Granny Square Cardigan


Well, I have come a long way with my granny squares since my post . Not only can I make a granny square, I can make at least 78 of them. I know this for a fact because that is how many granny squares it took to make my latest project, a granny square cardigan.

I chose to make the Granny Square Cardigan Crochet Pattern by Originally Lovely . I substituted the yarn for an all cotton yarn because I did not want to use acrylic. This meant that I had to use a different size crochet hook to get my squares to be 4 inches. That is why it is so important to make a swatch or a square to be sure the correct size is achieved. If the size is off, the sweater will not fit. I am usually a size small in knitting patterns. Asuming this, I made up the squares for the size small. However, when piecing them together, I realized it was not going to be big enough. No worries. I just whipped-up some more squares and I was back in business. The medium was a perfect fit.

Having never made a crochet project before, I spent quite a bit of time watching youtube instructions to get me going. After making this, I do understand the terms and techniques better, and will say that the pattern is simple enough for a beginner (like me) but a little guidance from youtube is VERY helpful. The cardigan went together really fast. I was quite surprised that I was able to finish it so quickly.

Not to toot my own horn, but I was so very happy with the way the cardigan turned out. It is always nice to accomplish something that has been a goal for so long. I really never thought I would be able to make one granny square let alone a whole sweater. I even have an order from my daughter to make her a granny square sweater. A pull-over this time, with a slightly different granny square pattern. I will be visiting youtube again. Stay tuned to see how it turns out…

As always, Happy Crocheting!


Dress with Front Pockets


Here is my latest look for fall. I made this dress using the VERY EASY VOGUE pattern V9022 and yes, it was very easy.

The pattern does not require buttons or zippers. This may be a bonus for many who fear these notions. It instead calls for a hook and eye closure. I love that there are front pockets incorporated into the pattern that are semi hidden.

The pattern also is made in panels and could be done in different blocks of color. I tried this using a center panel piece in a coordinating fabric. I later ripped the panel out, not caring for the combination, and, instead, made the piece of one fabric.

This dress can easily be made in one day and is flattering on. A simple dress for a simple occassion. I would recommend this Vogue pattern.

As always, Happy Sewing!

Thread Catcher Basket – DIY


Having done a lot of sewing projects lately, I was looking for a better option of disposing of cut threads. My option of choice lately had been to chuck them on the table where they found their way to the floor and left my sewing room in a state of disaster. Yes, I could have opted for a trash can, however, I don’t like the idea of feeling down below the table for the trash, slowing me down. What to do, what to do?

I came across this site for a thread catcher basket. Genious! Just what I needed. I absolutely LOVE my thread catcher basket and it was SO EASY to make. Now I can reach over and place my threads into the basket and empty it whenever I get around to it (it holds a lot). It is also very pretty to look at and washable.

My sewing station with my thread catcher basket.

My thread catcher basket is made of scraps of material I had on hand, so it did not cost me anything to make. Well, of course it did, but I didn’t have to purchase any new items for it. Always wonderful to make a project with items from your own stash.

These wonderful baskets could have other uses other than catching threads. Make them in different sizes for different uses. The possibilities are endless.

As always, Happy Sewing!

Thinking of Making Burda Shirt Pattern 6326? You May Want to Read This First…


I decided to make a simple looking shirt pattern from Burda. Being a somewhat experienced sewer, (I’ve been sewing since at least junior high) I did not think I would have any problems with this pattern. Think again!

But it seems I am not the only one who had problems with this pattern. A youtuber threw her project in the bin. Another reviewer found the neck facing pattern piece the wrong size (ME TOO!). I only wish that I had seen these reviews before I bought my pattern. Thank goodness it was on sale, it is not even worth sale price.

The back neckline facing was way too short (we’re talking 4 inches too short!). I drafted another one to fit the back neckline, cut it out, attached the interfacing, and sewed in place to the front side facings. All was well.

Moving on to the the sleeves, I found another problem. Come-on Burda! Now the sleeves were too big to fit in the arm holes. No, things could not be stretched or made to fit the hole. I had to rip-out the sleeve stitches and re-sew the seam to make it a smaller diameter, trim, press and it fit. Ok, now everything should be fine.

After putting in the buttonholes, I tried the top on. The neckline looked bad. What! I should have tried this on before I did the buttonholes. Ugh! How on earth was this neckline supposed to be attached!!! It called for cutting two pieces of each neck facing piece. I was supposed to add an extra strip to the neckline otherwise there would be three layers to cut buttonholes through. But it looked horrible on. The neckline wouldn’t lay flat and was ugly. Luckily, the buttonholes did not go through the front shirt piece since the facing was put on in the extended manner. I ripped out the extra facing all around the left side piece with buttonholes, re-cut the side with the buttonholes, fused interfacing to it, re-attached it and watched the following video: where a similar neckline is put in without this extra facing piece. Just as I suspected. The extra facing went in the bin.

