If you knit or crochet you likely have a lot of yarn. I know I do! Skeins of yarn are pretty to look at but yarn cakes are great to knit with and easier to store. I use my Swift every time I buy new yarn. Swifts are great but they’re an odd shape. How to store them conveniently? Make a swift bag that will prevent it from accidentally folding open on its own. Here’s an even better idea-upcycle an old pair of pants to make the holder! This is a great project to upcycle old clothing that is too cute to throw away but no longer wearable.
Old pair of pants
Cut off one pant leg long enough for the swift to fit into.
Sew the bottom part of the leg closed.
Fold over the top part of the leg twice and sew down to make a hem.
Make a tie to close the top part of bag. The old yoga pants I used had a drawstring so I just used a portion of that. If you don’t have one cut a thin rectangle from the second leg of your pants. Fold in edges and sew together to make a tie.
Slide swift into bag and store away until your next yarn purchase.
I’ve been a fan of the artist Katwise for years. Her coats are works of art! She graciously sells pattern tutorials for both her upcycled coats and arm warmers.
Recently I made myself a pair out of old tshirts. They turned out so cute! I’ll definitely be making more. One of them had the phrase “Enlighten Up” which I positioned over my hand. A gentle reminder during this stressful year.
Recently I fixed my sewing machine with a clever hack. I inherited this machine and it’s pretty solid except that it was missing a small part. Usually there is a thin circle of felt that rests between the thread stopper and thread.
The missing felt meant that the thread moved around the thread holder rod and sometimes both it and the stopper slid off completely while I was sewing. With stores shut down because of Covid19 I couldn’t find a replacement locally. Ursula’s fur came to the rescue!
She’s a long haired girl and loves being brushed. Every time her hairbrush fills up I pull it off and store it in a zippie. I figured I’d experiment some while in quarantine! When I had a few hairbrush merkins I started needle felting.
Since the felt circle holds thread into place, I slid off a thread label and used that for my template.
Cat hair takes longer to felt since it’s not as long as sheep’s wool but otherwise it’s pretty similar. After needle felting for awhile I had a good thickness. I put the thread label on top and cut around the cat felt to match the shape.
I snipped a hole in the middle and needle felted more to round it out. It slid easily onto the thread holder rod.
To thank Ursula I took her on a walk. She loves sitting outside and eating grass.
Sewing needles are essential for crafters but they can easily get misplaced. Tired of pricking my finger when another needle fell out of the paper package, I came up with a yarn needle case to store my needles safely. Using yarn, plastic canvas and fabric this case will keep your needles in place in a fashionable way.
Cut out two pieces of plastic canvas measuring 5 in x 3 in.
Knot the yarn in one corner of the plastic canvas.
With the yarn needle sew the yarn in and out of the plastic squares, effectively wrapping the yarn around the plastic canvas. (Using a yarn needle will avoid painful pricks on the fingers!)
Continue using this sewing technique along the first row. Keep wrapping across the rows until you have covered the canvas.
I find having a super long piece of yarn is too cumbersome. Instead cut a length you find comfortable. When you come to the end of your yarn sew it down with thread. Knot on a new strand and continue wrapping the yarn. Sew all ends down on the same side of the canvas. Sewing them down flattens the yarn ends to prevent bubbling.
After you have covered the pieces of plastic canvas it is time to sew them together. Using thread sew the two long sides together going back and forth in a zig zag fashion. Make sure the sides with the tacked down yarn ends are both facing up.
Cut a piece of cotton fabric 6 in x 4 in. Alternatively, you could use felt.
With yarn end sides facing up pin down the cotton on top folding over the edges to line up with the outside of the plastic canvas. Sew down with thread.
Before completely sewing down the outside edges knot a 5 inch piece of yarn in the middle of each outside long edge of the plastic canvas. Sew small end under fabric. This will tie your needle holder closed.
As toilet paper became scarce, people started joking about making their own. I had thought about doing so back when I lived off grid in NM years ago but never did. When I saw other crafters posting their homemade TP, I couldn’t resist.
I guestimated a good size for a square and made a simple template. I had a unused linen kitchen towel that I cut up for the experiment.
First I made squares with a 1/4″ seam. The finished look was nice but seemed superfluous. All that pinning just for toilet paper? Meh.
My Serger gave a nice finished edge. No pinning required and a flatter finish.
But the most important point-Do they work? They’re…ok. Yes they work and the cloth is certainly softer on the tender bits. But they’re not as convenient as the flushable kind. I keep them in a tupperware container near the toilet and throw the used ones into a ziplock bag. Since I wash them with Dr. Bronner’s they’re not treated with chemicals like regular toilet paper. So that’s a plus. And I only use them for urine.
Will I keep using them? Maybe. Thankfully, there’s still toilet paper to be bought! However, I really like the reusable aspect of my homemade squares. If I’m in a hurry then flushable TP is the way to go. But why not use a trip to the bathroom as a moment of reflection? Time for breath work, reality testing, etc. That’s when I’ll use the cloth TP.
Josh and I are officially settling into our new place in Portland. It’s good to be back. My fiber studio is slowly taking shape. First up was a simple sewing project. Castor oil has a lot of uses. But I was tired of soaking an old washcloth in it to make an oil pack. So I made a cloth one out of stash fabric.
This was a simple and quick project. I made the outer rectangles 8.5″ x 5.5″ and lined it with batting. Then I added three inner seams to compress the fabric and give it more maneuverability.
My friend Evi gave me a large plastic bin full of stash fabric as a welcome home gift. What a fabulous present!
In other news I scored this gem from a Facebook group:
I’ve wanted a Serger for years! This one was super cheap from a local woman who never grooved with it. The dust pile on the left is from sweeping out the lower region. Now that it’s cleaned I need to learn how to thread it. The ones at school were always pre-threaded so off to YouTube I go!
Over winter break I got some much needed time with my sewing machine. Josh and I brought our game Splendor with us to Taiwan and it has been living in his razor bag. It was functional but decidedly not cute, so I decided to turn some fabric from my stash into a cute game bag.
Since all the Splendor pieces fit so well in the razor bag I modeled the new bag off its dimensions.
The game has a theme of trade and travel so I chose this leftover wave fabric to represent traveling across the ocean.
My friend Colleen is awesome and sent me a care package when I was feeling particularly homesick! It was an incredible gift which included a fancy seam ripper and Chickapig, a board game popularized by my beloved Dave Matthews.
The box design is cute but not great for travel so I decided to make more game bags. Once the board folds up it’s pretty compact. There are a lot of small pieces though so I made a couple of smaller bags and put in velcro closures to ensure nothing fell out.
There’s enough room in the largest bag to hold the smaller two, making a great traveling case.
The game has daisy cards which are beneficial so I chose this leftover fabric from my sewing machine cover to reflect them.