Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sewing Class Project Spring 2015

Teaching How to Use your Sewing Machine at the local community school was once again, an enjoyable experience.  I taught the first group in the Fall of 2013, Here's the link to their projects, the second group in the Fall of 2014, here's the link to their projects and now this group.  I did this semester a little differently.  The first class was the Beginner group.  I limited the enrollment to 8 students this time.  A much needed adjustment, class was more manageable.  

As in the past, I started with winding a bobbin and threading the machine and then we proceeded to making the tote bags.  Here's an example of my students finished projects.


The second 5 week session was an Intermediate class, open to students of my beginner classes.  I limited that class to 6 individuals.  Each student had a choice of patterns.

We started week one with learning to read the back of the pattern envelope including what type and how much fabric to use, what size to make, and notions and tools that would be needed.  Then we opened the pattern instructions and read through them and picked out the needed pieces of the pattern and loosely cut them out.  My students' reaction to the tissue paper was quite amusing.  They were really concerned with the weight of the tissue paper.

Week 2, each student pinned their pattern pieces to the fabric that they had purchased.  This reinforced my decision to limiting the class to 6 students.  Today's public school classrooms do not have the large tables that are needed.  Luckily we were in a Science lab and the tables were arranged 2 together making a suitable surface to lay out the pattern pieces.

Week 3,4, & 5 were dedicated to sewing.  Here's a few pictures of some of the finished projects.

Hopefully my students will continue to sew.  We had a good time together.  I believe sewing to be an important skill and a wonderful way to express your creativity. 

So have you done any sewing lately?  Do you know someone who would benefit from your knowledge and learn to sew?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Wishing All a Happy Mothers Day with a Free Knit Dress Dishcloth Pattern

Happy Mother's Day.  To celebrate, I wanted to share this Dress Dishcloth pattern with you.  I originally published this in the Spring of 2014 as a fund raiser for Chicks and Ducks for Heifer International.

Size 7 U.S. Knitting Needles (4.5 mm)
Crochet Hook U.S. Size G6/4.00 mm
1 Skein Worsted Weight Cotton in Main Color (A)
 Sample used Sugar and Cream Soft Violet #00093 and Country Yellow #01612
Small Amount of coordinating solid Color (B)

 Cast on 34 stitches

Using Main Color (A) Knit one row

Row 1-(A) Knit
Row 2-(A) Purl
Row 3-(B) K1, *YO, k2tog, k2* Repeat ** ending last repeat
 with k3
Row 4-(B) Knit
Row 5-(A) Knit
Row 6-(A) Purl
Row 7-(B) K3, *YO, k2tog, k2* Repeat ** ending last repeat
 with k1
Row 8-(B) Knit
Row 9-(A) Knit
Row 10-(A) Purl
Row 11-(B) K1, *YO, k2tog, k2* Repeat ** ending last repeat with k3
Row 12-(B) Knit

Change to Color (A) work in stockinette stitch starting with a knit row and knitting first and last stich on purl rows until piece measures 4 inches from cast on edge
Waist- change to color (B) for waistband

Row 1-K1, SSK 8 times, K2tog 8 times, K1 (18 stitches remain)
Row 2-Knit across
Row 3-K1, SSK 4 times, K2tog 4 times, K1 (10 stitches remain)
Row 4-Knit across

Change to (A) main color for Bodice

Row 1- K3, M1, K4, M1,K3
Row 2- k1, p10, k1
Row 3- k3, m1, k6, m1, k3
Row 4- k1, p12, k1
Row 5- knit across
Row 6- k1, p12, k1
Row 7- knit across
Row 8- k1, p12, k1
Neckline & Shoulders

Row 1- k4, cast off center 6, k3

Work on 4 stitches on one side

Row 1-K1, p3
Row 2-Knit
Row 3K1, p3
Bind off 4 stitches

Reattach solid yarn to other side at center of neckline (WS) facing

Row 1-P3, k1
Row 2-Knit
Row 3-P3, k1

Bind off leaving last loop to begin crochet chain and neckline trim
Starting with the loop from bind off – chain 12 and attach to the other side of neckline

Slip Stitch crochet around neck opening, slip stitch crochet in each chain for hanger and Fasten Off

Weave in ends

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

Thanks to all of you for knitting the dress dishcloths.  Part of the pattern sale proceeds have gone to purchase chicks and ducks through Heifer International.

