Are You Guys From England?

Ola! Or, as they say in Atlanta, ‘Are you guys from England?’ Yes, I’m away with work and typing this at 5am as the jet lag has woken me up far too early.

The trip started well when I slept in two hours past my alarm going off. Yup. You read right. I had half an hour to get out of the house and on my way to the airport – phewee! As the train rattled down the underground line I stared at my suitcase and thought, ‘What’s in there, exactly?’ Had I thrown in enough clothes the night before – or even suitable clothes? This was going to be a journey of discovery. (As it turns out, I have a swimming costume but no jacket.)

Back in 2011 I blogged here about handmade items that came in useful and were comforting during a trip away. I have some others to add, so thought I’d include a 2012 travel update.

First off, the ever present challenge of airport security and anything with a point or blade. On this trip, I’d brought my crochet. I could have kept my embroidery scissors in my hand luggage, but the woman at check-in advised that I put them in my suitcase. I happily complied, because I already had my Plan Of Evil Genius to hand. I smiled pretty at the woman whilst inside my head raged, I shan’t be defeated!

Please allow me to introduce the dental floss…

This tip is all down to Maria Denmark, who Tweeted me. She said that the little blade you get on dental floss packets can be used to cut yarn or thread. I was dubious, I’m gonna tell ya! But, seriously, that blade cut through my thick cotton yarn, no problem. I could crochet during the flight to my heart’s content. (I didn’t, in the end, but that’s not the point. I stuck it to the man, yeah!) Thanks, Maria, for allowing me to indulge my deep need not to be told what to do.

I am also going to give prominence to my make-up brush roll that I made in April. I have used this to death. It’s absolutely brilliant. When I was rushing around like a maniac yesterday morning, I was very glad indeed that all I had to do was chuck this in my bag and have all my brushes to hand. These aren’t difficult to make. Squint at mine and you could work out a construction of your own. (I used batting between the layers of cotton.)

April must have been a very practical month, because that’s also when I made my Typewriter Bag, with fabric bought from The Village Haberdashery (fast becoming my favourite on-line resource).

This bag has been another godsend for trips away. Because it’s made of nothing more than cotton and calico, it folds up really small and neat to go into a suitcase – which means I can use it to carry around the few items I need during a day, rather than lug around my usual London commuter huge leather tote. Seriously, a homemade bag is a traveller’s friend.

Along with all the pencil cases, ipad cases, make-up cases and every other type of small, cute item I’ve managed to make, I feel surrounded by my sewing, even when far from home.

My next project along these lines needs to be a slip case for my laptop. Have you seen how much they charge in the shops for one of those?! I’d like to make something a touch sophisticated. If you have any tutorials you can recommend, let me know!

This entry was posted in crochet, sewing, sewing and knitting. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Are You Guys From England?

  1. Helen says:

    I’ve made this one from Flossie Teacakes –

    It’s a great pattern – you basically measure your laptop and adapt the pattern accordingly (very little maths involved, but means you get quite a snug case). And it looks so much nicer than anything in the shops. I made mine quite a long time ago – don’t think I’ve blogged about it. Maybe I should!

  2. Anna says:

    you can see the case I made for my laptop in this blog post I used a Simplicity pattern which I resized to fit my computer. I love it and knowing the different layers I put in it to keep my precious machine safe makes me worry less about taking it places!

  3. melissa says:

    Great and timely post, as I’m off on holiday next week. 🙂 I’ve successfully brought hand sewing onto a plane before – needles & pins are fine as they’re too small, but I had to be careful about scissors, finding a child’s pair in a pound shop whose blade was short enough to be exempt (didn’t stop the airport woman from giving me a hard time, but I won in the end!!).

    Enjoy that Southern hospitality while you’re there!

  4. you’re a living example of the wisdom of having everything in grabbable containers. Well done on getting to the airport in such good shape after such an unfortunate start! I do hope you enjoy your time away.

  5. Roobeedoo says:

    That dental floss tip is The Best! And you might even remember to floss! 😉

  6. I managed to travel with my scissors recently for crochet (the blade had to be under 3cm) and I’ve also bought a clover thread cutter to use. Now I’m tempted to do a laptop sleeve too!

