Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quilted spring bag

It's been too long since I've quilted and my fabric stash isn't getting any smaller, so I joined a quilt-a-long for a quilted bag exchange and promised myself I'd use only scraps.

Here is my first quilted bag made from this tutorial. I do like the bag but I'm thinking it looks more like a diaper bag with these whimsical colors and less "serious" and adult like so I'm not sure if my swap partner will like it or use it.

I'll be sending this bag to another country, so I want it to be special. I think I'll sit on it for a week and see if I want to send this one. The good news is that it sews up in no time at all so if I change my mind, I can prepare another one quickly.

I also decided to send my swap partner one of my big, fat potholder hearts. I still use mine all the time.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A toast

Knitting relaxes me; the repetition of the process, the simple twists and knots that undo the twists and knots in my mind and shoulders, and I get to create something in the process, something that's tangible and useful and maybe even pretty, something to show at the end of the day after spending most of my day doing the toughest job for which there are no tangible results or feedback (parenting in case you hadn't guessed).

I was thrilled to finally make some Toast arm warmers for myself. The pattern is ridiculously simple yet elegant and practical. I can pull on a pair of toast beneath my shirt or over my sleeves or to take the chill off a damp, rainy spring day when working on my laptop.

Heck, my daughter can even pull them on as leg warmers when she's dancing to the Nutcracker after dinner. After moving into a smaller house, I totally dig multifunctional! I knit them in a heathered purple Cascade 220 yarn, which I like more than I anticipated. Purple was never exactly one of my colors but heathered anything is.

Here's Leslie's original post with the Toast pattern (inspired by the British company of the same name). Thanks for the great pattern Leslie!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Silly hats

I have yarn in my stash that needs to get used up (call it spring cleaning). I started knitting hats to get rid of the extra bits of yarn. I'm not in love with them but they're soft and they'll do.

William models his new silly hat. This Marley pattern is from Susan Anderson's Itty-Bitty Hats book. I'm not crazy about the colors, but so be it, it's a stash hat. The important thing is that it fits him well and is soft and warm.

Here's the side view with the silly topper, which I kind of like. There's only so much time in childhood to get away with things like this.

Here's the second stash busting hat, which actually fits me too. I used up three small balls of yarn with this one including sock yarn, which makes the variegated pattern.

I didn't follow a pattern, I just started knitting, then seaming, then added the ear flaps and made the I-cord and tassels. My exact pattern is on ravelry, although there are better examples of thorpes and jester hats to follow.

I'm trying to be a better knitter - that is not in skill but in habit. I'm trying to diminish my stash to one basket worth of yarn (currently I have four) because I can't use four baskets worth all at once anyway and I'd rather have an excuse to visit my local yarn shop with an organized mind and yarn supply. Happy spring cleaning to you too!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Reusable produce bags

We try to use our reusable grocery bags when we buy groceries (admittedly, sometimes I forget and leave them in the trunk) but I end up using so many plastic bags in the produce department, it seems that I'm hardly making a dent in the amount of plastic we use. I finally took an old curtain made of 100% polyester and turned it into a set of six produce bags that I can reuse.

The material is translucent so the attendant at checkout can still read labels or count items through the fabric, but it's strong and washable so I can use them over and over. It took me less than an hour to make six and I used ribbon that I had on hand for the closure.

Room enough for at least a dozen pears, or potatoes, apples, etc. but small enough to be brought along without taking up room. Although I made my own in various sizes (longer ones for carrots, wider ones for apples) there are some tutorials I found on the web. Here's one that uses mesh. And some that are made from sheer curtain fabric like mine. You can also purchase them such as this nice set made by LoveForEarth on Etsy.