Monday, February 26, 2007

knitting needle roll tutorial.

there are more pictures here of the Needle Roll to End All Needle Rolls (I call it that because it has space for more stuff than I even own).

this tutorial is now illustrated, with a different, second needle roll i made.

i've also designed this pattern in inches, despite my metric heritage. sorry. you'll cope.

- I actually cheated, and pieced together lining fabric to pretty fabric where it was covered by another pocket. If you want to do that, remember when cutting each piece to add seam allowance.
- Also, you should iron each piece after you sew it, every time. It'll look crisper, I promise. And this comes from a girl who hates ironing.
- A one inch wide pocket will hold a pair of straight needles (even 10mm thick ones!), a set of dpns up to about 6mm or so, or a few crochet hooks. A two inch wide pocket is good for circular needles up to about 5mm, needle gauges, a small set of scissors. Three inch wide pockets are needed for the largest circulars. You can redesign the number of pockets you have of each width according to what you own, if you want.

Fabric Quantities
5 fat quarters of printed fabric
20" cut from the roll of the thinnest batting you can find
25" cut from the roll of plain cotton to line the pockets
1 yard of ribbon

Cut Pieces
Outer (pretty fabric): 17 6/8" x 20 2/8"
Inner (pretty fabric): 17 6/8" x 20 2/8"
Pocket 1 (cut one of pretty fabric and one of lining): 17 6/8" x 11 3/8"
Pocket 2 (cut one of pretty fabric and one of lining): 17 6/8" x 7 7/8"
Pocket 3 (cut one of pretty fabric and one of lining): 17 6/8" x 6 3/8"
Batting: 17 6/8" x 20 2/8"

1) If you want to applique anything to the outer, do it now.
2) With right sides facing, sew each pocket to its lining along the top of the pocket. Turn and press.

3) Zig-zag down each side of each pocket, sewing the lining and the pretty fabric together.
4) Zig-zag around the outer and the inner.
5) Place the three pockets on top of each other, right sides out and bottom edges aligning.
6) Measure in 7/8" from the left-hand edge of the pockets, and rule a vertical line with chalk. Continue to mark chalk lines at one inch intervals down the right side of all three pockets. There will be 7/8" margin at the right-hand side too.

7) Skipping the first chalk line, mentally assign each line a letter, A to O, from left to right. There will also be one chalk line at the end that remains un-lettered. Ignore these first and last chalklines. They will be sewn down when you sew the inner to the outer.
8) Take Pocket 1 and place it against the inner (pocket lining against right side of inner), with bottom edges aligning. Sew down columns A, C, E, and G from the top edge of the pocket to the bottom. Sew back and forth at each end to secure the stitches.
9) Take Pocket 2 and place it over Pocket 1, lining against right side. Sew down columns I, K, L, M and O, from the top of Pocket 1 to the bottom edge (where everything's aligned, remember) securing at each end. Here's what it looks like once the columns on pocket 1 are sewn, and you're up to pocket 2.

10) Take Pocket 3, place it over Pocket 2. Sew down columns B, D, F, H, J and N from the top of Pocket 1 to the bottom edge, securing stitching at each end.
11) Pin together the inner with pockets and the outer, right sides facing. Pin batting to wrong side of outer.
12) Press top edge of inner and top edge of out/ batting down half an inch, wrong side against wrong side (in this picture, the batting would be up against the wrong side of the green fabric. i ran out of batting, so cheated a little with this roll).

13) Sew around the sides and bottom.
14) Turn and press. There should be no raw edge along the top, it's already been pressed down.
15) Top stitch around all four edges 3/8" from the edge. This look pretty and will sew down the open top flap.
16) Fold the top 2" of the needle roll down towards the pockets to make the inside flap. Topstitch 3/8" from the fold to secure the flap (that's the stitching on the left-hand side in this illustration).

17) Fold the ribbon in half, and stitch it down along the topstitching line of one side of the needle roll. Seal the cut ends with a lighter or clear nail polish.

