Posted in Product Reviews on Thursday the 29th June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
When I first received these Knitting Needles from Minerva my initial thought was – they look like knitting needles what could be so special? But then I looked more closely and started to notice the features and my opinion quickly changed! The main features of these needles are the ergonomic triangular shape, the shaped tips, and the clips. Each of these features add to the benefits of these needles and make them really fun to knit with.
The triangular shape of the needle is supposedly what makes them an ergonomic needle – I can’t really say much about that as I didn’t really notice much different in the comfort level for my hands as I don’t often have problems with this but wat I can say about the shape is it does mean there is less friction and the yarn glides more easily on the needles. Generally, this is a good thing as it can increase knitting speed. However, I did start to worry about the possibility of the knitting sliding off the needles at one point.
This is where the second great feature comes into play. The needles have little bobbles on the tips which are actually really useful in preventing the knitting from sliding off the ends as it would have to “jump” over that little bump. I personally found this to be a really useful feature as there were a couple of times I thought I was about to drop a stitch and that little bump saved me! Normally a dropped stitch is not the end of the world and can easily be picked up again using a crochet hook but in fact, if it does happen with these needles (as I forced it to) it was actually a lot easier to pick up with these needles as the shaped tip gave some help in retrieving the dropped yarn.
When I took the needles along to my craft club to get some second opinions however there was some disagreement as to the brilliance of this feature. For many of us there were no complaints and the benefits of the shaped tip were clear. However, for some knitters, especially those who knit English-style (yarn held in the right hand) the bump at the tip did slow them down somewhat.
Finally, we come onto the third, and arguably the best, feature of these needles: the clip ends. This handy feature allows you to clip the two needles together, this locks the stitches on the needles and allows for easy transportation of your knitting safe in the knowledge that you are not going to lose those precious stitches off the ends of your needles. No more stuffing the ends of your needle into the ball of wall, or wrapping an elastic band around the ends of your needles. this simple solution if really great!
As well as the great features of these needles they are really quiet to knit with. I usually knit with metal needles and so the absence of the continuous clicking was quite nice. It was also noticeable how much warmer these feel in my hands which was a nice bonus (not too sure how I would feel about this in the summer though. In fact, the only problem I could find with the needles was the length, at either 35 or 40 cm they might be perfect for knitting a blanket or a very large jumper but for most projects they are much longer than you would need. However, in light of all the great features of these needles this is the least of your worries and at least it means you know whatever your project it will fit comfortably on the needles!
Thanks for reading my review of the Prym Ergonimic Knitting Needles from Prym!
Helen @ HSHandCrafts
Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 28th June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Summer is officially here and it’s all about spring cleaning, re-organizing and re-decorating. I love sprucing up my home with handmade bits and bobs, that add such a unique touch to the house.
This month I had the pleasure of trying out Clover’s Pom Pom Makers. They come in four different size packs (XS, S, L, XL), plus a lovely heart shaped one. I used sizes XS and S, they both include two pom pom makers with diameters 20mm-25mm(XS) and 35mm-45mm(S) correspondingly.
After a full afternoon of making different color pom poms, I realized that making pom poms is an addiction, that one can simply not beat. Once you start, there is no going back, so be careful or you will end up with a full bag of multicolored, multisized pom poms and the desire to embellish everything with pom poms!
Using the pom pom makers is really simple.
1. Open the pom pom maker rings and start wrapping one side of the pom pom maker with the yarn. You can use one color or mix different ones together.
2. Close the first side and continue wrapping the second side of the maker with yarn
3. Close the two sides together and cut yarn.
4. Place your scissors between the rings and begin cutting all around the pom pom maker.
5. Take a length of yarn and tie it in a knot in between the rings, securing the bundle together.
6. I like to tie a second knot, just to be safe.
7. Open the rings and take the two sides apart to release your pom pom.
The only thing that’s left is to trim you pom pom to the desired shape. And you are done! Now the addiction begins.
