Bed Runner

You’ve seen them in hotels. That little strip of cloth across the foot of the hotel bed. The ones I’ve seen in Indonesia were gorgeous — beautiful handwoven pieces that were woven for that purpose. The ones in the US? Not so much. They are woven on giant commercial looms and cut up and sized for the hotel bed.

For years, even before they first showed up in the hotels across the US, I used a strip of linen across the bottom of the bed. It’s light and it doesn’t add weight on my feet. My intent was an attempt to keep cat hair off the bed. That didn’t work out so well — My cats refused to sleep where I designate as their sleeping spot.

You know what else? That strip of cloth doesn’t do much when you just want to pull something over you when you go down for a nap. I don’t want to go under the covers because I don’t want to get too cozy and sleep longer than intended.

BedRunner

This weekend, I made a bed runner / nap blanket with a piece of quilting cotton and a piece of coordinating cotton flannel, 2 yards each. Folded in half lengthwise, it looks like a bed runner. Spread out, it’s the perfect size as a cover during a light nap. Since it is just quilting cotton/flannel, it’s easy to toss in the washer/dryer to get rid of cat hair. (Yes, I know it clashes with the duvet cover.)

StormRunner

It’s even Stormy’s approved. She’s a bit grumpy because I woke her up to take the picture. Best of all? It’s still light enough that it doesn’t weigh down my feet. That is, if you discount the 10 pound fur ball on top of it.

Muslin Bags

MuslinBags

A handful of muslin bags for holding bulk food items. It should be more sturdy than those thin plastic bags as well as more environmentally friendly. You only need a bag full of flour fail once to be convinced that there has got to be a better way.

Unbleached muslin and seine twine.

Project Bags

When I was at Green Planet Yarn back in June, I came home with this cute little shopping bag.

GP_Bag

They had a selection of fabrics and I picked the these cats because I was in the midst of Carla Sonheim‘s Cats! class. I used the shopping bag as my project bag. It really is a perfect size. It is just the right size for a small project and project notes without fear of everything tumbling out if you aren’t careful.

I took some measurements. I may have even bought some fabric. But then nothing.

I didn’t do anything with it for months.

Then this weekend happened. I started a new small portable knitting project but didn’t have an empty project bag handy. Instead of looking in the stash for empty project bags that I know I have around, I dug out some stashed fabric and got to work.

A few hours later, I had these 2 new project bags to play with. My new knitting project is already in the bicycle themed bag because I’m knitting a head/neck warmer to wear for my bike commute. Now, I have 2 cat themed project bags. And yes, they both are already adorned with cat hair.

ProjectBags

Why a couple of hours? This was the first time I made these and I was measuring and planning as I went. Next go around will definitely be faster (if I can find my notes or decipher them). I also made this batch with French seams because I was too lazy to pull the overlock machine out but I also didn’t want raw edges. Besides, the overlock would seem counter intuitive since I was using my old school Singer Featherweight. The Featherweight doesn’t do zigzag so I was stuck. But overlock would definitely have made this much faster.

Lastly, I used the sew the box corner technique (#3). It was a little finicky with the French seams and the small size. I think I would go with cut the corner method next time (#2 of the same link above).

General Notes:

  • 2 – 14″ x 14″ squares : I cut them separately instead of in a single long vertical strip (14″ x 28″) because my fabric pattern had up/down direction. I could have cut a long horizontal strip (28″ x 14″) but that would require buying a full yard of fabric. If you are making them in bulk for gifts, that is definitely an option.
  • 2 – 14″ x 2″ strips : If I were to do this again, I would cut 3″ strips. Press the 2 edges toward the center, then fold again. Press.
  • 1″ fold over edge at the top of the bag (with additional 1/4″ fold under so there are no raw edges).

Oh, and part of the time was spent cleaning and troubleshooting my Featherweight. When I pulled it out the other day to do a “quick” project, it was skipping stitches. I didn’t want to take the time to figure out what was wrong so I switched to my Bernina*. (The Needle was inserted incorrectly after I replaced it last time.)

* Does’t everyone have more than one sewing machine? I assume if you are here, you have more than one spinning wheel or loom (or more than one of both). Sewing machines are in the same category. So stop judging.

Handlebar Bag

HandlebarBagFront
Front view. Velcro attachment for the handlebar.

Work is trying out a new ebike program and I won the lottery to try one out for commuting. I decided it needed a new bag for the handlebar. I looked around and decided to make one of my own based on a hybrid between the Timbuk2 Colby, the Pocampo 6 Corners Bag, and some features of my own.

I made my paper pattern, picked up some cotton ticking and went for it over the Independence Day holiday.

HandlebarBagSide
Side view. Detachable shoulder strap.

Check out the shoulder strap! It is a John Mullarkey original. He threw down the gauntlet to see what I can make with it. I made the strap detachable so I can move it from bag to bag — especially since this is just the prototype.

HandlebarBagInside
Top/Inside View. Double zipper, fully lined with 2 inside pockets.

Now, having used the bag for a week or so, there are a few changes that I would like to make.

  • I thought the fabric was stiff enough by itself and would not require a stabilizer. I was wrong. It’s perfect for a purse but doesn’t have enough body to hold it’s shape on the handlebar. It droops over the headlight. A stiff interfacing would help. I don’t want to use a plastic insert because I still want the softer look of a fabric bag.
  • I forgot to add an inside key clip. My bike/house keys get lost into the bottom of the bag.
  • I worry about the longevity of the velcro attachment to the bike.  Velcro loses it’s “magic” after a while and I want the bag to last. However, I can always continue to use it as a shoulder bag.
  • The attachment point was designed to be about 1.5″ below the top of the bag. Unfortunately, without the stiffener, it meant that the bag droops from that point down instead of sitting taller than the handlebars. Again, I think the stabilizer will help.

Two weeks into riding the ebike, I’ve learned a few things about using an ebike:

  • Pedelec is a pedal assist. You still need to pedal for it to work. You can’t just use the battery power to coast along. I was worried that I wouldn’t get my usual workout if I used an ebike. I had been riding my bike 3 times a week before the ebike. Now, I aim for 4 days a week to make up for the battery assist.
  • My average speed went from about 10 mph on my normal hybrid city bike to about 16+ mph. It did not half my commute time as I had hoped. My typical bike travel time of 40+ minutes each way (unassisted) dropped to just under 30. (Car time averages about 20 minutes.)
  • I still need a shower when I get to work. It takes a lot of work to keep that pace with a 50 pound bike.

There’s slow

and there’s sloooooow.

It’s baby season at the office and I ran out of my stash of grab and go baby shower presents. I picked up some fabric earlier in the week so I can whip out another mitered receiving baby blanket. From start (ironing the washed fabrics) to finish (sewing up a gift envelope) took over 2 hours. Definitely not a quick project. I guess I can take solace in the fact that it is quicker than knitting one.

There’s at least one more shower that I need to prep for. Hopefully, last night taught me a lesson in starting early and not wait for the night before.

No pictures. Perils of last minute gift making.