Cloth Books – Prep

This year I’m going to make 2 cloth books as gifts for a 2 year old. I have made cloth books a few times before, they are a great gift to give toddlers as they can’t rip the pages and it doesn’t matter if they chew on them. Over this Easter weekend one of the tasks on my “todo” list was to make a start on them.

In the past I have followed patterns to make them but this time I’m just making everything up. They are really easy to do without a pattern. For my pages this time I’m using white calico with a piece of sew in medium interfacing behind each one. In the past to stablise the back the pages I have used different vlieseline products, I have a roll of sew in interfacing now so I just used that as it isn’t too thick. I cut my pages 9.5″ x 10.5″ it will give me a nice size book, perfect for small hands. On the sewing machine I have tacked each page and lining piece together. I used the basting stitch setting which is probably a stitch length of 5 on my MC 11000 as I know that is the longest stitch length that I can do. I will remove the basting stitches after I finish each page.

The books I am making are colours and numbers. I used my sizzix cutting machine to cut all the pieces out of wool felt. I just realised that I never cut the pieces needed for the 2 front covers but I will do those pages at the end and will cut more. One of the cutting dies I have is numbers but I will trim some of those as they have a curved shape at the end of them and I don’t like that look. On the colours book I will free hand write the colour and embroider of over. I will hand sew all the pieces on to the pages. I don’t need these books until August so I have given myself plenty of hand sewing time to do it, mindless tv work so easy to do. Now that I have sorted my embroidery threads it will be easier to find the colours I need too!

Cassiy

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DIY Sock Blockers

Last weekend I went to purchase sock blockers but the shop didn’t have any stock of the size I needed, turns out sock blockers were popular that day as they sold out of the size I needed that morning. The shop assistant suggested perhaps I could make my own so I went online and found a free template. Maryann who made the template also has a tutorial on her blog that goes along with it but I didn’t follow the tutorial. I have made so many sewing patterns I was confident I could make the sock blockers myself with just the template.

As I was doing a clean up of my house I found some template plastic in my stash that you normally use to make template pieces for quilting and decided to use that to make my blockers. I just traced out the template twice to create a pair of blockers. In the comments on Maryann’s blog post about this others have also suggested beside the cardboard Maryann has used that you could make them from foam, old placemats or plastic tiles.

The size of the template is for a ladies small sock. I wanted medium sock blockers so I added about half an inch around the template as I traced it out. They are a bit short so I should have added more to the length if I want to use them for calf length socks but for ankle socks they will be fine.

I tried them out in a pair of socks that I wanted to photograph. Now I will be honest I won’t be using these for blocking but for photographing socks so that I can show them here on the blog. They will work if you wanted to use them for blocking but I have never actually blocked socks before. I am still going to buy a medium set of sock blockers when I can and actually use them to block a sock to see if it makes a difference but for the mean time these will do just fine. These didn’t cost me anything and took about 15 mins to make plus I decluttered some template plastic from my stash.

Cassiy

Correa Wrap – Attempt 1

Last year I first saw the Correa Wrap by Ambah O’Brien when Skein Sisters held a pop up shop at my Knitters Guild meeting. They had a finished wrap on show and I really liked it. I don’t normally like gradients but with the contrast colour in the middle breaking up the colours I really liked it.

Skein Sisters sold the wrap as a pack with the 4 skeins of yarn and the pattern. The sample on display was in the original colour way of orange. Not my colour but they had it in blue colour tone pack which was more me. I put it on my wish list and when Skein Sisters had a sale in February I purchased the pack. The colours are gorgeous. The pattern is a lace pattern. Lace knitting scares me. It looks fancy and complicated and there is counting involved. Normally I run from patterns like this but I got a taste for simple lace knitting in my Miramar cowl.

I’ve just finished my first Stephen West shawl which took me out of my comfort zone but I enjoyed knitting. This week I decided to bite the bullet and try the Correa. The pattern has both written instructions and a chart. I can’t read chart symbols yet. I can read basic colour charts but not symbols so I was following the written instructions of the pattern highlighting each row as I finished it. I have made mistakes and will take this off my needle and start again. One side of the stitch markers looks ok and I seem to be on track but the other side is too messy to continue with. I’m not beating myself up about having to restart it. The first few rows of the lace section were scary but the last few rows I knitted were a bit more easier. The pattern is starting to click in my head now. Lace knitting is just a serious of yarn overs, ssk (slip, slip, knit) knit stitches or k2tog (knit 2 together) when you break it down like that it isn’t so scary, it is just like knitting socks but you have more of the stitches. The shawl is done in 2 triangles that you then join. The first triangle I’m going to be following the written instructions but I will see how I go and maybe on the second triangle I might try and follow the chart. I’m actually enjoying knitting this even if I was a little tense at first. Instead of thinking of it as scary lace but just knitting stitches I know I can do it.

