Monday, February 23, 2009

Totally Unravelled

I have signed up for Ravelry (I know I'm behind the times) ... but it seems to be a bit dangerous. On my first little Ravelry outing ... before I knew it ... half a day had passed by ... and that is dangerous!

I have added a couple of my knitting projects to my profile and I hope to make my Hugs, Kisses and Cables pattern available soon. It seems to be a wonderful forum to find out tricks and hints from other knitters - over come those parts of a pattern that you might be struggling with ... alternative ways to use patterns ... I fear there will be many many more hours (erm days) spent perusing the information available ...

I'm really struggling with the Sylvi pattern from the Twist Collective. My gauge was perfect with size 10 needles ... but then when I began knitting the pattern the sizing was totally off and the size small was turning out to be smaller than an extra small. After 60 rows or so I decided to unravel my knitting and start again with a bigger needle size (US 10.5) and try the size medium pattern. But it is still knitting up too small. It is really hard to know whether to keep going and see what happens or start over yet again ...
... and if I start over again - how do I start? Bigger needles? Bigger size?Maybe using my own choice of yarn was a mistake ...
Maybe I knit super tight (I think I do) ...Maybe I should just stay clear of trying to make clothes (maybe I'm wimping out too soon) ...
Or maybe it is the reason why hand knitted things are so special and unique - they all turn out a little different?
Do you just learn how your knitting style will change a pattern? Or will I have these endless debates with myself for ever more ...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tutorial: Machine Chain Piecing Techniques

Here a tutorial on two machine piecing techniques. Simple Machine Piecing shows you how to make a simple single strip for quilt borders etc. Chain Assembly assembly allows you to make larger quilted pieces very quickly.

NOTES:
1) Cutting your pieces accurately is a really important part of making your quilt. If your pieces are not cut to the correct size to begin with - your quilt/pattern will not fit together as you have planned.
2)
I prefer to press the chains as I go. Iron the back of the chain first, ensuring all the seams are ironed in the same direction. Then iron from the front to make sure there are no puckers or pleats along seams.

SIMPLE MACHINE PIECING
(for a single quilted strip)
You can make a quilted strip for quilt borders etc very quickly using this technique.

Step 1: Design, cut and lay out your quilt border/strip.Step 2: Starting at the top of the border/strip stack your pieces into a pile. Be careful to stack them in order!Step 3: Take the first two squares from the stack. Place them right sides together and sew a seam on the right hand edge. DO NOT REMOVE THE SEWN SQUARES FROM THE MACHINE. Then take the next two squares from the stack, place them right sides together and feed them into the machine following your first two squares. Continue this process until you have reached the end of your stack.
Sew squares together in a chain

Step 4: Cut the threads between the sewn pairs.
Cut threads between the pairs of squares

Step 5:
Stack your pairs - ensuring to keep them in order ... ... and take the first two pairs right sides together and sew a seam on the right hand edge. DO NOT REMOVE THE SEWN SQUARES FROM THE MACHINE. Then take the next two pairs from the stack, place them right sides together and feed them into the machine following your first two squares. Continue this process until you have reached the end of your stack.
Sew pairs together in a chain

Step 6: Snip the threads between the squares and continue as above until you have reached the desired length for your border.
Continue to sew chains of squares together

Remember to press your squares ensuring the seams are lying in the same direction.


CHAIN ASSEMBLY (for larger areas)
Using this method you will be able to assemble your quilt in a very neat and speedy manner.

Step 1: Design, cut and lay out your quilt.Step 2: Starting at the top of each row stack your pieces into piles. Be careful to stack them in order. Step 3: Take the first two squares from the top of stacks Row1 and Row2. Place them right sides together and sew a seam on the right hand edge. DO NOT REMOVE THE SEWN SQUARES FROM THE MACHINE. Then take the next two squares from Row1 and Row2. Place them right sides together and feed them into the machine following your first two squares.
Continue this process until you have reached the end of Row1 & Row2. Remove the chain from the machine but DO NOT CUT ANY CONNECTING THREADS between the pairs of squares.
Sew rows 1&2 together in a chain

Step 4: Go back to the top of your chain and begin to add the pieces from Row3 in the same manner. Remove from the machine but DO NOT CUT ANY CONNECTING THREADS.
Add Row 3 to the chain

Continue until you have all the squares for Rows 3 & 4 in place. Remove from the machine but DO NOT CUT ANY CONNECTING THREADS.

Step 5: Sew your vertical chains together.
Sew your vertical strips together

Once all your chains are sewn together press - ensuring your seams are lying in the same direction.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Recycled Cotton Shirt Quilt - Craft Stylish Magazine Article

I'm very excited to have my second magazine article coming out next week (17th Feb) with the folks at CraftStylish. My article tells you how to turn your old cotton shirts into a simple but snuggly quilt ... mentioned on the front cover no less! I love the cover of the magazine - crafty yet stylish don't you think? Here is a sneak peak at the article ... I hope I don't get in trouble for sharing a couple of days early ...
... I am just THRILLED at how yummy and cosy my quilt looks in this photo!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Puff, Puff, Chug, Chug ....

I did it ... and just like the like the Little Engine "I though I could. I thought I could".
Lots of detail in this one ... A big thank you to my step mom Jennie who told me how to improve my satin stitch ... I hope I am getting better (although I'm still regularly embarrassed by how much I have to learn!)Measures 35.5" x 35.5". Puff, Puff, Chug, Chug on to the next project ... (erm when can I put my feet up?)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Little Rose Cardigan

It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from each new project I tackle. And I might sound a bit simple - but I was really beginning to think I might know how to knit. So I felt probably over confident when I decided to knit my first piece of clothing (admittedly - a very miniature clothing for the little bunny.)
It didn't take very long to make all the pieces ... learning to make cute edging was fun ... ... but learning how to sew together the shoulder seams using a grafting technique - that was a serious mental effort (especially when your pregnant brain is functioning like a peanut) ...
... and realizing that in order to make my seams beautiful and neat on the inside of the garment I really need to adjust the way I "dec2" ... lets not share photos of the dodgy bits!

I only made one little rose for the front of the cardigan. I followed the instructions making the rose with the specified US6 needles - but it was really too big - so I unravelled and remade the rose using US3 needles. Putting 3 additional roses down one side still seemed too much - do you think I was wrong to leave it at one rose?
I found the perfect colored pink button from my recycled button stash ...... although I wonder if pink was the wrong color? (Cascade Yarn - Cash Vero DK 036) Pretty predictable for a girl bunny ... but I felt knitting in white cashmere for a little one was just asking for trouble!

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