So – May is a month of finishing. Starting May 2nd, my IB Seniors will be taking their exams for three weeks. So I am effectively done teaching them. I still have 2 classes of juniors, but my workload is now cut in 1/2, which is nice.

The middle son had his last university exam on Friday evening, so his dad drove 4 hours to Clemson to pack him up yesterday, and today they will drive home, and the first year of University will be complete. I am excited to have him home – he is less so – after all he really enjoys his school and the freedoms of being away from home. But he will get over it and reacclimate to family life. I did send a care package for finals week – full of homemade chocolate chip cookies and other stuff. Now he can repay by helping keep the lawns mown – insert evil laugh.

So – May begins the ending of the 15-16 school year. The last baseball games of the season will be the next week. The last classes taught will be at the end of the month – and then June will arrive with finals and then freedom from teaching until August.Whew. Let the end begin!


Home Alone

This weekend the guys were all away. Next weekend the hubbler heads down south to pick the middle son up from his first year at university -and then we will be a family of 4 in the house again. And the week after the eldest son’s girlfriend will be home from school as well – so they will be by more often as well. So soon, the house will be buzzing again. So I tried to enjoy the quiet of this weekend.

I did manage some sewing. I made some more project bags for my knitting. In an effort to use up stuff I have, which includes using my grandmother’s endless supply of zippers, I attempted to modify the wonderful tutorial by Betsy Makes and make some larger bags.

I have all these 14 – 16 inch zippers from my grandmother’s stash. Most of them are very vintage – old metal zippers from 30s – 50s – so they cannot be trimmed to size. So I knew the bag needed to be wider. I also have several sweaters on the go, and wanted something larger for them. I also had several pieces of fabric gifted to me at some point. So I wanted to use those up.

Here are the results of my experiments:

More project bags complete…

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So first, there is the huge bag:

This fabric was a bit tricky to work with – given the stripes. It didn’t make sense to cut it down the middle to make the smaller bag. So I left it long. The bottom is the big blue floral part of the repeat. Positives: It is large – 22 plus inches tall. It will hold all the stuff for a sweater project I am about to do for my husband. And I matched the stripes one each side. The Negatives: It doesn’t really stand when empty. It can be made to stand, but the bottom is a bit small because I decided to use a 3 inch corner to make the bottom contain all the blue floral repeat. I was tempted to fold the top part over and put a button and loop to make a fold over top. But in the end, it is perfectly functional and is already holding all the stuff I need for the hubbler’s sweater.

After I made the tall one and decided I didn’t really want any more tall ones, I cut my fabric in half and made 2 smaller ones.

The large one has a green lining and I used scraps of it for the loops on the smaller ones. The smaller bags have purple lining. They have different colored zippers. The aqua zipper is a polyester zipper from the 70s. The other 2 zippers are metal zippers from way back – they have interesting rounded fronts where the end of the zipper pull ends up.

I ran out of the stiffener I used on the first bag and the tall bag. So these 2 smaller bags have batting scraps sewn in. The wide opening is nice, and makes these bags bigger than the original footprint or the first one I did. (original post here: First project bag)

So much fun to use up stuff I already had, and make some functional bags for holding my projects. Now to get back to knitting!

This week in review

Hmmm… what is up?

Cookie baking – for one son away at university. Next week is finals week, so I baked cookies and made a care package for him. And next weekend his dad will be heading out to fetch him home for the summer!!

This morning I took a nice walk along our river park to the post office. Thursday I stayed home from work due to a stomach bug – almost never miss school, so this felt weird. I slept most of the day. Then Friday was rainy rainy rainy – all those April showers you know. It rained hard into the night. So this morning, the sun is out, not a cloud in the sky, and I chose to enjoy it with a walk to our downtown.

Gorgeous morning for walk to post office and weaver street market.

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Stopped in to the market to say hello to the oldest son that works there. And then walked home where I face a quiet weekend because the man about the place has taken the youngest boy fishing a few hours north of here.

Sleeve progress..

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Being home alone means I can clean in peace and enjoy the clean, burn scented candles, eat when and what I like…. all nice and restorative, but also a bit lonely. And I am not in the mood to clean. So I may knit more on my latest WIP – need to get this one off the needles. Because I have a project for the hubbler – a cardigan made of fingering weight yarn (ACCCK!)

Yarn for Chris. Fingering weight sweater coming up- yikes!

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But there are also tomato plants needing planting, and a garden to tend. But it is very wet – better to wait until tomorrow on that. So I shall crank up the BBC Radio 4 Extra and listen to my favorite comedies (I can play them throughout the house – so no matter where I am – laundry room, kitchen, office, cleaning a bathroom – I can laugh and hear) while I do exactly as I please, and wait for my guys to get home.

Some garden snaps that make me happy :


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Balm to the soul…

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Knitting Project Bags…


Used some scraps and made a knitting project bag!

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I just discovered the joys of knitting podcasts. I had listened to some on my iphone while weeding, but never watched one.

But then a blogger from the good old knit blogging days did her first podcast: Celtic Caston. It was fun to watch and drink a cup of tea while I paid bills or tidied my office or filed papers. And somehow that led me to a couple of other blogs and another podcast: Betsy Makes which I also thoroughly enjoyed. And both bloggers mentioned project bags.

Coincidentally, a friend and I met up and went to the Carolina Fiber Fest in Raleigh.  We enjoyed wandering the stalls and being amazed by how many local farmers are “growing” fibers of some sort. (Okay, raising fiber animals really, although there was some flax!) And again, I saw knitting project bags.

And then I saw the tutorial….    and I thought – I NEED TO MAKE ONE OF THESE.

So I did! I managed to have some scraps, and a zipper that would work. And on Sunday morning, the last day of break, I whipped one up.

6e0bb296-7cc7-4450-83b2-e7960c1fac19  (Having so much trouble with picture size. This is why I have recently been using my Instagram account. Sigh.) Anyway, I have a collection of vintage zippers from my grandmother – but this one ended up being too long, and being metal, I would not be able to cut it to size. So I went with a red one – still vintage, but polyester , and therefore easily cut down to fit the dimensions.

03080fd5-9e0a-4239-9c5b-33db5e786163Here is my finished bag. What a lovely tutorial – easy to follow and make something lovely happen. I did not have fusible fleece on hand – but I did have some fusible Decor bond which gives a stiffness/structure to bags.

cf5bf873-2208-4eae-b9d7-8756529b4d08 Still need to master the zipper insertion – actually, need to make sure I understand how the side seams fit into the pictures. I think I was meant to have 1/4 inch left over on both sides for the side seam, but I ended up with a bit more on each end and didn’t really think through what I needed to do with that.

01fc892a-7f2b-4cbb-9483-504b88ff6a21 But overall, I was very tickled with myself. And here is the football scarf for the middle boy, being put away in its project bag. Normally, stuff lays around on sofas or chairs, or gets bunged into my large knitting bag. But this way, one project and its components are all tucked away, not being kicked off by large boy feet when they sit on the sofa, or getting tangled in the bottom of the endless knitting bag.

88d01915-1701-49ea-a531-a0d016a42b4c Ready for whenever.

Many thanks to Celtic Cast On and Betsy Makes for sharing your talents and information and ideas. It gave me a creative twist for my spring holidays!

(Oh – if you aren’t into sewing your own, you can also buy them here:    Check often for shop updates – as you can see on her website, she has a great sense of color and style – I just love the fabrics she uses!)

Now back to regularly scheduled work. It is crunch time – 27 days until IB Exams are to start, so I will be busy poking and prodding my students to revise and prepare. 9 weeks until the summer holidays!