Sunday, October 17, 2010

GreenStitch Episode 11 - Sew many solutions

Hope you got a few ideas for coming up with simple solutions to little everyday challenges with the creative use of recycled materials and your sewing machine. It was fun to revisit Episode 3, when our friend Ginger from Wienerdog Tricks put the idea into words!

Here's the sleeve for my new laptop, made out of a couple of thick placemats. For closure, I sewed a big flat button on either side and joined them with an elastic hair band. I must admit, I really enjoyed seeing this festive stripe poking out of my work bag last week. The little tiny bit of lateral stretch in this ribbed weave makes for a great fit.

Here's the fold-up charger/cord organizer. T-shirt scraps made the perfect stretchy pockets for various chargers and a flash drive or two. Clearly, this would not win any contests for design or craftsmanship. Did that matter to me when I could quickly and easily find all my gadgets during my recent trips? It did not!

Here's the scissors pouch, which hangs from the side of my sewing table, always at the ready. The thick ribbed weave of the placemat is easily tough enough for this task, and large knitting stitch markers make the pouch easy to hang. The lower photo shows how I boxed off the bottom. Easy!

The little camera pouch, made out of part of a hemline from an old wool skirt. I actually made several pouches out of this skirt. Those elastic hair bands come in so handy, too.

Make a very useful storage bag for your interfacing out of the plastic sheet of instructions that come with the yardage. Not rocket science, but it sure is practical.

I freely admit, the plastic-bag-dispensing shirt sleeve looks creepy -- like a dismembered Halloween scarecrow! However, if you're hanging it anywhere near your cat's "facilities," it will be a very functional addition and your cat will not complain! :)

I'm crazy about my new tote bag for my music folder, but can you imagine how this print looked when it was in its original skirt form?!

Have any useful sewing solutions you'd like to share? Just leave a comment. And as always, thank you so much for listening! See you soon.

Monday, October 11, 2010

GreenStitch Episode 10 - A podcast to dye for!

In this episode, I loved learning about natural dyes from fab fiber artist Kimberly Hall and then doing my own experiments. I'll start these show notes with the end result -- the small bag made from my old ivory silk/linen blouse, with pieces dyed in onion skins and faded flowers from my garden.

I love the raw-edged ruffles and fraying applique -- a perfect counterpoint to the formal jacquard fabric.

So the original fabric would always be handy (the better to admire the contrast with, my dear), I lined the pouch with the original ivory silk/linen fabric. Can you see the band for the wristlet here? It's the buttonhole band from the blouse.

You really want to check out Kim's great video from the Etsy labs - you won't believe how easy this process is, and she explains everything perfectly. View the video here.

And below are my results from using the process Kim describes.

Above are the muslin samples. At left is the original unbleached muslin. Following are the samples dyed with onion skins, garden flowers, and red cabbage. With the exception of the onion skin piece, pretty forgettable results.

Here are the pieces cut from the angora/lambswool sweater -- original, onion skins, flowers, and cabbage. I think I'll felt the dyed pieces up and make a BlackBerry case. (Hey! Next summer I should dye a BlackBerry case with blackberries!)

Here's where it starts to get really interesting...the samples from the blouse I got from Coldwater Creek about 10 years ago. Again, the photo above shows the original fabric, and the dyed results from onion skins, garden flowers, and red cabbage.

Finally, here are the cotton doilies ... an original white one, and samples from onion skins, flowers, and red cabbage (which doesn't look blue here in this sunlit photo, but it's really a very distinct blue shade.)

Now, for more links to the projects and exhibits Kim Hall described:

If you're in the New York City area, check out Kim's knitting workshops at the Textile Arts Center: Saturday, Oct. 16 from 2 until 5 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 21 from 6 until 9 p.m.; and Thursday, Oct. 28, from 6 until 9 p.m.

Finally, Kim's Web site is here.

And until Oct. 15, leave a comment on the Episode 8 blog entry and get entered into a drawing for either the sewing room organization book or the Annie Smith quilt pattern.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

GreenStitch Episode 9 - A chat with my sister

I can't tell you how much fun my sister Karen and I had recording this podcast episode together!

You heard us chuckle about the plaid pinafores that Karen and our oldest sister Margene sported one year (or, in Karen's case, several years.) Yes, a bit of a strong look, but taken within the context of late 1940s fashion, I think they look absolutely adorable.

This is one of our favorite family photos of all time: Our Aunt Doris, our Aunt Donna, and our mother, Marjorie -- all with that lovely, shiny hair, shampooed with homemade soap!

Here's our dad with one of the young horses, Otis. Mother always made sure those striped Oshkosh overalls were in good repair! Of course, the khaki work shirts always yielded plenty of buttons for the button box -- handy for quick repairs as well as our play.

Speaking of buttons....

There were actually many wonderfully bright buttons in Mother's old button box, but for some reason the few that I saved were in these neutral tones. Clockwise from top are: A button from a fabulous coat of Mother's that had a little mink collar (very 60s chic - she used to look so gorgeous in that coat!!!); one with distinctive large holes, and Karen and I are still debating whether it would have been a "sheep" or a "child" in our play; a metal lion's-head button off an old blazer; two of our dad's work-shirt buttons, which were abundant in that button box; four tiny baby-sweater buttons; and another cute button of unknown origin that we always loved.

Here are the bags my little great-nieces enjoy as they play. I had no idea when I made them that they would have such staying power!

Oh, and if you happen to have grown up in the rural Midwest any time before the 1970s, you may also remember the old Kitchen Klatter radio broadcasts. Here's some of the background on the Kitchen Klatter matriarch, Leanna Driftmier. Leanna's photo was well-known in our home, as it also appeared on their popular line of flavorings and cleaning products!

As always, thanks so much for listening. Be sure and visit the entry below for the giveaway information - open until Oct. 15.