Using a Darning Loom

Projects

I came across this cute little darning loom to mend holes in socks. It can also be used to make patches in jeans or sweaters. The below picture shows my progress darning a sock.

The Katrinkles darning loom is very simple to use. As with everything these days, there are youtube videos to help guide the beginner. Basically, a disk is slipped inside the sock/garment to be darned. On the outside, the loom part is added and secured with a hair tie. Next the warp threads are put in by wrapping the threads around the teeth and taking a small stitch at the bottom of each row, past the hole that is being mending. Weaving is down under/over as always but at the end of each row the needle grabs a bit of the sock/garmet to secure.

I found the Kartinkles darning loom easy to use and the finish product turneded out nice and neat. Since I like weaving, it was a nice little something to do. The socks turned out much nicer than with needle and thread. I am planning on using it to repair some hand knitted socks that I made. Since I went to the effort of making them, I hate to have to toss them.

Since I bought my loom, (which was very recently), the company now carries them in different sizes. It also looks as though one can buy an extension piece if they already own a loom.

As always, Happy Mending!

Fair Isle Knitting – Not as Intimidating as it Looks

Projects

I have avoided Fair Isle Knitting all these years because it looked difficult. Multiple colors of yarns are used and charts need to be read, all making it seem very complicated. But as they say, looks can be deceiving.

If I could learn to skateboard, I figured I could learn to Fair Isle Knit. Turns out it only took me one sitting to learn Fair Isle Knitting. Much easier than skateboarding. I already had the basic skills I needed to do this type of knitting, the only thing stopping me was fear of the unknown.

To Fair Isle Knit, one needs to know how to knit, how to pearl, and how to read a chart. The rest is so simple that I feel silly for avoiding this technique for so long. Also, there are two types of knitting styles, English and Continental. While this technique can be used with just one of these styles of knitting, it is more efficient to use both styles at the same time. Doing so takes less time as the yarns do not cross and tangle.

I found easy directions for learning to Fair Isle Knit at: https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/fair-isle-stranded-knitting-2116385

Basically, a color is added to the knitting and then after using it, it is dropped and the other color is picked up and used. When picking up a different color the yarn goes under the last strand that has been dropped and knitted as normal. All this is done without cutting the yarn, the yarn is picked up when needed. Longer strands will form on the backs of the knitted piece (the pearl side) but the front of the piece (the knit side) will show the pattern.

To read a chart: The charts are made of squares. Each square represents a stitch. The charts are read from right to left on the knitted side and from left to right on the pearl side. The squares will be in different colors depending on the color of yarn to be used. So if there are two dark squares (let’s say dark=blue), one light square (let’s say light=pink), and three dark squares, one would knit two stitches in blue, then switch to pink and knit one pink, and then switch back to blue and knit three blue. All this is done without cutting the yarn, the yarn is picked up when needed.

Do not be afraid to try Fair Isle Knitting. It looks beautiful and is much easier than it looks.

As always, Happy Knitting!

Bodkins

Projects

What is a bodkin? A bodkin is something every seamstress should have in their sewing box. It’s a clever tool (that looks like a large needle without the point) used to pull elastic or drawstring through casings.

I had been attaching a safety pin to elastic and drawstring cording for years to help pull them through casings. While it worked, it was not the best way to go about it. The safety pin is short and hard to grap and pull through and can come undone (which has happened to me more than once) in the middle of the job.

I then came across bodkins and decided to order a set and see how they worked. The pair are different shapes. Pick the bodkin depending on the needs of the project. My set has a very flat, thin bodkin with two holes in different shapes and a thicker, rounded bodkin with one oblong hole.

For me, the magic lies in the amount of metal material there is to hold onto to be able to pull the elastic/drawstring through the casing. It is a much faster and smoother process than my safety pin technique and probably much safer as well. I suggest that the elastic/drawstring be knotted after threading through the bodkin, safety pinned, or stitched with a couple of hand stitches to secure it in place so that it does not come undone in the middle of the casing.

I am glad I came across the bodkin. It has sped-up my time threading materials through casings and made things a bit simplier for me.

As always, Happy Sewing!

