day brainwave I thought outside the circle (or in this case the geometric circle) I could team it up with other fabric and make a t-shirt dress.

The fabric is a lycra cotton knit, from Ruby Jam Fabrics I brought some black lycra cotton knit which is roughly the same weight (plus I wanted to try out their black lycra) My initial thought was to only use the remnant in the skirt portion of the dress but thinking about how much fabric there was I decided to use it on the sleeves and collar first then use the remainder in the skirt adding extra length with the black fabric if needed.

Looking at my list to consider when clothing making

  • Comfort √
  • Classic √
  • Creative / Quirky √
  • Natural Fibres √

This dress is ticking the list 100% The cotton lycra knit fabrics means it is very breathable and comfortable. Style wise it is a simple no fuss dress but using the geometric fabric in the creative way I have has just changed it around it a little adding a bit of interest. I really thought about the construction of this dress and I had never really done that before with clothing.

I opted not to put elastic around the waist to pull it in as I thought the elastic might annoy me a bit. Admittedly it does make it look a bit baggy as is, perhaps I should’ve graded down in the skirt portion to make it a little slimmer. I’m not actually too bothered by this as I have been wearing a jacket or jumper over the top which pulls the fabric in anyway. I’m toying with the idea of adding belt loops and making a simple belt or even stitching the side seams a little even though I have already worn this a heap of times. The neckline is a bit baggy at the back, I really think I need to start doing the rounded back adjustment but I’m actually trying to correct my rounded shoulders by exercise at the same time. When you have a jumper or jacket on you can’t tell anyway that the neckline is baggy.

I love this dress, it has turned out the exact way I planned it out in my head. The remnant piece was destined for this dress, for me there is no other better way I could’ve used it. I also got to try out another pattern from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabrics (I really do love that book) This pattern I would make again, it was really easy to do and as mentioned I have worn it heaps which is always a good sign.


Victoria Craft Crawl – Melbourne Fabric Stores

Prior to going down to Melbourne I asked on the Sydney Spoolettes Facebook group for recommendations on fabric shops to visit in Melbourne. I know many of our members have been down there and word of mouth is always the best recommendation. I was able to get a good list of shops to visit plus I had a couple in mind already that I knew of. My fabric crawl took place over 2 days. Day 1 was just a mini fabric crawl as in the morning I had done a couple of other Melbourne touristy things.

The first place I visited was Tessuti fabrics. Tessuti has a couple of shops in Sydney but I have only ever been to the Surry Hills shop. I thought it might be fun to visit the store in another city, I mean how often am I going to get a chance to do things like that.

I got 2 items there (apologies for the bad photo but I took it in my hotel room on my phone) A friend of mine has made the Robbie Pant pattern a few times and looks great in them so I decided I wanted the pattern to try it myself so that was on my shopping list. I also got some linen like fabric to make them in. The fabric looks black in this photo but it is actually a navy colour.

The second place I visited was Luccello. I would describe this shop as more like a quilting shop as most of their fabrics are quilting type fabrics but they do have lot of trims and buttons and other bits and pieces that aren’t necessarily directly quilting related. It is a very nice little shop and worth the visit. It is only about 5 mins from Tessuti as you walk down to the main train station.

From there I purchased some quilting cotton again to make the Robbie Pants in. The print is a bit quirky, it is very geometric which is something I’m drawn to. Of course it is blue, everything is always blue. This fabric should make nice pants hopefully.

Day 2 was my big fabric crawl. It was my last day in Melbourne and I dedicated the entire day to it. Over breakfast I sat down and wrote a list of 4 shops I wanted to visit. I looked up public transport options and discovered the first 2 shops which are next door to each other I could get a tram to the rest I would have to catch taxis between. When I was at my first stop I was given the name of another shop to visit so I ended up with 5 shops to visit that day.

