Posted in Projects on Friday the 7th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
How often do you find yourself about to knit a pattern and it calls for a particular type of cast on – but you don’t know that so you instead you just stick to your tried and true method? Well in fact there are merits to different types of cast on; some provide a stable edge that doesn’t curl, others allow lots of stretch, whilst some are better for ribbing or they can even be decorative.
The long tail cast on is a strong and stable cast on with little curling whilst providing a decent amount of stretch making it great for hats, sleeves and cuffs.
To begin your long tail cast on you need to start with a long tail. I usually take about 1.5 cm for each stitch – but if in doubt always leave more!
Tie a slip knot in the yarn. To do this wrap the yarn twice around your index finger on your left hand from left to right.
Take the left-most loop and lift it over the loop on the right, leaving it on your finger.
Next take the other loop and lift it over again – this time dropping it off your finger.
Put the loop that was left on your finger onto your knitting needle and tighten.
Now comes the fun part!
Hold the needle in your right hand with the tip pointing left. Take both pieces of yarn in your left hand with your palm facing down and hold the tail end over your thumb and the ball end over your index finger.
Now you need to twist your left hand anti-clockwise so that your palm is facing up. The tail end of the yarn will still be wrapped around your thumb and the ball end of the yarn around your index finger.
Take your needle and hook the tip of it, from front to back, under the length of yarn coming in front of your thumb
Next hook the needle, from back to front, under the length of yarn in front of your index finger.
Bring that second loop of yarn (from your index finger) under the first loop (on your thumb).
Dropping the yarn off your thumb and finger tighten the stitch you have just made on the needle.
Repeat steps 6-11 until you have cast on the desired number of stitches.
Posted in Q&A's on Thursday the 6th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 5th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi Minerva readers,
It's Alison here from the Patchwork Fairy and I am guest posting on the Minerva Crafts blog. Today I've been making Pom Poms! This highly addictive, creative activity is enormous fun and provides quick results, so really good if you like to see a finished product on the same day you start making it!
The little Pom Pom Makers from Clover come in different sizes and, not surprisingly, make different sized Pom Poms! I've been using a 35, 25 and 20. To begin you need some Yarn and some Sharp Scissors. First I used some sharp sewing scissors but it was hard going cutting through the yarn so I recommend very sharp pointed embroidery scissors or something similar to avoid sore fingers!
Once you work out how to open it up fully it's quick and simple to wind your yarn round the extended arms on both sides. My first attempt didn't end well as I failed to notice there are two plastic arms on each side of the maker, and both must be extended out!
I decided to make a two coloured Pom Pom by using pink yarn one side and silver on the other. It is important to keep winding the yarn round until the centre of the dip in the arms is filled in level with the sides. The pink below is filled in completely but I'm still winding the grey.
Once both sides are wound level it's easy to close up the Pom Pom maker tightly as although the ones I used are fairly small they are easy to handle and don't flirt open or come undone easily.
Using your very sharp scissors, hold the Pom Pom maker by one of the hinged ends to help keep it closed while you cut between the two sides of plastic. After cutting it stays together firmly enough for you to tie a piece of yarn round the middle to secure it before pulling the plastic sides apart and popping out a cute little Pom Pom!
No matter how neatly I wound the yarn I always had one or two stray sticky-up bits longer than the rest but they were soon sorted out by giving the Pom Pom a quick trim! But - here lies one of the hardest parts of making these - knowing when to stop trimming!! Now I appreciate how restrained hairdressers have to be in their work - it's just so addictive trimming up the little guys into fluffy neat balls.
Is this one done or does he need another clip?
I made quite a few Pom Poms in the three sizes - you can see below the sizes of the makers and the end results. I couldn't just line them up for a photo shoot without giving them a quick tidy up though - it's a wonder they didn't end up even smaller!
I think I'm going to make more and use them in groups as a hanging mobile but I also got my glue gun out and covered a cardboard letter 'C' with some pink yarn then stuck some Pom Poms to the front to make a hanging room decoration for my granddaughter Charlotte!
There are lots of things to make with Pom Poms - Pinterest is full of ideas! Want bunting but can't sew? String some Pom Poms together - leave a long tail when you tie up the middle and tie them to a length of ribbon! Going out? Make some super small Pom Poms in embroidery thread and tie or glue onto earring findings! Have fun!
