Draft Blocker

A version of this pattern was previously published on Think Crafts!

We’re deep into winter and the air is chilly. If you live in an older house you may have doors that let in the cold. Make this easy draft blocker to keep your home cozy warm.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL
Beginner

MATERIALS
Fabric
Stuffing
Ribbon

DIRECTIONS
Measure the width of your door and add seven inches. This will be the measurement for your length of fabric. For the width I find nine inches makes a thick enough blocker. If you have an especially wide gap at the bottom of your door you may wish to increase the width.

Cut out your fabric. Sew a hem on both ends. I went with a 1/4” hem.

Sew fabric lengthwise using a 1/4” seam allowance.

Turn right side out. Tie ribbon 3” from the edge to close off one end.

Stuff the tube with stuffing.

Tie the other end 3” down from edge with ribbon.

Put in front of your door and kiss those cold drafts goodbye.

Craft on!

Knit Gift Purse

A version of this pattern was previously published on Think Crafts!

The holidays are here. Need a quick handmade gift? I had a last minute gift to make and managed to crank this purse out over a weekend. If you need a gift and have little time make this purse. I wrote this pattern as simply as possible to help save you time. Plus it’s completely adjustable. Want a bigger or smaller purse? Just adjust the square and strap to your desired size.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL
Beginner knitter

Intermediate sewer (optional)

MATERIALS
Yarn -fiber and color of your choice
Knitting needles
Fabric for liner (optional)
Zipper
Thread
Buttons (optional)
Yarn needle

PATTERN
Decide how big you’d like your purse to be. Want a 12” rectangular purse? Cast on until you have 12” of stitches. Want a small square purse? Cast on until you have 6” of stitches. Then knit stockinette until you have a square or rectangle that suits your tastes. Bind off.

Knit a second square or rectangle to match the first. Decide how wide you’d like the shoulder strap to be. I went with two inches. Cast on and knit stockinette until it’s the length you want. The shoulder strap, like the purse, is completely adjustable to your tastes.

Keep knitting stockinette so the shoulder strap wraps around the sides and bottom of the purse squares. This will create space inside your bag.

Block the pieces. If you’re pressed for time can skip this step.

Seam the squares to the strap. Seam the strap ends together.

Don’t know how to sew on a machine? No problem. Just weave in your yarn ends and call this purse done!

If you can sew, then grab some fabric. Again this is a quick project so I didn’t do any measuring. I just cut a length of fabric and pinned it to the strap.

For the liner you can make it as simple or as complex as you like. Cut two rectangles of fabric and a thin strip. Sew together and call your liner done. Or you can add pockets:

I got fancy with this one and added small pockets and a thin pocket for a pen. However, this was a last minute gift for Thanksgiving so I didn’t have much time. I measured nothing! I just cut out squares for pockets, pinned them down and sewed them into place.

Sew the strap lining to the knit strap. You can do this on the machine or by hand.

Put the liner into the purse and pin the zipper into place.

Sew the zipper into place. But oh no what’s this? My zipper wasn’t long enough!

There’s nothing like a deadline to spark creativity. I just knit two small squares and sewed them in and it looked intentional!

If you’re pressed for time you can call this purse done at this point.

A handknit purse that’s lined with pockets makes a great gift.

But if you have a bit more time you can make some I-cord flowers to give it that extra flair. I made mine out of scrap yarn and buttons from my button jar. Here’s a handy I-cord tutorial:

Knit I-cord to your desired length. Then curl it around and sew down onto the purse. Sew a button in the middle. I made three flowers in different colors.

FINISHING
If making, sew flowers onto purse. Weave in ends.

Now your last minute gift is done. Wrap it up and pat yourself on the back. Craft on!

Renovare Monstrum

I’ve created a new monster pattern! This time it’s a sewing pattern kit that comes with instructions and all the materials you need to make your own monster. The precut fabric is made from upcycled sweaters. The felt, yarn, ribbon and buttons are all upcycled as well. I’ve chosen the name of this kit to reflect these materials being reused for a new purpose: Renovare Monstrum (Latin for Renew Monster).

A limited supply is now available at Salty Teacup in Portland. Future kits will be available for sale online. Stay tuned!

As always, my faithful sewing assitant supervised the design process.

Swift Bag Holder

This post was previously published on Think Crafts!

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.

Craft
Sewing

Difficulty
Beginner

Materials
Old pair of pants
Sewing Thread
Cat (optional)

Directions
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.

Craft on!

Upcycled Arm Warmers

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.

Ursula loves soaking in the sunshine.

Cat Fur Hack

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.

Yarn Needle Case

This post was previously published on Think Crafts!

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.

Craft
Sewing, Misc. Crafts

Difficulty
Beginner

Materials
Plastic Canvas< Yarn Needle Yarn Cotton fabric or felt Thread

Pattern

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.

Fill up with needles.

Craft on!

Reusable Toilet Paper

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.

Face Masks

Strange times indeed! On the upside, I finally have time to develop my long held dream of being a seamstress. Face masks are in demand now and I’ve been making plenty.

My masks are based on the Olson Mask pattern. This design has a built in pocket to allow for an extra filter (like a N95 filter) to be slid inside for extra protection.

This design also allows the wearer to replace the elastic should it wear out.

Thank goodness for my fabric stash! I’ve been using up all of my cotton fabric.

Even though these masks are for practical purposes, I still have to make them fashionable.

I’m selling masks for $10 each. If you would like to purchase some please leave a comment and I will email you.

For every ten masks sold I’m making one to donate to either health workers or those currently income deprived. The above two were given away.

Time to #stayhomeandsew!

Castor Oil Pack

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!