2018 Temperature Blanket

A temperature blanket has been on my mental to make list for some time. If you have never heard of the concept a temperature blanket is a blanket where each row represents the weather temperature for whatever time period you are making it for. You have a choice of the colour range you will use but the rest of the design of the blanket is out of your control. If you didn’t want to make a blanket you could also do this with a scarf. Full confession not a great deal of planning went into this blanket. I only decided I would start one for 2018 as I was going to bed at 9:30 NYE (yes as you can see I am a big party person) Wine was not involved in making this decision ūüôā Mr StitchNSew has taken an interest in recent times in recording the daily temperatures for his own enjoyment so I thought why not finally give a temperature blanket a try¬†and make him a blanket at the same time.

The amount of colours you use in your blanket is completely up to you. You allocate a temperature range to each colour so for example you might say each colour represents a 5 degree range in temperature so you look at what your minimum and maximum temperatures will likely be and decide how many colours you want to use from that. Most people go for a rainbow choice of colours. The concept is lighter colours for cooler weather and darker colours for the hotter weather. In my cupboard I had a stash of unopened balls of Stylecraft Special DK yarn which I had purchased for other blankets and never made. As I had chosen the colours they were mostly blues and greens. I put them all on my craft table and told Mr StitchNSew to pick his colours and choose his temperature ranges. He has decided on the following:

  • 12-15 – Spring Green
  • 16-18 – Sherbet
  • 19-21 – Cloud Blue
  • 22-24 – Aspen
  • 25-27 – Turquoise
  • 28-30 – Storm Blue
  • 31-33 – Sage
  • 34-36 – Aster
  • 37-39 – Kelly Green
  • 40-42 – Green
  • 43-45 – Bottle

I really like the colours that he has chosen there is a good mix of light and dark even though they are all blues and greens.

To record the temperatures I have created some charts in Microsoft Excel for him to fill out each day. I printed these on recycled paper. I try to print a lot of my craft patterns and charts on recycled paper (pages that have only had stuff printed on them on one side) if I can. Some patterns aren’t suitable for scrap paper if you need to trace over them as the print from the other side of the page shows through. Back to these charts. Each month is on one page. I have made the squares big enough for the numbers to be written in and I can tick them off as I complete the row so I know where I am up to. The good thing about doing these in excel you can create one and copy it for each month just adjusting the month at the top and how many days in it.

I’m doing this blanket in crochet. The pattern I am using is called Linen stitch or commonly known as Moss stitch (yes if you know me in real life I have done this on purpose) I didn’t want an overly wide blanket just something you can put across yourself on the lounge. Also I am being realistic if this blanket was the width of a bed I wouldn’t get it done this year as there are 365 rows going into this blanket and I want to stay on track with it. To start it I chained 180 stitches.¬†After the first¬†6 rows I am estimating the size will be 40.5″ x 90″ which should be a nice lounge blanket.

This is only the beginning but I am already happy with it. I do have to watch I am doing the stitch correctly as admittedly I have had to fudge one or two stitches already where I forgot to chain between stitches. We are still haven’t decided if we will do a row of say black between each month to separate it all. I am going to have to think about yarn tail management soon. If possible I am not cutting the tails between rows but I know I will have to particularly in Sydney when our temps can jump day by day. There will be a lot of ends to weave in. I’m not sure how much of each ball I will use. Some of the balls I have only one of others I have up to 6 as these were purchased for other blankets. I can always order more as I am not worried about dye lots just colours.



Frocktails Cape

The last piece of clothing I stitched for my Frocktails outfit is my cape

I used Burda 7313 in view D. I purchased this pattern back in 2016 after seeing some gorgeous ones made by Anne Whalley. I have never gotten around to making this pattern until this project even though I’m sure I have more than suitable fabric in my stash.

The fabric I used I picked up at a Sydney Spoolette sway day last year. It was a spur of the moment pick up. I had absolutely no idea what I would make with it. The fabric is a thin stretchy polyester with velveteen dots. Lets face it the only reason I picked it up is because it is blue. It is a gorgeous fabric just not what I normally wear. When I was cleaning up my stash last year I decided it needed to be the Burda cape and that is how my Frocktails outfit started to grow.

This cape is extremely simple to make up. It is cut in one piece and you only need to hem it and its done. This must make it the worlds most easiest pattern! I like the length of this at the back, it has full coverage. You could easily lengthen or shorten the back or the fronts if you wanted but for me it is a nice fit. It does comes in multiple sizes I think I made the largest size as I mostly do.

