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Mostly Knitting Blog

Want to find the new stuff on Knitting-and.com, or read about my latest projects and discoveries? This is the place.

School Holiday Crafting

It’s the Summer school holidays here in Australia, which means there’s lots of time for bike riding (when it’s not too hot), swimming (when it’s not raining), and crafts all the time! Here are just some of the projects we’ve been working on.

Charlie asked if he could make his backpack for the new year, and how could I say no!?! We dived into my (and Charlie’s) op shopped stashes and came up with everything we needed.

10 year old boy sitting at a sewing machine, making a piece of patchwork.

Charlie sewing a piece of patchwork for the back of his back pack.

He chose all of the fabrics, the design (like my backpack but with squares of different fabrics), and did most of the sewing. I used the outside of the bag to teach Charlie about iron on interfacing, and it’s fully lined, with adjustable straps.

He did a fabulous job! Charlie’s favourite colour is red, which goes well with blue, and everything goes with cats ๐Ÿ™‚

Patchwork back pack.

Next, we gelli printed on some fabric. We discovered we really liked using a paintbrush to get the paint onto the gelli plate, and drawing designs with a cotton bud. Charlie also worked out that lettering needs to be written backwards. The prints with circles were done with giant sequin waste as a stencil. Sequin waste goes onto the fabric, plop the painted gelli plate on top and press. Then remove the sequin waste (which is now stuck on the gelli plate) and print again for the negative.

Gelli printed fabric with a random design of squares and circles.

Charlie’s gelli printed fabric.

large piece of gelli printed fabric

My gelli printed fabric.

Because our finished projects won’t be washed much, we just used ordinary artist’s acrylics on calico. Charlie’s going to sew his into a tote bag, and mine will be embroidered and machine sewn to create the cover of a fabric book for some of my Take a Stitch Tuesday samplers. If we were going to print on clothing, for example, we’d have mixed textile medium with the paint.

Charlie now has his very own embroidery hoop and kit, which he used to design his own Minecraft creeper embroidery. He’s going to add more to this, so we haven’t washed out the water erasable marker yet. He’s getting pretty good at running stitch but needs to learn to look at the back every now and again. I applied some creative cutting and knotting to reduce the tangles on the back ๐Ÿ™‚

An embroidered Minecraft creeper on red polycotton

Sssssssss BOOM!

Those are just the projects I’ve photographed! We also printed Christmas wrapping paper and cards, and there has been much building with Lego. Seriously, there’s Lego EVERYWHERE.

Next up, Charlie wants to sew a monster he has designed, make a drawstring bag for carrying his embroidery around, sew a pair of pyjama shorts and sew his gelli printed fabric into a tote bag.

How many more days are there in the holidays? I need to draft the pattern for his shorts. We’d better get cracking!

Sarah

Knitting Charts for the New Year

Today marks the first knitting freebie for 2019! This year every Friday I intend to post a new knitting freebie for you, either charts, tutorials or patterns.

Today’s freebie is a whole booklet of patterns from New Zealand dated around the 1940’s (by the hair styles and clothing styles).

Paragon Fair Isle charts 1 cover

Paragon Fair-Isle charts is available both as a pdf for hand knitters, and as a set of charts for DesignaKnit software.

Sarah

And So to Begin the New Year

Welcome to the very first freebie of 2019!

This year, Tuesdays will be dedicated to sharing two very important series of leaflets from Scotland and the UK that were brought out by the Needlework Development Scheme over the 1950’s and early 1960’s.

“And So To Sew”, and “And So To Embroider” were released in 1951, near the end of fabric rationing after WW2 as a way to reintroduce skill and originality into dressmaking and embroidery after a decade of scarce materials and “making do”. Each leaflet introduces new skills and projects, with

The first leaflets were designed to be used by schools, but they quickly became very popular with the public. So much so that almost 70 years later they can be found as precious items in needle worker’s collections.

Today we begin at the beginning with “And So To Begin“, a booklet for the classroom with an outline of projects that can be made by students, and tips for setting up the needlework classroom.

And So To Begin by the NDS

Next week I’ll share leaflets 1a (sewing) and 1b (embroidery), and will post at least one of each every Tuesday, along with modern video and photo tutorials for the techniques covered. The early couple of leaflets will cover the basics, while further on you will find projects and patterns for all sorts of interesting and beautiful vintage style projects.

I hope you enjoy them!

Sarah

(Please note: there were designs I wasn’t willing to share in three of the leaflets so I have edited them with my own samples or motifs, while keeping the style and skills being taught the same. I will note on each leaflet when I have done this).

Saying Goodbye to TAST – the Design Stage

I’d like to show you the sketches for my very last Beyond TAST embroidery sampler. Just like any of my embroideries that I have designed myself, the design process goes through a few stages before I come up with the final concept because almost no-one comes up with a final design without a bit of thinking and sketching first.

The challenge outline was to create something using at least three of the techniques covered in previous Beyond TAST challenges. I decided to base my design on my investigations into filling stitches, pattern darning and line stitches.

Sketches of a rose and a bell jar terrarium

Step 1: I decided I’d like to base my design on a rose. But I didn’t like the shapes in sketch 1.

Step 2: I tried a more geometric approach but it looked too much like a stencil design. Stencils are cool, but not what I want for this.

Step 3: I used similar shapes to step 2 but joined them together to be less stencil like. Now I’m starting to get somewhere I like.

Step 4: I kept the petals round and made the pointy petals into leaves instead. Then I added a calyx and stem, which meant the leaves were now in the wrong place. Hmm.

Step 5: I put the leaves in the right place. Now I like it, but such a rare specimen would be kept safe under a bell jar, right? (or maybe I’ve been watching too many Victorian era episodes of Doctor Who. Naaaa, that’s not possible).

Step 6: Now it’s under a bell jar.

Step 7: I made a Pinterest board with pictures of bell jar terrariums/cloche terrariums. The board quickly became more about the bell jars than actual terrariums and morphed into a conglomeration of things wealthy Victorian eraย  people in England liked to stuff under jars.

Step 8: Stay tuned…

Sarah

Wheat Pattern Bedspread Back after 110 years!

Knitted wheat ear quilt square

The first 23 rows of today’s knitting pattern graced the pages of a newspaper way back in 1908, followed by a description of the remaining 200-ish rows and the instruction to send in to the newspaper for the remainder of the pattern.

I fell in love with the wheat stitch in the photo so I decided to see if I could work out the rest. It’s not exactly the same as original as my decrease row didn’t fall on the same number row as the newspaper stated, but I’d say it’s super close. So after 110 years, you can knit the Wheat Pattern Quilt from 1908 again.

Sarah

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