Monday, May 30, 2005

I have a lot of dye. I guess I was used to RIT dye and didn't realize how much I was actually ordering. The batik dresses are now sitting in plastic bags, tomorrow I will rinse them and maybe attempt to remove the wax. So far the colors look great, if the wax removal goes well I think I am going to be very happy. I had dye left over so started pulling clothes out of the closet thinking what could I dye deep purply-blue? I have a pair of pants and a skirt sitting in the dye right now, I think I might have a dress that could fit in there as well. But I got my rubber gloves wet and couldn't get them back on so now I have purplish hands. Oh well, looks artistic. Better than when I dyed my palms orange with fake tan dye, back in the 80's. And what was sad about that is everyone knew what it was, I couldn't even play it off saying I was dyeing clothes or something.

They're actually a bit fascinating. I had to stop typing so I could stare at them a bit.

Joann's had a sale this weekend (well, they have a sale every weekend, they're like the grocery store. It's just finding the sale that has the things you need) so I got more patterns--I keep losing pieces from the ones I have--and some seersucker fabric. I was rather proud of myself that I went in to buy just those things, and left with just that. Well, I did pick up some more thread.

I started the Monk's Satchel (opens up as pdf. file). I am using a yarn that is a blend of wool and hemp, I tested a swatch and it does felt some, enough to make it sturdier. Not sure if I will leave in natural colored, now that I have all this dye.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Well, given the excuse that I need new clothes for LA, I bought this fabric off of Ebay to make some pants.

This was rather a splurge--30.00 just for fabric. I am so cheap, I don't think I have paid more than 10.00 for a single article of clothing for myself in years. But I am going to have some cool pants.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I finished up the prototype slippers for the DIY show, since apparently the script includes the phrase "here are photos of Donna's children wearing their slippers!" They turned out pretty good. I still like the knitted ones better, but these are cute. And the slipshod stitching could be considered "primitive" I suppose. And in fact in my new Japanese craft books, a lot of the embroidery and stitching is a bit "messier" than I am used to seeing, but looks closer to my own handwork anyway, so that's good.

Here are pictures:

This really isn't such a great photo, you can't see Miranda's slippers at all. I really need to take some lessons, or read a manual on how to use this camera. Sometimes my pictures turn out great, other times they look like crap and I am not sure why. I think Miranda is telling Ivy not to walk away

These are Ivy's, they are supposed to be monkeys. I think I am going to add a cuff to the top of them.

Miranda's are supposed to be cats. I don't think they are very catlike, but she likes them. Her's could use a cuff as well.

I finised up some more summer clothes for the girls. This is a sort of patchwork dress, I really like the simple style and the lined bodice means no struggles with facing.

Here is my submission for this month's A Month of Softies

This is Mother Nature, or maybe some sort of maternal Spring Goddess (Mother Nature just reminds me of a butter commercial). She is part of our nature table. I am not sure how much I like her skirt, but I like how the baby turned out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I finished the sweater for our friends' new baby. Her parents own the Smiling Skull Saloon in Athens, Ohio, so I designed this:

I used a skull chart from Little Badger Knitwear . I am rather proud how it turned out.

My books from finally arrived! It only took a month, which is pretty good considering it was free shipping. This is what I got:

Now I need to find time to look through them. I also need to get started on the step-outs for the DIY show--I need make up several slippers, all in various stages of done-ness so that it will look as though I am creating one while the taping is going on. It's not that difficult, just rather boring and I have other projects that are much more enticing.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The crocheted bodice for Ivy's dress is about done, I just want to do a few more flowers and probably crochet an edging around the neck and sleeves. I fear it may be a little big--she has very narrow shoulders. I think I am also going to thread ribbon along the bottom

This is the fabric for the skirt. Maybe I will make bloomers as well, I love bloomers with dresses.

This is a jacket I made for Ivy, I used a denim jacket I found at the thrift shop and knit a color from recycled silk yarn. The appliques are from sari fabric. I made a similar one for Miranda, but she didn't want any appliques so hers just has the collar.

