Monday, March 01, 2010

I'm an excellent crazy ass, loony bin sifter

That title has nothing to do with the post, I just thought it was one of the best lines I'd ever heard on "Bones". :D

D'ja miss me? Sorry for ducking out for so long. Have been going through a very difficult time recently. Hence the absence here and from your blogs as well. (I'm too far behind to catch up at this point, so I had to declare Google Reader bankruptcy and just mark all as read today. Forgive me!) But, we're looking forward now with hope and a smile. :) And hopefully, more blog action!

So what's been up? Well, the knitting mojo went on walkabout for a while, but I did manage to eke out three hats in January. Wanna see?

(Insert imaginary pic here)

Yeah, so would I. Forgot to snap pics before gifting them off. Oops! I also knitted a faboo scarf, but haven't taken pics of that yet either, so no FO post yet.

I know what you're thinking - "Geez, weez, ditch us all for ages and come back with nuthin'?"

Now you all know me better than that! :) 'Member how I absolutely hated sewing, then learned to at least tolerate it? Well, since the knitting mojo was nowhere to be found, I gave sewing another try and it turns out...I actually *do* like it!

First, I made some project box bags. I'm still tinkering with the process a bit, so I'll show you those later. But I will say that they turned out super cute despite their mistakes, and started to turn the tide. However, it was this little baby that really got me hooked.
Yoga Bag 1
My very own, handcrafted yoga mat bag! The basic pattern is from Simple Sewing, but I modded it up a bit. First, I doubled the fabric so it would be sturdier and lined. Second, I made the bag a little bit bigger, so it'd be easier to get the mat in and out, and fit a towel as well. Third, I made the pocket a tad roomier, too. Fourth, I sewed down a longer bit at the top of the strap, and reinforced it by sewing an "X" in the middle. Fifth, I pilfered this cord and cord stop from a bag a set of sheets came in to make the drawstring.
Yoga Bag 2
I LOVE how it turned out! The pocket is big enough to fit my keys, sunglasses, cell phone, gym membership card, even a water bottle if need be. And I just feel so...jaunty carrying it into the gym.

Yoga Bag 3
Let's all bring back jaunty! Use it in a sentence today!

Overcoming the sewing hate took a few different paths. One: realizing stuff that I sew for myself can have mistakes and slightly uneven seam lines customized design features. I am a beginner after all! It's not like I'm shooting to become the next Project Runway designer. These aren't shirts or dresses or anything that require a specific fit, either. For now, it's all about having fun, so I just let go of perfection. Which was pretty easy. Not sure what that says about me...

Two, *cough* um, reading the sewing machine manual. Gee, it's amazing what a difference that made. Turns out I'd been threading the machine all wrong. D'oh! You should've heard me while I was reading through it, too. Lots of exclamations along the lines of, "Wow, this thing has a thread cutter?!? I had no idea!" and, "ohhhhhhh, so THAT's what that's for!"

Third, having the right tools. I'm talking an Omnigrid cutting mat, Olfa rotary cutters (the 60" ergonomic rotary and the pinking rotary - both scored on eBay for a STEAL, btw - totally, completely rock my world), Omnigrid clear ruler, and disappearing ink pen to start. A little strip magnet on the strike plate (pilfered from a refrigerator notepad) is helping me sew a less-crooked line, too. And Guterman thread. Gotta have Guterman thread - especially when it's 50% off at Joann's!

Last but not least: studying the Sew Everything Workshop. This is a GREAT beginner's book. Tone very similar to the Stitch-n-Bitch books, with things spelled out simply and conversationally. Haven't tried the patterns yet, but it's a must-read for the basics.

Of course, even all that can't keep my older-than-dirt Singer from frustrating the crap out of me at times - take for instance, the random skipping and bunching that occurs whenever a spool gets down to the last 30%. WTH is that about? (Bez, I know you know my pain.) The feed dogs - even after having the machine serviced - tend to pull to the right, too. And this weekend I discovered that it turns into a cranky ol' grandpa if you even attempt to sew anything other than a straight line (why hello thread-shredding zig zag and faux overlock, nice to meetcha).

But for now, the Singer and I are getting along much better. We're even becoming friends. In fact, wait 'til you see the Reversible Apron I made this weekend... ;)


Blogger chemgrrl said...

I swear I would leave a thoughtful comment if my brain could string two rational thoughts together in a meaningful way right now. It can't. Alas. So I will just say: cute bag.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Jeanne said...

Welcome back - and sometimes you just do have to click "mark all as read"!

Love the yoga bag - very cute!

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Rosi G. said...

Welcome back, babe!! I agree with Jeanne. Sometimes you just have to wipe the slate clean. :o)

6:31 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Hiya!! Nice bag! Hehe..yeah, I was surprised when I finally read my sewing machine and serger manuals ;)

7:36 PM  
Blogger JelliDonut said...

You make me want to dust off my sewing machine and get busy. In high school, I sewed most of my own clothes. I need to find my own sewing mojo again.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Bezzie said...

Nice bag! Someday the Beast and Grandpa Singer will sail off into the sunset with each other and we can sew on sexy, non-cranky/evil machines!

3:22 AM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

Oooh it IS quite jaunty! Love the fun springy colors. If I did yoga, I'd totally covet that bag.

4:24 AM  
Blogger SJ said...

Oh no, have we lost you to the dark side that is that other needle art? Sewing is the one thing I don't really do (save sewing on a button or stitching up a hem that's come undone). I like the bag, though!

6:25 AM  
Blogger Monique said...

Great little project! Lovely, clear pictures!

9:52 AM  
Blogger Brenda said...

Sorry to hear you have been having a tough go of it. But the bag really is jaunty, and looks super functional. I gave up on mat bags because the openings were too small to get the mat in and out easily, but you solved that problem.

Glad you are back!

4:15 PM  
Blogger IrishgirlieKnits said...

I've missed ya honey and hope things look a bit brighter soon! WIth that fabulous bag it should! Love it!

Maybe I should think more about yoga with such cute accessories!

11:55 PM  
Blogger Jacey said...

Yay you! I'm glad to see you're in the blogosphere again. Missed ya, but life definitely gets in the way of crafting, and definitely writing about crafting.

Your tote bag is super cute, and I can't wait to see your other sewn goodies. I've recently picked up some sewing again as well. I'm glad you didn't give it up for good!

4:58 PM  
Blogger cpurl17 said...

Hope everything's okay! (or mo better)

I just bought a sewing maching! Yes, it's still in the box!

8:03 PM  
Blogger knottygnome said...

yay, sewing! that's a really cute bag. the fabric choice is quite jaunty.

1:26 PM  
Blogger momwhoknits said...

It sounds like you (or more likely your machine) has some tension issues. Try playing with the bobbin tension (see your manual for further clarification!) - I have been sewing on the same machine for 31 years (got it as a grad present from university - otherwise that makes me sound really old and I swear - I'm a few days over 50....if by few, I mean 1000 or so). The only time I have problems like the ones you are describing is when the tension is mucked up - usually by someone unauthorized to use my machine!

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Indian Pharmacy said...

you give a good idea with your beautiful bag thanks for sharing

2:25 PM  

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