Tag Archives: project bags

Ups and downs

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Yesterday was a lazy day – yes, even lazier than most during this time of social distancing. I didn’t really get much done. I sat outside for a while but, even though the sun was out, the wind was cold, so I had a knitted blanket wrapped around me. Mr Fixit was busy tidying in the garden, and making a noise with the wood chipper for part of the time. I didn’t feel like joining in!

I did finish this crochet cowl over the weekend though.

And another small SockSack, this time with some sew-in fleece incorporated for extra squishiness. I do prefer the softer result, compared to the crispness of the fusible interfacing.

Today, I was much more motivated. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Mr Fixit was at work, and I tend to get more done around the house on a weekday. I made a list. Vacuumed, cleaned bathrooms, watered plants, made bread, did laundry. That felt good. I do love crossing things off my To Do list!

This evening I went downstairs and made a simple drawstring bag. I used a tutorial from sewingtimes’ YouTube channel which was really easy and a slightly different construction from ones I’ve seen before. I like it!

I had to adapt it slightly as my fabrics were both one-way prints. It would have been even quicker to make otherwise.

And this little bucket/box/container whatchamacallit is cute! It’s from a Lizzy Curtis tutorial – she calls it a gift box and suggests filling it with edible treats.

I had to unpick the first attempt at topstitching but the second time seemed to go well…until I looked at the bobbin thread side and realised it had gone all loose and horrible. Pro – the loose stitches are on the denim side which can’t be seen if I fold it as above. Cons – if I want to have the butterflies on the outside and the denim on the inside you’ll see the crappy stitches, and it’s not good enough for gift-giving. Darnit!

What creative things are you doing to save your sanity right now?

Sock Sacks

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I’ve been having fun this afternoon. A friend of mine was sending me Etsy links last night and we were gasping at the price of ready-made knitter’s project bags (ahem$70ahem). I suppose when you take into account the time it takes to make one, plus fabric and other notions, then the price isn’t totally overboard, but when you have the skillz you say to yourself, “I could totally make that!”

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As it happens, one of the Etsy stores mentioned the pattern they were using to make their bags, so I did a quick Google and found the source. It’s Ramona Rose at localredvine and the pattern is for sale here for about $13 Cdn.

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This is a drawstring bag with a divider. The divider can be plain or it can be a zippered pouch. Built in. So cool! Designed for knitting socks two at a time (which I don’t do) it holds the two balls of yarn separately and has two little tabs inside that snap shut to keep your yarn behaving as you pull it from the skein. (As I said to Mr Fixit, it’s always important to keep your balls separate!!!)

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I possibly could have reverse-engineered it, but with the last week being so frugal, with no purchases except for food, I’ve saved more than $13 on gas, lattes and the like. So I thought, to heck with it, and bought it.

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And I’ve already made two. The mushroom/turquoise flower fabric, which I am in LOVE with, was my first. It stands about seven inches tall.

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And the pink camper van bag is about 9.5 inches tall. Here they are side by side. I just realised that this design has everything – a drawstring, a zipper AND snaps.

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There is a larger size yet, but considering the depth (back to front) of these guys, I don’t think you need to go bigger! But of course it depends on what you want to carry in it.

Just to prove I really am in love with that floral fabric, here’s a photo to show you that I now have a total of four coordinated items that I can’t bear to give away! The wallet at the top is in daily use. So glad I bought some of that fabric before it sold out at work.

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Thankful

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I am grateful for my job. It’s only three days a week but it gives me a challenge and  money to go on vacation and interaction with lots of people who have similar interests. And having that job makes me more grateful for the days when I don’t have a shift and I can get other stuff done. Yes, that means housework, laundry, grocery shopping and other mundane things, but it also means I have time for my hobbies and my friends.

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The six remaining bags

The set of 12 animal bags is done <<cheers>> and not only that but six are sold already. I was hoping that when I cut up that panel from work and turned it into project bags that I wouldn’t be left with a lot of things I couldn’t sell. However, thanks to friends, they are disappearing out of the door. Each bag is $24 and I am going to donate 75% of that to a farm sanctuary here in the valley. They don’t know that yet, but I’ll be passing on the funds soon, I expect.

It took me a while to get the job done as I kept distracting myself with other fun things. In fact, after I had finished the Hey Ewe bag this afternoon, I went on to make another thing.

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This is made from a jeans leg, which I fused with Heat ‘n Bond to some quilting cotton, and then I constructed a simple zipper bag with a zipper and button from the stash. So easy to make. I’ve watched so darn many YouTube videos on bag construction I think I could make some of them in my sleep. Well, except for the zipper – I still need Wonder tape for that.

