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11  CLOTHING / Shoes: Completed Projects / Super Rad Dyed and Bleach Stenciled Converse (with kind of tutorial) on: January 13, 2009 01:02:32 PM
I'm gonna give you the money shot first so that you'll be interested in soldiering through this lengthy post, heehee.

Ok, so I've been wanting to try my hand at dyeing a pair of my Converse for a long time.  But, every time the idea sprang up, I always thought of the same problem.  What about the rubber?  I thought that if I just tried to be careful and use the dye as "paint", thereby avoiding the rubber problem, it wouldn't saturate the fabric enough to give a good result.  But, if I tried an actual dye bath, the rubber would get stained with the dye and I didn't want that.  So, I was perusing the internets for a solution and I spied a kind of offhand suggestion on an instructable.  Someone in the comments suggested using some art masking liquid to cover up the rubber and then dye the shoes.  A little light bulb in my head went DINGGG!  As far as I could tell, no one had actually tried that yet, so I decided to be the first.  For your enjoyment, I took pictures along the way so that if this actually worked, I could post a tutorial.  You will probably notice that I was just making a lot of this up as I went along, but it worked, right? 

So, first things first.  You need a pair of shoes.  Preferably white or some other light color.  I happened to have 2 pairs of the exact same Converse in the exact same color so I picked the pair that looked most crappy and experimented with those.  These are the kind with no laces, but obviously if yours have laces, you should remove them prior to dyeing.

Here's the masking liquid. 

(Ew.  My shoes look really gross in that picture.)  My husband paints which is why we just had some laying around.  You'll notice that it's kind of pricey.  He says that it's basically just liquid latex.  We also had some of that leftover from Halloween.  My 5 yr old was a zombie and my husband did his zombie makeup with it-check him out.

Heh, oops I got sidetracked.  Anyway, it looks like this:

It's cheaper, but the masking liquid was already open so I used that.  Point being, liquid latex is an economical alternative if you don't already have masking liquid.

I used a paintbrush and brushed all over the white rubber parts with the masking liquid.  [Note: for this part, you should either use a cruddy brush that you don't mind ruining or plan on washing the brush immediately after finishing with the masking liquid.]  I just started at the top and brushed downward so that I wouldn't get any of it on the fabric. 

WARNING:  If you get this stuff on fabric, it will not come off.  Ever.  Just ask my dining room chair following the aforementioned Halloween.  Also, the masking liquid smells like a**.  Just so you know.  I laid out some freezer paper to catch any drips.  Anyway, just cover all the rubber and then let it sit and dry.  Really the only way to tell if it's dry is to poke it.  It still looks shiny when it's dry, so you have to touch it to see if it's gone from liquid to adhesive. 

Now, most dyes recommend using heat to do a dye bath.  My husband said that wasn't an option if I was going to use the masking liquid so I devised a new plan.  The particular dye I used, which was this:

said to dissolve it in 4 cups of warm water.  I decided to make it more concentrated and dissolve it in 2 cups of ultra hot water instead.  I then let the water come to room temperature.  This is a really crappy picture, but see how the dye is dark with a lighter foam on top? 

When that foam is all gone, it should be at room temp.  See? 

So, then I used another brush and painted my shoe uppers with the concentrated dye.  Once they were very well saturated, I poured the dye into a giant pot and added enough cold water to cover my shoes.  I then wedged my shoes in there upside down.:

The other problem with doing a dye bath with shoes is that the rubber makes them float.  So, I put a colander on top of them and put 10 lbs worth of weight plates in the colander.

Problem solved, heh!  If you don't have weight plates, just get creative.  So, yeah, I let them sit in there for a good long time.  About 6 hours or so, I think. 

Then I took them out, peeled off the latex, and rinsed them in cold water to get most of the excess dye off.  The latex peels off very easily but if you experience any difficult, just use an eraser to rub it off.  Here's how they look at that point:

Woohoo!!!  No staining on the rubber!  It actually worked!!  Awesome!!  I then tossed them in the washer (by themselves, of course) and washed them in cold water and then dried them in the dryer.  I forgot to take a picture of how they look after that, but they definitely lost some color in the washing process.  However, they were still very vibrant and bold.  Enter the bleach stencil.  I decided to go with whales.  I don't really know why.  It was between whales and cupcakes.  So, I used my preferred bleach stenciling method, like so:

Basically, I use a Clorox Bleach Gel Pen and squirt some out on a plate and just use it as if it were paint.  Then, using a paint brush, I "paint" just inside the lines of my stencil to try to get as little as possible on the freezer paper (to prevent any bleeding).  I know some people use liquid bleach in a spray bottle, but I've never been able to do that without it soaking through the freezer paper.  So, I came up with this method and it works like a charm for me.  Just use the method you're most comfortable with. 