All that’s left is to decide what you’re going to make with your new pom poms. I decided to make a pillow for my living room with mine. To make this you’ll need:
· A pillow
· Different color pom poms
· A Glue Gun
For this pillow, I used 30 pom poms in the 45mm(S) diameter in black, grey, white and red colors and I decided to be a lazy girl. So I found a pillow I liked and started hot gluing my pom poms to the pillow, because you know, you has time to sew, when hot gluing is an option! You can be as creative as you like with how you arrange your pom poms. I choose to create a multicolored grid. Simple as that!
Here is your new pillow!
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 27th June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi everyone, I opted to review this lovely Needlecord Fabric for my latest make. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to make another of Simplicity Sewing Pattern no 6346! I've made it before in a yellow needlecord and it lends itself really well to this fabric. It's also really easy to put together.
I had a real happy post day when the fabric arrived. It's a lovely muted colour and it has a floral pattern without being sickly. I think it has a real 1970s look; perfect for a button down skirt.
This needlecord is different from the one I have previously had, it's much more thick and substantial. It is also much softer so I was really looking forward to sewing it up.
It cuts really well, though it is heavily grained so you have to make sure you are really lining the grain line arrow of the pattern pieces up nice and straight.
The pattern requires quite a bit of pressing in place, the button plackets literally just fold back on themselves so it was made much easier by how well the fabric pressed.
I hacked the pattern very slightly by making the back piece 4 inches to big and inserting 2 pleats at the back waistband. I though it would add a nice shape to the skirt.
Tips and tricks:
I used a Denim Sewing Needle throughout as the material is quite thick and needed a bit of puncturing.
The material is quite stretchy and as the grain line is quite deep I would interface any areas where you intend to use buttonholes.
Stay stitching is really important as there is more stretch than you would think for a thicker material like this and I think on more complex makes it would easily stretch out of place.
I chose to use copper coloured Denim Buttons on this make, as I thought it would really suit the design of the skirt and the fabric. I had 10 in my stash and needed 6...I used all of them trying to get it right though. It was a very stressful experience! Well worth it though, I think and really sets this fabric off!
The hem is curved and I thought the Needlecord would work against this but because of the stretch it has I was able to ease the nice chunky hem I chose to do.
I gave my skirt a press and I was done. It's a really easy pattern, which I recommend, made even easier by lovely fabric which behaved so well!
My only criticism is that it's coming up to summer and I can't see myself wearing this much once it's warm but it can stay comfortably in my wardrobe as a great staple for with brown, black and cream. As you can see here, I wore it was a cream top, tights and brown boots and I think it's a great combination. The skirt really holds it's shape, thanks to the fabric and I think I was definitely right about the 70s thing. What do you think?
Thanks for reading!
Emma @ EmmandherMachine
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 24th June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello, again beautiful people! I hope you all have had a wonderful summer so far, and it continues to be splendid. If you didn’t know, it’s me Sophie from sopbac.com coming back to you with another product review for Minerva Crafts. This time it’s the Duchess Embroidery Thread Set. It is an amazing set of 72 thread flosses, and you could either choose to buy one with 36 solid colours (two of each) or 12 variegated colours (six of each) - I choose to go with the 36 colours to get as many different colours as possible.
First, I needed something to embroider on. I know I could have done it on any pieces of fabric really and that would be fine, but I wanted more. So I went into my handmade wardrobe to take a look. Maybe there was something there that I could spruce up. Lucky for me I found the perfect item.
This skirt is the Erin skirt from the Sew Over It’s Ebook: My Capsule Wardrobe. This is a picture of the skirt when I was just finished with it. After wearing the skirt a couple of times my hand sewing skills showed that I needed to work more on them. Because what I found in the closet was a skirt with only three buttons left. So this was perfect to fix up. I cut out the buttons and made a quick sketch of what I wanted to embroider on the skirt. It was going to be different kinds of flowers from the start, but what kind? And in which colours?
I’m not good at drawing so I did the best I could and laid the flosses accordingly. So this was my base. I did make other choices at the end, but I’ve written down every colour I’ve used for the different flowers so if you want to do the same you can.
The timeframe I used on the skirt was about 1.5 weeks. I only worked on it after work and most days I didn’t even look at it. So you could easily make it in less than a week if you have the time.
I have never done any free hand embroidery before. I have done some cross stitching, but not that much of that either. So this was new to me. Youtube and Pinterest became my best friend on learning some simple embroidery techniques. For the skirt, I used the following techniques (if you want to look it up): backstitch, stemstitch, satin stitch, french knot, chain stitch, lazy daisy and cast-on stitch. What I’ve learned is that you could come a long way with these basic stitches and make endless embroidery items. Before I show you the details of the finished project I have to tell you that I don’t know much about flowers other than I’m allergic, so I have no idea if these even exist, so just humour me, OK?
I’m very pleased with the skirt. Before it was a classic black skirt that wasn’t worn that much, and now it’s all the rave. I’ve seen this kind of skirt is the trend right now. It’s in all the stores and it seems like someone has been bitten by the embroidery bug. I don’t mind, I actually love it! And it’s more fun when you get to do it yourself! But I’m not done. Every embroidered skirt needs a buddy, right? So I had to make me some embroidered shoes as well. Every summer I have to have white sneakers. For me, that’s a summer accessory that never gets old. This year is no exception and I embroidered them too.
So here you have it. The whole outfit. I love the look and wish I had time to embroider everything in my wardrobe. I’m just going to dump a whole lot of photos of me now because I’m so pleased and want to show off!
If you want to make some of the same flowers I did, here is the list of colours I used so you could make a reference, for the skirt flowers left to right:
1. Stem: 6075 - Flower: 403 and 201
2. Stem: 6115 - Flower: 5105, 306 and 305
3. Stem: 105
4. Stem: 209 - Flower: 406
5. Stem: 506 - Flower: 516
6. Stem: 855 - Flower: 101 and 115
7. Stem: 206 - Flower: 109, 119 and 312
8. Stem: 212, Flower: 110, 113 and 5130
And for the shoes:
Small Roses 201 and 5105
Daises 516, 206, 406, 105, 110, 312, 403 and 305
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my latest project and I’m hoping to be back here soon! If not come hang with me on Instagram where I mostly spend my time at @sopbac_.
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 23rd June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
When I was offered the chance to review some of the Minerva Crafts Dressmaking Fabric I jumped at the occasion – who wouldn’t ?!
With a holiday on the horizon I opted for this silver grey Cotton Lawn Fabric which I thought would be perfect for a summer skirt in hot climates. The pattern would allow for nice detailing across the bottom and I thought the off-white would allow more occasions for the skirt to be worn post-holiday.
When the fabric arrived it was as I expected from the photos on the site, a silver grey sort of colour.
I chose to make Colette's Ginger Skirt Sewing Pattern for this fabric and I found it’s a great quick pattern for a making a summer skirt. The only problem is that I failed on the pattern matching front!
I am used to pattern matching but for some reason this pattern just did not want to match which has resulted in the below results!
Unfortunately I didn’t have enough fabric to start again from scratch as the border runs along the bottom of the fabric so in the words of Tim Gunn I had to ‘make it work!’
The good news is the fabric is a dream to work with. It eases through the sewing machine and I matched my thread with just a simple grey thread I already had in my supplies. Inserting an invisible zip was great first time and adding interfacing wasn’t a nightmare (which sometimes it can happen!)
Overall I’m very happy with the results and this fabric is definitely great for summer patterns.
The fabric is very transparent so as you can see I wore black leggings underneath my finished skirt. Maybe it’d be possible to line it next time?
The only thing I’d change again is to make sure I have more fabric to allow for more of the pattern in case things go wrong as it just runs the once along the fabric and doesn’t repeat.
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 22nd June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi everyone! I'm Sarah, from London. Usually you will find me over at my blog www.wanderstitch.com but today I'm uber-excited to be over here on the Minerva Crafts blog as a guest blogger.
For this post, I have made New Look Sewing Pattern 6207, which is a Workroom / Project Runway pattern. It's a loose fitting dress with two views - a shorter version with a curved hemline and a long version with a classic hemline. Sizes 6-16 are included in the envelope.
I chose to make the longer version, in the Tropical Leaf Viscose Challis Fabric which is currently available in five different colours on the Minerva website. I chose viscose for its softness and draping properties - as there's a lot of fabric used in this dress I wanted it to hang nicely. The fabric is super-wide at 56 inches and is machine washable at 40 degrees with no fussy washing requirements - bonus!
If viscose isn’t your thing, the pattern also suggests that you can use cottons, silks, rayons, or crepes.
The most tricky thing I found with this pattern is the sheer size of the templates - if you are making the longer version you're cutting pieces that are almost as tall as you are! I used two A1 cutting mats taped together and this still wasn't big enough - some manoeuvring of the fabric was required to cut out the last little bit that wouldn't fit on the cutting mat. An extra pair of hands would be very helpful at this stage if you can persuade someone. Don't let this put you off though, I promise it will be worth it!
The pattern tissue itself has instructions for grading between sizes, if according to the pattern measurements you're different sizes at the bust, waist and/or hips. This is really helpful for beginners, who may not realise that it's possible to do this! Throughout the instructions there's also 'Workroom Tips' that give you a little heads up on tricks used to make something a little bit easier, so I definitely feel like this is beginner-friendly. I think this is really good, as sometimes pattern instructions can leave you a little confused and turning to YouTube for some advice on how to approach something.
I usually cut a size 10 in patterns from the other major companies, and although this is the first NewLook Sewing Pattern I have sewn I went ahead and cut the 10 and it was a good fit. I always make dresses based on my bust measurement, and if I am in in-between sizes I will tend to size down, otherwise the finished item tends to be too big on the shoulders and underneath the arms.
The main body of the dress is cut in four pieces - two for the front and two for the back, plus the neckline pieces. This means there are seams down the centre front and centre back - something to bear in mind if you're planning on making it in a plain fabric. The leaf pattern on the fabric I used hides the centre seams quite well, but they might be more noticeable in a solid fabric - depends on how you feel about seeing a seam down the front of the dress. You could always use a contrasting thread and add some topstitching, turning it into an interesting little detail.
As the edges of the fabric were fraying ever so slightly I overlocked all the raw edges to keep everything in place - the last thing I wanted was for the insides of my lovely dress to start fraying after a few washes. It's much easier to prevent rather than cure so while you're constructing the dress be sure to finish off the edges with your preferred method - if you don't have an overlocker, a zig-zag stitch works just as well, or you could always try some french seams or bias binding. Whatever takes your fancy!
I used black Cotton Poplin Fabric to cut the neckline pieces, which is more stable than the viscose and also makes the pattern of the fabric 'pop' that little bit more. They are also interfaced for a little extra strength - I always use sew-in interfacing as I find that the fusible kind leaves fabric way too stiff and sometimes you get a weird 'rippled' effect on the front of the fabric. I have used Vilene M12 Medium Weight Sew-In Interfacing, which is available in charcoal or white. Which colour you choose will depend on the shade of your fabric - if you have a lighter fabric, use the white one as the charcoal one may show through.
The back of the dress is fastened at the top with two loops and buttons - you have to make the loops yourself, by sewing a small strip of fabric and then turning it right side out. This is a little bit fiddly if you don't have something to help you - you can use a large darning needle to pass through the narrow 'tube', or you could even treat yourself to a dedicated Loop Turner which can also be used for belt loops and straps. It might even help with the turning of the neckband - you are instructed to stitch this inside out and then have to turn the right side out. Even for me this was pretty fiddly and slow going - just persevere moving it a centimetre or a few millimetres at a time, whatever you can manage, I promise you'll reach the end eventually!
The pattern comes with templates for back ties to shape the dress, which would look cute tied in a bow at the back but I knew that I would always wear it with a belt so I left these off. Other than that, I didn't make any alterations to the pattern and will definitely be using it again to make more dresses.
The finished dress is super comfy, really light and airy for the summer days that we are (hopefully) eventually going to get here in the UK. I'm also giving it bonus points for that fact that it matches my hair!
Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 21st June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
The Sirdar Snuggly Tiny Tots Yarn is a Baby Fashion DK with lots of lovely texture. It comes in 50g (137m) balls with a nice colour range, it's machine washable and made up of 90% Acrylic and 10% Polyester fibres.
I chose the lovely pale blue and lemon shades for a project I had in mind when I saw this yarn.
Although I must admit the yellow was brighter than I had expected, it is hard to judge with colours on the computer screen, it's more yellow than lemon but still very pretty used with the pale blue.
There is a textured white thread that is spun in the yarn that gives it an unusual appearance and feel, not so easy to see on the photograph, but also has a slight sheen which gives a fresh look.
I decided to make a Crochet Baby's snuggly jumper from a free pattern available on justcrochet.com. Using the two colours for more interest. Rather than crochet bobbles which would have made the garment too chunky I liked the idea of this stitch pattern, which is a variation of the 'Floret' crochet stitch pattern.
I am using UK crochet terms to describe the stitches and not the American terms in which the pattern was written.
Using a 4mm crochet hook as recommended on the yarn label, the stitches used were a Double Treble Stitch and a Slip Stitch. These form the basis of the pattern row and give the bobble effect. For the ribbing on the sleeve cuffs and on the bottom of the sweater, a simple Back and Front Post Treble Rib works well.
When you work the pattern, you chain multiples of two for your desired size and after the initial rib for the bottom edge of the sweater, the pattern commences after one row of trebles as follows: Chain 1 to turn at the end of the treble row, turn then slip stitch into the base of this chain, Double Treble in the next stitch then slip stitch loosely into the next, repeating to the end, finishing with a slip stitch. The next row is another row of trebles, these two rows form the basis of the pattern throughout so very easy to do with a lovely textured look and feel. I should mention that when working the pattern (bobbles) row, you will find that your working stitches for the next row fall towards the back of the work on the wrong side, so watch out for that when doing the row of trebles so you don't miss a stitch.
View from the right side and wrong side, you can see the chains that will be your working stitches for the next row.
I found this yarn easy to work with but you do have to be mindful of the fine white thread when using a crochet hook so that the hook doesn't catch while working the yarn, something I doubt would be an issue when using knitting needles with this yarn.
The neckline was finished with a row of crab stich and two cute little own buttons on the shoulder closure.
I am sure you agree this project works well with the colours and yarn choice and will make the baby wearing it even more Snuggly to cuddle!
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 20th June 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Not sure if you've seen or heard about the Minerva Crafts Product Review List but I jumped on the chance to try out new things that I wouldn't normally go for, which is good as I'll be broading my crafty horizons!
I've received the extra small and small Pom Pom Makers for from Minerva for myself to review them!
I must say even before opening them up from the packaging, they looked pretty impressive, as I don't know about you guys but I found the 'cardboard'method too much like hard work!
Now I racked my brains as to what to use my Pom Poms for.... so I had a good think and as you do.... Go and raid your Craft Stash to find some Kidney Earrings Findings and thought well why not have Pom Pom earrings!
So instead of attaching them to a garment as I originally planned, I went down the jewellery route for a change!
Once opened out from the packaging, I'll be truthful and "thought how on earth does these work?", but once I realised there was instructions were written inside the packaging I was relieved!
But it did take a few attempts to get my head round of the "mechanics" of how they fold out and when to fold back in, when to snip and tie etc but once that sunk in, I was well away and made a Pom Pom literally in 2 minutes from start to finish!
All you have to do is start at one side of the loop and wind the yarn round to the other side and chop off to finish that loop and then repeat for the other side.
Once both are wound on, take a sharp yet small scissors and cut down the middle. I used my little embroidery scissors.
Then I used some cotton thread to tie in the middle as I found using yarn wouldn't get it tight enough to secure it, I used a double knot to secure.
Then you pull back the loops and then and pull apart the gadget from the middle to reveal your Pom pom!
I just trimmed the loose ends of the thread so that they were no longer showing and any uneven yarn bits that was sticking out of the Pom Pom shape!
They are really a fab gadget to have at your disposal, I'm not sure of how I have lived without these as you could literally Pom Pom everything!
These extra small and small makers are perfect for adding the extra touch to garments as they aren't huge to make it look like it's out of place for an example on scarfs, hats, slippers etc but personally quite like the idea of Pom Pom jewellery!
So if you haven't got round to making your own Pom Poms now is the time to do it as these gadgets make it so worthwhile! Even if you went to the medium and large sizes you could make some lovely Pom Pom bunting or wreaths for some cute homemade accessories!