I've learned how to crochet. I can't knit to save my life, but I'm crocheting like a felon.
I've learned how to crochet. I can't knit to save my life, but I'm crocheting like a felon.
Am I the only one who was up until all hours sewing a Halloween costume? Please tell me I'm not.
First thing out of Spud's mouth this morning when he woke up wasn't, "Good morning, Mom!" it was, "Did you finish my costume?" *sigh* I do kind of feel bad that he didn't have the costume sitting there staring at him for days before Halloween, and he didn't get the chance to BEG me to try it on just ONE MORE TIME and such...but he was pretty psyched about it when he did try it on this morning.
I DID, in fact, finish! And it came out great, if I do say so myself. He wanted to be a flashy ninja (bottom right, black and silver), and it was my first time really working with this weird woven silver fabric. It wasn't as hard to use as I'd expected, but it does ravel quite a bit.
And I confess, I wasn't extremely careful with it, so it's not my proudest project. But when he tried it on this morning, it looked great! I forgot to put the gusset part in the hood (WHOOPS) but it still fits. For some reason, I didn't have NEARLY enough silver fabric, so he got no boot covers (he didn't mind), and the elastic on the mask is too long (easy to shorten, though).
Another Halloween costume down, with MINIMAL DRAMA! Hooray!
"I pledge to buy handmade this holiday season, and request that others do the same for me."
That's the mantra of BuyHandmade.org, supported by a consortium including Etsy, Craftster, Craft: Magazine, and others, calling themselves the "Handmade Consortium". If you feel moved to do so, head over to the web site, and pledge to shop handmade this holiday season! Here's their call to arms:
"The ascendancy of chain store culture and global manufacturing has left people all dressing, furnishing, and decorating alike. The connection between producer and consumer has been lost. Buying handmade helps them reconnect. We created the pledge as a call to action for consumers to be conscious of how they spend their money this holiday season. We want people, whenever possible, to support independent creators and shop outside the big boxes."
I love it. The reason I took up sewing more than ten years ago now is because I truly believed that if uneducated preteen children in Communist countries could sew my clothes, *I* could probably figure out how to do it, too -- and maybe keep those children from having to. I'm up for the pledge, are you?
Well, isn't that funny? I opened an Etsy shop, and people bought stuff! Not only that, I've gotten a wholesale order, and so I'm cranking out twelve bags, three each of four designs. YIPES that's a lot of work!
Just before the order, though, I bought a knitting pattern! It said it was for beginners, and said if I could yarn over, knit two together, and do a stockinette stitch, I could make this pattern. Well, I can do all those things! So I spent six bucks on this fabulous slipper pattern, without having the opportunity to read through it (it was an e-pattern PDF). Well, wouldn't you know? I got the pattern, and it made NO SENSE. I mean none. I couldn't even tell which yarn was the MC (main color), or which yarn to start with. I wrote back to the pattern creator, and while sympathetic, she wasn't particularly helpful.
So I gave the pattern to my mother. Which made me feel a lot better -- because she said it was a terribly poorly written pattern. It was not my fault. WHEW. She even had trouble following it, and she's the most amazing knitter I've ever met. (Not just because she's my mom -- but because she's just really good.) The good news is, she's going to make me a pair of slippers from the pattern. In fact, she's got one almost done. (Then I distracted her with a SuperMarioBros scarf pattern from Craftster -- I guess my son's scarf is now more important than my chilly toes.) ;-)
So, when will people who write patterns stop writing them in such a way that it's like a CONTEST to see if you can actually figure it out? I mean, it's a PATTERN, people. Not a PUZZLE.
So, I saw a video on YouTube from Make: and Etsy about how to make 'fabric' out of old plastic grocery bags. It's really cool...sandwich eight or ten layers of grocery bag together, iron between pieces of waxed paper, and there you have it, fabric! I decided to give it a whirl. Our grocery store has pretty fruit printed on their bags, and I had another that said THANK YOU on it...so I decided to design it using those as decoration.
The 'fabric' comes out feeling a lot like Tyvek, you know, house wrap, or those really sturdy plastic-like envelopes that the Post Office has. I bet it would come out even stronger if you sandwiched some cheesecloth or something inside.
So, I gave it a go, and in less than an hour, I had a new purse! Can't turn the iron too hot, or the plastic will melt (I had to patch it in one spot), but it stitches like a dream. I think maybe I'll make a wallet, next!
