What I’m Making: Kid-Size Messenger Bags

Kid-size messenger bags for adventuring! http://kimwerker.com/blog

When we were planning our summer camping trip with friends – a two-week road trip with two pretty-much-seven-year-olds – we got it in our heads that it would be fun to give the kids merit badges as they accomplish cool stuff over the course of the trip.

Which sparked the question of what the kids would do with their merit badges. Um, also I ordered a lot of them.

Their school backpacks have too many pockets and zippers to make them a good canvas for sewing badges onto, and anyway we suspect that once it’s time to go back to school they might not want their school bag to be covered in badges for things like playing frisbee golf or cooking with pie irons.

The obvious solution was to make them messenger bags for the trip. The flap would be the perfect canvas for sewing badges onto, and the bag would be great for beach-combing and finding all kinds of other treasures while we explore the world.

I’m not exactly an expert bag sewer, and my friend hadn’t sewn since she was in school, but we decided to go for it.

I picked up some olive-coloured cotton canvas fabric for the outside of the bag, and lightweight quilting cotton for the pockets and linings. My kid is bananas for baseball and my friend’s is similarly in love with soccer, so there you go.

We followed these instructions, with the following modifications:

  • Downsized the bag to make it more appropriate for young kids:
    • Finished size 9″w x 11″h x 3″d (it looks quite a bit narrower because the depth of the bag)
      • Body and lining cut to 11″ x 23″ (sized for 1/2″ seam allowances instead of 1/4″)
      • Flap and lining cut to 9″ x 12.5″
  • No applique or other decoration on the flaps
  • Slightly rounded flap corners for my kid’s bag (baseball); pointed corners for my friend’s kid’s (soccer)
  • No inside pockets
  • Outside pocket under the flap rather than on the back side of the bag that rests against your body when you wear it (this was as much due to not understanding from the instructions that the pocket wasn’t actually intended to go under the flap in the first place)
  • Made an adjustable strap using these instructions instead of making the one-size strap in the bag instructions

This project took us way longer than we thought it would, but in the process she remembered how to use a sewing machine and I remembered why I don’t make more bags. In the end, though, we’re really happy with how they came out, and we hope the kids take to them, too.

Kid-size messenger bags for adventuring! http://kimwerker.com/blog

What I’m Making: An Embroidery Sampler

Rebecca Ringquist Embroidery Workshop Sampler – #stitchinwithKim http://patreon.com/kpwerker

Over on the Patreon we’re doing an informal stitch-along all summer long. Any kind of stitching, just for fun, for getting to know each other, and for learning from each other. (We started a Facebook group just for patrons for things like this, and just for chatting, and it’s working out like a charm!)

Join us over on the Patreon for this summer's stitch-along! http://patreon.com/kpwerker

I’m making the sampler from Rebecca Ringquist’s book Embroidery Workshop. The book is amazing. It’s full of great projects and instruction, and the best thing about it is her approach to her craft: she encourages experimentation and play, and discourages getting hung up on “the rules”. Want to knot your work? Go for it. Is the back of your embroidery a total mess? Who cares. She invites you to dive right in and do what you want so you enjoy yourself as thoroughly as possible. Yes, yes and more yes.

If you’re into embroidery or just want to give it a shot, please join us!

What I’m Making: A Sock

Knitting a sock in worsted weight yarn. http://www.kimwerker.com/blog

I’ve written in my newsletter and Patreon about giving sock knitting a for-real try (I’ve knitted a sock or two over the years – but never a pair), and I gotta say, I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying it.

Maybe it’s that in “giving it a for-real try” I’m thinking more about ending up with a finished pair of socks instead of just thinking about the mechanics of knitting a sock (which I think is what I did the last couple of times I gave sock-knitting a try). Socks are odd ducks, after all, with their heels to turn and toes to graft; it can be easy to focus on accomplishing those feats… and then not wanting to do them again for a second sock.

Of course, I say all this with only one sock nearing completion. And a small one at that (it’s for my kid). But this one does feel different. I’m eager to finish it in part because I’m so excited to cast on for its match.

I’m glad I chose to make these (see that use of the plural, there?) in a heavier weight of yarn, but I’m also looking forward to finishing these up and making myself a pair in fingering weight. I have loads of sock yarn in my stash. Time to use it… for socks!

If I do become a Sock Knitter, I anticipate I’ll be just like I am with other kinds of knitting: preferring simple, mindless patterns. Not so much with lace or cabled socks for me. Do you have a favourite simple sock pattern you recommend?

What I’m Making: A Knitted Hat in Handspun Yarn

Hat knitted from handspun yarn! http://www.kimwerker.com/blog

This is the second project I made from this batch of handspun – the first handspun I’ve ever felt was ready to actually be made into something. (The other hat is the same, but smaller to fit my six-year-old.)

Hooray!

It’s a basic 80-stitch hat with a ribbed brim, and I used 4.5mm and 5.0mm needles to make it.

I’ll take it on our camping trip next month, so no need to wait till it gets cold this fall to wear it!

What’s your favourite thing to make with handspun yarn?

What I’m Making: Baseball Birthday Party Tags

Baseball birthday party gift tags! – http://www.kimwerker.com/blog

Because our kid’s birthday is right at Christmastime, we decided when he was an infant that until he insists it’s dumb to do so, we’ll have parties for him at his half-birthday.

Which is how we ended up with twelve 5- to 8-year-olds in our house yesterday after the cold, rainy weather made us ditch holding his half-birthday party in a park.

The kid loves – LOVES – baseball, so we decided each of his friends would leave the party with a pack of baseball cards. I wanted to make it a bit more like a goody bag, without the crap or candy, so I decided to tag each pack of cards with a thank-you for attending the party.

Baseball birthday party gift tags! – http://www.kimwerker.com/blog

Fifteen minutes in my graphics program, scissors, my beloved laminating machine*, a hole punch, and some scrap yarn later, and we had a more celebratory goody to give to kids as they left. Hm. Writing that out makes it seem like it was a big deal, but it really wasn’t. I got it all done between bouts of frantically cleaning house after we realized the park just wasn’t gonna happen.

So much fun!

* This machine is one of my favourite things in the world. I’ve used it to preserve small pieces of kid art, and these tags are not the first I’ve laminated. I don’t use it very frequently, but when I do I’m so happy I have it. (That’s an affiliate link; I use them only for things I truly recommend. Thanks for your support!)