Hooked

Soooooo I haven’t really been doing much on the crafty front. At least, nothing finished to share or things that aren’t Morsbags, so this is a double project show off post because I’ve been crocheting like a loon of late. Two crocheted octopi

These little octopuses were made for a friend on account of it was her birthday and she likes octopuses. They’re both made from stash yarns, and I did two strands on the tentacles of the purple one for a bit of visual interest (spell check just suggested “testicles” but they’re not that detailed). They work up nicely and I like how the tentacles curl up all tidy. The pattern is by LadyLilliput on Etsy. Mine are not as tidy as hers…

12 Point Star blanket

I recently joined a crochet group on Facebook and everyone was making these 12 point star blankets. Not being a super confident crocheter, I gazed at them for ages before deciding to use up some of the cake yarn I’d bought in a frenzy of cake yarn buying. This one is just the width of a single bed, and took about 2 2/3 cakes. I could have done another couple of rounds, but I wanted to end with the purple as the border because I plan these things. Stop looking at me like that. I sometimes plan. The pattern is the Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket by Celeste Young.  It’s a free one. You can stop at baby blanket size, or you can just go on for weeks if you like as long as you follow the increases/no increase rounds pattern. Easy peasy. I know a lot of cake yarns have this colourway, but this one is by Heirloom and it’s so much softer than the Lincraft ones I’ve used.

Anyway that’s what I’ve been up to. There’s a package of yarn and a loom on the way to my house for some more projects, I might even remember to update when I do them. Perhaps…

Tablecloth Handbag

Last night I was standing the dark next to my car, with a first aid dummy hoisted up onto my hip and two ukuleles in my hand as I tried to find my car keys in my bag. I decided then and there to finally make the handbag I’ve been looking at. That’s not quite true, I decided later I’d make a new bag but gosh it was a dramatic moment wasn’t it?

Anyoldway, as much as I love my old handbag, it’s actually gone from “Nicely roomy” to “too big too big!”. I’d like to say I’ve made a smaller one in an effort to streamline my life and embrace a minimalist ideal, but really it’s just because I’m fed the fuck up hunting for my keys/lighter/phone/purse in a big bag.

Handbag made from vintage tablecloth

I’ve been eyeing off the tutorial for this bag over at Mmmcrafts for ages on the basis it looked quick, and was a nice size. I was right on both counts. The most time consuming part of this project was all the wandering around I did, poking things and looking out the window in a very procrastinatey way. Although I’ve taken the time to fling some scrap fabric over the cutting board to make a proper background for once, I can’t help but feel yellow wasn’t the right choice. Too late now, the camera battery is on charge and all hope of a redo is lost.

The outside fabric, you may have gathered from the post title, is a vintage tablecloth I got in a bundle from eBay a while back because I buy fabric bundles when I’m sad (don’t judge me). The fabric of the tablecloth was a little bit soft to be a bag on it’s own, but the lining fabric is sturdy and that holds all the shape. Well done lining fabric, unsung hero of the handbag world.

Front pocket of the bag

I changed a few bits of the tutorial pattern. The tutorial has the external pocket on the back of the bag, but I’d rather have the pocket under the flap so I did that. There’s a photo even, to prove that I would not lie to you about flaps and pockets.  The other change I did was not rounding the flap corners. This was because I couldn’t be bothered clipping curves. I mean, that’s for aesthetic reasons and nothing at all to do with me being slack.  I also didn’t divide the inner pocket into two because I don’t have many tiny things that need a pocket all their own.

Inside of the table cloth bag

The lining fabric came… oh. It’s from eBay. I bought a bundle of …fabric one time. Shush. The bag is plenty big enough for what I need to carry such as my frog purse (which I made but never blogged), my tobacco pouch (which I made but never blogged), a Morsbag (which I made) and my phone (which I bought with money I made). I’m perfectly willing to pretend that this is all that’s ever in my bag, and that I never carry around loose change in the bottom of the pockets. Or old receipts. Or loose tobacco. Or random bits of crap. Not me! Minimalist! Streamlined! Not at all full of shit!