Cassiy

Miramar Cowl

In February Wool Gathering Australia held their 2019 KangaKiwi KAL. It is annual knit along or crochet along where knitters/crocheters from Australia and New Zealand create an item with local yarns and patterns. The only rule is that both the yarn and the pattern must be from either Australia or New Zealand. I decided to join in this year for the first time.

Months ago when I purchased my Sock Ruler from Kathy’s Fibres I also added to my cart a skein of yarn. Silly me has thrown out the yarn label before I wrote this but the yarn was a merino/bamboo/silk mix. The colours in this skein really caught my eye, there was lots of grey, teal and white in it. I wear a lot of teal and darker colours so this really jumped out at me.

The pattern I used was Miramar by Sezza Knits. In 2017 I won a prize pack when Wool Gathering Australia held their It’s New To Me knit along and I got to choose a pattern from Sezza and this was the pattern I chose. Miramar is a suburb in Wellington in New Zealand, I have a family connection to that suburb so that is why I chose that pattern and also I really like the look of the pattern. I like the repetitiveness of the pattern of the lace sections, it wasn’t a messy looking lace pattern it was in line and consistent.

I will be totally honest I never thought I might actually be able to do this pattern. It was a lace pattern, lace knitting scares me. It sounds complicated and fiddly, there is counting and you need to concentrate. As I think I have mentioned before I am not good at counting in knitting and crochet projects as I like to do a lot of mindless tv yarn work which means counting is hard to do. Once I got started in this pattern I found it really it easy to do. Admittedly some areas were a little off in the stitch count and to be honest most times I was too lazy to go back and fix them but for the most part my stitch count was correct. This actually flew off my needles and I finished it within 2 weeks.

I love the stripes that the yarn has created within this. This colours in this actually match a lot of the clothing in my wardrobe so I look forward to wearing it this winter. I cast it on with 4mm needles then switched to 3.5mm needles, I have a very tight cast on so I did the trick that you do in crochet if you chain tight by going up a needle/hook size to chain/cast on then switching to the smaller size on the first round.

Cassiy

Embroidery Thread Storage

I am being totally honest my embroidery thread has been living in storage boxes in a shopping bag in the centre of my loungeroom for years. It was right next to where I sit on the lounge and was handy to access when I was in front of the tv but really it shouldn’t have been living there. I am in the process of decluttering and sorting things out so last week I decided it was time to tackle my embroidery threads.

Most of my embroidery threads were my mum’s. She had them stored in plastic boxes that you can buy to store embroidery threads in once you wind the skein onto bobbin tabs. Mum had them sorted by brand and colour number. If you do cross stitching or embroidery where colour number is important it was a good way to sort them. Thinking about how I actually use embroidery thread I go by colour. I’ll have a gift that I need to embroidery and it is a matter of finding a colour to match it. I had 4 boxes of mum’s threads and 1 of my own that each time I was looking for a colour I would look through, most time I ended up using the colour I found in the first box. Another problem I had was that because I needed to put the threads away in number order, I never actually put them away after I used them instead I would just put them aside on my craft table and when I had a heap I would sit down and put them away at once which could be months after I used them. The way I had them clearly wasn’t working for me, top it off where they were I would constantly knock them over or trip over the bag they were semi placed in. They were a trip hazard and trip hazards are bad in our house.

My first task was to go through the bag and boxes to find all the skeins that needed to be placed on bobbins. I had way more than I thought I had. It was a chance to cull some of them that were poor quality or looked old and manky. In front of the tv I sat and wound each one onto the bobbin cards. I did this over a couple of days so it was really easy and not as a cumbersome task I thought it would be. When you’re watching tv you’ll be surprised at how fast you can do them.

 

After I had them all on cards I did the daunting tasking of emptying all the boxes onto my craft table and sorting them by colour. I did 9 main colour groups – greens, blues, pinks, reds, orange, yellow, purple, brown and other which was greys, blacks, neutrals. This gave me a chance to see what colours I had, how much I had of each and roughly what boxes I could put them in. I had no idea I had so many greens and browns, I thought I would have a lot more purple.

When I placed them in the boxes I did them very roughly darkest to lightest. I tried to keep shades together but I wasn’t so fussy that if I placed a slightly darker one amongst a lighter one that I needed to resort the box to make it fit. As long as I had the colour group in the one box I was happy. I can easily search through and compare colours if they are all in one box. I thought it would take me hours to sort them out and place in boxes but according to my Instagram photos I took I did it about an hour which is pretty fast. I did place special ones together such as all my pearl threads which are thicker or some sparkly threads which I had no idea I had in the one box so I know that is the box I go to for them.

