Monday, September 23, 2019

FO: Tiny Superman

Sometimes an idea for the perfect project just pops into my head. Anyone else have those moments? Like there was no planning or anticipation involved, it just was suddenly in my head and had to be made. That is how this guy came about. It's Superman! But much tinier. I made this as a fun gift for a friend who I thought would appreciate it. Who wouldn't like to receive a tiny Superman in the mail?
I used the Knit Kid and Purl Girl pattern, which is free from Anna Hrachovec. I've used this pattern a number of times before and it always is so handy for making people, super or not. You can just change out the colors for the legs and body depending on what you want the person to wear.
This is my first time making the cape pieces from the pattern. I probably should've just attached it at the bind off, but I did an invisible seam and it caused the cape to stick out really far.
To help combat this, I tacked the cape down to the body. You can just barely see the stitch in the above photo. If this was a toy a little kid would be playing with, I would've done something stronger, but this is really just to look cool for a friend so I knew it would be fine like this.
The Superman emblem was the most complicated part to get looking right. I first embroidered the yellow yarn as a base for the shield, then I outlined it with red, then I had to sort of mentally envision an S and only stitch every other line before going back the other direction to fill in the spaces. I'm really pleased with how it came out in the end, but it took several tries and pulling it out to redo.
So on my way to the post office with this guy, I hooked him to my sun visor and took a few photos, lol. Here is Superman flying in to save the day!
And there he goes again! I attached a removable mini lanyard to his back so he can be hung from things, but it is removable so the new owner can decide how he will hang around. I had fun taking pictures of him for the short time he was in my possession though.

Any other Superman fans out there? This was a quick and fun gift to make and I had a lot of fun taking pictures, lol.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

New Obsession: Resin Art

With my recent Josie Lewis obsession, I came across her resin artwork about a month or so ago and thought it looked so cool and fun. She makes resin "petri" - a resin disc the size of a petri dish that is colored and altered by alcohol ink. The colors are vibrant and the textures make each piece look like a little world of its own. I knew it would be fun to play with, but didn't have the time or money to go for it then. Flash forward to my birthday. For my birthday each year, my family always asks me specifically what I want - I guess it comes with age, lol. Since I haven't been able to do many of my usual hobbies (and the fact that I have so much sewing and knitting stuff that I'm purging it right now), I thought this was the perfect opportunity to get the supplies and give resin art a try :)

I started watching all the videos that Josie Lewis has put up about resin and I also came across @artsymadwoman who has more detailed videos about the process. I amassed a list of supplies and one Amazon order later, I was ready to roll :) I got Art Resin, silicone molds, alcohol inks, a torch, and random things like plastic mixing cups and popsicle sticks and set to work.
This was my set up the first time I tried it out. I covered my cutting table with paper just to protect the surface from ink and resin (which was a good idea, lol). I mixed the resin, poured in the molds, waited for the bubbles to rise and popped them with a torch (my torch is way more powerful tan I am used to and this will take some practice), and then started dropping in alcohol ink. The secret to this technique is Piñata brand white alcohol ink. It is more dense than the colors and it pushes the colors into the resin, making the cool textures inside.
Here is a bit of a step by step with my first ever petri. I started off with 2 just so I didn't waste too much resin straight off the bat. You can see the bubbles in the first pic to the right, which I had to pop with the torch. The second photo is after I first added alcohol inks. It bubbles and swirls around - it is just so fascinating to watch. I had a tiny bit of resin left over from the larger petri, so I poured it into 2 cabochons on a jewelry mold I have to try the technique on a larger scale.
After my rainbow was swirling around in the resin, I decided to try adding metallic gold alcohol ink. I didn't know at the time, but the metallic inks don't sink very well (womp womp), but this one at least made an appearance on the front side, so that was good. These photos are to show how the ink moves. All these pictures were taken just a minute or so from each other. Isn't that wild?
And here is a video of the ink in action. I could seriously watch this all day. It's so neat looking. 
I popped my cabochons out first, and I am pretty pleased with how they turned out :) The blob in the coral pink one was a bit disappointing, but for a first try at it I was thrilled to get so much texture. The coral pink was colored with Brea Reese brand ink in their pink colorway, and I've now learned that this brand performs differently than the Piñata brand. The blue and pink was done with Piñata inks and it is just everything I had hoped it  could be. So pretty, nice depth of movement, and they mixed to make the perfect purple.
I love to look at these from the side because you can really see how the ink drops through the resin. So cool
And my rainbow piece came out AMAZING. Seriously, I could not be more happy with my first try at this. I tried to take pics from all angles so you can really appreciate how neat this process really is. Look at the side view! It's like little hairs in there.
And this was my second that was poured at the same time. I love the preserved clear space at the edges, and I love the color combo. I'm not a big fan of that one white spot, but I've learned I can correct that if I want to. It's like a beautiful color explosion frozen in time. 
I did have a small spot on the second piece that the resin did not cure - my guess is that a drop of unmixed resin dripped from my cup when I first poured into the mold. This is another thing that can be fixed, I just have yet to actually do it yet.

I was so thrilled with my first results that I poured more that very night. I went resin crazy for a few weeks, and then to be honest my life kind of fell apart. As much as I wanted to keep making things in resin, I had something happen that involved the resin art in a weird way and it just made me angry every time I thought about pouring more resin. And the resin isn't even what made me mad! lol The problem is no longer an issue now, but I went 2 months without touching any of this again. So sad! I'm happy to report I will be back at it very soon and I will continue to show my resin casting adventures.

