Tag Archives: bags

Temporarily unemployed

Standard

Like so many people, I am experiencing what it’s like to be temporarily at leisure due to the measures being taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The fabric store I work at reduced its operating hours a week or so ago, then it reduced them again, and a day later I was told they would be closing altogether at the end of today.

Who could have predicted how 2020 was going to go and how fast things would change?

Of course, we crafty types with yarn and fabric and sewing machines and hooks and needles are happy as clams, mostly, with all the extra time to make stuff. Where I live, we can still go out, the supermarkets are open and well-stocked with produce, though not toilet paper of course, or pasta, beans, flour, rice or sugar. We can walk around the neighbourhood and enjoy the spring sunshine, we can exercise or do yoga at home, and I can cook and bake. My only peeve is that I didn’t make it to the flour mill for my usual 20kg bag of organic wholewheat flour before they closed, because I would really like to be baking tonnes of bread right now, rather than dreading having to go to Costco for our usual brand. (I will be avoiding Costco for a while – they are limiting the amount of people who can enter the store at one time, so there have been long lineups outside.)

I am thankful that we are all safe and well, and grateful that as we are all under the one roof I don’t have to worry about any of my sons becoming homeless asĀ  result of losing their job. The youngest works with me, so he’s also temporarily laid off, and the oldest works at the same company as his dad, and their jobs are continuing, at least for now.

Mr Fixit can work from home if need be, but of course if the installers stop working there won’t be much for him to manage. Two sales people and two admin staff in his office have been working from home all this week already. We just have to take this thing one day at a time.

I did a bit of “panic-buying” of fabric yesterday when I realised the store was going to be closed. I bought some interfacing and some sew-in Pellon fleece for bags, and 11 fat quarters in solid colours, and 12 half-metres of clearance quilting fabric.

IMG_8394

The colours are very bright and spring-like. I have already used some of the pink butterfly fabric and the yellow solid.

This was made from a video tutorial. Photos were taken in the evening in artificial light, the most accurate one being the close up of the ‘handmade’ label.

I also made this one from a different YouTube channel:

It has three sections which create five pockets when assembled. There were some awkward bits in the construction of this, and at one point I was replaying the same bit of the video over and over to work out what to do. I won’t be making another! And my topstitching is definitely not good enough for this bag to be a gift, so I will keep it for my own use.

IMG_8388

This is the sports bra that I made from the pattern I showed you last time. I had about a metre of swimsuit-type fabric in the stash. I had also found a remnant of stretchy cotton fabric at work that worked perfectly for the lining. The only part of this that actually gave me any satisfaction was the straps. The rest was a bit of a battle with the slippery stretchy fabric, and the design rather disappointingly has you leave seam allowances exposed on the inside of the band under the bust, as well as the raw ends of the straps, so it’s messy.

I could have forgiven that IF the bra had actually turned out wearable, but it’s uncomfortable. So yes, I learned a lot in making this, and I’m glad I wasn’t using $40/metre fabric expecting something fabulous. Because I didn’t get it!

I hope that everyone who’s reading this is staying well and finding fun and creative things to do to reduce stress. Everywhere you look at the moment, it’s COVID this and coronavirus that, and it’s hard not to worry. Wash your hands, stay home if you can, maybe organise group video chats through Google Hangouts or Zoom if you’re missing your friends. As with everything, this too shall pass.

All about sewing

Standard

No yarny pursuits to report this week. I had four shifts, so less crafty time, and at my knit night I only did a little bit of knitting on the scrap blanket and then put it down as my friends wanted to play Cards Against Humanity instead!

I haven’t shown you these sets I made up as gifts. I added to a couple of things I made a while back to make sets – a continuous zipper pouch with a flat wallet with snap in the maple leaf fabric, and an itty bitty bag and flat wallet to match the drawstring bag in the Pink Panther fabric. Now that my pliers and snaps have arrived from Ali Express I foresee many more bags in my future calling for snaps (or, as we used to call them in Blighty, poppers).

IMG_20200305_093327 (1)IMG_20200305_093502 (1)

And then there’s this…

IMG_20200315_151252

…can you guess what it is?

Think about something that’s been in the news a lot recently, something that people are panic-buying, hoarding and even selling for lots of money on the black market! Yes, it’s a kind of toilet paper, but it’s made from diaper flannelette.