To hem it I should have pulled out my cover stitch machine¬†and tried that but I confess to just loading up the regular sewing machine with a twin needle and stitching it that way. I wanted this to continue to be a quick project. I did hand tack all the hems before I stitched them then pulled out the thread as it went under the presser foot. You don’t realise but there is a lot of hem when you do it this way so even though it is only 5 hems they are long hems.

I love it when I can bring fabrics and occasions together. I got this fabric at a Spoolette event, I’m wearing it to another Spoolette event. I normally wear jackets to keep my shoulders covered in air-conditioned rooms so this cape will be a nice change to wear to Frocktails instead. Even though it is lightweight it will give me ample coverage. When I purchased the fabric for my top I didn’t realise how closely it matched the spots on this fabric. These two fabrics were meant to come together as they are a perfect match. Once again I could wear this cape with other pieces so I can get wear out of it for more than just one event. This is a great simple pattern for your stash and I will be making it again.


Frocktails Skirt

When I purchased the fabric for my Lou Box Top for Frocktails I didn’t think about things properly having only the top in mind that maybe a matching skirt in the fabric would look good so I should get sufficient fabric to for that. I can’t even remember how many metres of the fabric I brought. I knew there was a little bit extra as the fabric was the start of the roll and there was paint markings on both sides of the fabric which was real shame and seemed a waste of good fabric. When I was laying out the pattern pieces for my top I realised I would have enough for a matching skirt.

I used McCalls M6654 in view C again which is same pattern I used for my Snowflake skirt. I wanted a simple pull on skirt and this was pattern really is a classic style.

So I did have a small mishap. I attached my waistband to the wrong side of my skirt. Now I know there is a fashion where having the seams on the outside is a thing. If this was a more contemporary style skirt than I would have considered leaving it but given that I was wanting this to be a classic skirt I had to unpick it and restitch it on the correct side.

As I stitched this on the overlocker (serger) a small consequence of my waistband mishap was that after stitching it on the 2nd time with another lot of fabric been trimmed off in the seam allowance the waistband channel wasn’t as wide as it normally is. Threading elastic through was a little more challenging on this one but I got it done. I don’t use the elastic guide measurement in the pattern I just hold the elastic around my waist and cut the amount from that. Initially I had too much elastic in this skirt. I managed to push it all in the channel but it didn’t sit flat so the next day I undid the join of the elastic taking a few inches out and the fit was much better.

This fabric is lush and I am really glad I was able to squeeze a skirt out of it too. I have made a matching outfit¬†for the first time ever. What I love most about this fabric and the styles I have chosen is that¬†it doesn’t only need to be worn together. I can wear each piece on its own with other items in my wardrobe. I’ll get more wear out it this way. If I make something I want to be able to wear it a lot.



Frocktails Lou Box Top

In December 2017 whilst on Christmas holidays¬†I made my entire outfit for¬†Frocktails. Most people who are going will start their outfits in January and possibly last minute February but I didn’t think I would have that much sewing time in the new year so I used what time I had.

To recap at the 2017 Frocktails I won a lucky door prize of a pattern from Sew DIY. On the night when I won the prize I decided straight away whatever pattern I picked if there was ever another Frocktails I wanted to wear that pattern to the event. To get outside my comfort zone I chose the Lou Box Top pattern.

Earlier this year I made the top with a cotton jersey knit I had in my stash. It is very comfortable top and was very easy to make. I made the crew neckline which is perfect for day wear as I like to be a little more conservative due to my place of work.

For my Frocktails version of the top I decided to change around the fabrics. I went shopping look specifically for a fabric which was more fluid like and had a lot of drape to it. By chance I found a modal poly knit which was perfect. You hold it and it falls so beautifully. It is a very light weight fabric and feels amazing.

This time for the neckline I decided to go for a scoop rather than crew style. Now to be honest I thought that scoop version was a little too low for me. My initial plan was to adjust the pattern and go half way between the 2 options of crew and scoop. On the fabric I marked up of the crew line cutting guide/line and held the PDF paper version of the scoop line up against the fabric and chalk marked that. My next step was to mark out a neckline between the 2 but I had a brain snap grabbed the scissors and cut out the scoop neckline. Straight away I mentally kicking myself for cutting it. I pinned it together and it fitted it was just a little lower than I had planned.


In the end once it was all sewn together the neckline wasn’t an issue. I am super happy with this top. I love the feel of it even though it is a poly knit. It is so lightweight and sits well. The pattern suggests using a fabric with drape and I highly recommend it. Once you get this pattern you will make it numerous times so make a version that has some drape to it.

This top I can wear with any skirt or pants. For me it is more of an event or function top rather than an everyday wear top. I don’t go to a lot of functions or events but I think it is nice to have a special piece in your wardrobe that you can wear. I wear the same style of store brought shirt every day to work (I have it in many colours) When I go to an event I don’t like wearing what I call my “work shirt” to it I want to wear something different and this top is one of those special tops.



