Knitting Cases

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I started planning an ‘ultimate’ knitting case project in September of 2022 mainly because I hated the case my interchangeable set came in. The case’s function was fine, but I did not enjoy the way it looked. It also didn’t hold everything I like to have on hand for knitting.

I planned to use this pattern so that everything could live in one multi-layer case. After months of thinking about the pages, I finally started assembly in December. Everything was going great until I needed to attach the middle section to the first. I tried, but the combination of chunky zipper pulls, the B770’s giant presser feet, and my desire for neatness meant I needed to abandon this plan.

Initially I was really bummed. I’d spent money on supplies, cut up two shirts, spent so much time planning, and endured months of not knowing where anything was. I also thought having everything in one case was the best option.

Since I had discarded the original Chiaogoo case, I had to do something. So I decided to make separate cases for my circulars, DPNs, tools, cables, and shorties. And since I’d used up all of the shirt fabric on my flop, I’d use leftovers from knitting project bags. Then everything would match!

PATTERN: Creative Maker Supply Case by Sew Sweetness

SUPPLIES: Handbag zippers and mesh from ByAnnie and leather patches from Noodlehead.

Here’s the case for my interchangeable circulars set. I was able to cut apart the flop and salvage these pages and one zipper. The fabric is by Sarah Golden for Andover Fabrics, which is no longer available.

This case was the hardest one to figure out. I wanted it to house a lot and have a space for magnetic things. The fabric was designed by Alexia Abegg for Cotton & Steel, also no longer available.

This case is for the interchangeable set’s cables. The fabric is also designed by Alexia Abegg for Ruby Star Society. This was the only new fabric I bought for this project. I needed one more case and wanted it to coordinate.

The Chiaogoo Shorties come in these weird, primary color key chain pouches, but also in these functional little black cases that I wanted to keep. They fit snugly in these mesh pockets with room for their own cables.

And finally, a case for my set of DPNs. I made an entire other case in the larger size for these before realizing the small would work best. The fabric is also from Alexia Abegg for Ruby Star Society.

I am SO pleased with these and I think they’re much better than what I had originally envisioned. After making seven and half cases, I’ve gotten pretty fast!

They all fit perfectly in this basket! Everything is organized and super portable now. It’s great!

Adventures in Furniture Restoration

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I love vintage school desks and bought this one about a year ago. I was drawn to its silly little basket. Deluded by TikTok DIYers, I thought it would be a piece of cake to fix up. It was not.

These are the listing images. I was probably also swayed by that beautiful flat file in the picture. At some point the original top had been replaced with these rustic floor boards (?) that were gross, warped, and generally stupid looking, so with the help of my husband and his tools, we made a new tabletop out of plywood.

The paint on the frame was chipped and the saddest of school beiges, so I decided to try stripping it off, which in hindsight, was a really bad move. There are so many crevices in that silly little basket. The paint easily came off of the bottom portion of the legs, but the rest of it was pretty stubborn and I set the whole thing aside for months.

Well I learned that unpainted metal likes to rust, and rust it did. So after scrubbing with WD-40 and sanding off the remaining paint, I was finally able to prime and paint. I picked a color that ended up being more vibrant than I wanted (why are the cap colors so different from the actual paint?), but overall I’m pretty happy with it and the extra surface it’s providing me in my art making space.

12 Weeks of Pottery

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I FINALLY secured a spot in a pottery class in Portland, which, if you live here, know is a feat. Studios are brimming with people and it’s hard to worm your way in.

It all came back like riding a bike and honestly, I was much more skilled this time than when I last had a membership (2015-16). I wonder if years spent thinking about throwing pottery helped.

In this class, you get 20 firing slips and I used all but one. I also blew threw two bags of clay and had access to lots of surface design options like under glazes and slips.

I made 3 plates. I’d like to eventually replace what’s in my kitchen cabinets with more like this. One is still at the studio as I missed the last pickup window before the holiday.

