It’s been a really productive week for me, from a crafting standpoint.

I’ve gotten a lot of sewing done. I’ve been wanting to make a project bag, but I’ve been working so much that I didn’t feel like pulling out the machine. I finally had a nice four-day weekend, so after the requisite 16-hour hibernation on my first night off, I dug out all the requisite equipment and went on a bit of a sewing binge.

I enjoy the relative instant gratification it offers, and my God, do I love me some fat quarters. I could spend hours at Jo-Ann or Hancock on their fat quarter wall, holding them against one another and seeing how I like the patterns and colors together. I have no delusions of one day using any of them to make a quilt, but they are fantastic for small things like bags, and this week, I’ve made three. (It would have been four if I’d had a coordinating thread for some yellow prints I’d picked out, but alas, my random grab-bag of thrift-store thread didn’t have anything even close.)

I made a small project bag first. This was a basic pattern (available here), but I modified it a bit by making a second bag with identical measurements but a slightly larger seam allowance, and using that to line it. I also made the handle loop narrower by placing the ends closer together.

twoThis is almost exactly the right size for a pair of 2AAT socks, which is exactly what I’ve been using it for. There were some modifications I wanted to make, though, in order for it to be perfect, so I started another bag, and ended up with this:

bagIt’s a little narrower than I wanted, because I thought I’d joined the tube the wrong way (I hadn’t) but instead of ripping out two seams on each fabric, I just sliced them off and started over (this is also why the topstitched area at the top of the bag is thick and looks puffy – there’s interfacing inside there, because I cut off the non-interfaced edge). So it won’t be a 2AAT sock bag, but it would make a fine single-sock project bag, because it’s just the right size for a standard 100gm ball of sock yarn:

topAnd it’s also, as it turns out, a perfect project bag to fit my newest, smallest drop spindle:

spindleI also made a new work bag, which I sorely needed. I’d been using a single-layer cotton tote, and it was getting pretty sorry looking, so back to I went back to my “Bags” board on Pinterest, and found a link to a Purl Bee pattern that looked simple. I used remnants instead of fat quarters, so they’re not perfectly coordinated, but they share some of the same colors.

toteI used the same fabrics to line it, but reversed (so the liner handles have polka dots and the sides are plaid). That way I ended up using most of both fabrics, and I didn’t have to line it with a non-matching fabric, or go out to the store and find one.

I absolutely love this one. I love the colors and how playful it looks, it’s just the right size, and with the wide strap, it stays on one shoulder well (although I usually wear it cross-body).

I already have another bag on deck for my next day off: I’m going to base it off the same Daisy Janie pattern, but make it extra wide for 2AAT socks. I’m also going to add something to each side to corral the yarns as they come up off the ball, to keep them from tangling. I’ve seen some with grommets, but I’m thinking I want something a little less permanent, so I can switch out projects if I need to. My idea is something like this:



(Those are snaps, not nipples.)


I also pulled the trigger on another thing I’ve been hemming and hawing over (pun somewhat intended). For the past few weeks, I’ve been deliberating about trying to knit at work again. There wasn’t a really compelling reason for me not to, other than having heard a coworker say that she thought it would be “too much” to do so. Too much what, I don’t know. Too much fun? Well, no one ever said we were mandated to be bored. Too much distraction? I suppose that would be a valid concern, if each of us weren’t already doing things that could, in another context, be considered distracting: iPads and Pods, Kindles and analog books, although anything with sound is a relegated to one earbud only. We aren’t emergency dispatchers, but we do have a similarity: we are there in case bad things happen. At night, there happens to be a lot less happening, so we happen to have to keep ourselves awake by finding other things to do. It just so happens that the “other thing” I wanted to do came with literal strings attached, but I couldn’t really see how having my hands busy but my eyes and ears free, was any worse than having my hands free but my eyes and ears only about 50% engaged. (And I can put it down as quickly as someone can put down a book, but I would be willing to bet that anyone engaged in a heated game of Candy Crush would at least try to pause first if they got a crisis alarm.)

So for three nights, I packed my current pair of socks into one of my spiffy new project bags and clipped it to my backpack, and for two nights, it sat there, reassuring me with its presence. But for some reason, I was hesitant. Then, on the third night, I just took the plunge, and after midnight, I turned off the podcast I had been listening to (mostly to be able to keep my ears and eyes focused, although partly because I had reached my limit of how much Joel Salatin I could listen to; I agree with most of what he says, but I have to admit that at times, he does sound a little crazy, and I think Joe Rogan would let a guest talk for a filibuster’s worth of time if they were up to the task). And in the next five hours, I finished more on my socks than I had been able to accomplish in a week’s worth of occasional knitting.

I’m not going to say I gave zero fucks; nobody said anything, or seemed to really care, and at this point, we know each other well enough and work well enough together that I think if someone had a problem with what I was doing, they would have brought it up. I seriously doubt anyone’s going to say anything to try and get me in trouble, because, well, first of all, I don’t really know if that’s something I would get in trouble for. I mean, our bosses work days, but they have to know that at night, it gets pretty dead, and they’re okay with us having things to do as long as we’re also addressing what needs to be addressed. They have to know it’s impossible to stare unblinkingly at a set of screens for twelve hours, and I’d hope they’d understand that in the hours between midnight and 5 am, the time passes so slow it’s almost like a sentence. We’re just doing what we can to keep from dreading coming to work.

Second, I doubt anyone would really say anything because even if knitting does meet whatever criteria constitutes “too much” (even on a small, portable, easy project), they’d also realize the same is true for watching video after video on YouTube, or FaceTiming with your kids, or texting your BFF, or doing crossword puzzles, or whatever. I’m not the vindictive type, but if I were to get called out over something like that, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask “well, is it still okay to play with a tablet or read a book?” (Sure, it’d be throwing everyone else under the bus, but it’d also offer some plausible deniability. “Well, I was just trying to get some guidelines on what I am allowed to do, since I can’t knit.”) Mutually-assured destruction, in a sense.