Thursday, October 22, 2009

But I'll have a sailor laddie and dye my apron blue

This evening I attended Re-loved 2 at Craft ACT, a fashion parade with all the clothing made from recycled clothing and fabric. There was quite a range of styles, with several different designers involved. Some was more to my taste than others (of course), but the show was definitely worth a look.

A similar thing goes on, at a more personal level, with Wardrobe Refashion where people pledge to avoid buying new clothing for a set period, instead renovating and remaking existing stuff to satisfy the need or desire for different clothes. I've also recently come across Project Remake, a new group in Canberra who are exploring ways to recycle textiles. And I've been thinking about what textiles and other materials I can reuse and repurpose in the things I make.
kimono shrug
Not the best photo but this shrug made from a kimono was gorgeous.

My pears are stuffed before felting so they need a stuffing that doesn't felt, dries quickly and can stand up to rough treatment. I've been using polyester stuffing or wadding (a bit firmer) - both probably quite environmentally unfriendly, though I haven't researched it yet. At times I have also used the stuffing from old worn-out cushions. Now that I think about it, there are probably a couple of misshapen pillows in the cupboards that could be sacrificed this way too. Whatever I use gets such a thorough washing with hot water in the felting process that I don't think there could be any hygiene issues.

This week I'm working on some prototypes for a different stuffed item and this time I'm planning to felt them before stuffing. So I've started keeping little fabric scraps and all the wool ends from various knitting projects, to be used as stuffing.
Of course there is my new button stash, much of which has come from op shops. Some of them are scratched or damaged, which make for an interesting look - but then some of them are better covered up. Some of the covering fabric was from a bag of leftovers and scraps that came to me from a friend leaving town (along with a sewing machine).

Once upon a time I did some knitting with cut-up t-shirts. I thought I might make a shopping or lunch bag with the resulting tough, thick fabric, but I didn't persevere as I didn't enjoy the feel of knitting it, at all. Many people do successfully knit with fabric strips (making floor rugs, for example). Alwen at Lost Arts Studio has instructions for how to spiral-cut a t-shirt. She was using the strips for weaving, too.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Then we'll be waiting for the moonlight

brooches 2 and 3
Two brooches dispatched today. I covered those buttons myself - though not in the proper 'covered button' way. But a good way to use some of the ugly or damaged shank buttons from the stash. Yes, I have button stash now too, much of it from a bout of op shopping in my last holidays.
brooches scale
Ring included for scale. I got it at a market up Noosa way last year.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Well that was a LOT quicker than knitting one

It didn't require any sewing, either.

The weather has been pretty awful lately, rainy and cold but not as cold as winter. I'd been hankering for some lighter spring scarves. In winter I wear a warm coat and tend to like a small knitted scarf (like this or this) to close the neckline. But with a lighter jacket, usually worn open, it's nice to have a bigger scarf that can block the wind without adding too much warmth.

You might laugh, but I was inspired by this rather grotesque designer scarf. (A little more digging revealed that it does come in other colours).
red slash scarf
I found this red crinkled knit fabric (t-shirt weight) during our Cabramatta shopping spree. I was so keen that I bought a cheap pair of scissors and did all the snipping on my hotel bed last Saturday night! It doesn't need any hemming - knit fabrics don't fray. The holes have become a little more 'distressed' with a wash and some wearing, but they won't go beyond a certain point (at least, that's the theory). It's more of a deconstructed look than I usually go for but I really like wearing it.
I also have some of the same crinkled stuff in a light olive green, and a piece of a different beautiful dark blue-green knit fabric. That one is not crinkled. I cut holes in a small test piece but wasn't thrilled with the effect. So I think I'll try to crinkle it in the microwave. That should be interesting.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rollin' with my homies

Photo by Demelza Sherwood.

