Monday, April 25, 2022

Projects in Teeny Florals

Finished a couple of things for Mum a couple of weeks ago. Her old leather key pouch has been falling apart so I offered to make her a new one. Not leather, because I don't have any on hand. Also, I would've needed Dad's leatherworking supplies and tools and we aren't quite ready to go through his stuff; we're all in different countries so it's more a logistic reason than emotional, although there's some of that, too. Instead, I found some delicate* floral fabric in the store that I thought she'd like, and went to work. (*Clarification: the fabric isn't delicate, which would be most unwise for a wallet; it's the floral motif which is, I mean).

It was fun to sew wallets again. It's been a while, and I've missed it. I think if I had to rank sewing projects by favorites, wallets would be at the top of the list (and clothing alterations, say, sitting someway below the subbasement dungeons thereof). As far as wallets go, key pouches are very, very simple to sew, not least because there are very few compartments. This translates to not many layers of material to stitch through and eventually bind around the edges of. 

Installing the key holder hardware was another story, however.

The short version was that I didn't have the right tools, so had to improvise, which wrecked the fabric to the point of having to rip out the center panel of the wallet entirely and make a completely new replacement part. And by some miracle, I did find a way to put in the key holder bit properly this second time around. So: Nightmarish hardware installation, but easy sewing. As with all projects, you win some, you lose some. 

There's a zippered section behind the main compartment for bills. Her original key pouch had it, so I just duplicated the design exactly. Sometimes when we become attached to a bag or wallet and have to replace it, it's nice have an exact copy so we needn't get used to new places for our stuff, right?

Here's the back. Notice that the bottom edge is funky - this is because the outermost layer of wallets must be made slightly longer (wider?) than the inner layers, 

so that when the wallet is closed, with all its contents within, the layers will wrap snugly around and lie flat atop each other.

When I'd finished the key pouch, I thought I'd make a coin purse, too. So extra! And for no reason other than I had hardware just sitting in the stash, and I hadn't used it since making my friend a cow purse 13 years ago. 

And now I'm all warmed up, and feel like I want to make a whole bunch of actual wallets. Maybe I'll put some in the shop, too, in time for summer. Will keep you posted!

Hope everyone's been enjoying spring in whichever parts of the world are experiencing it right now. Minnesota has been a bit tardy with its warm days. We had snow last week, and people were saying Enough Already Go Away, which is shockingly disagreeable for a people who are supposed to be smugly stoic in the face of hypothermia. But this weekend is teasing temps in the 70s so we think we might be able to revert to Minnesota Nice again and not snap at our neighbors and endure things till summer finally does kick in. Virtual hugs to all!

Thursday, April 21, 2022


Very pleased (and relieved) to report that I've finally finished a proper crochet project! This is a scarf I started last summer when I'd grown a little bored of my washcloths.

Because it was so compact, it became my Portable Crochet Project - the one I took to doctor's appointments and swim meets and car rides en route to big family get-togethers. It even accompanied me to and from Singapore last month, and was a lovely distraction while transiting in interim airports (finagling a crochet hook on board the plane is a story for another day, though).

Can't remember the name of the yarn I used, only that it was very splitty, like embroidery floss. Many times I wanted to hurl the thing across the room because I'd miss a strand and have to frog large bits. Or when I'd brought the wrong hook out with me (the Susan Bates hook is much better for this yarn) and everything would slip or catch at random, like manipulating vermicelli with nicked chopsticks. Other times, I could serenely work row after row without a mishap. So much depended on my mood, the hook, the time of day, and who knew what other factors. 

The stitch I used is the Primrose Stitch. I discovered it while making washcloths, and decided it was so pretty that it should be featured en masse on clothing. One zillion mind-numbingly similar rows later, it occurred to me that maybe I would've done better to have introduced some variety in the design. 

So yes, there is no pattern for this scarf. I made it up. Even the color choices were somewhat random. This yarn was on sale, and it felt silky, drapey and non-acrylicky, so I picked three colors I thought wouldn't be obnoxious on their own, or together. 

And then I started knotting away. Had no idea what standard scarf size I should aim for, so I found a store-bought scarf in the house, wrapped it around my neck, declared it suitable, and made it my goal to approximate its dimensions. When I thought I'd gotten a third-way into the finished length, I switched colors. 

Sometime after the first thirty-somethingth row, my brain must've checked out and I began adding stitches. I only realized this much later, after which came the awful moment when one has to decide whether to just keep moving forward or - in the name of human decency and being able to sleep at night - to frog everything and start anew from that point onward. I chose the former. As long as the sides were straight, I rationalized, it was all good. Besides, where is the fun in always erasing the evidence of one's learning? This way, I'll always be able to revisit that exact spot where the count first went off and I accidentally merged two primroses into one (reframing: I did an increase! Never mind if unintended!) and made a new shape with my yarn knots. And it wasn't a catastrophe. This is how we cure perfectionism: one uncorrected blemish at a time, given a new name like Variety and Nonconformity and Hey It Could Well Be A Hitherto Undiscovered Stitch. 

Anyway, very pleased with the outcome.

This is the victory moment, right after I cut the yarn off following the last stitch. Wound it around my neck to take this selfie. Not sure if my expression is elation or profound relief. Or a little of both, plus Where Exactly Should I Look Where Is The Camera.

Slightly related, the photos in this and recent posts were taken with my phone. Quite obviously different, as you may have noticed. We're transitioning between photo softwares and I haven't yet relearned how to access the photos on the Good Camera, let alone prep them for sharing online. I miss my camera photos!