Category Archives: sewing

More February finishes

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It’s been another crafty week, in between work shifts. I worked Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but still managed to get some crochet and sewing done.

Tuesday was a nutso day for snow. I went in at 9 that day and my boss said she had taken 40 minutes to drive to work when it usually takes her 15. So she decided to postpone that night’s staff meeting and rearrange the shifts so that we could run the store with the minimum amount of people. What was supposed to be a four hour shift, followed by two more hours in the evening, turned into an 8 hour one (though it was cut slightly short because the store closed early due to the snow that had been falling all day).

Continuing on with the “Bash the Stash” theme (Ravelry group ‘British Banter’ has a Bash the Stash 2019 thread, The Cozy Cottage Crochet podcast has a Love your Stash CAL, Smells Like Yarn podcast has a Stash from the Past thing going on with his own yarn and others are welcome to join in) I used some Caron Big Cakes yarn to make the granny bag pictured above. This is a pattern/tutorial from the bobwilson123 YouTube channel. Clare suggests two sizes – a small bag with a 16″ starting square, or a large one with a 24″ square. I made mine 18″ as I wasn’t sure how much yarn the top borders and handles would take. It’s a fun bag and very roomy.

And as I had yarn left over, I crocheted up a zippered pouch to match….and I still have some of that yarn left!

I made a few fabric items this week. One was a no-sew vest (waistcoat) of which I’ve just realised I don’t have a picture. Basically you take a metre of a lightweight knit fabric and fold it and cut two slits for armholes, and that’s it! I’ve had a lot of compliments on my old ones when at the store, so this week I made two more. One is now on display at the store and I wrote up an instruction sheet for it. The other is for me!

The other items are made from something called sueded knit. It really is soft.

It’s a pyjama set. I bought two metres of fabric with the intention of just making pyjama bottoms by copying an old and worn out pair. I cut them along the seams, laid them out on paper, and made a pattern for the new ones. They fit beautifully. There was enough fabric left over to copy a summer top that I own, though I should have added a bit more width when cutting out. It fits, but only just.

And there was yet more fabric left behind from that, so I made a quick drawstring bag too.

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And today I used some old stash yarn to make this headband, though I should have gone with my gut and used a bigger hook. Pattern called for bulky yarn and a 4mm hook! Normally I would use a 6mm with this James C Brett Marble Chunky. I ended up using a 4.25mm but had to do extra repeats of the cable pattern to get the length I needed. (My Ravelry project page is here.)

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Thanks Sally, for looking after my steamed headband while it dries!

It may be Family Day tomorrow, and a statutory holiday, but I’ll be working. Our tradition in previous years has been to go to one of the nearby ski resorts on Family Day, but with me being scheduled to work, ds3 working, and Tai Chi Man going in to the office for some paperwork-catching-up time, it’s not going to be a family day for us. (It was on Family Day last year, February 12th, that I broke my wrist snowboarding, and I have felt no urge to go this year anyway.)

If you’re in Canada, have a lovely long weekend.

 

Some fun projects

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Hello! It’s been a fun week. My shift schedule conspired to give me four days off in a row. Two of those days, I was crocheting this crocodile. It will be going off to its intended recipient soon along with a book called The Enormous Crocodile that my boys absolutely loved when they were younger. I must have read it 500 times! My Ravelry project page is here and the pattern for Colin the Crocodile is here. I did have to fudge a little on the head part, as the eye hump was coming out off-centre! It was easy to fix and the rest went as per the pattern.

Thursday, I had a PJ Day! We’ve had the coldest weather of the winter in the last week. I think it dipped to minus 20 Celsius one night. So having a PJ Day was the best! I had a project to sew up for work, so the morning was spent making this apron to go on display at the store, and after a month I’ll get to bring it home and keep it.

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(All my photos are indoor shots, some in my sewing room in the basement. Not the best lighting.)

This was made with a cotton/Spandex blend in a gorgeous Spring-y print. It was easy to make, even including the bias binding for the ties. I was careful to make my stitches neat and even because I knew it was going to be inspected by co-workers and customers at the store. (The pattern is in the photo. McCall’s 2947, I think.)

The afternoon of my sewing day was spent cooking dinner and dessert, then the evening saw me back in my sewing room. I made two lined fleece neckwarmers from remnants I had brought home ages ago. The video tutorial I followed was from The Crafty Gemini. They were so easy I had both made in about half an hour.

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Using exactly the same technique, and more remnants that were lurking in the drawers, I made two infinity scarves as well.

I love these and have already worn the turquoise plaid one a couple of times.

Finally, I whipped up another cowl as a gift, using up some more stash yarn (Loops & Threads Facets).

