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!


You Know You’re a Spinner When…

1.  Bags of fiber are outnumbering your commercial skeins of yarn.

2.  You walk around with wisps of fiber attached to your clothing.

3.  You are constantly on the outlook for patterns that call for a total of  100-300 yds. of yarn.

4.  You are at the fast food restaurant and when someone orders a wrap you instantly think of “wraps per inch.”

5.  You find yourself explaining to a puzzled hardware employee why you are looking for a certain weight of cotton string to use for a drive band and realize he or she doesn’t have a clue what you are talking about.

6.  You can actually tell someone what Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger on AND show them pictures of a similar device.

7.  The idea of limiting yourself to one spinning wheel seems ludicrous.

8.  Even if you are a little “fluffy”, you have muscular calves.

9.  You can name at least four different breeds of sheep.

10.  You’d rather wax your spinning wheel than your floors.

11.  You’d much rather go to the MD Sheep and Wool Festival than to the Mall of America.


12.  You realize that this list could go on and on but it’s cutting into your spinning time.

Friday’s Fave Five Eats and Treats

friday fave five spring, originally uploaded by readndee.

It’s Friday already and time to list five highlights of my week. And once again, it’s been a great week. I have no problem coming up with five things to share with you.

1.  A big highlight was receiving my Schacht Matchless Double Treadle spinning wheel.  These beautiful wheels are made by the Schacht Spindle Company based in Boulder, Colorado.  I’ve had my eye on one for a long time and finally was able to place my order.  I didn’t mind the wait (good things are worth waiting for) and was thrilled when she (I’ve named her “Valentina”) arrived.  I’ll be posting more about her in my next post.

2.  I enjoyed a great cheeseburger and fries at Five Guys Burgers & Fries. My son and daughter-in-law had never been to one of these restaurants so I had the fun of introducing them to their tasty offerings.  The Commander and I think that Five Guys makes the best cheeseburgers in town and their fries are pretty awesome, too.

3.  I have a new camera.  I had purchased a fancy Canon PowerShot SX20 IS before the kids came home for their visit and I ended up hating that camera.  It was too heavy and much too complicated for me.  Plus I didn’t think that it took very sharp pictures despite having 12 pixel resolution.  It’s now going to be sold and I am much happier with a cheaper and simpler Canon PowerShot A480.  It does everything I want it to do and I think the picture quality is much nicer, too.  But don’t go by the above picture.  I snapped that with my iPhone.

4.  Teaching Laura to make Moroccan Couscous. I learned to make Moroccan couscous stew when we lived in Morocco.  When Laura and Jason arrived, one of the things that Laura wanted to do was learn how to make this dish.  So today we are cooking together and already the wonderful aroma of this heavenly stew is wafting through the entire house.   By this evening, when I show her how to arrange the whole thing on the big platter that I brought back from Morocco, our mouths will be watering.

5.  Listening to Jason and Laura working together. Earlier this week, while I was working away on my computer in the craft room, Laura was helping Jason with his writing by doing some editing and offering some suggestions here and there.  It was so nice to hear them interact back and forth.  They truly are a partnership framed in love, which is what a marriage should be, and how happy I am for the two of them.

To see what others are writing about, visit Susanne’s site at Living to Tell the Story.  And if you find yourself inspired by what you read, why not join the fun and tell us what your fave five’s are for the week?

Starting Them Early

There is an old wives’ tale (or should I say…old knitter’s tale) that says if a Master Knitter puts a pair of knitting needles in a baby’s hands, that baby will grow up to be a knitter.  I’m going to see if that holds true.

Last night, I started little Mika on her way to becoming a knitter.  With the permission of her mommy and under my careful supervision, I placed a whopping big pair of nicely crafted wooden knitting needles into her tiny hands. I took special care to make sure she wasn’t going to poke her eyes out accidentally.  I didn’t think that would be an auspicious start.

She examined the needles with careful concentration.  Obviously she was fascinated by them.  And just because I never do anything halfway, I made sure to do all this in my craft room where she was sitting next to two spinning wheels, surrounded by a LOT of my yarn stash, and I also stuck a skein of yarn on her lap for good measure.

As she slowly sank into a blissful nap, I could tell that she was already dreaming of all those future projects that she was going to knit.  Perhaps she was considering different color combinations for those projects and what types of yarn would be best to use.  If I’m really lucky, she might have been dreaming of spinning up some of her own yarn to knit with.  I have only one variable in this little experiment that I’m not too sure about.  I don’t know if I quite qualify as a “Master Knitter” unless you go by length of time I’ve been knitting.  In that case, 50+ years will hopefully qualify me.  The rest will be up to Miss Mika.

And as a little “teaser” for my next post, my new Schacht Matchless DT arrived yesterday in the evening and the Commander lovingly assembled her for me.  Allow me to introduce to you “Valentina.”

