Something From Nothing



Today I found 3 balls of yarn in a plastic bag with a note in my mother’s handwriting. “Do not use this yarn! It is needed to extend a sweater I have.” It was dated January 1986, over thirty years ago.

I inherited my mother’s knitting things when she died and I generally feel great joy when I carry my projects in her Van Gogh Starry Night Bag or use the wooden ruler with her initials written on the back of it. But sometimes I get caught off guard a bit, especially when I find one of her notes. And she wrote a lot of notes. If she was keeping something, it likely had a note.

I still have a lot of her yarn, but today I was sorting my stash by color into large, clear zipper bags. I thought the bags would keep the yarn clean and organized but still let me see in. So these three balls of yarn, all different colors, would need to be separated.

But the note said not to.

I decided to knit them together into a scarf. That is not what she intended but at least they would always be together. There was about 40 g of each sport weight yarn; white, brown, and rust. Scarves vary in size so my plan was just to start knitting, quickly on big US 35 needles, until I ran out.


I cast on 15 stitches and worked a seed stitch pattern with all three yarns held together. Every row was K1, P1 all the way across ending with K1.


The seed stitch made the scarf thick and soft. I think it is also very interesting visually. This stitch also lies nice and flat without curling up at the edges.

When I got done, the scarf was about 9” wide and 58” long. That is just how long I make my looped infinity scarves so I sewed the two end together into a loop. It turned out so cute that the first person I offered it to adopted it. Six hours from the time I found the note until the scarf was on its way to its new owner. Not bad.

I guess it wasn’t literally something from nothing, but it did feel like a problem turned into a scarf.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.



My Sampler Color-Strand Knit Scarf


As a prelude to writing this post, I looked up the definition of sampler. I had always thought of it in terms of an embroidered piece used to practice different techniques. Beginners would create a sampler and in the process be introduced to a variety of techniques and materials.

Def 2

Turns our there is some disagreement. Many definitions emphasize that a sampler is for showing off your best skills. Another complained that the term is often misused and must include an alphabet. Still others extend the definition to the person as well as the piece.

Well, I feel pretty safe calling my scarf a “sampler” of color strand knitting. I made it to try patterns and colors without committing to a single scheme. I didn’t really plan it out ahead of time, but rather looked for a pattern I liked, chose some yarn, knit for a few inches, and finished a section. Then I moved on to something new.

Color strand knitting is fun, but challenging. For me the hardest part is getting the tension right. The stranded colors are carried behind the main color and it is easy to pull them too tight and make the work bump up or pull in. While watching a video a knitter answered the question “how loose is too loose?” (for the color strands). Her reply was that there is no such thing as too loose.

For me, the easiest patterns are those that interchange the colors a lot. If the colors change every stitch of two, then the yarns aren’t pulled on the back. On the other hand, if one color is carried for a lot of stitches before it is used again, there is an opportunity for it to get messy.

Each sections taught me something about color strand knitting. Where I worked up the pattern myself from my imagination or examples that I saw, I have included the pattern. For those sections where I used a pattern created by someone else, I did not include it.

I chose to make the scarf on size 7 circular needles so that all the strands would be on the inside and not messing. In this way, I didn’t even have to weave ends! I cast on 72 stitches. I love this number. It is divisible by 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 18, 24, and 36. This meant I had a great deal of latitude when choosing the size of the pattern to be repeated. Each section starts and ends with two rows of the main color. This helps delineate the sections.

The yarn is acrylic yarn from my stash. If I make another, I will choose better yarns. But this was a good choice for a starter scarf. I hate to waste my good yarn on projects if I don’t know how they are going to turn out.

It is wonderfully warm and thick. I can’t wait to liven up my gray coat with it this winter. I wonder what people will think.

Section 1 – Gray and White Fair Isle



I started with an easy section that didn’t need a written pattern or row counter. The stitches switch color often enough that there was not trouble with tension. Every other row has stitches of every other color. The white thread is just carried up the rows when not in use. I didn’t want the too ends to be the same, exactly, so I reversed the colors for the last section. I like the way it turned out.

