I love knitting, but talking to fellow crafter’s I find some don’t know how to read a ball band or how to correct the tension when they are knitting.
At the beginning on the year I ran a workshop on knitting, and covered these two basic knitting facts.
Also on the ball band there could be the measurement for the tension square that the wool will knit to, and most patterns will tell you the tension square measurement.
Why is it important?
By knitting a tension square you ensure your knitting will be the correct size, and you will have enough yarn to complete the project.
For years I knit really tight, and now I knit really loose (thanks to my Mom giving me cotton to knit with. I ended up so tight on the needles I couldn’t move the stitches).
So if you knitting doesn’t turn out to be the right size, knit a tension square.
For double knitting 22 stitches and 30 rows = 4 inches square on 4mm needles.
If the square is bigger repeat the square smaller needles and check measurements again.
If smaller increase the size of you needles and knit another square.
By reading the ball band correctly and knitting a tension square, your knitting will be the correct size and fit correctly to the measurements on the pattern, plus you will not run out of wool.
Crafting is a hobby that I love, and I make my living from. You could say I have my cake and I eat it. (I love cake too)
So what is the tool I can not live without. Well there are several, but the old saying goes
Measure twice, cut once
The measuring tools I use in my crafting are varied.
- Needle gauge – for measuring the size of your knitting needles
- WPI gauge – (wraps per inch) for deciding if the wool I am using is double knitting or 4 ply
- Seam guide – to ensure my sewn seams are all 1/4 inch wide
- metre rule – for measuring my fat quarters
- bead gauge, picot gauge, hem gauge, sewing gauge.
There is a gauge for most things.
So which one would I choose?
All of them because in there own way they make my life easier, and that can only be a good thing.
The size of a fat quarter will depend on were you buy it. An English fat quarter is a quarter of a meter, where as an American fat quarter is a quarter of a yard. Always check the packaging for the size, especially if you have a particular project in mind.
I mainly use fat quarters for Patchwork, which originally developed as a thrifty craft, using fabrics recycled from old clothing and other items. If the finished design is going to be washed a lot , or example a baby quilt, then the same type of material needs to be used due to the different washing temperatures i.e. all cotton, however any type of fabric can be used for decorative projects like wall hangings.
Fabric can be bought for a project, will come in various sizes and designs, usually colour coordinated. Fat quarters are precut amounts, like jelly rolls.
The best way to choose which type of fabric to use is to decide what the finished project will be. babies cot quilt need to be soft and durable fabrics that are washed frequently. If it is a wall hanging then the fabrics could be more specialized. I choose my fabric by starting with a patten I love, then I match off that to create the project I am making.
All fabric should be washed before use in case they shrink and some of the colours can bleed together.
I commented on the post out with the old who was talking about a Japanese tradition of “The hari-kuyou is a memorial service specifically for old sewing needles (hari) and pins” (thank you smallest forest) and what to do with old journals.
This got me thinking. it’s not only old journals you want to store or remove to make space for the new, what about your other craft supplies.
Recently i was given a bag of wool, which also contained a pattern and half knitted jumper. The lady who gave it me had just lost her daughter and had to clear her belongings. This has happened a number of times to my Mom. she runs a craft group and over the years a number of the member have passed away, or customers are moving house and they don’t have room for all their stuff
So what do you do with the supplies you on longer want.?
I make charity donations out of the supplies. Donate them straight to a charity shop or make them into something. I found a great site to do this Lovinghand who provide handmade items for a whole range of charity’s. So for my winter Olympic challenge I will be knitting hats (more on this in a later post)
what to do if some one gives you supplies?
I always take them. Firstly because there may be something I don’t have, or can use for a project, and secondly the person is having a clear out and will probably throw the stuff away anyway, and if it no good i throw it away. Also if the person giving you the stuff has lost someone dear, they are probably having a hard time dealing with the loss and has a task list longer than your arm. so one less thing to think about.
Have you had to clear out yours or a loved one craft supplies?
where did you take them and how where they used?
What’s in your basket? Here is mine.
Firstly I found a basket that fits on my lap and was the right depth to hold the latest project. I then covered that with my favourite fabric.
Then there are a number of essential tools any sewing basket should have (according to me, yours will probably be different)
- A pin cushion – one of my pet hates is when people put their sewing needle on the table, I have to refrain from shouting ‘USE THE PIN CUSHION’.
There are a number of good reasons to use them.
- You always know where your needle is. and not sticking in the cat, dog or husband
- easy access – when you have a lot of materials in you basket they are easier to find
- pins can be accessed easier
- Embroidery scissors – Chose a pair that you like and are comfortable to use, which have a nice point. I have lots of different types, titanium, stork, soft grip.
- Tape measure
- Seam ripper/unpicker – the amount of times I have had to undo some sewing, this is useful to have to hand.
- Needles and pins – have a variety of types and eye sizes. There is nothing worse than sitting down for a sewing session and then having to go and find another needle to fit the thread.
- Threads – I always have black, white and cream in my basket, as most sewing can be done with these colours.
Making a matching set of pin cushion, scissor case, and needle case could be you first project.
Happy sewing 🙂