Ta-da! you have needle roll!

edit: I've had to disable comments because this post was being spammed to death. It's a pity, as I loved seeing other people's knitting needle rolls. Sorry.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

no loose needles for me!

what on earth might this be?

inspired by my sewing kit bag (sick of hearing about it yet?), and given an opportune occasion to plan the pattern* i finally used up the fat quarters Badly Coloured Boy got me for christmas. i made a needle roll.

triple pocketed, each pocket fully lined, batting between the outer and the inner lining. this mama weighs a TON! compliments to Tildey, who didn't complain once about sewing through ten layers of fabric and two of batting. she's a tough 'un.

here's a little detail of the fabrics. i love the white with the little ribbon flowers.

it fits all my needles, and some odds and sods like stitch holders, crochet hooks and scissors.

there's nothing to close the roll yet. when i get my knit-print ribbon i'll attach some of that.

* i've been doing some temporary work in a job where i am forced to sit in meetings for five hours a day. while i am there for a purpose (imagine i'm a PA), what is actually being discussed in said meetings has no impact on me, and i cannot contribute. i also cannot look really bored. so, i worked out the construction of my needle roll, complete with not-to-scale illustrations.

weeny adjustments

taking out my new sewing bag on thursday night (and to a party on friday) i have found a weeny structural issue. i am rather slapdash with my handbags, and tend to throw them about a bit. and that tends to make things fall out of the roll.
solution? deep breath, convince self that one will not wreck one's awesome new bag, de-yellow the tape measure fabric*, and make a little flap for the roll.

i don't actually own a whole lot of fabric, and the fabric in my new bag was so utterly wonderful that i'm feeling very lucky that i got some of the tape measure print for christmas. mine's in a different colourway to Meshell's, so there's another shade of blue added to my bag now. i lined the flap in white cotton (all i had in non-textured pure cotton in the right shades).

i hope that Meshell won't mind if i suggest that a flap on the roll of her bags might be a slight improvement on the design that she might want to consider in future?

* the tape measure print fabric in any colourway has a yellow tape measure between the red and blue. i really don't like the colour yellow. Meshell told me about how she had to pleat the yellow stripe out of the fabric on the handles. i had to do the same to make the flap.

Friday, February 23, 2007

well, turned out badly coloured boy's mum came to up to perth last night so we went out to dinner (at that little mexican place (no, that's the name of the restaurant)) and so my bag got a glamourous outing after all. between courses i sat it on my lap and petted it gently.

but the purpose of this post is more public service announcement. i got sent a link to this site. now, we all know how much i love fancy trims, ribbons included. and everything is half price right now and postage is only a few dollars, even to australia. so i bought eight metres of knit-print ribbon... um... what on earth am i going to do with eight metres? about a metre will go on my needle roll.... that leaves seven metres. enough to trim a butterick 4790 dress, in fact. i wish i'd been a little more restrained with the knit-print and bought some woven chairs instead.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

squee! doesn't even begin to describe it

So enough with the ethical ponderings already. when i got home today there was a parcel for me on the doorstep! (aside, at our new place we have an itty bitty letterbox. anything that doesn't fit gets left on our doorstep. i'm not sure how i feel about this. our doorstep is out of sight of the road, but there is no gate or anything. sure it's more convenient than our old place, where a note was left and you had to go to the post office to collect things, but it makes us so much more prone to mail theft. opinions?)
anyway, point: i had a parcel from Meshell - the beautiful sewing kit bag she agreed to make me. talk about swap inferiority - this thing surpasses my wildest dreams in fabulous clashing craziness! i can hoenstly assure you that my terrible half-lit-taken-on-fugly-carpet photos do not do sufficient justice. i wanted a 'jaunty me playing with my bag' pic, but badly coloured boy wasn't home to oblige.

isn't it lovely? i asked for red, pink and blue and lots of patterns, and this is what i got! i looooove the log cabin (?) pattern. and all the fabrics. yep. all of them. i can't pick favourites look, pattern on both sides:

and the inside:

the blue and white vintage sewing ads 'thing' is a pin cushion running down the centre (i cant work out what it's been stuffed with - it's so firm!). On the right is a little roll-up pocket. Underneath that little roll, and on the left are more pockets - two layers on the left, two on the right.

and the pocket unrolled (you can't see too well, but the pink print has wee triangles with red and blue detail). i'm so excited about this i haven't even tested it out yet but, hang on - yup! my double pointed needles fit in the medium-ish-narrow pockets in the roll. and i have another pocket earmarked for an unpicker (mine's going to be a bastard knit-and-sewing kit bag).

