FOFriday 10-27-17


Finished with the embroidery, now I will need to iron the piece, make a frame (I'm thinking of using some crepe myrtle we recently removed from the landscaping) and attach the frame. From a distance it looks like a wash of colors because of the sari scraps and fell threads sandwiched between the fabrics, at medium distance the floral and paisley motifs become visible and close-up the foundation threads and the color changes in the embroidery thread are clear.

FOFriday 10-20-17

The embroidery is finished and I used several stitches that were new to me thanks to the Mary Corbet playlist on YouTube. 


Cat toy prototypes using all recycled/scrap material. They make a crinkly noise because of being stuffed with stiff plastic soda wrappers and the like. I think having three new toys appear in one day confused the cats as even the two with catnip haven't gotten much play time after their being very interested to begin with.


Kool-aid dyed plant fiber items (except top left middle which is silk). I've known for a long time that drink mixes could be used to color animal/protein fibers but just saw the claim this week on Tumblr that it could be used on *all* natural fibers. We have a *lot* of jute because of unseaming the coffee sacking so I decided to give it a try.  It appears to work quite well as I tried it on the cording, printed cotton fabric (not pictured), thin cotton fabric used for shipping from India, and cotton crochet thread. The plant fibers have a more salmon tone than the rose colored silk, but that isn't unusual  when using plant dyes either. The next question will be how color-fast the dye is and only time will tell that.


I hope it *is* colorfast though because I am currently ridiculously pleased with this shibori furoshiki (Japanese wrapping cloth for bundles or gifts). This is the printed cotton fabric mentioned above that I over-dyed after making my first attempt at sewn resist shibori. I love the soft salmon color and the way the corner stitching worked out.

WIPWednesday 10-18-17


The donated t shirts have now been dismembered. The next step is to decide what will be bag lining and what will be yarn.


Finished the original basting stitches and have moved onto the designing. The floral motifs are made using a handspun silk/cashmere/merino yarn and the leaves are a handspun blend that I'm not sure of the fiber content.

WIPWednesday 10-11-17


First time spinning after a long time away. The truth is that we have *plenty* of handspun yarn, but this is mainly for mental health. EK gave me the fiber which she thinks is Superwash merino and is called Coral Reef from the Etsy shop SMAKSuperFibers.


I've never been a real fan of samplers because I prefer usable items, but a paisley motif seemed like a good way to practice a lot of stitches quickly. So far there is chain stitch on the outline, tulip stitch on the spine, Mountmellick stitch on the inside curve and wine stitch for the flower. I think the handspun yarn is from a milk fiber sample that came with an order a couple of years ago. Unfortunately I don't remember who did the dyeing but I really like the opal tone it has.


"New" cloth made by quilting some of the drip-colored silk chiffon over leftover pink broadcloth with sari silk shreds (and the thread from removing falls from the saris) in the center. Right now I'm simply spiraling inward with stitching using a pastel multi-color sewing thread, but I'm thinking of either using sari warp silk or a heavier handspun to do more intricate embroidery once the piece is held together.

WIPWednesday 10-4-17


These piles of justified burlap bags are a couple of feet high and the cord twists are just *part* of the jute twine now available for projects.


These are t shirts donated by a Tumblr follower so that we would have some more color options for t shirt yarn and bag linings. She used a dye technique on the grey shirts which I want to be sure to make the most of when they are used.

FOFriday 9-29-17

No FO photos this week because most of what I've made is food and, I guess because I'm over 40, I never think to take pictures of food. In the case of the decorated nomad loaves I suppose that's a bit of a shame, but in general the ricotta cheese and granola bars haven't been particularly photogenic. One of the reasons for focusing on the food, as much as I've been able to focus on *anything* lately,  is finding reasonably simple, inexpensive, and tasty snacks for the shop when we open. I'm also trying to improve my preparation and presentation techniques to make the most of the snacks' appeal.

WIPWednesday 9-13-17


Moving forward on pojagi-style cloth for the shop. Not sure yet how big I will make it or what its final use will be. The point is to get enough experience that I automatically place the correct sides together when seaming and generally develop muscle-memory. The technique will work well with sari fabric or anything that might have both sides show.


These will probably be vases. I will cover all the necks in the jute twine (from the coffee sacking) and some of the bases will have sari fabric over the paint while I want to try dot-painting with the others.

FOFriday 9-1-17


Can't really see the colors through the fabric against a solid surface, which is unfortunate.


I used Armenian knot lace to fill in the spaces between the fabric and the frame. The lace was worked using double-ply handspun that is either silk or soy-silk. I can't decide if I'm imagining being able to see the very pale red in the center or if it's really visible in the photo.


Small hanging rack for jewelry or mini-skeins. It's held together with jute card from the coffee sacking.


Finished, sealed, and backed coasters. The backing is either denim or corduroy fabric, depending on what matched best.

WIPWednesday 8-30-17

The rain quit yesterday evening and we were able to get photos this morning. Very glad that is all over with.

Upon looking over the photos though I now realize that they are *all* of finished items so I guess everyone will have to take me at my word that I'm working on projects. The reason for not getting pictures of them is that many are repeats or continuations like cutting t shirt yarn and I don't want to bore everyone with those.

FOFriday 8-25-17

Want to get this posted in case we lose power. Storm isn't supposed to be awful here except for insane amounts of rain all at once. Having grown up in Colorado, I have a hard time envisioning what 30 inches of rain looks like (and am not sure I want to know for sure). 


So this is the pojagi inspired piece finished and pressed. I'm trying to decide how to use it since I'm not sure how robust the seams are. I suspect that it will need to be used with a lining in whatever it's final form is.

I attached the Chikankari inspired piece to its frame but neglected to have EK get photos. I'm very pleased that the shadow-work shows through where I currently have it placed since I was concerned it would have to be on a window to be visible and that isn't good for the yarn or fabric.

WIPWednesday 8-23-17


Progress on the sewn-in braid rug. I like how the new color makes a scallop shape. I only have four colors of t shirts so the next color will be white and the last burgundy.


The pieces are all ironed and the framing material is chosen and shaped. Just need to connect pieces to frame now.


I took out the bag and started over because I specifically wanted to be able to use only one 75 yard skein of ribbon yarn. If we end up carrying this yarn I may give the pattern as a bonus (once I actually write the pattern up, of course).

FOFriday 8-18-17


These pieces of waste silk were colored with the paint left in the cups after the most recent pour. The one on the left was colored by scrunching up bits and wiping the loose paint out of the cups and the one on the right was dyed by adding water to the cups after that and then pouring the tinted water over the fabric. These will probably be used as "sandwich" surfacest o be filled with textile and yarn scraps and then stitched over.


The repair with wall compound seems to have worked. I mixed the compound with a little gold paint, but it wasn't enough to show. There was also a complete, or apparently so, bowl but when I picked it up for the photo the top edge crumbled. I'm not sure if it wasn't as dry as I thought or if the additional wall compound in the mix actually made the item *less* strong.

WIPWednesday 8-16-17


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.

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