Sewing party

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Sewing party

Yesterday was a great day! Three of my friends came over and brought their sewing machines, tools and fabric so we could make bags. We had decided to make the Continuous Zipper bag from the tutorial by Lorrie Nunemaker and the Easy One-piece purse with popper by Lizzy Curtis.

There was a lot of chat, a lot of sharing of tips and techniques, lots of good food, and fun was had by all.

My makes:

I just love the fabrics I used from my stash. The first purse was the maple leaf one and started out with a 6.5 inch wide piece of fabric. The second one used an 8 inch wide piece and I think it is more practical as you can fit bank notes into it. I am sold on the snaps and now want to get myself a kit so I can make more purses.

Today is a public holiday – Family Day – and is a quiet day Chez Nicolaknits. All five of us are home and are going out for supper later. My sewing machine called to me again so I made another continuous zipper bag using some batting inside instead of interfacing.

I’ve had this fabric for years. It’s cute!

Another idea I wanted to play with, because it was keeping me awake last night when I should have been falling asleep, is a bag with a front made up entirely of zippers. I had a few lying around, so I seamed them together, cut a piece of jeans leg to add to the top, bottom, and back, and added belt loops.

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The front bows out because of the zippers, but that’s not a bad thing. You can access the bag using any of the zippers. I was thinking that if I used a long zipper, I could use any trimmed lengths as well, even if they didn’t have a pull. But in this case they were all short.

In yarny news, I finished the mindless crochet project, which is a yarn cake holder for a friend who just bought a ballwinder. Having the cake corralled makes things much easier.

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And the double knitting project has grown a little. It’s slow going, and there are many mistakes because I’m still learning, but when I manage to get in the flow I enjoy it.

As you can see, the back is a mirror image of the front. It’s double thick. Ampersand Dragon

Hopefully your Monday was a good one. Talk to you again soon.

Thankful

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I am grateful for my job. It’s only three days a week but it gives me a challenge and  money to go on vacation and interaction with lots of people who have similar interests. And having that job makes me more grateful for the days when I don’t have a shift and I can get other stuff done. Yes, that means housework, laundry, grocery shopping and other mundane things, but it also means I have time for my hobbies and my friends.

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The six remaining bags

The set of 12 animal bags is done <<cheers>> and not only that but six are sold already. I was hoping that when I cut up that panel from work and turned it into project bags that I wouldn’t be left with a lot of things I couldn’t sell. However, thanks to friends, they are disappearing out of the door. Each bag is $24 and I am going to donate 75% of that to a farm sanctuary here in the valley. They don’t know that yet, but I’ll be passing on the funds soon, I expect.

It took me a while to get the job done as I kept distracting myself with other fun things. In fact, after I had finished the Hey Ewe bag this afternoon, I went on to make another thing.

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This is made from a jeans leg, which I fused with Heat ‘n Bond to some quilting cotton, and then I constructed a simple zipper bag with a zipper and button from the stash. So easy to make. I’ve watched so darn many YouTube videos on bag construction I think I could make some of them in my sleep. Well, except for the zipper – I still need Wonder tape for that.

I mentioned in my last post that I was planning to play with double knitting and I have started on the dragon square. I have made a few mistakes but I am being gentle with myself and leaving them, because it is a learning process. I have discovered I prefer to do it while holding both yarns in my right hand, rather than in the left, or one in each hand, and it is something that you really have to  FOCUS on because you have to knit and purl the correct stitches in the correct colour and then just as you’re getting used to it you have to switch the colours to make the design. Yikes!

When my friends came over last night, I didn’t even bother to pick up the needles, choosing to start something simple in crochet instead.

It’s dinnertime, and I’m off to scoff chili and rice. Have a great day!

 

Nuts for bags

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Good morning! It’s a very foggy start to the day here. We still have snow on the garden, though most of the roads are clear as we haven’t seen any snowfall for a week now. Yesterday felt really warm – I think it reached double digits. My car’s thermometer said 10 degrees Celsius, parked in the carport.

Last time I posted, I had five project bags made. I now have five more.

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Still two to go to finish the set and then I’ll make more of a concerted effort to get them sold for CritterAid.

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In between making these bags, I made a denim one for a change of pace.

Same technique, no batting.

