Friday, May 28, 2010

Upcycled bed sheets to cotton rag rugs

I enjoyed making these, probably 'cause I do "tedious" really well nowadays. The tedious bit, depending on your point of view, is ripping the bed sheet into one long 1.5cm wide strip.

This means you rip (or cut) down to almost the end, control yourself so as to leave the last 1.0cm intact on the edge, turn the sheet around, and start a new rip 1.5cm next to it, stop 1.0cm before the end again.

It's like creating a zig-zag up and down the fabric and keeping the edges intact. Then you wind the ripped length into one big, big ball of yarn. I wish I'd taken photos as I made these.

Then you get down to the crochet part. I use a 10mm hook and do a tight, dense stitch. This makes a firm mat which keeps its shape pretty well. It also means that the mat will be more durable.

I've only just sent my first cotton rag rug to the compost (it's now a weed mat) after it gave me seven years of service at the kitchen sink.

The other good thing about these rag rugs is they're machine washable. And being cotton, they're absorbant.

The yellow one with the green edging has gone off to the Naragebup Environment Centre. The metal ruler is my big 60cm one, so that might help with the scale.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Made It - Online Handcraft Market

Today I created my own Store in This is an online handcraft market for Australians to showcase their handcrafted treasures. is a fine place to sell and to shop too, but it has a significant overseas market. Postage costs to overseas are fairly high, so that market isn't really a sensible one to aim for.

I'm so glad I found this Made It site. It's been going since about 2006 and has the potential to grow even more, especially in this current economic climate where people are appreciating handcrafted goods in preference to commercial products.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Guardian Angel 2010 Program - Knit for someone in need

Today we started a new group on for the Guardian Angel 2010 Program - Knit for someone in need. The group is like a forum where knitters/crocheters interested in making items for this program can show off their projects.

It will hopefully provide a forum for inspiration for suitable projects and not be limited to those printed in the Guardian Pharmacies booklet.

So, as I'm pretty obsessed with fingerless gloves at the moment and thinking of cold weather+someone in need = cold hands, I thought these would work as my first offerings to the program for 2010. And this year I'm tagging mine. I'd be curious to see where they end up.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Recycled Ralph Lauren Knitwear

It was the pink mohair that drew my attention in the op shop the other day. It was the colour I was looking for, not the fact it was a Ralph Lauren polo neck. I can't bear clothing that touches my neck.

I had other intentions for this piece of designer wear. It was destined to be upcycled into fingerless gloves.

The piece was $6, and while that wouldn't normally sound expensive, I'm on an abnormally tight budget which means I'm mindful of every mouthful of food I get and every time I use electricity.

Nevertheless the jumper came home with me. I unpicked the seams that night - that's the first time I've unravelled something that someone else had knit - and I now have a small basket of 53% mohair/47% acrylic yarn. It's currently being converted into fingerless gloves, destined to be gifts for my nieces.

The FGs look sort of bumpy and un-neat, but that's mohair for you. I've washed them in hot water so they're not going to change their look or shrink, but it's the light fluffiness that makes them almost weightless and comfortably warm.

I'm happy with my op shop find!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Upcycled milk cartons

I love my milk.

Unfortunately nowadays it comes in plastic containers, not the reusable glass milk bottles that used to be home delivered by the milko.

I keep finding things to do with the bottom half of the container including storage, sorting, shed and garden use.

As an example, I've used the bottom of a 3ltr milk container to store my envelopes of home grown seeds. It just keeps things nice and tidy and it works.

The plant tags, by the way, are an ice cream container lid, cut roughly into elongated triangles. They're durable.

Icarus Shawl

This was the first shawl I knitted which incorporated some lace in the design. It's based on the Icarus shawl, designed by Miriam Felton.

The yarn is a soft spun cashmere with a single strand of silver running through it that's barely noticeable, but its subtlety is what makes it special.

The yarn is from which is the most extraordinarily superb place for buying yarn.

I don't have a place to block my shawls, ie a large floor area, so the washing line method had to be invented. I weighted the point of the triangle and despite it looking very crude as far as blocking methods go, it worked.

It's a case, once again, of "work with what you have".

New apron - old sheet

When I saw the sheet in the op shop I liked the blue and white stripes could see an apron in it straight away.

The edging of the sheet had smaller sized stripes which would be perfect as edging.

The last time I made an apron I was about nine years old and it was in the school sewing class. I don't think I was very interested at the time.

It's funny, though, how lessons from childhood get baked into memory banks and it wasn't difficult to recall it all.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

On being a transcriptionist

I left behind the working-in-an-office bit nearly 10 years ago. Wouldn't go back if you paid me four times what I'm earning now (I mention that because I was offered that not that long ago and turned it down). Instead, I eke a living out transcribing audio files, but I absolutely love it.

I live frugally because I have to, but it also fits with my personal philosophy of minimising consumerism and making do with what I have.

Every day is different in my job and I learn new things from the fascinating and varied research I get to listen to. It makes me a professional fly-on-the-wall type of person, and that's just perfect.

Op Shop Find - Lord of the Rings Poster

Found this the other day at the Salvos. It's on a bevelled board and has good hanging string. It's very big. It's very perfect. And it's a trip back to 30 years ago when I had this as a poster Blu-tacked onto my wall.

The illustrator is Jimmy Cauty and I think he created this in 1973.

I love it because of the memories of different times, it's Tolkein related, and it's pre the commercial movie posters that have flooded the place in recent years.

It's going to my eldest son who would have seen it as a babe - the same eldest son who, at the age of 8, read Lord of the Rings for the first time. (Yep, he did things like that, uh-huh!)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Coloured chalkboards

I made one of these for my granddaughter to start with, then one for the back verandah and one for the kitchen.
It's a clipboard, it can hang on a nail and the spring clip is useful too. They can be made in "designer" colours, so I selected a couple of sample pots from the local hardware, made the magic mix up (you add non-sand grout to the paint) and painted the main body of the clipboard.
The colours are great. I've done some in violet-purple, a rich blue, a cerise pink and some in teal.

Yarnbombing Rockingham

Thought I'd do my first yarnbombing installation on the Rockingham foreshore park this weekend. I didn't want to create yarn graffiti that could be used only once, and I didn't want to sew any seams. The blue/grey lighting bollards seemed to be a perfect target for a stripy sock thing, to keep them warm, of course, for the coming winter.

I measured up, didn't swatch (never do as I don't mind making mistakes, as long as I learn from them) and ended up with this acrylic bollard sock which should stand up to some rough and tumble for a little while. This one was done using the long tail cast on method for stretchiness, but with only 80sts and knit in a 2x2 rib, it was a bit of a snug fit. Next time I'll co 92 sts.

I've added a luggage tag which is a bit too big for my liking. Will have to refine that idea further. Anyway, it says "Life is empty without passion" on one side, and "I knit; therefore I am" (with apologies to Descartes). I've mentioned as being a site for obsessive knitter type people, but I haven't signed off as the creator of the bollard sock (yet) - might change my mind later.

Anyway, my idea of yarnbombing is that it should not harm the environment, it should be enough to raise a little smile (as opposed to a smirk, preferably), it should be re-usable, fun to do and on occasion, be aesthetically pleasing or at least quirky. I aimed for the re-usable category for this first one.

Update: three days later - it's gone :(