After my success of knitting socks in October I thought I might carry on the theme and make leg warmers for my nieces for Christmas.
Leg warmers are essentially socks without toes or heals. I had a look for patterns because I don’t know what size I needed for kids. On Ravelry I found this pattern which I used to cast on the number of stitches for each leg warmer and do the length. The pattern has you increase your stitches as you go along. I didn’t do this. I knitted the ribbing of the cuff (1½” for longer ones, 1″ for smaller) then I just did a tube all the way and then knitted the cuff the same length to match. I used a stretchy bind off that Very Pink Knits has on YouTube. I tried on the first one I made and these do stretch so they should fit.
The yarn used is Rosarios Bambino. It is a very soft and squishy acrylic. It was lovely yarn to work with except for one section that had a knot in it which came undone and I had to rip back my work to fix it. I started these Oct 28th and finished weaving the ends in on Dec 9th. These were a lot of mindless knitting. I was going to make 2 at time but these were knitting so quickly that I think 2 at a time may of slowed me down.
I will make these again and follow the actual pattern but I think with making the amount that I did have to make a simple tube was the way to go for these.
Organisation has not been my strong point this year. I make so many gifts and in previous years I have been on top of things but for some reason all 2017 I have been scatter brain. I am determined that in 2018 I will be on top of my gifts again. My biggest problem this year is that I forgot about dates I needed to have things finished by and also how old the child was I was making for. Some of the kids I make for aren’t little kids anymore and I forgot they now needed a tooth fairy pillow as they are loosing their baby teeth when only it feels like 5 mins ago they were babies themselves.
Beth from Sew DIY has kindly created a free 2018 calendar on her blog that you can print out. This calendar is so pretty, it is designed for those who love to sew as each of the backgrounds has a decorative sewing machine stitch (you know all those fancy stitches on your machine that you never use) Even though it is a sewing theme it isn’t obvious it is created for sewing, there are no pictures of spools of thread or sewing machines so if sewing wasn’t your thing you could still use it for any craft you enjoy. Each month is a separate page with the calendar on it. Underneath the calendar is are lines in which you can write your sewing plans for that month plus the date started and completed. There is a check box next to each one so you can tick them off as you go. At the bottom of the page there is an area to write any events for that month.
This calendar is great. Beth gives you a tutorial on how to make it into a calendar on cardstock but I just printed mine out on normal printer paper. I’m going to keep mine in a plastic sleeve and keep it on area so I don’t lose it. I’m going to keep track of all my gifts on this so mine will have a combination of yarn and sewing projects. I’m not going to keep track on my personal sewing or knitting on this I want it just for gifts. I’m going to mark up all the birth dates for the year and the postage deadline if I need to mail them to the child. All the kids I make for fall within similar age groups so in a couple of weeks time when I meet some good friends for our Christmas catch up I’m going to pick their brains for the year the different kids were born so I can always work out the child’s age, this was something I meant to do at the start of this year. I have a separate diary which I have birth dates written and I will write the years in that. On this calendar I will just write how old they will be this year. Sometimes I change my mind with what I will make but there is plenty of room on each page for me to write all the information including pattern names, if needed the back of each page is blank so I can write on that too.
I’m going to use the printed calendar in conjunction with my diary. I will write up all my postage dates at the start of the year. In previous years I have really followed my diary where as this year I didn’t look it at that much and missed things. I am a list person and I am going to write myself todo lists and stick to them. Each Sunday morning I will check my diary for the following fortnight and therefore I won’t miss things.
As for the gift themselves I have a few ideas in mind for different kids. At the start of the year someone asked “Are you still having fun?” For the most part I would say yes, when things are going wrong when sewing or you just can’t work out how to do something then no that is not fun. 2018 will be busy for me in my day job so gift wise I want to make simple items that don’t involve a lot of stress as I want my gift making to be fun. The gifts may not be as fancy as in previous years (everyone may just get tote bags or pencil cases) but I still want to continue making the gifts. I do still enjoy it but I don’t want to place pressure on myself. I want to be selfish and also make some clothing for myself but I don’t want to feel guilty because I have gifts I should be making instead. I want my craft time to be my stress release and not a stress in itself.