Since this was a very small and simple stencil and I was doing it on a shoe, I didn't use freezer paper.  I cut it out of poster board.  And then I just went to town, bleaching whales on my newly dyed shoes.  They looked like they were missing a little something so I freehanded some asterisk/star thingies and some hearts.  Then I washed and dried them again and now they look like this:

YAY!!!!  I'm kind of in love with them.

So...comments, criticisms, suggestions?  All are welcome:)
12  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Purplicious Shirt on: January 09, 2009 08:01:19 AM
I guess this is where this goes.  It involves applique, along with other things, but mostly applique.  Ok, a kind of long story.  So, I was in MS visiting my family over the holidays. I decided that I needed to make shirts for my nieces and nephews and first up is a shirt for my niece Sophia. She's 3 and just about the cutest thing ever.  Here's a cute picture of Sophia and my 5 yr old, Sebastian, at the drive in here in TN. This was when my sister and the kids and my mom came to visit this past summer. 

Anyway, Sophia's favorite book is Purplicious. I've never read it because my only girl is 10 and it's way below her age range. Apparently it's about a girl whose favorite color is pink. The girl gets teased by all her classmates because they think pink is for babies and black is the new cool color. The little girl gets all sad and stuff and starts wearing blue all the time until she meets a new friend who's nice and who encourages her to mix pink with blue to make purple. Then the little girl is happy again, I guess. The moral to the story is that kids are sometimes a**holes and you have to do what makes you happy and find friends who will support you in that rather than make you feel like crap. But kid books can't use words like a**hole, so you get a book like Purplicious that deals with a real issue in a cute way that kids can understand. So, I decided to make Sophia a Purplicious shirt. I took a look at the cover:

Rather than creating something loosely based on the cover, I decided (like an idiot) to just try and copy the cover exactly. So I did. Here's the result:

This is mostly machine applique, with a few bits of hand-sewn applique. There are also some parts that I stenciled. The stenciled parts are: the big paintbrush, the palette, the little girl's facial details, the name of the book, and the line underneath that. The machine appliqued parts are: the big purple rectangle, the dress, the individual pockets, the little bow, individual sleeve cuffs, the collar, the face and neck, the arms, the hair, and the beret. If you're thinking that's a lot of pieces, you're freaking right. The hand-sewn appliqued parts are: the two very VERY small paintbrushes, the little wand, the thumb (on the palette), and the fingers (on the big paintbrush). All of the fabrics I used were scraps from old clothes belonging to me and my kids. Luckily, Sophia tends to love everything I make for her. Plus she hardly grows at all, so she'll be able to wear it for a looooong time. Here are a few close ups.

The little girl's face and the lettering:

The big paintbrush that was stenciled on and her really small fingers.

Her small paintbrushes, wand, and little pockets:

I hope she loves it!

P.S.  My machine applique skills are a little shoddy, but some of the pieces were very small and I figure it's for a 3 yr old and she won't notice. 

13  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / A More Manly Shedir? on: August 11, 2008 05:15:13 PM
So, I've started on Shedir from Knitty:

http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEfall04/knittyF04surp.pdf  (It's on page 3)

and I wanted to see if anyone has another idea for the decreases?  The existing decrease rows end up making the top look kind of like a flower or a snowflake or something and I just know my husband wouldn't dig that.  I like the rest of the hat as is, but the decreases not so much.  Any ideas?  Thanks in advance for your help!!
14  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / GIANT Last Name Art on: July 06, 2008 11:32:45 AM
I made this image in Photoshop using pictures I found on Photobucket.  I checked out the Photobucket rules and as long as the account is public, the pictures in it are in the public domain.  Anyway, I  just searched each letter and found the ones I liked best, then used Photoshop to arrange them and size them appropriately.  I used the program at blockposters.com to separate the one long sheet into several sheets so it would be cheaper to have it printed.  I then emailed the file to Staples and got it printed in color, on card stock, for less than $7 (CHEAP!!)!  I had an old cardboard backing from a poster my son has hanging up in his room and just cut it to fit (with an xacto knife).  I used spray adhesive to glue the pictures down (being very careful to get the joins right because the program that separates the image separates it by page size and not by each letter, if that makes any sense) and then used mounting tape on the back of the cardboard to hang it up.  And voila!  A cheap and unique way to display your last name (or any other word of your choosing) in your home.  Although you can see where I screwed the join up on the letter "I", it's not really noticeable for the average person viewing it in my home.  I figure I'll take a black marker to that little piece to get rid of the white space.  Our last name is Hribar (weird, I know) and here are some pictures.

