Monday, February 7, 2011

Granny Square tote bag is done!

Omigoodness!  How cute is this!  And, how glad am I that I had enough for TWO totebags.  One for me (natch!) and one for my lovely customer in Australia.  I even have enough blanket leftover to make some messenger bags.

Here's the process.  The first step is cutting the afghan up into totebag sizes.  Here's a picture of the pieces as I cut them.  I had enough for two of these cross-shaped pieces.  The narrow strips going out each side become the sides of the bag. 

The most boring part was to very carefully, in excellent light, snip the yarn connecting the different sections together.  I wanted my edge to be just the squares themselves.  No scalloped edge or other connecting threads.  Doing this for both bag pieces plus the leftover squares I'm going to use for messenger bags took FOREVER.

Once I had the threads snipped, I laced up the sides of the bag.  I've done this on my machine before, but the wear and tear sewing on such thick fabric is not worth it.  I couldn't get a good picture of the lacing, but it came out nice enough that I kept it on the outside, finished side of the bag!

So, now I have my bag form.  I then made my lining pieces including one pocket inside.  I also sewed the straps on by hand.  Now to the machine.  I did break two sewing needles between the two bags, but I was able to sew in the lining on the machine.  I sew right sides together and then flip the lining inside the bag and top stitch the fold.  Then I sew the bottom of the lining last from the right side.  This makes for a beautiful finished edge, but is rough on such thick fabric.  I think for the messenger bag I will make a finished lining with a pressed top edge and just sew the finished lining into the bag.  Easier on my machine.

Here's a shot of the lining.  Valori Wells "Hoot."  Very colorful with fanciful trees and flowers plus a couple of birds thrown in.  The pocket is just plain brown.  I didn't want any pattern to compete with the print.

All in all, a great project.  I'm only sorry I had the afghan for 6 months before actually doing it!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Rumplestiltskin Challenge -- The Fraktur wall hanging

I am completely fascinated by Frakturs.  They normally take the form of wedding announcements or commemoration of other important events.  And, they are normally done on paper.  I have a great book, Fraktur, by Ruthanne Hartung, and the motifs in this wall hanging were modified from ones in the book. I have plans to do a hooked rug in the same genre.

I began work on this during the Christmas holiday.  If you know me, you know I am completely unable to just sit and watch TV.  I have to have something to do with my hands.  If I'm between projects, I get this glassy look in my eyes and I start to twitch and sweat until I have some wool in my hands and am ready for the evening's work.  My husband thinks I'm nuts.

Even though I started this before I even knew about the Rumplestiltskin Challenge, it certainly qualifies.  I didn't buy a thing.  I even had the dowel for the back to make sure it was hanging straight!

The background red wool is one of my favorite colors.  It looks very much like the wool I used for my poinsettias this year.  I always include blue and mustard in things I make for my house because much of my trim (and all the wallpaper in this foyer) is mustard.  Blue complements mustard.  Funny how that color wheel comes in handy from time to time!  The rest of the colors were just bits and pieces from my bins of wool.  I love plaid so there's a lot of plaid in every motif.  I was so happy to use up some very small bits of favorite plaids like in the smallest heart and the central star in the star circle motif.  It's like having old friends around.

I should mention the eggs in the wooden bowl.  They are hardshell gourds (appropriately called Easter Egg gourds) that I grew myself many years ago.  A fabulous local artist named Rebekah Smith painted them for me.  She also did the Early American stenciling in my living room.  A true American folk artist.  The bird nests in the bowl are all gathered from my yard after the babies have flown the nest.  One year a robin built a nest in the hanging bird feeder we have right outside our tv room window.  It was fabulous having a nest only a foot outside the window.  When all the babies had flown away, I got out a ladder and salvaged the nest.

Remember the Granny Square afghan?  I'm finishing up 2 tote bags from that this week.  Watch for a post later in the week with finished product pictures.