  7. liza jane says:

    Don’t you mean “as they say in Atlanta, “Are Y’ALL from England?” !? I only say that because I live two hours from Atlanta and that’s what I’d say :). Have a great trip!

  8. Tamsin says:

    Scruffy made a case for her iPad recently which might be useful….

  9. PoldaPop says:

    Atlanta?!! Yay – I lived there for 3 years and it’s a fantastic city. I don’t know if you’ll have any sightseeing time while you are there, but I’ve got a couple of recommendations that I’ll happily foist upon you without you even asking:
    1) Breakfast. Being from the North, I never really got into grits, but I LOVE Southern biscuits. You could try the Thumb’s Up Diner (one of the locations is right by the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial), The Flying Biscuit Cafe (lots of pokey little boutique shops near this one), or the Silver Skillet (nice dive/greasy spoon atmosphere).
    2) (I buy from them a lot as they have a big selection, good prices, and they are generous with their coupon codes) has it’s headquarters outside of Atlanta in Kennesaw, where you’ll also find the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. I’ve always wanted to take a busman’s holiday to and see how they do it (I imagine a big room with people cutting and cutting fabric), and the park has great trails and good historical info. You could see a cannon from the Civil War!

    I wish I could recommend fabric shops, but I didn’t sew when I lived there. Hope you have some fun!

  10. sewbusylizzy says:

    Hi Karen! Love this post. And I think I better make that make-up roll to go with the daughter’s upcoming ballet bag – should I be worried my tween daughter has more make-up brushes than me??? Oh dear I’m a hopeless ‘ballet mum’.

  11. LinB says:

    Or, if you are from the South and move to Wisconsin, you’ll be asked, “So, how long have you been in this country?” (At the time, 28 years.) Or, “You must really miss England/Australia.” No, I do not miss them. I have never been to either place. The language was the same (sort of) and I did not need to exchange currency. Still, the inquisitors seemed mystified that, when they asked if I got my drinking water from a “spigot” or from a “tap,” I answered, “I get my drinking water from a faucet.” Just smile and be your own charming self, and you’ll get along famously.

  12. Shari says:

    Isn’t it a comfort to be surrounded by things (or wearing things) that you’ve sewn? I am especially comforted by wearing pajamas that I’ve made myself. Welcome to the USA!

  13. Karen says:

    Nail clippers work well too!

  14. gingermakes says:

    Ahaha, gotta love Southerners! Enjoy your trip! Glad you made your flight! And thanks for sharing the dental floss tip– that’s genius!

  15. Kathryn says:

    I made a laptop sleeve with this tutorial from SewMamaSew – I did it in cotton and fleece, it kept my laptop safe from scratches all last year when I took it in and out from college, and I got lots of compliments on it. Highly recommended!

    • Miriana says:

      I was going to recommend the same pattern! I’ve also used this to make my laptop sleeve and I’m very happy with the result 🙂

  16. redsilvia says:

    Yeah, they think I have an accent in Atlanta too, so don’t feel like they’re picking on you. In fact I was just there yesterday confounding them with my great enunciation. (I work for that airline that you saw every damn where when you landed…) Hope you have a great trip!

  17. Kristen says:

    Oh no – 2 hours?! At least you didn’t miss your flight. 🙂 I don’t know if you have a specific type of laptop case in mind, but I like this tutorial: My favorite bit is that it shows how to not make the flap stick out wider than the case – I never get that right on my own. While you’re in Atlanta, I’ve heard good things about Whipstitch ( – I’ve never been there, but it’s probably worth a visit if you have the time and inclination. Hope the trip goes well!

  18. Amy says:

    Brilliant tip! Enjoy your trip! You’re so good at blogging frequently no matter what’s going on in your life. If only I had your abilities!

  19. MariaDenmark says:

    You are very welcome:-)
    I was thrilled when I figured it out – no more chewing the yarn in the middle of the flight..
    Have a great (working) time in the US

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.