Making a Spinning Wheel Accessory Bag Pt. 2

In my March 11th post, I outlined the process I was using to design a small bag to hold my spinning wheel accessories, such as my oiling pen, a spare bobbin, and my threading hook.  I left you at the point where I was appliqueing the sheep to the front of the front bag panel.  Today we’ll continue on and show you how to finish your little bag.

1.  First measure one of your bag pieces.  You’ll need this measurement for step #2.  Once you have your design of choice appliqued to the front and/or back of your bag panels, you will need to sew your bag together.  I placed the right sides together and sewed a 1/4″ seam around three sides of my bag, leaving the top open.  Turn right side out.

2.  The next thing you will need to do is decide if you want to line your bag.  If you do, choose the fabric you wish to use and cut out two pieces the same dimensions as the measurements you took in Step #1.  Putting the right sides together, sew the lining together around 3 sides, just like you did for your bag.  You will not be turning this right side out but you do need to turn down the top about 3/8″ and press this.

3.  Choose what material you want to use for your handle.  I used a dense wool for the main handle with a felted wool accent that I topstitched on top of the dark wool.  You will also want to take your bag to your spinning wheel and a tape measure and hold it about where you want it to hang and then measure how long the handle should be.  Add a few inches to this measurement because you’ll need the extra slack when you sew the handles into the bag later.  You’re ready to cut out your handles now.  The dark wool is 1-1/4″ wide and the accent strip is 3/4″ wide.  I centered the green strip on top and topstitched it along both of the long sides.  No need to hem your dark strip.  The wool is dense enough that it shouldn’t fray.

4.  Place your lining inside the bag, wrong side against wrong side.  Now take your handle and place an end between the lining and the bag (right side of the handle facing out).  I stuck it down in there about an inch and pinned it before stitching it in place.  You are going to stitch it back and forth across your side seam to secure it in place.  I stitched it about 1/4″ from the top edge of the bag.  Don’t worry.  This stitching will be covered in just a few minutes.  Repeat on the other side of the bag for the other end of the handle.

5.  The next thing I did was pick some felted wool to use as a scalloped border around the top of my bag.  I discovered that one of my scrapbooking rulers made an excellent template for the scallops.  I just traced along the ruler and cut out my border.  Then I placed the border along the top of my bag (straight edge of the border aligning with the straight top edge of the bag) and pinned it in place, leaving the excess border hanging for the moment.   Be sure that you catch the lining, the bag, and the border – all 3 layers- as you are pinning.  I then stitched the border along the top of the bag.  When I neared my starting point, I trimmed off the excess border so that my ends would butt together and finished sewing it on.  This step was the trickiest part.  When I was finished, I went back and doublechecked to make sure my lining was securely caught by the stitching.  I had to do a little ripping and restitching in a few spots where the lining had shifted but it was quickly fixed.

6.  Now you just have to decide if you want to hand stitch the bottom part of your border or machine stitch it.  I took the lazy route and machine stitched it.  It isn’t perfectly aligned but I’m telling myself that this adds to the “rustic” charm.

7.  Here is the finished bag, showing the lining.  I’m sure there are more polished ways to put a lining inside a bag.  You could do piping and/or facings but I just wanted something that could be done quickly and with a minimum of fuss.  This fits the bill.

8.  Voila!  Here is my finished bag all set to go on my spinning wheel.  I had originally planned to do buttonhole stitching around the edges of the bag but after I got this far, I decided that it just wasn’t “asking” for the stitching.  It seemed to me that it wasn’t going to look quite right with this bag so I left it off.

9.  Here’s the finished bag on Valentina all ready to be filled with my accessories.  Have fun designing your own bag and happy spinning!


Making a Spinning Wheel Accessory Bag Pt. 1

Valentina, my newest spinning wheel, needs a bag to hold her accessories.  I’ve seen some nice knitted ones on pictures of other people’s wheels but I had a bag in mind for Valentina and just couldn’t find one already made up that looked like my vision so I decided to make my own.  I wanted one that had a rustic look with a folk art feel to it.  So today I gathered my materials and started working on the bag.  Here’s what I’ve done so far.

The first thing I did was make some sketches of the sheep that I wanted to applique on the front of the bag.  I decided to use the design on the right so the next step was to draw and cut out each individual piece of the sheep.  If you’ve ever done applique before, you know that you need to cut out each piece of the design separately, i.e. the sheep face, the legs, the main body, the ear, and the pieces of the blanket over its back.

