Blue Potholders

I again have made potholders for a Christmas gift. They are a very practical item to have and can also be used as a trivet. At Christmas you are always in need of potholders and trivets for all the hot dishes so you can never have too many.

Once again these pot holders contain a layer of insulbrite in them which is a heat resistant fabric but this time I added a double layer of cotton batting not just one layer. Last time I made these the top fabric was a double layer as it was foundation pieced where as this time I just used straight fabric so it all works out even I guess.

I am pretty proud of these. I found this fabric in my stash and it was perfect for this Christmas project. I used an 8″ transparent hexi template and actually fussy cut the Santa’s on each one. If you are not aware of the term fussy cutting it basically means that align an image in the centre of your work and you cut your template around it so the image is highlighted and the focus of your work. From a frugal perspective fussy cutting does seem a bit of a waste of fabric as you end up with a piece of fabric that has a giant hole in the centre but from a visual point of view fussy cutting is very effective. On this project I didn’t mind fussy cutting as I was unlikely to use the fabric in another project and the Santa’s in the middle of each one does look good.

For the quilting at first I wasn’t sure what I would do. Last time I made these I didn’t quilt them. I went the option of quilting all layers except for the backing fabric. I started in the centre of each one and machine quilted lines about 3/4″ – 1″ apart. I was worried that I might stitch through the centre of Santa or a reindeer’s head but luckily the lines ended up missing each one. I am liking the simple stitch lines. I was tempted to do a grid but I think would have looked over quilted. After they were quilted I placed each one the backing fabric and double folded the edges before hand sewing into place.

I am not normally into Christmas things but I do love these.



Hand Stitching Class With Sarah Fielke

In my mental bucket list I had it on it I would like to take a class with Sarah Fielke. Sarah is a brilliant quilter who teachers in Australia, overseas and even on Craftsy. A few years ago I made a teacup for her birthday quilt and when I saw the finished quilt hanging in the background of a teaching video she had done and spotted my cup it blew my mind.

Last weekend the Modern Quilt Show Australia had a show in Sydney and had classes running one of which was a hand stitching class with Sarah. The style of quilting Sarah demonstrated is termed “Big Stitch Quilting” but it is just hand quilting. On the front of your work the stitches are a little bit bigger but on the back the stitches are just tiny pin pricks. The way you position your needle in the quilt layers and hold your fingers allows you to do this technique. At first you are all fingers and thumbs as you are trying to juggle a larger quilting hoop whilst holding your fingers in the right spot and the do actions you need to do to form the stitch but after a while you get the hang of it. I tried doing lines down the centre of my work and I was a bit drunken sailor, without following something I can’t do a straight line.

I decided to try a circle. I traced around the centre of a roll of masking tape to give me a line to follow. Quilting a circle is a little more trickier as you have to keep turning your hoop so your not twisting your wrists but it was actually fun. As a beginner I am pleased with my circle. Following a line to quilt on was much easier than just eyeballing it. Getting my stitch length consistent is the area I need to work on. I had to keep repositioning my needle several times before I pulled through the stitch as I wasn’t happy with the length of it. Large on the front tiny on the back. It will take practice. Sarah gave us some good tips on things to make to increase our skills with doing it. I am seeing lots of mug rugs and doll blankets in my future.

The quilt show itself was great. It was only a smallish show but I am sure it will grow as more people get involved. As the name suggests the Modern Quilt Show has quilts in that are more contemporary and a little different to your traditional quilts. If you imagine bright colours, and abstract design or traditional done with a twist than that kind of describes modern quilts. I personally just think of them as quilts. They are certainly the type of quilts I would be doing more if I got my butt around to actually making a quilt.

