Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Stashdown2012: report #1

I intend to post a quick summary of my stashdown progress at the end of every month this year. Here's my first update.

Used up:
150 yards of dishcloth cotton (3 dishcloths)
about 30 yards of Rico essential cotton (2 apple key ring tags)
500 yards of sock yarn (1 pair socks complete, one underway)
70 yards of Sirdar country style dk in my stash so long, it predates Ravelry!

450 yards of Cygnet wool rich 4-ply  - because I didn't have the right weight in black and yellow to complete this little tea cosy:

General direction of travel is positive, as 750 yards of yarn has gone out and only 450 came into my stash in January. 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Red flowers

I managed some more secret crafting this week.

I sewed together five panels with applique flowers, that make up the red section. I sewed the pinwheels together, and made both the red and the indigo border sections.

Sew Hip issue 37 has the green and violet sections in it, and issue 38 arrived this week, with the yellow section and making up instructions. But I haven't bought any wadding or backing or border materials yet, having planned to finish all the pieced sections first. Here's my supplies for the next (green) step:

I've hardly got any purple fabric in stash, so I will need to go fabric shopping for that part.

Sunday, 22 January 2012


Yesterday, I did some more sewing, and this time it was something useful for me. I made this tool roll to organise my double-pointed needles. I have quite a few now, and shamingly I have duplicates in some sizes, caused by not storing them in an organised way, so that I can't find the right needles. Hopefully this sewing project will put an end to the over-buying.

When rolled up, my finished dpn case looks like this:

And when unrolled, all my dpns are nicely organised like this:

The gaps are for needle sizes I don't own yet, so I have future-proofed my dpns case!

I'm pleased to say all the fabrics came out of stash. I like the finished result, and it is very tidy. I made this without a pattern and the steps are in the Tutorial below.

Tutorial: How to make a roll case for your dpns (or pencils, make up brushes, anything you like!)
1. Decide how big you want your finished case to be. Add one inch to each dimension for seam allowances. Cut two pieces of fabric in this size, and one piece of interlining. My pieces were 11 ins tall by 15 ins wide to produce a case approx 10 ins tall by 14 ins wide.

2. Decide how tall you want your inner pocket to be. Add 1 in to the height for hem and seam allowance. Cut one piece of coordinating fabric the same width as the other pieces, and the selected height. Pin, press and sew a narrow double hem at the top.

3. Lay the fabrics in this order: back piece right side down, interfacing, top piece right side up, pocket piece right side up, matching the bottom edges. Pin all the pieces together round the edges. Sew round with a 1/2 in seam allowance, pivoting at the corners.

4. Decide how the pocket should be divided. I found it easiest to put the dpns into the open pocket and pin at the tops to indicate the divides needed. Use a ruler and fade away marker to draw seam lines on the pocket. Stitch down each marked seam line, starting at the bottom, taking the stitching just above the pocket top hem, and then lock-stitching back down the hem to ensure secure stitching.

5. Cut a piece of twill tape long enough to be able to tie round your completed case - mine was 23 ins. Fold in half and pin in place at the middle of one side at the back. Stitch over the tape within the seam allowance, stitching several times to secure firmly in place.

6. Make an edging strip by sewing 2 ins wide fabric strips together. Fold in half along the length and press down the middle.

7. With right sides facing, pin the edging to the edge of the fabric. Mitre the corners (if you want instructions on how to do this, try looking here note: not my photos, but I like the clarity of them). Attach the edge to the body of the case with a 1/2 in seam allowance. Turn back and fold to the back, press. Pin the edging strip to the back, folding a small hem inside the edge to obtain a smooth edge as shown below. Slip-stitch in place by hand.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Indigo pinwheels

The main problem I'm having with the rainbow quilt is finding time to work on it. Because I want it to be a surprise, I can only do this when dd is out of the house, and since it's cold, it has been the holidays, and she has exams in January so is now doing revision, that's not very often.

Dd was working (she volunteers in a local charity shop) on Saturday afternoon, so I seized the chance to sew these pinwheel squares, which will eventually be the indigo panel. Had to put them away before sewing together though.

Mmm, pinwheels. Top tips (or, what I learned from my mistakes!)

  • Press seams to one side when making the triangles
  • Pin, unfold and and check the alignment of both pinned sections before sewing together, unless you want to wield the seam- ripper
  • It is easiest to sew the pinwheels together if the pressed seams are in opposite directions.

I'm liking the finished pinwheel squares and best of all, I only had to buy one FQ of indigo fabric - the one with the little people on it. All the others came from stash, and include a pair of my old Monsoon shorts from the 1990s. Which is consistent with my decluttering policy for 2012.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Stashdown starters

Oh, I've been a bad blogger. Not written anything for nearly two weeks!

I've been active on the stashdown front, though. I made this washcloth, and used up two partial balls of Peaches & Creme dishcloth cotton.

Then I made these little crocheted keyring tags. This was a free pattern from the wonderful Emma Varnam, who also designed the camper van doorstop I made previously. I think I may use them for teacher gifts later this year.

I've also booked not one but two holidays! So I think I shall almost certainly achieve that aim this year. But you'll have to wait until later to discover the destinations.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Plans for 2012

Overall, I was pleased with last year's crafting progress. Although I didn't achieve a balance between knitting and sewing, I did learn to crochet and finished two long-term items from my languishing list.

In 2012 my top crafting objective is to reduce my yarn stash. I already wrote about my stashdown plans: I want my yarn stash to fit easily into the two baskets, and I certainly want to finish the year with fewer skeins than I started with.

As to other crafting objectives, I've come to the conclusion that it will be impossible for me to achieve a balance between knitting / crochet and sewing as long as I'm playing in the Rav Harry Potter House Cup. So I won't set that as a target this year. Instead I'll just aim to achieve a minimum of 12 completed sewing projects over the year, with the rainbow quilt counted as multiple projects, one for each pattern instruction (printed in parts) I complete.

I'm not going to worry at all about the last incomplete long term FO that is on my Languishing list. I will however try not to add to that list.

On the non-crafting front, I want to do more cultural things, especially with the children; I want to support dd through her A Level journey and help ds to improve his handwriting; I want all of us to go on holiday.

And that perpetual aim: stay employed, so I can afford to do all of the above.