Scrap adventures continue

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Scrap adventures continue

I’ve been having so much fun with my scraps this month. Following on from the hot pink pumpkin bag and the tote bag made from scrap fabric squares, I continued to experiment.

These scraps were pulled from the “black” bag, and arranged on an 8″ square of batting and free motion quilted. It wasn’t particularly successful as the pieces wanted to move around so there were some little gaps where I could see through to the batting.

Then I moved on to 8″ squares of fusible interfacing.

These worked out a little better, because I arranged the scraps so that every one was at least partly touching the fusible, ironed it, then quilted it. I had an oopsie where I melted something and realised I had used a piece of polypropylene instead of cotton! I have now invested in a snazzy pair of Fons and Porter machine quilting gloves from work, which have little non-slip dots all over the palms and underside of the fingers. I think this will help a lot. My quilting on these is embarrassing to say the least!

Also, nighttime shots in artificial light are not the greatest!

So, after watching quite a few You Tube videos on creative ways to use up scraps, I tried this.

I cut 12.5″ squares of white broadcloth and white tulle. I put them together, sewed around three sides, and stuffed a bunch of scraps into the resulting pocket. I thought I’d gone overboard, but once I sewed the fourth side and then added wavy lines across the whole square it flattened down quite nicely. I didn’t even use my walking foot, just the everyday one.

The scraps didn’t reach the edge in a couple of places so I trimmed it down to about 10″ square and then added a binding. I will actually use this – it would be good mat for a hot teapot. And I used up SO many scraps, some of which I even rescued from the waste paper basket in my sewing room.

I also finished a project bag made from fabric created from thin strips of quilt cottons.

Instead of multiple squares, this time I cut some batting 12 by 30″ and applied the strips directly to it on the diagonal, leaving the edges raw.

At this point, I had sorted the heap on my sewing room floor by colour, so it was easier to follow the colour wheel. It was such a pretty effect! This rectangle became this….

The lining isn’t my favourite fabric but I had a big enough chunk of it to make it in one piece.

How has your week been? Mine has been somewhat overshadowed by the toothache that started last Saturday, continued through Sunday and made my work day very tough, and a dentist appointment on Monday morning when I had a tooth pulled. Since then I’ve had various aches and pains and sore bits in my mouth, and I’m ready for it all to just be over!

The good news is that Mr Fixit and I are going away for a week to a guest house that’s a couple of hours drive away – far enough to feel like a complete break, but still within the province. We’ve been once before and we know the food is great, there are good hiking trails, and we will get a few spa treatments thrown in as well. We don’t plan to check social media while we’re gone. My phone will be for emergency contact with our sons at home, if necessary. I’m taking a book, some crochet, some pens and a notebook.

I’ll ‘see’ you when I get back!

Smoked out

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Smoked out

Our valley has been full of smoke the last few days. We haven’t had many local fires this year, but we have been experiencing very poor air quality from smoke coming up from Washington/Oregon. Whilst I’m grateful we are not directly threatened by the fires, I am disappointed that the cool, clear, possibly even damp days of fall have not so far materialised.

For about three days we kept the windows closed and it was too warm and very stuffy inside. I tried running the furnace fan one day to see if it helped, but it didn’t. As soon as I could see a slight thinning of the smoke layer, I threw open the windows again.

So let’s see, what crafty progress have I made? The Habitat Cardigan hasn’t changed much from the progress photo at the end of August. The collar has been added to, but then it languished again as I went into manic sewing mode.

I am very pleased with the bags I made this week.

This is my Pumpkin Bag. The materials are a pink wool-like fabric, that’s actually wool-free – it may be a poly/rayon blend, I don’t remember – curtain grommets from the place where I work, and lots and lots of scraps. The pumpkin applique is made from lots of strips of quilting cotton, overlapped and zigzagged down to a base of fusible interfacing. I made a rectangle of this “new fabric” then just trimmed it to a pumpkin shape and used one of the offcuts to make the stem.

