Friday, December 2, 2011

Dining room chair upholstery craziness!

We used to have a cool old antique table and chairs that I bought in a hormone daze during one of my ill-fated pregnancies. It was ill-fated enough that the dining set never "took" either - the top was not durable enough for our crazy family and we don't have a separate "everyday" table - we eat there every day at dinnertime.  Then the chairs started falling apart. Wild Thing liked to stick his fingers through the antique rattan backs and make holes (sounds fun if you are 14 months old, huh?). Our American sized family members and friends would occasionally get a scare from the creaky smallness of the chairs. And I just didn't have good mojo with the set - though I didn't realize that until we got rid of it. We gave it away to a woman who was thrilled to rejuvenate it and give it a good home. yay!

So we went to a sale at Macy's and bought a brand-new table and set of 6 chairs.  We'd checked them out and liked them a lot. Then when they went on sale at, like, 40% off - well you all know how that works. This was a few years ago. I want to say 5 years?  At the time I remember saying to Mr. Wonderful that the only problem was the seat upholstery. "But it's ultrasuede!" he says..."the only thing our cat won't shred into threads over a weekend!". True dat.  But it was cream colored - or more of a very light taupe. It's hard to remember for sure you see, because they got so dirty I didn't even take a "before" photo.  Although I did save the piece I used as a template for the new covers as Exhibit A: (oh, the shame...)

In fairness, there were a couple of chairs that were not that bad. Like the 2nd armchair that we keep in our bedroom since we don't have a large enough dining room for it on a daily basis and besides, Mr Wonderful needs a place to throw his khakis at the end of the day. And this one looks particularly hideous, so it was probably the seat Wild Thing sat in, but I'm not sure. They were mostly pretty bad.

And I tried. I Scotchguarded. And I cleaned them a couple of times and bleached them in the sun.

But at the time we bought them I remember telling Mr. Wonderful that I would have to recover the seats at some point because white or cream or light taupe just doesn't work for dining chairs you use everyday. Especially if there are children involved. At least in our family where no one bothers to pull the chairs out after meals and make sure there isn't sauce and noodles and milk and wine and chunks of pork chop stuck to them. Who has that kind of time? (I know. You all probably do that kind of thing, but we didn't and look where that took us!)

I searched and searched for some interesting print that wasn't too interesting for Mr. Wonderful and a general aesthetic.  I seriously considered a cotton laminate, which has worked so wonderfully for our kitchen chairs (where we do eat breakfast in our little nook since remodeling the kitchen). But vinyl seats in the dining room was not a place I could go - even a designer cotton laminate. But I really mulled that over a long time...

It's true that ultrasuede works best with our cat (we have 2 cats, but only one bad shredder cat - the other one just barfs everywhere which is another home dec challenge in itself).  But I couldn't decide on a color. Then very late one night while browsing ultraseude on I had this thought that the chairs could be all different colors. Maybe to pull colors from the rug underneath (which now looks all spotty and dirty, so getting that cleaned professionally is next on the list I guess!).

I think this works.

The blue one is not actually that bright in real life - a more bright navy rather than indigo...but you get the idea.  The colors really do pull from the rug nicely and they are all dark enough to mask more dirt/stains than the white/ivory/light taupe color.  I need to buy a can of Scotch Guard to be on the safe side though.

Some notes on the actual project execution: 1) I have done this at least 3 times before with old chairs, and the process was much more challenging with new chairs.  The industrial staple machine they must have used made the staples impossible to pull out easily.  After the first chair, I actually just ripped the piping out and removed the black covering to reuse - then just stapled the new fabric right over the old fabric and added new piping.  I don't think there are any oily stains that will seep through - I tried to spot any - but that is a risk I think with just recovering rather than removing the old fabric.

Also my first experience with this type of piping - okay, who am I kidding? I've used piping exactly twice for a project, ever.  Anyway, I just made the piping with 2 inch strips and cording, then stapled it along the edges and covered the raw edges with the salvaged black netting fabric (whatever that stuff is called).  Don't look to close and it pretty much approximates the original piping look that the chairs had.  If I'd had a print that I decided to use I may have skipped this altogether, but with the ultrasuede it's a nice detail.

