Archive for May, 2008

I just couldn’t help myself!

posted Friday, May 30th, 2008

After finishing the first bag, and realizing I had more than enough yarn left for a second (and then some.. lol) I went to work.. and really very quickly completed this one..I started it yesterday and I finished it this afternoon. I think I just finally have those squares down, and the rest of it was really very simple. I did the sides differently on this one… just doing rows of dc around my seamed blocks, and then joining the front and back together in the “middle” of the sides with a slip stitch seam.



Is it sad that I actually have plans in the works for a third? I want to make the Percy bag from Knitty and incorporate a block into it somehow.. and UPS should be arriving any minute now with a bunch of Shine Sport in Fedora… mmmm.. chocolatey and some Comfy in Honey Dew 😀 (speak of the devil, right after I typed that, my doorbell rang!! My almost 3 year old answered the door with me and immediately said “I like it, mail! Is it more yarn?” She’s so cute, really! I got two boxes of yarn.. my KP order and a big box of Peace Fleece!). Anyways, one of those is earmarked for a lace top for me, but the other will become a bag.

I think Fedora is an ironic name for a yarn color, of course, my dad had a fedora hat that he wore in the late 70’s and through most of the 80’s.. the only picture we have of it, is on some button he had made for whatever reason.. that has survived for some 20+ years now.. the yarn is almost the same color.. darker, but still brown! 🙂


Update: decided to go with the Honey Dew for the bag 🙂 I couldn’t see making a lace top (meant to go over a t-shirt) out of it after it arrived, so that made the decision much easier. It’s on it’s way to becoming a bag now 🙂


Finally Finished – my “Little” Larger than Life

posted Thursday, May 29th, 2008

I’m so glad this is done (aside from needing lining).. I started it last summer and just sat on it for a looong time. I even used the yarn for a few other projects as well… and I still have tons of it left, even after finishing the bag 🙂

I decided it would have a wild side, and a more muted side.. since I plan on wearing it messenger style, that sort of makes it reversable! I used gussets at the sides to shape the beginning of the strap, and then made the border on the top of the bag become the actual strap, and finished it off with a scalloped edge.

Larger than Life - Finished

Larger than Life - Finished

I had about 8 gazillion ends to weave in though – scary!


A ruffled skirt how-to

posted Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

And without images to boot! It’s a really simple concept.. simple enough that I think I can get away without showing all of the actual steps. There are however three things I find absolutely critical to making this fast and easy.

1) Shirring/gathering foot for my serger. Yes, I do have a super fancy expensive serger, but even if I didn’t, so long as your serger has differential feed (most newer sergers do) the ruffling part is super easy to do (and fast!!). The shirring/gathering foot is worth the $30-40 it will set you back – TRUST me! It has uses beyond just this, though simple gathered clothing is probably most of what I do with it.


How it works, is that your non-ruffled fabric goes through the top guide, and your fabric to be gathered goes under the foot. Set your differential feed to somewhere between 1.5 and 2 depending on how much ruffling you want (mine is normally set to 2), and serge away. The bottom material is gathered and automatically sewn to the top layer. It’s important to pay attention as you work up through the tiers, that you don’t accidentally serge over previously ruffled portions – they tend to want to fold up underneath your work, so checking often to make sure the older stuff is out of the way is really important. I’ve learned that the hard way.. more than once!

You can do the gathering by hand, but when there’s this much of it to do (the green/pink skirt in my previous post had almost 15 yards of material to gather), that quickly becomes incredibly tedious and aggravating.

2) Narrow edge foot for my sewing machine. I easily use this thing as much as my regular foot on my sewing machine. It’s almost impossible to top stitch close to an edge without it.. at least if you want to do it evenly. Ignore the fact that I have a different thread color in my machine, and no double needle.. but this shows the foot and how I align it while I sew. I use this foot almost any time I do topstitching.. because I almost always have an edge or a seam to use for alignment, and it takes all the thinking/struggling out of it. There is a metal “blade” through the middle of the foot that is used as a guide. I can change the alignment of the needle on my machine when I am topstitching, and most machines allow some similar adjustment (or have a stitch setting that is already adjusted for you.. even my bottom of the line Elna had one).


3) Double needle for top stitching. Fairly self explanatory, no? I like the double top-stitched look, some don’t, and that’s fine.. but the narrow edge foot with the double needle makes getting that double top-stitching perfect super easy. I prefer the 2mm wide ones.. the 4mm seems to be almost too wide for everything I want to do. Sometimes I think a 3mm would be perfect, but I don’t think they make those.