If I am organized and feel on top of things then I am going to enjoy my 2018 gift making.
For a long time now I have wanted to make a reusable bag made from nylon and recently I did using a self drafted pattern.
I won’t go into the issues that plastics bags have on the environment as we are all know this. I will not be hypocritical I’m guilty of using plastic bags but where at all possible I try not to use them preferring to use my own bag/s. The reason for wanting a nylon tote bag in particular is confession I buy takeaway sometimes and I wanted a lightweight bag that was kind of waterproof that I could use instead of the plastic bags I normally get given for carrying my takeaways home. We all know takeaway containers sometimes leak or there is sometimes grease on the outside of them so I didn’t want a cotton bag that would easily stain I wanted a fabric that was a bit more robust and easy care. Earlier this year in a fabric swap I picked up some nylon so it was a good way to try out my idea without having to spend money on fabric (save money wherever you can)
I had a rough idea of the base measurements I needed for the bag, on previous takeaways I had mentally measured the size of the container (on one occasion I think I held a tape measure of it) Once I decided on my base measurement square I just worked out the height of the rectangles for each side. I added ½” seam allowance to each side on all my pieces and cut out all my fabric. The bag is double thickness so made of 2 bags then stitched together. I’m sorry I am totally unorganised and have misplaced the actual measurements for all my pieces… I’m not good at this blogging thing am I 🙂
For the handles I cut them from some leftover side rectangle fabric, from memory they are about 16″ long. I made them in the usual fashion of folding them quarter folds and top stitching them closed before attaching them to the bag. When I was originally cutting the fabric I thought I could get it entirely out of the pink fabric so I cut my pieces double thickness. When I discovered I wasn’t going to have enough and would have to use both fabrics instead of cutting a base out of the khaki fabric I used the second pink one I had. It adds a pop of colour to the bag. To add strength to the base of each bag I did use a triple stitch when attaching all my pieces to each one, this gave it that bit of reinforcement. For the sides I just used a regular straight stitch.
I am really pleased with how this bag turned out. As you can see I have road tested it and it holds the takeway containers well. I thought I had made this maybe a fraction too big but it actually turned out better to make it larger as it was easy for the vendor to put the food in easier as they weren’t struggling to get the containers to sit flat in the bottom of the bag. They were happy that I had my own bag to use. This actually seems to be my go to bag at the moment since I finished making it a few weeks ago. I have used it shopping, to take Christmas gifts to the post office that would otherwise be awkward to carry. I have brought nylon now and I will make this bag again in this size but I may also make it from cotton as it is great size. It is big enough to hold everything but not too big.
Last month I was lucky enough to do a class at Skein Sisters on Shawl Deconstruction with Georgie Nicolson aka Tikki Knits The class was all about learning how you can start with a basic triangle shape shawl and modify it to become various shapes. The concept seems really hard but it is only basic maths and moving where you place your increases to change the shapes. We were also taught how to chart lace patterns and adapt them to the pattern you are working on. The lace part was like an entire different language but baby steps.
In the class we had the option of sticking with the pattern Georgie had designed which was the Botany Bay shawl or we could have a go at playing around with moving the increases to change the shape. I decided to stick with the pattern. It is a lovely looking shawl and it isn’t triangular all the way as in the pattern she has adjusted the shape so it sits around the body nicely. The pattern has garter stitch, eyelets and lace so I thought let’s stick with that.
I fully admit I struggled during the class. It wasn’t the teacher it was me. Even though I have made a triangle shawl which has centre increases when I made my Grain shawl I couldn’t do them in the class. I learnt how to do my yarn overs (which is how you do the increases) in Continental knitting so when I was knitting English style in the class I did not know how to do them properly. I had looked them up in a book before I left home but without the book or youtube in front of me I didn’t know which way I was wrapping the yarn around the needle. Some rows I wrapped the yarn one way, some rows I did the other. I think sometimes I forgot to do them. It wasn’t stressful I just knew in the class that when I got home I would take it off my needles and start again.
