Grain Shawl

I knitted my stash!! I wanted to join a knit-along held by the Grocery Girls in their Ravelry group in which you knitted a pattern by Tin Can Knits. I set myself the rule that is if I was going to join in I had to knit yarn from stash, no buying new stuff for this.

The pattern I chose was the Grain Shawl, some Tin Can Knits patterns you do need to buy but this one is a free pattern. This pattern just jumped out at me so I knew I had to knit it. I used 8ply Bendigo Woollen Mills cottons I had in my stash, the colours I think are Kiwi, Fawn, Honeydew and Moss. The first 3 colours are still available but I am not sure if the dark green (moss) is.

This shawl was a new challenge for me where I learnt some new techniques. There are some fantastic tutorials that accompany this pattern which step you through how to things. I had never knitted a shawl where you start in the centre and work outwards, I did a provisional cast on for the first time. Another new thing believe it or not is I had never done a yarn over. I had to go learn how to do them just to make this. I used dangly stitch markers for the first time, they were an experience in themselves to learn how to use because if you didn’t flip them the right way you accidentally knitted them into your garment when you did your yarn overs.

There are several ways you can wear this. Personally I don’t think I will wear it wrapped around the front hanging down unless I had a jacket on. With the bulk of it and the fact my front is bulky as it is it I just look like I am wearing a giant bib.

The way I will wear it is wrapped around my shoulders. Although it a large shawl it looks slim line wrapped around, the bulk is spread out and not so in one spot. Summer or winter this will be great to wear in an office at work.

I knitted this on a 3mm needle. I decided to knit continental style and my tension is looser this way so I needed to go down to that size to get the fabric tension I wanted. I wanted to have this off my needles before I went to my sock class and mission accomplished. This flew off the needles and I finished it in about 22 days, I didn’t block it.  The pattern doesn’t tell you when to change colours so you could do as many or as little as you wanted. From the centre spine I was measuring around 7″ of rows for the greens and about 3″ for the fawn. Personally I am not a big fan of ombre or tonal fades so that is why didn’t do my colours lightest to darkest.

This is brilliant simple mindless knit pattern, you knit until you reach a stitch marker than you do something. As mentioned the tutorials that come with it are very informative and are perfect if you have never done anything like this before.

Cassiy

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ChiaGoo Stitch Markers

Not everyone gets excited over stitch markers but I do. Before I visit a yarn shop I check out their online shop if they have one and make myself a shopping list. On my recent trip to Skein Sisters stitch markers were on my shopping list and I picked up these ChiaGoo ones. It was only when I got these home I realized how great they are.

The set has 5 different size stitch markers and you get 10 of each so a total of 50 markers. They range in sizes from 5mm – 15mm. Each size is a different colour so you can easily pick the size that you need from the pack which I found really useful. Price point wise they were fairly inexpensive at just over $6 which I think the amount you are getting is good value. The only draw back is that they are a fixed ring so they are only suitable for knitting projects and not crochet as you can’t undo them.

I used them to knit my socks. The different colours came in really handy as I used the colours as a code or reference point to the part of the sock I was knitting. When doing the gusset of the sock I knew that between the yellow markers was the decorative pattern I was following, the green markers were where I needed to do my decreases and the pink was the start of my row. Had I used the same colour marker throughout the entire sock I would have gotten very confused. Having 10 of each colour meant I was able to put markers in on both socks at the same time. It didn’t matter which socked I picked up the colour coding was the same. I was using 4mm needles and the 5mm just fitted. The colour I didn’t use was the blue.

These would be a great addition to your yarn notions stash.

Cassiy

On My Needles – Pumpkin Socks

I have cast on my first pair of socks!

I don’t have the sock bug yet but I am putting my newly learnt skills into practice. The pattern I am using is Rye by Tin Can Knits. The pattern comes in various sizes from baby to adult large, I am making size adult medium. I am very worried about second sock syndrome, a term given when you make the first sock of a pair and never get around to making the other sock. I have decided to knit 2 pairs at once but on separate needles and cables. You can do 2 pairs at once on one larger cable but until I get my head around knitting a pair I will do them separately. The pattern is broken into sections and so I am knitting one section at a time on each sock, first I did the ribbing on each pair, then I started the cuff section on each one. The design panel runs down the centre front of each pair and the rest of the sock is plain. The design section is pretty easy to follow, well in this first section anyway.

I did have a few mishaps with these. On my first pair when I joined my cast on stitches in the round I accidentally twisted my stitches so when I knitted in the round my stitches weren’t flat so I ripped it off and cast on again. It took me 4 attempts before I got it right. The second cuff I got right the first time. I was joining my round in a different way to what I normally do and that’s when I was twisting my yarn.

