Friday, March 28, 2008

Distracted Again!

It doesn't take very much to distract me. I'm sure that this has been quite obvious to you if you have had the chance to read through my blog. I know I'm guilty of jumping from one project to another, seldom looking back at the incomplete projects that trail behind me.

Well, today I will admit to being distracted once again. All current projects have been pushed aside. It seems that t-shirt yarn has passionately captured my interest once again. My head is bursting with new project ideas and I can't wait to get started.

Have an enjoyable weekend.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tutorial--T-Shirt Yarn

**This tutorial is intended for personal use only.**

About 5 years ago, I prepared a tutorial with pictures showing how to create yarn from cotton t-shirts. Wouldn't you know it, when I looked for it this morning to post to my blog, it was nowhere to be found. I want to apologize in advance for the quality of this new tutorial. It was done early this morning when the lighting was poor. I also found it difficult to shoot several of the steps because what I really needed were 3 hands instead of 2.

T-shirt yarn is a very durable yarn. It is outstanding for making rugs and trivets in either crochet or knit. You will need to use a larger crochet hook or knitting needle than you normally would to comfortably be able to deal with this yarn. I have tried it in many widths, from 1/2-inch strips which produced a thinner, more flexible yarn to 1-1/2-inch strips which produced a chunky, stiff yarn. Today's yarn was made using 1-1/4-inch strips which was perfect for the project that I had in mind.

Okay, I will start off by saying that I have had these t-shirts sitting around my house for over 3 months just taking up space. And no, before you ask, I did not steal my hubby's favorite t-shirts! (foa da Hawaii peeps, no, I neva kakaroach um,okay...LOL) The intent was to donate these shirts to charity. Unfortunately, I have been really lazy and never got around to doing that. So instead, I've decided to turn them into t-shirt yarn for future projects just to get them out of the way.

Luckily the t-shirts that I have to work with are in a good array of colors so eventually it will give me a nice variety to work with.

**Please note that only the unprinted, plain portions of the t-shirts are suitable to make into yarn. The ink and printed images are stiff and will not allow the yarn to curl under and form a smooth tube.

Start by placing a t-shirt onto a flat work surface. Straighten the t-shirt so that the hemmed edge lines up neatly.

Using a sharp scissor or rotary cutter and ruler, cut away the bottom hem. Also remove the upper portion of the t-shirt with a straight cut right at the under arm. You will be left with a tube with the left and right sides open.

Take the bottom of the tube (closed end) and fold it upward, leaving a 1-inch margin at the top.

Fold it once more, making sure that you keep the 1-inch margin at the top.

Start cutting your t-shirt into strips, leaving the upper 1-inch margin intact. If you find that it is too bulky to cut through all of the layers at once, only fold it once instead of twice and just cut longer strips. You can decide how wide you would like your strips to be. I have cut strips as small as 1/2-inch and as large as 1-1/2-inches.

This is what it should look like after you've finished cutting the strips.

Unfold the strips. Notice that you will still have the 1-inch uncut margin at the top.

The easiest way to do this step is to run your arm between the two layers of t-shirt with the uncut margin resting on top of your arm. The statement that I made about needing 3 hands comes in here. I couldn't have it draped over one arm and at the same time cut it as I was taking the picture. Impossible.

So, in order to be able to photograph and cut it at the same time, I placed a round plastic jar inside the t-shirt in place of my arm.

Take your scissor and make a diagonal cut from the top of the first slit to the bottom of the second slit on the opposite side.

This is what it should look like after the first cut...

Keep cutting diagonally until you've reached the end. Please note: You will need to go back to the beginning where you made your first cut. You will notice that it will still be joined in a circle. Make a small diagonal cut to open the circle. I find it easier to do this in the end as it can make things confusing trying to figure it out in the beginning.

You will end up with one continuous piece like this:

To turn this into yarn, take short sections of approximately 1 to 2 feet betwen both hands and give it a good tug. It should curl under forming a tube. Repeat throughout. This should take you just a couple of minutes to do. Easy, peasy and fun too.

