Thursday, January 27, 2011

An idea whose time has come!

I love this idea.  The genius behind it can be found here:

The plan is to work from what we have.  Work from the stashed stacks of fabric, bins of recycled wool sweaters and skirts, containers of buttons and trim, etc.  She says you can continue to buy your "staples" like thread, interfacing ... that sort of thing.  The challenge is to just try it.  How long can you last?  A week?  A couple of months?  Who knows?

I'm starting on this with my current project, the Granny Square afghan remake.  I had the afghan and, yes, I did buy some lining fabric.  But, I've got some black leather straps already on hand, magnetic snaps, and all the other stuff.  I want to put some pockets in the bag and was planning to go to the fabric store and find a cute coordinating pattern since my lining fabric is a big print.  BUT I'M NOT GOING TO DO THAT!  By God, I'm going to find something downstairs in the cedar closet that works. 

I've been wanting to make some small stuffed sheep using different recycled wool plaids.  I've got all the stuff here for that!  I'm going to do it!  Any idiot can go to a store (thrift or otherwise) and buy a bunch of stuff for a new project.  The wise ones use up what they have.  I bet I can do this with my cooking, too!  What's in the pantry?  What's hiding in the back of the cereal cupboard?  What havoc can I wreak on my kids' dinners?

I can't wait.  Stay tuned for my progress.  And, thanks to fivegreenacres!

Monday, January 17, 2011

What's to become of me?

Watch out!  The bags are back in town. 

After many months of gloves and scarves, I'm feeling the itch to make some handbags.  This fab afghan was bought on Etsy last summer.  I was scheming with a lovely lady in Australia to make a couple bags out of it and have some fun.  The afghan is a black base and the squares are refreshingly subtle for a Granny Square blanket.  Sometimes, so garish...

I've ordered some lining fabric and some leather straps for handles.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

S is for Sunflower -- and screening

I think I've spoken of my sewing group before.  There are 8 of us and we do creative projects for each other during the year.  We've been together for 7 or 8 years and the things we have done are spectacular.  For the first few years, we had specific guidelines that everyone followed.  One year was color, one year was theme, etc.  The color year I chose blue and brown and asked for 6-inch squares in those colors.  The techniques range from quilting to embroidery to knitting to everything in between.  I think I'll do some blog posts in the next few weeks about past creations.

This year my personal theme is Sheep and I gave everyone a 9-inch square of hand-dyed wool with the instruction to do a sheep.  I've received 4 so far and they are great.

This sunflower mat is for my friend, Kathy.  Her theme this year is for all of us to use leftover screening from her porch repair and to use the screening as the base fabric for our creation.  The only other stipulation was that we incorporate the letter "S" in the design.

The minute I saw it, I immediately thought of rug hooking.  I tried out a few strips to see what would work and settled on a #6 cut.  Because the holes are so small, I had to use a small hook that I picked up at a garage sale one time.  Not my beautiful hook that I use most of the time.  And, once I tried out the hooking, I realized that this was not going to be as pleasant and relaxing as hooking on linen.

Screening is hard plastic and has zero give.  Even if I wiggled the hook around, I couldn't get the little hole to be very big.  I was also using a fairly loose weave plaid for the main color of the mat and the loose weave did NOT want to be cut in a narrow #6 cut.  The green fabric was great -- tightly woven and a bit felted but still very flexible. 

The screening scratched my hands and, because I had to use a hoop instead of a traditional frame, my pulling action was very awkward.  I did not enjoy.  I felt like it took twice as long because I had to grip the frame while I pulled each loop through.  The screening was also difficult because it's black.  So, I had to use some special transfer paper to trace out the "S" so it would look right.

The smartest thing I did, though was to hook a small circle at the top of the stem as a placeholder for the proddy technique I used to make the petals of the sunflower.  This worked perfectly and as I prodded the petals, I gradually removed the small circle. 

All in all, I like how it came out, but it was a pain.  However, below is the project Kathy did for me a few years back when I had everyone do a vegetable.  The 8 vegetables hang in my kitchen at our lake house and they are all fabulous.  Kathy did squash and I know this type of work takes hours and hours.  So, as I scratched my way through I remembered the incredibly beautiful work Kathy has done for me year after year.  She's worth the effort.