Why knitting could be the secret ingredient to a better life

I really liked Christina Baker Kline’s piece in the New York Times about why she didn’t use to knit, or garden, or do anything that would keep her from her focus of writing and being a writer. There’s a touching paragraph about her beloved mother, who “moved from one passion to the next like a tornado moving across a flat landscape, sweeping up everything in its path and flinging it aside — astrology, feminist activism, organic gardening.”

“Knitting was no different. For a few years, skeins of yarn piled up in baskets around the house. There weren’t enough humans in my mother’s orbit to wear all the scarves and sweaters and hats she knitted. And then, as suddenly as she started, she lost interest, leaving needles still entwined in half-finished fragments.” writes Christina Baker Kline.

She then goes on to explain the strategy she created for herself to keep her focused on her work: basically writing everyday and not getting involved in activities that would create additional distractions and potentially keep her from her writing.

“When I start a new novel and find myself diverted by domestic activities, many of which I genuinely enjoy, I panic that I will never write another word. So, consciously and unconsciously, I have laid down certain rules for myself. I will not serve lunch to anyone in the middle of a workday. I rarely rearrange my furniture or cabinets; once I find a drawer for something, it stays there. I don’t garden. And I don’t knit.”

Christina then goes on and tells the story of how she did choose to pick up those needles and knit something new, but I can’t help but wonder: am I also procrastinating and not working on my true goals when I sew, knit, crochet or make?

A little. But that’s also a pleasant way to relax and unwind. There’s nothing more relaxing and more peaceful than counting stitches in your head or imagining the construction of a new pattern. It’s not quite meditating, but it’s the closest I got.

What about you? Is your making (be it sewing, knitting, crochet etc.) calming you down or giving you more energy? And why do you make?

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.



On bloggers selling e-books, courses, content

As a blogger creating content and, in the past, as an Etsy seller I’ve always been thorn between offering content for free and trying to monetize the blog by selling my own sewing patterns and even e-books. I love buying things from people I respect and admire: patterns from independent pattern makers, even more so if they are wonderful bloggers, books and e-books and even courses, but on my own blog I felt strange about linking to my shop, talking about a new purse I’ve just listed or even selling a pattern I thought people will like. Like I was betraying my readers. Like I was doing something wrong.

I don’t feel at all wrong about having a job where creating content is one or my main responsibilities, so why should I feel that with my own blog? But I do. So it was refreshing to read Holly’s blog post about bloggers who offer magazine quality content and should be allowed (by their readers, she elegantly says, but I read “by themselves” between the lines) to want to make a living out this, the same way they would do if somebody would hire them to do the same thing.

A blog doesn’t just have to be about sharing pretty things for free, day in and day out, with no financial reward for the effort poured into it. We all need to eat and pay rent. And most of us really do love blogging and feel a genuine passion for it first and foremost. Yet, when you add up the hours and resources involved to produce beautiful blog content, no one can keep at it post after post, year after year, without eventually needing to earn some money to sustain it all.

As you’ve probably noticed, I am currently taking my time to figure our what I want this blog to become; my interests have changed since 6 years ago when I started and I’ve learned many of the things that fascinated me about sewing and pattern making, I am no expert but I am at this strange point where I can more or less sew a good garment, can make my own simple and some not so simple patterns, but there are still things I “more or less” understand, such as fitting clothes for other bodies and I’ve still never made jeans :). I still have a passion for making things and learning new techniques, but I’ve also developed interests for other things, interests that compete with sewing and blogging.

What about you? Have your interests in sewing changed in the last year/s? Has your blog changed? Are you selling anything through your blog and how do you feel about that? It would be great to hear your thoughts.

The top 10 Sewing Blogs that Inspire Me Most

I’ve learned most of the things I know from blogs and from forums before that. Blogs are great when you move from home and you find yourself in a new place, with no friends who are interested in sewing and making things. They are great when you’re sewing mojo is gone for a week or a month or when you have no time to sew.

You make yourself a cup of coffee and read on about other sewing adventures. You laugh some, you learn some. Sewing blogs are one of the best things in the world 🙂

I’ve written before about the 8 sewing blogs you must read, so even though I love them, I won’t include them here, but you can just click on the older post there and find out who they are 🙂

So – drum roll- let the treasure show-off begin:

Note: this is an older post that I’ve salvaged from a backup, the designs of the homepage of the mentioned bloggers might have changed since. 

10 The Perfect Nose

The sewist behind The Perfect Nose is a molecular biologist specialising in fungal cell biology and plant and fungal functional genomics. What I love about her designs and projects is how quirky and fun her writing is. She lives in Melbourne, Australia.


9 So, Zo

Zoe lives in Hastings UK, but she was living in Barcelona before I moved here. I think I missed her by a week or so, which sucks, because i would have loved to have tiny vermouths  with her and talk about sewing.


8 Very Purple Person

Novita is probably the best sewists out there. Her technique is impeccable, she is super modest and makes amazing things. She lives in Tokio.



7 Poppy and Red Clover

I really like Louise’s personal and I want to sew everything she posts on the blog. Her pieces are super wearable, feminine and comfy. She lives in northern Germany.



6 Oona Balloona

What, you don’t know Oona? Well, that’s really strange. Oona has tons of personality, sews some crazy sexy outfits and writes about sewing like you think about sewing.



5 Lula Louise

Beth has actually changed her blog name to SEW DIY. You’ll see the same eye for design, clean shapes, plenty of white space and plenty of eye candy on her new blog. She lives in Los Angeles.



4 Made by Hank

Katie is one of my favourite bag designers our there. She always surprises me with something new and always created these mouth-watering new bags that make you want to sell your furniture and only buy bags! She lives in Philadelphia.

3 Coletterie

Sarai wrote two books (I only have one and I love it) and continues to surprise me with her thoughtful posts about the real cost of fashion, sustainability, sewing slowly and in general making the best of this pleasant activity. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

2 Cotton and Curls

I like Liz’s blog because she is creative and trendy, yet she makes items that are very wearable and easy to make – she is an inspiration. She lives in Utah.

1 A Beautiful Mess

Last but not least, there’s Elsie and Emma’s blog, the beautiful and creative sisters from Missouri. They only have a few sewing projects but their photography is beautiful, their sense of style is fresh and playful and their blog can only inspire you to play more with your sewing.

What about you? Which sewing blogs inspire you?

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.


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


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?