Saturday, October 17, 2009

Very Cool, Very Warm Mittens!

These are my new very cool, very warm mittens. They are made from a felted wool and angora sweater. The lining is fleece. And they are very, very warm.

These mittens were the latest project of the Renegade Militant Seamstresses. Wendy and Lorraine showed us how to make them. They were not really hard to make.

The former sweater was a soft and lovely cable-knit turtleneck. I wore it with a brown skirt. Then one summer there was an unfortunate incident with the skirt and I was unable to wear it to work any more. That incident involved my hips and a Tommy Turtle sundae. It's too horrible to think about.

So, inspired by my daughter, I machine washed and dried the sweater. It came out very small, about a foot in length and two feet in circumference, just barely big enough to make two mittens. Jan let me use some of her lightweight royal purple fleece for lining. The fleece I had was too thick.

I'm thinking about making some more mittens with this pattern. I have some windblock Polar Fleece in the basement, but not enough to make any sort of garment. That would make really warm mittens. I'd use the windblock fleece on the outside and some thinner fleece on the inside.

One of the Seamstresses mentioned that the mitten pattern would work for oven mitts. Hmmm... 100% wool would not conduct heat and is fire resistant. It sounds like another project. I guess I'll have to go thrift store shopping.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Paper Cloth, such as it is...

Here are a few samples of the paper cloth I made for the Stitch Alchemy book study described in the previous post.

This first one shows how opaque the Speedball Acrylic Ink is. I should have known. The label says "super pigmented." The paper cloth was made with blue and white tissue paper and a few scraps of paper towel previously painted blue. I sprayed blue ink and then dripped red ink. That was so dark that I stamped some stars with an iridescent red-gold ink. It's still dark.

This second piece was made with plain white tissue on the muslin. It was sprayed with some blue paint while the glue was still wet. After it dried, I applied pink, medium blue and very dark blue ink, rubbing the stamp pads lightly on the surface. This made the folds in the tissue show up better.

For the third piece, I layered both tissue paper and cheesecloth on the muslin. After it was dry, I sprayed it with the blue acrylic ink. After that was dry, I applied a wash of yellow Dye-na-Flow. Then I sponged on some blue Dye-na-flow.

So far, this has been great fun, and I'm learning a lot.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Stitch Alchemy--An Extra Credit Book Report

Stitch Alchemy by Kelli Perkins is one of my new books. I'm taking part in an online book study of Stitch Alchemy through Mixed Media Art Friends, a yahoo group. Belinda Spiwak is organizing the book study.

I've been waiting for Stitch Alchemy to come out since it was first advertised last spring. And it's not just because Kelli Perkins is My Own Personal Reference Librarian. Kelli has had many articles published in Cloth, Paper, Scissors, and she has appeared on Quilting Arts TV. Her work is accessible, colorful, and imaginative, and her writing is wonderful. So the book was bound to be good.

I've had the book for a couple of weeks now, and I have enjoyed it very much. It shows us how to combine paper and cloth into a textile that can be embellished and used like both paper and cloth. And anyone willing to get her fingers sticky can make paper-cloth!

First, the book is visually beautiful. The samples draw you in at first, but then you look at the rest of the page. This is not a black-text-on-white-page book. Everything is colorful and shows texture. Yet it isn't jarring or overwhelming, and you can easily settle on the text. The entire book is eye candy that won't give you a stomach ache.

Second, it is loaded with techniques to color and pattern paper-cloth. I mean really loaded. A quick count identified more than 80 different techniques, from dripping ink to thread sketching. These techniques may not all be new, and the descriptions are brief. But it's a treat to have them all in one place, making Stitch Alchemy a very useful reference. I found myself thinking about how I could combine a number of the techniques and how I could adapt them to just paper or just cloth. Kelli writes about serendipity, and I found myself anticipating serendipity.

Third, Stitch Alchemy is written for (and by) a lover of language. Kelli's librarian side shows in the way the book is written. And I don't mean the Shhh! kind of librarian. Think purple-streak-in-the-blond-hair kind of librarian. Meander, saturated glory, divine, montage, akin, rustaholic, hand-rendered. Different--simpler--words could have been used, but the book is much more fun to read with these words.

The last part of the book provides a number of projects to make with decorated paper-cloth. I'm not there yet. I'm still looking forward to the decorating. Now all I have to do is control my enthusiasm so I don't work way far ahead of the book study. Huh! I'm after the extra credit, so I'll start playing as fast as I want!