WIPWednesday 8-16-17

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Front and back views of first attempt at Chikanari shadow work. It may be my first try at shadow work of any kind. Traditionally the stitches were done as white-work with thick threads but it is now common to see either white thread on colored cloth or colored thread on white cloth as both create interesting shadings. Much of the work is done from the back as the hint of color created by dense threads under the material is the desired effect.

This is cotton ribbon dyed in a traditional Rajasthani technique and is in the process of becoming a shopping bag. The company that sells the yarn offers employment to city women who have been in the Indian sex trade and are looking for a better life for themselves and their children. The company makes sure the children get good basic and technical educations so that they are not forced back into the life of danger and degradation. They are hoping to expand soon with a larger teaching annex so that they can prevent the trafficking of the children of others in the area.

Nearly done with the stitching. I need to figure out how to finish/frame it so that it will be available for the next fundraiser.

The beginning of a "Sew-in braid" rag rug made from the short lengths of t shirt yarn. I learned how to do this from a YouTube video and look forward to seeing the piece grow.

This is a proof of concept and will probably be taken out so the material can be reused. The base is one of the coffee bags with the most open weaves and the material is a combination of medium-length runs of t shirt material and the very shortest (app 2 inches) pieces. The medium runs are used in a technique called "hooky" where loops are pulled up and the short pieces use a technique called "proggy" where the ends are pushed through from the back to form a shag appearance. I learned about both on YouTube of course.

This denim piece is nearly finished as well. It most closely resembles Pojagi as it is fairly reversible and only one layer. I'm not sure yet what I will do with it. It may end up being part of a bag or a book cover or something.

FOFriday 8-11-17

Different finishing answers for items I was unsure about. The two in back are peel-and-stick vynil that I got from the same shop as the mis-print t-shirts. Victoria came up with the idea for the drip vase. I really like it, but suspect we would run out of shells quickly if we considered it a standard solution. The far left is braided from sari scraps and I think it works well too.

The point here isn't the hairpin lace itself, but rather the stopper at the top of the loom. I had misplaced the original plastic so decided to make a new end from "cold porcelain" that I saw on a couple of YouTube channels. In this case that is flour and body lotion. It was usable in a couple of days and has continued to harden for about a week until it can no longer be scratched by a fingernail. It is fortunate that I didn't need the size to be exact since it did shrink significantly . I am tempted to make a couple of nicer versions with skewers to see if they work well and at least for personal/family use if not for sale.

WIPWednesday 8-9-17

These look pretty much finished, but they aren't. I need to sew down the ends of the bracelets and, now that Victoria is back to do the work, entirely unwrap the necklace so she can add chain to both sides.

Paper clay items. The sheet is the original mix and it *still* smelled bad when drying, although not nearly as foul as the stuff that had been in the oven. The coloring is the "skins" (over pour) from EK's first acrylic pour. I lightly ironed the pieces onto the sheet and now can make pendants and such.

The other two items are made from just will blended paper and some joint compound. The small square container was made on a form and then removed. This caused some tearing, hence the awkward shape, and I am still trying to figure out the best way to mend it since applying more paper clay didn't work. I wonder if joint compound alone would. 

The last is paper clay over a plastic bottle for a vase and I'm pretty happy with it. I plan on painting it with the next over pour and am curious to see the effect.

Surface designed textiles. Each of these has been redone significantly. The denim at bottom has gone through a couple versions of being joined with the same multi-colored handspun wool. This should be the final attempt as the herringbone join (suggested by an Indian account for joining  quilted pieces, is quick to work and thrifty of the yarn.

The blue piece at the top right will be called "The quiet at the center" and will go to a silent auction for one of the anti-trafficking groups. It isn't possible to tell in the photo, but the top fabric is *very* lightly colored in blue and red but the only way to tell is to not have the bits and needlework that are in the rest of the piece.

The last was the one that had diagonal lines on it in last week's photos. I realized that a stitch in the middle hadn't anchored correctly, which left the rest to come loose as well, so I took it out and started over. I used a sashiko style border and am "scribbling" in chain stitch to join the pieces of fabric into a whole. This one will be called "winding path" or something similar and will be a donation as well.

The tools in the bottom photo are all the ones I've used on this piece. The aari hook on the left is the one I was using with the original sewing thread, while the middle tool is (I think) an actual tambour hook. It was given to me when the original owner passed away and the thickness of the piece was starting to bend it so I changed to the small crochet hook on the right. Because of the thickness of the crochet cotton this hook is easiest, but I sometimes have to make a starter hole with a tapestry needle to make a particularly tough stitch.

EK's newest job. These are a mountain of burlap coffee sacks that were donated by a local coffee roaster. They need to be unseamed and the edges justified before they can be used. There are four different densities of weave so we will have backing for scrap rugs, yarn rugs, needlepoint and cross-stitch kits, and even painting canvas. Any that are particularly attractive will probably be sold "as is" for those who want to make purses and such.

T shirt yarn. Turns out there is about 15 yards of yarn in an average t-shirt even after the hems, neck bands, and everything above the armholes has been removed. As reducing waste is a big part of the ethos of Knit'n Kitten, we are naturally planning for uses for the removed parts as well, such as self-sewing rug braiding that requires shorter lengths of yarn.

FOFriday 8-4-17

EK's first two acrylic paint pourings. We're both pretty pleased with them. The bottom one has a lot of metallic paint in it that unfortunately doesn't show in the photo.

Samples of coasters made at the same time as the canvases. The plan is to sell them, and magnets made the same way, in the shop. We will possibly be using the same technique on storage cantainers in the shop as well. 

First finished shopping basket with plarn handles and papier mache body. I think this will be the standard method for the foreseeable future.

This is going to be the new standard for sari-wrapped vases. I really like how the border looks when at the top.

Papier mache and paper wickerwork containers. The three stacked together all used the same form, which shows I still need practice to get uniformity I'm afraid.

WIPWednesday 7-2-17

Got the lease revision counter-offer back Monday so we're getting close to having the shop.

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Trying cardboard bases again. the one on the right uses "warp" weaving which creates a roundish shape on the rectangle base. The left uses "printed cotton" (tabby) weave and I forgot to put skewers in the corners so it is a long oval with a tendency to pull inward at the center.

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I used the leftovers from K's acrylic pouring to drip paint this vase from the bottom. I'm surprised at how translucent it is. I'm not sure how I want to finish off the top rim.

The top is the new hairpin ribbon. Left bottom is the previous ribbon that is being joined along the center and bottom left is cording made from scrap fabric strips which I saw on a YouTube video.

I think these, along with the tall rectangle, will be the standard shapes of storage containers in the shop.these need sealed and the bowl needs its cord to be a shopping basket.

Two versions of using scraps to create new textile surfaces based on a YouTube video from a UK-based craft shop. Since I'm not using a machine it takes quite a while to attach the top fabric to the bottom. The top fabric of both is waste organza from Darn Good Yarn that I colored with the very last bits of K's first acrylic pour. The piece on the frame is being attached by using tambour crochet ( a running chain stitch) while the bottom is connected with embroidery using handspun yarn.

WIPWednesday 7-26-17

This ended up being a complete failure and went in the trash after the photo. They look reasonable, but two days after forming (and after time in a warm oven that warped my favorite form) they *still* weren't dry and smelled absolutely horrible. I still want to use egg cartons as the base for paper clay and have purchased joint compound to try that recipe.

These need to be sealed and I am working on the plarn cording to make the round one into a shopping basket for the shop. I think these will at least work for shop use and may eventually become something to sell.

Hairpin lace that will be made into ribbon. It may end up being bracelets and may just be available for purchase.

Bag prototype with clear plastic from bread bags crocheted over cabled plarn. Will need to see how it works out.

FOFriday (*not* late, yay me!)

This beautiful chenille was donated by an on-line friend who was moving, but it was damaged and in many lengths. I didn't want such pretty colors to go to waste so I centered all the strands and then made knots at the ends where the shortest stand fell. The center I braided with the "magic braid" technique which appears to be related to the Norse technique of  "Sprang" where the warp threads are twisted together in a way that makes a mirror design on the bottom at the same time as the top.

Finished and seamed chunky infinity scarf. The yarn is a handspun blend that includes silk and alpaca and the scarf is kitted on the bias using a rice stitch. I am really happy with the texture and color movement. 

A core wrapped bracelet using border from a retired sari. The ends are carefully folded in and stitched to give a nice finished edge. I think this has potential as a standard item as well.

More luminarias and vases. The two on the right are colored using nail polish and a water marbling technique while the one on the left was painted with acrylic paint and the painted again using a different color of acrylic placed straight into a bit of the original color that had been thinned with water and had a bit of glue and some silicone mixed in. I have to say that the acrylic paints smell a lot better than the polish, and I do like the effect, but the paints I have are opaque which doesn't work well with luminarias. I think I will move to painting the plastic vase bodies with the acrylic and save the marbling for the luminarias.

WIPWednesday (late)

Honestly, I have *got* to figure out what day of the week it is! I forgot to put the post on my to-do list yesterday and then forgot it altogether after making sure EK was able to take photos even with the rain.

On a happier note, we are moving forward with both the lease and getting the IRS letter to make us tax-exempt as well as non-profit.

Cordage dispenser being filled. There is enough extra cable on each side that I think I can get two more bars in.

Speaking of cordage, this is plarn that I'm making into cordage using a version of kumihimo. The plan is to use the plastic cord as the base for wrapped baskets. 

Although it's pretty much impossible to tell, this is the bottom and first pattern repeat of a small bag. I'm using a slip-stitch pattern of three colors while working the bag on two needles using the double-knit technique so there is much slipping of stitches, and it's *very* important to keep track of whether the yarn goes in front or behind a particular slipped stitch.

As we're going through our handspun yarn getting ready to open the shop we are finding that some of the skeins are damaged. Some of the lengths are long enough to become mini-skeins, but others really are too short to sell except maybe as random length balls at a steep discount. The shortest bits are going to be used in cordage, although I'm considering using the fusible webbing to make textiles from scraps as well. Longer lengths are good for small finished items like mitts, wrist warmers, and bags. This yarn is a really luscious blend including silk and cashmere so it had to be made into something to wear. The long color repeats also indicated something with short-rows so it became these lacy entrelac wrist warmers.

This is an attempt at paper clay using just paper egg cartons, water, and a bit of hair conditioner all mixed together with an immersion blender. The washcloths were in there to try to soak up some extra moisture, but it wasn't working and I was afraid the clay would start to mold so I took them apart almost as soon as the photos were done. I used the same paper but added some alcohol extracted rose oil to make it smell better and hopefully kill anything that had started to grow. I also put the clay in the food processor and got the texture much finer which will hopefully help. The last thing I did was to make sure my forms were better covered in plastic to make removal of the finished clay item easier. Now all I can do is wait and see if this works better.

Papier mache experiments for containers. I haven't made papier mache in over 30 years, but it seemed worth the try. I used the flour paste method because we have plenty of flour unlike glue or other binders. I found that this method needs *lots* less paper than the weaving method I was using before. I can also ensure that the shapes conform to the forms much better as well so I think this is what we'll be using most in the future. I did need to cover the forms better with plastic and am going to add a couple more layers to strengthen the dried pieces. I also want to make sure to have both the base layers and top layers be either plain paper that will be easy to paint or colorful paper that I meant to have seen. Because of the flour past I will also need to seal the containers to prevent any bug or moisture issues, but I was planning on that and it isn't a problem. 

FOFriday (late again!)

Finished infinity scarf. I really like how the texture of the thick-and-thin yarn shows.

Buttoned neck warmer. This is the first of the type that I've made, but there just wasn't enough yarn to make a cowl. The pattern is the broomstick chevron which, worked well for attaching the buttons. The buttons came from another local artist who buys and remakes old clothing. She can't use the shank buttons in her projects but that's exactly what I need. It works well for both of us since I get buttons for much less, she gets her basic supply costs reduced, and we're both pleased that there is less waste.

Experiments that will eventually lead to Christmas ornaments. I don't really like the one on the right, especially since I wasn't able to do the tatted edging I had wanted to. The one on the left could be worked like Teneriffe lace, But it is actually double-sided and I'd like to not have it be that dense for ornaments.

Some more of those buttons to finish phone/glasses bags made from sari yarn.

A vase and two luminarias with their sari ribbon trim. The vase and pink luminaria were colored using a marbling technique. I think we now have all the techniques we need for both items.

WIPWednesday (late)

We are going through lease review and any necessary negotiations to open the shop. This means I need to figure out things like electricity supplier and insurance as well as contacting vendors so we have something *to* sell. Habitual procrastination is very non-helpful at this point.

Blocking the scarf, which will be seamed into a cowl, and a pair of lace wrist warmers.

FOFriday 7-7-17

Hairpin lace bracelet of handspun with twisted wire clasp by Victoria. I believe she is considering making these a standard item for the shop.

A completed cording dispenser rod. The plan is to make a hanging unit of three rods joined by a thick cord. The various handmade ribbons and cording will be available for purchase in the shop.

Broomstick lace panel attached to the frame. It will be used to display items like shawl pins.

WIPWednesday 7-5-17

Nice chunky short scarf knitted in rice stitch on the bias. I really like that stitch and think I might make it a standard for the shop.

Items that have been blocked and are waiting for seaming or other finishing. Finishing services is one of the things that we will offer once the shop is opened.

Jars for luminarias. They've been painted with a couple of different paints (the seedy looking things on the middle on are sparkles) using different techniques to see which is the best and most cost effective. The plan is to finish the rims with with sari border ribbon.

FOFriday

Hairpin lace scarf from two strands of handspun yarn, one wool and one mohair.

Bias-knit belt from DGY's silk cloud yarn leftover from shrug

Beautiful Shells pattern cotton washcloth. This was made using a G hook and I have since made one with an I hook that I like better.

Dispenser for handspun cording and ribbon.

WIPWednesday 6-21-17

I had to take out almost all of the border on both sides of the tapestry because the main border motif is slightly wider than tall and trying to treat it exactly the same progressing vertically as horizontally doesn't work. This is always a potential problem with adapting a pattern, but I wish I'd realized a little earlier.

Handspun thick-and-thin yarn using the Chevron Broomstick lace pattern explained on Oana's YouTube channel. I have done a little broomstick crochet, but this is a particularly attractive pattern. The panel will be attached to a bamboo frame and be used to display pins or other items at the shop.

The start of the hemming for another silk scarf from retired sari. This one is fairly square instead of the usual rectangle.

A shrug from handspun, this has been taken out since there wasn't enough yarn to finish even if blocked very severely. It is now being made into a cowl using the chevron broomstick lace pattern mentioned earlier.

FOFriday 6-16-17

Another knitted lace shrug from Darn Good Yarn's Silk Cloud. I did the seaming on this one as I knitted and am undecided as to whether or not it needs blocked.

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Scarf from retired sari fabric. The lower image shows an example of "golden repair".

Hairpin lace scarf worked from handspun alpaca. This one was worked wider to begin with instead of being folded in half and joined after working.

Shop containers made of paper weaving. This is my first try at doing a handle and I think I should have made it a little shorter and would be more confident of its strength if I had remembered to run wire through a couple of the paper twists.

Containers worked over recycled strapping and soda bottle plastic. The top basket is "plarn" and thus entirely recycled. I am hoping they will work as shopping baskets for guests of the shop.

WIPWednesday 5-24-17 (late)

I forgot yesterday was Wednesday until there was only time to get the photos in the late afternoon.

Hemming the edges of a scarf made from retired sari.

Almost finished with the purple basket and getting close with the white one.

I wanted to make a noteboard based on an idea from the Ukrainian paper weaving site. This is two shades of yellow acrylic for the center and aqua for the border crocheted over a series of rings cut from a soda bottle. The pegs are made from split bamboo but I think I will use straight pins once I've woven in the ends. If I need more space for notes I will probably add some sort of lace work in either aqua or purple.

WIPWednesday 5-17-17

The biggest Work in Progress right now is the shop that the realtor is sending in our letter of intent this week. The tapestry will probably only get photos every three weeks or so unless I get an amazing amount of work done on it at one time.

Broomstick crochet with baby alpaca handspun. I finished the crochet last night and am trying to decide if I want to block it or not. 

One of the waste items in making "plarn" is the handles of the bags. I wanted a way to use those as well and a combination of a couple different forms of wrapped basketry works very well. If sturdy enough these will be shopping baskets, otherwise they will be containers for items in the shop.

This container is made entirely from recycled material of crocheted plarn over a couple of different base materials. the center of the base is plastic strapping that was split to 1/4 width and the outer part of the base is strapping at 1/2 width. I then used the full width for the sides until I ran out and then switched to soda bottle plastic cut to about the same width.

When making plarn there are sometimes rings that are broken and there are also the tabs where the bags are hung before use that get cut off. I found that these can be stretched into a usable "sinew" for making long-and-short wrapped items. The base is very thin recycled strapping but when that is gone I'll use spiral-cut soda bottle plastic. 

This is the first paper basket that I'm trying a handle on. We will have to see how it works.

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