Embroidery, knitting, sewing, spinning, weaving…

November 18, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover
1 Comment

Soapmaking: cold processed soap

Last Sunday,

I was able to show a friend how to make cold processed soap. It sure was a lot of fun! They left with about eight pounds of soap, the two soap molds that were curing the soap and my first soap cutter.


Since I had planned on giving them the bulk of the soap I only had leftovers, which filled this cedarwood soap mold about halfway.

I promptly wrapped a towel around my mold. I’m unsure why, since I do have a cover for this mold, but it doesn’t matter, the soap was covered and insulated.

My friend received 36 bars of soap from the soap that was made at my home. How much did I receive from the leftovers? Six bars of soap and that’s fine by me. I have lots of soap at my home, easily 60 bars of soap. This coming week, I’ll be making a big batch of soap that might be ready by Christmas. If so, I’ll be giving away a few bars to my daughter’s teachers.

November 6, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

Knitting two at a time: Dusty rose cable knit socks

I’ve been working on these lovely handknit socks for longer than I care to admit. My left shoulder and wrist have been giving me a lot of pain and so normal activities that would take me a week to do can languish for months, such as these handknit socks. My daughter has a similar pair int he same color scheme, but hers are mainly stockinette stitch (her request) almost the entire length of her sock. Also, her socks are crew length. The socks I’m making have surpassed that and might be knee-high socks if I allow myself to knit them that long. We’ll see. Currently, I must admit being a tad impatient since I’m eager to wear with my adored Dr. Martens. I’ve made a lot of progress on these socks and am now speedily in the long home stretch of knitting the cuffs.

The above picture was taken last week. I ordered additional yarn, in case I do want to make knee high socks and that should be arriving tomorrow, which is perfect since I’m might have 150 yards left on the current yarn skein. After I’m finished the cuff, I’ll go back and redo the heel. I think the heel is a bit too big and this will be the perfect opportunity for me to attempt to recreate heel socks. This will be the first time that I’ve attempted that and I must say that I’m looking forward to the opportunity.  While I’m doing that, I believe I will reinforce the heel and toe of the socks. These yarn used to knit these socks are made from 100% merino wool. BEing that I anticipate these receiving a lot of wear (even though I have plenty of socks to wear) it makes sense to make them as durable as possible, right?

October 20, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

Dr. Martens and customized shoelaces…

Earlier this week, I fulfilled a long-time wish and purchased a pair of Dr. Martens. I’ve loved them since I was in college, but for some reason, I never got around to purchasing them until now. It was a want and spending over $100 for a pair of boots, isn’t something I typically do. But… Dr. Martens, tend to last a long time especially if they’re well maintained. I take great care of my items. I much prefer quality over quantity and so, I finally purchased a pair. The standard black shoelaces were instantly discarded and replaced with these shoelaces.

Just look at them, how can you not like them? Yes, I crafted them myself.


Recycled photo of my bias tape machine


That bias tape was created with leftover scraps from a bolero jacket that I’d designed and crafted for my daughter when she was nine years old, so… five years ago.

Where did I get the shoelaces? I made them from the bias tape, that I’d created with my binder tape machine, that was about two years ago, and I wrote about this particular bias tape that I’d made with my bias tape machine in this post.

Since my Dr. Martens arrived on Wednesday, I’ve been wearing them daily. To break them in of course… and I must say, I’m enjoying this simple pleasure immensely. My daughter said, “Mom, it’s about time you start working yourself into the purchasing something for yourself equation.” I imagine she’s right. Early next year, my daughter and I’ll be visiting the closest Dr. Marten’s store to us, which is located in Washington, DC and, I’ll be purchasing a pair of shoes for my daughter. She does love boots and owns a pair of Timberlands. Her favorite shoe is Sperrys, both are great quality brands, that last a long time… with proper maintenance.

Earlier this month, I celebrated my 47th birthday and while I don’t get into my own birthday, my daughter does. She sketched for me a lovely picture and, she wrote me the most beautiful letter. I’m framing both. What she gave me and the above boots make this birthday a bit more memorable.

September 26, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

New handcraft adventures: Sewing a leather backpack

I’ve been searching for a sturdy backpack for several months. I much prefer them over purses and since I have my Franklin Covey Classic planner (which goes with me everywhere when I’m out), I’ve been carrying it around in the bookbag that I have, which honestly won’t last long. I didn’t make That bag.

I saw a few backpacks that I sort of like, but for over $100, I wasn’t ABOUT to make the purchase even though I had the money to do that. This morning, my daughter said, “Mom, why don’t you just make one?” Hmm, now why didn’t I think of that earlier?

I do have a backpack pattern that I customized. I also have a thick leather jacket that I won’t ever wear and so I’ll be cutting that up and I’m lining it with this cotton fabric.

I’m thinking that I’ll use the Harry Potter fabric as a lining, but who knows… I might change my mind again about the lining. Regardless, not too much money will be spent, and the Harry Potter inspired fabric is 50% off. You now that appeals to the minimalist frugal side of me. The main investment will be my time.

August 29, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

Franklin Covey Classic: I’m loving my planner

Wow, the time is flying by so quickly. I’m a person that likes to plan. I find it much better than the ‘flying by the seat of one’s pants’ approach that I observe with some people and keeping on top of what’s happening in my life, ensures that I won’t forget. Another thing with planning is that I rarely write things down digitally. I much prefer the pen and paper approach. It’s what I’ve done for years. Yes, I’ve used digital calendars/planners, however, I simply don’t like using them.

Early this month, I started looking for a refillable planner, something a bit ‘nicer;’ than simply writing things down in a notebook. During my search, I discovered the Franklin Covey planners. The brand name isn’t new to me, however, the journalist that avidly talk about their Covey’s, write and YouTube their love of this planner was. While I really liked how the Franklin Covey planners looked, I was unwilling to pay the Franklin Covey price for a leather bound refillable and off to eBay, I went and I found this lovely planner. Do you see the hangtag? It says, ‘Attitude is Everything’ and isn’t that the truth? If we have a pessimistic attitude, can we really be surprised if the various obstacles we encounter in life are (seemingly) overwhelming and if we continue to complain is it any wonder that we might find that people don’t want to be around us?

The seller advertised this as used with some scuff marks. However, after observing the numerous photos they showed. I suspected that the ‘scuff marks’ could possibly be erased by using a good leather conditioner. When I received my order, two days later, I discovered that I was right. Since purchasing, I’ve used this planner every single day. I love this planner.

Currently, I’m working on inserts. I’m unsure why the lines on the left aren’t appearing, but they’re there. As you can see, I’m not making anything too fancy… yet and you know what? I really might not want to do so with this planner.  I’ve seen some planners that looked like scrapbooking gone wild. While that’s nice, it’s definitely not my style. 🙂