Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sheet of paper ATC

On Pinterest I had found this image:

I'm not sure what it is, actually - mini pillow? i-Something holder? Whatever; I liked the idea of a sheet of paper done in fabric, and wanted to recreate it. I drew out the lines with colored pens on muslin and sewed a running stitch over them with the same color. Everything was going splendidly until I decided to block the ATC (wet it and shape it) and, dah dah dah, the red pen ran all over the place:

Hm, which you can actually barely see in this picture. Anyway, other than the red schmears everywhere, the ATC is kinda cute, and I might make more later. Maybe drawing the lines with pen alone, and then embroidering words or letters. And keeping it away from water...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Little rug crocheted from t-shirt yarn

So in the previous post I showed how I made all that t-shirt yarn. And here is what I made with it:

Ta-da! I mean, the rug, not the cat.

So, some things about the project, positive and negative. First of all, it was quite fast - it took a Sunday afternoon to complete, by which I mean I spent Sunday afternoon reading blogs and occasionally looking down to do a stitch or two, and suddenly it was done.

Another positive thing: it is Sturdy with a capital S. I'm thinking of making another to be a foot-wiper at the front door, because it seems incredibly durable (although I guess time will tell).

Two things that were, well, not exactly negative but a bit of a surprise for me. First, how heavy heavy the whole thing was! If you were to make a blanket like this, it would be very, very heavy - uncomfortably so, I would think.

Secondly, I had no idea how much t-shirt yarn it would take to make a single little foot rug! You can see in the picture how there are 11 different colors... that's 11 different shirts right there, to make a rug which is 17" by 25". I did the math, and if I wanted to make a smallish afghan (45" by 60") I would need 70 t-shirts!!

So this was a one-off project, it seems. Anyway, it was fun to try and now I have a little mat to keep my feet warm in the bathroom:

How to make T-shirt yarn

If you have a lot of old t-shirts, sweat-shirts, or other knit clothes, you can easily turn them into "yarn" which can be crocheted, knit, or woven into other projects. Basically you are cutting a shirt up to get a long spiral of fabric. Here's how I did it:

Step one: gather your t-shirts. This was the hardest part for me :) I had several which were just rags anyway, so those were easy. But I figured this was a good chance to cull some of those things I haven't worn for years... that turned out to be harder than I thought.

Next, cut the shirt half-way. Lay the shirt on your cutting board, as shown below, and make cuts about 1 inch apart. Don't cut all the way across the shirt - you should be cutting about 2/3 of the way only. Don't worry too much about precision - as long as the strips between more than 1/2 inch wide, you'll be fine. If you don't have a rotary cutter, scissors work equally well.

When you reach the top of the usable part of the shirt (at the underarms), cut all the way across. The top part of the shirt and the sleeves you can set aside for some other project or throw away.

Open the shirt up and put it around your cutting board. The uncut part of the shirt should be at the top, and the already cut strips should be under the cutting mat (so that you can't accidentally cut through them). If you don't have a cutting mat which is the right size to do this, try wrapping the shirt around a piece of cardboard or your ironing board and continuing with scissors instead of a rotary cutter.:

Cut on a slight diagonal from the first cut on the bottom to the second cut on the top. As I've demonstrated so wonderfully in the picture, neatness doesn't really matter:

Then cut down from the first cut at the top, tapering as you go:

The cut the rest on the same slight diagonal as you did the first cut. When you get to the end, again taper the extra strip:

Now you should have a long spiral of fabric. Dump it off your cutting board and begin stretching it out. Here is the part where all your wonkily-cut, curvy, thin-again-thick-again strips will become lovely uniform yarn. Just pull, pull, pull:

You might enlist helpers:

Some strips will turn into yarn nicely, like the pink above and the dark gray below. Other materials won't curl up so well, like the light gray below or the green in the picture below. Don't worry about it too much. Just stretch the strips as well as you can without breaking them. When you're all done pulling, roll the yarn up into balls and set them aside for a project.

There you have it, easy-peasy! Coming in the next post is the project I made with all this yarn (which you can see a peek of in the right side of the photo above).

Purple Chair and the rest of the Zentangle alphabet

I haven't been feeling too inspired recently, so not too many ATCs have been made. I did come across such a neat quilt in a book that I wanted to recreate it as an ATC. The book is called Twelve by Twelve, if I remember correctly:

And I finished off the Zentangle ATC series. Since I already have a Y and Z in my collection, I won't be joining those swaps, and I think I missed out on S. But here's everything else:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Red scrappy ATCs

I started these when I was home over Christmas, using the machine to randomly piece together some reds and greens. As I was packing to come home (I mean, the other home :) ), my mom handed my this hideously fuzzy red yarn. As you can see above, it made a good border for these ATCs. I don't know what on earth I'll do with the rest of it, though...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My crafting space

Here's some photos of my crafting space. Unfortunately I don't have a room of my own, but I do have my own corner (next to the heater :D ). I have my desk in the corner with my laptop, and the little movable table in front. Crafting things are slowly taking over the bookcase as well. Which is a problem, because we really need more book space...