Alison @ The Patchwork Fairy
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 4th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
I was excited to be offered the opportunity to review a Dressmaking Fabric for Minerva Crafts. I opted to receive 2 m of ‘Leaf Print Stretch Needlecord Fabric’. However, when the fabric arrived, to be honest I wasn’t initially thrilled; it just wasn’t a print I would usually be drawn to. It is available in 4 colourways and I was sent the green. This has a bright green background with a distinctive dark green leaf print, all interspersed with embroidered lines of contrasting cream thread.
It was obvious that the fabric itself was good quality, with a substantial feel. I pulled across the width of the fabric and found it had a decent amount of stretch (I estimated 15 to 20%), with excellent recovery. I also measured the size of the leaf motif to be around 8”.
Next, I did what I often do when trying to visualize the potential of a new purchase. I draped the fabric on Dolly the dressform, stood back and pondered. Hmm, what to make?
This is not a flimsy drapey fabric. It is described as medium weight on the website, but I would personally put it into the medium to heavy weight category. Having said that, it was moulding itself to the dressform, so I wouldn’t describe it as being stiff either. This fabric holds its shape well and in my mind was calling out for a pattern that would make the most of its stretchability.
I decided to put the fabric into a cool wash and ponder its future. I don’t usually tumble dry my makes, so chose to air-dry overnight. As with other needlecords I’ve used, it came out of the machine covered in bits of fluff – a bit of a pain, but the nature of the beast. It seemed to hold its colour well though and ironed beautifully.
I had recently made a ponte roma version of the Grainline Studio Morris Blazer Sewing Pattern and knew that this great little pattern worked best with stretch fabrics, especially those with a firm structure. Seemed like the stretch needlecord and Morris Blazer were calling to each other.
The Morris Blazer pattern indicates that the facings should be interfaced, but due to the needlecord’s weight, I decided to risk it and not to bother. I cut out the pattern pieces using my trusty rotary cutter. It cut easily and didn’t fray much. It sewed like a dream, the stitches sank into the fabric in a very satisfying manner. I have heard that corduroy can be a bit tricky to work with (the pile can cause the fabric to ‘walk’ while it is moving through the machine), so to combat this I used a walking foot and plenty of pins. In the event I had no problem at all.
I also took extra care when pressing – I used offcuts of the needlecord fabric as a pressing cloth to avoid marking the pile. I was pleased with the way the blazer turned out using this fabric – it had a lovely structure, which worked perfectly.
Since this is a wide fabric (56”) I had enough fabric left over to make a Great British Sewing Bee pencil skirt for my daughter.
At which point it occurred to me that I had effectively sewn a suit out of 2 m of needlecord fabric!
So in summary, although this wasn’t my usual style of fabric print, it had a lovely quality, which I enjoyed working with. In the end I surprised myself with how much I liked the 2 garments I managed to make with just 2 m of this fabric. My daughter has a new skirt and I have a new jacket.
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 3rd July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Make a pair of shoes in an afternoon, from one fat quarter? If you consider espadrilles to be shoes, then that is almost exactly what I did.
I was thrilled to be asked to review the Prym Espadrille Soles for Minerva Crafts. I've always fancied a pair of bespoke shoes, and this is a very affordable way of having some unique footwear.
The packaging contains a pair of soles, and tucked in the upper card fold is the pattern for standard espadrilles. The size of the soles is on the back of the packaging, in European notation. I'm a size 3, which is usually a 36, and yes, I know that's small for an adult, and yes, I do have problems finding shoes to fit. I was delighted therefore, to find that Prym cater for pixie feet too.
However, the pattern describes 36 as an English 3 1/2, and sadly I'd agree with that. Please bear that in mind if you are selecting soles for yourself. I'm not deterred though. I loved making these, and I'll make more, for my normal footed family, and I'll work out a way to make them to fit me.
The soles are coiled rope, with a rubber base. I was surprised and pleased to see that the base has quite good grips on it.
You don't need much fabric to make the outer, and you could quite easily make an outfit with matching shoes. I used one fat quarter for both outer and lining to demonstrate that it could be done, but obviously you could use as many as you like!