Dress Dishcloth Knit Pattern Purchasers
This gift to Heifer in your honor is a driving force for change and will help to end hunger and poverty worldwide.
A family in need will receive:
  • Gift of a Flock of Chicks Gift of a Flock of Chicks
  • Gift of a Flock of Ducks Gift of a Flock of Ducks
I made a gift in your honor.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Weaving Potholders during National Craft Month

 March is National Craft Month and seems like the ideal time to share the story of my potholder loom.  It was the first opportunity I had to create using textiles.
loom and potholders.jpg
I’ve had this loom for more than 50 years.  When I was a child, I spent a lot of time with my teenage cousin.  He and his girlfriend took me along with them many times and babysat for me often.  Several years later, they would be married and I would be their flower girl.  I received my loom for Easter while visiting his girlfriend’s parents when I was 5 years old.  I was thrilled to receive it and treasured it from the beginning.
My mom and her sisters crocheted, knit, and sewed and I was about to carry on the tradition and discover my lifelong passion.  I can’t say I actually remember being taught to make a potholder on the loom but I’m sure my mother sat with me and helped me master the over, under technique with the loops and the hooks on the loom.  And then the “casting off” of the loops, one at a time, using my fingers to secure each loop though the center of the last.  This was before I learned to use a crochet hook.  As I got a little older, mom would teach me to sew and my aunt would teach me to knit.  I tried crochet but couldn’t master it.  But my earliest memory is the pure joy and excitement of creating a square mat, mixing and matching the different color loops to create fun patterns. I’d choose several colors to combine; I practiced my math skills by making sure that the colored pattern would be even.  I spent many hours at the kitchen table or in my room creating potholders for my mom, aunts, and grandparents.  I sold them to our neighbors and friends.  It was my first realization that my passion could be profitable.
My loom made its first move with me when I was 9.  My parents were thrilled to move us to a brand new home in a town with excellent schools.  I wasn’t so sure.  I didn’t know anyone and the kids at school weren’t very nice to the “new girl”.  But I had my loom and we had a new kitchen and so I made potholders. Those times past, I adjusted to my new school and made friends.  I learned to love my new home and town.  Busy, my loom went back into the container and sat safely on the shelf in my closet.
As a teenager, life was full of friends, school, and dating with all the drama a teenager encounters.  I sewed most of my clothes during those years, I knit several blankets and a few scarves and I continued to use my loom to make potholders.   My loom and a supply of colorful loops were kept safely in my bedroom closet.  When I was alone, I’d turn to my loom.   I’d sit and once again arrange the colors of the loops and weave several potholders.  Then the loom would go safely back in its place in my closet.  I was not very neat as a teenager but my loom and loops had a space in my closet and were always put away with care.
I moved to my first studio apartment in my 20’s and on my own for the first time, it was very Mary Tyler Moore Show. I’d spend time at home in the evening knitting and dreaming of my future. Occasionally, I’d surround myself with small piles of the blues, yellow, green, red, and white loops arranging patterns with the colors as I would weave a potholder.   It was relaxing after a day at work and gave me a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
I married in 1977 and moved into my home.  Of course, my loom came with me.  I didn’t do much sewing or knitting during those years.  I did  hook a rug and do some cross stitch but being a wife and having a full time job took up most of my time.  My loom stayed in the closet for several years.  When it became obvious that my marriage was not going to last,  I moved into a small rental with my three year old son and in an effort to re-focus my life, I began to knit again.  Soon, the loom was out on the table and I was planning my future again as I made potholders.  I returned to college and finished my undergraduate degree while working full time and raising my son.  Life was hectic being a mom, student, and full time employee.   I didn’t have much time for my needlework passions.
My son went off to college and then to live on his own.  I made potholders for his first apartment in his favorite colors.  His question to me was ‘Where do other people get potholders because you make all of ours?’  I laughed.  Was it possible that he didn’t know that potholders could be purchased in a store? My parents moved to their retirement home and of course, they got new potholders.
In recent years, I’ve been able to devote more of my time and energy to my passion for all things hand made.   I knit and sew daily, I’ve designed and had several knitting patterns published, I maintain this blog about my knitting and sewing experiences.  I’ve taught many children and adults to both knit and sew.  I’ve created a variety of household items and clothing.  I’ve sold some and given many as gifts.  I’ve knit gloves, hats, scarves, and sweaters for myself.  I’ve made blankets and tote bags, pillows and drapes and countless other items. I began recreating doll clothes from vintage patterns and designing clothes for several different types of dolls.  But still, I return to my potholder loom.  
When I’m deciding what my next knitting project will be or when something is on my mind, I take out my loom with its supply of loops.  I sit and arrange the colors, creating different patterns, enjoying the simplicity and satisfaction of a useful project completed.  I have no idea how many potholders I’ve made through the years, but I still have the same feeling of contentment as I make each over and under motion and complete each mat.
Harrisville Designs has become my supplier of loops.  The quality is excellent.  Last year, I discovered the Pro Size Loom and loops.
Large grey on loom.jpg
This loom makes a much larger potholder.  I’m now enjoying weaving on this loom too.