The lining is also made from scraps, again with the edges un-neatened, overlapped and zigzagged on a base of broadcloth.

This was all done in a single 6-hour sewing session. Lunch was late that day!

Then that evening I started making scrappy squares, sewn onto a backing of quilt batting. I made eight, with each one having a different colour scheme. They became this bag:

For this one, I popped out and bought some new batik fabric for the lining and handles. These photos were taken in my sewing room in artificial light, so they’re not as good as they could be!

That was an intense couple of days!

I’ve also, as usual for this time of year, got the pumpkin bug, and have made a number of fabric pumpkins.

upcycled jeans
quilt cotton and fleece

I made two of those orange fleece ones. The second looked a lot less wonky than the first.

All of the items in this blog post are currently on display at work, just to brighten the place up for a while. And then I’ll bring them home and they can brighten up my place!

Hello September

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I’m currently enjoying a beautiful long weekend. It’s Labour Day here tomorrow and I booked four days off from work to coincide with Mr Fixit’s time off.

Thursday was an insanely busy day at work, moving tonnes of fabric around, shifting tables, reconfiguring parts of the store, and so having this weekend off feels more precious than ever. (Also I am going to a four day week instead of three soon, so definitely appreciating this leisure time.)

Friday was a restful day. I was letting my body recover from all of the strenuous activity of the day before. Saturday we enjoyed a mini road trip south, repeating one of our favourite traditions for this time of year. We stopped to pick up lunch from our friends’ food truck at a farmers market, sat in a park to eat it, continued on to a fruit stand in a little town, bought lots of peaches, plums, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, peppers and beets, then turned around and stopped for a cup of tea. Further up the valley we parked by the side of the road at a small beach and enjoyed a swim and a sunbathe.

Today we were out early again and hiked up to the top of a local mountain, which we followed up with tea and baked goods at our favourite tea shop. This afternoon, after a fruit salad made with lots of local fruit, we hit the gym.

After dinner tonight, I finished a couple of things that I started yesterday. This crochet beanie was made from a cake of Caron Cupcakes grabbed out of the stash yesterday morning to keep my hands busy while Mr Fixit drove. (I used one of my new KnitPro Waves hooks and it was very comfortable.)

And the other finished project is this bag. I have seen some people on a Ravelry sewing group making Japanese rice bags (good tutorial here). They looked pretty simple. Just four squares for the sides, another square for the base, same for the lining, and sew them together incorporating tabs or loops for a drawstring.

Of course this bag would look a lot classier with fewer fabrics but I decided to do this…

Yes, I tipped all my quilting cotton scraps onto the floor and dug down to the bottom and grabbed pieces at random to make crazy quilt blocks. So the five outer panels are all different, all clashing, and once I’d sewn them last night I started to doubt myself!! (I started with 11″ squares of sew-in fleece and pieced the fabric right onto the fleece. They needed trimming a bit afterwards so ended up 10.75″ square.)

Tonight I thought, “To heck with it, I’m going to do it anyway,” cut some squares for the lining (all different, of course) and put it all together. It’s really easy to make, the trick being that when you sew the seams you leave the last little bit unsewn so that the corners come together neatly. (Watch the video I linked above.)

Seen from another angle…

And the inside (with my hand-dyed yarn inside)…

Oh yes, I haven’t told you about the yarn yet. These were four balls of white Drops Paris (worsted weight cotton). I dyed them with turquoise and yellow, overlapping the colours in the middle to make green.

This was only my second attempt at dyeing yarn. I think I am going to take four balls at a time and use different colours and methods on each batch and see how they turn out. I have no plans for the yarn once it’s dyed.

If you live in North America, happy Labour Day! How will you be spending it?

Goodbye August

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And where DID the time go? The end of summer already.

I can feel the changes in the air – the daytime temps have still been warm, but the nights are cooler and damper. The sun is lower in the sky and the nights are drawing in. Love that “on the cusp” feeling, actually.

I have picked up the Habitat cardigan again, and am in the middle of adding the collar.

