A Year of Projects: Weeks 6/7

Create, forget to share. Repeat.

I’m not going to get down on myself for not updating recently. I’ve been creating furiously, however, I haven’t been compelled to SIT and write about it. In fact, I’ve been having a difficult time sitting still for any length of time to concentrate on “computer” stuff. It is what it is, but that doesn’t make it less annoying.

I made a post with lots of pictures about a week ago featuring all the projects I’ve finished. Until We Win: Fight is off the needles and blocked. My Gluten-Free Wheat stitch scarf is off the hook (but not blocked and I’m not sure it needs to be). I had this scarf with me yesterday when I went and visited my grandmother, and my Aunt loved the pattern and wanted to make one for herself. I made a couple weird-ly constructed hats. I’m still kind of working on the sleeves to my sweater, but it is super boring knitting.

I’m making a monochrome version of the Zinnia Blanket from back in June. This version will allow me to tweak the pattern and get it just right. It will also be a slightly larger lapgan/throw size as opposed to baby sized. Also without the contrast border linking them together. Options!

The Original

I also decided to get a stamped embroidery kit to work on. I’ve never properly embroidered anything, so I decided it would be FUN to do it. Counted cross stitch is not intuitive enough for me to jump into, so I figured a stamped set with a finite amount of stitches would be right up my alley. It is considerably more time consuming than I anticipated! But I still think it looks cool, and will be PERFECT for covering up a big ugly hole I put into the wall when hanging pictures.

Since this picture was taken, I have finished the started leaf, the right/center leaf, and started the 2nd leaf from the right. I’ve put in about 3 hours so far. I’ll update next week with a photo of where I’m at. I purchased it as a kit for about $9 USD on Amazon. It came with the plastic hoop, 3 needles, ALL the different thread colors (in greater quantity than required),and a color guide and rudimentary stitch guide.

I’ve also started working on putting my downloadable patterns up on LoveCrafts in addition to just on Ravelry. Their approval process feels like an agonizing long time! Its only 48 business hours, but I keep refreshing my email to see if they’ve been approved! On my to-do list is to update my pattern landing page for my current sources (Ravelry, Etsy, LoveCrafts, and this blog).

Until next time!

Farewell to Summer. Just Kidding.

Very Voluntary

The end of summer is here. Days are getting noticeably shorter and the weather has a chill edge to it. Which begs the question, why am I showing you a tomato seedling?

Because no one told this tomato summer was over.

You see, I planted tomato seeds back in late-April/early-May. They got about an inch or so high then died en mass. I rolled my eyes at the distinctly barren hanging basket all summer. Fast forward to mid-August when I plopped some green onion bulb scraps into the empty planter basket. Shortly thereafter, I noticed a “friend” growing beside them. You guessed it, tomato seeds that took 4 months to germinate.

Better late than never??

So here we are, in actual fall. About 6 weeks out from the usual first hard frost (mid-November generally). Will my little budding tomatoes have time to fruit?? I counted, I have 2 clusters currently. Eight potential tiny tomatoes.

No fear, I’ll keep you posted on what becomes of my frustratingly late tomatoes.

Occupied. Ish.

fresh dye job.

It would appear that I have taken an unintentional hiatus from blogging. Whoops!! I also haven’t been engaging with social media much (posing or perusing). No real reason. I HAVE been listening to audio books verging on obsessively, for the last week…. yeah. We’ll blame that.

What have I been up to? I’ve also been doing a TON of creating while listening to audio books. I finished my Until We Win: Fight version 2.0 shawl and blocked it. Made a hat out of the remaining contrast yarn and one with a random ball (with “weird construction”) after making 5, I think I have figured out sizing and the brim options! I finished my wheat stitch big scarf. I still need to block it (??). Considering an aggressive steam block, but with it being acrylic, there’s no going back from that.

Additionally, I have been working on the sleeves (two-at-a-time!!) of a sweater I started in the spring and I am making a version 2.0 of my Zinnia blanket for pattern development. This version is going to be grey, charcoal, white/off-white/cream, and black. A bit of a departure from my usual technicolor palette.