Mors Pause

See what I did there with the title? Puh-retty clever, I know! Thanks, kind of you to say. Work on the rainbow skirt ground to almost a halt over the past week or so as I worked on these Morsbags. (Click to embiggen, as per usual.)

Morsbags with applique ukuleles

The Morsbag people are running a competition which I figured I might as well enter.  Entry requirements are simple, you need to make 10 themed Morsbags and make sure the label is included. I went with ukulele themed bags so I can hand them out at ukegroup and make people like me with Morsbag based bribes.

Sadly, the sewing machine came back from servicing with an incredible amount of oil and grease sloshing around on it. I don’t know why the screw that holds the foot on had to be coated in grease, for example. I’ve run a lot of scrap fabric through and wiped the casing down a few times, but there’s still oil/grease lurking. It’s not a problem on the skirt sewing yet as those are small bits that don’t get moved around much. There’s some splots on these bags though, which is frustrating. It’d be okay if they were for me, but I’m giving them away so it’s a bit “Sorry about the splodge there, the sewing machine service people are completely kinky for grease”.

Morsbags Timelapse

So basically what I’ve been making over the past month and a bit is Morsbags. There’s a festival coming up, and I want a bundle to hand out to people. Also they’re fun to make. But I made a big overexcited post about that before.

One thing I have bought recently is a new Brinno timelapse camera. I had one, but it didn’t have the viewfinder so I got some fabulous footage of “not quite what I wanted”. I decided to test out the camera inside and out, and the inside one is… sewing Morsbags. You can watch it if you like, it’s just here.

That’s about it for now, I bought some more sheets at the op-shop this morning as I was running out of stash to sew up into bags. I’m off to cut some more bags. Addicted. Little bit addicted.
If you’re interested in the Morsbag idea, you should visit the website.

More Morsbags Please

Being ever so slightly tragic in my adoration of “The Great British Sewing Bee”, I follow a lot of contestants on Twitter. I love that show, not just for the sewing – but I dream of a fabric stash like that, let’s be honest – but because unlike most competition style shows there’s no bitchy comments to a secret camera, no gloating when someone has to unpick their seams – it’s just nice, comfortable sewing with lovely people and Claudia Winkleman who is gorgeous. I digressed, oops. Anyway! The winner of the 2014 season, Heather, was photographed making a “Morsbag”. This was a new word to me, so I went over to the website and went “Oooh!”

A pile of Morsbags

On the face of it, Morsbags are a simple idea. You make a cloth bag, and use it instead of plastic bags. What makes Morsbags a bit special is that you make them and then give them away. You don’t sell them. You gift them. To people you know, people you don’t know – anyone anywhere. The fabric can be anything too, there’s a big push for recycled fabrics such as old sheets or clothes. As you can see I’ve made a bit of a stack so far (I’m up to 13, but I’ve another 5 or so cut out ready to sew) and all of mine are stash fabrics. Some of them are failed projects. The purple up there is a skirt I was halfway through before I just thought “This isn’t working” and shoved it into the stash, and the brown flowers are a sheet I dyed yellow and then forgot to use. The rest are  fabrics I’ve hung on to because they’re “special” but I thought “What am I hanging on to them for? They might be special, but they’re not being very special hidden away in a box”. I’ve made two froggy ones, one of those lives in my handbag and the other one is currently in transit to Lizzie in the UK who also adores frogs.

I can’t pinpoint what’s so exciting about these things, really. It’s a combination of things – using up forgotten fabric, reusing failed projects, the fact that making them is a breeze and the fact that once you’ve made them they’re gifted away. All of these things, combined together, make for exactly the sort of thing I love. Making, re-using and random acts of kindness.

