Weaving a Pouch


I like to protect my cell phone before putting it into my bag by slipping it into a woven pouch. I custom made my woven pouch to fit my particular phone. This was a fun and inexpensive way to get exactly what I needed. I recently got a request to make another.

Here is how to make a lined woven pouch. It’s uses are endless. The size of the pouch depends on the size loom that is designed. A great feature of this loom is that the weaving is done in the round using both sides of the board. When done weaving the front it is flipped over and the weaving continues on the back and then flipped to the front and so on. There are no seams to this pouch. When done weaving, the top is tied off and it is a complete pouch. Let’s begin…

Supply List:

  • Matt Board
  • Self-healing cutting board
  • Utility Knife
  • Ruler
  • Triangle
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Black Perle Cotton Embroidery Thread on spool
  • Bent needle (with eye large enough for yarn)
  • Yarn (all sizes and textures)
  • Muslin cotton fabric (for lining)
  • Thread (to match lining)
  • Sewing Machine
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Straight Pins
  • Iron/Ironing Board
Making the loom

First, decide how big the pouch needs to be. If making for an object, such as a cell phone, place the object on the mat board and measure half an inch on all side around the object. This will be the size of the loom plus add 2 1/4″ additional length . On the top edge measure down 1/8″ and draw a pencil line. Along this line, make small marks every 1/8″. Make these same marks on the bottom as well. Make a line across where you will stop weaving with pencil.

On a self-healing cutting board, use a utility knife to cut out the loom. Next, cut the small marks along the top of the loom. These will be the notches that will hold the warp threads in place. DO NOT cut the marks made on the bottom of the loom. These are for placement of warp threads only and should not be cut as the pouch would not be able to be removed from the loom.

Cutting notches

Now it is time to attach the warp threads to the loom. Start at the upper right corner. Place the black perle cotton thread in the first notch. Hold the tail of the thread to the side with your left hand. Come down the back and up the front through the same notch. Go around the back from this notch across to the next notch and down the front and up the back always returning to the same notch and repeating the process. Follow in this manner until the loom is warped and on the end wrap around the notch and cut the thread.

Using Perle Cotton to Warp the board
Down the back and up the front returning to same notch.
Going from notch to notch
Ready to weave

Now onto weaving the pouch. Thread the bent needle with about 2 yards of yarn. Weave in an under / over pattern through the warp threads starting at the bottom right and working to the left. Leave a tail of yarn where first weaving stitch was taken. Once at the end of the row, flip the loom over and continue weaving. After weaving the front and back once, flip the loom over and start weaving on the front side again starting on the opposite side of the warp thread that has been previously woven. For example: if the first row was begun with going under the warp thread, now the weaving must begin by going over the warp thread. Never should weaving be the same in touching rows. The pattern will always change as you turn to the front side of the loom.

Weaving in progress

As the rows are woven, they need to be pushed down using the tips of your fingers to form very tight rows. The warp threads should not be highly visible. Keep working the rows down to eventually cover the bottom thickness of the mat board as well. This is important so that no warp threads are visible at the bottom of the finished pouch.

Push rows down to cover bottom thickness of mat board

To change colors or add more thread, weave a little back stitch row using the same under/over pattern as the row it covers. This is the only time to use the same pattern, so that the weaving stitches will blend in when pushed close. See pictures.

Back-stitching to change colors
Push back-stitching down-weaving stitches should match
Done weaving

When the weaving hits the pencil mark that is the finish line for weaving, simply stop weaving and cut the yarn leaving a tail. This tail will be woven into the pouch but leave it for now. With scissors, cut two warp threads close to the notch. Take the threads and tie together in a knot on the last yarn row that was woven.

Time to cut warp threads and tie off

Now turn the loom over and cut two threads and tie in a knot in the same method. Repeat this process of cutting two threads and tying until all threads are cut and tied. If an odd number of threads remain, no worries, just tie three threads together and carry on. Now, very gently, slid the pouch off the loom.

