Tag Archives: Upcycled jeans

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!

Back to work!

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Back to work!

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Coordinating mask and hair!

I was called back to work last week. Almost all of our staff came in for two solid days and we hung plastic barriers around the till and the cutting tables, taped arrows on the floor, cleaned, tidied and organised our buns off. Sunday was a day of rest and reopening day was Monday (yesterday).

We don’t have to wear masks but I made myself an extra-special one anyway!

The first day back went well, with customers happy to see us open, and OK with waiting if there was already the maximum allowed in the store.

Since my last blog post, I have making, yes you guessed it, more bags. I’m afraid there has been no crochet or knitting. I had a bit of a repetitive strain pain in the base of my left thumb which was irritated by the blanket knitting. Instead I upcycled a couple of jeans pockets and some extra bits and pieces I had lying around.

After I took the photos, I added some turquoise stitching around the seamline, though I don’t think my machine is meant to be embroidering on multiple layers of denim. It doesn’t look as good as it does on thinner fabric.

I am in love with this bag that I made today. I sized it based on what I had of the fabric, bearing in mind the floral and pink fabrics were both left over from sewing garments.

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I added extra features like the detachable wrist strap and the keyring on the side of the inner pocket. It’s a big bag – about 12.5″ tall.

So that’s two more bags for the #dodgybagmal2020 that Ali of Little Drops of Wonderful is running this month.

Just an old bag lady

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Just an old bag lady

Well, we’ve had a lovely run of sunny weather…until today. This morning was grey and wet, with solid rain falling vertically for quite some time. I love it. Good for the garden! Now it’s dry, but windy. Weird!

So yeah, I’m definitely a bag lady this week. Four new bags made.

Ali of Little Drops of Wonderful, in partnership with Claudia of Crochet Luna, is running a Dodgy Bag Make-along #dodgybagmal2020 which is inspiring me to make even more bags! Here’s another of the project bags from Erica Arndt’s tutorial – I’ve made a lot of these now – and I used some of my dwindling peace sign fabric in conjunction with some solid cottons and denim. I used my new machine to embroider “handmade” on the front and I added a couple of pockets inside.

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This small crocheted bag was an “I need something to crochet while I walk” project. Yesterday I decided it was going to be a long walk, so I grabbed a bag and some yarn and a hook and set out. It’s two partial cakes of Caron Cupcakes, different colourways, held together and single crocheted with a 5.5mm hook. I made most of it while walking for well over an hour. When I got home, I decided to line it. Well, the first attempt to make a lining failed because I made it too narrow so that became a separate little bag.

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Then I cut some solid purple and used that to line the crocheted bag, extending the lining above the level of the crochet to make a drawstring casing.

Seeing my work in progress sitting on top of its denim project bag got me all excited about combining crochet and denim in one project. So today, after breakfast and noodling around on the computer, I went down to my sewing room and rummaged in my denim offcuts. I have lots of old jeans, most of which have now been cut up for bags, but I found a good-sized chunk which I cut and trimmed to make an asymmetrical project bag.

It’s basically the back pocket and top part of the leg, and one belt loop was attached at the top. I removed three more belt loops from what was left of the waistband and sewed them to the top of my new bag. Before sewing the side seams, I attached the crocheted mandala to the non-pocket side, anchoring the centre with a button. I discovered a new stitch on my sewing machine which looks like overlocking, so I used that for the side seams, and then I added part of the jeans seam as a drawstring, plus a large button.

To give you an idea of size, the bag is 13″ tall when lying flat, and the crochet mandala is 7.5″ across.

There has been some yarny progress on my only WIP, however I seem to have a repetitive strain injury at the base of my left thumb which makes knitting a little uncomfortable. However, here it is in all its scrappy glory.

Last time I measured it, it was about 18″ deep, and I’m probably aiming for 60″. Also, I think the measurement across (when the tube is laid flat, double thickness) is about 48″, though it’s hard to tell for sure. It’s 370 stitches around (and around, and around) but it’s great Netflix knitting. I had to do some minor repairs on the bottom edge the other day, as the vacuum cleaner sucked in a couple of tails and I realised afterwards that one row had been pulled really tight for a few inches either side and there was a live loop randomly hanging out. Oops!

We had an enjoyable dinner of homemade sushi, coconut rice and baked spicy tofu and once that has had a chance to digest Mr Fixit and I are going to do some yoga. 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?

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!

Friday fun

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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)!

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

Utility apron

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Jeans butt apron!

Jeans butt apron!

The flower close up showing more accurate colours

The flower close up showing more accurate colours

Project #3 today was an apron idea that’s been brewing in my mind for a bit. When I’m at work, I tend to lean against the fabric cutting tables a lot and that wears out my T shirts quickly. If I have a metal button behind the T shirt, it wrecks it fast.

I also like the idea of carrying a pen and a pair of scissors with me when I’m roaming the store, and who knows what else might come in useful – a tape measure perhaps?

I was looking at some of my bright cottons and wondering whether I should go for more Hello Kitty, more brights, or more sober colours. And then I found some old jeans that I’ve been meaning to upcycle.

I took my sewing scissors and cut around, below the waistband, leaving it intact, then down the side seam, across the butt below the pockets, and up the other side seam. Hemmed the bottom edge. Cut two strips from a leg to make ties and added them to the ends of the waistband. Sewed a line down the centre of one pocket to make two narrower sections for scissors and a pen.

The flower is cut from a cotton fabric and isn’t actually attached yet. I need some Heat ‘n Bond so I can iron it on. That will have to wait until Monday.