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.


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.

Good Wool


I am sure that most of last year’s Christmas celebrations were completely awesome. But what I remember most is that last year I vowed to do two things this year. 1 – Not send out Christmas cards and 2 – Make more crafts. Last year’s Christmas cards made me all Grinchmaster 2000. I can’t explain exactly why, but it was awful. I already feel better about this Christmas season now that I’m not sending out 45 or whatever silly number I thought I needed to send. And on the crafting front, last year I don’t think we made a damn thing! So I’m trying to plan manageable crafts, with easy to obtain supplies, that can be done mostly by the kids. So far I have the supplies for one craft and one baking project and the kids are so excited about both! Yay! I think there’s at least two other things that we could manage to make, plus all the cookies.

Yes, I’m being vague about crafts, but since everyone and their mother is reading, I don’t want to spoil surprises!

But I can tell you about parts of what I’m doing. The whole story will be revealed in time. The red things hanging on my clothesline above are skirts that I found at the Goodwill yesterday. I also got an amazing men’s coat in a gorgeous herringbone pattern.


I took this picture just after they all had a nice long soak in my bathtub with wool wash, followed by a spin in the washing machine. Other than linings in these items, they are all made with wool. All three items were in impeccable condition (I always look for signs of moths, and often find lots of holes, but not on these!). Once they were dry, the wrinkles you can see in the pictures went away. I was going to try to get a better picture of the skirts, but well, I got excited this morning.

The red skirts got torn up and put back together. The thing I made with them is the best thing ever! Since I’m not telling you about it, I told Gerald everything about it, all day, including multiple exclamations of “This is the best thing I ever made!!!!!!!!!” or something along those lines. He can now hold his own in a sewist’s discussion of bias tape – including the merits of homemade versus store bought.

I am really excited about the prospect of buying high quality wool for really, really good prices. The skirts were $3.75 each and the coat was $14.00. You can bet that on Monday I’ll be doing my tour of the thrift stores, trying to score some more good deals for more craft ideas! I have big plans for that coat, but it’ll need some careful planning.

I’m so excited about doing all these little and not so little crafts, preparing for Christmas. So much better than last year, already!



Just yesterday I ordered Elizabeth Zimmermann’s new book (edited by her grandson, Cully) Knit One Knit All (reviewed by Clara Parkes in Knitter’s Review this morning). It is a collection of EZ’s garter stitch patterns. As I understand it, many of the patterns have not been published before. I am ridiculously excited to see the book, and I hope it’ll give me the kick in the pants to pick up my knitting again.

That’s right, I have not been knitting. My knitting mojo is all wonky. It’s a very odd feeling, having knit pretty much nonstop for the last eight years. I have patterns that have been knit and photographed that I could write up. I have sketches and swatches. I have ideas floating around in my head. But the urge to actually sit down and do any of the work is not there.

But I have been busy with other stuff. Jerry had a birthday. He’s NINE YEARS OLD.


I took advantage of having my Mom visiting for Jerry’s birthday to 1) pick strawberries and 2) make stuff with them.

strawberry picking

strawberry picking

strawberry picking

I made freezer jam and regular jam. We ate a lot of them with shortcake that my Mom made. I froze some whole for smoothies, and I froze some cut and sugared, as recommended by the strawberry farmer himself. Note to self: next year only pick two buckets – three tops – because four buckets was really too many.

The other way I’ve kept myself busy is with house projects. After finally making The Hallway into a space that is useful and pretty, the goal is to fix everything in the entire house, starting with the small and easy-to-handle projects. First up was kitchen curtains. They turned out great, but have a funny way of enhancing the fugliness of the rest of the kitchen.

kitchen curtainsThis fabric came from the quilting cotton section at Joann’s…one of those “exclusively for Joann’s” prints.

Next up was curtains for what we call the Front Room. It’s really the family room, and we spend a lot of time here. Click here for a sort-of before picture – it’s just a picture that happens to have the old curtains in the background.  And here are my new DRAPERIES. I am totally in love with these bad boys.

draperiesI got this fabric at MaryJo’s in Gastonia, NC. What a great store! It’s Robert Allen Home.

I am not in love with those fake trees…maybe I’ll put them away today.

When I finished the curtains, I started painting two old chairs.


A day of sanding, two coats of primer and three coats of paint on each chair, a brilliant fabric suggestion from my sewing peeps and I’ve got a pair of awesome chairs that I love.

chairs on chairs

This chair fabric is from the Tufted Tweet line by Laurie Wisbrun.
I bought it from Hawthorne Threads.

Then I borrowed my mother-in-law’s sander. I am unstoppable.

new old desk

This desk came from the Salvation Army for $20. I’m thinking I’ll paint it white/cream, but that part is still up in the air. I have primed it and I just need to decide on the paint color. It’s going in Jerry’s room with the green chairs. His room also needs to be painted, and we’re considering taking out a wall, or at least part of a wall, and then, and then, and then.

Sadly, I’m just not that into picking up the knitting. I feel bad about it because I miss my knitting! But it also makes me happy to get my house in shape. We’ve lived here for 7 years now; it’s about time!