Sunday, December 30, 2012

Knit Fingerless Gloves

I know I have been neglecting to post updates here for several months, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy! I have been spending time finishing old projects and making new cards and books for craft shows and exhibitions.
The finished gloves!
These fingerless gloves are a Christmas present I made for my sister in law. I made them using the Lusekoftesque pattern on Ravelry. The yarn is called Road To China Light and is a wonderful blend of cashmere, silk, baby alpaca, and camel. Seriously, this yarn is ridiculously soft.
What the inside looks like.
This was my first colorwork project, and I am very happy with how it turned out. Honestly it was a lot easier than I was expecting, it is just a matter of paying attention to your chart and watching the tension on the yarn as you carry it over behind your work.
Detail of the colorwork.
The only problem I had was with the size. I followed the gauge but it ended up being too small for my sister in law's hands. Luckily it is going to be the perfect size for me! So now that Christmas is done I can finish the second glove for myself.
Look, they fit!  Hooray!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Photo Album: Handmade Books

This post is all about books!  Specifically, photos of my recent handmade books.  Because let's face it, I am making these suckers faster than I can blog about them all!  Many of these are blank journals.  Others are made using interesting recycled materials.  And there are a few art books thrown in there for good measure.  Enjoy!
Mini journal with ribbon closure.

Mini journal and regular journal both with ribbon closures.

Astronomy Alphabet book.

Astronomy Alphabet book, detail: Milky Way.

Journal with bird paper and brown book cloth.

Expandable spine, Octopus book.

A collection of journals, roughly 5x7 inches each.

Recycled tea box books.

Recycled tea box book.

Robot journal with cork book cloth.

A stack of journals, roughly 5x7 inches each.

Aurora Borealis art book, front.

Aurora Borealis art book, back.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wool-Eater Progress

I haven't posted about my Wool-Eater blanket in quite a while, but I am still steadily crocheting away!  I have added six or seven colors since my last update.  That is about an extra foot in width and length.  The blanket is getting big, but still not big enough to wrap up in during the winter.  I would say at least 5 more colors...  But who knows how long that is going to take at this point.  Luckily, I have a window A/C unit this summer so it is still comfortable to crochet when the air is blowing right at me.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Glass Suncatcher

Last month I spent an afternoon glass blowing with a friend.  The glass blowing studio near my house regularly offers Groupons for making a suncatcher.  It was a lot of fun!  We got to collect glass out of the furnace onto the pole, roll it on the table to shape it, add in colored glass, and twist it into a suncatcher.

I think mine came out very well.  I used blue, green, and yellow glass to add the colors.  The very tip of the spiral broke off in the kiln while it was cooling... But that adds character, right?

I added a yellow ribbon through the hole in the top and gave it to my mom for Mother's Day.  It is now hanging in her kitchen window where it gets lots of sunlight.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Toms Rescue

A couple weeks ago I staged an intervention for my old pair of black Toms.  My toes had worn through at least 2 places on each shoe, and I really wasn't digging that homeless look.  Luckily, I had seen a great tutorial on covering up those holes and giving the shoes a new look.

First I took needle and thread and sewed together the holes.  I figure that will reinforce those spots well enough to wear the shoes at least another summer, if not another year.  Then I covered the front with Aleene's double sided fabric tape and stuck on some funky fabric.  The tape is durable, permanent, and doesn't need to be ironed or sewn, so I was basically done.

Some fabric trimming and a couple pieces of decorative trim later, and I was done!  Look at my pretty new Toms.  I've gotten several compliments on them while out and about.  And I LOVE when people ask "Did you make those?"

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Project: Astronomy H-I-J

Last Monday I was dealing with day one of a cold... So my "project" for the day was laying on my couch, napping, and drinking tea.  My whole to-do list of projects, laundry, and writing blog posts went out the window (and got put off another week.)  This week on my day off I made the pages for H, I, and J in my Astronomy alphabet book.  H is for Halley's Comet.  I is for the International Space Station.  J is for Jupiter.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sneak Preview: Astronomy Book

I couldn't wait to share with everyone the book I'm working on.  It is an alphabet book based on Astronomy.  I am using acrylic paint, fine tipped markers, and embossing powder on navy blue cardstock...  And pure AWESOMENESS.

