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Mint knitted t-shirt

knitted t-shirt

I’ve recently finished this knitted t-shirt inspired by the lovely Juliet Tee by We are Knitters and the many versions I’ve seen around. It’s a bit different because the yarn is thinner than the original yarn from WAK; it’s a mercerized cotton with a bit of a shine to it and it’s also knitted more loosely than the original top.

What I like about it:

First of all, I am happy I made up the pattern myself. I wanted to simplify as much as possible, so I made this a longer rectangle, with a slit in it for the neckline. I then made a very basic crochet trim to give the neckline and armhole a bit of structure.

handmade knitted top sky turtle

It was also cool to learn the eyelet stitch, which the same WAK people were so kind to make a video tutorial of (below)!

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to wear it in summer. I was a bit skeptical about summer knits. For me summer is either: inside = freezing your arms off under the AC or: outside = everything sticks to your skin like you’ve been vacuumed inside your own bubble, so I wanted this to be layerable, in case it failed as a warm weather garment.

I was afraid it would look too boxy, but with the loose knit it drapes a little bit, so I am happy about that.

What I would have done differently/for next time:

I would have made this smaller! Like this it will look good over another sweater or a shirt, but I feel it’s a tad too big like this. Next time I’ll try something more close-fitting, now that I am confident I can finish a garment.

I was also thinking about knitting a sash/belt for this. Maybe cord?

 

A case for textile napkins + a tutorial

When we moved the new house, one of the things I wanted to do was to replace the paper napkins we were using everyday with nice, hand-painted, mitered corners ones. I like the idea of just washing these and so reusing an item for a longer period of time. We still use paper napkins at home, but try to do it as little as possible.

There’s something quite elegant about using nicely pressed fabric napkins, and they look so good on the table. The problem is, if you’re going to make white ones like I did, you are going to have to commit to putting them in soapy water after each use or else you’d get unsightly stains on them and that elegant feeling will turn into an “ew, is this clean?”.

In retrospect, next time I make fabric napkins (and I will make more) I will make them in a darker fabric. If you don’t mind the texture, you could make them in a cotton and polyester mix. I found one that looks just like linen, it doesn’t stain and you don’t need to press it. But it doesn’t feel like cotton or linen, or any other natural fibre either.

hand painted avocado cotton napkins

colour pallette for painting avocado

I painted these with tiny avocados and I used acrylic fabric with a fabric medium. At first I though these were going to wash away quickly, but I even boiled them (in an effort to make them pristine white again – it works, don’t judge!) and the paint didn’t run or wash off. So I pretty happy about that part. I just used half fabric medium and half acrylic paints.

how to paint your own textile napkins part 1

To make sure the avocados were even I made a little stencil, reusing an “offers” magazine. I first painted the green, creamy, flesh of the avocados, then the brown pit and finally I traced the outer shell with a darker green.

how to paint your own textile napkins part 2

For the mitered corners I used this beautiful tutorial from Coletterie. I wasn’t sure about them first, but they look so much more elegant than my usual folded corners.

What about you? Do you use fabric napkins in your house? Did you mother use to? How do you feel about them on a scale from “eew” to “never paper napkins”?

Here’s a little pin bookmark, if you want to keep this for later!

how to make painted textile napkins

How to knit a braided headband

For a few months now I can’t stop thinking about knitting. It all started with Teo (hello 😉 who mentioned We Are Knitters, then I remembered the effect this vest from Wool and the gang had on me when I saw it last year (I think?) and it all came down on me, like an avalanche of purled and knitted stitches, wooden needles and lots of types of new yarn. You might have guessed this from my latest post on knitting needs and wants.

Anyway, one day I saw this awesome headband, from Kelerabeus on Kollabora, who made this wonderful white headband and made up her own pattern:

After seeing similar headbands/ ear warmers all around the internet I decided that I simply must make one for myself! I also decided that I don’t need any pattern so I eyeballed the whole thing. And it’s pretty easy actually! The back part is knitted in the round using double pointed needles. For the front part the total number of stitches is split in three and then each section is knitted separately. When they reached the desired length I braided them together and then rejoined all into one again.