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I took a leaf out of Ross’s book last week. He has the Smells Like Yarn podcast and is currently on a kick to use up some yarn stash. So what he did was pull out various yarns, assign them each a pattern, print them out, and have them queued up ready to cast on in the near future. What I did was queue up about five sewing projects and five yarny projects from stash, so when I spent all that time in my sewing room the other day I was ready to roll. I felt so productive!

I worked today but I’m looking forward to a fun Sunday with Tai Chi Man which will undoubtedly include a cup of tea at our favourite tea shop, a stop at the Holistic Market, and some gym time. Stay warm, folks!

 

 

Deep dark December

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Deep dark December

I love December. I love that we have the Solstice, with its shortest day (8 hours and 5 minutes here on the 21st), and the long dark nights, and gloomy days, and sunny days, and cold weather that makes you want to wear all your winter knitted/crocheted accessories.

I love that it’s our wedding anniversary on the 10th (31 years so far) and we get to go on a retreat most years to just be the two of us, without anyone else around. This year it was a cabin we’ve visited a few times before, about 1.5 hours drive away, with a woodstove and a private hot tub. It also has underfloor heating in the bathroom and baseboard heating, so not TOO rustic, and it gets warm enough that we can actually open the window, regardless of how cold it is outside. It is close to some cross country (Nordic) ski trails with snowshoe trails marked out, and we tromped through deep snow for nearly 2.5 hours one day. Seeing moose tracks was my favourite part of that!

As usual, the month has whizzed by with leisure activities and work commitments and our three night retreat. While we were away, ds2 gave us a scare. Messaged us to say he had spent the night in the emergency room with chest pains. He was in enough pain that he called 911 and an ambulance came and took him in. Turns out it was a partially collapsed lung, the treatment of which involved having a tube inserted between his ribs into his chest cavity to drain fluid into a plastic container, which he had to manually empty every day. He was sent home in the morning, and in his message to us said he was fine and we didn’t need to come home early. Thankfully after three days and follow up X rays he had the tube removed and now seems back to normal, but that was a worrying experience.

And now it’s time for Christmas baking. We are not buying gifts for each other this year. We had our tree and lights set up in the living room on December 1st, and our celebrations will simply involve fancier family meals, and a visit with friends on Christmas Day. My work outfit this week included Christmas light earrings and leggings, and a string of battery-operated lights around my neck adorned with some Christmas ornaments!!

Today I baked two fruit cakes (I completely forgot I was going to make them gluten-free, and dumped regular wholewheat flour in with the dried fruit, apple juice and oil before I realised what I’d done). I also baked two dozen mince pies using my own  mincemeat, which I made four weeks ago and tucked away in the fridge.  I will have to bake more fruit cakes using the GF flour so I can share with friends and co-workers.

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The meals have been planned for the next few days, I have done my last Costco shop (amazing that I actually found a parking spot on my first try) and now I have lots of cooking and eating to look forward to. (Of course, we will be going to the gym now and then to try to burn off some of the extra calories. We had a great yoga class at 8.30 this morning; different teacher, different style.)

There has been some knitting and crochet. I took the garter stitch wrap with me to the cabin…

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I played around with a knitted rat sweater and a crochet version too…

 

I made a Secret Santa gift for work’s Christmas party (sadly I didn’t get a photo of the nosewarmer with its white pompom as it was an afterthought)…

 

I bought some clearance yarn at Michaels (whoops)…

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(Caron Cupcakes)

I sewed a quick tube skirt out of some sweater fleece in my stash so that I could show off my Christmas light leggings…

 

And I’ve been making a toque similar to the Joyful and Bright Slouch Hat that I made last year…

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(Using the Candy Cane colourway of Bernat Pop, left over from the knitted Fair Isle toque I made recently.)

What a picture-heavy post this is, but it has been a while since my last update. I didn’t think I’d done much, so hadn’t posted because I didn’t think I had anything to show you.

Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Solstice/Yule/Christmas/whatever.

 

Winter is coming!

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Hello, lovely people. I hope all is well in your world.

There has been lots of yarn in mine, as usual. And some sewing too. First, I have to show you why it’s important not to take life too seriously and to laugh at yourself sometimes. Do you see the obvious mistake here?

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(Evening shot taken without any thought of styling!)

This is an awesomely warm, comfortable fleece onesie with a hood that I sewed for myself. However I didn’t realise until I was attaching the very last pieces that I had cut it out with the one-way Hello Kitty fabric running the WRONG WAY! I didn’t even think about it being one-way until that point. However, I had it finished just in time for the cold weather and I love how cosy it is. That’s the important thing, right?