Art!

I also FINALLY hung the pictures I purchased a few months back from Avery Ann of Pocket Sized Musings . The watercolors are beautiful. And yes, I DID knock an EXTRA HUGE hole into the wall because I thought I wanted them spaced differently than I actually did. Don’t worry. I have a plan to cover that up. With more art.
I did other boring, time consuming, but necessary, tasks around the house recently too. No pictures. Washing curtains and cleaning windows does not need photo documenting.

A Week Of Projects: Week 5

I’m late! I’m late! For a rather important date.

Last week was pretty slow in terms of crafting. I’ve been diligently working on my projects: Until We Win: Fight shawl, and my Wheat Stitch Crochet Wrap/Big Scarf (no new pictures). This past week I planted additional mums and attended an outdoor birthday party at a park for a friend.

Until We Win: Fight.

My current work follows the pattern, but with a notable yarn substitution. My original is a MCN (merino, cashmere, nylon blend) and this is a previously frogged wool/nylon blend. With the main colors totaling less than 400 yards each, I’ve brought in a 3rd color to finish out the remaining section/bind off.

I am optimistic that I can finish the project by the end of the week. Unless I decide I want to keep going until I’m out of my 3rd color. We’ll see how I feel about the number of stitches on my needles in 20 rows.

I made a little accessory pouch to put into my giant Girl Scout tote. This way I can easily find a pen/pencil/mini-stapler. I made the little patch less busy than the one on the outside of the tote. Why yes, I AM the person who uses the label maker to identify all the storage bins in a drawer/closet. How did you know?

Lastly, here are my mums flanking my little front walk. I have 10 total plants, 6 yellow and 4 purple. We didn’t fully weed out the bed and I have no intention on doing that or adding mulch. I dislike mulching, regardless of how nice the finished product looks. I hope the mums mound enough to cover up the dirt. I could add another pair of plants closest to the front stoop, but don’t really feel like buying MORE plants that will be dead by the end of the year. Again, I know mulch would help. And as I type this, I have somewhat resigned myself to knowing I will likely break down and buy a few bags of mulch.

And that’s all for today. See you next week.

Shoddy Seamstress Adventures: Giant Tote Bag

Holy Heck! Its HUGE!

Necessity is the mother of invention, so the saying goes.

I am a new Girls Scout troop leader this year. Our first meeting was last Thursday, and I realized: I need to carry A LOT of STUFF. Between the paperwork, activity supplies, hand sanitizer, my wallet/phone/planner: I needed multiple bags. Disclosure: I really hate carrying multiple bags. I also want to carry a small first aid kit (because cuts and scrapes happen all the time), and cleaning wipes to clean up after the girls (we should always leave a space cleaner than we found it).

This lead me to one of 3 paths, rip through my large collection of bags to find one big enough, buy a new bag big enough, make a new huge bag. Well, knowing me, I went right to option 3. Friday morning found me in the fabric section of Joann. I had toyed with the idea of a wool felt bag with leather handles (but all their wool felt didn’t look sturdy enough). I considered a double canvas bag (outside and lining). Then I was looking at the quilting cottons. They were on sale! And I’m a sucker for bright colors and a good bargain.

At home I had over a yard of 20″ wide Pellon 71F, an ultra firm fusible interfacing. It was not suitable for pencil cases (too stiff!), and just taking up space. I had my lightbulb moment. I mulled over some construction ideas in my head. I LIVE DANGEROUSLY, AND DON’T USE A PATTERN!!! That’s right, I made this bag without a pattern!

I picked up 4 coordinating fabrics from the quilting department, on sale at $3.99 a yard! Rarely do I ever pick up fabrics from the same collection, but I was feeling it that day. Unbeknownst to me, the rainbows are actually on a navy background, NOT black. There, you know the dirty secret of this bag. I also grabbed a 2 yard package of webbing for the strap, I was NOT interested in making them.

My handmade patch!

