Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Post-Christmas Edition

OK, so I know most craft blogs do their Christmas blogging in the run up to the day, but I like to be different. As you can see, by my post-modern Christmas tree!
The best thing? It was cheap as free! I just collected some good-sized bits of branch from the local parks (luckily, we've had some really windy days over the last month or so), and they're packed into an empty Milo tin with old MXs. And you may recognise the tree skirt from this previous post... And of course I made all the decs (Except the string of balls. That was some random crap I had floating around. But thanks to these instructions I totally could make one if I wanted.)

I'm particularly fond of the fluffy baubles. I just crocheted them up out of eyelash yarn. Inside them is a small capsule machine capsule to hold the shape.

Inspired by this post at the wonderful Filth Wizardry blog, I also made garlands out of toilet roll tubes. Yeah! BEST CRAFT SUPPLY EVAR!
OK, you can't really see the effect in that photo, but it looks cool strung up all around the room. And, man, was painting the rings ever fun! I'd forgotten how much fun painting stuff is, but now I have a whole lot of paint! Look out world, don't stand still for to long!

Also, I made these baubles along similar lines:
I had to kinda 'pre-stab' the holes, because I couldn't get the bodkin through two layers of card at once. In hindsight, the garlands would probably be even better with this instead of single rings.

And of course, there was giftage. I made this felt ant for my dad:

And I whipped up a Mind Flayer dice bag for dear SO:
This is based on the Cthulhu Dice Bag pattern by A. A. Leavitt-Reynolds. I opted to go for purple mind flayers over green Cthulhus because Mind Flayers are more of a 'thing' in our household than Cthulhu. And I beaded the eyes on because by the time I got to the eye row, I remembered why I hate intarsia. Well, mildly dislike it. For a similar reason, I wimped out on the borders and just made them straight lines.

So, congratulations on getting through that marathon of a post, and have a crafty new year! (My new year's resolution is to write shorter posts...)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jester Minute

Phew! I've been busy recently with the drudgery necessitated by rent paying , so was a bit slow on the making things front over November. But December is a good month for making things. I will do a Chrissie dec post later, but for now, I just want to show you the jester hat I knitted for Dear Younger Sibling's early-December birthday:

It was made on special request from DYS, from a pattern I have previously knitted for myself. It is an excellent pattern - one of those ones that looks techy but is super-duper simple. It's from Woolly Wormhead, a site which offers many excellent patterns, and has a wonderful free pattern section, under which you can find this Jester Hat pattern. I cannot recommend this pattern highly enough. You know you want to knit yourself one. Just give in and do it. But beware, everyone who sees you in your hat will want you to knit them one too.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's a Cover Up!

Most of my crafting recently has been themed around covering, camouflaging or encasing things. I've been doing a bunch of little things, just revamping stuff I had because it was practical, but didn't like much. I like this sort of project because it means you can give a new lease of life to something useful that is unattractive or worn out, and I find that satisfying.

My first project is a case in point. Dear SO found two slightly battered but functional chairs discarded on the footpath, and brought them home to a new and more appreciative environment. Free furniture! Score! I was super impressed because it seemed like the sort of thing I would do and he would tell me not to do. But these chairs were so clearly useful, he couldn't pass them up! Even so, after he'd cleaned them up, they were still your basic, unattractive classroom chair. Oh noes, whatever shall we do? If only someone had large amounts of stylish material lying around, waiting for a purpose...

Who ya gonna call? STASH BUSTERS!

And the result is, two chair covers, like so:

It's some fabric I bought at Toraya in Osaka. I love this bold sweeping pattern so much! I'm really glad to have found a use for it that displays it. The covers were gonna be all-over covers, but dear SO wanted them to have space underneath. There has been some thought of covering the legs with coloured electrical tape... Oooh, coloured tape! *wiggles fingers excitedly*

Another kind of covering I've been doing is for my portable consumer electronics. You may recall the iPod cover I made last year (featured toward the bottom of this post). Alas, it has stretched and no longer tightly embraces the 'pod. Also, I had my phone tied up in a rather nice furoshiki that, really, was wasted as a phone wrap. Luckily, I had to hand a whole lot of non-superwash wool yarn and a burning desire to try my hand at felted knitting.

