Saturday, May 23, 2015

New Marker Pouches In Shop!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Three quick announcements today:

1 The marker pouches are in the shop now. Get them while you can! Update: Er, it seems they've all been bought up already. Sorry there weren't more to go around, guys. If you still want these pouches, I'll try to make more throughout the year, like when it isn't crazy end-of-school season. Let me know in the comments if you'd like them, to give me an idea of how many we're looking at. 



2 Quite a few of you have tried to make these marker pouches using my tutorial here, and have left comments or written to either ask for dimensions or to lament that the dimensions you chose didn't work out as well as you'd hoped. I'm sorry I didn't provide the templates earlier - I honestly wasn't being selfish or anything; I was just too lazy to trace and annotate and scan them, and I thought the tutorial photos would be enough for you guys to run with. Anyway, in response to all those requests, I will be uploading all my templates soon, so that you can use them along with the tutorial. No, it will not be a pattern - it will just be that free tutorial plus my templates and you can go and make as many as you like for personal, non-commercial use. Look for the templates in the upcoming zippered bag tutorial series - the marker pouch (and this very fun variation of it, below) will be one of the receptacles under deconstruction.

(Argh! Let me confess that keeping that tutorial series under wraps is making me slightly ill. I'm so impatient to share it! If you think that marker pouch is cool, wait till you see the other things we'll be making with zippers!)


3 There will be Lunch Buckets in the shop soon!
I cut them out today instead of procrastinating and reading books or something. As soon as I procure some buttons, I will start sewing. Excited!!! Check back here for an announcement when they're ready to buy!

Have a wonderful, restful Memorial Day weekend, US friends!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

New Marker Pouches, etc.


Erm. I see from the date stamp that it has been more than two weeks since I last posted.

How on earth....?!

Never mind. Let's just call it life and move on, shall we?

So, end-of-the-school-year looms ahead. Once again, the girls will be saying goodbye to their teachers. And, once again, we will be coloring bookmarks and baking cookies (one hopes) and making receptacles. Problem is, some of those teachers, having taught my older girls in previous years, already own the lunch buckets that are our traditional teacher gifts. So, for those teachers, I made marker pouches.

And then Emily put in a personal order for an extra pouch for her own markers. And since I was cutting out a few, I thought I might as well cut out a few more.

These are the ones not going to teachers.

I plan to put them in the shop for you guys to buy for your teachers, or yourselves or whomever you like, in response to the various emails I've gotten from folks asking if I'd custom-make them (answer: not really, but I'm happy to mass-produce a few extras when I'm making a teacher batch).

I'll try to get my act together and list these ASAP,

and get them in the mail in time for the end of the school year (ours is the first week of June, but I know many of your kids get out a week earlier).

Here are some quick shots so you know what they look like, and how many of what kind of writing implement they can hold - we counted about 14-15 of the fat Mr Sketch markers, 22 or so of the regular Crayola markers, and at least an entire box of the 48?50? Prismacolor pencils. I'll let you know here on the blog when they're in the shop - hopefully by the weekend. 

I need to get started on the lunch buckets next. I don't know if I'll be making extras for the shop or not - it's been quite a crazy May and I'll be lucky if I can even get the teachers' buckets done on time. But I'll try! 

Another quick update on Menagerie: it's in the testing lab now, and we're waiting on feedback. Be patient with us, guys - the thing is mammoth - but we're working to get it to you as soon as humanly possible.

Meanwhile, enjoy these beautiful spring days! It's hard not to be distracted by the bright green all around us (or the cursed pollen). Talk again soon!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Press: Cat and Kittens in Homespun


It feels like this is my season of softies. 

I mean, if you were a new reader (welcome!) you might, based on the more recent posts, be led to believe that this is a softie blog. Because it's all I seem to have been producing since the start of the year! And veteran readers who're following ikatbag for the drafting, cardboard or science stuff are probably in despair because those have all but vanished completely since whenever. 