I mentioned in my last post that I was planning to play with double knitting and I have started on the dragon square. I have made a few mistakes but I am being gentle with myself and leaving them, because it is a learning process. I have discovered I prefer to do it while holding both yarns in my right hand, rather than in the left, or one in each hand, and it is something that you really have to  FOCUS on because you have to knit and purl the correct stitches in the correct colour and then just as you’re getting used to it you have to switch the colours to make the design. Yikes!

When my friends came over last night, I didn’t even bother to pick up the needles, choosing to start something simple in crochet instead.

It’s dinnertime, and I’m off to scoff chili and rice. Have a great day!

 

Nuts for bags

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Good morning! It’s a very foggy start to the day here. We still have snow on the garden, though most of the roads are clear as we haven’t seen any snowfall for a week now. Yesterday felt really warm – I think it reached double digits. My car’s thermometer said 10 degrees Celsius, parked in the carport.

Last time I posted, I had five project bags made. I now have five more.

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Still two to go to finish the set and then I’ll make more of a concerted effort to get them sold for CritterAid.

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In between making these bags, I made a denim one for a change of pace.

Same technique, no batting.

Much as I love my animal bags, I’ll be glad when they’re done. I did finish a child size beanie this week using Caron Cupcakes yarn…

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…which then led me to getting my swift and ball winder out and going through my yarns and tidying some up and turning some from hanks into cakes. I haven’t used any of my newest yarns, purchased last year. I suppose I’m thinking I should use up the older stuff first, but that could take a long time, especially at my current rate of production.

One technique I’d like to play with this year is double knitting, where you knit two layers at once using two colours and end up with a pattern on one side and the reverse pattern on the back. Like this Ampersand Dragon on Ravelry. I have printed the pattern and I think this will be my next knitting challenge. I have watched a few videos for cast ons and dealing with edges. Should be fun!

It’s a work day today so I’ll sign off here. Hope your day is wonderful, and happy crafting.

 

 

What the Fox?

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Now that I have stopped distracting myself with other things, I have made great progress on the knitting/crochet project bags for charity. I have decided to sell these for $24, with 75% of that going to CritterAid farm sanctuary in Summerland, BC. I have been posting pics of these to Facebook and one friend has already called Dibs on the What the Fox bag.

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The quilt panel has 12 animals on it so once all 12 bags are made I’ll make a bit more effort to sell them, probably posting to Facebook Marketplace. I’d rather sell locally rather than pay postage to send them elsewhere.

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The bags that I’ve made so far are similar – animal panel on the front, patterned quilt cotton on the back and for the casings, denim upcycled from old jeans for the base, cotton batting, and turquoise organic cotton for the lining. They measure about 10″ across and 10″ deep, and have a boxed bottom that adds a third dimension to fit more stuff! They also have a denim tab and keyring for attaching stitch markers or keys or whatever.

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Five made so far, seven to go. I really hope I can (a) maintain my enthusiasm and complete all twelve and (b) sell them all.

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What do you think? What’s your favourite?

Snow days!

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Snow days!

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When it’s well below freezing outside (our minimum one night was -24 or so, felt like -31  with the windchill) and the snow is building up to your knees and the roads are icy despite the efforts of the city to keep them ploughed and salted and gritted…well, you just gotta hunker down in a warm house and get crafty.

I was supposed to have Monday and Tuesday off, work Wednesday, then have today off, and work tomorrow. However the boss called Wednesday morning, expecting a quiet day at the store, and said I could stay home. YAY!

The bag adventures continue. I made another project bag (see above), still playing with proportions for using up those animal squares mentioned a couple of posts ago. This is the most accurate, compared to the squares I intend to use, and while it is still a teensy bit tall for its width I may just go with it. I do need to get a couple of metres of lining fabric before I actually starting sewing them though.

I also played with more triangle or pyramid bags. I used this tutorial here.

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This one used a zipper I had lying around and some stash fabric (left from a project a long time ago) and I was a bit slapdash with it, not bothering with Wonder tape on the zipper so it was far from perfect. The interfacing was a grey iron on piece I found in the scrap pile.

Later, I made a second, this time taking care to sew in the zipper perfectly and instead of interfacing I used a thin poly batting. The last step was sewing closed the gap in the lining, which was a bit messy, unfortunately. Still, I was just playing.

During my four days off, I also gave the house a good clean. Well, you can’t sew ALL the time. That felt good. And I also crocheted a couple of cowls.

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This is Bernat Pop from the yarn stash in the Blue Streak colourway. I held two strands double, one from each end of the cake and used a 9mm hook. The cable pattern is from the Complete Photo Guide to Crochet, which I own. This is for me, because sometimes I need an earwarmer rather than a whole hat, and anyway hats squish my hair flat and then I can’t take them off all day!

