Well, Happy New Year everyone! Just wanted to welcome all the new readers and to thank my old readers for coming back, what kept you all... we have loads to make this year, so let's get started.
Right, ladies and gentlemen, here is the first tutorial of 2012 and this is a purely selfish one with a practical purpose. You may have noticed that last year I discovered that I had been lied to, sock knitting is not difficult, you do not need lots of little markers and actually although I say so myself, I make a jolly good fist of it but it has created a problem, where do I store all the DPNs (double pointed needles... the ones I like to use on the train to get a double seat as they look quite scary) and my circular needles? Now if the thought of making a needle storage roll is making you yawn, then remember that it can also be used to store make up/paint brushes, crochet hooks and coloured pencils for children and yes, Marion - we are starting on the contents of your Summer fete stall right here.
You will need:
Two lots of fabric, I am using ticking and cotton - 13" x 11" for the main and 7" x 11" for the contrast
Wadding (if you are making a pencil roll you can leave this out but I want to protect my needles)
Tape measure or rule
Iron and Ironing Board (well we are using fabric, so you knew it was coming)
Chopstick (pointy variety)
Firstly iron your fabric, as I am using a cotton ticking I will be cutting it out with pinking shears as you will remember that ticking is in training for the Olympic 100m and will start to run even before the starter fires his gun, you need two pieces 13" height x 11" width and a piece of wadding cut to the same dimensions. If you are working with longer needles or shorter pencils adjust the height accordingly.
Now take your contrasting well behaved cotton and cut out a piece 7" height x 11" width.
Fold over the top of your fabric using your 5/8" seam allowance, iron it firmly... now you can either do a simple running stitch or you can use an embroidery stitch to lift the fabric, if like me you are using a plain contrast. Obviously it would not work with a floral pattern as the stitches would get lost.
Now place your ticking face up (right side up) and place the contrast fabric on top, right side up and pin the contrasting fabric in place along the lower edge.
Taking out your tape measure or rule, mark an inch away from your 5/8" seam allowance with a pin or a fabric marking pen at the top and the bottom, repeat this every inch until you come to the right hand edge. Now if you are confident, go ahead and sew a straight line down as this will make the casement for your items to sit in.
If you are still taming your sewing machine then we will baste or tack the fabrics together. Using a contrasting cotton, double it and tie a large knot in the end and sew a line of running stitches from the top to the bottom, do not sew the end in when you finish but leave a tail of a couple of inches - these stitches do not have to be small or elegant; tacking/basting usually uses a longer running stitch they are used to hold fabrics together until you machine them in place. When you have sewn everything in place, go to the knot end of your tacking and pull gently and this will remove the tacking, sometimes it does get caught up with your stitching so just tug gently until it comes out.
For my circular needles I am going to add a little more security - circular needles would have been put in Colditz Castle in WWII as they are great escapologists - so taking the tape, place it 2" above the top seam and catch it every inch, running in line with the seams you have just created, as we are going to use these loops to wrap our circs around whilst they are resting.
Now pin the wadding to the back of this piece and sew it in place with a 1/2" seam allowance. Now with right sides facing each other, pin the fabric together. Starting at the top six inches from the right hand side sew a 5/8" seam all the way around but stop four inches short of where you started.
Cut across each corner and trim the excess seam, now turn your roll inside out and poke the corners with your chopstick and tease the corners out to make a good point.
Iron the roll flat and tuck in the open seam and pin it shut. Finally, cut about of tape and fold it in half lengthwise, with the outside of your roll in front of you, on either the left or right hand side pin the tape half way down. Now using your sewing machine foot, so that the thin side of your foot sits on the edge, sew around the roll again... use either a running stitch or show off again with an embroidery stitch.
Now fill it with your needles, brushes or pencils... and wonder why on earth you stored your needles in an old chocolate box, large glass vase or tool box?
And now it is confession time, remember how I tell you when measuring, to measure twice and cut once... well here is the proof that it is good to take your own advice.
Yes, I managed to cut it a good inch short and did not notice until I went to piece it together... I do hope that this is not a portent of things to come...