Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Travelling in style

I love travelling, but what I never liked was using plastic bags to hold things like shoes and other items you don't want floating around your suit case. I figured I could use my new-found sewing skills to make a lovely alternative - fabric bags. I bought three yards of bright floral fabric in Burlington just for the purpose.

I used a pattern for a drawstring bag from Martha Stewart's new sewing book and got to work. Using every last scrap, I made a large laundry bag, two smaller bags for socks and unmentionables, a shoe bag (big enough to hold a pair and sandals) and two smaller bags for odds and ends (using the odds and ends I had left, including scraps salvaged from the garbage bin for cords).

The bags are quite lovely, complete with lining. I was just going to make simple bags with no lining, but these have a nice weight to them and look very polished. I made one modification to the pattern (first by accident, but then I liked it so much I repeated the happy mistake). Instead of hiding the drawstring channel on the inside, I put it on the outside to show the lining fabric for a bit of contrast. Here you see the first, done according to the pattern, and then my version.

Definitely the bags are a much more elegant way to pack.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


I've never encountered anyone as eager, or rather crazed, as a crafter. I really got a taste of this while trying to register for SOAR - Spin-Off Autumn Retreat. The website said registration started exactly at 1 p.m. on a recent Thursday. I figured I would register myself and my mom when it opened to play it safe. Good thing I did! Within minutes classes were full. I imagined spinners across Canada and the U.S. sitting at their computers, fingers twitching on the mouse waiting for the clock to finally reach the appointed time. It was a bit of an adrenalin rush, typing as fast as possible and picking classes to beat all the other eager crafters. But that's what happens when the stars of the spinning world all converge on one spot! I got in classes with two amazing young spinners - one who wrote a book I have and another who made a video I'm waiting impatiently to find in my mailbox. Oh, and did I mention there will be lots of fibre shopping? It's gonna be great fun. Wisconsin, here we come!

A crafting project for crafting

Today I tackled a sewing project I've been thinking about for a while. I wanted to make myself a cloth to put on my lap while spinning. That's an essential item if you want to protect your pants from accumulating a layer of fluff that's escaped the spinning wheel. Until now the unattractive solution has been a tea towel.

I started with a bag of pretty fabric remnants - like a grab bag for crafters - I got at the fabric shop in Burlington, Vt. I arranged the fabric to create two patchwork pieces for the top and bottom. Then I started sewing. Because I'm the slowest sewer on the planet, this little project took me quite some time, but I persevered and learned a lot along the way. Pink ric rac on the ends added a nice finishing touch.

I'm pretty happy with it. Certainly it's a lot nicer than an ugly tea towel. But I could have done a lot to make it look better. Next time.

Coil crazy

Here's the yarn I made while relaxing in Vermont. It's full of jumbo coils with a hint of sparkle. When I first slipped it off the niddy noddy, the yarn was crazy elastic. Stretch out the skein and then sproing!, it shrunk to about half the length. Thankfully it relaxed after a good soaking.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The view from my wheel

How's this for an inspiring view to spin? Our b&b in Burlington, Vermont had the most lovely backyard overlooking Lake Champlain. I was too busy spinning to notice if Champ swam by.