Archive for April, 2011


Completion

The bag is finished. It took until 1.30am last night/this morning but I’m actually really proud of the results. I have something neat, something functional and something that I actually like the design of. This is a rare thing for me.

Of course there are things I think I can do better next time – like making sure my machine can sew through the many layers I plan to use during construction – but overall, I am thrilled.

The side-view of the bag. The bottom has been made from nice, hard-wearing denim so that when it's being tossed around in the boots of various cars, it's less likely to get ripped and ruined.

This is the bag from the side. Though its actually oblong, because the fabric isn't stiff enough it doesn't really hold it's shape especially well. That's another thing I'd alter if making it again. You can see the main zip on the top and one of the ones down the side.

Close up of the main zip - the machine actually did this one, despite the zip itself being very thick... it's all very strange!

The sides of the oblong zip down to create what is essentially - if my primary-school maths terminology is right - a net for the oblong-shape. The red you can see is a large, cube pocket stitched to the side of the bag.

This is the bag, completely unfolded. The pocket on the left is full of clean things, whereas the pocket on the right is full of plastic bags to deposit dirty nappies and such in.

This is the German pig of happiness - long story - demonstrating where baby lies. When I get round to it, there will be detachable, washable covers for the changing-mat area so that if accidents do happen, I don't have to wash the entire bag. I did try to get Artemis all dressed up in a nappy and bonnet for this shot, but she was having none of it...

My slave-driver. She sits behind me on the sofa and bats me when I try to get up and do other things... I think she looks rather elegant these days. Her dodgy eye seems to be getting better and she's getting her grown-up cat face. We'll see how she reacts when it's no longer a piggy on the mat...

As I said, I want to add detachable covers to the main body of the mat and to make everything as washing-friendly as possible, I have a plan for the dirty nappy pocket. I want to make an outer bag of fused plastic with various inner bags made from towel. The outer bag will protect the pocket fabric, whilst the inner bag can be removed and placed directly in the washing machine without my having to fish around for dirty, pooey things. Finally, I want to make a bicarb odor-eater to help the fused-plastic bag contain the smell. I think I’m going to make this shaped like a toy or something and put it on a string so that bub has something to play with whilst they’re being changed. When all is done, it should be a very self-contained little changing station.

Well, I hope I haven’t bored everyone to tears with all of this. I did promise not to ramble on about babies, but I’m excited about the design here and more than just a little chuffed with myself for coming up with it. As always, comments and suggestions are very, very welcome.

Tension

I’ve been sat at the machine for two hours now, battling with the nappy bag. As far as I can tell, the new needles aren’t up for the job of sewing in zips. Whilst I never had to touch the machine’s tension with the last needle, these ones seem to require it adjusting for each individual stitch. I could cry, I really could.

Mum has suggested taking the bag somewhere that does alterations and paying them to finish it, but the method in which I work doesn’t really lend itself to other people taking over. As in, I’ve got no pattern and no notes – other than the ones in my head and the odd mark on the fabric – so trying to explain what I’m trying to do and why the whole thing is held together with pins might take some time. And I’d actually be worried that they would judge me for my messy edges.

SOME TIME LATER…

I am now hand stitching the rest of the bag. When I first started, I was incredibly stressed out by the concept of putting in four zips with nothing but a needle and thread, however I’m actually really enjoying this. It’s nice to sit on the sofa, not really concentrating on anything other than making a neat line. I’ve been so grumpy over the last few days – without good cause I might add – that giving myself time to think has been hugely comforting. I’ve had no reason to be cross at everything. I just needed to take some deep breaths and admit to myself that I’m not a super woman – that I need time to nap and make delicious foods. It’s funny how being forced to turn away from mechanised sewing can make you realise that the world still functions just as well – if not better – at a slower pace. So if you’ll excuse me, it’s back to work…

The epic struggle continues!

Only the 5 zips and 2 large inner pockets to work into the nappy bag before completion. I’d say this was a labour of love, but I don’t even like the idea of the damn thing. Lugging around bags with poop-related paraphernalia has never exactly been my idea of a good time.

