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"Knitting is very conducive to thought. It is nice to knit a while, put down the needles, write a while,
then take up the sock again." - Dorothy Day

I Am Slow Like Molasses

It's awful, and I'm sorry, but I still have no pretty pictures for you. I'm making a bit of progress, but not enough to really show. The not-socks are moving along, and I will probably be able to show you something next week (yes, you've heard it all before, I know). I've been able to spend some time on the BBMM socks; I turned the heel on sock 2 last night, AND my new, hopefully matching skein of yarn is in the mail.

In order to give you something of substance, I thought I would finally post my notes/pattern for my DPN case. I don't have progress shots, but I'll give you some close-ups along the way to guide you. At some point I will probably create a word document, and post it in the sidebar. So, if anyone has suggestions about how to clarify this, please comment! I had a very difficult time explaining it all without progress shots; if you think this won't work without them, let me know. I could always make another one of these and take pictures as I go.


Materials needed:
-Fabric: about 1/2 yard, depending on the width.
-Lining, if desired: less than 1/2 yard. I used denim, so I did not line mine; the lining will show only on the inside.
-Packaged binding: I used 1/2" double fold binding, 3 yards per package, 2 packages. You could also make your own binding from the same fabric you use for the case or lining.
-1/8" ribbon or cord elastic: I only used about 6", so use whatever you have in your stash!
-Wider ribbon: about 1-1/2 yards. I used 1/2" wide, but anything up to 1-1/4" would work. Make sure you can write on it.
-Buttons: 2, any size.
-Tailor's chalk. If you don't have some, get it! It is inexpensive and available at any craft store that carries sewing supplies. I will warn you now; if you don't get some you will be sewing many straight lines, very close to each other, without a guideline. You will laugh, you will cry, and someone may get hurt.
-A fine-tipped permanent marker, in a color that will show when writing on your ribbon.
-Sewing machine & thread.

-Cut one 15"x15" square of fabric, making sure to follow the grain. If your fabric is off-grain, the cross grain is more important than the vertical grain, so follow that.

-Cut another piece of fabric 15"x6". The cross-grain should follow the long edge.

-Cut a piece of the wider ribbon 15" long.

-If you are lining your case, cut a square of lining fabric 15"x15", and baste to your main fabric along the edges (wrong sides together), making sure the 2 pieces are flat and even when basted together. This will function as 1 piece of fabric from this point forward.

-Bind one of the long edges of the 15x6 piece of fabric. This will become the top of the inner pocket.

-Mark the smaller piece of fabric for buttons. Marks should be 4" in from each short edge, and 2-3/4" up from the non-bound long edge. The 4" mark is very important!

-This is the point at which I sewed on my buttons, but I would only recommend doing them now if you have small buttons, stiff fabric, and are very confident about your machine sewing skills. Otherwise, chances are good that you will run over a button, breaking a needle, and possibly hurting both your sewing machine and your eyeball! If you don't think you can catch just one layer of fabric once the case is sewn together (tiny pockets and all) sew the buttons on now.

-Place the smaller piece of fabric on top of the larger piece, wrong sides together. The bottom (unbound) long edge of the smaller piece should line up with the bottom of the larger piece.

-Baste the bottom edge of the pieces together.

-Place your 15" length of ribbon along the smaller piece of fabric, with the top edge of the ribbon about 1-1/2" down from the bound edge. This placement is not terribly important; it needs to be between the binding and the buttons, and not on top of either. Other than that it is up to you; do what looks right with your ribbon. Just make sure the ribbon is straight and smooth.

-Baste the sides of the smaller and larger piece together, catching the ribbon in your baste stitch. Again, make sure the ribbon is laying flat. Here's a refresher on the layout:

-Now comes the fun/hard part; making all the little pockets for the DPN's to slide in to. I'm going to give you measurements from the left side; mark them both near the binding and at the bottom edge. This is where the tailor's chalk becomes important; you draw straight lines and follow them with the machine. If you didn't get tailor's chalk, you will have to make tiny marks and eyeball the lines. Don't say I didn't warn you! From the left edge, mark the following distances:


-You may want to pin the ribbon at each of these markings, to make sure it stays straight as you're sewing it. Again, this will depend on your machine sewing skills.