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This one was super quick because it’s a jumbo yarn. The brand is Spindle Yarns Snug-as-a-Bug which came from the store where I work. It used half the ball and a 19mm crochet hook. A 25 mm would have been better but I don’t have one. I just did slipstitch in the round for about five rounds and it was done in the time I drank a cup of tea at the coffeeshop today.

Seeing as I have half the ball left, I have whipped out some size 35 knitting needles (again, 25mm would be better but I only have one of those, probably from a thrift store purchase) and am making another cowl in garter stitches on SIX STITCHES. Yes, only six stitches makes a piece about 7″ wide. Crazy, eh!

I have done a fair bit of snow shovelling this week but thankfully because it’s so cold the snow has been very light. I have to be careful, as my right wrist tires easily since I broke it, and my left shoulder has a rotator cuff strain that has been painful for a really long time. I’ve decided to give it some serious TLC for two weeks to see if that helps. Rest (no yoga or upper body weights), turmeric for inflammation, ice pack, cold water in the shower (the water coming out of the tap right now is extremely cold, but I only direct it on my shoulder at the end of a warm shower). I really need to get this pain gone, because it hurts to do just about anything on that side, especially taking off clothing where you cross your arms over your body and pull upwards.

Oooh, I nearly forgot. It was a beautiful sunset as I was making dinner and as I looked out of my kitchen window I saw movement in the back garden. Four deer came through to nibble on our trees and generally hang out. They were there for some time. I am always excited to see them. (Sunset photo courtesy of my youngest son.)

Playing with proportions

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Happy Monday! Well, it is for me. I worked Saturday and Sunday, so now I have Monday and Tuesday off. It is super cold here in British Columbia (we’re talking about minimums in the minus 20s) and I decided that I didn’t need to go anywhere today and I would spent some quality time with my sewing machine.

This morning I made the Pink Panther bag. In my last post, I talked about the pink campervan bag, and how it looked too tall and skinny for my liking. I experimented by taking a couple of inches off the height of the printed sections above the denim. I really like this bag. It’s the perfect size for a sock or other small project, but looking at the animal squares in the fabric I want to use I really don’t know if it’s doable to trim an inch off the top and bottom of those squares.

After a quick coffee and some avocado on toast I returned to the sewing machine and made the caravan bag. I went back to the original height of the print pieces but made them a bit wider, thinking that I could add some contrast fabric to each side of the animal squares.

It does look good, I think. But I prefer the smaller bag. Also, did you notice that there is a jeans seam running vertically down the base of this bag? I accidentally cut the denim from the jeans leg the wrong way, but used it anyway. I might even prefer it this way as it becomes a feature instead of being hidden at the bottom.

I was binge watching You Tube last night, watching bag-making videos and upcycled jeans tutorials. I really should just go to bed early at the end of a work day – I am such a zombie past 10pm – I just wish it wasn’t so much effort to get off the couch and brush my teeth some nights!!

If you haven’t yet entered my giveaway, it’s here and you still have until the 21st to enter. 

 

 

Saying goodbye to an old friend

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(Have you entered my giveaway yet? It’s here and is open until January 21st, 2020.)

I had a call on Tuesday morning from a friend’s husband. She was in hospital, and knowing that she hadn’t been in good health or spirits for some time I called Mr Fixit and we arranged to go and see her in the afternoon. I almost waited until Thursday, my next day off, but I’m very glad I didn’t. We didn’t stay long – it was basically a Hello and an I Love You and a Goodbye – but I am grateful for the opportunity to have said Goodbye as she died that night.

We are, of course, sad to see her go. We will miss her terribly. But she was ready. She had made her plans, dictated her obituary, given her husband her computer password, etc. Much as we hated to lose our friend, an outspoken, encouraging, flamboyant artist and writer who was generous and grandparental with my boys, we knew it was time.

And life goes on. Specifically, the crafting goes on.

I finished this…

 

On my Ravelry project page, I called this Sunseeker on Maui. The yarn is Cascade Sunseeker, a cotton/acrylic with a teeny bit of sparkle (a multi, with pink and grey, and a solid). I made it up as I went along, using half doubles, singles and double crochets, and I ran out of yarn after single crocheting along the bottom edge. I did at least get to cover a few yarn carries where I striped the pink and grey for a few inches, but ideally I would have liked to have gone around the whole thing.

I’m now down to two WIPs, the knitted tube blanket (the colour options for which are boring me and I may let it languish for a while) and the Moe of Change crochet blanket, which I really need to persevere with as a friend is having a baby in the summer and it would make a great gift.

