Beanie a Long Time

Back in 2010 I started knitting a fair isle vest out of Patonyle sock yarn. I got to the armpits and discovered it was too small for me, so I cast off and set the piece of fabric aside. Since then I’ve toyed with plans to make a bag, a hood style hat, and finally, this:

creativefidget491

It was really just a matter of using a beanie I already had as a template, overlocking the edges and sewing the halves together.

creativefidget492

I used some of the waste yarn to make a pom pom. This is the only time I’ve put one on a hat. I’m not 100% convinced I like it, but I don’t dislike it enough to take it off again.

creativefidget493

This was a WIP that had been around so long it fell off the WIP list and wound up on the To-Do list again. But now it’s done, and I feel more satisfaction at that than how it turned out. Though I do think it worked out alright, and I’d have hated to waste all the hours of knitting that went into it.

Ribbon Scarf

creativefidget489

After getting my craft mojo back post trip, I couldn’t decide what to work on. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to tackle anything on my to-do list but that I wanted to do all of them equally as much. So faced with too much choice I figured I may as well attack the WIP list instead.

The first thing I did was finish the flamingo pendant, then warp up the rigid heddle loom for some more placemats. But I wanted to reduce the WIP list and I had four placemats to weave then a runner to warp and weave so it would be a while before I could cross that one off. Rather than start weaving I set my sights on finishing faster WIPs.

I made a tough decision and unpicked the embroidery on the grey vest, While I thought it looked sweet, it really wasn’t me. Nothing like abandoning a project to quickly reduce the WIP list!

After that I examined the ribbon scarf. I’d been basting ribbons on slowly, usually during an evening of tv watching. But I found it hard to tell if I was getting the colours evenly spread, or if I had enough ribbon to cover both sides. So I decided to lay the fabric out on a table and lay the remaining ribbon over it. I worked out that I really only had enough ribbon to cover one side.

I started cutting and pinning ribbon, and once I was satisfied with the arrangement, I basted the ribbons down over a couple of sessions. All that was left then was to sew them down, hem the scarf and unpick the basting, and it was done.

creativefidget490

This is a 100% recycling project. The gauze was left over from another project, and the ribbons removed from an old costume.

As for the rest of the WIPs… I reckon I can get the Paua Shell Collar done pretty soon. I’ve also returned to art classes, so I’m finally making progress on Justin’s portrait. What I really need to tackle, however, is the Art Necklace. It’s the oldest WIP and it’s time I got it out of the way.

Flamingo Pendant

Here’s the finished embroidered pendant I began while overseas:

creativefidget488

As I suspected, it all started to look right once I got the full range of feather colours on. I found a blue cord necklace at Spotlight that was a close match to the fabric.

Last weekend it went to the recipient, a thank you present to my lovely friend Karen who made some promotional notebooks for me to use as gifts overseas. She is rather fond of flamingos.

Poking Around the To-Do List

After returning from a long trip away I usually find myself in a creative funk, and this time is no exception. But it’s always a temporary thing. A week after getting home my interest is starting to revive. Through the week, rather than waiting for my mojo to return, I’ve been tidying up my craft room looking at WIPs, checking my to-do list, reading back through old blog posts and noting which projects make me go “ugh” or “I still want to make that”.

Photo albums
“Ugh” was my first thought, despite having found quicker and easier ways to make them. It’s the choosing of images that takes a long time. That, and captioning them. Still, Paul is working on the ones from this trip (I left it to him and didn’t even take a camera) so maybe that’s one album I won’t have to worry about.

Weaving
My first thought on entering the craft room was that I could happily jump on the table loom and finish the collar. And that once I got over jet lag I would be ready to tackle the place mats. Sure enough, I had warped up the rigid heddle for another four before the week was up.

Dyeing
Yeah, well, most of the dyeing I want to do is to improve existing objects and that doesn’t make me leap to the pots. However, the idea of dyeing yarn for weaving a colour gamut blanket is attracting me.

Papercraft & Printing
Oddly enough, I’ve had a bit of an itch to do some printing for a while now. Even while I was on holidays. However, I think I’m officially over bookbinding now. I’ll happily do it in order to make something, but not for the sake of doing it.

Sewing & Refashioning
Cold weather usually dampens my enthusiasm for garment sewing. (All that getting changed to test the fit.) I’m a bit sad I didn’t get as much done last summer as I’d hoped, and there are a few winter weight and non-garment projects on the to-do list, so maybe I’ll whip out the machine soon.

Machine Knitting
I found a reference to thinking about selling the Passap knitting machine on my blog from last August. Hmm. I bought it in Feb 2012. I don’t think I used it after August 2012. Perhaps next August, if I still haven’t used it, or have used it and thought ‘meh’, I will sell it. The Bond doesn’t take up as much room, so I’ll hang onto that.

Embroidery
I’ve been enthusiastic about embroidery for pretty close to two years now, though I seem to have reached that point I get with a hobby where I start questioning what I’m doing and why. I’m still figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t. And the cat. It has to be something I can stitch while the cat is on my lap.

Jewellery
I’ll always be interesting in making jewellery, but the kind of jewellery is what changes. I’m over beading and macrame. I’d like to try that metal clay kit Paul gave me for Christmas a few years back.

Other
There are some whacky ideas on this list. I have an mini fan I bought some years back that barely makes a draft, for all that it buzzes around noisily. I’ve wanted to try making a paint spinner disc since seeing an artist playing with one on a doco. Entirely for the fun of it. I have no idea what I’d do with the resulting artwork! I also have an itch to make sand candles out of some leftover candle-making supplies I’ve got hanging about. That’s where you press an object into sand to make the mould, and the grains decorate the outer surface.

Yeah, the crafty brain cells are definitely waking up.

Travelling Stitches

Thing I was right about: I stitching during bumpy flights and train journeys doesn’t produce accurate work.
Thing I was wrong about: That a certain stretch of rest time I’d planned to do stitching in would actually be restful.

However, I did eventually finish this:

beetlependant

And half of the second piece.

Kitted Out

The first embroidery kit I took overseas contained lots of little embroidery projects. I far overestimated how much time I’d have for stitching and didn’t even finish one. Having learned from that, I took a smaller kit for the next trip. I was only away for 10 days so all I managed was to embroider eyes on a sleep mask.

This time there’s a bit of relaxation time built into the trip, so I might achieve more. But I am only taking two tiny projects, my usual card holding pre-cut lengths of thread in a range of colours, some fabric and some blank pendant bases. If I run out of stitching to do I’ll attack another sleep mask. Or something else in my suitcase.

creativefidget481

The pros of traveling with embroidery over knitting is the materials and tools are so much smaller. The cons are that bad light and being jostled make it difficult to stitch well. Since I was able to knit mostly without looking, so long as light was good enough for occasional checking of progress I was fine, and the rocking of a train or turbulence of a plane had to be pretty bad to bother me. I have a little clip-on light, but there’s no solution to stitching in rough transport and those needles are sharp!

Ball & Change

For the first two to three months of last year I had to stay off my feet thanks to a bout of plantar faciitis. Fortunately it settled down enough that I was able to move house in the second half of the year with no new flare up. However, the sprained ankle has stirred up the plantar facia again, because when I was limping more force went into the non-sprained side, which was the most prone to pf.

I’m off overseas again soon, and my old multi-purpose mary janes aren’t going to cut it. I needed shoes that were not just going be robust, able to be worn with a skirt, nice enough for an evening out and taken off quickly at airport security gates, but they had to be supportive and impact-absorbing. I went to Gilmores, a local shoe specialist for people with problem feet, and the only shoe that came close to filling my requirements were, well, not exactly pretty.

creativefidget478

Paul calls them ‘old lady shoes’. I think they’re just boring.

This moccasin style of shoe usually has a few more features. A buckle or bow across the top. A thin leather cord tied at the middle. A bit of leather fringe. Heck, I’ve seen them in a street fashion photo with fur and a chain. Looking at the website of the shoes’ brand, there are plenty with these embellishments, but perhaps only this one had the extra-good-for-plantar-faciitis internal structure.

Still, this did mean I ought to be able to decorate my shoes without it looking odd.

