Sunday, February 25, 2007

Box Bag Tutorial

A couple of you inquired whether I made this pouch based on a tutorial or pattern and if not, if I could provide one. Ask and you shall receive!

I've learned so much from tutorials out on the internets, I'm happy I can give back for once. Bear with me, though. This is my first tutorial and creating one is much tougher than I imagined. I give anyone who's created a tutorial tons of credit!

I feel obligated to preface this by admitting I'm a trial and error sewer. I make things up as I go along and test things during the sewing process to see if I'm achieving my desired results. Also, I taught myself to sew just playing around on a sewing machine, so I don't always use text book methods. Just wanted come clean before you all jump into this and so you have a little understanding if I did something in a backass way. The pattern works, which is all that matters to me!

Because of the versatility of this pattern, my instructions can be used more as guidelines. You can easily change the pouch dimensions.

Anyway, here's the tutorial. If you need clarification or have any questions, please send me an email or leave a comment.


Note: This pattern can be tweaked to create a bag of any dimension you want.

You'll need:
1/4 yard exterior fabric
1/4 yard lining fabric (I used blue for Project Spectrum)
1/4 yard interfacing (weight of your choice. I recommend a medium to heavy-weight.
12" zipper

Step 1. ("collect underpants" --any South Park fans out there?) Cut fabric.

Cut a 16" x 12" (updated dimensions) rectangle of exterior fabric, lining, and interfacing. Choose interfacing that will create the structure you like best. For a more structured pouch, use a heavy interfacing or even Peltex. For something collapsible to toss in your bag, choose a lighter weight interfacing. I used a lighter weight because that's what I had on hand, but I prefer something heavier or at least medium-weight. Iron your fabric if you're feeling motivated (I wasn't today).

2. Sew fabrics together.
Basically, you want to make a tube. Arrange fabrics as you see in the picture below. Interfacing, exterior (rightside up), zipper (wrongside up), lining (wrongside up). Pin fabrics together and sew. Opening the zipper makes the sewing less awkward.

Remove pins, turn pouch rightside out, and topstitch along zipper. (see photo below) This holds the fabrics together neatly.

Turn pouch inside out and sew other side of zipper to opposite end of fabric (to create tube).
Stay consistent with fabric arrangement detailed at the beginning of this step. (somewhat confusing picture below)

This will be somewhat awkward and you will need to stop midway through sewing to open zipper. It also gets tricky sewing around zipper head. If your stitches get out of line, just rip back and try again. A seamripper is your bff.

Turn pouch to right side. You will have one big tube that looks like this:

Topstitch other side of zipper. Again, this will be awkward around the zipper head. Just be sure not to accidentally sew the bottom part, too!

3. Make handle. Cut a piece of exterior fabric 10" x 8" *(If you're using a fat quarter, it's the big rectangle leftover). Fold in half rightside together and sew long edge. Turn rightside out, fold in half lengthwise, and sew along edge. Then, sew along folded edge.

*you can change the length to modify handle size

4. Sew sides. In this step, the more precise your measurements, the more professional your finished pouch will look.
Lay your tube flat and ensure the zipper runs down the exact center of the pouch. This is important!!! Measure the width of the rectangle. Using a sewing marker, mark off the middle third (you can estimate a third, just make sure you mark off equal sections on either side of the zipper) of the pouch.

Sew the center portion from mark to mark. Backstitch over the zipper a few times for added durability. Repeat on other side.

Unzip pouch and put you hand in one of the openings on either side of the sewed portion. Push fabric into a triangle. This is difficult to explain. It's probably easier just to refer to the picture below.

Sew a perpendicular line to your seam from earlier this step, creating a triangle** like below. Repeat this step for the other corner on that side.

