Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category

a grain bag bag! and other stuff…

March 17th, 2012 by knitnzu

the grain bag

Last year I bought a grain bag bag, and I have been using it a lot. However, I’m heading to Spain (in a week!!!), and the bag isn’t especially at all secure. And so I made my own, with a zipper on the top and inside zippered pockets for the ipad and passport/money.

Start with this:
grain bag bag

Fold, iron, duct tape, sew, add zippers, seat belts…
grain bag bag (1) grain bag bag (3) grain bag bag (6) grain bag bag finished 001 (2) grain bag bag finished 001 (5)

And end with this:
grain bag bag finished 001 (9) grain bag bag finished 001 (1)

The new bag is a tad bigger, and it’s wider at the bottom. This will be great for my upcoming trip. The older bag has better placement of the writing and logo.

Lessons learned:

Going to the junkyard to cut seatbelts out of cars is way a lot of FUN. It was a cold day with snow on the ground, so I didn’t fully explore the place. I’d been looking into trucks, thinking that they might have longer belts, but not really. Then I turned around and saw the “caution” writing on the belt in a trans am. So I just grabbed the two from that car.

Actually, it took a lot of effort to cut them out with a box cutter… which is a good thing!

The seatbelts from trucks, where they exist, are generally dirtier than those from cars. The passenger side belt is much nicer than the driver side belt. It’s likely that the two belts from a single car won’t match perfectly due to dirt and use, but a good wash helped that.

Having a business that begins with A does pay. Aable was the first junkyard I found in our area, so I phoned and then went out later that day. On my way I passed FOUR other junkyards. It’s as though every second business in Chelsea is a junkyard… it’s what a lack of zoning can do. I still think it was worth driving the extra couple miles… it was a huge yard, and the guy there was great.

I love my kenmore! It sewed through four layers of seatbelt, no problem… though by the end, and maybe it was six layers of seatbelt I tried to push it through, the needle bent…
grain bag bag (7)

Though it was a fun project, and something I wanted to do, it was also a royal pain in the ass. I think I spent four or five hours on the sewing, never mind getting the seatbelt, zippers (a trip to Waterville), buckley things, and most recently and yet to be added, a magnetic clasp.

There are a few other photos in this flickr set.

mushroom sweater update

The body is done! It was done two or more weeks ago… and I haven’t gotten around to picking up the sleeves. It’ll happen, but it probably won’t be finished until sometime in May.
striped mushroom sweater body striped mushroom sweater body (1)

It looks skinny, but as you can see, it’ll stretch. It’s sized for 50 inch chest, though I tapered for the waist. I’m happy with the shoulder detail, and that the back is about 2-3 inches longer than the front (the sides match up, I used shortrows).
striped mushroom sweater body (2) striped mushroom sweater body (4)

gratuitous doggy pic

Gravy in socks…
gravy in socks

crazy sink

I had to go to just about the world’s worst and least effective training a week or two ago. I work in an office… I don’t need somebody who is reading the slides and doesn’t really know anything about the subject to inform me about hazard communication (label your chemicals) and blood borne pathogens (um?).

Do you have two containers of toner? You need your material safety data sheet posted in the location where you store your toner. In case somebody accidentally ingests it. Give me a frackin’ break! And the bloodborne pathogens was all about hiv and hep C, and the information was not exactly right. I pointed these things out of course. And that all of us in the room were more likely to be exposed to ticks and Lyme disease, and even rabies in an office environment (bats flying about the old buildings) than what they covered. The response? Well, unfortunately OSHA doesn’t have standards for these things. Again, give me a break!

But the sink in the bathroom was way cool…
You have to step on the metal bar near the floor to turn it on, and then warm water sprays all down and around. Talk about a waste of water! But apparently the place used to be a factory, and everybody would have break at the same time, so at one time these sinks saved money.

Not so much anymore.


knife shadow
Can somebody explain this shadow?


I had that nasty cold that’s going around. Mom felt bad for me and sent some lovely flowers!

I turn 51 tomorrow…

I hope to post about the snowpile. It’s practically non-existent, but it has become a tradition. So, stay tuned… I’ll take a photo on the first day of spring as usual, and announce a contest.

Clearly I have not been blogging much, nor have I been reading many blogs. In large part I blame Facebook, and also the Ravelry forums. Also, I have a new toy, that iPad, which is a lot of fun. However, I think I need something better to synch feeds with my Google Reader.

Feedly displays nicely, but there’s no organization… I can’t mark things as read, it doesn’t record that I’ve read things, AND it doesn’t grab all of the feeds, and of the ones it does grab, it doesn’t display all of them correctly or allow me to visit all the websites. So I’ve stopped using it. Anybody got a recommendation?

Did I mention I’m going to Spain?!?!?!?!

For two and a half weeks! With a friend!!! I’ll be posting pics to facebook, since that’ll probably be the easiest.

sewing knitting snow and ice

January 23rd, 2010 by knitnzu

Last weekend I was like a factory worker of old… sewed all day on Saturday, never even walked outside at all. Can you believe it?

Made this as a gift,
needle cases 043
(don’t you love the fabric? “bow wow chow mein”!)

Made one for myself,
needle cases 047
(hard to see, but it’s batik red dragon design on the other side… what? don’t you have your xray vision going?)

And decided to sew up most of the rest of the fabric I have (most, there’s still some more, but they’ll be more patchwork).
needle cases 071 needle cases 018

all because Kenny got a new foot

And tune up and new wires and I’m not sure what else…
kenmore jan2010 (2) kenmore jan2010 (1)
And the repair guy never even commented on the bits of tape I have all over it. I put them there for my SIL, who borrowed it a few years back, but she couldn’t figure out how to thread it.

Gotta say, I like the old mechanical machines! The Kenmore isn’t fancy like the Singer Featherweight, but it will go through twenty some layers of fabric AND the silk cording! It could stand a new case… if you see one, let me know!

snow and ice

Snow pile at work… all snow! Can you see that bulldozer?
snow at work 21jan2010 (14) icedipping

Ice dipping, from the crafting with carpal tunnel forum on Ravelry. The snow in the ice bath works great! PT appt next week to get better handle on what’s going on…


Yes, some, none exciting though. Front and back are done and shoulders sewn on DH’s sweater. Started down on the sleeve (with short row shaping for cap-I was happy it worked!). It’s oatmealy/gray… Next project will have to be a small one with loads of color!

saved by hawaii

December 30th, 2009 by knitnzu

She really needs a name, this little Singer Featherweight.

singerfeatherweight (2)

I did some sewing yesterday. A duvet cover. From two big sheets. One would think this is a relatively easy thing. Pretty much three long straight seams.


I broke my sewing machine, the 1965ish Kenmore partway down the first seam. There was some trial and error because one of the sheets is the exact size of the comforter, while the other is bigger. There was some frustration. There was a lot of frustration. I don’t really have a sewing space, it is the end of the kitchen table. The end we typically eat on. Because it’s closest to the outlet. We have dogs. The floors aren’t super clean. There was a lot (a lot!) of fabric. Kenmore gave up the ghost… booo and hooo…

But I called my pal, and she said she had a machine even older than mine (~1947)! It works like a charm. There was some user error. After some bobbin thread massacre that required tools to clean up, I was good. Or maybe it was that I broke out the port. Chosen because it was the open bottle of anything wine-like. And a corkscrew was just too much at the time!

singerfeatherweight (1)

This machine was her mom’s… and she bought it as a young woman, in Hawaii! It is an amazing thing… light, compact, tidy, efficient, and beautiful.
singerfeatherweight singerfeatherweight (5) singerfeatherweight (4) singerfeatherweight (3)
singerfeatherweight (6) singerfeatherweight (7)

The goal was to cover the down comforter with sheets, and to then ditch the top sheet on the bed. I told DH that it better be the damned best sleeping he’s ever had. He just laughed.

The seams are not straight. But it’s functional, and comfortable. So, mission accomplished!

bad eggs

Nothing is growing… but they still amuse me.

badeggs (1) badeggs (2) badeggs (3)

Of course it might be that these things were bought at deep discount, and they sat for a year before I planted them… or that I forgot which was the pitcher plant and which was the fly trap, and one of them needed to have its seeds frozen first. Those dragon plants advertise that the cut leaves bleed! Wouldn’t that be a hoot, terrifying bleeding plants at work? Right next to the whip

Kenmore needs some servicing… but I think after maybe new belts, possibly new wiring from pedal, and perhaps (??) a new motor, it’ll be all good. It’s really a sturdy machine and has done a lot for me… including things I shouldn’t ask of it, like too many layers of fleece or denim. But after this little sewing escapade, I am clear that I do NOT want to sew my own flannel jammy pants. I’ll just buck up the big bucks (relative, to me) and get some ladies’ tall ones…

M is for Mastery

June 30th, 2008 by knitnzu

Last week Alphie, the ballet master from the Julliard, came over to hang out and knit (along with Jane, who is making a fish face in this post). Alphie talked about visiting the Helen Keller school on long island, and watching two blind women knit… I think it was something with cables. He asked them how they do it. By feel, which makes sense, and they are always checking their work, so they will notice a dropped stitch sooner rather than later. Then they wanted to feel what he was knitting…

mmmm, nice even stitches…. mmmm, fair isle… mmmm, you carry your yarn in the Swedish method.

Alphie asked if they knew colors, and they said yes… this is navy and white! Alphie said the sweater was actually navy and off-white. The womean said that different colors cause the yarn to feel differently, and that they can’t always tell exactly what color something is (but really, can sighted people always tell?), but that they know groups of colors. Mastery, eh?

kid proverbs

Two today, because I missed last time…

All good blankets must come to an end.

Actions speak louder than lying.

what I made and what I started this weekend

Actually, just yesterday since I worked all day on Saturday…

A shoulder/tote bag, from a skirt I got at that yard sale a couple weeks ago for maybe 50 cents!

bag_neatside bag_messyseam
the neat inside side, and the not so neat inside side

You can see that I just sewed a tube, closed the bottom, and folded up the corners (under the straps). I used only half of the skirt for the bag, but all of it for the strap… The seams across the strap are for little pockets, one for my key card and one for my glasses.

bag_full bag_stuff
full, and what it’s full of (don’t you like the waggy dog tail?)

Actual knitting!

Started these,
Gotta say, knitting the hemmed cuff closed was a pain in the butt!

Also finished the pair of maine morning mitts from the handspun, and have enough to make a second pair (if I start them with a couple rows of some other yarn…).

sew what?

April 28th, 2007 by knitnzu

Thing 1 wasn’t quite right,

I figured out a couple of things for Thing 2, but it wasn’t quite right either,

But at this point I was willing to cut into ‘real’ fabric (as opposed to circa 1978 fabric from my MIL)

the tabby thing is intended for a tiny carabiner so I can hang the bag from a belt loop

After Thing 1 I ran down to Whippersnappers (you need to scroll to the bottom, they’re in alphabetical order). Lynn, the very nice owner, suggested double pulls versus the one. The ‘real’ fabric is from her…her store is like walking into a paint box!

I’m still not entirely sure (because I wing these things) if the opening is going to be good on Thing 3. Don’t look too closely, the seems don’t line up!

I bought the fabric maybe a month ago, enough to make three different color schemes of these bags, maybe some short needle rolls, maybe some notions pouches. I’m going to see how mine holds up before making more of the small project bags.

And why, you may ask, do I want a small project bag? Well, in part, who wouldn’t? But, also, ::nerves to be saying out loud:: I’m going on a trip! May 16 I leave Portland at 6 am (which means getting out of here by 3:30 or so…), and after flying all over I end up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where I’ll meet my mom!, and my aunt (her sister) and uncle (the aunt’s husband). We are doing this trip. It is an incredible and wonderful gift from mom, I am so looking forward to the time with her, my aunt and uncle, spending time on a train, seeing all the parks, just the whole thing! Here’s where you all might be able to help me…they all fly out of Albequerque May 25, as do I, but I land in Phoenix and don’t leave there until after lunch on the 26th. Do you know any knitters in Phoenix who would want to get breakfast/coffee/hang around and knit on that morning?

Contest update…if more than one person guesses correctly, I’ll pick a winner at random. If nobody guesses correctly, everybody is in and I’ll draw a random winner.