I used my serger for the second time yesterday.
Luckily the machine already came pre-threaded so when I got it out last time I didn’t have to worry about threading it. I think the lovely people at the sewing machine company do this so you will actually use your machine and not go into a panic meltdown of how do I thread it. The threading instructions are pretty clear and really it’s very similar to your normal sewing machine however I heard of a cheats way to rethread it where you tie on the new cotton so I thought I’d give that a try.
When you were at school and someone was staring at you did you ever say “take a photo it lasts longer” Well that’s exactly what I did firstly of the tension dials that way I could remember back to what the factory tension set was. I adjusted the tension to 0 on both the lower loopers.
I cut each thread just above the cotton spool and tied each thread onto the new spool using a simple overhand knot. I then slowly pulled each thread one at a time through the machine until they threaded. I then remembered to set the tension dials back as per the photo.
Before I pulled each thread through I did cut off some of the excess threads that were at the end of the knot in the hope that would make them tangle less.
I used 2 different coloured spools so that I could see more clearly which thread belonged to which looper. Although I do have 4 spools of the same colour when I change over the top loops I might also have them different colours just so I can see.
Before I needed to change threads I could see my stitches were just a bit off. Once I had changed the threads and virtually rethreaded the bottom loopers it seemed to have fixed the problem so it really is true about rethreading the machine to fix problems.
When I first saw this shower mitt that Mel from One Crafty Mumma had done I thought one day I’ll make one. When Mel kindly did a tutorial on it and I saw how simple it was too make not only did I Pin it but I grabbed a crochet hook and a ball of yarn and got started on it straight away.
I’ve never crocheted in a circular way before so it was an interesting skill to try. It was easier than I expected it to be (I’m still used to crocheting in rectangles) I didn’t put stitch markers in like Mel suggested but I don’t think that made much of a difference. I kept mine simple and only used one colour in 8 ply cotton. Next time I might try using the stitch markers. At first I wasn’t sure if it was working but after a few rounds it starts to take the form of the shape.
To do the loop I like mine a little different to Mel’s so there would be less ends to weave in. She did her loop separate and joined it on. I ended the mitt by doing a slip stitch into the side of the mitt and tied off the stitch but didn’t cut the yarn. I did this so in case the loop didn’t work I’d know where my starting point was and all my hard work wouldn’t unravel. I chained 30 like Mel did then did another slip stitch into the side of the mitt where I first started my chains (or there abouts) I then did a slip stitch into each of the 30 chains ending with a slip stitch into the side of the mitt. I then cut the yarn and weaved the end in and also the tail end I left where I started the mitt in the first place.
This was so easy that I will be making it again and again. My mind is ticking with the types of yarn or size yarn you could use (craft brain is in overload) As Mel points out you don’t just have to use this for the shower you could use it for any item you wanted to clean. Mel didn’t write the original pattern but recreated it from one she received. Still thank you Mel for taking the time to work out the pattern and sharing it and to the person who sent it to Mel I thank you for inspiring her with such a great little item.
What does one do on a Saturday evening? Darn in the ends of dishcloths of course! These were finished sometime ago and put aside as a UFP. All I needed to do was darn in the ends which ended up taking no time at all. These are all a basic granny square made in 8 ply cotton from Bendigo Woollen Mills The white boarders are done in single crochet in 4 ply cotton. I thought the tighter edge might be good for scouring so they are like a 2 in 1 dishcloth/scourer.
I’d pinned these to my UFP board in pinterest. After learning how to Pin my own photos to Pinterest I’ve found this to be a really useful way to keep track of my UFP’s as I write what needs to be done in the pin description to finish them off. Now I can delete that pin knowing that’s one UFP off my list.
One of the requirements of WIRES pouches is that be made of 100% cotton so that the animals can breath inside them. I have heaps of fabric that I think is cotton as that is all that my mum and I used to buy but to be certain I do the burn test on the fabric.
If you have never done the burn test its really simple. I would suggest the first time you do that you try it on a piece that you know is 100% cotton and on a piece that you know is poly cotton that way you can really see and smell the difference. You should only do this in a well ventilated area and have a source of water on standby. Your kitchen or laundry sink is perfect.
When 100% cotton is ignited it burns and smells like paper. The flame is small but it spreads across the fabric as it burns. The smell is mild like burning paper or leaves. A very organic smell. Its a slow burn
When you blow out the flame the burnt area is very brittle and crumbly. Its very similar to burnt ash and it smells like paper has been extinguished. The fabric remains very flat.
When poly cotton is ignited the flame is very intense. It burns very fast. Be careful with this one as this is the one you don’t want to be holding it for too long. The smell is a very synthetic smell. The flame spreads very quickly and isn’t a uniform shape.