The pattern is designed for Sparrow by Quince & Co yarn. It is a lovely linen which I had never worked with before. Once of the reasons I did the class was to work with a new yarn that I hadn’t experienced before. We got to choose our colour combination and I believe I chose sky and birch. The birch is like a soft grey with a blue speckles through it which may be the sky colour. Now this is what happens what happens when you carry your linen yarn loosely in your bag on the way home. It explodes into a mess. I have 2 balls of each colour and they both need re-caking before I start my shawl again.
I will make this shawl at some point. The pattern design is gorgeous, the yarn amazing. I think it is a pattern I have to make in my own time. I need to sit down and focus on it fully. Once I get started I should be ok. I think maybe before I attempt this again I need to do a basic lace item such as a small scarf or even a toy blanket to get my head around following a lace pattern. I want to make this shawl so hopefully I do it sooner rather than later.
After the success of making my first pj top from Kwik Sew K4088 I raided my knit stash to make a couple more.
I made the shirts exactly how I did it last time. It is a men’s pattern but it is just a t-shirt so who cares. I made view B which is short sleeve but used the neck line of C so it is a crew neck.
At the start of last year I purchased a bundle of bolt end knit fabric from Melly and Me. I used some of it in a test skirt last year but I still had heaps left over. The fabric is so comfortable and soft. I had one larger piece of and I was able to make this pink top. Laziness means I never hemmed the sleeves or the bottom. I’ve worn and washed and it is ok. To be honest the test skirt I made last year I never hemmed either and that is lasting fine.
I had 2 smaller offcuts of fabric that wasn’t enough to make an entire shirt out of but combining them meant I had enough for a shirt so that is what I did. I don’t like to wear white fabric (even on pj’s) but this fabric was too cute not to used. I compromised and used the white fabric on the back and sleeves.
The front and the neck band I used the pink fabric. I really like it. It is a little bit different. I’m more of a bird or hippo girl but I do like the tiny hedgehogs. They are so bright and cheery and I can see them on my arms.
I may still make more of these tops (I have suitable fabric in my stash) for pj’s. It is a simple pattern and very comfortable. I do want to make myself some t-shirts to wear out casual but I’m leaning away from this pattern for them. I’m conceding they may just be a bit too baggy to wear out when I am dressed. I always go for the largest baggiest clothing because I like comfort but I don’t think I need to go this big.
Photo Courtesy of Useful Box
Last week the 2018 Sydney Frocktails event was announced. Frocktails is a night out where everyone who likes to sew gets together to talk all things sewing, fabric and patterns. Wearing a “Me Made” garment is optional. It is a fun night where you spend half the night walking up to people and rubbing the side of their clothes to feel their gorgeous fabric. It was a kind of last minute decision for me to this years event but 2018 was a must and in fact I was the first to buy my ticket.
Even though Frocktails isn’t until February I have limited sewing time between now and then. I still have to finish of my Christmas gifts plus I have birthdays to make for in January and February so I want to get my outfit organised sooner rather than later. I’ve decided I want to make 3 pieces:
This sounds like a lot but all the items I am making are very simple and wearable again in other occasions. Yes I wanted to make something to wear to Frocktails but looking at my lifestyle I don’t do a lot of nights out to venues where you need to get dressed so there is no point making a ball gown when Cinderalla never goes to a ball. Each item I am making I could in fact where to work in an office if I wanted to.
Sydney, February is not what you would normally think of as cape weather as it summer. I hate air conditioning so I always have a jacket wherever I go. I thought a lightweight cape might be fancier than a jacket and give me the coverage over my shoulders. I purchased this Burda pattern last year after seeing Anne Whalley make it. I really like the style of view D. From a fabric swap earlier this year I picked up a polyester knit that has velvetine blue dots all over it. To be honest I only picked up this fabric as it was blue but I think it will make an awesome cape.
