Saturday, January 24, 2015

pick up sticks - a DPN needle and crochet hook organizer tutorial

I was talking with my cousin the other day about what we knitters (and crocheter's) need that is not readily available. I puzzled and thought and sketched, and in the end came back to a simple needle/hook organizer.

If you are anything like me, your needles are sitting in a rubbermaid bin, twisted and jumbled together. If I'm looking for a certain size, I usually have to dump everything out, sort them out and start measuring. It's such a headache. And I never know what I have at a glance.

Which brings me to my post today. Some of you have asked for a tutorial on how to make this.
I like that you can dress it up, or keep it simple.

To make a basic Pick Up Sticks organizer, you will need:

Crochet Roll Up
DPN Roll Up
Exterior Main
1 piece of fabric 8.5" x 16.5"
Exterior Main
1 piece of fabric 10.5" x 20.5"
Exterior Back
1 piece of fabric 8.5" x 16.5"
Exterior Back
1 piece of fabric 10.5" x 20.5"
Interior Lining
1 piece of fabric 8.5" x 16.5"
Interior Lining
1 piece of fabric 10.5" x 20.5"
Interior Main Panel
1 piece of fabric 8.5" x 16.5"
Interior Main Panel
1 piece of fabric 10.5" x 20.5"
2 pieces of fabric 1.5" x 16.5"
2 pieces of fabric 1.5" x 20.5"
Pocket Panel
2 pieces of fabric 5.5" x 16.5"
Pocket Panel (largest)
2 pieces of fabric 6.5" 20.5"

Pocket Panel (smallest)
2 pieces of fabric 4.5" 20.5"
(ie. Shapeflex 101)
2 pieces 8.5"x 16.5"
(ie. Shapeflex 101)
2 pieces 10.5" x 20.5"z

Equipment needed:
Safety pin
Fabric marker with disappearing ink
Iron and board
Sewing machine
Dull pointy object like a knitting needle

NOTE: all seam allowances are 1/4" unless otherwise noted.

If you wish to, you can dress up this pattern and include a pieced or even quilted exterior main panel. I would recommend making it larger than necessary and then cutting it down to size.
Be aware of directional fabrics when cutting fabrics, keeping in mind the overall shape of this project.

These are the parts used in my example for this tutorial (a DPN roll up).


Interface both the exterior main panel and the interior main panel (this is the one that will have pockets attached to it).

Stitch the exterior main panel and the exterior back panel together along one long side, right sides together. Press towards the back panel.

Stitch the two pocket panels together along the long side right sides together. Open up and turn right side out and press the seam line. Top stitch with a long stitch (about 3.0 - 3.2mm) 1/8" away from the sewn edge.
Repeat with the second panel if you are making the DPN organizer.

Make the ties by folding each long piece of fabric in half and stitching down the side. Make sure you back stitch on either end.
This probably is the trickiest bit of all, so if you prefer you can use ribbon.
Take a small safety pin and attach it to the seam allowance of one sewn strip. Gently slip the safety pin into the tube. Slowly slide it down into the tube and ease the fabric at the other end as it bunches. You are turning it inside out.

 When you are finished, press each strip and put aside for later.

Assemble the inner part of the roll up by taking the main interior piece (interfaced) and the prepared pocket panel(s). Line it (or them) up along the bottom of the main piece. Stitch along the bottom through the two or three layers 1/8 of an inch away from the bottom to anchor them.

Next, either fold over and mark, or measure the halfway point along the length of the panels. Mark with a fabric pen with water-soluble ink. This will be your first stitch line.

Stitch, with a long stitch length (3.0 mm - 3.2 mm) from the bottom of the panels to the edge of the top panel. Backstitch at the beginning and end.

From this line, take your pen and mark your next sewing lines working from the center line outwards. For a DPN roll-up, I tend to begin with the larger sizes, 1.5" on either side once or twice, then 1.25" then down to an inch. Bear in mind that the larger your DPN needle sizes are, you will need more room to accommodate them. The same applies when needle sets have 5 instead of four parts.

For the crochet roll up, I used a solid 5/8" division for all of the spaces, working from the center out.

Feel free to customize depending on your needs.

I take my iron or a water spray bottle and give the line markings a quick wet down to dissolve the ink. Give it a good press when you are finished.

We are left with two large panels, the interior and exterior. Give everything one last good press. The iron is my best friend. It makes everything so much easier. And more dangerous. :) 
Find the half way point on the backside of the main exterior. This is the point that you want your ties to be located, and will be on the side most viewed when rolled up. Mark this line.

My line will be a little different than yours as I cut this out late at night and my measurements for this particular one are .5" off. Disregard this. :)

Lay the interior panel and the exterior panel, right sides together and line them up. Nest the center seams and pin. Pin all the way around making sure everything is flat and edges match. Leave a gap in the exterior main panel that will not be sewn this round. This will enable us to turn the whole deal inside out.
Stitch along the outside edges. When you reach 1/4" away from a corner, leave your needle in a down position and pivot to continue. Stop and start stitching at either end of the gap. Double check your seams to make sure you have the right seam allowances all the way around. (Ask me how I know to do this.)
Clip all four corners, taking care NOT to clip the stitches.
Very gently turn everything inside out through the gap.

Using a dull pointy object, like a knitting needle or chopstick, push out the four corners on the inside to make sure they come out nice and squarish.

Give everything a good press and carefully press in the seam allowance of the opening. Feel free to pin that spot if you like to keep things lined up.

