Archive for 2010

2011 Special Olympics Scarf Project

Dec 31

Need a purpose for your next knit or crochet project? How about taking your obsession for a charity turn by knitting up a scarf for the 2011 Special Olympics Scarf Project?

Red Heart Super Saver You can knit or crochet an uniquely handmade scarf in the official colors for the 2011 Winter Special Olympics to support your state. Each state needs a different number of handmade scarves for their athletes, coaches, volunteers and supporters. Each state will also be competing in a variety of different sports like Floor Hockey, Speed Skating, Figure Skating, Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding, and Cross Country Skiing.

Shipping details and project deadlines vary for each state. So choose a state for more information on details and deadlines. Some state deadlines have passed so check out your state. New York isn’t on the list! So I might be choosing Arizona. ie. Arizona needs 900 more scarves and the deadlines are:

Please ship your scarves no later than January 21, 2011.
Deadline to receive scarves is January 28, 2011.
54 – 60 inches long x 6 inches wide.

The U.S. Special Olympics and Red Heart Super Saver partnered to run the U.S. Special Olympics Scarf Project for the last four years.

The program became so popular that donations outpaced the number of Special Olympics winter athletes and supporters. It was as important to us, as we know it was to you, that each and every scarf made it into the hands of the intended recipient – an athlete or supporter – something we cannot ensure going forward, due to the high volume of excess scarves. Special Olympics will distribute the extra scarves received in 2012 during the 2013 winter games season.
–Red Heart

Papercut Patterns: Circle Top

Dec 30

Papercut Patterns - Circle Top Pattern

I just received my Circle Top Pattern from Papercut Patterns today! Designer Katie Brown of Papercut Pattern is based in New Zealand and stresses not only creativity + imagination but handmade + eco-friendly too. Most all the things that got me into sewing in the first place. Heart it!

Papercut Patterns - Circle Top Pattern Papercut Patterns - Circle Top Pattern Papercut Patterns - Circle Top Pattern Papercut Patterns - Circle Top Pattern

My pattern came in a box! Or a paperboard envelope instead of the traditional paper envelope to be exact. The packaging has other lovely little details like the cutout logo with little hook! to the lovely printed instruction booklet. I especially like how everything from the packaging to the pattern draft is not only thoughtfully crafted but is made entirely of recycled materials.

Another nice little detail is how simple yet sophisticated the pattern looks. I cracked open the pattern draft, which is on a nice heavy paper rather than the customary tissue paper, and noticed large holes were punched out, a nifty way of lining up pattern pieces I suspect! I remember reading about a similar nifty little trick in Built By Wendy’s Sew U book. (I also have a bunch of Built By Wendy patterns waiting in the wings!) The only minor drawback I see so far is each pattern is only good for one size. This greatly simplifies the pattern pieces for the home sewer but it also means I might have to buy a different size for the same pattern.

Papercut Patterns - Circle Top Papercut Patterns - Circle Top Papercut Patterns - Circle Top

Katie even helped me pick out a suitable pattern to start with. There were so many I wanted to try. I needed a relatively beginner one and never worked with knit fabrics or armhole, sleeves, and cuffs before, so this one turned out to be a nice entry-level pattern for me. The Circle Top is like a sweater/shrug that is great for almost any season given the right choice of fabric! It makes a nice winter appropriate piece suitable for layering too, so I also liked that it was something I could make and wear right away. I can’t wait to try it out.

Update: Here’s my completed Circle Top! I love the way it came out.

One last note on the eco-friendly tip… I’d never really considered this as part of my reasons for loving crafty things like sewing but after noticing how Papercut Patterns stressed sustainable materials in all that they do, it sparked an interest in learning more myself. So I did some digging and here’s what I found !

Pattern Price: $25.00 NZD

PIP: DIY Couture Pleated Skirt

Dec 30

PROJECT IN PROGRESS: Pleated Skirt Pattern by DIY Couture.

