Friday, August 27, 2010


I bought a pattern for a small backpack way back when I started sewing again (so about a year ago, now). I never posted about it on here because it was finished before I started the blog.

I love it. I carry it with me when I need a larger bag than just my purse. For example, I take it with me when I go to the Portland Saturday Market in case I make a purchase.

I had formulated this plan to make a smaller version for my friend's son. He's just turned 3 and she's pregnant with his little brother. I thought that baby bro will probably be getting a lot of attention and presents in the near future, so I'd make a few things for big bro.

I ended up making it just about the same size that mine was. I was going to cut it down, but just sort of didn't do it for some reason. I made the pocket on the front more 3-D so it could be filled with important treasures. It also has a sort of pockety thing on the inside that fits a little stainless steel water bottle I found for him at a garage sale. I couldn't get a good picture of that part because it's too dark inside the backpack.

I need to go get some cool buttons for the pocket and top flap and a drawstring for the top, but other than that it's finished. I whipped it out in one amazing evening of sewing productivity. I'm very pleased with it. I hope he likes it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Halloween Wave Quilt

To appease Ciara, here's pictures of my completed New Wave Quilt from Elizabeth's pattern on Oh, Fransson!. I hadn't posted them yet for two reasons: first, because it's a gift quilt and I wanted to give it to the person before I posted pictures of it online, and second, because my boyfriend was supposed to hold it for me while I took pictures and we kept forgetting.

So here's a picture I took of it on my own. It's a lot harder to photograph an entire quilt (even a lap-sized one) when no one is holding it.

It's smaller than the real New Wave quilt because I didn't have enough different Halloween fabrics. I also decided to not trim the edges straight and did the binding around the points of the diamond shapes. It wasn't all that hard and I think it looks cool.

One of my friends had asked if I would make her a quilt if she bought the fabric. I agreed, but then we never got around to shopping for the fabric. She had mentioned that she would be interested in a Halloween themed quilt and I already had all this fabric on hand (for what, I have no idea - why on earth would I have purchased this much Halloween fabric??). It took me only slightly over a day to whip the quilt up from start to finish.

Part of the reason it was so easy was because I had one of Jill's (Made On Main Street) fabulous acrylic templates. It makes this pattern super easy to cut out and once cut, it's fast to sew together. Here's her etsy shop, although she doesn't have a New Wave template posted.

After I finished the quilt, I had a bunch of fabric left over that I wanted to use (including bias-cut binding that I really didn't want to go to waste). I've been really into these pieced hexagons recently (from this potholder tutorial originally), but the triangles are a pain in the butt to cut using a regular rectangular ruler. Jill made me more fabulous templates for 45 and 60 degree triangles, which made it totally easy. I think I'll make an entire quilt from them next.

In keeping with the theme of angled binding, I decided to finish the pillow as a hexagon rather than making it square (like I did with my couch cushion pillow). This pillow is stuffed with random batting and fabric scraps that I'd saved for stuffing the dog bed. Rags will just have to wait for more scraps to come his way.

Quilt and pillow are headed to their intended recipient this evening, so I'll report back on how she likes them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Baby Sweater

Baby Sweater, originally uploaded by A Scattered Squee.

I knitted a whole sweater!

Note to self: check gauge more carefully before starting sweater project. This sweater won't fit the baby until it's about 2.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Laundry Detergent Woes

I was running low on my homemade laundry detergent so I decided it was time to mix up another batch. I made a dry version the first time and it seemed to work fine. In the interest of testing different types, I decided to make a liquid type this time. I'd saved the big jug that our last purchased laundry detergent came in so that I could give it a try.

I (mostly) followed a recipe from this website again. I went with recipe #1.

The worst part of the experience last time was grating the soap. Ivory soap falls into tiny particles at the least provocation, but the Kirks Castille soap that I'd purchased especially for this project last time does not grate well. I figured I'd outsmart the soap by using technology, so out came the food processor.

Turns out that entire bars of soap cannot be processed in a 2-cup food processor. After judiciously chopping a bar into eighths, it more-or-less processed into powder or small chunks (with a few larger chunks left). I figured that, since the first direction is to dissolve the soap in hot water, the chunks would dissolve more easily than I could food process them.

