Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Break

It is spring break this week for my daughter who is in kindergarten, and so not much of a chance to bring any of my projects to completion, but i am loving having her home. Having full days with her lately, I have had a chance to see what a bright, creative, whimsical, fun spirited, and articulate girl she has grown into this last school season. I mean she has always been that way, but she is even more so now...I have been working on some fun posts in the meantime but haven't had a chance to capture photos of them, so by next week, you may see some of my drafted posts that are from past dates finally up and readable to a wider audience than just me, but you'll have to go back in time and look through the older posts to find them.

on another note, i haven't figured out how to post photos so that they appear after my writing or in the order that i want them when i am just uploading them on blogger, so this post is not presented the way i intended it to be...more to learn

Friday, March 18, 2011

Paper or Plastic?

On account of not being able to locate my *pattern paper today or find my daughters tracing paper pad, I came up with this handy way to make pattern pieces. I needed something see through, and as I looked around the room for options, a plastic bag holding some cashmere sweater scraps seemed like a bright idea. It met all the requirements, see through, and flexible, not to mention one more way to recycle a plastic bag.

I am sure somewhere on the globe this has already been done. But at least for today, here in Minnesota, it was my new bright idea.

*pattern paper in my definition of the words is either wrapping tissue, or the large remnant pieces I cut away from store bought patterns and have on hand in my sewing cabinet. Occasionally a harder cardstock works well for certain patterns.
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

How Many Projects Can You Make From One Sweater?

Sometimes I have a hard time cutting into a sweater, because I can see more than one possiblity for the sweater. Sometimes one project might take the whole sweater leaving only a few scraps behind, and other times a project may just need a sleeves worth leaving mostly the whole sweater for some other possiblities. Here is what I made with one sweater, with only some scrap to spare...

Made from one sweater-a vest made for my six year old, baby booties, and a pair of legwarmers.

The fourth photo shows what scrap of the sweater was left in the lower right hand corner. The color is a beautiful periwinkle heather. Perhaps it will become another pair of baby booties, barrettes for the hair, or little blue bird ornaments to adorn a twig...the possibilities are endless.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My First Tutorial!

The sweater after felting, missing one sleeve which was removed before felting for frogging purposes.

Using a vintage boar bristle brush to remove any pilling and liven up the hairs on the wool.

Using a big cast enamel pot from the kitchen for drying and shaping what will be the outer edge of the cat bed. At this point the sweater body has been cut and turned in for a doubled layer if you get what i mean

some of the yarn that was frogged from the unfelted sleeve after it was soaked in warm water to take out some of the kinks, and then hung to dry with a plastic hanger as a weight to also help straighten out the kinky yarn.

Using the other felted sleeve from the washed sweater that will be enough fabric for the bottom of the "pie". Roughly cutting out a general circle shape leaving enough extra on the edges for seam allowance.

Using a permanent marker(recommend chalk for a darker wool), and the same pot I used for shaping, I traced an exact circle onto my roughly cut pie bottom.

Here is what it will look like after tracing.

Estimating what I will need for a seam allowance. Cutting off the rough edge of the circle.

The final bottom piece ready to be hand stitched to the outer part of the bed.

The needle I used for hand stitching with this big yarn. The needle is just something I found at a thrift store and had in my tool cabinet, so it seemed like it would work for the job, and it did work very well.

Working the outer edge in what I think is called blanket stitch.

Half way there and going well...getting excited to see this done!!

Another photo of progress, here you can see the outer edge a little better. I lined the bottom circle flush with the outer side pieces and started stitching.

What the bottom looks like finished!

Finished Inside top view!

Finished blanket stitched edge!

Baby basket?

Or new toy basket?
As with most things, I was just experimenting to see how well it would hold the toys. It was perfect! But I have another sweater in mind for the toy basket...this one is for the cat!
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First Sewing Project

My daughter completed her first sewing project! I am so proud of her. In her kindergarten class they made pillows, hand sewing the outer edges. I can even see signs of some blanket stitching on some of the stitches! she was very excited about the additional pocket, which another teacher added her name and glued onto the pillow. this is the tooth fairy pocket. very important. now she can loose that tooth that has been hanging on by a thread.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Craving Sweaters

craving a trip to my favorite place to find sweaters to upcycle. if i make it there today, i'll show you what i found.
i have had so many ideas coming to me lately for repurposing wool. a couple of them are baby themed and a couple are mommy themed...i have also been working on finishing some projects and will post those soon...

