I love fall!

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I love fall!

Reasons to love autumn/fall:

Not so bloody hot.

Nights are cool.

Evenings are drawing in.

Socks and sweaters.

Friends can come over and not die of heat exhaustion.

Rain (hopefully).

Long walks outdoors without burning up.

Fleece pajamas.

I could go on. I think September might be my favourite month.

I’ve made a few things in the last week. Some have been for work. I brought home a preprinted cotton  panel and sewed up these trick or treat bags. After I hung them up at work, the fabric sold in a flash.

Today I sewed these stockings from another panel and will take them to the store tomorrow for display.

The sewing pattern I mentioned last time has now been transformed into this:

It looks a bit disproportionate because it’s on a decorative mannequin which is way smaller than I am. But this one will return to me for keepsies once it’s hung at the store for a month.

From the pile of yarn I showed you in my last post, I made these:

A beanie of my own design and a teeny elephant  https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/amigurumi-elephant-25

To accompany these little gifts all the way over the Atlantic I cross-stitched another elephant and glued it to a card.

And from a <ahem> yarn purchase at work because it went on clearance, I have started crocheting dishcloths with a scrubby centre like the ones I made a while back. They are great in the kitchen.

I hope you too are enjoying the season you’re in and finding ways to get out of your head and into your hands, as Kate from The Last Homely House says!

Hats!

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Since getting back from holiday, there hasn’t been a huge amount of crafty activity. I did enjoy a day of blitzing my sewing room which I love to do periodically. It reminds me of what I have in the way of fabric and yarn. It makes me look critically at things I’ve hung on to for months or even years and so by the end of the day I had tossed a lot of stuff in the recycling or trash or thrift store pile.

I went through the fabric and yarn, rearranged things more logically, vacuumed into the corners, and now the room is ready for a new project.

The beanie above was made with a 10mm hook and three strands of the same Lion Brand Mandala Ombre that I used for the shawl. I made it up as I went along. I’ve made a tonne of hats in my time and the bill/peak was just a case of experimenting with what looked right.

When I was at work yesterday, business was a little slow in the pm, and my brain turned to things that could go on display. I checked with the boss and she was OK with me crocheting a beanie with store yarn.

Today being a day off, I had some quality sofa time and I had this made in an hour and a half.

It’s crocheted with a bulky chenille yarn and an 8mm hook and the pattern off the ball band.

Next up will be a sewing project. I have the pattern and flannelette fabric ready to make a knee length robe. The fabric is so cute.

The contrast is a solid blue. It’s still drying at the moment.

I just pulled out my Knit Picks Brava oddments from last year.

I’m wondering about some sort of scrap project or perhaps some amigurumi. You may notice my new knitting mug – it says “If I can’t take my knitting, I’m not going!” And the black blocky thing is my new Anker Bluetooth speaker. I wanted one for my phone but had no idea which one to get so took the recommendation of my eldest son who also has one.

I’m currently playing some awesome 80s music via YouTube music (free, so I have to put up with the ads)!

So that, plus work, is the last two weeks. Oh yeah, and I had a very fun meal out with friends for a belated birthday celebration.

The rest of the holiday

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I realised when I returned from holiday that I had blogged on Day 1 of my vacation (Saturday) and then went silent for two weeks. The main reason is that my father-in-law, whose house we were staying in, doesn’t have wifi and I generally had to keep my wifi time to essentials only when I managed to connect somewhere.

After I published that last blog post, things went pear-shaped. Westjet decided to delay our flight by 2.5 hours which meant that we missed our connection with BA for our transatlantic crossing. What followed was a major hassle as our travel agent tried to rebook us on the next BA flight to Heathrow the following evening but Westjet tried to get us booked via Toronto and Gatwick.

We ended up staying in the super-expensive Fairmont hotel, right in Vancouver airport, which we weren’t really able to appreciate fully as we spent two hours on the phone to Westjet to attempt to get back on the Heathrow route. I’m glad our insurance will cover at least part of the cost of the $500 room. Breakfast was $70 which thankfully was also ameliorated by the meal vouchers that Westjet gave us.