This is what your yarn will look like after you have completed the above step.

Here is a ball of t-shirt yarn just aching to be turned into something fabulous.

Today I have chosen a quick and easy crochet project as an example of what something made from this yarn will look like. Upon completion, this will become a trivet to go under hot pots and pans.

Now go ahead and have fun with t-shirt yarn. And please don't limit yourself to just trivets and rugs. T-shirt yarn can be made into a whole lot more.

How about knitting a cute tote from your new-found yarn.

**This tutorial is intended for personal use only.**

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Checkbook Cover

In this day and age, I wonder how many people still have a need for these. Paper checks are probably going to be obsolete within the next decade. I remember writing a check in Walmart late last year and the young man behind me made a comment that he didn't know that people still wrote checks. He must have been in his late 20's or early 30's. I stumbled clumsily in my reply with some lame excuse that I can't even recall now, but inside, it made me feel like the dinosaur that I really am. I went home and immediately called my bank and requested a check card and started using it almost exclusively since then. I may not be the epitome of youth, but I surely don't want to be marked "aged" by my actions.

I periodically get asked if I make checkbook covers by customers at my craft fairs. For once, I will be able to say that I do. Of course, I'd better hop on the bandwagon before it's too late. After all, surely all of the young 'uns wouldn't want something that reminds them of their parents, would they. How yucky would that be?

Have a good evening.

For anyone who hasn't entered my tote bag giveaway, please scroll down to my March 15 entry and post to the comment section in order to be eligible. Don't forget to leave your blog or Flickr URL so that I'm able to contact you if you are the winner. A winner will be chosen on April 1.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A weekend of productivity...

...produced another handbag prototype. A clutch. A little bit on the cutesy side and I can't decide whether I like it or not. The one thing that I do love is the fabric combination. I think it's back to the drawing board for this one.

On another note...

Lately, every time I reach for my handbag and keys, I'm faced with this...

...a kitty hiding under my bed. The jingling of my keys seems to be the signal that he's headed to the Vet. He hightailed it upstairs faster than the speed of light. Being shanghaied into going to the Vet is wearing thin. He's a very intuitive kitty but today he's wrong. It's not today my sweet little one, not today.


For anyone who hasn't entered my tote bag giveaway, please scroll down to my March 15 entry and post to the comment section in order to be eligible. Don't forget to leave your blog or Flickr URL so that I'm able to contact you if you are the winner. A winner will be chosen on April 1.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

To my family and friends...

On this Easter day, may you experience a sweet renewal of conviction, expectation, and rapture.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Saturday ramblings......

Yesterday, I made a trip to one of my favorite places, the fabric store. Nothing makes me happier seeing row after row, bolt after bolt of fabric all lined up like little soldiers. Taking in all the pretty patterns and colors like a butterfly fluttering from flower to flower, lapping up the sweet nectar each one has to offer. NOT!!! Actually, I looked more like a kid in a candy store all hopped up on sugar. Pretty picture, eh? LOL It could be worse. There are so many destructive things I could be addicted to, right? I walked away with several fabrics, and of course, more buttons.

My son's girlfriend gave me a gift certificate for Christmas from ReproDepot, an online fabric store. I was able to purchase 7 new fabrics that I absolutely adore. These fabrics can be combined in a number of ways as I tried to stick to a simple color scheme. Maybe a new handbag is in order, I don't know. They're so pretty I almost don't want to cut into them.

As you probably could tell by yesterday's post, I'm addicted to collecting buttons. Unfortunately I'm addicted to collecting a number of sewing and craft related "stuff". Here's my collection of embroidery thread. Unfortunately, I don't think this is enough and I'm probably going to need more. *huge grin* LOL

This is a prototype that I've put together of a little girl's purse. I like that it has a velcro closure under the yo-yo posy flower that will make it easy for a little one to open and close. I need to scrutinize it a bit more before reproducing it for my craft fairs, but I'm kind of liking it just the way it is.

