backpack

Back to School

Here’s my new backpack (in real life it is more in focus). It was a gift from my mother-in-law and I got to pick it out myself. I absolutely needed a new backpack because I start school tomorrow (says the girl with more bags of all kinds than anyone could ever need, but whatevs).

One of the requirements I used to choose this pack was the availability of “open spaces” on which to sew the patches I’ve been collecting for years. I settled on the Quad Backpack from LL Bean. Only after I started sewing the patches did I realize this was a dorky sort of thing to do (says Gerald) but I am old enough now not to care about being dorky. Because I’m not that uncool, mostly.

Back to School

The most necessary tools for this project were my thimble, which is silver and does not fit on my large man fingers, and those good sharp needles. It is hard to 1) sew through thick backpack material and 2) maneuver such a cumbersome object as a backpack while 3) blanket stitching patches with thick glue backing meant to be ironed. I sewed on one or two patches each day, only poked myself badly once, and now she is completely dorkified.

Back to School

Confession. So, most of these patches I picked up at the places they depict. But, once I started sewing I realized I needed more patches to fill in more of the spaces and display things that are important to me (gosh that is SO dorky). So I went on ebay and cheated (says Gerald). The Buffalo patch was not purchased in Buffalo, even though I’m from there and take great pride in being a Buffalonian. It came from ebay. And the Bills and Giants patches? Also ebay.

Back to School

My favorite patch is the Blue Ridge Parkway one because it is the prettiest. It was also the hardest to sew, based on its location and thickness. But I love it.

Back to School

The Have a Nice Day patch is hidden under a flap, just in case I am not feeling friendly on a given day.

Back to School

Tomorrow is my first day at school, almost a year after I decided that this was something I wanted to do. Yeah, I went in the Spring for some of my general ed requirements, but tomorrow is the first time I’m taking the photography classes. I feel ready but nervous, not really knowing what to expect. It’s that freshman feeling all over again.

But at least in terms of carrying books and school supplies? I’ve got that covered.

Back to School

Runaround Bag

Runaround Bag

It’s time to reveal my secret sewing project! I visited my sister-in-law last weekend, and since we won’t see her again until after Christmas I gave her an early present. The bag is what I made with those red wool skirts. Remember? The pattern is called The Runaround Bag from Noodlehead. It’s a really, really great pattern -  perfectly written and easy to follow, what with all the pictures. The pattern is a steal for $7, considering that I could probably make at least one of these bags a year for the foreseeable future.  In addition, the pattern includes a license so you’re allowed to sell any bags you make on a small scale. How cool is that?

Runaround Bag

For this red bag, I used two thrift store skirts; one for the lining and one for the exterior. They are different shades of red, and I put the lighter/brighter one on the inside. The red on the outside is a deeper and richer color. One downside of the whole “thrifting for fabric” thing? There is a lot of waste, and it’s a job just figuring out if you have enough pieces with the seams in the right spot, etc. But I’ve saved all the waste to hopefully put into another project someday.

The blue bias tape binding fabric, while not thrifted, came from a yard sale! Other than the interfacing and the thread, this is a very old bag.

Runaround Bag

Shortly after I gave it to my sister-in-law, I found it hanging from a hook in her house. It was meant to live with her, as you can plainly see.

runaround

Roqua! That’s RED+AQUA! They were MFEO (made for each other).

I made a second bag using the gray Pendleton skirt from this post, and without taking a single picture of it gave it to my niece. Sad face (that I didn’t take any pictures) but happy face (because she was so, so happy).

I may or may not be making more bags. They may or may not be for you. I may or may not keep one for myself. NO ONE KNOWS.

I also may or may not have developed a serious addiction to looking for wool at the thrift stores. And then buying it and bringing it home to cut it all to pieces. I have a problem.

More Good Wool

More thrift store wool

As promised, I headed back to the thrift stores on Monday, looking for more wool. This time I had luck at the local Salvation Army. It really is a quick process for me. I start by finding the right aisle, then I quickly flip through the clothes, keeping my eyes peeled and using my hand to feel for wool. When I come across an item that might be wool, I go straight for the tag and hope for the best.

Here’s what I found. And it made me happy.

More thrift store wool

The skirt is 80% wool and 20% polyester. Normally I wouldn’t be interested in a wool blend, but the quality and condition of this skirt are excellent. The color is just what I want for my project and because of the pleats, there’s a lot of fabric to work with. It cost $3.

More thrift store wool

Here’s the next one I found, another $3 skirt.

More thrift store wool

The color is perfect. Just what I wanted. Here’s the tag.

More thrift store wool

I just googled Pendleton Woolen Mills. The company is still in operation in Portland, Oregon, and still using the tagline “Warranted to be a Pendleton”. I like the blankets they have on their website, especially this 5th Avenue Glacier Park Throw made in the U.S.A. of 100% merino. Yes, please.

Do we have time for an aside? That Glacier Park Throw is 54″x72″ and costs $138 + shipping. It immediately reminded me of a recent Purl Bee post for the Hudson Bay Inspired Crib Blanket. I was tipped off on Twitter about the outrageous project costs of Purl Bee stuff (which I love despite how $$ they are, BTW) so I just did the math. The crib blanket has a finished size of 34″x39″ and the yarn costs $335.00 + shipping. And then you have to knit it.

Anyway. Think on that for a while.

The Pendleton skirt is a size 18, so again, lots of fabric to work with!

More thrift store wool

Next I went to the aisle that had women’s suits, and I found this beautiful skirt and jacket. And when I say beautiful, you know I mean that I’m going to cut it all up and make it MORE beautiful, right? Although this is a pretty nice suit.

More thrift store wool

The pattern is a very fine check.

More thrift store wool

This skirt has a zipper, which I’ll use in my project. Bonus! And here are the tags from this one.

More thrift store wool

I also googled David Brooks Ltd but mostly it’s just ebay auctions for skirts and stuff like this.

I hope I don’t jinx myself for saying this, but I have all the supplies I need to make some headway with these items tomorrow! I will not have any errands to run – mark my words. Tomorrow is crafting day!