Monday, December 26, 2011

Sock Project Bag

Merry Christmas!  Well, the day after, anyway.  My sister has been knitting socks like they are going out of style.  I believe she started knitting socks for everyone for Christmas in the summer.  Smart thinking, Lady!

She may have been sick of socks by the time I gave this to her, but I sewed her a Sock Project Bag.  What is that? you say.  It is a mini drawstring bag that holds one ball of yarn and the in-process socks with needles so you can carry it wherever you go.

I saw an ad for it on the Lion Brand website:

Original Bag from Lion Brand

Yes, the socks-on-the-clothes-line pattern is very cute, but it was sold out when I looked into buying it.  Like everything else, I thought, "I can make that, no problem!" 

It has a round-bottom, a drawstring and a wrist strap.  Oh and the retail one is reversible.  Bring it on, Lion Brand!

Fabric on the Right is for the Sock Bag

I made this over Thanksgiving weekend, the same day I made the Knitting Needle Wrap.  This will be for my sister's birthday, which is right after Christmas, but I gave it to her early, while I was visiting this month.  She can never wait until her birthday to open her presents.

I will try and condense this into a tutorial.  I took a ton of pics, so I hope that it is helpful.

  • Half yard of two different fabrics, Color 1 (C1) and Color 2 (C2)
  • Matching Thread
  • About 1 yard of Grosgrain Ribbon, 5/8" wide 
  • Toggle
  • Scissors / Rotary Cutter & Mat
  • Ruler
  • Marker or Pen
  • Calculator (Yes, there is Math involved)
  • Iron & Ironing Board
Start by ironing the fabric.  Take a ball of sock yarn to use as a guide in determining how round the bottom needs to be.  I used my flour canister lid and traced it onto a corner of both fabrics.

Tracing Isn't Just For Kindergarten

Cut out each circle.  I will call the olive green fabric C1 and the brown/aqua fabric C2.  It really doesn't matter which is which, since it's reversible, but for the sake of it, they are labeled.

Measure the diameter of the circle (from one edge to the opposite edge).  To calculate the circumference, multiply the diameter by pi.  Yes, pi.  (Isn't this exciting, using math while sewing)?!  My calculator has a pi button, but if yours doesn't, then take the diameter and multiply it by 3.14.  

My diameter was 7".  So 7 x 3.14 = 21.98".  Let's round up to 22" and add another half inch for the seam allowance (22.5").  This is the width of the tube needed to fit your round bottom.  Don't you feel smart now?

Perfectly Calculated Pieces

Once the width is cut to what your circumference worked out to be, cut the height to about 11.5".  It only needs to fit a ball of yarn, needles and the working socks.

Now, the retail bag has pockets on one of the fabric sides.  Since there is extra fabric, take a scrap piece and use it as a pocket.  I chose to use C1 as the pocketed fabric.  Fold and press a 1/4" edge on the wrong side, along the top.  Sew.  Then press another edge on the flanking sides. 

Pocket Action

Line up the bottom edge that was not folded, along the bottom raw edge of the fabric in the middle (like in above pic).  Sew just the pocket down along the 2 sides and bottom.  I also sewed a line up the middle, bisecting the pocket.  Put aside.

Bottom Pinned

Take C2 fabric and attach the round bottom to the tube.  Place right sides together and work your way around the circle, pinning the tube.  When you get to the end, you have extra fabric for the tube.  This is so you can sew the side seam so it fits the bottom exactly.  (Just in case your math was a bit off, the added extra half inch seam allowance is here to save the day).  Pin the tube side and sew the whole length.  Now pin that last section onto the circle.

This is the tough part: sew the bottom to the tube, using about a 1/4" seam allowance.  A little story here (going off on a tangent) is that I tried making a wine gift bag out of fabric when I was about 19 years old.  I had no idea what I was doing, using my mom's sewing machine.  I was Miss Know-It-All back then, so I  didn't ask for help.  Well, the bag was pretty sad looking and I had not sewn a round bottom bag since then.  I feel pretty good that I did it well this time.