If you’re interested in the project, you can find all the details at Morsbags.com. To make official Morsbags to hand out, you are asked to buy the labels to sew on, but these are sold at cost and are only 5pence each (about 10 US cents). You can also join a local pod (or group) to make it a social thing if you fancy that. You can use a different pattern if you prefer, or modify the given pattern (I sew my handles on slightly differently to make them extra super strong), and you can go nuts and embellish or patchwork or dye… whatever you like. I’ve so many smaller bits of fabric lurking in the stash that a patchworked Morsbag can’t be far away.

Look at all that blather, I’m pretty excited about this whole deal.

FP: Marathon Skirt

I don’t post a lot at Craftster, but I do lurk a bit and keep an eye on the challenges when I remember. I usually forget to look until too close to the deadline, when my fabulous ideas would take too long to complete, so I was excited to check the site in good time for the 100 Things Challenge. To celebrate the 100th craft challenge hosted by Crafster, members were asked to make something out of 100 somethings. I bounced some ideas around for a while, trying to think of 100 somethings I could use. Eventually I went back to my first thought, a 100 panel skirt. 200 seams right? How long could it take? Bloody ages is the answer to that, for reasons I shall explain (that’s a cliffhanger, to make you keep reading).

Fabric cut into strips

After raiding my stash for the floral fabrics – both of which had been bought for reasons I can’t recall – I went to Savers to hunt down a bedsheet. I have a bottle of red dye and even though it’s too pinky for my tastes, it would do. Happily I found a red sheet, so I didn’t have to dye a thing. I say red, it’s orange in some lights. I wanted the skirt to look deliberate rather than random, so I went with 50 strips of the red and 25 each of the florals so it would have a consistent pattern.  I also cut the strips with a taper so the skirt would be A-line.

Now, I don’t have an overlocker, so I had planned to French seam the whole lot. Once I started sewing though I thought perhaps I’d not left enough seam allowance to French seam, so I did straight seams the first time. I was going to zig zag them afterwards to stop the whole lot falling apart in the wash (the white floral is quite an open weave and tends to fray all over the place).

Skirt in progress with wide strips

This worked in as much as I ended up with a skirt, but it was a skirt big enough to hold a circus under. Not having enough fabric left over to re-cut the strips, I unpicked the bloody lot. All of it. Well most of it, when I got to the last batch of 6 I recut because that was quicker. Then I put everything back together going with the original plan of French seams.

(Quick aside – a French seam is a double seam. The fabric is sewn wrong sides together first, then turned and a second seam is sewn to encase the edge inside the fold. This means edges are protected from wear and tear and won’t fray. Mostly used on sheer fabrics where overlocking or other finishing methods will show through, also handy for massive patchwork skirts and people who don’t have overlockers).

Skirt laid flat before sewing together

Here’s the skirt before sewing the final seam. A combination of slightly uneven strips and slightly uneven seams gave it a bit of a swirl, most of which was pressed out later, but there’s still a curve to it. I don’t even mind.

I’d decided earlier to put a waistband on it. I don’t normally fuss with waistbands when I make skirts. I either use an old pair of jeans or just fold the top of the skirt over and run some cord or elastic through it. However, the sheer number of seams would make that unacceptably bulky around the waist where I have plenty of natural bulk already.  This was originally going to be quite a deep waistband, but the finished size of the skirty part dictated a shallower band. Yes I let myself be bossed around by fabric.

Skirt finished and laid flat

I have to say, this new flooring is awesome as a photo background. Anyway! As you can see, I did not only the waist band but also a hem band – the bulk of the seams meant folding a double hem was not practical. It’s probably doable, but it would have been quite bulky and even the sturdy Elna machine might have decided to die as a result.

French seams all over the place

The hem and waistband were both done with a double layer of fabric. This was partly to match some of the weight of the skirt itself, and partly so I could enclose the raw edges inside the hem/waistband. They all got a zigzag first, but hopefully keeping them hidden and protected will stop fraying.

