Monthly Archives: March 2014

justine’s baby blanket…

It seems like there is always a little baby somewhere in my life that I can make presents for. I really enjoy making gifts for babies, I imagine them growing up and saying things like “I’ve had this dolly since I was born”, or the mums and dads saying “Aunty Sam made this for you!”, when I am clearly not a related Aunty!

I met Justine at work a few years ago, and we became close friends very quickly. She’s got a wicked sense of humour, and I love her to bits. When she told me she was expecting a baby, I was giddy with happiness for her! I started to think about things to make for her, and I settled on a blanket.

You may remember a while ago, I wrote a post on how I dye wool with food colouring. Well, this was the intended project!

I knew I wanted this blanket mostly white, with splashes of bright colours mottled throughout. Justine doesn’t know if she’s having a boy or a girl, so I kept this blanket gender neutral.

Some of the pictures are a little warm in colour, but this picture is probably the best representation of the actual colour.

I made this blanket using a basic Granny Square pattern, round after round after round. I really like this method of creating a blanket, there is little to no concentration required, and I could work on it in front of the TV, or in the car, without the need of referring to a pattern.

The size of the blanket was determined by how much wool I had (400 grams). Once I started to run low, I ran a slip stitch around the edge for a border. The blanket ended up being about 90cm square, after blocking.

I love how it turned out. It’s squishy, and very warm! The colours are bright, and I love how they pooled in some areas. The wool I used is 100% machine washable, making it easy to clean, and the “dye” I used is just food colouring, so no nasty chemicals were needed.

I can’t wait to see bubba laying on it, squawking his or her lungs out, as I’m told they do!

PS: I think she’s having a little girl!

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knitted socks WIP update…

After just a few days work, I have successfully cast on two socks to be knitted at the same time (on 2 circular needles), increased for the toes, and knit a decent portion of the foot.

I am already so much happier with this method of knitting socks. It really is very simple, once you get your head around it. I’m really enjoying slipping the sock on after every couple of rows. The thought of getting to the end of the knit, and having two identical socks, is just wonderful. No more SSS for me!

SSS is a real thing…

I tried to make it work, I really did.. Frogging is my worst nightmare! I despise ripping back row after row, I feel like it is such a waste! BUT. I know it must be done.. * sigh *

You might remember when I wrote about my new sock knitting project, and the line about not wanting to have to frog. Well, I might have cursed myself there.

This is how far I got with Rainbow Sock #1. I was quite proud of my efforts, as this is the first toe-up sock I’ve tried, and the first time I used a Provisional Cast On (thanks PurlBee!). I did, however, have a few problems.

Other than the fact that it was a little baggy around the toe, I wasn’t happy with the construction. As you can see on the left where I did the Provisional Cast On, that dramatic colour change was going to bug me, even though it would be on the sole of the sock. I think this method would be really fantastic if I was using a solid coloured yarn, as you wouldnt be able to tell where the join was. The other problem came with the ribbing. I was freaking out a little about it not fitting up my leg, and ended up increasing in the rib at weird points. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to remember which row to increase on with the next sock… so…

I pulled the whole thing apart. To knit, the sock took me the good part of 2 weeks. It took 1 minute to frog * que dramatic music *

Towards the end of this socks knitting life, I felt like I was coming down with a bad case of SSS (Second Sock Syndrome). I was really excited to see how the colours would change on the next sock, but I was so demotivated by failed sock #1. The cure? Buy two 2.75 circular needles from LoveKnitting, and learn how to knit 2 socks at the same time!

After one night, this is my progress. I am one very happy girl. All credit of my efforts goes to Heidi from Heidi Bears, without this brilliant tutorial for Judy’s Magic Cast On, I would never have got anything on the needles. Plus, she has another wonderful tutorial on knitting 2 socks at once. I was a little scared by the thought of this process, but honestly, it’s not as hard as I thought it was going to be. If you want to try this method, please head on over to Heidi Bears, you won’t be dissappointed!

stretchy sexy skirt sewing…

I love stretchy skirts, they are so comfy and they look great. I found this leopard print knit fabric at Lincraft on the weekend, and I just knew it would make an awesome skirt!

  • 75cm of knit/jersey fabric at least 150cm wide
  • an exsisting stretchy skirt that fits you well (to use as a pattern)
  • overlocker and/or sewing machine, scissors, pins, measuring tape

Firstly, take a look at your fabric. Mine has a distinct pattern, and I wanted the lighter part to be running down the middle of the skirt. If your fabric doesn’t have such an obvious print, you don’t have to be as pedantic with pattern placement as I was.

"Middle" of pattern shown by blue line

“Middle” of pattern shown by blue line

Lay your fabric on a flat surface, and place your exsisting skirt on top. I folded my skirt in half, so I could line the fold and my imaginary blue line (representing the middle of the pattern) up. Open up the skirt, and pin to the fabric. Carefully cut around your skirt, leaving at least a 1cm seam allowance. Let’s call this the Front.

The stripy skirt has it’s own waist band, so I folded it out of the way when cutting across the top of the skirt

Take the Front pannel, and place it on the fabric to cut out the second piece (you guessed it, the Back). Again, I made sure the lighter part of the print was running down the middle of the pannel, and cut out right along the edge of the Front, so you have two identical pieces.

