Saturday, March 29, 2008

New obsession

Never underestimate the insanity determination of a completely somewhat obsessive crafter.

I've been becoming more and more interested in weaving, seeing so many beautiful projects at Craftster and elsewhere. I spent some time looking into looms. Turns out they're a bit more (a lot more) than I could justify spending on another new craft. So, I made my own. I studied the Knitter's Loom at Ashford (there is a slideshow that shows really detailed pics and instructions on warping!) and made a stop at Rona to buy supplies.

10' of 1" PVC pipe, 8 elbows, 2 t-joints for $22.59 (incl. tax). A lot of figuring out as I went and voila:


I used crochet cotton for the warp and some handspun/handdyed Ingeo (made from stuffing purchased at Walmart)(haha) for the weft. The "rigid" (not really rigid enough) heddle I made from a piece of plastic needlework canvas. I need to come up with a better solution or just buy a heddle somewhere as there are spots where it catches and it's not really rigid enough. It works, but it's a struggle.


Considering that I've never seen a loom in real life, I think it turned out pretty good. Now to experiment... Whee!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

my head hurts from banging it on my desk in frustration

A conversation I just had with a coworker about my boss: (I'm "L" coworker is "D")

L says:
boss came by "Hi ladies, how's it going today?" (us: We're swamped) "That's great" (Us: actually not great. It means 3 hours working at home last night and probably at least 6 on the weekend) "Great. So, I have one thing i need your help with. Alaska" (Us: The order J. has been on our case about for the last 2 hours? It's done) "So if you could do that one right away." (Us: It's done)
L says:
"Because we need to make sure it ships today." (us: It is DONE. It shipped from Houston) "Okay good it needs to go today" and walks away.
D says:
he's like the pointy-haired boss in Dilbert!

Exactly my friend. Exactly.

I think I need a different job. Anyone interested in paying me to sit around and do nothing make stuff? No?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Big-Headedness alert:

I woke up this morning and was wandering online while having breakfast and saw my Felted Stone Rug (and my feet) featured on the Craftzine blog!!! This is as close to being famous as I'm gonna get, so... EEE

THANK YOU ALL for your comments on the rug! I had been planning to wait before I make another one, but the original is still in my house (will be given away very soon) and I keep looking at it, wishing it were mine for keeps. When I do make another, I'll take pictures of the process and progress so I can post a tutorial of sorts.

Also Thank You All for your comments on the fabric boxes. I did take pictures while making another one but didn't have a chance yet to actually write up a tutorial. It's coming.

ALSO I forgot to mention a while ago: I had a nice note from Shayne at Geek Crafts telling me that they were featuring my Transformers Toque on their site. The site is really fun, with all kinds of Geekyness to enjoy (last week was Pac-Man Week... ). Thanks Shayne!

Okay. I think this is probably my one and only Rock-Star (as it were) moment of my life so I've enjoyed it. Now to finish getting ready and go to work.... So, no takers on the $400 a box offer? I'll give you a deal: 2 for $600.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fabric Boxes

I don't know about you, but I love storage "solutions". I could spend hours in a store that sells them. I also have a lot (A LOT) of yarn and fabric both of which create storage problems.

I've been wanting to make fabric boxes for some time now. I've seen ones I like here and there but always thought "I could make those" but hadn't ever tried. I have Amy Butler's In Stitches, but hadn't attempted her boxes (I have trouble sewing a tube onto a square bottom... I should work on that). So, I've been experimenting with simpler methods.

Attempt #1
Fabric storage box
Outer fabric was a remnant from Ikea. Inner was some cotton from the stash pile. I sewed each of the ends and sides separately and then inserted a piece of corrugated plastic. I then sewed the pieces to the bottom and hand stitched the corners. I like how it turned out. I may try this one again but will need to be more careful about making sure all my pieces fit (had to finesse it a bit).

Attempt #2
Fabric storage box
I used cotton tea towels (new) for both the inner and the outer fabric. It's not finished at the top edges, but I'm happy with how sturdy it is and the overall construction.

Attempt #3
Fabric box
Outer fabric is a remnant from Ikea (love their fabric!) and the inner is cotton from stash. I had started out to make this one in the same way as Attempt #2, with the folds overlapping on the ends, but due to my inability to measure accurately, that didn't work. Which led to the happy accident of the mitred square effect on the sides. So, yay.

I will definitely be making more of these, they're a fairly satisfying project. One day this past week I was having one of those days when I couldn't seem to actually accomplish anything at work. I was getting more and more frustrated and all I could think was that I needed to be able to start and finish something and feel like I had accomplished something. I came home and made the 2nd and 3rd boxes. By the time I was done, all the stress I had been accumulating was gone (well, that day's allotment anyway). Funny how that is...

Anyone want to pay me $400 a box so I can do this for a living?

I'm planning to work on a tutorial when I make the next box(es). I'll put it up here when it's complete

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Felted Stone Rug

I was going to hold off on posting this, but I put the pics up on Craftster and the response has been, well, enthusiastic. I love this project and just can't wait anymore.

**** COBI!! Do not read this post. Go play Flight of the Hamsters or something instead... ****

Is she gone? Okay.

Felted Stone Rug
Approximately 21" x 16"
Wool remnants, hand and machine felted, sewn together with nylon twine.

I got this idea from a post on Craftblog. They featured a rug made with larger felted stones and I loved how it looked. I dove right in and started making balls out of wool in my stash. I have/had all of these small bits of wool yarns, not enough to make something big, too much to toss (did you just have a chill at the thought of tossing yarn away?)(me too).

