Results tagged “Beginners” from Fabric.com Blog
If pressed, I would call it the fabric equivalent of Ravelry. That is one way of describing Sewing Pattern Review to a 'T' but also missing it entirely. Sewing Pattern Review (SPR) has an awesomeness that is its own; this makes it a valuable tool for sewers and seamstresses. You can find pattern reviews there, sure, but you will also find reviews on sewing tools and machines, contests, forums, and online classes. It is a Girl Scout camp for the fabric minded. Before I purchased my new sewing machine (I say new but she and I have been together and happy for 3 years now) I scoured the internet for reviews. No site had more useful info than Sewing Pattern Review. If it wasn't for this gem of a site I would be shackled to another machine I had my heart set on that would have spent more time in the repair shop than my sewing room had I not read the reviews.
I have found many a good tip for a planned pattern on SPR that has saved me time, frustration and one or two times, I just put the pattern aside. When I was a beginner, it virtually held my hand while I attempted more challenging projects. I have not utilized the site as much as I should. Well, that is not true. I have used the heck outta SPR but I have not given back as I should. I only house two reviews of my own on SPR and those are just recent. But writing this blog has brought this problem to light and I will rectify it. My two patterns reviews are the Nancy Dress and the Bossa Nova Skirt. Submitting and writing your pattern is easy. There is a template you can use to write your review and you need a good picture of your finished project. Submitting your own may lead you to check out others and inspire you to make another from a fabric or with a technique you saw from another review. The same can be said for your review. Inspiration runs wild on this site so prepare your wallet and be still your heart. I would love it alone just for the window shopping. I encourage all to use this site; it is wonderful, helpful and an unending resource for all that is sewing.
I have been tempted to knits since I first received Wendy Mullins Sew U Knits. I created one very oversized t-shirt and stalled. When I decided to try my hand at Nancy's Dress, I was a little intimidated because many people say knits are tricky and my first attempt was not really what I would call a success. Some knits and some knit patterns are tricky. The Nancy Dress is not one of them. This pattern was quick and easy. It took me about 15-20 to assemble the pattern and then another 20-30 min to cut it out. But the sewing part was so easy. A little over an hour and I had a dress. A super cute, versatile dress. So I made another. It was addictive.
My first dress, I went by the pattern for every detail. My second dress I cut a size smaller on top for more insurance against the "creep down" notable in strapless dresses. I also cut the back piece of the top 2 in. shorter so it would sit below my shoulder blades and I could wear the front a little higher. This was not a problem with the first dress since the top was bigger. I cut the skirt the original size so there would be some gathering to make the skirt look a little fuller.
You can also wear this dress as a skirt by folding the top in half and wearing it on your hips. This versatility makes it perfect vacation wear. It is wrinkle free and can be worn in more than one way. I selected a small floral print jersey that could be worn with a variety of other pieces. The pattern was not too bright or bold to prevent coordination. So far I have paired it with a denim jacket, multiple colors of tank tops, a light sweater, a linen shawl with a chunky necklace and strappy sandals (It dresses up really well. It would make a great little black dress) and a ruffle t-shirt with the dress as a skirt. You can also pin a long length of ribbon to the center of the top and tie it behind your neck for straps. I wear one of my dresses once a week. It is so great as a mom to have a piece in my wardrobe that doesn't need to be ironed and I can slip on and feel great. The length is great to for modesty but short enough for a good summer breeze. I really love this dress: making it and wearing it. I would encourage everyone to make one.
Check out our recommendations for fabric here
While I love writing these blog posts for Fabric.com, some topics are more fun than others. Today's topic will be filed under the Super Fun category. I always begin every article with research, though some need more than others. Today's article on Craftster didn't, at first, seem to be one topic that needs much research. However, it has been a while since I have visited Craftster so I went back just to reintroduce myself. Within seconds (literally seconds!) I was kicking myself for not continuing to visit daily. Right on the home page, I spotted a dress I cannot live without and nor will I!
Craftster is full to the brim of swaps, projects, tutorials, reworking, recycling, challenges and forums. Craftster is a great place to show off your latest FO as well as check out inspiration when you are hankering to start something new. Knitting, Crochet, Sewing, Upholstering, Jewelry are just a few of the crafts welcome at Craftster. In the past I have learned to make yoga pants from old t-shirts, found one of my favorite dress patterns and discovered projects that make me want to run to my sewing room and get to work right away.
