Monday, October 19, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
|Here's a close up of the smocking. It's a simple diamond stitch in a pastel rainbow of colours. It was quick and easy to do because diamond stitch works up fast. Actually, it took longer to gather the pleats than to do the actual smocking. If I were to do it again, I'd choose slightly darker shades.|
I'm quite pleased with the results, since this is only my second attempt at smocking. Here's my first, a top I made for myself when I was a teenager. Clearly I hadn't yet learned that sometimes, less is more. There is way too much fabric in the smocked section, resulting in a HUGE ruffle. I had to stitch some elastic along the top just to hold it up. I can only wear it when I'm feeling super skinny or else I feel eight months pregnant.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Fraying the seams caused me quite a bit of anxiety. It took me over a week to cut all the seams. I tried everything, scissors, clippers even electric scissors. The scissors could barely cut through the cloth. The clippers worked, but only through two layers. So, it took two passes to finish a seam. It took forever, it hurt my hands, and I got bored. The electric scissors were the most comfortable, but they kept slicing through the stitching.
In the end, the easiest was to use a simple blade cutter. I put the seam on a chopping board, then hacked at it with the blade. It still hurt the hands, but it was quick and strangely satisfying.
After cutting the seams, the blanket went through a wash and dry cycle at the laundromat. There aren't many self service laundromats in my area, so even that was a bit of a challenge. I got a funny look from the girl in charge of the dryers when I pulled all the fluff out of the machine.
Here's the blanket before and after washing. The seams did fluff up nicely, but I don't think the effect is worth it. Too much effort. Next time, I'll find something else to do with my old jeans.
Monday, May 18, 2009
|Today, I have a collection of almost round things to show. First are these washi eggs. I think I was influenced by all the decorated easter eggs floating around on the web; all those lovely spring colours. I spent part of my childhood in Canada, so easter eggs, chocolate bunnies and candy chicks definately have some resonance for me.|
It took me the longest time to figure out how to blow out the eggs. I googled for instructions and kept reading about drilling holes and using rotary tools. So I hijacked one of my father's drill bits and gave myself sore fingers spinning the thing around on the egg, trying hard not to crack the shell. In the end, I got frustrated and just tapped the drill bit against the egg. That worked wonderfully; a beautiful, tiny hole, no sore fingers. I still don't quite have the knack of it though. I can't find a straw/tube slim enough to slip into the egg without creating a gigantic hole. Next time I'll try a sports ball pump or something like that.
Next are these almost round origami balls (they're actually cuboctahedrons). I still feel stunned looking at these thing. Who would have thought that you could get such lovely curves from straight, square papers. Those clever, clever origamists...
Thursday, April 30, 2009
This is the top of the bag. I don't know if you can see from the picture, but there are three loops there. Two are for the straps. Originally the plan was to thread the straps through the loops, fold them over, then sew them down. I put the bag on my little guy and just knotted the straps to get the right length. The knots held so well that I've never gotten around to the sewing. I almost didn't put in the third loop, but now I'm glad I did. It's perfect for hanging the bag on a hook.
I have a beautiful piece of pink cloth that I'm itching to turn into a bag for my little lady, but putting in that covered zipper caused me quite a bit of hair pulling. I'm not going to attempt another bag until I've figured out a saner method of inserting a zipper into a lined bag.
Here's the new 'baju melayu' (traditional Malay clothing) I made for my little guy. Yes, it's pink. He chose the colour himself. He's a sweet guy. Once, I put some ribbon flowers on his sister's dress. I had some extra flowers, so he requested that I put them on his pants. I put them up near the waistband, hidden by his shirt, so it wouldn't cause too much teasing at school.
I haven't made a 'baju melayu' for my little guy in a while, so I decided to do a 'tulang belut' (eel spine stitch) on the neckline. This stitch is a feature of traditional 'baju melayu'. It's a decorative stitch which also helps to strengthen the neckline. It's kind of like a herring-bone stitch lying on its side.
Mine isn't as even as it could be, for a few reasons. Firstly, I don't practice it enough. Secondly, I cheat. As you make the stitches, you're supposed weave them over and under each other. I cheat by doing the stitch correctly, but omitting the weaving. It speeds things up a bit.
After all this little boy sewing, I feel a bit guilty. The little lady needs clothes too. I have to get moving and plan some dresses for her.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
As usual, I neglected to read instructions carefully, so I cut 1.5 cm strips instead of the usual 3-5mm. The result is way too bulky.
These picture frames were next. For the black and pink frame, I had planned to do the white scrolls all the way around, but my little guy (my son) got involved. The big red ... roses? ... on the right are his idea.
The last paper item for the day is this little Kusudama ball, design selection and phtography courtesy of my little guy.
Monday, March 30, 2009
I made these temari a few years ago. The balls look a little worse for wear because I let them be used in the traditional sense (basically, I let my kids play with them).
I was learning to make these following tutorials from the excellent, but now sadly defunct, Temari 101 website. The site was great. The first ball featured overlapped diamonds (the small blue one). It took me two tries to get it right. The black, red and white ball was my first try.
The next tutorials featured a whole bunch of spindle balls. I made one (the pink one), then I had my first baby. Temari require marking with lots and lots of pins. Pins and babies don't mix, so I stopped for a while.
The kids are bigger now, so I ready to try some more. The black one is another spindle ball.
The yellow one is my mis-guided attempt to follow these excellent instructions. I'll have to try again some other time. I seem to do better with my second attempts.
The ball at the back is the Rainbow design from the Temari Traditions book.
These two are my latest. They are both attempts of the Triads design from Temari Traditions. The design is a fully covered ball (meaning that the entire surface off the ball is covered with stitching thread). Getting the effect requires precise marking, something I'm still working at. The purple ball looks pretty good though, so I'm happy.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
The thing with my son is that once he starts making something he won't stop. After the button flowers, he wanted more flowers. So I broke out my paper craft books.
We upgraded from pipe cleaners and scrap paper to proper floral wire and crepe paper. He cut and glued, and I assembled. We did the roses sort of like they did here, but much lazier, just drawing everything free hand.
The iris is from one of my old craft magazines. Now he's insisting he needs more than one purple flower.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
I was itching for a quick finish project, so I made these origami decorations. These are the first three balls from this book. They are made of six paper squares, folded, then glued together. The folding part comes together pretty quickly, and putting on the tassels is very satisfying.
Friday, March 6, 2009
I did some crafting with my 4 1/2 year old today. We made the paper flowers from here. My little guy chose the paper. I drew the hearts. He cut them out, and we assembled them together.
The stems are pipe cleaners. I haven't played with pipe cleaners in years, forgot how much fun they are. Have to get more pipe cleaners...
Monday, March 2, 2009
The second dress was the complete opposite. Here's the first version. That pink ribbon added a touch of colour, but it made the dress too stiff. The straps were too long and the whole thing just fit my little lady. Trust me, 'just fits' is not how you want to describe the dress of a growing two year old.
I decided to un-pick the side-seams, straps and skirt and fix the mistakes. In two days of seam ripping and re-sewing I managed to attach the back opening backwards and sew the skirt so that it was twisted like a pretzel.
It finally did come together though. She's worn it a few times, so now I feel better about all that un-picking.