Feb 13

Over the years, I have filed the idea away in my head of making a rag rug. The project I really wanted to try was a Martha Stewart bath mat made from braided towels. I have had that project on my mental list for years now. However, the thing that held me back from wanting to actually MAKE a braided rag rug was the whole sewing issue. I really didn’t want to sit there and hand-sew all the braids together into a rug.

Enter the huge crochet hook!

I had a Craftster swap partner who mentioned she would like to receive a kitchen rag rug, and so I made her a small crocheted rug in about two hours. I ripped up some stash fabric I had (that was too junky to actually use to sew anything – why was it in my stash?) and a vintage sheet I recently picked up at the thrift store. The rug went together so fast that I started another one. It’s the perfect activity to do while watching TV.

To make:

First: Prepare Your Fabric Strips

I ripped up strips from stash fabric (easy to rip), sheets (easy also), old curtains (easy), and clothing (not as easy!). Basically, if the item to be ripped up is in flat and straight pieces, it’s pretty easy to turn into fabric strips.

To rip a flat sheet, I undo any hems, then cut a one-inch notch in the fabric about one inch in from the hem. Rip all the way to the other side of the sheet, but don’t rip to the very edge. Leave a quarter-inch bit unripped, and then cut a notch about one inch in and continue ripping. In this way, you will get one long strip of fabric. Roll ripped fabric into balls like yarn.

How much yarn will I get from a sheet? Assuming your strips are exactly one inch in width, a queen sized flat sheet will yield approximately 255 yards of yarn. (The math: a queen flat sheet is 90×102 inches. 90 times 102 strips in one-inch widths = 9180 inches. Divide by 12 to get 765 feet of yarn. Divide by 3 to get 255 yards. Tell me if I did my math wrong!)

Right now, the rug is getting big (about 5 feet x 5 feet) and one queen sized flat sheet ripped up into approx. 1” strips made four rows of crochet.

To join ripped pieces, you can just tie the ends together in a square knot (if you don’t mind the nubs in your finished rug), or just twist them together when you are crocheting to create a more seamless join.

To rip something like clothing, you have to be more creative, and it involves more cutting and less ripping. It also doesn’t yield much “yarn”. Something that is relatively long and flat, like pants or maybe a bathrobe or big nightshirt might be worth working on.

The pattern:

More experienced crocheters might have better info about this, but I just started by making a chain of 12, then single crocheting 2 in from the edge. I sc’d to the end, and then did about 4 scs in the last stitch (to go around the corner). Continue sc-ing. Do 2 scs in one stitch when you get near the corners. I kind of just randomly add stitches – about 6-10 per trip around the rug. Like I said, I’m sure there is a much more perfect way to do this, but it’s working for me.

When I get done with my big rug (I call it “a monstrosity”), I’m going to block it by laying it on the floor and covering it with damp towels overnight. We’ll see how well that works!

Feb 1

Duct tape crafting isn’t new, but here are some basics for those who haven’t ventured into the world of duct tape fabric:

The Sheet:

Most duct tape creations are made using the Sheet. Basically, you cut
pieces of duct tape the same length, then take one piece and stick it halfway overlapping a second piece.  Fold one end over to create a “good” edge.  Keep overlapping tape until you have the size of sheet you need. You will need to trim the side edges; I use a paper cutter. (So hard to describe the process in words, but really a fairly simple concept. I hope the graphic helps.) The resulting piece of duct tape “fabric” is what you will use to make whatever creations you come up with.

To Join Two Sheets:

To join two duct tape sheets to create a 3D object (such as a purse!), lay sheets out side by side, leaving a very small gap. Tape over gap on both sides. Continue to add pieces until you have your object constructed. If you don’t think it’s sturdy enough, add more tape to reinforce!

The Long Strip:

To make a long strip, like for a strap, stick two pieces (usually about
10-12″ each) back to back, making sure to leave an exposed portion of
tape at each end so you can add length to the strap.  Once you have the
length you want, go back over the entire thing and fold more tape over
the edges to create “good” edges.)

Duct Tape Vocab:

Good edge: an edge that doesn’t have any raw tape edge exposed.  Made by folding a piece of tape over the raw edge.

Here are some duct tape hints from the ductaholic community at LiveJournal.

You will find out many of your own duct tape insights during the first five
minutes you start working with duct tape!  Sometimes, the best way to
learn is just to jump in and try it!

