Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cute Little Christmas Gift Bags - Quick and Easy to Knit

Source: Free Knitting Pattern - Holiday Gift Bag Set

While browsing one of my favorite websites - Lion Brand Yarn - I came across a free knitting pattern for these cute little Christmas drawstring bags. They are quick and easy to make using left-over yarn from other projects.

You could use them for a variety of purposes at this time of year, including:

  • They could hold small gifts, providing an environment-friendly alternative to wrapping paper (and they could be re-used year after year!). Just attach a gift tag to the drawstring.
  • You could put after-dinner mints or chocolates in them and give one to every guest at your Christmas dinner or party.
  • They could be used as Christmas decorations, hung on the mantelpiece or even on the tree!
Do you have any ideas for other uses for them?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Quick and Easy Sewing Project - Make a Drawstring Bag in an Evening or Less

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My daughter wanted to store her nightwear in a drawstring bag, so I made her the bag in the photo above. I used a remnant of pretty floral fabric which I bought for A$1 from a fabric shop. To make the drawstring, I used a length of cord recycled from an old school sun hat. I sewed the bag by hand and it only took me a few hours to make. My daughter is very pleased with her bag and her nightwear is much more organized!
Drawstring bags are quick, easy and fun to make, even if you have only basic sewing skills and do not own a sewing machine. Drawstring bags look attractive and can be easily washed. They can store a variety of items around the home, including nightwear, underwear, shoes, and small toys. Children can take their sports kit to and from school in a drawstring bag.

Using a sewing machine, a drawstring bag can be made in less than one hour. Alternatively, it will take you only a few hours to hand sew a bag. Here are step-by-step instructions for making a drawstring bag.


• A piece of fabric, approximately 40 inches (100 cm) long by 16 inches (40 cm) wide
• A length of cord, approximately 40 inches (100 cm) long
• A safety pin
• Sewing thread and sewing needle (or a sewing machine)
• Pins
• Paper, such as baking paper, for the paper template (optional)

1. Cut a rectangle of fabric approximately 40 inches (100 cm) long by 16 inches (40 cm) wide. If you wish, you can cut out a piece of paper with the same dimensions, pin it to the fabric and use it as a template for cutting out the fabric.

2. With the wrong side of the fabric facing you, fold down approximately 1.5 inches (4 cm) on each of the shorter edges (i.e. widthwise). Pin and sew each seam using back stitch. This creates a channel that will run along the top of the bag.

3. Pin each of the long sides together. Sew each side as far as the seam of the channel. Do not sew up the sides of the channel.

4. Reverse the bag so that the right side of the fabric is showing and the seams are hidden inside.

5. Tie a knot at each end of the length of cord.

6. Affix a safety pin to one of the knots at the end of the cord and guide it through the channel (at both the front and the back of the bag), ensuring that the other end of the cord remains outside the bag.

7. When the cord has been pulled all the way through the channel and both ends are outside the bag, undo the knots and tie both ends of the cord together in a knot. Pull up the cord and your drawstring bag is ready to use!

Making a drawstring bag is a good way of using remnants of material or recycling material that is past its best. If you have a curtain that you no longer use, you could cut it into rectangles and make several drawstring bags. You could also look in thrift stores for curtains, sheets and quilt covers and re-purpose the material.

Drawstring bags are so quick and easy to make that you could make a whole collection of them and use them in different ways. You could organize your nightwear and underwear in pretty drawstring bags. Your children could use them to keep their rooms tidy. They could be used to conceal gifts as an environment-friendly alternative to wrapping paper at Christmas and on other special occasions. All in all, you will find that they are a useful addition to your home.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Persistence Pays Off!

I always find the middle part of a large knitting project the most difficult. The novelty of starting the project has worn off and I can't yet see the end in sight. I often feel bored with the pattern and not very motivated to carry on.

A week or so ago, I was very much in the middle stage of knitting the baby blanket diagonally. Although I'd started decreasing one stitch on each row, each row was still more than 100 stitches long and it seemed to take ages to knit just one row. I pushed myself on because I knew there was only about five weeks left until my friend's baby is due.