Phew, My Round Bottom Phobia Has Been Cured!

Turn the tube right side out.  Yea, one bag down, one more to go.

Take the fabric with the pocket, C1, and do the same thing as you did for C2.  One exception, when sewing the side of the tube, leave about a 2" hole for turning.  Trust me.

Turning Hole - A Fabric Miracle

For the drawstring, we need to make a hole on one of the fabric top edges.  I chose C1 to have the hole.  Find the middle of the top edge, opposite of the side seam.  Measure about 1" from top edge and place a mark.

Button Hole Mark

Make a button hole at the mark, going horizontal.

Now the fun part:  take both bags and turn C1 inside out and C2 right side out, if they are not already like that.  Place C2 inside C1; the right sides of the fabric should be facing each other.  Line up the side seams.  Just to check yourself, the one with the pocket, turning hole and button hole is on the outside and the other bag is on the inside as in the below pic.

Make Sure It Looks Like This

Pin the top raw edges together and sew a 1/4" seam allowance.  Turn this beauty out with the turning hole.  It will look like the bags are end to end.

Nothing Is Wrong, Really!

Now, fit C2 into C1.  Press the top seam.  From this top edge, sew 1" down.  This will be the casing for the drawstring.  

Take the ribbon and make a loose bracelet around your wrist, big enough to easily slide off.  Add 1" to that length.  On the outside, top edge, on the side seam, topstitch the ribbon in place at the very top edge and where the bottom of the drawstring casing.

Wrist Strap - For the On-The-Go Knitter

Once sewn, take the remaining length of ribbon and thread it through the button hole (safety pin works well).

Or Use a Handy Threader

Once the ribbon is in place, thread the ends through the toggle.  With the drawstring at it's loosest, adjust the ribbon.  Make a knot a few inches from the toggle.  Cut the ribbon near the knot.  Sear the edges of the ribbon edges with a lighter or flame, being very careful (you don't want your project to literally go up in flames).

Believe it or not, the project is done!

Side With Pocket Out

Or turn it the other way:

Pocket Is On the Inside

I'll admit, this took awhile, but it came out so cute, that I really did not mind.  It was worth the time to make my sister something useful for her birthday.

Not Too Shabby!

My sister did, in fact, teach me how to knit socks, maybe I can get her to follow my tutorial to make me a Sock Project Bag for my birthday.  What'cha think, Kathy??

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Knitting Needle Wrap

I'm visiting my sister and yes, I am making socks!  It is harder than I thought, but I'm managing.  I will cover my socks at a later date - it's too soon to show it off since I have not made it past the toes.

I will talk about what I made over Thanksgiving weekend.  Vince's eldest daughter has gotten into knitting and she doesn't really have that many knitting needles yet.  I decided to make her a Knitting Needle Wrap.  This wrap is a fabric roll-up case.

I first chose two different fabrics, one as a main color (MC) and the second as the contrast color (CC).

Fabric on the Left is the Needle Wrap

The MC is the black with flower vines and the CC is the maroon.  Retail, these needle cases go for about $39-$50.  No way am I paying that if I got the skillz!  Here's a mini tutorial, so you can have the skillz, too!

  • Half yard of two different fabrics, MC & CC
  • Matching Thread
  • 1 yard of 5/8" Grosgrain Ribbon
  • Fusible Webbing (aka Interface)
  • Iron & Ironing Board
  • Pressing Cloth
  • Straight Pins
  • Chalk
  • Ruler (to measure and as a straight edge)
  • Scissors / Rotary Cutter & Mat
First, cut each fabric piece to a 21" x 18" rectangle.  This will accommodate both length of needles.

Measure Twice, Cut Once!

Cut a piece of fusible webbing the same size or larger as the CC fabric.  You may have to cut a few pieces to cover the entire area.  As long as it's covered, it will be fine.  This will give a bit of stability to the wrap.

Applying the Fusible Webbing

Lay out the CC fabric, right side down, on the ironing board or pressing area.  Cover the back of the CC with the fusible webbing, following the directions on the side that needs to be facing the fabric. 