Thank you to everyone who has commented/emailed me with your well wishes for Mouse. He had yet another appointment this morning. They are giving him fluids in order to flush out his kidneys. He most likely is going through kidney failure. According to the Vet, he will probably need these fluids to survive. They have weaned him down to every other day, and as of this morning, every third day. They hope to eventually have him down to getting these fluids once a week. Time will tell. They suggested that maybe I could give him these fluids at home. I don't know if I can keep him still for the 15 minutes that it will take to complete the treatment, let alone, stick a needle into the poor guy. I'm unsure if I have the stomach for it. He stays really still at the Vet's office because he's absolutely terrified of being there. At home, it will be a different story. I have to confess that I didn't know that he was going to need these fluids for the rest of his life. I'm still hoping that he beats the odds and makes a full recovery.

Here he is, resting on his chair after I so rudely interrupted his nap to take these pictures...

Hey mom, why are you bothering me...

My eyelids are getting heavy...

Okay, I'll just ignore you until you go away...


As fast as he propped his head up, he fell into a deep sleep. He was so energetic this morning and up to his usual antics like begging for treats. These Vet visits are really knocking the energy out of him. Poor guy.

For anyone who hasn't entered my tote bag giveaway, please scroll down to my March 15 entry and post to the comment section in order to be eligible. Don't forget to leave your blog or Flickr URL so that I'm able to contact you if you are the winner. A winner will be chosen on April 1.

I hope you have a most enjoyable Saturday.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hi! How have you been?

I apologize for not being around for a few days. Dealing with my kitty's illness has been stressful and has sucked the energy right out of me. Mouse continues to get better although he's still very tired and not eating and drinking like he should. Daily visits to the Vet for treatment has been tiring for both him and me.

Over the past several days I have been doing mindless things that don't require much brain power. It was a perfect time to organize my button collection. No brain cells lost in that endeavor and my buttons haven't looked this organized in a long time.

I'd like to share a simple project that I started yesterday. The paper punching is the most time consuming part of this project. Once that part is done, the actual project moves along rather quickly. I've made refrigerator magnets and gift tags using this method before but these will be ornaments for my Christmas tree.

For this project, you will need an object that can be covered in paper. You will also need some paint, cardstock, paper punches and tacky glue.

I started by painting a wooden heart with a color that coordinates with the colors of paper that I have chosen. Most of the painted surface will be covered so you won't have to be too neat with your painting.

Punch out a good amount of flowers in two contrasting shades of paper using a floral paper punch. I used a 1/8-inch round paper punch for the flower centers. Glue flowers all over the heart using tacky glue, covering as much of the wooden surface as you can.

Voila! Here is a sampling of 3 of the 8 hearts I have completed.

I hope you try this quick and easy project. Enjoy.


For anyone who hasn't entered my tote bag giveaway, please scroll down to my previous post and make a comment in order to be eligible. Don't forget to leave your blog or Flickr URL so that I'm able to contact you if you are the winner. A winner will be chosen on April 1.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

GIVEAWAY!!!........I've been up to something and it could be yours!

I've been very busy putting something together for a special giveaway. If you've read my previous posts, you'd know that my cat, Mouse, has been ill. He's doing better and better with each passing day and we're very hopeful for a full recovery. In his honor, I am offering a cute tote to one lucky winner. You can use it for transporting your pet's snacks, water, blanket, prosciutto bone, or anything else you may need for your daily outing. Maybe you just want to use it for your stuff and that's okay too. There will also be several surprise goodies included with the tote too.

Here are the details. I am offering this tote to my fellow bloggers or anyone who has a Flickr account(all countries). The giveaway starts today. If you would like to enter, please post to my comment section UNDER THIS BLOG ENTRY ONLY. Please be sure that along with your comment, you leave the URL to your blog or Flickr site. I will need a way to contact you if you are the winner. This giveaway will end on March 31, 2008. The drawing will be held on April 1, 2008. And no, this is not an April Fools joke, I promise. LOL

Here are a few picturs of the tote:

This photo shows you the process of hand stitching the yo-yo's to the front of the tote. You can also do this by sewing machine if you'd like. Please refer to my posting of February 25, 2008 titled "Tutorial--Attaching a Fabric Yo-Yo by Sewing Machine" if you'd like to learn this method.

This is a close-up of the upper right side of the tote. It is embellished with a red and white polka dotted flower and is attached to the bag just below it's handle. You can also get a peek of the fabric yo-yo embellishment, eleven in all.

This photo shows the area toward the bottom of the tote. I have attached black jumbo ric rac by hand sewing it to the tote with red embroidery thread. Three buttons have been added for extra detail.

This photo shows all three embellishments that have been added to the face of the tote.

This is a photo of the completed tote. The body of the tote measures 15-1/2-inches in length by 14-1/2-inches in width and has a handle drop of 7-1/2-inches. It is a one of a kind piece. I had just about 1/3 of a yard of fabric to work with so this bag cannot be duplicated.

Good Luck and Aloha!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tutorial--Joining Fabric Yo-Yo's in Quilt Making

**This tutorial is intended for personal use only.**

I have a feeling this is going to be a long one so grab a cuppa, settle in, and relax a spell. Here goes.....

Many people consider a fabric yo-yo a take-along project. You know, small, lightweight and easily transported from one place to another. You can complete a few while waiting for a doctor's appointment, or while watching your child play sports. I agree with the concept that it makes a wonderful portable project. This is good if you like to have a stash of yo-yo's available to embellish your projects with. If you are planning to make a quilt, you will end up with a huge pile of yo-yo's that will eventually need to be joined together. Many people choose to whip stitch them together from the backside of the quilt. I'm not too keen on this method as it leaves all of your stitches showing, no matter how neatly it is sewn. I would like to show you how I join yo-yo's from the inside before gathering the yo-yo and tying it off. I do not consider this method a take-a-long because you'll be working with the quilt or large segments of the quilt at one time. You'll also need a rather large surface to work from. I frequently read questions on message boards asking how to join yo-yo's together. I'd like to share my method with you.

You will need to decide how large you would like your finished quilt to be. You'll also need to determine how big you would like each completed yo-yo to be. Take the width of the finished quilt size and divide it by the completed yo-yo size to determine how many yo-yo's you will need in each row. Calculate it the same way for the length. Multiply the number of yo-yo's in the width times the length and you will get the number of yo-yo's needed for your project.

I determined that I wanted to make a quilt using jumbo sized yo-yo's. I began with an 8-1/2-inch circle. This gave me completed yo-yo's 4-inches in diameter. You can make it larger or smaller, your preference. The first set of photos will be shown in plain muslin as it will be a little bit easier to see the markings. You can join yo-yo's using 4 or 6 connection points. I like the 6 connection point method when working with large yo-yo's. It will leave you with less holes or open spaces in your quilt. When using 6 connection points, every other row will have one less yo-yo in it. This forms a nice variegated edging to your quilt and is actually quite eye catching.


I'd like to explain the 6 connection points first. I am not very high tech so you will have to settle for a hand drawn diagram. Please notice the tiny circles where each yo-yo intersects the other. These are the points where you will be hand stitching the yo-yo's together prior to gathering them and tying them off.

You will need to create a pattern for your yo-yo. I used an 8-1/2-inch circle cut from a sturdy piece of cardboard. I then cut out a 4-inch hole (the finished size of my yo-yo) in the center of the 8-1/2-inch circle. It will look like a donut.

In my case, the completed yo-yo will be 4-inches in diameter. I cut a 4-inch circle from a piece of paper as this will mimic the completed yo-yo. I needed to determine where the connection points will be. I folded the paper circle into 6 equal pie shaped pieces. Try your best to make sure that all 6 of your pie shaped pieces are equal. Transfer the 6 markings to the inside circle. These will be the connection points when stitching the yo-yo's together to form your quilt.