the attention to detail is just amazing. all the pockets are fully lined, and all the sewing tapes have been individually cut out of that sewing tape fabric. and centred on the pin cushion is an ad for pincushions :)
oh, and neat things Meshell didn't even know: i was going to try a (far simpler) knitting needle roll out of the fabric i got for christmas, and it was going to include the letter-print fabric (but in green) and the sewing tape fabric! so i'll have matchy-matchies, when i get round to trying my hand at
thankyou sooooooooooooo much Meshell, I am just ecstatic about this bag! before sewing things go into it i'm taking it out tonight (to do my grocery shopping. because that's the hip kind of stuff i do). i think i'm going to start carrying sewing supplies everywhere just to show off my beautiful bag. Meshell, if you have better pictures, please post them (so i can link to them/ thieve them and put them on my own blog ;) )

on knitting and the environment

i woke up too early this morning, and lay in bed pondering too hard, and it has occurred to me that knitting, and i guess sewing too, aren't the most environmentally friendly hobbies out there. i've done my best to avoid acrylics in yarn for a while now, having read on craftster the utterly unsubstantiated but confident sounding fact that it takes four times as much fossil fuel to produce acrylics as wool. i started avoiding cotton after reading that while cotton makes up 25% of the world's total crops, it accounts for 70% of pesticides used.
so i was fine with wool (and silk and viscose). but just the other day i read that greenhouse gas emissions would be halved if the world became vegetarian. i've always known that animal farming was resource intensive in all kinds of way, but i hadn't put two and two together before. that is, even using wool is not that great for the planet.

or is it? is there a difference in the resources needed for meat farming as opposed to wool breeding? is the amount of yarn i'm using so little that i really shouldn't worry? given that i have spent nearly a year on anatolia, that approach seems potentially quite reasonable. am i actually saving on fossil fuels by handknitting rather than purchasing industrial machine knit garments? or should i just give up and try and develop a love for organic gardening? i really don't like gardening much. unlike other hobbies, working really hard doesn't hurry along the end product. no good for impatient ones like me.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

i'm not normally the kind to post yarn i'm utterly lusting over - hell, i don't get yarn lust so very much. merino in any colour and weight is a staple at yarn shops round my way, and that keeps me happy enough.

but dear lord this stuff it beautiful. i love how the two colours are kind of jarring, and don't quite work together, but really do.
it's the Fiber Co's terra yarn. fig & plum posted a picture of some on her blog recently, which led me to hunting the stuff down. and while i've posted the Hollyhock colour, that's no especial favourite. Beet, Henna, Nettle, Black Walnut, Sorrel, Dark Indigo... all good. i think i'd knit with any colour happily. i'm tracking down someone that will ship to australia, in the event that badly coloured boy gets paid, we discover that the car magically serviced itself and that i don't need to go to the dentist leaving him with all this money he desires to lavish on me.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

shhh! it's a secret!

no photos, and no real description of what i've been up to, because the What I've Been Up To is getting ready a swap with Miss Meshell (for one of her too cool for school sewing kit bags), and i don't want to ruin what little surprise is left. i don't even want to talk about colours, or textures, or materials but i DO want to because it's such fun, and being a little-ish project, progressing quite quickly (though utterly wrecking my only hand sewing needle!)

hope y'all had a nice valentines day. i and badly coloured boy both worked all day, then i went to an evening seminar at uni. i did hide a card for him in the house, which he found. i unromantically demanded flowers from him when i got home that night, but nothin' doin'. he pointed out he'd taken me out for dinner on the 13th.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

knitting post-war

i recently picked up a vintage knitting magazine off ebay, attracted by the variety (vintage magazines actually tend to have quite repetitive, often boring patterns).
this has some astonishingly fashion-forward pieces, for 1947. like this 'jumper with apron front'.

sadly, as far as i can tell, there's no unique constructions. you knit a jumper, then sew that panel over the top. then wear your knitted belt over the whole lot.

now, if anyone ever tries to blame the 1980s for spawning the batwing silhouette, you can point them to that. in fact, it is actually referred as a batwing jumper.

and while i may have designed a drop-stitch scarf for your knitting enjoyment, the AWW are way, way ahead of me when it comes to the elegance and glamour potent in dropped stitches.

hehe. i find the cravat kind of funny.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

baby got shirt!

