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October 19, 2008


Filed under: Pictures, Spinning — thebratq @ 5:39 pm

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Back from Rhinebeck where I did my part to stimulate the economy, believe you me. I have all kinds of pictures to share but sadly my camera and computer aren’t talking to each other. So in the meanwhile have a picture of the newest member of the family:

spinning wheel

She’s an Ashford Traveller modified to have two flyers. Thus giving her the style of a “gossip” wheel (though the name may be based on a myth). All I know is that I wanted an Ashford Traveller and this one was gorgeous and had everyone stopping to ask about it. So she is MINE ALL MINE.

Now she just needs a name.

June 15, 2008

Sewing and socks and shelves!

Filed under: Knitting, In Progress, FO, Sewing, Bags — thebratq @ 4:36 pm

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First things first: I have shelves!Shelves!
They’re still a work in progress but even so, I have them! Shelves for putting crafty things on! My current plans are to move the yarn out of the plastic bins and into baskets, and from there just wing it. Currently up there are books, yarn, jewelry making supplies, and cloth. *happy sigh*

Next up, there is my sock in progress:

Sock in progress

As you can see I’m doing it toe-up on two circs. I like this much better than cuff down on DPNs. Much faster, and my OCD/perfectionist nature feels better knowing that I’m not going to run out of yarn while making the sock part of the actual sock. (Unlike before where I made it to the heel and then started fretting that the toe would turn out to be a pipe dream.) I’m very happy that I frogged the first sock attempt and went with this instead.

Then there was sewing! Which I did at 10pm last night because I’m insane. The story here is that I’ve taken to air drying my clothes, and I’m finally taking advantage of the warm weather to dry some things outside on the line. This means using clothespins and that means needing a clothespin bag.

(Well, not needing per se. I had a reused plastic shopping bag that did the job just fine. But that’s hardly fashionable or crafty!)

I have some fat quarters that I purchased off of Etsy for the specific purpose of having pretty cloth around to use for random projects just like this. I used this tutorial as general guidelines for the pattern, with tweaks along the way. Since it’s a clothespin bag for my own usage I didn’t bother with pesky things like “ironing” or “measuring.” Which is why the bag itself is “old-fashioned looking” in the sense of not having “straight seams” or “straight sides” and “obviously defines ‘old-fashioned’ as some new phrase which refers to how cats might’ve done a better job making this than the person with the opposable thumbs and the sewing machine.”

That being said I am starting to get a better feel for how things work while sewing. I’m not quite there yet but I’m nearing that “aha!” moment where it all clicks into place. Which is good since I’ve got cloth on the way that I’m hoping to turn into curtains and that’s when it’ll actually need to be done with some vague semblance of looking like I know what the frak I’m doing.

Here’s a breakdown of how it went:


The basic materials. I decided on having decorative trim to liven it up a bit. I also decided on using a wire hanger from the dry cleaners as a way to recycle it. My original thought was to sew the bag onto the hanger but as I worked I realized that it would probably be useful to be able to take the bag off if I needed to launder it. So I improvised a handle.

Step 1

Step one: Cutting the main fat quarter into three pieces.

Step 2

Step 2: Cutting fabric for the decorative edge.

Step 3

Step 3: Doing a very loose stitch to hold the decorative fabric in place while I sewed it onto the main fabric. This was when I figured that ironing would’ve probably come in handy but that would’ve involved taking out the ironing board and iron and did I mention that I started all this at 10pm? (This would also explain the crappy picture quality.)

Step 4

Step 4: Attatching said fabric to the main fabric. I used a leafy kind of stitch to vaguely match the pattern. Once this was attached I removed the loose stitches I had holding the decorative fabric in place. I’m proud to say some of the uneven appearance of those stitches is due to camera angle. We’ll just ignore how many other stitches I’m not showing you. Ahem.

After all this there was sewing the bag together, realizing I was going to go with a handle, making, and then attaching said handle. At which point we were kissing up to midnight and if I stopped for pictures I knew I probably wouldn’t start sewing again ;)

(I hasten to add that a great deal of the time here is due to how I was sewing at the slowest possible speed on my machine so that I could have more control. This is obviously the kind of project that probably takes a half hour tops if you know what the frak you’re doing.)

