Monthly Archives: May 2012

A quick cuff upside the head (Project 16)

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A quick cuff upside the head (Project 16)

Since I forgot to transfer the pictures I made of this week’s project to my computer, I couldn’t post my project on the usual day.

This is a pretty simple and quick craft, since I was away last weekend visiting my friend on the other side of the state, and then this whole week has been taken up with Wiscon art show prep.

My friend and I had a quick bite at Alterra coffee before she had to go to her pre-performance call, and I stuck around and had another tea and did some quick needle felting. I made three cuffs, all cut from the ends of sweater sleeves. I left them in a circle rather than fussing with figuring out a closure system. My only problem was the fact that the size of the felting mat (which is actually a brush that holds up the material you’re felting to while letting the needles penetrate), while still small, is big enough to stretch out the cuffs a little bit. I used two balls of felt for the bigger decoration — one looks like yarn but is just roving that’s about a finger width around instead of a largish skein; the other is actually yarn with fatter spots and thinner spots. I just freehanded it, winding the bigger pieces of roving into various designs including a handlebar mustache, and putting little designs around the others.

Two by two…

…hands of blue.

Another thing I used was a little disk of lint that came from the lint trap at my mom’s house when I was felting sweaters there. She has a lint trap that fits over the agitator, and it formed several adorable button-sized disks, so I saved them and dried them. The two-toned circle on this one came from one of those lint bits.

Smaller bits from the lint trap also make nice starters for wee paisley. Just shape it a bit more, pop another color in the center, and there you are.

And here’s the third one I made while perched at the cafe waiting to head to the concert. I call it the Karwacki, after the cop with the astounding handlebar ‘stache who presided over my first car accident.

I went a little wild with it, size-wise, so you can’t see both ends of the ‘stache in the same view, but you get the idea.

I have a writing project I’ll be doing for an upcoming project, but it probably won’t be done in the next week. I’m thinking something fairly low-key is still a likely outcome. It’s been an exhausting month, and other aspects of life are fairly tiring just now, too.

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The Week in Dangerous Crafts

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The Week in Dangerous Crafts

So I’m back from Wiscon, the feminist SF convention that takes place in Madison every year. It’s my mini-vacation; after the first year of commuting an hour each way, I started staying at the con hotel, which means I can manage later nights and/or earlier mornings. The last few years I’ve been putting stuff in the art show, some for sale, some not, but just to show off. Mostly scarves — first the very subtly colored silks I made with plants for dye. This year I’ve found ways to get much brighter colors, so I put in mostly those newer scarves, plus some framed collages and some of the galaxy tees and deconstructed tee shirts I made the last couple of weeks. It was a lot — 48 pieces, which required marking them all down on the control sheet, then making bid sheets for each one, which I usually do over lunch with my friend Gwynne, who comes to the con from LA.

I missed a lot of the opening stuff while I put up all my pieces (with help from a wonderful volunteer), and then was so tired I crawled up to my room without going to the opening ceremonies or parties.

I checked in once or twice a day to see how things were going, but for most of the weekend, it didn’t seem like much was moving at all. But by the time I took down my 3 panels, I realized some had gone. Once we checked the bid sheets against the control sheet, I realized it was even more than I thought. I haven’t added it all up yet (the art show folks double and triple check that stuff, then send a check), but I think it’s going to prove to be worth the work. Not THAT much work, though. Maybe I’ll take it back down to two panels next year, and mostly keep it to scarves.

When I get over Wiscon exhaustion I’d like to put some up on Etsy, and maybe try a few scarves in my flea market booth. Otherwise, they will just be hanging around the house for another year, bogarting the TV remote and drinking beer.

Anyhow, here’s my booth:

Panels 1 & 2

…and the other side:

Next year, I hope to pare down my selection and my work, and maybe put some of the energy into making a kickass outfit for the big party night on Sunday. Everyone looked so inspirational and fabulous for the dance party!

Scarf by a Thousand Cuts: Project 15

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Scarf by a Thousand Cuts: Project 15

It’s been a bit of a busy weekend. I ran a ton of errands Saturday morning in a string from home to Milwaukee, where I stayed with my friend Saturday and then went to the Bel Canto Chorus performance of Dvorak’s “Stabat Mater.” Which brought up tons of thoughts about creativity, and tied in with other thoughts about creativity I had been having, and I’m hoping to get them all into a post which makes some sense. Which is damn inconveniently timed, considering I also have a ton of things to finish getting ready for my art show booth. But I’ll do my best to do that soon.

So this week’s craft isn’t actually a “finished it at the last minute” piece — it’s been ready for a while but I haven’t had time to sit and write about it. It continues the theme of hacking up tee shirts, only from a perpendicular perspective. It’s another Pinterest-inspired project, which I found here:

http://psimadethis.com/post/117053343

The P.S. I Made This blog is pretty cool, by the way. It takes a lot of designer looks and shows interpretations of them that can be pulled off for much less (or nothing) using recycled items or stuff you already have around.

So I had one of the two print tees I’d bought at the Mart of Wal, one which got made into several necklaces and bracelets last week, after being tossed into a dye bath. This time I didn’t over dye the print, just used it as is. Cut it so it was a tube shape, cut the strips, pulled them (and despite what I’d read somewhere, they do curl up the same whether you cut jersey with or against the grain). And I’d stumbled onto some pretty little shell danglies at Jo-Ann Fabric, so I decided to sew one on every third fringie. I wanted the scarf to stay print-side out, so I folded the intact part of the tube inward and put a couple of stitches at four different places about an equal distance apart.

Simple, cute.

The really daring, I suppose, could wear it as a skirt.

And a close up of my own variation:

A closer look at the shell embellishments I sewed on.

This one will be for sale at the Wiscon art show.

‘kay, it’s been a long day, so no brilliant posts of theorizing or anything. I hope y’all have great plans for the holiday weekend (those of you who will be having a holiday weekend…) Do something creative, yeah?

Let’s try this again…

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Let’s try this again…

Some of the first pins I saved on Pinterest were various things you could do with t-shirts, and I finally got around to a couple of the ones I’ve been wanting to try. This is one of those crafts I’ve done in stages: I dyed two tees turquoise in the same dye bath as my jeans I did a long while back. Neither one was pure white; one was a print tee I got at the Mart of Wal for $3, and the other was a Race for the Cure tee with about a million logos all over it.

I’d tested cutting a few strips off each to see if they would curl — some tees, like the thick cotton ones Lands’ End has (or had at the time I bought mine, about 7 years ago) don’t curl. But both these did well. I finally got around to cutting all the strips — still attached at the sides, so essentially a big circle of fabric about 1″ wide — on Wednesday at the art gathering I attend most weeks.

Sunday I finished them, trying out several different kinds of ways to bind the strips together. Just to be sure, I sewed them together, then covered those bits (and the parts that wouldn’t curl because there was a seam) with other fabric.

I braided 3 different colored strips of yarn made of sari silk and wound them around one set of tee strips. Bright and colorful, but the strips of silk are very ravelly, so there’s a kind of hairiness that obscures the fact that it’s braided to some degree. (The tee strips don’t ravel, by the way, since they’re knitted, not woven.

“Opera length” schmatta necklace.

I have discovered that sari silk yarn will shed like a bastard, so be advised. You will wear this long after you wear it.

The print shirt had side seams, which made it a little tougher to get a smooth look. I made one long necklace with strands from the seamless tee and the one with seams, letting those land wherever they would, and I wound a tee strip around the loops.

The color is actually a lot more vivid than in this picture; it’s just like the rest of the items in this post.

The next item I made from the print tee, I doubled the loops so all the seams were together, then put a stitch in to keep it in place. I hid that behind a big button, and now I have either a shorter necklace or a bracelet that wraps around my wrist 2 or 3 times. (I go for 3.)

I like big buttons, and I cannot lie

In fact, the “opera length” necklaces can be doubled too, like such:

The wrap holding the loops on this one is a 5.5 mm yarn with a honeycomb pattern between the edges.

