Thursday, September 3, 2015

Knitting stuff for the home (with one bonus crocheted item)

I haven't posted about my knitting and crocheting shenanigans in over 7 months, but let me assure you: the spun fiber in the state of Texas has not been lonely.  I have been knitting and crocheting so many projects that it took me a really long time to gather all the information together to being clearing out the blogging backlog.  Plus, I have lucked into joining one of the most amazing stitching groups....  I have made a bunch of new fiber friends, learned a ton about yarn and knitting, and have spent enough time immersed in the world of knitting and crocheting that Andrew has declared me to be a fiber addict.  I do not contradict him.

Anyway, when I last blogged about my fiber activities, I was just learning how to knit.  One of the reasons I decided to learn how to knit was so I could learn how to make all the amazing knit clothing patterns that I saw pop up on Ravelry.  But, I knew that I needed to walk before I could run, so I forced myself to stick to dishcloths and afghan blocks for a while.

I will be forever indebted to Margaret MacInnis, one of the most talented crochet and knit designers that I have ever seen, for cranking out a large number of beautiful 9" afghan block (or dishcloth!) patterns this past spring.  Just like the garden-themed patterns that I talked about in my previous knitting post, she presented these blocks as mystery knit-alongs in several series. Once again, I helped her test several of the patterns.  All of the patterns were fun, well-explained, and, well, FUN!  Here are the 8 afghan blocks that I made (which I might join into an afghan sometime before the end of the year):

Mystery Series III: Comedy

Block I - Gentle Twisted Ribbing

Block II - Comedy Masks

Block III - Flutter on Bye (oh my gosh, I LOVE this one!!!)

Block IV - Twisted Sisters

Block V - Hedge Hazing

Mystery Series IV: Reversibles

Block I - Furrowed Brow Cartridge Belt Rib

Block V - Road Sign

Block VI - Carbon Dating

I knitted one more dishcloth, but this one is definitely not able to be used as an afghan block pattern.  This Almost Lost Washcloth pattern is so much fun! I love how the short rows create a circular pattern.

I stitched one last item for my home...  A Chunky Crocheted Basket!  I used recycled t-shirt yarn (purchased, not made out of t-shirts I previously owned) to make this handy basket.  I also made Niki some for her birthday, but I failed to take pictures of them.  They look pretty much like this one, so you're not missing anything.

More pictures to come soon....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Birthday presents for all ages

This summer, I made presents for four different gals -- one turning five, and three others turning, well, many years older than that.  And a couple of those presents led to little gifts for other women who weren't actually having birthdays.  Such is life.

For my sister, I sewed a bunch of project bags in which to keep her various knitting projects.  She just wanted very simple, unlined drawstring bags, and I was happy to oblige.  Here are two of the three I made, from fabric my Aunt Janet found me at her friend's garage sale:

And where is the third one?  Apparently, she GAVE IT AWAY.  Yes, it was to our grandmother, but STILL.  Hee hee.  But seriously, I fully supported the regifting --  our grandmother was visiting from Arizona and carrying her knitting project around in a plastic grocery bag.  As if!  So, when Erin came to visit me in Michigan a few weeks later, I made her another replacement bag.  This one I made with a  round bottom, so it's a little more interesting than the flat ones. The fabric was from my inherited stash.

Then, when we were in Texas a few weeks after that, Erin talked me into sewing our mom a project bag.  Apparently, Erin didn't think the bag Mom had been using (not sure what) was acceptable.  We found these cute fabrics in Erin's dusty fabric stash and I whipped one up at Erin's house one afternoon.  I seriously want more of these adorable fabrics!

For my friend Julie, I made some little zipper pouches out of oilcloth to hold her essential oils.  For those, I roughly followed this tutorial, but changed the dimensions.  I ended up making three bags, but only photographed two of them.  The third one was made from the green polka dotted oilcloth that the first two bags are sitting on in this terrible backlit photo.

