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Knitty Gritty

19 Jul

Knit Stitch

Look at my little piece of work!

I created this slightly uneven cluster of knots and loops with my own two hands (and two needles)! Yes, I’m actually knitting!! This pic was my 2nd attempt. ūüôā

Having crocheted for so many years now, I felt a bit uncoordinated as I tried to keep the yarn on my right as I knitted and learned to grasp the yarn to yarn-over the needle (unlike crocheting where the yarn is on my left and there is no yarning-over). Equally foreign was depending on needles, rather than my fingers, to hold my work. Initially, I would relate it to the feeling of writing with your left when you’re right-handed….yet, not quite that awkward. Some concentration and a bit of patience are required at the beginning and despite the learning curve of how to hold two needles and work the yarn without losing the constant tension or dropping a stitch, I am enjoying this newfound challenge.¬† I read instructional blogs, watched YouTube videos and then cast-on, knit or purled a few rows, and pull it all out only to begin again. Sure, some would find this frustrating but I am happier with my progress each time I start over, proving practice is productive! (say that 5 times fast! haha!)

Although I just started I can already see that, like crocheting, knitting is relaxing because there’s a repetitive rhythm to it once you get going. I also love the portability factor of knitting and crocheting which makes these hobbies a great fit for keeping fidgety hands busy while riding the train, carpooling, or watching TV. In general, if there is a lot of sitting still and down time, chances are it’s a fine place to knit!

Recently at my son’s baseball game I saw two moms huddled together under the shade of a tree, knitting! One was giving instructions and the other did the work. It was fun listening to the student’s excitement and hear her satisfaction when she saw what she’d created! The teacher sounded equally thrilled to share her talent with her friend!

Despite what you may think, talent is not a requirement to knit (or crochet for that matter), you simply need to have an interest in learning. It helps to remember that just because something looks complicated, doesn’t mean it is. As with most skills, all it takes is an interest in learning, following instructions, and some practice – and before you know it, you’ve learned a new hobby! So be encouraged my friends and try something new!

Reasons you should knit:

  1. Knitting is a stress reliever
  2. It’s a healthy pastime
  3. Productive use of downtime
  4. It’s a cheap hobby (2 needles, yarn & free patterns online OR create your own!)
  5. Yarncrafted gifts are personal and unique (not to mention, affordable!)

Cast On

By the way, since starting this blog I’ve found it doesn’t hurt to mention to your friends/family that you’re interested in learning a new skill, such as knitting, because you may just find your next teacher is your affable aunt, your fabulous friend, or your nice neighbor who have been knitting for years and never talked about it! So don’t keep it a secret! You may be fortunate enough to get free, expert, hands-on training and can forego the online videos all together!

It’s time to get down to the Knitty Gritty and make something!

And Just for Fun…click here for Random Facts about Knitting!

Here are some helpful links to get you started:

 

I Say, Today It’s Filet Crochet!

30 Mar

Although I love sewing, I seem to have rekindled my love for the art of crochet. It all started with the Braided Blizzard Crowl I made in January (my first crochet project in about 20 years!) and then recently, I stumbled across a free pattern for an adorable Filet Crochet Bunny Blanket! Well, since I had never heard of filet crochet or tried to make anything with a filet crochet pattern – I was determined to give it a go!

Now, this blanket is actually very easy to make because it’s the same two stitches all the way through, a double crochet stitch and a chain stitch – the only thing that changes is how often a chain or a double crochet is thrown in. That said, I must admit that the HARD part for me is that I pick up my crochet projects in between other chores and activities around the house and admittedly, I also like to crochet when I’m watching TV. Because of these distracting habits, I frequently think I am in the right place when I start back up on the blanket, and later (like 4 or 5 rows later) realize my stitches are all off! Waaaay off! On the up-side, these regular errors have not only improved my desire to pay closer attention to my project, but I have also embraced frogging (the act of ripping out stitches) and even view frogging as part of the process when I filet crochet! When you’ve made as many mistakes as I have, it’s better to embrace the rip-out process than get frustrated over it. I’m pretty sure I have ripped out more stitches then I have created in this blanket and yet, I still enjoy watching the darling blanket come together; slowly but surely. ūüôā

Here’s my progress so far…
If you haven’t tried your hand at filet crochet, you should give it a try BUT may I suggest you pay attention as you work to save you some time? Maybe even mark off the pattern as you move along to ensure you keep your place so you can start up exactly where you left off and maybe, frog less.ūüźł (rippit! rippit!…get it?? haha!)

