Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Braided Rag Rug

I think I mentioned that I made alot of clothes this year for the family out of some really nice wool knits.  Some were interlock, some jersey, some ponte knit.  All of them were very, very nice.  And I decided I couldn't bear to throw a single scrap away.

What to do?

Well, a rag rug, of course.  Isn't that the thought uppermost in everyone's mind.  No? Well, I AM weirder than most, I suppose.

My mother always crocheted rugs.  Where I grew up there were numerous textile factories, and there were always overruns of rolls and rolls of binding.  Usually about 1 inch wide, they were perfect for crocheting rugs and my mom made big ones--one long hallway runner was probably about 4 feet wide and a good 8-10 feet long. 

She showed me how when I was little, and I did make a few.  But I never enjoyed crocheting as much as she did and it's one of the few textile arts that I just. don't. do.

But I do like throw rugs.  Husband makes jokes about them being skateboards. I can't really argue--they do kind of have to be fastened down somehow or else they're hazardous to your health.  But they're so pretty.  And they keep the floor warm.  And they're fun to make!

Husband will just have to learn to be more careful.  :o)

Anyhow, I had all these scraps leftover from cutting out shirts and leggings and things.  Alot of them were already in long strips, some of them had to be cut, though.  And then I braided them together into a great long rope.

Initially, when I started stitching, I used the zigzag on my sewing machine.  I thought I was so clever and that I was going to have a rug in no time. And I was right.  Sort of.  Right up until it came time to stitch the portion of the rope that I had braided some scraps of viscose/nylon/lycra ponte knit into.  My machine revolted. My vintage machine rebelled.  My computerized machine sat in the corner, sulking and wailing.  My trusty compatriots abandoned me in my hour of need.

I broke down and handstitched it.

Wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  Didn't really enjoy crawling around on the floor for the 4 or 5 hours it took, but I didn't hate it either. 

Now, I have a rug.  Granted, it's a little wonky in the center portion.  A rope made of wool knit stretches alot more than you think it might.  So that center portion got a little stretched in construction, but I think it'll settle down after it's been walked on a bit.

I've been told the colors don't go together.  My response?

It's like the forest. There's lots of rocks and dirt and dead leaves and bark that are gray and black and brown and bright green leaves overheard.  And then there's flowers which are pink and purple and red.

Don't tell me my colors don't go together.  If it works for Mother Nature, it works for me.

I haven't finished off the end yet.  I still have dreams of making it bigger. I just ran out of scraps.  But it's not like there won't be more in the future.  Scraps, I mean.

And I'm patient.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Hand Embroidered Applique

I think I've mentioned before how much I love Michelle Carragher's work in embroidery.  She uses not only thread, but beads, rings, crystals and other embellishments to make the most incredible designs. So I thought I'd give it a try myself.

I started with a quick sketch of an eagle in flight. After all, animals are easy, right? Wrong.  Categorically wrong.

Then I fastened a piece of black organza over the top of the sketch to an empty cardboard box. I simply used straight pins and pushed them through the cardboard to hold the two layers together.  Use lots of pins, because organza likes to slide around when you're tracing.

After that, I used a Fons & Porter chalk quilting pencil to trace the sketch onto the organza.

A really good pencil sharpener can put a nice point on a chalk pencil if you're careful not to break the chalk.  Good thing I have a nice collection of sharpeners.

Once you have your pattern traced, you can put the organza into an embroidery hoop and get started.  On this fabric, it helped if I put a black fabric on my lap so I could see the traced lines easier.

Here's the start of the wings.

Wings, tail, and head finished.  For the inside of the wings, I used one strand each of two different colored embroidery threads. Don't ask me which colors.  These are vintage embroidery flosses that I've had for a lifetime.

Chest and feet complete the thread design.

Some seed beads added to the wings, chest, and tail.  Seed beads make up the claws and the eye.  Ideal? No, but it's what I had on hand.  A trip to the bead store is a half hour and if I remember correctly, I was doing this at about 2am.

Then I coated the entire back side of the design with Alene's Jewel-It using a paintbrush.  I don't know if you can even get this stuff anymore, but it is my favorite fabric glue.  Stays soft and flexible, which is perfect for something like this.  And then I cut away the organza.  Very, very carefully.

And that's the finished applique.  Ready to be stitched to your garment of choice.  I haven't decided what to do with this one yet.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Wool Knits and Jalie Patterns

So back in November (maybe?) when FabricMartFabrics.com had their big sale on wool knits, I bought ....and astonishing amount of yardage from them.  Which I then proceeded to make woolen warm clothes for the whole family.  I got a combination of jerseys, interlocks, and ponte knits, all of them almost 100% wool.  A little itchy, like all wools but the most cozy merinos, but for $8-$12 a yard, who's complaining?