The next step was to gather bits of felted wool and other bits of wool that I’ve collected for projects such as this.  I had decided to make my bag out of felted wool, line it with a cotton print, applique the design on the front in wool, and outline the edges of the bag in a buttonhole stitch.  Once I decided what colors I was going to use for each piece of my pattern, the next step was to trace the pattern on the wrong side of the wool and cut it out.  For some pieces, I fudged and just pinned the pattern to the wool and cut around it.

The next step involved deciding how big I wanted the bag to be and cutting two pieces out of the wool for my bag.  Now I was ready to start appliqueing the pattern pieces to the front of the bag.  I had decided to just do a quilt stitch around the raw edges of the sheep pieces.  Since I’m working in wool, I don’t really have to worry too much about fraying and since I don’t plan to be throwing this bag in the wash, again…I’m not worried about turning under my raw edges.  Any stray threads will add to the charm.

You might be wondering how I got that little tail on the sheep.  The grey wool was actually a beret and the little “tail” was in the center of the beret.  I wasn’t using this beret any more so decided to cut it apart and use the wool for applique.  When I saw the little tab, I immediately thought, “sheep tail” and incorporated it into the design of the sheep.

An important thing to remember when sewing an applique pattern is that you want to start with the pieces that are on the bottom layer of your design and work your way to the top layer.  In other words, the sheep’s face and feet where the first things I sewed down.  Next came the sheep’s main body.  Now, I’m working on the “bottom” layer of the decorative blanket and will working upward, finishing with the smallest circle.  Finally, I’ll sew on his ear.

That’s all I got done today on it because I was also teaching a friend of mine how to machine quilt so most of my time was spent doing that.  Tune in Saturday for the next steps in making the accessory bag when I’ll (hopefully) be sewing the front and back of the bag together, inserting the lining, and adding a strap.

Blowing My Nose and Counting My Blessings

It’s Fave Friday today and even though I’ve been struggling with some irritated sinuses this week, I still can come up with five things to be thankful for amidst the tissues, saline spray, and decongestant.

1.  I’m thankful that I have the baby quilt top for my granddaughter all sewn. Now it’s just waiting to be layered with the batting and the backing and then I’ll be machine quilting it before I handsew on the binding.  I was a little worried that it wasn’t bright enough for a baby but today I found just the right fabric for the backing that is nice and bright and yet coordinates with the front colors and I found a cheerful, bright blue fabric for the binding which will also perk it up.

2.  I’m thankful that today was our monthly spinning guild meeting. I have such a good time buckling my spinning wheel into the car and heading off to meet with other spinners for several hours of spinning and chatting.  We had two new people there today so I’m no longer the “newbie.”  We had a lively time chatting about the Sheep to Shawl competition at our State Farm Show this week and then moved on to talks of trips to the Midwest and the quirks of folks from Minnesota and North Dakota.  I contributed a few anecdotes from Garrison Keillor’s podcasts and put in a good word for us Midwesterners who, although we might not be a verbose bunch, still have hearts as big as the skies above our prairies.

3.  I’m thankful for an extra bedroom to retreat to when I feel sick. I hate to disrupt the Commander’s sleep when I’m tossing and turning at night because my nose is all stuffed up so it’s nice to be able to just slip across the hall into the guestroom.  Then, if sleep eludes me, I can turn on the light, fire up my Kindle and read for awhile until I hopefully doze off.  (And no, this morning I didn’t make the bed because I suspect I’ll be right back there tonight so why bother?)

4.  I’m thankful that my Tracy Eichheim spindle arrived today. Tracy’s spindles are handmade and there is a waiting list to get one because they are great spindles, which makes them sought after.  I had ordered one with lambs on the whorl.  He hand cuts these lambs out with a scroll saw which is amazing because they look precise enough to have been laser-cut.  It’s going to be fun to practice spindle spinning with this little gem.

5.  I’m thankful that I found the chili mix today that I have been looking for. I’m hosting a luncheon this coming week and I am making chili.  Several weeks ago, I had tried this chili mix, adding a few things of my own, and it was fantastic.  So I planned to use it again for the luncheon.  But doggone it, I couldn’t find the mix at our local grocery store this time.  Today, on the way back from spinning, I stopped at another branch of the store and sure enough, there it was.  I purchased four bags of it just to be on the safe side.  I only need two for the luncheon but this way, I’ll have two more stocked up for the next  frigid days.  And you know we’re not done with winter yet, right?

