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. http://www.carolinafiberfest.org/  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….http://betsymakes.blogspot.com/p/project-bag-tutorial.html    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:https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/betsymakes?ref=hdr_shop_menu    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!

Spring Break 2016

I cannot believe how quickly spring break went by. Well, that’s a lie. It always goes by quickly. This year, it started on Good Friday. Then there was Easter. This always means some extra cooking. It usually takes one full day to run all the backlog of errands, a day to really catch up on cleaning – there is always a bit of school work to do. Each year I tell myself not to go too crazy with the list making and need to get things done, but to try and enjoy it. This is a hard lesson to learn.

Solomon's Seal- signs of spring! Except 29 this Friday? Ugg.

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But, I did manage to balance somewhat. I did some lovely home made meals – fresh bread, carrot cake, nice dinners. I got lots of gardening in – mostly weeding and mulching.

First lily of the valley…

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I got a new stash of library books and enjoyed reading some. I found time to spend my yarn gift certificates at a couple of local yarn shops.

Yarney goodness from my favorite yarn shop. Thanks Hillsborough Yarn Shop! #Hillsboroughyarnshop #springbreak #happiness

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Getting new yarn meant updating my Ravelry site, and trying to finish a knitting project so I could cast on something new.

Making progress…

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But I also found time to get distracted. I knit a gift of a soap sachet and made one for us as well – ever get tired of the tiny slivers of soap left at the end? Just bung em in a little cotton knit bag with a new bar of soap and voila! Problem solved!

Soap sacks… Gonna put all the little slivers of soap in one.

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And then there were these cute knitting project bags…. but more on that later!

Easter 2016

This was the weirdest Easter on record, and a sign that my boys are grown.

Easter!

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  1. The middle son did not come home for the weekend – he is 4 hours away at school, without a car, and had just been home for a week of spring break – so he didn’t choose to come home again for the weekend. I really wish we had better train transport here –next year he is taking his car, so maybe that will change how often he comes home. Doubt it, but I live in hope.
  2. The eldest spent the day working and with his girlfriend. Easter is not quite the same as Christmas, and therefore many shops are still open. So he was at work, and then at his girlfriends, and they did stop by in the evening for a short visit.
  3. The youngest had baseball tournament Wed, Friday and Saturday. So baseball, baseball. He has more baseball this coming week, (it is Spring Break – so no school, but lots of baseball). And he is wanting to build an electric vehicle. He has been looking for a good base car to turn into an electric vehicle – read cheap, cool enough to be seen in, and light enough to convert. He and the hubbler found THE car about 2 hours away, and this Sunday was the only day everyone involved could get together and transact the car purchase.

Therefore, no Easter Egg hunt – first time ever. They were up at dawn and on their way. It may have been a 2 hour drive there – but then they had to get the car dolly and buy the car and load it and trailer it back. So they were gone from 7 – 3:30. Me – I stayed home and cleaned house and knit in what turned out to be a very very rainy, slightly gloomy day. And I baked hot cross buns since I had not been able to do that Friday while I was watching baseball.

My car hooked up to be towed home

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It wasn’t as melancholy as it sounds. Spring break for a teacher is often filled with need to do and want to do items. The week will fly by. So it was good to get some deep cleaning done at the same time as some pottering about, without that heavy feeling of “gotta get it done before Monday work comes”.

We did enjoy some family time over dinner – tuna casserole with salad – and then our hot cross buns. When I think of years past with a big meal and church and egg hunt and all, this was really rather relaxing and nice. And basically, it is what it is. Enjoy the moments we have together when we have them, and enjoy the freedom that comes with not being driven by a small child’s schedule while I have that – my new mantra.

March

I cannot really account for February – it went by so quickly. We did not have a ton of snow or wintry weather days this year – so we have been plodding back and forth to school as normal, which has been rather exhausting.

Youngest wrapped up his winter track season with a lovely improvement in the 55 metre hurdles. And then he tried out for the baseball team, and made it – and so now we are going to practices every day and have had the first 2 games. Both games quite cold, since baseball season, considered a spring sport, actually begins well before spring gets here.

782303d1-1d2a-4213-bc7a-477ebc5811eb The tomatoes are growing nicely.

f29f0ac3-56d0-4e1e-b86e-137d2cb385a8 The camellia continues to bloom. So many winters end with frozen blooms that never open – this year there has been an abundance.