I have a pile of sewing projects on the dining room table that just need a few finishing touches--three pairs of bloomers that need elastic, a dress and top that need buttons, a hat that needs to be pressed and have a finishing seam run around the brim. I have a dress for Miranda that I would like to have done by Sunday, we shall see, especially since I think I am going to crochet for the rest of tonight, since I already have a new project in mind--a seat for a little folding chair of Ivy's.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I started working on the crochet dress with fabric skirt for Ivy. It would go much better if I would actually write my patterns down instead of trying to figure them out from what I have already done. This can work fairly well with knitting since lately I only use size 8 needles, but with the crochet bodice it took three tries before I could figure out which size hook I had used for the front.

My dyes arrived from Dharma, so now I need to find time when I won't fumigate the family or put Ivy in danger of inadvertantly ingesting dyes (Miranda is pretty much past the whole put things in your mouth stage). I like the clothing at Laughing Bear, since this will be my first attempt at batik I don't want to do anything too complicated. I really like their simple designs. I want do a dragon for Miranda, star and moons for Ivy. I have no idea what to do for my dresses, but there isn't any sense of urgency with mine--I am always going to fit into mine, but the girls will grow, so I need to do theirs now.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I have a new camera!

Hence, you will be treated to many pictures of past projects

After watching The Cat Returns, Miranda and I created this doll. She loves cats, so we made it look like Haru when she is transforming. I am not very happy with the face--I had washed the muslin so there was no sizing in it, but I still was having a hard time with the acrylics. It ran in a few places so there are a few odd smudges.

This is something I created after coveting the beautiful dolls at Magic Cabin. I really like how she turned out, but it was a lot of work, and Miranda doesn't really play with her, she just sits on a shelf. Still, she is beautiful.

These are some simple quilts I made for the girls. Ivy's was made while I was still pregnant--I waited until she was born to find out if she was a boy or a girl, so I did the quilt in shades of green. I used Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies as inspiration for the appliques.

This is another purse I made creating a transfer with muslin and fusible webbing. I ironed the fusible webbing to muslin, leaving the paper backing on it, then fed it through my printer using the scanned image from Miss Happiness and Miss Flower by Rumer Godden. Isn't that fabric great? Both are from the thrift shop.

These are some felted slippers using a Debbie Bliss pattern. I used larger needles and heavier yarn, embroidered with crewel thread before felting. I really like them. The red yarn is just to hold them together.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

I bought some wooden boxes today at Pat Catans. Bex at Chile Con Yarne made these wonderful boxes by taking old paperback books and modge podging (is that really a verb? I guess decoupage would be more accurate) the covers to the tops, and snippets of text on the sides. I wanted to do something similar with old children's books. But I am not liking how they turned out. I used primers so I could fit short phrases--such as a Dick and Jane one with sentences such as Jane said "here Puff." I am not sure what it needs, but it needs something more. Maybe if I just added some paint. Or maybe bits from old magazines? I may have some upstairs. Or I might have thrown them out in a fit of organization as I am prone to do.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Hooray! My submission wasn't too late, it's part of A Month of Softies

It's almost all the way down at the bottom.

I love the children's clothing at this website:

Vintage Echoes

I need to learn a little more about drafting patterns. I can sew fairly well, but I don't know a lot of technical things, so I have problems with things puckering or bunching. I made Miranda a dress from some old chenille for the bodice, lined with cotton calico, and a skirt from hobnail chenille and it just doesn't look right. It could be that the bodice is too long, I think it creates a poor balance. I didn't want to redo it, but I think it might look better if I did.

I kind of like what this website is doing with simple, comfortable clothing

Dragon Rags

but I would like it better if they weren't trying to pose the children so much, it does show how the clothing moves, which is great, but I am finding it a little distracting, along with the silly special effects as you move around the different pages.

