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.

Ain’t Singing the Blues!

It’s January, a month when the blues can easily catch up with a person.  I recently received an email from a friend with pictures of real letters that children had written to God.  One was asking God to please throw in another holiday after December because things get a little bleak between Christmas and Easter.  Yes, January is when the “gales of November” become the “howls of winter” and any sane person battens down the hatches, grabs some hot cocoa, a good book, a down comforter and stays indoors.  It’s not my favorite month.  But nevertheless, this was a good week and since it is Friday and time for a “Fave Five” recap, here are my highlights.

1.  I received a shipment of glorious fiber to spin up from a very talented fiber artist. Bee Mice Elf has an Etsy shop where she sells colorful concoctions of fiber for spinning like the beauty on the right.  What is even greater is that the name of the colorway of this particular wool is Naughty Librarian.  As soon as I saw it and saw the name of it, I knew that I had to have it.  How perfect is that name for a booklover who has retired from library work?  I’m going to have fun spinning this up into yarn and even more fun knitting it into something to wear.  Just knowing the name of it will have me chuckling whatever I make out of it.

2.  Mika’s quilt is all finished. I’m particularly happy with how the blue binding just sets off the whole quilt.  I think it brightens it right up.  And the bright green backing with little swirls in the colors from the front really adds to the cheerfulness of this little quilt.  I had lots of fun when I was quilting it by quilting words on the quilt.  She’ll certainly never see them now but as she gets older, she’ll have fun trying to pick out where I quilted such words as “Meow, Moo, Yarn, Knit, Cow, Woof, Nana, PawPaw, and We Love Mika.”  I also quilted different qualities that I hope she will grow up to have on the sashes, such as “Joy”, “Compassion”, “Peace”, and “Laughter.”

3.  My new exercise hoop arrived today. If you read one of my earlier posts from several weeks ago, you’ll know that my first attempt at obtaining an exercise hoop ended in disaster when it came all folded up and when I tried to uncoil it, I ended up putting a bad kink in it.  This time, I ordered from another company and ordered a collapsible hoop that came gently coiled, not folded.  I also put it in a sunny room and let it warm up before I tried to uncoil and snap the ends together.  Voila!  I didn’t break it.  And what’s more……I can hula hoop.  Yes, despite the fact that I haven’t done any serious hula hooping since my high school years (many moons ago), I got that hoop spinning and kept it up.  I even walked around the room with it going.  Yay!  I’m telling you, it is a workout just doing that much.  Wait until I start doing hoop dancing routines.  Oh yeah, baby!

4.  I finished my Mondo Cable Shell and it fits.  It’s a miracle.  Usually when I finish a knitted top, I don’t like how it fits.  But this pattern is just right.  It doesn’t gap around the armholes, it isn’t too low at the neckline, and it isn’t clinging tightly anywhere.  I had envisioned wearing it over a t-shirt but I think I could easily wear it just like this in hot weather and it would do fine.  You can’t really see the big cables running down the center because the yarn is pretty busy but they came out nicely, too.  I’ll definitely be using this pattern again but will probably pick a different yarn in a solid or semi-solid color that would show off the textured pattern more.

5.  With my spunky new hairdo, I’m thrilled to see that my granddaughter is taking after her Nana. Actually, I did cut my hair and when my son sent me this latest pic of Mika and her lovely head of hair looking so much like my own hairdo, I couldn’t resist a little fun with my photo editing software to give her a pair of matching “specs.”  Apologies to my little sweet pea.

What were your fave fives this week?  Pop over to Susanne’s site at Living to Tell the Story and see what others are listing for their top five highlights this week.

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.

Shivering Through My Fave Fives

I can’t believe that I forgot to do a Friday’s Fave Five post last week and I almost forgot to do one this week.  I blame it on “brain freeze.”  Honestly, it’s been so cold here that I think all my energy has been going into just staying warm.  But luckily, I happened to glance at the calendar this afternoon and realized what day  it was so here we go with my list of Fave Fives for this past week.  There’s no pattern to it this week.  It’s a real mixed bag.

1.  It’s a new year so that means I can get out the new calendars and hang them up. There is something about a brand-new calendar that just seems full of promise, don’t you think?  I buy calendars like other people buy shoes.  I just can’t get enough of them but then I run out of places to put them.  I ordered this “Spin-Off” calendar last year and have been really antsy to put it up.  I also have a “Fix-It and Forget-It” calendar that has crock-pot recipes for the different days of the week, a “Take Care of Business” calendar that is also a mouse pad and has lots of places to write down lists and notes to yourself, and a “Posters for Peace and Justice” calendar, and those are all just on our first floor.  Whee!

2.  I picked out a quilt pattern for our granddaughter and have the fabric washed and ready to cut. Since Mika is only a few weeks old, I’m not planning to make her a full-sized quilt just yet.  I think she’ll like one more her size.  So I found a pattern that has little odd-sized blocks for fun fabric prints which I’ll outline with a dark brown fabric to set them off and border with a colorful coordinating striped fabric.  I picked knitting chickens, little owls, puppy dogs, mischievous cats,  teddy bears, farm animals, and monkees for the prints.  The monkees may seem an odd choice but there might be monkees living where she’ll be moving so I thought it would be nice to put them in.  Just like a blank calendar, there is that hint of anticipation at this stage of quilt-making.  It’s like looking at a white canvas and knowing that soon something magical will be appearing on it.

