Sewing to fight the Cold

In honor of the frigid temperatures we have been experiencing lately, I decided I would tackle sewing some reusable hand warmers.

Before I was ready to tackle this project I needed to practice sewing straight lines. Unlike the bag I sewed last week, the seams in the hand warmers are visible and therefore I wanted them to look nice and straight.

For help with this mission, I turned to the great wide web. I found this video by crafty amy.  I am assuming from some of the things she says that she has taken a sewing course. I didn’t end up watching the whole video because she was a little redundant but she does have some good tips on how to sew straight. One of the things she said completely revolutionized my technique. Apparently, it is really important to not look at the needle as that can be dizzying. Instead, you look at the  “foot” or watch where your fabric lines up with the machine.

She had a couple of challenges that she demonstrated how to complete.

The first was to make several parallel lines ever ¼ inch down the fabric.

Here is my attempt:

I am wishing that I could have used a different color thread so that my stitches would have shown up a bit better on the light fabric.

 

As you can see,  the seams started off fairly crooked but by the end, I was sewing a reasonably straight line. I did not worry too much about the distance between lines. That might be my next challenge.

 

The next challenge was to make a spiral like this. The trick to this was to have the needle down at the corners, lift the foot pedal and turn the fabric ninety degrees. Then you put the foot pedal down and started sewing again. An important thing she should us in the video was how to back up. This was important and I used it a lot because it is hard to judge how far you need to sew before turning.

Here is my attempt at this challenge-

I was sewing fairly straight but again it was very hard to keep the right distance. That is something I will definitely need to work on.

 

When I got bored with sewing lines on a single piece of fabric, I decided to start sewing hand warmers.

 

I used this tutorial to start. The tutorial included mostly pictures and a few words but it was still easy enough to follow. The pattern called for me to sew the two sides together, leaving a space and then pulling the fabric through that hole. Then I filled the warmer with rice and I was supposed to sew around the entire square leaving a seam. I couldn’t fit all that so I ended up only sewing two sides.

Then I made this warmer. I used a different pattern this time. I also changed it up a bit as I cut 5” squares instead of 3” squares because I wanted a bigger

I am happy with how they turned out and I think if I hadn’t run out of rice I would still be mass producing them. Hopefully, they help me stay warm this week!

Advertisements

A Time Waster that’s Worth My Time

I am a notorious procrastinator and an expert time waster. When I should be writing or reading or applying for jobs, I spend hours on Facebook. This week I found myself using Feebly as my chosen method of distraction. It was so easy to scroll through a feed and get immediate access to interesting blogs and articles related to what I’m interested in. So even though I”m stilling procrastinating, I feel less guilty as I’m wasting time by gaining new pertinent information.

When I  chose content to follow I might have gone a little overboard. Basically, I looked at the education category and followed the first 30 that came up. Then because I am also passionate about  Agriculture, I went to that category and added some sites that I recognized or looked interesting.

Over the next many days I then started unfollowing the sites that just weren’t for me. For example, this site got unfollowed when it asked me a few times to register to finish an article.

This was one of the sources that got cut.

It maybe wasn’t the most effective way to build my feedly feed but it allowed me to look at many different resources and really start to form my “feedly identity.” I found it easy to unfollow things when I already had so many articles to read. It also really helped me find sources that I really enjoyed.

For example,  Education Technology. I am really enjoying reading the practical and easy to use sources and tutorials that could be used to integrate into any classroom.

This was one of the sources I have really enjoyed. I really love being able to browse this articles on my iphone wherever I am.

 

I was really excited to find Cool Cat Teacher on feedly as well. She has a  I am a dedicated listener to her weekly “10 minute teacher” podcasts. I enjoy her podcasts as they are quick and easy to listen to without a huge time commitment but they are also filled with interesting and useful tips and strategies. I was really looking forward to seeing some written work from her. Unfortunately, so far the posts from her site are just links to her podcasts.

 

On the upside, I also found the Cult of Pedagogy. This is another podcast I love to listen because it is full of inspiration and teaching strategies. The cool thing about this one is they are posting the written word that I can read on Feedly. Sometimes it is related to the podcast of the week, sometimes it is something completely new. It’s fun to get to access their worlds through two different methods. I am, of course, really enjoying Feedly and the easy access to relevant information. However, I still need to get my other work done so I am going to have to try to start finding a balance.

But first, I’ll just read one more article.

If they can do it, sew can I!

I am going to take this project as an excuse to finally learn how to sew! I have always wanted to learn but was intimidated by the prospect.

As a Christmas present, I received a beautiful handmade drawstring from a student who has been taking sewing lessons from a community member. I decided then that if she can do, I can too! I told myself that someday, when I have the spare time,  I was going to commit to learning how to sew. So this project kind of seems like fate! It is the perfect excuse to make the time now.  

I am excited to finally try to learn this craft, but I do have a few concerns about this undertaking.

  1. Expenses- I have been a full time student for 4 years now, so it is not surprising that I do not have a whole lot of wiggle room in my budget for starting a new hobby. Sewing requires a lot of initial supplies, Including a sewing machine, and it also requires lots of fabric for every project you tackle.Solution: My mom has agreed to buy me a sewing machine with the understanding that I will eventually make her window curtains for the house. Instead of buying new fabric to start with, (and mess up on) I have plans to “upcycle” old clothes. I have raided second-hand stores and mom’s rag pile for useable
  2. Time- Another side-effect of being a student is that I never feel like that I have enough time for extra things, like learning to sew. It’s hard for me to make the time forSolution: I have added sewing time to my “official” schedule on the wall and I plan to stick to this
  3. Obsession- This concern goes hand in hand with the time concert. Last year, I taught myself how to crochet, and I became obsessed. I was staying up all hours of the night to finish projects. Everywhere I went I took my crocheting bag with me. If I wasn’t physically crocheting then I was pinteresting new ideas. It got to the point that it had dominated my life in a borderline unhealthy way. I had to put my crocheting things away before my internship to make sure that I would not get distracted by the temptations again. I am worried my new hobby will have the same effect on me, and honestly, I do not have the time to become consumed by sewing right now.  Solution: I have scheduled time for sewing into my official schedule and I plan to limit myself to only sewing during those times.

The first big obstacle I need to address is the fact that I do not own a sewing machine. I have done some research, browsed manuals, read reviews and watched videos. The problem with trying to buy a machine you have never used is a lot of the jargon they use to describe the machine goes right over your head.

“14 unique built-in stitches with one 4-step auto-size buttonhole” Is that a lot of stitches? Too many stitches? Not enough? When do you use an auto-size buttonhole?  

So I have had to do a lot of just researching about what a beginner sewing machine needs.

I have finally chosen this machine. It is reviewed well for a beginner sewing as it is simple, easy to use, transportable, and small enough to fit into my dorm room. It is one of the more cost efficient machines I have found and best of all my local Walmart sells it making it easy to buy and start using immediately.

Projects and Goals

I am going to tackle many small projects to start with. Hopefully, this will give me some chances to experiment with different technique.

My goal is to sew for 5 hours every week and hopefully finish about one small project per week or one larger project per two weeks.

As far as a final culminating project goes, I haven’t picked one. I feel like I need to get a feel about what is realistic before I make any plans.

Stay tuned to see if I really accomplish my sewing goals this semester!