It's been forever since I've linked up to Sara's Whoop Whoop Friday, but I'm home with a sick boy on what was supposed to be my day off let's Whoop it up!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Fall bag all my own to Celebrate Color!

A few weeks ago, I thought to myself "self - you should pick a couple of fabrics from your stash and try out that free bag pattern you saw awhile back. The one that's reversible, just 2 pieces kinda dumbell shaped to make the bag and handle all at the same time." The construction intrigued me - so simple, but I couldn't quite picture it until I tried it out.

Well...that simple thought turned into a much bigger process of making a bag that I would actually use myself as a handbag. But first I started with some recycled denim curtains and a bright Valori Wells deco weight cut from my stash as the lining - oranges of course.   What speaks Fall color more than denim and orange with some brown ultrasuede thrown in for good measure (the ultrasuede has a separate story as you'll see).

I used a basic pattern as the springboard that I printed off of All People Quilt (can't seem to find it on their website anymore!)

Then fused some interfacing to the denim and did a little scribble embroidery to echo the orange print.  I chose several vintage buttons to sew onto this weedy flower (my favorite kind of flower!) - most of which came from my grandmother's stash (of which I procured a fraction after her passing a year ago).

My favorite button from her stash on this bag is on the back by my signature - I remember her collecting owls when I was little. Then it was roadrunners...after that who knows. But the 70s Owl collection is still my favorite memory of those little vignettes. And I have proof of the owl collection right there! Because other than stashing fabric (which she did with a hoarders obsessive way), Grandma tended to get rid of stuff rather unceremoniously at random - or at least that's how it felt to a youngster.

Anyway, I added a pocket and a U-ring tab just in case it would ever come in handy to the lining.

And all would have come together peachy except I messed up the final construction steps, boxed my corners on the wrong sides, and had to do a fair amount of ripping back and adding a bit onto the bottom to fix it.  That was where the ultrasuede hit me - not only to extend where I'd cut and messed up, but it would add a nice bottom to the bag. I like it!

Last problem that had to be solved - I didn't like the way the bag gaped open unless it was tucked neatly under my arm (like only happens about 12% of the time). I couldn't find two halves of a sew-in snap in my stash, and so I surgically inserted a magnetic clasp. I would not recommend this method - for a variety of reasons - not the least of which is that the heavier side could probably use more reinforcement behind the prong attachment. But so far so good.

It's fun to pull off a pattern or concept without a hitch - but it is true that you learn more from making mistakes while constructing projects.  And this one was customized every hitch of the way to make it more fun (in my opinion) - and somehow doesn't distract from the overall workmanship impression anyway.  It's a solid bag, and fun to carry!

So, I'm slipping this in last minute to Celebrate Color! for November over at Stitched in Color!

Celebrate Color

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bloggers Quilt Festival entry - the Christmas Quilt!

YAY! I finished this quilt in time to enter into the Blogger's Quilt Festival!

So just a year later than I had intended - not so bad I guess.

Although the quilting wasn't as nice and smooth as I would have liked, the overall effect after washing the quilt is nice. I'm pretty happy with it and it won't be long before it'll be draped over the sofa for the holidays!

I used a layer cake of Kate Spain's 12 Days of Christmas plus an aqua solid for the front.  The pattern was called "Piece of Cake (2)" by Thimbleblossoms.  It was pretty much a piece of cake to put together.

I pieced the back to include the 12 Days of Christmas Panel and 2 of the prints (the top and bottom say Fa la  la la la...). The binding is from the red swirl print in the collection.  I think this is only the 2nd time I've made an entire quilt using only fabric from a single collection.  

And the final touch? The Wild Thing seal of approval!

So head over to the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side - yowza! There are more than 500 entries!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

198 yards of loveliness...

In honor of the colors of fall, I give you my first official "lace" project. 

This is a color I always gravitate to in the fall, along with oranges and greens - the berries last in, grape harvests, deep red wines. I love the light of the days during this time of year the best. 