Section 2 – Sheep


Baaaa! This was a big leap for me. It is one of  only two sections where there are more than two colors in any one row. The sheep are a bit “puffy” due to inconsistent yarn tension, a mistake. But most people like them. Some even thought I had done this on purpose. It seems to be the favorite. Maybe I will make a scarf with just sheep the next time.

Section 3 – Red on Red Diamonds

Red Diamonds

Whenever I used bright colors, I tried to make the sections more narrow so the color did not take over the scarf. In this section I use a solid red and a variegated red yarn. I thought the diamonds would look nice, but instead the yarns were so close in color that the pattern is lost. Lesson learned. In the future I will choose more contrasting yarns.

Section 4 – Egyptian Border


I designed this pattern from some borders on old Egyptian textiles. You can see that I was still having tension problems. Here is the pattern:

Egyptian Border Pattern Pic

Section 5 – Fish


These are supposed to be gold fish swimming in the pond. I chose a blue sparkly variegated yarn for the water and I like this choice. For the fish I use the only orangish yarn I had, a fluffy, variegated, yarn with varying thickness. Bad choice. The details of the fish are lost where the yarn is extra fluffy. Some people even have trouble seeing the fish when I tell them they are there! Next time I will use yarns that are similar in texture, especially with small detail patterns.

Fish Pattern Pic

Section 6 – Argyle


I love argyle. What I learned from this section was not to knit when I was tired. I left out a row! Can you see where? I didn’t notice it until it was far too late to go back.

Argyle Pattern Pic

Section 7 – Transition


This pattern transitions from one color to another and the second half of the pattern is the mirror image of the first. This section turned out longer than any so far. I think if I made another scarf I would try to make the sections more similar in size. Perhaps two sizes.

Transition Pattern Pic

Section 8 – Squares


This is another bright, an therefore narrow, section.

Section 9 – Owls


This section also turned out larger than I would have liked. In order to get any detail in the owls, they have to be large. I probably would choose simpler outlines next time so the section did not turn out so long compared to the other sections.

Owl pattern pic

Section 10 and 11 – Fair Isle Geometrics


This is a narrow red and gray section, followed by a more intricate fair isle pattern in blue, light blue, and white. Here again, there are three colors in some rows. I hold the main color in my left hand and “throw it” while holding the other colors in my right hand and “picking them”. It isn’t that hard to keep two colors in one hand, but it does increase the complexity of keeping all the tensions even.

Blue diamond patter pic

Section 12 – Binary


This black and white section actually says something –  the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (preamble and article 1). Each letter was converted to an eight character ascii code consisting of zeroes and ones. The digits were then knit in black and white. Because each letter is eight characters and 8 goes into 72 evenly, the letter line up. Each letter has a some similarities and when it is knit you see stripes of two black stitches. This section was very difficult to knit since it did not repeat in any meaningful way. To help keep track of the pattern, I used a pattern reading device made of cardboard, similar to the one shown here. Once I transferred the pattern to a spreadsheet and printed the columns, it worked very very well. There is a typo. I dare you to find it.

Section 13 – Camino


This section commemorates my hike on El Camino de Santiago del Norte. As you walk along the route, you find your way by following blue signs with yellow arrows and shells.

There are official signs and those painted by helpful people. I tried to work out a pattern for the shells, but the diagonal nature of the lines made that difficult. I like the way the arrows turned out.

Camino Pattern Pic

Section 14 – Purple Fair Isle Diamonds


This is similar to the argyle section but better. I didn’t skip a row and the yarns show more contrast.

Purple Diamond Pattern Pic

Section 15 – Peace Baby


I knew I wanted many colors in this section but I couldn’t work out the color rows in a way that I liked. So instead a chose a rainbow variegated yarn. I wonder how it would look with the yarns reversed, rainbow background and white or black peace signs.

Peace Pattern Pic

Section 16 – Diamond Fair Isle


This is a geometric pattern was good practice carrying the yarn with loose tension. I thought it was getting too long so I stopped the pattern one diamond series earlier than the pattern shows. By this section I was getting pretty good at “trapping” the carried yarn into a stitch in between where it shows through. It was tricky to learn and makes the work go more slowly, but in the end it is worth it to control tension and the loose hanging yarns.