So far I have made 6 out of 24 panels.  Aurora Borealis, Cassiopeia, Draco, Eagle Nebula, Flame Nebula, and Gemini.

I am planning on entering the completed book into a show at Zygote Press in May.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mission Organization

This weekend my mission was to organize the heck out of my living room.  All of my paper crafting supplies were a mess, mostly because nothing had a place to go.  If nothing has a "spot" then nothing can get put away!  The first step to organizing the living room was hanging all my artwork.  Instead of being displayed, all my paintings and framed pieces were leaning against the wall in a stack and taking up valuable space.

My next step was to get some stacked drawers so paper and supplies could have a home.  It just so happens that my neighbors in the other half of the house were getting rid of a rolling box with wide drawers.  It got a little banged up when they moved, and he just couldn't use it anymore.  These drawers are the perfect size for what I need, and with the placement next to the table you can't even see the damaged parts.

The last step was to make a standing rack for my large decorative papers.  My idea was to create something like the paper stores have.  Basically, wooden dowels maybe an inch in diameter that connect two upright pieces, sort of like a wide ladder.  I went into Home Depot with a drawing of what I intended to make and showed it to one of the helpful people in orange aprons.  She thought it looked exactly like a porch railing turned sideways.  They don't have the wooden railings like that anymore, but she showed me a metal one that is 4 feet long with bars about 36 inches across.  It was perfect!  Then she helped me find something to stabilize the base.  I ended up with 4 shelf brackets that could be screwed onto the base.  And the best part is, they assembled it for me at Home Depot because I don't have a power drill at home!  I am thrilled with my new paper display and my nice clean work area.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sweater Refashion

A couple weeks ago my neighbor dropped of a bag of clothes for me to look through that she is getting rid of.  There was a loose sweater poncho in one of the bags.  I liked the idea of the sweater, and items with loose, bat-wing sleeves are really popular right now...  But this sweater was just a little too big with not enough shape.

My solution was to bring in the sides and make the poncho have actual sleeves instead of just arm holes.  To do this I sewed a line of straight stitching where the new seam would be.  Then I sewed a line of zig-zag stitch next to the straight seam.  Once the zig-zag was in place I could cut the extra fabric away without unraveling anything.

 I have worn it several times already, usually with a bright colored long sleeve shirt and jeans.  This is becoming one of my new favorite sweaters!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Project: Granny Bag

Today I finished crocheting and sewing the handles onto my first Granny Bag.  They call them Granny Bags because it is basically a gigantic granny square with rows of single crochet to gather the edges and make a place for the handles.  I added this photo to my Craft Ideas board on Pinterest last week... And decided I needed to make one!  I managed to do a lot of work on it this week despite having a day-long job fair and preparing for the first gallery opening of the year at work.  All I need to do now it add the lining!  I've already got yarn picked out for making my next one...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wool Eater Pillow

In the beginning of February I started crocheting a Wool Eater blanket using the pattern by Sarah London.  The pattern is being used for a crochet-a-long on Sarah's Blog as well as spawning a flickr pool and a group on Ravelry.  I have been really great about crocheting every week and being consistent on such a large project...  The weekly updates?  Not so much.  My first update was after 7 color rounds.  More than a month later, this update is at 14 color rounds.

Seven color rounds doesn't seem like a lot to have done in a month.  However, I took a little detour and made a Wool Eater pillow to match my blanket and completely obliterate the last remaining scraps of yarn from the first 10 rounds.  I started with the smallest amounts of yarn first and made a square Wool Eater block.  When it looked about the same size as the pillow form I bought, I started on the backing.

For the back I made a square the same size as the front using single crochet.  I tried to make the color distribution as random as possible using the leftovers from the front of the pillow.  When it looked basically the right size, I attached the front and back squares in a way similar to starting a new color with the Wool Eater pattern.  The top and bottom were easy because it is clear where each stitch needs to be.  For the sides I just guessed how far apart the stitches needed to be.  (Clearly I was very scientific with the whole pillow process...)  I am thrilled with how it turned out, and I am planning to make another pillow after the blanket is finished.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Project: Journals

This week my Monday Project was making journals using my stash of decorative papers.  This was actually a Sunday and Monday project.  I made the covers on Sunday, let them dry overnight, and prepared the pages on Monday.  I actually made three books today, but the third book had no pages attached when I took the pictures.  I couldn't let the fabulous evening sunlight go to waste!

