Friday, May 30, 2008

Someone Find Me a Cow Bell!

To you this may look like a heap of yarn.

To me it is success.

This here yarn pile means the Beast is done! That’s right the Beast is done. Last night I diligently sewed in the last few strands.

My sister and I were taught our love of yarn and really all things fiber by a magical woman named Ursula. She taught us to knit and sew in her apartment on the upper east side. She had use of a little backyard which was like stepping out into another land. On her back porch was a cow bell whose sole purpose was to ring in crafting achievement. Whenever one of us learned a new skill or finished a long project we got to ring that bell. Somehow the Beast just doesn’t feel finished without a bell to ring. I will try to take the Beast out into the world this weekend and take some good proper photo’s for you all to see.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Proving Yet Again That I Can’t Resist Yarn

My guy and I headed upstate for the long weekend. We had a great time with good friends and good food. He cooked meat over fire, need I say more? We also took the opportunity to hit a good old fashioned church yard sale. We came close to buying a fondue pot but managed to think better of it. I, however, was seduced yet again by yarn. I try so hard to resist, but its siren call penetrates my heart every time. In my defense there was a tale of woe that went along with the yarn. It belonged to a weaver whose studio had burned down. She couldn’t afford to replace her loom and wanted the yarn to go to a good home. Now really, how I am suppose to hold up against that?

The yarn is mercerized cotton with a touch of rayon. It is just lovely and a good summer weight.

I thought it might make a lovely scarf. And the beast is so close to being finished that it really seems okay to start another large project, right?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Plastic Bag Wallet

My guy suggested I try making a wallet out of plastic. I think he was sniffing around for a cool birthday gift, sorry Bud, tube socks for you but I tried anyway.

Now mind you it was a first attempt and it appears to be way too big. I guess pockets need to be smaller than cards are high and there is way to much room in the back. But hey it was a first try. I am not really sure about durability either; I actually think the clear plastic is most durable. Ah well next time!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How Long Is Long Enough?

I am a bit under the weather so last night I curled up on the couch to watch bad tv and I even managed to pull out the Beast for a little late night crocheting. Pulling the Beast out is a job in itself these days which brings me to today’s topic: how long is long enough? The Beast is now 5’6” x 4’8”, in other words a real beast. And as you can see it now pretty much fits on my full size bed.

Four plus years ago I fell prey to one of the all time craft ploys of taking on a very large project after just learning to crochet. As a knitter I have tisked my self half to death at beginner knitters biting off more then they can chew, but of course I thought I was different. And in all fairness I think I should get a round of applause for sticking to it this long. The big dilemma now is when do I stop? Having already fallen into craft ploy number one (working on very large project before knowing not too) I don’t want to fall into craft ploy number two: the Short Scarf Syndrome.
The Short Scarf Syndrome or SSS is when a beginner knitter or crocheter decides to make a scarf as their first project. After working very hard on it for quite some time they realize that scarves are very boring to knit and decide it is long enough, this results in folks wearing very short scarves that are obviously handmade and barely wrap around their necks. They tell their friends that they really like a shorter scarf but I guarantee that the next one they make is longer.

So when do I stop? I have enough yarn to do one more repeat of the pattern. Do I keep going until I am out of yarn or stop now? I know what you’re all thinking, “it’s crochet if it is too short go back later and add on”, well let me just make this clear, once all those ends are sewn in there will be no going back and making more ends, you hear me!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Plastic Transparencies

I have been busy sewing away here and fusing lots of plastic. Plastic is fun and all but I kinda miss sewing with actual cloth. Today I am actually working on a fabric secret sewing project. But because the sewing project is super secret right now I thought I would show off some more plastic.

I have been playing around with transparencies. At night this looks like a blue block on the window but come morning these lovely doves come out to play. The best part is they are 100% reused plastic bags. I cut the doves out of 6 layers of plastic fused together then position them on plain blue plastic from out of town new paper bags.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Proof Is In the Photo

Starting my etsy shop made me really think about the photos I have been taking of my work. My standard photos have been pretty good but not up to competing for sales. Not to give too many trade secretes away but my previous photos where taken on a spare sheet I spread out over my bed. The problem is that a: my bed needed to be made; b: the sheet always needed another ironing; c: the sheet was beige; and it needed to be light out for the photo to work out well. The other issue, which only just occurs to me, is that we have ivy that grows over our bedroom windows and was dead all winter and has now sprung to life reducing the light in the room.

So I decided to build myself a light box. This consisted of getting my guy to bring a really big box home from work; he also snagged some of that paper that goes over exam tables. I cut out three sides of the box and covered it in the paper. Now, no matter what time of day, all I have to do for a good picture is place the thing in the box and hit it with a light from the outside, the light is diffused and the piece look lovely.
Pros to the new system: I can take photo’s anytime of day or night. I don’t need to make my bed. Things don’t have to have a beige backdrop. AND I don’t have to iron as much.
I have to store a really big box with fragile paper sides in a New York apartment.
Sadly, I think it is totally worth it, but you be the judge.

Photo of cool NY times zippy pouch old way

Photo of cool NY times zippy pouch new way

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Etsy Site

I have been diligently fusing bags for the last couple of days so that I could start my very own etsy shop. You can check me out here or by searching for MahkaCrafts in the seller category or by clicking on that nice link over to the right that says "check out my etsy site". I am pretty excited about having my very own shop for all things reused plastic. I am also in the process of putting together a couple kits for those out there with craft fears.

In the mean time I thought I would share my profile photo. The photo on my shop page is pretty small but it is actually a flower made from, you guessed it, plastic bags. I did a couple different versions. I think they are pretty darn cool.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hyperbolic Baby Pants

Yes, that’s what I said hyperbolic baby pants. In the last addition of Craft there was an article on how to knit hyperbolic baby pants. The pattern was adapted from a new book Making Mathematics with Needlework and came with little diagrams of how an octagon could be folded into a pair of pants. Needless to say, I had to try it. What I lack in math skills I seriously make up for in knitting ability. I admit I thought this might be the answer to my math fears. I can knit anything. Maybe through knitting I could learn math. I dutifully traced the diagrams and folded them into pant-like shapes.

My first attempt yielded baby bell bottoms. Although the article warned row gauge (the amount of rows, vertically, to the inch) was important, I didn’t realize just how important. In my defense row gauge is rarely important, really, I swear ask any knitter! So, I ripped it out and started again, paying lots of attention to all things vertical. I did better the second time around, although I still had to fudge the last few rows.

So this bat like creature, an adapted version of half an octagon.

Here’s what it looks like from the back

and the front.

They make a little more sense in person. Alas, I am afraid I have no 6 month old baby’s around the house to model so Sara will have to promise that once her bun in the oven is 6 months old she will send in an updated photo.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Last Minute Baby Gift

I am amazed at how often I find myself making last minute baby gifts; I mean I should have 9 months, right? Well if you only speak to old friends once or twice a year then it happens more often then not.

A friend from college just sent me beautiful pictures of her newborn son. We don’t speak that often but she is certainly someone special and dear to me that I would make something for, so I give you the last minute baby gift.

Because I have scrambled more then once for a nice little gift I now keep blank onsies on hand, washed and ready to stencil. For baby Jake a little 3 pack of a moose, bugs, and dragonflies. Don’t be impressed unless I can make it to the post office before he starts preschool!

Posted by Picasa