I used mostly Jalie patterns, as I am in love with their fit and all those sizes. One of the first Jalie patterns I ever bought was 2328, their men's thermal underwear pattern. I've used it countless times for either my husband or one of my three boys.  I've got the paper pattern which is no longer available. It's still available off the Jalie website as a download, however.

Here it is in a heathered gray wool ponte knit.  I used the three yards I bought of this fabric for a pair of leggings for me, one for DD, and one for DIL as well as this pair of thermal pants for one of my sons.

I also made a whole lot of shirts for my sons and husband using Jalie 2918. No pics of those, but there's only so much to see.  It's a t-shirt. Nuff said.

For DIL, I made this matching set of leggings and Jalie 2806 the gathered scoop neck top.  I made a whole lot of these for myself a couple of years ago.  These are made of wool/lycra jersey in a gorgeous periwinkle.  Not my color, but it looks fabulous on her.  The leggings I made from a pattern copied from a pair of leggings she already has that she likes the fit.

Apologies for the crummy pictures.  Laying things out on the floor is not my preferred way of displaying my creations, but it's snowing and blowing outside and kinda dim and dreary inside.

All in all, since November, I made alot of tops and pants for all the members of the family.  Good thing, too, 'cuz it's been coooold this year.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Silk Ribbon Embroidery

I've always loved silk ribbon embroidery, and that's another craft I've been working on this winter.  Silk ribbons have gotten harder to find in the last couple of years, but I'm grateful to a couple of Etsy sellers who are still carrying them.

In any event, I really want to work on techniques for embroidering things other than flowers, but until then....

...here's a few embroidered flowers

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Knitted Fingerless Gloves

So I made fingerless gloves for the whole family for Christmas this year and I'm a-kicking myself for not taking a pic of all the beautiful gloves laid out on the table.  I also made a pair for my husband, which was not a part of the Christmas batch, and sadly, it is the only picture I have.

I've been collecting random (usually single) balls of yarn for years--a yarn store I used to go to had a "yarn orphanage" for the last couple leftover balls of a lot, usually sold for rock bottom clearance prices.  So I went through all this yarn--mostly 100% wools--and found plenty for making fingerless gloves.  Some was more suitable for gloves than others, so I used the cream of the crop to make each pair.  I tried to make each knit pattern a little different so that each pair was unique.  I had about two weeks to make up 5 pairs of gloves. 

I was still hurriedly knitting up the last pair on Christmas eve.  I made a pair for each of the kids (they're all teenagers and adults, but they humor their absolutely ridiculous mom) and stuck a little clue inside each one of them to show whose was whose.  Then I had the kids take turns guessing which gloves belonged to who with the only rule being that that couldn't try to guess their own.  Actually, it was quite fun and I'm wondering what I can make for them all next year and play the same game.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A New Blankie

All right then, let's get started.

This winter, I put alot of focus on knitting.  Just before I moved at the end of 2015, I found two balls of this Bernat yarn on clearance, so I bought them with no plan whatsoever what I would do with them.  I fell in love with the variegated earth tones in brick red, chocolate, cream, and blue, and this yarn is fluffy and spongy and just downright cuddly.

Bernat Blanket Yarn--Sailor's Delight

This past winter, I discovered this pattern of colors is still available.  Bought 2 more balls at Michael's. And I started knitting a blanket.

Let me state that I hate large knitting projects.  I almost never knit anything larger than a sock or a pair of gloves or a scarf or a hat.  I just don't.

But this yarn called me.  And I started knitting a blanket.  I don't know. Temporary insanity perhaps.

I started with 100 stitches on a circular needle.  I figure I'll make it in sections and then stitch them together.  That way I won't get discouraged with trying to maneuver a big, old clumsy afghan around in my chair.  I so I started on the biggest knitting project I've ever done. And the more I worked on it, the more I loved it.  It's so spongey.  And warm.  And cuddly.

So I bought another 4 balls of yarn on Amazon.  Because I wanted it to be a BIG blanket.  Permanent insanity.  I have no idea what possessed me.

But here it is. Judge for yourself.  Is it worth it?


Long Time, No See

Well, I've been all wrapped up for the past two and a half years and haven't done any blogging at all.  But I have indeed still been up to no good :o)  During this time, I've been a costume shop stitcher, a wardrobe supervisor, and a costume shop manager. I've bought and moved to a new house.  And experienced alot of changes in my life.  Now, though, I'm ready to get back to blogging my own projects again.

I've got numerous random projects going, from knitting gloves and blankets to stitching warm wool underwear to decorative embroidery to SCA related garb.  I'm all over the map, as usual :o)

Hope you guys are still interested.