And 4 bowls. Only one is really nice (pictured on the left). The wheel I used during class had some really loose bat pins that caused some really wonky pots. I bought a bat mate, which helped, but then I tried throwing with partially dried, used clay I poorly wedged which led to more wonkyness. I am proud of being able to boss not perfect clay into usable forms.

The theme this session was definitely plants. I made 9 pots and several already have new tenants. I really enjoyed playing with the studio’s green slip on these.

This one was very warped that my instructor encouraged me to play with. I’d like to explore this technique more next session.

I also made two mugs. The green one is slightly too heavy, it was one of the first things I made and I didn’t go as hard trimming as I should have.

I’m taking another 12-week course and then I’m going to evaluate where I want to go from there. Might take the hybrid hand-building and throwing class, or I might get on the monthly membership wait list.

Natural Dyes Workshop

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Last weekend I took a two day workshop at Wildcraft called Pattern Play & Natural Dyes.

Day 1 | Dye Paste Samples

The first day of the workshop covered creating dye pastes and three techniques for application. The pastes included alum and different percentages of iron. We got to make two 12″ x 12″ cotton samples at each technique station. It’s pretty cool how the different pastes would determine how the dye would adhere to the cloth.

These are my stencil samples that were later dyed in cutch and madder.

These samples were block printed and dyed in pomegranate and logwood.

The last technique was hand painting. These were dyed in weld and lac.

Day 2 | Immersion Dye

Our samples dried over night and then we dissolved the paste using a process called dunging. After the paste was removed from the cloth, the samples went into the dye pots along with blank cotton bandanas that were pre-treated.

I chose to dye my bandana in cutch and then we had a little time to design. I threw a quick sketch together and decided to use the stenciling process.

We again used different dye pastes that were painted on to the dyed cloth, but this time titanium and citric acid were in the mix. The titanium practically removed the dye.

We were sent home with dunging supplies and after my bandana dried overnight, I dissolved the paste and let my bandana dry. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

This workshop was a lot of fun and I would really like to try this at home.

I guess I’m in my gray era.

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Gray thing #1 is my just finished sweater, which took about four months to knit. The most challenging and time consuming part of this knit was the short rows, but once I got past them, it was smooth knitting. The instructions are great and clear, it was my brain that was the issue here.

PATTERN: Seasons Sweater by Ozetta

YARN: Knitting for Olive heavy merino and soft silk mohair in ‘dark moose’ from La Mercerie

SIZE: M, no mods

This project felt just outside of my current knitting skill set, but it happened and I think I’m ready for the cardigan version. And yes, it’s just as squishy as it looks.

Gray thing #2 is this flight suit. The color I chose leans a little janitorial, but when it’s splattered in clay it leans artist. The fabric does wear a little heavy and I definitely overheat if I’m moving around a lot, but the details on this pattern are jumpsuit perfection.

PATTERN: Seamwork Mercer

FABRIC: Robert Kaufman Ventana Twill in ‘Grayish’

SIZE: 8 with 3″ removed from leg and 2″ removed from sleeve.

And gray thing #3 is a sweatshirt I made entirely for this single quilt block. Okay, I already had the french terry and rib knit, but I was inspired to sew it up once I had the idea of slapping the quilt block on it. The block was made out of linen scraps and was very shifty, so I fused some knit stay tape to the turned under edges and had to use a sheet of tracing paper to stitch it onto the french terry to keep the fabric from stretching out.

PATTERN: Dale Sweatshirt by Daisy Chain Patterns

FABRIC: ‘Mushroom’ french terry and matching rib knit from ISee Fabrics

SIZE: M

Recent Makes

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Sommar Camisole | Paradise Patterns

This is a lovely pattern. The instructions are super clear and this whole thing can be sewn using your regular sewing machine. I am going to try using my coverstitch for the bands on the next one.

Sandal Making Workshop | Rachel Sees Snail Shoes

Finally snagged a spot in one of Rachel’s sandal making workshops. I didn’t quite nail the fit on these – the vamps are just too thick and the thick leather needed more shaping than my design allowed, so they kinda slice into my big toes. They still need to be sanded, which is why I only have in progress photos.

