Tag Archive | wire

The Sewing Studio – Part One of Sew It Begins

It’s Ready!” That’s what I declared the other day as I looked around my new sewing studio. The machines were in place and plugged in, the notions boxes were empty with the all the notions stored in their appropriate baskets, and the stash was organized. It was now time to sew. After almost a year of not sewing anything, both the husband and myself are in need of new shirts so that is where I decided to start sewing.

You may have noticed that I did not say that the new sewing room was ready for sewing to start. That is because I now have a sewing studio. Now, it is not as glamorous as it sounds. Since my sewing and crafting has now taken up three rooms in my new home, instead on just the one and one-half as in my previous home, I am calling my sewing space a studio. Plus a sewing studio sounds bigger and better and more exotic. Who wouldn’t want a whole studio for their sewing and crafting over just a room.

I started my first sewing project in my new sewing studio by going into the stash room where I found just the right fabric for me and the husband a new shirt and retrieved our basic sloper patterns for the pattern stash in the stash room. After laundering the fabric, I took the fabric to the prep and cutting room, which is also the crafting and amigurumi assembly room. Here, the fabric was ironed and the patterns cut out. Next, the pieces were carried into the sewing room where the sewing machines and notions reside and the sewing of the shirts began.

It took longer than expected to get to the point of sewing again because I decided to unpack the stash from the many boxes it has lived in for so many years. I placed the contents of all those boxes on wire racks so that the stash is fully visable and readily accessible. I gave the “unpacking of the stash boxes” a lot of thought before I started. I had my picture organizing method in place and it had served me well for many years, but as I organized the boxes in the stash room and opening some to see just exactly what was in each one, I realized that having the stash on the racks was a better way of organizing and using the fabric than the pictures. The husband helped be picked the correct size, weigh and style of racks and helped me assemble the racks. It was then my job to unpack the boxes. I had mixed emotions as I unpacked the stash boxes. My emotions ranged from glee and excitement to see all the precious pieces of fabric I possessed, to terror and fear that I might actually be a true fabric hoarder.

It is great fun to be sewing again. Sadly, I feel that my sewing skills had diminished with the time off, but happily, they seem to be coming back quickly. I am super excited to be sewing and crafting again.

Stay tune for details on the new shirts.

Until then, sew forth and sew on!

Brusha Brusha Brusha

IMG_0355It was time for me to tackle another amigurumi project. After the completion of the dragonfly and conquering the challenges that pattern brought, I wanted to just make a simple project this time around. But, as I looked through my patterns for a simple project, I was not inspired by anything. I didn’t want to make just a simple amigurumi, I wanted to make an simple amigurumi with some flare. So, I turned to my to do list and decided it was time to try the brush technique I had read about in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi book. Instead of using fuzzy yarn to make a furry or fuzzy amigurumi, you make an amigurumi from regular yarn and then brush the yarn to get a fuzzy, furry effect. This is a great idea! I had been wanting to try this brushing technique for awhile now, but I did not want to try it on a complicated pattern in case I did not like the effect or destroyed the project. Since I wanted to make a simple amigurumi next, this would be a good opportunity to try the brushing technique out and if it I did not like the end results, it would not be very much of a loss.

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P1030479With all these thoughts of fuzzy fur and brushing, I picked the pattern I wanted to make, and yes, it is a very simple pattern. The design is called pocket pals. These various animals are made up of two feet, a body and two ears. I picked the dog for my first project and crocheted his pieces from Red Heart super saver 4 ply yarn in white and black. Next I picked the bear design and crocheted his parts from some heavy brown yarn that I don’t have any details on because I picked it up a thrift store unlabeled. I picked this heavy brown yarn instead of just another skein of Red Heart yarn to see how the different yarns would look once brushed. The pieces of these little pocket pals crocheted up quickly and easily and it was soon time to start brushing the pieces.

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P1030444The book said to use a wire pet brush to brush the yarn. I did not have one of these brushes, so I tried a variety of brushes from around the house. From toothbrushes to hair brushes to cleaning brushes, I brushed and brushed but was not getting the desired fuzzy effect that I expected. Just as I was about ready to give up and head to the store for a pet brush, the husband happened by to see what I was doing. Seeing the variety of brushes lying on my table and observing what I was trying to do, the husband left without a word but returned with 3 brushes from his tool box, a nylon brush, a stainless steel brush, and a copper brush. Now, it was time to get brushing.

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P1030445I started with the nylon brush since it was the softest of the three brushes the husband had brought me, on the feet of the bear. The results were good, but not great. So, I tried the copper brush next. Now, there was the fuzzy look I was looking for. I tried the stainless steel brush last since it was seemed to be the heaviest brush of the three brushes. The results from the stainless brush were not much different than from the copper brush on the heavy brown yarn of the bear. Repeating the process, I brushed the feet of the dog with first with the nylon brush, then the copper brush and last the stainless steel brush. The result was very fuzzy. Because the yarn of the dog’s feet was not as heavy, the nylon brush gave the same fuzzy results as the other two brushes but I noticed that it did take more strokes to get that result than it did with the copper brush or the stainless steel brush. Liking my results, I brushed the bodies and ears for both the bear and the dog. The book said I should brush the parts of the amigurumi before stitching them together, which is what I did. After I stitched the parts together, I picked up the brushes again and fuzzed up the joining stitches for a more even look.

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Because the bear and the dog were so much fun to make, I picked up some green yarn and quickly crocheted the parts for a frog. I picked up the brushes to start brushing when it dawned on me that frogs are not fuzzy. Darn! I could have made the bunny or the cat or even the chick and they would have been fuzzy and I could have brushed some more. Oh well, the frog was fun to make too. He just didn’t end up being fuzzy.

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P1030474This pattern was so much fun to make that I am keeping it in my crocheting bag permanently. Now, when I am stuck somewhere and don’t want to work on my current project or I am at a point where I can’t work on my current project, or I can’t focus on my current project, I can pull this pattern out and without much focus or thought, make a cute little pocket pal for someone. Also, the husband is going to have to buy himself some more brushes because I am claiming ownership of his current brushes and they now live in my crafting supplies. I see more brushed yarn amigurumi’s in my future.

Domo-kun

img_0284I was wrong. I said my next amigurumi project was going to be from a pattern out of a purchased book. That was my plan until I saw Domo-kun on one of the photo sites. I tracked down the free pattern and printed it out. I read the pattern very closely and decided to give it a go and I am very glad that I did.

This pattern is written very well. I understood most of what the author was saying and the count was right on. In fact, the author did an excellent job designing Domo.

For example, on the legs, she has you crochet in the round to a certain row, then only crochet half a row, turn and come back across to make the outside of the legs. When the legs are stitched to the body the extra side squares his body off for a better look.

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I learned several things from the construction of Domo and I used some techniques I have never tried before. First, Domo can stand by himself thanks to plastic pads inside the bottom of his feet. This gives him a flat surface to stand on. I still over stuffed his legs a little and he likes to fall down occasionally due to being a little top heavy, but he stands most of the time.

Second, I put wire in his arms so they are bendable. I went to the craft store looking for craft wire but only found the wire for jewelry making which I did not think was sturdy enough. The husband suggested that I use pipe cleaners instead.

Brilliant!

The pipe cleaners are strong enough for the job and the fuzzy exterior kept them from poking through the yarn. It took a couple of tries to get the stuffing and the pipe cleaners to work well together but I think I figured it out.

Put a little stuffing in the bottom, insert the pipe cleaner and then use small pieces of stuffing to stuff around the pipe cleaner. I doubled the pipe cleaners and left about 1/2 inch poking out of the top of the arm. I inserted this into the body and it kept the arms in place while I sewed the arms on making that whole process easier. Then the fun started as I positioned Domo’s arms up and down. It made him come to life. I can position his arms out for hugs or raise them up in the air while he chases kittens..

dsc05472The last thing I learned from the making of Domo is how to surface crochet. I had never heard of surface crocheting but the pattern called for it around his mouth. So, when it was time to attach Domo’s mouth, I searched out instructions to learn how to do it.

I had learned how to surface crochet, but I had already stuffed and finished Domo’s body so there would be no way I could surface crochet around his mouth without unstuffing his body and I was not willing to do this.

To remedy this, I crocheted a chain and glued it around his mouth. It turned out fine and I really like the way the chain, or the surface crochet if I had done it, adds dimension to his mouth.

.Overall, Domo was great fun to crochet and put together. I am very pleased with the end results. The husband and I have had a great time playing with Domo. He has chased Brownie, ran away from Cali, went to Disneyland and Disney World for some great photos, and finally ended with hugs for all.