Free: August 2010 Archives
Pearl gleams and shimmers. Pearl is elegant and sophisticated. Pearl is a knitted clutch with a textured body and lacey, scalloped flap. Pearl is lined with a sea blue Dupioni silk. Pearl is our latest free knitting pattern download.
I dreamed of pearl when I first saw Berocco's Lustra. For many months I wanted to get my hands on it and see what could be made with it to bring out the sheen and incorporate the slight fuzziness. The textured stitch came from a stitch guide but I had to reverse it for knitting in the round. The lace stitch is simple but delicate enough to add to the elegance of the clutch without detracting from the texture.
Pearl is knit with a worsted weight Tencel and Wool blend on size 8, 24 in. cable needles. You can sub in any silken or woolen yarn but I would not recommend anything too fuzzy or stark (like pure cotton). The slight fuzziness blends the gaps in between stitches in the texture. The pattern for the lining is also included. You can use any silky fabric or spice it up with patterned quilting cotton.
Pearl is perfect for any occasion where a clutch is needed. It's soft to the hand. A small luxury when you are stuck in heels for the night.
Felted Flower Bowls: what a fun, quick felted knit. I love projects like this: quick and gorgeous. Not only is this an afternoon, naptime project but it also make a great gift. Give a cluster of 3-4 to a friend for catch-alls or jewelry in different colors. They make darling teacher presents (keeping erasers, paper clips, thumb tacks, etc) or for a little lady to keep all her treasures.
But... in order to make the bowl you must first come to peace with felting. It was hard for me (my first felt was a cell phone pouch) to knit an object only to 'ruin' it, in a way, by washing it against its washing instructions. It was also hard to fathom that it would be so different after than before. But felting is so fun, shrink-dinks fun! To an extent textures can play well but in general you want to stick with garter or stockinette stitch. There are no ends to weave in and colorwork takes on a whole new meaning. While felting is easier in a top loader washing machine, it can be done in a front loader. I felted the flower bowl in a front loading machine. I choose the shortest wash cycle and checked on it after each cycle to see when it had felted enough.
Felting makes a fabric so knitting the item in its finished shape is not a necessary step. You can knit pieces or just on big piece and sew it together once dried (try Knitty's pumpkin). Felted knitting gets thicker as well as denser in the process. Felted items that work well are bags, appliqués, hats, slippers, and decorative items (agina with the felt pumpkins- I love 'em). Felt is great for shaping, cutting and is much more manipulative than non-felted knitting. Felting is only possible with coat fibers like wool, alpaca and llama. You must also be very careful of blends. I used Berocco's Lustra, a wool & tencel blend, and I will admit I had some concerns on whether or not it would felt. With a 50/50 blend my fears were pretty small but there was still a small sigh of relief when I pulled it out and saw how fine the bowl looked. I have a special place in my knitting heart for felting and I certainly cannot wait pass it on!
Here is a great article from Knitty.com on felting, ins and outs and how-tos.
Here is my project page on Ravelry.
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 feel ashamed to say that the Bossa Nova Skirt is my first Hot Pattern experience. I have long coveted the patterns but my plate has been so full since I first discovered them that I kept putting it off. The Hot Patterns free pattern downloads for Fabric.com have given me an excuse to clear my calendar for some quality time with my machine and a good pattern. Let's get started
I loved the Bossa Nova Skirt! Most of my love was gained because it was so quick and easy. It was laughable how quick and easy. About 2-3 hours from prewashing, ironing, laying out, cutting, pinning, sewing and finishing. This is definitely for a beginner. The Bossa Nova skirt should be a first project for most beginners because it will make them feel so confident that they will never want to stop sewing. Another significant portion of love is due to the fit and form of the skirt. It is just as cute and glam on as in the stylize rendering on the pattern download page. I scoured my closet for an equally cute shirt to match the model but I had to settle for something different but no less good looking (I am sure you will agree). The skirt is very flowy, swishy and forgiving, perfect for a night out, date night or luncheon with the girls.
The variety of fabrics that this skirt can be made from is another notch under the Love column. Woven and knits alike. You can make it casual with some Rayon Jersey, glam it up with some Ultra Sateen, or let out your wide side with Animal Print Satin Charmeuse. I was amazed with the variety. Since it is a gored skirt you can even make it bolder by alternating colors or coordinating prints on each gore. The skirt also uses a small amount of fabric, just 1 ½ yds. I choose some Hanky Weight Linen because it is still hot
here in GA and I love a good linen skirt. I choose a neutral to try something different (you all know how I love bright colors). With the hanky weight, I definitely recommend a slip under the skirt but the weight is very nice for swinging and swishing that I love in a fuller skirt. I over-locked the edges to prevent fraying so I just pressed all my seams to one side instead of open (as recommended in the pattern). I am playing around with an idea to either embroider the skirt around the hem a bit or add some ribbon detail down there. Jury it still out. The hem length is just right for me; I am tall -- 5' 7'' -- so if you are shorter, I suggest playing with the hem before the final stitching.
