Tool School with Steve Butler, Bodkins

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Class 19

Tool School with Instructor Steve Butler

What is it? – Bodkins.  Only someone who sews would know what a bodkin is.  Simply put, a bodkin is a tool that is used to pull various thin materials through a sewn fabric casing.  Elastic, ribbon, cording or other “drawstring” type materials can all be pulled through the casing to serve any desired function.  A bodkin usually resembles an over-sized sewing needle with a blunt point and a large eye.  The bodkin is attached to the cording and manipulated through the casing by hand.  The round point prevents the bodkin from penetrating the fabric casing.  Applications exist in everything from fashion to craft sewing to home decor.  The interesting thing is, if you don’t have a bodkin, you can “make do” with a safety pin or some other homemade device.  But not with ease and often not without a large degree of frustration.  To simplify this necessary and surprisingly often used sewing function Clover, working in collaboration with Nancy Zieman, has developed a set of bodkins for even the most demanding applications.  No more looking for the safety pin you just saw somewhere last week.  No more seeing the unattached end of the elastic band you were installing disappear into the fabric channel where it wasn’t supposed to go.  No more do-over’s, no more frustration.  The right tool for the right job and a happy sewing experience.

What does it do? – Clover and Nancy Zieman have  identified categories of unique bodkin applications and developed unique bodkins to satisfy those requirements.
  • Flex ‘n Glide Bodkin – These are long, flexible bodkins that allow you to quickly and easily pull draw strings through fabric casing.  Two sizes are available depending on any radius of turn restrictions.  The eyes of the bodkins are designed to solidly lock any material in place and prevent it from coming loose in any inconvenient location.  Unlike most bodkins, the Flex ‘n Guide is stiff enough to push through a casing but flexible enough to bend around intricate design features of your sewn casing.
  • Clip ‘n Glide Bodkin – When special requirements exist the Clip ‘n Glide Bodkins ensures a more secure connection between bodkin and elastic drawstring material.  A mechanical connection virtually locks the elastic in place.  The lead portion of the bodkin remains flexible and sufficient length to provide for ease of manipulation and speed the process along.
  • Elastic Lock Set – The Elastic Lock Set is especially suiting for installing elastic.  The bodkin itself resemble the standard Flex ‘n Glide.  The elastic you are inserting attaches to the bodkin.  To prevent the other end of the elastic band from being prematurely pulled into the casing a snap style clip is provided to secure the loose end and hold it in place, preventing it from slipping into the casing and causing you to start over.

Watch Tool School here!!!

Rainbow Booties with Repeat Crafter Me

I had the pleasure of trying out the Clover Amour crochet hooks this past week! This was a big deal for me because I’ve been using the same hook for 3 years. But when the Clover hooks arrived in their pretty packaging with 10 brightly colored hooks in a rainbow of colors, I couldn’t wait to get one in my hands and around some yarn!

All Clover products can be found at
The colorful easy grip handles inspired me to make these rainbow baby booties! The first thing I noticed was how light the hooks are plus the shape of the grip fit PERFECTLY in my hand! My hand never cramped or felt tired. Even after crocheting 8 booties! You can easily adjust the size of the booties by using a different size Clover Amour crochet hook. As you see in the picture below, this is the variation in sizes between using the F, H, and J hooks. I was able to get the largest bootie on my daughter who is 18 months. The smaller F size bootie would probably fit a 3 month old. You may also notice that this pattern is an updated and much easier version of my cuffed baby booties pattern.


Clover Amour Crochet Hooks. I used sizes F, H, and J for the booties you see above.
– Worsted weight yarn. I used Vanna’s Choice in White, Scarlett, Terracotta, Mustard, Fern, and Dusty Purple. Blue is Loops & Threads Impeccable in Aqua.
– Tapestry Needle
Magic Ring Tutorial
SC = Single Crochet
HDC = Half Double Crochet
DC = Double Crochet
Rainbow Baby Booties Pattern:
Starting with white
Chain 10, SC in 2nd chain from hook, SC in next 7, make 5 SC in the last chain
Now working on opposite side, SC 9, join, ch 1
Round 2: HDC, 2 HDC, HDC in next 6, 2 HDC in next 2, HDC in next 2, 2 HDC in next 2, HDC in next 6, 2 HDC, HDC in last, join, ch 1.
Round 3: SC 10, 2 SC in next 2, 2 HDC in next 4, 2 SC in next 2, SC in next 10, join, ch 1.
Round 4:  In back loops only, SC around, join, ch 1. (36 SC)

