Sunday, January 31, 2010

Test Drive

I had to go buy a few things from the grocery store today. What a perfect time to take my new t-shirt produce bags for a test drive. As you can see from the above picture I used my own bags. Two are the store bought reusable bags. Two are knitted plarn bags. And one is the Friendly's shirt that I made into a bag. The Friendly's bag held a few heavy things and held up just fine.

I got to use 3 of my new t-shirt produce bags. The oranges are in a drawstring bag. The melon and the apples are in the bags made from the top of a t-shirt.

Surprisingly enough I did not get a single comment on any of my bags. Not even the produce ones. This was weird, because I usually get one comment. However it shows that it isn't that uncommon these days for people to bring their own produce bags to the store.

Sunday School Kool Aid Dyeing Week 3

Here is the dyed wool from the last 2 Sunday school classes. They turned out great! The wool from today plus these two will be in the church auction this coming Saturday. I plan on bidding on one of these myself.

Here is today's 400 yards of prepared wool and Kool Aid dyes ready for the 1st grade Sunday school class.

It's not a very good picture of it, but here is the wool after the kids dyed it today. It got a little muddied in the middle, but trust me when I say that it will look great once its dry. There are some really beautiful areas in it. The color is much richer than it is in the picture.

I read The Mitten Tree for the kids after they finished dyeing the wool and were eating a snack. I fits in with the Kool Aid dyeing, because it is about making something (mittens) out of wool and giving them to someone else. Three weeks / 3 skeins of the dyed wool is going to be auctioned to raise money for the church. Then the next 3 weeks / 3 skeins will be knit into prayer shawls to give to those who need one.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Knitting Cozies

I finished knitting this cozy out of stash yarn yesterday.
It still needs a button to finish it.

I used a knit 1 below pattern so that I wouldn't get striping from the yarn. Plus it gives it this nice texture. The pattern is: Row 1 - knit. Row 2 - k, k1 below, repeat ending with a knit stitch. Row 3 - knit. Row 4 - k, *k, k1 below, repeat from * and end with a knit stitch.

I started another cozy last night using the knit 1 below patten again.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's Easy Being Green: Episode 12: Recycled Kites with Glenn Davison

Episode 12 of my local t.v. show, "Its Easy Being Green," is airing this week and next week. My guest is Glenn Davison, who is a kite enthusiast. He showed us how to make kites out of recycled materials. This is going to be a lengthy blog post. Glenn has provided a nice article that talks about recycled kites. He was also kind enough to let me borrow his camera (I had forgotten mine) after the show so that I could photograph his kites. After the article will be pictures and a step by step how to on making your own kite out of recycled materials.

The following is the article that Glenn Davison has written:

Recycled Kites

Kites have a long history that goes back hundreds of years. In that time kites have been made from everything you can imagine especially repurposed materials. Certainly Jell-O wouldn't work, but what about candy wrappers? Would they fly?

Bamboo and paper continue to be widely used for making kites. People have used old cotton bed sheets for kite sails and kite tails. Many people made their first kites from yesterday's newspapers and twine.

One of the great things about kites is that they can be made from a wide variety of thin materials that can be taped together into larger sheets. Those sheets can be given a framework then flown many times. Kite flying is an excellent hobby for that reason. When you have a completed kite it can be flown many times without additional fees or expenses. All you need is sunshine (optional) and wind.

Many modern kites rely on hollow tubes that were originally made for arrow shafts or golf club shafts. The tubes are ferruled together to make kite spars that are strong and lightweight.

In many parts of the world today, people use dried bamboo that grows wild in many areas. It’s free! Certain dried grass is also popular, especially cattails. When I went to Antigua I heard that palm leaves are stripped, dried, and made into kites.

There's a great story about a NASA engineer named Francis Rogallo who took down his kitchen curtains and asked his wife to sew them into a unique shape. Because of their teamwork, that prototype is now considered the grandfather of the hang glider and the delta kite.

You can make a kite from recycled materials too. Here's how:

Collect a variety of recycled items, such as:

Sails: paper, plastic, trash bags, wrappers, foam trays, junk mail, recycled umbrella, paper napkins, tissue paper or a plastic rain poncho

String: heavy duty button thread, yarn

Spars: bamboo, food skewers, used bamboo blinds, wood sticks, straws, dowels, broom bristles

Tails: streamers, ribbon, strips of plastic, holiday tinsel

Do not use: heavy things like metal, hot-glue or paint

Do not use: stretchy materials like plastic wrap or cotton fabric

Design your kite:

Design and build a unique and interesting kite using recycled materials

Eddy kites and sled kites are recommended

The kite should be symmetrical so fold it in half to make sure it’s even

See the Kite Plan Database for detailed plans

Construct your kite:

Your goal is to make the kite fly

It should also be creative and unique

Attach tails 7 to 12 times the length of the kite

Use your imagination!

