Sunday, September 26, 2010

Goodwill - The Steampunk Store

So Mandy went to her goodwill, and had some great steampunk finds of her own. Here's what she picked up and he take on things:

The skirt is darker than it looks in that picture.. The picture really doesn't do it justice. It has some nice details. It's full-length, goes down to my ankles.


The white ruffle shirt is pretty thin, and a bit see-through. Would be best layered with something else. Has a high neck.

The medium black ruffle shirt picture [left] doesn't do it justice either. It would look good underneath a corset or something.

The brown jacket [right] is a small as well, and has a really pretty brocade-like pattern. It's one of my favorite finds.

On the small black shirt, I'm not thrilled with the bow, but I think it could be fixed up to be something really cute. Maybe replace the bow with some sort of broach or something. Don't know.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Too Many Projects, Never Enough Time

So, I did manage to finish my recycled grocery bag, but I am still in progress of working on my Avalon Sweater ( using the giant 1lb ball of yarn donated to me by Donna. She couldn't stand working with it, and I can understand why. Though, since the sweater has such an open pattern, I'm usually crocheting into chain spaces which makes life easier.

I am also working on blankets to donate to the Humane Society. The animals there have metal crates, and they only get blankets if someone donates them, since they leave with the animal after use. I'm working together with some of the girls at school, since our Professional Development professor agreed to give us community service credits for our effort. We also found out about a Rabbit Rescue in need of similar donations, though they require 100% cotton, since the bunnies will chew on their blankets.

Went to Joann's and pick up some inexpensive cotton yarn and a few skeins of the Red Heart Super Saver yarn. Then I cleaned out my yarn stash and pulled a few half-used skeins of varying god-awful colors that I don't ever see myself using again. I figure this might be a good chance to try out some new stitches, since the animals won't be picky about how pretty they are in the end. But at least for my first blanket, its a giant granny square pattern.

If you do want to donate to your local humane society, call them in advance and make sure they are accepting donations. If you are really nice, ask them what sizes they need. I had patterns for some 1' diameter round mats for small dogs and cats that I was planning to make and donate, but when I called, they said they were in need of something approximately 2' square. Easy enough to make exactly what they need, and you know some poor little dog is gonna be able to cuddle up with it right away.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Grocery-Bag Bag

So this is not a specific pattern, but more-or-less a really cool concept. I was reading somewhere on how to turn non-conventional materials into workable "yarn". The easiest materials are obviously fabric or natural based, but the concept of turning old plastic shopping bags into yarn appealed to me. I always have tons of them lying around the house because I refuse to throw them away, but I haven't found many uses for them other than trash bags and the occasional lunch-sack.

So here is how it goes:
Take the plastic grocery bag by the handles and pull the bottom part so that its stretched out long. If you bunch up and grab the entire bottom in one hand this works well. Cut off the bottom of the bag, trying to get high enough that you cut off all the bottom seams. Throw that section away (hey, there had to be some waste). Now move up the bag, cutting off 1"-2" chunks. If you un-wad the chunk it turns out to be a loop of plastic. Work up the bag and stop just below the handles. You can throw the handles away too. Now take the loops and slip-knot them into one another to create a really long strand of slip-knotted plastic loops. That will serve as your "yarn".

Making the bag:
I used an 11.5mm hook, and I don't recommend anything smaller. I started with a ch14 and worked in a spiral upward to build the body of the bag. The stripes resulted because I ran out of bags and had to acquire more from friends. Total I think the project took about 35 bags: 9 for the bottom, 12 for the white stripe, and another 14 or so for the top.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Crochet Lace Mask

The below pattern is my original. Please let me know if there are any errors. Feel free to use it for charity, personal, and theatrical use. Please do not sell for profit.

Yarn: 2-ply lace weight
Hook: 1.5mm
Additional supplies:  
about 12” of 20 gauge wire
pair of needle nose pliers
wire cutters
Needle and matching thread
1” wide ribbon, approximately 2 yards
Small swatch of matching fabric, ribbon, or swatch of crochet made with your yarn.

Abreviations (US):  Sl st = slip stitch; Ch = chain; Sc = single crochet; Dc = double crochet
Trc =  triple crochet

Begin by cutting the length of wire in half. Take each half of the wire and fold in over on itself to make a loop. Twist the loop shut to make an oval approximately 1”x 2”. The twisted end will be the inside corner of the eye of the mask.

Each of the eyes is crocheted separately, however the pattern is the same for both.

Eye Pattern:

Round 1: Sc loosely around the wire, beginning at the inside corner (twisted section) and working around. This took me 65 sc, but depending on your stitch size, you may have to add more to make sure that the wire is completely hidden. Sl st in 1st sc to join.

