I had the Meld shawl pattern from Lisa Mutch of North Bound Knitting since early last year, I think I got it when she had it as a free Ravelry pattern for a short period. Before Christmas I felt like knitting a relaxing project and after reading the instructions I decided to give it a try.
The yarn I used was some Bendigo Woollen Mills 8 ply cottons I had in my stash. The pattern is designed to use 3 colours but after I started this I decided the 2 colours looked good as is so I just repeated the navy instead of adding in an additional colour. I really like the muted tones these two colours seem to be.
Aside from changing the amount of colours used I also added 2 extra increase rows (row 3) and one extra row 4 to the bottom of the shawl to use up the navy yarn. Before I put in the rows I put in a life line on the chance I wouldn’t have enough yarn. My only mistake was when I was threading my life line yarn through the stitches I put it through my non removable stitch markers, I should have weave around them. It wasn’t such a big deal as I didn’t do too many additional rows but in future I will go around them if I do it again. Knitting wise it was such an easy knit without being boring. I finished it within 2 weeks. I opted not to block it. If it is something for me and is made from cotton I often won’t bother blocking it. I’m lazy but also often I’m not fussed about seeing detailed stitch patterns.
This pattern was so easy and kind of addictive that I decided to make them for my charity Share The Dignity bags this year. Having plenty of 8 ply cottons in my stash to use up it was an easy decision to make. I think they will make a nice addition to the bags this year. Everyone deserves a knitted shawl. They are all finished and I will post them here soon.
I have mentioned that I have decluttered a lot of craft supplies and clothing in recent months but my decluttering has extended to our entire unit. In 2018 Mr StitchNSew and I first started talking about possibly moving at some point. I decided then I wasn’t paying to move crap (not that stuff is crap but you get my point) I started to look at all that was in our place and only keep stuff we were actually going to use or need. If it wasn’t something we needed, were using or liked out it went. I hadn’t had a chance to tidy up or declutter in like 10 years so as you can imagine we had gained a lot in that time. I started to take lots to a charity shop at my work for them to sell at their brick and brac stall. Bag by bag I took books and nic naks we didn’t need over time. For a long time I was afraid to visit their stall as I knew I would see our stuff. Ironically I accidently gave away a cookbook Mr StitchNSew wanted so I am now visiting it to see if it there to buy it back haha.
In recent months I have opened up every cupboard, every drawer, every wardrobe and have gone through things removing items that we no longer needed/used/liked. Sadly I must confess some items did go into landfill however where possible I recycled items or donated items to charity. I even listed items for free on Facebook and got rid of them that way including an old fridge that was nearly 20 years old but still worked. It was actually the fastest thing to go.
I have always given stuff away for free, if I have something you can use then I must give it to you from the goodness of my heart because that’s what friends do. For the first time I tried selling items through Facebook Marketplace to complete strangers and made a few dollars that way. Some people sell items via Facebook as an extra cash earner on a regular basis. It was good to get rid of the items I did but I couldn’t do regularly it. I don’t have the time to answer questions or wait around for people to get back to me on deciding if they want items or not. Also I found everyone wants everything dirt cheap so really there wasn’t much room for me to make money. I sold some items for less than I wanted too just so I could get them out of my place. However it was good to see items I wasn’t using go to a new home where they would be used and not stuck in a cupboard or box like I had them in. The extra cash was a bonus.
Looking back on how much stuff I have removed from our place it has been a real eye opener. I had no idea how much stuff we actually had and what we were actually using. I like the emptiness spaces less clutter or stuff around us is leaving. Yes I know I have packed up a lot of our stuff so that is leaving empty spaces too but in areas I haven’t packed yet you can see empty spots and I like it.
I had a week off work last month as a summer holiday. Unlike in 2019 when I went away this year I stayed home and mostly packed the unit up as it was the only real packing time I had ahead of the big move (still no date yet) I don’t often take time off work and I didn’t want to spend the entire week packing as I wanted to enjoy my summer holiday and not have it feel like a chore – who wants to feel like they have been sent to clean their room for a week? So I made sure I fitted some sewing into my week.
Whilst packing up my fabrics in the garage I had the pattern pieces for the pillows I was intending to make for Christmas with me. I picked out fabrics from my stash suitable for the pillows as I went through all my boxes and over a couple of afternoons I got all the pillows cut and sewn. All I need to do now is stuff them with hobby fill and hand sew the openings shut which will be a tv job later in the year. For now I will pack these away knowing I have 6 Christmas presents almost done. This year one of my big aims is to enjoy my sewing and I enjoyed making these. In these pillows I have memories of finding the fabrics in my stash. The time spent sewing gave me a break from all the packing. Getting these done so early in the year also means I feel organised and in control of my sewing. These a bright happy cheery pillows which were fun to sew and hopefully will look cute in the kids rooms they are for.
Let me set the picture in Sydney for you today. Saturday 8th February 2020 after weeks and months of heat we have a wet weekend with rain falling since Thursday. Perfect weather to bunker down in the house in your pj’s with your sewing machine.
