Using the Loop Turner Tool to Load Drawstring in a Cord Stop

Sometimes it can be tricky to figure out how to do something that seems like it should be super easy. One example of this (for me) was loading a drawstring through a cord stop, as is required in my Got Sudz soap bag pattern.

There are lots of different ways of doing it, but the fastest way I’ve found is to use my Loop Turner Tool by ToolTron to pull the drawstring through. If you don’t have the Loop Turner Tool by ToolTron but you do have a tiny crochet hook, that will work as well!

To do this using the Loop Turner Tool, first, hold the cord stop in your hand and squeeze down the top push tab several times to warm up the spring.

Next, hold the tab down while you insert the latch hook end of the Loop turner through one of the cord stop holes. Release tab gently and load drawstring onto latch hook as shown:

After you’ve done the above, press the cord stop spring tab down again then pull the loop turner latch hook back through the hole of the cord stop, like so:

Now, repeat this with the other hole of the cord stop using the other drawstring end. Once both ends are loaded, press the spring tab and slide the cord stop up and down a few times while you even the length of the drawstrings and position the cord stop where you want it.

Trim drawstring to the length you desire then finish by tying the drawstring ends together in a knot and trim ends again, fairly close (about 1/2 inch or closer) to knot.

And that’s all there is to it! Have you used this method with either the Loop Turner or a tiny crochet hook? Let me know in the comments below!

Make Fast & Easy Drawstring Cords from a T-shirt

If you need a fabulous soft drawstring for small to mid-size projects, this could be just the ticket for you!

When I designed my Got Sudz Soap Scrubby Bags, I wrote the pattern to include instructions for making a woven fabric drawstring. This year, when I was making a bunch for gifts, I decided to give the t-shirt yarn method a try and it is AAAAAMMMAAAZING!!!

I have posted a quick Facebook video that you can watch on facebook by clicking here.

If you’re not on Facebook or you’d just prefer the written tutorial, here it is:

You can use virtually any cotton or cotton/poly t-shirt, even if it has a side seam. The t-shirt can be new, used, a thrift store find, swiped from your spouse’s/partner’s/kid’s closet or drawer…whatever works for you.

Lay the t-shirt out on your cutting mat and smooth it out well, lining up shoulder and arm hole seams. Make it as wrinkle free and smooth as possible and cut off the bottom, hemmed edge.
After removing the bottom hemmed edge, measure and cut a 1 inch strip, making sure you have nice clean edges on both sides of the strip. NOTE: You can make wider strips if you need a thicker drawstring.
Pick up the strip and separate the t-shirt layers to see the large loop of fabric you now have.
Insert both hands into the loop. Using both hands, grasp each end and pull outward, stretching the loop. You have now formed a rolled, knit cord loop.

Now all you need to do is cut the length of cord you need for your project.

Since the t-shirt fabric won’t fray, once the drawstring is inserted into your project, simply tie off the ends, as was done with this Got Sudz bag.

Have you ever used this method for making a drawstring? If you have needs for a drawstring in your future, I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what you think!

I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

This Quilter Eats Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast! Plus…my recipe.

On Friday I prepared a homemade pie crust. I’m neither the best nor worst crust maker. Truthfully, I could use more practice making pie crusts. But I’m afraid. You see, I love pie so much that if I practiced more that means I’d be baking more pies. And eating more of them. Probably for breakfast! Once in a while is fine, but at 55 years old, my metabolism isn’t what it once was and I’d like to not have to buy or sew a whole larger size wardrobe due to an out of control pie habit.

OK. Sew. Don’t judge.

This was the last piece. And it was DEEEEEElicious! Plus, pumpkin pie has way more nutrition than most commercial cereals! And technically, this isn’t even “pumpkin”. It’s an heirloom Spanish Squash called Buen Gusto de Horno which means, “good taste from the oven”. I just couldn’t help myself when I saw the gorgeous warty green “pumpkin” picture in the seed catalog listing, but I digress.

So…squash pie. This breakfast is actually pretty darn healthy, don’t you think? You knew all pumpkins are squash but not all squash are pumpkins, right?

I planted just a couple of this variety in my garden this year. Squirrels took one of the plants, but I still managed to get a few 7+ pound beautiful warty fruits from the remaining plant before the early freeze and snow came.

Buen Gusto de Horno Squash

Baker Creek (the seed company from which I purchased my seeds) says this in their description of this pumpkin…er…I mean, squash, “The dense, firm, medium yellow-orange flesh is sweet and fine-grained, and definitely excellent for baking. Add excellent keeping quality, and you’ve got a real winner that everyone is sure to love!

Here’s what it looks like when it’s cut open and the seeds have been scraped:

Now, maybe you’re thinking the inside flesh and thin green rind reminds you a little bit of cantaloupe? Well, I was surprised to discover it also smelled very sweet and quite a lot like cantaloupe. I wondered how this was going to work out for making a pie, but I charged ahead using the roasting and pureeing techniques I used for my New England Sugar Pie Pumpkins.