How to make tails from recycled plastic:

Take a plastic sheet or bag and lay it flat.

If you're using a plastic bag, start with the closed end and roll the bag into a long tight tube.

Use scissors to cut the tube into many small rolls. They look like hot-dogs that are 2" long but still tightly rolled.

Unroll your tails and use tape to attach the tails together to make long tails for your kite.

Here are some ideas for contests for kites made of recycled materials (all kites must fly):

Best flying kite

Highest kite

Most artistic kite

Most innovative use of recycled materials

Smallest kite

Largest kite

Photography: Best photo of recycled kite

When I do kite workshops I often use tape or glue. I distribute the glue one drop at a time (less glue is better because it dries faster and weighs less). To distribute the glue I pass out used bottle caps and used Popsicle sticks to apply the glue. That’s a great reason to keep them out of the trash.

When you build a kite, remember to keep the tails on the bottom, keep the sticks on the back and keep the bridles on the front. On some kites tails are decorative, on others they are a necessity. Keep them light.

That's the details about the theory of kite design. In practice, I doodle, I sketch, I take notes, I fold paper, I try new things and I test new ideas. Then I keep all of my designs in a sketchbook. When I'm ready to build a kite I have a book of ideas that are waiting. There’s plenty of information online.

Kites don’t have to be hard to make…

"There's nothing remarkable about it.

All one has to do is hit the right keys

at the right time and the instrument plays itself."

-Johann Sebastian Bach

My final recommendations: don't over do it. Keep it simple and don't worry about it. Above all, remember to wear sun block.

Glenn Davison is an eco-artist and workshop leader who has been featured on HGTV as a New England Craftsman. He is the editor of the books, "Kites in the Classroom," "How to Fly a Kite," and the "Guide to Building Miniature Kites." He is a director of the club, “Kites Over New England” and chairman of the education committee for the American Kitefliers Association.


Recycled kite plan HYPERLINK ""

Kyoto contest HYPERLINK ""

Teaching resources HYPERLINK ""

Kites in the Classroom HYPERLINK ""

Kite plan database HYPERLINK ""

“I checked out your website and the kites you make are truly functional art, a great vehicle for the message of mindful repurposing.”

Thank you Glenn for providing this article. I would like to point out that the website is Glenn's website. You can go there to learn more about kites and what Glenn does.

How to make a kite out of a plastic bag:
Here is the kite template.
As you can see it is easy to make it any size that you want.
All you need is a 4 x 3 square grid.

Step 1: cut off the handles and the bottom seam of the bag.

Step 2: Cut the bag open so that it is one layer.

Step 3: Fold the bag in half and draw half of the template on it.
This is so that your kite is the same on both sides.
Then cut out your kite shape (the outside line of the template).
You can choose to decorate your kite before or after you cut the shape out.

Step 4: Punch a hole on two sides of the kite (see picture for location of holes).
Before making these holes, place tape on that area to make sure the holes don't tear / break.

This kite was decorated with sharpie markers.
Step 5: Add bamboo or straws with tape.
Also add your kite string to the 2 holes on the sides.

Step 6: Cut the tail about 10 to 12 times longer than your kite.
The picture shows how Glenn rolls / folds the plastic bag into a long tube so that he can easily cut loops to make his kite tails out of. The loops then would be cut to make a long strip. You can use tape to attach the strips together to make them longer.

Here is Glenn with a kite that was made from different plastic bags.
The bags were taped together to get this look and size.

Wrapping paper kite.

Typing paper kite.

This kite was made out of a dry leaf.

I love this butterfly kite.
The tail is made out of plastic bags.

Wrapping paper kite.

Candy wrapper kite.

Fruit wrapper kite.

It can fit in the palm of your hand.

Even this dry cleaning bag can make a good kite.

Oreo cookie kite.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Blast from the past

My senior thesis gallery show in college. My thesis was on water reflection in ikat weaving. I sold the large 4 panel weaving. I also made my dress.

Day 26's Projects (other than the tote bag)

I finished knitting this cozy last night. All it needs is a button.

I started a new cozy last night. Because the yarn is variegated, I wanted to use a knit one below pattern. This helps the pattern blend more. The pattern is: Row 1 - k1, k1 below, to the end, end with k. Row 2 - knit. Row 3 - k 2, *k1 below, k1,* and repeat to the end. Row 4 - knit.

