Muted Meld

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.

Cassiy

 

Painted Yarn Blanks

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.

Cassiy

My Craft Space Set Up Before

I can say it now we are moving!! We have purchased a unit and later this year will make the big move. To help me remember how I had my set up before I started packing I thought I would share it on here. Crafting can take up a lot of space with supplies and machines. I’m always curious as to how people have theirs set up

I had 4 main areas within my rental unit that I used plus my garage which I kept fabric and my first sewing machine which I called my travelling machine in.

Study

This is where my sewing first started. Before I started sewing in the loungeroom on Mr Sttichnsew’s suggestion I had my machine set up in here in a cabinet, all my craft magazines/books and few craft supplies on bookshelves.  If I was going to sew it would only be when I had enough time to set up and pack things away afterwards. I’m lucky enough I can leave sewing projects out without animals or kids touching them but when I was sewing in the study I was limited with space. I would have to pull my sewing cabinet out into the centre of the room and move things about a bit to use it. It was a nice little room to sew in but it was also very isolating. In the end the study turned a storage area for some of my sewing machines which I wasn’t using and I had a spare sewing cabinet which held my overlocker in it and the top it was used for a dumping ground for patterns. My roles of interfacings and pdf patterns rolled up were kept in there too as well as all my foam blocking mats. My bookshelves contained some craft supplies and my remaining craft magazines and books. By the end of 2019 I had sold 3 of my extra sewing machines and sold my spare sewing cabinet. Once I started clearing out my excess craft books and magazines I had space on my bookshelf to store my overlocker so I sold the cabinet.

Spare Room

This is where I kept all my dress making fabrics, sewing notions, yarn most of it anyway. I had a wardrobe which much to B’s amusement I called the “Craft Wardrobe” It contained a shelving unit full of fabric, containers of yarn, a bookshelf of sewing supplies and a heap of other crafting items hanging or squished at the sides.  In the room I had boxes of fabrics, another shelving unit of fabrics and all my paper dressmaking patterns. I also had my clothes drying airer which often would have fabric drying on it. I would try and keep this room under control but it did get a little crazy at times… ok a lot crazy. Having my sewing patterns and dress making fabric within the same room meant sometimes I would just go and play around with my patterns and fabrics to get ideas on what to make. Sometimes that was all I needed to help me relax.

Garage

In the garage I keep a lot of my general crafting fabric. This is fabric I use in gift making and for making WIRES pouches although I did have a stash of that in my spare room too. My fabric boxes weren’t organised at all and I would have to go through several boxes to find fabric I want. It was fun “shopping” in my mini fabric store but my dream would be to organise it more so perhaps all colours were together or all prints are together. I need to go through as there are a lot of fabrics in there I know I won’t use such as Christmas themed fabric or fabrics which have like a metallic finish on them which aren’t suitable for WIRES pouches. Future me will get this organised and that way I can use it more. In recent times sometimes I have gotten lazy and just brought new fabrics instead of going through it all. As mentioned I would store my travel sewing machine here but I don’t travel with it any more so have kept it as my spare machine instead.

Bed Room

This isn’t one of my main storage areas but I managed to stash a lot of yarn in here. Most of it is under the bed where I also kept my yarn winders. In the bottom of the wardrobe I also had a stash of yarn. This was big lots of acrylic yarn for future projects or scraps from previous blankets.

Lounge Room

This was my sewing area and preparation area. I permanently have my sewing machine and ironing board set up. My machine sits on sewing cabinet by the tv so I can watch it as I sew or I can listen to music. We have no dining table so in the space behind the lounge where most people would use a dining room I have my ironing board and craft table set up. My craft table is actually a cutting table which I think you can no longer buy. It is higher than most craft tables which is good for my back as I don’t have to bend so much. With my mobility issues the higher table helps immensely. The table was my mum’s and it was one of the few things I said I wanted when we were clearing out her stuff. Most times it is pushed against the wall but I do pull it out into the centre of the area when I am tracing out/cutting out large patterns as I can get around all sides of it. When I use my overlocker I used it on this table. My craft trolley used to live under my table but I now keep it near my sewing machine as I can reach over and grab things from it.