Diamond Dot Pattern Pic

Section 17 – Cats


These cats are adorable and I copied them from a cross stitch towel at a friend’s house. Nothing I came up with was any cuter. Each little face is different. This is another section where a color was carried for 10-15 stitches on the back. So here again I “trapped” the yarn. There are good YouTube videos to learn this technique.

Section 18 – Gray and White End


This section is the opposite of the first, with the white yarn being the dominate color.

I sewed the ends of the scarf closed with the invisible stitch. I had planned to decorate the ends with pom pons but the consensus was that they would detract from the scarf. I can always add them later I decide it needs them.

I worked on the scarf off and on for months. I’m glad its done and mostly happy with the way it turned out.

Here are the main lessons I learned:

  1. Control the tension of the yarns.
  2. Be sure the yarns contrast enough that the pattern can be seem.
  3. Use yarns that have the same thickness.
  4. Keep motifs of a similar size.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

18” Doll Cardigan with Lacy Raglan Seam


18” Doll Cardigan with Lacy Raglan Seam

After knitting two little baby sweaters in the “top down” raglan design, I decided to try a couple variations. One way to practice a concept is to make doll clothes. The 18” dolls, like the American Girl Dolls and those like them are large enough to judge results, but small enough to work the project up quickly without too much material. Here is picture of the finished sweater and the pattern for making it.

This is the story of this pattern for a lacy cardigan for an 18” doll. My approach to many projects is like sighting in a gun. Try it, fix it, try it, fix it again.


I had been using US 5 needles for the baby sweaters so I had a gauge for them using baby yarn. I really wanted to use worsted weight since I have so much of it so I measured the dolls and guessed at the gauge. If you are a regular reader you know that I am lazy and optimistic when it comes to gauge.

My plan was to cast on some stitches (40), knit some ribbing (K1P1 for 3 rows), use a single stitch as the raglan “seam”, increase before and after each seam with a YO stitch (to create holes in a lacy pattern), create front plackets (K4) at the start and end of each row, create buttonholes with YO (4 evenly spaced), and finish the body and sleeves with ribbing (K1P1 for 4 rows). Easy peasy, right?!

Here’s how I came up with 40 stitches to cast on:

Front Placket – 4

Front – 3

Seam – 1

Sleeve – 6

Seam – 1

Back – 10

Seam – 1

Sleeve – 6

Seam – 1

Front – 3

Front Placket – 4

I first guessed that the raglan region should be about 16 rows. That would give me 8 increases since increases are only done every other row on the right (knit) side. Each increase row adds 8 stitches, one before and one after each of the 4 seams. Half of those stitches are in the body and half are in the sleeves. That gave me a body of about 58 stitches and that seemed like a good starting point.

When the body was done and the sleeve stitches were still on their holding yarn, I tried it on the doll. Big moment.

It was passable. If I were in a hurry to give the sweater to someone I would have finished it, sewn on the buttons and sent it away. But I was really interested in perfecting the pattern so I didn’t even finish the sleeves. There were several things I didn’t like about this first attempt and set out to fix them.

  1. The worsted weight yarn on the small size 5 needles was so bulky that it filled in the spaces around the raglan seam and holes obliterating them visually. The lace didn’t show up.
  2. The sweater is generally just too big.
  3. The buttonholes were created in the front placket by K2, YO, K2tog. To space them evenly I tried to recreate this look working back across on a purl (WS) row. As you can see from the picture, I did not get the horizontal spacing right. Sometime I will work on that issue, but for now, all buttonholes should be created in the same direction, at the start of the knit (RS) rows.

There really was not choice but to switch to a lighter weight yarn. I guess the worsted weight yarns will just have to wait for a different project. I chose a Lion Brand  Wool-Ease sportweight yarn (5 oz = 435 yards) color 232 “Wood” and knit the exact same pattern with no changes. There was really no quick way to tell how much effect the lighter yarn would have on the sweater’s fit. So this was shot number 2.

