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1  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / on variegated roving on: October 22, 2010 07:40:13 PM
I love spinning from variegated roving.

I love the continuous excitement of waiting for the next color to come up.

I love the plying color combination surprises.

I love being able to take advantage of someone else's (usually superior) color sense.

But I am *terrible* at judging how a variegated roving will look when spun up.

For example, I love the colors of this roving, but find the yarn muddy and uninteresting:
(and the photo is blurry and I think the sun had gone behind a cloud, because it seems too dark)
(would it be disaster to *unply* a 3-ply yarn and try, say, Navajo plying instead?)

I found the  color choice of this roving rather odd, but *love* the way it spun and plied up.

I thought I'd hate the yarn from this roving  (really? Lime green and magenta?), but was astonished to discover that I really like the finished yarn:

(however, there are large sections where green plied with green and purple with purple, so I'm thinking of plying *again* to mix things up a little more)

I can't seem to find the pattern.  Sometimes contrasting colors work, sometimes they don't.  Sometimes the same saturation of color works, sometimes it doesn't.  Sometimes going with my intuitive "likes" works, sometimes it doesn't.

Has anybody found the secret? How do you predict what that beautiful, jewel-like roving will look like, once it's yarn?
2  FIBER ARTS / Weaving: Discussion and Questions / Loom quandry on: October 02, 2010 08:05:48 PM
There's a loom on craigslist that I want: 4H, jack, 45" weaving width, comes with a reed, looks like it's in great shape.  $125.

I've got the cash. I've got the want (BOY, do I have the want!). 

But I don't have the space.  I've actually spent some time today trying to decide whether I could keep it on my patio--I'm in a "nice weather year round, mostly" area, so it's not as crazy as it sounds, and weaving out in the open air sounds like bliss.

Good grief, what do I do? 
3  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Mother Marion kick spindles--opinions? on: September 29, 2010 12:43:48 PM
Do you have one? Have you tried one?  Did you like it?  More importantly, did you hate it?  How do you feel now that you've had it a while and the glow has worn off?

I think I want one, but I already have slightly more stuff than actually fits in my very small apartment, and a very limited budget.  I spin happily with a drop spindle, but would like to bump up my speed a bit, and short of a wheel which I *really* can't afford (in terms of money *or* space) this seems like the next best thing.
4  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / tragedy on: July 29, 2010 06:57:07 PM

Destruction, heartache, and tragic loss.

The consequences of storing your spinning on the floor.

This is--was, I suppose--my favorite spindle.
5  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Kimiko shrug on: July 24, 2010 11:17:47 PM

All of my projects seem to have backstories.

Here's this one: I had an infestation of carpet beetles.  They ate holes in some of my favorite sweaters.  Some of the sweaters I'm frogging, and will joyously use the yarn elsewhere (or so I tell myself, to take the sting out of it).  Some of them can be darned, but I'm not very good at darning.

The most important sweater is the one I got married in.  It's in iffy shape: too many holes to wear, but the holes are small, so someone with appropriate yarn and skill could fix it.  That person's just not me.

Then I saw this: http://dresdencodak.com/2010/07/10/dark-science-03/
Perfect!  My sweater's a ribbed mock turtleneck, most of the damage happens below the armpit line, and cutting off the bottom will give me plenty of yarn to fix the one hole above! 

Only, I'm not sure I quite dare to cut up my wedding sweater.  Also, I'm not sure an overbust shrug will be flattering on me.  So I dug through the "damn bugs!" pile, and found ANOTHER mock turtle, with most of the damage happening below the armpit line, and a minimum of sentimental value! Win!

oh, and it's way more damage than mere darning could fix, so there's no guilt there, either.  (that elbow is the worst of it, but there are many more holes throughout--but mostly on the bottom half)

I cut off the sleeves and body about an inch below the armpit, and then kept pulling threads until one yarn made it all the way across/around (making sure the edges were even).

When I tried it on, it was too big, so I took in both the sleeves and the body, which means they don't end at armpit level anymore, but a little below.

  I started with a tapestry needle and one of the threads I'd pulled, stitching through the live knit stitches to secure them, but it's a crazy-fine knit, so I gave up.  I tried machine zig-zagging over the edge, but that stretched it out so it kind of ruffled.  So I gave up, turned 1/4" under and machine hemmed it. Or part of it.  I got impatient, so only one sleeve is hemmed. Finally, I cut up the front and sewed a zipper in.

(apologies for crappy webcam, insufficient lighting, dopey expressions)
 I like it!  It's cute and it was pretty easy, but it's seriously SF.  I look significantly more like a Star Trek extra than I'm really comfortable with.

It still needed work: The sweater stretched slightly when I sewed the zipper in, so the zipper buckled instead of lying flat.  My crappy machine hemming left a hem that kind of bubbles and curls.  Also, taking in the body and sleeves means it extends a bit longer than the armpit-length I had in mind.

I used grosgrain ribbon as a hem tape, to stabilize and give a nice crisp line.  I'm already wishing I'd used a wide elastic, the ribbon used on the sleeves (for example) is a bit looser than it needs to be, which makes the sleeve stand out.   I also re-sewed the zipper, so it buckles less.
6  CLOTHING / Shoes: Completed Projects / Stompin' boot remodel on: July 20, 2010 01:10:25 PM
First, a shiny picture of the end result:

Second, an apology: Even when I think, "Hey, this could end up pretty cool, I should take step-by-step photos!" I get distracted in the middle and forget.  So there will be some unillustrated explanation.  Sorry. Also, this isn't so much a tutorial as a "how I did what I did."  See the difference? My techniques might not work with your thrift store boots.