As for crochet news, there are two FOs. The first is this one:

The link to my Ravelry page is here, and it contains the You Tube link for the tutorial. This is a yarn-eating cowl. It used a whole cake of Caron Big Cakes, all 300 grams/600 yards of it. (I know, I’m mixing my metric and Imperial.) It looks very odd during construction, with the loops sticking out, but you loop them through each other along the length of the cowl and then the last loop in each row becomes  a buttonhole.

I doubt I will be making another one, but if I did I’d probably make it with DK rather than worsted and also add some length. It will certainly be warm though.

Another project that is hot off the hook today is this one:

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My project page – Cuddly Cat crochet Scoodie This came out looking just like the one in the designer’s pattern photo, and I am pleased with it. (Direct Moogly link.)

Again, if I were to make this again, I’d tweak the pattern a teensy bit. The hood comes out a tad too far at the back for my liking, so I think I’d stop increasing a bit earlier, work straight for a few rows, then do the decreases. This is a gift for a friend – hope she likes it.

I need to toss both of these FOs into the washer and dryer to soften up a bit. The Caron yarn has an odd feel to it – I won’t be buying it again. And the Scoodie is Red Heart Super Saver which always benefits from a bit of rough handling in the laundry!

We have had strong winds whistling around the house the last couple of days. The windchimes on my deck have been clanging away. As the temperature has been hovering around 2 – 5 degrees Celsius, you can imagine with the windchill it’s starting to feel a little chilly around here. We have had a tiny amount of snow which melted straight away, but we can see the snowline moving down closer and closer. Winter is coming! Make yourself a fleece onesie!!

 

Beating the heat

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New haircut, hair colour, and specs

After my weekend, I still had two full days of time at home to enjoy. The downside to being at home is…no AC! However it is way cooler downstairs and that encourages me to go down to my craft room and actually get some sewing done.

Daytime maximums have been over 30, so both days I prepped a bunch of food in the morning when the kitchen was more bearable and then went downstairs in the afternoon. This is super-satisfying as I can then sew to my heart’s content, knowing that the work of dinner prep is behind me and I can focus on what I’m doing.

Yesterday I spent some time sorting through my knitting and crochet pattern folder. I found the pattern from the Groovyghan that I’ve made twice (this one and this one) and pulled it out, as I am thinking of making another. There is a CAL running in the Vanna’s Choice Fan Club group on Ravelry for the Groovyghan blanket and the designer, Tracy St John, has said that she will make the pattern free for a short time for members of the Crochet-Along. I must have downloaded and printed the pattern when it was free before as I don’t recall paying for it. If you go and visit that group, click on the Interest Thread that’s stickied at the top of the discussion threads. (I have only ever made one blanket with Vanna’s Choice – I joined the group only for this CAL and intend to use mostly stash yarn for it.)

After I’d dug out that pattern, I tidied up my yarn a bit and made sure that the Mandala was being shown off properly! And then I decided to cut out all the pieces for a sewn backpack for which I had a pattern from work, Butterick B6335. I used three coordinating fabrics. I made a large tote and a small drawstring bag from the cat fabric a while back (a quick search shows me that was January 2016) and this time I wanted to use all three fabrics together.

Monday afternoon, all the cutting was done, and today I went downstairs ready to start sewing but remembered I needed something to reinforce the base of the backpack, like plastic canvas. So I popped down to the nearest dollar store, but they had nothing, so I went over to Walmart, got my new glasses tightened up a bit, found some plastic canvas and also some Red Heart It’s a Wrap which was strangely drawn to my hand and begged to come home with me. There were only two colourways to choose from and I didn’t like the pinky-orangey one, so this one in shades of blue (called Documentary) was what I bought. I have seen this a lot online recently – it’s a fingering weight yarn with 1100 yards (about 1000 metres) in a cake. Wouldn’t that make an awesome vacation yarn! A whole kilometre of yarn to crochet or knit up. And it wouldn’t take up much space in your luggage.

And finally, the sewing could commence. There was a couple of fiddly bits, the most memorable being the sewing of the backpack straps into the bottom band without catching the lining. But I was pleased that sewing the oval base into the cylinder of the main bag went smoothly and I seem to have finally figured out how to do it properly (a big part of that being that I realised that when the instructions say to snip into the seam allowance to get around the curves you are to snip into the bottom of the cylinder, NOT the oval or circular base)! A big AHA moment there!!

And…TA DA!

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That black and white striped fabric made it easier to get my hems straight, as did the pattern on the pocket. There are four cakes of Mandala in there for photography purposes so it is very roomy – way bigger than I expected, actually, going by the photo on the pattern envelope.

And now that I have waffled on, it’s 11pm and time I went to bed. Work tomorrow. TTYL.

 

 

 

 

FOs of the knit, crochet and sewing kind

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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).

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

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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)

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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?

 

 

The sewing continues…

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

Stash enhancement Sunday!

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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.

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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)

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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