Felted Stone Rug

I started on it on March 3 (when the post on Craft appeared) and just finished sewing it together on Saturday, March 15. There was a lot of hit and miss with the felting. Some of the felting was done by hand, some in the washing machine. Some of the yarn didn't lose its definition completely, some is a solid mass. It's thick and cushy, the "stones" are different sizes and feel really good underfoot. Overall, I am really happy with it.

Felted Stone Rug

So happy, in fact, I want to keep it. You won't tell Cobi, right?


Thank you all for your empathy over my stupidity hand injury. I have been amazed at how quickly it's healing, at the time it felt like it would never stop hurting.

Healing burns

Now that THAT is out of the way, Look! More pictures of the leftover sockyarn squares
leftover squares

Leftover blanket in progress

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds these squares interesting! I just love the way they look knit up. I'm trying not to think about the fact that this is only 11 out of the 180 I will need to make a 48" x 60" throw... This has become my take-to-work knitting project. Portable and it keeps my co-workers entertained in the lunchroom. "What are you knitting?" "A square to be part of a blanket." "Not a doily/thong/sweater (insert other guess here)?" "No, it's a square to be part of a blanket."

In other in-progress news:
Honeycomb in progress

I've been wanting to make a vest with this blue Mulespinner 2 ply from Custom Woolen Mills. I saw the Honeycomb pattern on Knitty this week and knew it was the one. I knew I would end up with a larger gauge than called for and cast on for the XS size thinking that I would end up with the right size for me (not XS if you are wondering). I knit a few rounds (decided to knit in the round rather than flat as written) then started doubting my instinct about gauge. So, I did something I never do:

Honeycomb swatch
I frogged what I had knit, knit a swatch (I KNOW!! Me, knit a swatch? ) and discovered that my instinct had been spot on. D'oh. Re-cast on... I'm loving how it looks and I think it will become a staple in my wardrobe (such as it is).

Oh! And, this week, I came home from work to a really nice surprise:

gift book
My aunt Pat sent me this Rowan pattern book! I haven't seen it before and I really like it. I'm going to have to figure out which pattern to knit first.

The pattern book was not the only surprise in the package:
Stitch markers
Pretty stitch markers! Thank you Pat!!

Our warm March has given way to a half-hearted attempt at snow. Just enough to mess up my clean car. Cooler weather inspires knitting though, so I should have even more progress to show next time...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

In progress comes to a screeching halt

I've been feeling a little non-big-project-y with knitting for a while. I have a few things on the go (SHOCKING) but none of them are really big projects. I think I go through phases like this from time to time. For a while now I've been trying to come up with something to make using the leftover bits of sock yarn that I can't seem to part with. I finally stumbled across a simple semi-modular pattern and have begun making squares.

leftover blanket

I may end up doing a "sashing" of a plain color around each square, or I'll leave them as is. I anticipate this being a fall-back work in progress for quite some time. It's small pieces, they're completed relatively quickly and pretty portable. Perfect for how I'm knitting at the moment.

The square is from a jacket and pants (??) in Vogue Knitting Fall 2007. I'm making the larger size square, the pattern for which is actually available online here (link to the pdf file).

I finished a pair of socks for the boy.


(well "finished" in that the knitting is done. Not "finished" as in okay to wear. The toe needs to be grafted. But, for the purpose of this post, they are finished enough.)

I started spinning some roving that is SO not me, color-wise. I picked up 2 braids of Fleece Artist Merino Sliver at Gina Brown's a month or so ago. They weren't the exact same colorway, but they were close. And, at first glance, they are not me at all. I'm trying to think more openly about color with spinning (thanks to the success of the very orange Christmas yarn).


I'm waiting for the next batch of the Fiber of the Month club from Spunky Eclectic so this was to tide me over. I"m planning to ply it back on itself and try out coils (ee!!).

Next up, a not at all interesting back story...
On Friday, I stopped at Superstore on my way home. I had a 2L milk carton, a tin of coffee, a bottle of shampoo and a bottle of conditioner in this bag:

stupid plastic bag

By the time I got from the store to my car (I was parked right by the door) and from my car to my apartment, the milk had ripped the bag and the plastic handles had stretched and were cutting into my hand.

I finally decided enough is enough:
homemade shopping bag
Loaded with exactly the same items as the bag above. Ahh.
Fabric from Ikea. I used the directions from Wisdom of the Moon here.

The biggest project I'm working on at the moment is a surprise for a friend who occasionally reads my blog so I won't reveal the whole thing but I'll show you the bits. Note: this project may one day be used as evidence of my insanity.

Felt ball rug
This is over 200 felted balls. I used up a bunch of little bits of stash wool: leftovers, some that I spun but didn't like, some roving that was terrible to spin... It's turning into this:

felt ball rug

I had been cruising along on these projects (cue ominous music) until...

career ending injury1
My hand slipped while I was carrying a very full, very heavy pot of boiling water. I couldn't let the pot drop (the burns would have been all down the front of me then) so I had to hold it and let the boiling water pour over my fingers.

career ending injury2
I have a fairly high tolerance for pain. I can't remember the last time I cried because of pain. Well, last night I was sobbing from the pain. I was supposed to be going to a concert given by my friend's chamber choir, but instead I became more aquainted with my new best friend: a bowl of cool water.
No knitting, no spinning, no sewing, no nothing but watching season 1 of the X-Files and waiting for the heat to leave my fingers. (the first 2 pictures are from this afternoon, almost 24 hours after the scald) The pain is gone enough now for me to use it a bit, but the blisters are right on knuckles which makes most tasks a bit difficult.

(sorry if that last bit was gross/whiny)

So, hopefully it heals quickly and I can get back to doing stuff. How do people who don't make stuff fill their days/evenings? Seriously. TV without knitting/spinning/felt-ball-sewing-together/sewing is not that interesting!