I found a new home to keep the boxes too. In the last 8-10 months I have slowly been decluttering my house, part of what I have done is toss out a heap of my old craft mags creating empty shelves on my bookcases in the study. These boxes fit nicely on a semi empty shelf. I can access them pretty easily, I still need to clean up further in my study but that’s another job on my todo list.

Organisation is very subjective, each person needs to find the best way to organise their things that works for them. What worked for my mum clearly didn’t work for me, however now by sorting the threads in colours and storing them that way 100% works for me. I only have to look through 1 box to find the colour that I need, putting things away if I have used 2 colours I only have to open up 2 boxes to put them away. I’m going to be more inclined to put the threads away straight after I use them in this more simplistic system. By placing them on the shelf I have eliminated the trip hazard that they were in the loungeroom. I no longer will knock them over and have all them all fall open on the floor which was a nightmare each time it happened. I’m starting to see empty space now in my house and I am enjoying how it looks. To be honest my craft supplies were starting to get out of control and stress me as I just saw them as clutter with how messy they looked. Crafting for me is meant to be my way of dealing with stressing, it shouldn’t be the cause of my stress. Decluttering and organising can become very addictive, if you don’t believe me try it. My best friend lives over 4 hours away, we keep sending each other photos of things we’ve sorted out or decluttered. It is very satisfying seeing an area you have cleared up and taking a photo of it. Between us we don’t know who actually started the decluttering bug, we both claim the other one started it neither less we have the decluttering bug and are motivating each other to get in and just do things. Some people might be able to organise things on their own but it is fun to have a friend to do it with. We are proof you don’t even need to live near each other to help each other out in the decluttering process.

Cassiy

 

Zip And Go – First Attempt

Zip and Go is a pattern from Dog Under My Desk for a long time but I’ve never gotten around to making it. Recently I was looking for present to make so I decided now was the time to try it.

On the DUMD facebook group I have seen many people make this before and I was always amazed at how they pattern matched the front of this bag. Most times I don’t even attempt at pattern matching as I am hopeless at it. In the process of making this bag I found out how everyone was achieving this crazy pattern matching wizardry, at different parts of the pattern you slice the front portion therefore creating the pattern matching! Like all of Erin’s patterns the tutorial that accompanies the pattern is really clear and easy to follow. This bag is actually relatively simple to make following the tutorial. I made this over a weekend and actually enjoyed sewing it. Often of late if I am sewing to a deadline I haven’t enjoyed the process of sewing, more rushing to get the item done. This bag was actually really pleasant to make.

Admittedly I did buy the fabric for this bag. I was too busy to look through my stash for suitable fabric so I went to my local material shop and brought it.  To be honest of late I have gotten out of the habit of fully planning my sewing projects ahead of time and checking for suitable fabrics and notions in my stash before heading to the shops. I did make my gift list for this year but I haven’t stuck to it at all. I am behind on other gifts for this year as I just haven’t felt like sewing or the pattern I picked I wasn’t instantly gelling with therefore I never made it and gift deadline after gift deadline snow balled and suddenly I’m racing to get things done. This gift was done on time but I have 3 gifts that I haven’t done yet and birthdays have passed. I will get on track again, time to kick myself up the butt and play in my stash to find gifts I actually feel like making.

In terms of this pattern I am going to make it again. I have plans to make as Christmas gifts but it might also get made for a few birthday gifts this year too.

Cassiy

Me Made May 2019… I’m In!

After the fun that I had in my first Me Made May last year I have signed up again this year

If you’re not familiar with Me Made May it was a challenge that Zoe from So Zo What Do You Know set herself to see if she could wear more of her me made items for the month of May. Now in its 10th year it is a challenge that people all over the world now take part in. There are no real rules except that you set your personal challenge on what you would like to do for the month that you don’t normally do. There is no point of challenging yourself to wear me made items every day to work if that is what you do anyway. I’ve gone to Zoe’s blog and signed up and here is my pledge

I’m challenging myself to wear Me Made items for the entire month. Last year I only aimed to wear me made on work days. The other part of my challenge is that I won’t wear the same item on the same day of the week so for example if I wear a particular skirt on Monday I can’t wear it on another Monday for that month.

So how do I think I will go? To be honest I may struggle a bit particularly as last year I lived in my 2 kinder cardigans I made and I can only wear them a total of 7 days each for the month. Me Made May isn’t a photo challenge but I will use Instragram to help me keep track of what days I have worn which items as I will forget otherwise. Without realising I have started to wear the items on the same day each week and I want to get out of the habit so I don’t end up as this is my Tuesday skirt. I now have a lot of me made items and I want to mix them up and wear them together but also mix them in with stuff in my ready to wear wardrobe more so that I get maximum use out of the clothing I have.

I’m looking forward to May

Cassiy