Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Unpaper towels!

The name of the blog 'Handavinnublogg' means something like 'crafty blog'. Handavinna is an Icelandic word which literally means 'handwork'. It is used to group together all sorts of activities you do with your hands: stitching, knitting, crocheting, lacework, etc. I chose this name because I was interested in cross stitching, knitting and crocheting so I figured 'handavinna' was kind of all encompassing.

There is one handavinna I've always wanted to do more of, but been having a hard time getting into. It's machine sewing. I did some last summer, when my daughters were in Iceland, but not much since then. I was having an issue with my machine (it kept breaking the needles). But I've resolved that now, so no excuses. One of my problems is that I don't have a good place to do it. I was totally charmed by these 'unpaper towels', i.e. paper towels (eldhúsrúlla) made out of fabric. Here is a tutorial, and if you search the web for 'unpaper towels' you can find many examples. I just had to try and finally whipped out my sewing machine again. :)

I found the tutorial above on Friday, and instead of saving the link, I sent it to my email with the title: must make this wknd. I guess it worked since on Sunday I started picking out fabric, cutting out a whole bunch of 10x10 inch squares (enough to make 10 towels) and even starting to sew them together. Then I realized we were getting late for a dinner party and had to run out of the door (forgetting bunch of stuff and looking fairly casual).

Well, I kept at it. I worked on them some more after I came back home and then Monday after work and 4H (program the kids are in) I kept going still, and finished after the kids were in bed.

I finally found a nice comfy place to sew. The coffee table! (sófaborð). I could sit comfortably on the sofa and even have the Olympics play in the background. The kids could sit next to me and even help (pushing the pedal was a favorite). My husband fusses about having to watch the olympics (he's an anti-sport kind of person), but secretly he enjoys watching it and awwws and owwws at nice performances. (p.s. we were watching the men's synchronized diving and these men have the best sport outfits ever!!!)

So I finished the 10 towels (or almost). You can put snaps (or velcro, but I´m worried that the velcro will become full of fuss in no time with these towels) so you can roll them up like a real paper towel. I was planning to do that, and earlier this evening I got the snap kit out only to discover that I had but 5 snaps (gasp!), but I need more like 20 of each kind (male/female). So for now these towels have no snaps. I was even in Joann's this Sunday looking at snap stuff, but I didn't think of buying extra snaps (I was wanting to see if they had a good tool/machine to make snaps with). Since the nearest Joann is 45 min away, I don't go there very often, but perhaps Walmart has snaps now that they have their fabric department back (yay!).

The fabric I used was a terry cloth I got when my mom was visiting about 5 years ago and the cloth is vintage fabric my friend gave me after she help clean out stuff for someone else. I picked it because it was kind of cute and whimsical and now I'm really glad I did because this fabric gives the unpaper towels a certain character, don't you think?

My kids (two girls, almost 9 (in a week) and 7) were fascinated by the sewing, much more than they are ever with my other crafts (except maybe stitching). It prompted them to want to make their own projects, but more about that later. Until then, here are couple of pictures, one of them helping me iron and the other of their 'littlest pet shop' characters, which profited from the fabric scraps.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Power outage

From about 6 PM on June 29th to 6 PM on July 1st, out electricity was out (or our 'electric' as people around here say). We were actually lucky to be only out for 48 hours, compared to other people who were out for 5-10 days, and that in the middle of a heat wave - days and days of 100F temperature (38C).

While the electricity was out I did some knitting. I finished the bath towel I was working on.

When I was done I didn't quite know what to do. It's not like I could go online to find a new pattern to knit.

The electricity went out at the same time point as I was leaving work on a Friday evening, the last day of work before a week long holiday (vacation for people in the US). I was planning to stay home for this week long holiday and hand out with my family and work on organizing the house.

The electricity being out kick started the cleaning/organizing efforts. Since there was limited amount of activity possible, cleaning kind of happened naturally. So I wanted to clean up and I needed a knitting project. So what did I do? I went into my closet and pulled out a bunch of projects that had been hibernating for a while.

Some of the projects are never going to happen and I frogged them. Others got worked on. The towel here below is one of them. I worked on it almost 3 years ago from a pattern for garterlac dishcloth (garterlac is the same as entrelac, except in garter stitch).

All I had left of this towel was a little triangle on top and the strip it hangs from. That's it! And it took me almost 3 years to finish it!!!! At least it's done.

I also pulled out a blanket I had made and then decided to make it bigger. But it turned out to be too warm for me to work on it. It is also simple and not very pretty and hard to photograph. If you don't believe me check out this flickr photo.