Stop 1 – The Fabric Store. They have shops around the world and I visit the Sydney store often but I had to make a visit to the Melbourne store just like I did Tessuti because it was in another city. I don’t think I will get to any others in the world any time soon (no international fabric crawls are on the plans)

The way I shop for fabrics and most things actually is I walk around and look for things that jump out at me. I am fussy about what fabric content so sometimes I will see something that catches my eye then I walk up and touch it and think no. Walking around The Fabric Store 2 pieces jumped out at me. A navy and white palm fond print and some denim like blue star fabric. I love stars, blue stars are even better. The star fabric I’m hoping again to make Robbie Pants (I really hope I like this pattern) I’m thinking they will be like jeans but with a pull on elastic waist. The palm fabric I decided will be my new handbag, my current bag is falling to pieces so I need to make a new one.

Stop 2 – Clear It. This is like a hidden gem that unless you knew about it you would not think to go there. It is part of an outlet shop for Alannah Hill and a few other brands. The fabric section is located on the upstairs section of the store. There are signs on the front of the shop that says it sells fabric but unless you were actually going to the shop you wouldn’t know to go there for fabric. The fabric section isn’t very large in terms of space but it is in terms of quantity of stock. There are rolls and rolls on fabrics on about half a dozen shelves that go from the floor to almost the ceiling. There is also a table full of buttons, trims and other small accessories. All the fabric is really cheap between $4 – $10/m I think there may have been some that were more expensive but mostly it was within the price range. You could even buy a bolt of fabric. The fabrics ranged from synthetics to cottons to wool felt to suiting. A real mixture of fabrics.

I actually strayed away from blue fabrics! 3 fabrics jumped out at me. 2 cotton prints and a synthetic knit. The knit I am going to make a halloween skirt. Normally I don’t make clothing to wear only for like one occasion a year but this fabric was $4/m and I need 1m to make a skirt so for that price I could justify getting it. It is hard to tell in this photo but the darker fabric is a mottled green colour with white circles and the lighter fabric is simple black spots. Not sure what I am going to make with these, I got a couple of metres of each. From memory the darker fabric is a little bit heavier so I think maybe a skirt or even shorts. The lighter fabric my guess will be a top.

Stop 3 – Rathdowne Fabrics. This shop has a range of fabrics – cottons, wools, synthetics, quilting cottons, knits, fleece, upholstery pretty much everything you are looking for. They have a lot of remnants which are pretty organised by from memory colour but possibly also fabric composition. The remnants were fun to look through and were located around the store in different areas.

From one of the remnant bins which I think was full of blue knits I picked up 2 nylon knits to use a laundry bags. Each one was about 1m in size and were $4 each. The fabric is almost the exact same fabric I made my laundry bags from with fabric I got at Lincraft, The only difference is that they didn’t have a motive on them like my other fabric, colour wise and fabric wise they are exactly the same. I have actually made up one of the remnants into 2 laundry bags already, I got one smaller bag and one medium size bag from the piece. The second fabric I got is a cotton, it is kind of like a secret cotton so I can’t really say much about it except I was that I was on the lookout for something like this so super happy that I stumbled across it. I brought 1m so will have enough to make what I have in mind for it.

Stop 4 – GJs Discount Fabrics. I knew that the owners of the Remnant Warehouse in Sydney had a sibling connection to a store in Melbourne but I didn’t know which shop until I walked into GJs. The layout and fabrics were very similar to the Remnant Warehouse. This store is out in the suburbs and I don’t know how easy it would be to get to by public transport. It is in an industrial area so you really need a car to get out to it or in my case a taxi. On the way out there I’d got chatting to the driver saying I was wanting to visit different fabric stores but I didn’t know the layout of the Melbourne suburbs so perhaps my planning on the order I went to the different shops wasn’t the best. I was super lucky that the taxi driver offered to turn off the meter and wait in the carpark whilst I did my shopping, his father was tailor and his wife made things for their home so he was actually interested in fabrics. When I got back in the cab he even asked if he could see the fabric I purchased.

Because the shop was similar to the Sydney shop I didn’t get overwhelmed when I first walked in even though there was bins full of fabrics in the entrance way then rolls of fabrics when you walk in. I knew what fabric compositions I liked or what I was interested in purchasing and what to just walk past (dance wear, synthetics, quilting cottons) The one fabric that jumped out at me was a cotton lycra knit by the designer Art Gallery. I have been wanting to get an Art Gallery knit for a long time but never found one I liked or in my price range. I think I got 2 metres, I’m not sure what I am going to do with it yet. I could easily see a Turner skirt from this but you never know. I’m just excited I got an Art Gallery knit.