Upon entering Craftster you will see 4 sets of pictures that change all the time: Hot New Projects, New Projects, Featured Projects, and Current Craftster Challenge. These pictures alone are enough to secure you on the website for hours, since one picture inevitably leads to another and another. But if you click on Community on the bar above the pictures you will find a drop down menu of all the crafts on Craftster. You are sure to find something interesting and more. My favorites are clothing, home sweet home and, oddly enough, crochet (that is my next craft to tackle). I love how you can find projects created with all new goods as well as recycled and reused items. I feel ashamed to say that the days I am able to dedicate ample amounts of time to Craftster are followed a short time later by a delivery from Fabric.com. I am duly inspired by the new prints in
Just Arrived Quilting as I am by the projects on Craftster. More often than not, my shame spiral starts with a visit to our website to get ideas for new articles, when I just pop in to peek at the new prints. It is all so innocent in my mind. I see a fabric or 15 that I LOVE (that must be said in a sing-song voice for full effect) and then I descend like a lion onto Craftster to give me a reason to purchase these new prints. 15 min later I have an order confirmation. It is all so shameful that I walk around the house berating myself for 10-20 seconds and then I feel so much better. After all I cannot possible be expected to work on my new projects in a bad mood. Plus, I have new fabric coming in the mail and an awesome Craftster project awaiting me. Who can feel bad in that situation?!
P.s. Check out the Green Ophelia Dress here!!
Keeping with yesterday's theme of handmade goods for soldiers, I wanted to write an article featuring sewing patterns but amidst my search I stumbled upon a small niche for soldiers' families. While our hearts and thoughts follow our troops into battle everyday and we watch the progress every night in this news, the soldier's families blend, often unnoticed into the crowd at home. Moms and Dads doing the work of 2, putting on a brave front while worry is a constant companion and the news a continuous reminder of the danger. Children carry on normally but knowing that half their heart is a world away and longing for the day when Mommy or Daddy will be home again. Supporting our military families rallies both at home and aboard. Seeing their child smile and know that a 'stranger' cares can ease the burden for both the soldier and their family. Below are a few projects perfect for spreading good spirits near and far. Operation Top Knot- Created by a college student who wanted to share her admiration for expectant and new mothers of military families. This operation sends care packages to new moms and soon-to-be mothers to help them care for their new family members as well as themselves. Items to sewn include but not limited to: Bibs, blankets, burp cloths, booties, hats, onesies, washcloths and diapers. Since many of these items are for new babies be sure when you prewash your fabric to do so with a gentle detergent. Choose soft fabrics that wear well. You can also nominate a family you know or donate fabrics suitable for their projects, clip coupons and contribute store bought goods.
Daddy Dolls- Giving a child a doll sewn up with Daddy or Mommy's image not only allows a kid to snug up with their loved one but also helps them remember and be proud of their soldier parent. All you need is some Muslin or Broadcloth, printable transfer paper and a sewing machine. This is probably best done for a friend of family member whom you know and have access to their pictures since I could not find any websites that organized making and sending Daddy Dolls to military families. Once you have a picture of a solider you can have it sized to whatever size you like at any photo center. Print your picture out on the photo transfer paper and follow the direction included with the package to affix it to your fabric. Cut 2 pieces approx. 2-3 in. around the picture and place right sides together sew around the edge with a ½ in. seam allowance leaving a small gap for turning. Stuff your doll and hand stitch closed. If you are not up to sewing one of these treasures or want one bigger than your transfer paper allows, you can order one from these fine folks.
Drawstring bags- Not technically for troop families, these drawstring bags can be whipped up from quilting cotton in no time and sent full of toiletries for a taste of home overseas for our troops. Hearing how good it is to have toothpaste, deodorant and gum, home front parents will love the feeling of knowing that it is not just family members who care about their spouse.
P.S. Changing pad tutorial here
On July 4th 1776, We the people declared independence from the British and in doing so declared war. 1783 brought this hard fought war to a victorious end thanks to the many citizens who fought and died to bring freedom to America. It is in thanks to those soldiers and to the thousands of troops today that continue to fight for freedom that this article is dedicated. But it is not through the efforts of troops alone that freedom is won and protected. It is also with the aid and support of the home front that our soldiers do their job and do it well. The making and sending of handmade goods extends back as far as war itself. Always it was families and friends conveying their love from afar. Times change but the endeavor remains the same and you can help. Knitted goods are needed and wanted by our troops overseas. Below are some items you can knit and send to our soldiers deployed to demonstrate our appreciation, respect and pride.
*Please note the colors allowed by the military are black, charcoal, brown, tan, gray or combinations of these colors.
