Category Archives: sewing

Bowl cosies are not for me!

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After my first bowl cosy turned out to be a big disappointment, I went on to make another with two solid pieces of fabric.

Hmph, sadly my topstitching was crap and any ideas I may have had for making a bunch of these were dashed on the rocks. Bowl cosies and I have broken up!

Mt Fixit and I are using them, though, as they are handy when you want to have a hot bowl in your lap.

We had a bit of a flood in the kitchen over the weekend. The Berkey countertop water filter was overfilled (son #1 filled it then Mr Fixit topped it up without realizing it) so by the morning water had leaked across the counter and onto the floor and had, rather unfortunately, soaked two bags of flour.

What do you do in that situation? Use the damp flour to make bread, of course. I ended up with five fresh loaves from the wet flour bags which I think could be considered a win!

A more successful sewing project was this pair of PJs made with some fleece-backed knit fabric from the store I work at. Super-easy to make and they will be perfect for winter nights.

I have enough left for a cowl too.

And this is my current crochet project. It’s a rainbow zebra! The pattern is one I found on Ravelry – Zeb the Zebra. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zeb-the-zebra

I’m using stash yarn, DK weight, and a 3.5mm hook, and so far I’ve completed the head, ears and neck, and made a start on the body.

I’m off to make hot chocolate now. Some Dandies vegan marshmallows are calling my name!

Scrap play

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Ah heaven! An unprecedented three day weekend off! Today I spent a couple of happy hours playing with quilt cotton scraps. I pulled out red and green fabrics from the stash, red and green threads, and some batting.

I built up two blocks from the centre, sewing the strips to the batting as I went. I cut the batting at 11 inches square, then trimmed them to 10 inches once covered in fabric.

I’m not usually a fan of classic red and green for Christmas, but I thought these worked out okay.

However when I made the two squares into a bowl cosy (from a random tutorial on YouTube) things went a little awry.

This is my first bowl cosy and I should probably have just used two basic squares rather than pieced ones, because the bulk at the edges made for some very messy topstitching. Also, I rounded the corners but now think that right-angles would have been easier to get neat.

Oh well, lesson learned. I can use this myself and perhaps practice making some simpler versions for gifts.

Snow, sew, and stash

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Winter has arrived!

We’ve had a fair amount of snow in the last few days and as usual it feels like it took everyone by surprise. The roads are icy and not everyone has their winter tires on yet!

I just had a couple of days off and made sure that one of those days was a Sewing Day which I totally embraced by wearing my Hello Kitty fleece onesie ALL DAY!

I sewed three zipper pouches and three drawstring bags (they don’t have strings yet) out of some really cool nylon or polyester fabric that my son brought home from work one day, ages ago. The fabric panels used to hang in a computer store and have some great colours in them.

I also made this Reader’s Wrap from a ribbed velour. It has two pockets and since taking this photo I have added a label embroidered using text on my sewing machine. It’s for my mum who is having a bit of a health crisis right now.

And the stash has been enhanced with the addition of some Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn in autumnal colours. A friend just had a holiday south of the border and she asked me if there was anything I’d like from Hobby Lobby or Joann’s and I suggested this yarn. I’ve heard it mentioned a lot online. It feels pretty nice and I can make something 70s inspired or some fall decor maybe.

My Wool Warehouse order is on its way which is very exciting. When it arrives I’ll be able to put together this year’s Advent collection for myself.

Everyone needs a little tie dye

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Everyone needs a little tie dye

I love this fabric. When it came in at the store where I work, we all loved it. Tie dye on one side, stripes on the other. Basically a double knit jersey. Not too thick or warm, just right for when you need more than a T shirt but not quite a woolly sweater.

There were some flaws in the bolts, though. So they ended up as “damaged goods” and I got to bring some home.

I decided to turn this red/orange colourway into a top based on a commercial sweater I already own.

It has a pretty wide neck (too wide, really), set in sleeves, and a ruched section at the front.

When I folded it in half and drew around it on paper, I planned for the front and back to incorporate the sleeves so I didn’t have to cut them separately or sew them in. I curved the underarm to make a dolman shape instead.

I laid the paper on the fold of the fabric, and cut around it, adding seam and hem allowances.

Sewing the seams and hems was super easy. And the ruching was achieved by adding a long rectangle of fabric behind the left front, sewing along the sides and centre, threading the ties through, then sewing across the top of the casing to hold it all together.

I finished the neckline with a folded binding, but using it wrong side out, so it’s stripey rather than tie dye.

I wore it to work the next day, and I’m wearing it again today, accessorized with the shawlette I made with the stripes of pink, orange, lime and turquoise. Eye-popping combo!

Sunshine, sweaters and slapdashery

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Sunshine, sweaters and slapdashery

October has looked like this every day. Sunshine and blue sky. Nights are getting down to single digits but days are warm and we haven’t needed to turn the heat on yet.

This crocheted basket full of yarn is slowly being transformed into a sweater. I had 10 balls. The beanie took part of one. And I’ve just finished the yoke of the sweater and started the third ball.

The sweater, Sporto from knitty.com (link in previous post), is knitted from the hood down. The above photo was taken after the hood was finished and the stitches picked up for the yoke.

This is an in-progress photo from yesterday. Tonight I reached 292 stitches and a length of 9 inches from the neck. Time to try it on and see if I can divide for the sleeves next.

I’ve been watching The Coroner on Netflix which helped get me through those loooooong rounds.

The slapdashery part comes with these placemats. No fancy binding or careful stitching here. Slap them together with some batting, stitch around, turn right side out and topstitch. They are reversible for fall – orange gingham on one side, black on the other. And the free-form pumpkins are black thread on the orange side and orange thread on the black side.

I made 8 square placemats and had enough from a metre of each fabric to make a rectangular hotpad for the centre of the table as well. I used cotton batting and doubled it up for the larger one. My machine had a hissy fit when I tried to topstitch the first one so I had to fuss with the needle and the tension to get it to work happily and stop skipping stitches.

I think they coordinate well with my white harvest truck print fabric.

These Christmas-themed placemats went a lot quicker. I used a poly batting which was easier to sew, and didn’t add any extra quilting. The nine designs are all from a quilt cotton panel (last year’s stock so it was marked down) and the backing is a coordinate from the same range.

They would have looked a lot more professional with a contrast binding but I didn’t want to bother with that. More slapdashery!

I’m just happy to have spent some time communing with my sewing machine this weekend.

I love fall!

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I love fall!

Reasons to love autumn/fall:

Not so bloody hot.

Nights are cool.

Evenings are drawing in.

Socks and sweaters.

Friends can come over and not die of heat exhaustion.

Rain (hopefully).

Long walks outdoors without burning up.

Fleece pajamas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 1

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Vacation time!

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

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

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

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

Vacation prepping

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

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

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

Made this.

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

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

I also made new masks for Mr Fixit and myself.

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

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

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

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

The makeaholic makes again

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The makeaholic makes again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bag Sewing Tutorial: the Caroline bag

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Bag Sewing Tutorial: the Caroline bag

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

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

Cutting guide:

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

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

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

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

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

3 KAM snaps

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

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

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

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

Install a snap near the top of the pocket.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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