With the right sides facing, pin the Front and Back together, and sew down the side seams. An overlocker is great for this project, as it sews a stretchy seam. If you only have a sewing machine, sew the sides together using a zigzag stitch. This works just as well, and seeing as we are using a knit fabric, the cut edges won’t fray! (Love knit fabric…)

Try your skirt on in front of the mirror, insideout. It should be snug, without being too tight, and not slipping off your hips. If you think it’s a little loose, take it in bit by bit until it fits perfectly. With the skirt still on, measure around your tummy where the waist band will sit (right at the top of the skirt). Take this measurement and minus 10%. This will give the band negative ease, meaning it will fit snug on your tum, and keep the skirt up at the same time. You also need to decide how wide you want the band. I made mine 8cm wide, when finished.

Lay your fabric out, and fold it so wrong sides are facing (see how I folded mine so the lighter part was in the middle… This means the pattern on the band will match up with the front of the skirt). With the folded edge towards you, measure half of your waist band measurement away from you, and make a line of pins. Double the width of your band, and measure along the fold, away from the first pin. From that point, start a second line of pins the same length as the first. You’re making a rectangle, folded in half on itself. I feel I’ve describled this rather poorly, so I drew a diagram…

Cut your band out along the outsides of the pins. Fold the band in half lengthways so the right sides are facing, and sew along the open edge (edge marked 16cm above), making a circle (see picture above diagram). Now fold the band in half widthways with wrong sides facing. Take the skirt and place it inside the waist band, right sides facing, with raw edged facing up. Line up the middle of the waist band and the skirt Front, pin together through all 3 layers. Line the back seam of the waist band and the skirt Back, and pin through all layers. Pin the whole way around the skirt, gently stretching the waist band to match the skirt, without any puckering. Sew the waist band to the skirt through all 3 layers.

Your skirt is almost done! Fold over 1cm of the bottom of the skirt, and run a zigzag stich around, making a hem. You can leave it un-hemmed if you want, it won’t fray, but it may roll up a little.

That’s it! You’re all done! It may sound a little tricky, but I promise you, it’s just the way I’m describing the process. Even if you have beginner level experience in sewing, this is easy to do! Plus, knit fabric is pretty cheap, so if you stuff up it doesn’t really matter!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, I really hope I’ve described the steps well enough for you to understand! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! Have fun making skirts!

 

60 year old magazine…

My gorgeous friend, Nicole, cuts hair, but isn’t a hairdresser. There is a level of trust I have in this girl, as I ask/push/beg let her cut my hair. Last night, I went to her place for a trim, and she surprised me with this.

From The New Idea for Women; June 23, 1954

A copy of “New Idea” from 1954, which has a knitting theme. I can’t tell you how much I love this. I had a little giggle while I was studying the cover, look at the sneaky placement of a copy of “New Idea” on the side table! And I’m sure that wicker-looking basket isn’t full of wool (and if it is, what a stash!).

From The New Idea for Women; June 23, 1954

I love that the magazine was running a competition for knitters, it is something I probably would have entered, if I’d been alive in 1954. I also like that they had a dedicated category for Under-Twenty knitters. Even back then, they were tempting “young” people to pick up a pair of needles!

From The New Idea for Women; June 23, 1954

They included the pattern for the Fancy-Ribbed Sweater featured on the cover. I am seriously considering making this. It will probably take me a looooong time, but hopefully I’ll have it finished for next winter. Nicole asked me if I could still read this pattern, thinking that knitting language must surely have changed a bit in the last 60 years. After I read the instructions for the Front out aloud, she said “Ok! OK! Enough! I get it!” Hahaha.

From The New Idea for Women; June 23, 1954

This is probably my favourite page out of the entire magazine. This add for Patons is so retro, I think I’ll cut it out and frame it. Look at her raised eyebrow and that smirk. It say “Yes, I knit, I’m good at it, and I know it!” I think it gives off a very confident feel, and I like that, as sometimes I am a little shy about the fact that I knit. I like the little pin too, it looks like a little Rotary wheel.

I enjoyed looking into a slice of the past like this, it feels very authentic (obviously, because it is). If/when I cast on for the sweater, I’ll let you know!

vintage print cushions…

Our poor lounge has been in want of some cushions, and Reags has been bugging asking me to make some for ages now. We had a lazy-Sunday-at-home planned, so I thought I’d drag my sewing machine out and make them!

I started by making a simple 3 piece pattern in the measurements below . My cushion inserts are 46cm square, and I wanted them to fit snug inside the covers, so I made the finished size 45cm square (adding a 1cm seam allowance to each side).

a = front, b = back top, c = back bottom

I made the back in two pieces so I could add a zipper for easy insert-removal. With the zipper in, I stitched the front and back together, with right sides facing. Turn it right size out through the zipper hole, shove the insert in, and DONE!

The backs

The backs

These were so quick and so simple to make. They add a great burts of colour to our loungeroom, and I’ve actually had one behind my back while writing this post! I can report, super comfy!