When my friends Heather and Ivette saw the pouches, they immediately asked for pouches of their own.  Heather wanted one for her essential oils, and Ivette wanted one to put her camera and keys in when she goes to the beach.  I didn't photograph Heather's polka dotted bag, but here is a shot of Ivette's zipper pouch.

Next, my niece Maisie turned five years old.  She is totally obsessed with all things horse-related, so I made her a fun little tote bag for traveling with some of her herd.  It will not, however, fit the horse that NanaB gave her for her birthday.  That sucker is about two-feet tall and three feet long!  Anyhow, I had to go to three different fabric stores to find good horse fabric, so I hope she liked the bag!

Finally, last week I sewed my friend Sandra a lens cap cozy to put on the strap of her camera.  She is a professional photographer, but I have personally witnessed her shoving her camera's lens cap in the pocket of her jeans on many occasions.  Surely this will be cooler, right?  

Here is the cozy from the back, to show how where the strap feeds through.

I found the tutorial for this lens cap cozy here, but I think it originally appeared on the Crafty Staci blog.  I wasn't able to find it in her archives, which makes me think it was intentional removed.  I still want to give credit where credit is due though.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bags to hold kids' treasures

I made each kid a little bag recently.  First, for Peter, I was asked by Corey to make a zipper pouch to hold a bunch of cards with photos of cars on them.

The boys (including GrandDad and Peter's cousin, Quinn) were headed to the Woodward Dream Cruise and Corey had thought Peter might like to be given a mission of finding particular types of cars while wandering around the show.  Since Peter can't quite read yet and might not really know what each type of car was from words only, Corey printed out a bunch of sample photos from the internet.  I didn't really think Peter would participate in this game for long, but I was dead wrong.  He and his cousin found most of  the vehicles in the pictures, and had a great time doing that.  Now I'm really glad I made a cute pouch for it!

The outside is canvas from my inherited stash.  The appliqu├ęd car is out of red duck cloth.  I left it rough around the edges to make it tougher looking.  The interior and strap are, of course, flame fabric!  I didn't use any particular tutorial -- just winged a lined pouch made to the dimensions Corey supplied.

Last week Charlotte had her adorable friend, Silvana, over to play.  I had bought some frame clasps a few months ago and had never used them, so I decided to make Silvana and Charlotte some cute little purses just for fun.  I was dreading the last step -- hand sewing the frame clasp to the sewn body, and it was every bit as annoying as I thought it would be.  The end result was pretty cute though, so I might try it again.

I tried a couple of different nylon threads for sewing the frame to the purse.  The one I used for Silvana's (which I unfortunately failed to photograph) was thicker and much harder to pull through.  Every stitch was a struggle and I used pliers to help me with almost every stitch.  For Charlotte's, I used fishing line from my beading supplies.  It was a tad easier.  Next time, I will go ahead and buy the invisible thread that the tutorials suggest.  I refuse to try gluing it, because I have no faith that the glue would hold and I think the stitches holding the purse to the frame are actually kind of cute.

The exterior is some quilting cotton from my stash, and the interior is a home decor weight fabric left over from another bag I made.  The lining is fusible fleece.  For the pattern drafting and machine sewing directions, I consulted a tutorial from Flutter Kat.  She glued her purses to the frames, so I referenced another tutorial from So Sew Easy for guidance on how to hand-sew mine.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A boxy zipper pouch without a purpose

Sometimes, I make things for a specific purpose.  Often, though, it's more fun to make something because the tutorial simply looks fun or the finished product is too cute to resist.  This pouch was made because I have a buttload of inherited stash, including a bunch of zippers.  I'm sure this pouch will find a use at some point!

The zipper is actually light pink, but the color didn't photograph well.  The exterior is a cool blue home decor fabric from the inherited stash.

Surprise!  Pink polkadots inside.  Yes, the lining looks horrid.  That's because the tutorial has you construct the interior and exterior separately, then drive yourself BONKERS sewing them together.  I'm pretty sure I was supposed to hand-stitch it or something, but I AVOID HAND-STITCHING AT ALL COSTS!  This wasn't meant as a gift or anything, so I can just make sure I keep it zipped as much as possible and pretend everything looks a whole lot prettier inside.