The pattern DOES NOT include seam allowances. This gives you the flexibility to chose your own seam allowances, but do remember to add it!
I traced the pattern, and added markings. You'll need two fronts and two soles (sides) for the outer fabric, and the same for the lining fabric. The front piece isn't symmetrical, and one of the front pieces for both fabrics needs to have the pattern reversed before cutting out. It's worth marking on the right side of the fabric which is the inner side, and which is the outer. It is possible to work out which is which, but I found this much quicker.
The Fabric I used is called 'Galaxy' and is a quilting weight, so I added lightweight interfacing to the outer pieces, to add a little extra stability. I left the seam margin without interfacing, to help reduce bulk in the seams.
If you're wondering, I did fussy cut the outer front pieces; a fat quarter was ample room. The pattern on the sheet I had goes up to 42, a U.K. size 8, and this would also fit inner and outer pieces on one fat quarter; maybe not if you fussy cut though!
The soles don't come with instructions, but instead direct one to the Prym website, where there is a PDF of clear instructions with photographs of the stages.
I chose to machine sew the parts that I could. This is very straightforward, and they turned easily. I sewed up the gap by hand, not my best work, but I don't think it's too obvious now the shoes are finished. These are the pieces sewn and pressed; I've put a pin in the outer side, but this isn't something you'd need to do if the lining was different to the outer. Don't they look good?
The next step is to pin the pieces to the sole. Start with the sole piece, then add the front.
I couldn't resist trying them on. I was able to walk in them, carefully, and although they are too big for me, I love them already. The material was bought for quilting, but I think it looks much better as shoes.
Pinning carefully is important at this stage, even if you can resist trying them on. The pieces have to be hand sewn onto the sole, and it is worth taking the time to angle the pins into the shoe so they don't catch you. The instructions advise to remove the front again, but I just removed the pins near the sole piece, and left the front mostly pinned in place.
I have this useful set of Sewing Needles in my tool kit, and used the carpets/heavy work needle. It has a large eye, and is a sturdy needle with a sharp point.
The fabric is sewn to the sole using blanket stitch. I found it a bit difficult to sew the front bit where it overlapped the back. I'm quite a slow hand stitcher, and this bit was done in front of the television, so the ‘afternoon make’ stretched into evening too.
Once both parts are attached, you can slightly alter the fit by how far the front overlaps the back. It doesn't reduce it half a size though! Use back stitch for the side seam. I wondered about continuing the back stitch all the way across the front, as it looked quite decorative, and I might try this on another pair.
Don't they look cute peeping out under my jeans!
They do slip off when I walk, but I’ve folded the back down, and wear them like that. I might try some elastic in the back, as this was loose even when I padded them out to make them my size.
Do I recommend them? Yes. They were fun to make, and I have plans to make some for other people, and for myself. There are other Espadrille Patterns for different shoes styles too that I'd like to try too. I’ve been asked for some with Christmas fabric outer, and fleece or plush lining; don't they sound comfortable?
Thanks for reading,
Emma @ Hot Tea on a Hot Day
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 1st July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Thimble Bee here again, and this time we are looking at Espadrille Soles. I don't know about you, but these bad boys have been showing up all over my instagram feed recently, so when I had the opportunity to review them, I jumped at the chance! They are espadrille soles by Prym, and I requested my size (size 3) and was SO excited to get started.
I started by watching a few videos and reading a few blogs on how to make espadrilles, as one thing that this packet lacks is instructions (like seriously). After watching a few videos I mustered up the courage to gather my supplies and get started. I chose a super vibrant red as I wanted them to be really summery and match my predominately blue wardrobe, and for the lining I had a few scraps of Rifle Paper Co fabric so I decided to use them, because who doesn't like shoes with a pretty lining? And that reminds me of one VERY good thing about these soles, they are the perfect project for using up scraps.
So, by watching various vlogs and reading various blogs, I found out that the pattern pieces that come with the soles do not include the seam allowance, which means you have to trace them and add whatever seam allowance you desire. If I hadn't found this out from other sources then I would of been in a serious spot of bother. So remember people, add your seam allowances! Next, after I had traced my pieces I looked to the internet for some inspiration, and the types of espadrilles that really enticed me where the ones that had a tie around the ankle. So with the back piece I essentially just cut it down to just cover the ankle bit and then drafted some ties to attach to them, which I forgot to include in the picture (go me).