Stop 5 – Darn Cheap Fabrics. This was the last stop on my fabric crawl and the shop I spent the most time in, not because it was the last shop but more because it had fabrics that I was interested in. It had more of the fabrics that I wear in it, lots of cotton wovens, cotton knits, organic cottons. They have other fabrics as well (wools, synthetics, silks etc) The layout was well organised and easy to get around. They also had trims and notions and accessories.

This was the shop that I also purchased the most from, as I mentioned it had my kinds of fabrics in it at really good prices. I got some paisley denim which will become a York Pinafore, this will be a more relaxed casual type one that I can throw on with sneakers. It isn’t a heavy denim so should work out nicely. I was looking for some lining to use in my new handbag and came across a white quilting cotton with navy rain drops. The joke is that I am a Princess when it comes to rain (I hate walking in it, I hate getting wet) I always carry an umbrella if there is even just a hint of a chance of rain and if I feel a few drops of rain up goes the brolly. I have a range of umbrellas in different sizes for dependent on how heavy the rain is (they are all in the one print design too) I love the irony my handbag will have raindrops on the inside of it but it does closely match the colours of palm fond fabric. The light blue fabric is a sheer cotton, the geometric shapes jumped out at me straight away. It is way too sheer to wear by itself so I got some navy organic cotton to put with it in a lined skirt, together they should work well. I do have a skirt pattern in mind which I have previously made so I am going to try that again with these fabrics.

My fabric crawl was so much fun. Going to new shops, touching all the fabrics, thinking what I could make. Do I have a fabric shop? If I was to go back to Melbourne and only had a limited time to shop I would revisit Darn Cheap and Clear It again. All the shops were worth the visit but those too in particular stand out for me in terms of price and the types of fabrics that I am interested in. If I went to Clear It I would probably then also squeeze in Rathdowne as it was only 10mins or so from Clear It.

Oh I should also point out I did actually do the one thing I went to Melbourne for and that was ride my tram. I did that after I visited the fabrics shops on day 1 of my fabric crawl. Just outside Flinders St station (which is down the road from the 2 fabric shops) you can catch the City Circle tram which is a free tram and it is the older style trams just like I used to see pictures of when I was a kid. As you can see from the photo I loved riding my tram. The features inside were pretty, the outside was gorgeous.

On the plane home I just came in under my baggage limit by 1kg so I didn’t have to pay excess baggage. Maybe 1 more ball of yarn and couple of pieces of fabric would’ve tipped me over my limit. I’m really glad I took the large suitcase. I enjoyed my Melbourne holiday now to get in and start making things with all the lovely yarn and fabrics I purchased.


Victoria Craft Crawl – Bendigo Woollen Mills

Lucky me got to have a summer holiday, something I rarely get to do. I decided I wanted to go to Melbourne which is the capital city of Victoria. The main reason for my visit down south was to ride a Melbourne tram. As a kid we never had trams in Sydney (we do have something now called the Light Rail which is like modern day trams) I thought whilst I was done south I thought I might do a bit of a craft crawl so armed with a large mostly empty suitcase off I went.

Once I had made up my mind to go down south I thought I wonder if I could make a day trip out to Bendigo, Bendigo is a regional city of Victoria and is the home of Bendigo Woollen Mills. If you have read my posts before I am always talking about yarn from there as I use it all the time and the link to their website is on my favourites page. I have always wanted to visit their factory shop as I’ve heard so much about it but not having a car I never thought I would actually get there. I did some research and discovered I could get a train from the centre of Melbourne to Bendigo, I actually booked my hotel accommodation so I would be really close to the train station that the Bendigo trains leave from. It was about 2 hour trip each way so I thought perfect knitting time.

Luck has it the week that I went trains were out due to rail upgrade so I had to catch a coach out to Bendigo and back. It was a 4 hour round trip without knitting as I had to sit next to someone but I did have music in my ears and the trip was worth it. I caught a taxi to and from the station and they only cost about $10 each way so the shop isn’t too far from the station but you couldn’t walk it (well you could but then you would have to carry all that yarn back)

Once I got into the carpark I really had to control my craft crazy, I couldn’t believe I was there. I was trying to hold it together but I was an excited little kid. The shop is broken in 2 parts. The front of the shop has all the current stock of yarn, clothing, patterns etc. It is there online shop in the flesh. Seeing a room full purely of their large balls of yarn (their yarn is a 200g ball) was so amazing, I had come to the yarn mecca. I walked around looking at all the colours, squishing yarn. I was the kid in a candy shop and the rainbow of colours did make it look like candy, yarn candy the best kind.