At this years event I won the Lou Box Top pattern by Sew DIY as a lucky door prize. As a connection to next years event I want to make that top. Earlier this year I did make it with a jersey knit but I have decided to go with fabric with a bit more drape this time. Last weekend I purchased a modal poly knit fabric. It has a nice drape to it. It should make a lovely version of the top. I really like the feel of this fabric, even though it is a poly it doesn’t have that icky feel to it. Apologies to anyone who can wear polyester silky fabrics and who likes them but some fabrics I can’t wear as I know I will be too hot in them.
In hindsight maybe I should have purchased more of the modal fabric to make a matching skirt as I think it would be a nice out fit. Sadly I know there is no more fabric left in the shop as the sales assistant was buying what was left as she liked it so much. Looking at my fabrics for my top and cape which by chance really match well together I think I am going to have to make my skirt out of strong contrasting solid colour. Recently at another swap day I picked up this textured black fabric but it is a thick polyester so although I may make a winter skirt out of it I don’t think I can wear it to Frocktails. I think with the fibre content I have chosen for my top and cape I think I need a cotton skirt. Putting these fabrics together at least lets me see what colouring I need to choose. I will most likely pick a black or possibly even a burgundy, shock horror but I don’t think I would go a blue.
Pattern wise I think I will go a simple pull on elastic waisted skirt. I have a couple of patterns I will probably pick from. These a quick simple skirts. I don’t want anything fancy for my skirt. I intend to visit another fabric store next month where I may find some fabric.
So I have made a start at least on my preparation for Frocktails. I haven’t set myself over ambitious items to make. For months I wasn’t enjoying sewing but the spark is back again.
I have made more Butterfly wings as Christmas gifts.
The pattern is Butterfly Wings Wifemade. It is a pattern that once you have it in your stash you can make it numerous times you just change the fabric and applique, the possibilities are really endless.
Photo courtesy of a screen shot of my Instagram account
This year I cut all my fabric pieces out of unbleached calico and hand painted them with liquid radiance. I painted a set of wings each time so I kept the colours consistent using the same combination of colours for that one pair. I love painting fabric with liquid radiance. If you are not familiar with the product it is a fabric paint rather than a dye. It isn’t a messy product so it is perfect to use in doors and providing your not doing sun printing where you need sunlight it isn’t weather dependent so you can use it any time.
After the success of using glitter felt on the pair I made last year Christmas I once again used it. This year I was a little more free hand with my shapes. I folded a felt piece in half and cut as many shapes out of it as I could so I would get 2 of each shape. I put all the pieces in a bag and just randomly selected shapes for each wing based on the colours. I deliberately chose felt colours that would go with the painted fabric.
I did have a minor construction element detour shall we call it with some (ok half) of these wings. When I did pattern magic to create the centre seam I must have had excess fabric that didn’t get enclosed in the seam so I was left with some raw edges. Unfortunately the area is very hard to than machine sew over so I couldn’t use glitter felt to cover it, the glitter coating makes glitter felt a little tougher to hand sew through. I raided my felt stash and found suitable regular wool felt so I hand stitched that in place to cover it. As these are hand painted each wing is an individual and the extra centre spine of wool felt just adds to that.
I am really glad I thought of using a nappy pin to turn the tubes. It made the job of turning the tubes and later threading the elastic through a breeze. Just before it came to doing the elastic I found a box of similar size pins at the shop, they call them large safety pins. I am glad I purchased them as I was using 4 per set of wing straps when I did the elastic. I found the pins at what in Sydney we call a $2 shop, a small independent shop that sells the most random things from gift wrapping to sink plungers very cheap. Sometimes you come a cross little gems and my large sewing pins were gems.
I do like these wings. They will be fun for the girls who get them this Christmas. They were also fun to make. I loved painting the fabric and thinking about each item I was creating. I loved the process of picking what felt shapes to use on each one. Even the process of overcoming the seam debacle got my brain thinking of what skills do I have and resources available to fix the issue. I honestly think I get more out of the items I make than the person receiving them does.