My husband and son gave me a Fancy Kitty fiber blending board for my birthday, and today was the first time I tried it out. I took every little greenish scrap of wool I could find in my stash and blended them. It's mostly merino and corriedale but also a bit of mohair. I like how it turned out! I will have to finish up the yarn I'm currently spinning so I can see how this spins up! A drum carder was really out of my budget range, and I think this board will be great for my blending purposes, and it's so portable too!
*Update* I finished the yarn -- here it is! 101 yards. I named it Green Giant because it's a big, bulky corespun. It's a bit overspun, but very soft. I know I should run the core yarn through in the opposite direction before corespinning in order to get a really balanced yarn, but I was WAY too impatient to see how the colors would turn out to do that!
I have had a fear of commercial sewing patterns for years. I have several patterns, but every time I pull them out with the idea of sewing something, I become overwhelmed by all the symbols, nitpicky details, etc., and put it back in the envelope. This dress is the first time I've really played by the rules with a pattern, following the instructions completely, rather than using a pattern as a rough jumping-off point for winging it. It's also the first big project I've made on my recently-acquired antique treadle sewing machine. I enjoyed using the treadle machine so much more than my electric one! On to the pics:
The first photo I took of it. I laughed when I realized the dress was camouflaged against the tree, like any good leopard would be:
And a photo of my dear treadle sewing machine, "Meg":
This week I have a yarn called "Summer Fun", 152 yards spun from a mixed batt from Sue's Luxury Fiber, plied with yellow sewing thread. There were so many different fun different textures in the batt. It really woke up my fingers as I was spinning it. I'm showing it pictured on my new squirrel cage yarn swift I found at a thrift store for $6.99. Nobody knew what it was! Of course, I thought it was a lazy kate and used it as such until a visit to the local weaver's guild taught me that it's actually a yarn swift.
I spin yarn, and as I was treadling my wheel last week, thinking about how relaxing treadling is, I realized I would probably like sewing on an antique treadle machine better than on my electric machine. I had never looked into treadle sewing machines before, but found there are plenty available on Craig's List.
Look at this beauty I got for only $25! A 1905 White Family Rotary sewing machine in the original cabinet, with tools, accessories, warranty, original manual, etc. At 108 years old, she is 6 years older than my house. She hadn't been used for sewing in decades, but I knew the woman who I bought her from had used it at one point.
I had to replace the leather belt, and basically take apart most of the components, clean them with liquid wrench and re-oil them, but now "Meg" sews like a champ! (I named her Meg, like Meg White of the White Stripes, because she is a White machine.) I was really proud I got her up and running by myself, because I was almost ready to bring her into a sewing machine repair shop and pay them whatever they wanted to bring her back to life.
The best part is my son, age 6, is very interested in sewing now! He was always curious about my electric sewing machine, but also a little scared of it. The treadle machine is slower, and quieter, so he really wanted to try it! He did a little practice stitching on a piece of scrap cloth yesterday and is so proud of his work he insisted I take his photo. He even brought it with him on a picnic with his grandma today, because he wanted to make sure to show her. How cool is that?!
We had a fortunate break in the rainy weather we've had lately which allowed me to set the twist on my April Shower yarn for the spin-a-long. (I know it's no longer April. We'll pretend it is.)
My yarn is a wool and mohair blend from Sheep Shed. I dyed it with Wilton's in a low-water immersion. It varies from sport weight to almost worsted weight and is 178 yards. I plied it with blue sewing thread which I'd threaded with irridescent sequins to represent the raindrops. Does anyone know how to really capture sparkles in yarns? No photos of sparkly yarns ever seem to do them justice.
I had always been intimidated by decoupage and Mod Podge (don't ask me why) but recently I have learned to embrace them both. I bought several ugly advertising tins for $1.50 each from Artscraps, which is a local store that sells salvaged items as art materials. Now that I've decorated a couple, and I'm happy with the results, I can't wait to do more. Loving how quick and easy it is to transform something with decoupage.
Mother's Day Bird Tin -- I packaged some lovely soaps in this tin for my mom for mother's day.
Mid-Mod -- Found this image in an advertising brochure from House Industries, which sells digital fonts. The brochure was in a huge barrel of bulk paper at Artscraps.
And here's a before shot of how the ugly tins looked, pre-Mod Podge:
There's not much "art" in these artist trading cards, but they are the proper size, so I figured I would post them here. What makes them unique in my opinion is that I used old mylar balloons as my background materials. I wanted to share them because I know folks are always looking for different ways to add shine or texture to their ATCs.
Back story: a few months ago, I asked my friend to save old mylar balloons for me, because I planned to make kanzashi brooches with them for a craft sale at my son's elementary school. My good friend from another state mailed me some of her daughters' old balloons, which was fun, because with a son, I don't get fun flowers and hearts much on his balloons. Then the craft sale was canceled and I did nothing with the balloons. I'm going to Iowa to visit my friend this weekend and wanted to at least bring SOMETHING I made from their old balloons, so I made these. The girls are ages 10 and 7, so I think they will like them. I also think these would make adorable place cards or favors at a kid's party! It's also a way to save a little bit of a favorite balloon for memory, without just keeping it crumpled in a drawer somewhere. I think it's nice to think up ways to use old mylar balloons in crafts.
These are both called "Happy Spring" which is a bit of wishful thinking because it has been snowing all day today here in Minnesota.
The mylar adhered really nicely to the playing card base:
This one did not adhere so well. Maybe I used less Mod podge? I had to use double-stick tape at the edges to keep the mylar secure:
Thanks for looking!
PS -- mods, if this would be better posted somewhere related to upcycled materials, please feel free to move it.
"Sometimes I wish Mom wasn't so crafty." Playing card, tissue paper collage, clear tape transfer, sticker. Very dark that he is confiding to his crocheted toy friends, yet wishing them out of existence at the same time.
"but I wanted a sparkly pony costume" Playing card, collage, clear tape transfer, sharpie, stickers
"Pretty is as pretty does." Playing card, collage, clear tape transfer, sequins, label
And one I made for my husband's birthday from one of his vintage Superman comics. Playing card, comic, stickers, label
Two new altered playing card ATCs. I'm having so much fun with these!
"Wild Roses are the fairest, and nature a better gardener than art." Playing card, tissue paper, clear tape image transfers, sequins. I since added the name Louisa May Alcott to the card, since I searched and found it was her quote. (A local home improvement store prints quotes like these at the bottom of each page of its weekly sales circulars. Very small print, but I noticed it years ago. Fun to make transfers from the quotes and use them on ATCs.)
"Whoever smell't it dealt it." Playing card, tissue paper collage, clear tape image transfer, foil stars. Image is from a Joann Fabrics weekly sales circular. I like how the colors from the tissue paper background are coming through the transparent image of the boys -- makes it feel like a wrecked old vintage photo. I was tempted to put stink lines by one of the boys to indicate who "dealt it", but then decided I prefer the mystery of wondering which one of them cut the cheese.