I am putting this pattern on my list of favorites and will make another out of some jersey in the near future. I think the gathers around the waist and the fullness of the pattern will lend itself well to a lightweight knit, maybe in a fall color to wear with boots or leggings. I think leggings will call for a shorter hem. Oh, the possibilities!
Stencils are great for many projects: jazzing up your kids walls, adding some whimsy to a piece of furniture, adding a favorite quotation above your front door, or creating your own wall paper. Stencils can be expensive as well but making your own is not very hard. All you need are a few supplies, some moxie and you are ready to go.
• Adirondack Dabbers or a Stippling brush
I love me some free stuff, especially knitting patterns. Though a free knitting pattern gets my blood pumping for two reasons:
1) I fall in love with a new designer and end up buying all their other patterns
2) I feel an undeniable desire to buy yarn immediately in order to complete said knitting pattern.
A free pattern can make my weekend, give joy to a long road trip and allow some quiet time. Some days it seems as though there is nothing more prefect than a free pattern and if the person who shared it were right in front of me, I would be forced to give them a big hug, a cup a coffee, some brownies and a nice chat about how awesome they are. Alas, that has never happened so I just give a quiet cheer and the requisite fist pump from behind my screen.
But, Say, don't you want to know where to find such delights as I described above? Of course you do. Let me share some of my favorite plunders for free knitting pattern gold.
http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/- A little tricky since you have to follow the link to see a picture and sometime there aren't any pictures but this is common among free pattern databases. This one is the most extensive I have found not attached to a brand. You only have a project name to go by but you can search by project type (i.e. afghan, sweater, scarf, etc)
http://www.lionbrand.com/content-knittingPatternIndex.html- This site is the most extensive associated with a brand. Lion Brand makes some NICE yarn and all of these patterns feature their yarn but you can make substitutions for a similar yarn should the mood strike. You can save your pattern notes for future use and most patterns have reviews for you to check out. Lion Brand also features a wide variety of Crochet patterns.
Knitty- You knew I would sneak this in here but half of Knitty is the patterns. Free patterns submitted by fellow knitters and reviewed and selected by other knitters for publication. Each pattern features many pictures of the finished product plus a schematic with measurements. All the pictures are artful and fun giving you a great idea of the true nature of the project.
Ravelry- Another you were sure I would sneak in. This is my fave feature of Ravelry: I click on the pattern tab then on the 'pattern browser & advanced search' link. Then under 'availability' (the third box on the left) I click 'free' and voila- all the free patterns I could dream of, complete with pictures. I love it. I can read the project notes, search by garment, anything and it is all FREE!
Interweave Knits- Now the Knitting Daily does not have the catalog of free patterns as the above but they are awesome patterns. Magazine quality, some challenging, professionally photographed patterns. You will find yarns used you have never heard of or designers you never meet before. It is all very exciting like a fancy restaurant that dares you to try something outside your comfort zone. You will learn something new and you will never be the same.
Of course you cannot forget Fabric.com's growing collection of free knitting patterns that I add to each month. I am gearing up for Christmas with some smaller, faster knits that will make excellent presents for the big holiday.
P.s. the featured picture is a free scarf pattern called the Sally Stripe
Type "Sew Charity" into Google and you will find over 5 million hits. Outrageously overwhelming but also heartwarming at the same time. What is a sewer to do with all the love? How do you pick just one? Well, start close to home. I am an animal lover (big time) so that is where I always choose to start. Both of my hounds were shelter dogs, as were all the animals that have ever shared my home. Working in a shelter is for braver folks than I but, then again, that is the basis of most charities. You give what you can because sometimes you don't have the strength, time or ability to give any other way. In this economy, monetary gifts may not be possible for most families but you can give your time and blessed skill by sewing for charity. Pick your favorite; I am sure it won't be hard. There is something for everyone. For you wafflers we will narrow the field to make it easier for you or to give you a starting point. The big three (As I like to refer to them) are children, military and animals (in no particular order). Let's explore shall we?
Sewing for your kids is easy but sewing for others can be just as fun and fulfilling. Project Linus specializes in blankets for ill or traumatized children. Just reading about this wonderful charity makes me think of warm, fluffy blankets entwined in a child's arms. I need a hug now. Newborns in need asks for gifts of clothing and other goods for children with illness, born premature or in need to ensure a brighter future. This charity urges me to whip out my brightest and most fun prints and patterns and start creating. Sewing for Babies will accept any small toy, quilt, quilt block or fabric which is donated to an area hospital for babies in need.
My favorite charity to sew for is Project Snuggles which encourages crafters of all kind to create blankets for shelter animals to cuddle in while they wait for new homes and so they can have something familiar when they make the transition from shelter to loving home. They have a great search feature so you can find a shelter near you to drop off your goods. I just sent an email to my nearest letting them know to expect some donations soon (See picture above of blankets waiting to go).
We covered the military in my post for Independence Day but I encourage you to sew for your troops every month of the year.
Last, giving the gift of your sewing can brighten hearts everywhere but teaching those who are willing to learn can brighten hearts that you may never reach. The old adage is: give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for life. Giving the gift of skill can only increase the circle of charity. You teach them to sew and they sew for charity. You have just given the charity world another hand to help and that is the best gift of all.