The rows are pretty long, running as they do from the bottom of one side, up and around and down to the bottom of the other side. It’s an easy stitch – half double crochet in the third loop – but the collar is a wide one so I have a lot of rows still to go.

This morning I made a pumpkin. For some reason, pumpkins are the only seasonal things I tend to make. I didn’t get a photo as I did it just before work and took it with me. It was just a circle of orange fabric, cinched up with a running stitch around the edge, stuffed, and then I added shape using embroidery floss and a button on top. I may have to make more of those!

Other things I have made this week:

Crochet hook roll

This crochet hook roll was something I wanted to make to house my new KnitPro Waves hooks. I had this cute cat and mouse fabric in the stash so used the pawprint fabric for the outside, the mice to create the secondary row of pockets, and the cat fabric for the inside. I didn’t use a tutorial directly but it was inspired by an Erica Arndt video and a Melanie Ham one. I combined features from them both.

These gnomes were made for display at work. The materials for the taller blue one were provided by the store, but I couldn’t resist making a second one. The blue one has a styrofoam cone inside, but it’s very light and tippy, whereas the red one’s base is an old sock filled with wheat so it’s much more stable. I couldn’t believe how much hot glue I used, though!

Summer Face Mask – Keiko Olssen

Then there were these masks, which were really quick and easy. What I like about this style is that the fabric design runs uninterrupted across the front. No seams or odd shapes to cut. And they have since been thoroughly tested and found to be very comfortable.

Ring pincushion – SewVeryEasy

And I spent an evening before a staff meeting sewing up 22 of these little cuties. They are teeny pincushions which fit on your finger. Everyone seemed to enjoy being able to take one home. I didn’t get a photo of the mason jar pincushion which I also made at the last minute. I put a bunch of pins inside the jar and the person who guessed closest to the right number won the jar (and the pins).

As you can see, it’s been a creative week. And I’m sure there will be lots more crafty stuff going on later this week as I have the long weekend booked off (four days in a row for Labour Day).

See you in September!

New goodies

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Before I show you what came in the mail today, I need to show you this:

I made this from some old black jeans of mine, and a black T shirt that my son grew out of. It was one of the first things he bought for himself online years ago. I used the part with the words for the bag front and the lower body for the lining.

Another sewing project was this free pattern from Sew Sweetness called the Persimmon Dumpling Pouch. I used quilting cottons and some upcycled denim.

(Yes, that’s my birthday cake behind.)

I felt I did a really good job on the zipper, but unfortunately when you look at the ends of the bag it is painfully obvious that I didn’t match up my denim seams (where it meets the colourful cotton, either side of the zipper) very well and it looks wonky. Apart from that, it’s a really nice bag!!

And now, to my Wool Warehouse order. As soon as they opened up to international orders again, I was there, filling up my cart. I bought two kinds of white cotton yarn, Drops Safran and Drops Paris. I will do some dye experiments with those. And I was tempted by some lovely India-inspired fabric – I think the range was called New Delhi – of which I bought six fat quarters. And then there are the hooks – 17 of them altogether – all the sizes that Wool Warehouse carries in the Knit Pro Waves. Very exciting! In fact, I may have to sew a brand new hook roll to keep them in. I have wanted a set of hooks for a long time, rather than a mismatched bunch of miscellany!

How apropos that they arrived on my birthday!

I am now sitting here, absolutely stuffed after a takeout meal from one of our favourite places and a huge slice of vanilla/chocolate marble cake. It’s been an awesome weekend!

Birthday weekend!

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I am in the middle of three days off, tomorrow being Monday and my birthday.

We didn’t manage an overnight camping/cabin trip, sadly, as it was too late to book anything and I didn’t want to just show up somewhere and hope to get a campsite. So instead we went out for the day, Mr Fixit and I, and were tourists in our own town. Well, our own province, rather. We drove to a good hiking spot that we’d been to before, separately. I had been there with my youngest son and some homeschool friends years ago, and Mr Fixit had taken ds1 and ds3 up there when they all had new fancy cameras to test out.