I find myself growing increasingly grumpy – I don’t know whether it’s the heat, the fact I move like a walrus, or a combination of the above things and my growing distaste for the general populus. Yesterday, I handed my phone to husband simply because I didn’t feel like I could deal with the world at large. I needn’t have worried – the calls I did get were rather good news. The car cost £200 less than anticipated at the MOT and has a clean bill of health. My first love has had a full service, new brake pads and with the lovely new tyres too, is fit for the road for another year. Long may we have many adventures together.

I will update with pictures of the nappy bag later if I ever manage to finish it. And I will update with the story of the mouse. For now, let it suffice that I am very tired and have a cat with selective perception. When you don’t want dead creatures in your house you get hundreds, when you want something dead…

Watch this space.

Epic

After waking up about ten times during the night, suddenly needing to sew right now, I decided that today was as good a day as any to begin the mammoth project I’ve been putting off for what seems like forever. It doesn’t sound that big a thing when I tell people I’m making a nappy bag, but it feels rather epic to me. Not only does my design fold out into a full-sized changing mat and have separate sections for clean and dirty reusable nappies, but it also has washable covers for the changing surface. And 5 zips which all need fitting on the corners… naturally.

As usual, despite having been very careful in my planning of the bag – even going so far as to construct a miniature paper version – nothing is working as it should be. The new needles for the Jones continue to give me trouble and I find that for the first time ever, I need to start altering the machine’s tension, according to the fabric I’m using. Because I’ve never done this before – and hope never to do it again, if I’m honest – it’s like learning to machine sew from the very beginning. Frustrating, but I suppose less so than struggling with the Brother which would, in times gone by, have been employed for the job.

I have another two projects planned: baby clothes, so that I can say I actually made something for Bub to wear, and a nursing top because that’s what I woke up during the night obsessing over. Although as I wrote that, I realised that actually, I have a dress to make for Mum too, and will probably remember a further ten things as I go through my stash… That said, whilst I love being able to say I’ve sewn something myself, the actual act of doing so is getting less and less enjoyable as knitting continues to dominate my crafty brain. We’ll see how tomorrow goes – if I somehow manage to sort out the nappy bag, perhaps I’ll feel better… As always, I will post photos on completion.

Food

Recently, a friend of mine wrote about how money influenced her life. I think that perhaps because I am kept woman these days, money isn’t so much of a deciding factor for me, but food certainly is.

When I plan a gathering of friends, I spend at least a few days plotting the menu and the snacks. When I’m feeling a bit down – for whatever reason – it makes me feel a lot better if I can start baking, making jams, drying herbs. I think it’s because putting down stores feels like I’m being productive, like I’m doing something to help myself out in some way and when I’m miserable, the thought of making progress in anything really spurs me on. Food is such a positive thing in my life that I have a really hard time understanding people who abuse it.

I’ve been watching Channel 4’s Supersize vs Superskinny recently and it really breaks my heart that people can have such a bad relationship to something that is such an intrinsic part my well-being. Yes, on the one level food is simply a fuel. We take it in so that our bodies can function. On the other hand, food can be a wonderful, soul nourishing thing. I hate seeing people pick at it and waste it – especially when it’s meat and something has died so that man can be nourished. Equally, I hate seeing people kill the flavours of what they’re eating by smothering things in sugary, salty sauces when the clean taste of the food itself is fabulous anyway.  There’s something really wholesome about sitting down to a salad, some bread and some meat, rather than faffing around making sauces and dips and dressings…

I’m not actually really sure where I’m meant to be going with this post. It’s just that I’m getting a bit tired of knitting the same sweater for the third time, and a bit tired of looking and feeling like a beached whale, and a bit tired of not being able to bend over, or drive, or do anything really other than point at things I want, knit, and cook. I’m glad S- is off work at the moment because the cat and I have run out of conversation topics. She keeps pitching the same suggestions all the time, and whilst I do love sleeping, I’d like it if she were to concede and do something I want to for a change. I guess my writing about how much food helps me is a way of comforting myself with it, without cooking yet more things. I might have made a ridiculous quantity of food for my various visitors over the Easter weekend…

For now though, I guess I should get the washing in, eat some noodley snacks and plan my dinner… Charlie Micra has his MOT on Wednesday, which I’m dreading, but until then, I suppose I’d best do as the cat says and snooze.