Friday I washed all the fabrics. Saturday I started the project by making the above patch. I was inspired by some little zip bags that say things like: “Ye Olde Bag of Witchy Sh!t”. I figured while this is appropriate for my actual life, it is NOT appropriate for Girl Scouts! I left the edges unfinished, because I want them to fray and look “punk rock”. Is a rainbow bag full of craft supplies and good intentions to make kids good citizens punk rock? You bet your bippy it is. I had intended on stopping here, and finishing the bag while the kids were at school this week. As we see, that didn’t happen.

So here we are, no pattern. A bunch of fabric. A sewing machine. A middle aged lady who still thinks she’s punk rock and her street cred hasn’t expired.

A huge flat.

I started by affixing the outer fabric to the interfacing. I laid the interfacing fusible side up on my ironing board, and laid the yard across the interfacing. Aligning the cut line of the fabric to the long edge of my interface. I cut the excess interfacing so I didn’t accidentally fuse my iron to it. Then I pressed the whole thing in sections. My tea-towel damp pressing cloth and the “regulation” sized ironing board made this take awhile. I trimmed the excess fabric from the bottom edge.

Then, I made the outside pocket. I cut a piece of sewn (non-fusible) interface that I though was the size of the pocket I wanted (eyeballed). I used non-fusible because that’s what I had on hand. I cut the pocket fabric double the width + an inch of the interface (I wrapped the fabric around the interface, saw where it overlapped sufficiently and clipped). The pocket fabric was centered the interface on the pocket fabric, with an inch on the top to fold over and finish. I folded the sides inward, overlapping slightly. Then I ironed the folds to hold, and sewed along the top, sides, and three lines down the center. I trimmed the bottom of the piece to the length I needed (setting aside the trimmed piece. Nary a precise measurement.

I placed my handmade patch and sewed it down. FYI: the patch is Kona Cotton in white, the “design” is Ohuhu Fabric Markers. My daughter got these for one of the virtual projects the girls did last year in Girl Scouts. Using resources wisely for the win!

I then guessed where to place the pocket, pinned the pocket, right sides facing. Sewed up the bottom, folded at the seam and ironed. I then stitched the bottom (for structure and aesthetics), followed by both the side seams. Which brings me to the above picture.

I sewed up the side, making a tube. I “squished” the tube into a flat, approximating where I wanted to pocket to sit (roughly centered on the wide side). Next I closed the bottom of the bag. I used a pad of post-it notes as a template to cut out for boxing the bottom. Don’t worry, I placed the notes INSIDE the seams- they are even. Then after I clipped the boxes, I lined up my cuts and boxed up the bag.

Turning the bag right-side-out was tough, since the bag is SO rigid!

I then made an inside pocket and added it to my lining fabric. Guesstimating all the way. Lining: tube made to size, trimmed excess at the long seam, trimmed to length, boxed bottom. I fit the lining into the bag, with the boxed seams meeting.

Approaching the finish.

I sewed the outside to the lining, and then cut and folded and IRONED a width of fabric to trim around the edge. This fabric is NOT cut on the bias, but is used in the same application. I wanted to preserve the directional pattern. I clipped the fabrics together, sewed around, folded the fabric OVER and sewed it down again. The inside fold is a bit long. I am still considering another round with the sewing machine to keep it flatter. Time will tell.

I cut my polyester webbing in half (1 yard) and used fabric to cover the cut edges. After considerable care, I marked and placed the handles. No, I didn’t use a ruler here. I totally measured with my hands- my finger widths became an impromptu ruler. I wish I was kidding.

And there it is. How I made this huge tote bag. I’m thrilled by it. I love the slightly off-kilter pockets. The whimsical perfectly imperfect nature. It is sturdy and the straps are SUPER secure! I know this will last me all the years I am involved with Girl Scouts, and beyond (I’ll just change the patch).

I need to go over some of the outer interfacing parts, moving the fabric around creates some puckers around the creases, and I want it to lay better.