This inspired me. “I know almost nothing about knitting, but I can do this!”, I said to myself.

hand knitted braided headband in grey

Which is exactly what I did, except, I didn’t remember to make the total number of stitches divisible by three (it’s ok, you can’t tell the middle braid is one stitch thinner, can you?) and I used single-pointed needles and didn’t knit in the round, but made the whole thing flat.

I know it’s spring and I’m the only person who is still wearing headbands but I love this! I’m thinking about making one in cotton yarn for summer.

braided grey headbank hand knitted closeup

This is how I made this braided headband:

I started with a 18 stitches and did 1 row knit, 1 row purl until I had around 10 cm of knitted band (pretty much what I wanted to cover my ears), then I divided the piece in three and knitted the three sides of the braid separately.

Because I only had 2 needles, I made sure I was conservating those stitched by putting them on a piece of spare thread. This is how I did it: picked up the stitches with a needle and then made a temporary knot to secure them. Then I just knitted the three tongues of the braid, braided them, put them back on one needle and did another 10 cm of knit purl, knit purl.

knit a braided headband!

If you want to keep this in a to try board, here’s the pinnable image (I’ve saved this to my Knit me slowly Pinterest board, if you want to see other knitted things that inspire me).

Thanks for reading!

how to knit a braided headband

 

 

 

 

The confessions of a Craftsy class hoarder

my craftsy classes

This is the sad story of how I hoard sewing classes (because they are amazing!) and then how I never end up watching them (because I find out about other amazing things!)

I want to change. A little. At least finish one of my 5 Craftsy classes that I enrolled in the last few years.

Now, Craftsy is having a class sale this weekend and I hope I have enough strenght not to take the Jean-ius Reverse Engineer Your Favorite Fit class. Must have discipline!

The 5 classes I am enrolled in and a bit of context about each:

Pant Fitting techniques with Sandra Betzina
Pant Construction techniques with Sandra Betzina

I took these two classes because I wanted to master the art of pants-making. I am pretty good at making pajama pants and have been lucky with some pairs of shorts, but I would like to really, really understand pant-making and always be able to make my own perfect pair of pants, wherever I go, with any fabric I want.

I almost finished this class until my first pants turned out huge and – after spending many hours watching and sewing – I gave up. I still have the pattern from the class and I’d like to give it another try.

Beginner Serging

This class is really great and I wish I had the patience to follow it, as I am now only using my serger at probably 5% of its potential. Must find a really good reason! I mean, project!
The classic tailored shirt

The classic tailored shirt is something I really want to make. And potentially master. I even have the perfect chambray in my stash. I don’t have a tailored shirt pattern, now that I left almost all my pattern collection when we moved, but I do have the Collette negroni with me, and I might just use that!

Essential techniques every knitter should know

I took this because I wanted to learn everything I needed about knitting, turns out I am super stubborn and would rather make a million mistakes than listen to the soothing voice of this lady to can probably knit anything.

Please note that the link above are affiliate links, which means that if you want to commit the same sins feel as passionate about learning as I do, I will get a small percentage of the sale of that class. No pressure 😉

What about you? Are you a class hoarder as well or actually a doer? How do you do it? What do you do while you watch the classes so that you can be attentive but not get bored?

Hand-knitted washcloths !

hand knitted washcloth facecloth by sky turtle

It’s king of great that today is Earth Day and also the day I show you my first knitted washcloth. I know youre probably thinking, yeah, what’s the big deal, but for me, knitting is a whole new thing I can’t stop thinking about. And how great it is when you can make something useful and learn a new stitch or a new technique.

Washcloths are cool for various reasons: they are easier to care for and collect less bacteria than kitchen sponges (maybe beycause dry faster?). If you use them in the bath, the cotton bumps are textured enough to gently exfoliate your skin but they won’t scratch you. And they’re fun to make.

