Christmas Sewing

December has been a bit on the crazy side so far. As I had done in 2007 and 2008, I was ESSA marking again this year, but it overlapped a little more with the end of the school year, so for most of the marking I was going to school then on to marking, leaving the house at 7.30am and not returning until 10pm. Calli was not impressed and there was no time left over to do much more than plan for the two meals (lunch and dinner) I needed to leave the house with each morning, let alone to knit! The end of the marking dragged on a bit (I was called back in for last Monday evening, then did more on Wednesday), so I don’t really feel like the holidays have started yet.

Last weekend, I came up with a plan for Christmas presents this year, and in between everything else I have made three items for my nieces and nephews. (I’m pretty sure I’m safe in showing these here as I don’t think my siblings or their children read my blog, but in case they are, look away now…) For one nephew I have made a pirate pencil case, and for one niece, an owl pencil case. For another nephew I made a simple drawstring “book bag” in another version of the pirate fabric.


These are a “box pouch” style of pencil case I wanted to try. I followed a tutorial here, using 30cm chunky open-ended zippers, and cutting the fabric 30 x 32 cm for a cross-section of about 8cm square. They have three layers – outer fabric, plain coloured lining fabric and a layer of non-fusible interfacing to give stiffness. I omitted the seam along the centre of the bottom of the pouch and cut only one piece of each fabric. I could do this because the zippers were open ended and could be detached to open out flat after the fabric was sewn to both side of the zipper. I also added a small loop at each end of the zipper, because after making the first one, I found it hard to find somewhere on the end of the case to grip to pull the zipper open and closed. So I added the loops to the second one, then went back and re-did the ends of the first one to add the loops.

When I started the first pencil case, I pulled out my sewing machine bits to obtain the zipper foot, and found that I’d forgotten that part was broken. So I sewed both zippers in with the general purpose foot instead. The second pencil case zipper also broke while I was sewing it, and I had to go and buy another one. When all this sewing was done, I tried to get an new zipper foot. I had tried back when I first broke it (two? years ago), but my machine is a 20 year old Singer, and found it wasn’t easy. I was in luck this time around though, and got a new zipper foot on Thursday. I tried to put it on to my machine on Thursday afternoon, and the part it snaps onto cracked, making it impossible to put any presser foots on the machine, rendering it useless! Drat! That part is presently with a sewing machine mechanic, who is trying to match it for me, or else it will have to be ordered in from Singer. Either way, the pencil case I was about to sew for me, and the second tablecloth I was also about to hem, are going nowhere for now.

And so I bring you my present knitting with the backdrop of the same old tablecloth… The lightweight cardigan progresses slowly, and is boring me to death.


The slant socks look absolutely no different to the last time I photographed them, just a few centimetres longer. And I started a new project – a bunny rabbit that I might enter into the Easter Show next year. He probably hasn’t got a ridiculous enough number of bits like one of those ugly Jean Greenhowe dolls to compete, but I already love the pattern which gives him a little pot belly and a bum that sticks out waiting for me to make his pompom tail. I’ve done the head, body and two ears, and need to do his arms, legs and tail. Then I can have fun dressing him up in layers of clothes.


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