Saturday, April 19, 2014

Project 43: Hoop bag from Shopping bags

4 Ikea bags + lots of cord + cord lock + strip of scrap fabric = 1 hooping bag

The bag is simply a tube with drawstring around each opening.

I took apart 4 Ikea bags with a stitch ripper and cut off the handles. I removed the base of the bag from the sides and took apart one vertical seam. I just used the long rectangular sides of the bag for this project.  The top of the bag already had a hem that could act as a casing to hold the drawstring cord to gather the bag openings together. Since we're using the top hem as a casing, make sure that it is continuous around the whole edge when sewing the parts together. I think I also had to open up a seam at the hem of the second vertical seam that I left intact otherwise.

Sew two bags together for the top and two bags together for the bottom. Sew top and bottom together along the long side.
Then sew opposite short sides together to make a tube.

Initially I sewed the handles all together to make a strap to use as a drawstring, but they broke apart while pulling the strap through the casing. Perhaps with more secure sewing, I could have used the straps. The threading of the cord into the casing was definitely the least fun part of the process, so after the break, I went for something more secure and used some cord for the front and a long strip of strong stretchy orange fabric for the back.

Top side of hoop bag - open

Bottom of the hoop bag
Ideas for improvement:

1. Make the bottom opening larger so that the front surface is long enough to wrap all the way around to the back and then onto itself in the front and enclose the hoops. You would loosen the cord of the front of the bag, feed the front of the bag through the centre, around the back and then back to the front and then tighten the drawstring cord. (I gave away my hoop bag, so it may take a few weeks to get a photo to show how this works if it is not clear.)

2. Seal the seams with tape or some kind of sealant. Then you would have a nice weatherproof bag!

Haven't tried hooping yet? If you are in Calgary, then try one of Kelly's classes, owner of Hoop-di-do.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Project 42: Side opening cardigan from a slightly shrunken sweater

It's hard these days to find a sweater that will shrink and felt. (If you have a shrunken sweater that you don't want, I'd love to have it!) Not enough wool content if any in most store bought sweaters to give a nice felted fabric that is a great starting material for making mittens for instance. I tried to shrink this sweater, but it didn't do much. I chopped it up into another shape instead. (This is a Nancy H-P hand-me-down.)


On Pinterest, I found an interesting sweater  (that is available as a free knitting pattern on Ravelry) and got my scissors out and started to cut up the sweater. I sewed lycra binding around the edges, and added some buttons. For sleeves, I shortened them and sewed a hem with opening for a strip of lycra loop to gather the sleeves. The extra fabric from the sleeves was used to lengthen the sweater by an couple of inches. I had a bit of trouble with feeding the sweater fabric without stretching when sewing, but all in all, the seams turned out not too wonky.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Project 41: Blouse from a men's shirt

During the first yogi quilters' gathering, I got to finish a project that I had been meaning to get to for a long time. It's this shirt...

I followed the tutorial at the Jezze Prints blog. My only modification was to make the sleeves longer and I did not require the tuck in the back of the shirt.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Yogi Quilter Gatherings

I was invited to join an awesome group of ladies to sew with and we do a little yoga too. I am learning one of the oldest re-groovenating pursuits - quilting. So far, Laura has guided us in making a Ten-minute Table Runner and also showed us how to make an exploding pineapple block. I shared the Tessuti fave top pattern, which is one of my fave free patterns.

The "Ten minute table runner" when googled will bring up lots of instructions, and depending on the optimism or skill of the author, is also known as the 20 minute table runner or 1 hour table runner. We didn't time it, but we each finished one.
Ten Minute Table Runner

Here is my summary showing two options for sewing up. We all did option 2.

I will use my table runner on a bench that I have on my patio. I used a cotton blanket for the backing fabric.

Looks like I'll have to make another one to cover the rest of the bench seat.

Exploding Pineapple block

 The plan is use the exploding pineapple block to make a cover for a notebook that I use as my yoga journal.

Here I am all in grey (from 2012) and mostly handmade from free patterns available on-line. My first fave top of two so far. I used this leggings drafting tutorial by Cal Patch to make the leggings. I knitted the Broadstreet ripple socks from knitty. The skirt is made from a t-shirt. The necklace was a gift from a good friend.

An added bonus is that these ladies have some great recipes to share!
At our first gathering, Carol, our super host, made a classic cheeseball -very similar to this recipe.
Another Carol made a beautiful stuffed Ham and Cheese Sandwich Loaf, close to this "hero loaf" recipe (from a Fleischmann's yeast) for our second meeting. She says it freezes well and always doubles the recipe. Carol's recipe was a little different. Her version has no Italian herbs, olives, or pimento, but instead had garlic salt, bell pepper slices and some dijon mustard. I think it would be a great alternative to sandwiches for a ski trip.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Project 40: Handmade soap wrappers from Kindergarten art

My daughter is now 11 years old. It's about time to let go of the kindergarten art, no? She doesn't want it. I have a couple pieces hanging in the house, mounted on pieces of cardboard. The two above were keepers. I recycled some of it too. I may still have some that I saved for use as wrapping paper.

I made 2 batches of soap in the crock pot last year. I especially like this set of instructions because it does not tell you to taste your soap and see if it 'zaps' your tongue. Many tutorials advise you to do this! Instead there are some nice photos. Also useful was this on-line lye calculator.