I love this technique because I learned how to knit on the bias, which is genius and I don’t know why it never occured to me before. The drape is beautiful and even just by knitting row after row, you end up with a nice pattern. And I also learned to yarn over, which for some reason was a big mystery to me. (I didn’t block these because I was going to get them wet and use them anyway, but if you’re making these as a gift, you could.)

hand knitted washcloths in 4 ply cotton made by sky turtle

To make these cute washcloths I used this tutorial below: it’s clear and easy to follow, even for a super-newbie like myself. I used a 4 ply cotton and a pair of 3.5 knitting needles and it took me around one hour (watching the video and all) to knit the first one and half an hour or so for the second, smaller one.

Learn to knit a dishcloth/washcloth

I also want to make a set of napkins and kitchen towels and reduce the amount of paper napkins and paper towels we use in the house. What about you? How are you keeping your house green(er)? Have you ever knitted your own washcloths?

12 interior decor tips from Ikea

Tiny homes can look airy and bigger if everything is in its place (leaving space for he occasional hat on the floor and stray sock on the sofa).  Easier said than done. Yet there are some fun ways you could create more storage and make your stored things look pretty.

Here are some ideas from Ikea. Some are old ideas with a really fresh interpretation, some are really cool, like the fabric sandwich headboard. So read on!

Follow sky’s board Interior design tips from Ikea on Pinterest.

  1. Are you tired of clear boxes and hat boxes and carboard boxes in your bedroom? Make your eyes rest on soft surfaces only by storing off-seasons clothes or things less used, such as beach towels, blankets, costumes etc. in tagged pillow sleeves.
  2. Have a piece of furniture that’s really pretty but just can’t fit another shade of brown in the room? Paint it a rich, dark colour, like these dark green side tables from Ikea. Or just paint a part of it, like just the top or just the legs.
  3. Make your shelves look pretty, by thinking of how they will look before you buy your organising supplies. Make a list of the items you want to store and imagine some ways in which you could store them in a way that will be pleasing to the eye, but also functional (so you don’t have to spend half an hour rearranging items if you need to take something out).
  4. I really likes this idea for a dorm room that Ikea presented and you could do this in your home too. If you have open shelves or an open wardrobe in your bedroom, hide them behind colourful, luxurious curtains in your favourite fabric.
  5. By far my favourite idea was the pillow sandwich backrest. The designer created a neat square of colourful fabric, folded it in half, and stuffed it with pillows. He made sure the back rest staus on the wall, he created loops in the fabric that hang neatly in hooks above the bed. So simple and so fun to make!
  6. This is not a new idea, but I like how ikea always finds a pretext for making things look pretty. So they installed more doorknobs than needed on the outside of the closet to keep a few ready-made outfits on hangers for busy mornings.
  7. Use a thin ladder and baskets to store tea towels and napkins
  8. Hang extra shower supplies in crochet baskets
  9. Install a rod in front of your kitchen window and hang fresh herbs in light hanging pots
  10. Can’t decide on which colour to paint a wall? Paint the light on first, then start adding the darker colour from bottom-up and leave the areas in which the colours meet unfinished
  11. Create an artsy entryway by hanging rope from the ceiling and hooking in a few hangers
  12. Design your bedroom starting with the colour of your bedspread. It’s the same as starting with a theme, but it will be just easier to find what you need. For example, here, in the budding bedroom feature, Ikea starts with the floral bedspread with just three colours: yellow, green and white, then adds as accents yellow side tables, transparent vases of yellow flowers over the bed, a pastel green floor and some other off-white accents.

What about you? What ikea tips have you discovered recently?

Featured image Ikea by rarye licensed under CCBY2.0

5 Inspiring knits to transition to spring

Hello readers! It’s been quite a while, I know. Many things have happened since, moved to a new country, moving to a new house and a serious case of wardrobe edit. Which felt fantastic.

One of the things I’ve taken up in the last couple of months is knitting. I can’t believe I stayed away from it for so many years. I’ve just finished my first sweater (I’ll tell you more about it in a future post) and I’ve made quite a few cowl neck scarves and even a (horrible and too big!) beanie for my boyfriend.

So, there’s still snow on the ground where I live now and I’m still layering 2-3 sweaters and pretty much wearing my winter coat and boots, but warmer temperatures are just a few weeks away, so it’s a good time to start thinking about new things to knit for spring 🙂

In the slideshow:

Cocoon Sweater by Wool and the gang

I don’t think I would make this pink, but I like the chunky texture and it looks like soemthing that could be knitted out of fabric strips; too tacky?