Brain still MIA

My mind is still MIA so here are some pictures to prove it is summer:

If you blend over-ripe strawberries and put them in ice-lolly moulds, they become awesome.

Pretty flowers!

AFK

Away from keyboard.

Brain has melted.

Must. Cook. Masses. Of. Food. Must CLEAN!

Artemis

The cat appears to have taken up residence in my shoe… Just when I think I understand her, she manages to do something even weirder than usual.

Games

I’m still not sure why I let myself read the Daily Mail. I’m sure its only purpose is the crossword, and to angry up my blood when I accidentally scan the headlines in passing. The latest motoring injustice, as I see it at any rate, is that apparently drivers who don’t renew their car insurance will have their vehicles clamped on their own driveway. Read the article here.

Now don’t get me wrong, I can see why being without insurance would be an issue if you parked the car on the roadside. Someone might come along, two days after you’ve brought your brand new Micra, and scratch your back wheel arch into a striped mess of Coral Blue and base metal – an event which inevitably leads to a 4 year war with Halfords over the name of the paint. Cobalt Blue is navy, thank you very much, and the car you’ve just seen is that stupid light pearly blue which was used in all the Motro David Lynch ads when the K12 came out. //end Micra colour rant.

Now where was I? Ah yes. I can see why you’d need insurance with on-street parking but when the vehicle is in your driveway, you’re in hospital or on holiday or otherwise unable to pick up your post for whatever reason, is there honestly any harm in leaving it uninsured? What’s the worst that could happen? It gets stolen, and the wanker who nabbed it is caught by the police for driving without insurance. Boo hoo. Besides, if you’re the sort who wants to risk going out in an uninsured car anyway, I doubt the threat of £100 fine and a clamping is going to do any good.

Also, what the hell happened to private property? Since when could traffic enforcement people – or whatever they’re called these days – come onto my driveway and start messing with my wheels? Surely they’d need some kind of warrant or something? If the police have to have one then these guys would too? And isn’t an increase in paperwork just wasting yet more money on pointless bureaucracy?

The whole idea that this is for the good of the motoring public is just a joke. It’s simply yet another way to snatch money from people and top up the coffers.

But enough about these petty games and onto some good petty games.

I’ve finished my brothers’ Christmas present – yes, that’s right. With only minutes to spare before… oh wait. I’m eight months early… Anyhow, knowing that D- would never do something as uncool as read his big sister’s blog, here are some pictures of the awesome über-micro gloves that I made him.

Having finished these already is problematic though. It means I actually have to begin the father-in-law’s sweater, and true to form, husband has asked that I make one using the same pattern as I did my dad’s and my brother’s. Yes, that’s right, the evil pattern which hasn’t turned out the size it’s supposed to be once. To top it off, I’m knitting it in what is apparently Rowan’s DK wool… only it’s not. It’s like working with embroidery thread.

I may be gone quite some time…

Fingerless Tea Cozy

So last night, I set out to knit a tea cosy, and have somehow ended up with a pair of fingerless gloves…

I’m still not entirely sure how this happened. One minute, I had adjusted my tea cozy pattern for double-knit yarn instead of Aran and the next, I was sewing down the side of these little things, carefully leaving a space for my thumb. Also, despite having sworn I would never again knit with Wendy Wisp wool, I’ve ordered another two balls in a different shade. Having finished Mum’s birthday present – which you can see Artemis enjoying in my previous post – husband decided that his mum would also like said gift, but in blue.

Anyway, at least the gloves have given me an idea for D-‘s Christmas present. I do know it’s all rather early, but now I’ve got a bee in my bonnet – so to speak – I won’t be able to concentrate on anything else until this is done. That said, it’s time for me to press on with making more gloves so that when my new yarn arrives in the morning – S- bought this stuff to be used in gifts, I swear! – I can get on with the sweater for my father-in-law.

By the way, if you’re interested, I’m posting the fingerless tea cozy on etsy. I already have a very similar pair of gloves so they won’t get used here… If they fail to sell within the time that etsy sets for these sorts of things, I will probably add them to the pile of emergency gifts and hope for the best.