3.  I finally picked a car seat for our granddaughter and it arrived in record time. My goodness, I had no idea that there were so many choices out there.  Our son and daughter-in-law are using a borrowed car seat up in Vancouver but that will be staying there so when they arrive here, they will be needing one for the baby.  I told them that we’d have one when we pick them up at the airport come February.  Well, I started to do some research up on Amazon and on the Internet, reading reviews and looking at all the different features.  Oh, my!  How does one ever decide?  To complicate things, I had to take into consideration that this baby will be flying from Canada to here and then traveling  to Texas and maybe Mexico and eventually halfway around the world and they’ll need one that isn’t too heavy to lug around but one that will  provide protection.  I also wanted to get one that could be used for longer than just her first few months.  I finally settled on this one which is a “combination” car seat.  That means that it starts out as a rear-facing car seat and then can be switched to a front-facing car seat as the baby gets older and bigger.  Fresca seems to approve.

4.  I’ve been mighty happy for this little space heater in my craft room. OK, I swiped it from our Master Bathroom because I honestly didn’t think it was being used up there and my craft/computer room is freezing.  My computer desk sits next to a window that is drafty and I don’t think we’re going to be getting a replacement window in there in the next few months.  Now I’ve got the heater aimed right at my back and it feels good as long as it is blowing on me.  When it isn’t?  I cool off pretty quickly.  Makes me think about folks who don’t even have shelter this winter.  God bless the homeless shelters and the churches who open up their facilities this time of year.

5.  I found the pineapple recipe that I was looking for ever since I tasted the dish last month. I first tasted this pineapple casserole last month at our spinning guild’s Christmas party.  It was an unusual combination of ingredients but boy, was it good.  The other spinners told me that this one spinner brought it every year.  It was her trademark recipe and she wasn’t giving it out.  Well, I really wanted to be able to make it so I did some searches on recipe sites and found several candidates.  I tried two possible versions and the last try came up a winner.  So I’m taking it to a Sunday School class party tomorrow evening where the main dish is ham.  Yum, yum!  In case you’d like to try it for yourself, here it is.  Be forewarned, it’s more like dessert and it’s rich!

Pineapple Cheese Casserole

  • 2 (20 ounce) cans pineapple tidbits, juice reserved
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 pound butter, melted
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 25 buttery round crackers, crumbled (I used Ritz)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter or grease one 2 quart casserole dish.
  2. In a mixing bowl, blend together 4 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice, sugar, flour, and butter.
  3. Add pineapple and cheese.  Mix well and pour into a casserole dish.  Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F, sprinkle the top with cracker crumbs and bake for another 20 minutes.

Note:  You can prepare this early in the morning and place it covered in the fridge and then bake it for 30 minutes before adding the cracker crumbs.  DON’T reduce the temperature for the final 20 minutes after you add the cracker crumbs.

If you’d like to see what others are blogging about for their Friday Fave Five things, visit Susanne’s site at Living to Tell the Story.

Pillowcase Gifts

The annual production of handmade pillowcases has begun for my family.  Yes, each year I diligently sit down to think of a unique theme for each family member that can be translated into a pillowcase.  The theme is usually associated with a hobby or passion of theirs.  Then I go into a sewing frenzy before Christmas to get them all finished before the holidays.

My family always exchanges Christmas presents with my brother and his family at Thanksgiving so, since they already have their pillowcases, I can show you what they got this year.  My brother, a big University of Michigan football fan (Go Blue!) got a pillowcase made from U of M fabric accented with a border on the end made from fabric that featured football helmets.  Unfortunately, you can’t see that accent fabric in this picture.

My nephew, John got a pillowcase that featured a Retro Bowling fabric.  I kind of goofed on his pillowcase this year because he reminded me after he opened it that it would go well with the other bowling pillowcase that I had given him.  Drat!  I had vaguely remembered sewing a bowling pillowcase for the family one year but I thought I had given it to my brother.  Oh well!  At least this particular pillowcase is a “retro” look bowling pillowcase as opposed to the more modern fabric that I had used for the other one.  John loves to bowl and so it was a logical choice for him.  I swear I’ll do better next year at remembering who has already received what.  I REALLY wanted to do a pillowcase in disc golf fabric but no one seems to make any like that.

Nephew Kevin got another “pinup” pillowcase.  He already has several in his collection but none featuring island girls. He’s in the Army and might be getting stationed in Hawaii so I thought this could go right along with his possible orders.  Last year I gave him an Army pillowcase and I’m not sure how well he slept on a pillowcase of soldiers and armored tanks so I thought I’d cut him some slack this year.

For my sister-in-law, Rose I picked a fabric that featured ladies who are more our age just out having fun.  This particular pattern is called “Beach Divas” and it is a hoot.  Since Rose and I always have a lot of fun on our adventures, I thought that this pillowcase would be a good reminder of all of our good times and how it is a good thing not to take yourself too seriously.  I know that we never do.

Now that I have those done and gifted, I can get back to sewing yet again as I start the pillowcases for the rest of the family who will have to wait until Christmas to receive theirs.

If you’ve never tried making pillowcases for presents, they aren’t hard at all and can be made up very quickly.  With all the wonderful novelty fabrics that are currently available, the hardest part will be figuring out what fabric you should use for which person.