Tuesday, April 8, 2014

DIY Macrame Plant Hanger

One of my many maternity leave goals was to use up my accumulation of rope. I had previously crocheted a rug and made flags for our wedding, but still had so much.  The only solution I could think of was macrame, so plant hangers made logical sense. They are lots of fun to make! Tying knots brings ya back to friendship bracelet days. Of course, plant hangers can be used for more than just plants. Our globe fits nicely, and is less heavy for hanging over heads.

There are a lot more tutorials online since I made these last fall, but the one I found most helpful was Macrame Plant Hanger Tutorial by Lowe's. Yes, Lowe's the hardware store. I also tried This Year's Dozen's version [above  left] which is prettier but did use a lot more rope. Once you get the hang of things it's easy to just merge patterns and make up your own. It does require math skills to know the proper lengths of rope you'll need, but winging it is fun too.

After six hangers the rope has come to an end. Our next challenge will be getting this lily to bloom again.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Adventures in Linocut: Animal Edition

Let's face it, linocut is a blast. But, I haven't done a lot since I posted the tutorial for linocut a couple years ago.  I've really only made one more thank you card design. It can be a bit intimidating, because linoleum actually costs something, unlike most crafts I do.

Lately I've been very inspired to get back into it and try and learn more. It's hard to think in negative/positive/backwards space for me, so I always find it a challenge to carve out exactly what I am hoping for. I guess the challenge is what makes it fun.

Here is one I made today, as a draft for part of a new album campaign thank you we're working on.

Linocut Inspiration

Below are some artist friends you need to check out, that have been particularly inspirational. Ben is a craft wizard who married one of my bestest friends. Sarah has catholic worker themed prints that rule, and happens to live close to Hamilton. Buy their stuff!

'Bison' by Benjamin Wildflower. Visit his Etsy shop here.
'St Eustace's Vision by Sarah D Fuller. Visit her Etsy shop here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Upcycled Yarn from Haiti

I found these little beauties upstairs at my parents-in-law's house, which they brought with them back to Canada after their nine-year stay in Haiti. The sticks are a bit broken now (I mean, it was over 27 years ago) but they sure are charming. Something about these feels almost magical. They almost make me enjoy that shade of pink.

As you can see up close, most of the yarn is a bit ruffled. The reason for this (I was told) is at the time, when Haitians got bins of donated sweaters from other countries, they would often upcycle them into new things. This sometimes took the form of yarn diamonds/kites, sometimes clothes, and sometimes full-out afghans.

Here is one of the afghans they brought home. It has so many beautiful reds, blues, greens, and yellows gathered from knit sweaters. Every month we've been taking Minka's photos on a different blanket background, so for seven months, decided to do it on this beautiful upcycled afghan. Here is the little squirt and a closer view of the blanket too. Don't be fooled, she's ten months now, but still loves cats, colours and grandmas.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Granny Squares for Yarn Bombing

Who doesn't love an opportunity to make granny squares without having to commit to a whole afghan? Wahoo! I was so excited when Meg started recruiting people to crochet and knit granny squares for a major yarn bomb. By major, I mean big and beautiful. She and her partner Nick are going to yarn bomb a whole tree, and then get murried under it. Pretty great, eh? Above are the ones I've finished so far.  What's with the circles? Since I am purging half-finished crafts, I found these little cuties in my to-do bag. They were from a crocheted broach phase I went through a few years ago. I just added to them by mish-mashing granny square patterns to complete the squares. Thankfully Meg only has two rules: Make them 8 x 8 and vibrantly colourful. 
The only problem will be knowing when to stop. These things are addictive!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Colour Palette Pillows

When I first saw a crochet tutorial for pedal puff flowers, it immediately reminded me of Timothy and Samantha's wedding. My housemate at the time, Sarah, was sewing all of the ties before hand - so I got a good look at the intricate floral fabrics Samantha picked out. They even had matching cupcakes with pinks, yellows, creams, and oranges.

After realizing I also had matching hues in my hoardings of yarn and fabric, I knew making something for them was a must! The flowers were very fun to make, but practically, I wasn't sure what to do with them. Make a wall hanging? Use them as hot pads or doilies? I wanted something that could be useful for a longer period of time. Wall hangings change with taste and hot pads/doilies are fairly useless. Pillows it was! Throw pillows are so cozy and much more versatile.

Steps to making the pillows:
(also known as the shortest and least interesting tutorial to date)

1) Crochet lots of flowers using the Petal Puff Stitch Flower tutorial.
2) Sew them together with a darning needle and matching yarn.
3) Cut and sew fabric for each side of the pillow. Measure them for straight lines! I'm too haphazard and don't bother.
4) Sew the flowers on to your fabric using an embroidery hoop.
5) Finish sewing the sides together, leaving a 3 or 4 inch space.
6) Flip inside out and fill with stuffing.
7) Hand-sew the hole using the invisible stitch.
8) Voila!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gradient Knit Wall Hanging

My Grandma Klein's philosophy in life was simple: waste not, want not. Like most grandmas, she loved to knit, sew and crochet - and mastered the art of making do. Her collection of tiny scraps of yarn was inherited by yours truly, but it's taken me a few years to get through it. To put this in perspective, she passed away when I was 11. I am now 27.

With the scraps, I crocheted lots of multicoloured mittens, toques and scarfs, but grew tired of making winter gear. As I neared the end of the scrap yarn bag this winter, there were a lot of really small pieces left. Gradient knitting was a great way to use them up. So, I organized the yarn by hue and got started.

It was tricky finding a dry stick this time of year, but after a walk by the river an almost perfect one was found. I say almost because it is quite long - but wasn't sopping wet despite the melting snow - so will do the trick.  After adding tassels to give it a final touch, it's all finished.

Monday, November 25, 2013

London Fibre Art Festival

This past weekend in London (Ontario) was the Fibre Art Festival and Sale - an annual holiday gathering at the Covent Garden Market. There are three groups that collaboratively put on the event: The London District Weavers and Spinners Guild, Simply Hooked Rug Hooking Guild and the Strathroy Pioneer Threadlers.

The day came with demonstrations of weaving, spinning, rug hooking, lace making, basketry, felting and more. It was a great place to pick up some locally-made holiday gifts and get inspired to learn a new skill or revive an old.

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