Change to red
Round 5: Now working in both loops, SC around, join, ch 1. (36 SC)
Change to orange
Round 6: SC in each stitch around, join, ch 1 (36 sc)
Change to yellow
Round 7: SC in each stitch around, join, ch 1 (36 sc)
Change to green
Round 8: SC in first 12, [SC decrease, SC in next ] 
4 times, SC in last 12, join, ch 1. (32 sc)
Change to blue
Round 9: SC in first 10, [SC decrease, SC in next] 4 times], SC in last 10, join, ch 1. (28 sc)
Change to purple
Round 10: SC in first 8, [SC decrease, SC in next] 4 times, Sc in last 8, join, ch 1. (24 sC)
Change to white
Round 11: SC in first 6, [SC decrease, SC in next] 4 times, SC in last 6, join, ch 1. (20 sc)
Round 12: SC in each stitch around, join (20 sc)
Fasten off and weave in ends.
Weave strand of white yarn between round 11 and 12. Tie in a bow in the front. This can be used to tighten booties onto little feet :) 


If you want to get your hands on these fabulous Clover Amour Hooks you are in luck because the good people at Clover are hosting a GIVEAWAY for Repeat Crafter Me readers! Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.a Rafflecopter giveaway

A big thank you to Clover-USA for sponsoring this post and for hosting the giveaway!


I *heart* Weaving Sticks!



Weaving Sticks in action!

Last year I was at TNNA (an industry trade show) where I spied Clover’s Weaving Sticks for the first time. I was mesmerized by these wooden tools that looked like my beloved bamboo knitting needles, but with a hole at the bottom and held together in sets of 2-6! I hovered around the booth for a bit, but for some reason felt shy about asking to use a pair. When I got home, however I went straight to the craft store and bought a pack.

I’d been crushing on some of the woven tapestries and wall hangings I’d seen a lot of on Pinterest, but didn’t have the time to sit down and learn how to use my loom. I thought, though that the mobility of these sticks (read: throw in my bag to use while on the sidelines of a kids’ activity or in a waiting room for an appointment) paired with their ease of use would work perfectly not only to make strips that would become the background of a cool wall hanging, but also with my busy, working-mom-of-3 lifestyle. Happily, I was right, which resulted in some great, affordable, stress-free wall-decor for my home. #Winning!


My DIY Wallhanging, made using Weaving Sticks. See how to make your own HERE.

During that time and since, I’ve posted photos of Weaving Stick, works-in-progress on Facebook and Instagram. It turns out I’m not the only one excited about them — with over 2,000 likes on one Facebook post alone, it’s clear that knitters, crocheters, and crafters alike are ready and willing to (stick) weave! Since the main question I was asked is, “How do you use them?”, I thought I’d give you an iPhone view (kind of like a bird’s eye view, but with a rectangular perspective) of the how-to basics. Click below and see!

Now that you know how to use Weaving Sticks, I bet you’re dying for some great projects to apply that newfound knowledge to, right? Well, lucky for you craft editor, Ashley Little has written a booklet packed with 12 projects that fit the crafty bill. Oh, and the extra lucky part is that Clover’s giving away three copies of said booklet: Super Simple Stick Weaving!

Enter to win HERE.

Grab a set of sticks and get weaving. Trust me; once you start, you won’t wanna stop.



P.S. Keep your peepers peeled for a Winter-themed, Weaving Stick wall-hanging in the premier issue of Craft.girl Magazine (Interweave) — hits newsstand this Fall!

Clover’s Weaving Sticks


Clover’s Weaving Sticks are a great way to create basically anything you want!!

How do you use them? First you have to decide whether your project requires a thick or fine weave. Depending on your project will determine the size of weaving sticks you use for example; a thicker weave would be needed for a rug and a thinner weave is necessary for a bracelet. Once you decide how thick you want to weave you have to decide how wide you want your project. You are able to make your project as thick as the six sticks included in your package or as thin as two weaving sticks. If you’re creating an even bigger project such as a rug or bag all you need to do is sew your panels you weave together with the darning needle that is also provided in your package. You simply add the warp to the end of your sticks like yarn or cording and you start weaving across your sticks with your chosen material going over and under until your project is completely on your warp. There are many great projects to create and don’t worry if you’re a beginner we have a book just for you, just pick up, Super Simple Stick Weaving by Ashley Little

stick weaving

This book will get you started in no time!!!

Why use Clover’s Weaving Sticks? Very simply they’re very easy to use and will allow you to use all types of materials such as fabric or yarn, as long as you can wind it around your sticks you can use it. There is no crocheting or knitting involved you’re simply weaving over and under your sticks back and forth which also makes it a great children’s project.


We want to get you started on the weaving sticks, so enter our giveaway!! Three lucky people will be winning both Super Simple Stick Weaving by Ashley Little and Clover Weaving Sticks, enter now!!!!

Enter to win Simple Stick Weaving by Ashley Little and Clover Weaving Sticks here

Tool School, Straight Pins with Instructor Steve Butler


What is it? – In some of the oldest archeological digs around the world you can find ancient straight pins. They’ve been around that long and probably always will be. There are so many uses for them and in many cases there really is no substitute. We use them to hold patterns in place on our fabric, bind fabric pieces, tailor fabric to our bodies, hold seams together, anchor trims, beads or other embellishments in place and even block knitted products. Because of this wide variety of uses for straight pins we’ve developed a wide variety of pin designs to satisfy any specific requirements. Sewing, knitting and crafts all present unique demands. For each of these applications there is a “best” straight pin design that should be used. Taking the time to identify that pin is well worth the effort and will improve your sewing experience.

What does it do? – The design features of each style straight pin make one more suitable for any particular application than any other style pin. Clover provides straight pin essentials as follows:

Flower Head Pins – The defining feature is a large flat head. That makes it both easy to see and manipulate. It is especially well suited for pinning lace, eyelets or loose woven embellishments to fabric because the head will not slip through enlarged openings. You can also lay rulers flat on them when marking or cutting. The heads are not iron proof so keep them away from the heat. These pins come in three different diameters to provide strength without stressing your fabric.

  • Extra fine – Very fine shaft and acute point for delicate fabrics
  • Fine – Thin shaft and acute point for fine fabrics like silk or satin
  • Regular – Same acute point but a little stronger and longer shaft for multiple layers of heavier fabrics. Great for quilting.

Appliqué Pins – These little gems are perfect for applying appliqués, trims, beads, or sequins to your project. The sharp, tapered point prevents damage to your fabric. The small 3/4″ size allows detailed work when many pins are required and space is limited.

Quilting Pins – Quilting pins have a fine point and a smooth shaft to make them fabric friendly. They are longer than many straight pins so they can penetrate several layers of fabric and stay in place. Clover quilting needles are available in two shaft sizes, fine for more delicate fabrics and regular for heavier fabrics. They have glass heads so they can be ironed.

Patchwork Pins – Patchwork pins have very fine points for use on the most delicate fabrics like silks and satins. Two sizes are available, fine and extra fine. They have glass heads so they can be ironed.

Silk Pins – Silk pins have very fine points and a shorter length for use on fine fabrics. Glass heads so iron safe.

Fork Pins – Fork pins have two shafts connected by a turned up end. This allows you to pin fabrics without lifting them. Perfect for securing hard to handle or slippery lining materials. They are great for positioning stripe or plaid fabric pattern alignment prior to sewing in place. They’ve also found a new home in creative contemporary quilting where matching unique shapes is required. Blocking knitted garments? No problem.

Tool School with Steve Butler “Takumi” Bamboo Knitting Needles

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What is it? – Takumi, Stradivarius, Cartier. Their legendary quality of performance defies all attempts of description. The name alone is iconic and imbues a sense artistry. Pretenders and imitators come and go but never stay. Clover has long prided itself in the production of Takumi premium bamboo knitting needles. Production quantity has always been secondary to production quality. Only the finest raw materials have ever been used and manufacturing has always been accomplished to the absolute highest, most exacting standards. But just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, couldn’t be improved upon, Clover has done just that. As knitting mediums and techniques have evolved to support unprecedented stretches in creativity, so has Clover. Close personal association with those who push this “creative envelope” has allowed Clover to redesign their bamboo knitting needles to meet these emerging needs. We have even developed an entire new line of manufacturing machinery to make these new bamboo knitting needles worthy of the Takumi name. As a result, when lesser knitting needles are cold, bent, chipped, scratched, warped, split, broken and eventually discarded, your Takumi knitting needles will have become treasured heirlooms that continue to enhance your creative aspirations.

What does it do? – Quite simply Takumi knitting needles knit. But they do so with unparalleled ease and function.

  • Shape – To enhance knitting fine fibers or lace knitting all of the Takumi knitting needle points have been redesigned. The new, acute points allow them to easily pick up of even the finest loops.
  • Materials – Bamboo knitting needles have a warm, organic feel to them with just the right amount of flex to make them comfortable. The unique bamboo surface allows smooth, fast knitting but is not so “slick” that you have to fight to keep your stitches in place.
  • Chords – The chords of Takumi circular knitting needles have been enhanced. Newly developed chording materials ensure that the updated connecting chords are both strong and soft. Knitted fabrics now lie smoothly between the knitting needles while you work.

Sustainability – Bamboo is one of the most renewable resources on earth. Technically a “grass” it grows almost anywhere. It is relatively fast growing so harvested regions easily and quickly replace themselves. Most importantly the harmful byproducts usually associated with the manufacture of other similar non bamboo products are virtually nonexistent.

Watch Tool School Here!!!

View or video on how Takumi Bamboo Needles are made here!!