I have an idea for a good fundraiser for a local farm sanctuary and I bought a panel of fabric on Wednesday and some coordinating cotton so that I can make more project bags.

The plan is to use my collection of old jeans for the bag bases. With that in mind I made a trial bag today. I had to use a certain size square because the fabric has 9″ squares with pictures of cute animals on. I started out with two pieces of  camper van fabric from my stash, 9.5″ square, and the same size of denim for the bottom.

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I’m not particularly happy with how it turned out. It’s pretty and perfectly usable, but it’s disproportionate. It’s too tall, or too narrow, depending on your perspective. I boxed the bottom corners too deeply as well. I should have cut out a 1″ square instead of 1.5″.

I may have to see if I can make the animal squares rectangular (shorter vertically) without losing any of the words,  and boxing the denim corners more frugally should make the base look better.

Maybe I’ll make another tonight with different measurements. Glad I didn’t cut into the good stuff yet.

Mr Fixit had a nasty fall this morning when he went out to clear the snow off the driveway because of ice hidden under the new snow. Hurt his elbow and hip. The arm was numb for a while, then painful. So I cleared the drive this morning (in my Hello Kitty onesie for the amusement of any neighbours who may have seen me). Then I cleared the neighbour’s drive across the road. Thankfully it’s below freezing so the snow is light. It persevered most of the day, so after I returned from grocery shopping ds2 and I went out and cleared ours again. Then we cleared two more neighbours’ drives. So that’s five driveways, which are not small, and they are sloping, so I had a lot of exercise today. No need to go to the gym. My left rotator cuff hates me now. It was bad enough when I woke up this morning – I had probably been sleeping on it – and while I tried to remember to wield the shovel with my right hand in front it was still a challenge.

The Greek Potatoes have been baking for nearly two hours now so I need to go and throw together a Greek salad to go with it. This blog post got long, didn’t it!

On a roll

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Since my last post, I have made four more bags. I managed to get daylight shots of all five, just before it got too dim outside.

I love sewing days! No outside commitments (except I will go to the gym tonight with Tai Chi Man to counteract my sedentariness). No need to do anything except throw my fleece onesie over my PJs, drink tea, eat a bit, and sew. I set up my laptop on the table behind me so that I could listen to YouTube videos while I played with fabric.

The process is getting quicker, once I’ve made the decision as to which fabrics to put together. First bag today took two hours, the last was more like an hour and a half.

These three use the same range of fabric, but are all different…

And this one uses some cat fabric which has been in the stash for a long time…

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I started out by boxing the bottom corners with a 2″ square, but I changed it to 1.5″ and find it looks better. I also now use 32″ of ribbon instead of 36″ as it’s plenty long enough and will make my ribbon go further.

I’d like to keep going with these. Now that I have the method memorised, I am getting more efficient.

And now I need to get back to my bread dough which is rising in readiness for hamburger buns. I have black beans cooking in the pressure cooker to make beanburgers for dinner. Ta ta for now.

 

Quilting for a change!

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No yarn WIP photos this week. They are boring me, and are not progressing much. Instead, TA DA!

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I made a small quilt. I was given the choice of some Christmas panels at work and of course I chose the non-traditional one with my favourite colours in it. It comes with a range of coordinating fabrics which I love, so I kept it simple by cutting out the centre design and surrounding it with squares. I did have to trim some to make them fit. There is a thin line of pink around the centre, which is just a folded strip of fabric that’s incorporated into the seam.

I didn’t do any quilting on this, just tied the layers together using some pink yarn, and added a few snowflake buttons.

The back is two other sections of the panel plus another fabric from the same range.

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I then had two pieces of panel left, which went into a project bag along with some of the other fabrics left over from the quilt. The spotty buttons from my stash fit well with the colour scheme.

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And the second side…

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I sort of followed a video tutorial though I had to change the measurements a bit as my pre-printed squares were a little narrower than the instructions said to cut, and as they were also deeper than her patchwork section I shortened the top and bottom pieces. It would look better wider, but I had to go with what I had. I added batting in between the layers, so a bit of stitching and button sewing hold it in place. I managed to fit 6 hanks of yarn in there for the photo, so it’s quite roomy.

These items will have to go on display at the store, probably right up til Christmas.

I have been creating other small items as part of the Christmas cracker swap that I’m in. I think I have everything ready to pack up now. A few small crocheted things, some beading, tea, and of course a cheesy joke. The sooner I send it the better as my swap partner is in the UK. I have taken photos but probably shouldn’t show anything yet just in case.

Happy Hump Day! Hope your week is awesome.