**The size of your triangle determines the height of your pouch. For a taller pouch, make a bigger triangle. For a shorter, make a smaller triangle. Whatever size you choose, make sure they are all the same.

inside out view

rightside out view

To attach the handle, you follow the same steps sewing the triangles, but insert the handle in before seaming. I hold onto the triangle from the inside, while I position the handle on the outside (see photo below). Pin triangle in place, so handle doesn't shift. Sew triangle. Repeat for other side.

After you sew all 5 triangles, your pouch will look like this:

5. Trim excess fabric. Cut extra fabric from triangles. Be careful not to cut any seams!!

6. Admire handiwork! Turn rightside out fill with current knitting project, toiletries, or whatever else!

maybe I shouldn't have been so lazy with the ironing...

I hope this all makes sense!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Endpaper Mitts

Endpaper Mitts

an endpaper mitt & backyard leaves

Pattern: Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts
Yarn: Louet Gems Pearl in Cranberry & Orange (1 skein each)
Needles: US 1 & 2 Addi Turbos
Time Knitted: January 28th (somewhat randomly selected date) to February 17th.
Comments: These are one of my favorite knits ever. They have a more polished look than any of my other knitted mittens or gloves and are sure to get tons of use. Plus, you can't beat having use of your fingers for dog walking, convenient iPod use, and driving. Woo hoo - we've gots a winner. Now I just need some Anemoi Mittens for the really cold days. Like today, brrr.

I felt like a complete weirdo parked in my driveway during this photoshoot. I even tried getting both my hands in the picture with the help of my neck, chin, and the self-timer. I wonder why none of those pics made it to the blog?

And for the next installment of 100 things (11-20)

Ever wonder if one of your regular blog reads is authored by someone you know? Like, the girl you sat next to in Calculus in college. Or if a blogger has something in common with you, that most can't relate to? With that in mind, these next 10 things about me are to see if someone can say, "hey -- me, too!"

11. I went to school in the
Shendandoah Valley, land of the Mennonite and home of the Duke dog, my school's mascot. Oh, and countless chicken factories. I miss Virginia. But not because of the chicken factories. Sometimes, we'd find dead chickens in the street and oftentimes the air would get a little funky. Oh, and on a side note, there was always a camoflage painted car in the Wal-Mart parking lot, even before camo was cool. Despite all that, the valley ranks high as one of the country's most beautiful places in my book.

My Friday afternoon treat. Big cappuccino & Grey's Anatomy over the internets. At least until the OC is over and I can watch it primetime.

12. I am 50% Swedish, my dad is 100%. J was really excited when completing a quiz in Maxim way back when where he could check off the "dated a Swedish girl" box.
13. I was a cheerleader from elementary to high school, head cheerleader even.
14. I grew up in Northern New Jersey, right about where the suburbs meet a rural landscape. I didn't know what a Farmer's Market was until college. We just went directly to the farms, something most people don't believe exist in the jerz.
15. I am a Yankee turned Red Sox fan. I don't expect there are many like me, in fact, most will shun me for this confession. It's hard not to get sucked into the contagious Red Sox Fandom, especially living less than a mile from
Fenway. Also, from April to October (September in rougher times, it's Red Sox on the TV all the time.
16. Me and J's favorite band is
Widespread Panic. We even used a tune they covered for our first dance at our wedding.
17. I love going to see live music. This has become more difficult now that we're old 9-5'ers, but we still try to make it out when we can.
The cat is so cold, she's started hanging out on the radiators. It was 6 degrees when I left for work this am (yes, I was one of the few Americans who had to work today. I'm a little bitter)
18. I feel just as comfortable outside in the woods as my living room watching TV. Well, almost. At least in non-desert areas. We had a bad run in with some scorpions and red ants (those suckers hurt!) in Canyonlands NP. But, put us in the Sierras or Appalachians are we're right at home.
19. My childhood dog was a English Springer Spaniel named Barkley (like in Sesame Street).
20. I was raised on The Brady Bunch and Different Strokes.
okay, some of those last ones were pushing the theme a bit, but I tried.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

An excuse to eat chocolate

First off, thanks to everyone who offered advice or just sympathized with me on my demi situation. I'm heeding a bit of all your advice--swatching a bit more, and if all goes well with that, I'm going to trust my math and proceed. I'm not thinking of the "doesn't work out" scenario. I think all the extra work will be well worth the trouble because if Demi works out, it will be a classic piece of my wardrobe. Wish me luck as I embark on this scary journey!