2017 A Crafty Year In Review

I am not ready for it to be December 30th and the time of year I look back and reflect on the items I have made. This year has gone way too fast!

The obvious thing to notice this year is that I have spent a lot of time on yarn crafts such as crochet and knitting. I have made a couple of crochet toys this year. They were a lot of fun to make although you do have to count more than I am used too. I would like to do more of these, I don’t have any on the cards planned for 2018 but sometimes I can be spontaneous so who knows what I will end up actually doing.

I finally put together my Sunny Log Cabin blanket this year which was made of crocheted squares which I had completed in 2016. This is blanket looks brilliant when you look down on it. The yarn for it was purchased as a kit. The yarn is acrylic but for under $50 with plenty of yarn leftover the kit is worth getting. The blocks are easy to make and putting them together happened so quickly I don’t know why I put it off for so long. This blanket lives on the back of my lounge and gets used whenever I am cold.

Another crocheted item I am proud of this year is the Virus shawl that I made. The Virus pattern is a pattern that you either understand it within minutes or hours later you are a still wrestling with your yarn trying to figure the blooming thing out. I picked it up pretty quickly. The Bella Coco tutorial is very useful but I think that you need to watch it twice. The first time watch it in full so you see the entire pattern get created, the second time grab your hook and work along with the video. I wore this shawl a lot this year. Each time I wash it the yarn is getting softer.

My knitting skills have increased this year. I learnt continental knitting which is where you hold the yarn with your left hand. I have made a couple of pieces knitting this way including my Grain shawl. I haven’t really worn this yet but I am looking forward to it. I am starting to follow patterns now and do things other than basic squares.

Did I mention I am now a sock knitter ūüôā These socks I am probably the most proud of yarn wise this year. Sock knitting had been on my list for years so I was really excited to finally take the plunge and learn. I had finished socks within 2 weeks!! I can’t guarantee that will happen all the time but at least in the back of my mind I know I can finish a pair of socks. Sock knitting isn’t as complicated and as scary as it once looked. I have plans for more socks in 2018…. By that I mean I¬†have brought yarn already for them so I need to start them.

Even though it does feel like I have done a lot knitting and crochet this year I have been sewing. Probably the most used item I made this year is my Giant Laundry Bag. I use it at least once a week not only just for washing the manchester that I originally made it for but also fabric, woolens, kitchen linen etc. Anything that is more delicate in the washing machine goes in this bag. The bag is really simple to make and would be useful to anyone so I highly recommend making them.

On the toy front I don’t normally pick favourites but one toy I made this year stands out as my most favourite ever. Brutus which I made over the Easter break is the most complicated toy I have ever done. Even though he wasn’t easy I enjoyed the process of making him right from the start. I had an idea of what colours I wanted him so I carefully choose the fabrics, cut and assembled him over a number of days. I took my time and made him slowly. I think he is adorable and I am so proud of him.

Not all toys went to plan this year. I accidentally stitched another toy the wrong way around and had a Hunchback of Notre Piggy when sewing Gertrude. It was learning curve and allowed me to stop and figure out a way to overcome the problem. After a few extra stitches her hump was removed and she turned out well.

I have done some clothing making for me this year. The summer sleep¬†t-shirts I made are getting a work out. They are really comfortable and I am actually wearing this¬†one now.¬†Besides¬†pj’s I¬†have¬†made myself tops and skirts this¬†year plus the¬†3 pieces of my Frocktails outfit¬†which I haven’t blogged yet. I enjoy wearing me made items and feel proud of them. I’m still wearing the me made items I made last year and the year before too.

The bags I made myself this year have all gotten a workout. Each time I went away (I went away a lot this year) I used my toiletry bag. I used the same pattern to make my project bag. Both bags fit a lot in them. My project bag hasn’t been empty since I made it with different yarn projects in it.

This year I haven’t blogged as much as in previous years. Just because I’m not blogging doesn’t mean I am not still crafting. I have missed not blogging 2 or more times a week which I have done in the past. I want to share with everyone the things that I make and how I did them. I also want to share the things that went wrong as nothing is perfect. In 2018 I’m still aiming to blog once a week like I have done every week since April 2013. Looking ahead to 2018 using my sewing calendar from Sew DIY I have sat down and written out my gift plans for the year. My day job is going to continue to be a little stressful like it has been this year for a good chunk of 2018 which is also one of the reasons why I haven’t blogged so much this year. I have simplified the gifts I am going to be making for both Christmas and birthdays. I am making very basic items but items the kids will like. I want to continue making my gifts because I enjoy it. I love it when a child pulls out every toy I have ever made them each time I am at their house. It sparks memories of me choosing the fabric and stitching it. I have always jokingly¬†said I get more out of the gifts I make than the recipient does because I enjoy it. Crafting is my stress release and I think in 2018 I am going to need that more than ever.