When I did my ribbing sections I had them on a different cable set. I transferred my first sock without issue to the smaller cable once I had done the ribbing section without issue but when I transferred the second one I had my needles the wrong way so instead of my needles pointing the same direction with the cable bent if half on one side I had a giant circle that I couldn’t magic loop with. To get around this I had to thread a darning needle with embroidery cotton and weave it through all the stitches on my incorrect needle than pull it out from my work so my stitches were on the thread, I then put the needle the right direction and picked up all the stitches from embroidery thread again. Thankfully it worked without any tears or tantrums.

I am really enjoying knitting these socks. I had reallllly long day at work last week and in the middle of it I had a 90min break. I ate lunch than sat and knitted for the rest of the time. I got a lot of my second sock (which had only just had the ribbing finished) done in that time. Knitting it was really relaxing and at the end of the day I wasn’t as exhausted as I was expecting to be and I think it was thanks to my knitting giving me the break from all the other stuff I had been doing that day.

My aim is to get these finished by hopefully October 31st so we’ll see.

Cassiy

Sock Knitting – Top Down Class

Sock knitting has been on my to learn list for years and I have now finally done a class to learn how at Skein Sisters.

Ok so I am calling my finished piece a hoof and not a sock. It has all the basics of a sock with a few errors thrown in too. It was a 3 hour class and I really enjoyed it even though I had a few mishap hence why I ended up with a hoof not a sock. Everything was completely new to me, up until that morning I had not done magic looping correctly (was frantically learning on youtube that morning) There was 6 of us in the class which was a really nice number of people as the teacher could spend time with us all.

My ribbing was a little off whack. I have knitted ribbing before but not in the round. Instead of continuing the pattern around as I switched needles I somehow managed to stuff it up so on the sides instead of having a knit column and a purl column I have 2 knit columns next to each other on each side. Because I was a little bit slow we stopped my ribbing short so I could move on to the cuff section. This is what we ended up having to do through the entire class so I could get through learning everything in the short time frame, another girl must have been knitting at the same pace as me as we seemed to be up to the same number of stitches each time so she ended up with a hoof as well at the end.

On my cuff I accidentally increased each row. I’m proud of myself because I actually worked out how once it was pointed out that I had. Doing the magic loop I would sometimes get a random strand of yarn on my needles at the end of a row and I was knitting it as a stitch, I didn’t know that you didn’t knit that bit. When I practiced magic loop at the morning the same thing happened. I was also struggling on where the working yarn should be as you swap your needles around, should it go in front or behind the needles.

I am very proud of my heel flap and turn. It wasn’t as scary as I thought. I didn’t really have any issues here other than I was slower the teacher had me cheat and I decreased more to catch up. I had no problem picking up the stitches for the gusset. Once I got the pattern in the my head of where I needed to do the decreases it was very easy to remember. The best thing was I wasn’t increasing that extra stitch as I was magic looping as I was conscious of it and not knitting that stitch it. Once again we stopped the foot early so I could get on to the toe.

The toe I did struggle with a bit. My biggest problem was I hadn’t gotten the pattern in my head so I wasn’t remembering to decrease on both sides. Had I fully gotten my head around it I’m sure I would have been fine. My Kitchener stitch wasn’t too bad for a first attempt (well I think so) Turns out I was pulling it too tight. I was worried it would be too loose.

Sock knitting was something I knew once I tried it would be something I either loved or hated. I haven’t fallen in love with it yet but I don’t hate it. It is very different to what I have ever done but it isn’t as complicated as it seems. One thing that will determine if I develop a love for it or not is if I can even wear knitted socks. I get eczema on my feet and I don’t know how my feet will react to socks. My feet react to even cotton socks, on the train on the way home from the class I could feel my feet flare up due to the heat of my socks in my sneakers. I can knit with wool fibres and don’t get any reaction to that and I have worn my Virus shawl which is again wool without irritation but it will be interesting on how my feet go. I have yarn to try a pair for me so the sock jury is out until those get made and worn.

Cassiy

First Attempt PJ Top K4088

It is not very often I do this but I have made an item of clothing from scratch in one morning and couldn’t wait to put it up on here. A top in a morning.

So a little background story. Last weekend in Sydney we experienced some unseasonally warm weather for September and it made me start thinking back to how hot the nights were last summer. If we are getting high temperatures at night in spring then we are in for another hot summer. I sleep in cotton knit t-shirts and in summer can go through several a night as I have don’t have air conditioning and don’t like to sleep in damp shirts so I am changing them all the time as I wake up sweaty (I’m being brutally honest here)

I was going to draft a pattern from an existing shirt I had but instead in my stash found a pattern that I am in the process of making another item from (the dressing gown) Kwik Sew K4088 is a men’s pattern but who says females can’t wear the items. Again being honest I don’t sleep in a bra and I am not tiny I need big comfortable baggy shirts to sleep in. From this pattern I view B but used the neckline of C, I wanted short sleeves with a round neck. This pattern was super easy to make this style with as the pattern pieces are the same for both views you can just choose the neckline or sleeve length you want from each pattern piece. I made size XXL, I thought it may be a little bit big but it is perfect for me.