So, I had these big plans (I always seem to) involving store-bought chocolates and handmade fabric valentines for J. But as we're getting slammed with all these wintery conditions up in New England, I'm home from work today and unable to get to the grocery store (okay, that's a complete lie. I live two blocks from Whole Foods, but it's cold! I've only motivated to go play in the snow with Miles, which doesn't require much motivation. Have you ever played fetch with a black lab puppy in his first real snowstorm? Doesn't get much more entertaining than that. He's still all fired up, but I expect him to pass out any moment. Here's a picture I snapped in between rounds of fetch.

He's all grows up and he's all grows up!

sorry random tangent. Okay, stuck inside, can't go to store. I rummaged around the cabinets and decided to make fudge. I'm especially relieved to get rid of the last of the fluff that's been around since the last time I made fudge (which was three apartments ago - don't even ask why I've been toting it around with me. I have no excuse. I'm just a sad pack rat. Hopefully, all the chemicals in that stuff kept it from going bad...).

tangent again. here's the recipe. It's pretty fool proof and delicious, especially if your a peanut butter addict like me.

Aunt Peggy's Two-Tone Fudge

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
7 oz. marshmallow fluff
1tsp. vanilla
1 cup peanut butter pieces (or butterscotch if you so desire)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces

In saucepan, combine 1st 4 ingredients. Bring to full boil over medium heat, stir constantly. Lower temps to med-low and cook 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Remove from heat. Add fluff and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
Take 2 cups mixture & add peanut butter pieces & 1/2 cup walnuts. Mix Well.
Pour evenly into greased 9" square pan.
To the remaining mixture, add chocolate pieces, 1/2 cup walnuts. Mix well.
Pour over other mixture in pan.
Chill until firm.

Makes about 2.5 lbs.

Note: You can pretty much add anything else you think sounds good, i.e. other nuts, m&ms, coconut, etc. Although, if you use m&m's, it's probably best just to sprinkle them ontop of the fudge before it starts cooling, so they don't get all melty.

Monday, February 12, 2007

When your inner knitter won't shut the hell up.

Okay, I'm getting a little tired of shushing my inner knitter. After my meticulous, mathematical analysis supported by swatch samples and machine-made sweaters, I determined the exact number of stitches required for my perfect fitting, labor-intensive sweater that is demi. so, why does it look like this?

This is Demi atop my "perfect sweater."

I just wanted to mention that demi is completely unstretched in this picture. I can stretch it to the size of the sweater without distorting the cables. But I'm worried there won't be much stretch in the finished sweater, unlike the "perfect sweater."

I know, I know, the yarn will bloom and I swatched and used math and swatched! And used math! But, but why is it sooo small? surely it can't bloom that much, right? I can block the heck out of it, but I don't want a lacy cabled sweater you can see through. You know what I'm talking about. I don't want to worry about always wearing a brown shirt under this.

My mind and heart/good common sense are in full-fledged battle mode. I'm one of those emotional, go with your gut types so I'm convinced my math is wrong or that I'm delusional about my size. Am I nuts? What should I do? I thought about just knitting the size medium for the rest of the pieces, but the cable motif on the sides are supposed to match up. Plus, is that even allowed?

The worst part is that instead of relaxing and enjoying (okay, this knit will never be relaxing) this project, I'm worried the whole time. Stressed out, furrowed brow kind of worried. Okay, wah! I'm done.

On a lighter note, I was all sorts of crafty and domestic this weekend!

