Category Archives: sewing

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!

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!

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 update

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Hi all. I realised last night that it had been ten days since a post and I have stuff to show you.

One of the staff at work is leaving shortly and I wanted to make her a bag. I found the perfect Canadian wildlife fabric, and had my stash of denim at home, so all I needed to do was find the right design.

I watched this video (atelierRuth’s Partition Tote) a few times and wrote down all the measurements in my notebook. However, before I cut into the wildlife print, I decided to do a trial run with different fabrics in stash. That’s what the bag above is – the practice one. I used a different denim (with stretch, which wasn’t a great idea) and knit-themed fabrics and because I didn’t have webbing or belting I made the straps.

The final result looks great, mostly. I don’t like that the stitching along the straps doesn’t line up with the stitching holding the straps to the bag though. And inside…

…there are slip pockets and a zippered partition with extra denim pockets attached.

I’m so glad I made this version first. When I made the second bag, I knew what I was doing and changed a couple of things. Webbing straps, for one. And Thermolam fusible fleece to give it more squish and structure. And I left the denim off the internal partition, and used Thermolam on that too.

I didn’t spend too long on positioning the fabric but the animals seemed to land just right. The pocket with the Canada geese was fussy cut, though. For the lining, I cut two pieces and seamed along the bottom so that both sides were the right way up, but didn’t bother for the partition.

I much prefer the heavier interfacing for a bag like this, even on the partition – it doesn’t flop around. So that’s all ready to go.

There was also some crocheting this week.

Someone I know (we haven’t met very often, but she’s the friend of a friend) just had a baby girl, so I pulled out some Bernat Pop! from the stash and crocheted up a quick C2C blanket. It didn’t take long and I have bundled it up with a crocheted lovey and beanie which I made a while back and which have been sitting patiently in my sewing room, waiting for the perfect recipient.

On the work front, the store where I work is still busy, but the lineup disappeared more quickly on Thursday, so I feel like the crazy fabric and elastic buying may be calming down! Of course, that is balanced out by the extra work we have on right now thanks to inventory. My main job for my last three days of work has been going through the fashion fabrics, making sure they are grouped correctly, looking up the code on them, and physically tagging them with a yellow label.

Others are also working on fabrics in different parts of the store and we have to get everything ready for the big day on the 8th when it will all be weighed. The store will be closing for the day (that’s a first) so hopefully we’ll get it all done that day. Many of us are taking on extra shifts to get the prep done in time.

Well, better get on, I have to leave for work in an hour. Happy crafting!

FO: Ocean Breeze Sweater

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My oh-so-colourful sweater is finished. Details on my Ravelry project page, but to sum up:

It took me 2 weeks and 2 days

The last 2 days were seaming and weaving in a bazillion ends

I followed the instructions for the medium to get a large, as my gauge was 13 sts/inch rather than 14

It took 625 grams of yarn. Around four 50 gram balls of the cream (Moonstone) and parts of nearly all the colours in my Scheepjes Stonewashed/Riverwashed XL minis pack

The only colour I didn’t use was the black

It was easy and fast and I’d consider making another, but maybe with only one colour!

Since I took those photos, I have machine-washed the sweater and it is currently drying on a rack in a corner of the living room.

I have also had a little fabric play. I made a small denim pouch and a bag with a snap, inspired by a Lizzy Curtis tutorial, that holds quilting clips on the outside pleats.

It’s not perfect but it’s just for holding something small in my handbag
I meant to make the pleats face up!
Lined with fleece, it holds all my clips

In addition to these, I have sewn a little ear saver from this tutorial for Mr Fixit, in case he needs to wear any disposable masks rather that the two cloth ones I made for him. I made it very manly in grey cotton with black snaps!

And when I ran out of things to sew, I started to play with the different stitches on my sewing machine, creating a kind of index of stitches on orange cotton with purple thread! All good fun.

Checking in

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Hi all

Well, this is a bit of an adventure. WordPress have decided to give me a new blog-writing functionality. It’s not completely different from the old one but no doubt I will find some things require some extra thought.