At various stages through out this project I thought “This isn’t even going to fit when it’s finished”, but hooray! It totally does.

Hooray! It fits!

I don’t normally fold my shirts up like that, all my tops are very long so it was a case of “Fold that and see the skirt”. According to my instagram, I started cutting the fabric on the 19th of June, and I finished the skirt on the 4th of July. Of course, I wasn’t doing nothing but sewing, I have a job and a life and stuff, but still. Was it worth it? Yep. I really love my marathon skirt! If I were to make another one (shortly after hell freezes over I suspect), I would make the strips have a wider taper. It’s not as A-line as I planned. I’d also make them longer, because this is the shortest skirt I own now. But overall, I think it came out pretty well. I just need somewhere to wear it now!

Temperature Scarf: Blue June

June Temperature Scarf

Oh hey Random Increases, welcome back! Sure is nice to see you again. Makes me feel at home. Anyway! June. Blue June. It stayed between 11 and 19 degrees for the whole month. This is maximum temperatures, of course. It surely did get under 10 a few times. Surely did (no idea where that came from, I’m just going to run with it). I’ll weave the ends in at some point maybe.

Scarf up until June

And the whole thing. Since we’re halfway through the year it’s about a half as long as it will be. Quite, quite long. I should be able to wear nothing but this scarf and still not violate any decency laws. It does look a bit … flabby at the June end. I don’t know how many increases ended up being done, but apparently it’s a few.

Now, if you’ve been here before you’ll  know that not terribly long ago I conquered The Granny Square (dun dun dunnnn). Since then I’ve pretty much not stopped, hauling out all the balls of yarn I had stashed away to throw them all together into a shawl. It’s not done yet, but here’s how it’s looking at the moment.

Granny Square ShawlThat row at the bottom needs sewing on, and I’ve a pile of grannies waiting to be sewn into rows. Although this was “designed” as a stash busting project, I have bought some more yarn in solid colours. Variegated yarn looks grand for a round, but two different kinds doesn’t look so hot to me – the form of the granny is lost in the random colours. So I’ve been limiting the variegated to one type per square. Of course, being me, I mostly only had variegated so I picked up some cheap solid colours at a discount shop. Also some more black. You can see in the photo the blacks are not entirely the same.

So that’s where I’m at at the moment – up to my eyeballs in yarn most of the time.

A Squishy Basket of Delight

A few years ago, I was in a skirt making phase (which I never quite left to be honest) and the lure of an “Empty the bolt” sale got to me. This is a sale my local fabric chain store holds where they give you a discount if you buy the entire rest of the bolt of fabric. I bought some sunshiny yellow flowery fabric. I say “some”, it was about 6 meters. Which I used entirely in a double-circle skirt. The skirt was… terrible. The fabric was too stiff to really be happy in a double-circle skirt. I wore it once and then put it away to “fix” later. By the time I got around to fixing it, I’d gone right off the fabric. The colours I still loved, but the design did look like toilet curtains. It’s been hanging around for ages, so this weekend I decided to use up the fabric and make a basket.

This is going to be a long post with lots of pictures, so I’ll show you the finished item first. The rest is a tutorial of sorts – these baskets are really easy to make and I’d love for you to have a go. You only need to know 2 crochet stitches – chain and single crochet. Finished Basket

It’s deliciously squishy, you should know this right up front. Mine is quite roomy, but this “pattern” (I really do use that term loosely) is completely adaptable to whatever size or depth you want. It’s one of those nifty things where you can follow the tutorial and end up with something utterly different and totally yours.

Ready? Then let us away.
Continue reading →

Lazy Summer Days

How awesome am I to open a brand new blog and then cease to post after three entries? Pretty damn awesome! I have the most best excuses though, and they are two. The first is the heat, which as usual has sucked the creativity right out of my face via my more than ample nose. No matter how determined I am to do anything in a given day, it never happens if the temperature climbs too high. The house I’m in does have air-con, in a patchy sort of way, which is just not enough to overrule the Summer. The second excuse is that I reactivated my World of Warcraft account, fool that I am.

However! I come to you with news of a planned project. A knitting friend of mine on Plurk (hello Selana!) linked a nifty looking project – A “My Year in Temperatures” scarf. For those who can’t be bothered clicking, the basic idea is that you select colours to represent temperature ranges, and every day you add a row to your scarf of the relevant colour. Kris, the lady who owns the blog where the idea is, has chosen colours for a range of temperatures from -40°C to +30°C, however being as I am in Melbourne, I have been able to select a much smaller colour range as our seasonal highs and lows don’t cover such a wide spread. While I’m waiting for my yarn to arrive (I know the idea works best on scrap or left over balls, but I don’t have enough of a colour range as I tend to buy just red. Or sometimes brown), I am keeping track of the top temperatures and reminding myself to do so with a sticker on my monitor:

Temperature List

Eagle eyed guests, or those who do a lot of snail mailing, will note that is the border end of a strip of stamps. My top tip for today is using them for tiny reminder notes as they stick easily and peel off later. And yes I totally did watermark an image no one in their right mind would steal.

I think this project has captured my imagination for a couple of reasons. The first is simply timing – Selana linked to it a couple of days ago, while the years high temperatures were still easily available on the web. If it’d been June, I probably would have tucked it away and then forgotten about it. The other reason is that I love stripes, I think stripes are the most best awesome things (although polka dots are also terribly awesome). Finally, I like the idea of having a year long project that can’t be rushed. The yarn should be here soon, and then I’ll get the opening days done and be on my way! Huzzah!

In other crafty news, about a week ago I was thinking random thoughts about things unrelated to much and I suddenly remembered that the wooden chest under the window is no longer full of my mother’s eccentric hat collection – it’s full of Craft Stash!

stash

On the top you can see a frog I did to check the colour palette of a piece of software I have since lost. Underneath that? All manner of kits, threads, patterns and other bits and bobs including a latch hook cushion front kit. Being as I’m on a bit of a stash bust this year (do pretend, now you’ve read that, that I didn’t mention buying yarn a paragraph ago. Thanks), I am diving in with this small, sweet kit:
Dragon Fly BroochIt’s beaded stitching done on a heavy cardboard backing instead of fabric, for use as a brooch. I have no recollection of buying it, but it does seem like something I’d buy…

So stay tuned, because there’s a cool change coming tomorrow and I might actually do something!

Hidden Panda Purse

I have a friend, her name is Julie (I have more friends that just Julie, but this post concerns only her). She’s a bit bonkers about pandas, even though frogs are clearly way better than pandas. I wanted to whip up something cheery, yet pandary for her, and decided on a little coin purse.

Coin Purse

The fabric was one of my fat quarter impulse buys which I am prone to, but it’s clearly bright and happy. “But wait!” I hear you say, “wait! I thought you said, Lyn, that this was pandary!”. Well it is. I hid the pandas inside.

Sneaky Pandas

See, this way, should Jools choose to use her coin purse in public, she can hide the fact that she’s a panda nutso from the general population, and see pandas only for herself. Surprise! Pandas!

There are two kinds of purse frame you can get, sew in or glue in. I went with sew in, because me and glue don’t always get along very well and sometimes there’s angry words.

Stitched Frame

Of course in this close up you can see where I botched the thread. Don’t look. The thread obviously goes through the pre-punched holes, and is for the most part hidden behind the inside of the frame, so it’s pretty neat and tidy.

Overall, this came out okay. I’m not 100% happy with the shape, but I can improve that next time (sorry Jools!). It also came together really quickly, the longest part is sewing the purse onto the frame. Getting the purse and lining done was the work of about half an hour.

To make this, I followed the tutorial at Skip to My Lou.