Saturday, February 28, 2009
Day 25, a simple scarf:
Sorry to not have posted for a few days, but my kids have been sick, and I’ve been sick, and we did our taxes. I did manage to finish this scarf on the 25th.
It’s about 7 feet long, and it’s folded up a bit because I had just worn it out in a snowstorm today and the ends are both wet. This was a mindless TV project, great for someone with the flu.
Day 26--Which is more fun, kitties or taxes?
Kitties, of course!
We spent the day getting everything ready to take to our tax lady, and during the mayhem and unhappiness of that, a package arrived for Seymour the cat. It’s a hand-knitted mouse made with homespun from my friend Mullerslanefarm, on Craftster. She grows her own catnip, and Seymour loves her mice better than anything. Here is his initial reaction to his new toy.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
A couple of days ago, I started experimenting with plying yarn from old acrylic sweaters. Here’s the pic of my first blue-green yarn attempt. I did it all wrong, and someone over on the TAD blog explained to me what I did wrong. Thanks, Pat! I read your comment before I made too much more wildly unbalanced yarn.
In the first yarn, I did not put twist into the two frogged sweater yarns before plying them. This yarn is not useable. I wound it onto a pencil for now, till I decide its fate.
Here, I have two more balls of the sweater yarn, and I twisted them each individually on the spindle. I have been doing a little research, and I found out that if you don’t have a tensioned lazy kate, you can keep your yarn balls under upside-down, heavy terracotta flowerpots and have the yarn come up through the hole. This is a great idea, but I had two problems with it. Number one, there are no such flowerpots in the house, and my kids are sick, so I can not leave the house. Number two, I get interrupted a lot, so I have to leave my work often. I could not just pick up two flowerpots with yarn balls underneath each one, While holding a spindle, and put them up out of the reach of kids or pets withouth making a tangled mess. Since we have our own business, and I am in charge of dealing with emergencies, I might need to leave my work at any time.
What I ended up doing is taking two semi-disposable containers from the cupboard and making my own weighted yarn-holders from them. To make a hole in the lids, I gently folded the lid in half so I could fit it into a hole punch’s jaws. There are two holes; I just used the smoother one to feed my yarn through. To wieght them, I grabbed some glass marbles and dumped them into the containers until I was satisfied that the containers were heavy enough not to move around, leaving enough room for a smallish ball of yarn. I imagine that you could use anything heavy that would not snag or dirty your yarn for this purpose. Now I’m plying again, and if I have to stop, I scoop up my containers, stack them, and put them out of harm’s way.
I am twisting the plyed yarn in the opposite direction of the two single plys this time…
There is very little info out there about plying recycled yarn, and I am an absolute beginner at spinning, so your input and ideas are warmly welcomed.
I did manage to ply the practice skein (purple and blue) today. It is commercial variegated acrylic yarn spun up with the leftover blue from the first skein. Pretty soon I’ll be ready to do this with wool.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Two of my children are down with the flu, so I'm going to copy my post from the TAD blog verbatim tonight. I may add more details later, or in subsequent postings.
As you may know from an earlier post of mine this week, I just tried spinning yarn for the first time. I do believe I’ve created a monster, and I might need to convince my hubby that a spinning wheel will be a good investment.
Today, I decided to try an experiment with some yarn from old sweaters. The sweaters had been unloved nineties confections from the back of my closet, and they all frogged apart really well last year, when I was on a recycled yarn kick. What I did not like about these yarns is that they had no twist in them. So I just wound them up on my ball-winder and promptly forgot about them until now.
The multi-brown one is cotton, and I thought I might make it a workable yarn if I plyed it with some plain brown worsted. So I tried that. I think on the next try I’d better reverse the direction of the twist, but I like the concept.
Next, I took the yarn from two of my old acrylic sweaters and combined it. Neither sweater yarn had any twist at all, so it seems like it is plying well (but let it be known that I don’t know what the heck I’m doing yet). This is really a fun TV-watching project on the drop spindle. It would be a whole lot easier with a wheel, but I’m getting the hang of plying the slow way. I like the color of my “new” yarn, and I’m hoping that plying will remove the kinks left in the old yarn from being frogged. I will set the twist in this yarn by wetting it and hanging it to dry once I’m done.
When you think about how many acrylic sweaters must wind up in landills, never to degrade, this lowly synthetic fiber becomes worth another look.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I think I should have added one more white bead to each side of the yellow bead, but other than that, I'm pretty happy with it. This seems to be the week for candy colors. I'm glad my bead bowl has so many.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Yesterday I posted these ornaments as a work in progress (next photo down). Here they are as a completed set of six. Each ornament has 16 picots in it. They were really fun to make, even though repetitive after a while.
