craftmas, General Sewing

On the third day of Craftmas…

…my true love gave to me: a scarf for the pep rally!

Even though my friend Ricky* defected to Toronto 15+ years ago, and I see him once a year if I’m lucky, I still try to find the perfect Christmas gift to send every year. In this case, “perfect” translates loosely to “not totally impersonal, not ridiculously expensive, and not a bear to ship in terms of either packaging logistics or postage costs”. I don’t ask for much, do I?

A couple of years ago, I put together a Batman starter kit (mini Bat Signal plus some socks, soap, and mints all featuring the caped crusader’s likeness), and last year it was a box of local goodies that he wouldn’t be able to get in the Big Smoke. With everything that’s been going on this year, I opted for something nostalgic to remind him of those carefree high school days. *pause for laughter* Or at least something in our school colours.

I’ve actually made this scarf twice before, but this was my first time making it according to the original instructions and not trying to shoehorn in an extra colour. Based on a tutorial from the dearly departed Craftster, the premise is simple: choose two colours of fleece (A and B); cut eighteen 4″ by 6″ rectangles and four 6″ squares out of colour A; cut twenty 4″ by 6″ rectangles out of colour B; use nine, two, and ten of each kind of cutout to form each side of the scarf and then sew the two sides together for double-layer warmth.

I sincerely thought that cutting out all those rectangles was the most annoying/time-consuming part of this (admittedly simple) project – and then I remembered that every time you sew two of them together, you have to tie off the thread ends at both ends of the seam. Every time. For 2+10+9-1 seams per side.

To be fair, tying off the thread ends isn’t difficult or as prone to causing hand cramps as marathon fleece-cutting, but it’s the start-and-stop (especially if you leave them all until the end) that makes them a pain. By the time I was doing the second side of my scarf, I got smart, and tied my threads while I was on a conference call – it kept my hands busy, but wasn’t so distracting that I wasn’t paying attention to what was going on.

I think this should ward off the Toronto chill, no?

There was a time when I would have wrapped that scarf all around my model’s head to preserve anonymity or else digitally alter the photo up to and including decapitation; but darned if a co-ordinating mask doesn’t do the trick.

And sure, the scarf is nice and wouldn’t look out of place at the homecoming game (assuming we had a football team, which we did not), but it needed a little something extra to really complete the theme.

Perfect, right? It had the blue-and-gold scheme, and we both spent four years with the same English teacher who spent those years drilling into our heads such gems as the eight (nine? Ten? Google seems to be very divided on this) parts of speech. I think all of my grammatical neuroses can be traced back to that classroom.

In some miracle of modern postal service, his parcel arrived with a week to spare before Christmas, and I hope he’ll be able to get some use out of both, lockdown or no.

Thanks for looking….go Sabres!! 🙂

*Not his real name, but a nickname given by that same English teacher.

craftmas, General Sewing, Uncategorized

On the second day of Craftmas…

…my true love gave to me: ein Schal für Schnuckiputzi!

Last year, I cross-stitched Berlin as a Christmas gift for my friend of German descent, which felt like it took more or less forever. This year, I opted for something less ambitious but far more pragmatic: a double-layer fleece scarf, in the colours of the German flag, perfect for warding off the frigid Prairie air.

I used this tutorial, which I also used a few years back to make a scarf for my dad, so I already had a pretty good idea of what I was doing. (That never happens!) I found the fleece at a good price back in the summer when, ahem, the eventual recipient happened to be with me.

HIM: What are you going to do with the fleece?

ME: Oh, remember those Star Trek stockings I made? I want to make more. I’ve already got Spock blue at home.

Good excuse, right? Fast-forward to the cutting table.

OVERLY OBSERVANT FABRIC STORE EMPLOYEE: Looks like you’re making a German flag.

ME: Um, no. Star Trek stockings.

OVERLY OBSERVANT FABRIC STORE EMPLOYEE: So where’s the blue?

Much measuring, cutting, and sewing later, I had this:

My model is in the Witness Protection Program. 😉

Actually, I’m lucky I was able to take it off long enough to have her model it for me – it’s soooo warm and snuggly!

It’s nice and long, so he’ll be able to wrap it around and make sure he’s covered. Perfect for those early-morning waits for the bus!

Thanks for looking! 🙂

General Sewing

And you thought Rudolph Valentino was the Sheik….

Qu’est-ce que c’est bleu-blanc-rouge, et très chaud? – Un foulard Habs super!

Shortly before Christmas, I was browsing Craftster and I saw this cool project.  (If I had a dollar for every time I’ve started a conversation with, “Ohmygosh, someone on Craftster just…”, I could retire.)  These Harry Potter scarves were the perfect, inexpensive, last-minute Christmas gift, and my reaction was both swift and dual: “Those are so great!…But I don’t know any Harry Potter fans.”  I think my cousin had read the books, but I have no idea if she’s still into that stuff, and certainly wouldn’t know what her favourite Quiddich team was.  Is one house inherently better than the others?  (My senior accountant later told me no, that one would simply identify with a house whose values/characteristics/etc. reflected one’s own, but I was done my Christmas shopping by then anyway, so it became a moot point.)

I couldn’t get those scarves out of my head, though.  “I bet you could do that with CFL team colours,” I mused, “or any team, really.”  And so it was decided that my dad, who normally eschews those crazy pieces of winter gear designed to keep one warm, needed a scarf in Montreal Canadiens colours.  (Er, couleurs.)

Habs Scarf 1

It’s long enough to be wrapped around and cover nose/mouth/neck/entire head (probably)….

Habs Scarf 2

….but has groovy fringed ends for a jaunty look.

Habs Socks

(As you can see, he took his modelling job very seriously, with his Béliveau jersey and matching socks.)

A rotary cutter made cutting the oodles and oodles of fleece rectangles a fairly quick job.  Sewing them all together and tying off about a million thread ends (whyyyy does he like a team with more than two colours?) was…not as quick, but the end result is absolutely worth it.  This thing is warm, and darned eye-catching, if I say so myself.

His jersey might have a 4 on it, but when I first set about making this, I had nicknamed it the Subban scarf: the original instructions, before taking seam allowances into account, used 76 inches of fleece.  🙂