What's not shown in these pictures is my fabric storage space, which is under the bed. To make up for it, here's a picture of my helper:

Having a cat is, I've found, the greatest way to be tidy. He's more or less trained to not go on the taller table with the computer, but the short crafting table is just at eye level for him. So if I leave interesting things on the workspace, they get knocked all over the place. Not long after the picture below was taken, the phone and the book under it took a dive.

The boxes keep things somewhat organized. They're from Ikea, and they fit just perfectly. Someday, when we get another bookcase, I'll be able to move out the novels and fill the shelves with my crafting books (currently in a pile under the coffee table) and magazines (currently stacked on top of the dresser).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Skyrim, PU, and hearts ATCs

Despite only having half a usable hand right now (cooking accident), I've had a very productive weekend. My goal was to clear up all the swaps on my dashboard, several of which are due January 31st. The rest are due in February, but I was feeling inspired. So, I've gotten everything done and ready to go. In addition to the projects below (dotee ATCs, Zentangle pattern book and Zentangle journal), I also finished up and packed up these ATCs.

A Skyrim ATC:

A letter P and a letter U (or lowercase n) for a private swap. The P is freshly made, although the u/n is quite old; I remade it by cutting it down and mounting it on the green background:

A hearts ATC for the "Give a piece of your heart" swap. I'm not a big hearts person, but I love the colors of this one:

Zentangle pattern book

After finishing the Zentangle journal (below) I was pretty done with tangling, but I still managed to finish this project. Someone asked me to host another round of the Zentangle pattern book swap, so I did. For this one I chose 26 patterns starting with each letter of the alphabet and drew them in (plus a couple extras at the end). The cover of the book is a page from an old calendar of quilts:

Although the page shown above is black, many of the pages are colored. My original plan was a rainbow (each page a different color) but that fell apart because I forgot what order the pages should go in!

Zentangle journal #7

The pages I made for the Zentangle journal #7 swap. They're A4 sized pages... so it was a lot of work. Other than that, I don't know what else to say about them, but if you're curious you can click to embiggen the first pic below, which is the introduction page I wrote, and tells a bit of information about each tangle:

Winter Dotee ATCs

Making some ATCs with dotee dolls on them is something I've been pondering for a while, and while I was pondering, someone else made a swap for it! Actually, there were two swaps (one Europe only and one international) so I had two chances. One of the swaps was winter-themed, so I decided to make both of the cards similar and hope that I didn't get the same partner (I didn't).

On the first card I got sick of the tail getting in my way so I bunched it up to give the little dotee a bit of a blanket instead. I think I like that better than the trailing tail. But on the second ATC, the face/hair/stars thing came out much better. Anyway, these fraternal twins are off on their way to new homes now!

Zentangled R

The Zentangled alphabet swap rolls on with R...

another Matisse ATC

I signed up for a Matisse ATC thinking that I still had some of the other Matisse-esque ATCs I'd made, but I must have sent them out. So I made one more:

This ATC came out nice, and my partner praised it, but I was pretty disappointed with what I received in this swap. The ATC I received was a painted woman's face, very well-made, but with no real connection to Matisse nor his style. Sigh. Well, can't win them all.

Art Journal

So here's one of the non-ATC projects I've worked on recently. I offered to host this swap as an international version of someone else's swap. Other than the sentence-a-day thing, I've never swapped a journal or art journal before. But 5 pages seemed pretty doable, so I decided to go for it.

Honestly, what a terrible way to start the year. I did not enjoy this swap, not one bit. I seriously considered canceling the swap. It was just too much pressure, and this was one of the few times I've ever felt pressured by a swap. Maybe I set myself up for failure by watching half a hundred videos about art journaling on youtube. Have you watched them? According to the internet, there is only way proper way to make an art journal, and it involves putting twenty layers of paint onto a page in different methods. I don't paint.

Anyway. Now that the project is done, sent, received, and finished, I guess I can find one or two nice things to say about it...

The inside cover. The bird is a failed ATC which pulls out of a pocket; inside is written my name and info:

Page one; paint, silver "paint" (it's actually that junk you spray on your windows to make it look like fake snow), silver pens and glue, blue felt flowers:

Second page; hand drawn fantasy map. I'm not even a drawer, but this came out pretty cool (if I do say so myself). I think this is my favorite page:

Middle page, felt with pockets holding finger puppets:

Some simple mono-tangles:

Last page, heart themed. The realistic heart is 100% copied (or maybe traced, I don't remember) from a clip art I found online. Still, I think it looks pretty great:

Final page, another pocket with a note inside, telling about my impressions of this whole project. A bit less bluntly than I said them above, of course :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Puppy ATC

This was made as a tag for someone on swap-bot:

For the back, I experimented with a new (I mean, new for me) way of sewing a paper onto the fabric front: