Sewing!…At Morris and Sons!…Really?

It’s a busy blog post today. We have a caption winner. It’s also time to take it up a notch in the woolly world of Morris and Sons, as we wait for all of our fabric to arrive. Yes, we are going to stock fabric. It’s on the ocean somewhere, but it’s on its way. Let’s hope it encounters favorable winds and gets here soon. In the meantime all the sewing books have arrived. It’s so exciting and we just couldn’t wait to review just one of them. To whet your appetite even more we have a really quick sewing tutorial. As if that is not enough we had a response to our request for a ‘hug me tight’ and an explanation of what exactly it is. Thank you to everybody who let us have patterns and images. It’s all on Facebook.

First things first. Congratulations Robyn Lee. You are our caption winner. Of course we loved them all and most of them made us giggle. In the end we decided to go with the caption that got the most ‘likes’. It’s witty and funny as well. If you want to read them all, they’re on Facebook.

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Sewing Books: ZAKKA STYLE, compiled by Rashida Coleman-Hale. A design Collective.

24 Projects stitched with Ease to Give, Use and Enjoy. ‘Rashida has gathered talented designers from around the world to bring you 24 delightful Zakka projects’. What does Zakka mean? We have been hearing the word bandied about a bit lately. It’s a Japanese term meaning “many things.” According to the explanation on the dust cover of the book it is all about the little things that improve your home and appearance. We all need a little thing or two to make us happy and this little book surely does deliver. All the products in the book are simple, sweet and relatively quickly made. We chose to make the project featured on the front page.

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Sewing Kit on Page 23.

It is by Theresia Cookson. Toss it into your craft bag or take it on a trip with you. It’s small and handy.

The instructions are well presented. All measurements are in inches. A little irritating if you are used to the metric system, (our sample maker had to re-cut the odd little square here and there as a result).

A tip for the beginner sewer. Linen is actually not that easy to work with. It has quite an unstable weave. If you don’t like your piece to keep moving about and changing it’s shape, calico or any other homespun is a really good alternative.

We used some linen and fabric we have in the store and made our own sample.

TUTORIAL: Crochet hooks and double point needles lying all over the show. Let’s tame them and get them into some kind of order. Turn off the television and turn on your sewing machine. This will take you all of an hour. Make a few for friends.

Follow these easy how to steps. You will need:

2 main pieces of fabric 20cm x 50cm

Enough iron on webbing or fusing to back the above two pieces of fabric.

1 piece of pocket fabric 25cm x 50cm

2 pieces of ribbon or cord 30cm long each and a fabric marker.

1 button. Whichever button you choose to use, make sure it has a shank.

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Step 1: Fuse the two main pieces of fabric.

Step 2: Iron pocket piece in half lengthwise.

Step 3: Place the pocket at the bottom of one main fabric piece. Raw edges of pocket in line with raw edges of main fabric. Pin

Step 4: Place ribbon pieces on top of pocket fabric.

Step 5: Secure with a 6mm seam.

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Step 6: Mark stitching lines 2.5cm apart all along pocket. Stitch up and down all along.

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Step 7: Place second main fabric on top, RS facing. Pin.

Step 8: Stitch around leaving an opening for turning.

Step 9: Turn and press. Top stitch around, closing the turning opening.

Step 10: Sew on the button.

Step 11: Store all your crochet hooks and dpns. Roll up and twist cord around button.

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4 Reasons Why You Should Start a New Project in Baby Cashmerino

This yarn is like an old friend. It has been around for a while now, but there’s nothing stopping it being as good as ever. Here are four reasons to get those needles clicking with some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino:

#1: Range

The Baby Cashmerino 6 ply range has an array of tints and shades of all sorts of colours! Just take a look at this selection (which doesn’t even complete the set) of cool colours…

Cool colours

 

…and warm colours!

Warm colours

 

#2: Composition

If you haven’t spent time pouring over balls of this yarn yet (which is inevitable once you encounter it in real life), that’s ok – it won’t take you long to guess its composition. Cash-merino. Yes, there’s 55% extrafine merino wool, and yes, there’s 12% cashmere, and the remainder is acrylic microfibre which makes it longer lasting and harder wearing.

#3: Feel

So with that extrafine merino wool and cashmere, you would expect it to be fairly soft to touch, and in no way does it disappoint! It feels incredibly lovely. That’s why it is such a bonus that Debbie Bliss has released four whole pattern books for babies and young children that show off the Baby Cashmerino yarn superbly… and that’s reason number 4!

#4: Pattern Books

Here are two of the four. This is one of those times where judging a book by its cover is allowable because the contents are equally as great!

