Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mum’s the word

I mentioned last time that I was relieved to finish S1’s sweater in November, as a couple of other December projects popped up. Both of them have to do with my mother.

IMG_5113The first is this set of felted pumpkins. Earlier this year my mom mailed me a hard copy of the pattern. She saw some pumpkins made up in a shop somewhere and I guess they sold the pattern, too. The She added a note that essentially said “I really like these!” I eked a couple of pumpkins out of bits of orange yarn in my worsted feltable stash. I downsized them a little, as I only had 30 grams of one orange and 20 grams of another… but they came out fine. The leaf was supposed to be worked from sportweight yarn, and I had a single ball of Wool of the Andes Sport in color “Pampas Heather” (Steven, this is totally your color, btw). IMG_5112I’m glad I downsized them, because I was able to use my largest tapestry needle to make the “ribs” with yarn at the end. The pattern says to use a 6-8” upholstery needle to do these, and I own no such needle.

Okay, the pumpkins are cute, but the next mom project is going to knock your socks off. My older son is learning to sew in school – he has a class this semester called “Get the FaCS” which is Family and Consumer Science (which is Home Ec to us oldsters). He only has this class every 4 days and was getting frustrated at the slow pace. I offered to show him how to sew, and he really enjoys it. His first project was a drawstring bag, his second project was a simple lined tote bag (this tutorial), and his third project is a Christmas present for his grandmother (this tutorial).bagThis is actually a joint gift from the boys to their Gran. Boy 2 designed the fabric – he drew the little owls and S1 helped him upload everything to Spoonflower. The color choices are entirely his. Perhaps a little garish… but Gran’s favorite color is green so we hope she likes this. Here is a closeup of the owls:fabric closeup We made a couple of changes to the pattern. First, we fused a midweight interfacing to the outer layer and handles in order to make the bag sturdier (the fabric is just regular quilting weight). Also, Boy 1 wanted to add a pocket to the inside. After much consideration, he decided that 7x4” was the right size. (I would have made more pockets, and bigger ones, but this was HIS project.) Want to peek inside?pocket I actually found the Spoonflower fabric pretty challenging to work with. We washed and dried it before cutting, and it did not shrink evenly. I measured everything very carefully so that the chevron fabric would be straight, and we sort of had trapezoidal pieces. We squared them up later and the result looks good, but that was unexpected. Boy 1 even said “we are just buying regular fabric next time.”

I’m 99.9% sure my mom doesn’t read this blog. But if you know my mom, mum’s the word! These are secrets until 12/25. One last look at the bag:



  1. That bag absolutely knocked my socks off! The owls are adorable and the finished bag is really wonderful. Their grandmother is going to love this, and I love that Boy 1 is talking about "next time"!

  2. I just love everything about this! Gran is going to flip. I'd never heard of Spoonflower - it's like those challenges on Project Runway where the contestants get to design their own fabric. The owls are perfect, B2! And I'm very impressed with B1's sewing skills. Next time we're together I need to schedule a lesson with him.

    Oh, and nice pumpkins! I agree. That is my color -- we're talking the stems instead of the leaves?

  3. An incredibly talented family. You must be so proud. All my kids know how to knit - even Topher - although no one does.

    It's important to make sure the next generation is self sufficient - and yours certainly is well on their way.

    If you can knit or sew, you'll never be cold.