Not intentional! 

Now, it's true that sometimes, I get into specific project moods. Like I might be insane in the wintertime and feel like drafting coats and wool skirts. Or in the summer I might be obsessed with kid crafts. And I do have a year-round bag fetish. But more often than not, the flavor of any particular crafting season is heavily influenced by working opportunities, both commissioned and self-initiated. Given the choice, I'd sit around at home and bake and swim and run and write and read with my kids as creative outlets. But a person has to work sometime, right?

And so it was with deep amusement that I looked back over the past couple of months of archives and realized that everything was coming up softies (and there are more in the works, believe it or not- stay tuned!) My kids love this, of course - they much prefer me making toys to boring Mom-skirts. Because every single toy on this blog - softie and otherwise - was inspired by my kids and made for them. Except one. 

Which brings me to this post. 

Some months ago, the good folks at Homespun, the gorgeous Australia-based sewing magazine, commissioned this work. They put forth their idea for a mother cat with kittens, much like my old Big Pig, and let me run with it.

And what fun I had!

I am so thrilled to be able to share this project with you! You can find it in the May 2015 issue of Homespun. It has color photos and detailed sewing instructions, along with full-size templates:

US friends - can you suggest where we can buy Homespun here? Barnes & Noble, maybe? I'll head out sometime this week to peruse their magazine racks and if I find it, I'll let you know. 

Collaborations and commissioned projects like this are part of what I do as a blogging/etsy/pdf pattern designer sewing person and I love that I get to co-create with people in faraway countries whom I've never met in person and probably never will. This is my second feature in Homespun (the first was here) and the team are among some of the most delightful and gracious people I've ever worked with.

And the magazine itself! Absolutely beautiful, down to the matte-finish paper on which the pages are printed.

Then there are the projects and features - and I'm just going to share my favorite:

I will never be able to look at a granny square the same way. 

Back to the kittens now:

Whenever I make softies, I usually aim to have them pass my kids' Awww Test.

They did.

Kate was somewhat distraught to discover that the final versions would be sent to Australia for their photoshoot. She did get to keep the earlier samples but she would've preferred to have had them all. Along with her 1 million bunnies. 

This is a pattern in fleece (mother cat) and fleece or microfleece (kittens),

and the mother has a zipper in her belly to store her babies.

Although, for thoroughness, I did another sample in fur, with safety eyes.

I like the sleepy fleece version more, though.

I love that the pattern is ready for you in time for the Mother's Day weekend,

so you can squeeze in some sewing time while the meals and chores are being done by other people! 


Happy Mother's Day, friends! 



Friday, May 1, 2015

Birthday Conversations


'Tis birthday party season again.
Unbelievable.

This year, one of the kids picked this theme:

I know it's the hottest thing online now, but everything in it is square and I'm on Team Round (see my sidebar profile) so we're having geometrical megaconflict here. My kids, though, don't seem to think this is a problem.

Someday I will share the inane conversations I've had with them just to understand this gaming phenomenon and which aspects of it might work for a backyard birthday party. Here's just one for today.

Me: So let me get this right ... the nether is like this world you can portal to?

Kid: Yeah. It's really great and useful and everyone wants to get there.

Me: So it's like heaven.

Kid: What? No! It's gross!

Me: But you said...

Kid: You have to go there because there are things there that you need. 

Other kid: Potions! You need the nether to brew potions!

Me: You can only brew potions in the nether? (Application: therefore we cannot brew potions at an IKEA table in our backyard.)

Kid: No! You brew potions at a brewing stand. Look! Here's a chart! There are . . . (lists the one million and thirty seven thousand kinds of potions).

Me (5 minutes later): Stop. Those are details. I don't care what kinds of potions there are, because we're going to use Kool Aid crystals in whatever colors we can buy at the supermarket.

Kid: But you have to start with the base potion! It's an awkward potion.