The sweater was too small. I was starting to feel like Goldilocks. So I decided to extend the raglan seam 2 rows, extend the length of the body 4 rows and extend the length of the sleeves.

This third attempt was pretty close to the target. I think the sleeves are still a little short. Four to six more rows and they will be perfect.


I like the pattern and I think the details in the raglan seam show up much better with the lighter weight yarn.


Just for fun, I have included these two pdf documents to show how to make a pattern reader that acts as both instructions and a row counter.

Doll Cardigan Reader Version

Pattern Reader

Full Disclosure – This was not my idea!


Print the instructions and trim them. Print the reader and use a sharp cutter to slice along the lines. Insert the instructions into the gap. As you can see, only one row at a time is visible. At the end of each row, slide the instructions up to the next line. Using this device, there is no need for a separate row counter. In this example I figured out exactly how many stitches were in each row and described what to do with them. You may think this is excessive in detail, but I’m sure some new knitters (or those who get disturbed often) will appreciate it.

I hope you enjoy the sweater pattern. Post a picture of your sweater in the comment section if you make one. I would enjoy seeing them.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

Sewing for 18″ Dolls – Pants

Sewing for 18” dolls is fun, doesn’t take much material and is a good way for new sewers to understand clothing construction. The only really expensive part are purchased patterns which can cost $20 or more. But you really don’t need purchased patterns to start sewing doll cloths. In a previous post I tried to show how you can make simple skirts and dresses for the dolls, and even their human girls, just by measuring.

Today I would like to show you another technique. You can use clothes the dolls already have to make a pattern.


For the first example, I chose a pair of knit capri pants with an elastic waist. I found them in a bag of clothes I bought at a garage sale. The nice thing about this is that it doesn’t matter if the garments is old or stained or torn. They will work equally well for making a pattern.

Capri Pants Pic 1

Capri Pants Pic 2

Notice that the store bought clothes are not really “high quality” sewing. The seam allowances are small and the seams unfinished.  The hems are just roughly turned under once with cut edges showing. Most of these clothes are mass produced using as little fabric and notions as possible.

But these are just doll clothes. No one is going to prom or a job interview here. So try to keep this in mind when you are sewing. Of course make things as neat as you can, but don’t go overboard trying to make them as good as human clothes. Also, the dolls are not really concerned with comfort, so a thick seam won’t bother them. The goal of this post is to show how young sewers can make inexpensive doll cloths. They should be easy for little hands to get on and off the dolls.

The first step is to take apart the garments. This little device is called a seam ripper. It fits nicely under stitches to break them.

Carefully pick the seams apart and when you are done, you will have a pile of loose thread, two cut garment pieces, and a piece of elastic. Measure the elastic. In this case it is 1/8” wide and 8 3/4” long. It is actually is pretty good shape so you could use it again. Looking closely at the two fabric pieces reveals that they are identical. We can copy one to the pattern and use it to cut two pieces.

Taken Apart 1

pants piece 2

The fabric piece is wrinkled and bent, so iron it carefully to make it flat and easy to trace. You can use the fabric directly to cut a new garment or you can trace it create a reusable pattern. Sometimes I use wax paper but if you want to make more than one garments you will need to use something more durable. Non-fusable interfacing works very well. It don’t unravel, it can be ironed, and it can be written on.

trace 1trace 2trace 3

finished pattern 1

I usually make the first item out of some scrap material just to make sure the garment will fit and that I like the length and style. I this case I used some cheap lightweight knit. Remember to cut two. This is often the case with purchased patterns as well.

cutting 1cutting 3

To construct the new pants:

  1. Stitch the center front seam. I have used a slight zigzag stitch here as I often do on knits to provide a little “give” in the seam. The materials stretches so its nice if the seam can, too.IMG_0643
  2. Turn down the material at the waist and sew across to create the elastic casing.IMG_0644
  3. Insert the elastic. Use a bodkin or safety pin to thread the elastic through the casing. Be sure to stitch the elastic in place when the end reaches the edge of the fabric. Continue pulling the elastic through and secure the second end in place with a few stitches.
  4. Stitch the center back seam.IMG_0651
  5. Turn up the hem on each leg and stitch in place.IMG_0652
  6. Align the inseam and sew the pant legs. Sometimes I start at the center and sew each direction. Sometimes I sew from one pant hem to the other along the entire inseam. It depends on whether the pieces line up well or if they are being difficult.
  7. The practice pants are done. Try them on the dolls and check the fit. These seems to fit fine.