This pattern is called "198 yds. of Heaven" by Verity Knits on .  I found the pattern looking for something to make with these 2 skeins of cranberry Noro Cash Iroha (yum!).  I ran out before the pattern called for, tried to bind off in time, and then had to do something creative with 3 strands of kidsilk haze in the same color, but over all I'm really pleased with this little shawlet. 

I've done some "easy" lace patterns before with basic repeats, but so far a but chicken to try the real charted patterns (ADHD?).  Plus I really really had no idea how one blocks lace. Blocking to me is getting a sweater nice and sudsy, rinsing gently, rolling in some sweaters to get the extra water out and then painstakingly shaping and reshaping the sodden mass into your lovelly measured sweater shape. 
That works, right?  That's what it says in Stitch and Bitch, and that's what I'm sticking to~

So here, I found a rack big enough to stretch it over, then I pinned like crazy!

Every little point got pulled and pinned...

And pretty much every yarn over required opening up and pinning every here and there to stay in a nice lacy way. Pretty fun in the end because the result looked so much more polished than I expected!

Go checked out Stitched in Color - there's been a color party going on since September - I'm just a little late to join with the goods!

Celebrate Color

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I need a little baby for a little fall stroller blanket

Just kidding - I need a little baby of my own like I need another hole in my head!  But I need to think of one that we know who might like a little stroller blanket now that the days are getting crisp.

The photo is an optical illusion - the blanket is only at 22" x 28" but I draped it over this miniature garden bench we have in the backyard (you know, for when we have miniature guests at our numerous barbeques!)  The story of this blanket is that I had all these different partial skeins of cotton-ease and other cotton-y yarns in my scrap stash of yarn. I thought I'd have enough to do a sort of random garter square patchwork - pretty much like what you see here.  I still have a little of a couple of colors left, but did use something that I would have eventually stuffed in a bag and either squirrelled it away where I wouldn't have to look at it or given it to our care provider, who has a magical way of incorporating random bits of crafty stuff into activities for the kids. No kidding - she's magical.

I have a couple of other knitting projects on the needles at the moment and some things queued up - but I'm trying to finish off UFOs and stash yarn only for awhile.

Actually - I'm also going on a fabric diet - my obesity issues with fabric are greater right now than yarn. So I'm quilting away when I have at least 15 minutes at a time on the Christmas quilt:

It would be great to finish in time to enter in the Blogger's Quilt Festival happening right now, but I don't know if I can finish quilting and bind it by next Friday.  If not, I'll find another quilt to enter - I love the BQF at Amy's blog!

Have a great weekend and a fun Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Do home projects that your husband did count as crafty?

Well, I'm posting about this bike rack anyway, because it was my idea and it came out so well!

We recently spent too much money rebuilding our garage.  Our garage was in such bad shape that the assessor for our home value when we bought our house didn't even count it as any value at all. He joked he should take something off since we'd have to tear it down.

For more than 10 years, Mr. Wonderful crippled that garage along to act as a storage place for a great number of things. But it was disgusting - dark, leaky, rotten wood, full of black widow spiders kind of bad. And Mr. Wonderful has never had even a workbench to call his own around here. Our house is pretty small for a family of four and without a garage there just wasn't anyplace to put hobby stuff for him besides nooks and crannies in the basement and the leaky, rotting, falling down garage. Poor man.

Now we have a shiny rebuilt garage with electricity, lighting, and even drywall!  Not only that, but our contractor "finished" a part of the walk-in crawl space with a nice concrete pad for just another grand (notice how it's always multiples of $1000 for any change order?)  I call it our "sub-tic" because not only is our house small, it doesn't even have an attic for storage of things like Christmas decorations or camping equipment.  We'll have to keep the storage locker at least for now, but this does open up a lot of possibilities.

What do we not have? Money to outfit this shiny garage with.  But one of the main space-sucking things we need to store in there are bicycles.  When it's nice, the bikes in use at any given time get locked up in the backyard with this  - a brilliant little latching post made out of plumbing parts (Mr. Wonderful is just so clever).