Rowan Pure Wool DK. After checking projects on Ravelry where this yarn was used in many hats and for wee babes where the items was worn close to the skin, I can assume that it is not itchy and it is also superwash. A double bonus. Choose colors Black, Shale, Barley, Hessian, or Earth. Silk is another great cold weather fiber but it is often associated with only summer. Silk is lighter weight than wool, silky to though and quick to dry. Nashua Creative Focus can be knit up in Black, Deep Shadow, and Raw Umber.- This pattern is very popular among soldiers and knitters alike. It fits comfortably under a helmet and tucks into a coat or jacket to protect the face from extreme cold and wind. The ribbing used allows the liner to contour to the wearer's face ensuring a snug cozy fit. Be sure to use a cold weather fiber like wool or alpaca (not linen or cotton) but also something soft. Certain kinds of wool can be scratchy when worn next to the skin so take that into consideration. Also, wash ability will be something every solider will thank you for, especially if they are anything like my nose which yields to running when the weather gets cold. I recommend
Socks for Soldiers- In a land of few luxuries, a price cannot be put upon hand knit socks. Even here where a whim is just a car ride away, hand knit socks are a welcome reprieve. Sock for our soldiers was founded by a mom for her son deployed and in need of good socks. All you need is the simple pattern and some wool or wool/cotton blend. Let me recommend Rowan Wool Cotton Yarn which is a sensuous blend of merino and durable cotton. Perfect for our over worked troops in need of TLC (Choose Inki, which is black).
Afghans of Honor- Knitting for troops is not limited those in active duty. Those who are injured can be said to be even more in need of our support than those not. Afghans of Honor "reminds men and women who have stood in harm's way in defense of their country that they are appreciated and remembered". To some an afghan may be intimidating but surely the courage of a fallen solider can lend itself to the needles of a newbie afghan knitter. Each stitch can be one more stitch of comfort and one less of loneliness. With each stitch you are closer to being finished and shipping your afghan to a soldier in need. Even better, there are no restrictions on this project. Any color and pattern is accepted (but do keep your recipient in mind, kittens and puppies may not be popular). I encourage you to choose warm and inviting colors to keep spirits up. With no pattern restrictions you can be sure to choose a pattern for your level. I suggest Berroco Vintage Chunky for a quick knit in a yummy Wool/Acrylic blend or Nashua Vignette for colorwork without the work.
Now is the time to start planning your knitted Christmas presents. Not that it necessarily take 5 months to knit presents for your family and friend but it takes time to find the perfect pattern, find and order yarn and then time to knit it to perfection (especially if you are working on a new pattern). Starting now gives you time to make a list and do it right without stress. This way if you decide to take a night off for wine bar hopping, a wine tasting or trip to Napa Valley, you've got time. The last thing you want is it being Dec 22nd and you have 2 scarves, 3 hats and 1 sweater left to finish and block!
Now, where to begin? Ah...the fun part. Planning is always fun for me because it involves lots of window shopping, very little price tag looking and much imagining of people opening presents with looks of delight painting their faces. Make a list of those for whom you wish to knit presents. Next, decide the general genre of the present (i.e. hat, shawl, gloves, etc). Then start your search. I always start at Knitty but Ravelry is another good place to start given the rating system. Your library of books in another starting place. I curl up on a comfy seat pulled up next to the shelf with a cup of coffee. Once you have all your patterns selected, it is time to pick your yarn (SIGH. I love yarn shopping!). Make another list of all the yarn you will need. I generally categorize it by fiber. Then if I can combine orders or yardage (say you only need 50 yds from this ball and it will work for another project, then you can combine it and save). Unless I have a definite image of what one project should look like, I try to be flexible with fiber and color so I can combine.
Next, estimate how much time you will need for each project. I write this down on the pattern itself along with the yarn I selected for it. A good way to estimate is to check out completed projects on Ravelry. Each project lists when someone starts and finishes and you should get a good feel for how long it will take. Then get started. I would recommend prioritizing your list but at this point you have already made enough lists and you should just start whichever project you are most excited over.
But wait...Let's make a plan B. Let's face it, knitting Christmas present can be much like starting a diet: You are die-hard for a while then you get distracted and lose you way. That is why a Plan B is in needed in case you have too much wine too often or your husband insists on taking you out dancing (crazy talk, I know). I like to take readymade objects and add little knitted somethings so the sentiment of a handmade present is still there but in a limited amount of time. Some good ideas are:
· Hand towels with knitted edgings
· Knitted flowers added to a tank top or tee shirt
· Purchased sweaters with added details (knitted appliqués, monograms, edgings or ruffles)
· Crazy cozy- chicken for your teapot, pig for your toaster
· Knitted fruit and veggies are great for kids
There are many little things you can knit and give or add to readymade items. This will give you tons of satisfaction but none of the stress or guilt so often plaguing us during and leading up to the holiday season.