Fave Five Yummies and Honeys

Another week has whizzed by and it’s time for my list of Fave Five events of the week.  It was hard to limit myself to five things this week.  I had quite a few good things to report which is always a good thing.  Better to have an abundance of blessings to choose from than to have to make some up, eh?   But I narrowed it down to five so here is my list of Fave Fives for the week.

1.  My little Mika turned 2 months old. This little honey of a grandbaby is growing and changing so quickly.  To celebrate her “big girl” status, her mommy and I went out and bought her some headbands and hairbows and then she had to model them for us.  There should be no doubt now that she is a girl.

2.  Mika met her Aunt Laura for the first time. To celebrate the occasion, our daughter Laura presented Mika with a t-shirt that says “My Aunt Rocks.”  Too cute.  I don’t think Mika looks very impressed in this picture but she really did have a good time giving her aunt the once-over and being held by Laura.  Judging by the smile, I’d say that Aunt Laura enjoyed the time with her niece as well.

3.  I spun some wool today at our spinning guild from the nicest wool I’ve ever had the fun of spinning. This is from the fiber artist BeeMiceElf and the fiber is Superwash Blue-Faced Leicester.  You’ll never believe what the name of the colorway is.  It’s called “Naughty Librarian.”  Isn’t that a hoot?  The fiber comes in a braid that is shown at the bottom of the picture and you can see how it is spinning up.  I can honestly say that this is the easiest wool I’ve ever spun.  It has really been a dream to spin.

4.  Mika and her Great-Grandma Toots were able to spend more time together. I was able to bring my 96-year-old mom home from the nursing home for a visit with the help of my son.  She had a fun reunion with the dog (my previous post) and got to hold Mika for some fun bonding time.  We had a nice lunch of pancakes and bacon which she polished off and we capped off the day with a sing-a-long and an impromptu piano concert.  It was a full day for all of us but a good one.

5.  Mika was dedicated at our church and then thrown a potluck/shower by our church family. Bless her heart, she slept through the whole thing.  She even slept through all the folks who wanted to hold her during the potluck.  It was such a blessing to share our joy at Mika’s safe arrival with our church fellowship.

That was my week.  If you’d like to read the Fave Five’s of others, visit Susanne’s blog at Living to Tell the Story.

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.

Julia, the Chickens and Me

Watching the movie “Julie and Julia” over the Christmas holiday reminded me of the time I was in graduate school out at Colorado State University many years ago.  I had to come up with a speech for a grad course that I was taking in Public Speaking.  I REALLY wanted to come up with something creative that would make me stand out from the rest of my classmates so I was wracking my brain trying to come up with something unique.

It was when Julia Child was at the height of her popularity with a cooking show on TV.  If you’ve ever watched any of her old shows, you know that she had a unique style all her own which was easily lampooned by many comics of that day.  I liked watching Julia Child and found her immensely entertaining.  Mind you, I wasn’t a very good cook but I was a very adventurous cook.  Now I was pursuing a graduate degree in theatre arts but was also taking a lot of animal science classes on the side (I know….it doesn’t make a lot of sense.  My parents couldn’t figure it out, nor could my advisors.  The truth is that I loved animals and cowboys and so it made perfect sense to me.)  And so, as I mulled over what to speak on, inspiration struck and I decided to combine a little “Julia” with some things I was learning in a Poultry Science class.

That’s how I ended up in a recording studio in the Speech Department being videotaped as I did my best impersonation of Julia Child explaining what made a hen a good layer.  I’ll tell you, I did it up right, too.  I somehow talked the Animal Science Department into loaning me one of their hens.  I dressed up with pearls, had a glass of cider on the set which stood in for wine, and proceeded to give a rollicking, soused lecture to the crowd, complete with live hen to demonstrate what to look for when choosing a chicken that would produce a lot of eggs.  To make matters even funnier, the stage lights had overheated the hen and she had semi-swooned so that I couldn’t get her to stand up for love nor money.  I had to kind of scoop her up into my arms so that I could flip her over to point out the anatomy you wanted to look for.

I was vaguely aware of my teacher out in the front row staring at me with wide eyes and his mouth open but I was having so much fun that I kind of forgot that I was being graded.  After it was all over, I DO remember that he took me aside and said, “Miss Loose, in all my years of teaching, I’ve never seen anything like this and I doubt that I’ll ever see anything like this in the future.  Thank you.”  I’m happy to report that, with Julia as my muse, I earned an “A” in that class.  The hen lived on to produce many more eggs in her lifetime.

In spinning news, here is the yarn I was spinning as I was waiting to hear that my grandbaby was born.  I think the colors are appropriate for a Christmas baby, don’t you?  My plan is to finish spinning up some other fiber that I don’t have as much emotional attachment to and try Navajo plying on that yarn and then I’ll Navajo ply this yarn.  I’m hoping to have something knitted for Mikayla out of this by the time she visits us in February.   I spun these singles on my Louet Victoria wheel, by the way.

That’s all for today.  And as Julia would say, “Bon appetit!”