Diabetic Crafts

Carrying around two separate pouches/cases for insulin pens and a glucometer, all of which can be difficult to handle because they’re kept in place by elastic rings, has become very tiring for me. I sometimes forget one of the two, it can be a hassle to open two cases that can be clumsy in use, and in public places it tends to be awkward.

I’ve looked at diabetes clutches online, but they only provide room for 1 insulin pen. This baffles me, when I’m out and about I want both my basal and bolus insulin on hand in case I get stranded somewhere, or my plans run late etc. And what if I’m visiting family and staying around in the late evenings? I take my basal at 8pm every day, so that doesn’t work out.

Then there’s the question for this summer: how am I going to manage this with my Frio case? It’s not designed to fit in any clutch, and I’m not interested in carrying three separate bags in hot clammy weather.

So my solution was to make my own bag, big enough to toss everything in there without those awkward straps, with pockets on the inside for my needles and lancets, bandaids and alcohol wipes, and disposed needles and lancets. Best of all, big enough to easily hold my Frio case and flexible enough to stuff into another bag if necessary!

My only problem was that I had zero experience sewing bags and zippers, and I needed to step it up a notch by including inside pockets too. I sewed a little experimental bag with leftover denim from old jeans I no longer wore and was very successful! No lining in this one because it was unnecessary.

The sewing machine and sewing case I have are my mom’s cause she no longer sews, and she’d collected quite a few zippers. So naturally my first zipper bag was destined to become… a zipper bag!

On to the actual project, it was a moderate success. 🙂 Of course I made mistakes. I sewed the zipper on the wrong way the first time around, and had to undo all the seaming I did while cursing and being fed up. Second time around I noticed way too late that the zipper had been sewed on slightly askew, so it looks a little off now. Most importantly, it’s functional, fits everything I need and has room for then some, and it closes and opens properly without issues. I value functionality above looks at all times, so I don’t mind!

Fabrics used were more denim from old worn jeans, and the leftover cuts from my curtains that I had to trim. Zippers were picked from the assortment in my case based on length, not color.

One inside pocket is to hold my needles and lancets. The other is meant for the disposed needles and lancets, but also carries some alcohol wipes and band-aids for those pesky glucose checks that keep bleeding. The main pocket holds both my insulin pens, my glucometer, lancet device, testing strips and has room for glucose supplies, like little bags of Skittles. 🙂 Also featured it an activated Frio case with both insulin pens fitted nicely inside.

The case is pretty big at 18x25cms (7×10 inches) but I like it this way. The fabric is flexible enough that it will fit into most hand and shoulder bags easily. The opening is wide which means it’s easy to fish out the exact item I need. And I don’t have to deal with shoving everything back into an elastic band to keep it in place!

All in all, for my second attempt at a bag I’m very, very pleased. I’m happy I managed to recycle fabric as well. I’m looking for an iron-on design to put on the front to break the monotonous denim look now!

The Cat is in the Bag

Wait, that’s not right. I distinctly recall making… a bread bag! (Although I’m sure that won’t stop my cats from trying to get inside it whenever they get the chance.)

20150211_204526

After months of saying “I really want a bread bag”, I finally did it. My glucometer purse is still in the making and I have to check if the machine can actually feed the cotton fabric and the knitted fabric through at the same time, but that’s not going to stop me now.

I obtained two kitchen towels from the dollar store and some shoe laces and set to work after reading through this lovely tutorial. I quickly found out that I had massive towels at 65x65cms each (which is about 26x26inches). For my loaves that’s really just a tad too big. I measured around a little and finally settled down for just folding them in half. Which, coincidentally, turned out amazing because the pattern is divided into one half stripes, one half solid color. Instant double pattern!

To avoid a lot of heartache over wasted fabric, I used an old kitchen towel that was worn down with large holes and faded colors to try this on first. A good idea, because I made a handful of mistakes that I neatly avoided when it came down to the real thing!

That didn’t change the fact I broke two needles in the machine when I tried to sew the first part. I didn’t realize that the towel’s own hems, folded over twice already from the factory sewing and then folded twice again by myself was too much for the poor foot to handle. The fabric got stuck, the needle couldn’t go anywhere and SNAP, all sorts of mayhem all over the damn place. I’m grateful that I have a  whole bunch of replacement needles. After the second one broke I decided to snip off the hems and just go with a bigger needle, even though the rest of the towel was pretty thin and had no problem with the smaller needle. Lesson learned!

I happily sewed along and didn’t really run into any other problems after that. Feeding the shoelace through the fabric was a bitch, so I ended up tying it to my crochet hook and shoving that stupid thing through instead. No more headache for this gal!

