Monday, December 3, 2007

Day Three & A DPN Case

Can it be Monday? I feel as if I'm still catching up from 10 days out of town! The holiday decorating is finished inside and out, the boxes are put away and thankfully the house is sparkling. I'm thinking of roping off most of the areas to keep it clean! Sheesh! Today I'll try to catch up on work, my desk is piled high and those piles are close to toppling over. But today is Day Three of Knitting Contrisstmas and that makes me smile!

I received an email recently from the fine folks at Whole Foods. I always read those emails, I mean they're about food after all, and usually really yummy food! Part of the email got my attention as it said, "As you make your merry way through this season for giving, don't get so wrapped up that you skip joyous living. Indulge!" That really made me stop and take notice, after all most of us always bemoan the fact that we get so caught up in the hustle of the holidays that we forget that we should be living joyfully. Indulge! I like that!

Whether you sew well, or sort of don't............. I give you today a Double Pointed Needle case that always makes an impact when it is given as a gift, or when others see mine. Knitters love their goodies after all and the holidays are a great time to make a few and wrap them up to be presented with a big smile, and a grand flourish. I hope you will give the case a try, it is not difficult at all. There are SO many fabulous fabrics out there to try, you'll get dizzy just trying to choose a few. It's a definite indulgence for a knitter, a hand made knitting accessory, made by your hands using your precious time! How great is that anyway?

D. P. N. Case


Requirements:

· 2 Fat Quarters (or large scraps) of fabric, one for case body and one for lining. Contrasting or matching fabric is fun, choose just the right fabric for your recipient!

· Scrap of flat quilt batting (such as cotton) or alternately felt at least 10”x12”

· Matching thread

· 1 great button for mock closure

· Velcro (iron on or sew-in)

· Paper for pattern making, 10x12” (piece if necessary)

· Regular envelope (for reference), opened flat

Lay out paper and begin to make pattern for dpn case. It may seem complicated to make the pattern but it is quite simple so don’t frustrate yourself. Decide how wide you want your case to be first of all. Mine is 8 inches finished, which is wide enough for most double pointed needles. The case is 8” wide and 4” high when the case is closed and it is measured flat. Make a rectangle on your paper pattern 12” wide and 10” high. This measurement includes your 1/4" seam allowance. Mark an “X” through the rectangle from corner to corner. The place where the X intersects within your pattern is the center of the case. From that point, mark the center section which will be where the dpn case folds, hence the size of the finished case, 4”x7 1/2”. Just center it off. You have to put some shaping in the pattern sides that will allow the case to fold easily. To easily ‘see’ how to add the shaping to the pattern, look at the regular mailing envelope you have opened flat. See the center square, the part that is the envelope shape itself when it is folded? Aha! Now look on your pattern. You will round the edge above and below your “finished case” and on the sides. You can use any commonly found object to help you make nice round corners, don’t stress! The beauty of making your paper pattern is that you can cut it out, and fold it up to test the pattern! See the finished (sewn) shape below? That is what your aiming for, and it is easy, like a rounded "t". As long as when you cut out your sample paper pattern and it closes nicely, any shape works.

Great! Lay out your two single layers of fabric, right sides facing and layer those on top of your cotton quilt batting or double layer of felt. I quilt, so I always have batting available. (I should say that if I wanted to, I could quilt. I knit far more than I quilt with the time available to me!) I still collect great fabrics however, should the need come over me and I find that I must dash into the sewing room and put something together. Preparation is everything, isn't it? You may not, and don’t have a quilter who can spot you some batt. Your fabric store might carry small pieces, if not you can easily substitute a couple layers of felt. If you are making several cases, consider purchasing a cotton baby quilt batting roll. If you use felt, make sure that you choose a neutral color so it does not show through your dpn case fabric. Cut a pocket for the inside of your dpn case that is 4 ½ x 5 ¾ “. Fold the pocket in half with right sides together along the short side and pin around the edges. You will have a pocket that is more square than long and skinny. Machine stitch around the pocket leaving about 2 inches to turn inside out, use a chopstick or pencil if you need help. One of the sides is already folded, you only have to stitch around the raw edges of the pocket--- see we've saved some time already! Clip the corners if you like and use your fingers to squiggle the corners out nice and square, or the point of a pencil. Press the pocket flat after turning, wiggle the fabric where you turned the pocket back inside the square of fabric and press. Place the pocket fabric onto the lining fabric; you can place the pocket on the top flap of the case or onto the center section. Stitch as closely as possible through the lining and the pocket by machine leaving the top edge of the pocket open. Isn’t it cute? You get a good view of the decorative stitching as well, below.