Firstly, I hope you’re all doing well and that wherever you are you’re enjoying your crafting. Maybe even more crafting than ever! Maybe less. A lot of people have more time on their hands because they haven’t been at work, so their crafty productivity has soared, whilst others are suffering from COVID apathy and if and when they make something it has to be as simple as possible.

I’ve been back at work for two weeks and have noticed that every shift seems like 16 rather than 8 hours. One week in, Head Office mandated masks for everyone, staff AND customers, and so we have the physical distancing, the sanitising, the one-way aisles, and the clear barriers, plus the wearing of masks. Masks get hot when you wear them most of the day – my face gets pretty sweaty – and if I walk too fast around the store I get breathless.

I’ve seen many reports of negative effects of mask-wearing, the main one being that you’re re-breathing your exhaled carbon dioxide. This means that breathlessness and brain fog are quite common. However, in order to keep my job, I need to wear one, and I also have to enforce customers wearing a mask or other face covering too. Some people object to this quite strongly but until the Government decides to lift the restrictions I guess we’re stuck with it. It’s a minor inconvenience to wear a mask for a short time during your shopping trip, really.

The best thing to do is to immerse yourself in something you enjoy, and crochet gives me a great sense of satisfaction and calm. The back and front of my Ocean Breeze sweater are done. It’s a cropped sweater so it’s waist length. Once I reached the last colour in my chosen group for the body, I started on the sleeves. These I am working from the cuff up, but flat rather than in the round like the pattern states.

The sleeves have all the remaining colours of my Scheepjes Stonewashed/Riverwashed XL minis and now I’m up to the part at the top which is just a few rows of the Moonstone. The only colour I’m not using is Black Onyx, so there will be 49 colours total in this sweater.

The only sewing I’ve done in the last week has been an experimental couple of masks from Craft Passion. It’s a shaped mask with a pocket for a removable filter and an outside channel for the wire so it can be removed for washing. It’s probably a bit easier to sew than the one I’ve made lots of, but I was using a work T shirt of my son’s to see if I could incorporate his company logo. The first one was ok, but the second one was better – I interfaced both layers and it made an effective mask with some added body to it. I have bought some extra elastic and interfacing in case he wants more, or if his co-workers ask him about it.

Also, I’ve been patching this old quilt.

I made this in 2003! Can’t believe it was 17 years ago, but I made a label for the back so it’s true! At the time, I had been quilting like crazy for about 5 years and was starting to get back into yarny pursuits. So I made this scrappy nine-patch using bits of fabric I had left over from making all those other quilts. I decided it would be a beach quilt and would get used, and it was. It was dragged to homeschool park days, beach days, out into the garden, left in the sun, tromped on, wrapped around cold kids, it got wet and dirty and was tossed into the washer and dryer.

It’s huge, and when I constructed it I did it in four sections which I then joined together after quilting.

The fabrics faded and in time actually started to wear out, and I have had to patch areas of it before. Last night, I started patching over the holey areas that have developed since the last round of mending. It’s very quick and dirty patching – the stitching is messy and a lot of the edges are raw. I think what I should do next is lay it out in the sun for a while so that the new fabrics fade a little to blend in more with the old ones.

My gym is opening June 1st and I really need the exercise. I’ve been getting lot of steps in at work, but I need to lose weight and get those muscles lifting weights again. I’m off the oil again – no fried foods, no margarine, no oil in salads, no vegan cheese – and I’m also off Yorkshire tea (sob) and coffee because I have a touch of acid reflux which I’m convinced I can control with tweaks to the diet and a loss of the spare tire around my middle. Dr Greger (nutritionfacts.org and How Not to Die) says that the valve at the top of the stomach is relaxed by a fatty meal which allows the acid to leak back into the oesophagus. I’ve read what this can do long-term and it isn’t pretty. I’m not going to take antacids because those just mess up your digestion and weaken your bones. Of course, stress plays a part too, and the last couple of months have certainly brought new stressors (promotion and the dreaded virus)!

On that note, it’s time for me to get off the computer and make dinner. Take care, and talk soon.