Take the pressing cloth and wet it and wring it out good.  It just needs to be damp.  Place cloth down and then the iron (on the hottest setting for the fabric type) and lay it on the pressing cloth.  This is one of the only times you are allowed to put the iron down and leave it!  Follow the directions for the rest of the application.  Trim away the rest of the webbing that is extended beyond the fabric.

Time to sew:  Place the MC and the CC, right sides together.   Pin them together.  The webbing should be facing out.

Right Side Together

Sew a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a space on one of the sides as a turning hole.  (I found that the webbing should face the dogfeed.  It made my foot all sticky when I did it with it facing up and therefore was not advancing well).  Trim any excess fabric (like if your fabric was not perfectly lined, you can now trim it to a 1/4" seam allowance).  Trim the corners off.

Turn it right side out and fix the corners so they are pointy.

Turning Hole

Iron the whole thing, making the edges even, pushing them out from the inside, if necessary.  Iron the fabric at the turning hole so they are 1/4" inside, lining up with the rest of the edge.

Perimeter Sewing...Zipper Foot Works Good!

Sew around the perimeter of the item, a 1/4" from the edge or less.  Sewing straight lines at the edges of things is definitely not my strong suit.  I tried to sew it so I sewed over a bit of the inside allowance.  Line up the fabric when going over the turning hole area.

Take the item and lay it out with the CC facing and longest part perpendicular to yourself (long side, going up and down).

Fold Up for Needle Pockets

Fold the bottom hem up about 5".  This will be the needle pockets.  Pin the sides and then sew them down to make one wide pocket.

Individual Pockets, Here We Come!

My width was about 17", so I figured I would make each pocket about 1.5" wide.  You can make more or less pockets.  I was able to get 11 pockets out of this scheme.

Take a ruler and measure out 1.5" and make a straight line down the pocket with chalk.  These will be the guidelines.  Make sure they are where you want them.

Sew up each chalk line, individually.  With the damp pressing cloth, wipe off the chalk.  Almost done, promise!

Ribbon, Where You At?

Take the ribbon and find the middle.  Pin the middle of the ribbon to the middle of the right outside edge.  (Can be the left side if you are a lefty).  Sew along where the stitching already is (aka, topstitch the ribbon in place).

Yeah, You Are Done!

Place your needles in the pockets and you are done!  The pockets are wide enough so that a few pairs of needles will fit in each one.  Now, roll the case from the left to the right towards the ribbon.

Non-Fruit Roll-Up!

The ribbon is long enough to wrap around a few times.  Then tie in a nice bow.  I suggested a yard so that the ribbon, when tied, hangs long.  My preference, so shorten to your liking. 

Once the length is set, take a lighter and burn the edges so they won't fray.  Be careful!!

How Does Saving $30 Feel??

Now go to your local knitting hangout and show off your new needle wrap.  I had gotten the needles shown at a yard sale for $3.  It was a set from size 1 to size 11.  It was missing a size 7, though.  Not bad!  I will go out and buy a pair of 7 bamboo needles to complete the set for the gift.

If you make one, send me a pic.  I would love to see it.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More Hats...

I have another hat!  This is the same hat that I made for the I Heart Hats post from last week, but I used a different combination of yarn along with a different object dangling from the top.  Here is the yarn I used:

Hats: Round 3

It is Bernat Softee Baby in Soft Peach and Naturally Caron Spa in Green Sheen.  The Bernat is the yarn I previously used in the I Heart Hats post and the Spa is the same that I used to knit up my Aloha Maddie Baby Blanket back in August.  I find that the Spa yarn splits very easily when you are working with it, which drives me nuts, but it is so soft.  These two yarns together give the hat a very cozy feeling.

Instead of crocheting more puffy hearts, I did a puffy leaf.  It seemed to suit the colors better.  I first knitted up two leaves.

Much Easier than the Hearts!

Then I put them wrong sides together and started to seam them together with the left over tails.  Once I got close to the top, I stuffed some polyfill into it.

Can You Picture It?

Then I closed up the hole in the same manner.  I took an extra double strand set of the green Spa and crocheted a chain of about 5 chains and attached it to the leaf and then tied it to the top of the hat.

Now, I Heart Leaves!

I really liked this one too!  I definitely make things I don't like.  You may see them on this blog, but most likely it will only be the projects that came out cute.  Who wants to write about their mess-ups? 

The next and last hat will be this color combo (can you guess it?):

Round 4

Hey, when I buy yarn, everyone is getting a little bit of it.  There is no need to buy a ton of different yarns, just a few and mix and match the colors or textures.  I will put a puffy leaf on that one too.

I will be in Massachusetts next weekend with my family.  I may write about my socks.  I hope that I can start while I am there and not just eat the whole time.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I Heart Hats

I decided not to do a ton of handmade gifts this year for Christmas.  Last year I was too stressed trying to get everything done in time.  This year, I am knitting only a few hats.  These hats will be for a few of my friend's daughters.


Here are two of the yarns that I am using for the first hat.  Pink as the main color (Bernat Softee Baby in Soft Peach) and a cream with a gold thread (Lion Brand, Vanna's Glamour in Topaz 170). 

This is your basic knitted hat pattern:
  • Worsted weight yarn (less than 1 skein each)
  • Size 8, 9 or 10 straight needle
  • Cast on: 54 sts for Baby / 63 sts for Toddler, Small Adult & Large Adult
    • Use Size 8 for Baby / Size 9 for Toddler & Small Adult / Size 10 for Large Adult
  • Work this pattern for ~4" for Baby / ~6" for Toddler / ~7" for Small Adult & Large Adult
    • *k8, p1, repeat from * to end
  • After the desired length is knitted, start decreasing as follows:
    • Rows 1: *k6, k2 tog, p1, repeat * to end
    • Rows 2, 4, 6: Work even (p the p's and k the k's)
    • Rows 3: *k2 tog tbl (through back loops), k5, p1, repeat from * to end
    • Row 5: *k4, k2 tog, p1, repeat * to end
    • Row 7: *k2 tog tbl (through back loops), k4, p1, repeat from * to end
    • Row 8: *p2, p2 tog, k1, repeat from * to end
    • Row 9: *k2 tog tbl, k1, p1, repeat from * to end
    • Row 10: *p2 tog, k1, repeat * to end
    • Row 11: *k2 tog tbl, repeat * to end
    • There are only 6 sts left (don't worry if it is not exactly 6).  Cut the yarn so there is a tail about a foot long.  Thread it on a blunt tip needle. Take the threaded needle and cross over the sts on the wrong side and start threading the sts on the knitting needle onto the blunt tip needle and tail yarn.  (See picture below somewhere) Remove the sts off the knitting needle and pull the tail tight.  This closes up the top.  Take that tail and seam the hat down the side.  Weave in ends.  Viola!
You can do this pattern with one yarn thickness or two yarn thickness.  You can play around with the pairing of the colors.  You can do stripes.  You can continue decreasing into an I-cord or you can add a pom-pom. You can really do anything with this basic pattern.

I started with the light pink/gold pairing:

Makes a Rolled Edged Hat

I really like how the two yarns held together look:

Glistening Yarn

Here is the closing of the top with the blunt tip needle:

Thread the Tail Through the Sts on the Knitting Needle

Then remove sts from knitting needle and pull tight:


Here is the basic hat completed:

Completed Basic Hat

I had two done by this point:

Cutie Hats

The darker pink hat yarn is Bernat Softee Baby in Soft Red held together with the same Vanna's Glamour as the light pink hat.  

My finishing touch on these hats will be a crocheted puffy heart that I will dangle off the top with a crochet chain.  I got the puffy heart crochet pattern off the internet with a video from YouTube.  They are so cute!

I Heart Puffy Heart

That puffy heart was not as easy as it looked!  It took me for-ev-a to do it right.  I'm just not a crocheter and I was using a steely hook that was a size 1.  I was very relieved that it finally did work out.

Lots of Love Hat

I only did one puffy heart for the blog.  It took me so long to do that one, that I will have to start fresh again another day on the other one.