Thursday, January 31, 2019

Getting My Eye In

Some of my most successful sewing projects have been made with  Burda Style patterns. But it's quite a while since I used a Burda magazine. It seems impossible that you can isolate one pattern piece when there are a myriad printed on top of each other. But once your eye locks onto a particular line, it jumps out at you and tracing it is not that difficult.

I have also had some failures with Burda patterns, usually due to choosing the wrong size or the wrong fabric. I hope I have it right this time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

High Time

A friend of mine is destashing and gave me some yarns she thought I might be able to use. Apparently this green wool was bought by her mother-in-law some 60 years ago! High time someone put it to use, don't you think? Good thing it was moth proofed, it still looks in perfect condition:
I'm in the mood to crochet a blanket. I think the green would be a bit overpowering on its own but perhaps I could combine it with some Italian wool that was also in the gift:
I browsed through Pinterest until I found a little square that I thought would work. I tried a sample with a green centre:
Bit dull. A yellow centre would make it pop. I spun some wool and yesterday dyed it yellow.
I've made a start:
I like the way the variegated wool gives me flowers of different colours. I don't know how far it will go. I'll use up all the Italian wool and then decide how to proceed. Perhaps do another green round on each square, perhaps do a wide border.....

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Throw It Out

I need some yellow wool for an upcoming project. I thought instead of spinning more wool, I'd look for a skein I knew was lurking in my kist or trunk. Hmmm. I found it alright, but it looks as though someone has snipped many of the threads with a pair of scissors. I soon found the culprit:
I don't know what his name is, nor what to do about him, but he has plagued me for years. It's not the greatest photo, he has three little hairs on one end which don't show here. There are moth balls in the kist, so that's not the answer. Any other suggestions welcome. I will have to spin some more wool and throw this skein away.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Beaded Ladies

Well, I finished knitting the beaded ladies and attached them to a drawstring bag. Since this is not for a competition, I didn't have to cover the bag with beads, the back is plain fabric. The bag is lined with lilac satin, but I didn't put in pockets:
I'm happy with it as an experiment, I think the idea has possibilities. For more about the pattern, look at this previous post. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

More Market Bags

I've given away all the market bags I made, all 11 of them. I need some more gifts, so I bought some more fabric on Wednesday and whipped up two more. I gave them away before I remembered to take a photo of them, but here's a picture of the fabric.

Before I put the pattern away in early December, I scribbled myself instructions on how to make them. It was good to have a check list to follow and not have to remember the tweaks I made in the course of sewing so many.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Not For Competition

While my beading supplies were handy, I thought I'd try out an idea I've been contemplating for some time. I came across this cross stitch pattern on Pinterest and wondered if I could use it for bead knitting:
I can. It's not easy, my check process doesn't work so well with a non-repetitive pattern. At one stage I 'fudged it', but one blue bead spoils the line and glares out at me, so now I make sure I correct every mistake!
I struggled to trace the pattern back to its origin. The picture links back to Instagram which doesn't help much. I came across the name Isabelle Vautier in a comment on a similar pattern, so I looked that up and found a needlework website, but couldn't find this pattern or anything like it. There's a signature on it that looks like Fran:
Thanks Fran, I love the design.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


I have a thread catcher next to my chair and try earnestly to put all the thread I snip off into there, be it wool, tatting thread or sewing thread. But inevitably some threads escape and get swept outside. It seems that birds pick them up and incorporate them in their nests! I think it may be Melba Finches, but I wouldn't swear to that. Not all these threads are mine - some of them are from feed sacks that Jack uses and I think I see some dog hair too.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Drawstring Bag

I've finished the beaded drawstring bag. It caused me a lot less angst than the tulip bag! It has the recommended pocket:
And some tatting. I tatted a split ring braid, 3/3 and used it to hide the rather ugly backstitches that form the casing for the ribbon.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Half Way

I didn't get any knitting done on Tuesday, but yesterday I finished the first half of the bag. This is one side of a drawstring bag, 15 cm by 20 cm. I'm using the method I worked out on the previous project - thread one row of beads and check it before threading the next, then knit each row without reference to the chart. So far, so good! The second half will be knitted continuously from this one, since it's a reversible pattern, I can just fold the piece to make the bag.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


I don't usually enter more than one article in a section of the competitions run by the women's organisation I belong to, but I'd really like to make a beaded drawstring bag. I think there's still time to get it done before the final deadline. The construction of the bag itself will be much simpler than the clutch bag. I'm using the same chart I used for my practice purse, but I've turned the chart sideways because end on it's too narrow for me to achieve the dimensions needed for the competition.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Hours Later

Eventually there were no more ideas to try out, no more experiments to do, I had to get on with constructing the clutch bag. It took some time. I'm not going to put a clasp on the outside, so I've put a zippered pocket on the inside, to put anything precious. Pockets are 'recommended', so there had better be at least one pocket!  Here's a view of the inside:
And an outside view of the gusset:
I'm glad to have it done. Now I must get on with some of the cleaning I've been neglecting.

Friday, January 11, 2019


I've been worrying that the stiffener I plan to use for the beaded bag is not strong enough to support the beaded knitting. The practice purse is quite floppety. Then I remembered the felt that was the answer to constructing my glasses case. Perhaps I could use it for the bag too? I visualised a 'sandwich', with the satin lining on one side of the felt and the iron-on stiffener on the other side. Good theory, but I needed to make sure it would work in practice.

It may be a little bulky, but I think it'll work. I ironed the stiffener on (adding a dirty mark from the iron!) and then sewed it to secure it properly. I made the seam much wider than on the practice purse, in the hope that I will be able to sew the beaded knitting on without it showing on the lining. Note to self: don't mark the satin, it will show on the right side. Right, enough procrastination, now to get on with the real thing.

Thursday, January 10, 2019


I'm still working slowly on turning the beaded knitting into a bag. I was thinking of putting a zip along the opening of the bag, until I read the competition specifications again and saw, 'The bag must open wide enough to enable easy access to the contents.'    Hmm. Better use a gusset then. When I made the practice purse, I used a rectangular gusset, but I don't think that'll fit well with the tulip design. A triangular gusset then. On the practice piece, the gusset is in satin, but according to my 'advisers' the gusset must be knitted, although it will have a satin lining as well. It'll be easier to cut a satin gusset to match a knitted one than vice versa, so I've been knitting the gussets. It took me several goes to get the dimensions right. Fingers crossed these will work:

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


It's months since I finished my beaded knitting, but I haven't got around to turning it into a bag. Now time is running out, I will have to submit it soon, so I had better get on with the job.

One aspect I need to decide is what sort of edging to add around the beading. Whether putting an edging on my practice piece is further procrastination or a 'necessary step' I don't know. I considered several ways to make an edging. I experimented with ribbon, but honestly, I haven't a hope of adding it neatly enough to pass muster. I considered sewing a line of beads around, but I think the edging should be made of something other than beads. How about tatting? A pearl tatted braid is one possibility. But I settled for a narrow split ring braid, because it echoes the beads without being beads:

Sunday, January 6, 2019

More Ice Drops

These are all Diane's patterns, Pink Fudge and the her latest pattern, Doodle Ice Drop and Variation. I liked the Variation so much, I tatted two of them! 

Friday, January 4, 2019

Ice Drops

On Wednesday afternoon there was a tremendous crack of lightning and pfft, our power went off. It was restored 24 hours later, though our internet connection has only just been sorted out. There's a scorch mark on the floor where an electrical adapter melted, but thankfully there's remarkably little damage. There was no rain to accompany the thunder and lightning, sadly. We really need rain.

I went on tatting through the outage, but without the internet was restricted to patterns that I already had to hand.  That was no great hardship!
Top left is Nicola Bowersox's Birthday Ice Drop. The other two are Diane's: Rootbeer Fudge and Purple Fudge.

I have a new bag of turquoisey blue 'gems':
I think they combine well with white thread, though I'll try other colours too, of course.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

That Won't Work

Since I was unable to connect to the internet, I had a look through my pile of knitting magazines to find a pattern for a knitted top, to use the yarn that arrived in the post the other day. I found one I like, in an Australian magazine called Creative Knitting, Summer 2013 issue:
I knitted a swatch, to learn the stitch used and try out different size needles:
The 7 mm needles work to the right tension according to the pattern, and look better. So I cast on using 7 mm needles. It soon became clear that I won't have anywhere near enough yarn to knit a top:
You can see that although the balls look quite large, they have a cardboard core that fills up the middle. I have 8 balls, which might be enough to knit the back. No problem, I'll put the yarn away until the right project for it comes along.

I'm a bit puzzled that the pattern is classified as advanced skill level - it seems pretty simple to me. The stitch itself is easy and the shaping of the garment minimal. None of the knitting patterns in the magazine are classified as easy - I wonder if they're trying to flatter the reader, but it might have the effect of putting beginners off unnecessarily.