Making Single Fold Bias Tape

Projects

I decided to make Simplicity’s pattern 4177, a simple Boho style blouse. The neckline called for 1/2″ single fold bias tape. Since I wanted to have my bias tape match my fabric, I set off to make my own bias tape. Good thing I had extra fabric.

To make bias tape, the fabric needs to be cut on the bias, a 45 degree angle from the selvage edge. This gives the fabric more stretch and can form to curves easier. By folding over the cut edge of the fabric to the selvage edge and then cutting along the fold line, the bias cut is made. From there, all cuts can be made parrallel to the bias cut in long strips. My bias was cut into one inch strips. Strips can be sewn together to reach the desired length.

fold side down to selvage edge- cut along angle

Once the strips are cut out, they are folded in half and pressed. For single fold bias tape, the sides are then brought in to meet the center fold and pressed. The tape is then pressed flat to erase the first center fold pressing.

A bit more work than picking up a package of the pre-made stuff but ever so worth it. For prints, such as I was using, a plain color would have looked “home made” and even though my top is home made I do not need to advertise the fact. If the pattern calls for bias tape that will show, be sure to purchase a bit more material to account for it if wishing to do it yourself.

As always, Happy Sewing!

Underlining a Garment

Projects

What is underlining and why bother with it? Underlining is refered to as pieces of lining fabric that are cut to the exact dimensions of the pattern pieces and sewn together as one piece. These underlining pieces are placed on the wrong side or back of the material pieces and are stitiched in place to form one piece. The pattern is then sewed as normal and the garment is fully lined.

I disovered underlining recently when wanting to line a dress I was working on. The fabric for the dress was on the thinner side and I would either need to line the dress or wear a slip. I decided to line the dress. However, lining involves making a seperate lining of the dress pattern and attaching it to the inside of the dress. This is like making two dresses. This seemed a lot of work and frankly, a bit intimidating to tell the truth. That is when I ran across the term underlining. Easy! This was for me!

So with underlining, as I stated earlier, one cuts out the pattern in the chosen material and then cuts out the pattern in a lining fabric. The lining fabric is sewn to the wrong side of the material pieces using long running stitches just outside the seam allowance so they will not be seen when the garment is sewn together. This can be done on the machine or by hand. I read that one gets a flatter, smoother outcome doing this process by hand, as bubbles can sometimes form when feeding two fabrics into the machine at the same time. Doing this by hand, one works flat on a table. This keeps the bubbles out. I have tried this both ways. I can say that it does work better by hand. “By hand!” one might whine. “That will take forever!” Oh contrar. The hand method actually does go by quite fast and does indeed give smoother results. If the piece is a garment, I would highly recommend doing this process by hand. I made bags, and sewed the underlining by machine and they were not as flat, but for these bags it did not matter.

So, if wanting a lined, professional looking garment, without the hassle of sewing and attaching a separate lining, why not give underlining a try. As always, Happy Sewing!

Hoppy Easter!

Projects

Easter seems a bit earlier this year. It is this coming Sunday. I am a bit late at getting my Easter decorations and baskets out. However, we are ready for the Easter bunny. After all, one is never too old for a few Easter treats.

Speaking of decorations, I am re-posting my Easter Diorama directions. This is one of my all time favorite decorations. One that is fun to make as an adult or along with children. Each one is unique and special.

https://anotherdaywithjuliehome.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=3114&action=edit&calypsoify=1&block-editor=1&frame-nonce=67f3f80b61&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwordpress.com&environment-id=production&support_user&_support_token

Happy Easter!

Using a Serger

Projects

My daughter wanted a serger for Christmas. Santa came through with a Juki model. She was very happy to get her first serger and wanted me to try it. So, like the good student I am, I sat down for my lesson on the Juki.

The serger was easy enough to use on a straight seam. Just put the material under the presser foot, step on the pedal and off you go. But what about on curves? I actually did not try curves until my daughter had gone off to college again. First, I decided to watch a you-tube video. A very helpful lady showed me how to maneuver the material under the presser foot. I gave it a go myself and thanks to my you-tube tutor, all went well. It is a bit like a sewing machine, the difference being if I messed up the little blade would slice my material off. That is why I watched the video first. Take it slow and easy on curves and it is not a problem.