I have no idea what the set up will be in the new place but I know things will be different. I won’t have a garage to store fabrics in I know that for sure. The unit layout will be different and it will take me a bit to work out where to put everything but I will get there. As with most things I had just gotten the right set up and balance of things before the decision to move was made. I have limited time off before the move so late December I started packing away things I wasn’t going to use in the coming months. It has been an interesting task. I have had to really plan out what I’m going to knit/crochet during that time to leave enough yarn out for projects. I had to also think about the projects themselves, I didn’t want anything too complex as knitting/crocheting is my relaxation from everything else that is going on. It helps keep my sanity. I decided on a few easy projects and so far so good. With my sewing I have kept out a bag of essential tools and supplies and my projects are again relatively simple or things I need to get done by deadlines which may fall near our expected move timeline. We don’t have an actual move date yet but have a rough time frame. I’m even thinking of gifts for Christmas 2020 and as I pack my remaining craft fabrics I’m happy to even make a start on those knowing I can always place them in a box and know where they are as during my packing I’m numbering each box and writing contents in a notebook.

It might be many months before I do an “After” blog post but once I get settled in I will. Ideally I would like to have it as a similar set up but as for the most part it was working for me in this place but I will have to wait and see.

Cassiy

 

Yarn Hits And Misses 2019

So I have done a recap of my sewing year for 2019 so here is my knitting year. I think I spent more time knitting and crocheting this year than I did sewing. Knitting and crocheting is something I can just pick up and do when I have a minute here or there.

My favourite item for the year was Daybreak. It was the first West Knits pattern I’ve ever done and I loved it. I wore it most of winter. The yarn feels so delicious and the colours went well together.

If I had to pick a least favourite which is bad to say but it would be my Groovy shawl. There is nothing wrong with this pattern I just got bored knitting it. It is really easy and mindless knitting but there was just something about it that lost me. It seem to feel very slow knitting it and maybe that is why it lost my attention.

My favourite pattern for the year was Knitted Bangles. Super easy and quick to do. You can make them with any yarn that you have. They make a perfect gift or can be made to go with different outfits. I am doing more of those next year.

I have enjoyed knitting and crocheting for others this year. The beanies that I made for B were relaxing knits. I am really proud of the virus shawl I made as a gift. I have also done a lot of knitting and crocheting for charity this year which is something I enjoy doing.

 

This year seems have been a year of knitting failures which I did blog about.  Some patterns were a little complicated some I don’t know what happened they just weren’t working for me. I’m hoping to restart them next year.

My day trip to Bendigo is my yarn highlight for the year. It was so much fun that day. After using their yarn for so many years it was fun to go and visit the actual shop. I haven’t made anything yet from the yarn I purchased but I will.

My yarn plans for 2020 really are just to start using the yarn I have in my stash which is a lot. I have decluttered some yarn I’m not going to use but I still have heaps. At this point I have one project that I know which is crocheted poncho. As mentioned I want to attempt a couple of the patterns I failed this year but I don’t really have a list or deadline for yarn projects. I will just go with what I feel like.

Cassiy

Farewell Kath

A work colleague who was very special to me as I have worked with her all the years I have been at my work was retiring and I wanted to make her something special to show how much she meant to me and how much I appreciated all the chats we’ve had over the years. We work in a health institution and what better thing to make her than a Virus shawl… We all have a twisted sense of humour but you need it where we work.

I remembered that my stash I had 2 skeins of sock yarn by Revive Designs NZ. One was a darker green, the other a lighter blue/green. From memory I think they were called Taupo and Fox Glacier which are towns in New Zealand if you are not familiar with them. I have been to both places and loved them so really wanted to use this special yarn in a special project. They do have a nice contrast and I thought they would look good together in the shawl.