And to wind this up, two more bracelets I made from the sleeves of the bigger tee — the print had cap sleeves that didn’t allow cutting across the knit. (And this was something I added on my own; none of the tutorials I saw used sleeves — now if I could just figure out a way to use the part from armpits to neckline…)

The closure here is the border from an Indian silk tunic I’m working into another project. I wish it were rounder, but I’ll get that figured out at some point.

…Aaaannnnddd, that’s a wrap.

Dammit! Lost post!!!

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I am too tired to rewrite this.

Tutorials here: http://www.wholeliving.com/133536/recycled-craft-t-shirt-necklace

Results here:

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Bracelet version (my own variation):

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I did a number of versions of these, and can post more pics and more about what I did when I am not so damn tired and crabby.

Can I take an incomplete? Project #13

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I spent a lot of my weekend moving furniture and cleaning the carpet in my living room, or recovering from doing so. And despairing over how the process of cleaning something could create such utter chaos in my house and hoping I could get things somewhat sorted by the time I have company next weekend. But I finally did settle in while waiting for the carpet to dry, and finished a project I’ve been working on for a while.

Well, not quite…

I’m close to finished, but I need another four buttons to finish my cuff bracelet, and some kind of closure that uses them, so I’ll have to hit a fabric store or the dreaded Walmart. (All right, I admit it — I bought the original eight buttons at Walmart. So yes. That is where I will have to go.)

Once more, my fondness for using bits and bobs and irregular leftovers bites me in the butt, but I don’t think I care. I had half a cowlneck sweater in alpaca wool left over from another project (the Occupy tent? Can’t quite remember), so I figured it would make a cool cuff, though it’s not exactly a fit.

When I was in Austin, I bought some silk hankies at a fiber store. They aren’t actual hankies but the silk pod from a cocoon that’s been stretched out over a square frame. The pack I bought was dyed a delicious mixture of purple and blue called Spilled Ink. I thought that would make a great thing to use as an overlay on the alpaca, so I attempted a wet felting, adding some wool into the mix to get fibers of both the silk and wool sticking to the alpaca. Not a great success (or even a medium success), as they just peeled off the alpaca. But I liked where it was going so I pulled out the felting tool and needled away.

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The matter of closing the thing is probably the trickiest of this whole project (yes, it’s free-handed). I liked the thought of a row of tiny buttons, very Victorian in that fiddly sort of way. My first thought was that I’d make a loop of elastic on the opposite side and slip them over the buttons, but I don’t think I like the way it looks.

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Made the decision to put another row of buttons on the opposite side instead, and I guess I’ll try some kind of lacing system to get the thing to close. I’ll have to report on that when it’s finished, but I think I have a way to get it to work. Maybe a couple of options.

After adding the last bits of roving into the design, I am pretty happy with what I have. I did sew on a couple of wee little beads, remarkable more for the source than anything else. A year or two ago I bought an armload’s worth of wee beaded bracelets on eBay that Eliza Dushku had donated to one of her favorite causes. (I don’t even want to say what I ended up spending because I could not allow defeat.) Some of the stretchy little bracelets are so stretched out they’re just loose strings, more or less, so I had planned to use them in various projects, but this is the first. I put in three, just for a mysterious bit of sparkle, and I might add more later.

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Alas, I got nothing done for the art show at Wiscon, which had been one of my major goals this weekend. I have the stash of silk scarves, of course, but I wanted to have a few different types of art up there too. Well, after I have finished moving all the furniture back into place and completely spiffed up the guest room. Ahem.

By the way, the color of the alpaca is truer in the second picture, not the yellowed first or third. My camera’s batteries died and so I had to use my phone.

 

And hey, as of today I’m one-quarter of my way to my goal. WOOOOO!

Aside

Oy, I’ve managed to do such a small percentage of what I planned so far today. Though I did use the new rug cleaner I bought on half the living room carpet (which is what I planned). Tomorrow I’ll move all the furniture over to the dry part and do the rest.

Otherwise, the billion bits of crafting did not happen, not so much. An attempt to make business card holders of copper wire to use in the pegboard display I’ll have at the Wiscon art show. Not sure how well they will work out.

No wait! I did the bleaching thing on some t-shirts and a tote bag I intend to make into the galaxy thing. I should go rescue them from the washer now.

Professional Crastination