And now the backstory: I was a historical preenactor for halloween (see: Dresden Codak http://dresdencodak.com/2008/01/07/machine-messiah/), which was great because my historical REenactment society gets together on halloween to go trick-or-treating for the food bank. So finally, I'd have a halloween costume that I wouldn't have to spend half the night explaining over and over!

Alas, there are no photos of the awesomeness that was the result.  But the costume required kick ass boots, and that's what this post is really about.

Begin with one $3 pair of thrift store boots.

I knew I wanted the boots to lace up the front, because I had this idea involving strips of metal that the eyelets would go through.  So I marked where I would cut the boot, leaving a reasonable piece left over to serve as a tongue.

It's worth mentioning that I have skinny legs and the boots were a little loose on me, which made this seem a little more possible than it would have if they'd been skin tight. More on that, later.

Note that the construction of the boot means that I couldn't easily cut the tongue down below the ankle; I'd planned on zipping up the zipper and making that permanent, but I can't disable the zipper completely, I'm going to need it to actually get my foot past the narrowest point of the boot.

Anyway, I cut the boot:

(here's where the photos start to peter out)

I knew that most of the zipper was going to be unusable, because of the strapping that I planned on adding to the boot, but I needed the bottom of the zipper to function so I could actually get the darn things on.  I ended up unzipping the boot all the way, and then, starting from the top, working the edges of the zipper together by hand until I'd gone as far down as the first steel strap was going to be.  When I got to the end, I sewed the zipper together at that point so that it wouldn't come apart again.  (I used blue thread to do it, so it's visible in the photo below.)

Now I've got a boot with uncomfortable and ugly raw edges along the sides of the front opening.  I cut some thin vinyl into strips to use as a binding.  I rounded the corners of the top of the tongue and the top of the front opening of the boot.  I sewed the vinyl to the boot, right sides together, all the way around the edges.  I thought I was going to fold the vinyl strip around and top stitch it down, like I would with fabric bias tape, but that proved problematic.  Not only was the shiny side of the vinyl sticking to the sewing machine as I sewed, but I also didn't cut the strip *quite* wide enough.  So instead, I used Barge cement (a contact cement, like heavy-duty rubber cement) to seal it down.  This involved painting the back of the vinyl and the edge of the boot it was going to be attached to, letting the cement dry a bit, and then clamping it down with binder clips padded with fabric scraps (to avoid leaving marks).  It was fiddly and annoying, but it worked pretty well.

Now for the fun part.

I bought very thin stainless steel strips from the hardware store, worked out where they would be placed, and how long they would need to be to wrap around the boot.

I cut them with bolt cutters (Not easy, and watch for sharp edges!), and then drilled holes in the ends for the grommets using a drill press, and one smaller hole in the middle for some rivets I'd picked up in the leather section of Hobby Lobby. 

Each steel strip is held in place by the grommet going through it and the boot on both ends, and by one rivet on the back of the calf. 

This was not enough eyelets to lace the boot up, so I added another eyelet between each steel strap.  In the photo above, you can see that the zipper above (to the left) of the bottom strap is closed, but below the strap the zipper is open.  My little sewn tack is hidden under the strap.

So, finally, once again, the finished boot:

I did run into some problems.  Cosmetically, the thin shiny vinyl I used as a binding is really fragile, and flaked off a bit on the upper, inner edges (where my legs brushed together) and under the lacing. 

Structurally, though, I didn't take into consideration the amount of stretch the vinyl had, and the fact that stainless steel has none at all.  So my calves had a bit of a tendency to bulge out between the straps; it wasn't too unsightly, and it wasn't too uncomfortable, but it was not ideal.  Fine for halloween.  Not so much for street wear.

I also wish I'd rounded, or at least smoothed the edges of the steel strips. They're *very* sharp, and because of how they were cut, occasionally have the tendency to stick out a bit. Ow.

This is my first attempt at a tutorialish thing, feedback, comments, criticism, questions are all welcome. 
7  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 52 ENTRIES / Miss Woodhouse on: July 06, 2010 07:26:30 PM
Okay, I'm brand spankin' wet-behind-the-ears new to craftster, so new that I'm not allowed to post pictures yet, (i can has photos!) so please, be kind!

Also, this is not a recent project for me, it was done a while ago, but it *was* made from a bedsheet, has never been entered in any kind of contest, and I've been wanting to get some decent photos of it, anyway.  (If "not made specifically for this challenge" disqualifies the entry, so be it.)  Further, apologies for the kind of crappy photos--it's the webcam special tonight, I'm afraid.

The story.  My name, my real name (as opposed to my reenactor, etsy, and craftster persona) is Emma.  So I made this dress so I could be Emma for halloween, because that's the sort of thing that totally cracks me up.

The dress was patterned from a draft in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 2, and while I'd love to give more information on the original dress, the book is in storage at the moment.  I do remember that it's English, circa 1800-1810. -ish.

The construction is odd.  It's an apron-front, which means the rectangular portion that covers the bust and the skirt panel that's attached to it are only pinned to the back bodice. The back bodice has tabs that wrap around under the bustline and pin together there.  The front panel has long ties that wrap around the body (slipping through belt loops near the center back) and tie in front.  I would have taken photos with the apron front down, but they wouldn't be exactly family-friendly.

my crappy little webcam isn't good enough to capture the details, which is a shame.  The apron front has lines of soutache braid, mimicking the pintucks of the original.  The skirt has cartridge pleats in the center back, stacked box pleats to either side of the cartridge pleats, knife pleats at the side front, and a little bit of gathering at the center front.

(bonus kitten ears!)

The sheet in question is a very old, very soft, possibly linen (but if not, all cotton-no poly here!) flat sheet. It tears very easily, and the skirt has already been darned in the back where something caught and ripped a 14" hole.
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