What are your fave fives this week?  If you’d like to see what others are writing about this Friday, visit Susanne’s blog at Living to Tell the Story.

Making Gift Tags From Christmas Cards

Today was the day that I decided to either pitch my Christmas cards or recycle them.  I’d seen some cute gift tags in a magazine somewhere that had been made from old Christmas cards and I had been mulling over the idea of doing something like that this year.  But I couldn’t remember where I had seen the article.  How hard could it be, though?  I went online and did some searching around numerous “how-to” sites and saw that it was easy enough so here is my end result.

1.  First I took a tag punch that I had from my scrapbooking supplies.  This one is from Creative Memories but I know there are other ones out there readily available at craft stores.  You can also find templates to use, if you want to go a cheaper route, and then all you would have to do is center the template over the area of the card that you want to cut out, trace the tag outline and cut it out.  In my case, however, all I had to do was punch out my design.

2.  I cut the fronts off my cards I’d received and then culled the ones that wouldn’t work.  If they had glitter, they were pitched.  I didn’t want to get glitter all over everything.  If they had writing on the back of the design, they were out.  Obviously, I couldn’t write “From” and “To” info over someone’s news.  I also pitched cards that were 3-dimensional….probably not the right term but you know the kind….the ones that are rather bumpy.  It’s  hard to write on the backs of those.

3.  Next I trimmed sections from the cards that were larger than my punch and slipped them into the punch, maneuvering them until I had it situated over the design that I liked.  A quick squeeze and my tag was punched out.

4.  Now all I had to do was grab a hole punch and punch holes at the top of each gift tag.  That was simple enough.  NOTE:  My very first student worker (and the one who was never surpassed by any of my other ones in subsequent years), who is now married and a mother of adorable children (how am I doing, Jill?) and who is very crafty herself, just informed me that my Creative Memories tag punch also has a hole punch built right into it.  So after I punch out the tag, I can stick it back in again where the hole punch is and punch again without having to get out my separate hole punch.  Thanks, Jill!

5.  The final step was just to store them in a spot where I could locate them for use next Christmas.  I put them with my Christmas cards I had purchased to send out next year.  When I’m ready to wrap presents next year, all I have to do is write the “From” and “To” info on the back of these tags and then thread a little ribbon through the holes and attach them to the presents.

And now I feel pretty good because I was able to  recycle the Christmas cards I received.  I always feel a little guilty about throwing them out every year so this is a nice compromise.  You might want to give it a try.  The only downside that I can see is that you wouldn’t have coordinated wrapping and tags, if you are the sort of person that would be bothered by this.  As for me, it doesn’t bother me a bit.

Some Yarn for Me, Some Yarn for Baby

KDO Yarn HaulI attended the 24th Annual Knitters’ Day Out in Summerdale, PA yesterday and came home with this haul.  Mercy!  I ended up with enough skeins of orange Araucania Nature Wool to make a Mobius Capelet.  Then I saw a darling collared baby cardigan sample and had to snag some Crazy Zauberball yarn for Baby Reepicheep  (despite the fact that I’ve already knit her two sweaters already and the fact that she will be eventually moving to a very sultry climate).  Oh, before you start wondering who in the world names their baby Reepicheep, let me assure you that “Reepicheep” is a working name and the real name will be revealed all in good time (in other words, WE don’t know what they are going to call the baby yet either).  Yes it was a real mistake stopping in the Yarn Love booth.  I also saw a sample of the Simple Yet Effective Shawl done up in Noro Sock Yarn and two skeins of that jumped into my bag.  Then doggone if I didn’t see a lovely scarf done up from Mini Mochi, which I think is almost as soft as Malabrigo yarn and which has some of the loveliest color shifts of the yarns out there today.  So into the bag went two skeins of that in their Violet colorway.

New PatternsAs I was heading towards the door, I came across the Delightful Ewe booth and they just happened to have little baby sweater kits already put together into clear plastic containers, complete with pattern, yarn, and buttons.  How could I resist?   And in the same vein, how could I resist a Debbie Bliss book on designing and knitting patterns?

