Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Another drawstring backpack!

So I said last time that I'd make this pattern again, and I did!  Thing 1 was going on a school field trip, and they were allowed to take their electronics, as well as a change of clothes.  But he wasn't taking his backpack, which made me go, hmmm???  So I figured he'd like a smaller backpack for carrying his stuff.  (Because even if *he* wasn't concerned - yet! - about misplaced game cartridges, etc., I was concerned!)

Since I didn't have to worry about arena requirements this time, I made the size Medium (the largest size in the pattern).  I dug this green twill out of the dim recesses of stash....I only had scraps left, which dictated putting a pocket onto both the front and the back, since I didn't have enough to cut a full back piece.  I figured if nothing else, he could stick a notebook in the back pocket.

I didn't have any matching green zippers, so I used black, then tied that in with the cords and the strap for the D-ring.  This time, I used thicker paracord that I found at Home Depot - both cheaper and more sturdy than the cord I'd gotten from JAF!  I got several colors, so I plan to have fun with this.

And I remembered to put the zipper in the opposite direction.  I don't think that Thing 1 will notice or care, but it's something I added to the notes I made on the pattern.

The lining is a Pokemon print I bought to make a lunch bag.  Seeing as that never happened, I thought the drawstring bag was more important.  I used a blue zipper on the inside pocket, just for fun.

This size is right about the same as my current (not sewn) drawstring backpack, so I think it's what I'll make for my next project bag.  I like these bags for storing crochet projects, because they're so easy to grab and go with.  And great for stashbusting and using small pieces of prints that I love but just can't see what to use them with!  I can totally see myself having multiple sewn drawstring bags....I'm sure it won't take long.

Oh, yeah - and my son loved the surprise of his drawstring backpack!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Drawstring Backpacks

So I'm way into hockey - specifically Chicago Blackhawks - and I was going to a preseason game with Thing 2 recently.  I'm also very much into taking portable crochet projects wherever I'm going, because I don't sit still well.  I don't crochet *during* the game if I'm there, but on the train?  Sure!  And possibly during the intermissions....anyway, the arena had listed specific rules as to the maximum sizing of allowed bags, and my current drawstring backpack exceed the size limits.  Since I don't know how picky the arena would be on enforcing said rules, I didn't want to take chances.

In theory I could have made my own pattern for the drawstring bag, but I was having too much indecision regarding options, which wasn't helpful with my deadline.  I saw Green Pepper's String Bag pattern at JAF and decided to start with that.  Based on the finished measurements, I went with the size Small to fit the arena requirements.  And I wanted to go with the Blackhawks colors, so I bought a black rodeo twill from JAF. 

I made some changes.  The pattern is cut on the fold lengthwise, but my lining is directional.  So I cut front/back outer/lining not on the fold.  I also changed the pocket to be full front, rather than a standalone that was stitched onto the front.  To do that, I stitched the front pieces and zipper together, cut a lining piece the same size, and basted the front to the lining, then treated them as one.

And I have embroidered key fobs from a friend's Etsy shop (Babymoon) that I like to hang on my bags, so I added a D-ring to the center front to display my coordinating key fob. I like this and will do it on future bags!  (Got the idea from my zoo backpack - no idea what it was for, but it works for my purpose!)

The only thing I don't like is that I put the zipper the same direction as the pattern - pull from the bag's right side - and I would rather have it on the left, like the backpack I've been using for months.  Have to fix that on the next iteration....

Here you can see the D-ring more closely, as well as that lining peeking out.  This is official NHL fabric from JAF.  I've used it for hanging towels previously, and I think I'd bought this for a scrub shirt.  But it's not my favorite of the three I got for scrub shirts, so I sacrificed some for a bag lining.  (I think I also have boxers cut out for Thing 2, but I digress....)

You can also see the cording used for straps/closure.  I used a red cording that I found in the trim section at JAF.  It's a little thin for this, but it did work and was all I could find quickly.  I'd like thicker cords for the next ones, but this works.

And then the lining.  I added an inner pocket - I wanted a secure spot for whatever miscellaneous (keys, phone, cash, crochet hook, etc.).  I knew it would drive me nuts to try to line up that block print, and I wasn't sure I had enough left to match it.  Instead, I just put a solid black pocket inside.  It has the added benefit of being more obvious against the bright print.

 All in all, I like the end result!  It's a little smaller than my other backpack, which was of course the point.  I can easily carry two skeins of yarn inside, but any more would feel overstuffed.  It definitely worked well for my purposes, and I will continue to use it when I go to hockey games or am okay with a smaller bag.  I will say that between the smaller size and the zipper being the wrong direction for my reflexes, it probably won't be my favorite project bag.  But it works, and I will enjoy using it.  I will also take what I learned from this bag and make more!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Coworker gifts

So when you have a lot of coworkers, gift season can be difficult.  You want something that can be personalized, doesn't cost a lot, is quick/easy to finish, and I prefer that it be practical if possible.  Enter the plastic bag holder.  Since I'm in the veterinary profession, almost everyone I work with has animals, and plastic grocery bags are awesome for poop scooping, as well as trash can liners, etc.  So I made a whole bunch of plastic grocery bag holders to hand out.  Most of them are shown in this pic, but there's a few more that sadly didn't get photographed.  I tried to semi-customize the print to the person, but almost all were animal related.  Mine were based off of this pattern, though I didn't follow it exactly.  All my holders have loops made from self-fabric, for example.  I really like these - I actually have one in each of my bathrooms, plus in the closet (for the dog bags) and near the cat box.  Great assembly line gift if you need one.

A colleague had asked me about making scrub caps quite a few months ago, and I had said sure, but don't know when.  Good thing I said that, since it took months to get around to it!  She gave me the paw print fabric to use, plus another one that apparently never made it into the photo, and I found a free pattern online.  I made four out of the paw print fabric.  The monster print was leftover from my scrub shirt, and that will eventually be a gift for a colleague's birthday.

My original prototype was the bug print on the left - I had a bunch of that in stash.  Not sure why the monster one showed up in a second pic, but there it is.  And the Walking Dead cap on the right became a Christmas gift for another colleague who is hugely into that TV show.

Now that I have the pattern down, I figure caps may become popular gifts for coworker's birthdays....

Friday, January 29, 2016

And now for a little yarn fun....

I have a colleague at work who is obsessed with Bigfoot.  Seriously.  So when I saw this crocheted bigfoot/yeti pattern, I knew that I had to make it for her.  These little guys are pretty hilariously adorable, and I'm sure I'll be making more.  I did the yeti first and decided to go down a hook size on the next attempt, just to keep stuffing from showing through the stitching.  I like the bigfoot better, so I'll be sure to go with the smaller size in the future.

And my colleague who is expecting a baby fell in love with combat booties that she found on etsy.  Because I'm a kind soul, I offered to make them for her, if she bought the pattern and the yarn she wanted.  I think these newborn size are pretty stinking cute, and she loved them!  (They were also much too tiny, so more sizes will be coming her way in the future.)

Speaking of more sizes, my nephew's daddy is a soldier, so I thought he might need some for Christmas.  I made two sizes to send, just because I wasn't sure of sizing.  I think they turned out pretty nice!  Hopefully they get used.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New baby onesies - paw prints!

Somebody at work is having a baby, so I thought that baby onesies would be a great gift, of course.  So I did one with the baby's initial, but then I thought, we're a vet clinic.  Paw prints!  And my new obsession was born....

These are for baby Jay - each one is a different size.

And since it was a great idea, I made one for my nephew, too!  Along with his initial....

I'm thinking these would be great for a vet-related fundraiser item, too....Must ponder this....

Monday, January 25, 2016

Still in cross-stitch....

Might as well finish up all the cross-stitch posts at once, right?  So doing the Blackhawks logo and Blues logo made me decide that cross-stitch was a good project to take to work for lunchtime and down time, and I looked through my old stash to see what I might have on hand.  I found a barely started Thomas Kinkade kit - my mom's a huge fan, and I must have started this for her fifteen to twenty years ago.  I actually found two of them - this was the smaller one, and I hadn't started the other one yet.  So I decided to go ahead and finish this.  And then I realized why I'd put it away...

This is one of those cursed cross-stitch projects that has the background printed onto the cloth, and you're supposed to add stitching to embellish it.  Sounds great, until you realize that the background and what's printed on the chart don't quite match up.  And I have crafting OCD.  Oy!  This became a horror to work on, because I don't do well at winging my projects.  I was thrilled to finish, and I went ahead and paid JoAnn's to frame it so that I didn't have to spend another minute on the project.  I have to say that the final product does look really nice, and the framing employee made suggestions for framing that make it look amazing!  I'm really happy with how it turned out, and I'm pretty sure I'll never do another of those "printed background" projects.

And then awhile later, after completing the Cardinals logo, I decided that a small cross-stitch project would be a good palate cleanser.  This was a little kit I picked up on a whim at Hobby Lobby.  My aunt likes cows, and I haven't done anything cow-related for her in awhile, so I figured it'd be a good Christmas gift.  I found the frame and mat at JoAnn's, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

More cross-stitch!

So I got hooked on having a hand project to take to work for breaks, and I really liked how the Blackhawks and Blues logos went.  And the executive director for one of the non-profit organizations I work with saw both of them, and she suggested that something like that would make a great auction item for their big fundraising dinner, maybe paired with donated game tickets.  

Well, I had no interest in doing another Blues logo, and I wasn't sure how popular the Rams would be.  (Good thing, right, now that they're relocating to LA?  Sooo glad I didn't pick that one!)  I figured that the Cardinals would probably be the most popular choice, anyway, and I really like how this one turned out!  

The pattern was once again full stitches only, which is nice.  It stitched up really well, and I got a LOT of comments/compliments while I was working on it (including at one continuing education meeting - I promise I really was listening, too!).  I chose to do this one on a grey background, and I really like how the colors look against it.  Then I had it framed at my local JoAnn's store - wanted this to look as good as possible since it's a fundraising item.  Here's hoping they raise a lot of money with it!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Aaaaand....I'm back...

Well, it's been forever since I posted, and I really have no excuses.  I'm just going to start throwing things back out there, and I'll start with something I was starting at the time of my last posting.   Thing 1 had decided, rather last-minute, that he wanted to be a dragon for Halloween.  I putzed on it for a bit, trying to find an actual ready-made dragon costume to buy, but apparently once you're beyond little kid size, nobody wants to be a dragon?

Anyway, someone posted about making their child a dragon costume, and I absolutely loved the mask.  They had used the Dragon Mask pattern from oxeyedaisey.  Though I really am not fond of handsewing, I showed the pattern to my son, and he also loved it.  So after a trip to the fabric store, in which he chose his own colors and placement, I got started.

I have to say that the pattern is very easy and straightforward, though time-consuming.  The vast majority of it is handsewn, making it a very portable project.  I worked on this basically everywhere I went, until I finished the day before Halloween.  (Like any good costumer, right?)  And I love how it turned out.

As did my son, which is what matters.