Category: tutorial

Daisy’s Sweater’s Alteration

Daisy’s Sweater’s Alteration

I am a very impatient person as a rule and you see this the most in my attitude around presents. I hate having to wait to open mine, and to see the people I’m giving to open theirs. So, when my Dad was visiting this past weekend I made him open Daisy’s Sweater early. And he loved it! He lay it over his hands and imagined it on his little pup and it brought exactly the smile to his face that I had hoped for. And then in a small voice he asked, “I’m not sure if this is okay for me to say, but would it be possible for there to be a leash hole?”

Obviously I said yes! And then I set out to figure out how to make a leash hole in a finished sweater.

My first thought was that cutting knitting means a steek, and I got excited to do my first one on a real project, not just a swatch. After refreshing my memory with some tutorials, I grabbed the appropriate crochet hook and prepared to reinforce. But as I planned where I would reinforce I thought about the kind of facing I would make and how to make it pretty over such a small area. My Dad indicated that the ideal length of the hole would be 3-4 stitches. Any of kind of facing on both sides would overlap, not to mention the fact that my steek would have a top and bottom to face as well.

At this point I entered the period where I remembered how the steek tutorials all make a big deal about how knitting doesn’t want to unravel. They had photographs of swatches they had snipped and then carried in their purses without any unraveling. This sweater was made of handspun BFL that was plenty sticky. Maybe I could just cut the hole and it would be fine?

I took to the internet to ask my knitting friends. I am thankful that they reminded me how much abrasion a leash would put on the hole and that this was a recipe for a ruined sweater. Laura Chau suggested I make it like a buttonhole, which were just the words I needed to hear. A tiny hole in your knitting is a buttonhole, not a steek. I decided to give it a shot on my sewing machine, using my swatch for practice.

The first sample was a great teaching tool. My method would definitely work – the ribbon facing was invisible enough on the right side for my purposes and the automatic buttonhole worked a charm on my handknit. I also learned how hard it is to nicely line up a sticky knit with a slippery woven. I did a few more samples to play around with my stitch settings.

These buttonholes were perfect! Using my walking foot helped move the sticky knit fabric smoothly through the machine. I had thought the default buttonhole settings made a pretty wimpy looking buttonhole. I increased the width to 7mm and decreased the length to 0.2mm. This more substantial buttonhole really stood out on the knit and seemed like it would have the integrity for the job of being a leash hole.

And there we go, the final product! My Dad apologized for giving me another project when he saw me researching and testing. He didn’t realize how fun an experiment like this can be! Have you ever cut your knitting using a steek, a buttonhole or another technique?

Ribbon Wand Tutorial

Ribbon Wand Tutorial

When your daughter has a Frozen/gymnastics theme for her 4th birthday party and you are the sort of lady who likes making party favors, there really is only one choice – ribbon wands. It’s the closest you can get to giving her actual ice powers. After reviewing a number of tutorials, this is the method I decided on. It’s been 6 months since that party and ours have held up wonderfully to daily play.

Supplies:

  • wooden dowels
  • barrel swivels (in the fishing lure section of your local outdoor store)
  • screw eyes – make sure these are smaller than the diameter of your dowels
  • ribbon
  • pliers
  • scissors
  • sewing machine
  • lighter

The first thing you want to do is use pliers to open the screw eyes slightly so you can get the barrel swivels on. I found this was easiest to do with two sets of pliers – one to hold the screw eye and the other to open it. Then I squeezed it closed with the same set.

Why bother with the screw eye and barrel swivel when you could just glue a ribbon to the end? The swivel twists like on the ribbons used by rhythmic gymnasts. It keeps the ribbon from getting twisted and stuck on the dowel. It’s also super secure – these wands are going to hold up to years of play.

Next step is to screw the eyes into the end of the dowels. Most of my dowels were soft enough for me to do this by hand – just a few required me to use pliers to get them in.

I found that it worked better to add the screw eyes with the swivel attached – when I tried to open screw eyes already in dowels the ends sometimes cracked open. With thicker dowels this would be less of an issue, I’m sure.

One other thing to check at this stage is whether your dowels need a quick sanding. I got two identical packages and one needed a couple passes of sandpaper and the other didn’t.

Next I cut my ribbons and grouped them together with paperclips. I found that a mixture of widths and textures of ribbon worked fine in the final product and made them look very exciting when you spin them around.

The easiest way to thread that giant ribbon through that tiny eye was to roll the widest ribbon around the smaller ones and ease the tube through. I think having a smooth outside ribbon helped them glide through easily.

I sewed two quick parallel lines of stitching to secure the ribbons.

And then trimmed the ends close to the bottom line of stitching. This is the one part that I wish were a little bit prettier, but none of the 4 year olds cared so I let it go.

The final step, which I didn’t photograph, is I quickly passed the cut ends of the ribbons over a flame. I would hold it in there for a second and pull it out to check, repeating until the end was melted a tiny bit. This makes it look a little neater and keeps it that way by preventing fraying.

My tiny Elsa was pretty pleased with the final product!