Monday, August 06, 2018

Knitted Reusable Produce Bags

The free pattern for this reusable produce bag, Julie Tarsha's Weightless Produce Bag,  is currently popular on Ravelry.  It only takes 60-80 yards of Aunt Lydia's crochet cotton size 10, and knits up quickly. 

Like many other folks, I'm concerned about the amount of plastic trash that ends up in our landfills and oceans. Up to now, I've washed and reused my plastic produce bags, but I'm going to make a supply of these cotton bags and transition away from plastic bags. 

The finished bag looks small, but it definintly expands, as you can see in the first photo.  The short handles make for a small opening, which some people says keeps your produce from tumbling out, but I'm going to start making the handles longer for a bigger opening that can be tied shut.  

In the project notes by kniters who made this project, several also noted the number of stitches they used to make a larger bag.

Crochet cotton is often available in thrift stores and garage sales, and I have several balls that have made their way into my stash.  I like to use it for weaving rag rugs and table runners.

I also have a stash of partial balls, and so I knitted my first bag from double stranded thinner cotton.  

I expect to make bags for myself and for friends and family.  Clearly I've got enough thread to make this my own environmental crusade.  

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Scrappy Quilting with Squares

I had a big pile of squares I wanted to use up, so I assembled a couple of scrappy quilts.  It was the perfect easy, no brain-required exercise,  and I cleared out my stock of squares.  I attempted an alternate light and dark layout, added some semi-solid borders, and I was done.  This top is waiting for me to pin it to a piece of fleece and quilt it up.

I sashed the squares in this second quilt, which is a smaller kid quilt that I've donated.  I like the way the sashing  (in one of my favorite colors) sets off each square.  

I had some leftover backing fabric from a large quilt I finished last year.  It felt good to get this one finished and sent off. 

If you look in the left bottom corner of this picture, you can see that I put my work table on table leg extensions.  It's made cutting so much more comfortable, I wish I'd done it sooner.  I got mine on Amazon, but I'm sure big hardware stores must carry them

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Snake in the Hollow Quilt

One thing I've been doing lately in finishing up some old WIPS.  This one is a hand-pieced quilt I started more than 10 years ago.  I remember working on this once while Alex played paintball, so he was in high school then, and he's now almost 28.  

I once had grand ideas of a full-sized hand-pieced quilt, but when I revisited this project, I said, better finished than perfect, let's get this one done.  It's perfect for a small table runner.  I sewed up the blocks by machine and machine quilted it along the undulating lines.  Bob the cat approves so much, he decided to take his nap next to it.  

It's fun to look at all the small prints I included.  One WIP down, I've got a few more to go.  

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Knitting Project Bags

My hankering for new project bags started when a friend and her two daughters asked me to teach them some sewing basics.  Our first project was this cute tote bag.  The pattern and tutorial are free from Craftsy and the you only need a fat quarter of the feature fabric.  I found a remnant of this donut fabric at JoAnn's, and I love how my bag turned out.  My sewing students made theirs from fat quarters of batiks, and they came out beautifully.  I really liked their choices of complimentary lining and handle fabrics. 

Because I have a number of knitting projects going at any one time, I decided I wanted a couple of more of these Japanese knot bags.  These bags take about a half yard each of two fabrics, and they can be assembled from fat quarters, which is what I did with these two directional feature fabrics.  I made these before, and you can see my original post for details. 

How about that lining?  I've filled this bag with the materials for my next shawl project.

Here's the second bag I made.  I lined it with some really cute flannel that Debra gave me when I visited her a few years ago.

These projects are really quick to finish, which is a nice break from my slow-sewing project: the king sized quilt.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Okay, I'm Back

I told myself that once I retired, that I would try my hand at the blog again.  I've actually semi-retired, which means that I'll work full time one semester per academic year.  My dear colleagues feted me with parties, gifts, and many kind thoughts.  It's gratifying to look back on my career and celebrate all the relationships I forged.

Now that I have some unstructured time, I've started a big project: a king-sized quilt for my daughter and her husband.  She asked for scrappy, and so I've gone through the scrap bins (and I confess, I've bought a few novelty prints) for this project.  This pattern is from Bonnie Hunter's book String Fling.  Bonnie's quilt used solid turquoise in the alternate blocks, but I'm using a variety of prints to augment the bit of solid turquoise I had on hand.

The string centers are paper pieced.  I thought it was appropriate to cut up an old professional jounal for my foundations when I organized my office.

Here are some cut squares and string blocks for the quilt.  I'm sure I'll be cutting fabrics for awhile.  The string blocks are bundled in groups of ten.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Imagine Shawl

I admit that I've had a bit of a fascination with Lion Brand Amazing yarn.  It's a blend of 50-50 wool and acrylic, you can buy it at big box stores, and it comes in lovely long color repeats. 

I used 4 balls to make up an Imagine Shawl.  Although the pattern is written for fingering weight yarn and Amazing is worsted, I just knit most of 3 balls of the main colorway (Joshua Tree) and then added one ball of a contrasting colorway (Rainforest) to complete the slip stitch border.  

This is an easy relaxing knit and the shawl is soft and fuzzy.  It's too warm to use this shawl now, but I'm ready when the temperatures drop in the fall.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fresh Ironing Board Covers

My ironing board cover was looking pretty terrible, so I recovered it.

I used this funny vintage fabric, a package of double fold bias tape,  and this YouTube tutorial.   It makes ironing much more pleasant. 

While I was at it, I also recovered the ironing pad I keep next to my sewing machine.

I covered it with another piece of vintage fabric by just folding it over to the back side and taping it down with blue painter's tape.

It's amazing the things that will give you a fresh lease on life.