Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Zippered Bags

A friend recently gave me a shopping bag full of home dec samples.  They turned out to be the perfect size for some small zippered bags.  I had a small stash of thrift store zippers, and armed with some on-line tutorials, I made up a few bags.

I used some of these on-line tutorials:  Jedi Craft Girl's My Favorite Zipper Pouch, The Sewing Loft's Zipper Tab Tutorial, and the Fat Quarter Shop's video tutorial on making a simple bag.

Since home dec fabrics are heavier than conventional fabrics, there's no need to add a batting or liner.  The two layers of fabric create a substantial bag and it was fun to mix and match the fabrics. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ketjusilmukkahuivi (scarf)

I recently crocheted this fun scarf from a free pattern.   Ketjusilmukkahuivi(scarf) is written in Finnish, but other folks have decoded the  simple pattern and have very helpful notes on Ravelry.

You can either cut the yarn for fringe at the end of each row, or you can just crochet continuously.  At the end I hand sewed some tiny leaf beads onto the edges for added weight.

My scarf was made from a discontinued microfiber yarn with long color repeats.  I've seen others made from crochet cotton, which is often plentiful in thrift stores.  Use the hook appropriate to your yarn.

My scarf was made roughly as follows:

Chain 350 stitches, the pattern repeat is 10 double crochets and 15 chain stitches. 
At the beginning of each row, chain 3 (for the new row) then follow with 2 dc, and proceed with the pattern.  
End each row with 2 dc.  

This is a very flexible pattern.  If your math doesn't work out, go with the flow.  You can also vary the numbers of chains and double crochets to make the scarf more or less solid, for example, 5 dc and 5 chain stitches. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Pillow Talk

I took the house blocks I'd recently made and sewed them into a pillow.  It feels good to be finished with these blocks.  

Continuing with the house theme, I sewed up another pillow with a piece of machine embroidery from Debra, and various home dec fabrics.

These make a nice group on one end of the day bed in my sewing room.

I got pillows for the other end of the day bed from this huipil--a traditional Mexican embroidered tunic--given to me by my friend Maria.  She loved this huipil and wore it until there were threadbare spots in the loose-weave cotton.

I did some very basic repairs on some of the holes, zig-zaging over the frayed edges and backing the fragile fabric with some white cotton.  Then I fussy cut some pillows from the fabric.

One of the small pillows is for Maria, as a thank you for sharing this beautiful embroidered fabric.

All of these pillows are backed with the banded portions of the fabric, and I have some pieces left over--maybe for some zippered bags.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Knitted Kitchen Towels Free Pattern

The skies must have been dreary the day I brought home four bright balls of kitchen cotton.  I decided that all that color should be kitchen towels and adapted a published towel pattern to change the gauge and to also fix an error.  

The big striped towels are made from one ball of each of two colors, and the towel with the thin stripes is made from the leftovers, plus maybe a bit of yellow from another project.

They measure approximately 13 x 17".  In a more demure color scheme, they could be hand towels for the bathroom, but I envision these as cheerful kitchen towels.

Here's the recipe:

For one 13 x 17 hand or kitchen towel:

2 balls of kitchen cotton, approximately 120 yds each, eg., Lily's Sugar and Cream
Knitting needles size 7

With color A cast on 54 stitches

With A work knit every row for 1.5"

Switch to color B on the right side,
pattern row 1:  Using color B, k5, *k2tog, k2, kfb in next 2 stitches, k3, slip one, knit one, psso, repeat from * three times,  k last 5 stitches
pattern row 2:  K 5, purl to last 5 stitches, k5

repeat rows 1 & 2 twice

Switch to color B, repeat pattern for 4 rows, continue alternating colors A and B, end with 1.5" of garter stitch.

I carry both colors up the right side of the work by knitting the two strand together in the first stitch of every right side row.  The thin striped towel is made by alternating colors every 2 rows instead of every 4 rows and uses up your scraps from two towels.  I knit only 5 garter stitch rows on the thin striped towel.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Another Embroidered Blouse

Last year I made an embroidered blouse with fabric Debra embroidered for me.  My mom liked in so much, she asked for one of her own for her birthday.

For mom's blouse I sent Debra some bright red poly cotton-- Mom hates to iron--and used the same blouse pattern I used for myself.   My blouse had embroidered sugar skulls in addition to birds, and Mom got flowers, birds, and butterflies for her blouse.

This is a very easy process:  I email Debra and she sends me links to available designs.  Then I send Debra fabric with the places marked where I want the designs, and she mails it back to me ready to sew.  I'm thinking I'll ask Debra to embroider these designs on another batch of fabric so I can make myself a blouse, maybe in black.  They would also make cool pillows.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Quick Cardigan

Sometimes I just need a quick project, something that's not likely to get set aside because there doesn't appear to be an end in sight.

One Friday night I really needed to cast on a a quick new project.  I chose the Short Sleeve Quick Knitted Cardigan by A Crafty House.  The pattern calls for super bulky yarn to be knit on size 17 needles.  I don't have super bulky yarn stashed, but two strands of worsted in an especially cheerful color fit the bill nicely.

The project took about two weeks to complete.  I had the perfect vintage buttons also in my stash.  When the sweater gapped in the spaces between the buttonholes, even though I used grosgrain ribbon to stabilize the button band, I sewed that part of the sweater closed.  It's extremely wearable sweater, perfect for the transitional weather between seasons.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Making a New Messenger Bag from an Old Skirt

Spring is upon us, and I wanted to make a new, more colorful, work bag.  I've been saving this microfiber skirt in my stash for a long time.  I more or less followed my old tutorial for this project, though this bag turned out much nicer than the first one.

Microfiber is very nice to work with.  It's basically fake suede, and it's machine washable and doesn't fray.  This skirt was nice and sturdy, unlike some of the lighter weight microfiber that you find in shirts and some other garments.  My first step was to unsew the hem and the silt, and then machine sew them closed using the original fold lines.

I used a great home dec fabric ( I think this came from Debra) for the lining, and added pockets.  The lining is a slightly smaller version of the outer dimensions.  For this bag, I didn't include any bottom reinforcement, as the whole thing is pretty sturdy.

This project uses the whole skirt, and the original zipper opening is now a zipped pocket in the flap.

This took me less than two hours from start to finish.  I had the button and the d-rings in my stash, as well as the strap, which was reclaimed from a purchased bag.  The color in the photo of the skirt--a teal blue-- is most faithful to the real color.