When the flame is blown out you smell a melted plastic odour. The fabric itself looks melted. Its not flat its puckered. The burnt area is hard and doesn’t come away from the fabric easily
So after doing the burn test you can see the difference between the two fabrics. Cotton when burnt resembles burning paper. It has a very organic smell and burns smoothly. When its blown out the burnt area is ash like and crumbles. Poly cotton when burnt has a synthetic smells. It ignites fast and melts the fibres. When extinguished the burnt area is very hard and puckered not flat at all.
The burn test is really simple to do to test to see if fabric is 100% cotton. Once you know the differences between the two burning fabrics you’ll know instantly as soon as you burn the fabric what it is.
My friend is going up to the Kangaroo Sanctuary soon. She’s always after pillowcases to take with her so Brolga can use them in the care of the baby kangaroos. Recently I raided my linen closet for spare pillowcases and gave her a heap.
A few weeks ago I brought an Overlocker (Serger) I’ve only used one once but that was under the guidance of my mum and it was a few years ago. I’ve got lots of books on the topic (of course I had to buy some new ones when I got my machine) I’m enrolled in a Beginners Serging class on Craftsy but until I get around to actually doing the course I wanted a simple project so I could at least pull the machine out of the box and not be scared of it. I thought what could be more simple than overlocking the straight edges of a pillowcase. I made covers for the heat packs which were effectively tiny pillowcases so I had a rough idea on the shape and construction of pillowcases.
In my fabric stash I found an intact old doona cover and the remnants of another donna cover (Previously I used the rest of it to make dust covers for seasonal electrical appliances around the house) I turned an existing pillowcase inside out and took measurements from that. When cutting the fabric I probably broke every sewing rule there was. I never ironed the fabric. I pretty much just folded the fabric into layers until it fitted on my craft mat then cut it with the rotary cutter. Admittedly this did look like Edward Scissor Hands had cut it as some cutting lines were jaggered. However it all turned out. On the regular sewing machine I stitched the hems and the pillowcase construction of each one before taking them to the overlocker and doing the side seams. The fabric was folded in half so I didn’t need to do anything to the bottom of them. It was so easy to do the side seams. When I’ve made WIRES pouches I’ve used the overlocking stitch on the sewing machine and it would take a while to do so I can’t wait to do my next batch and serge the seams.
In total I got 8 pillowcases made. I enjoyed making them. I gained confidence using my overlocker. I decluttered fabric and scraps from my stash and I was able help out a worthy cause in a practical way. It was only once I finished ironing them at the end I remembered the bright blue with the swirls was once my favourite doona cover. I even had it ordered in from another store I wanted it that much. I’m glad its now being used in a positive way.
Ok so I kind of feel odd talking about shrinking clothing on a craft blog cause I haven’t done anything crafty to this.
I brought a 100% cotton knit jacket last year on sale but when I got home I realised unfortunately it was just too big in the shoulders. I love baggy clothing but this was beyond loose fitting. Instead of sending it to the charity shop I thought with it being 100% cotton I’d attempt to shrink it first. I pre-shrink all my cottons when I do sewing so whats the difference. I never shrunk clothes on purpose before so it was a good experiment.
I took a picture of it under a purple shirt so I could do a before and after photo and see if there was a difference. In the before shot you can see the shoulder area is very large. The sleeves look a bit long and it even looks a little wide.
I washed it in hot water on the longest cycle (60mins) then stuck it in into a dryer on high for 75 mins. I took the after photos then let it dry for a day or two just hanging up inside to make sure it was fully dry. In the after shot you can see that the shoulder area is significantly smaller. The width is slightly smaller too. With the shoulders smaller the sleeve length reduced too.
I’m really happy with the size now. I think it has gone down 2 sizes. When I brought this I brought another jacket same style but in different colour one size smaller. This jacket is now smaller then the other one which I don’t mind. This jacket was a bargain buy and now I can get full use of it. I want to get into altering clothes I already have so this was a good taste test to see if I could. I know I didn’t do much expect put it in a washing machine but baby steps.
I’ve started to crochet another blanket.
Again I’m using Bendigo Woollen Mills 8 Ply Classic this time in Rose Pink. I really like using the Classic Wool in blankets as its 100% wool and machine washable. I like items that are easy to clean. It doesn’t matter if its for children or adults blankets get used, they get dirty so you need to be able to wash them easily.
The size of this blanket will larger than the blanket I finished in January. This time I started with a chain of 192 stitches. Which is longer then last time (annoyingly last time I didn’t write down how many chains I started with) Like last time my first was a row of single crochet before doing the trebles.