And a shot of it with our tv for scale.  The tv is 35 inches and the poster thingy is a little over 4 feet wide by 10 inches tall.

Note: If anyone else wants to do something similar, you get a lot more hits on Photobucket if you search "the letter h" rather than just searching "h". 
15  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Make Your Own Naruto Headband on: June 28, 2008 03:54:19 PM
Ok, so my son just turned 5 yesterday and he absolutely loves Naruto.  We took him out to dinner for his birthday last weekend and we got him this Naruto headband from Hot Topic while we were out.  A few things about that.  Yes, it's made from steel and it's pretty decent quality, but it cost $25!!!!  Say what?!  Yeah, but it was for his birthday, so we got it.  In a sucky turn of events, they only had ones with the symbol of the Sand Village and my son really wanted one with the symbol of the Leaf Village, which is the kind that Naruto actually wears.  I sound like such a dork right now Grin.  Anyway, we weren't about to spend another $25 plus shipping to order one off the internet, and it wouldn't have gotten here in time anyway, so what's a mom to do?  I found this instructable:


and my first thought was "Dammit!!  Why couldn't I have found this before we bought that other one?".  So, yeah, I made one by loosely following that instructable.  I made the following modifications.

I did the bit with the can like the instructable says. But, I didn't use the template on there because I used the headband my son already had as a template. I cut the shape a little bigger all the way around and then rolled the edges under so he might avoid killing himself with any sharp edges. Also, I didn't use brads for the circles on the sides.  I used a hole puncher to cut little circles out of the leftover bits of the can and I glued the resulting circles down with super glue. I used an old pair of maternity jeans and super glued the silver part to the jean fabric and then cut the jean fabric to size. Then, I cut the band out of the top of the maternity jeans and used that as the headband part. it was the perfect length and width, and since it was already in a tube shape, all I had to sew were the ends. Awesome! We had some industrial stick on velcro, so I just used that to attach the metal plate to the headband. For the symbol, I traced the symbol onto my template for the metal plate and then used one of my bamboo knitting needles to kind of "emboss" it on there. Then, it wasn't really dark enough so I used a sharpie to fill it in. That was too dark, so I used some scissors and kind of scraped away a good bit of the sharpie, then used a paintbrush dipped in alcohol to smooth the sharpie back together, but a much lighter shade than the original black. So, anyway, I think it turned out pretty good for costing absolutely no money!

Here's the one I made with the one we bought:

Here's a better picture of the symbol:

I had to turn the flash off so it wouldn't cause a glare, which makes the photo a little blurry.  Sorry about that!  Also, sorry for rambling on!
16  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Stellated Octahedron on: June 21, 2008 09:41:01 PM
So, I recently started making a bunch of origami cranes because I want to make a crane mobile.  I was looking up origami stuff on instructables.com and happened upon an instructable for the stellated octahedron.  I was intrigued and decided to try it.  The pieces were easy to fold, but putting it together was pretty hard to figure out.  All the stuff I could find on them via google gave awesomely detailed instructions for folding the pieces, but then kind of crapped out around the putting it together phase of things.  I finally figured it out, but I can't really say it was anything more than an accident, haha.  I'm gonna try again with some pretty origami paper.  Meanwhile, I did this one with plain white printer paper.  After I had it all put together, I painted the whole thing navy blue and then dry brushed it with light blue, gold, and dark red.  Then I used a piece of lace dipped in flesh colored paint as a sort of stamp.  Sorry for all the rambling! 

Edited to add:  None of the pieces are glued together.  They're all just folded into each other.  Here are links to the 2 sites I looked at while making them, in case anyone's interested.


