Category Archives: craft

Makeup Bag

I whipped up a makeup bag on Sunday.

Rectangular fabric bag with a metal zipper. There are eyebrow pencils and other makeup items lying on top of the bag.

Designed to be just a bit longer than my eyebrow pencil

It barely took 15 minutes to throw together and the hardest part was locating a zipper foot for my sewing machine. The accessories for my machine are currently AWOL and will probably turn up at the bottom of a stash box one day. The benefit of having a spare sewing machine (or two) is having additional accessories. The drawback of owning more than one sewing machine is sounding like a person who can’t control her impulses but I figure they don’t make ’em like they used to. Besides both of us use them.

Though only only of us sews makeup bags.

How many sewing machines do you own?

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Avocado Dyeing Fail

Avocado stones and peel in a bowl

All I can report on this experiment is that the avocado skins and stones failed to colour my clean, undyed wool.

We had fun, had a good chat and had lunch.

We tried reheating and adding vinegar.

We giggled over whether we should pee in a pot and add that. (We didn’t)

Total fail.

Good thing my friend had brought her commercial dyes from Ashford.

The shrinkage was massive after all those interventions.

Two Rag Rugs in Rosepath

The two rag rugs I completed this week were closer to the kind of result I have been aiming for but had not quite achieved. The rugs used a double thickness of weft, made up of old business shirts and old sheets cut into 1 inch (2.5  cm strips) sewn together. The two weft strips were of different fabrics in the yellow toned rug and I am very pleased with the variation in tone that this achieved.

I chose to make folded hems as it’s likely they’ll end up as bath mats and experience has taught me that a fringed finish is like a magnet for fluff. Also I expect a folded hem to wear very well.

The new pro-tip from this project was serging (overlocking) the ends of the rug when they came off the loom. This gave me a tidy finish and secure ends.

Sett was 10 dpi in a 10 dent reed, threading was rosepath over 8. Warp 8/4 cotton in blue.

 

 

Picture Book Drawstring Backpack

A quick picture of a project I completed in 2017. In Australia little people need a library bag when they head off to school. From what I hear this isn’t a requirement in the US but I may have started a tradition by gifting it to a lovely little girl who lives in California. I hope its useful for her and her parents.

It was a fun project, using a Spotlight remnant licensed fabric for the outer layer and a fleecy cotton for the inside layer.

Library Bag

Who doesn’t love The Cat in the Hat?

Hanten Jacket 

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Do your projects sometimes take on a life of their own? This one did for me. It was intended to be a prototype but ended up as a project. Here’s the story:

I wanted to be true to the origins of the hanten jacket, a padded garment traditionally worn by workers.

Being true meant adding batting, which added complexity and a need for quilting.

Adding batting meant adding a lining, which for me was unbleached calico from my stash.

Following tradition meant having a contrasting neck band, which I read about online.

Being thrifty meant finding a wooden barrel button at the ops shop (charity shop.)

Using a button closure meant braiding a round kumihimo eight strand braid for the button loop and button band.

Using a round kumihimo eight strand braid closure meant learning how to transition that round braid to an eight strand flat braid so I could comfortably fit it under the sewing machine presser foot to attach it to the front band.

And dos it goes….

Pattern Source: Clothing from the Hands that Weave by Anita Luvera Mayer from Kay Faulkners extensive library.

In progress. I later swapped the fabric hanging loop for a braided one. Prototype closure elements.

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Quilting template and kumihimo disk. 3/2 cotton for the braids.

The East Bay Depot for Creative Re-Use

Were you a child who treasured offcuts of wood, scraps of fabric, egg cartons and even empty toilet rolls for creative play?

I am old enough to remember when cotton reels were made of wood, giving them many more possibilities for re-use than the plastic cotton reels we have today. In fact wooden cotton reels were one of the most desirable items of ‘waste.’ My grandfather made spinning tops out of old cotton reels. I still treasure those spinning tops today.

Today I can’t help but save items that I think might be useful for children’s craft activities. I gather them until I have enough to pass on to a family or a play group where children will be able to enjoy them. I wish I had a Depot for Creative Re-Use locally, like the one at 4695 Telegraph Ave in Oakland, so I could donate these items. Their shop is a treasure trove of pre-loved art supplies, yarn, card stock, picture frames, patterns, books, magazines and many more useful items.

centre-for-creative-reuseWhen we visited the East Bay Depot for Creative Re-Use we had a wonderful time hunting for treasures we could use for our craft projects. I resisted the temptation to buy some very well priced yarn in an attractive colour because I am trying to restrict my buying to projects I will work on immediately. My beloved found back issues of Fine Woodworking magazine for his reference library and was very happy with his purchases.

If I lived locally I would be happy to donate to the depot because I love what they do – diverting useful items from the waste stream and making them available to crafters, artists and educators who will put them to good use. Most of us crafters have one or two or more items that we haven’t had time to use or that reflect an interest we have moved on from.

The depot is located in an old part of town where coffee roasters offer espressos in shops that are next door to run down old buildings. I received some light verbal abuse from a homeless person for getting between him and the checkouts at the Depot for Re-Use, an experience that seemed consistent with the neighbourhood which has all kinds of people.

If you’re in the Telegraph Ave area you might also want to check out La Calaca Loca which has a well-deserved reputation for excellent grilled and fried fish tacos. There’s a tool lending library available to Oakland Public Library members, just across the road from the taqueria, adding one more fantastic feature to the area.

I am unaware of any places in my home town that offer similar services to the East Bay Depot for Creative Re-Use. Do you have anything similar where you live? It’s a brilliant idea and I’d love to see more of them.

A Visit to Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Supplies

img_0363In the interest of research I made a trip to Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Supplies at Pacific Commons in Fremont, California. The location is quite beautiful, as you can see from this car park photo. It feels like those hills follow you wherever you go in these parts, and they are spectacular to look at, particularly when the setting sun exaggerates the contours of the land by casting deep shadows. I got to Pacific Commons by bus, itself an adventure in this state where the car, SUV and truck reign supreme.

Shelving units at Jo-Ann's

It’s a spacious store

Generally I’m finding bus travel to be convenient and easy, though sometimes you can be faced with some serious walks just to get from one place to another once you reach your destination, particularly when you are going to a new shopping centre in a suburban location. It appears the planners assumed you would be driving, rather than walking, from one shop to the next.

I had read about Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores  as a place where many sewers get their fabric. The range was large and the whole shop was huge.  Many blog posts mentioned  making purchases only with a coupon and I could see why, as prices seemed to be on the high side. Financially, you’d definitely better off buying fabric in Bangkok though no shop I have seen in Bangkok could match Jo-Ann’s for range. And then there’s the cost of the air ticket…

Bolts of unpatterned fabrics on display shelvesThe selection of upholstery fabric was really impressive and it was good to see both upholstery fabric, fashion fabric and quilting fabric all in the same shop. That doesn’t tend to happen in Australia or New Zealand.

I bought a couple of dress patterns and some crochet cotton to continue my band weaving using a finer weight yarn, in the hope it will give me a better finish.

The checkout operator generously let me use my 40% off coupon even though it hadn’t downloaded correctly to my phone. Full marks for customer service on that one.