Trace the outside of the circle onto your fabric of choice being sure to mark a small dot where each of the 6 connection points will be. You can use a light pencil, chalk, disappearing ink pen, or whatever you want to accomplish this step. If you would like to cut several circles out at once by layering your fabric, you must still transfer the 6 connection points to each circle.

You will be using needle and thread to hand stitch the yo-yo's. With right sides together, matching the connection points, stitch securely. The larger the yo-yo, the bigger the stitching at the connection points should be. For my 4-inch yo-yo, I made sure that each connection point was sewn 1/2-inch. I took the time to make tiny stitches and reinforced them by going over each stitch several times. This is where the stress points of the yo-yo will be and you do not want your completed quilt pulling apart. I found it much easier to connect a row of circles the width of my quilt, stitching each circle at the midpoint or equator and then connecting the rows together. You could opt to add each circle individually. The choice is yours.

This photograph shows two rows stitched together. It can get quite confusing at this point but once you get the hang of it, it will get easier. Take another look at the connection points diagram to keep on track. Since the first row will be the beginning of the quilt, you can now gather that row up and tie them off into yo-yo's. You may also choose to add fiber fill or rounds of cotton batting in each yo-yo prior to tying it off. Just remember to keep the next row open for attaching the next row of yo-yo's.

This diagram shows a completed yo-yo project. I know it's not the size of an actual quilt, but I wanted to make my point that when you reach the last row, you will gather and tie off each of the yo-yo's. Your project will be complete.


The following will be diagrams showing the 4 connection method. I use it when attaching small yo-yo's together because small yo-yo's equal smaller holes in your finished quilt. If you are using large yo-yo's like I did, you may still choose to do the 4 connection method. Having large holes in your quilt may offer you a peak of the sheets below (especially nice if they coordinate well with your quilt). The choice is yours. The method is the same whether you use the 4 or 6 connections so I will run through it quite fast. Use the above information to guide you. Please note that using the 4 connection points method will result with rows with equal numbers of yo-yo's in it.

Diagram of connection points.

Your pattern piece will only show four connection points. To determine where these points will be, fold the 4-inch paper circle into fourths. Transfer the 4 markings to your cardboard pattern piece and then to fabric as you would with the 6 connection point method.

Connect the circles, forming a strip the width of your quilt. Then attach 2 rows together.

Gather and finish off the yo-yo's in the row that will be the beginning of your quilt.

Keep the last row open for adding additional rows.

Please imagine that this is a fully completed quilt. Notice that the first and last rows are now complete.

The following are photos of the actual quilt that I am making.

First,I cut out the fabric circles and marked each connection point.

I then sewed the circles together, matching the connection points to form rows the width of my quilt.

I connected 2 rows together.

I gathered the yo-yo's in the first row and added fiber fill to each of the centers prior to tying off.

The 3rd row was added.

The 2nd row was gathered into yo-yo's, leaving the 3rd row open for attaching the fourth row of circles.

While piecing my quilt, I prefer dividing it into several segments making it easier to work with. Each segment consists of 4 rows. Keep in mind that the segments that will be in the center of the quilt will require that you leave the first and last rows open. This will allow you to connect each of the segments together.

Congratulations if you were able to read this far without going bonkers. This is a photo of what my quilt looks like now.

You can also check out yesterday's post for several other pictures of my quilt.

I hope I haven't confused you too much and I also hope that I made enough sense to get you started on a quilt of your own. I have been caring for my sick cat since late last week so I'm pretty sleep deprived and stressed. I thought I would go ahead and post this anyway and if you need me to clarify anything, you can post to my comment section. I'll try to get back to you as promptly as I can. Thanks for stopping by. Happy quilting.


**This tutorial is intended for personal use only.**