We hung around Vancouver airport all Sunday afternoon and went to the check-in desk an hour and a half early to be at the front of the queue, as we weren’t convinced that things were ok. The BA check-in person referred us to their ticketing person as she didn’t think it looked right either and he sorted it out quickly and we finally felt happy that we were actually getting on the plane.

Because of all the schedule changes and hassles, we ended up having no special meals reserved for us and were really glad we’d stuffed our faces with large Subway sandwiches before getting on the plane. My plan to wear an eye mask and earplugs worked well and I did manage to sleep a lot of the 9 hour flight, which is a first for me. My Fixit did get some sleep too, just not as much.

So, we arrived in Jersey on Monday, after three flights and an extra 24 hour delay, comparatively well-rested.

As I mentioned, we stayed at my FIL’s and we were able to borrow his car or be driven around by him. I spent some quality time with my mum and sister, and on the middle Saturday they threw a family birthday party for me as I turned 60 while I was there.

I ate some nice meals out and caught up with some old friends.

I swam in the sea most days – we had lots of sunshine – and I really enjoyed it. When I lived there I didn’t appreciate it as much. My sister has become one of those people who love to swim nearly every day and in most weathers.

The flights home ran mostly to schedule and the connections were pretty tight. It was a bit of a rush in Vancouver, as we had to clear Customs before getting to the Westjet gate, and we hadn’t been able to check in ahead of time, so again we were concerned we wouldn’t make the flight.

I will have to forgive BA the lack of a vegan meal as we were allocated seats in business class for the long-haul flight. Holy travel pods, Batman! How many times have we walked enviously through business class with their cool little pods with all the amenities and seats that recline flat for a proper sleep, and a quilt and a pillow and real cutlery and ceramic mugs for their fancy coffee, proper headphones, a little zippered pouch of eye mask, socks and spa products?! I followed my husband towards the economy seats and then he turned around and said the row numbers were going the wrong way and where was row 56? When we realised we were in Club World we couldn’t believe our luck. It felt like we had won the lottery!

And now we’re back, and back to work, and pretty much over the jetlag. A couple of mornings of getting up at 4am, and then I was back to my 6am starts. Still going to bed early though, as I find myself dozing off on the couch well before 9pm.

This is getting pretty long, so I’ll publish this and then add a second post with photos.

Day 1

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Vacation time!

Waiting for our first flight (of three) so of course I cast on my travel knitting project! A two row repeat, garter stitch, super easy!!

The other day I made a couple of tote bags which are for my father-in-law. He likes bright colours. Guys are often hard to buy/make for, but I think he’ll use these.

I have custom ear plugs for sleeping, which I use every night, so I brought those for the 9.25 hour flight across the Atlantic, and I felt that adding an eye mask might help me get some sleep. Usually I find it really hard to sleep on planes unless I’m exhausted, because you just can’t get comfortable in the cramped seats. Blocking out sound and light gives me a fighting chance.

I can’t remember which YouTube channel this was on but it was really easy to make.

Vacation prepping

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It’s nearly here! We booked our flights months ago and until this week I don’t think I was letting myself get too excited about it. This is our first international holiday in three years. And we’re going to see the family.

I pulled my cabin bag out of storage a couple of days ago and started tossing things on top of it. Passport, new hoodie, stuff like that. Made a list for the sons who are running the show in our absence.

Bought yarn! Because, yeah, I’m uninspired by my stash. Hunted around for just the right travel pattern. Found this asymmetrical shawl pattern on Ravelry. Found this yarn at Walmart. Lion Brand Mandala Ombre in the colourway “Happy” which is fitting. I bought three cakes though I may only need two.

Made this.

A flat “fanny pack” (waist pack, bum bag, whatever) for my wallet and passport.

This fabric was a set of fat quarters from Walmart and the video tutorial is from Charmed by Ashley. The video just happened to appear on my YT home page today after I was searching for similar patterns yesterday. All the supplies for this bag were in the stash.