The show did have a few stall holders but I honestly couldn’t see anything I needed to buy. Nothing was jumping out of me and I didn’t want to buy things just for the sake of it. In the class room Sarah had a mini shop set up of her books and items she sells on her website. I did buy a couple of things there. In the class I tried out a Lap App which I will do a full blog post on at some stage. Briefly a Lap App is like a little stand that you use for when doing hand crafts. I found it useful so I brought it. My indulgent that I didn’t really need was blue apple pin cushion. I had seen these recently on Sarah’s Instagram feeds and thought it was cute so when I came across a blue one which had words on it (love a good pun) and has numbers which is my day job I had to have it.

I really enjoyed the class with Sarah. Without sounding stalkerish I was friends with Sarah on Facebook prior to the day. Sarah has chosen not to have a separate business account to her personal account so you feel like you know her as you do all your Facebook friends. I met Sarah at the Sydney Quilt show this year but it was really nice to do a class with her. She is a genuinely nice person. She is not egotistic even though is a fantastic designer and creator. She is open and honest and if you ever get a chance to do a class with her do it. On her website she has some block of the months running where each month she releases instructional videos on how to make the sections of a quilt. I am very tempted to do them but I think 2018 might be a little busy for me. I brought one of her project kits at the Sydney show which comes with instructions videos so I might do that first. You can always join the block of the month programs whenever you wish.



Santa Hat

I don’t get dressed up for Christmas but I do wear a Santa hat at my work. The one I had been wearing each year was an acrylic fluffy cheap hat that I can only tolerate for small periods as my forehead gets hot and itchy. Every Christmas I think I should make one out of cotton and now I have.

The pattern I used was a free pattern Santa’s Ho-Ho-Hat I found on Ravelry. I wanted a basic shape Santa hat and this was perfect. It is a really simple pattern to follow. There is nothing fancy in this pattern so it is a really great beginner pattern, I had never done any type of hat in the round before so this was a great pattern to learn on. I knitted this magic loop style as I still don’t know how to use double pointed needles. In my stash I found red Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply cotton and cream 5ply Moda Vera Jalap which apparently is now discontinued. I am trying to knit my stash as much as I can because I keep adding to it.

The only issue I had was my pompom. The first 2 I made using the cream cotton looked like tiny mops. Even after I trimmed them and plumped them up they looked like floppy mops. In my stash I found some Stylecraft Special DK in a cream colour which happened to match so I made my pompom with that instead. It is an acrylic yarn and held the pompom shape much better.

I love my little Santa hat now.


Pumpkin Socks

I have socks!!!!!!!

I was a little excited to have finished these, yes I did have a dopey grin on my face all evening once these were done. In my head I have a list of things I want to try or learn, I really should write a blog post on here listing them all done. Knitting a pair of socks had been on my list for years, I can that one off now. The pattern I used was Rye by Tin Can Knits. I can not emphasize enough how great this pattern is.

  1. The pattern looks fancy with the decorative detail on the front but it really simple to do
  2. There is are tutorial that goes along with the pattern
  3. The one pattern has all the sizes you need to make it from baby to adult male
  4. You use DK yarn so they knit up so fast

Down the front of these runs a panel that goes from the cuff to the toes so the entire length of the sock. I thought oh no I am going to struggle with this, what am I thinking my first ever pair of socks and I am going to throw in a stitch pattern which I have to remember as well!  The fancy panel is actually done in Garter stitch, once you add in a couple of stitch markers it is extremely simple to do. I like the texture of it on the front, it breaks the sock up a little bit.

I started these on Oct 2nd and finished them on the 14th. To be honest I did get a little bit stuck when I got to my toes and I had to put these down for a couple of days until I spoke to my friend at my knitting guild group. The only reason I got stuck was I did these on magic loop and when I started working on the foot section I took off all the additional stitch markers I had on my needles for the gusset and repositioned the stitches on my needles so the garter stitch panel was on one needle again. When I read the pattern and it said to count from marker.. I didn’t have that marker anymore so I didn’t know where I was to start counting from. I hadn’t slept properly so brain wasn’t fully functional, I started watching youtube clips on toe decreases and got even more confused. That was the Thursday I put them down until Saturday. When I picked them up on the Saturday suddenly I could see logically where I needed to start my decreases, it was from the side of each foot. Once I double checked with my friend that I would be doing it right I finished these that afternoon including doing the Kitchener stitch. I purchased an Ann Budd Craftsy class recently and followed the Kitchener stitch lesson as I did my stitch. I remembered not to strangle my stitches like I did in the class that I took. Kitchener stitch is kind of like hand sewing with yarn but unlike regular sewing you don’t pull your stitches tight you keep the same tension you have knitted with.