Last year I started a toy cockatoo which I never got finished. I’d cut out all the pieces and started sewing the crest (yellow comb on head) when I first made the crest from felt it looked awful. I put the toy away and decided I would finish it for a birthday this March. Even then I just wasn’t feeling the toy, some toys I’m excited to make this one I wasn’t. My plan for today was to stop procrastinating and to finish the toy as my deadline is looming. When I started preparing it this morning for sewing I was getting really negative vibes and I just didn’t want to sew it. I again stitched the comb using a cotton I found in my stash a few weeks ago and I wasn’t happy with it. As I was pinning the next lot of pieces I kept thinking I really don’t want to make this. I have never actually felt this negative about sewing before I’m thinking this is silly it is just a toy, you have all the stuff there just sew it. This year I said I wasn’t going to change my mind last minute with the gifts I was making. Part of my brain was saying just stick at it and make it, you’re being silly it is just a toy. Then I started thinking about other things I have told myself like “sew because you want to not because you have to” I continued on sewing the toy making part of the foot which again I thought looked awful and I decided no I’m not going to continue with this toy. I don’t care if today is perfect sewing weather, I don’t care if I have all the pieces cut out already I don’t want to force myself to sew something that I feel so strongly against. I have never felt this way before about sewing. I am already not liking this toy I know I won’t like the finish product and I don’t want to make it just because I decided at the start of 2019 I would make this toy as a gift. I want the gifts I make to have love from the heart in them. This toy has no love. This toy is full of negative vibes and I don’t think that is right to continue making it.
Plan B for the gift will be a book pillow. I will have to see if I have enough supplies from the remaining things which are yet to be packed so I may need to buy a couple of things. A book pillow is going to be more relaxing for me to make. I know I can still get it done before my deadline. I’m going to have fun making this gift. Sewing is something I want to regularly do but I want it to be fun.
I don’t know why this toy made me feel like it did. It wasn’t a reflection on the toy designer as I have made some other great toys from this designer. This entire project just didn’t feel right. I’ll keep the pattern in my stash who knows maybe one day I will attempt it again but not this time.
I brought 3 blank skeins of sock yarn from Bendigo Woollen Mills years ago with the aim to paint them. Late last year I finally got around to make the yarn up into basic shapes so I could paint them with liquid radiance.
I just did basic crochet shapes to make an easier surface to paint. Crochet is really easy to unravel and is super quick to do. I wasn’t really counting stitches I was just doing mindless crochet to make flat pieces.
I had no real plan with my colours when I painted these. I didn’t want anything too messy as I wasn’t sure how the paint would bleed on the yarn and on the chance it did I didn’t want just a big mess of colour resembling pea soup (or grey sewer water) Luckily the colours didn’t bleed too much but did give the yarn enough coverage (I hope) I left these in the sun to dry all day. I haven’t heat set the colour yet as I packed away all my liquid radiance instruction books before I did these and I can’t remember if you need to add steam when you heat set these or not. When I do heat set these I will use a pressing cloth and the Teflon cover to protect my iron so the yarn doesn’t melt.
I can’t wait to heat set these and then ball them up to see what the colours are like. I do have plans for these but they will have to wait.
This morning I took another bag of me made clothing to the charity bin. I did another search of my drawers and wardrobe to see what I was wearing and what I wasn’t. So what did I discard this time
Kinder Cardigans – I did like these when I made them but last winter I wasn’t wearing them and I realised it was because they didn’t do up. I like jackets or cardigans that do up. My torso gets cold so I like the coverage of a closure in the front.
Bear Hooded Scarf – I really like this but I never wore it. I’m not really a hat person, I struggle to wear my beret so a hooded scarf will never get worn.
Christmas Skirt – I haven’t worn this for a few years so out it went. I’m not sure if it even still fits or if it too big
Frocktails Outfit – I think I have only worn each of these pieces once or twice since wearing them to Frocktails. The top was too big I think. If I was getting rid of one piece I thought may as well get rid of the entire outfit so someone can have it all. I did keep the bag I made with the scraps though
I’m sure there was other items in the bag that were me made along with RTW clothing but I can’t think what else. I culled the items a few weeks ago but only got around to dropping them off this morning. I guess once I unpack I will go through my clothes and find what else has gone or maybe what else can go!
Wendy Ward has a new book out which I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. Last week I finally got my copy. This is Wendy’s fourth book and I have them all in my stash now.
In her last 2 books Wendy focused on a particular fabric or style of clothing (knits and skirts) In this book she has 5 basic patterns which are not gender exclusive. They are functional every day pieces that anyone can use in their wardrobe. Like in her other books she offers a basic version of each pattern then gives variations on how it can be made differently for individual tastes or skill level. If you are a beginner you could make just the basic version or if you are adventurous or wishing to expand your skills you could try one of the more complicated versions.
Like her other books you receive all the patterns for the different pieces. There are 3 sheets printed double sided. The book has listed which pattern pieces are on which sheet. To be honest I do find her pattern sheets a little cluttered. Before you start tracing out your pieces you need to just take a minute to see fully where you are going to be tracing and make a note if you have to flip the sheet over and continue tracing from another part. Once you get your head around the pattern sheets they are ok but they can be a bit daunting at first.
Ok so lets talk about the actual patterns in the book. The 5 basic patterns are
- Felix Sweatshirt
- Harper Pants
- Rowan Shirt
- Kim Jumpsuit
- Dylan Coat
5 wardrobe pieces which are a bit on trend that you have the ability to make 20 variations of. I like 4 out of the 5 patterns. I am not a jumpsuit person, sorry but I use the bathroom too much to be fussing with a jumpsuit all day (too much information) The jumpsuits in the book look nice but not for me.
So what would I make from the book? I like the sweatshirt but it is raglan sleeve which I don’t like. The diagonal seam annoys me for some reason. I can wear it if it is in a jacket so there is a jacket version which I’m considering making. I like the pants and might try those as I have never made anything with a fly. I’m undecided about the coat and shirt. I have never made a coat but there is a basic unlined version which I could try but to be honest I don’t know if I would wear it. I’m not a shirt person so again I doubt I would wear it.
Although I’m not rushing to make every item in it I still think the book is good to have in my stash. Reading about different techniques or picking up the little hints that are in the book will help me with my sewing skills. I’m at a point now where I making clothing on a needs basis and not as a challenge or on trend basis (not that I have ever followed sewing trends) After giving so much me made clothing away I have come to know what I like and will actually wear and what I won’t wear.