Sophie Scarf | Petite Knit

I knit a lot of this during my Japan trip and finally finished it a couple weeks ago. This is before blocking. This color is so nice.

Melon Basket | Wildcraft Workshop taught by Textile Indie

Attended another basket making workshop to make this cute little melon basket. The wrapping technique reminded me of summer camp crafts. I’m thinking about dyeing it with indigo.

Lost Wax Ring Workshop

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I’ve taken a couple jewelry classes over the years, but had never tried lost wax casting. Wildcraft offers a two-day ring workshop hosted by Arielle Brackett that is such a good peek into the process. On day one of the workshop, we started with a piece of jeweler’s wax, which we carved into our desired shape and used a special wax cutting mandrel to size them. I wanted to create a simple signet ring that started off round, but then on a whim I shaved off the top and bottom. I’m glad I did because I think it turned into a pretty fun design.

Arielle showed us how to add different textures and prep the wax so that we’d have the least amount of filing and sanding to do once it was cast in bronze. Our rings were then sent away for casting at Tiny Desk Customs. Another local option is Castaway. This process took a couple months and it was hard to wait! The actual casting step of the process is still a mystery to me.

On the second date of the workshop we received our rings. They were already somewhat finished for us, like the sprue had already been sawed off, but we needed to create the satin finish through filing and sanding.

I am a little bummed that the face of my ring has a tiny hole in it. Arielle said that this sometimes happens and it’s best to leave it alone because there’s no way to know how far down that bubble goes. Other than that, I am pleased with my ring!

And now for a list of supplies if I ever want to attempt this at home:

Two Weeks in Japan

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Just got back from a whirlwind two weeks in Japan (Tokyo > Kyoto > Osaka > Hakone > Tokyo) and thought I’d share some of the treats I brought back.

Okadaya Shinjuku is a multi-level shop that carries SO MUCH CRAFT STUFF. I somehow managed to miss all of the fabric they clearly offer, but did have a lot of fun wandering the floors of buttons, notions, yarn, sewing machines, etc. I bought some bias and knit tapes and some cute embroidery stickers (top row).

WALNUT Tokyo + Kyoto are stores by the brand Amirisu. I bought a couple skeins of hand-dyed worsted weight yarn and then one skein of this baby yak yarn that I thought was DK but is actually worsted weight… oops (bottom row).

Pigment Tokyo is a really cool art supply store that also hosts workshops. I refrained from buying all the things and just walked away with this little paint dish (bottom row).

Nippori Fabric Town is a whole dang district of textile stores. Truthfully, I get very overwhelmed in stores like these, so I didn’t end up buying any fabric on this trip. These are some pics of fabrics I thought about though.

I bought these little money envelopes near the Nishiki Market in Kyoto. They’re from the early Shōwa period (~1930s) and I think they’ll look cool framed together.

We also took a very guided ceramics workshop at Kiyomizudera Studio near the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. We’ll get our goods in 10 weeks!

I packed a mostly me-made suitcase that featured this new waffle Marlo cardigan, Shop pants, Drew headband, and multiple Orlando tops. I also made 3 Dawson tops out of Merino jersey for the trip.

We did a lot more, but I’m limiting this post to making-related stuff… except I’m gonna tell you to go visit the Asakura Museum of Sculpture before I end this post!

Two Sweaters | Lakes & No Frills

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Welp, I had two sweater projects going at once, all while my knitting supplies are a complete mess because of this project at the bottom of the post. I have misplaced some needles and I’m big mad about it. But anyway, about the sweaters…

I started this Petite Knit No Frills Sweater in December – using the most expensive yarn I’ve purchased to date – and then signed up for a 4 week workshop at Ritual Dyes for the Ozetta Lakes Pullover. Before starting the Lakes, I got all the way to the hem on the body and then didn’t feel like tackling the sewn tubular cast off. I’m glad I didn’t, because I learned about some set up rows while knitting the Lakes that really helped with sewing the super fine to almost bulky yarn during the cast off.