The yarn I used is Fyberspates Coops Socks Yeah DK in Hecate. It comes in 50g skeins so I used one for each sock. I did buy a 3rd skein which I had on standby in case I ran out of yarn. I used a 4mm bamboo needle. If I was to make these again I don’t think I would use a bamboo needle. I was knitting tight and the yarn was sticking to the needles at times. Once you get started the needles do warm up a little and become easier but it did feel like I was fighting my needles more than I should have.

I have worn these around the house and they are comfortable. As far as allergies they weren’t itchy on, they were warm and snuggly without being hot. I wore them for a few hours on a wet and windy afternoon which was perfect sock weather. The test to see if I can wear them or not will be to wear them and go for a walk in my sneakers for a couple of hours. For around the home to throw on instead of slippers they should be fine so now I want to get more yarn and do some winter socks for next year.



Project Bag – Denim Hearts

In my last post I talked about fabrics that I thought might be a skirt but I know won’t, the denim fabric used on this project bag falls within the same category. I picked the piece up at a charity shop last year. It measured about 50cm wide x length of fabric, I wanted to make a skirt from it but there was no way I could unless I added other fabric to it. When I was rearranging my storage area and culling fabric I came across it. I couldn’t let it ago so I decided to make a bag from it.

The pattern I used was Essential Wristlet by Dog Under My Desk. I have made this pattern a lot now. I used the enlarged size that I made my rose bag and toiletry bag with. It is a nice size and holds a lot. Because of the thickness of the denim I didn’t use any lining in this bag. It does have a few dimples but for the most part there is enough structure in the denim for it to hold its shape.

On the inside I used some leftover fabric I again found in my stash. I used this fabric on the binding on my first ever blanket. As well as liking hearts I am a big fan of stars so I really like the combination of this bag having both. It is a stiffer quilting cotton so again works well to hold its shape. This fabric does soften a lot once it repeatedly washed and used but in a project bag you are not going to wash it a great deal. I added a simple little pocket that wasn’t lined or interfaced. The purpose of the pocket is so you have an easy place to stick a crochet hook or row counter, small notions you don’t want to lose in the bottom of your bag or get caught on things.

Within minutes of this bag coming off my sewing machine I was already using it. I am delighted that I have used the random piece of heart fabric that I came across in a practical way. No more sitting in my stash it now holds my little projects with a purpose.


The Skirt That Wasn’t

As much as I like the idea I have come to the realisation I am not making myself a knitting needle skirt. Months ago I cut out all the pieces, overlocked the edges than never touched it again (except to shift it about out of the way on my craft table) The fabric is Sewing School by Jodi Carleton (Ric Rac) It is so cute and whimsical but I know in my heart it won’t be a skirt. Part of me is feeling like it is a waste of good fabric but from this, the piece I cut it from and another couple of fat quarters of it I have there is plenty of fabric to make bags from. In hindsight this fabric to me is more calling out bags rather than skirt.

This week I brought another piece of knitting themed fabric. I think I had seen it before at the shop but as it was reduced to half price so it took my attention more this time and I brought what was left on the bolt so just over 3m. I’m not a big yellow person but it is yarn so how could you not adore it. My first thought was bags than hours later I thought maybe it could be a skirt… No I am going to squash that idea now. As a skirt I won’t wear it but as a knitting project bag or tote bag I will use it all the time. If I am going to spend all that precious time sewing I need to make stuff that I am going to use and not just sit in the cupboard because in my heart the fabric is working for me in that project.

Stay tuned to see what I do actually make with these fabrics.


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.