Wrong. If you boil water containing a lot of dissolved soap, you get a pot that quickly fills with bubbles and threatens to boil over. Soap-water must be simmered. At a simmer, grated soap and small pieces dissolve quickly. Larger pieces take forever.

This is what my soap-water looked like after it had been simmering for about 20 minutes. Note to self: next time, grate the soap entirely. It's worth the extra time.

The recipe calls for 2 cups of grated soap. One bar of Kirk's produced slightly less than 1 cup, so I food processed 2 bars of that, then did a bar of Ivory so I'd have plenty. This gave me around 2.5 cups of grated soap. I dissolved it in water, then brought it to a boil and added 2 cups of washing soda and 2 cups of borax.

At this point, I think I should have added more water. I probably boiled off a substantial amount of it while simmering and, although I did add more during the simmering process, once I added the washing soda and borax, I had something nearly the consistency of ice cream. It was really hard to mix the washing soda and borax in, so at least one of them had not fully dissolved when I poured the mixture through a funnel into the detergent container. There were dry clumps of white stuff at the bottom of my pot.

I added about 2.5 quarts of hot tap water and shook up the mixture well inside the detergent container. Fabulous. Laundry detergent. Or is it....

The next morning when I looked at it, the entire thing had solidified into one large mass of solid whitish soap-stuff. I guess I used too much soap and not enough water. Or something.

It's been hot-hot-hot here the past couple of days, so my first thought of heating a pot of water and re-liquifying the detergent seemed like a profoundly unpleasant idea. But how else does one heat an entire container of laundry detergent? One leaves it on the front porch in the sun in the 95 degree weather!

Sitting outside for the entire day liquified the detergent to the point where I was able to add another quart of water and mix it in. I left it on the porch to think about its misdeeds.

Apparently it didn't feel in the least bit sorry because it was solid again the next morning. I left it to warm and then filled the rest of the bottle up with hot water. It seemed liquid enough.

However, I appear to have been thwarted again. After cooling, the detergent is oddly gelatinous and too thick to pour out of the container. There's no more room to add additional water, so I'm going to pour it into a bucket (which is actually what the website advises originally) and see if I can use it as a sort of laundry jelly.

Go check out this giveaway...

Normally I don't cross-post giveaways because it irritates me. However, there's a chance for a really awesome prize here and I wanted to share it.

Isn't this thing cool? It's like a whole room in a box.

Lovely Little Handmades is having a giveaway for a cutting board, which if you win, you will then be entered into the Original Scrapbox drawing for a Limited Edition Workbox.

If I had more disposable income, I'd have one of these already.


Christina from A Few Scraps is doing a quilt-a-long. It's actually a quilt-a-long, too... not just a piece-a-long. We're going to follow along free motion quilting a project. I'm excited!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Baby Hat!

Baby Hat!, originally uploaded by A Scattered Squee.

My first real completed knitting project (ignoring the two scarves, which were really just practice). The pattern is "Bananahead's Baby Beanie" by vibegrrl. I downloaded it from

The yarn is currently a mystery. I got it at Fabric Depot with a 40% off coupon. I thought I saved the tag, but now it's disappeared.

edited to add: I found the tag - it's Queensland Collection Haze made from 60% corn viscose and 40% cotton. Weird.

It's for my will-be-born-in-November niece.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rampant Productivity

Every once in a while, I get on a productive streak. This time, the productive streak was caused by my quilting friend Ciara, who stayed over last week. She brought over these awesome teal and green fabrics with which we made a pillowcase that she is giving as a gift. She left me the fabric we didn't use in the pillowcase and I was so inspired that I made a pillowcase of my own.

The two pictures above are the front and back of the pillowcase. I made the hexagonal side first (based on this tutorial from Jaybird quilts), then used the rest of my sewn together strips as the border for the square side. It matches nothing in my living room except for the potholder pictured below.

Then, being in a hexagonal sort of a mood, I made this potholder using a bag of strips that Ciara had left me from another quilt. The back looks the same as the front except that the center didn't quite match up as well.

And it's not just me that's being productive. My eggplants and tomatoes are getting in on the action, too! I'm so proud of them.

Monkey Ball!

Monkey Ball!, originally uploaded by A Scattered Squee.

I made a ball to go with the Sock Monkey Quilt for my upcoming niece. It's made of paper pieced pentagons using this tutorial. I stuffed it fairly firmly with batting scraps. I'm pleased with how it turned out.