We set out early enough for it to still be cool enough to hike up a mountain without dying of heat, though in fact it only reached about 25 today, and there was quite a bit of cloud. Word from other hikers was that there were two bears about, but we didn’t see them. We hiked to the summit, enjoyed the view for a while, then hiked down.

Afterwards, it was off to a local vegan restaurant for lunch (they are allowing people to eat at their outside tables) and then to a park for some beach time. It was really windy and definitely not hot, surprisingly for August, but I swam and sunbathed, and Mr Fixit read his book. If it had been hotter, we would definitely have stayed longer. I didn’t feel like I was topping up the tan at all, though sitting here on my couch tonight I can see my shoulders are a bit red.

Avocado grilled “cheese” sandwich
Ginger snap and oatmeal choc chip!

And as if that wasn’t enough fresh air and exercise, I also spent a couple of hours cleaning the house this evening, which feels awesome as it was overdue.

Tomorrow I shall have to make myself a birthday cake! Not sure what kind yet – it will depend on ingredients on hand as I didn’t think of that when we went to the supermarket yesterday. I will leave you with this little sign that we found along the trail today.

Summertime, and the living is eeeeeeeasy!

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Did you sing that title? I did!

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks and I haven’t had much to say. I did get an up to date photo of the Habitat Cardigan just now, but indoors because it’s too damned hot outside. It’s around 30 degrees Celsius in here and I have ceiling fans on, the furnace fan to circulate the air between upstairs and downstairs, and a big floor-standing fan blasting directly at me. It’s about ten degrees hotter than that outside, so the curtains are still closed.

Dinner was a simple affair – potatoes and lettuce from the garden, and some tofu “steaks” which are the simplest thing ever. Slice up extra firm tofu, marinate it in Braggs, dip it in seasoned flour, and shallow fry.

However, I digress. The cardigan…

I am at the part where I’ve finished the basic rectangle and folded it and seamed to form armholes. I’ve also started adding to the bottom edge to make it longer, and next I have to add a collar and cuffs.

This yarn is Loops & Threads Meandering Serpentine for the main colour and Minis for the stripes. I haven’t touched it in three days though. I was working all weekend and haven’t had the urge to add more, but now that the second half of the pattern is printed out I’ll get on with it.

Today was a day off, and I planned it well. Did some laundry and kitchen tidying this morning, went to the gym for an hour (air conditioned but then of course I’m working out so super sweaty), then shower and lunch. And this afternoon I retreated to the basement for some sewing. The other day I made up a paper pattern from an existing tank top and used some cool tie dyed knit fabric to make a new one. However I didn’t add enough ease, it’s too close-fitting, and I was disappointed with it.

So I redrew the pattern, adding a bit extra at the bust, flaring it out way more and adding length. Sewed it up this afternoon and I’m much happier with it.

The reverse is cool too. This is the same fabric (but in a different colourway) that I made a sweatshirt with in the spring. I didn’t hem this version because I was concerned it would go wavy like the previous one.

I think that’s all I have to update you with for now. It’s my birthday next weekend so I have the day off. I am trying to think of something special to do within the parameters of the-virus-that-shall-not-be-named! Maybe a mini road trip with Mr Fixit!

And the heat continues…

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Regardless of the high temperatures and stuffy house, the crochet continues, because we crafters are always planning for winter!

The Habitat Cardigan is growing. The back section is about 14″ long now, so I’m over halfway done with the initial rectangle. I have one more colour to incorporate and then I’ll start repeating them.

When the back is 26″ long, I have to add a “tush extension”, a large collar, and cuffs, so I have a long way to go yet. It would be great if this cardigan could be finished by the end of August.

I was so overheated yesterday I went for a swim in the lake. It’s been a few years, I think, since I did that, and it was very pleasant. I think I shall have to do the same today. The housework is done (the vacuuming had to be done this morning before it was too hot), I need to make bread, and Mr Fixit and I plan to go to the gym later, but I’m sure I can fit in a quick swim too.