Maybe this would be good for stashing my cords in when I travel!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Backpacks for Camp NanaB

For this year's Camp NanaB (the week of activities at my mother-in-law's house), I sewed each "camper" a backpack to hold their treasures.  We used them to pack the kids' things when we went paddle boating and for a picnic at Stoney Creek Metropark, but otherwise the kids basically ignored them.  That's cool though -- I made them more to amuse myself than for any true practical purpose.  I'm pretty annoyed at myself for not having taken cute photos of these backpacks with the kids wearing them, but c'est la vie.

This one was for my nephew, Quinn.

That was a buttload of grommets to install.  Grommets look cool, but they are kind of a pain in the butt to put in when going through many layers of fusible fleece!  When I finished the twelfth one, I swore I would never use them again.  That's likely to change though because I love them too much.

The backpack for my niece, Maisie, had strawberries on it.  Peter's has flames, of course, and Charlotte's has cool cats.  Here is a shockingly horrid cell phone pic I took of them the night I finished them.  I could have at least moved some of the detritus off of the counter before I snapped the shot!

I used a tutorial for a String Style Backpack with Crossover Pockets from Sew4Home.  The tutorial was great. but padding the crossover pockets with batting was a bit of overkill.  The backpacks are a little difficult for the kids to open and close, but practice will probably solve that.  The straps ended up quite long for the kids, so I had to shorten them (which compromised the ability of the bag to lie flat when all the way open).  In the future, I would probably shorten the whole backpack a little so the straps could be shorter without issue.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Overdue bike basket for Ben

I have been meaning to make a bike basket for Ben, my son's BFF, for about a year now.  Every time he bikes over to our house, he sticks all of his essential toys and treasures du jour in a plastic grocery sack and hangs it on his handlebar.  No longer!

The photograph is terrible, but it shows the essentials -- bike with a basket and a happy little six-year-old.

I used my favorite Bicycle Bucket tutorial from Anna of Noodlehead.  I couldn't find the pattern I had printed out and our printer is busted, so I just sort of winged it based on my memory and the dimensions in the tutorial.  I would have used Peter's basket as a template, but I can't find it to save my life for some reason.  Who knows where that little twerp stashed it.  Anyhow, the exterior fabric is duck cloth, and the lining/binding is my favorite flame fabric that shows up in nearly every project I make for any boy I know.

After I took the photo of the basket on the bike, the boys insisted I take one of them "looking cool".

I love those little goofballs.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Latest sewing projects

I have been slowing down on sewing lately, but I still have been creating from time to time.  I really love this round-bottomed drawstring bag that I sewed for Corey's coworker's birthday.  That fabric makes me so happy.  I vaguely followed this tutorial, but I changed the dimensions and a few of the construction techniques.

I also was hired by a friend of my mother-in-law's to make pillows out of commemorative t-shirts from her family's annual reunions.  I talked her into adding piping and they turned out pretty cute.  These are the front sides . . .

. . . and these are the backs.

I'm really annoyed that I accidentally packed away the kids' new Easter baskets before taking good photos of the kids posing with them.  I followed this tutorial for the general direction of the basket, but I went rogue and added some trim to the design.  All of the fabric and trim was courtesy of the amazing sewing stash I inherited from Corey's grandmother when she moved out of her condo.

For my daughter's friend, Mia, I sewed a simple little padded zipper pouch to hold a gift card for her birthday.  The fabric also came from Granny's stash.

I'm really really mad I forgot to take pics after I finished these bags for my neighbor's sister.  I made five of the usual Peek-a-boo Toy Sacks that I have made a million times before, but the backs of them incorporated some special old t-shirts worn by her sons.  I love the fabrics I found to pair them with, which were also part of Granny's stash.

I need to get back into taking nicer photos of my finished products!