Okay remember at the beginning when I said the bike rack was my idea?  No, it was not my idea - I found it on the internet of course!  At to be precise...

I went in search of space-saving bike storage  on the world wide web, and came across this:

Nifty huh? Couple of 2 x 4s, a bunch of long wood screws, and a bunch of big hooks.  That's it (except for the work of putting it together which I gather was relatively simple in the world of home improvement projects).

The hooks are cleverly staggered
I think this baby holds 6 bikes in all.

Just a view from the door.  Basically what you see is what you get - there isn't a vast space over to the right or anything.  There will be a workbench or two though, and this bike solution rocks the space utilization!

Friday, October 21, 2011

bumpy roads lately, but a couple of WIPs worth mention

I can't just get a little bout of the 24 hour "flu" like some folks huh?  now, why is that?  Last Sunday I started feeling a little feverish and just "yucky", but not overtly sick. Went to work Monday, and then had to hoof it home trying to be safe on the freeway while keeping myself together, if you know what I mean!.  This episode felt an awful lot like last December in Switzerland. The one where Mr. Wonderful finally had to com fly me home via our travel insurance service (still have to plug MedJetAssist! if you travel even more than a few hundred miles away from home it is sooooo worth it!).  I have this one sad commentary on the whole teeny Swiss Hospital where they didn't know what to do with me vs. our system of putting people in ER, no continuity to a single point of contact, release after a few hours with unclear and unaffective regimen of medication, then repeat 48 hours turns out the same.  The same.  Except for the plane flight and stress of being across the world

Okay, got that out of my system.  I actually started a new blog today in which I will attempt to take control of my own health using this rock bottom place as a starting point.  Feel free to check out "Janet's Self Help Book" at  But there won't be any crafting on that blog unless it's cool stuff to make with the freebies you find in your exam room while you wait in 30 minute increments.

In which case I will cross-post (can you do that? I never had 2 blogs before).

AND NOW BEHOLD IN ALL IT"S UNFINISHED GLORY.....THE TEEN WONDER T=SHIRT QUILT! (this is in all caps because I have a little Monty Python score playing in my head while I write it...teee deeee!  booom booom bom bom bom. crash)

Sad that I can't go outside an take a decent photo, but I still look like hell warmed over. And anyway, you can get the idea of it's overall magnificence even cropped.  The overall size is something like 59" x 78".  I'll ask Teen Wonder if she had some specific use in mind, but I doubt it.

I really wish I'd take photos of the pile of shirts and then the pile of scraps with not even enough for a seam allowance after she agreed to "what the lump, i'll just cut 'em out for you if it such a bunch of work". Then I went back and salvaged a few I figured she might like to see someday even if she doesn't think so now. There is a lot of ad hoc piecing here my friends!

Since TW can wait until Christmas for this, or even as a Grad present, I folded it neatly, made an attempt at tidying up the craft area and decided to tackle another space hog - the Christmas quilt.  Remember this quilt?

We'll I basted with pins on my dining table in halves.  I used these funky rubber tips for regular pins instead of saftety pins, so we'll see how that comes out.  Anyway, once I'm back to something a little normal and caught up in the backlog of work, maybe I can start some FMQ on this project!

Go Whoop it up at Sarah's Linky - and here's to good health for all of you!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Where have I been? - in which I share rambling book and film reviews, a Fall Scarf project, and bizarre anxiety dream

Well, Fall is here - sort of. The weather still can't decide. But school started and I've got a Senior this year (Teen Wonder) as well as a 2nd grader Wild Thing. So things are uber busy. What better time to go off to Berlin for a conference? kidding - it's a TERRIBLE time to go away for a week. I was at the International Papillomavirus Meeting, which is always interesting for me and I get to see a lot of colleagues from around the world that I only see once a year or less. But it is a long trip every time I go to Europe (meaning far), and jet lag gets harder and harder on my body.

