Archive for February, 2008

Hot Socks!

February 7, 2008

I finally finished my latest socks…I had to re-knit one of them 2.5 times, but they’re done now!


Can you see the little spiral?

This pair is from Colinette Jitterbug, which has great colors, is nice and soft, knits very nicely…but has a really skimpy skein. Fortunately, the great folks at Twist warned me in advance, so I used a scale to make sure I didn’t use more than half the yarn on the first sock.

I used the spiraling Coriolis pattern from New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One by Cat Bordhi and I’m in love! Using her master numbers system really gets a pair of socks that fit (well, the second sock, at least). I found that, for my foot at least, that you should should round down rather than up if your foot length measurement falls between columns on her chart. I didn’t have lettered stitch markers, but didn’t find I needed them. I did find that it was MUCH easier to knit on two circs than on dpns — the dpns just couldn’t handle the arch expansion stitches.

Now I’m well on my way to my second pair from this book!


Fabric Christmas Bags

February 5, 2008

I’ve been meaning to write these up for a couple of months…but, you know. Anyway:

About 5 years I looked at the enormous trash bag of wrapping paper my family of four adults generated Christmas morning and was literally sick to my stomach. Plus, I hate wrapping packages. So, I decided to start using some of that cute Christmas fabric to make fabric gift bags. I’ve gotten so I can make a new bag, in the unlikely event that I need a new one, in about the same time it takes to wrap a package in paper and ribbon. My brother loves them, because he’s never been a big fan of wrapping either.

My standard bag is a simple drawstring bag. A fat quarter makes a good bag for books, DVDs or CDs. Half a yard makes a good generic bag. I’ve also made a few bags from 2 yards for bigger things (the chainsaw for my mother, for instance.) When I started, I carefully measured the item to be wrapped and tried to calculate the perfect bag size. I don’t any more, for a couple of reasons. First, I was always miscalculating — forgetting a seam allowance or to allow room for the depth of the item. Second, I want these to be reusable, so generic sizing is better.

First, I turn down a 3 inch header on one long edge of the fabric and sew a 1/2 inch casing for the drawstring. Then I sew the side seam, leaving a hole at the drawstring casing. Third, I fold the bag so the side seam is centered on one side and sew the bottom seam (I find that the bow looks better when the drawstring opening is centered rather than at the edge.)


Finally, I press everything, thread in a ribbon, and I’m good to go!


For one of my really big bags, I faced the top about 6 inches, skipped the drawstring, and just tie with a big ribbon:


I experimented with other styles, like this velcroed envelope, but they’re not as versatile and lots fussier to make:


The first couple of years were a lot of work.  The first year I sewed bags for all my gifts.   I was expecting the second year to be easier, but my brother snaffled all my bags so I had to make a second set. <grin>  I considered that to be a sign of success!  This last couple of years I’ve only needed to sew one or two bags.  And cleaning up on Christmas morning is a snap — as people unwrap their gifts, they toss the bags onto a pile on the coffee table, I scoop them up and put them in a plastic tub, and it’s time for breakfast!