Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Norwegian Knapsack

 Before I tell you about this project, I want to say that I am SUPER proud of myself for making something so AWESOME.  And I did it in only a month!  I think the fact that I finished it in a month is probably the most impressive part, at least for me.

Anyway, I made myself the Norwegian Knapsack from the book Norwegian Handknits.  I bought the book a year ago and hadn't had a chance to make any of the patterns yet.  This was my second project using stranded color work and I really enjoyed it (the first project was the pair of fingerless gloves I made in December.)  I love the bag but... the pattern published in the book was not edited very well.  I found numerous errors in the pattern wording and the main chart, neither of which were addressed in the published erratta.  Also, the pictures in the book of the knapsack (including the one on the front cover!) differ slightly from the published chart.  However, once you set up the repeating charts, it is fairly easy to get into a rhythm, and figure out the stitches without paying attention to the pattern.

Despite the difficulties I had deciphering the pattern, the actual knitting and assembling of the bag went very smoothly.  I opted to add the extra finishing steps of lining the bag with black wool, adding embroidery to the front of the bag, and making a zipper strap for a separating handle.

Books 008-009

Over the weekend I spent a lot of time working on books.  These two are books I started last year, but never quite finished...

Book 008 is an accordion spine book with signatures of pages attached with pamphlet stitch.  I painted the blue cardstock with a design to match the cover paper before folding my accordion.  The book is held shut with a strap made from a repurposed belt.  I sewed an orange ribbon to the belt to make it coordinate better with the book.

Book 009 is a blank journal made with a basic coptic stitch.  I made the covers back in December when I was getting ready for holiday shows, and never got around to putting pages in.  The covers have an antique car pattern on the outside, and a paper with reproduction vintage ephemera on the inside.

I glued a couple more sets of covers that are drying right now under weights.  More about those later.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Update: Wool-Eater Blanket

It has been a while since I have posted about my progress on the Wool-Eater Blanket...  Mostly because I didn't work on it all summer, and I was busy with work and craft shows all fall.  Now that Christmas is over, I can get back to working on some projects for myself.  I have added a couple colors since my last update.  The blanket is now big enough to cover my legs going the short way as well as the long way.  But... still not really big enough to completely wrap up in, and not big enough to share with someone else if I really wanted to.

My plan is to do two or three more colors after this one.  I'm thinking about a dark green, then repeating the magenta, and light pink from earlier in the blanket.  (I bought yarn since writing this post.  I decided on dark green, another row of the seafoam color, teal, and "orchid" which is the pinkish purplish one.)  That should add a few inches on each side.  I started the blanket on Superbowl Sunday last year, so I am trying to finish it by Superbowl Sunday this year.  Once the blanket is all done, I can work on the second throw pillow for my couch.  So hopefully this will be my last "in-progress" post about this project, and the next one will show my finished Wool-Eater Blanket!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book 007

Behold, book 7 of 365!  This is another envelope book with a flexible enclosed spine.  I made this book as a sample for a workshop proposal I am developing.  I might be teaching how to make this and something like book 001 as a workshop in the Cleveland area.  Stay tuned for more details!

I worked on 5 more smaller books this weekend.  They are nearly finished, I just need to use the large paper cutter and corner rounder at work tomorrow.  So hopefully pictures of books 8-12 are coming soon.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book 006

This book is one I made for my good friend Fenna of Short Girl Blogs.  She had some thick, handmade watercolor paper and she gave it to me so I could transform it into a book.  She left the details pretty wide open, only asking for a couple envelopes to put things in, and to make it sparkly.

I sewed the pages to ribbon straps, and glued the ribbons to each cover.  Then I glued an envelope down inside the front and back covers instead of end sheets.  After leaving everything under weights for a few hours I traced some of the front cover designs with pink and green glitter glue.

So there you have it!  Book 6 out of 365.  Does anybody else have requests for books I should make?  I will be making tons of books this year anyway, and I love the challenge of creating something special for a commission.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Books 002-005

Yesterday I sat down and made books 2-5 of my 365 for the year.  I decided to have a little bit of fun with collage.  First I made four easy pamphlet stitch books as the base for the collages.  The covers are light yellow cardstock with white printer paper as the pages.

I used some bits of leftover paper from my last book, along with a sheet of canceled "Royal Wedding" stamps from Canada, and assorted old tickets.  I'm pretty happy with how they came out.  I don't usually do collage, and sometimes I find it difficult to get a composition I like.  Hopefully little exercises like this will help with future collage projects.

I put the books under weights to dry, but the covers still curled a little bit.  To help reverse the curl I brushed some water on the inside of each cover, and put them back under weights overnight.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Book 001

**UPDATE, 9/30/13, Instructions for making this book are now available on Etsy.  Thanks to everyone for the support and interest in this book structure!**

Yesterday I made my first book of 2013!  The spine is a narrow accordion made from green cardstock, the pages are yellow 9x6 inch envelopes, and the covers have an air mail theme with a ribbon closure.

 I made this book specifically to store all of the bills I get in the mail.  Before I had a drawer stuffed with a year's worth of gas, electric, and insurance bills because I had no other place to put them.  Now I have an envelope for each type of bill/statement, and I can clean out that drawer.  I ended up with a bag of envelopes and other unnecessary papers that can be recycled.  And the accordion spine means the book can expand as I add this year's bills to it.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

365 Creative Challenge

I was browsing through some craft blogs today and came across this blog about making 365 things in 2013.  I have tried doing the "finish something everyday and blog about it" thing before, but that was several years ago before I revamped my blog and refocused my artwork.  I kept it up for about a month... but then I just stopped.  Ran out of time.  Ran out of motivation.  Quit.  Honestly, that is not an unfamiliar story for me.  That is why I have 3 partially finished crocheted blankets in my house.  Why I can only journal for a week, and then not again for a solid month (maybe two!)  Why it has taken me a year and a half to (almost) finish the t-shirt quilt for a friend (sorry Adam...)

BUT, this 365 challenge is different.  It isn't about finishing something every day.  It is about finishing 365 things over the course of 365 days.  Because let's face it, not every project can be finished in one day.  Especially not a weeknight after work.  So I have decided that I will make 365 Books in 2013.  Boom!  The gauntlet has been thrown!  It's on now!  Ah, but first some rules: (got some great tips from this blog about how to complete a year long challenge)

1.  Complete 365 books by the end of December 31st, 2013 (no half-finished books allowed!)  Ideally this means about 7 every week, and 30 by the end of the month.  But I'm flexible.
2.  This can be anything from a simple pamphlet stitch book, to a blank journal, to a full blown art book.  If nothing else, this will help me build inventory for my summer and winter craft shows, and for consignment.
3.  Projects must be photographed and blogged about.  This could be a snapshot of multiple books, with as little as one sentence describing the content or structure.  Let's not get too fancy.
4.  Photos will also be displayed in a folder on my Flickr page.

I think that is a pretty good crafty goal for 2013.  What do you think?  Have you ever tried making daily (or year long) craft related goals?