I haven't had a lot of time to do anything crafty. Though I have read a couple of novels with all the plane time. I finally read "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson, and started the next one "The Girl Who Played With Fire". I am totally into these, and only the most severe exhaustion allows me to go to sleep instead of staying up to read them - which confirms my general level of energy in the last three or four weeks.  I also read "Up in the Air" last week (as I hadn't bought the second Girl book yet) - the book that inspired the movie with George Clooney. I say "inspired" because the book was quite different - and it was a little disorienting to try and get into the book with the expectation that it would resemble the movie. I loved the movie (as did most others who saw it).  The book is written entirely from an inner monologue point of view, and the character is more complex than the movie quite captures. And more depressed - think Holden Caulfield. I didn't get the satirical humor feeling in the book that I had in the movie, it made me more sad - and also perhaps because I know so many more people in real life who've been downsized since that movie came out in 2009.  Anyway, my mom enjoyed the book more than me, I think, and she didn't see the movie (yet), so there is my very scientific reasoning for how seeing a movie first is usually a bad idea if you plan to read the novel.  Though I did also watch the movie version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" on Netflix, and found it to be pretty well done.  Another movie I saw recently that was a fairly close and accurate adaptation of the book was "Winter's Bone" - this is a very depressing story if you are not in the right mindset for it. But excellent - highly recommend!

Okay, enough of the books and films I've entertained myself with recently (oh, forgot to mention Super 8 which I just watched on the plane - that was good Stephen Spielberg fun!)

The one and only project I undertook in the past 3 weeks was a quick fall scarf project. I'm not sure what I had originally intended but I had 1/4 yard each of a crushed velvet and a Anna Marie Horner voile in my project pile. Seemed like it would be a pretty straightforward project to cut them in half lengthwise, stitch together each piece and then sew them together to make a simple scarf.  But I had to rip out most of the first try at stitching together and try again because the 2 fabrics were very hard for me to feed consistently and get an even seam. I've had this problem before. This seems to be something where an experienced sewist could help me out - or I could do a google search to see what's been shared on the topic online.  Anyway, I didn't have time even to take decent photos with my new camera - these are just from my iPod camera (or maybe it was my blackberry...) So forgive the poor quality and the messy hair!

This photo is not flattering, but it is probably an accurate version of me after a long day trying to fit it a few minutes to photograph a project I whipped out in a (relative) hurry. Anyway, you can see how long it is - but I  wore it in Berlin (with a nice blouse, brushed hair, and makeup) and even had a compliment or two so it is serving it's purpose.

 The scarf turned out way longer than I would have made if I'd given it much thought.  In fact I may have meant originally to go for a short wide one, but I don't think the 42" WOF would have been long enough to wrap around sufficiently.

Mr. Wonderful says I look more rested today. But I had one of the most bizarre and unsettling anxiety dreams last night that involved blowing a Final exam in some sort of writing class (playwriting?) - I was supposed to write a short play, cast it, and perform it...but I missed half the instructions, ran out of paper and spent most of the writing time scrambling around begging for scraps of paper.  Eventually, on little scraps of paper with a stubby pencil I wrote something that turned out to be completely off-base (due to missing instructions), and I had to fake my way out of sharing with the class while I tried to rewrite something.  I totally messed up the casting since the play was so off-base (like mine was a musical comedy instead of a serious drama), and it was like Project Runway where we were competing for the best actors (models for PR) so I was completely screwed and decided I'd perform on my own (seems like about as good an idea as representing yourself in court rather than getting a lawyer!)  I'm not even sure how the story turned out after trying to get the instructor's attention unsuccessfully to beg for mercy so I'd have time to figure something out.

Because I finally, mercifully, woke up.

Linky alert! Check out some weekly Whoop Whoop projects over here!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Three day weekend finish - the Baguette Clutch!

Did I mention how much I love my new camera?  I have hardly used it yet, but tonight I looked at the clutch I finished yesterday and thought to myself, "self! do you think your new camera can handle nighttime shots of a project without that yellow blurry look?"

Yes it can!

I don't have a lot of time, and I was pretty pleased with the on-board white balance adjustment and the manual exposure I got right off the card. But for that last shot I opened it in Photoshop Elements and just did a tiny bit of futzing around to see how I could start thinking about making the images even better. A little more contrast and such and the yellow on this Amy Butler print really pops out so much more.

Oh, the clutch itself was made from a kit that I ordered from u-handbag - the Baguette Clutch. Everything was included in the kit except thread and glue - and I bought the glue from Lisa's shop too.  If you don't know  u-handbag, the blog, and Lisa Lam, well you are missing out! I have referred to her tutorials several times and have been intending to use some of her tutorials, especially the For Pleats Sake handbag.  I also ordered her book "The Bag Making Bible" - but I haven't gotten it yet...

I saw a giveaway for one of these kits, but of course didn't win (wait, did I remember to enter? oh well...) Anyway, I've wanted to try a framed coin-purse sort of project, so I thought I'd order a kit from the guru to cut my teeth. The pattern and instructions were very clear, down to the waiting for the glue to dry awhile before sticking the bag to the frame ("make yourself a cuppa" while you wait!). I have one more kit - the easier looking one of course, and also another frame to try making my own pattern (Lisa has instructions somewhere on her blog how to do this too).

Go check it out!  The one and only drawback is the exchange rate to UK sterling, making it a little more expensive for US customers than maybe you could find for something similar on etsy. But I guarantee you won't find a better DIY kit/package and more freely shared knowledge on how to turn out a practically perfect bag first try anywhere else. That made it worth the exchange rate markup - every penny!

(another totally impractical evening bag? guess Mr. Wonderful better start cranking out some elegant date nights!)

Linked up over as Sew Much Ado:

Friday, September 2, 2011

My new toy!!

I got the most splendid birthday present and I am so excited! Years and years ago I used to take a lot of photos on film and I used a Pentax K1000, the VW Bug of film SLRs.  I loved that camera and it loved me. It traveled to different continents with me and in the jungle and savannas and cities afar. I have carousels of slides that I took with it and a couple of nice lenses.

Then I started using a point and shoot Elph with that new fancy cartridge film (what is that called?), and then moved to a couple of different digital cameras that have been okay. But I just don't take good photos with them for whatever reason.  And I think that having a slightly larger camera means I remember to take it with me (but we will test that theory now).

So, I've thought about a digital SLR for a little while now. I didn't know what to get - Canon or Nikon?  Well, there is a Pentax option that gets great reviews AND that I can use my old 50mm 1:2 lens with the K mount with. And other old Pentax lenses that may not be too expensive nowadays but would be fun to try (my dad apparently has a collection so I asked him to go through and see if there was anything interesting. I'm pretty sure he has a nice wide angle lens...)

I asked for the Pentax K-r for my birthday - and now I have one!  And I've learned that I have forgotten most of what I once knew about taking photos (which wasn't a huge amount to begin with), and digital introduces new concepts. But I have been playing a little with it, just around the house so far...I'm trying the manual mode rather than preset auto modes (of which there are several).

Cody in a semi-dark bedroom

close shot of my birthday bouquet
this is the same shot, cropped to show more detail...
And even more cropping - the image maintains nice detail even sized for the web at 60% quality.
a new shot at my little corded handbag...compared with the original shot below (which I took with a point and shoot Lumix) The first one was doctored up a bit in Photoshop Elements to get the colors right. I didn't do any editing at all with any of these photos. I used the white adjustment right on the camera before shooting.


A couple of different versions of the same shot of our front door from the couch - it will be fun to play with the composition of photos with different settings.

So much fun!!  Thank you to Mr. Wonderful, Teen Wonder, and Wild Thing!! I just asked for one present this year so they all pitched in (especially Mr. Wonderful). xoxoxoxo

I need a camera case for my new baby - if anyone knows of a great pattern for making one please let me know. I'm thinking I could adapt a diaper bag or box pouch pattern or combine elements somehow...

(linked to Sarah's Whoop Whoop! because I actually did get a new post in on a Friday)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

End of summer finishes - just a little to share

What the heck? It's been ages since I've posted. We went to the Lair for a week and got thoroughly sunburned, rested, hiked, swimmed, cocktail partied (camp style), campfired, sang, boated, visited, and generally had a great time. As usual - it was our 5th year at the Lair and the magic still burns for the whole family.

