Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas crafting, part 3: patchwork bag

patchwork bag
in my favorite quilting pattern - the log cabin
The outside is all hand-dyed fabrics - the red is leftover from this skirt.
inside the bag
lining and (tiny) pocket

Sadly, the pictures aren't great - there really is no big wrinkle at the top - but I sent this out, and these are the only pictures I have. I really liked how it turned out. And this print works really well with all the colors in the patchwork. And best yet, it was all stash, except the handles.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Selvage edge pillow

It's unusual for me to start and finish a project in under a week - but this one I started on Christmas Eve Eve and finished today! And I'm excited, so I'm rushing to share it.

selvage edge pillow
the front is pieced log cabin style

pillow back
the back is different styles... The center stripe is leftover from my rainbow bag.

Look! My first buttonholes on a machine I've owned for over six years! They're super easy, it turns out... and I made them too big, because my test buttonholes were too small. Well, whatever, it's the back.

There's always something to look at with this pillow. It's somewhat hypnotic.

I also used metallic thread to sew the pieces together, and it was a pain. It would break, or squiggle out of the thread take up lever, and then get stuck in the bobbin underneath... and many other unpleasant things. I would swear never to use it again, but I have another spool of it, in a yummy turquoise which despite the pain it is may prove irresistible.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

50 for 2011: #27 - Weavette scarf

This has been in the works for awhile, at least six months, though I'd been planning to do it for even longer. It became one of my car projects - something to grab when I was a passenger, which isn't very often, frankly.

The first rectangles were posted about here. The rest were never mentioned.

weavette scarf
please excuse the strangely dramatic lighting

So, the green and yellow yarn was intentional. The remaining ply was plied with leftover purple yarn, and thus we have half green, half purple rectangles, which I love. It looks a little weird, but I love it, and it's so thin and wide and warm! The matte rectangles are merino, the shiny ones are a merino/silk blend.

I used a 2x4 inch weavette, and I'll have to say while stitching them together took less time than I imagined, weaving in the ends took much much more. I had 52 rectangles - each with at least two ends (104) and a few with knots in the middle where yarn had run out and new yarn was attached. Also, when sewing them together, a few didn't have long enough tails and new yarn had to be used, so... so, so. It ended up taking four hours to go from done to Done.

I love it, I do, but I'm not sure I'll be making another one, at least not in the foreseeable future (after all, there is quilting to do!) But an interesting project, nonetheless.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas crafting, part 2: red, red, red

For the elder daughter. This was an intense project! Actually, it was two projects, one not so intense - the fairly straight forward three dye baths and wax resists that made up the t-shirt.... and the weeping, cursing inducing trouble that was the skirt.

red shirt, red skirt
She will look at this and regret that she has no red socks to match.

The fabric on the skirt's upper layer was hand dyed with thread resists - also three color dyed - the same three colors as the shirt, I'm almost sure. But, whatever, let's talk about construction!

I started off with McCall's M5841, which is darling. But I tinkered. First of all, I made layer one longer, and added a contrasting waistband, which maybe is too distracting. Maybe?

I made layer three a solid color, and widened it. Otherwise, I cut down the width of every layer by nearly a third. The bottom layer is supposed to be 17 width of fabric strips sewn together, then cut into 8 pieces and then sewn together into a giant loop - mine, by contrast is 12, cut into 7.

Still, an immense undertaking. I am grateful to the existence of the serger, because while cutting out thirty pieces is easy, the enormity of the task of finishing the resulting seams was keeping me up nights...

I took the extra steps of finishing seams first, and then sewing them together on the proper machine - at least when attaching the layers - this did add a step, but it also made fixing mistakes (and oh, there were many!) easier. The long rows of strips, however, were put together on the serger.

I am also glad that I hemmed the last section before attaching it, because I am often a great procrastinator on hems. And at the last minute, I threw in a lining, so all the layers and seams wouldn't make it too uncomfortable to wear.