This was strike three for Burda in my oppinon. I did not toss the project in the bin as I liked the fabric. That’s the only thing that kept me going. “I must save the fabric,” I kept saying to myself. However, I won’t be spending my money on Burda patterns in the future.

Does Burda have a quality control department? Do they test their patterns? There are real pictures of the garments on the package, so they are making the pieces. Are these pieces made with patterns or are the patterns made from these garments? Whoever is drafting the patterns is not making them accurately and the directions are horrible.

There is also no size for the buttons. None that I could see anyway. I would recommend a size 1/2″ or 12mm button.

I finally finished my shirt! It shoud have taken a day. Instead, I honestly have lost count of the number of days spent ripping out seams, creating new pattern pieces, re-sewing, re-ripping, wadding things up, throwing things on the floor, screaming, complaining, etc…

So, would I recommend this pattern? It’s bloody well unlikely! I doubt that I will ever make another Burda pattern again. However, I will wear the shirt, as it did turn out fine with the tweaks I made.

As always, Happy Sewing! (And if it’s not happy, it’s the project, not you.)

Making Granny Squares at My Age

Projects, Uncategorized

I have been in love with granny squares since I was young. I have always wanted to learn to crochet, but could never get past a single chain. This being only good for shoe laces. I decided to give it a try again.

I got a book on crochet, however, I found it hard to understand the procedures through the pictures. Maybe as a refresher once I have the hang of it, but for a beginner, this did me no good at all. My next step, youtube.

A lot of people will try and teach “beginners” to crochet granny squares on youtube. I gave three a try. The first one went too fast. Yes, I did pause and rewind and all of that, however, it wasn’t working. Proof of this fact is the above photo. The white “blob” is my attempt with this youtuber’s help.

I was beginning to think that maybe I was too young to be making granny squares. Do you have to be a “granny” to make them? Surely that couldn’t be the case…

Moving right along, I went through various videos until I came across my HERO. Jayda InStitches was just what I needed. Her video was slow and she explanded everything so well. I actually made a granny square that looks like a granny square, with her guidance. THANK-YOU Jayda! (The three colored granny squares were made using the video as my teacher. They are arranged in order of making them. As you can see, I got better as I made a few. The blue/gold square was the last to be made and clearly the best.)

From this learning experience, I have come to the conclusion that not everyone is a good teacher for every person. Some people might have learned well from the first video I watched, but it wasn’t for me. Teaching and learning styles vary greatly from person to person.

As always, Happy Crocheting!

Drawstring Waist Dress


Years ago, while vacationing in Las Vegas, I purchased a very comfortable, soft, knit, sleeveless dress with a drawstring waist and front pockets. This was the perfect casual summer dress. A great dress to have for going to the beach or going shopping. Of course, one can never find the exact dress years later, so there is only one thing to be done. Make one.

I hunted on the internet until I finally found a similar (but not exact) dress pattern. It was the Connie Dress Pattern (from the UK Sewmag site and it was a free printable download. Nice! The only trouble with the download was that I could not get it to resize to the proper dimensions. It was supposed to print out with a test box a certain size. Mine did not and I could not get it to print properly. However, I cut it out anyway in a larger size so that I could account for the wrong dimensions. This worked and the dress fit beautifully.

My finished dress.

The pattern was so easy to make and I learned a couple of new techniques that I have a feeling I will incorporate into future patterns that I make. One technique was sewing the neck facing into the neckline. In this pattern, one shoulder seam is sewn together and then the open neck facing is put in place and sewn in. After this, the neck facing and remaining shoulder seam are sewn. Brilliant! No trying to get a circular facing to fit into a circular neck. I absolutely love this method! The other technique I learned was to use bias binding to form a casing inside the garment for the drawstring. Fast and easy.

Why is it that the UK has all the good patterns, merchandise, stores, etc… for sewing and knitting products? I am jealous. Anyway, thank-you for sharing via internet to those of us in the States.

As always, Happy Sewing!

Making Lavender Wands


I have always admired lavender wands. They are so pretty with their beautifully woven ribbons. Having an abundance of lavender in the garden, I decided to make lavender wands myself.

Having never tried this before, I looked up the basic instructions and started my task. First, with scissors in hand, I marched out to the lavender plants and trimmed 10 long stems. This was my first mistake. (I’ll get to why later.) I set myself down at my table and laid out the lavender, gathered them and tied them together just under the blooms. Next, I took a spoon and pressed on the stems just below the ribbon. This step is important so that when turning the cage of the wand the stems don’t break. I carefully bent the stems down around the lavender to form a cage. I started weaving the ribbon. It wasn’t going so well. My unders and overs were starting to duplicate themselves, the pattern was broken. Had I gone under instead of over? What was going on here?

Remember when I said my first mistake was trimming 10 long stems? Well, what my instructions failed to tell me (when it said to trim 7-15 stems) was that the number trimmed had to be an odd number. This, I finally figured out on my own. So, I plucked out one of the stems and started over. This time, the pattern worked just fine.