And now? All of a sudden, I have broken through the middle stage. I have less than 50 stitches on my needle and the rows are flying by! I'm excited because it won't be long before I have finished and am ready to package the blanket to send to the UK. That gives me more motivation to finish!

So, persistence really does pay off! It seems also that there is a lesson in here that I can learn for the rest of my life. It has seemed in the past two years that we are climbing a big mountain but I take courage from the lesson learned from my knitting. Perhaps I'm still in the middle stage as I can't yet see the end. I just need to continue moving forward and, before I know it, the end will be in sight and that will give me renewed energy - that final burst that enables you to achieve and be successsful!!

How about you? Do you experience that "middle phase" in a craft project of any kind? How do you get through it? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Winner's Choice Giveaway

Saved By Love Creations is holding a fabulous giveaway! The winner will be able to choose one of the three wonderful prizes shown above. The first is a set of hand-decorated coasters, each of which have different designs and inspiring words such as "love," "joy" and "unity."  You can see more photos of the coasters here.

The two other potential prizes are hand-decorated boxes. The first box is decorated with the word "hope" and some button-like embellishments. A close-up photo of the box can be seen on this blog post

The second box is covered with leafy green fabric and is finished off with a pink flower embellishment and a tag with the words, "be love." It looks very pretty. You can find out more about the fabric-covered box here.

The giveaway is open to everyone and closes next Friday - 19 March. All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment on the Winner's Choice Giveaway post.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Knitting a Baby Blanket Diagonally!

I have always wanted to have a go at knitting something diagonally, from corner to corner. After I finished knitting the random stripes jumper for my daughter last year, I had quite a lot of pink yarn and some white yarn left over. I looked on the Internet for a free knitting pattern to use up this yarn and came across this free easy stitch baby blanket pattern that is knitted from corner to corner.

When I started knitting the baby blanket, I had no idea who I was going to give it to. I'm not planning to have any more children and no-one I knew was pregnant at the time. Then, a few months later, my best friend in England told me that she was pregnant! I still wondered if the baby would be a girl as my friend told me that she thought it was a boy! Then, at her 20 week scan, she found out, to her delight, that she is expecting a girl!

I am thrilled that the blanket will have such a good home. Also, my daughter and I made an extra baby girl card from the cut-price craft materials we bought last year - that card will also find a good home in a few months time! My friend thinks that I'm psychic - I don't think so but I do believe that there is an overall purpose to life and little things like this make me realize that I should stop worrying, stop being negative and just live life to the full, because everything will turn out fine!!

Anyway, back to the blanket - I have now knitted a lot more than is shown in the photo. For the first half of the blanket, you increase one stitch on each row and the pattern tells you to do this until you have 208 stitches on the needle. Well, I reached 160 stitches and my needle was so crowded that I couldn't fit another stitch on (the pattern did advise using a circular needles but I have never knitted in this way). So, I have now started to decrease on each row, which will take me back to the opposite corner. It will make a smaller blanket but it should still be large enough for small baby.

Having a deadline for finishing the blanket (i.e. before the baby's due date) is also good for me as I always take so long to finish projects!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Great Giveaway at The Creative Place - Fabric Stash and Paper Scrap Packs!

If, like me, you can't resist beautiful fabrics and/or pretty paper, why not take part in this wonderful giveaway at The Creative Place. You could win either a whole stash of brightly colored fabrics or a whole assortment of decorative papers that you could use for scrapbooking, card making, collaging or other paper crafts.

All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment on the giveway post, but, hurry, the closing date is this Sunday, 7th February. I am so pleased that the giveaway is also open to those of us who live outside the USA! On many occasions, I've got excited about a giveway that someone has blogged about, only to click into the giveaway and find that it's only open to US residents - that's always disappointing!!

You can also receive extra entries into the giveway if you post about it on your blog or on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or other sites.

So, what are you waiting for, go over to The Creative Place and enter the giveaway! Good luck!
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