Tag Archives: crafti-mess

A Little More Better


I keep ending up with unfinished stacks.

Stacks of laundry, unread books, unfinished work, and the mental press of things I (should already have done) need to do.

There’s also a pile of fabric scraps and a cutting board that’s taken up semi-permanent residence on my living room floor. Did I mention I’ve taken up another crafting hobby?

This actually breaks a self-made rule I made about a year ago in an attempt to stay focused on the ones I’ve already got. I’m a dabbler, and my joy comes from the doing. But it would be nice to have something completely finished for once! From today’s count I have:

  • 3 spindles half full of different yarns
  • 1 draped, pinned, basted but not sewn nightgown
  • A stack of mending
  • 1 crocheted scrubby half finished
  • Half a dozen cloth yo-yo’s to make into a necklace
  • A drawer that I (attempted) to paint that needs to be re-done so it can be used in a display

On the the one hand it’s reassuring to have lots of projects going. If my wrist acts up from crocheting, I can switch to sewing, or take a break from cutting dozens of tiny squares out for English paper piecing. On the other, I feel almost…guilty? I don’t have expertise in any of the crafts I’ve taken up. I’ve got a beginner to intermediate skill level in each, with a broad knowledge of how they interconnect.  Is it more rewarding to do a deep dive into one craft to get a feel for it? I’m debating taking a couple classes in garment construction so I can draft my own patterns, and I’m always on the hunt for folks who know how to use their antique Singer sewing machines and want to share.

The last thing I want to do is make it into work though, and start warbling about ‘subject matter expert’ this and ‘synergies’ that. Nah, I just…want to do a little more, better. And if making a quilt top out of 1.5 inch diameter hexagons doesn’t mean having a little more patience for the better part of a year I don’t know what does!



Bullion stitch for the win

I’m beasting the crochet hook. Maybe besting is the better word? Whatever, the point is that I can now crochet a bullion stitch. BOOM. In a circle yo.

photo 1

Up close and personal:


That is all.

Singer: Leather machine belt

Leather machine belt

Leather machine belt

Kind of looks like a goat chewed on it, right?

After a bit of google-fu, I have determined that the belt on my Singer would be fairly easy to replace. Essentially, it’s a four sided cord that can be purchased in lengths of 25 feet and cut down to size. The finicky bits would involve punching a hole in either end and clamping with what looks like an industrial strength staple into it so that a continuous loop is threaded through the wheels.

Today was not the day I replaced the leather belt.

photo 1 (15)

Oh yeah. I went there.

photo 2 (13)

Worked like a charm. But then I noticed the leather was pretty dry and flaking little pieces of leather/dust onto my work space 😦

photo 2 (14)

So I broke out some elbow grease and saddle soap and went to town. Bonus: had a little extra time and now my shoes look great too.

If feels a bit sacrilegious to be honest, like taping up an antique book cover instead of getting  a plastic protector (BTW NEVER GONNA DO THAT). But I’m satisfied that the materials to update it correctly are easily accessible, and that can be a project for a future to-do list.

When dish washing makes you crotchety…crotchet some dishcloths!

My home decorating aesthetic could be described  a lot of different ways…eclectic, vintage, second-hand, and floral just about cover the main themes though. 

I like to add strategic pops of color around the house–making my own curtains, or painting an old coffee table and shelves to refresh their look is the easy route to giving a dull room some pizzazz. But right now I’m really into updating my kitchen linens. Cottons? Cloths?

The point is, there’s this super awesome rad nonprofit creative reuse center where I live called The Scrap Exchange where I bought half a dozen bunches of cotton yarn for oh, six bucks. I don’t know how to read a crochet pattern to save my life, but when I was about seven my grandma showed me how to do chain, single- and double-crochet stitches. She did granny squares, and I ended up making excessively ruffled capes for my dolls.

Now, I make dishcloths! They don’t lay flat, and they’re not shaped perfectly, but it’s awfully nice to have a project that only takes a couple of hours and doesn’t require fussy material or counting stitches. It’s relaxing, makes washing dishes slightly more palatable, and I’m using reclaimed materials. Triple win!

Behold, scrubbies*:

Floral and striped and ruffled oh my!

Floral and striped and ruffled oh my!

*In the interest of full disclosure, two of these were actually knitted. #stillcounts

Whorld domination

I'm obsessed.9_2014

I’m obsessed.

It’s a lot like pizza in a way–even badly made yarn is knit-able, which means it’s good yarn. Instant gratification.

This is a good thing because I’m definitely a novice at using a drop spindle. Earlier this week I finished spinning a bunch of blended silk and merino wool roving that I got at Yarns, etc.  I could barely wait for it to dry after the final rinse to help the fibers bind together, so I literally brought the skein to work with me and sat it on my lap so it would dry faster!

Then I wound it all up and it became my stress ball for the day.

Yarn ball

Yarn, beautiful yaaaaaaaaaaaaaarn

Now I’m knitting it all up into a pair of finger-less gloves in preparation for the coming winter. Which thankfully isn’t here yet, so I started working on the gloves while sitting in the middle of a rose garden, lucky me!

Chapel Hill Community park rose garden_9.26.14

Beautiful surroundings while I continued crafting.

While the gloves are being completed I still want to practice spinning…so I went to the store and came back with a MASSIVE bag of wool. So, to fund my growing hobby, I’m selling what I make!

Next on my to-do list: whorld domination, otherwise known as plying.


The purse is cursed

Before it all went wrong...

Before it all went wrong…

I measured everything in triplicate, created an actual pattern piece instead of free-handing the design and the damn thing still turned out cattywampus.

I measured everything in triplicate, created an actual pattern piece instead of free-handing the design and the damn thing still turned out cattywampus.

Completed :)

Completed 🙂

To summarize: one side is longer than the other, the inner lining is noticeably smaller than the outside, and stitching can be seen where it oughtn’t on the inside clasp attachment. All we need is an outraged gentleman with a cracked monocle and a terrible first date type situation to round things out…

On the bright side, it does actually fit a credit card and/or ID, keys, and (barely) a tube of chap-stick.  Since it’s adorable, and can in fact serve its stated purpose, I’m gifting it to my awesome older sister.

I think the main culprit for any sizing issues can be linked to the material used for the outside of the purse–it’s surprisingly heavy duty and thick, and I neglected to iron down the seams after turning it right side out.

In general, I am opposed to ironing. And dry cleaning. Well, and most household chores, but it is in fact possible to have an entire wardrobe full of items that don’t require the aforementioned hated activities. (I regularly do laundry, if inquiring minds were wondering).

Aside from any lingering frustration over its imperfections, this was a fun piece to work on, and it was inexpensive too.  I bought the metal clasp at Jo-Ann’s Fabric store for two bucks and change, and the outer fabric was a gift. I’ve got about two yards of the gorgeous red and blue patterned cloth left so I’ll either be making a skirt, or practicing my purse making skills some more. Or making a fifties styled apron. Oh, the possibilities!