As it was some time since I made my Virus shawl I had to watch the Coco Bella tutorials again on YouTube to get my head back into the pattern. This pattern can be a little confusing but once it clicks in your head it is really fairly simple to do. I used a 3mm hook which I had to buy another one online as I couldn’t find my original one. I was counting each section as I was doing it but naturally the one time I didn’t count my stitches were off by 1 so I had to frog back to the missed stitch and continue. Crochet is so easy to frog back so it wasn’t that much of an issue. I kept going until I ran of out yarn before doing a simple treble boarder on the last row.

To block this I opted not to pin block it but instead just stretched it out flat on my blocking mats on my craft table. I left it for a almost a week to dry as I wasn’t using my table but really it only took a few days. I didn’t mind that the ends curved up a bit, it gives it a more organic feel. I left all my ends to weave in until the end but they didn’t take long to do.

I love the contrast of the 2 colours in this and am really happy the way it turned out. It was a special gift for a special person.

Cassiy

Self Imposed Buying Ban

I have put myself on a self imposed buying ban from buying fabric and yarn. The reason is simple I have so much yarn and fabric in my stash at the moment that I am running out of space for anything new. I have lost control of my stashes and to be honest I don’t even know what I even have anymore. It is time to stop buying more and start using more of what I have.

Yarn Stash

My yarn is currently stored in 4 places in my craft wardrobe, my regular wardrobe, a tub in my craft storage room and under my bed. Well I say stored some it is just dumped on top or shoved in a bag. Some of it is grouped together in a drawer unit into WIRES yarn which is 100% wool, cottons and other yarns but I don’t know the amounts I have in there anymore. As for the bags and tubs it is a mix of cottons, acrylics, half finished projects, soon to be projects, leftover yarn.

Some bags I don’t fully know what is in them. I can’t really remember where I put all the yarn I brought when I went down to Melbourne earlier this year. I think I have put them in a tub but I’m not sure. My yarn stash is a mess. I need to go through it all and actually see what I have. My wearable yarn tastes have changed so I want sort things out to yarn I will wear, what yarn I can use in gifts and take stock overall of what I have. There is no point in buying more yarn when I have perfectly good usable yarn on hand already.

Fabric Stash

My fabric stash is a little bigger. I’m just talking about the fabric I have upstairs which is mostly dressmaking fabrics (wovens, knits) and fleece scraps. I again have it store in tubs and in shelving units or on top. I do kind of have a vague organisation system of it grouped into categories such as knits, wovens, WIRES but the system has gotten out of control as I have added to it and just started shoving stuff in.

I have usable (from memory) scraps in the stash but I can’t see them and I don’t know how big each fabric is. Some fabric I’m holding on to even though I know in reality I am not going to use it due fabric tastes changing. I have lost track of what fabrics I have and what I don’t. Some fabrics I have projects in mind for, others I could use in projects if I only I knew they were there.

I haven’t shown my full stash of yarn and fabrics these are just a few pictures but as you can see I am not short of fabric or yarn. It is time to do a stocktake of it all. I need to need to know what is in my stash so that I can use it. It is something I have been thinking of doing for a while as I found myself trying to stuff fabric and yarn into empty places. Last Saturday I did find something in my fabric stash that I didn’t want which was a big silverfish!! No! No! No!

Beth (Sew DIY) is hosting a virtual “I love my fabric party” this weekend and it has come at the perfect time! You can read the details about her party but basically it is a chance for you to show your fabric some love by going through stash whilst joining in with others on Instagram at the same time using the #Ilovemyfabricparty for the weekend. It is up to you what you do during the party. You might organise it better, find ways to keep track of your stash. I’m going to use the party to see what I actually have in my stash. I might try to pair up fabrics with patterns, measure the quantities of different pieces, destash fabrics I no longer will wear or want. Get back in touch with my fabric. My sewjo has returned so I am itching to dive back into my stash.

I don’t have a time limit on how long my buying ban will last. I do have one exception if by chance at Frocktails next month I get discount vouchers to fabric shops I will allow myself to use them if I find fabric I absolutely love. My main aim with my buying ban is to stop all the impulse buying I am doing particularly online. It is time to put a halt on things and use what I have.

Cassiy