Sunday, February 24, 2013

Leather tote bag

The daughter of a good friend of mine had this absolutely lovely hide that she wanted made into a basic leather tote. Using the information she gave me and referencing an inspiration photo that she had, I put together this tote:

The size of the hide was approx. 44" X 33", and had the usual holes to work around. 
The finished bag size is 14" wide at the opening, 17" wide at the bottom, 
15" tall, with 25" handles.

The photo below shows just how supple and beautiful this piece of leather is.
Due to the lovely suede finish, I elected not to sew in a lining.

At the American Stitches Sewing Expo in Novi, MI in 2010, I took a class with Kenneth King about sewing with leather. It was fun to revisit that information, and use it to make this tote.
Although I don't (yet!) have a Teflon foot, my sewing machine was able to sew the leather without any problems. I did use a longer stitch length (set at 4 on my Bernina), and a size 80 needle with polyester thread.
The 4 thicknesses of the handles didn't want to sew too easily tho, until I remembered to place them on tissue paper first and then the lower feed dogs handled them well.

Note the overlapped side seams below:

I had a just enough of the leather left to make a small coin purse/cosmetic case, which has a finished size of 6" wide X 5" tall.

As you can see, I used just about every possible inch!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Slouch hat

My daughter saw just the hat she wanted when watching the X-games a few weeks ago, and asked if I could make one similar for her.
The Dee Slouch Hat by Lara Neel was just what I needed to honor Kristen's request! 

I found some great yarn while browsing the vendors at Knit Michigan:
Cascade Yarns "Venezia", 70% Merino Wool, 30% Silk

It's always a treat for me to see those pretty:

Best of all.....she loves it!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Alpaca sweater to felted bag

My sister-in-law Stacy had this lovely alpaca sweater from her college days that she no longer wore, and asked if I "could do something with it?" Sorry to say I didn't take any pics of the original sweater, but it was a natural cream-colored 100% alpaca, and after a few hot water washes and drying, it felted up nicely. The stitches were still visible, which gave the fabric some texture. Below are the felted pieces, as I pondered what to do next. Stacy had mentioned the sweater might make a  great felted bag, so that was my goal.

As she is the mother of two boys, who herself has many interested outside of her engineering work, I thought a cross-body flap bag would do the trick, utilitarian yet stylish. I used almost every bit of that felted fabric.

The body of the bag was made with one front, with the sleeves seamed together forming the back. 
I was able to squeeze out the handles from the one narrow front which had the buttonholes.

This outside pocket was actually one of the patch pockets from the sweater front, which I removed and then sewed back onto the bag. One of the sweater's leather buttons, with some pony-tail elastic, served as the bag's closure.

Lining was used to give the bag some structure, but I did not use any stabilizer as I wanted the bag to be somewhat soft. The felted fabric was pretty dense as it was. 
I added lining fabric to the handles also for stability to avoid stretch.  
The handles were left fairly long to allow for cross-body wear, but a strap slide was added to allow the wearer to carry this bag over her shoulder if desired.
As you can see, one interior zippered pocket was added with a ring pull. The ring pull could be used to clip a set of keys to.

I had just enough felted fabric left to make a small zippered change/cosmetic purse.

The finished set:

Bag measurements:15" length X 16" width
Handle measurements: 1.5" X 45"
Small purse measurements: 7" X 7"

Stay tuned for more bags......I've been sewing with LEATHER!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Silk Diamond Scarf

I met my self-imposed deadline of Feb 1 and finished knitting a shop sample for my LYS (local yarn shop), the Silk Diamond Scarf by designer Zara Murken. This project can be found in the book Simply Shetland 4 at Tomales Bay:

This was knit in Silk & Lambswool Shetland yarn on size 5 needles, with a finished size of 16" X 68".
 I have to say that knitting mitered squares is fun! and now I can do them in my sleep :-) 
The picture below shows the scarf in progress. Washing this project in Eucalan (the grapefruit scent is my favorite!) and then wet-blocking made this scarf so soft and drapey. I liked the fact that the garter ridges became less prominent after blocking, making the color changes stand out. Yes, all those color changes resulted in MANY yarn ends to weave in....but I found that job to be rather meditative in a way.

The color is off in this picture, but I love to look at my knitting being blocked.

Natural daylight shows the more true colors of this lovely yarn, which was a pleasure to work with.

I think it looks great styled over one shoulder, but could be worn scarf/vest-like just draped over both shoulders. It is light as a feather, but warm too due to the silk/wool blend.


Happy Knitting!