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16dc3734-1bf2-4fde-8852-14f9d7df4c0cThe man about the place turned a year older, so we had apple pie and a fajita dinner the weekend before the actual birthdate – and then we watched the youngest play in his first high school baseball game on the actual birthday – they won, so it was a lovely gift.

bd98c8ad-712c-4a09-9e13-0293d8da341d A new project has been started as well – after completing my sweater and sock, I felt I could move onto something new. Tonight it will keep me company as I watch the last episode of Downton Abbey. Sigh.

Winter finally arrived

Here we are, at the end of January already, and winter finally decided to show up. We had an early hard freeze, in October – but then all signs of winter disappeared. We had a very warm Christmas, and then ugly things happened. The lilacs and gardenia and azalea tried to bloom! The forsythia had yellow blooms and there were a few blooms on the plum tree. Not good, not good at all. And I have no idea what this means for spring when it finally arrives. So now we have had a week of hard freezes and even some snow that melted within a few hours – but decidedly more wintery and seasonal.

915f1301-d3bc-44df-9214-c3f78a0f2d13 I am finally able to wear my newly knitted Icelandic wool sweater – it is lovely and warm and soft. Getting it done and off the needles has inspired me to clear out some other things “on the needles” and so I set a January goal of finishing a couple of very old projects.

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I started these socks in November 2012. I chose to cobble together several patterns, and it took me a while to get sock 1 done – then I couldn’t remember how I made it, so sock 2 ended up being a series of trial and error. Not terribly difficult when all was said and done, just not something easy to cart around in a car or at a game. Socks don’t take all that long to knit, so it is a bit embarrassing that it took me over 3 years for this pair! But they are being worn now – yeah! Ravelled here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Theflock/socks

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I started this sweater even longer ago – in fact, it made its blog debut here:https://willowcaroline.wordpress.com/2008/04/19/keeping-it-in-perspective/  –  and it is much the same story. I would set it down and not get back to it for weeks – and then find I hadn’t properly written down where I had stopped with the cables – and then make a mess of it, put it away because unknitting and reknitting takes quiet concentration and not something one does at a ball game. But I am determined it shall be done by the end of January.  Ravelled here:  http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Theflock/a-cardigan-for-arwen

So I am plenty busy indoors with knitterly things and final exam marking and keeping a 15 year old boy fed (gracious, he may be the only one home but he is a HUGE eater, but the smallest of my three guys!) Let winter do its thing.

e8271b66-e1e6-42d1-89f9-7148bdcaab9f (Well, there is this on the dining room table. With the weather so warm in early January I started getting the itch. I HATE starting seedlings – they take so much care – and usually I just plump for plants when the time is right. But I gave into dreaming of summer tomatoes, and so I have started some from seed. Let’s hope we can keep them alive until May!)

New Year’s Family Weekend

We did have a lovely getaway over the New Year’s Weekend. Our oldest son and his girlfriend were busy working, so did not join us. But the 4 of us had a fun time in a rented lake house on Lake Keowee in South Carolina.

First order of business, was watching the Clemson/Oklahoma football game.   http://espn.go.com/college-football/recap?gameId=400852733  Again, I am not a big football watching fan, but anything for my middle boy. We all curled up in front of a big screen TV with pizza and knitting. And we celebrated a win!

ea0e9a39-fa95-4de2-a36e-d94329a74c7f (Once again, I have been away from the blog long enough that when I come back, wordpress has changed things again. Not sure why my pictures are all so tiny. Grrr….)

32df15b2-2be9-4b77-8acb-dd471ce22d8e I attribute the success this season to the lucky scarf knitting. I knit furiously on it while the game is on – I find that I feel guilty if I am not knitting on it, like they will all stop playing or something if I stop. LOL…it is amazing how invested we were in a game – so atypical of our family.

We then had several lovely days of fishing and relaxing.

095d01b4-9e69-4904-b20a-f2e25443b91b Mostly the boys went out fishing and I stayed in – kayaking on the lake by the house or walking the hilly area. But one day I did join them to see the waterfalls on Lake Jocassee. I was apparently the good luck charm – or good luck knitter as I knit away on a sock – as this was the only time they caught fish.

