I am done with stripping.

Never again will someone have to pay me $20 to put my clothes back on! Wait, different stripping. All my squares are now tidy tidy in long strips and ready for the next step.

Rolled up strips of patchworked fabric.

Is stripping the word for that? It feels right, so we’ll go with it. The last of the purple went together last night, and now all I have to do is gather the strips and sew them all together and then I’ll have a skirt. How hard could it be? Okay I might have a skirt for Christmas as gathering that purple alone is going to be a big task. I’m going to hem the purple first because I am terrible at hems. I figure if I hem it before it’s all skirt shaped I might have better odds of getting it reasonably correct.

Little bit in love with how lovely the edges are in these rolls. If I had time, and fabric, and nothing else to do for a year I’d make some stools or something. Since I’m not going to, feel free to use that idea for your very own, you’re welcome.

I’m kind of frustrated with the lack of variety in my purple fabrics – there’s a lot of repetition in it. On the other hand, it’ll be gathered quite a lot so it might not be so noticeable. Except that I just pointed it out. Damn you, honesty. Damn you to hell. 

A secondary problem has arisen, apart from my lack of leet skillz. The sewing machine is chugging again, and I suspect the problem is the same one that sent it off to the service place last time. Feels the same. I’m giving it a rest today, not just because I’m working most of today and also it’s stupidly hot, so we’ll see if it’s perked up any tomorrow. If it hasn’t, more servicing ahoy!

Mors Pause

See what I did there with the title? Puh-retty clever, I know! Thanks, kind of you to say. Work on the rainbow skirt ground to almost a halt over the past week or so as I worked on these Morsbags. (Click to embiggen, as per usual.)

Morsbags with applique ukuleles

The Morsbag people are running a competition which I figured I might as well enter.  Entry requirements are simple, you need to make 10 themed Morsbags and make sure the label is included. I went with ukulele themed bags so I can hand them out at ukegroup and make people like me with Morsbag based bribes.

Sadly, the sewing machine came back from servicing with an incredible amount of oil and grease sloshing around on it. I don’t know why the screw that holds the foot on had to be coated in grease, for example. I’ve run a lot of scrap fabric through and wiped the casing down a few times, but there’s still oil/grease lurking. It’s not a problem on the skirt sewing yet as those are small bits that don’t get moved around much. There’s some splots on these bags though, which is frustrating. It’d be okay if they were for me, but I’m giving them away so it’s a bit “Sorry about the splodge there, the sewing machine service people are completely kinky for grease”.

Here we go with the sewing bit

White, pink, red and orange rows of the skirt

Sewing has commenced, with orange just now completed and rolled up for later. I’ve only fucked up the french seams once, so I’m pretty pleased with that. It bodes well for the rest of the project.

Is it, you wonder, all going a bit wonky? Of course it is. Some of my squares are more square-ish and need some faffing with to line up, and most of my seams start promisingly and then do their own thing later on. I’m not worried. For one, the sheer volume of fabric in this skirt will hide most of the wonky moments. For two, it wouldn’t be a Lyn project if it was perfect. I don’t have time for perfect.

Sewing has slowed as I replaced my old xbox360 and am distracted by shiny shiny games (Assassin’s Creed you guys! I’m murdering so many people. They deserve it, probably). Once the shine wears off there’ll be more sewing. I’ll start yellow tomorrow, which is 60 squares so we’re really getting into the big juicy numbers now.

Six Five Two

This morning, before I slipped out to “Art” class (the quotes there only apply to my personal effort in the class, everyone else knows what they’re doing which is a bit showoffy if you ask me), I cut the final 30 squares of purple and can now announce to a breathless public – all the squares are cut for this Rainbow Skirt.
Patchwork squares piled in a tower in colour order

To be honest, I probably could have finished earlier. My motivation for doing so was removed when the solid, hardworking Elna machine (circa 1968) decided everything was just too much and started making some interesting noises. It’s home again now, and feeling a bit like when you get your brakes done on your car. You’re so used to them being a bit soft you keep accidentally slamming them on. I ran up a quick bag to check it out and make sure it was all working, but I suspect I’ll pack the bags away for a while to focus on this skirt.

Hand drawn skirt pattern with a lovely coffee stain

For those wanting the full picture, here’s the “pattern”. Some things of note, apart from the coffee stain and various other stains I can’t determine the origin of,  Originally I was going to smooth the blend between green and blue with a nice aqua, but then I decided “fuck that” and crossed it out, firmly. The 8 at the bottom there is the number of tiers, incase I suddenly lost the ability to count things. I think the 103 is the length, but who knows? The 11cm is the size of the squares in the finished skirt, but the 13 cm refers to the whole lot with the seam allowance, which is wrong. With seam allowance, the squares are 14cm and I don’t know why I thought 13 was not only correct, but correct enough to circle.

The numbers after the colour names refer to the number of squares, but you probably figured that out yourself. Anyway, as you can see, each tier is 1.5 times as long as the one above, with some fudging to avoid half squares. The final tier is a straight up double of the one above.

In other news, the colour I had the most trouble getting hold of was orange. This morning while looking for something else I found a bundle of orange, so that was irritating. Only ended up with one slice to the fingers, though I suppose there’s still time to sew through them, cut them while trimming seams or slam them in a door.

Squares for Days

A weekly update? Has the world gone completely mad? YES. I’m back, a mere week later, to update on the Rainbow skirt progress. Squares for days is the thing. I’m almost done with the cutting part. I say “almost done” I mean “Blue and purple to finish but those are the big numbers and I may fall down insensible before I get to the last 50 squares”.
patches

I probably could have taken the “20” tags off for the photo, if we’re being honest. I was bundling them up into 10s, but then I remembered I can also count by 2s because I am pretty amazing, mathematically. As of right this very minute, I have 35 more blue to cut, and 250 purple. I’ve already cut 20 purple, but I didn’t put that bundle in the picture because it would have messed up the aesthetic. I take these things super seriously, as you know.

This last paragraph was going to be something along the lines of “I cut all those squares and didn’t slice my finger open!”. However, I was preparing a strip of blue to cut up and it’s entirely possible I sliced my finger open. Brilliantly, I wasn’t even cutting fabric at the time. I’m not sure how it happened, possibly I was waving the rotary cutter about with reckless abandon. Sounds like something I’d do.

Stupidly Massive Project 2016

I love a stupidly massive project. Mostly what I’ve been making recently is Morsbags (I’ve made 515 now, you may applaud softly). While they’re satisfying to make and a delight to give to people, I wanted something I could obsess over and sink my teeth into and probably spend a few years on.  Something that’s been floating in my brain for a few years now is a rainbow patchwork skirt. The one at the link there is magnificent and mine will be a pale imitation because where she used 10 tiers, I’m slacking right off and only using 8. This is just to simplify the colour hunting, to be honest.

squares

With 8 tiers I have 8 colours, starting at white and ending at purple. The way the skirt is sewn, you increase each tier by half the length of the one above it., except for the last tier which is twice the length of the one above. This is for swoosh. There’s just no point if you don’t have swoosh. After sorting out the length and planning a waist size that will allow me to gain weight again (not that I plan to, I just bounce around the scales a lot), I’ve ended up with a combined total of 652 squares, with the bottom hem running to 29.7 meters. Yep.

The first thing I did was buy some new blades for my rotary cutter. Then I went to the opshop and rummaged about a bit for fabric. I need to rummage again for orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. White, pink and red are done. The red was a near thing as I was 2 squares short and out of red fabric to play with. I squeezed out another couple of squares from my test sewing piece. Barely. This is so dramatic!

As it stands tonight, I’ve still got 30 to cut in orange, 55 to cut in yellow, 80 to cut in green, 90ish to cut in blue and 265 to cut in purple. I’m also suddenly reminded that the last time I made a mammoth project skirt, I didn’t end up ever wearing it.

Cheap and Cheerful

Brightly coloured acrylic yarn

The other day I was faffing about in Instagram when someone posted a picture of a bulk pack of lime green acrylic yarn from Spotlight (Spotlight is a chain here in Australia selling craft stuff and homewares). “Ew!” said the comments. “Gross!”. Not so much the colour, apparently, as the fact it was cheap acrylic. “Oh do fuck off” I said to myself, and unfollowed the yarn snob.

A considerable portion of my yarn stash is, sorry yarnsnobs, cheap acrylic. Sometimes I buy it because I like the colour, sometimes I buy it because it’s cheap. Sometimes I buy it because there’s a big bag of it and I think “I.. I need that”.  As much as I’d like to be able to use hand spun hand dyed terribly expensive yarn all the time, I can’t afford to. Nor can I justify a hand spun purchase for making the small and usually pointless objects I make. The yarn above is a novelty yarn from Spotlight and the colours just bliss me right out. It’s acrylic, mostly. It’s going to look mad and fabulous once it’s worked up into a vest. I shall wear it with joy, assuming I can upsize the pattern sizing. Stay tuned.

Quick aside, but acrylic these days is a long way from the acrylics of old. There’s a ball of yarn around here somewhere from years ago which is stiff and scratchy. These days acrylics can be soft and warm and lovely – we’ve come a long way, baby. Even the $1 a ball stuff I’ve got crammed in a basket is pretty nice to handle. Sure, it’s not pure wool nice or hand spun nice, but it’s not making me weep with sadness to use it. This big range of soft, quality acrylics means a bigger range for people with wool allergy or vegan principles. Hooray!

I’m a big, big believer in crafting being completely and fully accessible to anyone who wants to have a go. Despite what the Martha Stewarts of the world want you to think, there’s no need to spend half your wages on supplies. Currently, I’m gathering the bits together to make a cape for Winter. The outer fabric will be cut from a blanket I got at the op-shop for $10. My plan for the lining is a doona cover I .. well I got it at the op-shop for $4.  Add the pattern into the pricing and you’re looking at around $30 total. Possibly some swearing and whatnot also as it’s quite a complicated pattern. Even so, buying this fabric off the bolt would probably be $30 without the lining or pattern.

If you want to spend the money on the higher end of the supplies market, by all means go for it. It’s your money and your crafting time. The supplies are there for you to buy, but it’s a great thing that price points are so varied for supplies.  It’s lovely to use the high quality stuff, I get that.

Supplies Snobbery isn’t a thing I can get behind. Use what you love, even if it’s a second hand sheet or a bulk pack of cheap yarn. If it makes you happy, and making a thing makes you happy, then grab it and love it I say. I have, as you know, the last word on this subject.

Cross Stitch Fever

Once is year is a perfectly acceptable update schedule, shut your face. So what have I been up to? Oh, you know. Stuff. Basically, I work on the computer all day and then at the end of the day I want to go do other things so I haven’t been updating. At all. I was going to say “As much” but we both know I mean “At all”. On to the projects! This post is going to be cross stitch heavy, because that’s mostly what I’ve been doing.
Frog by Heritage CraftsA while back I was digging around in my closet and found some half done cross stitch projects. “Ooh” I thought, “I like cross stitching.”. Instead of finishing those, I bought some new ones. Above is the Frog from the Heritage Crafts Cross Stitch Critters range. I shouldn’t have looked that up, there’s a most adorable owl there. Frogs are my most best thing, and I’ve always enjoyed the Heritage Crafts range, there’s quite a few of their designs dotted around the house. I made one change to this kit – the bees are pink on the chart, but I don’t really like pink that much so I swapped it out for the left over gold from the fish.