I also made new masks for Mr Fixit and myself.

Mine are the ones in the second photo. I was trying to come up with a way to increase the filtration of the fabric masks and I unpicked one of his more than once, but in the end we decided that we’d wear KN95s when we’re on the planes or in a crowd and if we are sitting at the airport away from people we’ll put on the fabric ones.

We each have a new earsaver too (the little tab with the snaps that holds the elastic to the back of your head and saves your ears from getting sore).

And finally…a finished object unrelated to my holiday. A mushroom amigurumi. Why is it that everything looks cuter with eyes?! This was made for a girl at work because she wore an interesting mushroom shirt last week. I haven’t seen her since I left it for her to find but I hope she likes it.

I hope that August is going well for you. Happy yarn vibes!

My week

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I’ve been working hard as usual, but in my free time I have been enjoying my daily dose of morning yoga with Mady Morrison. In fact, one day I added a yin session in the evening.

I went and toasted myself and swam multiple times on a very hot afternoon.

I crocheted a strawberry!

I caught a pretty sunset.

I braved my overheated kitchen to bake focaccia and chocolate chip cookies.

And I rounded up the four men in my life and forced them to endure a terrible time at the beach with lots of food and drinks, sunshine and swimming. Honestly, it was so good for us to have a family outing on this BC Day holiday. It’s the last day we’re all free at the same time before Mr Fixit and I go on holiday. Good memories were made today.

I did take a bag of crochet stuff but didn’t even touch it. But there’s plenty of the day left to play with yarn. And I don’t have to cook dinner as there’s still lots of picnic food left.

Happy times!

The makeaholic makes again

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The makeaholic makes again

Did you see my new byline? I’d be interested to know how many people actually view my blog on a desktop computer and see the pretty WordPress template I use.

I edited the “Just me, waffling on…etc” to “The adventures of a makeaholic”! Credit should go to my boss for the term.

So, what have I got for you this weekend? I’ll try to keep the chat to a minimum.

Legwarmers knitted with Cygnet Chunky and Knit Picks Brava worsted. Same yarn and colours as the batwing sweater. Finished ages ago, forgot to post about them.

Second bucket hat. Sweet Red Poppy, free pattern. Made it smaller, fits perfectly, matches my bag.

Oral hygiene kit. Two layers of cotton, bonded back to back with Heat ‘n Bond. Clear vinyl pockets for all my teeth-cleaning needs. Perfect!

Tiny teapot with removable lid from the book 100 Micro Crochet Motifs by Steffi Glaves. I made it in medium weight yarn just for fun and it finished at 2″ tall. Designer’s was made in sewing thread and was probably a quarter of the size!

And finally, a wallhanging made from a quilt panel. I backed it with batting and cotton, added ladybugs to tie the layers together, hung some small dollar store tools from the bottom with buttons and jute (I bought the tools last year for my gnomes) and added a Garden sign and birdhouse that I found at the dollar store today.

I paid for the fabrics, but I’ll put it on display at work for a while then bring it home to hang it here. It will complement the strawberry summer display I have going on at the front of the store.

If you read my last post, the bag tutorial, you’ll know about the bag FO, so no need to post another photo of that.

Plans in the works: crocheted strawberries, superduper new masks especially for air travel next month, and possibly more bags. And travel plans always go hand-in-hand with crochet/knitting plans because one just cannot waste all that waiting and sitting time doing nothing with one’s hands, right?!

Bag Sewing Tutorial: the Caroline bag

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Bag Sewing Tutorial: the Caroline bag

This bag, which I have named for my sister, is a cute sewing project which can be used for many purposes. Being a knitter/crocheter, of course I think of small yarny projects, but it could hold all sorts of things. The finished dimensions are 11″ wide by 7″ tall, and the base is about 2″ deep. It’s closed with two snaps (no zippers or Velcro to catch your yarn) and the inside pocket is also closed with a snap to keep small bits safe, like stitch markers.