all finished. i brought the side seams in... oh, a few inches. look, i have a waist, and i like other people to know it's there also, okay? that little rumple up near my right shoulder is not poor stitching, i just didn't pull the shirt on properly. it actually doesn't sit like that normally. apparently my sewing skills actually surpass my ability to dress myself. given how long i've been sewing, and given how long i've dressed myself this is cause for some concern.

best bit? the fabulous use of the embroidery stitches on my machine. normally hidden by the pocket flap, so only i know they're there:

worst bit? i was hammering the cool copper-coloured studs in (yup! no wussy buttons here. studs come with these angry looking spiky prongs and you need to hammer them in), and i was telling Badly Coloured Boy a terribly interesting story about the IRA. I looked up at him to emphasise the climax, and slammed the hammer down onto my thumb.
bruises are notoriously difficult to photograph (trust me - my hypochondriac self has tried. So. Many. Times), but you can make out the ugly blacky-purple smush on the edge of my thumbnail, i hope.

my howls of anguish rather detracted from the end of the IRA story, by the way.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

reasons why i rule

i have pretty much sewn a shirt that pretty much fits. still have to do the cuffs and the side and arm seams. and the buttons. but, y'know. i made collar! there is no need for you to see the World's Ugliest Collar Stand Facing Job. some scissors and some yanking and noone need be any the wiser...

sew u think you can make a shirt, huh?

i'm thinking i should have signed up for the wardrobe refashion challenge, given that i keep making tops and dresses and my poor student status means i probably won't buy any pants (which i don't intend to make myself yet) this year. or at least for the first half of the year.

i've been trying the shirt out of Sew U. Frustratingly, while her patterns are 'for sizes 2 - 18' there are actually only 4 sizes to cut - extra-small, small, medium and large. And she doesn't state what measurements any of those are exactly. apparently a medium is somewhere between a 34.5" and 35.5" bust (also note the non-standard measurements she uses?). so i'm stuck making a mystery-sized shirt for my 34" bust. which is a pity, because it's a very flattering pattern so far (that or i made the darts a wee bit big, resulting in a more fitted than intended shirt).
anyway, i'm stuck right now because i sewed a pocket on a bit crooked, and the facing isn't as straight as i'd like, but i don't actually own an unpicker... so no sewing till i can beg/ borrow/ steal (tried to buy - spotlight didn't have any left) one.

because i'm making the cowboy shirt i need to cut the little pointy yokes. and because i'm using plaid, i need to make sure all the stripes are doing the same thing. and because geometric mathsy stuff was never my strong point, and i have a bit of a cold which contributes to Stuffiness of Brain i actually had to cut seven yokes, instead of two, to get them pointing the right way. it's not helped by the fact the plaid is different on the vertical to the horizontal. it's helped greatly by the fact my fabric is completely reversible.

Monday, February 05, 2007

what have i let myself in for?

i'm feeling a little bit squicky about my dissertation. see, my genius idea was to take all these disarrayed opinions, sort them out, and say who was right (in my eyes). sadly, one of those learned authors has already done just that, and come to the exact same conclusion as me.

so i kind of need a new angle, and am torn between stretching my current idea to fit; or throwing it aside completely and cutting a new one (of the same cloth).

and instead of actually working on this, i'm blogging and eating copious amounts of chocolate and rocking gently back and forth and being otherwise evasive.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

more wendy! more!

this one doesn't gape so much, and i made the back a little narrower. i deliberately cut the facing in the opposite direction to the body. only problem? i cut one piece upside down (the stripes have two narrow line to one side of a wider one, so it shows). couldn't be bothered to recut, so just left it. i feel very lazy in retrospect. but i got the stripes in the bust and the lower body to match up! i am so couture!

you can't really see it, but the binding is tartan. i was going to make tartan covered buttons for the trim, but the shanks on my self-covering buttons are really long, and when sewn to the top they sag, and don't look very nice. you can see the bottom one sadly drooping there. so I'm a bit stuck for a trim right now. Maybe I'll just put a brooch on it. i have a cute little silver swirly leaf brooch that fits perfectly.

aside, are you american? want to help me out? want fabulous australian goodies? go check out my desperate plea for a(nother) BBW pattern.

next stop? i'm so close to finishing anatolia i can taste in (mmm... woolly!)
then i'm going to make a cowboy shirt out of that brown-ish kind of checked fabric below.