Sunset Stroll by Heritage Crafts

Another one by Heritage, this time from their Silhouettes collection. This one just doesn’t photograph well at all, but looks much better in reality – honest. This range is one I’ve done a few times, and I love the tones in them. You have the option of getting these kits with evenweave or aida. If you’re tempted to try one, go the evenweave. Trust me. There’s so many half stitches in various directions you’ll go nutso trying it on aida.

Poppy WIPNow on to my current WIP. This is “White Flowers Filled With Light” from the Alisa Collection (site is in Russian). It was sent to me as part of the Redditgifts needlework exchange and I love it so hard. I’m about to press it and mount it on one of my clip frames as the fabric isn’t big enough to keep using the hoop for the corners. Details, you care about the details.

I’ve also made a ukulele strap, but that’s a post for another day. Pencil it in for June 2016.

 

Morsbags Timelapse

So basically what I’ve been making over the past month and a bit is Morsbags. There’s a festival coming up, and I want a bundle to hand out to people. Also they’re fun to make. But I made a big overexcited post about that before.

One thing I have bought recently is a new Brinno timelapse camera. I had one, but it didn’t have the viewfinder so I got some fabulous footage of “not quite what I wanted”. I decided to test out the camera inside and out, and the inside one is… sewing Morsbags. You can watch it if you like, it’s just here.

That’s about it for now, I bought some more sheets at the op-shop this morning as I was running out of stash to sew up into bags. I’m off to cut some more bags. Addicted. Little bit addicted.
If you’re interested in the Morsbag idea, you should visit the website.

More Morsbags Please

Being ever so slightly tragic in my adoration of “The Great British Sewing Bee”, I follow a lot of contestants on Twitter. I love that show, not just for the sewing – but I dream of a fabric stash like that, let’s be honest – but because unlike most competition style shows there’s no bitchy comments to a secret camera, no gloating when someone has to unpick their seams – it’s just nice, comfortable sewing with lovely people and Claudia Winkleman who is gorgeous. I digressed, oops. Anyway! The winner of the 2014 season, Heather, was photographed making a “Morsbag”. This was a new word to me, so I went over to the website and went “Oooh!”

A pile of Morsbags

On the face of it, Morsbags are a simple idea. You make a cloth bag, and use it instead of plastic bags. What makes Morsbags a bit special is that you make them and then give them away. You don’t sell them. You gift them. To people you know, people you don’t know – anyone anywhere. The fabric can be anything too, there’s a big push for recycled fabrics such as old sheets or clothes. As you can see I’ve made a bit of a stack so far (I’m up to 13, but I’ve another 5 or so cut out ready to sew) and all of mine are stash fabrics. Some of them are failed projects. The purple up there is a skirt I was halfway through before I just thought “This isn’t working” and shoved it into the stash, and the brown flowers are a sheet I dyed yellow and then forgot to use. The rest are  fabrics I’ve hung on to because they’re “special” but I thought “What am I hanging on to them for? They might be special, but they’re not being very special hidden away in a box”. I’ve made two froggy ones, one of those lives in my handbag and the other one is currently in transit to Lizzie in the UK who also adores frogs.

I can’t pinpoint what’s so exciting about these things, really. It’s a combination of things – using up forgotten fabric, reusing failed projects, the fact that making them is a breeze and the fact that once you’ve made them they’re gifted away. All of these things, combined together, make for exactly the sort of thing I love. Making, re-using and random acts of kindness.

If you’re interested in the project, you can find all the details at Morsbags.com. To make official Morsbags to hand out, you are asked to buy the labels to sew on, but these are sold at cost and are only 5pence each (about 10 US cents). You can also join a local pod (or group) to make it a social thing if you fancy that. You can use a different pattern if you prefer, or modify the given pattern (I sew my handles on slightly differently to make them extra super strong), and you can go nuts and embellish or patchwork or dye… whatever you like. I’ve so many smaller bits of fabric lurking in the stash that a patchworked Morsbag can’t be far away.

Look at all that blather, I’m pretty excited about this whole deal.