Startitis

Standard

My poor WIPs. I had good intentions, I really did. I posted pictures of them to the Finishalong2018 thread in the Crafternoon Treats podcast group on Ravelry (which I help moderate) with a plan to get ’em done. But I’m just not feeling the love.

So Startitis has hit me bad. After I crocheted those two small drawstring bags that I showed you last time, I made another ‘cake holding bag’ with Red Heart With Love. It started with a circle, which I just made up as I went along, doing however many granny clusters I needed to do to keep it flat, then it was granny stitch all the way up the sides. A small loop at the top finished it off.

By the time I finished it last night, sitting outside on the deck, it was getting dark.

I’ve already put it to good use, as I crocheted a hat today and put the cake of Bernat Pop inside it. This hat pattern is fast. I think it took around 2.5 hours total, and I got most of it done while waiting for the two boys at the dentist. It’s called the Newsboy Slouch and the Ravelry pattern page is here.

Very easy, very quick. I’m not 100% sold on how it suits me, but I’ll keep it for now. It’s not washed yet.

I also did some stealth crochet this week for a crochet designer. She asked me to be one of her testers, as I’ve tested for her before. It’s an afghan block with popcorns and overlay crochet, but I am waiting for her to publish her design before showing anyone my finished square.

So lots of hooking this week, and a teeny tiny bit of knitting. I have done four rounds of ribbing on a sock on US#1 needles. OMG, talk about fiddly. I’ll show you that project another time. In the meantime, have a great week!

FOs of the knit, crochet and sewing kind

Standard

Oooh, I do feel productive. A finished hat from the cake of Lion Brand Mandala (the third from that cake, and there’s still some left). Cast on 94 sts with US#4, worked some K2P2 ribbing, changed to #5 tips and increased to 100 sts. When hat was 4.75″ deep, I did the same crown decreasing as in the Vanilla hat, but with hindsight reducing the straight part by a whole inch may have been a little too much as I find it a bit small now. It fits Sally perfectly (see below).

IMG_7457

A finished cosy from a German crochet book that I found at my local library. I learned some new words in German!

FullSizeRender (24)

And some finished project/notions bags. First, an unlined drawstring bag with a boxed bottom to which I added a special pocket with a slanted zipper opening. I messed up a little there as I was going to make the bag quite a bit bigger, but then my rotary cutter had other ideas and it ended up being the same size as the last one I made. The pocket dwarfs it a bit, but you get the idea.

This little guy is a tiny version of the triangle bag I made first (as talked about here) with the yarn ball print. I made it to go with the other bag as a gift for a podcaster I listen to a lot. They are now both in the mail. (Tutorial Crafty Gemini)

IMG_7463

And lastly this one from a McCall’s pattern (# M6256) which I bought on sale this week at work.

Oh man, this presented some challenges. Sewing a circle to a tube for the base – eeek! Handsewing the lining inside – grrr! Heat ‘n Bond that didn’t stick when it was supposed to – aaagh! Glad it’s done, and it does do the job – there’s a partial cake of yarn in there and the end is threaded through the top of the “lid” – though it wouldn’t hold a full cake. Maybe it’d work best for a commercial skein of acrylic set inside on its end.

This morning was productive in its own way too. An appointment with a new dentist, in which I had my teeth scaled and polished, and numerous other things they wanted to do as I am a new patient there. No cavities, thank goodness. Dropped bags of stuff at the recycling depot. Mailed a small package to the aforementioned podcaster in Wisconsin. And spent rather a lot of money on a new pair of spectacles. I hope to have them before I go on holiday in August as the ones I’ve been wearing are badly scratched.

What are you making this week?

 

 

Too much fun

Standard

I had a 9.30am appointment with my hand therapist yesterday, and afterwards enjoyed a nice cup of tea at our favourite tea shop with Tai Chi Man. Then it was on to multiple errands to stock up on food for the ravening hordes…I mean, my family…but I diverted a little bit by having a stroll around Michaels. I found this new sock yarn – acrylic, viscose from bamboo, and polyester, so yay! No wool! Had to buy one with my coupon so after the discount it came to $5. Then of course I needed needles, because I don’t have circular needles for  magic looping socks in the required size. So I HAD to drop in at my local LYS and she has the Chiao Goo Red Lace in a 2.25mm. I am going to make socks in proper sock yarn! It’s been years since I knitted socks and I used to use a thicker yarn with 4mm dpns.

While I was looking around her new store, I remembered to ask if she had any ballwinders, and it turns out she did. So I came home with one of those too.

img_7442-1

I’ve been wanting one of these for ages. Considering I rarely buy yarn in hanks, and this will mostly be used for tidying up odds and ends, it wasn’t worth investing in an expensive  model.