Ella Viscardi’s knitted top and backpack featured in Teenvogue

I love these two knits here. I especially like the backpack, and if you’d line it in fabric, it could even be practical. That sheer tank top is pretty as well, maybe to wear as a vest over a white blouse?

Kstylick’s open knit cardigan

I really like this chunky cardigan and I also like the bold red. It looks like soemthing you can knit in a weekend or two and it could replace a spring coat. Hmm…

Ravelry pattern by Veera Välimäki

I like this super light knit, I don’t know if I’d knit it as it is, but it’s a great inspiration for making a spring cotton blouse.

Hedvig Opshaug in a Stella McCartney dress featured in Harper’s Bazaar

I’m also thinkign about knitting a dress for spring in cotton and while I won’t try anything as complicated as this dress, I really like the fit (not too cloe to the body) and the dress lenght.

 

 

7 beginner tips for flat pattern making (sewing)

Since I got my hands of a copy of Helen Joseph Armstrong’s Patternmaking for Fashion Design I have the feeling learning to do the patterns I want to make is not that far away. I’ve said it before, but the book is great.

Maybe you remember my Sewing Course: Lesson 2 in which I was showing you how to draft the front part of a bodice pattern. I was using Helen Joseph Armstrong’s instructions in this book. Coming back to my blog post I discovered a few errors in the guide and fixed them. It’s great when you notice your own mistakes.

I had a few free hours today and I started drafting my own bodice block following the instructions in Armstrong’s book.

At first I was going to add a second lesson on the bodice, describing the steps one by one, but again, Helen JA does it better, so I am going to post her instructions in a separate post.

If you try this at home – and please do – you’ll feel intrigued at first, then unsure of what you’re doing, you might even mess it up completely and have to start over (been there:) but then, at one point, it just start making sense.

drafting-a-short-sleeve

All the measurements, the center back and the bust point, and the cap height of a sleeve, they start to tell you how they are going to affect your pattern. And you’ll feel like pattern making is the easiest thing in the world.

Well, until you try the bodice on and everything is perfect except the sleeve is falling, the bust point was taken too low and the back dart should sculpt the back bodice nut it’s actually creating a new shape on its own.

It’s at the exact distance between being awesome and… weird.

This is what I’ve learned and my tips from this flat making pattern session:

  1. Make sure you understand which measurement you are taking (I had to redo the front bodice because I mistook no less than 5 measurements from parts of my body that had nothing to do with the bodice in question);
  2. Use a pencil. You will need erase lines.
  3. When you cut your bodice, don’t leave a huge sewing allowance like I did. The bodice already has some ease to cut the fabric closer to your edges than you would.
  4. If you are fitting for a dress (or blouse) that you are going to use with a bra, wear the bra when doing the fitting.
  5. Don’t use elastic fabrics for your muslin. You’ll steal your own hat 🙂
  6. Fit the muslin then go back and alter the pattern; even though it sounds impossible right now, you will forget that there was something to refit in the firstplace
  7. Keep in mind you’re learning so it’s ok even if you won’t wear your first muslin. Or the second. That’s what it’s all about;

Happy sewing 🙂

How to adjust upper and lower thread tension on a sewing machine

sewing-machine

How many times has your sewing machine started to make stubborn monster-like noises and proceeded to pull your fabric towards the bobbin? Or maybe only managed to sew some you, useless, loose stitches? Do you still think your sewing machine “doesn’t sew knit fabric”?

In this post I am sharing what I know about thread tension. If you have your own tips or you have a different opinion, I would love to hear it!

How to adjust upper thread tension on a sewing machine

Adjusting the thread tension for the thread on top should be a pretty straightforward thing. Or at least it the most obvious tension to play with; getting to know how it actually works and what results you can get by playing with it – is another story.

You adjust the tension of the thread that comes from your thread spool depending on the fabric and thread you’re using.