There were a couple things about the pattern that I did not care for so before making additional pairs, I would make the waist area a little higher and use 1/4” elastic. It would be easier to thread through and make the casing easier to sew.

It would also be easy to make these legs shorter to make shorts or longer to make pants. I used wax paper to make a couple quick adjustments.

shorts and pants

Here is the pattern that I made for the knit capri pants. I put it on the scanner and created a pdf that you can print. Set your printer to print the image at 100%. There is a reference line 2” long that you can use to make sure that your printout is the same size as my original pattern.

Knit Capri Pattern

The knit fabric was definitely easy to sew and fit. I didn’t know if the pattern would work as well with woven fabric, which has less stretch, so I made a pair of shorts in woven fabric. They did not fit and I could not get them on the doll. So I found a pair of woven pants and repeated the process. This gave me new patterns for doll pants out of woven material. I am including those patterns as well.

Unfortunately the pattern pieces are wider that the 8” paper most printers and scanner use. So those patterns are included in two pieces. Print them out and tape the two pieces together along the “tape line”.

I have included some pictures of the pants, capris, and short made from these patterns as well.


This is the first pair of pants I made in woven material. Here is the pattern. It is in two parts which should be printed and tape together.

woven pants part 1

woven pants part 2

These denim shorts are cut from the leg of an old pair of work jeans. The faded denim is great! This pattern is also in two pieces which should be printed and taped together.

woven shorts part 1

woven shorts part 2


These board shorts use the same pattern as the other shorts, but I cut them a little shorter in the waist and added a band of contrasting material. The ends of the band are folded under and come together at the front, not quite touching, to allow for the insertion of a string or ribbon. Once the ribbon/string is inserted I usually stitch it at the back center so little hands won’t pull the string out.


These khaki shorts (maybe part of a school uniform) have the traditional “flat felled” seam found in store bought pants. I had the legs of a pair of pants that I had cut off for shorts. So I just centered the pattern pieces on the seam so it would look like I had sewn the sides this way. Nice trick!

As you can see from the pictures, I decided to make these shorts a little shorter so I folded up the pattern a bit. Also, to make the garment symmetrical I cut one piece, flipped it over and used it for the pattern from the second piece. In that way I could line up the seam and make sure they would end up in the same position on both legs.

I hope you enjoy the patterns and that you learned to use old doll clothes to make new ones.

Post any pictures you take in the comments section. I would love to see what you make! If you create some patterns that you like, consider sharing them so others can benefit from your efforts.

Next time I am going to use the same process to make some patterns for tops. Watch for them if you are making doll clothes with little friends!

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

March For Science Hats

I am in support of science and I have become convinced by the evidence that the process of peer review is a self correcting path forward to understanding the universe in which we live.


On Earth Day, April 22, 2017 there will be a March For Science in Washington DC and satellite marches in other cities around the country. Why would someone march for science? Why would such a thing be necessary?

Because, non-partisan, evidenced based policy is in the public interest.

If you want to make a hat to wear, or just to commemorate the occasion, here is my contribution.

The women’s Peer Review Hat pattern is 64 stitches. If you make it with a US size 8 or 9 needle, it should fit most women. The men’s Demand Evidence Hat pattern is 88 stitches. I suggest a US size 6 needle for a man’s hat. Use whatever gauge you need to make a hat with the circumference you plan. I feel certain that my science friends will be able to figure out the math using these guidelines.

In honor of science, the measurement are are given in SI units.

Note that the patterns appear as reverse lettering. This is because the knit stitches are worked counter-clockwise but people read the message clockwise. This issue doesn’t affect motifs like snowflakes, animals, or geometric patterns as they can be reversed and still look OK. But letters are different, they have to be oriented in the correct direction and placed in order correct. Except I guess for some words with reversible letters and letter orders: MOM, TOT, OH HO. Though I have never actually knit any of these words on a hat.


