The Bothered Owl

Alex and Sarah's crafty corner of cyberspace

Last orders. December 22, 2010

I am officially done! No more orders now until after Christmas. (Unless you’re local and prepared to come and pick it up tomorrow! And even then, no more orders!)

I thought I’d quickly share a couple of the last ones I’ve done, partly because one of them is delightfully fun and partly to illustrate the amazing difference fabric choice can make, even more than the choice of shape/style in a bag.

Firstly, a bag that is more than meets the eye. (Oh yeah, I went there. I am no stranger to the bottom of that barrel and I’m happy to scrape it.)


The print is really big, it was quite hard to 'centre' it when cutting.

I went with a really long flap on this bag, instead of putting in a button or magnetic closure. I used loads of extra reinforcement to stiffen the fabric too, so that flap is staying shut unless you want it to open.


The bag has a main pocket and smaller external pocket.

Under the main flap you find the main pocket and a slightly smaller exterior pocket with its own button flap.

Sadly, I had no robot buttons so I had to go for something more understated. Red works, I think!

The strap is made from the same material as seatbelts. It’s polypropolene, very very shiny and smooth and most importantly blinking hardwearing. And adjustable. I like using bronze sliders and D-rings, they’re sturdy and they look really smart.

Final touch is the teeny weeny mobile phone/ wallet / key pocket on the inside:

How can you resist his grumpy wee robotic face, glaring at you from his soul-less robot eyes?

I have to say, it took me bloody ages to make this one but it was totally worth it and it was for a friend’s son and I hope she (and her son, obviously) will love it. (Before any one asks, I have no more Transformers fabric left. I can probably find some, if I look hard enough and you ask nicely enough. But not before Christmas. No, no, no.)

Next up, a couple of bucket bags. These were the last two things I finished today and I am showing them, mainly as an illustration of how different fabric totally transforms a design.

While I am really proud of all the bits and pieces I’ve designed over the last 18 months, I think it’s fair to say that without totally awesome fabric they’d be nothing. We’ve noticed when manning (owling?) the stand at the various shows we’ve done this year that it is always the fabric that hooks people. Most  of the time people don’t seem as bothered about the size of the bag – unless it’s for a specific project – as long as the fabric is just right. There’s something about fabric that just clicks for people. I’ve seen people spend the better part of an hour going through our stash crates looking for The One and it never fails to make me happy when they find what they’re looking for. The look on their faces when they find it is priceless.

Anyway: same bag, two ways:

Ignore the owly needle roll for a minute and look at the bags. They’re cut from the same template, they are to all intents and purposes the same bag. But see the difference the fabric makes? One is cute but more serious, slightly understated and very grown up. The other is quirky and cheerful and is just begging to go out and play.

The first bag is made from some adorable Japanese fabric (  I _think_ it’s a Kokka print but can’t remember off the top of my head and my selevedge/scrap box is in the other room. What? I’m pregnant and lazy, that’s way too far!)

Can anyone spot the Big Bad Wolf?

The second is a bucket bag and matching needle roll for a lovely newish knitter, desperate to keep her needles from the curious (and pull-y) fingers of her small child.  Some more details? Well, of course I’ll oblige!

Em requested some special pockets, one to hold scissors and various notions (That’s the one on the left) and one large enough to slip patterns or knitting magazines into. Pattern pockets are something I’ve been meaning to incorporate into the bucket and messenger bag designs for a while now, so I was glad to have a chance to try it out and see if it would work with the dimensions of the current design. It does!

I used the same owly fabric as the exterior, just on a brown base for the pockets. I love those owls, they’re just adorable!

The bag closes with a button flap and I managed to finally get a reasonable shot of the little teeny weeny owly button:

Surprisingly hard to photograph, for an inanimate object!

For some reason, even using the macro setting and no flash, these little guys have proved remarkably resistant to me taking photos of them in the past. You can kind of see the details here but it’s still far from perfect.

To match the bucket bag, Em asked for a needle roll for straight needles. I don’t actually own any straight needles any more, but I know how long they are and I DO own a tape measure. (Or four. ) Plus our standard needle roll design is deliberately sized to be adjustable for straights or circs. Easy peasy!

And that’s it!