On my last trip to Costco, I of course did not find any TP as the hordes had already hoarded it šŸ˜› I am pretty confident that we have enough to see us through the temporary shortage, however I thought I’d do my bit to help stretch the paper stuff by making some flannelette pads. These are only going to be for me, as the only female in our house, and only for pee. (I haven’t got to the stage that I am ready to go full-on cloth as far as TP is concerned.)

I bought 3 metres of diaper flannelette from work – my co-workers probably think I’m nuts, but hey, this is certainly not as messy as cloth menstrual pads, and I’ve tried those before. And I cloth-diapered three babies, so I’m definitely not that squeamish.

Three metres folded into layers and cut with a rotary cutter into 4″ squares made 86 wipes, double thick. I zigzagged all the edges, chain piecing just like you do with quilting, and before I start using them I’ll wash them to get any sizing out and make them more absorbent.

A stack of clean ones on one side of the loo and a small lidded bucket on the other side should do it. And I’ll throw the used ones in with my towel laundry.

IMG_20200315_121046

I was excited to find this pattern in the discontinued basket at work. I’ve been wanting to sew my own sports bras so that I can make them in a style I like, and so this came at the perfect time. I’ll make the first one in whatever I can find in my stash – I’m sure there’s some jersey knit fabric in there to give me a practice run as to size and construction. The top and leggings are cute too, though the leggings have a lot of seams and even a ruching detail on the ankle length ones. I have a busy week ahead again so not sure when I’ll get to this, and I also have a couple of metres of fabric for a top that I want to sew up very soon, but it probably won’t be until at least Thursday, unless I can optimise my home time and avoid vegging in front of my laptop. Trouble is, after 8 hours of being on my feet at work, on a concrete floor, on the go and constantly interacting with people, I am usually wiped out by the time I get home.

Hope you have a great week. Stay healthy and optimistic. I intend to!

Bags and thread

Standard

IMG_20200103_092311

What a gorgeous morning! We had quite the dump of wet snow overnight, but the mild temperature this morning had the stuff dropping off the trees in clumps. The sun coming up through the trees is one of my favourite views from my back deck.

I considered going to the gym, but then rationalised that Mr Fixit (previously known as Tai Chi Man) would probably be wanting to go tonight anyway so I might as well wait. Instead, I retreated to my sewing room.

Five of the knitting project bags I made were given out to my friends last night at our Hygge gathering at my house. I realised I needed to make one more for one person who wasn’t there, so I did that today. Then I made another couple of snap bags.

I even added a tab to the last two, and a keyring. I think that flower one is my favourite.

Then I had a peaceful time sorting all my thread into colour groups and tucking in messy ends and putting it all back. I think I need another 50 spool storage box! The neutrals are lying in the lid of one of the other boxes.

The family is trickling back from their work days and I need to blend the butternut squash soup, so I’m off to do that now. Enjoy the day, wherever you are.

Friday fun

Standard

I felt bad for Tai Chi Man yesterday. He’s on the verge of leaving for work and says, “Thank goodness it’s Friday!” and I had to break it to him that, actually, it was Thursday. Poor guy! At least he has a long weekend to look forward to – it’s Labour Day weekend.

So what’s been happening Chez Nicolaknits this week? Unpicking quilting stitches – yes, lots of ’em, and the job is not done yet. I haven’t done some every day, but I have amazingly had the patience for some long sessions with the seam ripper so hopefully the job will be finished soon.

There has been other sewing:

IMG_20190830_140611

This top is made from a pattern that a friend bought and sewed up, and she lent me the pattern a very long time ago to make one for myself. I finally got around to it. I started it yesterday morning before work, and finished it this afternoon. There are only a few seams, but the hemline is horrendously long and it took ages to do because I wanted to make sure it was done properly with no tucks or twists.

IMG_20190830_141007

I made View A, the easiest one!

Can I remember what the fabric is? No I can’t. I bought it recently from work, but didn’t keep the receipt. I think it’s a rayon. And it’s in the perfect colour to go with jeans. It has a very wide neckline so I’ll have to wear it with a tank top underneath.

I was having so much fun with the upcycled jeans ideas, that I made two more bags:

There has been a little crochet:

IMG_20190827_121443

This is a pompom hat I’m making with some stash, a cake of Caron Cupcakes in the colourway Strawberry Kiwi Pop. The cool thing about this is that I grabbed the cake of yarn in the morning and stuffed it into a project page with hooks etc, and later in the day after my errands were done I stopped at the tea shop and decided on the spur of the moment to have a strawberry kiwi iced tea (with no idea that that was the colour of the yarn that was in my bag)!

strawkiwi

Another project that I couldn’t wait to start was this one:

IMG_20190830_141316

New yarns came in at work and I was filling the shelves and deciding how to display these new little crochet kits for loveys (mini baby security blankets). Well, I couldn’t resist this unicorn one and I offered to crochet one for display and got the okay!