I have been using the serger a lot since my daughter went back to college. I think that I will eventually have to ask Santa for my own, as she will some day take the Juki with her, and I will be left without. One might ask, “Do you really need a serger?” After using one for a few months, my answer is “yes”.

A serger has many benefits. It sews a beautiful finished edge to the piece so that the material looks finished. A serger allows a piece to be washed without the fear of unraveling seams. It brings the garment up a notch from “homemade” to “Where did you buy that?” status. I would recommend a serger to serious seamstresses and for people who sew a lot of clothing. Beginning sewers can use a zig-zag stitch on their sewing machine or cut the seams with pinking shears. This will do until they become more accomplished sewers and actually want to wear what they make. It is more important to have a good machine and then acquire a serger thereafter, as it is a monetary investment.

The only drawback I find to the serger is that it is a pain to thread. Tweezers and tools have to be used to reach the threads here and there. The threads have to be threaded in a particular order for the machine to work. There are four spools of thread on my daughter’s serger. One spool seems to run out a lot faster than the other spools. This one is the one that needs to be threaded first. Although, there is a way around this, by sneaking threads around others. So the hardest part about serging is threading the machine. Once threaded it is a piece of cake.

As always, Happy Sewing!

Horrid Little Staples!

Projects

I decided our dining room chairs were looking passe and worn. It was time to reupholster the chairs. We had done this once before so we knew how to go about it.

The first time we reupholstered, we replaced the foam and the backing fabrics as well. this time, we only needed to replace the main fabric. I ordered the fabric and cut it to size. Then it was time to remove the upholstery staples. I had the special upholstery staple remover tool from last time we did this. I remembered this step being a bit of work. I started to remove the staples but it was not going as smoothly as I had hoped. The staples were breaking! I did not remember the staples breaking last time I did this. This was now becoming an increasingly slow process as I had to use pliers to pull out the broken staples and hammer in the pieces that were too short to pull out. Horrid little staples!

My husband stapled on the new fabric. He reassured me that he did not use as many staples this time plus he bought a different brand. We are hoping the new staples will come out in one piece. The funny thing is, we looked at reviews for staples and no one comments on the ease of removal. People only care about how they go in and stay in. Luckily, we will not need to find out how they come out for a while. We are both very pleased with our “new” chairs. They look so much better and really make the room look more up to date.

As always, Good-luck with the DIY Projects!

Pi Day and Finally, Actually Using Pi in Real Life

Projects

Recently I wanted to make a round bottom drawstring bag. Trying to make the bottom fit the sides is not easy, as I have tried this before without a pattern. So I started searching for methods to make this easier.

I came across a wonderful site that explains mathematically how to calculate the circle and the rectangle for the bag. Genious! Of all things, Pi is involved. I learned about Pi in school, way back when. I never really gave it any thought after the lessons and tests were over. When would I ever use that again? Well, I finally got to use Pi to figure out my bag calculations. The whole formula was amazing and my bag turned out perfect! Maybe teachers should show their students the practical uses for Pi…

For the worksheet to help make a cylinder bag go to:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aROY8uu30JQdSMKsy_UPFt2qCTAd0Ixr/view

From: Michelle at: BirdCage and Thread (YouTube video: How to Calculate Pieces to Sew a Cylinder

DIY Needle Minder

Projects

Sick and tired of trying to keep track of my embroidery needles, I decided I needed a needle minder. However, the one I really wanted was out of stock on-line. I did not really care for any of the other designs. What was I to do?

I searched through my drawer and found a cute French button I had ordered but never used. The button was made of wood and painted with a sweet design. I decided to have this button made into my needle minder. I enlisted my husband to help. He purchased a very strong button magnet set and attached it to the button for me with epoxy. One magnet attaches to the button. This piece goes on top of the embroidery work fabric. The loose magnet is then put underneath the fabric and sticks to the other magnet holding the needle minder to the fabric. When taking a break from embroidering, the needle sticks magnetically to the button minder. No more lost needles! Thanks Honey!

As always, Happy Crafting!

The back of the minder. Just slip off the top magnet and place between the fabric.