I am super happy with the end result and the only thing that struck me as annoying was the length of it. Don’t get me wrong, I need a big bag for large loaves of bread. I do bake those. But I had this small loaf I made last night that had so much room in the darn thing it felt like throwing a loaf down a hallway. Very annoying!

Armed with pins and more sewing thread, I sat down and cut up the second towel after a bit of measuring. Fifteen minutes later my bread bag became a mommy to a little bread baggy!

This whole process was immensely fun and interesting with a tad of frustration on the side. I’ll never stop loving to knit, but there are just some things that are better off being sewn instead. (Plus it’s nice to take a break from each hobby every once in a while to recharge!) I’m on the path to learning both trades and utilize them for their own respective usefulness. Hurray!

Sewing the seeds of progress

On the menu is a knitted glucometer purse. As with most knitted containers, it will need a fabric lining to avoid overstretching, as well as a fancy zipper to keep things inside. This basically means that sewing is now, officially, on the menu.

And it’s terrifying.

I used to hand sew when I was a little kid, but besides some basic stitching and messing around, I never did anything. Nothing I made ever held up and I abandoned it fairly soon. I never was interested in learning how to machine sew either, so when I realized I had to figure out hand or machine sewing if I wanted to make this project work out, I panicked just a little.

I searched YouTube for videos on hand sewing and thought to myself “I can do this!”. But I didn’t really look forward to sewing the zipper into the purse by hand and so I started to think. I turned to my mom and asked her if she could show me how to use the sewing machine so I could practice and then sew the purse, and out of nowhere she told me I could just have it. A few days later I’m the proud new owner of a 30 year old sewing machine that still works really well.

My friend showed me how to use it as she does a lot of sewing very regularly, and we ran into some issues with tension and the bobbin screwing up so I took it to a shop for some maintenance. This afternoon I picked it up (the man in the store was very kind and carried it to my car for me so I wouldn’t stress my back!) and my mom invited me over to pick up some extra fabric and supplies she still had (including extra bobbins!). I sat down at the machine and gave it a whirl.

20150207_193043[2]

For someone who never used a sewing machine before, I really want to say ‘not bad’. I couldn’t practice for very long due to my back issues, so I took a break, had some food and then came back a while later to try again.

20150207_214958[2]

Hurray! (I don’t know what that mystery stain is, but I’m going to guess it’s some diet coke I must have spilled on my desk.) At this point I’m just messing around to try out different settings and become familiar with the machine’s little quirks and ways. Next up I’ll have to sew a mock purse and see how that works out. My main focus has to be starting and ending my sewing properly though, to ensure it’ll hold up!

An influx of new ideas

Because I’ve recently discovered the joys of magic loop knitting (screw those DP needles!) I thought it was time to invest in some knitting markers. I kind of wanted to use colored plastic paperclips to save on the expense, but in the end I found them too clumsy to work with properly. So I went to the store and bought a set of 21 pieces.

The problem is that the markers don’t come in a reusable container. It’s plastic and cardboard that once ripped open is useless. Although I have my lovely Wonder Woman lunchbox to keep my small knitting supplies in, I didn’t want them scattered around. I had no other small containers left for these things. So I figured why not make my own little pouch?

I’m using about 3-4mm (worsted) yarn in pink/purple/grey colors. 15 stitches on a 3.5mm needle. The pouch will be about 20 rows tall, so 40 rows total, and it will have a flap of about 8 rows to cover the top with. I wanted to use a button to close it with, but instead I might use two ropes sewn on each side to tie it. Or perhaps just a band to stick the flap in. I’m using the stockinette stich with the knit stitches on the outside for the nicest look (in my opinion). The inside will be lined with some old black t-shirt fabric, sewn into a slightly smaller pouch and then sewn into the top of the knitted pouch so that the stitch markers won’t get suck in the knitting itself.

I’m about 36 rows in in the picture. I’ll have it finished by tonight and then I can show everyone!

I’m also proud to announce that the pair of socks for my boyfriend are done. They’re far from perfect (I made a whole bunch of mistakes) but they’re roomie, comfy and much better made than the first pair a couple of months ago. They were done on a 24 peg round loom, double yarn 3-4mm, with double e-wrap stitch (e-wrap 3 times on each peg, then bring the bottom loop over the top so you’re left with 2 loops on the peg) to make them thicker.

My next goal is to knit thin socks on circular knitting needles. I’m still trying to get the hang of it all with the magic looping business, but it’s not as difficult as I thought it would be. The only tricky part is figuring out the pattern for the size. I researched several techniques for knitting toe up socks and each is vastly different. The patterns are either free but hard to follow, or the techniques are so complex that I dismiss them as useful. I think I’m going to have to take whatever I need from each video and pattern, and then mess around to see what works out for me. I’ll keep you all posted!