July 19, 2019 · 10:49 am
My simple knitted chalk bag has been serving me well at the bouldering gym so far, and has even gotten some compliments from other climbers. I’ve gotten another friend to start climbing with us, and instead of carrying around her chalk in the plastic baggie it came in, I made her a bag of her own:
The black and blue color scheme might be more appropriate for my bag, as every climbing session I bang my knees or legs into something: a hold, the wall, the floor, etc. My knees are so often bruised it has become a running joke with the friends I climb with.
Instead of making an I-cord drawstring like I did before, I used a round shoelace and a drawstring cord lock, which is so much easier to use. The I-cord is too thick to really feed through a cord lock, so I just tie it closed. It doesn’t close as tightly, though, so everything in my bag gets a decent dusting of chalk.
This pattern is available for free at pdxstitch.net // check out the Ravelry pattern page
May 3, 2019 · 4:03 pm
I know it’s been radio silence here on the blog for nearly a year, but I can assure you that it doesn’t mean I haven’t been crafting. The time has been full of ups and downs – a new job turning into an old job, new friends turning into old friends – but I’ve still been busy working away at the Helix Nebula cross stitch, knitting various things, and even taking up a new hobby: bouldering.
The great thing about bouldering (at least inside a gym, which is where I do it), is that you don’t need much equipment: just shoes and a bag of chalk to keep your hands dry. For obvious reasons, I don’t much care to make my own shoes, but making a bag to keep chalk in seemed a simple proposition. And I could make it colorful and fun, so it didn’t look like everyone else at the gym’s plain black chalk bags.
I poked around Ravelry and r/knitting for inspiration, but didn’t like how the patterns I was finding required picking up stitches on the cast-on edge to knit the bottom. I was thinking of knitting from the bottom up in one piece, analogous to a toe-up sock, but the math was too confusing to get a nice circular bottom. So I just knit from the top down, creating a channel for the drawstring, too.
For the ombré effect, I loosely followed the chart from this ombre hat pattern by Emily Dormier. The bag lends itself well to all kinds of decorative colorwork or stitch patterns. If I had infinite free time and a need for a lot of little bags, I’d make a rainbow striped bag, or a three-color ombré fade.
Get the free pattern from Ravelry or PDXstitch.net.
If you like the free pattern, show your support at ko-fi. Thanks!
May 26, 2018 · 9:00 pm
I had to take a break from the giant Helix Nebula to work on something short and sweet. This need perfectly coincided with picking up Portal 2 again, after taking a five year hiatus (I had stopped literally during the final fight, much to the annoyance of my spouse). Well, the good news is that I finished both the game and this three-dimensional cross-stitched companion cube.
The cube is stitched flat with two strands of floss on a scrap of aida (I think 18 count but I’m not sure). After stitching, I cut around the stitched area, folded it into a cube shape, and sewed the edges shut with black thread. It’s stuffed with leftover thread pieces. It’s tiny, about 1.4 inches on each side (3.5 centimeters).
The cube now lives in my cubicle at work, and occasionally gets loaned out to coworkers having a difficult day.
The free pattern is available on pdxstitch.net.
April 19, 2018 · 7:27 pm
I know, I know, today is Thursday and it’s almost over, anyway. But we finally got a sunny day and the light was so nice that I actually got to take a picture of the Helix Nebula with natural light!
And now that tax season is (pretty much) over, I might actually have the time and energy to stitch for more than 10 minutes at a time. Hoping to have this finished before the year is out.
I’m also starting on knitting my first sweater; I just ordered some deep blue fingering yarn for it yesterday and I can’t wait for it to arrive.
February 18, 2018 · 12:31 pm
Tax season is upon us, which means that I have been spending more time at my desk and less time at home. I wanted something to brighten up my cubicle and what’s better than an absolutely atrocious pun?
I am glad I went to the extra effort of painting the hoop with two coats of red acrylic paint. It really makes it pop. I think this is my first finish of 2018, too, since I finished the York mittens on New Year’s Eve.
Buy the pattern on Etsy and visit the pattern page on Textillia
December 30, 2017 · 1:54 pm
Finished the York mittens I posted on Wednesday, just in time for the end of the year. I’m seeing their recipient tomorrow, but I snapped a few photos before I wrap them up to give.
I wanted to get nice pictures since I’m not keeping these. A few quick snaps with my phone was not good enough! So the mittens had a little photoshoot (on the living room floor). I tried to convince my photographer that knitted things look really nice when they’re stacked — I don’t know if I convinced him, but I’m convinced.
These will probably be my last finish of the year, though I am hoping to complete the Colorwash quilt top by the end of the year, which I guess means in the next 24 hours. Anyone else working feverishly on end-of-the-year projects?
December 27, 2017 · 4:39 pm
2017 is almost over, and this is the last Wednesday of the year for me to share my work in progress pics with you. I’ve got four main projects in the works right now.
Helix Nebula is coming along nicely, but has been put on a hiatus while I finish my Mom’s Christmas present.
This is my Mom’s Christmas present. As you can see, I have not yet finished it, despite it being after Christmas. She knows that it is on the way, though, so posting a picture won’t spoil it.
And I’m also knitting up some mittens for my sister-in-law’s Christmas present. These are also not a surprise, I spent most of Christmas day with her working on them. The pattern is York Fingerless Mittens, free on Ravelry.
And finally, I’m in the home stretch for piecing the Colorwash quilt top. My goal was the finish the top before Christmas, because I got the kit last Christmas. I just need to sew together all the rows and add the borders. All the rows are pinned and piled on my sewing table.
That does it for WIP Wednesday for 2017. See you in the new year!
September 20, 2017 · 6:00 am
When this post publishes, I’m going to be sitting in the Portland airport on my way to Toronto, Ontario, to celebrate my birthday with my mom. But before I left, I wanted to post an update on the Helix Nebula cross stitch.
I’m working on page 3 of 12, and you can see how close I’m coming to the far right edge! It’s actually starting to look like something now. I am going to clean up the pattern and plan to release it on Etsy and Craftsy soon.
And here’s what my quilting and sewing space looks like this morning. I finished piecing the top of the cat quilt. I’m waiting for a chance to borrow my mother-in-law’s nice big kitchen floor for an afternoon to baste it together for quilting. In the meantime I started on this Colorwash quilt kit from Craftsy.
The cutting instructions leave a lot to be desired, so thank goodness there was enough extra fabric in the kit to recut pieces (and by the way, pattern designers, would it kill you to take ten seconds to put a scale on your printable pattern pieces so I can check that the printer actually printed your templates correctly?) So that setback was kind of incredibly frustrating, but I’ll live.
What are you working on today?
September 14, 2017 · 2:12 pm
I learned a lot from my flag-making journey these past few weeks, figuring out how to cut nylon without egregious fraying and also making up my own technique for appliqueing with nylon. I honestly made it up as I went along, which also entailed removing and redoing about two days’ worth of work. So that future flag-makers won’t have the same problem, I humbly present to you my guide to applique for nylon flags.
Continue reading →
September 9, 2017 · 1:13 pm
When I’m not doing something with needle and thread, my other hobby is creative writing. Like everybody else it seems, I am writing a novel. It’s set in an alternate universe, which meshes very well with my spouse’s hobby of designing flags. He’s been begging me for a while to make the flag of Arcadia, the country where my book is set, and I finally did it!
The flag is 3 feet tall by 5.5 feet wide (about .9 by 1.7 meters) and made entirely of nylon. The stars are appliqued onto the background fabric (a tutorial on that is coming later).
I must say that working with nylon is a pain in the butt. I couldn’t cut a good straight line with a rotary cutter, both because of the size of the pieces and because this fabric frays when you just look at it. I read a lot of different opinions on how to cut synthetic fabrics, and ultimately went with using a soldering iron. It melts through the fabric, so you get a clean, finished edge. You need a heat-proof cutting surface and rulers for this to work. I cut it on a concrete garage floor with a metal yardstick. Ventilation is also extremely important, because it smells as good as you would imagine melting, burning plastic to smell.
The sewing was also a challenge, because the fabric is very slippery and won’t hold a crease. Pinning was right out, so I ended up gluing each seam down with a washable glue stick before sewing (but you have to let it dry, or else explain to the sewing machine repair shop why there are blobs of glue inside your sewing machine).
I didn’t want to spring for a grommet setting device, so right now there isn’t a way to hang it from a flagpole. I just hung it on the wall behind my sewing table with some binder clips.