There are TONS of free patterns on the web for filet crochet projects using yarn and even ones you can crochet with string such as doilies, place-mats, beach bags, and even dresses – from the simple to the elaborate!

In fact, after seeing so many patterns out there, I think it would be easy to make my own pattern just by using graph paper and X’s, and add whatever crochet edging would fit the style. Take a look around the internet and you’ll see what I mean.

Have you started any new projects this year that you’re glad you jumped in to?

Fabric: To Wash, or Not To Wash…that is the Question!

13 Feb

 


So this may seem like a silly question to those of you who have been sewing garments for any length of time, but for a novice like me who’s only made craft-type things and hasn’t sewn anything wearable – I found it to be my first question when I brought out my bright, crisp, and beautiful fabric in preparation for my first-ever clothes making project! Should I wash the fabric before cutting it…or is it really necessary to take that extra step?? Will it really make a difference one way or another?!

Okay, okay…so it’s not really clothes that I’m making..it’s an apron! : ) I’m excited about it though and I’m even attempting to follow a store bought pattern. Of course, I have used patterns before…but they were those easy templates printed from the internet that guided me to outline a shape, or I’d draw my own pattern to make a crafty project…but a real pattern on that flimsy, thin paper from an envelope for what seems to be a simple apron was…well – it was kind of intimidating when I laid it all out! Then, this fabric question popped into my head! Wash it? Don’t wash it?? What to do!?

As usual, I went surfing (on the internet of course) and found a great article about this exact subject at Makeit-Loveit.com and thought I should share it with all of you since you too may have had the same question! After all, if I have heard conflicting opinions, maybe you have too! Some quilters say NEVER to wash the fabric first, some crafters say it’s not necessary, and others say that washing fabric ahead of time may cause the colors to fade and only delay starting your project! Still, there are some who swear that washing beforehand is the only option, without exception.

Opinions on this subject may still vary but what I found img_8663to be the best choice was…(drum roll please…)….WASH, DRY and IRON….and always, always, ALWAYS iron after washing. I admit, I hate ironing. Ironing the freshly washed fabric, however,¬† ensures proper measuring and cutting, and makes the fabric easier to work with than a freshly washed and dried crumpled and twisted piece of fabric would be.

If you want to know more, click here for the ins-and-outs of why fabric should always be washed before sewing anything – yes even before sewing those crafts! You’ll also learn why we should wash our crisp new fabric as soon as we bring it home from the store!

Hopefully this little tidbit of info will help you get more out of your sewing experience and keep you happily sewing along!

If you have any sewing tips you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Sewing!!

Sew Great to Read About It!!

25 Oct
Cover of "New Complete Guide to Sewing (R...

Cover via Amazon

 

If you are like me and have a desire to broaden your sewing knowledge as well as try your hand at new projects all the time, you may want to invest in a good book!

 

I have found a lot of helpful information on the internet by following sewing blogs (both novice and expert) and learning about different techniques I can apply to my projects. While free information on the internet is fun and a wonderful resource for learning, I also found the book New Complete Guide to Sewing by Reader’s Digest to be an abundance of information! Not only does it explain the basics of what is needed to get started as a newbie to the sewing world, but it also has illustrations and step-by-step techniques for home projects and for making clothes! My friend who is a pro (nearly 60 years of experience!) at sewing everything from clothes and stuffed animals, to everything in between, was so impressed with this book she purchased one for herself after reading mine!

 

I know there are a ton of good sewing books and guides out there. This one seems to cover it all in a user-friendly, easy-to-follow way, and because of that – I thought I would share the news!

 

Do you have a favorite sewing guide?

 

Hot Handle Pot Sleeve

13 Oct

Although I love cooking, I can sometimes be a bit clumsy in the kitchen…which is what inspired me to create this Hot Handle Pot Sleeve! Easy to make and it matches the tortilla cozy I made last year!

Here’s how I did it!
First I measured the handles on my pots and pans for which I will be using the “sleeve” for, so it will fit on all of them.¬† I made a dome-like pattern that measured 3.5″x7.5″. Then, using that pattern I cut out 2 pieces of fabric and 2 pieces of Insul-Bright and sandwiched them together so the fabric connected to the Insul-Bright was facing down and the wrong-side of the patterned fabric was against the batting of the Insul-Bright.

I then basted around the edges to keep the fabric and the Insul-Bright together.

Then I folded down 1/2″ of the straight edge on the short side of the basted piece and zig-zag stitched it down, folding the fabric in to make a soft edge. (Of course using scrap bias tape would also work if you prefer that look instead.)