How’s your weekend going?

Summer heat

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Summer has hit with a vengeance and we are currently having a week of temperatures over 30 degrees (that’s 90 to you old-fashioned types). Today the analog thermometer outside hit 39, my car thermometer hit 36, and it made our house pretty darned uncomfortable. We don’t have AC, just fans, and we keep the windows closed during the day and open them up in the evening and leave them open until the next morning.

Me outside the tea shop with an unsexy sunhat, trying not to cook!

Luckily I had a small project to do in my sewing room this evening, and the basement is always a lot cooler than the main floor upstairs. We have…wait for it…BABY YODA fabric at work. I didn’t realise we had a range of the Mandalorian fabric until I was working the till yesterday and saw someone had bought some. I just had to buy a small amount to make a mask.

And while I was at it, I made a second mask out of some long-held stash fabric. Neither of the masks has interfacing, just two layers of cotton. I’m hoping they won’t be as hot as my other ones.

Isn’t it CUTE?!

I FINALLY learned that if I trim a little fabric off the top and bottom edges of the lining it sits better inside the outer layer. This is the Craft Passion pattern, cut men’s size, but shortened at the sides of the face. And with longer elastic this time, and cord stoppers for the back of the neck.

So what else have I been doing?

Loops & Threads Meandering Minis
Loops & Threads Meandering Serpentine

Pretty yarn! The bag is full of the Meandering Minis that I bought mid-2019 on a whim – a ‘clearance-yarn-fumes’ induced purchase from Michaels. I wound all the little skeins into balls and put them in a bag and browsed patterns trying to find the right project. Then one day recently I dragged Mr Fixit back into Michaels just for the heck of it and found the larger skeins of the Serpentine yarn – it’s exactly the same yarn/fibre content, but doesn’t match any of my minis.

However I bought 500 grams of it (yes, on clearance again) so then I had more options for what to make. I really wanted to make a garment – I don’t need more blankets or accessories – and I finally plumped for the Habitat Cardigan by Jess of Make & Do Crew (link to my Ravelry project page – do not click if you have problems with migraines or seizures as some people have reported such things since the roll-out of the new updated look).

It has grown a few stripes since this photo.

And I had forgotten that I sewed a little vinyl zippered pouch until I started picking photos to add to this post. This was a tutorial by Erica Arndt on YouTube.

Dodgy stitching – don’t look too closely.

I think that’s it for now. It’s almost bedtime and I can guarantee the ceiling fan is staying on again tonight. Have a great week, stay healthy, stay calm, stay comfortable!

FO: River bag

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FO: River bag

I named this bag for the River Washed XL yarn from Scheepjes. Yet another project from the kit of minis, this scrappy bag was easy peasy. Just a foundation chain, around which I crocheted a small oval, and then straight up to the top, and then some rows worked flat on one side for the flap. A few decreases shaped the outer edge of the flap and then I single-crocheted around the top edge.

I still had some bits and pieces left, so added a little embroidery and a leaf-shaped applique to cover the ugly back of the magnetic snap. The cotton fabric for the strap and D rings was in my stash. It’s not lined, but that’s ok. (Hmmm, I did just have a bright idea – make a small bag that will fit inside out of the same fabric as the strap…if I have enough.)

Summer has truly hit here in BC. It felt like we had a cooler wetter start to the summer than usual, which was a blessing, but now the days are getting hot and, without AC, we often have to pull the blinds and close the windows during the day to try and keep the house cooler.

My geraniums are looking lovely.

Difficult to get a good photo with it being so bright behind

Mr Fixit and I both have a love for geraniums. His mum was Swiss and there’s nothing so beautiful as a traditional Swiss chalet smothered in red geraniums. Also my grandparents, who lived in England, had a verandah full of geraniums every summer from which they took cuttings every fall.

I am feeling very thankful that inventory time is over for another year at work. And having yesterday and today off was a bit like a “weekend” for me after the crazy time, so I have really appreciated it.

I hope your week is going well. Talk soon!