This year I’ve started to use interface more in my sewing projects. I’ve always avoided it, because there are SO MANY different types and I’m never sure which one I should use. Of course, I could do insane things, like USE PATTERNS more often… but then what would be the fun in that. Live dangerously. Make it up as you go along.

A Year of Projects: Week4

Sunday!

Its Sunday again. Welcome. I don’t have any big finishes. Or starts. Or much of anything.

Until We Win: Fight

I’m on section 3 of 5 right now. Pictured is sections 1 and 2. Plugging along to make sure my numbers are right. They are. Updated the pattern file this morning to reflect some minor changes. This picture is recycled from last week’s update.

I started a design project (semi-YOP related) mid-week. Its crochet. I blogged about it here, I started the 2nd ball of yarn yesterday. (no new pictures)

Life stuff: On Thursday, the first Girl Scouts meeting of the year was held. Also, my first as one of the Troop Leaders!! It was exciting, I was super nervous. We got an idea of things the girls are interested in (Camping, Animals, Space, Cooking, Hiking, Making Jewelry). We filled our open troop volunteer positions! Yay! I like to think it was my stellar presentation (hahhahahahaaha). I also realized I needed an appropriately sized bag to carry my meeting items with. I spent my morning (and half of this afternoon) working on it. Its going to get a Shoddy Seamstress Adventures post early in the week. My bag is obnoxiously epic, and I’m really proud of it.

I got some new Birkenstocks. They are comfortable and make me (and my feet) happy.

And lastly, I had to take down the Zinnia beds yesterday. They had a good run, and I got my last bouquet clipped as I cut them down. I planted 6 yellow mums in their stead. I will miss all my wonderful pollinators, they have been a dream to behold. I’m sure our delivery drivers will be thrilled to not be accosted by the greenery any longer. Next year, I will plant them in a more inconspicuous spot.

Thursday. The unusable flower tunnel.

New Project. What??

As I was headed to the big box craft store the other day, I lamented not having a neutral scarf/shawl/wrap. I also had recently lamented my lack of current crochet projects, my active crochet WIP effectively zero (aghast). I picked up two cakes of Lion Brand Mandala in the colorway Harpy; a black to off-white ombre. Many of the greys are muddy, and I’m ok with this. Problem solved.

I found a stitch pattern I liked, and the chart translations were in Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese. I found an English version, but the line-by-line didn’t actually match the chart. I’m just going by the chart, which was easier that I initially thought.

I’m not sure which side I like better, the front or the back. So I guess its reversible?

Project Details: H/5mm hook. Lion Brand Mandala Yarn: DK, 590 yards, Acrylic. 11″ un-stretched. Will be as long as 2 balls takes me.

Harpy: a Black to Off-White ombre with muddy grey intermediate.

A Year of Projects: Week 3

No Kitten, time for a YOP Update!

Last week. Phew! I made a little progress on sewing through my fabric stash. I finished a pair of socks. I am working on the first test round of my Until We Win: Fight Shawl.

I wrote about my socks here and my sewing here, just in case you missed it. The socks are recent stash- they count toward my “Use 100 balls of stash yarn in 2021” and knit 3 pairs of socks for YOP 21/22. The shawl uses repurposed frogged yarn, and is part of Pattern Development and using stash yarn goals.

This morning, there were birds eating my zinnia mature flower seeds! I saw 4 total, but only captured a picture of 1. I’ve seen humming birds enjoying the nectar, but this is the first time I saw non-nectar eating birds out there in the flowers. The picture isn’t the best, its taken from my iPhone, Zoomed in 10x, THROUGH a window that should be cleaned inside and out.

Its a bird. A small bird. Like a finch or a warbler or something. I can identify like 4 birds, and this isn’t one of them.

Felt Like: Fall

All the Autumn Feels

After last week’s hurricane blew through, the temperatures have been significantly cooler. We’ve turned off the AC and have opened up the house. While its not all sweatshirt weather all the time yet, its a pleasant prelude to come.

This morning I left the house in full fall regalia. My socks, my clogs, and a shawl! I wore a tissue-weight hoodie- still too warm for fleece. I grabbed a Pumpkin Spice cold-brew and headed to the Farmer’s Market.

Finally getting to rock my Until We Win: Fight Shawl!

I’m so excited to get this shawl through testing and released! I’m knitting a second version in super old frogged stash currently. I don’t know the yardage of the frogged yarns I’m working with, so I have no idea if I actually have enough. LIVE DANGEROUSLY.
You can’t see it too well, but I used a thin, unadorned wrap-and-snap bracelet to secure the shawl. It worked, because it stayed in place for me all morning.

Shoddy Seamstress Adventures: Mini Zip Pouches and a Crazy Quilt

I spent my morning at the sewing machine today. Which is sometimes exactly what I want to do. Some of my projects are fun. Others are functional. Today’s projects were both. And inspired by ice cream.

Last week, my kids wanted me to send money to buy ice cream at lunch. Being a pushover, I said yes. I got together the 90 cents for each child (because I had a $20 in my wallet and didn’t trust them to bring me change). When it came time to give the kids said change, it occurred to me, I didn’t actually have anything to put this change in. Into a plastic sandwich baggie it went. A completely inelegant solution.

I looked at a number of different “change purse” ideas on Pinterest. I wanted it to be small. Zippered. Be made with available materials on hand. And relatively easy to put together. I liked the idea of a little triangular pouch; I have one I purchased for knitting notions years ago. I gathered up some reclaimed zippers (that were from my Grandmother’s house), fabric, iron-on fusible fleece and set to work.

I started by using the cardboard insert of a fat quarter as a template, it measures 5″x5.5″. I cut out 2 pieces of fabric (1 for the outside, 1 for the liner) and 1 piece of interfacing. I used the same fabric for inside and outside. I trimmed down both pouches to be closer to 3″. The banana pouch has a piece of bias tape encasing the inside seams. The Spiderman one I just used the zig-zag stitch to finish up the seams. I like the bias tape enclosing the zipper better, and if I made more of these, will use that.

These zippers being ancient (reclaimed sometime 20 to 60 years ago), they are metal as opposed to nylon. I like sewing nylon zippers better- I can sew right over the zipper teeth. I had to maneuver to avoid sewing over the teeth.

I wasn’t quite ready to put away my sewing machine. I had cut out the outside and liner fabric for a pouch earlier this summer. I decided today was time to put it together. I added a little wrist strap out of bias tape. I still am rubbish at sewing on zippers. Practice makes PROFICIENT.

It’s the right size for a small project, like socks!

Nope. I still wasn’t done. I worked on putting more pieces on my “crazy quilt”. I guess this would be considered a crazy quilt. Its random pieces of scrap fabric from all the projects I’ve worked on in the past 18 months (and before).

Madness.

This whole fabric project has been a lot of fun. I can recall the purchase of most of the fabrics, which were fat quarters, which were from OTHER sewing projects, and which were purchased for projects that never came to fruition. The oldest fabric in the quilt was purchased in 1994, the most recent fabric purchased in August 2021.

At this time, I am approaching the limit of my fabric scraps. Many of those remaining are rounded and quite small. I trimmed my sections as I went to square them off. Its a tremendously busy piece of fabric, a testament to my love of bold colors. I will back it with fabric I already have. I know I have a queen batting I can cut down. I also have some regular poly-fleece that would make a suitable low-loft batting. I want to use as much repurposed or stash materials as possible.

A bit of background on the fabric/quilt project: Crafting creates A LOT of waste. Some waste, like treads, has no practical reuse value; if I put it outside, it could be dangerous for birds and wild life. I’ve used fabric scraps to stuff amigurumi, as it makes a heavy dense stuffing for decorative applications. My community does not offer textile recycling, which I would utilize if there was! Textile waste in landfills is growing to be a major waste stream. My salvageable scrap pieces are made into tiny sewing projects: mini-pouches and pen holders. Oh, and one of the dozens of masks I made last summer. Other pieces have been stitched into my “crazy quilt”. No rhyme, reason, or matching present.

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