What to do, though? I experimented with all of the above, cutting up bits of leather and experimenting with buckles and cord. I realised that if I could somehow attach some loops to either side of the shoe I might be able to switch around embellishments as I pleased.

So I got stitching. A bit of black leather and waxed thread later I had the loops on.

creativefidget480

After applying a bit of boot polish to make sure they blended in with the rest of the shoe, I considered all my decorations and settled on the simplest: a chain.

creativefidget479

I figure if I get the time between now and leaving, I’ll make some more embellishments. Maybe some black bows. And I rather fancy a strip of leather with studs in it. Hmm.

Warped Up

The placemat and table runner project is coming along nicely:

creativefidget482

I’ve made four. My sums seem to suggest that I have enough yarn to make eight placemats and a skinny runner. I figure I’ll do the placemats first then see how much yarn I have left over.

The collar/scarf is nearly done:

creativefidget483

I won’t know until I finish and start experimenting with the length of fabric whether I’ll attach it to the ruanna or just use it as a very long scarf, or cut it into two shorter scarves. It’s kinda nice to have options.

Stitchy Shirt

At last! Some craft!

This shirt has gone through a few transformations now. It was one of Paul’s shirts. The first refashion saw me taking the sides in, ripping the arms out and reset them as short sleeves, then beaching the whole thing.

But the fabric was a bit heavy for a summer top, especially as it was double thickness at the yoke. I decided to take the sleeves off completely in the summer just past. Before I had a chance to wear it, though, I decided to try some kantha-ish embroidery.

creativefidget484

I was going to stitch all over it, but I found stitching on a single layer of cloth not as easy without a hoop as stitching into the top layer where there were two or more layers. It’s also much easier to deal with thread ends when you can hide them between two layers.

creativefidget485

It was very relaxing. The stitching didn’t have to be perfect. Good tv stitching.

creativefidget486

I like how it has come out. There’s a nice quilted texture to the areas I stitched.

creativefidget487

And I suspect stitching over the whole garment would have taken long enough for it to go from a fun to a tedious project. This was enough.

Cullbriated

I have an ap called Stickies that puts post-it note like pages on my computer screen. In one I have a list called “Big Cull”. I started it before we moved in the hope I’d get through every category on it and have less stuff to shift. Of course, I didn’t get everything culled in time, so I’ve been revisiting it every time I have the itch to tidy up.

The wardrobe in the craft room has two hanging sections with, for no good reason, have three narrow doors each where two would have been fine. That meant there was a vertical beam for the middle door’s hinges that stood 2/3 the way across the space, always in the way. It ran up through the shelving above the hanging rail, too, so I had to do box tetris to get some things out.

So we turned a pair of the doors for each section into a concertina door by attaching hinges, and removed the beam. The new double door didn’t quite sit flat, partly because I had extra fabric spilling out of the fabric tub and my trims box had become two trims boxes.

Time to tackle the “fabric” category on my Big Cull list.

Oh body, did I chuck out a lot of useless fabric scraps. Turns out that a glass of Pinot Gris is a good primer for culling. I thought it would weaken my resolve. Instead it made me ruthless.

Though thinking about the fabric stash differently helped, too. I have everything in zip-lock bags labelled by type. They include denim, corduroy, felt, velvet, muslin, lining, facing, knit, silk painting scraps, fancy fabric, fake leather, polycotton, cheesecloth, calico and costume scraps. Most are leftovers from projects, though some is fabric from abandoned projects or ones I found a better fabric for, and a few are leftover from my 20-year-old self’s addiction to discount bins.

I decided I’d stick a post-it note on each bag with a possible project/s for the contents. Let’s just say I didn’t use many post-it notes. Lots of small scraps went in the rubbish. Any decent sized piece of fabric that drew a blank had to be pretty special to avoid the op shop pile. A few did. Call me deluded, but I’m still sure I will find a use for stretch fake leather – probably for a costume.

The tub not only closes now, but the fabrics aren’t crammed in. I was so pleased with my culling success I had another glass of Pinot Gris and attacked the trims, getting them to fit into one box.

Fortunately by the time I was done there was no more wine, or it could have got scary.