KNITerview with Ruby of Zaaberry

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Welcome Ruby of Zaaberry, our KNITerviewee of the day!

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By day Ruby is “a mother and a scientist studying endocrine disrupting chemicals and child brain development” (um, wow!?) and in the evenings she sews for her little cuties. I love watching Ruby’s blog for fun projects and tutorials and her work with knits is really fantastic. I’m especially keen on the tiny onesies and rompers that she sells in her shop; they are so very cute and always come in such cheerful fabrics and colors!

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Here’s our interview about knits:

RAE: Did you ever FEAR knits?
RUBY: For as long as I’ve been sewing, I’ve always been fascinated by knits. I never feared knits per se, but have always wanted to conquer them. I started with a onesie sewing pattern and some interlock and tried to figure it out on my regular machine. It worked OK, and so began my obsession.

RAE: Do you remember a specific turning point?
RUBY: Yes, getting a serger. I started sewing knits on my regular sewing machine with a walking foot.  It worked OK, but I could never get consistent results. Don’t get me wrong, A LOT of people sew knits on their regular machine and there is a lot of info out there, it just never worked well for me. TO SERGE OR NOT TO SERGE…That was always my biggest question when it came to knits.

RAE: What types of projects do you usually sew with knit fabric?
RUBY:  Almost all the clothing I sew is with knits.  Whether it be for me, my kids or my shop, knits are so just so wearable. These days, I definitely sew more with knits than with any other type of fabric.  I find knits so much more forgiving and my kids are definitely more willing to wear the clothing I make if it’s a soft knit, so that’s always a plus.

Often when I need something to add to my kids wardrobe, I grab some thrifted shirts and get to work.  That’s where my Boy’s Muscle Shirt tutorial came from.


Though my daughter doesn’t care much for dresses, she loves this dress made from a thrifted shirt:

RAE: What brand/model machine do you use primarily when you sew with knits?

RUBY: I bought my Janome MyLock134D (serger) for $100, 2 years ago from craigslist, and it changed my life.  Sounds dramatic, but it’s true!  It came from a woman who taught sewing classes and made wedding dresses, so it had a good history.  I bought a manual online, sat down and threaded it once, and off I went.  It was much easier than people said it would be.  It took some time to figure out what the stitches should look like and how to adjust the tension, but overall, it was the best decision I ever made.

RAE: Do you recommend it?
RUBY: Yes, but what I recommend most is buying something you can take to a dealer. The one thing I appreciate most about my serger is that even though I didn’t buy it at a local shop, I have a Janome dealer close by and I can buy accessories and get help if I need it.  Both my standard sewing machine and serger are Janome for that reason.

RAE: Are there things you still wish it could do?
RUBY: Yes. A lot of higher end sergers have the capacity to do a coverstitch.  This is the stitch you see at the bottom of most t-shirts.  So, recently I added the Brother 2340CV to my collection.  This is a standalone cover stitch machine.  I’m still learning how to fully use it, but so far it’s great.  Definitely not for a beginner, in part because it came with minimal instructions.  It’s a pretty specialized machine and for most things, you can get the same effect with a twin needle. I’m working on a separate post about my cover stitch machine, but I’d love to hear from you (readers) if you have questions about the coverstitch machine.  I know I had a ton of questions, but just decided to go ahead and buy it and figure it out on my own.

RAE: Walking foot? Yay or nay?
RUBY: Definitely worth a try. But if you really get into sewing with knits, you may find yourself frustrated.

RAE: Double needle: your thoughts.
RUBY: A double needle is a great tool to have and for the most part, works really well.

RAE: Do you prefer sewing with knits or sewing with wovens?
RUBY: Knits, definitely.

RAE: Do you have a preference for sewing with a particular type of knit?
RUBY: I don’t have a preference when it comes to fabric type, but I do prefer 100% cotton.

RAE: Do you have a place where you usually buy knits?
RUBY: These are my go to places to shop online:
The Fabric Fairy
Sew Baby
Sewzanne’s
Chez Ami
Mood

RAE: Any hints for buying knits online?
RUBY: My biggest frustration in buying knits is that most of what I buy is from online stores, and even though the fiber content is supposed to be 100% cotton, the feeling of the fabric and stretch can vary a lot.  Many sites will list the stretch, so that’s always something to look for.  I also find that washing and drying can make a big difference.  I’ve had knits that felt really rough upon arrival that totally softened up after washing.  Some knits can shrink quite a bit too.

RAE: Any tips or tricks for working with knits that you’d like to share?
RUBY: One last tip I’ll add is about cutting that came from my good friend Roselee over at Jane of All Trades.  I’d always pinned my patterns and tried to cut around them, which can be really tough on curves, especially on knits.  I noticed one day that she lays out her pattern and traces around it…GENIUS!  But first, you have to make some cute pattern weights:

RAE: Thank you Ruby!!!
RUBY: Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in this Knit Series!

Today Ruby’s got a mini-tute for Winter Vacation shorts for knits on her blog! Be sure to click over to Zaaberry to check it out!

To see all of the KNITerviews and other posts in this series, click here!

8 thoughts on “KNITerview with Ruby of Zaaberry

  1. I also bought the Brother 2340 coverstitch machine, and I love it. My goal is to learn to use the attachments.
    I found this blog to be very helpful in so many ways especially with ending the hem. There are several tutorials listed on the left hand side.

    I could not live without a serger. I made my grands knit pjs last year for Christmas with mostly the serger and coverstitch machines. I used the coverstitch to hem every arm, leg, and front facing on the pjs. It was so easy.
    http://stitchesandseams.blogspot.com/2001/01/coverstitch-how-to-end-coverstitch.html

  2. Great interview! I always trace on my knits- it totally helps a lot. I wish there was an easier way to order knits online. Anyway, now I’m really wishing for a serger. :)

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