This is a pretty, soft, worsted weight yarn and the brand, Spindle Yarns, is Fabricland’s (Canada) own. They’ve added quite a few new yarns to the range including a cotton blend and a 100% bamboo, over which I shall have to practice my self control!

The rest of my day looks like this: decide what’s for dinner, get some prep done, sit and unpick quilt, eat dinner, go to gym!

 

 

 

Two steps forward and one step back

Standard

The backing for the wonky log cabin quilt came together quickly, as I used chunks of the fabrics left over from the top. I bought a polyester batting from work – the cheapest thinnest stuff you ever did see – and pinned the layers together.

And then I quilted some of it…and hated it…and am now unpicking the stitches from the back with a seam ripper. It was too much quilting, too messily done, and it ruined it. I had quilted five squares out of the 25, used a full bobbin of thread on it over 1.5 hours, and it will take ages to pull out. However I will be happier with it in the long run if I suck it up and just do it.

IMG_20190821_182054_876

More happily, I have an FO! A pompom beanie crocheted with a cake of Caron Chunky Cupcakes in Jelly Bean. The pattern was on the ballband but it’s also available for free on the Yarnspirations website. Details on my Ravelry project page. It’s constructed using a sideways ‘ribbed’ brim, then you join into a loop and work along the side for the body of the hat. The main part is moss stitch, which in crochet is (sc, ch1) around, working into the chain spaces on the next round. It makes a nice fabric, and alternating both ends of the yarn cake gives you a variation in colour as you go. The pompom comes attached to the yarn, which is why it coordinates so well.

IMG_20190818_121228

a cosy Cowboy Fog

 

I’ve been mostly staying off Facebook lately, preferring just to post an occasional photo to Instagram. I spend at most a few minutes a day on Instagram so have more time to do better things! The above photo is from one of my visits to my favourite local tea shop. This book is from the library and I’m really enjoying the read, and identifying what is cosy for me. Certainly, one of my cosiest things to do is sit in Chai Baba and drink their awesome teas and either crochet, read or talk to the friends we bump into there.

Another cosy thing I like to do is take my breakfast outside to the deck. It’s cool and quiet and I can look at the sky, enjoy my breakfast, maybe wrap myself in a blanket or quilt if I feel a little chilly, and look out for birds and squirrels in the trees.

IMG_20190823_071612_666

morning muesli

It’s my birthday tomorrow and I feel like the celebrations are happening not just for one day but for half a week! Last night I went out to dinner with friends and we had a lot of fun. We’re all Brits so have the same sense of humour. Tomorrow I am working, but there is a potluck at my house in the evening with a different set of friends who we always have a laugh with. We usually play Mexican Train Dominoes, and there is lots of digressing and wordplay and puns. And Sunday morning we are off to brunch at another vegan cafe with a couple of our sons. I am totally making the most of turning 57!

IMG_20190823_142718

So while I was procrastinating on the quilt unpicking, I made these tote bags with some old stash fabrics. I made 12 in all but took the photo before I made the last one. I decided that as I have to work on my birthday, I will practice Random Acts of Kindness and give a bag out now and then throughout the day to customers who need one. It will save them taking a plastic bag and hopefully it will remind them to always carry a cloth bag with them when they shop in future.

And then I spotted the stash of old jeans on the top shelf of the sewing room closet, and this came together.

It’s a fun little bag made from upcycled denim. I sewed a little flower where there was a hole at the corner of the pocket, which inspired me to make the strap out of the same fabric and also applique another patch on the back. I loved it so much that I immediately started another, but it got to 4pm and I had to start cooking dinner. I could have carried on for hours!

Have you seen this nifty gadget? It was very useful today, for sewing over bulky seams and the parts where the tote bag straps joined to the top of the bags. It basically helps the machine to handle the thick seams without skipping stitches or getting stuck. Definitely a good investment.

Well, I really must get to bed. It’s been a busy day (including a 9am Cardio Barre class and a half hour weights session tonight) and I have to be up early in the morning, Have a great weekend!

Wow, is it really Thursday again already?

Standard

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

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

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

IMG_7383

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

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

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

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

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

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

FullSizeRender (16)

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

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