One Crafty Lady

I got a bunch of craft supplies from a very crafty lady. Among the collections, there were several unfinished projects. I decided to take on a few of them and finish them up.

The pattern and shawl


First up is a knitted shawl. I found a handwritten pattern with it. It wasn’t too clear. There were a lot of cross-outs and items that seemed to be missing. But I decided I could figure it out.

I took apart a bunch of rows where I could see mistakes. I tried to knit the pattern as I could interpret it and what I could see the stitches were.

After ripping out the mistake rows

“Ugh! Curse, curse, curse.” I moaned.

It wasn’t working. It didn’t look like the existing stitches. I rip out more stitches to try and decipher why the stitches look so different.

Ahhhhhh! Backloop!!!!! [0+++++++++++++++++++m,./ ] Orange the cat wanted to contribute to the post.

Our crafty lady knitted and purled most of the stitches in the backloop. I solved one major issue and on to the next issue.

Charting it out

I didn’t want to mark up the original pattern, so I decided to try to chart it out. I used the app stitchfiddle. There is a free and a premium version. I thought I’d try out the free version and see if I like it. I’ve never charted out a pattern before. There is definitely a learning curve. I had to figure out how to indicate the decreased stitches on every other row.

Section of the chart, gray squares indicate “no stitch” for my decreased stitches.

Once I got close to a finished chart, I decided to test it. Instead of continuing on the original unfinished shawl, I started with Berroco Vintage in purple. It’s a softer yarn (acrylic, wool, and nylon blend), much easier on my hands. The original was knitted in Red Heart acrylic, which is very rough on my hands and makes me not want to knit it anymore.

The beginning of the test shawl


I’m still testing my chart and making corrections as needed. Once I finished, I’ll post the pattern on Ravelry for free in tribute to our crafty lady. The test shawl will go to the crafty lady’s daughter, from whom I got the craft supplies. I’m not sure what I will do with the original shawl. I feel like I should finish and donate it. Maybe knitting it in fall will be easier than at the hottest time of the year.

Scrapy Shawl

Remember my Scheepjes d’Histoire Naturelle blanket I finished in August 2021? I had a bunch of extra yarn and wanted to use it up. I decided on something easy, nothing that I have to concentrate too much on.

It still needs the ends to be woven in. Sigh!

Here’s a simple gather stitch triangle shawl. Used most of the leftover yarn with a few small yarn balls for Orange the cat to play with. I cast on two stitches. I slipped the first stitch in every row and a knit front back increase (kfb) at the 2nd to the last stitch in every row. On the stripe sections, I knitted two rows of one color and two rows of the other color. I knitted to I ran out of yarn. At the widest edge, 64″ and from the bind-off edge to cast on 34″. Nice weight, not too heavy, perfect for a cool evening. The Scheepjes Stone Washed is both soft to work with and wear.

Quilts Galore

The hospital thrift shop I volunteer at has a donation of Hawaiian-style patchwork quilts. The hospital has a group of craft ladies that made up these patchwork quilts for use within the hospital. The hospital did not need the quilts, and the volunteer service group decided to sell them at the thrift shop. These quilts have become very popular with our clients. They are always asking for more.

It was my job to get the dimensions and price the quilts. I got to see them all and have taken a few pictures of my favorites.


Last week, as I sorted through another batch of quilts and asked the volunteer services manager about them and the group who made them. He told me it’s not a group but one lady that made all of the blankets. He said she would talk to him about how she would think about the placement of the prints and layout of the patterns for each quilt.


The volunteer service manager said she hasn’t brought in a quilt since covid started. I hope these aren’t the last of her quilts. They are so fun and inspiring to me. I want see more of her work.

Seams and Scraps

What do you make with jean seams and aloha shirt scrap? I made a trivet using hand-stitching. I also taught myself how to use a thimble. It helped a lot with all the stitching on denim.

I love the look of all the ends but decided against leaving it as is. It would probably get too dirty.


I lined the back with a large scrap from my whale project to hide the rough edges and give it a little more support. I tried out the blanket stitch technique from the Zen Stitching workshop from Mirjam Gielen .

In the end, there really isn’t a front or back. I guess whichever you prefer. This project took longer than I expected. Stitching through denim is tough. But I liked the finished product. More to come.

Three Whales

I’ve been working on several upcycling projects, and I’m proud to show you what I’ve done. I worked with a couple of jeans and a batik print dress. I started out with the jeans, one dark, and one light denim. I decided to try out the denim whale I’ve seen on Pinterest. I got the pattern from FourSixtyTwo.

The Denim

Mom’s capri jeans

I had two pairs of jeans, mom’s capri jeans and old pair of acid-washed ones. Yes, acid-washed, and it had a high waist and pleats. It was straight from the 80s. The first task is to take apart the clothing. I cut the legs off on the jeans, getting as much of it as possible. I’ll save the top of the jeans for later for another project. I then rotary cut the seams and put them aside to see if I could come up with a use for them. I also took off some buttons from the darker jeans.
I used the darker jeans for the top of the whale and the acid-wash for the belly. I started out machine sewing, starting with the tucks on the stomach. So far, so good. Then I started on the fins and tail. It was a no-go when turning it to the right side [for all the non-sewers, you sew the pieces together with the right sides facing together, stitching on the wrong side]. The pointy tips looked bulky and bumpy because of the thickness of the denim. Boo!
Instead of fighting with the seams, I ripped out the stitches and decided to hand-stitch the tail and fins [for the hand-stitching, it is sewed right side out]. Then I continued with the hand-stitching with the top-stitching on the tail and fins, and to be consistent, the body, once I attached it to the body.

Tah Dah! Whale #1: with pleats on the belly

Wow! I liked the look of the finished product. I decided to do another whale because I had enough fabric. I made a few adjustments to the pattern to help the points of the tail and fins lay better. I also decided to try eliminating the pleats on the belly and machine-stitched the underbody instead. And for Whale #2, I hand-stitched the entire whale except for the top-stitching on the underbody.

Closeup of the machine-stitched underbody

Batik Dress

batik dress from the 80s

I thought the whale would look great in a print, maybe an aloha print. I liked the gray and navy section of the dress for the whale and thought the bleached pattern looked like marks on the whale. The fabric was rayon; it was soft and flowy. I lined all the pieces with some lightweight material to give them stability.

The lined pieces were lighter than the denim, so I decided to use the machine on the larger sections of the whale. I added top-stitched the underbody where the pleats should be, then stitched the underbody together. I handstitched the fins and tail together to keep the points sharp, lay flat, and added top-stitching.

Hand-stitching

I took a stitching workshop in May through Zen Stitching to get inspired. It was five days of classes. I was able to take almost every session I wanted to. I loved that I found others who combined upcycling, boro, and hand-stitching.

I added a few techniques to the whale. I added groups of running stitch using a bleached print to inspire the pattern. I also added French knots. I like how it came out. Now, if I can only get these posted on my Etsy shop.