Friday, October 2, 2009

The Samhain '09 Issue of the AntiCraft is Up

And it's all about me me me! Seriously, in just this issue I have four projects and a review. It wasn't planned, I just kept having ideas, and failed to realize how much I was trying to do at one time. I managed to get it all done anyway.

Flask Jacket: A sewn fabric cover for a hip flask. "Dress up a plain hip flask for a night at the cemetery, cover the claw marks left on it from the last full moon, or just remind yourself which flask has the whiskey and which has the O-negative."

Restraint: "It's what you apply to your slave's wrist or ankle.

It's what you ask of a dirty old man in a forum full of crafty girls. (He knows who he is.)

It's what you show when your servant spills the wine again. Unless you don't."

A carrying harness for a wine bottle made from thrifted belts.

Hoist By Your Own Picard: A cordial. "Tea. Earl Grey. Hard."

Terpon's Cup: A spiced honeydew melon cordial. "I'd like to think Terpon might have made libation of such a drink as this in honor of noble Aphrodite."

Review: Xela's Disposable Flasks. Perfect for sharing your home made, um...infusions with distant friends.

Whew! That's a lot of crafting and writing. I think I'll take a break on the next issue, Imbolc '10. But don't worry; I'll let you know when it comes out. Maybe you'd like to contribute, to take up some of my slack? The theme for that one is food. After all, it's best to eat something, if you're going to drink.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

How to Grade Seam Allowances

Here I am, again, after 3 months away, to fill another tutorial need. If you want something done right...

When you're sewing thick fabrics, or several layers, or just sewing a small enough project that every detail matters, you may want to grade your seams. It's simple to do.

On a garment with a lining or facing, when all the layers of a seam allowance are cut to the same width, they can leave a bulky lump along the edge of the garment. I've sewn together three random fabric remnants to illustrate:

I've run the iron along the edge of the seam allowance to make it show up better for the picture. You can see how thick the edge is, and how sudden the transition is from the seam allowance to the main expanse of fabric.

To ease the transition from seam allowance to main expanse, trim each layer of the seam allowance to a different width. This photo shows the innermost layer trimmed to about an eighth of an inch from the stitching.

And here you can see the second layer of the seam allowance trimmed to a width between the outer fabric and the inner fabric. See how the edges of each layer are a different width from the seam?

On a lined garment, you can usually trim quite close to the stitching without fear of it raveling enough to come apart at the seam. If you're really worried that the fabric won't hold up, you might try running a bead of Fray Check along the cut edge after you trim the allowance. Make sure the Fray Check dries before you fold the seam closed again - it could mark the garment if it bleeds through to the outside.

Here is the same seam seen from the outside after grading. Notice how much smoother the transition is from edge of the garment to main expanse of fabric. It's best if the widest seam allowance is the one closest to the outside of the garment, for the smoothest finish possible. It's just one trick, of many, for a more professional finish on your home sewn garments.

Friday, May 22, 2009

How to Measure and Cut Needlepoint and Crosstitch Canvas

When I went looking for a link to include in an AntiCraft article about how to measure and cut canvas for counted needlepoint, I found exactly two. They were both by the same person, and they were both Wrong. (Seriously, I'm still spluttering over just how wrong!) None of the sites devoted to needlepoint and cross stitch seem to realize that before you can get to "step 1: bind the edge of the canvas to prevent fraying," you have to figure out where that edge should be.

So, I'll tell you. Isn't that kind of me? ;)

There are many different kinds of canvas that can be used for needlepoint. You can even use plain woven fabric if you're a masochist expert. But, if you're new enough to stitchery that you don't already know how to measure your canvas for your project, you'll most likely be using aida cloth, so that's what I'll talk about here.

Aida cloth comes in many different "counts" or "points," which refers to the size of the weave. A point is the space for one stitch in basic continental or cross stitch; it's where the vertical threads and the horizontal threads intersect. The number of points refers to the number of stitches you can make over one inch. 11 count aida will have 11 stitches in one inch. 16 count will have 16 stitches in an inch, and so on. It's possible the canvas may be a point off here or there, but unless you're planning to stitch a wall-sized tapestry, it probably won't be enough of a difference to matter.

If you have purchased your pattern from a regular pattern company it may tell you how many stitches high and wide the design is. If you can't find this information you'll have to count the stitches yourself. If the design is not a regular shape, be careful to count from the very lowest stitch to the very highest, and from the left-most to the right-most. Write these numbers down.

Now, divide each of these numbers by the count of your fabric. For example, lets say that our pattern is 200 stitches high by 150 stitches wide.

On 11 count aida:
200/11 = approx. 18 inches high
150/11 = approx. 14 inches wide

On 18 count aida:
200/18 = approx. 11 inches high
150/18 = approx. 8.5 inches wide

On 22 count aida:
200/22 = approx. 9 inches high
150/22 = approx. 7 inches wide

You can see that the higher the count of the canvas, the smaller the pattern will be when it's finished.