All tied-off and ready to slip off loom

Cut all warp threads short and close to knot. Thread the yarn tail onto the slanted needle and weave through a few rows of woven stitches on the inside of pouch. This will not show on the outside of bag.

Warp threads cut short / Weaving yarn tail on inside to secure

Thread the tail of the bottom of bag and make a loop to form a knot. Pull yarn through loop pulling a knot close to bottom of bag. Clip yarn tail off with scissors. The pouch is finished and now the lining can be added.

Knotting end tail

Take a piece of muslin and fold in half. The fold line will be the bottom of the lining. Lay the pouch on top of the muslin. Bottom of pouch should line up with fold line. Leave a half inch of muslin around all three sides of pouch. Mark and cut fabric to size.

Lining Fabric

Pin two sides of muslin sew seams with sewing machine. Before sewing second seam, be sure the muslin lining and the pouch will match up width-wise for hand sewing them together. If they do not, adjustments may need to be made to the sewing seam allowance. Turn the lining to right side so no seams will be visible. Measure down half an inch on upper edge and turn under to wrong side and iron in place.

Lining fabric turned right side out / Measuring half inch to turn under and iron

Take a sewing needle and thread, Slip stitch the top of lining to the top of pouch. Be sure to fold the top of pouch so the cut warp stitches are tucked under and stitch to the fold of the lining. See photo.

Hand slip-stitching lining to woven pouch

When the lining and pouch are sewn together, tuck/stuff the lining into the pouch. No seams should be visible in the lining. Voila! (If there are any questions, please leave in the comments.)

Lined Pouch compete – ready to tuck lining into pouch and use
Finished pouch
Other examples of various sizes

Knitting in the Large


I had the idea YEARS ago to knit a rug. For this I would need extra large knitting needles. Where to get such large needles one might ask? Ask your husband to make them of course.

So my wonderful husband made me a pair of extra large knitting needles (20mm round x 36″ long with a wheel on the end). However, I never did get around to using those needles, until now that is. It all started when my son accompanied me to the craft store. We were looking for something else entirely, which we found, when my son liked the feel of this REALLY huge yarn. It was extremely soft! Then it dawned on me, what a perfect yarn to use with my extra large knitting needles. Sold!

The yarn we chose was a Loops & Threads brand labeled 87 yds/35 oz – 80 m/1000 g / Super Bulky 6. It called for a needle size of 12 mm / US 17. Ha! What do they know! What this super bulky acrylic yarn needs are super extra large needles. I’ll show em!

At home that evening I got out the needles and proceeded to find a show on the television to knit along with. Of course, I chose MasterChef. But as I was about to sit on the sofa, I realized the needles were not going to work. I would need to bring in an armless dining room chair so my needles could move. They were too long to use on the sofa. Boy these were big needles!

I must say, the knitting does go by quickly with such big yarn and needles. Although, my project was a bit heavy. Since I was making a rug, the pattern was not hard. I decided to cast on twenty-five and knit until it was long enough or I ran out of yarn, whichever came first.

Compare the big needles to a size 15 and a size 8. Compare the yarn to regular size by Vanna.

I knitted until I ran out of yarn. Now what? It seemed a bit smaller than I had hoped for. The consensus around the house was to keep going. So back to the store we went to get another ball of yarn. Thank goodness this is on clearance as it is normally pretty expensive stuff.

Another night and more MasterChef to accompany my knitting project. But woah, this project was really getting heavy and I needed a bit of support. I marched into the dining room and brought back another chair. Then on second thought, I made that two chairs. I now supported both needles with the seat of a chair so my arms could support my project. How on earth did the manufacturer of this yarn think I could make anything on a size 17 knitting needle!?

Using a chair to support each needle as the weight of the project weighs me down.

After two trips to the store, two balls of yarn, and two extra chairs, my project is now complete. I do like the outcome. Would I recommend this project? Why not! I would caution, however, that the weight of the project after the first ball of yarn was a bit challenging. Maybe a few pushups or a bit of weight training before adding the second ball of yarn? Happy knitting!

Finished project! Approximately 30″ x 40″.

