Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thawing out.

Austin's back open for business! I went into school today, taught my first class (in which we did mostly intros and I tried to be the scary teacher by snarling out my attendance policy), had lunch, had a meeting, went to a job talk, and declined an invitation to dinner with friends so that I could come home, collapse on the futon and knit.

I know what you're thinking...wuss! But after spending not one but two "snow" days at home, all that activity left me exhausted. By the way, don't let the news reports from Austin fool you, people, if you live in other parts of the country; you would have thought that the apocalypse had come in the form of ice and freezing rain by the way the local weatherpeople trumped up the winter storm warnings.

Terrified to go out lest I end up like Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining, I finally ventured outside and discovered that it really wasn't that bad. A friend and I agreed that the weatherpeople whip up fear and anxiety to keep us in thrall to the weather report (normally 4 minutes long, yesterday the lead story and every other story except for sports), and boost their ratings.

Well, what can I say? It worked. And who I am to complain about extra crafting time? You would think that I whipped out a pile of FOs like Meg did. Honestly, I have just one sock to show:
It's the Gentleman's Plain Winter Sock, from Knitting Vintage Socks. And as long as I'm coming clean about it, I finished it tonight (in my defense, to get a fitting on the recipient's foot before I knit the toe). Hey, Ashley, recognize the yarn? I won the Lanett Superwash skeins in Ashley's Predict the First Day of Snow contest, um, in 2005. Yes, I am a bit behind on my sock knitting.

I am most excited, however, about my latest repurposing project: my laptop case! Yay! Check it out:
Remember this sweater from my Salvation Army story? It's an Old Navy pullover that someone felted, so the fabric was nice and thick. I've been wanting a laptop sleeve that I can slip into a backpack or a tote, and almost bought a Tumi one at the outlets for $30. Good price for Tumi, but I already had this idea percolating and decided to give it a shot.

I cut off the sleeves and the turtleneck collar, making sure that I had two pieces of fabric as big as I could get them. Whee! What a liberating feeling, to cut into a knitted sweater with no guilt.

I had planned for a much more complicated pouch, but discovered that simplicity was ultimately better. For example, I was going to line it, but realized that it wasn't really necessary, and I liked the reverse stockinette to show on the inside. I was going to machine stitch it, but the fabric was so thick that it wouldn't fit underneath my presser foot, so I picked up my yarn needle. I was going to make a zippered case, but then found that I liked the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater and thought it would make a nice flap. I thought I might add some velcro to keep it closed, but since the flap is long enough, it stays closed.

To stitch the whole thing together, I decided to use the gold Cascade 220 (from the Harry Potter Scarf), referenced my trusty Stitch and Bitch book, and picked a sturdy backstitch to sew the body together.
I measured and trimmed as I went, and didn't leave much of a seam allowance to avoid bulk. I decided to blanket stitch the edges to stabilize them, and initally wasn't sure if I liked the look or if it looked too homey. Ultimately, the look grew on me, so I decided to finish off the flap edges this way too.

I kept screwing this part up! My fingers insisted on inserting the needle from back to front, and then I couldn't figure out why it didn't look like the picture in Stitch and Bitch. It took me a good ten minutes and a visit to the Internets (where the picture looked exactly the same as the book) for it to sink in that the needle gets inserted from front to back. Durr. (Meaning, also, that my picture is wrong.) When I got the hang of it, though, it was fun.

So now I have a nice, snug sweater for my laptop. And it's way cozier than the black nylon Tumi.

Meanwhile, if knits could talk:

Hey! I'm Sweet Mary Jane! I thought you wanted to knit me so bad! What happened? Nobody puts Baby in a corner! Nobody!


At 11:15 PM, Blogger Kodachrome said...

Hey Sweets,

Thanks for your presence on my blog. Your words of comfort meant a lot to me.

As for that laptop case: hot damn! I love it, and I think I need to do the same project this weekend (more snow forecasted for TX so more craft time for us!) Thanks for the inspiration, and the savy use of Sally Ann's resources.

And as for the close of your post: that Dirty Dancing line gets me everytime. :)

At 2:58 AM, Blogger Laura said...

The laptop case is SO COOL! Much better than a Tumi.

I've got some knits yelling at me from the corner as well. Cheeky things.

At 4:25 AM, Blogger Karen said...

I love the laptop case!!! It's so awesome. You did a wonderful job - and just think of the great bargain you got on it. And no one else will have one like it (although they'll all want one, once they see it!!) No wonder you needed to go home and rest last night - you had a jam packed day. I was tired just reading about it all. Those weather reports just kill me - I remember last summer they were BREAKING IN to normal programming to tell is it was HOT!! Yeah, like I couldn't have figured that one out without the special report. LOL

At 6:05 AM, Blogger Ashley said...

Hey! Green sock yarn! Hi!

OK, I love the laptop case. I love the kind of homespun-ness of the marled yarn and the blanket stitching next to something so high-tech.

And I love an Austin snow day, because it's so much fun to sit back and laugh at the weather people having conniptions. Ah, the south.

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Nancy said...

I want to get a laptop just so I can get a case like yours! What a fabulous idea! You are just much too crafty. Gald you survived the Big Snow of '07.


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