Using a longer stitch, as before, stitch 1/8" away from the edges all the way around the roll-up taking care not to catch the ties in the way.

Fold the pouch in half lengthwise, taking care not to bunch fabrics, and press. Again. This last step will help keep everything where it needs to be. With a longer stitch, stitch 1/8" away from the fold line stopping and starting at the stitch lines already there. Backstitch at the beginning and end.

Lastly, finish off the ends of your ties. You can sew a tiny zig zag at the bottom of the ties or even some simple straight stitching. I like to tie a knot near the end of each tie. If you think of any more creative ways to embellish your ties, I'd love to see them.

Load up your new Pick-Up Sticks Organizer and enjoy!

If you have any feedback or comments, I'd love to hear them. And if you happen to be on instagram and would like to share, tag your creations with #pickupsticksorganizer. Of course, I'd love it if you tagged me so I could say hi as well. 

Have a great weekend friends!

Until next time,

xo ~ Jade

Friday, January 23, 2015

i'm hooked - my first sew-together bag

Months ago, eons really, I bought a pattern. And I read it, and re-read it and watched so many beautiful versions of this pattern pop up on Instgram. But, despite having sewn literally 100+ zipper pouches in the past year, this pattern terrified me. It's the "sew-together bag", by Sew Demented.

But here we are. I finally bit the bullet and now I'm hooked.

This first pouch isn't for me but was made with someone special in mind. I used a few of my slightly hoarded April Showers fabric and made the exterior with a rainbow medley of scraps and Essex linen.

Amanda Jean of "Crazy Mom Quilts" mentioned online that she used a tip from a fellow quilter Stephanie, that helped out in the zipper department. I thought I'd blog about what that tip was since it helped out so much.

Assuming you've bought the pattern and have progressed to the part where you attach the shorter zips to the fabric, Stephanie recommends capping the zipper with a bit of fabric to make sure the side seams do not include zipper, which makes for a quicker, thinner seam.

Cut a piece 1 3/4" wide by 3" long (this is long enough for both sides of one zipper). Iron it in half lengthwise and then open it. Iron both long edges towards the center crease and press. Fold the piece in half again lengthwise, thereby enclosing any raw edges within the casing. Cut in two pieces. Trip your zipper to 8 3/4" long and cap both ends with the fabric casing. Stitch in place. Proceed with the pattern.

It's a great pattern. I didn't realize how big it was going to be. I cannot wait to make one or 5 for myself and the projects that are currently floating around in plastic bins, baskets and cans. 

My son may have also requested a Transformers sew-together bag, but that's going to take some time to figure out. :)

So if you are like I was and drooling over every bag you see out there, do it! If I can do it, you can too.

 Linking up with Amanda Jean for finish it up Friday.

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Scrappy Norway Quilt

For Fall Quilt Market, Camille Roskelly of Simplify released a gorgeous quilt pattern called "Norway". I immediately added it to my "one day" list. I just love the blocks.

My initial plan had been to make it the way the pattern indicated, with each block dedicated to a fabric. But then I started thinking about a scrappy look... and that was it. Once I had it in my head, I couldn't stop thinking about it.

It all started with this block, to see if a scrappy look would work.

 And then there were two.

Then, nine.

And after a whole lot of rearranging, a quilt top!

And, since I'm not the type to let a quilt top linger, it was basted and quilted in record time (for me). I tried something new and practiced swirls with the periodic hook as a quilting design. Once I found the rhythm of it, I fell in love. It's my new favorite quilting pattern. And when the quilt has been washed and is all crinkley and gorgeous, the texture is phenomenal.

The weather hasn't cooperated lately, so I had to take what I could get for a photo shoot. I bundled up the three kids and took them for a cold, misty walk.

There is a definite advantage to having children available to hold quilts.

For the backing, I pieced yet another Norway block in grey and added two fabrics from Emmy Grace by Bari J. The darker fabric is voile and it makes for such a luscious quilt. I can't get over how soft and lightweight it is. This will be the perfect summer quilt. 


This is the last one, I promise. (By this point in the afternoon, the kids were hankering for hot chocolate and carrot cake.)

This has been such a fun quilt to make. I love the rainbow spectrum that I worked into it. I love that the top is made entirely of scraps. With such a grey and cold winter, a happy quilt is exactly what we needed.


So, I may have dropped the ball in the blogging department the last few months. Let's catch up!
It has been CRAZY autumn and winter so far. Last time I touched base, I was a contestant in the Sewvivor competition. I didn't make it in to the last round but I was so proud of how far I made it, and humbled that I had even made it past auditions.

In September, I went back to work full time after a year and a half off with our little baby, who is not so little any more. This change in schedule was huge. The next month we moved and that brought with it a lot more changes... new school, new routines, and a new city. We even snuck in a little camping trip, a favorite tradition of ours. I just love autumn camping.

We've finally settled into our new home and have been loving it. It's much cozier, just the way I like a home to feel. I still have a dedicated sewing space which makes me ecstatic. I love that my sewing space leads on to the kids play room / library so I can still spend time with my children even while crafting.

While I have been silent in the blogiverse, I have been busy in the crafting department, sewing up a storm. Half the problem with working full time and trying to run a blog in the winter is that I am rarely home in the day light for good photos. But I'm going to try to be better at that. If you follow me on instagram, you know it's been a craftiful year. I definitely have some catching up to do!

The first step is the hardest. But now I've taken it, I can't wait to share what I've been working on with you!