And finally, here's a close up of the ladybug:

maybe a bit out of focus?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Crafts of the Past - Christmas Edition

Every year these things turn up, and every year I wonder why I haven't gotten rid of them yet. They are actually finger puppets, but ended up stashed with the ornaments. Anyway, my sisters in particular find them hilarious.

santa and christmas tree
Merry Christmas...?
I think Santa's crooked mustache probably has a lot to do with that.
These were made when I was first knitting, that first time, knitting 1.0, when I was still in grade school. I knew how to cast on, and how to increase and decrease and how to bind off, and that was it. These are knit flat decreasing on the front, and then at the top, I just started increasing, and leaving holes as I did so, because I didn't know about the "twist the stitch you pick up" trick. (In effect, the increases I did here are just yarn overs done in the following row... if that makes sense?) Then seamed up the two sides, though not properly, because I hadn't been taught that yet.

It wasn't until I relearned knitting in college that I learned how to knit in the round... now that's pretty much the only kind of knitting I do. The third time around, 8 years ago or so, I learned shaping and cables and how to read patterns - mostly teaching myself from books - it's easier to relearn than learn it, I think.

And yet, looking back on my early primitive acrylic efforts, I'm kind of in awe, not of my technique, of course, but of my bravado. I would not attempt some of those things now, or certainly not designed in the manner I did then, I wouldn't mix fiber types or yarn weights so wildly as I once did, or start projects I'm not certain will work out, and I wonder if that's because of experience, or increasing hesitancy to take risks that comes with getting older, or a general crush for time I didn't have when I was young.

And I kind of miss it, whatever it was that drove me to make these strange little things.

Uh, right... Merry Christmas, everybody!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas crafting, part 1: doll quilt

We purchased an IKEA doll bed for my younger daughter. Here is what you get in the box, once assembled:

IKEA doll bed
uh, what?

Some sort of flat blue thing that must be a mattress but looks more like a comforter, and some flat blue thing whose size suggests it's meant to be a pillow. And a sheet, which I quite like.

So, then I got to work.

improved IKEA bed
much better!

So, I went off to the craft store and bought two inch thick foam for a mattress, and covered that with minky. (Oh, minky!) In addition, I made a proper pillow, and a little I-spy type quilt. Actually, trying it out just now to take the picture, the quilt fits better on the bed sideways... huh.

doll quilt
and the quilt!

I'd like to thank my friends and relatives who responded to my call for scraps - it's 110 squares, and that upper border was also donated - and I couldn't have done it without the help!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Crafts of the Past: little yellow bird

I think this is actually kind of awesome. My parents are cleaning out their house, which means boxes of things that I had long ago abandoned are now on their way to me. Mostly books.

But, among the books are a few other things - one of which is this.

bird on  a perch
I think the perch may be the handle of a chinese takeout box
What strikes me as clever is the way the bird is held upright - the thread that also holds the perch being strung through his head. I mean, clever for a preteen...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Running out of room

Here's the state of affairs, I have four piles of fabrics: The big box of cotton prints, the small scrap box, the hand dyed stuff, and the pile of selvage edges. Actually, there are more piles - a pile of felt, a pile of fake fur, a pile of denim, a pile of fabric for dyeing, and a pile of non-cotton and/or non-quilting fabrics... but, for now, let's just focus on the cotton quilting fabrics, right?

I keep my selvage edges in this bucket!

scrap box
my scrap box; two months ago it could be closed

Scraps being anything an 1/8 of a yard or less.

hand-dyed fabrics
and if I dye one more thing... I'll have outgrown this bowl.

Who stores things in a bowl? seriously. Except, I've got at least two other bowls employed as long term craft supply storage solutions.

fabric stash
and once, this box wasn't overflowing, either.
Sigh. I do have a shelving unit where all this fabric is supposed to go, but that is another story.

Anyway. I've taken some steps - I've moved the selvage strips into the scrap box, and the scraps and the hand dyed fabric now live in file boxes by my sewing machine. Though, I'm trying to work out a way to bring them back to the cutting area.... At the very least, I've freed up a bowl!