Now, I have failed miserably at putting any scale in this photo, but here's what I started with:

And here's what I ended up with:

The initial plan was to chuck the knitting in the machine on a hot wash... But then I remembered our machine doesn't do hot wash. So, into a bucket of near-scalding soapy water it went, and I rubbed and wooshed it about with my hands for the best part of 15 minutes, I reckon. It didn't look like anything was happening for a while, but then it did, kind of all of a sudden.

The unrefined nature of the process meant the result was a bit uneven, but it was a nice, thick, springy felt. Just right for protecting my poor, delicate electronic life-crutches from the nasty outside, and those cruel, scratchy house keys.

These were the two most exciting of my covering up projects. Most of them were much less exciting, though - just making covers for things to brighten them up. Here's a photo of my favourite example:

This is my cactus, Milligan. I made it a jazzy pot cover by sticking the pot in a (drab, brown) take-away coffee cup, then tying this scrap of weaving I did around the cup. 'Slike magic, innit? Bit by bit, I am going to make everything in my house AWESOME.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Presents of Mind

I finished the computeratin' gloved for dear SO:

They are nice and toasty. No more cold computeratin' hands for him! Hooray!

Also I made this Falling Feather bookmark (pattern by Sophie Begonia) for a friend's birthday:

It was a a very satisfying instant-gratification project, and the lace knitting made a nice change from the gloves. Also, tassels are awesome. I should really make more things with tassels on them.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Chairperson of the (Notice)Board

Look my SEXY desk...

Ohh, yeah baby. Just look at all that glorious workspace. WORK IT, BABY!

OK, so it's just a pile of IKEA crap, and it's not huge in the scheme of things, but compared to my previous work areas it's a step up. I really like the A-frame leg with the shelves, so I've got somewhere to store my sewing machine, or my lap-top, where it's easy to reach. But wait there's more! I've got natural light, too! Oh, bliss.

In order to maximise space on the shiny new desk, I wanted to have a noticeboard on which to keep all the random bits of paper, pamphlets, cards, etc. that I squirrel away. So, I made one, mostly out of recycled materials, plus some crap I had lying around. And tape.

I started with a large piece o' crap from an op shop:

(I mean, WTF is that? Who wants a huge picture of THAT car, of all cars?)

Next, I added two layers of corrugated cardboard, cut from boxes and trimmed and taped together to fit the backing board. This was for the pins to stick in. The bottom layer is made of a bunch of little bits mosaic-ed together (in order to not waste cardboard), and the top layer is from two larger pieces. I felt like putting the larger pieces on top would help it hold together better.

If I'd been really drowning in cardboard, I reckon three layers would be even better. But two seems to work perfectly well.

To make it look purdy, I stretched some fabric over it, a la a painting canvas.

The fabric is some blue hessian I have left over from a costume party some time ago. I'm really glad I was able to re-use it like this, because if there's one thing I learned at that costume party, it's that there's a very good reason why hessian isn't used for clothes.

End result: Storage FTW! (nb. It's not actually hanging off that nail in the wall, it's sitting on my desk. The string is just to keep it from falling forward.)

Man, yeah, I'm pretty proud of that.

Blog Day Out

Ah-ha! Don't think I didn't see you there, rolling your eyes, thinking I'd forgotten the blog. Nuh-uh, nosiree. I've been thinking about it heaps in the, uh... Five months... Since I last posted. But, it turns out that moving back home from overseas and recontstructing life out all the crap you put in storage is more time-consuming than I expected. I've not had an awful lot of time for making stuff, unfortunately, so there's been nothing to report. In the last five months, I have made exactly four things, and that's including some very utilitarian curtains that I'm not even going to bother showing you.

The projects that meet basic interesting-ness criteria are:

Dice bag: Mega-basic stash-buster, knit in the round (really, only just meets the criteria). As you can see, it's in colours to co-ordinate with my new toys. (Shall we roll to see if I'm massively geeky? Oh wait, it's an automatic success, hehe.)