Both books are made using decorative papers from Hollanders in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the covers, and Utrecht American Masters 100% Cotton for the pages.  The paper covering the fold of each signature is paper that I made by hand last summer at the Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland.  I also attached ribbons to the front and back covers so the books can be tied closed.  The binding is a basic Coptic stitch sewn with waxed linen thread.

I am gearing up for the summer craft fair season and kicking my book production up a notch.  This year I hope to do several craft shows with strictly books.  I also need to rotate out what I have in stores around the Cleveland area.  Right now you can see my books at the Urban Orchid near the West Side Market in Cleveland.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pink and Green Journal

This week I stopped by a new paper and book arts store called Small Studio.  I had heard wonderful things about the store, and they were all true!  I ended up picking up some beautiful decorative papers and some waxed linen thread in fun colors.  One of the papers I bought was a bright green sheet with pink branches and birds printed on it.  I arrived home and immediately started planning a book using that paper.  I pulled out some pages of white cotton paper I already had cut (well, torn with a ruler) to the correct size.  It is along the lines of a Stonehenge or Arches paper that I have leftover from a printing class I took.  As I was looking through my papers I also had green tissue paper I saved from a package, and various shades of pink paper I made over the summer during my internship.

Next I decided this journal needed some kind of closure and I just happened to have some green ribbon that would go perfectly with the bird paper.  (Actually, that shade of green is my favorite color... So I "happen" to have about everything in that same color.)  I started thinking about how the ribbon would attach to the book and remembered a sewing technique I learned over the summer where the signatures get sewn over a piece of leather or ribbon.  And the piece de resistance are the pink grommets that attach the ribbons to the cover near the spine.

 Everything came together so well, and the only thing I needed to buy was the decorative cover paper and the pink waxed linen thread.  This will actually be the first book I make and use myself.  Ginny at Small Studio said something that got me thinking.  We had a conversation about journaling and the benefits of capturing all the ideas and thoughts you have on a daily basis.  I realized the only time in my life I ever journaled consistently was 2 years ago during my Europe trip.  Looking back, the process of journaling really helped me gain clarity on certain issues, and my journal is my most treasured souvenir from that trip.  Starting today I am going to use this journal to write down thoughts, events, ideas, drawings, and everything else I used to do in my Europe journal or my high school sketch book.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Knit Baby Hat

One of my dear friends had a baby about a month before Christmas.  I wasn't able to make it to her baby shower, but we were able to visit shortly after New Years.  I knit a little hat for the baby girl, but I didn't want to choose a yarn that screamed BABY or was all pink.  I found a soft rainbow acrylic that made large stripes when knit into such a small hat.  She just turned 3 months old, and the weather is finally cold enough to wear the hat.  My friend sent this picture to my phone this week and it made my day!  ADORABLE!  (And the hat is pretty nice too...)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Project: Making Bracelets

Since the new year, my schedule has shifted so that I work on Saturdays but get to take Monday off.  Every Monday I settle into a nice comfy chair and pick a project to work on.  This week my Monday project was making bracelets.  Last week I ordered some strands of gemstone beads from Fire Mountain Gems.  They were having a $1 Sale and I like getting some variety in the materials I buy.  Today I had the chance to take the beads off the strands and put them away in my bead containers so they can be used.
I used to make a lot of bracelets in my free time to sell at a weekly summer craft show.  I haven't done that show for a couple years, but I would still pull the bracelets out occasionally to show to individuals.  Several months ago my mother started showing my bracelets to the ladies she works with, and slowly my stash of bracelets started disappearing.  So, I needed to start making bracelets again!  At this point my stash has gotten down to only about a dozen bracelets, not including the ones made today.
Today I made four bracelets.  The first one uses white ceramic beads with a blue floral design and vintage blue glass beads.  The second bracelet has long grey rectangular stone beads and small hematite chips.  The third bracelet alternates large pink gemstone chips and large green gemstone chips.  The fourth bracelet has small brown stone chips and round yellow gemstone beads.