Thursday, July 26, 2012

Crafty weekend fun

We had a good time at my house last weekend. All week, I had planned on taking the day Saturday to figure out my new-to-me knitting machine. I got it free from a lady who said, "I just want it out of my house." Okay. It's a Brother ElectroKnit KH-910. I'm very intimidated by this thing. It didn't have a manual, but I found one online.
Even so, I let the intimidation get the best of me. I told myself (and those around me) that the lack of sleep Thursday night was really affecting me on Saturday and my brain was too tired to learn something new. You see, my daughter and I went to the midnight premier of "The Dark Knight Rises." Learning something new just wasn't possible in my sleep-deprived state. In my heart, though, I know it was intimidation. I won't let the knitting machine get the best of me. As soon as Ravellenics (formerly Knitting Olympics) is over, it's going down! I'm going to conquer that thing!

My avoidance did have some productive results, though. I made a few draw-string project bags to go with my purse. Yes, I had some small drawstring project bags already, but they were quite small and didn't match my bag. So, I did some thinking and looking around at other project bags. I knew the bags I already had were great for socks or other very small projects. But for a shawl, scarf, or larger project, I needed something a little bigger. Maybe just taller. I also didn't like that I had to guess what was inside the bag, or open it first. An excellent solution can be found in Tom Bihn's Yarn Stuff Sack. Clear vinyl bottom? I can do that! At least, I think I can....I've never sewn with vinyl before. Let's try it out!

Look at that! I CAN sew with vinyl! So, I decided to try my luck with zippers too.
That's the Boxy Little Pouch from Three Bears. It measures about 5" x 3" x 3." Perfect for my little knitting implements--like scissors, stitch markers, tape measure, and sewing-up needles.And this method for sewing in a zipper is super easy!

I also cut out all the pieces for a fall version of my purse. I assembled most of the pieces, but realized I only had one magnetic snap. So, the lining and the outside are done, just waiting on the snap so I can put it all together. Maybe I'll have time one evening this week.

Then, last night, I whipped this together:

It's a little pouch for my earbuds. Tutorial available from Dog Under My Desk. Mine is far from perfect. Sewing a curve is tough. I need to practice.

Seriously? I never knew sewing was this fun! If you had told me six months ago that I would enjoy sewing, I'd have called you crazy. I blame Pinterest. And not in a bad way! It's just piqued my interest in things I probably wouldn't have tried otherwise.

Speaking of which, my daughter, Tori, who is 14 went into a Pinterest-induced cooking and crafting frenzy last weekend too! She made Chicken Taquitos (delicious!),Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls (potentially delicious with a few tweaks), Nutella Chip Cookies (om nom nom), and some string art for her bedroom wall (which I will have HER tell you about in a future post).

All in all, a very productive weekend at the Gill household!

Beginning tomorrow: Ravellenics (formerly Ravelympics or Knitting Olympics). I have my projects ready to cast on at 4pm EDT, at the moment Opening Ceremonies begin in London. Details tomorrow.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Baby, it's hot outside!

Wow! What a week! Record breaking temps here in Indiana made it really miserable. I was so thankful to have air conditioning--at work, at home, in my car. Even so, that kind of heat sort of seeps into your soul and wipes out all motivation to do anything except sit. I guess that's why they're called the lazy days of summer.

While my week, as a whole, was pretty lazy, my weekend was filled with activity. But first, I need to rewind and tell you a little story.

As I stated in my previous post, we went to TNNA a couple of weeks ago. I believe I also expressed my disappointment in what we saw. That disappointment extended a little further than what I let on. Every time we go to TNNA, we see a bag that we fall in love with. For me, it's usually something new from Namaste, though I've crushed on many a knitting bag. And my closet shows it. I am to bags as many women are to shoes. I love them. This year, however, nothing really struck my fancy. It was kind of sad. As the weekend progressed, I resolved to design my own bag. The Perfect Bag (for me).

So, as the idea percolated in the back of my mind, I started putting together a list of all the things I feel like I need to carry with me. There were the obvious things: phone, wallet, sunglasses, keys. Then the things I can't live without: nail clippers and file, migraine meds, chapstick, a little mirror, mints, earbuds, thumb drive, etc., etc. Then the luxuries: iPad, Kindle, chargers for both, at least one knitting project.  Keep in mind, this is not a run-to-the-store bag. This is a bag I can carry every day to work, where I'm not always in my own office.

Once I had a pretty thorough list, it was time to measure and plan. I measured my stuff, but I also measured bags I already own that I knew were a good size for me. Then I drew some pictures of how it could all work together, did a lot of math, and cut pattern pieces out of newspaper. I spent most of the day Saturday sewing, and ended up with this fully reversible, perfect for me bag:

That's the front, with a pocket for my iPad and a pocket for my Kindle, with one strap to hold both closed.

Side view. See the elasticized pocket on the side? Well, there are 4 of those on the purse--one on each side, both outside and inside. Perfect for sunglasses, phone, keys and wallet. In this photo, you also get a better idea of what the iPad/Kindle pockets look like. 

This is the back. It has a nice, big, flat pocket--perfect for a magazine or files/papers for work.

 This is the inside. Lots of pockets and a big open space for knitting projects. One side has a row of 4 pockets, each about 4" wide. The other side has four 2" pockets and two 4" pockets. And, of course, the sides have those wonderful elasticized pockets.

And, finally, this is what it looks like reversed. I don't foresee myself carrying it this way very often, but it's nice to know I can if I want to.

Today is my first day carrying it, and so far, so good. It's not too heavy, and holds everything I need. Oh! I also sprayed it with Scotch Guard to help keep it clean. If I find that it really is the perfect bag, I might make one in a darker fabric for fall and winter.

And, really quick, I'm going to show you the knitting I cast on Sunday morning.
Not that you can tell yet, but the pattern is Jo's Pride by Sivia Harding. Yarn: Zauberball 1966Ombre. Beads: Japanese foil-lined glass 6/0 seed beads; black with silver foil (even though it looks gold in the photo).  My daughter, who is in love with all things Avengers, informed me that those are Loki colors, so I have to call it "Loki's Pride" instead of Jo's.

What projects have you been working on this summer?