Have you ever worked with resin?

Friday, September 6, 2019

FO: A Teddy for Teddy

Back in April, my sister had a baby :) When I was about to leave for the hospital while she was in labor, I grabbed all the stuff to make this adorable bear. When my first nephew was born, we had several hours of waiting around for him to make his appearance, and I was able to make this bib for him while I waited. This time I wanted to make a bear for my little buddy and grabbed my pattern and yarn and hit the road. But I had only been at the hospital for about 15 minutes when my new nephew was born. Wouldn't you know? Because I was actually prepared to sit and wait, lol. Anyway, my nephew's name is Teddy, so I thought it was a great opportunity to make him his own first teddy.
I used the Teddy Bear Bookends pattern from Stacey Trock's Modern Baby Crochet book. I've always wanted to make this pattern up, so this felt like the perfect opportunity. Interestingly, the bear turned out much smaller than I anticipated - I'm used to Stacey's animals being about 10 to 12 inches tall and this guy is about 8 inches - but that's only because I didn't read the pattern description since it's clearly noted in the book. It works out great though because he's the perfect baby size as he is.
I used stash yarn for this since I was grabbing in a hurry (plus I have soooo much yarn). The brown is Caron Simply Soft in chocolate and the cream is Red Heart Soft Solids in off white. I was able to make this bear the night after my little buddy was born in just a few hours - it was much faster because it was so small.
Just look at that cute little face :) I think he will serve my nephew well by the time he is big enough to appreciate him.
Here he is at about a week old - unsure of my gift.
Clearly he appreciates my offering, lol.

It was so nice to make a toy again and to know it was going to a very special little person. I hope he enjoys it for years to come! Welcome to the world, Teddy!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

FO: Someone Else's Blanket

Years ago, I had a big shopping problem. I would spend money on stupid things that I didn't need just for the sake of "the deal." Target clearance sections were my downfall. Then one day I found myself in a very bad financial situation - not due to my shopping habits, just for the record - and I had no choice but to majorly cut back on shopping. This turned out to be a great thing overall, but that doesn't mean I quit my shopping fix cold turkey because I was lucky enough to find the Thrift Store. I always had shopped a bit here and there at thrift shops, mostly for vintage items to sell on Etsy or eBay, but after this fiasco it became my place to get anything (mainly clothing) that I didn't make myself. This lead to countless hours in the craft section, because let's be real - I love craft supplies, anyway, but particularly since I couldn't afford to buy them new, I was extremely interested in scouring what was available second hand. Occasionally, I would come across half finished projects and lament for the person who started them and was unable to finished for whatever reason. A few of them I decided to buy and try to finish myself just to do the previous maker's work justice. Fast forward to now, years later when I've already re-donated a bunch of these projects I just had to have at the time, but there are still a few projects I just couldn't bear to part with. This post is about the first one I have actually finished.
Look how snuggly! lol
This blanket came to me in a very large shopping bag - it was clearly intended to be at least queen sized when it was finished, and it was still on the horrible plastic cable needle to make it with. The bag had the blanket on the needles as well as about 4 Caron One Pound skeins of navy yarn to make the whole project (they made it with 2 skeins held double), and it only cost me $2. At the time, I figured even if I didn't do anything with the blanket, I at least got all that yarn for a great price, but I just could never bring myself to unravel the completed section. The big problem in this purchase = NO PATTERN. I was so bummed when I got the bag home and saw that the pattern was nowhere to be found. What would the odds be of finding the one random blanket pattern that some previous person used to knit this up? Very slim, I can tell you. In one of my moves/stuff purges, I made the decision that I would just finish the blanket the size that it was by adding a seed stitch border to match the already completed edge. That was a few years ago now, lol. So earlier this month when I finished my Dahlia cardigan, I saw this large bag just sitting in my sewing room adding to the clutter, and I decided to FINALLY buckle down and finish it even if it was just so it wouldn't be sitting in a ripped up bag anymore.
After all the years of carting this around and putting off working on it, I had the entire thing off the needles in about 2 hours. Isn't that ridiculous? Most of that time was spent untangling the two skeins of yarn barf that was going on. But it's like anything else - you just have to be in the mood to make something, and with all the stress I've been going through these past several months, I just didn't want to start anything new - I am on finish it up mode. I actually only had to knit the seed stitch area near my face in the photo above.
The pattern is really lovely, and it's a shame it wasn't included, though who knows how much longer I would've put off finishing this had I actually HAD a pattern and intended to knit a queen size blanket, lol. So it's probably better this way. At least now I have a lovely blanket that no one else will even know isn't the way it was initially intended to be, but that is pretty and useful nonetheless. I don't buy unfinished projects anymore, but that's not to say I don't recommend it for others. It's an interesting challenge figuring out what to do with something already partially made. I'm thrilled to finally have this done. Yay for finishing old projects!
Let's have a close up look at that lovely stitch pattern :)
So now I have a slightly odd shaped blanket that is long enough to cover my body on the couch and just a little bit narrow but enough to stay warm. Thank you, lovely knitter who made the rest of this blanket! I will put it to good use for us both :)