Thursday, November 24, 2011

Crafternoon: Pillows

Yesterday started by me trying to go through my apartment and purge things I don't want to come with me when I move. I stumbled upon a lot of sample/mess-up fabrics from my experimental screen printing classes and others.As I was looking at them, I started thinking about how even though a concept wasn't there, I thought some of the fabrics were just pretty.

About a year and a half ago, I took one of my samples and made a tiny pillow with it. It was a joke, because I had printed with old X-acto blades and other blades, and people in my class joked that it should be a pillow.

I saw it, and decided to turn some of my other samples that were washfast into pillows. I ended up having a little "crafternoon".


 Back, or front I guess.


I backed this one with plain pink fabric. This one might be a present.


Detail of Front
 And the back.

I haven't allowed myself to be crafty in a long time. I've been in art school mode for so long, but it was really nice just to make something for fun because it's pretty and functional.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I'm going to finish watching the Cowboys game now and have my second Thanksgiving meal of the day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fiber Field Trip: Material Science.

Last week in my weaving class we took a trip over to the Material Sciences department at my school to see how that polymer fiber I was working with is made.

This stuff is just polymer, not the stuff that will break down on the body, but I believe it's the same process to make both.

 These get melted down...

 ... in this crazy-looking machine called an "extruder".

 Pictures to help us artists understand what's going on. This stuff is the "thermoplastic".

 Lindsay putting some of the polymer beads in the extruder.

The fiber will get pulled through this icky water after it's melted down and spun around this screw thing inside the machine.
 It first comes out this end (and smells like hot glue).

Into the nasty water.

And pulled out and rolled onto a cylinder thing. The speed of the cylinder determines the thickness of the fiber.

So I obviously still don't understand the science-y stuff behind all of this, but it was really interesting to see.

-- Laura

Sunday, November 13, 2011

FO: Military Cardigan.

I'm in an advanced weaving class this semester, but because I've taken plenty of weaving and my professor knows that knitting is more applicable to what I'm doing post-graduation, she is letting me use the knitting machine for my projects.

My overall focus this semester has been the history and culture of knitting. For this project, I researched knitting's roles in war, specifically the two World Wars. After reading about how women would unravel old wool garments to make sweaters for the soldiers, I decided to make my own military-inspired cardigan using recycled wool.

This was my first garment on a knitting machine. To be honest, I don't really enjoy the machine, but I do like how quickly I was able to whip this up.

All of the light gray is machine-knit, and the dark gray pieces are hand-knit.

This will be critiqued in class tomorrow. I'm really happy with it, so hopefully I'll get a mostly positive response.

-- Laura

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Screenprinting Project 5.

My 5th screenprinting project is due Tuesday, and I just finished it this morning. This project is a portfolio trade, so everyone in the class will get one copy of everyone's prints. I did an edition of 20 + 3 artist proofs. Finished paper size is 11x11.

I had good intentions of taking pictures after each layer, but I forgot to do that for the last 3 or 4 layers because I was in a groove this morning.

From beginning to end:

 *insert a few layers here*

I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. If you're wondering, the first few layers are knit stitch shapes, and the circular things are abstracted yarn balls. I need to get it properly photographed so I can include it in my portfolio exit review next week (ahhh!).

Also, I noticed today that my third screenprinting project was in one of the cases outside the class today. I don't know how long it's been up, haha.

P.S. Are you celebrating Wovember? It's still a bit too warm for the most part for a lot of wool here in Texas, but I wore (handknit) wool socks today!

-- Laura

Monday, November 7, 2011

FO: Lea's Birthday Socks.

These socks had a pretty tight deadline. I'm knitting socks for my sister, dad, and mom this year for their birthdays (Nov 4, Nov 18, and Dec 18 respectively) and I didn't have a lot of time to finish my sister's. I actually made my dad's first (which I won't post about until after his birthday) because I originally thought I wanted the yarn I used for my dad to be for my sister. I changed my mind very early on and made them man socks.

I had this other yarn in my stash from a couple of months ago when I went to Jennings Street Yarns in Fort Worth. My sister had requested rainbow or gray socks (what a contrast) and I decided that this yarn was kind of a more mature rainbow.

Okay, these socks were really hard to photograph, and it was really cloudy yesterday, so sorry in advance. There will also be photos with the dreaded flash :(

Friday was my sister's 19th birthday, but I didn't get to see her until Sunday to give her these. I was worried they might be a tiny bit small, but they fit her perfectly!

 I warned you about the flash, but at least you an actually see the colors!

Project Details:

Ravelry Project Page: Link
Pattern: Basic Ribbed Socks by Kate Atherley
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Heritage Paints (I found a website that called this color "Londonberry", although it's nowhere on the label)
Needles: 1.5 US - 2.5 mm

Thoughts on Pattern:

I enjoyed this pattern because of the 3x1 rib. A 1x1 or 2x2 can get so tedious having to switch back and forth between knit and purl stitches every one or two stitches, but 3x1 makes it a lot more bearable. I wasn't crazy about the heel and gusset, although it ended up working out. This project has actually inspired me to start a new pair of socks (for myself!) in a 3x1 rib but a heel, gusset, and toe I prefer.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Etsy Denton Handmade Harvest!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of vending at the Etsy Denton Handmade Harvest! It was a wonderful show overall and a great show for me as well! I met so many fun people and got to talk to people passionate about yarn like me.

My space before setting up.

I am 99% positive I took a picture of my booth set-up, but it isn't with the rest of my pictures! Oh well. I brought all of my organic and recycled yarns, as well as a skein for me to play with. I decided I wanted to knit myself a pair of socks with my Fullmetal colorway, and I figured it might be a good idea to be knitting with my own yarn :)

I was pretty good about not spending money at this show. I had been considering picking up some Christmas presents, but I decided against it at this show. Maybe if I make it over to Etsy Dallas in a couple of weeks I'll pick some presents up.

I ended up coming out of there with some mineral foundation and eyeshadow from the lovely Sarah at Simplicity Cosmetics. I haven't worn make-up in years (excluding Halloween), but I decided I wanted to wear a little bit on my wedding day at least. Sarah's products came highly recommended by my friend/bridesmaid/fellow Etsy seller Rachel, so I decided to go ahead and get some. I wanted to try it out when I got home, but I can't find my brushes! I wonder if I even still have them...

The other bit of swag I came home with was an Itty Kitty from my friend Amanda at Little Fun Co. I got a Fun Bun from her a year ago, and when she came out with a line of kitties, I had to have one too. We traded this kitty for a skein of my Sakura yarn, and I can't wait to see what she weaves with it.

This kitty does not have a name yet! Help!

I started a sock based on the pattern I used to do my sister's birthday socks (pictures tomorrow), but I think I'm going to change the toe and heel from the original pattern. It's a very basic ribbed sock, so not a big deal to modify. Check out how the colorway ended up working on this pattern:

Diagonal lines! Weeee! But now I have to put the sock on hold while I finish up some school projects. Oh December 17th, you cannot come soon enough.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Knitting Machine Woes.

I was asked by my weaving professor Lesli if I would help her with a project she was working on involving knitting experimental fibers on the knitting machine."Experimental fiber" intrigued me, so I jumped at the chance. I've also been working a lot with the knitting machines this semester, including completely taking one apart, so I figured it wouldn't be too difficult.

Tip: Don't take apart a knitting machine if you want to keep your sanity.

Oh boy, was I wrong. I believe what this fiber is made out of is biopolymer (I need to double-check but I'm pretty sure) and it's biodegradable.

This stuff breaks if you look at it the wrong way.

The people developing it are going to be doing testing on it as a fabric to see what it can be used for. Right now, they are considering medical uses. Where Lesli comes in is to turn this thread into a fabric to be tested. She had already been doing samples and working with it, and brought me in to do some of the samples.

 This is one that Lesli did. The red on the top and bottom is just cotton.

This material was so difficult to work with. It stretched out very easily and would snap. When that would happen, the whole thing would fall off the machine and the dropped stitches would immediately unravel down to the bottom row. What I thought would have taken me 30 minutes to do ended up taking me 3 hours, and they don't look near as good as I would like.

It was actually going well at this point....
Nevertheless, I got my three very wonky and small samples done, although I don't know if they're usable yet because I wasn't able to do very big sections.
Who knows, I might be back in there next week trying to make new ones.