Let’s Go Fly a Kite


It’s the little things in life that can bring enjoyment. Stopping to smell the roses, watching ducks swimming in a pond, seeing a rainbow, and watching kites flying in the sky. Why not bring a little enjoyment to yourself and others? Let’s make a kite!

I tried making paper kites when I was a kid. We would cut old sheets to use as tails. Sadly, my paper kites never really flew. They usually just bounced along after me on the ground as I ran around the yard. This could be due to poor kite design, lack of wind, or just not knowing what I was doing. Who knows?

In college, I took a fabric design course in which we had to dye fabrics, tie-die fabrics, batik fabrics, and stitch fabrics. After we had finished our tie-die fabrics, the professor gave us instructions to turn our fabric art into a kite. Cool! What was even cooler was that this kite actually flew! The kite flew so well in fact that I didn’t have to run around the yard to try to get it in the air. Wow!

The sled kite that I made is quite simple and inexpensive to make. I think it makes a perfect first kite as it is so simple to get up into the sky. It also rolls up to a nice portable little bundle. So let’s get started!

Finished Sled Kite

Sled Kite

What you will need:

  • newspaper
  • black sharpie marker
  • yardstick
  • tape
  • material (to fit the pattern size you make)(white muslin to tie-dye/or cotton pattern)
  • thread
  • needle
  • scissors
  • thimble
  • straight pins
  • tape measure
  • iron
  • ironing board
  • 2 wood dowel rods size 36″ x 3/16 (cut to size)
  • coping saw
  • pencil
  • small piece of sand paper
  • tie-dye kit (optional)
  • kite string on spool with clip
  • fishing swivel (optional)

The first step is to make a pattern for the kite out of newspaper. Take two pieces of newspaper a tape together to make one large piece. Next take a yardstick and decide how long the kite will be. The number should be easily divisible by 3. I choose 27 inches. Take your marker and mark a line 27 inches. Then cut along this line.

Mark line at 27″
Cut at line

Now that you have this you will need to make a grid on your paper. The grid will be 3 squares by 2 squares. Each square should be the same size. Since I chose 27 inches….3 goes into 27 nine times. I will have six squares that are 9 inches. Cut along outer edge.

Make Grid

Now take your yardstick and place it diagonally on the top left square from bottom to top and draw a line. Then place your yardstick from the top right of the same first square to the bottom right square of the last square of the top row. Draw a line. Cut on these two diagonal lines. This is the kite pattern. The bottom edge should be placed on the fold of the fabric. It will be a mirror image when opened.

Mark diagonal line
Mark second diagonal line
Cut at diagonal lines
labeled kite placement guide

Here comes the creative part! Fabric choice! My suggestion would be something bright and eye-catching. (Pale blue or white will not be exciting in a sky of the same color.) This is where tie-dying comes in….take white muslin and tie-dye the fabric to your liking per box instructions or buy a fabric with a pattern already printed. Such materials to consider would be any light cotton such as a batik print. Once the fabric is chosen, fold the fabric to fit the pattern piece and pin the pattern to fabric with the fold edge (in my case the 27 inches) on the fold of fabric and cut fabric. (Do not cut the edge with fold.) When the fabric is open it will be the entire kite.

Take the fabric and fold over the fabric 1/4″ on one side, press with iron and then fold again to make a 1/2″ hem. Using a slip stitch, hand stitch the side in place. Repeat for all sides of kite leaving a small gap on the ends of the top and bottom to insert wooden dowels.

Slip stitch hem leaving space for dowel rod to be inserted

Cut wooden dowels with coping saw to fit in hem pocket in top and bottom of kite. Sand the cut end of dowel and insert into hem pockets. Tack in place to kite material with thread by using needle to whip thread around the dowel about three times and at three equal distances along the rod.

Cutting dowel rod
Tack dowel in place to kite with thread

Cut a piece of kite string about 2 yards long. Thread one end into the head of a large needle and stitch to farthest side point on kite. Then stitch the other end of the string on the other side of kite and thread through plastic clip,. (If the kite string does not come with a clip/ring you can use a fishing swivel. Attach this to your kite line.