I was almost to the exit of the marketplace when I saw Cathy from the Colonial Yarn Shop who had a snazzy-looking Traveling Woman Shawl (see an example of one by clicking on the link provided).  Of course, I had to put in a skein of Araucania Sock Yarn in yummy colors of turquoise, gold and navy to knit up that shawl.    My friend, Alice is an Indie Dyer and has her own yarn line called Altobish Yarns.  I had to pick up two skeins of her “B Sharp, B Natural” Bamboo blend yarn which is ever so soft and will eventually make its way into a shawlette for moi.

Hey, that was all BEFORE I made it to class, which was a great class on doing gauge swatches and on blocking your finished projects.  It may sound like basic information but judging by the show of hands in the class, there were a lot of folks who aren’t doing either.  I had never done steam blocking and was really interested in learning more about that, which our teacher covered quite thoroughly.  I learned quite a bit on both subjects.

So today I’m busy matching up the new yarn with notes about what projects I plan to knit with it.  I’m also having fun looking at more baby patterns.  One that I came across today is a real hoot.  Have you ever seen a baby wearing a duck hat?  Or wearing duck feet socks?  Check this out!  Oh man, I am SO tempted to knit those up for Reepicheep.  But ssssh!  Let’s just keep it a secret between you and me.

Knitting for the Sci-Fi Geek

Maybe it’s the fact that the new Star Trek movie is now out in theaters, but my mind has been drifting off to galaxies far, far away.    Or maybe it’s the fact that my front yard has taken on the appearance of the moon’s surface, with freshly dug craters and little guys in neon orange bibs popping out like groundhogs that has me wondering when the new season of Dr. Who will pop up on the Sci-Fi channel.  By the way, I’m not kidding about the yard.  Apparently, our yard is going to be one of the “hubs” for the FiOS cable that is finally coming to our street.  At any rate, my knitting radar is suddenly picking up all sorts of fun things to knit or knit with that can feed your sci-fi mania at the same time.

Eye of Jupiter Yarn

How about some socks from this “Eye of Jupiter” yarn for all of you Battlestar Galactica fans?   Or knit yourself a pair of Viper Pilots socks designed by Glenna C.    Dr. Who fans can knit themselves a “Dr. Who” scarf ,  a miniature pair of Daleks , crochet up a Tardis,  or go “whole hog” and crochet an amigurumi Tenth Dr. Who.  There are lots more Dr. Who-related patterns but apparently, the BBC is in a snit over a British fan who designed a bunch of patterns and posted them for free on her website.   They threatened to take legal action so she has since taken them off her website.

Christina Marie Potter’s Etsy shop has some fun yarns hand-dyed in different Star Trek colors.   Liberty’s Yarn has been featuring yarn dyed up in colorways honoring “hot chicks of sci fi” such as T’Pol, Starbuck, and Ellen.  Want to knit up your own pair of Spock ears?  Head over to this blog for the instructions.  My friends, there is really no end to what imaginative, creative people can come up with when they also happen to be dyed-in-the-wool (ok, maybe a little pun intended there) sci-fi geeks.  Have fun doing your own searches on the Web and see what else you can unearth.  In the meantime, I’d better transport myself to the laundry room and see if any clean clothes have materialized.

A Harvest of Amigurumi Fun


I just finished a quick and really fun knitalong that was suggested by Josette of  Enchanted Knoll farm on her Ravelry group.  Incidentally, you can find her lovely yarn and fiber offerings here .  The challenge was to knit a vegetable or fruit that you would like to grow in your garden.   Well, I’d been wanting to try my hand at Amigurumi patterns for some time now and so I fired off a note to her asking if we could do a crochet pattern instead.  Indeed we could, so I did some web surfing and found a nice pattern and we were off to the races, so to speak.

indoor-radishWell, I’ll tell you….faster than I could figure out how to spell “amigurumi”, I had a little radish done and stuffed.  I’m sure my neighbors thought I was crazy standing outside in the rain photographing this tiny little crocheted object but I had fun.  OK, I DID cave and bring it inside for a final photo.

Now I’m looking forward to trying my hand at some other amigurumi patterns.  There are so many websites with free patterns available plus Etsy has many designers who have amigurumi patterns for sale.  Just do a “search” for “amigurumi pattern” and you’ll come up with almost 3,000 choices.  Who knows?  There could be a whole vegetable garden in your future.