Double Knitting – First Attempt

Double knitting is something I had never tried before, last weekend one of the very talented knitters in my Knitters Guild group ran a workshop on it so I had the chance to learn how to do it.

In double knitting you are knitting a double thickness of fabric. The way that you switch your yarns and stitches results in only the purl stitches (smooth looking stitches) showing on the outside of your work. It sounds complicated to get your head around and you cast on with 2 strands of yarn but treat them as one stitch which adds to the confusion. After the first few rows it starts to make sense. You can use this technique to make each side of the fabric a different colour the entire piece or  you can twist your yarn colours around to form patterns within the piece. The result in a negative image of the pattern on the reverse side of the piece. In our workshop we worked off a chart to create a picture of a house. I only got the first half dozen or so rows done but I can see the picture starting to develop.

Prior to the workshop I had seen items done with the negative image in reverse and I really liked it but I had no idea what it was called or how to do it. I really like double knitting now that I have learnt how to do it. To be honest I am not going to finish the house, I used scrap yarn and will take it off my needles and return it to my scrap yarn bag. I do want to try this technique on a dishcloth or maybe get some 8 or 12 ply wool and make a hot pad trivet with it for the kitchen. It is very slow technique to work up in that you have to keep changing the yarn colours between your fingers and switching between knit and purl stitches. You have to really concrete on what you are doing so you don’t make a mistake in your pattern which means no auto knitting. I guess depending on the thickness of the yarn you use and how long you want to spend doing it you could make clothing other than scarves with the technique. I don’t think I would even have the attention span to do a scarf in it, a trivet I can handle.


Black Vest

I have made myself clothing and it isn’t a skirt! This winter I think I want to wear vests at work. I like having my back and torso covered but I also like having my arms to have less bulk and coverage on them so vests are a good option. In the latest issue of One Thimble there is a vest pattern so perfect timing. The pattern is Woman’s Hoodie Vest by Fat Red Bird. I decided not to include the hood as I wanted a more dressy look to wear in an office environment. The pattern tutorial also has it with snap or button closures but I decided I wanted a zipper by chance Fat Red Bird have an excellent tutorial showing how to install a zipper into a lined vest, there is a link in the pattern to the tutorial. Using the basic pattern and the tutorial I was able to make my vest the way I wanted it.

Black Vest

The outside of vest is polar fleece and the lining is denim. Confession my original intention was to have the denim on the outside and the fleece on the inside, however, when installing my zipper I accidentally stitching it the wrong way getting my right and left sides confused. The upside was I had stitched the zipper in really well so instead of wasting that good effort I reversed the fabric choices around. The pieces are exactly the same. By using a double sided zipper you could make this completely reversible.

Black Vest Neckline

I am really proud of this vest. It looks simple but it is the most complicated piece of clothing I have ever made thus far. Prior to this I had never installed a jacket zipper. I don’t have a zipper phobia so I was happy to jump in and try it. The tutorial was really good and I honestly couldn’t find another tutorial on Pinterest that showed you how to install a jacket zipper into a lined vest/jacket. The tutorial didn’t mention it but I did hand baste my zipper first before sandwiching it within the outer and lining fabrics. Laying the garment flat on my table I did my hand stitches up one half of the zipper then made sure on the opposite side the zipper and fabric was aligned did the hand stitches. It took maybe an extra 5 mins or so but I think it made the world of difference. When I was sewing my zipper sandwich together it wasn’t moving and I could get clean lines without having to redo my seam or unpicking. Ok so it ended up being the wrong side but that was cause I wasn’t sure what they were calling the right and left side of the zipper. My zipper works, my ends all line up, I have a very comfortable vest which I have been wearing this week that’s all that matters




Workshop Fabulous Fabrics: Advanced

Day 2 of the workshop with Anne Mitchell from Genesis Creations was all other techniques we could use in colouring fabric. After day 1 we had an understanding on how to apply Liquid Radiance and the basic ways to colour fabrics with it so now it was time to learn more advanced ways to treat the fabric to give us different results.

Silk Mop Up

Silk Mop Up

Our first task for the day was learning how to use a spray bottle to apply the Liquid Radiance. You mix up the paint into a plastic spray bottle and squirt it onto the fabric. You can colour large areas with this much quicker than other methods. I was expecting it to be messy but your controlling where you are spraying so when it came to doing it on our projects we were able to spray them inside with our fabric on a towel.

Batik With Wax

We made batik fabric in 2 ways. Before the workshop I wasn’t a fan of batik and to be honest even now I still don’t like the ones I see in the shops. However I loved creating our own batiks. I guess it was cause I could create the pattern I wanted and make it look the way I like things. The first way we did it was with soy wax. We did it over a number of hours building up layers of wax and colouring them in between in the form of spraying them with colour. We created the designs on our fabric using objects and shapes you would find around the house or foam stamps. My favourite was the grid in the middle which is a potato masher.

FF Batik Wax Mop Up

We used a folded layer of fabric to mop up the excess after spraying each layer. We sandwiched the fabric between the mop up pieces each time to removed the excess. I really like the mop up from this one, it reminds me of doing butterfly paintings as a child.

FF Batik Water Soluble

The second way we did batik was with applying a product called water soluble resist to silk over a stencil cut out. We also freehand drew some shapes. When it was dry we painted it with Liquid Radiance, where the resist was the colour never took. Once the paint dries your able to washout the resist and your pattern remains.

We also use the resist product the day before to draw patterns onto our fabrics.

Another thing we learnt was how to make a salt sandwich. You colour 2 pieces of fabric than place salt on one piece before lying the second piece on top. Over time the salt makes random patterns on the layers of fabric. You can remove the layer of salt when they are nearly dry before rinsing when they are fully dry.

Unfortunately I think I rinsed my fabric when it was still wet so I lost half my colour in the end. Oh well lesson learnt make sure your fabric is fully dry.

FF Marbling

We had a go at marbling. Firstly we used a powdered medium which was a thick gelatinous consistency. The colours were really clear and bright when you placed in the solution after you made your pattern. The solution didn’t go grey and murky even with all the different colours added to it. If you were really into marbling this would be a great thing to use.

FF Shave Foam Marbling

The second way we did marbling with using shaving cream. You make a base up of shaving cream then apply your colours on top of that. You can get some really pretty colours on your fabric with this. It does go murky after a bit but if your using the colours you like I think it adds to them. I decided to try it on socks after I did my fabric, by that stage the foam was getting murky but it was a blue murky colour so I actually like it. Shaving cream is in expensive so if you wanted crisp colours all the time you would just squirt out another base.

FF Discharge

One of the more unusual techniques we were taught was called discharge dying. This isn’t what it sounds like (working in the medical field the name grosses me out) I like to refer to it as bleaching or stripping as essentially that is what you are doing. You spray or paint dark fabric with bleach to remove the colour. Once you have finished you neutralise the fabric to stop the bleaching process from continuing and then colour the fabric if that is what you wish or if it looks nice leave it with no colour. Despite the official name of this I love it. I had to laugh here I am doing this to fabric on purpose and years ago this would happen to my mum’s work uniforms by accident. In the workshop we wrapped marbles in our fabric before stripping the colour, it created fantastic patterns. We never got to colour our fabric on the day but it would be easy to with a spray bottle.

FF Luste Play

We experiment with Lustre paints. Lustres have a metallic sheen to them and can be painted on over stencils to fabric or use with just a paint brush. I have an idea on how to use them already. I think they are lovely.

FF Stenciling

By the end of the 2 days I had so many ideas ticking through my head. I have at least 3 projects in mind in which I’m going to colour my own fabrics or use the Lustre paints. I’ve got ideas on how to use the colours in future. Sometimes you go to workshops like these and its all fun and games whilst your there but when you come home you don’t do any thing with them. This isn’t going to be one of those times. I’m not going to colour every single piece of my own fabric on every project (but you could) but I am going to incorporate these into my sewing and crafting. I’m going to experiment and colour bits and pieces for different projects. Over the 2 days there were some techniques I really likes, others that weren’t really for me. There are techniques I haven’t even tried yet but I have read about in some handbooks Anne sells. The workshops opened a whole new world to me. Now its time to play.



Workshop Fabulous Fabrics: Basics

Possible Ideas

Possible Ideas

Last weekend I attended a 2 day workshop with Anne Mitchell owner of Genesis Creations. Back in February I saw Anne demonstrate Liquid Radiance, a fabric paint that is similar to a fabric dye but it isn’t a dye. Liquid Radiance is non toxic and Australian made and owned. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it and couldn’t wait for the work shop. Day 1 was all about learning the basics.