Much as I love my animal bags, I’ll be glad when they’re done. I did finish a child size beanie this week using Caron Cupcakes yarn…

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…which then led me to getting my swift and ball winder out and going through my yarns and tidying some up and turning some from hanks into cakes. I haven’t used any of my newest yarns, purchased last year. I suppose I’m thinking I should use up the older stuff first, but that could take a long time, especially at my current rate of production.

One technique I’d like to play with this year is double knitting, where you knit two layers at once using two colours and end up with a pattern on one side and the reverse pattern on the back. Like this Ampersand Dragon on Ravelry. I have printed the pattern and I think this will be my next knitting challenge. I have watched a few videos for cast ons and dealing with edges. Should be fun!

It’s a work day today so I’ll sign off here. Hope your day is wonderful, and happy crafting.

 

 

What the Fox?

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Now that I have stopped distracting myself with other things, I have made great progress on the knitting/crochet project bags for charity. I have decided to sell these for $24, with 75% of that going to CritterAid farm sanctuary in Summerland, BC. I have been posting pics of these to Facebook and one friend has already called Dibs on the What the Fox bag.

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The quilt panel has 12 animals on it so once all 12 bags are made I’ll make a bit more effort to sell them, probably posting to Facebook Marketplace. I’d rather sell locally rather than pay postage to send them elsewhere.

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The bags that I’ve made so far are similar – animal panel on the front, patterned quilt cotton on the back and for the casings, denim upcycled from old jeans for the base, cotton batting, and turquoise organic cotton for the lining. They measure about 10″ across and 10″ deep, and have a boxed bottom that adds a third dimension to fit more stuff! They also have a denim tab and keyring for attaching stitch markers or keys or whatever.

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Five made so far, seven to go. I really hope I can (a) maintain my enthusiasm and complete all twelve and (b) sell them all.

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What do you think? What’s your favourite?

Free crochet pattern: Heart

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I was playing with some red yarn and a hook at my local tea shop and came up with a small heart that you can use as an ornament or applique. I have made a few to make sure the directions work out as written but this hasn’t been tested by anyone else. Let me know if you have any questions.

I feel it works best without the hanging loop as the loop obscures the dip in the top of the heart somewhat. Do whatever you prefer. It is slightly asymmetrical.

There is a Print option at the bottom of my post – you can choose only to print the pages you need, if you’d rather not use too much ink, or copy and paste the text into a separate document if you like. Of course, if you’re using an iPad, it will convert any webpage into a pdf and store it in iBooks, which is awesome if you want to save it for later.

What you’ll need:

A small amount of any yarn, any weight, any colour (I used Knit Picks Shine Sport in Serrano)

A hook to suit your weight of yarn (I used a 3.75mm/F hook)

A darning needle to weave in ends

A stitch marker (the locking kind that look like little plastic safety pins are perfect for this)

Abbreviations:

ch = chain

ss = slipstitch

sc = single crochet (double crochet in UK)

dc = double crochet (treble crochet in UK)

hdc = half double crochet (half treble in UK)

rnd = round

rep = repeat

st/sts = stitch(es)

How to:

Ch4, ss into 4th ch from hook to join into a circle, ch 1

R 1: Work 6sc into circle. From now on you will be working in a spiral, not joined rounds. I suggest placing a stitch marker into the first st of each rnd to keep track. (6 sts)

R 2: 2sc into each sc (12 sts)

R 3: (2sc into next st, 1 sc into next st) repeat around (18 sts)

R 4: (2sc into next st, 1 sc into each of next 2 sts) repeat around, ss into next sc to complete rnd (24 sts)

R 5: ch3, dc in same st, 2dc into next st, 2 dc into next st, hdc in each of the next 3 sts, sc into each of the next 6 sts, ch2, sc into same st (makes bottom point), 5sc, 3hdc, 2dc into next st, 2dc into next st, dc in next, ch3, ss into same st (base of dc just worked)

There should be one st left unworked for the top centre of the heart. Either fasten off here and weave in your ends or create hanging loop as follows.

Loop: ss into last st of round, ch10, ss into same st as before. Fasten off. (Loop can be made as long or as short as you like; just make more chains.)

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FO update for the past week

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Well, hello! I’m back with some finished objects, both yarn and fabric.