28-ga wire sticking up everywhere. I use the galvanized stuff from the hardware store, not the copper-based kind from the craft store. The ornaments hold their shape better, and the galvanized is more break-resistant. You have to pull those picots pretty tight. It is maddening to have craft wire break on the last picot.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
However, I ended up making more than I needed for our most recent road trip, and now I want to use them up. I have a bunch of these:
The beadspinner works very well, and it is FAST! Here's a link to the kind I have:
I have the plastic one--well, three of them, actually--and they are FABULOUS! If you have any application that requires the stringing of massive amounts of beads, you will love this thing! I needed more than one because I sometimes switch colors on my French beading projects, and I like to have several bowls ready for dipping my beading wire into. They are quite reasonably priced.
Without further ado, here's today's project. The winding of an Ojo de Dios is a lot like making a beaded flower petal, only they are normally made of yarn. This one used up a lot of beads! It is as big as my hand, and I hung it up in my kitchen.
I added some really, really bright acrylic yarn, and a pom-pom tool:
And these guys were born!
Friday, February 13, 2009
Watch for the tuts from my Thing-a-Day projects in March; I'll have a bit more time then.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I just bought some thinner, 6lb test Fireline, and I'm going to try some denser beadwork now that I have thread that will (I hope) fit though the skinny needles I like for beading. More on that later this weekend or early next week.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Second try: 28 Ga. wire:
I'm not sure what my thing-a-day is going to be today. The day is an open book and I am running on no sleep, so who knows what will pop out of my brain. We had loud banging and crashing thunderstorms and wind last night, and I get super-vigilant in that kind of weather. We had a tree land on out house last summer and put holes in the roof, and now a certain type of roaring wind wakes me up in an instant. So...*yawn*...I'm tired.
Whatever it is, it'll be in the blog before I go to bed tonight. :o)
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
What I ended up doing is using my favorite toddler raglan sleeve top pattern, Kwik Sew 3149, and instead of using the neckline that comes with the pattern, I traced a hood from a hoodie that fits my little guy, and added on a seam allowance. I had a picture of this, but it failed to upload. Anyhow, here's the raglan sleeves being laid out. I use downloadable patterns from sewingpatterns.com. I don't mind taping together tiled patterns. I hate dealing with fragile and cat-enticing tissue patterns much more. This pattern has been used and used and used and still is holding up well. If you go the download route to get this pattern, set your printer for fast draft, to save a ton of ink. The pattern here was printed on fast draft, and as you can see, it worked out fine for my purposes.
A hoodie! I overlapped the two center front sections of the hoodie hood, because my example hoodie was assembled in that way. It made it easier to insert as well. I started serging at the center front, and inserted it just like a regular neckband, other than starting at the front. Now that I am no longer intimidated by the thought of making a hooded garment, my kids and I will have hoodies galore! The green sweater I used for the torso section is darker than it appears here---more of a granny smith apple green.
Action shot! The hood fits, but he took it off as soon as we walked into the store. We were buying juice to drink on our walk. As soon as we went back out, the hood went back on and stayed on.
After I finished my daily thing, I was still in a crafty mood, so I made the rest of this stuff:
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I'm doing some little star earrings today, and hopefully will get them done and posted to Thing-a-Day and here before bedtime tonight.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Next, get a plastic shoebox, like this one. With any luck, you may already have one in your home and not have to spend any money on it at all. Place your shoebox bottom on top of your touchlight upside down, like this:
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I used to live in a very, very small town, and all my craft supplies came by mail. While I lived there I got hooked on ordering Bosses Bead Bags from Fire Mountain Gems. I couldn't always use everything, so I accumulated bag after bag of "leftovers".
This is a good time for me to start using them up. I can't really lay out big projects at the table because I have a very busy and curious two year old. So I work at the counter, while I'm cooking dinner or watching something in the oven. A bowl of beads at the back of the counter that I can work from when I have a spare moment is just the thing for me to get my creative jones each day.
While I was digging around in my beads and unfinished projects, I ran across this partially completed earring from the "Bad Day" series I made last year. It sums up the state of my beady largesse nicely:
I might get something made tonight. I really am eager to do something with these beads. I won't be able to finish up in four days this time, though. I think that there are at least two kilos of beads here... :)
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
And what I started with on Sunday:
I made quite a few crosses today, to use up the #1 bugle beads I had so many of:
A few more starbursty things:
And here's the group of everything: