Tag Archives: sewing

And We’re Back!

Whoops, a month since my last post! It’s been crazy here, between moving, coming down with the flu, fieldwork picking up, and trying to keep up with bag orders, it’s been hard to find time to blog.

So, what has been going on besides that? Well, we got a little bit of snow the other week:

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We’ve moved into our new house, and now I have an entire room to craft in! My own personal space! I’m excited. There is still a lot of organizing to be done, but it’s to the point where it’s functional, and that’s good enough for now.

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My bags are now available at Little Owl Knit Shop! They have only been open for a month but already have an amazing selection of yarn, and a nice display of awesome project bags if I do say so myself.

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Josh’s birthday socks (for 2013) are *almost* done. I love the pattern, but the one thing I hate is knitting men’s socks toe up. The easy part gets done first, and then the rest just drags. Pictured is sock #1. Sock #2 is done up to the heel, and all that is left is the leg portion.

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And in non-crafting news, we have been geeking out lately with our newest game- Star Trek Catan. This version of Settlers of Catan is so much fun. Well, it would be a lot more fun if J didn’t kill me in every game we played.

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Hopefully things will be slowing down a bit over the next couple weeks, and I will be able to post more. I do want to post some of the new things showing up at Rock Solid Designs in the next month or so.

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Jack of all Trades…

That’s how I’m feeling these days. I spent the other morning wondering where my time went, that all of a sudden summer was over, there were no new blog posts, and I felt like I had accomplished so little.  

Last week my stepdaughter asked me what I was knitting. I told her it was a sample for a class I am going to teach this fall. She knew I was going to school, so here she goes “OH! You’re the teacher, not a student!” Trying to explain to her that I am both (I am going for my master’s in the evenings) was confusing for both of us. It got me thinking, though. It’s no wonder I feel as if I have no time, and that nothing is accomplished. I’m wearing too many hats!

I work all day as a geologist. Two days a week, I then go straight to campus to get a swim in before my 3 hour class. One day a week I typically teach a knitting class at my local Joann Fabrics. One day a week I tutor a friend in the evenings in Calculus. And in between all of that? I am training for a triathalon. (Which is THIS SATURDAY! by the way. Not that I am panicking or anything).

And then, amidst ALL of that (because that is enough to wear out anybody); I am working on my side business creating project bags, yoga bags, and knitting patterns. All while also spending most of the summer as a new parent of a 6 year old, and still attempting to cook all of our dinners, shop local, play with my stepdaughter, and teach her awesome things like knitting and sewing and why quiet time is sometimes nice. 

So my goal: Blog once a week. If I do more, great! But I think we can all agree that right now, I have a lot going on, and punishing myself for not blogging enough won’t help anything.

Next time I post, I’ll have some fun photos. For now, I have to get ready for my tutoring session. :)

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And just like that, summer is gone

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already been 3 months since the last blog post. Things have been so crazy here, I’ve barely had time to think, let alone work up a blog post. Working out of town, completing classes, having my stepdaughter come to visit, the in-laws showing up…it’s been a very busy summer! So, instead of writing about “what I did on my summer vacation” I decided to do a photo essay instead!

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A Sad Day

We are visiting some of J’s family out of town this weekend. I excitedly packed all the crafty things I was going to do while we were relaxing-knitting, spinning, blogging, etc. Yesterday evening on our way back from dinner I went to get my Trindle out of my purse….and the shaft has snapped. It was most likely from me carelessly packing it in my purse, which was then on the floor of the front passenger seat during out 9 hour drive. One of us most likely stepped on it and snapped it.  

That was the single fear I had when buying the Trindle- the shaft is so thin and light, I was worried about it breaking. Apparently I was right. J thinks he can fix it, although the creator of the Trindle says they have a lifetime warranty. I emailed him to see if this is something that is covered. In the meantime though, no spinning.

Maryland Sheep and Wool was earlier this month. I failed once again at taking photos, but take my word that it was a ton of fun. Nice cool weather this year, and lots of good friends. I am trying to cut back on how much fiber I buy, so this year it was mostly tools. I bought hand cards, a nostepinne, some new arms for my (now defunct) Trindle, and 2lbs of Border Leicester fleece to wash and spin. J also picked out some sock yarn for next years birthday socks. 

I also made another bag for a friend. This one was a barter exchange- she sent me fabric, I sent her one bag made out of it. I LOVE this print. I need to find out where she obtained it, because I want to make more bags from it. This bag is approximately 13″ tall, big enough to fit large shawls or sweaters. 

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That’s all for now. I should be home with more camera access this week, and next week I will take photos of the washing/drying/carding/spinning process with the Border Leicester fleece.

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Feeling a Bit Overwhelmed

Some days I feel like I will never finish this sock pattern. I am about to finish knitting a sock in this pattern for the fourth time, but resulting in only two completed socks. I still have two more to go in this pattern. It’s to the point where I almost don’t need to look at the chart for this, and that’s saying something. It’s not a completely straightforward chart for me.

J’s first sock finally has the toe grafted and is all set to be blocked. I’m casting on his second sock tonight. My goal is to get this finished by mid-April. That is going to take some dedication on my part, and some monogamous knitting. I can’t wait to get back to my poor sweater. It’s been ignored for months while I try and get these socks sorted out. After this pair, I still need to start his 2013 Birthday socks. He won’t be getting those until August at this rate.

I’m still working on bags for Rock Solid Designs. I need to focus on items that branch out past knitters, initially. I need to build a solid customer base around here, and I’m not entirely sure how to do that. I’m in the process of applying for doing business under a fictitious name, then I have to complete the tax paperwork. I want to apply for Jubilee Day this summer and have a booth there, but logistically I just don’t think I can get all the legal side taken care of and crank out enough product to have a decent looking booth in time. I don’t need to turn in the application until May, so I guess I’ll just keep working on things and see if life aligns enough to let me take advantage of this opportunity.

In the meantime, I have now ordered labels for my handmade items, and business cards are in the works! I still need to finish tweaking the website, and update some items (the knitting patterns will be moving over there shortly). It’s a lot of work, but I’m excited to be doing it. I’m also still working on classes this spring. I’m a bit stressed that work is going to cause a huge conflict, causing me to either beg my professors to let me work out an alternative plan, or take an incomplete and finish the courses over the summer. I really do not want to do either, and would rather just finish this semester up without a hitch. I knew getting into this there could be conflicts with work, however at the time there were no extended out of town jobs in the works for us. I’m trying not to stress about it until I hear something definite, but it’s hard.

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Birthdays and Bags

About 3 years ago, a close friend of mine decided to try her hand at knitting. We were living in different areas at the time, so it wasn’t my influence that encouraged her. She has been progressing very well with her knitting lately. When I think about it, I try to send her a yarn or knitting related gift. I saw a pin on pinterest the other day of a knitting emergency box, and immediately thought it would be great. It’s not expensive or time-consuming, but it is super cute. Thoughts?

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Of course, I want one for myself, but why would I put yarn into a box for myself? It’s not like I already have an unhealthy collection, and I doubt J would let me display a case of yarn on the wall. Although, if I did one in our living room colors…

My other project lately is working on bags for my business. It has officially moved over to www.rock-solid-designs.com Anyway, I wrapped up a prototype for a padded project bag today.

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Later this week I want to try my hand at a padded box bag, and padded spindle bag.  I’m also going to work on a wallet to match this purse I made last week.

In the meantime, my knitting is still all J’s socks, all the time. I’m starting to really wonder if I will get this thing done in time for his birthday in May. 

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Keeping Busy

It’s been pretty busy here lately. I’ve been working on building up some inventory for the yoga bags to sell at a local studio, plus easing in to making other types of bags and purses as they are ordered. This has sadly left very little time for much else. I have been slowly working on J’s birthday socks from LAST year. I haven’t even thought about birthday socks for this year yet. I’m just trying to make it through the next few weeks with my sanity in tact! 

I was hoping to post progress photos of my knitting, but I was running around all day teaching classes and mailing packages, that I missed the good daylight. I’ll get photos and post them tomorrow, so you can see that I have actually gotten SOMETHING done with yarn.

Last week I ran a contest- once my facebook page reached 35 likes, I gave away a handmade wallet. This pattern was absolutely adorable, and so easy to follow. I really wish I could have kept it for myself. Alas, it was not meant to be, and it was mailed off to the winner this past Thursday. 

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Owl Wallet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I wrapped up a drawstring project bag for an internet friend. The fabric is one I bought two years ago when I visited J in Okinawa. It’s absolutely beautiful, but I’ve been hesitant to do anything with the fabric because what if I try something, and it doesn’t live up to the awesomeness of the fabric or the memories it holds?! 

I think this bag lived up to the fabric. I love the coordination of the drawstring and lining color- it matches the flowers scattered through the pattern. This fabric was a joy to work with. In fact, I’m thinking of making a matching purse. 

 

 

DSC02037My mother also recently gave me her serger on “long-term loan.” I am finally going to take the time this weekend to learn how to use it. I’m excited- while the items I make are nice as-is, being able to serge the seams/hems will add a nice professional touch to everything. Plus I’m going to attempt a pair of jeans here soon, and it would be great to finish the edges off on those.  I’m running a contest on the facebook page- name the serger, and be entered to win 20% off a purchase from my business! It can be anything I make- yoga bags, purses, wallets, or drawstring bags. 

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Yoga Bag Tutorial

I would make an excuse for why I am late with this…but I have none. Better late than never, though! This is a tutorial for the yoga bag I made a few months ago to carry my mat in. It’s more convenient than just rolling it up, and way cuter than the ones available at most stores. 

To begin with, you’ll need:

1/2 yd of fabric ( I prefer quilt weight cotton)

32″ of ribbon or  webbing

length of cord (I used a shoelace)

and 1 cord lock for the drawstring.

 

Here’s my starting fabric

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 I love the neon paisley! It’s so bold and “look at me!” definitely more interesting than the generic canvas bags.

 

 

 

Ok, so you have your fabric. Make sure you iron it out! After it’s ironed, you are going to cut a 17×30″ rectangle out, and a 6″ circle out of your fabric.

on one side of the rectangle, 1″ from the top and bottom, you’ll want to pin in your ribbon (or whatever material you chose for the strap). Because of the length, it might want to twist a bit. Try and get it lined up on the seam as straight as possible- you don’t want it pulling out while you are carrying it!

Fold the rectangle in half long ways, right sides together. The strap should be inside the fabric sandwich now. Like so:

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Well, the photo is sideways, but you get the idea. You are going to leave a 1″ opening at each end.

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This is going to be where you sew the bottom on, and where you insert the drawstrings, so make sure you don’t sew them closed!

 

 

 

Starting at 1″ in, sew the seam on the rectangle, stopping 1″ short of the bottom.

now you want to attach this piece:

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cut small v-shaped notches around the outside of the circle, to help it bend and fit better while sewing (not shown). Pin it right-side facing in to the bag, and sew them together.

 

 

 

At the top of the bag, fold the remaining fabric down to form a tube, and sew it all the way around. Leave the sides open-that is where your drawstring will come out.

Turn the bag right-side-out, slide the drawstring in, and put a choke on it. Ta-da! your very own, personalized yoga bag!

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(cat not included)

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Sewing Sunday

It has been two months since I last blogged. I keep promising I will do it more often, then life goes crazy on me. It’s been a hectic last few weeks, here. I just registered for graduate classes, starting in the Spring. Christmas crafting and preparations are in full swing, and I have been baking and cooking up a storm to make sure we get full use of our CSA boxes.

I have decided that having a specific topic to blog about, might make me blog more frequently. A lot of craft bloggers have days such as “Work in Progress Wednesay” “Finished Object Friday,” etc. Today will be Sewing Sunday! 

My first finished sewing item of the last few weeks: my new yoga bag!

 

I bought some neon paisley fabric at JoAnn fabrics for half price. This project took literally 2 hours from start to finish, including washing. It was really quick and easy to do, and I have a completely unique bag whenever I go to class now!

I will post a tutorial on how to make this tomorrow. The materials cost me approximately $7, including the drawstring and clip, and ribbon for the strap. 

 

 

 

My second sewing project I will share this week wasn’t fully sewing. I knit an earflap hat for my stepdaughter, but the flaps kept curling up, and wool can feel pretty scratchy to a 5 year old. So I bought some clearance remnant fleece and sewed it in! I think it’s pretty darn cute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is it for today! Tomorrow will be a yoga mat bag blog. Wednesday I will show you all my current works in progress, both sewing and knitting. Friday will be knitting finished items, and Sundays will now be sewing finished items! 

 

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Spring Inspiration

I know it’s not just me, but every time spring comes around I have this urge to START ALL THE THINGS!!! and then never finish them. I look through magazines, pattern books, and websites imagining what new knitting project to cast on, or what new dress to sew myself. I can’t look my lingering WIP’s in the eye during this time of year- when nothing they can do satisfies me, no matter how much I loved them in the beginning.

 

So, in an effort to stem this desire, let’s look at all the things that have caught my fancy. Maybe blogging about them will be enough to get me through a few weeks of working on winter shawls just one chart shy of being done, and fall sweaters finished but for want of half a sleeve.

 

First up, a pattern I bought this week for a cool summer dress. I love the casual and feminine look of this style. I need to find just the right fabric to go with it. I would do style C for this one, I think. the skirt is a little less full.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up is Amy Butler’s Rainy days pattern. I love uniquely patterned items, and it seems so hard to buy a cute raincoat in a grown women’s size these days. I’ve never worked with a lined fabric before, but I am looking forward to the challenge!

I’m also dying to make this bag for myself. I tend to stick with boring, grown-up looking bags. No more! I have a fun paisley print I think will be great for this pattern. (pattern in Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Projects Using Cottons, Knits, Voiles, Corduroy, Fleece, Flannel, Home Dec, Oilcloth, Wool, and Beyond )

Finally, I just purchased this pattern for myself. I have a Kobo, but haven’t been able to find a case for it that matched my style. I have heard good things about this pattern, so I hope it works out! It has taken me months to get a copy- my local stores have been out of stock for weeks, and it’s 75% off online- I’m wondering if it is being discontinued?

 

So here are things I’m looking forward to making in the next few months- I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

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