I like how just changing colour every row with plain old stocking stitch gives a really bold zig-zag effect. Coincidentally, that same effect is in my current WIP, a pair of fingerless gloves (the pattern is 'Fade Fingerless Gloves', a free Ravelry download by Susan Letourneau). These are for dear SO, who has recently been on a glove-losing binge and so needs replacements. Also, random tachikoma for your enjoyment.

The yarn is Morris Estate, bought at the new-ish Morris and Sons yarn store in town. It seems like a pretty nice yarn store. They sell many lovely, lovely yarns, and the shop brand Morris yarns seem rather nice. And you know, Australian and stuff. Shop local, etc, etc.

Continuing in a similar colour scheme, but a different craft - voila! A skirt made from two t-shirts. Check it, yo:

It's made mostly from a Big Day Out t-shirt I bought at BDO in... 2007? Maybe? The year Rage Against The Machine were there, anyway. I was trying to avoid buying more t-shirts, because I had (still have...) so many. But, I really liked the all-over print on this one, so I just bought and XXL one to sew into something else. Three years later... Here it is finally.

(And there you have it, the justification for the preposterous post title.)

Well, come back soon y'all. I reckon things might be going to pick up around here now ;)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Of Daikon and Droids.

So, Dan's Daikon MkII has been completed. This time, with a face. I think he's gonna be called 'Dai-kun.

He's so cute! I'm pretty happy with it.
I used a special fabric pen for the face. It looks more or less like a normal permanent pen, but after you draw your design, you iron it to fix the ink, and it becomes washproof. Maybe we have this kind of pen in Australia too, but I guess I've never looked for them before, so I'm not sure. I really like this black one though, so I'm probably gonna go back and buy more in other colours, in case I can't get them back home. I love the idea of being able to just easily draw a pattern on some plain fabric, and make my own one-off prints.

Something I'm pretty sure I couldn't find in plentiful supply in Australia is tenugui. These are lengths of wonderfully printed cotton, usually about 35x90cm, which can be used for anything you find a length of cotton useful for: a towel, a bandana, crafting material, etc. The print is generally something kind of tradtional, but more modern tenugui also exist. There are some really cool patterns, and I've often been tempted to get one, but they aren't cheap, maybe 1000 yen (at least) for just that slip of cotton. But there was no way I could leave this one I found the other day...

Ahhh... Spring in Japan: Mount Fuji, cranes, sakura and.... C-3PO and R2-D2. Spring x Star Wars, apparently. Now, I'm not a massive Star Wars fan, but I appreciate pop culture icons, and this made me laugh so much. I did have a tough decision between this one, a pink one with C-3PO holding a paper umbrella while the droids wandered through the sakura, and a grey one with sakura raining down on Darth Vader. But I liked the colour of this one best, it seemed the one I'd be most likely to actually use.

After this, it's gonna be quiet around here for a while. We're packing up and heading off for a bit of travel, and then back to Melbourne at the end of April. So there won't be too much opportunity for me to be making stuff in a big way, and even less time for me to be posting. I do have one portable project in progress, though: A smidge more sashiko. This one is just a big square of the traditional sayagata (or key-pattern) design, using some funky, modern space-dyed yarn. I think the warm oranges and reds look really great against the indigo background. The lighter blue in the thread looks nice too, but it's hard to see in the photo.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Zig-zag Pizzazz!

Just a quick note to show that I've finished the 'Jaywalker' socks. The toe didn't finish quite so neatly on the second one, so no close-up shots this time! But they're still nice and comfy to wear.

I wore them to work yesterday, and showed my colleagues, who had seen them in progress. There was much excitement. They think I'm some kind of magician.

Oh also, I know I've previously pooh-poohed the hype around Noro yarn, but I buckled and decided to splash out on some, because it is beautiful , and I'm in Japan and all. I was in for a pleasant surprise, because although the balls were marked at 819 yen each, a bag of ten balls was discounted to 5600 yen! A bulk-buy discount, I guess... So, yeah, of course I'm going back for another bag in another shade! This bag is shade #256, but there's also a very nice bluey/greeny/purpley shade that I nearly bought. Oh, and I think there's a sort of rainbow colourway, too... Ohhhh...