Now, onto how to actually construct the ruffled skirt. I start by figuring out how long I want to make it… I like 3 tier skirts with an exrta narrow ruffle at the bottom, so I divide the length I want by 3. SO if I wanted a 15″ skirt, each main tier will be about 5″ wide. For the top one, I add 1 -1.5″ to allow for the waistband casing, depending on the width of elastic I plan to use (I normally use 3/4″ and will add 1″ for the casing). When you consider you are losing some length in seam allowances, you don’t really need to figure in the final narrow ruffle into the length… it just magically works out.

I usually cut that top tier first, with the length is about 2x the waist measurement… usually with little kids, if you are using 38″ gauze or 44″ wide quilting cotton, just using that length is fine. For adults you would want to measure and try to get fairly close. If you were using 58″ wide fabric and had a 32″ waist for example, you’d probably be fine with one width of fabric.. but you’d need to use more than one length if you were using 44″ wide fabric.

Each tier after that is twice as long as the one before it. So I’ll cut 2 lengths of fabric 5″ wide, and then 4 more that are 5″ wide, and then 8 that are about 1.5″ wide. If you want to make your skirt different colors, you can cut each of those tiers in a different color.

I construct the skirt from the bottom up. I sew the 8 1.5″ wide strips together, making a really long strip (if you are using a fabric with no “right” side to make it easy to keep track, make sure all of your seams end up on the same side). Then I’ll hem one edge – I normally do a rolled hem, either on my serger if I want to make it quickly, or I’ll use the narrow rolled hem foot on my sewing machine to fold and stitch down the hem if I want a slightly more polished look.

Then, I sew the 4 5″ wide strips together, and using my serger and the shirring foot, I’ll sew the long 1.5″ wide strip I’ve previously sewn together and hemmed, onto the shorter 5″ wide strip (that one goes on top, the 1.5″ wide strip goes on the bottom, make sure right sides are together, with the hemmed side on the left), gathering as I go. Usually I come out at the end within a few inches of the ends of both of them.. sometimes I don’t, and that’s okay, there’s enough extra material involved that it’s pretty forgiving.

Following what I did with the 4 strips, I sew the next 2 together, and then using my serger and my shirring foot, sew the longer strip with the now attached narrow ruffle, to the shorter 5″ wide strip. Then I repeat that with the wider top tier strip and the work already completed.

Then, I’ll trim the edges so that everything is even, and then seam the sides together, so that the skirt forms a circle. Then I’ll normally serge the top edge to finish it, I’ll measure and cut a piece of elastic to fit, sew the ends together, and then fold the top of the skirt over on the inside and stitch the elastic into a casing.

Maybe next time I make one of these I’ll take some pictures along the way.. but it really is very simple.

So while my internet was down…

posted Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

I finally got around to starting on the tilted duster I’ve wanted to make since last.. oh.. September? Yep, instead of finishing my tangled yoke that has been a WIP since last fall, and has tantalizingly little work left (I abandoned it when I was almost to the “fun” part) I started another big project.. but I did start it with the intent of getting it done quickly, since my internet went out sometime last week (Wednesday?) and I knew I’d have some free time to do that 🙂

I cast on Friday, after working on a few things for my DD (see below), and I have about 8″ left to knit on the ‘skirt’ portion now, which I hope to knock out this week. I have one sleeve seamed up and ready to sew on, and another waiting to be seamed. I went ahead and knit the collar earlier after getting bored with working on the skirt part – ironically almost the exact same knitting, but since there were fewer stitches it was a nice “break” and it went fairly quickly. I made a couple of modifications to the pattern.. obviously I’m doing mine with garter rib, but I’ve also fibbed the number of picked up stitches on both the collar and the skirt. I couldn’t figure out how to pick up as many for the collar as the pattern called for without making the collar too loose – as it is, it’s still fairly loose, and I picked up 12 fewer stitches than I was supposed to. It may fit differently once it has more weight to it with the skirt finished, and the sleeves sewn on.


I adore this color.. I almost wonder if I shouldn’t have gone with something lighter though… I think the texture of the garter rib sort of gets lost

Before I did that though, I made a summerlin top for my DD


I also made a few guaze skirts for my DD.. this is the only one I’ve taken pictures of though. I also made a pink/fuchsia and a black/blue/turquoise one. I have plans to make a couple more… it’s simple and easy clothing for summer around here.

Kaia Twirly Skirt

Kaia Twirly Skirt

I realize I’ve been a bad blogger and haven’t updated nearly as often as I should have been, but I really haven’t done too much recently.. the kids have kept me fairly busy.