FF Splot & Scrunch Before

Salted Splot & Scrunch Before

The first thing we were taught was how to apply the paint to the fabric. You can dap it on in sections and spread with a paint brush or use the even more handy method (excuse the pun) the 5 finger foam brush which is essentially your hand in a rubber glove. Liquid Radiance is very concentrated and you only need a tiny amount to give you coverage. If you use too much of it not only are you wasting the products your actually making your fabric look dull and have a plastic feel as Anne drums into you “Excess is the Enemy” After you apply the paint the way you handle the fabric next will determine what patterns you get.

FF Splot & Scrunch After

Splot & Scrunch After

If you apply salt to your painted fabric a reaction occurs as it dries and it draws the dye and makes patterns. Different size salt such as rock salt or pool salt will form different patterns. If you use salt you need to rinse your fabric well before you sew with it

FF Bottle Wrap

You can wrap your fabric around objects such as bottles or pipes (even a tree) and use rubber bands or strings to create patterns.

FF Socks Before

We made a funky pair of socks by sticking the coloured socks over the end of a empty bottle and scrunch them up.

FF Socks Dry

One of my favourite things was heliography where you place objects on your fabric to create patterns. You place it out in the sun to dry. Afterwards you remove the objects and the shapes still appear on the fabric.

Another method we tried called air exclusion is where you crumple the fabric up and stop the air from getting to it. Once the fabric is dry and pulled open it gives a gorgeous crystal effect.

FF Scrunching

Other ways to create patterns in the fabric is to wrap objects in them and place the paint over the top. We tried this with marbles. The colours I chose don’t really show how effective this can be. You can form flowers or sun bursts if you choose the right colours.

FF Marbles

One thing I was surprised about was how quickly things were drying inside. Pieces that were lying flat were dry by the next morning (or even later that day) The socks were dry overnight. The more crumbled or scrunched an item the longer it took to dry however it didn’t take too long. I did have some pieces drying for a day or so when I got home.

FF Drying Items

With Liquid Radiance you do need to heat set the items. This can be done with an iron or for non ironable items a hairdryer. I ironed them when I got home. Once they are heat set they are fine to be washed. It was the first time I’ve ironed socks but yep even they needed to be heat set.

FF Helio Ironed

As mentioned too much paint in the fabric is bad so you remove the excess paint from each item with another piece of fabric. These pieces of fabric sometimes turn out so beautiful and can be used as complementing fabrics in their own right. This blue fabric is the mop up piece from the socks. I left it to dry scrunched up

Socks Mop Up

Socks Mop Up

Other time the mop up fabrics turn out ugly. It really depends on if your wanting to use them as a feature piece in your work or if your treating them as a rag cloth. This piece was a rag cloth for me but I guess it would make a nice piece if it was cut up.

FF Mop Up Ugly

I had so much fun on day 1 of the workshop. I must warn you it is a busy day as Anne has so much she wants to teach you and is so passionate about it. She gives you a list of items to bring to the workshop and if you have prepped them like she said it makes for a smooth day. At the end of the day your brain is buzzing with ideas it is fantastic. She gives you lots of hand outs so you can remember how to do things when you get home.



Castaway To Couture Entry

In January I wrote I was going to enter into the Australian Sewing Guild Castaway to Couture competition well.. I finished it yesterday!!

C2C Before

So to recap I started with an old pair of slacks and a velveteen skirt. Both items hadn’t been worn in years. The pants had actually been put in the op shop bag (but I never got there) the skirt I culled after finding some of the pile was coming away from the bottom. I’ve always wanted to do a pants and skirt combined item. I like the style of using the waistband of jeans and combining it with fabric to make a skirt. This is the same concept but using items of clothing which I had on hand.