As with most diy projects, the first one is usually a learning process. Now I know what I would do differently next time. I would cut an odd number of stems and I would leave a longer tail on my first knot to tie the bow with. Not bad for a first attempt. Live and learn..

As always, Happy Crafting!

My Green Vest, Just in Time for Saint Patrick’s Day


I decided to knit the Visit Vienna vest pattern by DROPS Design since vests were “in” this year. I finally finished a couple of weeks ago. Just a bit of time left to wear it before summer is in full force. I must say, I am as pleased as punch with the outcome, although, I had my doubts in the beginning.

I have been knitting for years but am probably an intermediate knitter. Beyond beginner but not in any way advanced. The Visit Vienna pattern seemed easy enough. Things always seem easy though don’t they.

The free pattern can be found at: . They do a wonderful job of explaining how to substitute yarn on this website. I did substitute the yarn for a cotton/linen blend. I thought that the needles would be the same since I followed the chart and all, however, when I started knitting, the vest looked a bit wide. My fault, I did not take the time to make a swatch to check the knitting gauge. Should have known better. One can’t cut corners when knitting. So I ripped-out the stitches and started over on MUCH smaller needles. I used a size 1 and size 3 instead of the 4 and 7 that the pattern called for. The website was very prompt in answering a question I had about the gauge. They were on top of things.

This pattern called for adding an edge stitch on the sides of each row. I had never run into this before so I had to youtube this to be sure I was doing it correctly. The pattern does not include these extra stitches in the cast on number, which was confusing to me at first. The edge stitches did make the piece lie nice and flat.

I also had not done a couple of the stitches in the pattern before. Knit twisted and purl twisted were new to me. Again, thank-you youtube for videos explaining these stitches, which were very simple to learn. The pattern itself is very easy (why I chose it 🙂 ). Basically if one can knit and pearl, go for it. The twisted stuff can all be found on a youtube video.

The armholes are all finished when knitting. The only stitches that need to be picked up and knitted after the vest is assembled is the neckline. This was easy enough to do.

I must say, this is probably my best knitting attempt to date. I LOVE my little green vest. It is meant to be a bit short, so if one wants a longer vest, add a few rows to the pattern. The reason it turned out so well was that I took the time to swatch my knitting gauge so that it fits perfectly. Trying to cut corners never works, lesson learned. I also took the time to watch videos and learn what was needed in order to make the vest correctly.

So glad I finished this when I did. Now, I will have something green to wear for Saint Patrick’s Day. Finding something green to wear (on this day), as a kid, was always a problem for me. At my school, kids loved it if someone wasn’t wearing green. The punishment for this was to be pinched. Some kids would even pinch you if you didn’t wear enough green. What! That wasn’t fair!

Would I make this pattern again? You bettcha! I might also check-out the other patterns from the website.

As always, Happy Knitting!

Making Bib Overalls from a Pants Pattern


I am a big fan of bib overalls. I also am a fan of corduroy. Put the two together and I have a favorite new addition to my wardrobe.

I found a perfectly cute, to die for pair of corduroy overalls at Free People. I excitedly took them into the fitting room. My bubble was burst when I went to pull up the bib and it was way too short. Ah the problems of being a tall gal. But don’t worry, I got my overalls afterall. I made them myself.

I started with a mauve colored corduroy (about three yards if I remember correctly) and Vogue pattern V1731. From there I made the pants but lengthened them so they were full length instead of capris. I left the front of the pants waistband unfinished. I attached a bib that I drafted to fit the width of the front of the pants. I put elastic in the back of the pants as per the pattern and added straps that crisscrossed in back and were attached with fashion buckles. The nice thing about the elastic is, is that there are no side buttons to worry about.

These overalls made-up quickly. The pattern worked out very well for adding a bib. I plan on making the pattern again, this time linen capris.

As always, Happy Sewing!

Sewing Bags for my Linen Closet

household, Projects

I had been storing my bedding/linens in large plastic bins with lids. These were all stacked-up doing a balancing act in a reset in the hall. All was fine until I actually needed something from one of these bins. As luck would have it, the something needed was usually in the bottom bin. So, all the bins had to be taken down from the stack. What a back breaking task! I’d had enough!

This is where it helps to have a handy husband. My husband made shelves and really good shelves at that. Built-ins fit for a queen. (I’m the queen in this fairy tale.) Next came my part. I was through with the bins. I decided to sew lined bags made of linen. These I custom made to the size of the shelves and to the size of the linens going inside them. Some have zippers and some have draw-strings. Some are rectangular, some are barrel shaped which fit large comforters well. All are labeled with the contents with hand embroidery.

A drawstring ‘barrel’ shaped bag for a comforter.

Ah, it feels good for the linen closet to be organized at last! And, if we have an earthquake, I don’t have to worry about the bins toppling down.

As always, Happy Organizing!