Me (bitterly): I'll bet it is.  

Kid: No! That's what it's called! It's an awkward potion! And you need nether wart to brew it.

Other kid: And you can only get that in the nether!

Other-other-kid: So you have to make a portal to go to the nether otherwise nobody will get drinks at the party!

Me: They can jolly well drink plain water.

Kid: But will it be in a cauldron?

Grrr.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Even Randomer Than Usual

Looky! The second draft!

94 pages. 
Ninety. Four.
And hundreds of photos and diagrams.

It really should be a book. But it isn't the kind of book I'd like to write someday. Therefore I'm still calling it a pattern. I finished it last night and, as a reward, I let myself go to school to help out a fellow mom with some volunteer thing. And I sat with Kate in the cafeteria at lunchtime and listened to her exciting day, and snuck over to Jenna's table to say hello.

So we're in the homestretch now, friends. After I proofread this second draft, it goes to the testing lab, after which I do a final round of editing and formatting, and then you guys can finally have it. I am excited for that day! Thank you for being so patient! The process of pattern-writing is long and arduous - you can read about it here - and it's why I don't write more patterns than I have. It's part laziness and part wisdom.  

Speaking of things I am excited about, here are the next three bags in the tutorial series!

Well . . .  they're not technically bags yet.

I let myself cut them out as I checked off each task in the Menagerie to-do list. Incentives, I call them - you know, like, "If you write Section XXX of Menagerie by midnight, you get dark chocolate AND to cut out one bag. But if you don't, you cannot go swimming tomorrow and have to stay home in shame and misery."

Enough talk of pattern-writing!

Let's behold some bags-in-progress instead - I thought you might enjoy seeing the Before photos, in which the bags are still disparate fabric-and-stabilizer-and-hardware. And what fabric it is! Here's #1:

#2:

#3 (which I get to cut out TONIGHT! Yessssss.)

And since we're premortem-ing, here are some of the stabilizers that go into my bags. I use different things for different bags, depending on how I want those bags to feel like or behave. The brown-themed bag above, for instance, has (from top to bottom) canvas/duckcloth with fusible interfacing, headliner (which is the spongy felty material with which the ceilings of vehicles are lined, and stiff outdoor canvas.

And because I feel kinda bad that all I've been sharing are fabric bits and spectral promises of bags, here is a receptacle that I actually finished:


It's a running belt. Not especially designer-fabric-pretty, but very useful. Not an original design, by the way - I saw something like it in an advert and decided I needed one, so I made it. It's just a skinny tube of stretch mesh that you can shove huge things into through the zipper opening. See - here it is with just my iPod in it but last weekend I filled it with car keys, Kleenex, eyedrops, phone, MP3 player etc. until it bulged like a snake that'd swallowed a buffalo, and the mesh kept it all snug while I ran a 5K. I'm showing you because the zippered welt is slightly exciting in its construction and therefore related to our upcoming tutorial series.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Armed With Good Stuff

Vinyl:

Lining:

Zippers (of course):

I am ready to make bags.

(while also working on Menagerie, don't worry. 
I just finished annotating 166 photos.
That, my friends, is astounding unprocrastination.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Succumbed



I made a zippered bag after all.

Which can be worn three ways - 
over one shoulder, as in the first photo.

Or cross-body,

or split-strap backpack style.

It unzips

to a splash of lemon.

It was my reward for finishing two somewhat large other-sewing tasks, and making headway in annotating the 150++ photos for Menagerie. Sometimes a person chooses nutella, and sometimes a person chooses sewing a bag, is all I'm saying.

Anyway, are you getting excited about how much fun it is to sew zippered bags?

Especially zippered bags in Jessica Jones' new Time Warp barkcloth fabric?

You'll see a lot more bags in her glorious prints when we finally start this tutorial series. I can't wait!

And now, back to editing photos. Gnnhrnrrrnrnrrrrrr...