Round 2: Ch2. 1dc in each sc for 27 st. *2dc in the next sc, then 1dc in the following sc* Repeat * to * 4 more times. Then finish the round with 1 dc in each sc until you are back at the twist. Ch 2 and sl st in the 2nd ch of the ch2 that you started with to join.

Round 3: Ch3. 1 trc in each dc of the previous round for 28 st. *2 trc in next st, then 1 trc in each of the following 2 st* Repeat * to * 2 more times. Then 1 trc in each dc of the previous round until you are back at the twist. 6 dc in the ch2 space made during the previous round. Sl st into 3rd ch of the ch3 that began the round.

Round 4: Ch1. *Skip 2 st, trc in next st, ch3, sc into the trc you just made. (trc, ch3, sc into the trc) in each of the next 5 st. skip 2 st, sc into next st.* From * to * should create an arch with picots on the edge. Repeat from * to * 2 additional times.
2 Completed Eye Pieces
Skip 2 st, trc into next st, ch3, sc into the trc you just made. Now. (trc, ch3, sc into the trc) into the SAME stitch again. In each of the next two st, (trc, ch3, sc into the trc) twice. Skip 2 st and sc into the next st. This creates the same arch, but over 3 st instead of 6.
Repeat the original arch, from * to * above, 3 more times. The last arch will be partly worked over the twist, in the dc st you made in the last round. end with a sl st into the ch 1 that began the round, and fasten off your yarn. 

Once you have made both eyes, use the excess wire to bind the two eye pieces together. Leave enough space for the bridge of your nose. Depending upon the size of your face, this may mean that the lace of the two eyes is touching, overlapping, or even separated completely leaving exposed wire. If they overlap and you are happy with that, go ahead and stitch them down. Otherwise, you can crochet the center medallion pattern below and sew that over the wire at the bridge of the nose.

Center Medallion (not pictured):
Ch10, sl st in 1st ch to join
Round 1: Ch3, 27 dc into loop
Round 2: Ch4, (dc then ch1) into each dc of the previous round
Round 3: Ch1, into each ch 1 space of the previous round (sl st, ch3, sc)

Outside Edge:

Round 1: Working from the front of the mask, attach your yarn to the third picot from the center top of the nose bridge on the right (the eye that will be over your left eye when its on.)
Ch 12, then sl st into the 3rd picot on the other side of the nose. *Ch 1 and sl st into the next picot. Ch 12 again, and skip the next 4 picots, then sl st into the 5th.* Repeat from * to * Instead of ch1 to get to the next picot, ch 16, then sl st into the next picot. Ch 12, skip the next 4 picots, sl st into the 5th. Again, you with ch 16 and sl st into the next picot. These loops will hold the ribbon when the mask is finished. Repeat from * to * 3 more times until you have made it around back to the center (between the eyes) at the bottom. Ch 1 and then sl st to the other eye, then resume your * to * pattern. After 3 repetitions, ch16 instead of ch 1 between the picots that separate your ch 12 spaces (as you did on the other side). Ch 12, skip 4 picots, sl st in the next. Ch 16 again, sl st in the next picot. Then resume your * to * pattern.
Sl st into the picot that started the round.
(You may have to fudge it a little bit during this round, since everyone's overlap at the nose will be different. If you don't think its going to work out, try a ch 11 skipping only 3 picots)

Round 2: In each ch12 space (3sc, ch3) 5times, then 3sc. Sl st in each ch1 space to move to the next ch 12 space. In the ch 16 spaces that you made as ribbon loops, sc22 times. When you reach the point where you started, fasten off.

Weave in all of your ends, then sew or glue a small scrap of fabric, ribbon, or yarnwork on the inside of the mask to cover any exposed wire near the bridge of the nose.

Cut your 2 yards of ribbon into 4 equal lengths. Each should be sewn onto one of the ch16 loops. Press and starch your lace mask, and try it on! The wire is bendable, so it can be custom molded to fit the wearer.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More Lace

So I have been working to create my own pattern in order to make a lace mask to match the choker I recently tackled. Its a bit of a challenge, seeing as I only started doing lace-work back at the beginning of August. I have to say though, starting with a small project like a bookmark was a good plan. Some of the bookmark patterns on Ravelry are really cute, and even show you how to add a button or clasp to turn them into a bracelet.

I tried looking on ravelry and all over the web to find a crochet pattern for a mask, having seen an AMAZING tatted mask a while back. I don't really want to pick up tatting for the sole purpose of doing an expert pattern, but I am pretty experienced with crochet, and I figured I could handle that. But alas, no (free) patterns to be found.

Anyways, I'm killing my fingertips trying to work and re-work this pattern, and I'm hoping to get about 75% done with it by the end of the day. Hopefully the pattern will work, and the glorious pictures will be posted. I hope.