Thursday, July 15, 2010

Don't be afraid

I'm sorry to report that my laptop is off having its guts ripped out. The consequence of this is that there will be no more blog posts (at least with pictures) until such a time as I have the technology to upload pictures again. This will likely be in around 2 or 3 weeks when I move into the House Of Awesome, where technology goes to roam free. I shall in the meantime be adhering to my self-imposed craft minimums, and all will be displayed here for your critique as soon as possible. In the meantime, go, relax, and enjoy. Following a long chat with my supervisor earlier about why I've been so bloomin' unhappy in my PhD, I know that's what I'm doing! Beer with friends and a midnight showing of Inception, oh yeah.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spinning and sewings by turns

This week I enjoyed a long overdue weekend in my home county of Donegal (Moville and Carndonagh to be precise). On Saturday I joined my best friend at the knitting group she created and got some spinning with my drop spindle done. I finished spinning a bag of white Bluefaced Leicester wool roving I'd bought at thisisknit in Dublin. I'd heard this wool was good for beginners and having worked with it, I'd definately agree. I might not have agreed so emphatically if I had not then gone on to spin with some different fibre on a spindle Ruth had with her. I don't know exactly what this fibre is made of - it was part of a goody bag that came with my spindle, but it didn't draft as nicely or as evenly as the Blueface. Still really pleased with the results though.
I have another bag of the BlueFace knocking about somewhere, so when I get around to spinning that I'll ply them together and dye them. As you can see, there's quite a bit on there, so I should have enough to make something useful.
There is, obviously, less of the purple (which came to me as it was, with that lovely marbled purple) so I'm not sure what it's destined for yet. A few bits on it are spun reaaal thin where I predrafted too much (if anyone wants to know more about the spinning techniques I;m mentioning, please leave a comment and ask. I just don't want to bore people by going on about them when no-one may care that much!), which I'm a bit annoyed form than because otherwise the weight and color reminds me a lot of a hank of Colinette Art I was gifted.
And now, to sewing. It's my friend Brenda's birthday this week. While she doesn't bake a lot, she does make some damn good brownies. Recently, she had a housemate who she didn't get on with very much. The girl moved out eventually.....and took Brenda's brownie pan with her! How frickin' mean! So naturally, I've got her a new brownie pan for her birthday, and I decided to make her a girly apron to go with it (she's pretty girly). I couldn't decide which fabric from my stash to use - the plain pink, or the purple gingham? Plain pink or purple gingham, plain pink or purple gingham......I couldn't make up my mind so I decided to make a reversible apron employing both. As I only had this one evening to make it I didn't put any pockets or embellishments on in case I messed them up, as I wouldn't have time to fix it. I do like the mis-matched (yet matching?) straps though. As it's to be reversible I couldn't do a basic hem by folding over as I normally would. I pressed the raw edges inside the apron really flat, then used the one fancy-ish stitch on my basic yet awesome machine to add another touch of girliness.

I hope she likes it!

Apologies for the crappy pictures, I had to take them myself using the self-timer function. Also, it's the end of a long day, I'm in my comfy pants, I look dreadful hence the "disguise".

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Apologies in advance

Yes, apologies. Both for the crappy photos, which were taken at sleepy hour, and also if this post is somewhat disconnected. It's been a busy week, this is the first evening I've had a few moments to sit and read a book. The tiredness of the week is catching up on me, but that's ok. I'll have a lovely sleep tonight, dabble with some chemicals tomorrow (it's my job, after all) then get a bus to Donegal, on which I can snooze and knit by turns, before having my lovely mammy pick me up and drive me home to a hot dinner. Huzzah!
But let's get to what you're here for - the crafts. The major craft of this week was actually made last Thursday night, but as it was after I'd posted, I think it's fair game, don't you? It's the first bit of anyway proper sewing I've done in a while, and I'm really happy with it as it's exactly what the recipient wanted. True, I had the recipient there with me while I was making it, so we figured it out together as we went. My neighbour Jen had cut a pair of her jeans up and wanted to use the spare legs to make a bag suitable for a small knitting project. We used a hank of yarn I had lying around (one of many) to estimate the perfect size. We left the top open, so that'd it'd be easy to stuff the project away when, for example, you'd reached your bus stop. They're not visible in the picture (sorry) but sewn inside there are ribbons to tie the bag loosely closed. The ribbons are black and qhite polka dotted, just like on the brooch, which you may recognize?
(I'll get to what's on top of the bag in just a moment)

It was only when I'd started sewing that I'd realized the top thread in my machine was black whereas the bobbin was loaded with white thread (as a result of me finishing something while running out the door the week beforehand, and not wanting to load up another black bobbin). The consqeunce of this is that your stiches are one colour on one side of the fabric and the alternative on the other - pretty cool, huh? Yeah, we thought so, so we designated this as a design feature (rather than a bit of an accident) and emphasized it by using a zig-zag stitch rather than a straight. Again, you can't see the ribbon, but the choice of ribbon color was also decided by this random colour mismatch we'd stumbled upon.

After all that, the brooch I'd made a week or two ago seemed like an obvious finishing touch. The long, thin object on top of the bag in the first picture was a spork holder whipped up in just a couple of minutes. Jen's friend needs protecting from her lunch utensils! In keeping with the theme, the velcro closing had black velcro on one side and white on the other - again, sorry about no pictures.
My other item this week wasn't really "made", more "adapted". Do you ever find yourself in need of a stretchy little hairband, such as that shown below?

An abundance of these hairbands can be yours in but a few easy steps.

  1. Buy tights in Penneys.
  2. Wear tights to death, until they're kinda bobbly and gross and you don't wanna wear them anymore.
  3. But a strip of about 2 inches or so out of the leg.
  4. Pull strip over head - and there you go!
I can't claim credit for this waste avoiding idea myself. I'm interested in frugality, self-sufficiency and repurposing materials which would otherwise be thrown out. As an avid skirt wearer who works in a laboratory (no bare legs allowed) I have an excess of black tights, both plain and patterned. These only last so long though, and eventually become too worn to wear or even give to a charity shop. With some internet trawlage, I found this thread on the ever excellent Craftster. If you've never visited Craftster, I cannot recommend it enough. There are forums dedicated to each and every craft under the sun, so you're guaranteed to find something for you. Or if you're like me - everything!

Have a lovely weekend everyone. I'm off to put some of my clutter for sale on my favourite website, possibly ever.