Monthly Archives: February 2012

My Newest Obsession

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My Newest Obsession

My newest obsession is hand painted pillows.  You’ve probably seen them in architectural magazines or in homestores such as Pottery Barn.  In many cases, these are made of burlap.  In my opinion though, burlap is too rough for a pillow.  I personally don’t want to put anything on my couch that I wouldn’t want to put my head on, although the exfoliation would be a plus… In any case, I decided that I could make these fairly simply.  I purchased unbleached cotton instead of burlap because although it has a similar aesthetic, it was significantly softer.  For the design, I went to the store to find attractive stencils and fabric paint pens.  Originally I bought DecoFabric brand pens.  These could be used on either light or dark fabrics because they actually emit a thicker paint.  I used these for the brown and black winged heart pillows.  While these pens did create a nice product, they were difficult to use on larger areas because they felt like they quickly dried out, and the cotton picked at the felt of the marker.  For the other pillows I used Marvy brand fabric pens.  These were more similar to ink than paint so they only work on lighter fabric.  Despite this, they worked better on the fabric and were cheaper.  Also, I was able to get a lot of different colors.

After the pillows were all dry, I put the fronts together and sewed up the sides, excluding a slot large enough to turn the fabric right side out, and stuff the pillow.  Once the pillows were stuffed with poly-fil, I hand sewed them up and was all done.  I’m pretty happy with the results!  All of these are currently available on my Etsy shop. I’d love to hear what everyone thinks, hope you enjoyed and keep crafting!

     

 

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My Late Valentines Day Post

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My Late Valentines Day Post

First of all I must apologize for it being so long since I have posted anything.  I added a chapter to my thesis so I’ve been furiously writing there instead of here.  I hope that everyone had a great Valentines day!  The boyfriend and I had a good day (he made me dinner!) and he bought me whatever I wanted from Michaels!  Does he know me or what!?!  He also bought these 

I made him a scarf for Valentines day.  He didn’t have one and had commented on a crocheting stitch I was using for a head band I was making.  When he mentioned that, I put all the pieces together, grabbed some red yarn, his favorite color and started.  This stitch is called broomstick lace because I guess that’s what was originally used to make it.  I on the other hand used this!     It’s shimmery and and the knobs at the end keep the stitches from sliding off. No matter what you use, I would suggest something made of plastic of metal.  Other materials such as wood could be rough and might pick the yarn.

While it may initially seem that this is a difficult stitch, in reality once you get the hang of it, it’s actually pretty easy.  To do this stitch you will need a crochet hook, I used size J, a smooth stick-like object, any yarn as long as it’s not too thick or froo froo as both of these would hide how pretty this stitch is, and eventually scissors to cut the yarn when you’re done.  BTW if you’re looking for a great pair of scissors, I recently bought pink handled Singer brand scissors and I am in love with them!  They will cut through just about anything with ease which is something that anyone who has ever struggled with cutting layers of fabric will appreciate.

Step one: Chain 10, you can actually chain any denomination of 5, but for this demonstration I think 10 is probably best 

Step two: Remove your crochet hook from the loop and enlarge the loop to go over whatever version of a broomstick you are using.

Step three: Insert your hook through the next section of your chain and yarn over to pull a loop through.  Place this loop over the stick.  Continue this step until you have completed the chain.  You should have a total of 10 loops on the stick.

Step four: Place crochet hook through the first 5 loops on your stick and yarn over and pull back through. 

Step five: Slip stitch.  If you don’t know what that means, yarn over and pull through the loop on the hook.

Step six: Do 4 more single crochets in the center of the five loops. (ie place hook through the loops, yarn over, pull back through, yarn over, pull through loop on hook.

Steps seven-nine: repeat steps four through six.

Step 10: You have just completed your first row of broomstick lace and it should look like this.      Enlarge the loop that you currently have on your hook and again place it over the stick.

Step 11: Repeat step three across the newly made row, getting a loop from each of the stitches.  You should again have 10 loops at the end.

Step 12-infinity: repeat steps 4-11 until your product is as long as you want.  Here is a portion of the scarf I made.

Side 1 Side 2

If you want whatever you make to be wider just start with a longer chain at the beginning.  Like boyfriend’s scarf was 20 across and therefore I did the whole “go through five loops thing” four times instead of twice.

I’m sorry if these directions are difficult for non-crocheters.  Crocheter or not though, if you get stuck please comment here or e-mail at brushesandthread@gmail.com and I’ll help you get it figured out!  Hope you enjoyed and keep crafting!

All the aesthetics of taxidermy and none of the guilt!

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All the aesthetics of taxidermy and none of the guilt!

Before I go through and explain everything I did to make this particular item, let me say that yes I know this is not for everyone and many of you reading this, or looking at the picture may think this is weird or crazy or creepy or a combination therein.  I personally love these!  I would have to to make them, because they take significantly more time and effort than anything else that I have made for this blog (actually they are a big part of the reason why there hasn’t been a post in awhile).  Approximately a weeks worth of work went into each of these.  I didn’t take too many “as I worked” kind of pictures with this one simply because before it looked like it does now, it looked like nothing at all.

Since i made the deer first lets start with that one.  I had absolutely no pattern starting out with this so I kind of had to work it out as I went.  I did the deer originally in linen because it is so cheap and I could alter it until I was happy with how it looked.  Once I was satisfied with it, I picked out some red and blue paisley that I had purchased during a Hancock Fabric extravaganza and started cutting and pinning.  After it was all said and done I was left with this (yes I know I should have vacuumed up the poly-fill before taking the picture). For the deer, I made the snout out of two pieces with an insert starting between the eyes.  While I liked the shape of the head I think that the snout became strangely pointy and too flat looking.   I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to put antlers on it.  Maybe on the next one.  Opinions?

After seeing the deer, a friend of mine fell in love with it, and commissioned a zebra.  Back to Hancock Fabrics we go!  For this one I chose to use a very low pile zebra print fur.  Zebra’s snouts are much wider and fuller than you would find on a deer, so I knew I was going to have to change how i made the pattern.  I added a lot more sections to the head to make it fuller and wider.  The addition of so many little pieces to the face though increased the time, difficulty, and amount of blood occasionally squirting from my fingers.

As much work as the face was, the eyes were infuriating.    Something about sewing the small folded fabric to the thick fabric was just nearly impossible.  Just thinking about it makes me frustrated, and makes my fingers hurt so I’m going to move on…

After conquering the eyes I moved to the mane and ears.  For the longest time I hemmed and hawed about what to do about the zebra’s mane.  After looking at other stuffed animals, I decided to use a high pile black fur in a strip on the top of the head.  I wish I could have found a fur that was longer, but what I used was the best I could find.  We decided that s/he had just recently had a buzz cut.  For anyone thinking of working with fur like this, be warned by the time you are done both you and wherever you cut the material on (for me the carpet) will look like you just killed something very fuzzy. Also, in all that hair, trying to find your stitches is near impossible.  I think the result was cute though and that’s worth the piles of fluff everywhere right?  Boyfriend may or may not agree…

The last detail requested from my friend was a pink bow, so here is the final product!   I would love to hear what everyone thinks!  Keep crafting!

Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Plarn!

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Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Plarn!

As you may have seen in my last post, I made a huge ball of plarn.  Well what’s the use of making it, if you don’t use it?!  In the past I had made my mom a large shopping bag, and my grandma a plastic bag holder (yes I understand the irony) out of plarn.  While the bag holder had potential, I wanted to find other things that I could make relatively quickly to sell on my etsy page.  For obvious reasons I wasn’t going to make anything like clothing or a stuffed animal, plastic bags and children just don’t mesh well.  I decided that wallets were a potentially sellable item.

The blue bags that I used to make the plarn from the previous post were saved for me by my friend Kim and her mom while she was home, since we don’t have any stores here that have bags that are such a pretty color.  To thank her I decided to make her a wallet.  I didn’t want to use a pattern off the internet that someone else had made since I wanted it to be all my work, start to finish.  The end product of this was a lot of stitch ripping and a bit of grumbling but I like the result.

When I finally worked out a pattern that was going to cooperate, I started crocheting away until I had a rectangle with triangle at the middle of one end.  That would eventually become the fold over for the button.

  Because of the holes in the pattern, I decided that the wallet needed to be lined so stuff didn’t fall out (not how I wanted to thank her mom). I had a ton of linen laying around from a skirt that I had mocked up so that I could get the size right before cutting the expensive fabric.  I hemmed a square and then stitched it to the inside the plarn stitches so that it would be mostly hidden.  I then used plarn to whipstitch the sides closed and sewed on a button.    I’d love to hear what you think, and as always please comment or shoot me an e-mail at brushesandthread@gmail.com if you have any questions.