Pleated Skirt - Waistband and Pleat Detail

Pleated Skirt - Measuring, Marking, and Pinning The Pleats Pleated Skirt - Pinned Pleats Pleated Skirt - Sewing In The Pleats Pleated Skirt - Sewing In The Pleats Pleated Skirt - Zipper Slit Detail Pleated Skirt - Sewing In The Waistband Pleated Skirt - Side Detail

Here’s a prototype of the Pleated Skirt that I’m currently working on. Sometimes called a muslin or toile. It starts as 2 rectangles, lots of marking and pinning for the pleats, sewing of the pleats, joining the two main skirt pieces together on the side, leaving a slit for the zipper, then cutting and sewing the waistband (2 more rectangles). A total of 4 rectangles! Hemming the skirt edge is also required for finishing. So far the measuring, cutting, and marking were the most intensive for this pattern. More about DIY Couture UK

7″ Zipper
Hook and Eye

Skill Level: Intermediate Beginner

Skirt Body – 2 Rectangles – Width 12in +3cm + 60cm; Height 16in + 3cm
WIDTH is your waist size ÷ 2 + 3cm for the seam allowance. Then an additional length for the pleats, 12 pleats x 5cm = 60cm.
HEIGHT is simply the height of your skirt from your natural waist to where you’d like it to fall + 3cm for the seam allowance.

Waistband – 2 Rectangles – Width 16in + 3cm; Height 8in + 2cm
WIDTH is calculated by measuring the waist of the skirt after the pieces are joined + 3cm for seam allowance and zipper.
HEIGHT is simply double the height you’d like your waistband to be + 2cm for seam allowance. I wanted a 4in waistband, so I need an 8in high piece.

Hem the bottom edge of your skirt after sewing in pleats and before joining the skirt pieces.

DIY Couture patterns tend to always start off as rectangles or straight edged pieces. Perfect for using your rotary cutter and self-healing mat!

This was slightly more difficult than the Gathered Dress Pattern. In general I find DIY Couture instructions very comprehensive but there’s always one small detail left out. For example, I had trouble understanding how to measure and mark the pleats properly. And when folding, I did not understand how to gather the folds. So I just winged it. I will post the completed skirt soon!

DIY Couture UK Pleated Skirt Pattern
Pleated Skirt Pattern by DIY Couture
Price: $14.00 USD

FOTD: Swirlies by Heather Roth

Dec 29

FABRIC OF THE DAY: Swirlies by Heather Roth

Swirlies by Heather Roth Style

100% Cotton in different weights. $18-$38 per yard.
You can buy this fabric on Spoonflower

Great Knits For Holiday Travel

Dec 22

Happy Holidays!! Those who will be doing some traveling, relaxing, hanging out with family will have a great opportunity to do some knitting too! On a plane or on a train. On a boat or on the beach. Or anywhere at all.

Here are a few great “travelin’ knits” (and crochet) from some of my fave goto sites for wonderful free patterns. All you’ll need is some yarn, the pattern, and some knitting needles. They can even be bamboo or plastic needles for extra transportability. No scissors, extra notions, tools, supplies required! You can do all your final touches when you get back home. And yes, knitting needles and crochet hooks are allowed on the plane. Perfect for a fun, relaxing yet productive time.

So take this opportunity to finish up a project you’ve been meaning to for awhile. Or pick up a project to try for the first time. For me, it’s the perfect opportunity to do some knitting. Free time is hard to find!


By Mareike Sattler. Single color yarn. So no color changes required. This is an advanced beginner level scarf. (I’m working on finishing this one!) I’m using LB Collection Baby Alpaca in a Dark Charcoal Gray (DK Weight) and Clover Brand Takumi Bamboo Circular Knitting Needles US Size 4 (3.5mm)

Dobbs Ferry Cowl - Lionbrand.comDOBBS FERRY COWL from
This is a quickie beginner knit using some circular knitting techniques! You’ll also be knitting with 3 strands of yarn together making it even more luxurious and quick! You’ll be done in a jiffy, so you can even return from your lovely vacation with a lovely finished knit!

It uses Lion Brand Wool-Ease Yarn (Super Bulky Weight!) and Size 19 (15mm) circular needles. Wool-Ease is a fabulous and affordable Lion Brand Yarn that comes in lovely fashion colors. The Pumpkin or Butterscotch is tres chic! They also have a lovely yarn studio (my fave in Manhattan) down on 15th, Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

Note: This is a circular knit so you’ll need some stitch markers too!

Star Crossed Slouchy Beret by Natalie LarsonSTAR CROSSED BERET by Natalie Larson
For those intermediate knitters or if you’d like to try a beginner cable knit! You’ll need a Cable Needle. You can find her pattern and materials on

• Malabrigo Merino Worsted (100 grams=216 yards) 1 hank
• US Size 11 Circular Needle, 24 inches
• Cable Needle (she used a US Size10 DPNS)

Note: This is knit in the round so you’ll need some stitch markers too!