I tried it out and, well, here are some of the fun results.

Don’t you just love those Before and After photos? And one more – four colours of dishcloth cotton in one…

IMG_7448

I have lots more DK yarn that is in slightly messy half used skeins, but I thought I’d better stop there as my wrist and arm have been sore since Tuesday’s workout and I shouldn’t be overdoing things.

I need to finish lunch and go out for a walk. I’m really enjoying the mild weather lately, but it’s set to heat up mid-week after some more rain. Have a great weekend, and if you’re in Canada HAPPY CANADA DAY, eh!

The sewing continues…

Standard
The sewing continues…

This Japanese Knot Bag is so simple to make and yet it looks great when it’s finished. I used this You Tube tutorial by The Crafts Channel. The longer handle threads through the smaller one to form a wrist-carrying loop. It has two contrasting fabrics on the outside, and you could also do two different ones for the lining but I just used one. (I suppose you could even use eight different fabrics in all, which would be an awesome way to use up smaller pieces.)

Rather than download and print a pdf, I eyeballed the approximate sizes from the video and drew it out on some Burda gridded pattern paper. I started with a 25 x 25 cm square for the body of the bag, and added handles, making one twice as long as the other.

This is the sort of bag it’d be fun to make in different sizes, which I might just do!

I had a bit of a tidy round today, did the vacuuming, bathrooms, kitchen cleaning etc, and now my three crochet WIPs have been relegated to my sewing room, demoted from their living room spots. I’m not loving any of them so decided to pretend they didn’t exist! Of course my Ravelry project page has them sitting there at the top, where I can’t ignore them, but I shan’t worry about that.

The one yarny project that is active right now is a knitted beanie that I’m making with the last of the Lion Brand Mandala cake (colourway Chimera) with which I knitted/crocheted my FIL two hats. Pretty great yardage, really, to get three hats out of one cake. I started with ribbing this time, on US#4 needles, 94 stitches cast on, then increased to 100 for the stockinette part on #5 needles.

IMG_7437

I found that knitting to 5.75″ last time, then doing the crown decreases, made for a hat that was about an inch too long, so either I will stop at 4.75″ and then start decreasing or, if the yarn looks plentiful enough at that point, I may go even longer and make it a slouchy. Maybe even add a pompom. Anything to finish this yarn cake.

Well, I have friends coming over tonight so I’d better sign off for now. I just couldn’t wait to show you my latest bag! Happy crafting!

Thundery Thursday

Standard

We’ve had some awesome claps of thunder today and the sky has changed from sun this morning to threatening clouds this afternoon.

I have been holed up in my sewing room in the basement which is much cooler than upstairs so is a great place to be on a hot day. However we occasionally get power outages during storms and now it’s getting darker, windier and lightning-ier. I have finished sewing for now but need to cook dinner so hopefully we will maintain our electricity!

After I posted t’other day, I made a whole family of these bags to go with the large one I made.

IMG_7423

They vary from 8.5″ tall down to 3.5″ – the smallest one is so cute, and I was challenging myself to see how small I could go. They are floppier, the larger you go, so I would definitely add some interfacing next time I make these.

Today I made these:

The vinyl one was a nightmare to sew. I have successfully sewn some vinyl into bags recently but I had so much trouble with this one, mostly with the thread breaking, even though it was a heavyweight thread with an appropriate needle. The tutorial was a So Sew Easy one, and maybe I would have had better luck with a thinner vinyl. The flat notions pouch is from You Tuber Hue Loco and I ignored her method of quilting the fabric onto felt and just used two layers back to back with a bit of interfacing in between. I’m sure I have some D rings lying about somewhere but couldn’t find any, so added a keyring instead. I’m happy with this one, though my stitching was a bit wobbly.

Well, it’s time for some storm-watching I think. Toodle-oo!

A sewing day

Standard
A sewing day

There was nothing on the calendar for today and I was excited that I’d be able to spend a few hours in my sewing room. I did end up having to pop out to collect some plumbing parts so that Tai Chi Man can fix the bath, and I will probably go grocery shopping tonight, but the fabrics were calling.

I followed two different You Tube tutorials and made a total of three bags. One was from The Crafty Gemini for a triangle pouch. The first one was a bit bigger than hers as I cut my fabrics 8 x 16″ for a finished bag that measured about 6.5 inches tall.

This is a lime green cotton fabric with balls of yarn printed on it. I used some medium weight interfacing and added an octopus charm.

I also made a larger version with a contrast lining but no interfacing, as I didn’t have enough left at this point.

The fabric was cut into 10 x 20″ pieces and the bag turned out about 8.5 inches tall. I plan to make two more in these same fabrics, but in different sizes, just for fun.

And this bag is from a pattern/tutorial called Easy Cosmetics Bag by So Sew Easy. You can print out the template from a Craftsy pattern but I just drew it up on a sheet of paper closely resembling the one in the pattern. I like that the base is a little wider than the top. It’s just as well this one is for me as the print is not quite lined up on one side and one of the little side tabs is wonky.

Not sure why my screen is giving the photos a blue cast. I was outside on my deck on a bright day so hopefully clicking to see the full size photos will make them look better.

Recently, I bought some lobster clasps and sea-themed charms from Michaels, along with a tool for opening split rings, and I used some, not just for zipper pulls, but also for progress keepers on my crochet.

IMG_7420

The beads are ones I’ve had for years. In fact two of the above were already made up as earrings, so I took off the hooks and put on the lobster clasps instead.

It’s snack time and then I shall have to see if I feel like sewing some more.

Fun, food, and a Finishalong

Standard

Hi bloggy friends. Once again, a whizzy week. I worked Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Monday and Friday were taken up with appointments and errands and a walk with a friend and, before I knew it, it was the weekend again. Saturday was a lot of fun. I went to a market at Yarn Okanagan, an event here in the valley where many people were attending knitting workshops and browsing the vendors’ offerings. A friend and I went just for the market. It only took us an hour to look around. She bought a beautiful skein of something soft (merino, I think) in a deep deep teal. I’d say 99.99% of the yarn there was wool, so of course I didn’t buy any, though I did enjoy looking at the colourful skeins. There were project bags for sale too, but I just tell myself I can make those so there’s no need to buy any!

After the market, my friend and I spent a couple of hours at a local coffee shop, catching up on everything as we haven’t had the chance for a good chinwag in ages.

Later that day, Tai Chi Man and I were on our way to an evening potluck at another friend’s house and as usual the food was delicious, the company hilarious and the evening a success.

Today I had to work, but immediately afterwards our family went out for dinner to celebrate ds3’s 20th birthday. So that was a great way to wrap up the weekend, and now I have the next two days off to get the cleaning up to date and some sewing done.

I do have a bit of new yarn to show you.

This is Joy DK from Loops & Threads (Michaels). It’s very soft acrylic yarn in 100 gram balls and one of my friends bought it for me as a thank you for “lending” her some of my yarn. She wanted to make some dolls and I invited her to look through my stash of DK, because it didn’t make sense for her to buy full balls of different colours when she only needed a tiny bit of some of them. So she took away some skeins and brought back what she didn’t use, along with these two extra balls. The teal one is showing bluer than it really is.

One of the Ravelry groups that I belong to, and am a moderator of, is Crafternoon Treats. Kathryn of Crafternoon Treats (blog, podcast, Etsy shop) is running a Finishalong from now until the end of September. I did a review of my Works in Progress, which numbered four, more than I usually have, but a lot fewer than many people have!

As of yesterday, I had (links are to my Ravelry project pages)

(1) my March sweater, which was abandoned temporarily when I broke my wrist. I pulled it out of the bag today and to be honest I think it might go into the frogpond. I tried it on and I don’t love it.

(2) my Maui Ocean Cowl, from the pattern Pool Party Cowl by Balls to the Walls Knits, which is actually now FINISHED!

maui cowl

(3) my Swiss sunhat, made with hemp yarn. I don’t have an up to date photo of it, but I finished the top of the crown and started to work straight, but it’s really hard on the hands (and wrist) and I think this one is going to the frogpond too.

(4) and finally, my zippered window bag, which is an experiment in crocheting into vinyl to make a bag that has a window in it. Designing on the hook, it is far from perfect but I intend to finish this and use it.

zipperbag

Knit Picks Shine Sport, circle of clear vinyl

zipper

zipper with chain stitch, ready for crocheting

This project is further along than these photos suggest.

I can feel the desire to start a new project, something that is most definitely NOT single crochet! Actually, while typing that, I realised I still have some of the cake of Lion Brand Mandala left since I finished the two hats for my FIL, patiently waiting in a little bowl on my coffee table. I think I need to start another knitted hat. And sew more bags!

Stash enhancement Sunday!

