Friday, November 18, 2016

A Craftsy Challenge

Who doesn't like a challenge from time to time? A few weeks ago, Craftsy (my favorite place to find online classes on all things crafty) sent out a challenge. They had a handful of these t-shirts in size ginormous left over from an event. What to do with them? They challenged us, a group of Craftsy teachers to find a creative use for them. They sent me two, but I greedily set one aside for a sleep shirt, and set out to turn the other into something interesting.

I spent a long time thinking about how to use the fabric, but what I kept coming back to was how stretchy it was. I also wondered how creative it would be to use fabric as fabric, not so impressive, eh? The more I looked at it the more it looked like yarn to me.

So I cut it into noodles. Oodles of noodles. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) I let that stew for a while. (See what I did there?) I was extra careful to cut the fabric in a spiral so I'd end up with one long strand.
Then I stretched the strand into worms. In the process all of the seams let loose. So much for one long strand! What surprised me was how stretchy the worms remained. I had thought that the worms would become stable lengths, but no, they still stretched like crazy.
My first thought was to knit them. I cut the strands as narrow as I dared thinking I might turn them into fingerless mitts. It quickly became clear that I wouldn't have enough to knit up much, especially while hanging on to the second shirt. (If I had come up with an idea that was super cool and needed the other shirt, you bet I would have cut it up.) The strands were also knitting up very densely and still super stretchy. Hmm.
Perhaps I could weave the strands. This was interesting too, but also very stretchy. I kept thinking that it would be silly to make something that didn't take advantage of the stretch. And then I remembered that I know how to crochet.
It's a market bag! The strands had to be knotted together so I decided all the ends would be a design element. I used the collar for the strap. It doesn't look like much lying there.
But does it ever expand! This is a fraction of what it will hold. Honestly, I don't think I have the strength to carry it filled. I like how it sort of cradles the contents which will make it easier to manage bulky items. I think it will be terrific when farmers' markets come back around. It will hold produce nicely, and it's machine washable! So, tell me, what would you do with t-shirt?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

First Love

One of my earliest memories is learning to embroider. That little hoop immediately felt at home in my hand. French knots, stem stitch and lazy daisies seemed like little acts of magic. I might have been the only kindergartner with a thread stash. (That's my name tag for the embroidery guild above.)

Since then I've spent a life time exploring other fiber techniques, anything involving a needle and thread. But embroidery has always called to me.
It's been rather a joy to have time to revisit my first love. Designing and stitching this little pillow had me giggling for days. (Easily amused, but then never lacking for entertainment.) For so many years I've been all about machine work (not that there's anything wrong with that!) Hand embroidery seem like a distraction.

The local embroidery guild has been a wonderful discovery. We're working on a crazy quilt as our fundraiser for next year.

My style tends to be more clean, less fussy than the exuberant excess of traditional crazy quilt design, so it's been a challenge for me to up my game. This block is my first, made as part of a workshop for the quilt guild back in March. I can see now, looking at it here, that it's not quite as done as I thought. That "B" looks awfully lonely over there, perhaps I could add some beads in the background.

This is my block for the embroidery guild raffle quilt. I'm just getting started, but loving the process. I do love swirly, curly things. There will be a button bouquet in the center. I like the green rick rack, but the black embroidery has to go, not enough contrast with the busy fabric in the lower right corner.

Turns out embroidery is playing a role in the new applique book I'm considering. The Wash Away Applique sheets threw open the doors to all sorts of easy, elegant, effusive embellishment. (How's that for a book subtitle?) But there are decisions to be made before I can really go forward. More on that in the next post. Meanwhile, I'm off to stitch with the crazy quilters.