Monday, January 31, 2011

A bit quiet - Denise

It's been a bit quiet here, not on purpose. I had a bit of a set-back. On Tuesday, I had stomach pains. That should have been the first clue. Wednesday, the pain hadn't gone away. I called my husband away from work to take me to the Clinic.

I had high white blood cell count - an infection of some kind. After a CT scan (I'll spare the details) I had an emergency appendectomy late Wednesday night. I'm good, healthy, and strong. My pets have snuggled in. My husband has taken time off work to care for me. The kids are quiet - ish. I have some time on my hands. The boredom will get to me first.

As for Un-Finished Projects, I've completed my woven blanket. I put the satin binding on and added a nalbinding edge to the sides. I'll post photos shortly and describe the process. It does make a nice finished edge when one isn't there already. I used the samenalbinding stitch as the Toothbrush rag rug.

I knitted another cuddly bunny blanket. It's a Lion Brand bunny blankie out of handspun alpaca. I modified the pattern a bit. I don't like the directions. Because I am more experienced as a knitter, I do feel comfortable changing things.

I watched Margaret Stove's video to prepare locks and spin lace.

I'll finish threading my loom later. Maybe the loom faeries will do it for me...

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Toothbrush Needles

I went to Dollar Tree and found they had 5 packs of toothbrushes with the holes in the end. Now that I have a few made, I am happy with the effect they have on my rug making. The needle slides through the fabric easily without binding.

Modifying these is easy if you have the tools. Luckily, I have them here at the house. If you don't, you may consider looking around your neighborhood and asking for some help. You may barter something for use of the tools (scarf, hat, mittens)
  1. I used my bolt cutters to cut off the top. This did a better job than tin snips or any other cutter. The plastic didn't shatter. A plus in my book.
  2. I took my file filed the tip down over the garbage can. I'd stop periodically to check my progress. I wanted a more pencil-like pointy tip so I filed at an acute angle. It took a bit longer, but was worth it.
  3. I took some 150 grit sand paper and sanded down the edges, rounding down the edges. Don't forget to sand down the butt end as well. Your fingers will thank you.
  4. I used some 320 grit sand paper to finish the process and get off all the rasp marks. The end product looks pretty good. I have 3 done so far.

Yes, this is one of my cats. She makes sure my rugs and fabric strips don't float away. She helps my needles go through the holes or loops depending on what technique I'm using.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Next Get Together - Learn Toothbrush Rag Rugs

We’re looking at January 15th as our next get together at my house. Let’s start around 10’ish. Toothbrush Rag Rugs don't take long to understand. The challenge is starting. The stitches are repetitive. Don't worry, you'll get it.

We’ll make “needles” made from Popsicle sticks unless you want to go online and buy one. Just Google Toothbrush Needles and you will find some. They cost somewhere around $4-7. You’ll need to bring your own cloth. I used some old sheets I ripped up into strips (kids helped – it was fun). You can use anything: old t-shirts, dress shirts, blue jeans, silks, leather (don’t ask me how), any material. Hit sales or the 2nd Hand Stores. How wide? Well, I measured with my first 2 fingers. For me that’s about 1½”. A 2” strip will get you a 7/8” stitch. A 1” strip will get you a 5/8” stitch: roughly ½ ratio.

We’ll use Amish knots to connect the strips so you won't need to join the lengths with anything. If you want to put slits in the ends you can – you don’t have to. To do so, just fold over the end about a thumb width. Snip a bit lengthwise down the center so there is a slit. Depending on the thickness of the fabric, I do two ends at once and then wind them onto a ball to manage them better. My cat loves this craft. If you don’t want to do this, we can do it here. Some people like to do prep work, some don’t. I’m about ½ and ½. My kids helped quite a bit so I did more prep work, faster.

This is a kind of nalbinding. It passes the time. I’m making one for my dad’s birthday right now.