I still have to visualize short row instructions with diagrams and notes. The BOR marker being at the center back really tripped me up.

I got a head start on the Lakes Pullover before the workshop began and I tried something out that I’m still not sure was the best idea. The construction on this sweater is so interesting – you start with the saddle shoulders and then build the sweater down from there. Because I’d need to pick up the same number of stitches for the neckline as the short ends of the saddles, I decided to use a provisional cast on instead of a long tail cast on.

The pros of this approach are that it made picking up those stitches super fast. Prior to this workshop, I didn’t really understand how to read the stitches and pick up in the “correct” spots. Thanks to the numerous tips from the instructor, I feel pretty good about that task now.

The cons of this approach are that it made picking up the first few stitches along the long edges of the saddles a little challenging/hard to see and it required more ends needing to be woven in. But hey, I can crochet a chain now.

In this workshop I learned how to knit a swatch in the round, how to calculate gauge, a neat trick for keeping track of sleeve rows, and so much more. In-person knitting workshop are so valuable.

The instructor recommended twisting stitches on the 1×1 rib by wrapping the yarn clockwise on the purls, which I tried but it felt so awkward I tinked back and did regular purls. I want to try this again on my next sweater since I want really tight hems and collars but don’t want to stress out my hands.

GAH! Look at this sweater! I’m so proud of it. Such a cool pattern and I feel like my skills are really improving. Just look at my first folded collar on the Towns Sweater. I think I might actually redo the neckline since I don’t wear it very much because it’s so… rustic.

After being so pleased with the yarn on my Popcorn sweater, I used it again for the Lakes. It’s De Rerum Natura Gilliatt in the color “Creme Anglaise” that I purchased from La Mercerie.

I accidentally used a size US 6 needle for the body (remember my previously mentioned supplies mess?) when I meant to use a US 7. The recommended US 8 produced a pretty loose fabric that I didn’t like the look of on my swatch, so I sized down. After realizing I’d accidentally knit a lot with the US 6, I figured it would be fine since that’s the size I had used for my popcorn sweater and the fabric was looking nice.

The only changes I made to the pattern was to crop the body by an inch and half and I created selvage edges on the parts that were knit flat. I’ve worn this a ton and I’m just the tiniest bit bummed that we’re approaching warmer weather here in Portland.

Once my Lakes was blocked and on my body, I could work on the No Frills sweater again. This was the project I finally understood how to read my sleeve stitches and use those locking markers. This method meant I could knit anywhere without dragging around a row counter and obsessively taking notes on a piece of paper.

For the XL, you’re supposed to repeat the sleeve rows 21 times, but I had to stop after 16 for my short arms. The sleeves have a slight balloon to them because of that. I had 65 stitches and needed 52, so I *K2tog, K3, K2tog, K3* before starting the 1×1 rib. I was pretty pleased that made all the decreases perfectly spaced.

I like this yarn a lot but holy hell, I overbought. Like I could almost make an entire identical sweater overbought. The pattern only gives the amount in grams so I estimated 6-7 skeins. Under the guidance of a LYS, I purchased 8. I used 4.25. 💸💸💸💸💸 Guess I’m making a matching shawl?

I sewed some black elastic thread into the neckline before blocking because it was definitely a lot wider than I wanted and knew it would only get bigger once wet. I think if I make this pattern again, I will do a folded collar following the instructions in the Ozetta Seasons Pullover.

On to the next sweater!

Sewing for Knitting

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I love sewing stuff for other hobbies (example 1, example 2, example 3). So now that I’m deep into knitting, it only made sense to sew up some project bags.

I made two Field Bags in a canvas from Ruby Star Society. One is for me and the other is for my cousin / knitting fairy godmother.

I also made a small Stowe Bag to match this older large Stowe I made in 2016.

And here they are all together! I have two almost finished sweaters in these, plus yarn for my next project.

And I’ve been working on an ultimate needle / tool case to replace the hideous things that came with my Chiaogoo needles. I’m still noodling on one of the page designs, so it’s been taking longer than planned. VERY excited about it.