Monday, October 31, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
I would have to say that out of all the projects that I’ve made since I learned how to knit that my favorite project would be the dog sweater I made for one of my miniature chocolate dachshunds. I had been knitting for a couple of months at the time and I was so excited about having the ability to knit that I wanted to knit all of my Christmas presents for that year. The only trouble was deciding what projects I could make (and more importantly complete) for my family and friends before Christmas morning. I found easy patterns for presents for everyone except my sister, Sabrina. I had no idea what she wanted for Christmas. I spent several days pondering about what to make for her when I got the idea of making something for her beloved dog and call it hers. The weather had gotten really cold and our dachshunds live indoors 99% of the time so they were not used to the cold weather. Whenever me and my sister would take them out to do their “business,” their tiny bodies would shiver the whole time we were outside and we felt really bad for them. We didn’t really know how we could help them except buying warm dog clothes for them, but we could not find any that would fit them. Dachshunds have really long bodies and have keeled, or pointed chest, that made finding store bought clothes that fit difficult. I decided to make Sabrina’s dog, Domino, a little sweater for Christmas and give his sweater to Sabrina as her Christmas present. I found a pattern on Ravelry.com that was worked in two pieces so I could modify the pattern to fit his body shape. I worked on it at night so that my sister wouldn’t see what I was making for her dog. My dad helped me measure little Domino because he got too excited and wiggly whenever I tried to put the half-made sweater on him by myself. The top piece of the sweater was really easy to make and I just added enough rows to the pattern until the sweater was long enough. The bottom chest piece was the challenge. I had never modified a pattern before, so what better place to start? I taught myself how to increase and decrease stitches via several YouTube videos and before I knew it I was inventing a new pattern for the bottom part of the sweater! There were so many time that I messed up and had to redo the entire section of sweater because I had either decreased too little or increased too much and vice versa. Throughout all of these trials and errors, Domino thoroughly enjoyed being the center of attention and model of his developing sweater. I was just starting to doubt that I would ever get the sweater to fit when one of my attempts actually fit him perfectly! I was super excited and my excitement got little Domino so happy and hyper that he started running circles around me and barking! Thankfully he didn’t unravel the sweater while he was running around and only got me tangled in the dragging yarn that was pulled from the remaining skein. After untangling myself, I sewed in the loose ends of yarn, wrapped his sweater in wrapping paper and waited for Christmas morning to see how Sabrina would like her present. She opened the wrapping paper to see what I had made and was so pleased by the sweater that she put the sweater on Domino immediately and took lots of pictures. I was proud that I was able to make a sweater that my sister loved and that helped a beloved pet stay warm. I was especially proud that I was actually able to make a sweater that I initially thought was probably too advanced for me to complete beautifully. Who would have known that one little sweater could teach me so many skills and please other people and animals at the same time?
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Needless to say, I was in over my head.
I started out by going through some of granny's pattern books; I'm pretty sure I started about seven blankets before I actually found one that I liked and stuck to it. Because my aunt wanted the sex of the baby to be a surprise, I chose to use green yarn and finally got down to business. I remember getting about half-way through the blanket pattern that I had chosen and thinking that I would never get it finished.
I started the blanket when my aunt was approximately four months pregnant and didn't finish it until the week before her due date. A fact that could be because with every mistake, I had to rip it and start again. But. Finally, five months later, I had my first actual completed project: a green baby blanket with a white edging. While I'm sure I'll complete much more complex and challenging products in the future, I feel like this will still be the object I'm the most proud of because it was my first.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
My Favorite Crafting Memory…
My mother is the superwoman of crafts, no lie. She made everything when I was little, from clothes (including these awful sunflower dresses she made for me and two of my cousins that we had to get pictures in), to comforters and everything else you would need to decorate a room like throw pillows, curtains, dust ruffle, pillow shams, picture boards, etc. Needless to say, when I was growing up, there was always a project going on. My mom's love for crafting has definitely spilled into my life. I look at all of the wonderful things she has made, and it motivates me to start making things too!
The most memorable craft from my childhood was the comforter she made me when I was about 10 years old. My room at the time was still baby girl pink, and had ballerinas on the wall paper, and I hated it! I was going through my tom-boy stage and I hated pink, so, my mother, being as incredible as she is, decided to redo my bedroom! I wanted to paint my walls bright yellow, and then decorate with several different colors (blue, green, red, purple). The comforter had to come first, so that we could decorate accordingly and it would be the focal point of the room. I remember my mom drawing out several different designs for it, and she let me help her narrow down the ideas until we decided on one.
The comforter we decided on was denim on one side (the underside) and on the top is was thick, diagonal stripes of yellow, red, purple, blue, and green fabric. She topped it all off with cute little ribbons and buttons.
It was so much fun "helping" my mom with this project. She let me hold the button while she stitched, and I helped her tie some of the bows. I just remember feeling so accomplished when it was over, even though I didn't really do much!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
One of my biggest wishes is to be able to go to comic book conventions and other nerdy galas and wow people with my costume. The best costumes are handmade, tailored to fit an individual, not a jumpsuit you buy online that's "one size fits all." Not only does a handmade costume look better, but it shows dedication to your fandom of choice. It shows that you put time and money into looking like a character, becoming a character, and now you get to be looked upon by jealous eyes and get thousands of pictures taken with you and possibly win some money for having a damn good costume.
Plus you could get together with friends and be badass like these guys.
In this case, handmade > mass-produced, hands down. But since costumes are a luxury and not a necessity, my issue with being picky about whether something is handmade doesn't apply.
I was never able to recieve such as item, but I would eventually like to learn the process behind making handmade lace so that I can begin a family tradition. As I understand it, creating homemade lace is a fantastically difficult process. It requires skill, patience, quality materials, and the imagination to create beautiful and unique designs. I would absolutely LOVE to gain the knowledge to make such an amazing product someday. Although it will undoubtedly be a challenge, my knitting skills have progressed more quickly than I ever would have considered possible.. Maybe I can eventually do the same with lace? :)
The drive behind my desire to learn this skill stems from the hope that I will be able to create a product that will last behind my time on this earth. Everyone wants to make a difference in the world that they live in. Hopefully, through my career as a teacher, I will be able to have an impact on students and other people that I interact with in the future. However, I also want to create something that can be passed down from generation to generation. I want to learn a skill that I can teach future members of my family, and I want to learn to creat a product that is visually stimulating, aesthetically pleasing, and well-appreciated. I want to make something that can be a part of my family long after I am gone. And hopefully someday this dream craft will become a reality. :)
Thursday, October 6, 2011
When I realized that I would have to interview someone I knew who crafted, my mind automatically jumped to my boyfriend Jimmy who really enjoys building small elaborate wooden objects. While I was studying abroad in Canada, he designed and built me a magnificent mahogany piano music box which is one of the best presents I have ever received. And upon interviewing him I also learned that he is an artist as well as a craftsman.
Question: what is the first craft you learned?
Answer: Sketching/Watercolor. I used to take magazines and try to copy the pictures from them. Apparently when I was little I was good at sketching things.
Question: Any other crafts that you do now?
Answer: Funny you should ask, I do wood working primarily, carpentry if you call it that. I build model planes with my dad, I have helped furniture with my dad, and repair work on cuckoo clocks. I also have built music boxes and model ships.
Question: What got you interested in wood working?
Answer: With my dad, we have built planes since I was in first grade. But with boats, I started in the beginning in high school. Frankly, as a little kid, I did not have the patience to put little pieces of wood together. When I was little I would sketch a lot more than do wood working.
Question: Has your dad been your biggest influence in wood working?
Answer: My dad has been doing it ever since I can remember, but I think he started wood working in high school. But he didn’t start working on boats until I was older.
Question: What other crafts/hobbies do your family members do?
Answer: My brother keeps salt water aquariums; my mom paints with oils; my dad and I do wood working; my Uncle Steve is a professional artist. For my family it is a hobby to have hobbies.
Question: By definition what is the difference between a hobby and a craft? What is a craft to begin with?
Answer: The only way to define it is a hobby in which you devote a huge amount of effort, time, and material into doing something where one tries to have a definite outcome. For example music is a craft because one has to invest a ton of time and effort in the form of practicing and lessons. When it comes to a hobby is for fun where I am merely doing it for fun, but I am not trying to get anything out of it.
Question: If you could do any other craft what would it be and why?
Answer: Pottery I could definitely attempt, maybe sculpture…something with clay. I like creating things and working with my hands. It is basically what I d with wood working but with a different medium and technique.
Question: What is your favorite thing that you have built to date?
Answer: My favorite thing would be my music/jewelry/secret compartment/ piano box. I like because first of all it is the most difficult thing I have ever built with the inlay, and I came up with it without any instructions. It was mine; it came from my mind and writing things down on a piece of paper. Plus I enjoyed the challenge. The music box was difficult, but the hardest part was the fact that I had to improve.
Question: Do you prefer handmade gifts vs. store-bought?
Answer: I would definitely say that I prefer handmade gifts, and I love giving them. But I understand store-bought gifts because the ultimate thought counts. Every gift should have an element of the handmade whether it is a silly card or object.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Mamaw: I did cross stitching for canning jars and made some purses. Covered a few pieces of furniture but I realized I do not enjoy crafty projects at all.Me: If you had the ability to do any craft, what would it be?
Sunday, October 2, 2011
As a child, crafts weren’t really a major part of my life. My mother has never been
a crafty person – unless you count her yearly trips to War Eagle to purchase crafts others made. However, when I was younger, I absolutely adored making bracelets are church. Before we had our Sunday school lesson, my Sunday School teacher would
always allow us to do some sort of craft. I always chose to make bracelets out of the beads our teacher had there for us. Usually I made bracelets that said “WWJD,” but sometimes I would branch out and make them say “I heart Jesus,” or even my own name. I had so much fun picking out what I wanted my bracelet to say, how many letters I needed to use, etc.
My mom purchased a bracelet-making kit for me when I was six or seven, and I do still have that kit
Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of my bracelets, nor do I have any of them to this day. We moved houses when I was younger and I suppose my bracelets were lost in the chaos. Here is an example of the sort of bracelets I made, as well as a picture of me from around the age I started making the bracelets, just for fun. (: