Calypso Shawl

I was going away overnight to a hotel located within a casino. I don’t do casino things (I was only staying there due to the location) I needed something to occupy myself and I hadn’t been sleeping properly so I wanted a really mindless knitting pattern. I think I searched Ravelry for like an hour or two trying to find the perfect pattern which had the combination of simpleness and yarn in my stash. I finally found the Calypso shawl which I came across last year.

I used a cake of yarn I won in a knit along last year held by Wool Gathering Australia. The challenge was trying new knitting or crochet skills. I was so excited to win this yarn as it is my colours blues and blacks. I wanted a one skein project and this was perfect for it. The yarn cake was so soft and squishy. It is a 4ply merino in the colour Midnight.

This is a really easy pattern to follow and is super quick to do too, I finished this in about 2 weeks. The pattern tells you how many sections to do to form the shawl and how to extend it you have extra yarn. I followed the pattern until I ran low of yarn which was in the extra section. To bind off I used the stretchy bind off that the pattern mentions. You are end up adding an extra yarn over as you bind off, it is much stretchy than other bind off methods I have used so I will be doing it again.

The only difference to the pattern I did was something I read on Ravelry that another knitter had done. Instead of doing a yarn over at the start of my increase rows I did a K1FB in the first stitch. It gave me a much neater finish then the yarn over did. Before I blocking it looked kind of tiny. You can see from the photo how much yarn I had left after I bound off, I may have been able to sneak in an extra row but I didn’t want to fall short.

 

I am not sure if there is such thing as over blocking but I blocked the life out of this. Blocking made it grow! For the first time I used my knit blocker pins. They are basically a plastic clip that has a series of pins attached, they are much easier to use than regular pins. I used 2 full boxes on this shawl and the 4 blocking mats I had too.

I am yet to wear this as I only finished blocking it last week. I have played around with it a little to see how it will sit around my neck. I brought the shawl pin at the craft show last month so I might use that on this. I am really liking this shawl, it was mindless fun knitting. After I finished it I was little lost and almost wanted to cast on another one.

Cassiy

 

Advertisements

Sewing Rut

I like to be honest on here and to be perfectly honest Sunday morning when I came to right this post I had nothing I wanted to write about. I do have a couple of garments I have sewn that I haven’t blogged about yet but the photos aren’t just right for those. I pulled a book off my bookshelf and thought I would write about that but the photos I took of the cover weren’t great and I just wasn’t feeling it. I seem to be in real sewing rut at the moment and anything sewing related just doesn’t feel right.

I think I know the reason. A couple of months ago I started to make a cloth bag to take shopping because in Australia they are phasing plastic shopping bags out in supermarkets and it seemed like the entire sewing community in Australia were making bags in preparation (I may be over exaggerating a little) I grabbed some fabrics from my stash to use them up and to be honest I only got the bag ½ finished as I just wasn’t like it. I think I will finish the bag but give it away to charity. I don’t want to keep. The other big reason is that the last garment I made (yet to be blogged) I had drama after drama with things going wrong and I put so much emotion into making it (it became bigger than just making a skirt) I became emotionally exhausted from sewing. After I finished it my mood was really flat. I have worn the skirt but I am unsure if I will continue wearing it, I’ll explain more once I take decent photos and I am ready to show it off.

I have done I think one session of sewing and that was one some WIRES pouches. That was only for an hour or two and I did enjoy that. I still have no real desire to pull out patterns and fabric and make something. I am behind on my gift making sadly because of this. I am trying to find my sewjo again. I have piles and fabrics and a to sew list that is a mile long but nothing is saying “do this now” I mentioned in last weeks post that I am doing a lot of knitting now and it is basically to avoid sewing. Well ok not to avoid sewing but knitting is making me happy or calm at the moment. I visited a small fabric shop last weekend because I needed to buy a zipper for a gift. As I always do when I go there I walked around the entire shop and I did find some cotton fabric that caught my eye. It kind of looks like stained glass. What it really reminds me off is when I was a teen I would get a piece of paper and with a black texta start at any point on the page and draw a continuous line all around the page over lapping sections creating small gaps until the page was full and I would end back at the starting point. I would then colour in each section. This was in the ’90’s” before adult colouring in became a thing. I can’t really remember what I then did with them once they were finished, I think some I stuck on my wall the others I tossed. This fabric just shouts those hours of playing around. I’m not going to just stash this fabric I am planning on making a Springfield top by Cashmerette with it. In my head I can see the top. I think this might help me get my sewjo back. I am not going to put pressure on myself to make the “perfect” top I am going to just have fun and enjoy the process of cutting out the fabric, sewing the different steps and eventually if I get a wearable top then I will enjoy wearing it. If it has flaws so what don’t we all.

Cassiy

What Was On My Needles June 18

April and May seemed to be major sewing months for me but June hit and I think I only stitched one item. I spent most of the month knitting.

I started a big project of a cape mid May and spent nearly 4 weeks knitting like crazy on that. It is a very simple pattern and very mindless knitting. I was using yarn I had in my stash and was feeling great about it. I then think I spent too much knitting of it as I did start to get board with it. I put it down for a weekend when I went away and after that only knitted on it every few days just doing a row or so. If I keep going on it I can get it finished this winter but I don’t want knit something I am not enjoying and not want to wear it at the end because I am sick of looking at it.

I cast on a new shawl to take as my travel project for the weekend away I did. It was a mindless knit but really enjoyable. I then spent about a week knitting it and it just seemed to grow. This one I should be able to finish in the next couple of weeks or so. I am just going to knit until I run out of yarn. Again it was yarn from my stash.

One of my favourite yarn shops Skein Sisters had an Instagram challenge week where each day you showed a photo of what Works In Progress (WIPs) you had. It was actually fun going through my house seeing what projects I had on the go. I am actually surprised that I don’t have that many. With knitting and crochet you have to use tools like needles and hooks which I don’t have that many of so I guess it isn’t as easy for me to have so many half finished projects like I do with sewing as it is easy to put a half sewn garment aside and start the next one. The challenge has given me motivation to finish a few projects particularly when I can see what little I have to do on them. Other projects I just need to sit when I have had enough sleep and concentrate on them for example some socks I have started and already had to redo them once because I messed them up.

I balled up some yarn for another project but I have to wait until my shawl is finished as I don’t have another set of the needle tips I need for it. The yarn is so pretty but the pattern is new to me and a little daunting. I am sure if I take my time with it I will be ok. I purchased this yarn recently after seeing it on Instagram, it was love at first sight!

I am hoping to get back to my sewing as confession I am behind on my gift making but with bad sleep patterns for most of June I really did enjoy the mindless knitting that I was doing.

Cassiy

 

Barley Blue – Attempt 2

I just realised that I haven’t blogged about this completed beanie which I finished at the start of April.

After my first unsuccessful attempt at this Barley beanie by Tin Can Knits I ripped it back and tried again. On my first attempt I was using the wrong size needles and it was huge. 2nd time around I switched to 3mm needles for the ribbing and 3.5mm for the main body. The change in needle size really made a difference and the fit is much better. Confession I did stuff up the front decorative pattern a bit. When I was doing the decreases I kind of stopped the pattern half way so instead of the decorative detail decreasing all the way across it is only on half the panel section. Let’s just call it a design feature! It is still wearable and Mr StitchNSew happens to be wearing it right now. The yarn I used was a ball of Katia Azteca I purchased last year. To be honest I probably won’t work with this yarn again. It is lovely yarn but the yarn does nothing for me, I can’t explain why. I do have some leftover which I might use for charity but most likely it will be taken to my knitting guild meeting for someone to use. I have now experienced working with it so and as a result we have a wearable beanie so it wasn’t a total waste.

You can see it on my Ravelry page.

Cassiy

Sydney Craft And Quilt Fair 2018

Each year I go to the big Craft and Quilt Fair in Sydney, in previous years I have gone to it for 2-3 days but this year I only went for the one day and to be honest only really spent a couple of hours at it. I can’t explain why this year but this year I just didn’t have the craft show excitement. Before the show I look online to see what classes and workshops are running and this year nothing took my interest so I didn’t do any workshops or talks. I needed to return back some raffle tickets to the Quilting Guild that I had received in the mail to sell but didn’t so I went in to drop those off plus just do some minor shopping. I had no “big ticket” items I wanted to purchase this year, it was more just some supplies of things I needed. To be honest I am starting to feel a little cluttered by my craft stuff which I never thought I would say. Instead of crafting relaxing me the supplies around me are starting to make me anxious because it is visual clutter. On my shopping list was rotary blades as I have none, yellow wool felt and some owl fabric for a couple of gifts. On one stand I did purchase a “showbag” of different types of interfacings. After the NSW Industry day earlier this year I decided I am going to make up an interfacing sampler with different types of interfacings and different fabrics so I can see which works best when I need to use interfacings in different situations. I hadn’t gotten to the shop to purchase the interfacings yet so this showbag was perfect. I did make 2 indulgence purchases, a shawl pin and a cake of yarn. I don’t have a shawl pin so one will come in handy. The cake of yarn is Scheepjes whirl, I have seen this online many times but have never actually had the chance to hold some. The day before the craft show I started a new shawl with a ball of yarn so in my mind I could justify adding this to my stash as I am likely to use it. This year it is in its 25th so everyone attending to a tote bag as they entered the show.

Over the years I have gone a bit crazy at the craft show and purchased items which I have never used or given away. I am over doing that. I don’t want to think of my craft supplies as a waste of money but in some ways if they just sit around and I eventually give them away then they are. I am really happy with what I purchased this year, I didn’t lose my craft mind and just purchase random stuff.

Cassiy

Me Made May Lessons

#memademaylessons

Last week I was tagged on YouTube and Instagram by the wonderful Laura @sewingfrommystash  for #memademaylessons which is a challenge to answer 7 questions after doing Me Made May. During the month of May I wrote a few blog posts about it but I thought it would be really fun to answer the questions below because sometimes you don’t really think about something in a certain way until someone askes you a question and it makes you think, well that is how I am anyway. Laura also made the comment she thought I was stylish. That just spun my mind out completely!!! I don’t feel stylish, I am a dag!

The 7 questions are –

  1. What prompted you to join MMMay this year?
  2. What percentage of Me Made clothes do you have in your closet?
  3. Do you still buy RTW? If so, has sewing changed the amount that you purchase?
  4. Did you learn anything new about your Me Made clothing by joining the challenge?
  5. Did you find anything difficult whilst participating in the challenge?
  6. What do you feel was the best about the challenge? Or lessons learned for you if any
  7. Will you join the challenge again?

Thanks Laura for the tag so here goes!

1. What prompted you to join MMMay this year?
I had watched it in previous years and it looked like a fun personal challenge. This year I had more garments in my wardrobe that I had sewn/knitted/crocheted so I felt like I had enough to actually complete the month without wearing the same item several times in a week which is what I normally do. My challenge was to wear items to work each day which I had been doing for a number of months but I hadn’t taken much notice of it so I wanted to be more aware of what I was wearing. I normally don’t put much thought into what I will wear the next day I just grab something placing it ready to get dressed. I wanted to see if I could actually make proper outfits from all the bits that I have made up over time.

2. What percentage of Me Made clothes do you have in your closet?
My clothing is broken into several categories
– tops, bottoms (pants/skirts), underwear, gym gear, pjs
Tops – Only about 10% of my tops are me made at this stage but it is an area I want to increase with me made to replace existing RTW. All my current fittied RTW tops I call my “work shirts” which limits how I feel about wearing them as I don’t want to wear “work wear” on weekends. I want to make tops that I feel I can wear any day of the week.
Bottoms – 90% of my skirts are me made, I only have 2 RTW skirts I wear now. Confession my old RTW skirts are still in my house as I just haven’t done the cleanout yet but I don’t consider them in my wardrobe as I don’t wear them.
Underwear – 5% undies me made the rest RTW, bras aren’t even on the radar to be made
Gym gear – 50% me made. My gym top is me made my bike pants are RTW
Pjs – 60% me made, most of my tops are me made and I have a summer pj skirt but all my pants for both summer and winter are RTW

3. Do you still buy RTW?
I have just brought a couple of new bras as I won’t even try making them. I am looking at making different undie patterns but I may have to buy some RTW if I don’t get sewing before I need them. I have never been a big shopping person and only will go into a shop for clothing if I need to replace an item. Generally I have enough clothing already both me made and RTW that I don’t need to go clothing shopping, I hold onto clothing for a very long time if I like it. I need to replace my winter coat at the end of this season so I may have to go and purchase one if I don’t get one done in time for next year. Last year I was desperate for pants and I realised how much I didn’t like going and trying clothes on in a shop. I made one pair of pants (still not blogged yet) so I can get by for a while now without having to shop again for them. When I go to a shopping mall (about once a month) I don’t go near the clothing shops or the clothing section of a store as I don’t need anything so I don’t even window shop.

4. Did you learn anything new about your Me Made clothing by joining the challenge?
From this challenge I learnt that a few of my items look pretty good just like RTW items. I actually surprised a few work collogues who are used to me only making toys when they commented on my clothing and I casually said “yeah I made it” I realised that I really get a buzz out of wearing me made items. If I think I am going to have a bad day throw some me made items on before I leave the house and I can look at those if I need a moment to calm myself or just be ok. I didn’t realise what such a confidence booster me made items were. I also discovered how much I love wearing my Granville skirt which is a white skirt I made a few months ago. Before I would run from a white skirt but I like it and have worn it lot so maybe I need to start challenging myself and picking colours that are not just plain blues for my me made clothing.

5. Did you find anything difficult whilst participating in the challenge?
I have a tendency to wear
skirts and pants multiple times before I wash them if they aren’t obviously dirty. I was wearing the same skirts most of the month and had to keep looking up Instagram to see what day I wore items the week before so I didn’t inevitably create a “Tuesday skirt” and wear the same item each week on the same day. I had skirts in my wardrobe I didn’t wear because I still had skirts out that were ok to wear before wash time and I couldn’t justify pulling out another item. I was struggling to change to what top or scarf I wore with each skirt so it wouldn’t be the same outfit combination each time. Up until the start of May I had never even thought of outfit combinations because I am a dag and just grab what ever to wear together. I think the lack of me made tops made me feel a little desperate too and I ended up wearing tops under my work jumper I don’t normally like just because I felt I needed a me made item that day. I was doing a daily photo on Instagram of my outfits and trying to not make my photos look the same each time I wore an outfit was a little challenging. I am not good at taking selfies but I did a lot during May which is unlike me so that was a bit outside my comfort zone. Next year I might write down in a diary what I wore each day so I don’t necessarily feel like I need to take a selfie to remember what I wore. Some days I wasn’t in a photo mood but I still needed to take some sort of photo as a reminder.

6. What do you feel was best about the challenge? Or lessons learned
It made me actually look at me made items as a collection and not just as singular items. I say that I struggled to put combinations together but at the same time that got me outside my comfort zone
and I realised some of the combinations really worked. On the saddest day of the month when I attended a funeral I actually felt the best because the combination of RTW and me made items I had on made me look pretty dam good. I looked in the mirror and smiled, instead of being in tears the person I was saying good bye to would have loved what I was wearing. I also realised that some of the items I wear make me look larger than what I am and that is mostly my RTW items because I always go for the biggest size I can. I have to really look at the finished garment sizes on the pattern and not just automatically make the largest size.