2017 Yarn Advent Calendar

Why should kids have all the fun with an advent calendar. This year I noticed a couple of craft related advent calendars including one from Dingo Dyeworks which is an Australia Indie yarn dyer based in Western Australia.

The calendar consisted of 24 Dingo Tails (25g skeins) plus a full 100g skein of Dingo Dyeworks Ridgy-Didge yarn which is 4ply Merino/Nylon blend. The yarn was specially dyed for the calendar so that you could knit the Adventurous Wrap by Ambah which you also got included as part of the calendar package. Your package arrived with each skein in a tiny box numbered so you could open one each day.

Now full confession…. I only lasted about 12 days of opening the boxes individually before just opening them all up including the last box which was meant to be opened Christmas Day. I’m not really a Christmas person or present opening person so I’m now thinking I’m also not an advent calendar person either. The way the boxes were numbered was so that you could open the box and use the colour¬†yarn in a knit-along on Ravelry to make the wrap. You knew the pattern you were making but the colours you were adding were a mystery. To be honest I was opening boxes each day and they seemed to be all in the same colour tone which wasn’t really my colour palate so I was getting a little bit bored with it. This has nothing to do with the yarn dyer or the yarn itself it just boiled down to personal taste.

By day 10 or 11 I wasn’t sure if I would even¬†use the yarn to knit the wrap or use them in another project. I think on day 12 I was wanting to clean up my craft area so I opened all the boxes so I could put the yarn away. When you look at all the yarn colours together they are lovely. Admittedly there are no blues but there are plenty of other gorgeous colours. Looking at the big picture of yarn I will use them in the wrap. I’m not a big fan of the fade style which is how the boxes were numbered to use in that combination I’m more into contrast with colours. I think I will need to print the pattern and play with my yarn to work out the order I will knit each colour. From looking at photos on Instagram I see that once the yarn is knitted up it looks slightly different so I will take that into consideration when planning my wrap.

The large skein we got is so pretty. It like a combination of dark berries and maroon. Again I need to look at the pattern to see where I would place it. I’m actually looking forward to knitting this wrap now. I love the Adventurous pattern, it is a pattern I would select myself if I was searching for a wrap pattern. The colours in the advent calendar are taking me outside my comfort zone which is a good thing even though it is a bit daunting.

I’m not regretting getting the advent calendar this year. From this experience I have that discovered as much as the concept of a craft advent calendar is a great idea it isn’t suited to me. I don’t get excited opening a small gift every day,¬†I like to plan out a project in full before I start it, I like to be in control of the colours I use. I actually think part of the enjoyment I get when making a project is the planning process before hand, picking the colours, deciding how to use them.¬†Getting the calendar has helped me define all this which is a good thing.


Snowflake Skirt

Sometimes you see fabric online and you just can’t stop thinking about it, that was the case with this jersey knit snowflake¬†fabric that I saw at Zebra Fabrics. I kept going back to the website and looking at it for about a week before purchasing it. It was in the remnant section and there was only 1m left which was perfect as I knew I only needed about 80-90cm for a skirt. This fabric is blue how could I not resist it?

The pattern I used was McCalls¬†M6654. It is a really basic pull on skirt pattern. I made view C which takes around 90cm of fabric. If you have made a pull on skirt before you don’t need to even look at the instructions just cut your 3 pieces (front, back, waistband) and stitch them all together. I did this all on the overlocker (serger) except for joining the ends of the¬†waistband piece and the hem.

Christmas in Australia is not cold and snow it is summer and heat so instead of hanging out with a snowman summer is all about hanging out with a fan to keep you cool. When the above photo was taken it was a 40¬įC day so very hot and I had just walked home from work. The skirt was lovely and comfortable to wear in the heat. It is a very light weight jersey so perfect for December in Australia.

Looking back at my checklist to consider for clothing making

  • Comfort ‚ąö
  • Classic ‚ąö
  • Creative / Quirky ‚ąö
  • Natural Fibres ‚ąö

This is ticking all the points, it is made from a cotton knit so super comfortable and breathable. It is a classic simple style. The snowflake print makes it whimsical without making it look like a novelty skirt. In 2018 this skirt will get use from the start of December, it is more than a one day of year skirt. I like clothing which you can get a lot of wear out of and this skirt will get as much wear as I can.

Merry Christmas