Anyway, all that was done, the hanger was bent to accomodate the weight of the pins, and voila! One clothespin bag:

Finished bag

I haven’t had a chance to use it yet due to rain this weekend, but hopefully next weekend I can give it a whirl.

August 19, 2007

Cake or scarf?

Filed under: Knitting, Cooking, FO, Scarves, BGAL — thebratq @ 3:24 pm

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Or both? Yesterday I baked a four layer (aka two layers cut in half) yellow cake with chocolate frosting. It’s for my dad’s birthday, which is today. Here’s how it looks all frosted and yummy:

Dad's bday cake 2007

Yesterday I also finally finished the Go Gremlins scarf that I’ve been working on using a pattern made by airawyn. As you can see, it is an illusion scarf. The pattern was good: just enough changeup to keep things interesting, but repetative enough that it could be TV or SnB knitting. On the whole, I am pleased. It’s 7 ft. long including the fringe.

Full length of Gremlin scarf
Gremlin scarf fringe
Gremlin scarf w/ detail

June 25, 2007

I hath spun!

Filed under: In Progress, Pictures, Spinning — thebratq @ 9:02 pm

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Remember this? AKA this:


Well now it’s this:

My first yarn

My first yarn!  I’m very excited.  Single ply so far. It went much faster this time, and I think I’m getting the hang of what my hands are doing. (What I’m supposed to do I got the first time, but why is starting to happen. The aha! moment, in other words.)

I still have plenty of roving to work with, but whee!  Fun!

June 11, 2007

Knitting in public

Filed under: Knitting, In Progress, Pictures, Bags, Knit in Public — thebratq @ 8:10 pm

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Here’s me on knit in public day.  I’m working on Tasha.  (That link goes to my Ravelry account so won’t work for everyone).

Knit in Public 2007

June 7, 2007

I has a homespun?

Filed under: Spinning — thebratq @ 11:43 pm

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I tried spinning!

Not much and I am definitely  still working the kinks out.  But still!  Spinning!

Pictures will be forthcoming when I have time/energy.

June 6, 2007

I has a spinning kit!

Filed under: Pictures, Spinning — thebratq @ 9:23 pm

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Guess what got here today?

drop spindle
Spinning kit

Go on! Guess! :D

June 5, 2007

Dizzy yet?

Filed under: Spinning — thebratq @ 10:46 pm

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I ordered a learn to spin kit.  Drop spindle, some wool, instructions.

I’m either going to be really good at this, or really bad.

I suspect incoming addiction.

I blame Byrne.

May 25, 2007

Best. Thing. EVER.

Filed under: Uncategorized, Links, Ravelry — thebratq @ 10:40 pm

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Ravelry?  Made of AWESOME. I just got an account there today and it is so shiny I can’t STAND it.  I want to do naughty things to it and never ever let it go.

Me? Totally drooling.  For serious.

May 18, 2007

Sewing AND Recycling

Filed under: Knitting, Pictures, Sewing, Bags — thebratq @ 10:39 pm

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I sewed! Not neatly or with straight lines, but still! Sewing happened! By me!

Here’s what went on. I had this shirt that I wore for work:

Shirt front

And it was my favorite shirt of all my work shirts. I liked the pattern of it, plus I loved how it was adjustable:

Back of shirt

Granted that it may be hard to see that in this photo. But it has ties in the back that you can tighten as need be, thus creating a scrub top that vaguely has a shape to it instead of the huge tent-like appearance that my other tops have.

Sadly, one day I went to put the top on and noticed this:

A hole! Oh noes!

A hole! A hole in my favorite shirt! Oh noes!!

The hole was too big to fix, and the shirt had to be taken out of wearable rotation.

I didn’t want to throw it away, though, due to still liking the pattern and how wearing the shirt had been one of the few enjoyable parts of my work day. (This lets you know how low I have to set my work-related standards, btw.)

At the same time, I had knitting projects that I was carrying around in Ziploc bags. This, while allowing for a way to keep yarn, needles, project, and instructions all in the same place, didn’t allow for much flexibility with the bag shape. So I said to myself: “Self, what if you could recycle this shirt? What if, in fact, you could recycle it into wee bags suitable for your knitting projects? What if, by using these powers, you could then save the world?”

So I brought the shirt to my sewing table and had a look at it. There were two things that I liked right away: 1) The shirt already had pockets, which would provide the perfect spot to hold copies of patterns that I folded up and carried with me. 2) The shirt had those drawstrings, which could be used as, well, drawstrings. Only now for the bag. I gave up on the world-saving aspects once I remembered that I still didn’t have sewing skills enough to make a straight line.

After seeing how much usable material there was (other spots were worn or getting close to it) and holding some yarn and needles up against it for a rough idea of size requirements, I decided to try to make two bags, each with one outer pocket. I would do this by cutting the shirt in half horizontally and vertically, so that each bag would be made out of part of the front and part of the back. This also meant that each bag could use one tie each, and that I would only have to make a channel for the tie on the front pieces, since I could reuse the existing channel on the back ones.

For the front, I cut out strips of fabric from the parts of the shirt that I wasn’t using, folded them, and sewed them on to make a channel for the tie. I did it this way because that’s how it was done on the back and I figured that way it could be uniform. I also created a hem above the channel just to make sure there was a nice edge to the top. So this is what it basically looked like on front and back:

A home for a bag tie

Notice my OH SO STRAIGHT AND NEAT rows of stitches there. While I worked I so heard Tim Gunn in my head saying “This concerns me.” But I do think I got a little better as I went along. Also I was so, so freehanding this. I mean I pinned things down so they would stay in place while I sewed, but I didn’t do too much by way of measuring and lining things up beyond, say, cutting the pieces up while I had them stacked on top of each other. So it’s entirely possible that if I’d done all this the proper way with ironing and such that everything would’ve come out uniform. It’s also entirely possible that I’m just a sewing spaz. Still, it’s not like my knitting projects are going to sit up and say “Oh dude, we are NOT going in there!” Or if they do then I feel confident that crooked seams are not the biggest of my worries ;)

Tie channels done, I pinned both sides together and sewed the bottom and sides up to make a bag. I used one of the zigzaggy stitches on my machine so that these seams would be a little more sturdy. Note how this makes it sound as though I have any idea what I’m doing. Anyway, the result of that looked like this:

Awesome stitching skillz

You will also note that I am wearing my cute doggie jammies while I do this.

Also for the bottom I just kept the stiches fairly near the original seams since I figured why not take advantage of that sturdiness while it was there. For the sides I picked whatever spot had the most solid material, sewed, then trimmed off the excess.

Amazingly even though the bottom seams are not straight lines (due to the original shape of the shirt) on both bags I managed to keep a consistant distance while working. This either means that I really did get better at using my machine as I went, or that since I can’t sew straight anyway curved lines are my forte.

Admittedly on the second bag I was starting to feel the effects of still having a headache and needing to eat dinner soon (yet knowing that if I stopped for food I would never ever pick up the project again) so instead of sewing on new material for a tie channel I just folded existing material down and made the space accordingly. This was faster, plus it’s not like I had managed to get something exactly like the existing channels when I did it the first way, so I wasn’t going to lose sleep over inconsistancies that had been done on purpose.

Sides sewn up, excess cloth and thread trimmed away, I then turned the bags rightside out, then used a ginormous crochet hook to work the ties through. The two finished bags looked like this:

Bags! Bags by me!

You can see the lack of measuring in how one is taller than the other and one is wider than the other. Also in how no two tie channels are alike (notice how I failed to take pictures of that for you). But other than that I’d say I did a pretty good job for something I mostly freehanded with my very meager sewing skills. The curves on the bottoms of each bag are part of the curves from the shirts. And you’ll note that the fabric isn’t pooching or anything to indicate that I somehow screwed up the amount of material needed on each side. So job well done if I do say so myself.

As for the bag in use:

I am made of sewing awesome

Here it is with my clunkiest current project, and you can see that it’s holding it pretty well. I was also able to tie it closed with no problem. Likewise the pattern for said project fits perfectly into the pocket, but I left it pulled out a little in this picture so that you could see it in action.

I certainly wouldn’t put, say, a sweater or a blanket in there. But for portable knitting like hats, scarves, and socks it is just the right size. And that’s the kind of knitting I wanted the bags for in the first place, so go me!

I shall now be proud of myself. :D

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