The second batch of soap started out a little soft because of the olive oil content and perhaps the vanilla compound that I added for scent, so the first few bars became like modelling clay with use - mouldable soap. The rest of the bars in the batch did dry out and harden after a few weeks. I still have a few bars.

Want one? Leave a comment saying you want some soap. Is anyone out there? Limited quantities and only available to those in Calgary and any family and friends willing to wait for me to make my way back east to visit some time this year.

Hippy Creamsicle soap

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Roll out your mat challenge

At Tim Horton's it's "Roll up the Rim to Win" time. Most often the message is "Please Play Again". While not the message you may be hoping for, it's the perfect mantra for a yoga practice. Instead of rolling up the rim, "Roll Out Your Mat" to win and "Please play again" and again. But with this game, you win each time. You win time spent with your Self, taking care of your Self and learning a little bit more about your mind, body and spirit. Paraphrasing what Judith Lasater said at a workshop, one reason we are drawn to roll out our mat is because our soul is lonely for us.

I go to a lot of classes and I do some yoga at home too. It's easier just to go to a class for many and there are many benefits of practicing with others and with a teacher. Not to mention, all of us yoga teachers would be out of job if we all stopped going to class. I have found it difficult to make a regular home practice stick. Slowly, my resistance, my perfectionism is being worn down and with a playful spirit, I am establishing a home practice. Advice from those who have a daily practice is to do it first thing in the morning. You can even do some (or all of it) in your bed.

Another helpful idea is take it in baby steps. Kate Potter said that when she was growing up her mom's daily mantra was "Have you practiced (your dance, piano, etc...)? Do just 10 minutes." It worked with my son's oboe playing. Only I did not have to remind every day. He just took up the practice on his own for the most part. 10 minutes a day can go a long way. As a new year's resolution, my hooping instructor's whole family have been hooping daily for 10 minutes together and their son suggested that they add 10 minutes of other props too. This illustrates the fact that motivation follows action, not the other way around. I tried this out myself with hooping when I joined a hooping challenge on facebook, and my hooping improved a lot during the duration of the challenge. Then I stopped. Which brings me to the use of games.

Games can be fun. There is accountability and social contact when you play a game and little challenges along the way. (I love this TED talk about why we should spend more time playing games.) I started a little game a couple weeks ago, sending out a bite size challenge to my yoga students and myself. ( For example, do tree pose, or massage your feet.) The Olympics having just ended, I set levels of achievement of bronze - did it once, silver - did it twice and gold did it three or more times before the week was up. One student declared herself platinum, having done tree pose everyday.

Why would you not? Countless useless reasons. I observed myself one morning resisting massaging my feet, but I did it any way. Once I was aware of the absurdity and of the situation and resistance that comes up when I try to make myself do something I should, I was reminded why I do yoga. All the wins listed above which are in short the definition of yoga, union with your true Self. Kate Potter advises a yoga home practice of 10 minutes a day of whatever it is that you need. Some days it may be longer, but it is a great place to start. Eve Johnson started her yoga journey with only five minutes a day and she eventually became an Iyengar instructor in Victoria and is the author of a blog dedicated to helping others to establish their own home practice. I love her Five Minute Yoga Challenges. If you need any more encouragement, Judith Lasater writes about commitment to a practice.

Gentleness and compassion go a long way where brute force has failed for me. Mary Oliver puts it this way:

"You do not have to walk on your knees

For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves."

Roll Out Your Mat challenge this week is to play with your pelvic floor. 

(While men do not suffer incontinence as often as women, this will benefit the prostate in men.)
For a review of what we did in class, watch the videos below as you play along with Jaki Nett as she explains part of her Felt Sense Method to treat incontinence. Jaki is an Iyengar teacher and this video is from a workshop she did in Warsaw. Her book, "Crack in the Mask", is available in town at the Yoga Studio South if you happen to be in Calgary.

I love the comment that Jaki makes in video (at 2:15), "Consciousness is the vehicle for prana. And prana is also called the healing energy. So if we want healing energy to go to a place in our bodies we have to put our consciousness there. We have to know where to look so it knows where to go."

The explanation continues here...

Start with Bronze - do it once
   Please play again...
          to Silver - twice
                  Please play again...
                       you're Golden - 3 or more times before next Wednesday.

(Bonus points: Here is an additional 30 minute practice video involving the whole pelvic floor.)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Project 39: Girl's dress from a handpainted T-shirt (A craft from the past)

I received a hand painted tie-dyed T-shirt for my birthday at the end of high school.  I still have it. (Don't worry, I'm not a hoarder, it's about the only item of clothing that old that I still have.) Now the two artists are also mothers of daughters and I will send this re-groovenated gift on for their daughters one day soon.

It could be a night dress, a dress or long t-shirt. There are two slots for a belt if desired. I made this quite a while ago. This photo is from last September. Heather is mixing up a batch of bread dough.

I used this tutorial again (from project 23) to add a channel around the neckline and gathered around the neckline and sleeves. I sewed narrower side seams that taper at the waist. I sewed side seams with the shirt right side out, then cut open the old side seams and left the excess fabric on the outside since it somewhat resembled seaweed. Also the image of a starfish on a rock was preserved rather than being cut off and left on the sewing room floor. (You can't see the starfish in these photos, but it's there beside the blue fish.) Heather thinks the shirt would be better without the seaweedy bits on the side. (Just sew the side seams with the shirt inside out to avoid seaweedy edges.)