C2C After Front

I did this very basic. I cut the legs off the pants from the crotch area down. I didn’t have to do anything to the waistband except overlock around the edges so it wouldn’t fray. For the skirt I cut off the top and bottom areas off leaving a length that I was happy with. Again I overlocked around the top of the skirt to prevent fraying. I combined the two pieces sewing into one. For the hem of the skirt I decided to use the side seam from the pant legs I cut. I used it like pre-made binding stitching the lengths together to form one strip. I machine stitched it one side and then folded it over and hand slip stitched it to the other side. The navy skirt needed that little bit of detail on it to make it match the top half otherwise it would’ve looked too “I’ve just combined 2 items of clothing”

C2C After Back

The back of the skirt I had originally sewn on the front. I decided to cut a peephole in the fabric to give leg movement but when it was on the front it was too high when you sat down. I unpicked it and moved it to the back. It is comfortable to wear and when you sit down you still have leg room but you’re not sitting there trying to keep your skirt together.

C2C Entry

So this is my entry. If you are able to I would ask if you could please vote for me. I had fun doing this. It was a good experiment. I got to try an idea I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It made me think. Upcycling clothing and giving new life to existing items is a concept I really like doing. Now that I’ve done it once I’m going to be on the lookout for items that I can do it again too.


Beep Beep

I stumbled across this toy on Pinterest and knew I had to make it, a soft toy steering wheel how could you not love this (I love it and I don’t even drive!)

Little Driving Wheel

The pattern is called Little Driver Wheel by Swoodson Says. If you have sewn softies before you’ll have no trouble making it. Even a beginner could if they took their time. I used cotton drill instead minky or fleece for the wheel. I wanted a sturdy fabric as there are a few curves you need to stitch and at times me and plush fabrics don’t mix. Also I couldn’t get hold of black minky or fleece. I did have to buy the fabric for this but I got it in a 50% off fabric sale. The badge section is wool felt I had in my stash. This is the first toy I have ever made that has a squeaker in it. I tried to post a video of it but couldn’t get it but if you head over to Instagram I posted a video there.  I got my squeaker from Tommi Designs. I used a 79mm which was probably in hindsight a little big. You could use a smaller one and get the same effect. The pattern shows how to insert the squeaker but because my squeaker was so large I placed it inside the horn and reinforced it with a second piece of fabric behind it. I also did a bit more hand stitching around the inside curve than instructed. The pattern is really simple to follow and a great way to try out new techniques such as working with noise makers. This toy can be adapted per child. I made the badge on this as the initial of the child’s name but you could easily do the badge of a car company or family name. Not just for boys how about pink wheels for girls or do it black with Barbie’s head as the badge. How cool would these look as pillows for a lounge in a “man cave” You could leave the squeaker out but as many adults are just big kids leave it in.

This is such a simple idea but I love it. Sometimes simple toys are the best

Overlocker Rolled Hem

I love using my overlocker (serger) even though it at first scared me (sharp blade that eats away fabric, stitches very fast) Now I use it all the time when making clothing and WIRES pouches.  I have learnt you control the speed you stitch at by how hard you press your foot down and that the trimming away of fabric is a good thing. One thing I had never tried before on it was doing a rolled hem. I have a Janome MyLock 664D, when I brought it I had no idea of what features I needed in an overlocker as I had only previously used one once briefly. The 664D is meant to be easy to switch from doing a regular overlock stitch to a rolled hem so that is one of reasons I brought it (even though I didn’t know how many rolled hems I’d be doing)

I thought it was about time I gave the rolled hem feature a try. When I first read my manual on how to set it to rolled hem I got a little confused. I’m more of a visual person and find it easier to learn when I watch things (I am very thankful I’m learning to sew in the days of YouTube) I was going to wait until I went to a Sewing Guild meeting until I found this clip on YouTube which really gave me the confidence to try it at home.

The clip really shows you up close how to set the machine. It didn’t tell me however that when you take the needle out you will need to cut it away from your thread chain. I found this clip a couple of months ago and saved it in Pinterest for future reference. I watched it again as a refresher than headed to my machine. I had my tablet next time my machine and could stop the clip after each step and give it a try. One thing I did do was take a photo of my tension settings before I changed them to the rolled hem settings.

Serger Rolled Hem 1st Attempt

For some reason in my mind I was expecting it to look completely different. I must go back and read the many overlocker books I have as I had it in my mind it was going to have a large folded hem. Never mind, I am really impressed with the stitch that it did do. The hem on it is so tiny and neat. On some projects this would be perfect. I can see myself using this feature now that I know how to set it on the machine.