Stitch kite string to farthest point on kite
Thread through plastic clip on kite spool

Find a safe place to fly your kite. This should be away from traffic, power lines, trees, storms, etc. Be sure to pick a windy day. The windier the better. Some places are naturally better for flying kites. Usually places close to the bay or beach are great places to find the perfect wind.

Face away from the way the wind is blowing. Hold the kite in the air by where the strings meet close to the ring. When you feel the kite catch the wind, give it a little more line until you slowly let it go higher and higher. Adjust the line if it does not feel tight enough or begins to drop by reeling the line in a bit.

Have fun and go fly a kite!

(Be sure to send me a picture if you actually make a DIY Sled Kite!)

Making Homemade Pasta…Worth the Time


Years ago, I took a hands-on pasta making class at a local cooking school. I did so because making pasta seemed overwhelming to me and I was not sure I could do it on my own. However, pasta making is actually very simple and fun to make.

While making pasta from scratch does take longer than opening a box of dried noodles, it is well worth it. It tastes fresh and takes less time to cook than the dried pasta you get at the store. Plus, flavors can be added to the dough to give it a unique taste. Tomato paste, spinach, herbs, etc., can be added to give the pasta color, texture, and flavor. The pasta will be so tasty that heavy sauces will not be required. Fresh tomatoes or a butter sauce compliment the pasta quite nicely.

How does one go about making homemade pasta noodles? First, a pasta machine is required. The hand cranking kind works fine. Mine is an Atlas brand from Italy. Most kitchens will have everything else that is needed. Ingredients are also probably something most people will have as kitchen staples.

The dough can be made in a large mixing bowl. Dry ingredients are put in and a well is made in the center to hold the liquids. Liquids are gently mixed in the well until all dry ingredients are incorporated with the wet. This is then kneaded until smooth and let to rest for ten minutes. The dough is now ready to run through the pasta machine. It’s that simple!

Here is the recipe I use:

Homemade Pasta

  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 8 tsp water
  • 1 tsp olive oil

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture. In a small bowl stir together egg, water, and oil. Pour into well and mix with flour mixture.

Sprinkle kneading surface with flour. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic- about 8-10 minutes. Cover; let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough in half. Roll dough flat enough to fit in setting #1 in pasta machine. Pass dough through setting #1 four times, folding the dough after each pass and sprinkling with flour. Then roll dough once through settings 2 through 6 sprinkling with flour after each pass. (Do not fold dough on settings 2 through 6.) Repeat with other half of dough.

The dough is now ready to make into noodles. Add the noodle cutting attachment to the pasta maker and pass dough through to cut into noodles. Additionally, if you desire ravioli or lasagna noodles, they could be cut at this stage instead.

Cook pasta in boiling water for about 6 minutes, until floating and done to your liking. (Homemade pasta should not be overcooked. ) Top with your favorite sauce.

Recipe serves approximately 4 persons. Recipe can be doubled.

Water Bottle Holder


Like to take water with you but don’t want to carry it? Can’t get anyone else to carry it for you? A water bottle holder is just the ticket. Sling it over your shoulder and you are ready to go.

I have made four of these water bottle holders. What I like about them is that you can personalize them to whatever pattern or color you like. They keep the water cool and the sweat from the bottle does not get all over the place. Mostly, I like that I do not have to hold the bottle and can have my hands free.

Materials needed: 1/4 yard cotton fabric, Insulin-Bright insulating material (www.warmcompany.com), one package of double fold bias tape quilt binding .875″ wide, thread, pins, sewing machine, iron.

The holder does not take much fabric and is easy to make. It can be customized to fit the size of bottle you have. For a standard size water bottle, cut 2 pieces of fabric and 1 piece of insulating material : 10 1/2 ” wide x 11 ” high.