W inst

Peer Review Backwards


M inst

Demand evidence backwards

As with my other recent projects, I tried to practice a new technique with the hats. On the Peer Review hat, the white strand is carried across the back of the work for quite a distance, especially at the top and bottom of the letter pattern. After watching a few videos and checking out a few posts, I learned how to “trap” the yarn every few stitches so that it did not hang too loosely in these places.


I had a bit of trouble pulling the trapped strand too tight so that it showed through from the front, but I got better as I went along.


In this picture you can see several of my tricks. I use a different color marker (white in this case) to show the beginning of the round and to distinguish that from the section stitch markers (cream color). You can also see that I use a gray “life line” before I started the crown. This is because no matter how careful I am I sometimes let a DP needle slip out of the work. I think it is particularly difficult to pick up all the stitches on circular work since it won’t lay flat on the table as you try to save it. The life line is a thread that is run through all the stitches at some point. If you have to pull out stitches, this offers an easy place to pick them back up again.

I am always so grateful for the willingness of others to share their expertise. You never know when the advice you post will be exactly the thing that someone needs to move forward. These bits of advice are timeless and will continue to provide instruction and encouragement for …… I don’t know how long. How long will the internet be around?

I plan to send my commemorative hats off to my favorite science couple.  Remember, as the woman’s sign says:



Knitting Needle Cases – Free Pattern

large small

chest front

I recently had an old spool chest refinished and plan to store my knitting supplies in it. I decided to sew some needle storage cases to keep my knitting supplies neat in the drawers. I had seen cases for sale but never any that I liked. They looked poorly made and seemed pricey. You will find the instructions for making these two cases and two others (for circular and DP needles) in this post.

green chest

The chest had belonged to my mother for as long as I could remember. It had been painted green at some point. Later someone began to strip the paint but only removed a little from the top. When I heard good things about a local refinisher, I decided to have it restored. It turned out really well.

chest backchest side1chest side2

chest knob

Some of the green paint remains on the handles. I like it that way.

It seems appropriate that if it is not going to be used to store thread, that at least it should be used to store fiber craft supplies. There are enough drawers for knitting, crocheting, and weaving tools and instructions booklets.

To help organize the knitting needles I sewed four separate cases. One case for long straight needles, one for short straight needles, one for circular needles, and the last for double pointed needles. Each can lay flat in a drawer or be folded, stacked, and carried in a bag.

The fabric is cotton duck (sometimes called canvas). It is sturdy, inexpensive, and has a nice industrial look that I like. The binding on the edges is black, half inch wide, double fold bias tape.

Large and Small Straight Needle Cases

The two cases for straight needles are made in exactly the same way as each other. They are the same width, but have different lengths.

1. For the smaller case for 10” needles, cut a piece of fabric 13” wide and 24” long. For the larger case for 14” needles, cut a piece of fabric 13” wide and 33” long.

2. Sew a piece of bias tape on one of the short sides. No need to finish the edges as they will be covered up.

3. Fold the side with the bias tape up 9” as shown for the small case and 13” for the large case.


4. At two places, mark the center 6 1/2” from each edge as shown.


5. Mark the center line with a straight edge and pin the fabric in place so it won’t slip as shown.


6. Stitch along the center line. I ran the stitching back and forth at the bottom and at the bias tape. This is not a prom dress that needs to “hang and flow”. It is a case that may get some tugging so no harm in making it sturdy.

stitching dividers

7. Mark the rest of the divider lines, each 1 inch apart as shown. The outer sections will be a bit wider since this is where the bias tape edges will be applied.

marking dividers1

marking dividers2

marking dividers3

marking dividers4

8. Stitch each dividers as you did the center divider. Stitch back and forth at the top and bottom to make them sturdy.

stitching dividers2

9. Cut and sew a piece of bias tape on the top edge. No need to finish the ends as they will be covered up.

top bias

10. Cut pieces of bias tape to finish the edges. Cut each piece about 26” long so you will have about an inch at each corner to fold under. This will give you a finished corner.