After I made the last headband/earwarmer, I had half of the cake left, so I did the same cable pattern but with one strand of yarn and a smaller hook. I used up most of the yarn, but the stripes got to be a bit skinny by the end. I’m not sure where this one will end up; I just wanted to make it!

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Another bit of stash used up!

I was inspired by a fabric at work to make an apron. It’s coming up for Valentine’s Day (not something I usually pay any attention to, but when you work in retail it’s hard to ignore). I saw this fabric that had lots of fun puns on it and made this apron as a display project. Once it’s been hanging up in the store for a month, I’ll be able to bring it home.

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I don’t know if you can read the words – I love you berry much, I’ve taken a Viking to you, Hugs and Kisses, I donut know how I lived without you, that sort of cheesy stuff! It came out huuuuuuge and I wish I’d just made the smallest size. I mean, it’s not really for me, but it would have been nice if it had fit me without having to cross the ties at back and bring them to the front! Whilst I felt it needed to be ruffly to fit the girly theme, I really dislike gathering fabric to fit a smaller piece of fabric. And this was a LOT of gathers.

Another sewing project I just completed today was this bag – it’s a Burda Young pattern number 8235. It’s a pretty straightforward bag with a flap and strap, no fastenings to mess about with. I interfaced all of the external pieces, not just the flap as per the pattern, because I felt it would be too floppy otherwise. Both snowboard fabrics are from the stash, bought when I was still keen on snowboarding (y’know, before I broke my wrist two years ago).

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I used scissors to cut out the pattern pieces but it’s way less accurate than using a rotary cutter and ruler, which is how I usually cut fabric for bags. I had to take in the lining a little to make it fit smoothly inside the outer bag. I love how colourful this fabric is.

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It’s lined with this blue fabric in the same theme.

Again, this isn’t really for me, I just wanted to make it (hmmm, sensing a theme here) and I showed it to two of my sons and neither said, “Ooh, can I have that!” Maybe they would have ten years ago! Anyway, I’ll hang on to it for now as I know it will find its true home some time.

I have started making the first of the project bags that I intend to sell to help a local farm sanctuary. I’m about halfway through the first bag, and really looking forward to seeing it done. Depending on Mr Fixit’s plans for tonight (he may mention the gym and I may go) I may or may not get more sewing done this evening. There’s still a pile of dishes in the kitchen sink to deal with once I’ve finished my coffee, though. Sigh!

 

We have a winner!

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Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay 

 

I drew the name of the winner of the giveaway today. I did it the old-fashioned way. I wrote down the names of the 16 people who commented on the post, cut them into individual pieces and folded them, and asked my middle son to randomly pick one out of the yarn bowl.

The winner is Esther from the Netherlands (purpledream on Ravelry). Congratulations, Esther! I have emailed you and PM’d you on Ravelry to get your address so hopefully it will be heading your way soon.

Thank you to all who participated. I learned something new. That the Norwegians do, of course, have a name for the period between Christmas and New Year – Romjul! We have the Danish Hygge and the Norwegian Romjul: what other Scandinavian delights can we embrace (vegan ones, of course)?

I hope you’re enjoying some cosiness today.

 

Last chance!

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This is the last day for entering my giveaway for the Alpaca Lunch Bag, as I will be drawing a name at random tomorrow and will announce the winner. Good luck!

Above is a photo from my happy place, my favourite tea shop (yesterday I chose a raspberry matcha latte) where of course I took my crochet. (I wish there was a crochet-themed fabric at work, but the knitting one will have to suffice for now.)

I did finish up the skein of jumbo pink yarn and made another cowl, this time knitted, and whilst I only had to cast on 6 stitches for this monster I could probably have gone with 4 or 5.

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It washed up well (there were some dirty streaks on it from the store which is why I was able to bring it home for free).

The current WIP, pictured with the tea, is another cabled headband, this time with only one strand of the Bernat Pop. Gotta run, work today!

Snow days!

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Snow days!

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When it’s well below freezing outside (our minimum one night was -24 or so, felt like -31  with the windchill) and the snow is building up to your knees and the roads are icy despite the efforts of the city to keep them ploughed and salted and gritted…well, you just gotta hunker down in a warm house and get crafty.

I was supposed to have Monday and Tuesday off, work Wednesday, then have today off, and work tomorrow. However the boss called Wednesday morning, expecting a quiet day at the store, and said I could stay home. YAY!