To be honest, what really sold me on getting a serious Noro stash was the Ten Stitch Twist pattern by Frankie Brown, on Ravelry. It's such a simple, but gorgeous, idea. It shows off the yarn's colours perfectly, and the colour is what I like about Noro yarn. And, being a blanket, I don't have to worry about it going with my wardrobe. Phew.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Young Man and His Daikon

This is my mate, Dan. Everyone say 'Hi, Dan!'.

Dan, a.k.a. Spacebot, makes 8-bit music. He's up there, workin' the gizmos, keeping the crowd dancin', remixing Mario for all he's worth. But it's a little lonely up there under the strobe lights. I know what he needs! A daikon soft toy!

Look how happy it's made him, awwww...

Haha, actually, Dan always used to dance around with a real daikon when he was doing a show, but due to reasons of food wastage and weight (daikon are HEAVY mofo vegetables, srsly) he was looking for an alternative. So, I offered to whip something up for him.

The daikon was one of those projects where you say "Sure! No problems!" right off the cuff, and then when you look at it later you go "Ohhh, but how will I do that bit....?". In this case, 'that bit' was the green stalks at the top. I don't cook with daikon much, so it wasn't until I procured a specimen for study that I realised the stalks are upright, not floppy. Floppy is easy to sew, upright, not so much. I was forced to go and wander around a craft store for inspiration. Oh, the agonies... But I was pretty happy with the solution I came up with. I got some thick, green cord and some 40cm lengths of fine florist's wire. Starting with a length of florist's wire folded in half, I stuck it through the hollow core of a length of cord (about 2/3 the length of folded wire), and ended up with a very servicable stalk. I had to twist the wire around the cord at one end to fix the cord in place, but it was otherwise pretty sturdy. So, I made a handful, sewed them into a bunch, and stuck 'em into the top of my daikon.

These pictures are from the maiden voyage of Faux Daikon MkI. We were pretty happy with it. The final version will have a face on it though, something like the one in this picture from Wikimedia:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Now I Know I How to Get Felt Balls.

It's been a bit slow around here, makin' stuff-wise. I've been slogging away at the zig-zag socks. The first one is finished, voila!

Also, I am very proud of the toe, check out this seamless grafting.

I'm usually rubbish at grafting, but I have mastered it thanks to this brilliant step-by-step guide to Kitchener stitch on Knitty.

Apart from this, the only thing I have been making is felt balls. I was shopping for stuff to make a thing for a friend (will post pics when I have photos of this thing in action), when I came across a little doohicky for making felt balls. Was it another crafting gizmo I was going to use once or twice and then forget? Maybe. But did I neeeeeeed it or I'd explode? Definitvely. Look, it's quite dinky:

It's ever so easy to use. You just put the wool in, and shake it around in soapy water for half a minute, then you shake it some more. It's quite good fun, kinda like playing maracas. Then you roll them around on a towel for a bit, and ta-dahh! You have balls.

Here are the initial results. A couple of them went a bit awry, but it's pretty easy to get a reasonably solid little nugget. I think I like the blue and green one in the back best - it looks a bit like an Earth-like planet.

Ooooooh, the possibilities!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Imaginary Japanese Highschool Boyfriend Knits. Does Yours?

Happy New Year! I got some really phat loots for Consumermas. Dear SO gave me a copy of Duel Love, which is the most hilarious thing ever. It's a dating sim, but it centres around the members of a highschool boxing club, and you have to help them train and look after their injuries. If you do it right, you unlock big pictures of the boy concerned doing something cute. For instance, knitting:

Awwww... I couldn't understand the text exactly (it's in Japanese), but I think he was offering to knit me a scarf. Maybe I'll just get him to teach me how to cable...

Back in the real world, I finished those legwarmers... But I've misplaced one already. (Argh!) So, here's just one, for your enjoyment.

I really like the zig-zag pattern. I'm very happy with them. I wish I had the other one, so I could wear them!

Also, here's the sock. Heel is done and foot is underway.

I keep reminding myself I still have to do sock #2 after this one. Mustn't get too excited because then I'll feel disappointed and unmotivated after the toe.