In honor of National Craft Month, I urge you to share your creative talents with others, especially children.  The skills that they learn will be with throughout their lifetime bringing them the joy of accomplishment and the satisfaction of knowing “I made this”.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dressing for Spring 2015 Dress Dishcloth

 Just released! A new dress style dishcloth for Spring.  This pattern is a simple knit with enough texture to make it an interesting skirt. The pattern is available on Craftsy and Ravelry.   As with the other dress dishcloths, you'll need U.S. Size 7 knitting needles and worsted weight cotton yarn such as Bernat , Lion Brand, or Lily Sugar n Cream.

As I did last year, this pattern is only available through the end of April and part of the proceeds go to Heifer International to purchase chicks and ducks.

If you enjoy this pattern, look for the original collection published by Leisure Arts

or the Let's Travel collection.

Here's to a lovely, sunny, warm Spring and A kitchen dressed for the occasion.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Spring Outfit for American Girl Doll

These cold, cloudy winter days have me dreaming of lovely Spring days.  This outfit is a new one for my American girl doll.  I display my dolls and their handmade clothes each summer at a local library and I wanted to make some new outfits.

The dress is from Simplicity pattern #0107.  A plain shift that is made of just a front and back.  Double fold bias tape is used at the armholes and neckline.  I used a zipper instead of velcro for the back closure. A cream colored baby rick rack (.25 inches wide) from Wrights trims the hemline.

The sweater was a pleasure to knit.  The pattern is from a Plymouth Yarn book that is out of print.  It is called Dolly Mixture.  The yarn is Plymouth Encore DK.  One of my favorites for doll clothes.  I cast on with the white and continued to knit with the turquoise.  The buttons are 3/8 inch white by Blumenthal.

The purse was fun to make.  I used felt and the purse from Simplicity pattern #A2108 another out of print pattern.  I found this several years ago at a Florida Walmart.   I sewed it by hand using embroidery floss.  The bead is from my travels.  I think the colors really compliment the outfit.

I really enjoyed sewing the purse.  I'm going to look at my other outfits and make purses for those too.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Favorite Photos of 2014

Happy New Year.  2014 was a busy year.  Lots of travel and fun knitting and sewing projects.  Here's some of my favorite photos of the year.

My beautiful doll from Whales.  Here's their website.
Bonnie and Pearl Doll Sweater by Debbie Trainor
Bitty Baby Outfit

Pierre the Bear Pattern by Leisure Arts
Cotton Market Bag
My incredible trip to Britain and the Provence Region of France.

Fabric Bag from Cath Kidston Fabric.  Here's more information

Can Can Shawl

Pro Size Potholder and Dishcloth Dress

Vero Beach, Florida
I have lots of ideas for 2015. 

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