Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Fried Egg Tote Bag

I knit this tank top in 2010. When I finished it and put it on I saw that the variegated yarn had pooled color into "nice" uneven fried egg splotches in the most awkward place. It was the same on the back so I could not wear it backwards.

A friend suggested I convert it into a bag. Once I refolded the tank, the armholes became handles!

The tank languished for many years. However, yesterday, I decided to dig into the sewing UFO (Un-Finished Objects) stack and work my way through it. I finished 6 things including the bag!

This is the lining, fully interfaced. I laid the knit tank on top of the fabric and rough cut the shape.

I also added a pocket with some fabric that reminded me of the first garment I made for myself back in 9th grade. Yes, I made a wrap skirt with fabric in shades of brown with clusters of mushrooms all over. For kicks I searched for "1980's wrap skirt patterns" and found the exact same one on Etsy here. My teacher asked me twice if I was sure about the fabric choice. Of course I was! I wish I still had the skirt because it must have been most hilarious.

Once I had the body sewn and the corners tucked to make a flat bottom I had to clip and fold the lining into the handles one edge at a time.

Then sew each one after pinning before moving onto the next edge.

I did have to patch the top of the handle as I didn't cut the lining long enough to go over the shoulder/handle. You can barely see it.

Corner button that I think adds a nice detail to the bag.

Finished bag. I love it!

Sometimes its good not to think to much or measure to much about a project. Just wacking out fabric shapes is not my normal way of sewing. This on-the-go method is freeing and a UFO got crossed off the list.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Backstrap Complimentary Pick Up part 2

A quick post to share a band I just finished weaving on the backstrap using complimentary pick-up.

I had a lot of trouble keeping the yarns in the correct pick-up order on the last band. See this post. I finally looked at Laverne Waddington's book Complimentary-Warp Pick-Up to see if I was missing a step. Sure enough, I was not using two swords to hold the pick-up cross. That is the magic step that keeps the yarns in order. I hardly made any errors on this band after faithfully using this technique.

Close up of the band. I wanted to do another 9 thread motif from her book and this mirror image hook was it.

This is the finished band. I'm quite pleased with how easy it was to weave (using the two swords).

These are the two bands with same color yarns in different placement. I plan to use them as the handles of a tote bag. Yes, I'm using the one with all the errors in it because I want to remind myself of the difficulty I had weaving it and remember not to repeat the mistake.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Done and Done!

See first post on this subject here.

While I'd much rather be writing about my SUPER AWESOME backstrap weaving workshop last week I need to finish my Little Mermaid story. I'll get back to the workshop next post.

The skirts were delivered before I left town Friday before last. I put everything into a big black trashbag and dropped it off backstage. It was a huge relief to get them out of my house.

This is what was in the bag! Seven sparkly, scaly skirts.

Here are four of the Mer-sisters. I think they are very happy with their skirts.

Onto the bandeau tops. This is the sparkly fabric. Nylon netting with iron-on sequins.

I cut all 7 in short order. The little white tabs are plastic boning so the side seams did not collapse.

I sewed the seams using a small zigzag stitch to bag out the top. The fabric was really sticky to sew though. I had to change the needle twice as the glue from the sequins gummed up the needle badly.

This is what the inside looks like after some quick and dirty sewing. I did use a basting stitch to gather the center front before sewing down the ribbon tie. The gathering under the boning was done on the machine.

I will deliver them on hangers tomorrow morning.

Done is beautiful...as we use to say in the costume shop at college.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Backstrap Complimentary Pick Up

A week from today I leave with my friend, Kathleen, to attend a backstrap weaving workshop with Laverne Waddington. The workshop is taking place in Sonora, CA at a friends home. There will be 8 of us in the workshop. I can hardly wait.

The topic is Pebble Weave. This weave structure is a type of complimentary warp pick up technique. In preparation, I have been practicing my complimentary weaving.

This is the warp I started with. Plain weave is relaxing and easy to do. Pick up is very finicky. I had to really concentrate to get the pick up portion correct.

I was weaving at Kathleen's a couple of weeks ago and this is how I anchored my loom. I used cork and cardboard to protect her nearly antique window sill.

This is the end of the tape. It looks perfect. right?!? Well, in full disclosure, it took me about half an hour to do each hook motif! I had a lot of trouble picking up the warp yarns in order. Each motif is only 17 weft picks. I was very frustrated. Sometimes the weaving went smoothly with no errors, which was surprising. Then I would make about 10 errors and had to weave and unweave over and over until the motif came out correctly. Arrgh!

As challenging as pick up is, I can tell you it's even more impossible when the warp is upside down and backwards. Laverne tells us to start picking up with the light thread and then follow with the dark thread. Well, Of course I had it set up completely opposite. I had to start with the dark warp and follow with the light warp. I could not figure what I was doing until Kathleen pointed out the backward/upside down warp thing going on.

You can see the errors in the photo below. The top tape has clearly shaped hooks. The lower tape shows lots of twisted spots and specs with no clear definition. I almost gave up. But that is not allowed! With Kathleen's guidance the weaving got easier. Sort of. I still picked the wrong threads. But that's because the yarns wanted to fool me by squishing together and making it hard for my fingers to pick up the correct warp yarn.

I persevered though and finished the tape. I am happy with the results. AND I learned how to unweave on the backstrap. Always an upside. Right!?!

You can find my post on weaving my backstrap here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Little Mermaid 2018

For the third year in a row I am making costumes for the school play. My son is again NOT involved in any way except as a spectator. You can find my costume sewing adventure from last year here.