-Sew in a straight line from the top of the binding down to the bottom of the case at each of these marks. if you've already sewn on your buttons, you will need to use a zipper foot to sew the lines on either side of the buttons. you may also have to swerve a bit; this should be OK as long as it's not drastic. And a close-up of how the pockets are sewn:

-Please note that my pockets are NOT perfectly straight, nor is my ribbon. I didn't pin the ribbon, and you can see why I recommend doing so.

-Now for something simpler; we are going to make a single stitch-line to indicate the fold line. This is nothing more than decorative, and a guide, so you can skip this step if you like. If you using a lining, this line will help keep the 2 fabrics from bubbling away from each other. On either side of the case, mark a line 6" down from the top. Using your tailor's chalk, draw the line connecting the marks. Make sure it is straight and even, then sew a line on top of the marking, straight across end to end. Viola!

-Next we are going to baste the ribbon onto the case. That way we can encase the raw edges in the binding. Let's start with the little button loops, made from either you thin ribbon or cord elastic. You will need to cut them long enough to comfortably fit around your button, plus seam allowance. This measurement will be less crucial if you're using elastic. If you're using ribbon, cut them a smidge too long; the buttons will hold if the loops are a little big, but if they're too small you are out of luck! In my case, my binding was 1/2" wide, so my ribbon was cut with 1" extra; seam allowance on either side. Mark the spot for the loops at the very top of the case, 4" in from either side, on the wrong/lining side of the fabric. Pin your ribbon in a loop facing down, so the edge of your ribbon matches with the raw top edge of the case. Close the case and make sure the loops line up with your buttons. Once you are sure it's correct, baste them on. This picture shows mine completed, so the loops are facing up, but at this stage yours will be facing down.

-Next is the larger ribbon for closing the case. I cut each piece of ribbon about 15" long, but if you're using scrap cut it in half; anything longer than 12" will be fine. Cut one edge of each ribbon at a diagonal to keep it from fraying. Now flip your case over so the right side of the fabric is showing, with the top edge still at the top. Mark about 1-1/2" down from the top of the case on both sides. Pin your ribbon below that mark. Again, the raw straight edges of your ribbon will line up with the raw edge of the fabric, and the ribbon will be facing in toward the center of the case. This picture shows mine closed, after the binding is on, but it should give you an idea.

-Close the case and make sure the ribbon lines up so it will close securely. Once you've checked, baste on the ribbon.

-Only one more step; the final binding. This is basically pin and go, but there are a couple crucial spots that you'll want to check up on as you sew. The first rule is to make sure the basted on ribbon does not get caught in your stitch line; I pinned mine to the middle of the case just to make sure.

-Start the binding right at the pocket binding, on the left as you're looking at it. This is pretty inconspicuous when the case is closed.

-Sew from this point all the to the bottom edge of the case. When you get to the very end, back up a little more than the width of the binding (my binding was 1/2", so I backed up about 5/8"). You will then be able to manipulate the binding around the corner, creating a little diagonal flap; a mitered corner!

-Sew one or two stitches, so the needle is back on the binding, then turn and zip along the bottom edge. Miter your next corner, then pause to pin.

-Going up the side of the case, you will need to make sure the binding and ribbon are positioned correctly. Pin the binding onto the case all the way up the side, making sure your ribbon is still facing inward, and not caught on anything. Then you will fold the ribbon back over the pinned binding. This way, when you make the stitch that attaches the binding, you will also be sewing over the ribbon. Stitch up the side, miter the next corner, and pause to pin the top.

-Again, you will be pinning on the binding, then folding the loops up to catch them in your seam. In order to keep these straight, I had to use one pin for each side of the loop. Pin it, sew it, miter the corner, then pin the binding and ribbon going down the other side. You'll also want to cut and position the end of your binding before you sew the last edge. Cut the binding about 1/2" too long, then fold the ends under, making sure all the raw edges are tucked away. Sew it, then secure the stitches at the end of the binding.

-One more step, and it's an easy one. Write your needle sizes on the ribbon on each pocket. The numbers you write should fit the size needles you own; I started at 0000 (I know, they don't even make them that small) because I have a lot of small sizes for socks. you can start larger if you want; the last pocket should fit up to about a size 11.

-The case closes with the buttons facing out; you will see all your little stitch-lines on the pockets, and the buttons are more or less centered on each side of the case. Fill the case, close it up, and pause to admire your handiwork!