So, that's how you figure the size of your stitched area, but it's not the size you want to cut your canvas. Once you have your stitched size, you want to add a minimum of 3 inches to each side (adding 6 inches total to each dimension), possibly more, depending on the size of the stitching frame or hoop you'll be using. Using our 200 by 150 stitch example:

On 11 count aids:
18" + 6" = 24" high
14" + 6" = 20" wide

On 18 count aida:
11" + 6" = 17" high
8.5" + 6" = 14.5" wide

On 22 count aida:
9" + 6" = 15" high
7" + 6" = 13" wide

That's the size, at minimum, you cut your canvas. Any less and you'll risk not having enough room at the edges to mount the canvas in a frame or hoop to work the design completely, or to mount or sew the finished design into the display frame or other project for which you've stitched it.

Now you can proceed to "step 1: bind the edge of the canvas to prevent fraying."

Let me know if you need help with that, too. ;)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Just Checking In

I know, I know, I haven't posted anything in over a month. Well, I've been busy leading hoodoo practitioners in making portable altars out of cigar boxes:

sorry, I seem to have lost the color version

learning about "or nue" embroidery:

click to learn how this was made

and working on my project for the next issue of the AntiCraft:


Whoops. Oh well.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know I'm still here, and still crafting my fingers to the bone. Now, if I could just get paid for all this crafting...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Two New Releases!

I'm so pleased! 42 Magazine's inaugural issue has finally been released! It's forty-four pages of wonderful writing and art, all wrapped up inside gorgeously rich cover art by Kathleen Flannigan. Page seven features an article by yours truly about thrifty crafting, accompanied by the wonderful illustrations of Danielle Thillet. There's parables and poetry and pictures, with very little silly alliteration!

Here in pixel-land, the Beltane '09 issue of the AntiCraft, Attack of the Merkins is live. (I should warn you that the pictures in this ish may not be safe for work. It probably depends on where you work.) You'll find my offerings in this issue bright and shiny, and later you'll be able to see another. I'll let you know when that one's available for viewing. Don't the let the wait make your brown eyes blue. ;)

Both 42 and the AntiCraft are always looking for your submissions of creativity for publication.

42 looks for "...articles, poems, and stories that illuminate the themes of a meaningful life, whatever that means to you. Our thematic focus -- if indeed something so diffuse can even be called a focus -- is on: Peace :: Justice :: Ecology :: Economy :: Self-reliance :: Simplicity :: Reason :: Joy :: Love :: Art "

For more details on the what, how, and where, visit 42's submission information page.

The Anticraft likes "Craft in any media (weaving, metallurgy, crochet, soul-painting, cooking, or other any medium you can bend to your will)... so long as results are reproducible by your tutorial, it doesn't suck, and it is previously unpublished (blogs count). " The what/how/where for the AC is found at their submission page. The theme for the next issue is embroidery, but you should submit whatever moves you. If we like it, we'll find a place for it in a future issue.

I hope to see something from you in the inboxes soon!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Art from the Needle

I realised this evening that it's been a really long time since I visited the craftgrrl community on Live Journal, so I went over there to check it out.

I'm so glad I did.

Miss Maya (LJ username "missychacha") draws linework on fabric with her sewing machine, fills in the basic colors with gouache, then brings the whole piece into the third dimension with various beads. My favorite of the pieces shown in the above linked post is the first one, titled "Love and the Ocean," but I also love the more sombre "Hal," and there isn't a single piece there that I wouldn't love to have mounted and hanging on my wall!

Miss Maya also draws and paints in more conventional ways. Her work can be seen at her Deviant Art account.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Been a While

I haven't posted in a while, but I have been (and still am) busy crafting. Here's just a tiny hint:

More on that later.

I'm also getting really excited about 42 Magazine's first issue coming out next month! Serene has been wading through tons of submissions, and she says there is some incredibly good stuff in there. I've seen a couple of the pieces, and I can't wait to see more!

I've added a section over on the left side of the screen, for links to Useful Things. Right now it's only got one item in it, a website for measurement conversions. The site even has a place to convert volumes of various cooking ingredients (tiger lily blossoms?!?!?) to weights, and back again! I plan to add This to That as soon as I get or make a button for it. What website are you always referring to, when you need to know something? Let me know, and maybe I'll add it to the list!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Imbolc '09 Issue of the AntiCraft is Up

My latest published work, Timeless Tunic, went live today. It's instructions for how to measure, draft, and sew your own custom-fit T-tunic. That handsome viking shown wearing the tunic is my best friend and long-suffering husband, James. No need for envy, ladies; I might be persuaded to share. ;)

Friday, January 2, 2009

The aftermath

So, the tie silk scarves were a big hit. I gave one to my boss, and both his wife and his son tried to abscond with it. The guys in my family were impressed with them, too. I still have a couple left, and I'll probably put them up in my Etsy store, as soon as I get around to photographing them. I'm thinking $30-$35 is a good price for a flannel lined silk scarf, yes?

I haven't completely finished any of the purses, though a couple of them just need the linings sewn in place, and the bead pulls made for the zippers. I have until Easter to finish them now, but I can't let myself procrastinate based on that. It just means I don't have to rush and panic over it.

Aside from having my car wrecked by someone who didn't look before they turned into my path, this holiday season has been pretty good for me. How was yours?