On a roll with a roll

I’ve found a small and gentle job on which to reintroduce my squished finger to sewing.

It’s a crochet hook roll for Alys at Gardening Nirvana, a thank you gift for sending me some jumbo crochet hooks from the US, sizes I couldn’t get here. It all started when I was making the chunky denim yarn mat to put in Miz Lizzie, and now that I’m making another mat with ‘plarn’ (plastic bag yarn), the big hooks have come in very useful.

Having very recently sorted my scraps into usable colour order, I was able to dip straight in and select suitable strips in her favoured colours of blue, green and purple. Alys is just starting out with crochet and doesn’t have a huge hook collection (yet!) but I’m sure that if her enthusiasm takes off there will be many more, so I’ve tried to allow for a couple of hooks in several sizes from weeny to big and chunky. There’s also a slot for a small pair of scissors. Fortunately I also had scrap batting in roughly the right size too, so the project came together quickly and easily. The binding around the edge is identical to what I use for quilts, but half an inch narrower for a tidier effect. I’m rather pleased with the whole thing.

The process is pretty simple – I didn’t think about doing it as a tutorial till it was finished, and too late, so sorry about the lack of photos. Hopefully it’s fairly self-explanatory:

  • Make a piece of fabric up using scrap strips, or use whole cloth if you prefer. Make a lining piece or again, use whole cloth. Trim a 1 inch strip off the outer fabric – you’ll need this later. Trim everything so it’s square and straight, and spray baste together in a sandwich with batting in the middle.
  • Make or cut a piece of fabric to form the inner pocket for the hooks. It needs to be at least 3 inches shorter than the roll itself. Bind the top edge of this with the 1 inch strip you cut off the outer fabric, and topstitch down. Lay the pocket piece down onto the inside of the sandwiched fabrics. Pin the left and right edge in place.
  • Take a ruler and quilt marker, and mark out pockets for the scissors and crochet hooks, up and down the full height of the tool roll, from the bottom of the pocket, across the binding and onto the lining fabric. Ensure you create pockets of a variety of sizes.
  • Quilt the lines you have marked through all layers, including the pocket. Trim out the roll to get rid of uneven edges and any threads. Cut a 2 inch wide strip of binding fabric the circumference of the roll plus a few extra inches. Press it in half along its length.
  • Bind the roll with this narrow binding. (I’ve done a binding tutorial elsewhere, which you can find here) I hand-stitched down the inside edge rather than the outer one as I felt this would be more durable. Stitch on a button loop or piece of elastic to the centre of the right hand outer edge. Stitch a button to the approximate vertical and horizontal centre of the outside of the roll. You may need to move it slightly left or right to accommodate something inside, so test with tools in the roll before you finalise the button position.
  • Put tools into roll. Roll up into three sections and secure with button. You’re done!

Now that I know the finger’s up to sewing, I’ll be returning to the projects in hand. It’s time to get quilting on a couple of things, including making a start on the TWX blocks

SAL 43: Time for something different

Here we are again, time to show what I’ve been stitching away at.

I took my embroidery away with me when I went on holiday recently, but due to have far too much of a good time, I got none at all done while I was away!  Since my return, I’ve managed to get the right hand border filled in down to the design either side of the Z. After this, there’ll be another decorative band, and then it’s time for the Big Stuff.

Here’s where I was before:

And here’s progress to date:

Do hop on over to everyone else’s posts and see what they’ve been up to; we’re all working on something different, and in different time zones, so if you don’t see anything new, try again later.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnJessSueConstanzeDebbierose,
ChristinaSusan, Kathy MargaretCindyHelenStephLinda,
Catherine, Wendy

The next SAL post is due on 2 April. See you then 🙂

A whole different way of camping

Up to now, camping has been a balancing act.

You balance the things you want and need against the space or carrying capacity available. I’ve backpacked; I don’t enjoy the weightlifting involved. I’ve camped with a bicycle and panniers, a motorbike and trailer, and with a car. In all these cases, you have to discard things because there’s no space for them, often things you later wish you had. It’s mostly a case of cramming things into every available corner.

laundry-bagsMiz Lizzie has changed all that. I have places for things, permanent places. One of the most refreshing changes is clothes and laundry. We have a wardrobe, and drawers, for goodness’ sake. When I realised this morning that dirty laundry no longer had to be hung outside the tent in a skimpy plastic bag till I could deal with it, I made us each (drum roll) a laundry bag! To hang inside the wardrobe door on a hook, and corral all the mis-matched socks, used underwear and sweaty shirts, so that Miz Lizzie stays tidy, clean and pleasant-smelling.

pocket-hangingAnd remember I said I’d tell you another time what I did with the pockets from the jeans I cut up for rug yarn? It’s another ‘stuff’-corralling item, some-where to put all those bits and pieces that otherwise get put down, forgotten and lost. It’ll hang inside by the door, or possible on the back of the door itself, so you can find the torch easily in the middle of the night when you have to go to the loo, or you need your car keys or sun-screen before you head out. It’s not especially beautiful or straight – old denim can be a bit baggy to work with – but it is useful, and made from a recycled pair of jeans and a fabric remnant for which I paid $3.

Our first outing is on Saturday. I’m in a frenzy of list-making now that I have space to play with. With the bike and trailer I knew what I had and could take. This is a whole new ball game – does anyone out there have any gems of good advice or experience I could benefit from?

But it’s still better to take too little than too much, wouldn’t you say?

SAL 42: A line under the alphabet

I got the border under the letters finished!

Here’s where I was last time:

sampler-middle-border

And here’s where I am now 🙂

letters-bottom-borderIt felt good to ‘draw a line’ under the letters, which I found slow going, especially at the end. Now, I can let go and enjoy myself with the borders, blocks and patterns which happen below the line, as it were.

Don’t forget to hop over and inspect progress on all the other SAL projects; links below. We’re all in different time zones, so if there’s nothing up yet, give it a few hours and try again

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnJessSueConstanzeDebbierose,
ChristinaSusanKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLinda,
Catherine, Wendy

See you next time, on 12th March.

 

Miz Lizzie 2: a pile of goodies

It turns out I won’t get to play with her over the weekend, boo!

They’ve tested the aircon, which is working fine, but the brackets the unit’s mounted on inside its cupboard are worn and the thing makes a huge din when it’s working. New brackets will take till Monday to arrive, so while we’ll get the handover and electric braking fitted to the car on Friday, Miz Lizzie herself will not be available till Monday afternoon. It’s good the problem’s getting fixed, but not so good that I have to wait, as patience is not my strong suit…

Meanwhile, I went to Spotlight to buy fabric for seat covers and curtains, based on what I could remember of the sizes. Their 20% off sale finished yesterday, so I had to do it quickly to get the reduction. I’ve got the fabrics I wanted, ticking for the seat covers and a lovely seaside themed print for the curtains. Luckily I remembered the sizes quite well, as when I went back the next day to measure the actual seats and windows, it turns out I’ve got just about enough. I can always get a metre or so more at full price if I run short.

curtain-cushion-fabricscurtain-fabric-scaleWhile we were standing in the queue for the cutting desk, clutching the two huge rolls of fabric, the Husband said “Have you seen those tiny little cheap sewing machines over there?  Do you think you could use one for the caravan?” Er, silly question, my darling… you really need to ask? Only $99, too.

lilibetSo here’s my baby Singer, Lilibet. Isn’t she little and cute? She weighs only 4.4kg (9.5 pounds). She’s got straight, zigzag, invisible hemming, edge-finishing and decorative scallop stitches as well as buttonhole stitching. There’s stitch width and length adjustment, and a reverse lever. She has regular, zipper and buttonhole feet, and a cover for the feed dogs for quilting. That’s plenty. She doesn’t have lock stitch or needle down buttons or speed control, but I can work around that. So while we’re gallivanting around the countryside, I can carry on with whatever project I’m currently sewing 🙂 The Husband’s a treasure, isn’t he?

Meanwhile, bloke-type presents are also being bought for our new baby: power cords, amperage converters, that sort of stuff. We have 10 days before we go away, and just about enough time to get everything sorted. I won’t have time to do the curtains and covers, either, but it’ll give me a chance to see whether I’ll need blackout lining, and if the bed cushions need more padding, that sort of thing.

Time to do some proper sewing, I think, instead of petting my fabrics….

SAL 41: almost halfway

It’s that time again.

I’ve managed to keep a bit of momentum going this time, and my progress isn’t too shabby.

Here is where we were last time.

sampler-alphabet-done

And here we are now.  Not huge progress, but respectable.

sampler-middle-borderDo nip over and see what the others are up to. We’re all working on something different, all at our own speed. And we’re in different time zones, being all over the world, so if you don’t see something new the first time, go back for another look. It’ll be worth your while:

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnJessSueConstanzeDebbierose,
ChristinaSusan, KathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLinda and
Catherine

Until the next time, on 19th February…

In a spin…

I can’t seem to settle to my sewing.

paper-piecing-patterns Normally, I’d know exactly what I wanted to do, and would focus on it and make some decent progress. Just lately, the past week or so, I can’t seem to focus. Burning my hand didn’t help. I was in the mood to sew and couldn’t. Now, I look at the several project piles and can’t decide. I pick something up… and then put it down again. Some of it is time-critical, but even that’s not enough to get my motor running.

cathys-quilt-cutting cathy-sample-blockThere’s only one solution. Go into my sewing room, close the door, turn everything on, and just get on with something.

I’ve designed two paper pieced patterns, but haven’t tried them yet. I’ll start there. As it happens, they’re the ones I need to finish first, so it’s a good place to start. I hope it goes OK, I don’t feel as if I can sew sweetly and smoothly today, so there may be extensive frogging. We shall see…

Wish me luck.