Six cashmere sweaters today! The chunky cabled sweater on top of the cashmere pile is labeled wool, though it is as soft as the cashmere and i would swear it is mislabeled... The other pile o' sweaters is my misc. wool pile...a loden merino for myself for using as a long john shirt to go under other clothing, a flecked wool cardigan that i might also keep for myself because i adore multi colored flecks in sweaters, not sure what it is about those flecks(you can see a not very good close-up of the flecks above). Next in the pile...a green lovat wool winter coat...gorgeous color...great vintage style, and today was 1.00 day on blue tags, so i paid one whole dollar for the coat!! More to come on this coat in a future post. Last in the pile, another chunky biggie, for another cat pie, a gorgeous heather brown wool.

my other find of the day related to wool was this gorgeous hat, upcycled by some artisan out there, made of a combination of sweaters what looks like angora, lambswool, and a great big vintage button. I love finding handmade inspirations in the thrift stores.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

100 Sweaters

...this post was inspired by a project in my daughters kindergarten class. the teacher commemorates the 100th day of class by having the kids bring in 100 collected similar items...for instance, 100 baseball cards, 100 rubberbands, etc. etc. My daughter immediately said she wanted to bring paper...okay, let's brainstorm a little more...100 stickers...100 vintage buttons...100 about 100 sweaters!!?? Of course it should be paper, it should reflect who she is...she ended up bringing 100 pieces of colorful paper from my kirigami craft calender, and in the meantime, i am inspired by 100 sweaters...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

how much will it shrink?

i love felting sweaters, the surprise awaits behind or under the washer/dryer door. the sweaters generally come out smaller as you would expect, however i have had some come out fuzzier but not smaller, i have had some come out with a cozy softness different from the scratchy wool that originally went in the wash cycle. and the ones with patterns...i just love when the pattern changes and and the hard lines of the design become soft edges that meld into one another. here are two of the exact same scarf. (shown below) i found one of these scarves at our local thrift store with moth holes and it was easy to let that one go into the wash for experimentation. i am glad i never shrunk the first one, because i have since had some ideas that it would make great ribbing for smaller items, and so many colors to choose from.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Need Pants!

this is a photo of my latest deconstruction...i aquired a few of these long 'LIZ AND JANE CLOTHES' t-shirt dresses this summer when out thrifting. the photo does not do the dress justice, it is a lovely ankle length, soft cotton, stone washed or crumple washed look...a couple of the dresses were still lingering on the racks at a church sale and i managed to stuff them into my bag on the day of the bag sale, all in all, i probably spent $7 on the three dresses...originally I envisioned sewing a childs dress, baby onesies, or a pair of comfy pants for my six year old, there is so much wonderful fabric in a t-shirt dress since it is mostly one big rectangle with the meantime the dresses went into my stash of 'clothing to upcycle'. For nine months i have dearly needed pants...comfy make me feel better about a post pregnancy belly that may never go away, and the pile of pants i've outgrown on account of it. it wasn't until i started eyeing up this dress tonight to make pants for my girl, who is sprouting up like vining beans, but still makes do with pants that she has been wearing since she was four, that i realized this dress would be big enough to make pants for me!! After all, the color is a bit drab for my girl who loves pink, and the other two dresses are some version of pinkish violet. i started chop, chop, chopping tonight, on the dress....working the design in my head, wondering what pants, or underwear i can use as a pattern to make that 'just right' fitted butt. a gusset? how wide for the legs? what kind of waist? i love the possibilities when upcycling and working without a real pattern....oh, some applique in the same fabric, maybe near the bottom of the leg, and maybe something small near the thigh...on the side...these may be the coolest pants i have had in to free them from my head...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cat Pie

for a long time, i have wanted to knit the kitty pi bed...for a long time i haven't found the time, or motivation to get started. at some point in the thought process of which yarns to use from my stash, i had an idea that i would frog one of those ethnic sweaters with the very bulky, usually colorful yarn. i began the process of frogging, and completed one whole sweater, but never ended up reknitting it into the bed i had set out to. i have some lovely bulky yarn, but no kitty pi bed...until now...thanks to this project*.

*note: project and tutorial in a later post.