For a more beginner beret (and no cables!), here’s an alternative slouchy beret in simple Stockinette that is decent too. It’s more of a sporty style. By John Brinegar (below) called Bounce.

200 by John Brinegar200 by JOHN BRINEGAR
For those who’d like to crochet. Check out this gorgeous chunky quick crochet. It’s 5 colors in trusty Lion Brand Wool-Ease and double crochet all the way around! Mhmm. “200″ is pretty much chain 200 then DC or SC all the way home on a Size N (9mm) crochet hook! *You’ll need a yarn cutter here for the color changes. Try the Clover Yarn Cutter Pendant for a travel-safe one that will be fine to bring on the plane! Here are the colors he used:

#189 Butterscotch
#134 Citron
#099 Fisherman
#132 Lemongrass
#112 Raspberry

Find him on or Yarnballboogie.

Skacel Addi Turbo Click SetWhile we’re talking holidays… I’ve been seeing these novel interchangeable circular knitting needles around and they’re quite popular! The Addi Turbo Click Set comes in 10 different sizes of Addi Turbo tips (US 4 – US 15), 3 different lengths of Addi’s new, pliable blue cord (24”, 32” and 40”), and one connector piece which helps to either store stitches or combine your cords. Mhmm, these Skacel Addi Turbo Clicks are a pricey little treat for knitting fanatics. $170

You can see them for sale here:
Purl Soho

FOTD: Happy Daisy by Chloe’s Closet

Dec 20

FABRIC OF THE DAY: Happy Daisy Collection by Chloe’s Closet for Moda Fabrics

Happy Daisy Blue Bamboozle by Chloe's Closet for Moda Fabrics Happy Daisy Red Bamboozle by Chloe's Closet for Moda Fabrics Happy Daisy Yellow Bamboozle by Chloe's Closet for Moda Fabrics Happy Daisy Green Bamboozle by Chloe's Closet for Moda Fabrics

100% Cotton. $9.50 per yard.
You can find her designs at Fat Quarter Shop

Sewing Blogs I Heart

Dec 19

Here are some great resources online for sewing news and inspiration! Lots of talented sewers out there posting great information from tips to links.

Craft Gossip Their sewing section aggregates lots of great sewing news from other blogs.
Unhandbag A blog about sewing bags and more!
The Sew Weekly She was featured on The Storque
Weekend Designer A gem of a sewing blog for advanced sewers complete with patterns.
Anna Maria Horner Great pics and she loves fabric too!
Burda Style It’s Burda!
Nancy K. Sews Great details on sewing projects she’s working on.
Sew Retro Great project details and even tutorials sometimes.
Sewaholic Project journal and tips!
Sewing With Trudy
Selfish Seamstress
Male Pattern Boldness This guy is a sewing super fan.
Brian Sews Another sewing guy.
Sew, Mama, Sew!
Wren Handmade
Sense & Sensibility Patterns Wonderful sewing tips and original old fashioned patterns.
Nancy Zieman from Sewing with Nancy. The Original Sewing Fanatic. My hero.
Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing Yay Gertie!!
Gigi Sews
Gorgeous Fabric’s Blog
Julia’s Sewing Blog
Just Sew It
Sew Stylish
E Made This
Erica B’s DIY Style
Faye’s Sewing Adventure
A Dress A Day
A Sewn Wardrobe
Pattern Junkie Great for vintage pattern info.
Unsung Sewing Patterns
Lindsay T. Sews Based in NYC with some NY sewing info like a listing of fabric, trim, and notion stores in the Garment District. She also has another blog, Shop the Garment District – All about the best sewing blogs!

FOTD: Crosswalk by Liberty

Dec 18

FABRIC OF THE DAY: Crosswalk from the Marylebone Collection by Liberty Fabrics, UK

Crosswalk Blue from the Marleybone by Liberty Fabrics

100% Cotton. $9.90 per yard.
You can find this design at

What’s A Sustainable Fabric?

Dec 17

Wild Bamboo
Wild Bamboo. Source: LifeBlazing

Organic materials such as Cotton, Bamboo, Hemp, and Soy are very trendy these days. All are abundant, easy to grow, and hardy. Bamboo especially makes a gorgeous fabric or yarn. Luxuriously soft and light, it has a wonderfully curious feel with a nice sheen and slightly bouncy drape. It’s like a super smooth weighty cotton with a different personality. It’s the cashmere of cottons, I feel. Luxurious yet durable but without the luxurious price! And it’s completely plant-based and has the potential to be sustainable. Anyway, I really never chose them for their eco-friendly virtues but they do indeed possess that benefit.