I had a bunch more custom bits and bobs that have already gone out, but I don’t want to overload you with pictures of shiny things made for other people 😀

Anyway, I am done diddly un until after Christmas now and planning on hiding out on the sofa with the kids, NOT checking the computer or making anything even vaguely sewing related for the next week or two. I have socks to knit and presents to wrap and meals to plan and general merriment to indulge in.

Have a fabulous seasonally appropriate festival/non-festival of your choice, folks!



A very special bag October 8, 2010

Filed under: Custom Orders — thebotheredowl @ 1:08 am
Tags: , ,

I am a geek.

I love science fiction. I am obsessed with The Lord of The Rings (NOT the films, before you ask.) I read comics voraciously and before I met my husband I learned to code a little (really badly) and even flirted with … Dungeons and Dragons. (Which is awesome fun by the way,  and if I could find a good lady friendly gaming group I’d be quite happy to give it another shot. Don’t hate me.)

But all my geekiness pales in comparison with that of the very lovely Jon of Easy Knits. I met him at the IKnit Weekender and agreed to make him a needle roll. The only stipulation was that it had to be geeky fabric.  Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, whatever I could find.

Weirdly it is very hard to find proper geek friendly fabric out there. UK Knitters will probably be familiar with the copyright saga attached to DW (handknitted  adipose dolls, anyone?) so it wasn’t too much of a surprise to find there is nothing about connected with that. But Star Trek? The only thing I could find was some utterly hideous stretch jersey fabric dyed in Star Trek colours. And Jon hadn’t asked me to make him a uniform.

And then I remembered that Scott had bought some vintage Star Wars fabric, ages ago, when we were preparing for another show. I dug it out, took some photos and sent them to Jon, who proceeded to have the most incredible geek-gasm ever witnessed. It turned out that the fabric in question was identical to his childhood Star Wars bedspread. How awesome a coincidence is that!

Anyway, he asked if we could use every scrap of the fabric and make him, in his words, ‘a proper man-bag’. He knew exactly what he wanted, down to the lining and the type of pocket, which made designing this bag a breeze.

It’s taken me a while, as I had to wait for a few bits and pieces and then figure out how to make the lining fabric stiff enough, but it’s done. Here is the result:

Still got one piece of the fabric left but it’s earmarked for a matching needle roll for Jon.



Custom order for Nicole September 3, 2010

Filed under: Custom Orders — thebotheredowl @ 9:23 am
Tags: , ,

Our friend Nicole (AKA Mee-colly, AKA Toll-ee) got in touch recently to ask if I could make a bag for some friends of hers who are having a bub.  She chose the fabric and I played around with designs and this is what I came up with.

(Apologies in advance if the photos are a bit rubbish, I cannot get Picasa to work on my desktop. I miss my laptop.  It had an operating system that wasn’t designed in the  Stone Age and it could actually do stuff like process photos and connect to the internet without having a massive crisis.)

First of all, this bag is big.

I started out with a rectangle 14 inches high by 20 inches wide. Even allowing for a fairly chunky seam allowance, this is a bag that can fit a tonne of stuff in it.  Newborns don’t travel light, especially newborns who also happen to be the eldest child. I wanted something that could fit a million singlets, jumpsuits, nappies, hats, bootees/socks, mittens…

Secondly I wanted this bag to have an adjustable strap and have a fairly neutral outside, making it a bit more Dad friendly. I know, I know, terribly gender stereotyped but let’s be honest, a lot of guys just wouldn’t feel comfortable wandering around with a baby and a nappy bag covered in cute wee hedgehogs.

This way, you can change the length of the strap soMum or  Dad can use it without being uncomfy and your hedgehog fascination is a little more discrete. The strap is finished off with brass sliders which I think look really nice. I like that the metal isn’t too shiny.

Other things this bag has: a massive pocket on the front, complete with flap.

Ideal for keeping your stuff separate from the baby’s so you don’t have to go rooting through everything to find your house keys or your wallet.

I used buttons instead of magnetic clips because I thought the buttons were cuter. I even managed to find some wee hedgehog buttons to match the fabric.

I handstitched the buttonholes (in part because the buttonhole function on my machine doesn’t work, in part because I actually quite like the handmade feel it gives the bag.)

I’m really pleased with how this has turned out, I hope Nic’s friends will love it and get loads of use out of it.  I love those hedgehogs 🙂