I was surprised again when I pulled the roasted squash out of the oven and the flesh had turned the most gorgeous deep gold. And the most heavenly, rich pumpkin aroma (no more cantaloupe smell).

OK…on to my recipe. This recipe is inspired by the one I used for YEARS (it came from the back of the can of a famous brand of commercially canned pumpkin). Yes, I did change it up. I don’t like my pumpkin pie too sweet so I cut the sugar a little bit. I also don’t care for quite so much ground cloves. I feel cloves are very strong and overtake the delicious pumpkin flavor; so, I use about 1/2 as much as the original recipe called for.

SewThankful Pumpkin Pie Ingredients:

  • Slightly less than 3/4 cup Granulated natural/unbleached Sugar (I remove about a tablespoon +/- from the 3/4 cup measure)
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon Ground ginger
  • Scant 1/8 Teaspoon Ground cloves (if you don’t have a 1/8 teaspoon, just eyeball about half of a 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups pumpkin (or winter squash) puree (or one 15 oz. can of commercial pumpkin puree)
  • 1 12 fl oz Can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell (4-cup volume)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together the dry ingredients: sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Mix well, making sure all ingredients are evenly distributed.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Then add puree and sugar/spice mixture. Next, slowly stir in the evaporated milk. Stir thoroughly, making sure everything is well mixed and evenly distributed.

Pour pumpkin filling into pie shell.

Bake pie at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for an additional 40 – 55 minutes or so. Test for done-ness by inserting a knife straight down near the center of the pie. The pie is done when the knife comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack for at least 2 hours, then chill in the refrigerator at least another 2 hours to over night before serving.

Optional Serving Suggestion: Top slices with a dollop of your favorite whipped cream, ice cream or other topping.

M’s Quilt – BEHIND SCHEDULE – But I’m OK With That

Let me get this out there in the open first thing. I’m behind schedule. I wanted to have M’s quilt quilted, bound and finished before today. Didn’t happen.

I could tell you a million different reasons why I let things get in the way and all the unforeseen interruptions that occurred. But I’m not going to waste your time or mine doing that. What I am going to say is that I own it and I’m OK with it. Things come up. Things happen. I’m tired of fighting the flow and taking it out on myself when I don’t meet my own expectations. Do you ever do that?

OK. So where am I in the process? I am a bit over 1/2 way finished with the quilting, which I decided to do wonky echo quilting (using King Tut #918 thread) instead of wavy horizontal or vertical line quilting. Once the quilting is finished, I will apply the binding which is a randomly pieced scrappy binding made from the colors/fabrics that were used to make the M and accent strip. The binding has already been pieced and prepared, so it is ready to go (a PLUS!). I really like the look of the variegated thread on the solid navy background. I can’t wait to get it finished and wash/dry to see it all crinkly.

I think if I push myself and work really hard I might be able to get it finished today. But if I’m being honest, I need to admit that I already know that’s not going to happen. (See where I’m going with this self-honesty thing?) With all the uncertainty in the world right now, virtually EVERYONE is under incredible stress. That includes me. I was never a particularly fast quilter to begin with. Stress makes me even slower. You know what? That’s a perfectly normal response to stress.

SEW. What am I going do to help myself so I don’t revert to Perfection Paralysis and allow M’s quilt to join my UFO pile? I’ve decided I’m going to lower my expectations of myself–and of others. I’m going to stay true to my personal values but I’m also going to cut myself–and others–some slack. This is all new territory we are in and no one knows when it’s going to end. Sew. YES, I’m going to sew, quilt and work at a healthy pace, allow my process to just be. It will BE imperfect and I’m going to celebrate that because I AM IMPERFECT. I’m going to take breaks when I need to go for a walk. I’m going to spend time with and care for our chickens, goats, and seeds I’m starting for our garden. I will make frugal but tasty and nutritious meals for my family every day. I’m going to take care of myself so I can “be there” for Jeff (husband) and Jacob (son who is a college student finishing his semester online from home) and 3 adult children serving active duty in the military. I’m going to do my very best to be kind, extend love and encourage others. I’m going to look for the good and I believe I’m going to find a LOT of it everyday.

When I feel myself getting sucked into negative thinking and doom & gloom, I’m going to come back here and read this post to remind myself how to get back on/stay on track.

No matter what the situation, giving up is never a good answer. We can always choose to tweak, adjust or even change course entirely. But as long as we remain honest, stay responsible for our own choices and keep moving forward, we retain our own personal power and dignity. With that there is peace and satisfaction at the end of every day.

OK. Enough about me. How about you?

What are you going to do to take care of yourself and keep moving forward?

What do you think about M’s quilt so far?

As always, I absolutely value and appreciate constructive comments and sharing. Please remember that in order to protect the blog and my readers from hideous spam posts I must approve each comment that is submitted. I have numerous responsibilities, so sometimes it takes a bit for me to get to reading and approving posts. Thanks in advance for anything you care to share. It means a lot to me.