Today was recycling day. So yesterday I went through all of my paper recycling. I cut out a bunch of food box panels to make matchbook notebooks out of for the Winter Fest in my town. My church is a part of several town buildings that has activities going on for the event. We'll have a table set up for people to make a matchbook notebook. I also made these magazine / file boxes out of cereal boxes. One is holding all of those food box panels. The other is holding some knit and crochet patterns. You can paint them or cover them with paper or contact paper.

Here are some recent recycled additions to my crafting world. One jelly jar holds buttons (well, a single button at the moment). The other jelly jar hold safety eyes (doll / amigurumi). I love the jelly jar lids. The gum container holds my needles.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mister Rogers Tote Bag

Are you ready for some more t-shirt crafting fun?

I was lucky enough to find this Mister Rogers t-shirt for $1. How awesome is that! Lets make a tote bag out of it. Come on neighbor (if you remember the song, sing along with me).

First I folded the shirt in half. Then I cut a straight line through the layers to remove the sleeves. You can use the sleeves to make an outside pocket for your bag. Look at my Minnie Mouse purse that I made in May or June of 2009.

Then I unfolded the shirt and refolded it from side to side. Then I cut off the collar. Now you have 2 rectangles (the front and the back of the shirt).

Measure your cut t-shirt. I thought that this fabric would make a good lining for my bag. It is left over from a quilt that I made a few years ago. I cut 2 pieces of it the same size as the cut t-shirt.

Then I used a hem stitch and sewed the 2 sides and the bottom of the shirt together, right sides facing each other. This part is a little hard to explain. I laid the bottom so that it's seam was centered and flat. Then I drew a 3 inch line in from each side / corner, and stitched over that line. This enabled the bag to lay flat when filled with things. There is a picture of this further down with the lining.

I turned the shirt right sides out. You can see the bottom of the bag in the picture.

I did the same thing with the lining. Here you can see what I was talking about.

I left about a 3 inch hole in the center of the bottom of the lining. This is so that I can sew it to the bag then turn it right sides out.

I forgot to take a picture of the next step. Place your t-shirt bag, right side out, inside of your lining bag, wrong side out. The 2 right sides should be facing each other. Then sew the two together at the top. Then using that 3 inch gap that you left in the bottom of the lining, pull the fabric out and turn it right sides out. It should look like the above picture. Then sew that hole closed.

Next put the lining inside of your bag.

I then cut 2 strips of fabric the width and length that I wanted for the handles. Make sure you add seam allowance to it. Then I sewed it like the hem on a pair of jeans so that I would not have to bother with turning a tube inside out, and there would not be a raw edge showing.

Then I pinned the handles in place and sewed around the whole top edge of the bag. I wanted a little bit of the lining showing at the top.

I love it! What a great tote bag that reminds me of my childhood.

Here is what it looks like opened. My husband asked if I was going to sell it. Nope! This is for me. If I had found 2 of these shirts, then yes. I'm looking forward to using it and showing it off.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Friendly's Shirt Makeover

Last night I sorted my box of t-shirts. I put all of the small scraps and sleeves into a bag, put all of the cut bottom seams to one side, placed all of the cut upper shirt halves together, and set the untouched shirts to one side. I then went through the untouched shirts and came across a Friendly's work shirt. It was made from a stretchy material but it wasn't a t-shirt. It had a collar and a v-neck with buttons. What to do with it? I made this tote bag out of the bottom half of it.

I cut it from armpit to armpit and set the top half aside for a later date. I then stitched over a small hole that was in the shirt, to make sure that it wouldn't get any bigger. The bottom of the shirt became the top of the bag, because of the already finished hem. I sewed those triangles in the bottom so that it would lay flat when filled with things. The top sides were a little to floppy for me, so I gathered a small bit up and sewed it closed.

For the handles I took the bottom seams that I had cut off of several shirts (from making tarn) and I cut the loops. Now I had long, thick lengths of fabric. So I matched them in color combinations that I liked and braided them. The one on the far right in this picture was braided with 4 pieces instead of 3. Two of the braided sets were blue, so I used them for the tote bag's handles. I just carefully sewed them to the bag.

T-shirt sewing tip: Use a jersey or stretch needle on your sewing machine. It will go around the knitted thread instead of through it. When a needle goes through the knitted thread, holes can form from the breakage. This has happened to me before. Its not fun to make something only for it to be full of holes in a few weeks.