This neat project from Evil Mad Scientist shows you how to create a bag/pouch/holder/container thingie for your digital camera. It uses the camera's own strap, but wraps around the camera to keep it safe from bumps, and clean. I think it's an awesome idea, and all the better that she's using/reusing found materials (e.g. the leg from an old pair of jeans!). I'd probably add a bit of high-density foam inside, because I'm prone to whanging my camera against everything when I carry it around. But that's just me.
It had to be said. Don't you wish your girlfriend could sew like me? DON'T YOU?
I have been on vacation -- my sweetie and I went to Banff for a few days of Canadian Rocky fun. There was one sewing store in town (that we saw), but sadly, a) it was closed, 2) it looked like it was mostly for alterations and custom drapes (although, who in that town needed custom drapes is a good question, as there's not much of an affluent residential area nearby -- I guess maybe the people in the time-share condos?), and iii) it wasn't a FABRIC store. She had a few fat quarters, but then there were, like, kids' toys and things. Meh. Didn't miss much.
When I got back, I got a call from Vanessa at Etsy, who wanted to do a little interview with me for their new blog. I sounded like an idiot, blathering away, running at the mouth, but then, any of you who've listened to our podcast will be familiar with that state of affairs. She was interviewing me because I was one of three winners of the Etsy/Instructables Sew Useful contest!
I heard about the contest on the Material Mama podcast, and thought, HEY! I can make something useful! But the deadline was just around the corner, and I didn't have time. Until they extended the deadline! (Shout out to Nutmeg over at Material Mama -- thanks so much for mentioning the contest! I wouldn't have known about it without you!)
I created a tutorial to make a waterproof, airtight hearing aid dryer. To my amazement, people LIKED the idea, LIKED the tutorial, and someone even BOUGHT it from my Etsy shop! I was less amazed that it actually worked -- my son took his bag to camp every day this summer, and it was a safe, dry place for him to keep his hearing aids while they were swimming at the beach. It worked out great! (His was a Batman fabric, of course, and not the boring blue wave fabric.)
I love Etsy, and I love Instructables, and I love making stuff, so I was totally humbled to take home any mention at all, much less a fancy new sewing machine. Now that our vacation is over, school is back in session, and I've got more thread than I know what to do with, I should probably sit back down at a machine -- it's been more than a week since I've sewn ANYTHING! Gah!
My latest project was one of those things that hits you -- there's inspiration so strong, you just have to drop everything and do it. So last night, when I got home, I just STARTED! So, dinner was a little late, so what? Now I have my own reusable grocery bag!
It went up amazingly fast. Cut two pieces of duck cloth about 20" x 16". Two half-inch pleats in the top of each side. Two strips, 18" x 4" (if I'm remembering correctly -- could be 18" x 3"). I did a lot of ironing here so I wouldn't have to double-stitch the finished hems, so I attached the top strip to the inside of the bag, then folded it over the top lip, and topstitched the bottom edge of it to the front, as I'd already ironed it up a quarter inch or so.
Then I made a faux gusset in the bottom...also called 'boxed corners'. That's where you sew the whole thing together, and then you turn the bottom corners out as points. Gosh, I wish I could explain this better... HELP!
Anyway, it's a really fun, lightweight (less than five ounces, including the handles!) tote, perfect for bringing to the farmer's market! It's made of a light cotton duck, so it's strong, but not bulky. (Although sewing seven layers of it together where the handles attach does create a bit of a lump, it was no problem at all for my 1929 Singer 101!)
Maybe the next one I make, I'll do a tutorial, if anyone's interested.
Oh, how cool is this? On the 15th of every month, Michael Swaine sets up shop with his treadle sewing machine, and mends stuff for people, right there on the street, in San Francisco's Tenderloin district. If he keeps one person from buying one piece of commercially manufactured ready-to-wear clothing, or helps someone continue to use something they'd otherwise not be able to afford to replace, I think he's done something awesome. :-)
I have two skeins of sugar n' cream. They've been sitting in my stash since December. Two big ol' balls of the stuff. In bright red. Clown red.
So - here's my question. What the heck do I DO with these? I know I could go the dishtowel route, but man - you can actually have too many dishtowels. Also - I've heard sugar n' cream BLEEDS a lot - and I just don't relish the thought of a dishtowel that makes my dishes dirtier (at least for a little while).
Kerri suggested clown socks, but my feet are pretty small.
What would YOU do with two skeins of bright red cotton yarn?