I went to visit my sister today and her daughter was wearing a lovely dress with a knitted bodice and a cotton cloth skirt, the bodice was decorated with crocheted flowers. I tried to find a similar dress online, the best example I could find was this:

It's not quite the same, and I am torn between how I feel about how the crochet looks. I had already started about 6 rows of seed stitch, but am not very happy with that either. And if I had a crochet project, I could join my fellow stitchnbitchers, as May has been decreed crochet project month and I have been one of the lone dissidents still flashing my needles.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Land of Handspun Happiness


Monday, May 09, 2005

Here are some pictures from the art show Saturday

Credit for the pictures goes to Bex at Chile Con Yarne

I just figured out my blog wasn't allowing annonymous comments. I changed the settings so you no longer have to be registered with to leave a comment.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Well, using muslin and fusible webbing to create iron-on transfers worked well, after a bit of trial and error. I ironed the webbing to the muslin, then cut it into pieces that would fit the printer. It fed through with no problem. When I started to iron it onto the fabric, the print of the fabric I was using as a base showed through the muslin. So I ironed it onto a second piece of muslin, planning to just sew it onto the fabric. The problem was I got the ultra hold webbing, which is impossible to sew through--the needle can penetrate it, but it gums up the needle and causes the thread to snap. After much creative cursing, I abandoned that particular transer. The other two I hadn't yet trimmed the second piece of muslin, so could use that to sew it to the fabric. That worked well. This is a lousy scan:

My Mother's Day gift was a new camera, so am hoping to be able to post real pictures soon.

Absolutely beautiful fiber art

Click on the link where she explains how to do it (I think she is using frames so I can't post a link) and it's wonderful, it looks like a painting by Klimt.

Someone pointed out on a message board where I post that Koolaid really isn't cost effective as a dye, it's advantage is that it is food safe. I haven't really done much dying--other than tossing all my clothes in the washing machine with four packages of black dye so I could be a proper goth--so I hadn't realized my plan to dye my Dharma Trading Co. stuff with koolaid really wasn't that great an idea. So I went back to the website and now it is becoming apparent that it really won't save any money to create wonderful clothing for my children--but it will be cool and crafty and so I shall persevere. Plus, you know, I have all that money from the craft show so the craftiness just cycles on.

At 9.95 lb, I think this may be the best resource for wool batting that I have found:

The Silver Penny

I don't know what it would be like for spinning, but it works well for felting

I worked a small craft fair today, at a local coffee and beer cafe, Bela Dubby. I did pretty well--sold 3 felt monsters, 2 pairs of boots and a pillow. Netted 70.00 after a 25% commision to Bela Dubby and a small donation to my StitchnBitch group, who helped secure the table and run the sale. Pretty happy, but in mulling it over, am realizing once again what a position of privilege I hold that this was worthwhile. I price my items rather low--I try to limit knitted boots to 1 skein of yarn, so price them at 18.00. Monsters ranged from 15.00 to 25.00. The pillows--patchwork, with scanned cloth transfers from vintage books--were 15.00. It's hard for me to put a price on my time, because anything that I can do while I am around my kids is something I don't have to hire childcare for. And something I am knitting while watching television, that's pretty much free time. So, if I can profit after I accounted for materials, that's pretty good. And then working the booth--I went out at 5:00, stayed until 11:00. What's that time worth? Considering most of the time I was sitting at a table, knitting and drinking beer I would have to conclude that I got paid to have a night out. Pretty good. But what if I had to hire childcare? I would have barely made enough to pay a babysitter and break even on costs for my items. I am fortunate that I have a husband willing to stay with the kids--and I see why this sort of gig is something mostly single folks do. I really had nothing better to do today, and I had someone to watch the girls, so it really worked out well that on top of it I made 70.00. But I do see how it would be monumentally hard and close to impossible to make a living doing this.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Sometime last summer my husband picked up some cloth transfer stuff, it's cotton with a stiff backing you can run it through a printer and print off a scanned image. I tried it out with some scans of my old children's books, it really works well. It is not colorfast, so I tried spraying Scotch Guard on it (is there an off brand, or do they still have a monopoly? Because that stuff is pricey).