Baby Cashmerino 2

BC2B

 

Baby Cashmerino 4

BC4B

 

So if Baby Cashmerino is an old friend of yours, maybe it’s time to get reacquainted!

 

Weird and Wonderful Knitting for Animals

Shetland ponies are normally fairly adorable creatures. That factor sky-rockets when you add a cardigan! Imagine the time involved with all that Fair Isle, but even that by itself is stunning! The video below shows the ponies getting into their cardigans (with a little help, of course!).

Shetland Ponies in Cardigans

Sometimes knitting isn’t just for fashion. Battery hens which are rescued are often sadly missing many feathers due to other hens pulling them out in their boredom, as is explained in this article where UK school girls were knitting jumpers for rescued hens.

Chickens in Jumpers

Though there doesn’t seem to be an Australian charity looking for chicken jumpers, for anyone interested in dressing up their backyard chook on a chilly day, there was a suggestion on a poultry forum that these could make cute AFL jerseys, knitted in your team’s colours! There is a free pattern for one here.

A trend in cute ‘tortoise cosies’ and tortoise ‘yard finders’ is seeing reptilian friends better dressed than ever. Here are some examples from Katie Bradley’s Etsy store. You can buy patterns there, or order cosies from Katie – flick through her shop archive to see all the different cosies she has crocheted for customers in the past.

Stegosaurus Tortoise Cosies

Tortoise Yard Finder Flower

Pink Tortoise Cosy

Believe it or not, there is even a pattern for a rat sweater out there! Unfortunately, there isn’t a photo of it for us to show you how that would look!

For those who want to keep their pet dogs nice and warm in winter, we have a book available with 12 patterns for knitted dog coats. There are photos of all 12 patterns in ‘A Dozen Handknitted Dog Coats for Pampered Pooches’ on our website.

A Dozen Handknitted Dog Coats for Pampered Pooches

 

…And if you do happen to have a rat, we’re curious to see how that sweater looks!

 

 

Photo and video of the two handsomely dressed ponies are from the Visit Scotland website.

Photo of the chickens in jumpers is from an article from Kent Online.

Photos of tortoise cosies by Katie Bradley, from her Etsy store and store archive.

Knitting for the Front Line

“Just a few lines to thank you for the parcel I received from you. We are always pleased to receive Australian sox, and especially from the Knitting League of dear old Broken Hill. We know that the ladies of Australia are working hard for the soldiers at the front … We were on Gallipoli 14 weeks, and under fire the whole time. You never knew the second when you might be in the way of a shot. I had one or two close shaves, and am glad to have left it. We badly needed a spell, but we are fit and well again now, and ready for any old thing that comes along. I will end with best wishes to the ladies of the Knitting League …”

– Lance-Corporal Andrew, February 18th 1916, No. 250, B Company, 27th Battalion, A.I.F, Egypt in a letter to Mrs. Wearne published in the Barrier Miner, Broken Hill, April 23rd 1916*

 

Imagine the sound of thousands of knitting needles clicking in unison across a nation. They are knitting much-needed socks for the diggers, whose perpetually wet feet in the trenches in worn and rotting socks are one by one being affected by trench foot and gangrene.

Women in Australia knitted tirelessly to provide an incredible number of socks, particularly during the First and Second World Wars. This news clip from the Pakenham Gazette and Berwick Shire News in Victoria on the 17th of June, 1917 tells of just one appeal which asked for 100,000 pairs.^

 

Pakenham Gazette and Berwick Shire News (Victoria), 17th of June, 1917

To this day there are not many remaining examples of the patterns these women followed, however there are a couple that have emerged which you can see and read online. Two intact copies of ‘The Grey Sock’ booklet were bequeathed to the State Library of NSW. They belonged to Irene Read, a knitter who went to Egypt with her doctor husband during WWI. Here you can see the tiny booklet, along with a sock knitted following the pattern:

 

Grey Sock Kit, from Sydney Morning Herald

You can view Irene’s copies of ‘The Grey Sock’ booklets on the State Library of NSW website here.

The more advanced sock knitter could follow a pattern such as the Lady Mayoress’ League ‘Directions for Knitting Two Socks at Once: For our Men on Active Service’ – preserved by the Australian War Memorial. Private H.J.WrightYou can access the PDF featuring scans of the original pattern via links on this site.

The socks knitted were worn with a uniform like this one to the left worn by Private H. J. Wright – a soldier who served in Gallipoli in 1915. Accounts such as that of Lance-Corporal Andrew tell us of the appreciation of soldiers for the knitting efforts of women back home. Thanks to snapshots from the media, we can gain a little insight into the lives of these knitters.