Now take both finished pieces and place the patterned fabric sides together and zig-zag stitch around the edges, careful not to sew the short, straight side which will be the opening.

Trim the edges so they are even, then turn inside out.

And that’s it!

Sew Easy, even a novice like me can do it!!

 

Share Your Love for Sewing

11 Oct

I recently had a co-worker bring me a bunch of different fabrics that range in texture, pattern and size and with the cost of fabric, even for remnants, I certainly appreciated it! She said when she heard I sewed and how much I loved learning new techniques and trying my hand at new patterns, she wanted to give me some of her fun patterns and lots of fabric to create with, especially since I’m trying my hand at quilting! She is one of those talented ladies who makes her own fabulous work clothes, among other things, and always looks great! Not only did she give the gift of fabric but I also have a new resource when I have questions about a project. ūüôā

So the lesson learned here is to share the news about your sewing hobby and maybe your friends will share some free advice, patterns, or…free fabric!

Sew, what do you have the “notion” to share?

Sew Today

28 Jan

It seems to be a younger generation of people picking up “old-fashioned” projects such as sewing, canning and gardening that their baby-boom mothers and grandmothers had so eagerly given up. Could it be curiosity? Better control of what we’re eating? Being more careful of how we’re spending our money?? From TV shows to social media, there’s a million ways to learn “how-to”. Whatever the reason, it’s definitely SEW TODAY to DIY!

There’s a huge opportunity out there to learn and teach new sewing ideas. I’m always on the look out for new sewing ideas and suggestions so if you have sewing projects that you’d like to share – I’d like to hear about them!

 

Sew Savings

3 Dec

When I first stepped into the fabric store after getting my sewing machine I was surprised to see how expensive fabric and all the notions can be! So I did a little research, chatted with some friends¬†and spoke to some very helpful employees at a local fabric store and found it really doesn’t have to be expensive to sew! Save money by signing up for fabric store mailers and sign up online to receive store emails – before you know it you’ll get coupons in the mail and right to your inbox!¬†I’ve even found¬†my Entertainment Book had coupons for fabric stores in my area.¬†Some stores like JoAnn Fabrics¬†allow more than one coupon per purchase too, but be sure read the restrictions on coupons for details. Another money saving idea is to¬†visit your local thrift store…purchasing some¬†used curtains made with pretty fabric for a dollar will make creating your next project just that much more rewarding! And don’t throw away that old sweatshirt¬†or t-shirt with your favorite team logo! You can find free patterns online to transform them into stadium seat cushions or tote bags and you can even create really cute Jean Purses with those old jeans your daughter has outgrown!

What money saving ideas make you Sew Giddy?

Sew Convenience Is Key

2 Dec

When I was a kid I remember my mom spending a lot of time preparing to sew a project¬†by having to dig her sewing machine out of her closet, lug it to the dining room table and get her sewing supplies laid out, then make time to¬†pack it all up so it wasn’t in the way – only to repeat it all again the next time she wanted to sew. NOT very convenient..in fact, kind of a hassle! Lots of time setting up and packing up takes time away from the project and takes the GIDDY out of your enthusiasm! As a busy mom I know there’s no time for hassles like that – I just won’t do it. One of the things I found helpful was to set up a sewing “station”. Time is always an issue¬†so convenience is key! By setting up this little area where I can leave my sewing machine and unfinished projects out, I can work on them when I have some time, even if it’s just 30 minutes!¬†¬†If you’re worried about how it looks (which was certainly my mom’s concern) then keep it organized and clean up as you go.¬† You really don’t need a lot of room and¬†having your tools ready¬†and waiting for you will make all the difference in your motivation to keep sewing and enjoying it!

SEW TRY IT

2 Dec

Giddy Giddy Giddy!!!

I’m Sew Giddy about my new-found¬†love of SEWING!¬†I was reading blogs and seeing projects created by bloggers and decided to read through some free sewing patterns online when it finally hit me! Hey, I think I can totally do this! Until recently, I thought sewing was a talent, like drawing or singing and that someone¬†like me¬†would¬†find it¬†only to be a lot of stressful work but guess what?? ANYONE can sew!¬†Don’t get me wrong, I know there are those who can sew more amazingly then a novice like me, but my point is that more people should try it! Just a little research and patience and whoala! your very own creation! There’s a bit of a learning curve at first to understand the lingo, get to know my sewing machine and find my way around a fabric store – but it’s absolutely a past time¬†I enjoy and look forward to. I find it therapeutic¬†and rewarding when I see the things I can make with my very own hands and the idea that there are no boundaries on what one can create excites me!

What are you Sew Giddy about?

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