Wrapping up: Final sewing project of 2013

Happy New Year!

I photographed this project – a knitting needle case for my mother – a couple of weeks ago in preparation for a post, but I’ve been holding off putting it on the blog until I was sure it had been received at Christmas!

Needle Case

I opted for a cute bunny print cotton as the contrast interior and a grey polycotton as the main colour. I somehow managed to not photograph the ribbon to tie the closed case up with (ahem, see my New Year’s resolution below…). The pattern is Butterick B5006. I bought it with the intention of making myself a good cat-proof knitting bag, but instead have used the knitting needle case part a few times for gifts (the last one I made up was for my sister and involved this fun Michael Miller alien print as the contrast to a complimentary blue main fabric).

Last project 2013

Skills learned: I’ve worked with this pattern before, but I used a thicker wadding this time around so I think the ‘skill’ I worked on most here was manipulating a much chunkier project than usual.

Recommend pattern? The only segment of the pattern I’ve used so far is this needle-case but it certainly does the job for that. Had I not had one on hand, though, I could have drafted my own version.

Next steps…

I have been really enjoying catching up on my blog reading over the past few days and seeing reviews of various sewing and knitting projects of 2013. It’s also been really interesting to read up on bloggers’ plans for the coming year.

I’ve never been great for New Year’s resolutions, so all I’ll say on that front is that I hope to continue building my sewing skills with new and exciting projects in 2014 – and that I maintain this blog while I’m at it! I started the blog with the sole aim of using it as encouragement to push my sewing education and I really think it is helping to keep me focused. I completed several pieces this year, which is more than I had expected to do, and some of these are now in regular rotation in my wardrobe. Although sewing has fast become my favourite hobby and pastime, my sewing budget remains pretty tight so it’s important that whatever I sew is actually useful to me in an everyday sense. (This lesson was learned very early on – the first dress I ever made was a lovely and well-fitting purple party dress which I have never worn!)

One area of the blog I specifically aim to develop this year concerns the photos of finished projects for the blog. With that in mind, I’ll soon be posting a couple of pieces that I finished up late in 2013 but haven’t written about here yet.

Hope your 2014 is off to a good start! 🙂


Knitting inspiration: stitch ‘dictionaries’

Stitch dictionary

So the 1940s tunic/simple sweater I’ve been working on has hit a bit of a wall: I had bought more wool than the project apparently required in case I needed extra, but it turns out that I still need more. Unfortunately, I only realised this after knitting the front, the back, and most of one sleeve. There’s just no way I have enough to finish the second sleeve and I’ve been scouring the internet in a (so far) vain attempt to find just one skein from the same dye batch. Just one! Argh…

I’m trying to think of ways to salvage the project, but I’m putting it aside for the moment to see if the miracle ball of yarn shows up somewhere online. In the meantime, I’m turning my attention to Christmas present production.

Every year, I knit at least two or three scarves as gifts for family or friends and have found knitting or stitch ‘dictionaries’ brilliant sources of inspiration when designing scarves for different people. I bought this one (pictured above) in New York a few years back, after buying a copy for my sister who was then just learning to knit. I thought it would be really useful to have to hand whenever I would start to design my own projects and it’s been invaluable when it comes to scarves.

Stitch index

By outlining different types of stitches or different pattern plans, it’s really easy to modify them and to develop your own border and pattern combinations.

One of my favourite projects so far has been this red merino-mix scarf I made for myself a few years back using basketweave stitch with a moss stitch border. Although it’s fairly lightweight, it’s one of the warmest that I own and I just love the bright red colour:

Me scarf

I don’t have pics of the myriad other scarves I’ve finished over the past few years, but I’ll definitely be drawing on this book again in the coming weeks as I design a new batch of scarves for the festive season. I’ll post pics when the projects are underway, but I particularly love these three designs and hope to incorporate some of them into my plans:

Fancypants stitches