The second part of the shop is out the back and is kind of what people make the trip out for. It is a room full of factory seconds, discontinued lines, clearance yarn. Some stock they lots of, others they don’t. From the back section you could purchase enough yarn for a project if you were flexible enough with your colours/type but if you are wanting a particular yarn itself you may not find it in this section. They have everything separated into categories (wools, cottons, acrylic) in the different plys  but you may not find a lot of stock in the colour you want in it, I was looking for 4ply cotton but they didn’t have any in blue, they had only a few in earth tones. In some categories they had lots of a particular yarn so you never know what you will find. The back section was a lot of fun to look in, your brain was ticking of things you could do with the yarn you just found. You could really loose your mind in this section.

Before I went I had a project in mind so I was after a heap of blues in 4ply cotton, as mentioned I couldn’t find any in the back room so I got them from the main shop. I came away with 6 blues and silver colour. I have a shawl I will knit one day using these. I say one day as I have a long knitting “to make” list

I was a little bit lucky the week before I went to Melbourne I spent and few days up north at my best friends place again like I did last November. She gave me my Christmas present which was a gift card that I could use anywhere, straight away I knew it would be Bendigo shopping money. In the back room I found some variegated cotton yarn, I didn’t even know they did a variegated cotton yarn! I got 4 balls of it using the gift card. I don’t know what I will make but I know 4 balls will be ample amounts to do something, I’m thinking it will be some kind of wrap or shawl.


By chance next to the shop is small tram museum which has a café, you can do a free tour or pay to go on an actual old tram for a ride. I stopped in there afterwards for a cold drink and a look around. The lady on the counter was really nice and rang a taxi for me as I didn’t know where to wait for a taxi or even to tell them where I was. If you ever visit the woollen mills shop stop in at the museum for a drink and look around, it something you don’t actually find in Melbourne itself.

I had a fun day out to Bendigo. If I am in Melbourne again and have a free full day I’d make the trip out again to the Woollen Mills. The shop is lovely and the back room is fun. Don’t be intimidated to go by public transport just get off at the station and jump into a taxi which arrive at the station pretty frequently. Mention to the driver you want to go to the Woollen Mills and they will instantly know where to take you, as the taxi driver said to me “I know the place, it is famous around here”



Sleep Eye Masks

Sleep eye masks were something I had been wanting to make for many years. Very early on one of the first sewing books I brought had a pattern in them and from that point on I thought yep one day I will get around to it.

The book I brought was The Pattern Companion Sewing. It has a variety of patterns in it from toys to clothing to accessories around the house. To be honest a lot of the patterns in it I wouldn’t make but it did have an eye mask pattern in it. It is an interesting little book to flick through if you ever come across it.

I was looking at making one for myself but decided they would be great to add into some charity bags I put together each year for Share The Dignity which is a charity that supports homeless woman and woman who have come from abusive relationships. At the start of each year I start collecting items (toiletries, personal care items etc) so by the end of the year I have several bags full of items to donate. I thought eye masks might be something useful if someone is staying in a shelter or sleeping in a place where it may not be as dark as you want it.

This was a complete stash busting project. The front and back fabrics were offcuts from a gift last year. The elastic came from my stash and the binding was from some fabric I am using this year that just happened to be close as I was making these so I grabbed it. The batting used inside them was also an offcut I found in my stash. These were very simple to make, I hand stitched the binding in place after I stitched it to the front with machine but this didn’t take very long. Hand sewing is something I casually do in front of the tv.

I’m glad I finally got in and made these. I use mine often now and hopefully whoever gets the bags this year I put together gets use out of it too.