Here is one of the pieces, it's from an old children's book called Children of Foreign Lands:

I am trying to find some cheaper alternatives to buying the stuff. I have heard you can get similar results with freezer paper --which you should note is not the same as wax paper, freezer wrap is plastic coated. You iron the freezer wrap onto muslin, which makes it stiff enough to feed through the printer, then peel off the paper. Bitter-Girl said she was getting good results just carefully feeding muslin through the printer, but my cheap ass printer just jammed. Then it occurred to me--fusible webbing. Which would have the added advantage of then making the cloth iron-on. Will post results tomorrow.

One of the images I would love to use is from one of my favorite childhood books.

I would love to have a purse with her on it. I was thinking she would look nice on the Monk's Satchel, but that is going to take forever, given my going rate of finished projects, and I want a Dorrie purse now

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Honey, Where's My Supersuit?

The "Knitting While Intoxicated" blog fails to show up in a Google search. However, the Chile Con Yarne blog is top of the list on a search of chile con yarne, well done!

Finding More Places To Help You Spend Money

In case you haven't already seen this, Hillary over at Wee Wonderfuls recently shared some great information for anyone who enjoys Japanese crafts but finds it difficult to obtain craft books

all my japanese craft books and their isbn's

From her website: "I thought it might be fun and, maybe helpful to some, to show and tell all my japanese craft books and their ISBN numbers. I just discovered (thanks Cindy!) that you can order many of these books through The interface is in English, the checkout is super easy and they have FREE shipping for orders over $39. Score! So if you don't have Kinokuniya or Mitsuwa nearby you can still get in on the japanese crafty goodness."

These are the books I ordered

ISBN: 4579109783

ISBN: 457910921X

ISBN: 4834722449

The first two links are to Amazon just so you can see the pictures of the covers, Yesasia didn't have images. Total for all three books was 44.00, I used the coupon code someone gave in the comments section on Wee Wonderfuls, SFIAAFF2005 and got 5.00 off, which still qualified me for the free shipping. Wonderful! I can't wait to show off my new books, they are supposed to arrive around May 13th.

Thanks to this sale on ebay

Pamela and the Blue Mare

I had a bit of extra spending money, so I did a bit of shopping at Dharma Trading Company. I bought a bolt of Silk Habotai which I plan to try and dye with Koolaid. I also got some clothing blanks

These are for Ivy

Bolivian Dress
Stretch pants

I wish the Bolivian dress came large enough for Miranda, but I was afraid a size six would be too short, she's gotten so tall lately I have been buying size 7s. And they note the clothing may shrink a bit with dyeing. So for Miranda I got more leggings

More stretch pants
and this
Swing top

I bought myself two dresses as well, and now I can't remember which ones. It was rather a late night impulse buy, which is why I try not to buy on the internet unless I have given it a lot of thought. I knew I wanted to buy the clothes for the girls, but the two for myself, well, I really didn't need them. At least with mine if I don't get to them right away I won't outgrow them.

I am not really sure what I am going to do with these. I plan to dye them, but not sure how. The Koolaid dye works best on protein fibers, on cotton and rayon it will only dye pastels. I would like to try batik, but don't want to ruin the clothing since it would be my first time doing it.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A few months ago I found a hemp/wool yarn at Pat Catans. It was so cheap--I think it was 1.50 for 200 yard skein-- I picked up a number of skeins without any real project in mind (which is generally how I always purchase yarn, which is why I have such a huge stash). It's a bit scratchy, so I don't think it will work for clothing, but it seemed it would make a nice bag. I would like to try the Monk's Satchel (this will open up as a PDF file). I discovered the yarn will actually felt nicely, I didn't think it would because of the hemp. So I am going to knit it on large needles, and then felt it to give it some stability.

I want to make some tank tops for the girls out of Bernat's Cottentots, it's just so wonderfully soft. I can't decide if I want try something lacy and fancy--maybe even crochet--or something simple. I will probably opt towards simple just because I am lazy and want things to be finished quickly.