We're rebuilding our garage - a somewhat slow but steady project this summer. "We" includes a contractor who has done most of the work. But we spent much of this weekend painting primer on all the new walls and interior ceiling.

School is starting tomorrow for Teen Wonder and Wild Thing. And I'm just the kind of mom who braves the craziness of OfficeMax and Kohl's and Old Navy just the day before school starts. Because it just always seems to work out that way. What up? I was never an all-nighter kind of college student, I hate being late...but for some reason it never hits me until the last minute that summer is ENDING. TOMORROW. yikes.

And in concert with all this, my crafty refuge in the basement is occupied by bicycles, sleeping bags and packing boxes, and piles of torn jeans and T-shirts for memory quilts all dumped on my sewing table by my loving children. I should be damned proud I have anything at all to post on this blog, dammit!

So, #1 Finished Object for your viewing pleasure - a project that was officially a knitting project on my list, but which turned into a sewing project - the "Corded" inspired handbag:

It's made from Noro Daria yarn that I found a couple of years ago in a sale bin. My mom asked me "what do you make with a yarn like this?"  Fair question, as it is more like a string or cord than yarn. I guess the only other thing I would think to make is a belt - but the colors say bag, not belt, to me.  Anyway, there is a free pattern for a small clutch called "Corded"  by Grumperina. The pattern uses 1 hank and I had 2, so I thought I'd make something a little bigger. Heh. That was probably my first mistake.

This handbag looked like a limp biscuit when I finished knitting it.

So I knew I'd need to at least line the thing.  But I decided to construct a separate lined zipper bag and a flap lining and sew them in.  The bag shows through the knitted fabric, so I figured a simple lining would not suffice. And I wanted more stiffness, so I interfaced both lining and bag pieces of dupioni silk.  Stitching them into the knitted bag was the trickiest part. In fact, I need to undo and re-do the bag stitching part because my knit and fabric bodies didn't line up all the time and the stitches didn't hold on the front top edge. Poor sewing quality - shape up!

Although the zipper bag has good body and holds quite a bit, this is a highly impractical bag for me personally due to the loose knit fabric and the stitching holding it all together.  I generally need something more durable because I'm not girly enough for dainty items and forget to be careful with things that I'm carrying around or wearing. But I took it to a party last night and got compliments immediately, so maybe it's worth it.  I do love my little button detail and the strap I managed to squeak out of my scrap of Daria that I had leftover (just a crochet chain stitch cord). So officially, a success story - all stash materials and at least one successful public appearance.

Next FO is another attempt at the zippered bag I made before with denim but wasn't entirely happy with - this time I used a dupioni silk for the body and a different cotton print and lining. But I attached the contrasting top band after installing the zipper this time to reduce the bulk at the zipper seams. I like this much more.

I want to make at least one more, so I'm thinking of a tutorial. Like a real live tutorial with better photos and maybe a .pdf. The bag was constructed combining elements from the "Gathered Clutch" and "scrappy make-up pouch" tutorial both from Ana at Noodlehead. I love her tutorials so much and have used these free tutorials several times now, so I am feeling that I want to buy a couple of her bag patterns now - the 241 and the brand new "Go Anywhere Bag".  I will be sure an blog about them when I do. There are so many free bag patterns out there, and several in craft books and magazines that I already have, but I learn so much from these tutorials that it seems like a win-win to actually pay her for some patterns!

Anyway, here are the materials I have set aside for another of these gathered pouches.  When I can come up for air one of these days, hopefully with a new camera that I begged asked for as a birthday gift this week, I will attempt an actual tutorial for this little bag. Meantime, I have enough little projects to send off for my PIF projects, so I need to get on top of mailing those out.

 Happy first day of school (to us)!! - I hope you are all safe on the east coast, my friends, and wish all of you a great week!

9/2 edited to add to Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Because I never have a post ready in time for Friday...I thought I'd link up a few days late!

8/31" edited to add the Link-up party at Tea Rose Home - go check it out! oh and happy birthday to me!