Standard

G’day all. Another week has whizzed by and now we are enjoying (!) a somewhat cool weekend. The max for today is forecast to be 15 degrees. It’s windy and a mix of sun and cloud right now, but yesterday morning we had torrential rain at about 7am which coincided with time that Tai Chi Man and all three man-boys were headed out to work on the same job (Tai Chi Man works at an office furniture supply/installation place, as does ds1, and sometimes ds2 and ds3 go to help with big projects). I was also working yesterday, but managed to wangle leaving half an hour early because we had a house guest.

The son of some friends of ours from over the pond came to visit. He flew to Calgary so that he could visit the national parks in Banff and Jasper but drove all the way  to see us for just one night. The drive was nine hours, no doubt with rest stops, but I’m pleased he made the effort. It was lovely to see him. We’ve known him since he was a baby and he’s 32 now.

So yes, stash! This time, fabric, not yarn.

IMG_7413

When I’m working at the fabric store, we aren’t supposed to shop for ourselves, and usually we don’t have time anyway. So I dropped ds3 there today, because he had an extra shift, and became a customer. It’s nice to be able to browse all the clearance quilt cottons without worrying about being interrupted, and I went through them all and picked out 15 of them for (probably) making more bags. I also invested in some heavy duty thread because when I was making the bags with the vinyl panels I had some major thread breakages happening.

I took a look back at my last few blog posts and realised I hadn’t shown you this one…

I am in love with this fabric. I actually have two co-ordinating fabrics in this line. It’s printed with fun camper vans and scooters and for the drawstring casing I used a lime green floral fabric that I’ve had for ages. I can’t remember which video tutorial I used for this but it was a clear one that was easy to follow. The one thing I would do differently next time would be to place the casing higher, as there’s a lot of wasted space at the top.

Next week there’s a 50% off sale at work and I intend to pick up more interfacing and zippers so I can sew more bags!

The Maui Ocean Cowl has grown a little – it’s now 5.5 inches deep and the pattern says to go to 8″. (Pattern: Pool Party Cowl from Balls to the Walls Knits)

IMG_7412

The colours I’m using are very similar to the designer’s, and are very calming.

That’s it for now. Have a great week!

Edited to add link to drawstring bag video tutorial

 

Wow, is it really Thursday again already?

Standard

I just reread my last blog post and realised it was a whole week ago!

We are having a few days of blissful weather, which to me means low 20s Celsius and very comfortable. I am sitting outside on my deck right now, it’s coming up for 6pm and SO lovely. Warm without being hot, only enough air movement to make the wind chimes tuneful but not deafening (unlike Monday evening, when I was trying to enjoy my friends’ company and it was too loud).

We had a little excitement a few days ago, with a fire that started on the other side of the mountain that’s close to our house. We smelled the smoke first, then heard sirens, and then saw smoke appearing from the south. A water bomber flew overhead but the crew on the ground put it out without their help.

IMG_7383

About 50 homes were evacuated but people were allowed back the same evening and within 24 hours the whole thing was over. It was probably caused by careless humans. It has been deemed suspicious by the firefighters.

So there’s been more sewing this week. It’s not worth showing you any knitting or crocheting progress, as that is minimal. Instead, there is this bag, which was a 100% vinyl bag that came in a set of three different sizes from Knit Picks many moons ago. The bottom corners were wearing out, a fact I realised when one of my crochet hooks nearly fell out. It was sticking halfway out when I caught it. So I decided to cut off the bottom part of the bag and replace it with fabric.

I am pleased with it. It now has a new lease of life.

Another bag  that I made from scratch is a box bag from a video tutorial. The outer and inner fabrics are ones I’ve had in my stash for a long time, as I didn’t want to use anything I cared about too much for the first version!

It’s not perfect – the zipper didn’t go in particular evenly – but good enough to use for my own bits and pieces. The tutorial starts with larger pieces of fabric and a 14″ zipper but I only had 12″ ones, so I reduced the overall size (my rectangles were 11 x 7.5″) and ended up with a bag that’s about 6″ long by 3″ across.

And finally, my Powerball set arrived. It had to travel all the way here from Ireland, which explains the delay. In hindsight, it probably arrived at just the right time in my recovery to actually use it. Check out the products at powerballs.com if you’re interested. I heard about this from a Ravelry forum thread where people were raving about this amazing product that helped them regain their strength after wrist surgery.

FullSizeRender (16)

It is HARD! I can only do the exercise with the Powerball for a very short time, even with my good hand. There is a gyroscope inside that creates resistance when you rotate your wrist. I think  it’s really going to help and I’m looking forward to seeing quick results.

Ah well, time to go get the dinner out of the oven. I think the family is chomping at the bit and I’m feeling pretty hungry myself. Talk to you later.