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!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Giveaway winner courtesy of Mr. Random Number Generator

Figuring out blogging little by little...since this is my first giveaway I had to figure out how to add comment numbering to my blog last week. This week I looked up and added a widget (gadget) to generate random integers (see sidebar). You can go to and generate a random integer anytime right there too, without the widget.

Anyway, I had 21 comments, and Mr. Random Number Generator over there chose

comment 3 

Beth Hoch said...

Hey Janet! Happy Anniversary!
I am a long time crafter, first time commenter ... Has been a very full summer. Looking at colleges for Emma ... (You are probably doing the same thing) ... Ada broke her ankle. Waiting for more sun! Thanks for sharing all your fun ideas .
Hey Beth, congratulations!  I remember some of your crafty goodness from what seems like so long ago now! Hard to believe that our girls are Seniors this year - yikes! Walking to Kindergarten at Edison with you guys doesn't feel that long ago somehow.  Anyway, I will be emailing you, and you can let me know where to drop the goods!

Thanks so much to everyone for entering, and now that I have the ability to run a giveaway I will have to come up with more excuses in the future!

As for any actual updates this week, well I haven't had time for crafting much for the past couple of weeks - off-site meetings, busy summer craziness, and Nana visiting (aka my wonderful mom) have taken a higher priority. And now we are packing and off to the Lair! for our annual family camp experience. What is the Lair! you ask? It's summer camp for the whole family, complete with platform tents, campfires, singing songs, swimming pool, hikes around the lake, party boat cruising, star-gazing, horseshoes, softball, scrabble...and don't forget the cocktail parties and the occasional mid-afternoon nap. nice.  It's in the Sierras and run by the Cal Alumni association, and it is something our whole family gets excited about every year. This will be our fifth summer going.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

First blogaversary + first giveaway!

--Giveaway closed!--

It's my blog-a-versary!! (blogiversary?)...anyway, I'm having my first giveaway to celebrate. Last year I started this blog as an experiment. I'd started checking out other blogs long ago, most often when I was looking for a technique or tutorial - except for a few knitting or general sewing/craft blogs I'd followed more diligently.

It has been a fun year of testing this out. I've posted only 67 times, but I wanted to post at least once a week, so I more or less averaged out to that.  I have posted many crafty projects, large and small - and I have a really nice small group of cool followers, both through Google/blogger and through Facebook. I entered contests (with some success), giveaways (random success a few times), a charity quilt project (H2H just finished), and even submitted a block design to Fat Quarterly - all things I would not have done if I hadn't been blogging. Even as a part-time crafter this is a really great feeling to have after one year.

So for any of you who would like a little giveaway - here's your chance!  I'm sure it won't be my last because I have now won 4 giveaways at least, myself (recently a couple of charm packs from lovely blogland shops). So I need to keep the kharma flowing.

Here is what I am offering (please note that if you are strictly a knitter and not a sewist or quilter I could be persuaded to swap the fabric for some yarn from my stash...)

First this little stack of 4 Michael Miller FQs - from some fabrics I bough recently and though it would be fun to share. I think they are just so pretty and remind me of a summer garden. 

And second is a little zipper pouch made from a cute Japanese owl print and a gold stripe lining - 

The pouch and fabric make a cute little bundle tied in twine and they will be sent out to a lucky winner in honor of my happy 1st blogaversary (blogiversary?). (Remember, if fabric is not your thing - even if fiber in general is not your thing I am sure I have something in my crafty stash to send please celebrate with me!)

To enter, just leave me a comment below. Tell me anything you want about your summer so far - has it been good? crazy? international? campy? homey? hopefully not too natural disaster-y...

If you are one of my faithful followers (or if you want to become one), you can leave an extra comment telling me so for an extra entry.

Mr. Random Number Generator will choose a winner on Thursday 8pm PST.  PLEASE leave an email address in your comment if you are not a blogger or on google connect with an email reply option - "No Reply" comments are impossible to notify if they win! You can be tricksy and just write the at's and dot's out to avoid spammer-spies or whoever may want access to your email through viral invasion type means...