Ever since I got my grubby little hands on a
misocrafty pouch, I've been itching for more. But, as we all know they're the Vesper yarn of knitting accessories. Meaning, you either have to be psychic or just plain lucky to get your hands on one. But suddenly discontent with my ultrafancy ziplocks, I took matters into my own hands and made my own version.


These fat quarters (I have an obsession with fat quarters. For some reason I feel like I'm not adding to my stash with these cute little squares) have been sitting in my stash for years and I finally found the perfect use for them. Makes you wonder how many other pieces of craft stash could be better utilized. Because sitting in my craft drawer (okay, fine, dresser) really adds value.

A peek at the lining...

And look how cute they look all organized in a row...

I also made yummy granola. It's a blend of Lolly's recipe, Scout's recipe....

...and other random stuff I found in my pantry.

I'm also down to the toe on my Monkey socks and onto my second endpaper mitt.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fabric and the Evolution of Joann's (at least for me)

Last week I set out to Joann's to purchase a red "carpet" for our Hollywood-themed work event. One of the perks of a career in marketing / communications is getting a chance to dapple in the lighter side of business. I settled on a bolt of red felt, which worked spectacularly. I tried to convince my coworkers that we have an arts and crafts day and create some Valentine's Day decorations to adorn the office, but no one was buying it.

I just couldn't resist this. It will make a cute knitting pouch or lining for something...

Anyway while at Joann's, I spent some real time digging through the fiber - the first time in years and made some pretty surprising observations . First, a little background. I used to live at Joann's, The Rag Shop, even the Wal-Mart fabric section (don't judge!) and knew the fabrics by heart. Most of my time was devoted to the wall of calico. My main obsession was batik fabric, which I could never find amongst the standard fabric templates, and funky colors of corduroy. Basically, I just looked for anything different. I would have walked miles for this gem:

this was my "pricey" purchase at $3.95/yd.

But, with a healthy fabric stash and piles of clothes I've hoarded over the years with intentions of cutting up coupled with my recent jonesing for fancy, designer fabrics, it's been some time since I've seriously looked through Joann's (I've been in twice before to round up materials for the Weekender Bag, but managed to stay on task - plus, I didn't know what I was missing!) Oh, and until recently I lived really far away.

MY OBSERVATIONS (both of them):

Joann's is Ginormous. Was my old Joann's just really crappy or they all just five times bigger now? Seriously, my old Joann's had your usual fabric area, home dec, maybe an aisle devoted to unfinished wood, some dried flowers and some baskets thrown in a corner. And also junky kid crafts. These new-fangled Joann's have 5 aisles devoted to scrapbooking, a rubber stamp (?) aisle, a ribbon section bigger than my apartment, even a framing dept! I actually think all these additions are good, but I just wonder how all this happened under my nose.

Batik fabric!

I guess this craft revival really did happen, huh? Or is it really just the supersize trend?

The fabrics. Oh, how I love thee! I had tears in my eyes when I saw at least 5 or 6 shelves devoted to batiks! (but, where were you when I needed you?) After a quick walk through the $1/yard aisle, I was already pushing my hand-held basket (what was I thinking, right?) along the ground with my foot and stacking it with bolt after bolt of dirt-cheap fabric. I was even sweating! When I got to the cutting counter, I actually felt bad for people waiting behind me. At least they got to stare at all my pretty fabric. :)

I'm seeing lots of skirts and totes and pouches and maybe even a hat or two...

I think this one is my favorite and at $1/yd., you can't go wrong!
In other sewing news, I saw on YaiAnn's blog that Amy Butler is finally selling the bag I mentioned a few months back - but only as a premade item (for $112!), no pattern. Grrr. So bummed, but I'm gonna strike back and make my own pattern. I'd be happy if it's half as cute!

I think a nice, classy skirt for work...

As for my pile 'o WIPs flashed on my last post, I'm dutifully working on each and every one of them and making some decent progress. I'm officially captivated by Demi, which thrills me. I was worried its complexity would become a headache for me.
Hopefully I'll have something finished to report soon!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

What to talk about today? Knitting or fabric? Knitting or fabric? Knitting? Fabric? Okay, knitting.

Last week, I reached a point in my knitting quite foreign to me. I had nothing on the needles. With this freedom brought an uneasiness and insatiable need to find the "right" project. I started with this to keep me occupied while I mulled over my next big project.

I was making good headway with this project, loosely following these directions and even using the magical 96 stitches. But I started this project without valuable information. Apparently, the intended owner of the hat has a giant head and was even nicknamed "Domer" in high school (or so J reports). I've been friends with "Domer" for years, how could I miss something like this? Maybe I am in the clouds like J is always saying... Anyway, after trying this on every row or so and making J model every 10 rows or so, the project is on hold indefinitely. J thinks it's too tight and after the first mishap (scroll down), I'm not gonna make "Domer" pretend a second time to like a hat that doesn't work. Plus, look how long it is! He'd look like Dumb Donald from Fat Albert. I might just keep it for me after ripping some rows and see if I can make another hat with the left overs. Selfish knitting....
After that headache, I swatched and swatched and finally cast on for this:

Yay! Demi. It's about time I gave this a chance on the needles. The yarn's been hibernating in the stash since spring/summer or whenever Rowan announced they were discontinuing the Yorkshire line. I took Ashley's advice and expanded the chart and cut and pasted it all together. Mine's huge somehow. I just kept enlarging and enlarging until I thought it was legible, but didn't realize just how big until I taped the sucker together. It's like sweater blueprints. I'm knitting the small size on smaller needles, which is already causing me worry. All my sweaters always have a little more ease than desirable and I got gauge after washing my swatch (with smaller needles than suggested) and the smaller size schematics match my best fitting sweaters (see how I'm trying to prove some point to myself), so I decided to cast on for the small size. I'm worried because I'm usually a medium in store bought sweaters. I feel like I did my homework, so I'm gonna go just go with it. ... deep breath...

This puppy is gonna take me awhile. It takes all my brain capacity to remember what each symbol means and then remember what cr2 or cr3d or cr5yd97nd tbl means. It takes patience, people! Hopefully I'll get it done by the end of winter, although that's gonna be tough if Punxsutawney Phil's prediction is on the mark.

Because I couldn't just work on Demi without my brain turning to mush (plus, how am I supposed to watch TV?), so I cast on for these:

Mmmm fair isle. This is my first time working with Gems Pearl and dang is it thin! Also, I'm not sure if I got a bum skein or something, but I found like 5 knots in the orange during winding. Ugh.

Then, out of nowhere I had a yearning need to cast on for socks. Like, during-work-I-couldn't-stop-thinking-about-sock-yarn kind of need. Well, that happens more frequently that I'll admit, but this time I ran home and winded a skein and cast on. I was going to see this, so I could only knit about 3 rows before I had to leave. Still, I had to cast on.

And you know what, it felt good! This is a pretty good color depiction of the skein - a swampy brown/green with loads of bright color stripes. It's the bonus rare gems skein from the BMFA Sock Club. Want more? Okay...

Okay, see my problem? I went from no projects to many projects in the blink of an eye. Bad knitters ADD. Bad Kelly.

Also, here's one of the recent FOs. I played around in photoshop to make the picture look cool. It's hard to take photos of your own legs! Legwarms from LMKG in Cascade Alpaca.

Because I want this to go down in history for longest post ever, here's a sample of the other activities from last weekend (it's not all about the crafts over here at la Casa de Drago[knit]fly).

There's Zoe overseeing her latest brew - a batch of IPA - I bet your cat doesn't brew beer (mmmm, beer)! Check out her serious face - she's all business when it comes to beer.

Next time we'll chat about fabric and my recent work junket to Joann's.