Fibers made from wild nettle, soybean, jute, and more from Pickering NaturalFabric made from wild nettle, soybean, jute, and more. From Pickering Natural

So… What is a “sustainable fabric”?
In short, it’s a material that is most friendly to our ecological system! It is something that doesn’t impact the Earth as much by depleting its natural resources or polluting its environment. In other words, easily reproduced or abundant in nature and gracefully recycled or returned to the Earth in the end. That in itself is really broad because everything we do impacts the Earth. So the degree of sustainability can be really subjective. But the 3 major factors that define the sustainability of a material are:

*Where They Come From In Nature
Plant or Animal
Natural Resource

*How They Are Cultivated And Processed
Does this resource grow back naturally and abundantly? Does anything have to be abused, killed, or depleted for good? Does this resource require toxic chemicals or produce toxic emissions to process? How much waste does harvesting or manufacturing this material create?

*How Bio-Degradable They Are
Is this material recyclable, reusable, or at the very least can be returned to the earth in a natural way?

Kathryn Davey DollSustainable Fiber Doll, Kathryn Davey

What Does This Mean To Me?
Many of these things are hard to identify when it comes to fabric or yarn. Even then, just because a fiber is found in nature does not mean it is sustainable. And just because a fiber is synthetic or man-made does not mean it’s less sustainable.

Bamboo is a great example. It’s a natural highly renewable plant-based fiber which is also highly recyclable. But its level of sustainability varies. While most bamboo fiber is made from a by-product of harvesting bamboo, its manufacturing process can make it somewhat less sustainable. Certain processing methods require toxic chemicals and can leave chemical residues making it less eco-friendly. Whereas a Bamboo-Blend or a Natural Bamboo fiber can be more eco-friendly because its manufacturing process is more sustainable.

One makes use of bamboo scrap waste (yet uses chemicals in the process) while the other does not (yet does not have the benefit of making use of bamboo scraps). So which one’s better? In the grand scheme of things, it really depends on many other far-reaching factors including energy consumption and CO2 emissions. And a combination of all those factors from start to finish. Which isn’t something one can realistically do while shopping for yarn at your local crafts store…

But understanding what’s at the heart of it can help make identifying them more possible. And the potential for these small considerations can all add up to an immense impact. For the better. So every bit helps and in this case the thought does count!

Bottle CapsDress w. Recycled Bottle Caps,
Ojai Art Festival

What Can I Do?
Next time you see a fabric or yarn, consider if it’s Natural (from the Earth), Organic (processed as naturally as possible), or even Recycled (from scrap material, repurposed, or converted)! Or maybe some or all of the above.

Try some eco-friendly things, like making some T-Shirt Yarn or reclaim some yarn by unraveling an old sweater from a thrift shop or your own stash. My DIY Fabric & Yarn post has a few do-it-yourself ideas for making your own fabric and yarn by recycling old clothes!

Check out this uniquely sustainable synthetic by Bionic Yarn made out of recycled materials! It is a hi-tech thread spun from plastic bottles and mixed with other fibers that is woven to create an extremely durable new breed of fabric. Novel!

There are so many new innovative textiles with sustainability in mind these days. It’s quite exciting! And there’s a wealth of information on the handy world wide web to read on. So do some digging. Come up with what seems right to you. Start by doing your best to be eco-conscious and go from there!

Pollution Cleaning Denim Jeans
Read about Helen Storey and her Pollution Cleaning Denim Jeans!

Papercut Patterns
This sewing pattern from Katie at Papercut Patterns, New Zealand, is what sparked my curiosity in sustainable materials. I noticed that Papercut stressed sustainability in all their products from the packaging to fabrics! It included a note on how and why Merino Wool was a sustainable material.

Pantone Color of the Year 2011

Dec 16

Pantone HoneysuckleIt’s almost time to kiss 2010 goodbye! And Pantone has kicked it off already by declaring a color for the new year! And the winner is – PANTONE Honeysuckle 18-2120.

So next time you make a project that happens to feature Pantone’s official color of the year, you can say so!

Pantone 2011 Press Release

Pantone Honeysuckle Pantone Honeysuckle Pantone Honeysuckle