Tag Archives: 99% recycled

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.

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Ocupado!

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Ocupado!

I’m thinking stabbed fingers and hand/arm/finger cramps count as danger

As I sit here waiting for a sumptuous lunch of fake-Kraft Mac n Cheese (I love its name in Canada even more–Kraft Dinner, aka KD), i am 99% done with my project of this week. (Which is fitting, and you will see why very shortly.)

I decided this was the perfect year to enter the annual birdhouse contest at a store called Phoebe’s Nest. But my initial thoughts were “I can’t think of anything to do!” and “My woodcraft skills are questionable!” Then I thought of something. Not a woodcraft project at all, but a tent, made of (this will surprise no one who has been following along so far) felt.

And like the wildass that I am, I freehanded the whole damn thing (which is occasionally obvious).

And I really really like this project.

Almost every bit of this is made of recycled materials, and the rest from leftovers from past or undone projects, which is one of the things that pleases me about it. The floor and side walls of the tent are made of a sweater I got at a thrift store and felted in the washing machine. I reinforced the floor by sewing a piece of cardboard from a mail order purchase between two pieces of the thick felt.

Two layers of felt with a piece of cardboard sewn between.

I made a frame of a heavier gauge wire from my “I’m going to make jewelry!” phase, slipping it into slits in the floor and sewing it to the tent walls.

Getting the frame in place--o hai thar, foreman!

And attaching frame and walls to floor.

The end flaps are made of a square of a burlappy sort of material that came in a bag of fabric scraps from the costume shop at American Players Theatre.

Pretty purple fabric, trimmed off a costume-in-progress at American Players Theatre.

Then I made the signs from pieces of another thrift shop sweater, needle felting the words on them. As you can see, my freehanding tendencies — and Eyeball once, cut multiple times philosophy — sometimes get the better of me. #Occupy has some serious kerning issues. I did better with the long banner, which may have been helped by felting in We and then 99% and then filling in the middle 2 lines.

The stark black stitching is intentional — those are meant to be tie-strap thingies.

Birds do twitter too.

So woo hoo! Finished! Except not. I really wanted there to be some things inside the tent. So I made a sleeping bag and a matching one that’s rolled up, and a red backpack. And I decided on one more thing, both to make the shape of the backpack less flat, and also because I didn’t like the empty backpack any more than I liked an empty tent. So I made a wee book to go inside. I used stick-on Velcro to put the pieces in place — hooks only, as the felt provides the fuzzy.

Personal effects.

One more bit of verisimilitude to go, and it will be done. So now, full of KD, I go downstairs to photocopy or scan (whichever looks best) the cover of the CD version of an album I owned in vinyl back in the late 70s. It came with a stencil so you could spray paint the cover everywhere, which was my inspiration for making a sign of it.

As it turned out, I photocopied it, but the copy came out black and white. So I added the incandescent yellow of the album graphics with a yellow sharpie. Mod Podged the whole thing onto cereal box cardboard and used staples and a bit of Velcro to place the sign at the mouth of the tent. And this is the version I submitted to the contest:

Occupy Birdhouse

And Tom Robinson, those songs are still pretty relevant today (sad to say). Rock on.

While in past years the birdhouses were all sold and donated to a fund to restore the local theater, this year they will be returned to the artists. So I plan to be showing this at Wiscon this year, where it will probably also be for sale.