4084175d-9f2d-4698-a6f7-a511882ee006  e31848b8-900a-4ccf-9a2b-2f5c49f5acb54e3b9254-e591-45c2-a71e-59f874b5e5c9 a56f48df-8360-4979-a990-3c795ea18107

Both boys caught fish, we all saw some amazing views and waterfalls, and we enjoyed being together quietly for a few days before it was time to drop the middle son off at Clemson to return to his studies. A very quiet trio made our way home on Jan 3rd, facing final exams and a suddenly quiet house. You raise your children hoping they will fly – but missing them a great deal when they are far away.

76a163a6-8ca1-4895-a8d1-c4e176bcd273  9910fe13-f1e0-42de-a29b-1ae78f0716e2

The good news is that we all enjoyed it so much that we may make it a yearly tradition.

(Sorry for the picture resolution – I tried to enlarge them, but that makes them look horrid. But leaving them as they were meant they were tiny. I didn’t see anywhere to change their size…)

It has been a long time…

There was a time when I blogged regularly : changed the theme to reflect the seasons; sometimes scheduled posts to appear throughout a week; took copious photos and uploaded them and made sure I added them to my blog.

But over time, more of my photos went into my instagram account – no idea how to move them here. Days were packed with work and boys, and lists that never quite got crossed all the way off. A quick note on facebook, a photo on instagram with a short note – that was all I could manage.

I used to do lengthy Advent posts and document our holiday activities. As a young mother and then later a very busy mother, writing it all down seemed to 1) confirm I was accomplishing something and 2) help me keep track of life as it blurred by. At some point I have cried “uncle” and given up a bit – but I can still visit this space a re-live many happy memories.

So, since I last posted:

  1. We survived graduation, and the party that went with it, and the Eagle ceremony. Then the hubbler and middle child went to Guatemala with the school Spanish club to work for Safe Passage, and the youngest went to Boy scout camp, and I had a staycation.
  2. Youngest made the High School Summer league baseball team and many very hot baseball games were attended. Middle son worked and started to get ready for college. This required going through his stuff, and the youngest’s stuff and sorting through years of stuff – and giving the upstairs a bit of a makeover. Fresh paint in the common room, a redo for the youngest’s room, and a clear out of the middle son’s room – and all the exercise equipment moved to the oldest son’s room.
  3. The time came to take the middle son to college on August 10th. I survived – but barely. We then became a family of three at home – and that was also an adjustment. Cooking for 3. Only one kid’s schedule to keep up with. Only one kid to tell to empty the dishwasher. Only 3 people to wash for.
  4. The hubbler had my office redone. It was a hodgepodge of used/free furniture – and he had it professionally done by a friend’s company. I barely got moved into it before school started. It is very very lovely to be all organized and have it look pretty.IMG_1206
  5. We hosted a 50th anniversary for my inlaws at my house. A ton of planning, cleaning and cooking – for a ton of people. P1250912IMG_1260

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6. School was in full swing for September and October. At the end of October, we finally saw our middle son again. He came home, bringing friends, to attend the NCState vs. Clemson football game. We became diehard Clemson football fans and watched a lot of Saturday football games on TV. We are not a TV sports watching family – so we watched more games this fall than the entire 25 years of our marriage. Oh yeah – we had our 25th anniversary – which we didn’t celebrate really, because we were throwing a 50th party and school started all the same week. Ugg.

7. Some knitting was done. IMG_1228

Hat designed by middle son, in his new college colors – duly made so he would be warm at school. At all those football games.

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Icelandic wool knitting project for me. Details on ravelry.http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Theflock/top-down-icelandic-sweater

8. Thanksgiving brought the middle son home again. And then he was back for finals. We got on with December which just blurred by. Middle son arrived home with a buddy on the 12th – we finished up school on the 18th – and it has been a blur of cooking and cleaning and visiting since.

That brings us to today. We took down the tree and decorations, and then I realized I never really took pictures this year. We have a couple of days left before middle son leaves to start semester 2, and youngest and I return to school. Youngest is running winter track, so I have been getting him to and from practices while we are on break – thankfully the school is very close at hand. January will bring his first final exams, and much marking for me. But that is the worry of future weeks. This week is still the time to enjoy, relax, visit, and eat with those I love best.

Thanks for stopping by to catch up. I hope to do better in 2016. I shall put it on my to-do lists….IMG_1325