Jan 4

I’ve been swapping up a small storm to get over the post-holiday crafting doldrums. Here are some fingerless gloves I made from the arms of a felted sweater. These sewed up in about ten minutes, including the heart applique, which is awesome. Of course, I could have just made them without any sewing… but they needed to be a bit snugger. I like them! Wish I could have kept them, but I think the swap recipient was pleased.

Fingerless Gloves from Felted Sweater

To make:

  1. Stick your arm in the sleeve of a felted wool sweater and decide how long you want your gloves to be.
  2. Cut off at determined point.
  3. Cut small hole in seam of sweater for thumb hole. Either stop here, or…
  4. Embellish as desired. I actually cut my gloves open at the top so I could machine-stitch the heart applique on. When I was done with that, I stitched them back up.
  5. If you want to make fit of gloves snugger, sew a seam from the thumb hole down to the bottom of the glove. To determine this point, you can try the gloves on inside-out and then pinch the gap in the gloves together at the bottom and pin at that point.

Dec 1

I used a tree doily (a pack of 20 for $1 at the dollar store), and some holiday foam stickers (also from the dollar store) to make a quick advent calendar for my 2 year-old son. I am actually going to use this for his reward chart (stickers for good behavior) instead of an advent calendar, but I can see this as a great quick project for classrooms, scout packs, holiday faires, or just for fun at home. It could also end squabbles between siblings over who gets to put the advent ornament up each day. Just make one tree for each kid!

To make: glue a doily on a complementary colored background paper.

  • Gluing tip: I used a glue stick. Apply with a light hand, especially if it’s one of those stiff/sticky glue sticks, or you’ll tear the doily. I used the edge of the glue stick and applied it in long strokes along each edge and in the middle. To affix to paper, smooth doily lightly out from center onto paper.

For an advent calendar: stick one sticker on tree per day (number the stickers, if desired).

These would also be cute classroom decorations, or just decorations for your little one’s bedroom. You could also adapt this project to make simple Christmas cards with your kids.

Nov 15

My husband came up with this super easy and fun toddler sewing card project! You probably already have all the supplies you need to make this project, and it only takes a minute to put together. Your toddler will be occupied for awhile, too!

Materials:

  • Piece of construction paper or cardstock
  • Length of yarn
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Ball point pen
  • Hand towel

Instructions:

1. Place paper on towel, and poke holes in paper with pen. You can use a random pattern or a pattern that forms a picture, like a heart.

2. Make a “needle” with a short length of pipe cleaner. Bend the end of the pipe cleaner securely around the length of yarn.

3. Your toddler can use the pipe cleaner “needle” to sew through the marked holes. You will probably want to demonstrate it for him, and get him started.

That’s all there is to it! Don’t be too structured – allow your toddler to sew into whatever holes she wants to. There’s no wrong way to do this fun activity!

Nov 2

I saw tattooed soaps at Soap Queen (as designed by Johanna) and posted a tutorial for tattooing your own soap at my other blog, Dollar Store Crafts. (If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should! Don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feeds, too!)

If you have temporary tattooed yourself or someone you love, you are fully capable of doing this, and it takes less than five minutes, from gathering the supplies up to completing the soap! Easy!

What you need:

  • A bar of soap (3 for $1 at the DS)
  • Temporary Tattoos ($1 for a bunch)
  • Wet washcloth, paper towel, or sponge

Total Cost: $2 for 3 bars (price goes down the more soap you make, though, because you can get a sheet of multiple tats at the DS)

To make (or follow your temp tattoo directions, if they are different):

  1. Unwrap soap
  2. Place tattoo sticky side down onto soap
  3. Use wettish cloth to completely dampen tattoo paper
  4. For best results, burnish tattoo (use a spoon to rub the paper, paying close attention to tattoo edges, especially if there are any little pieces of the tattoo that stick out from the body of the tattoo)
  5. Using care, apply pressure with your fingers as you slide the tattoo paper across the soap, away from the applied tattoo
Oct 25

Amy from Craft Chi (quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs in the internetiverse) did some experimenting with printing her own fabric using Bubble Jet Set and has some really important discoveries to share with us!

I don’t want to give anything away, but a big key word is SATURATION!

Check out her blog, and if you haven’t subscribed to it, you definitely need to.

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