17  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Some Warshcloths on: June 13, 2008 06:43:41 AM
I've been really into washcloths lately.  I like that they're small so even if your pattern is involved enough to keep your mind fairly occupied, they still won't take very long.  Also, they're kind of stress free because if you end up having to frog, you haven't lost much work.  I made these for my 4 yr old son's teacher's assistant.  I finished the ones for the actual teacher before preschool was over, but I hadn't finished these quite yet, so I got the assistant's address so I could mail them.  Anyway, I asked her favorite color and she specified an olive/army green, so that's why they're all the same color. 


This one's a modified version of the Staggered Fern pattern.


This one's the Traveling Vine pattern.


This one's a pattern I made up using some common cable stitches.  I wanted it to look like the washcloth version of a sweater.  I don't know what those couple of discolored spots on/by the cable farthest to the right are.  They're made more noticeable by the flash because they're really not that visible in person.  Here's the pattern, if anyone's interested.

CO 42

c6f: place first 3 sts on cable needle and hold in front of work, knit next 3 sts, knit the 3 sts from cable needle.

c6b: place the first 3 sts on cable needles and hold behind work, knit next 3 sts, knit the 3 sts from cable needle.

wishbone cable: c6b, c6f *Please note that when you make this cable, a large hole will form at the base of it. This hole will gradually disappear as you continue to work the non-cable rounds of the pattern.*

4 rows of border.

Row 1: border 3, p3, k6, p3, k12, p3, k6, p3, border 3
Row 2: border 3, k3, p6, k3, p12, k3, p6, k3, border 3
Row 3: border 3, p3, c6f, p3, wishbone cable, p3, c6b, p3, border 3
Row 4: as round 2
Row 5: as round 1
Row 6: as round 2
Row 7: as round 1
Row 8: as round 2

Repeat rounds 1-8 four times more.

4 rows of border


All of them are done in Peaches & Crme in Light Sage on US size 7 needles.  Thanks for looking!
18  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Ballband Washcloth--What the eff?! on: April 30, 2008 08:30:58 PM
So, I'm trying to do this pattern:


and I'm having a hard time with these 2 rows:

Row 4: K4, yarn forward (yf), slip 1 purlwise, yarn back (yb), *k5, yf, slip 1 purlwise, yb; rep from * to last 4 sts, k4.

Row 5: P4, yb, slip 1 purlwise, yf, *p5, yb, slip 1 purlwise, yf; rep from * to last 4 sts, p4.

I must be missing something really obvious, but how in the crap do you do a "yf" and a "yb"?  I looked on knittinghelp.com and all it says is "yarn forward" and "yarn back", which obviously I could surmise myself.  So, when I do the yf and then slip 1 purlwise, then yb, what exactly am I doing?  Do I bring the yarn forward and go behind it to slip my stitch?  Or bring it forward and then go in front of it to slip my stitch?  Maybe I'm thinking too hard or something.  Any help?
19  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Completed Projects / Labyrinth and The Who on: April 21, 2008 07:40:58 AM
Ok, these are both birthday presents for my sister's kids.  

This one is for my niece.  She turned 3 last week and since my sister and I are both huge Labyrinth fans, I proposed a Jareth shirt to my sister and she, of course, approved.  I dyed the shirt orange, then did the stencil in bleach and bleached out most of the rest of the shirt, leaving orange on just the middle part.  


Close up:


And this one is for my nephew.  He turned 10 this month!  His dad has been teaching him to play the guitar and he likes Pete Townshend.  My sister bought him an original print of Pete Townshend doing an air split while playing a show (as a Christmas present), so I thought he'd like this.  I dyed the shirt brown and then did the stencil in bleach.  I wanted to frame the main image out, but I wanted to do it in a deconstructed kind of way.  I think the end result looks almost like tape holding up a poster.






As always, thoughts, questions, and comments are welcome!
20  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Completed Projects / J is for Julian (ASL shirt) on: April 12, 2008 04:17:51 AM
A good friend of mine has 2 kids.  Julian is 2 and he's her oldest. He has a speech condition known as Childhood Apraxia of Speech. There's a video here that explains this condition fairly well. Anyway, Kathy and her husband have been doing signing with Julian to help him express himself until he's more verbal. So, I thought it would be cool to make Julian a shirt that spelled out his name in ASL or American Sign Language. Cute AND educational, right? So, here it is!

The shirt, in its entirety.

A close-up.

A look at how many islands I had.  I stuck my finger in the picture so you could see how tiny some of them were.

Whatcha think?
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