Writer's note: The above pictures are a super cute tank top with knitted flowers added on in a cluster and a knitted inset in red flannel to make a pillow. The pattern is Odin Eagle for my Norwegian MIL but I did not have time to knit the whole pillow. This compromise allows me to give my MIL something she will love in a 1/4 of the time. The striped scarf is my free Sally Stripe pattern found here.
Fabric.com is new to knitting, so it follows that most of our customers must be as well. But even the more seasoned knitters have questions that need answers. Forums are great but sometimes your questions can go weeks without answer and finding the right forum can be tricky. Maybe you just need a yarn recommendation, or an explanation of a cast-on. Or maybe your question is trickier than that. Ask it. Every Wed will feature "Ask the Expert" posts here at the blog.
You can submit your question as a comment on the blog. Every Wed. I will pick 5 questions and answer them. I will try to pick the questions that are the most helpful to most of the readers but, of course, I will also pay heed to those who just need specific help. I encourage all forms of flattery and general sucking up. In fact, I would as far as to say that it will greatly improve your chances of having your question answered. However, we all know how gracious and generous we knitters are so I am sure that even if you call me a "fat cow who dresses in plaids and stripes" (I assure you I do not) that if I find merit in your question, I will answer it while secretly hoping it takes you three tries to get gauge. You can vote on comments too.
I will break the ice by answering a few questions that some of my neighbors have thrown my way in the past few weeks.
Q: What are your favorites when it comes to knitting?
A: That is a broad question so I will toss out the first things that come to mind. I love wool. Love it. It is so soft and colorful. It has great stitch definition but is so springy so I consider it forgiving. It doesn't make my hands feel "weird" like cotton can.
I love hats. You can do anything with them. They knit up in hours. Everyone loves getting a hat. You can make the funkiest hat and it will not look weird if you wear it right. Here is one of my fave's, I make one a year (at least).
Wooden needles are my favorite. I am allergic to nickel and most metal needles are nickel plated. They make my joints ache and my fingers feel tired. I get worn out quickly knitting with metal. I like Acrylic too but sometimes they are too slick for me.
Q: What cast-on do you most recommend for a beginner (and I mean a BEGINNER!)
A: I like 2. The backward loop is the easiest to learn and get started but can be a bit tricky for a newbie to knit the first row due to the nature of the loop being so adjustable. The long-tail cast-on takes more practice to get but it is easy to knit the first row and makes a really nice, neat edge. So it depends on you. Do you want to just cast-on and go or do you really want to make it easier in the long run.
Q: I really want to feel the yarn- I can't get over that to buy online.
A: Unless you are new to fiber, you know what it feels like. Merino more or less feels the same. The prices can't be beat. You are saving the drive and time plus you can shop in your own home. Do you really need to feel wool again to see that is AWESOME? The bottom line is: you have to trust the site you are purchasing from. If they say it is soft, it is. If they say that it is springy or fluffy or smooth, trust them. If you can't trust their opinion of yarn fibers, why in the heck are you giving them your credit card number!? Fabric.com's merchandisers are pros when it comes to fiber. Every yarn gets put into the store by a real person. They touch it, think about it and write about it. Plus if you need more, you can call their customer service. I am sure they would love a chance to get their hands on it too!
Best of knitting to you: Tara Miller
So you're not a newbie but you don't really consider yourself a knitter anymore. If has been awhile since you have put yarn to sticks then step closer. It doesn't take much to get back in the game, even if the game was 20 years ago. In fact, it will be easier than you realize; once you have momentum you will be whipping out projects in no time.
1) Take Stock
Do you have supplies? If not do you remember what you used most? Did you use wooden or metal needles? Was your favorite yarn cotton, wool, or a blend? Start there. If you hung onto your old supplies and still have a stash then go through it and pick something that gets your attention, it is more likely to hold it.
2) Set the mood
Find a comfortable place to sit for a while, something nice to drink, maybe some music and plenty of time. Relearning to knit (or any skill) is not something easily done with kids running around, hungry cats rubbing your leg or phones ringing. Knitting is relaxing so setting the mood is key to triggering your memories.