The tension assembly consists of small discs that squeeze (softer or harder, depending on your adjustments) the thread passing through and another piece called the tension regulator, which keeps that pressure constant. On cheaper or more basic machines you will use a numbered wheel/knob and on newer/more expensive machines you will have a dial or a digital display.

In a nutshell: the higher the number on your wheel/dial, the stronger the squeeze and vice versa. If you use a fine thread your tension should be high; on the contrary when using a thicker or decorative thread, your tension should be lower.

When sewing cottons, you can use a medium-high tension; if a cotton is a loose weave, decrease the tension so you don’t wrinkle your fabric when sewing.

If you’re sewing knit or Lycra, decrease the tension to create a more elastic seam.

Adjusting tension will be easier on some machines than others. Newer machines even self-adjust their top thread tension when changing your thread. If you find yourself going crazy over getting the right tension, check the lower (bobbin tension).

As a general tip: your upper and lower thread should be the same type (acrylic, cotton, silk) and the same thickness.

If that doesn’t work, check if there’s dirt caught inside the tension disks. If you’re brave clean it yourself: decrease the tension to 0, un-thread and unplug your machine and pass a thin cotton rag oiled with sewing machine oil (cooking oil won’t do, get a proper oil for your machine and you’ll thank yourself later) through the disks until all the dirt sticks to the rag. Then adjust back your tension to a medium tension (3 or 4), thread your machine and practice a few seams on a cotton scrap.

How to adjust bobbin tension for sewing with elastic thread

For a long time I didn’t even know you could adjust bobbin tension. I thought there was a lever somewhere and that my sewing machine being a simple, older model didn’t have it. I meddled and twisted and swore at the upper thread tension and had no idea what great relief that little screw on the latch lever can bring.

The latch lever is the part that comes out with your bobbin. The part in which you push your bobbin and through which you take out the thread. There is a small screw near the opening through which the thread comes out and that’s how you adjust the bobbin tension. By unscrewing it you create less tension in the bottom thread; this is a handy adjustment for sewing with elastic thread or thicker thread. Once you’re done with the thick bobbin thread remember to screw it back (always test that the thread comes out comfortably).

Do you have any tips? How do you get the perfect thread tension?

Ooh, I Like That – Some DIY Inspiration

I don’t know about you but lately it feels like I never get the time to sew. Or enough time anyway. Tracing the pattern, cutting it, making the muslin, it all takes a lot of time. My future fall projects are all new patterns, new techniques (I want to learn to make shirts and to finally sew a coat for myself) which means they need a lot of time to be brought to life (so to speak, not planning any Dr. Frankenstein adventures).

Yet sometimes I feel there’s nothing better at bringing back the sewing mojo than some instant gratification quick DIY projects. Here are a few that inspire me right now:

For the Home

Have you seen this bundt cake inspired pillow tutorial from Craftstorming? I love the grey linen, the pleats, everything. I want to make a couple for my living room sofa!

a pretty pillow

A touch of sparkle

I don’t wear much jewelry and almost never wear necklaces so this embellished pearl shirt collar from Transient Expression looks like the perfect way to give a simple outfit a bit of glamour. I think I would try this with smaller beads though.

I also have two other bead projects in mind that I will share in the next posts.

beaded diy shirt collar

This clutch purse rules!

I love it when people find new ways to use otherwise common items, like this ruler clutch purse from Hands Occupied.

If you can’t find a way to cut a wooden ruler you could make the pieces from polymer clay or paint it directly on the fabric.

wooden ruler clutch purse

Let’s go dancing

Is color-blocking a summer thing? Even if you use fall hues? I’m not sure, but this vintage looking colorblock circle skirt from Simple Simon & Co sure looks dandy. You could wear a neutral color for the body of the skirt, like black or grey and add a bright fat hem in purple, green or mustard.

fall swing skirt

Veggie to conversation piece

October is the month of the pumpkin. I’ve seen amazing things on blogs lately: pies, smoothies, soups, chips; I want to try them all. A quick pumkin DIY are these pumpkin candles from the Free People Blog. Easy to make and so pretty if you can find pumpkins of different colours and sizes.

pumpkin candles

What about you? What inspires you lately?