I was worried about the neckline being too big but I am really happy with the fit. With the exception of joining the 2 ends of the neckband to form a circle I constructed it all on the overlocker (serger) I have a couple of tiny puckers in my neckline but I am not bothered by it. I found it fairly easy to attach the neckband whilst using the overlocker.

To reinforce the shoulders the pattern said to use fusible tape, I had a looked at one of my current shirts and it only uses a scrap of fabric so that is what I used too. For me as I am really fussy I would start scratching if I had fusible tape on my shoulders so the fabric is perfect. I pinned the fabric scrap to the back of each shoulder and then stitched the shoulders together as per the pattern.

Once the top was all stitched together I wasn’t sure if I would bother hemming it or not. I decided to just overlock the edges but instantly hated it. On one sleeve I have started removed the stitches the other I will do in the next day or so.

The bottom hemline is the same I am not happy with it and will remove the stitching. The stitching seemed to distort it and stretch it all out. On the arms I think the stitching would annoy me and you don’t really need it. This isn’t a fashion item this is a I want to sleep comfortably item.

I am over the moon with how this turned out. The fabric I used was a cotton knit I found in my stash and  I have already pulled out extra fabric from my stash to make more this weekend. This is a great fitting top for me. I think in a nice print I think I could even use this pattern as a regular summer t-shirt pattern for me. It doesn’t necessarily look like a PJ top it is essentially a t-shirt pattern. This was a really easy and quick top to make and I literally did everything in one morning (traced out the pattern, cut the fabric, stitched it up) Don’t you just love it when you find a great pattern like that.

Cassiy

Kitty Kate

Kitty Kate is the last of my birthday gifts for 2017. Once again this is another Funky Friends Factory pattern. I have used a lot of Pauline’s patterns this year for my gifts. I would say this one is mid range difficulty, there wasn’t an additional step by step tutorial aside from instructions in the pattern like some of her toys have but you didn’t really need it as there wasn’t anything too unusual to the pattern that you might need help with.

My scrap fabric boxes are getting a bit out of control to the point where I need to seriously go through them and cull any pieces I know I will never use. The other thing is that I need to start using my scraps more.  I found a bag of purplish scraps. I used these same scraps when I made the Purple Pillow back in 2014 and I haven’t touched the scrap bag since. From the pack I was able to find fabric to fit all the pieces of Kitty. When picking the pieces for each section I tried to balance it out so although it was all a miss match it looked nice and not like a dog’s (or cat’s) breakfast.

What I really liked about this toy is that you stuff her limbs once she is constructed which is my preferred way to do them. I find it so much easier to do it this way, I am really pleased with my ladder stitch on these too. Her tail I accidentally put upside down, it is meant to stick up. It has elastic in the tail and I don’t think I stretched it enough so it doesn’t have the full curl like it is meant to. She is a nice size toy, perfect for cuddling and stands upright by herself.

I like Kitty Kate. I am hoping Miss 4 likes her too.

Cassiy

Tube Turning – Nappy Pin Method

I have to confess one sewing task I really don’t like doing is turning tubes out the right way. I’m currently in the process of making 6 butterfly wings for Christmas gifts so that equals 12 tubes that need turning out so I can place elastic in them. In the past I have tried various ways of turning out tubes. I have those fancy tube turners, I have used hemostats, I have even tried sewing ribbon in the tube and turning them out that way. I haven’t really been happy with any of these methods. This morning when I sat down to work on my wings I thought I am going to use a Nappy pin. Bingo!

I pinned the nappy pin on one side of the fabric end and then threaded it through the tube. I had to initially push it a bit to get the fabric turning inside out but that happens with all methods you use. Once the fabric was turning I was easily able to move the pin though the to the other end rolling the tube the right way out.

The tubes still need ironing but any method you choose you will need to do that. This method was so quick that I decided to all 12 tubes at once. I had no stress on my hands. The nappy pin was easy to grip and push through. It took about a minute to do each tube and there was so no struggling.

I keep a couple of nappy pins next to my sewing machine. They are perfect for threading through elastic and I will use them on these wings when I get to that stage. Nappy pins are going to be my go tube turners from now as it was so easy to do. My tubes were about 1″ wide but you could use them on a narrower tube too. If your tubes were even smaller than that a regular safety pin would also work, I wouldn’t pick the flimsy gold coloured pins but a medium silver coloured pin.

Don’t you love it when you find a sewing trick that just makes your sewing world a lot easier.

Cassiy