I used my walking foot to sew this bag, which gives me a neat 3/8″ seam when I line it up along the edge of the fabric. This is the fourth version I’ve made. I’ll put a photo at the end of the other three. You can use a solid piece of fabric for your exterior, or piece together scraps to get the size required. Just allow for seams so that you can trim it to size. Don’t do what I did and mix up the width and height!

Cutting guide:

Exterior: two pieces of quilt cotton, 12″ wide by 9″ tall (or pieced work to equal the same size)

Interior: two pieces of quilt cotton, 12″ wide by 9.5″ tall (this is deliberate, you’ll see why later)

Thermolam (fusible fleece) or other interfacing of your choice, or batting: two pieces 12″ wide by 9″ tall, and two pieces about an inch square

Pocket: one piece of quilt cotton, 6.5″ wide by 8.5″ tall

Handle: one piece of quilt cotton, 12″ by 3″

3 KAM snaps

For this bag I decided to make the exterior with two fabrics, the paisley floral and the solid. In the photo above, I have already seamed them together. The next photo shows the Thermolam fused to the back and a line of topstitching across to secure the seam allowances. I used a stitch length of 2.2 for seaming and 3.0 for topstitching. If you use batting, you may want to add some quilting.

Pocket: fold the 6.5″ by 8.5″ square in half, right sides together (so that it’s now 6.5 by 4.25). Sew around the three open sides, leaving a couple of inches in the long side open for turning. Trim the corners. Turn right side out, using some sort of pokey tool to push the corners out. Press.

Insert a small square of Thermolam or interfacing inside the pocket, up near the fold and in the centre. Press again and topstitch across the folded edge, securing the interfacing.

Place pocket on one of the lining pieces, centred, about 2.5″ – 3″ from the top edge. Pin and sew around the sides and bottom. Fuse a small square of Thermolam to the back of the lining where the snap will go.

Install a snap near the top of the pocket.

Handle: take the 12″ by 3″ rectangle, fold in half lengthwise and press. Open out, fold raw edges to centre crease and press, refold and press again. Topstitch down both long edges.

Place one exterior piece and one lining piece right sides together, matching top edges. Repeat with the other two pieces. (If the front of your bag is different from the back, take care to attach the pocket/lining piece to the back exterior.) Sew. (Lining will extend half an inch beyond the bottom of the exterior. This is intentional.) Press seams, pressing lining and seam allowances in the same direction.

Fold handle in half and baste to front exterior, close to top, matching raw edges.

Place the two pieces right sides together, matching exterior to exterior and lining to lining. Pin or clip, being careful to line up centre seams. Sew around, starting at the lining bottom, and leave a few inches open for turning.

Box bottoms: Draw a 3/4″ square at all four corners, measuring from the seamline, not the edge of the fabric. Cut along the drawn lines. Squash the corners so that seamlines meet, pin or clip, and sew across each corner.

Press seams open (I used to skip this step but it’s especially important for the seam allowances to be flat for a neat finish around the top of the bag). Caution! Don’t iron your snap!

Turn right side out and press, avoiding snap. Allow lining to do what it wants to do naturally, which is extend about half an inch above the top of the bag. (A thinner interfacing may be more malleable, but the Thermolam wanted to do its thing and I liked how it looked. If you would prefer the lining not to show, cut it the same size as the exterior.) Topstitch “in the ditch” around the top of the bag.

Install snaps: mark centre top of bag, measure out 2.5″ from centre, half an inch down from seamline. Insert snap on front and back (I used my awl to just poke a hole straight through both layers at once), then repeat 2.5″ from centre on the other side.

Sew up gap in lining. And you’re done!

The black/scrappy bag was my first one. The scrap strip was built up on adding machine paper and had been sitting around my sewing room for months. Because I didn’t know at the time that the lining was going to want to stick out, it’s not quite deep enough. The toucan bag came second, and I figured out the better-fitting lining. And then I wanted to make another one. And another one. They are quite addictive! Hope you enjoy making one. Let me know if you do, and whether you made any modifications.