A pocket for stitch markers or whatnot! Carefully cut out your case and sandwich it in this order: fabric one (right side up), fabric two (right side down) and the layer of batting on top. The batting is necessary to give your case a nice shape and appearance. Now, pin all of the layers together making sure that the shape lines up all around the case. Using a sewing machine (simple and not scary at all--- really) stitch around the edge of the case about a presser foot width. Using your presser foot and stitching slowly will give you a nice even seam allowance. MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE about 2-3 inches open. Backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching. With small scissors, clip carefully ONLY to the stitching all around the case paying particular attention to the tight inside corners. Trim the seam allowance after clipping to ¼”. Now turn your case inside out by putting your fingers between the two layers of fabric, the batting layer is nicely sandwiched in between the fabric! Use a pencil or other object that isn’t too terribly sharp and use it to make the edges nice and smooth as you turn it. Press nice and flat with steam. Wiggle the opening you used to turn the case back inside the case nice and smooth. Use a needle and thread to invisibly stitch the opening. Take a breath and maybe have a nibble of chocolate, you’re almost done! If you have a fancy stitch on your sewing machine, run a presser foot width of that stitch around the entire edge of the case with a stitch you like. Otherwise, choose a line of plain stitching or a zigzag. This line of stitching is not merely decorative, it helps the case look nice and finished and lay flat.Beautiful! Close up your case and press it flat and into shape with lots of steam, isn’t it pretty? You can choose to close the case several ways. I like to leave mine flat and add two small pieces of iron on Velcro inside the flap, or you can hand blind stitch the larger bottom flap to the two side flaps (think of an envelope before you stuff and lick it closed. Note: while iron on Velcro is easy to use, it can also pop off when the case is used.

Velcro detail above. I use a tiny piece, you can use a larger square if you like. It comes in a large strip that you can cut to your specifications. The only "must" is that you don't want to see the Velcro from the outside of the case when it is closed.

Follow the manufacturers’ directions to ensure a good fuse, or stitch on the Velcro by hand or machine. I haven’t had a case yet that the Velcro doesn’t pop off. Pre-washing your fabric beforehand gives you the best chance of a good Velcro fuse.

Handwork lovers might want to stitch on a snap.................... it's up to you!

The finishing touch is to sew a pretty button on the outside front of your dpn case, it is just for looks not to actually close the case. You’re done! It is useful, lovely, handmade and personal. A wonderful gift indeed! Make one for yourself or you will wish you had! You can cut up to 3 dpn cases out at one time and stitch them assembly line style for the best use of your holiday gift making time. Add a set of beautiful double pointed needles for a perfect gift for the knitter in your life---- or you!

The finished inside of the DPN case, above, unfolded with some pretty Pony dpn's.

Having said all that I know the Knitters out there, you know who you are. You’re going to pick up a yarn you love and find gauge. You will then cast on for a 4 inch section and knit happily along in your pattern of choice until you have the first flap at about 3 and a half inches. Then you will cast on that amount of stitches and knit up the new and then the old stitches, cast on another set of stitches to match the first and second section and knit that across. You’ll be perfectly smug knitting that center section until it is about 4 inches or so and you’ll cleverly bind off those added stitches at each side until you have left on your needles the original cast on stitches for the last little bit of the case. A few stitches later and there you’ll be, I can hear you now…….. “no sewing for me thankyouverymuch!”. Of course, I want to see photos!

Christmas is always best when it is homemade! I hope you take a run at the DPN case, it really is fun, quick and easy.

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As promised, I do have a photo of the beautiful bride from Saturday's wedding cheerfully and graciously posing with my knitting!

Check out that incredible veil! The beading was exquisite with different shapes and sizes of beads and 'jewels' that matched the bodice and dress back detail, all executed in gold, silver and a bronzey tone. The hem of the veil was a double layer of very fine tulle with a scalloped edge.

Katie sweetly posed with my current hat in progress. Thankfully now it is almost off the needles. Is that little fur shrug not just the cutest? The bridesmaids wore black and their shrugs were black fur. And no, they didn't wear them inside, they're young, the strapless thing worked quite well for them!

This lovely bride doesn't knit a stitch but one of her bridesmaid's does and asked for the blog URL. She's a big fan of tomorrow's guest so she'll be a happy girl!

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Join me tomorrow on Day Four and spend some time with Laurie Perry, aka Crazy Aunt Purl! Do something nice for yourself today and don't forget to practice living joyfully in the holiday season upon us!


4 comments:

melissaknits said...

Lovely bride. And I really need to make a dpn case now!

Virtuous said...

Very cute DPN case, and how about I LUV me some Trader Joe's! Just got turned onto them. It is the Wal-mart of Whole Foods with the same quality!! YAH!
Love your signature bride/knitting pics!

dana said...

thanks! you know i love the brides. that is the type of dress i would wear. love the fur.

the case is lovely too. cheers.

Jenni said...

WOW...you've been so busy and your blog is awesome this week.

The bride is beautiful.