With resources being so scarce during war, especially in such circumstances as the rationing of many items during WWII, it is clear that they had to make the most of what they had, and yarn was no exception. Sharp-minded knitters figured out ‘knitting economies’ such as this one below, published in The Mercury in Hobart on July 8th, 1940.**

Knitting Economy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Women knitting 1916, from Sydney Morning Herald

These women – like the ones in the 1916 picture to the right – were not only keen to share their knowledge and tips with each other; they were a picture of dedication. The following is from the obituaries column in The Ballarat Courier, Victoria on September 15th, 1915`:

Mrs. Lavinia Rhys, whose death took place at St. Kilda on the 12th inst., was within a month of the advanced age of 90 years. She retained all her faculties up to the last, and shortly before her death was busily engaged knitting socks for the soldiers.

Knitters have continued to provide needed items for our defence forces. A recent appeal to knit skull caps for troops serving overseas which fit under helmets was so successful that the entire need was met, and to the best of our knowledge no more are required.

As tomorrow marks ANZAC day, we would like to bring our reflections to a close by directing our thoughts beyond the knitters of the wars to those they were knitting for. This post has been focused on knitting, however it is far better to follow the example of the knitters themselves and fill our minds instead with the remembrance of the service and sacrifice of our defence force; past and present.

 

 

*Article from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article45342735

^Article from http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/92153530

**Article from http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/25812599

`Article from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75148904

3 Handy Tools for Easier Pattern and Chart Reading

Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you’re working on your knitting or cross-stitch and it seems like you spend more time trying to find your place in your pattern or chart than actually stitching? Sometimes I wish I could upload the pattern into my brain and just be able to call up the next line to my mind without having to look away!

I have a sneaking suspicion that such a brain computer won’t be invented any time soon, but on the up-side, there are a few things already in existence that can make your life easier when you’re using patterns and charts.

Craft Light and Magnifier

Mighty Bright Vusion Craft Light

These are great for when the text is just that little bit too small, when the symbols on the chart all look the same, or when that lamp just isn’t bright enough! I should probably be more excited about the fact that I don’t have to hold it myself (I can just sit it somewhere and position its flexible arms), but to tell you the truth, I’m actually more excited that it’s battery operated! No more sitting only where there is a power point, or half tripping over a lamp cord when you forget it’s there (which I may or may not have done several times…)!

Sticky Note Flags

Flags

Some people like their books to show a bit of wear with use. I am not this kind of person! Up until recently, I’ve been reluctantly marking my patterns with a pencil so I’d be able to quickly see where I am up to. Now that I’m using these little translucent flags, I can just move them around the page and when I’m done there’s no knowing that the book isn’t brand new!

Magnetic Board

LoRan Magnet Board

Now, this is handy! If you put your chart on it, you can lean this magnetic board up against something so it is at the right angle for you to glance up and see the chart when you need to; hands-free. It also makes marking it easier, because it’s on a hard surface (although those sticky flags work on charts too!).

 

What things do you use that make your craft easier?

 

Featured:

‘Canterbury’ counted cross-stitch – Juniper Designs

Mighty Bright Vusion Craft Light

LoRan Magnet Board

‘Knit Your Own Dog’ – Sally Muir & Joanna Osborne

Learn Embroidery Class!

Hi all,

 

Aren’t these cute?

Learn to Embroider Projecttree

 

 

They are the little projects we’ll be doing in the Learn Embroidery class this Saturday in Sydney with the very talented Lyndell.

If you wish to make some cute presents, or just learn some embroidery stitches then definitely check our class on our website out.

 

 

 

Welcome!

So, you’ve heard the news. Or if you haven’t, you’re about to find out!
Morris and Sons is starting a blog.

Crafters are an open, welcoming, and sharing group of people, and so it only seemed good and proper to create a space where the Morris and Sons Team could share with you the goings on of our store right from the comfort of your homes.

The blog will feature tips and tricks, product information, information about classes, staff projects and plenty of other needlecraft-related tidbits. If a new yarn is fresh out of the box from the supplier, the blog will be sure to let you know. If one of the staff has finished a fantastic project, then the blog will tell you what you need to know to go and make it yourself. If there is a particularly spectacular pattern that we all think you should try then, the blog will… you get the idea!
The wonderful thing about the internet is it is so interactive. And that is what this blog aims to be as well. We invite you to share with us your creations, expertise, dilemmas, and most everything else creative and crafty. We will occasionally feature a customer who has impressed us with one of their projects.

So expect some wonderful crafty things coming your way. We’re very happy to have you join us! Pull up a chair, and get ready to be inspired.

Best,
The Morris and Sons Team