Longshaw Skirt

As I was going through all the patterns in A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing Knitted Fabrics there was one pattern that kept doing my head in every time that I looked at it, the Longshaw Skirt. I just couldn’t get my head around how it was constructed from looking at the drawing of the pattern pieces no matter how many times I looked at it or tried to read through the instructions. The front and back of the skirt are the same pattern piece so you cut 2 of the same but the piece had lots of curves to it and I couldn’t work out where the seam lines went or which was the top and bottom.

I trust Wendy Ward’s pattern so I figured she knew what she was doing with making this skirt, after finding some white printed fabric in my stash that I got from Zebra fabrics and not knowing what else I might do with it I dived in and tried this pattern. Once I had the skirt pattern pieces cut out the instructions started to become more clear in my head. This skirt has a centre front and centre back seam rather than side seams and a curved bottom hem line. I have nicknamed this my origami skirt due to way you fold the pocket pieces in on the sides. It is actually very cleverly constructed once your brain grasps the concept of it.

Referring to my tick list when making clothing

  • Comfort
  • Classic
  • Creative / Quirky
  • Natural Fibres

This skirt is actually really comfortable, the hem line of the skirt does come in a bit so it doesn’t flare out at the bottom but it isn’t restrictive. This is a very quirky skirt, as I mentioned above it is a bit of a brain twister. The knit fabric I used is a light weight cotton and is very soft and comfortable. I don’t think I would really call it a classic style unless a tulip style is considered a classic style of skirt.

Now I will be perfectly honest I’m not entirely convinced that I like this skirt although I have worn it multiple times to work because the pockets are amazing. Saying that as wonderful as the pockets are I think they make me look too side heavy/bulky/puffy. I don’t have that large of thighs but with the pockets flaring out right on the thigh area I just think it looks bulky. I’m not sure if in black fabric it would make it seem less wide.

Would I make this skirt again? I’m curious now how it would look in black. I do now have some black brush cotton in my stash which is a heavier knit that I might try another with but with it being a heavier knit it might not drape as well and will that result in the same bulky thigh feeling. I’ll think about it. It was good to try out this pattern and tick it off my list of patterns from the book. I used fabric from my stash too so that is always a good thing.


York Pinafore – Orange Peel

I have a slight obsession with the orange peel quilt block pattern. If you’re not familiar with the design it is basically like 4 elongated ovals that are set on point to form a circle with the points all touching. It is a very striking pattern when you see it repeated. A year or two ago I came across a black and white print of it at a discounted price so I brought some to at some point make something (back then I was probably thinking a skirt) After making my first York I came across the fabric in my stash and thought this would make a great York. The orange peel design gives the fabric a bit of interest but doesn’t look too hard on the eyes.The fabric isn’t a soft quilting cotton even after washing and ironing but it is perfect for me to use in the York as over the torso area where a crispy fabric would irritate me it is layered over the top you wear under it. In hindsight had I used this fabric in a skirt which was fitted around the waist area it would’ve been a garment I never wore as it would’ve been too crunchy and not soft against my skin. Around the waist and thigh area the fabric is comfortable in this pattern as it isn’t tight around the skin. I wore this last week on a rather warm summers day and it was very comfortable.

With this one I did add length to the bottom so it was the same length as the other version available in the pattern. In the pattern the version with the kangaroo pocket is a shorter length which is what I made my first one. It is just a fraction too short for me I think and to be honest I haven’t worn it a great deal even though it has that great pocket. To add the extra length I measured the difference between the 2 versions from the paper pdf I still had and used the original pattern I cut out from to tracing and toile just marking in the extra length at the bottom with tailors chalk directly onto the fabric before I cut it. Both versions are straight at the bottom so this was easier than retracing the entire pattern.

Once again I love the pocket on this. Originally I was wearing this over my work jumper but it just didn’t look right, it was like I wearing an apron. I started wearing this under my jumper but over a t-shirt to work and I get so much use out of it now. As it the longer length I end up wearing this on almost a weekly basis. It is a little more fitted in at the waist then my first one too by chance when I stitched it up. It is really easy to access the pocket under my jumper at the front.

So that is now 2 York’s made. I am still contemplating a denim one, I have seen many made of denim on social media and it looks very casual. A denim one I could wear with sneekers, I spend a lot of time in sneekers and don’t have a lot of clothing that I can wear with them.