7. Will you join the challenge again?
Absolutely I enjoyed it this year. I achieved my goal of wearing me made items to work every day and on the weekends I often had a me made item or two on as well. Next year I will have to step up and do the entire 31 days. I wasn’t panic sewing for May but some of the items I ended up wearing a lot were newly made items in either late April or early May. Next year I think I want to wear some of my older items more and not just have new things. I am hoping by next year I have more tops or even dresses so I have more options but saying that is there really anything wrong with wearing the same skirt 4 times in a month? In my books no.

Thanks again Laura for tagging me in. It was interesting to reflect on different aspects of the challenge. I urge anyone to attempt the this challenge next May and not just people who sew. To answer the 7 #memadelessons questions I tag the following 3 people for a bit of fun

Amy @amymathomcd
Dayle @daisysewcrazy
Catherine @sewingthe60s

I know all the 3 above ladies and they sew wonderful garments. I enjoyed seeing on Instagram what they wore each day.

Cassiy

 

 

A Stash Of One’s Own

A Stash of One’s Own by Clara Parkes is a book that I will admit from the start if it wasn’t for seeing a few people on Instagram reading this book I would never have found it let alone been drawn to pick up and read. I was totally a book lemming on this one and in this instance I am glad that I was.

When I first saw this book in people’s photos I thought it is just another yarn fictional romance novel. I have read a few like that but I lose interest quick in them as I can’t really read fictional stories (except Harry Potter) Don’t judge this book by the illustration on the front, read the words in the title, do a google search, go hold a copy in local store and you will see it is a book of short non fictional stories or essays from various people sharing their account of what their “stash” is and what it means to them. On the back it lists the 22 people who have contributed stories to the book. I don’t know many “famous” knitting names so there was only 2 that I recognised from the list but you don’t need to know who these people are to read their stories. It is the stories and not the persons themselves that makes this book wonderful.

Each story is about 6-10 pages long (some shorter, some longer) It is fascinating reading everyone’s stories. Not everyone thinks of their stash in the same way. Some people are really emotional about their stash, some aren’t. Some people have really organised stashes, some have yarn stashed in the bathroom. Before I had even finished reading the Foreward I was already drawn into this book knowing once I had finished it there was no way I would be passing it on, this book is staying in my book stash. I am glad I didn’t actually borrow this book from a friend like I was considering when I was trying to decide if I needed to buy it or not. I haven’t even finished this book yet but I can already relate to little bits here and there from different stories after just reading a few. It is really comforting to read things and think you are not alone with the way you are dealing with things whether it be emotions or storage. The stories are the perfect length to read the book in small bites. If you wanted to you could sit down and read this in a day, I would say it would be a very emotional day so maybe have the tissues handy particularly if you find yourself relating to a lot of the more in depth parts of the human psyche. Unfortunately I don’t have any dedicated reading time at the moment so I have been reading 2-3 stories a day than putting the book down for a day or so and going back to it for another short read when I can. For me this works perfect as in this short periods I am reading I can really take the words in and reflect on aspects of my own life that relate. Don’t just think it is all depressing stories you will laugh so much as well. My favourite sentence so far “If Barbie and My Little Pony dropped acid” I would never have imagined I would ever read those words!

Even though this book is centered around yarn stashes anyone who has any form of craft or hobby stash can relate to this book. Each time the term yarn is used insert your preferred craft term and it is just as relatable. When you get home, close the door and look around at your stuff and how you deal with it you discover from this book you are not alone. In this book real people with real stories share their experiences with their stash. I have always enjoyed reading autobiographies and have always believed that everyone has a story to tell they just need the opportunity to tell it.

Cassiy