Take the insulating material and place the two pieces of fabric with the fabric right sides together on top of it. Sew on the top side (10 1/2″ wide side) through all pieces using a 5/8″ seam allowance. Turn the top fabric piece to the other side of the insulating material. Now the piece should have the insulating material in the middle with fabric on either side, right side facing out. Smooth flat and pin the piece everywhere with quilting pins. The sewn side will be the top. Sew in one inch lines from top to bottom or quilt as desired. Fold in half so sides meet, sew lengthwise 5/8″ seam. Set aside.

Cut a piece of binding tape long enough to cover the unfinished edge of the holder and the desired length of the strap.

Now take the binding tape and open it up and enclose the seam with the tape. Pin to the unfinished edge of the holder. Sew up the side keeping close to the edge of the bias tape and keep going down the remainder of the tape. Next, place the end of the strap inside the holder and sew in place. Turn the body inside out.

Cut two circles of fabric and one circle of insulating material 4″ diameter. Place together with the right sides out and insulating material in the middle. Pin. Sew an x through the circle. Sew a 5/8″ seam around the edge.

Pin the bottom circle piece in place in the bottom edge of the right side of the holder and sew around. Turn to right side. Put a water bottle inside and enjoy!

(My bag is adapted from the pattern on: blog.ilovefabric.com)

Drying Lavender


Have you ever gone into a boutique and seen the bunches of dried lavender neatly tied with twine for sale? I always thought it would be nice to purchase such lavender bunches. The only thing that was stopping me was my pocket book. Dried lavender can be pricey.

This is where my DIY mode sets in. I decided growing my own lavender would not only be cheaper than buying dried lavender bunches, but I would also have plants to fill in my bare yard. Bonus!

Growing lavender is easy (see my blog under gardening). Drying lavender is also very simple. Just cut the lavender stem above the lowest leaves. Cut enough to make a nice bunch and wrap a rubber band around the bottom of the stems. Hang this bunch upside down until they are dry. Voila!

I put my dried lavender in a ceramic wall pocket . You could tie a pretty ribbon around them and display them in a basket or make a floral arrangement with them. Crushing the flowers and putting them in a DIY hand sewn satchel would bring a lovely scent to your drawers. Gifting the lavender would also be a nice option or using them to decorate a wrapped package.

So if you like the thought of lavender indoors, why not bring it outdoors first. The bees will be happy and your garden will look lovely.

Growing Pineapples


I love Hawaii and the taste of fresh island pineapple. What could be better than to have the taste of the islands in your own yard? A few years ago, I decided to give it a try.

I purchased a pineapple from the store, twisted off the top and peeled off a few layers of the lower leaves. I placed this in a glass of water, changing the water daily. After roots started to form, I planted it in a pot with topsoil. It is a good idea to put a wire cage around the plant until it is a good size. This is experience talking. One day I came home and found that an animal (most likely a rabbit) had uprooted a newly planted shoot. Lesson learned. Animals do not bother the plants when they are larger, probably because the leaves do tend to be sharp.

Pineapple plants do not have very long roots, so the pot does not have to be all that deep. The plants do, however, get fairly large. I had to re-pot my plants in larger pots as they grew. They also do not need to be over-watered, although they do require a bit more water when flowering to support the fruit they are producing.

I have found that my plants grow better when not in full sun. I have mine on the side of my house so that they are in the shade until afternoon. This seems to make them happy. They also do not like frost. I live in California and in the winter I am sure to watch the weather forecast. On cold nights I cover the plants with a light frost cover from the garden store. It is very light weight and does not bend the leaves. My plants have been burned from the frost on nights when I didn’t foresee the frost. They survived and still produced pineapples. I just cut off the burnt part of the leaves with scissors.

Pineapple plants produce one pineapple and then they produce shoots that are new plants. When a shoot forms, it can be twisted off and planted as a new plant which will in turn produce a pineapple and then more shoots. A few years ago I stared with one pineapple top and now I have six. All of my plants are offspring from the first plant. The first plant takes the longest to grow and to produce a pineapple. The shoots seem to grow faster and produce pineapples in less time than the original top.

I am sure there are different ways of growing pineapples, however, this is what has worked for me. Not only are the pineapples tasty to eat, they are fun to grow and make for an attractive addition to the landscape. Aloha!