3) Where to start
What do you remember about knitting? Practice what you remember and think about what you don't. Start at the beginning with something simple. Cast-on 10-20 stitches and work a row in a knit stitch. If you get to the end, do you recall what comes next? If your first row was a success (it doesn't need to be perfect but recognizable) try purling on the way back. Keep at it till you feel comfortable. If practice is all you need-awesome! But if you know practice is not enough then refer to the Learning to Knit post. You can use any of those methods to gain a refresher lesson.
If knitting and purling itself is not your trouble but just feel out of the loop with yarn fiber combinations, needles materials ("Back in my day we knit with metal needles and we liked it, we loved it") and pattern choices, feel free to contact customer service with any questions. If you are looking for opinions, recommendations or reviews try leaving a comment here on our blog or contact us via Twitter or Facebook. Social Networking is a great way to be in contact with knitters from around the world without leaving your house. Once you get back the horse, it will be like you leaved got off.
Check back Friday for Knitting on the Go: Notions with a notions pouch sewing pattern
Hi and Welcome Knitters, Wanna-bes and Looky-Loos, I'm Tara
You might remember me from previous sewing blog posts on Fabric.com's blog. Since we last spoke, I have started a family and honed my craft of crafting. If it can be fashioned out of fabric, yarn, paper or other various slow moving inhabitants found in my house, then I am making it. For the sake of this blog we are going to stick with sticks and yarn (aka knitting) with the occasional daytrip off track.
Want some background? I have been knitting since highschool (we will round that down to 10 years and leave it at that) and have been designing knitting patterns and teaching for 4 years. I love knitting for the end result but like most knitters, my love extends beyond. It is the process. Like the crossword puzzle in the Sunday paper and a long, hot bath, knitting is relaxing and therapeutic. I can turn off my brain and breathe. Yet at the end I have something beautiful that I can keep and make myself happy or give away and make someone else happy. It is a win-win and I stay sane. But in order to find solace in knitting you first must learn. Come grasshopper...
Learning to knit is like learning any new skill (walking, driving, cooking, for example), it takes a desire to learn and a source to learn from. That is just the basics but there are many different methods of learning, you will know what works best for you. One method, and I mention this first because this is how I learned to knit, is to teach yourself from a book (See below for links to some great teaching materials). The pros for this method are: you can work on your schedule, you can repeat steps as often as necessary and there is no one to hear you swear when mistakes are made. The cons are that you must interpret the instructions and pictures yourself and an increase in your swearing vocabulary (in extreme conditions wine consumption is directly related to swearing frequency). The cost for this method is low ($$), just the cost of books, needles and yarn (cost of wine will vary).
A second method is to track down a relative, friend, neighbor, mail-lady, grocer, or any person you can wrangle into sitting down and teaching you to knit. This may be easy or difficult depending on where you live. If you are lucky enough to live in Norway or Ireland, throw a stone and grab whoever it hits, apologize and invite them in for coffee because they know how to knit. Look in your local newspaper or neighborhood circular for knitting clubs (often mention "needles" in their description). I suggest you visit your city's website for listings and your local newspaper for more info. Of course, you will need to work around this person's or group's schedule and teaching methods. The chances are pretty good that you will have a one-on-one lesson with you setting the pace. The cost of this method is very low ($) just the cost of needles and yarn.
The third option is also the most expensive, least flexible but offers a fair amount of hand holding. I am referring to yarn store lessons. If you are lucky enough to have a yarn store within driving distance then you are sure to find lessons, great lessons. But at a cost. Most yarn stores charge a lesson fee plus materials, purchased at the store. Add that to the driving and you have yourself a pretty penny. However, you don't need to worry yourself over picking out needles and yarn. In providing supplies, the guesswork is avoided. You do need to worry about class size, availability, times offered and how often. One last pit fall that must be avoided is the after-class-purchase. We are all guilty and it cannot be avoided. Who among us can sit in a room surrounded by soft, beautiful yarn, knitted into samples of sweaters, scarves and pillows and not be wooed? Let she (or he) who is without after-class-purchase throw the first stone. You will find no ammo in my hands. The cost of this method is high ($$$) with residual costs always possible.
Pick any of these methods that suit you but don't expect to wake up knitting. It takes some work; knitting is a new skill. Using both hands to hold sticks and yarn is tricky. It was tricky for me. But I wanted to learn and I did. You can too and we'll be here for you. Good luck!
Learn to Knit Materials:
With so many encouraging titles, you can't go wrong. Plus Fabric.com's No Hassle Return Policy makes it easy comforting that you will find the right book and be up and knitting in no time. Feel free to comment with any questions or messages. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.