Last week I was hanging around knitting with a few lovely ladies, as you do. When I mentioned that I was taking Friday off to spend a long weekend in Sydney with my mum, sister and aunt, there were a couple of funny looks and at least one person looked, well, slightly horrified. I'm well aware that spending three days at close quarters with several family members would not work for everyone. I am just so grateful to have a family I so enjoy being with. I feel blessed.

I knew the weekend would be good; but it turned out to be fantastic. Everything was great, except for the wet cold weather, especially on the Friday. Aunty flew down from Brisbane and the weather was a rude shock for her; even the Canberrans found it pretty chilly. It didn't help that our charming hotel suite was a bit drafty - we used a spare towel to block a large gap under the door.

It was a lovely old hotel though (large breakfasts included) and in a great location.
On Friday we wandered through the fancy shops of Paddington and then went to meet little sister's bus and have dinner in Chinatown. On Saturday morning we thoroughly combed the Paddington Markets.
Terrace house on Oxford St - which colour should they pick?

Saturday afternoon we drove out to Cabramatta to shop for fabric. There are several fabric shops on the main street, all packed claustrophobically with every kind of fabric, and some good discounts to be had.
Photo by Demelza Sherwood.

Cabramatta is a suburb of Sydney where large numbers of people from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos settled in the late 70s.

The main shopping streets are packed with Asian groceries, fresh food shops, restaurants, clothing shops and the ubiquitous dollar shops full of imported plastic things.

On Sunday, after having an extra-leisurely breakfast and waving aunty off to the airport, the three of us took off to fit in a couple of art galleries before driving home.
This is 'Rapture' by Ken Unsworth, at the Art Gallery of NSW.
Bugatti Type 35 by James Angus, also at the Art Gallery of NSW.
Little sister checking out the coloured bread art by Spanish artist Miralda. Interestingly, the Craftzine blog recently ran an article by Anna Dilemma about other bread artists.
street perform

On the way to the Museum of Contemporary Art (the brown building in the upper background of this picture) we tried to work out what was going on in this performance art at Circular Key. No idea really, but the kids in the audience were clearly willing participants and their parents took lots of photos.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I'd dye for you

happy socks 2
I made some birthday socks for my very wool-sensitive Mum from Wendy Happy bamboo and nylon sock yarn. It doesn't have the memory and give of wool, so I found I needed to go down to 2mm needles (thought that's not unusual for me) to get a nice firm fabric.
happy socks
None of the available colourways were really right for Mum, who loves Autumn colours. I ordered it online and thought it just might be ok, but once it arrived I knew it wasn't great for her. Aside from being too pink'n'purple overall, it also had a bizarre coral stripe that just didn't work.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo before I dyed them. And, I was a bit impatient in my search for the right dye colour. I wanted to use an orange-red to shift all the colours to Autumn. Instead I ended up with a strong red that didn't entirely overcome the pinkness - though it did make them nice and bright. She seems to like them anyway!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

While chopping wood I moved my legs and I started dancing while I gathered eggs

for Fee
This pair of pods was commissioned by my sister as a gift for a family member.

My nephew (the hand model above) came up with "another way to do it".
This is his drumkit, which he has assembled himself. The microphone stand is the newest addition, improvised by his dad.
Playing drums is one of his favourite things. He practices, totally self-taught and self-motivated, every day. His dad is a musician but he hasn't really tried to teach my nephew yet. Of course he is motivated by wanting to be like Dad. Not so much Mum - my sister notes that he has no interest in craft activities at all, even at playgroup. He definitely knows what he likes. He loves to watch live rock music DVDs (his dad's favourite bands). He concentrates hard on these, studying the musicians and he knows all their names and what they play. His focus is impressive (and also a little bit hilarious sometimes).

The fascination with drumming has been building over a period of several months, probably since around or not long after his 3rd birthday. The photo below is from July; the kit has developed a bit since then. You can't see it in the photos but I've seen him using a box at his feet for a foot pedal, too. He's had a couple of goes on real drum kits and a recent outing to the music shop where he got to play on an electronic kit. If he keeps it up he's sure to aquire a real kit sooner or later.