11. Draw a light pencil line as a guide for the numbers. I thought I had a stencil but couldn’t find it. So I just wrote the numbers free hand with a black Sharpie.


The flap folds over to keep the needles in place. The case can be folded in half or rolled up.


Case for Double Pointed Needles


This case is made specifically for the DP needles that I have. I did not make a slot for every possible size like I did for the straight needles. You can adjust the widths of the slots for your own collection. I also have not numbered the slots yet, but will.

1. Cut a piece of fabric 20” wide and 22” long.

2. Sew pieces of bias tape on both 22” sides. No need to finish the edges as they will be covered up.


3. Fold the side with the bias tape up 9” as shown and mark the slots. I decided on two 3” pockets, four 1” pockets, four 3/4” pockets, and three 2” pockets. Starting at the left edge, make marks at the following distances from the left hand edge in inches.

3 1/2  – 6 1/2  – 7 1/2  – 8 1/2  – 9 1/2  – 10 1/2  – 11 1/4  – 12  – 12 3/4  – 13 1/2  – 15 1/2  – 17 1/2


4. Mark and stitch slots. Sew forward and back at the top and bottom of each slot to make it sturdy.


5. Cut pieces of bias tape to finish the edges. Cut each piece about 26” long so you will have about an inch at each corner to fold under. This will give you a finished corner.


This case can be folded in thirds, inward from each edge. It is then the same width as the other cases. The fourth case, the one for circular needles can also be folded in thirds so the stack of all four cases is only 7” wide.

Case for Circular Needles


The circular needle case has 15 pockets, each 6” x 6” to hold the needles. This case is a little different in that I tried to use the selvedge edge of the fabric in several places to avoid fraying. I cut the original piece of fabric with a selvedge edge at the top and didn’t apply bias tape because I was not sure I was going to have enough tape to finish. In the end, I did have enough and added it across the top just to make all the case look the same. Otherwise it would have bothered me. Some of you know what I mean.

I also cut the four 6” rectangle that make up the layered pocket with a selvedge edge. In this way, I could sew them to the main fabric piece without finishing them (which would add extra bulk) but also without having to worry that they would fray and come loose.

1. Cut a piece of fabric 20” wide and 28” long. Cut four other pieces 20” wide and 6” long. Try to use the selvedge edge along the 20” side of these smaller pieces. If you cannot, cut them 6 1/2” long and fold the edge under 1/2” and stitch. This will create a finished edge to sew onto the main fabric piece.

2. Stitch bias tape along the top and bottom of the large piece and along the top edge of the other four pieces.


3. Draw four lines on the large fabric piece for placement of the smaller pieces. The lines should be measured from the bottom edge 14”, 12”, 10”, 8”. Sorry the ruler is backwards in the picture. Sometimes I think in unusual ways.


4. Place the bottom edge of one small piece on the top, 14″, marked line of the large piece as shown. Stitch in place close to the selvedge edge.

circ4circ stitch3

5. Place another small piece on the 12” line, sew in place. Continue in this way until all four small piece are sewn to the large piece.

6. Fold the bottom of the large piece up 6” and pin it.


7. Draw stitching lines measuring from the left hand side at 6 1/2” and 13 1/2”.


8. Stitch these lines, stitching back and forth at the top and bottom to reinforce the stitching.


9. Cut pieces of bias tape to finish the side edges. Cut each piece about 30” long so you will have about an inch at each corner to fold under. This will give you a finished corner.


This case can be folded in thirds, inward from each edge. It is then the same folded width as the other cases. Remember, I didn’t add the top piece of bias tape until the end so it is not shown in some  pictures.

all cases

Here is what the set of four cases look like with my needles in them. They all fold in half or thirds and are then 7” wide.

Even thought I plan to mostly keep them in the spool chest, I did sew up a matching bag to slide them all in for travel.

Now that I have the pattern designed, I plan to make more. I think I will try denim next. The bias tape was the most expensive part of the project so I think I will try to make my own bias tape next time. If I do, I will be sure to write about it.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome!