Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sip, Sip

When my kids were younger, and someone would crack open a pop can, they'd come running, calling "Sip, sip!". Even though the youngest is about to turn 11 next month, we still all do it.

I was surfing on Pinterest and saw that someone I followed pinned a tutorial for a square based water bottle holder. Well. Back in the summer, after I learned to make  the boxed corners, I thought maybe this would be a way to make water bottle holders faster (even though I can't seem to sell them!). I hate trying to sew in the circle base, and doing the math for new sizes.  So, I searched the internet to find out how to make a narrow cylinder with a squared bottom. And searched. Nothing was coming up. It seemed that when people make wine bottle bags, they just make it two sided, with no bottom. I struggled with the water bottle holder pattern sizing, then made one for my niece who was heading off to summer camp. I knew she had a Swell bottle, and those don't have any sort of carrying loop or handle, so I thought this would be great for camp (I've made her one or two before, they're a very active family).

After seeing this tutorial on Pinterest, I was sure it must be new and maybe they got the idea from my design.  So I came to my blog and searched. looks like I never posted about it?! I know it was busy then, but crazy. I never posted about another dress I made either! Turns out the tutorial was from January 2009.

So, here it is. 

 This brown fabric was used in the backpack I made for her birthday.  I was disappointed with how the seam lined up, but there's not much you can do about that when it's a narrow circumference. I probably could have tried laying the fabric out the other direction, but 1) I didn't have much left to work with and 2) I wouldn't have thought to check this anyway.
 I used the cute engraved snaps.
 The inside is a bright and fun fabric because I know she likes bright and fun colours. I put a bit of elastic near the top because the Swell bottle is quite a bit narrower at the top.  I don't think I made it tight enough to really do much though. And then I found out she has a Swell Junior. Didn't know that existed.
The bottom! I think it might have been a bit easier to figure out if I had seamed both vertical sides, and also if I did the type where you don't cut the notch out of the fabric, but you sew diagonally over the corner so there is then a flap. I didn't want the bulk of those flaps though--I thought it might make it hard for the bottle to sit upright, especially if the two layers weren't aligned well.

After all this, I'm not sure how much faster this method is. Again, doing the other style would probably make it a bit faster. I might try that at some point, but since I'm the only one here I can get using them, I don't really need more!

The tutorial I mentioned at the start is's always good to read other's instructions.  Mine is sewn by making two separate holders (no batting layer), putting them together, inserting the straps, and topstitching the layers together.  This makes them reversible, instead of the sew the top together and then pull the one layer through and handstitch the opening closed. Oh, wait a minute.  I have vague memories of actually doing some very tidy handstitching on something.  Maybe it was this, to see if it was overall easier.  Crap.  Don't remember. I was sewing a lot over the summer.

I did add some heavy iron on interfacing to the bottom base. That took some figuring as to how to size it, when to do it. Not sure how much it helps.  I also made the strap from fabric, with a layer of heavy iron on interfacing. I was starting to run out and I had to piece it together, but you'd never notice. It really does make a nicer strap.  Now, perhaps if I had new interfacing to cut from, and could just iron on one long strip (or the sewn in stuff), that would add back a bit of speed. I just find the light weight webbing I was using before got all bunchy and wrinkly. The heavier nylon webbing is nice, but I really didn't want to go shopping again, and I want to make these without having to buy a lot of extras.

Apparently I never blogged about the other holder I made in this style. I started it as the tester, then finished it after this one, for our trip. It has some extra features.  It hasn't had it's photo shoot, though there is a photo of it on our trip. Of my daughter using it LOL. They won't carry their own...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Here Comes Santa Claus!

It's been a busy year for Christmas stockings!  And I'm not done.  I was asked to make these two, which are Mary Maxim designs. However, the client specified, explicitly, that they were to be knit looser than the tension given in the pattern (which she had) so they would be bigger and very stretchy--to fit lots of goodies in!

I started the top of the first the round. I even knit the first row or two of the picture in the round, then casted on one stitch on either side of what would become the seam, and started working flat. Then I decreased those two stitches once I finished the picture and went back to in the round knitting. This did change my gauge a bit, and I had to be conscious of knitting loosely in the area between the picture and the heel.

On BOTH stockings, I knit the heel and turned the short rows...and then realized I was supposed to change colours!

I wasn't sure about Ms Claus. The black eyes, sitting above the glasses.  But once done, washed and blocked, and hung to be admired at a distance, I saw that it works.  The stockings actually got two baths because they took too long to dry the first time.  This extra time through the wash/dryer got them really soft (Loops & Thread "Impeccable") and really fluffed up the pompom.  The pompom was made using the second largest rings of the plastic ring pompom maker.  No middle ring (one got lost long ago). It was perfect. The key with the plastic ring is to totally fill it.

The great thing was I needed to buy just a ball of white to make these.  Even the bright green was in my stash! So, the 209gr made--a bit--of difference to my totals LOL. I also weighed all the ends from various projects I've been working on, and that all came to 20gr.  Every little bit, right?

Yarn In:  6523gr
Yarn Out:  229gr + 4966gr = 5195gr
Balance:  1328gr more BROUGHT IN than used
Costs:   $220.79 /296 days = $0.75/day

Friday, October 21, 2016

Yarn Confessions

I came to my blog today to write a little post and try to get updated on some of the yarn I've bought recently.  I ended up totally changing the look of the blog! I've had the exact same look since I started the blog (Aug 2006). I'm not totally happy with the new look.  Some of the design process is stupidly confusing, using different pages for different aspects. I couldn't get the header photo to be the right size. I can't move where my title and subtitle are to make them easier to read. Some links at the side are in pink. I don't like how the grey overlay comes close to where the background image is "seamed".  If I were designing it, I'd have them line up. I did find that the width of my post area was set rather small, which is why when I tried to insert XL size photos, they would get cut off on the right. 
Anyway.  How does it look? Easy to read?

First update on incoming yarn.  In a FB group for home craft businesses, a woman posted that she had a bunch of wool to sell.  WOOL! Of course I couldn't pass it up. She posted one of the labels, which was the same as some I had picked up from Value Village before...I forget right now, but it's from PEI, I think. I offered to buy all her partial balls, for $45.  Included was 172gr of Classic Wool. The rest of the wool came to.... 1728gr (total, 1900gr). Wowzer! I've already made three pairs of itty mittens for the kindergarten kids! But I have tipped over to the "more brought in than used". I do have some Christmas stockings to weight, BUT  I still have to buy more for some more Christmas stockings!!

Yarn In: 1900gr + 4623gr= 6523gr
Yarn Out:  4966gr
Balance:  1557gr more BROUGHT IN than used
Costs:    $175.79 + $45 = $220.79 /295 days = $0.75/day

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Drowning in Yarn

I feel like I'm drowning in yarn right now!  I've got yarn on the couch for two different stocking projects and two pairs of little mittens and a ball of reflective yarn.  I've got a big bag full of balls of wool I bought last week.  I've got a bin and bag of yarn from the basement to figure out how much more I needed for a couple projects.  I've got a big bag full of new yarn for those projects.

None of this can get put away yet!

I did get some great deals at Michaels' this week, and combined with what's already in my stash, it really helps my bottom line with custom orders.  Six balls of Impeccable--buy two, get one free and I needed three colours.  At first I was only going to get three balls, but at the last minute I grabbed three more since the purple striped mermaid blanket is popular and I really wanted to make sure I have enough for the order--if I have extra left, that's okay because the colours are popular.  LionBrand Homespun was on sale, not great deal, but at least some what of a deal.  And another yarn I needed I used a 50% off coupon.  All total, 1248gr for $40.06!

Yarn In: 3375gr + 1248gr = 4623gr
Yarn Out:  4966gr
Balance:  343gr more USED than bought
Costs:    $175.79/280 days = $0.63/day

Sunday, October 02, 2016


Megan was invited to her skating friend's birthday party, at Canada's Wonderland.  This girl is obsessed with elephants.  I found an elephant zipper pull when I was buying that last lot of yarn, but I also wanted to knit her an elephant!  I'd made one before, for my other daughter.

A trip through my personal yarn store and I couldn't find anything suitable in her favourite colours, blue and green.  I wanted to do striping, but all my greens were ugly moss greens. I did have one ball of Bernat "Mosaic" in the perfect's discontinued and I love it and it's an unspun acrylic so not all that durable.  But perfect colours. Sigh.  I went ahead.  I did have a few issues with the yarn pulling apart but I think it will be okay. 

 I didn't like the ear pattern, so I created my own.  Crocheted.

I almost forgot her tail!! I ran out of poly pellets, so I used aquarium gravel in the feet and the poly pellets in the trunk and belly. Not much else to say except when they came home from the park, she came up to the door with Megan, cradling "Ellie" in her sweater and a big grin on her face :)  I didn't weigh it before I stuffed it, but I weighed the left over yarn and it appears the Ellie used a whopping 52gr.  Not nearly enough to offset the wool I bought this past week!!

Yarn In: 3375gr
Yarn Out: 52gr + 4914gr = 4966gr
Balance:  1591gr more USED than bought
Costs:    $135.73/276 days = $0.49/day