So after that I cut out all my pieces and began to assemble the shoe.
I used the traditional blanket stitch to attach the pieces to the soles, and what I have got to say is that the assembly was very easy, and it was a nice change to be able to sew something in front of Netflix, but, as I think it's a big issue, there was still a lack of instructions on the packet, so most of what I did was taken from the internet. Anyway, I managed to finish them anyway, and I was SUPER happy with the look, maybe I made the ties too wide, but that's a minor detail. But, my world came crashing down as when I put them on, they were super big, so I decided to gift them to my mum, shes a size 4, they were still to big for her. So, I gave them to my sister, who is a size six, and they fit her?! I don't know whether it's because I changed the back, that they became big or whatever, but I compared them to my RTW espadrilles and the soles of the Prym shoes were still much larger. Nevertheless, I will try again, and try to make the shoe to look like the one on the packet, and see if that changes anything.
So guys, my one bit of advice is; size down. They were beautiful shoes, and a great make, but far too big.
That's it! Until next time.
Hello all! My name is Carmen and I have a sewing blog over at Carmen Sews.
I was so excited to team up with Minerva Crafts to create this guest project post for their website. For this project I wanted to create a simple summer project that is versatile and simple for anyone of all skill levels. I chose the Simplicity Sewing Pattern no 1059 which is a retro dress with pleats in the shoulders with an optional wrap tie at the waist.
I have had this pattern on make list for a while and was excited to make this dress with one of Minerva Crafts' beautiful choice of Dressmaking Fabrics.
I chose to use this Fabric which is a colorful floral satin.
This print is so perfect for summer and is lightweight enough to handle the summer heat in Florida where I live.
The floral detail in this fabric is to die for and fits perfectly with my tropical climate. I would highly recommend this fabric if you are creating a light and easy summer frock such as a dress or light blouse and the bright pink hue of this fabric is so girly and right up my alley!
I used to be quite fearful of working with light and slippery fabrics; however, I feel that these types of fabrics become easy to use with practice and are worth the extra effort!
I chose to cut this fabric with a Rotary Cutter which decreases the chance of fabrics like satin or rayon from moving around or shifting while cutting.
This method will avoid inaccurate cutting of your pattern and will decrease the chance of making crucial mistakes that could ruin all of your hard work that you have put into making your garment. I would definitely recommend this method for anyone who is just beginning to venture into working with fabrics that are slippery and harder to handle that other fabrics.
I also use pattern weights in this process to hold down the pattern and to further avoid any shifting.
I sewed this dress together making sure to hold the fabric gently to avoid any movement or shifting.
While sewing with slippery fabrics I would also suggest pin pin pin! You can never use too many pins and please use as many as you feel comfortable with. This will ensure that no shifting will take place and that you will be left with a smooth seam without bunching which can sometimes occur with satin.
Overall, this fabric was incredibly easy to work with and to handle.
This pattern calls for the addition of a regular Dress Zip; however, I chose to use a transparent Invisible Zipper just because I love the look of invisible zippers, have never tried a transparent one and was curious on the results that I would achieve.
I use a regular zipper foot to insert my invisible zippers however, if you have an invisible zipper foot you can use that if you feel comfortable. As I used the regular zipper foot I made sure to pull back the teeth as I sewed down the tape. The result was great, however this same look can be achieved with any invisible zip of any colour.
I chose to make this pattern with the tie/scarf included in the pattern, I was afraid that if I did not use the tie I would look boxy in the dress and would not be happy with the result. I am very glad that I chose the tie option because the use of the tie shows off my figure in a flattering way.
I did shorten this dress about 3 inches because it was surprisingly long and I felt that this style of a dress is more flattering on me a tad shorter than the pattern calls for.
I love the result and I feel that this would be a go-to dress for a fun summer evening date night or a day by the pool.
Thank you so much to Minerva Crafts for collaborating with me and thank you all for reading this blog. I hope that you you all go out and create something wonderful for summer!
Have a beautiful day!