This year the show is Little Mermaid. I am making Ariel and her six sisters. That equals 7. Seven!

Seven little mermaid costumes have been on my plate for awhile. You know the usual...shoulda...woulda...coulda...started earlier...etc. Anyway, I've had the skirt mocked up for some time and finally got a fitting last week.

I cut all the skirts on Monday. I cut all the tulle today for the ruffles. And started sewing.

Here are the seven combinations. These four pictures are from the director.

The main skirt fabric is a 4 way stretch metallic nylon with overall semi circle cutouts.

I used a knit interfacing on the sewing edges to stabilize the edges.

Because...look what this fabric does with just the weight of the tulle ruffle on the hem!

Looks like fish scales, eh?!? I love the fabric. I can't imagine what it was designed for or who would wear it except as a costume. But it's pretty fun.

Gathering the tulle onto the hem.

 Tulle ruffle on the right side. I still have to edge stitch and sew up the back and waistband.

This is the skirt mockup. The tulle ruffle represents the flippers. It's so cute.

More costume adventures to come. After the skirts are done I have little bandeau tops to cut and sew.

The end of the story can be found here.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Shibori Fun

For my non-textile friends I describe Shibori as Japanese Tie-Dye. But it's so much more than those words imply. Shibori is an incredible art form.  Using simple stitches, threads, clamps, and wraps as resist, patterns are created on fabric. It is detailed, finicky, surprising, unique and always lovely.

I took a Shibori workshop last weekend with Glennis Dolce. Her blog is here. Her website is here. Her work is amazing!

The workshop took place at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles. My friend, Kathy, and I spent two fun filled days stitching, tying, dyeing and meeting other avid Shibori artists. I highly recommend the workshop. Glennis teaches at the museum throughout the year. It is studio format. She teaches newbies as well as regular students who prep stuff at home to dye in the workshop. Not everyone has space to have their own indigo vat at home so it's a great opportunity to have vats and all supplies available.

What follows is a photo essay of what I did in the workshop.

Inspiring samples on every wall of the room.

My favorite piece on the wall was this large quilted Sashiko piece. The table had a selection of fabric pieces we were given to play with.

Silk Noil, cotton lawn, silk kimono lining, silk organza, silk jacquard, silk Habotai.

 I started with silk Noil and a selection of stitching samples. I used red nylon thread.

Pulling the red thread tight makes a funny unidentifiable wad of silk.

This is Kathy's sample.

Dye vat and my sample is now blue. When a pice comes out of the pot it is more green. Magic happens when indigo dye is exposed to air, a process also known as oxidation...it changes color! You can actually watch it happen.

There were two vats. One darker than the other. The piece on the right is from the lighter vat but it is still oxidizing and turning darker blue.

My two samplers, pressed with all the stitching remove.

Next, using cotton wrapped thread, I wrapped the silk Habotai around a tube (polypropylene in this case). Glennis has this nifty contraption where the pole sits on old skateboard wheels. I'd wrap a few inches and then push the fabric and thread up to one end of the pole.

Closeup of fabric scrunch. This Shibori technique is called Arashi.

The pole in the indigo vat.

The pole in the vat along with the whole dye table. Rinse buckets, water buckets, clamps and other tools piled up.

The finished piece of silk Habotai. It looks and feels like a cloud. I plan to sew the ends together to make a mobius scarf.

I forgot to take pictures before dyeing of this folded and clamped piece of silk kimono. It is still changing color.

Personally I think this piece was uninspired and not really attractive. But that's what sampling is for right?!?

Glennis showed us how to use stencils and fugitive dye with this cool little Japanese brush. Fugitive dye is color that disappears in water.

I stenciled these circles to stitch in the evening as homework for the next day.

All of this was the first day of the workshop!

Next morning, I finished stitching the circles. Glennis had us use tiny scraps of silk as anchors for the thread knots. It is a great technique for loosely woven fabrics and for finding your knots after dyeing.

The new wad of fabric. I had to poke up each of the spaces between the threads as I pulled tight so that the fabric would dye more evenly. I also added Kanoko knots in one corner. They are tiny wrapped points of fabric.

The circles half undone.

The finished sample with the rip in the upper corner when I got too aggressive in pulling the thread out. You can see where I pulled very tight (white lines) and not so tight (faint lines). It is a very pretty pattern that I will repeat again I think.

This is the organza that I did 4 different samples on. Clamped diamonds that I'm not sure how I accomplished. A scrumble (just scrunching the fabric with my fingers) below the diamonds. Then a spider web. The top right corner had spiral stitched lines that I forgot to pull tight. I saw the error after the first dip in the dye. So I pulled up and then dipped the corner again. You can just barely see the slightly lighter blue lines.

I dyed some cotton floss thread for Sashiko sewing. By this point in the workshop I was very tired and decided not to dye anymore.

But I did use the stencils to prep more samples to take home.

This is a sample from Glennis' collection. I just love the crisscross stitching. I hope to make something like this next time around.

This is another piece from Glennis' collection. All of the diagonal lines are made up of tiny wrap-tied points so closely crowded that the fabric feels at least 1/4 inch thick. The white tangled thread surrounding the flowers is released knots that reveal the design. I think I can safely say that I will NEVER be accomplished or interested enough to tie knots like this. Though it is incredible to see and feel an artisans work.

An amazing weekend of fun that I hope to repeat again.