The bag adventures continue. I made another project bag (see above), still playing with proportions for using up those animal squares mentioned a couple of posts ago. This is the most accurate, compared to the squares I intend to use, and while it is still a teensy bit tall for its width I may just go with it. I do need to get a couple of metres of lining fabric before I actually starting sewing them though.

I also played with more triangle or pyramid bags. I used this tutorial here.

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This one used a zipper I had lying around and some stash fabric (left from a project a long time ago) and I was a bit slapdash with it, not bothering with Wonder tape on the zipper so it was far from perfect. The interfacing was a grey iron on piece I found in the scrap pile.

Later, I made a second, this time taking care to sew in the zipper perfectly and instead of interfacing I used a thin poly batting. The last step was sewing closed the gap in the lining, which was a bit messy, unfortunately. Still, I was just playing.

During my four days off, I also gave the house a good clean. Well, you can’t sew ALL the time. That felt good. And I also crocheted a couple of cowls.

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This is Bernat Pop from the yarn stash in the Blue Streak colourway. I held two strands double, one from each end of the cake and used a 9mm hook. The cable pattern is from the Complete Photo Guide to Crochet, which I own. This is for me, because sometimes I need an earwarmer rather than a whole hat, and anyway hats squish my hair flat and then I can’t take them off all day!

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This one was super quick because it’s a jumbo yarn. The brand is Spindle Yarns Snug-as-a-Bug which came from the store where I work. It used half the ball and a 19mm crochet hook. A 25 mm would have been better but I don’t have one. I just did slipstitch in the round for about five rounds and it was done in the time I drank a cup of tea at the coffeeshop today.

Seeing as I have half the ball left, I have whipped out some size 35 knitting needles (again, 25mm would be better but I only have one of those, probably from a thrift store purchase) and am making another cowl in garter stitches on SIX STITCHES. Yes, only six stitches makes a piece about 7″ wide. Crazy, eh!

I have done a fair bit of snow shovelling this week but thankfully because it’s so cold the snow has been very light. I have to be careful, as my right wrist tires easily since I broke it, and my left shoulder has a rotator cuff strain that has been painful for a really long time. I’ve decided to give it some serious TLC for two weeks to see if that helps. Rest (no yoga or upper body weights), turmeric for inflammation, ice pack, cold water in the shower (the water coming out of the tap right now is extremely cold, but I only direct it on my shoulder at the end of a warm shower). I really need to get this pain gone, because it hurts to do just about anything on that side, especially taking off clothing where you cross your arms over your body and pull upwards.

Oooh, I nearly forgot. It was a beautiful sunset as I was making dinner and as I looked out of my kitchen window I saw movement in the back garden. Four deer came through to nibble on our trees and generally hang out. They were there for some time. I am always excited to see them. (Sunset photo courtesy of my youngest son.)

Playing with proportions

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Happy Monday! Well, it is for me. I worked Saturday and Sunday, so now I have Monday and Tuesday off. It is super cold here in British Columbia (we’re talking about minimums in the minus 20s) and I decided that I didn’t need to go anywhere today and I would spent some quality time with my sewing machine.

This morning I made the Pink Panther bag. In my last post, I talked about the pink campervan bag, and how it looked too tall and skinny for my liking. I experimented by taking a couple of inches off the height of the printed sections above the denim. I really like this bag. It’s the perfect size for a sock or other small project, but looking at the animal squares in the fabric I want to use I really don’t know if it’s doable to trim an inch off the top and bottom of those squares.

After a quick coffee and some avocado on toast I returned to the sewing machine and made the caravan bag. I went back to the original height of the print pieces but made them a bit wider, thinking that I could add some contrast fabric to each side of the animal squares.

It does look good, I think. But I prefer the smaller bag. Also, did you notice that there is a jeans seam running vertically down the base of this bag? I accidentally cut the denim from the jeans leg the wrong way, but used it anyway. I might even prefer it this way as it becomes a feature instead of being hidden at the bottom.

I was binge watching You Tube last night, watching bag-making videos and upcycled jeans tutorials. I really should just go to bed early at the end of a work day – I am such a zombie past 10pm – I just wish it wasn’t so much effort to get off the couch and brush my teeth some nights!!

If you haven’t yet entered my giveaway, it’s here and you still have until the 21st to enter.