Crafty Things

Pop tab Coin Purse

I’m excited about this one.

same pattern, two different designs

same pattern, two different designs

These little guys are coin purses made from pop tabs. I got the urge to try this after watching the following videos on youtube.

 

Youtube strikes again!

If you watched the above video, you’ll see some differences between them and the coin purses I made. The first time I did this project I followed the pattern to almost a T.

Hey, no place in town sold Espiga Rayon thread. And I didn’t feel like shopping over the internet to find any. That time I used Cotton crochet thread from Aunt Lydia.

When I completed the project I didn’t like how it looked with the sides being made of the pop tabs. I looked nothing like the picture shown in the video. In the end I pulled that project.Cotton crochet thread pop tab coin purse

This time around I skipped the  middle section and crocheted the two side together. I like this look much better to tell the truth.

Once again I used Aunt Lydia crochet thread for the dusty red one. But to try something new, I used Plarn on the second one.

The one  I did with the crochet thread had a more 3D shape to it. I think it looks more like a flower than a coin purse. I think if I were to change how the sides are connected to the pop tabs it might look more like a coin purse.

I did try starting the sides at the top of the pop tabs on another project. It made it look more like the plarn shape.

Plarn pop tab coin pursePersonally, the one made of plarn is my favorite. It lays flat like the one in the video and its more earth friendly that its thread counterpart.

What should I try next?

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Fusion Experiment

Here we go again with another post about recycled plastic. Seriously guys, if you starting getting sick of reading about all the cool things you can turn those shopping bags into let me know.

You have seen my first tries of working with the medium and what I’ve created with some of my own creative juices. What else could I possibly get myself into? What about something other than rugs?

What would happen if you could turn those lightweight plastic bags into a piece of wall art? I think I managed to do that. Take a look at this!

Fused plastic wall art

That my friends, is made of fused plastic bags with Walmart plarn for the letters. The idea for this project came as an assignment in my Digital Humanities class. We were asked to write something without using paper and ink.

I saw people who used coffee beans to spell out the “Our Father” prayer, pipe cleaners to say “hello” in 16 different languages. One person used a pizza box and newspaper clippings. But I fared to be different.

Fused plastic is a newer form of recycling. I only recently came across it and had been dying to try it out for myself. Threadbanger on Youtube had a video about making a computer bag out of fused plastic and I ran with the idea from there.

All I did was fuse 2 black garbage bags together with an iron on medium heat. The hard thing was getting the air bubbles out. Once it was fused I picked the words to stitch onto it.

During this time I had been listening to “Fly on the Wall” by Thousand Foot Crutch. Well, I really had been listening to the Nightcore version but the words are the same. Any who. I took part of the first verse as my words.

The other night I had a dream. There was a world full of Kings and Queens. But it was cold.

Originally I tried to use an embroidery needle to drive the plarn through the fused plastic. That didn’t work. Instead I needed to prime the fused plastic with a thumb tack. I poked the holes I needed to make the letters and then stitched them in.

The longest part of this project was the lettering. I thought I could crank it out in an hour or three before class. That didn’t happen. Thankfully, class had been cancelled for some odd reason and I got another week to complete it.

Now it’s your turn. What can you come up with?

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Plarn Rugs getting creative

We see them everywhere and probably don’t think much of them. They are plastic bags that we get, well everywhere in the US. Go to Walmart, liqueur store, gas station, grocery and they will be there. In fact in the United States there are 102 Billion bags used per year, or approximately 1 million per 5 minutes, accoding to Plastic Waste Solutions. In other countries there are charges to put your items in a plastic bag, or plastic bags of the lightweight style are completely banned.

By no means is this meant to be a “wag the finger, shame on you for not recycling” type post. Actually, just the opposite. This is more a creative call to action. Let’s see what we can make with this plastic problem.

Some time last year I posted about playing with Plastic. There I talked about one crafty way of taking those plastic bags and re-purposing them as a craft material. Since then, I have been playing designs one can make with plarn.

 Take a look at these! Rug 1

Just as good outside as inside

Just as good outside as inside

Over the summer I worked on making the start of another woven rug. Its the same pattern I learned in the Playing with plastic post and the rugs measure 18 X 30 inches.

My original plans for this project was to weave a bright strip of yellow through the holes the pattern made. That didn’t happen. My dad had been thinking about buying a anti-fatigue rug for him to stand on as he was grilling for my brother’s grad party. I had him stand on the unfinished rug and asked him to give it a try before spending 30-40 bucks.

That day we got a down pour of rain and the rug held up nicely. As you can see from the picture, there is snow. I half expected it to freeze and snap, but it was just as flexible as the day of the grad party. I’m also surprised that it hasn’t blown away. Just goes to show the versatility of the material.

Rug 2

7 strand braided weave

7 strand braided weave

This next rug is very similar to the black one above. This time I used a single ply of clear plastic to make the body. The woven strands are a braided rope made of 6 strips of black garbage bags and 1 strand of a snowflake patterned table clothe that I picked up at the Bemidji State University’s free store.

This rug is also 18 X 30 inches. I’m not surer where this on will find a home but it’s sure to add a pop of personality.

Rug 3

The final rug is a different pattern than the other two but has the same measurements. It plays with the leaping blocks and stripes crochet pattern.

Before making this rug I had made a blanket with this same patterns and it turned out fantastic! I took a break from crafting to give my hands a break after completing the project, but even as I was resting I was playing with the idea of adapting the pattern for Plarn.

Color changing leaping block and strip rug

Color changing leaping block and strip rug

The rows of white on the ends were a little tricky in the fact that I had to go down the row and then pick up the other color and bring it down before tying off. I know that sounds a little confusing, but I really don’t have a better way of explaining it.

If I try this project again I need to figure out how to make it a rectangle and not an hour glass. This warping of the shape happened because I used two different plastics with different thicknesses.

Maybe if I had used 2 ply for the white it wouldn’t have bowed. Or if it does still bow when I try it again, I’ll try using a double crochet when I go around for the boarder.

Currently this rug is sitting in the porch at my parent’s house. Maybe my next experiment will be able to have “wipe you feet” crocheted into the pattern.

Only time can tell.

With crafting, your only limitation is you imagination

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Key Chain with Pop Tabs

You do it every time to open a can: pull on the pop tab. In the past all they used to be good for was fundraising for schools. Now people are getting crafty with the little buggers and you wont believe what they’ve come up with. If your curious…

 

 I’ve seen a lot of people making bracelets, chains, belts, headbands, you name the accessory it’s probably out there. Heck, I’ve even seen a steering wheel cover made of pop tabs. A woman called stephsyaya makes and sells these on Esty.com.

 

I’m nowhere near as talented as this but I too have dabbled in the fusion of crochet and pop tabs. My recent craft experiment turned out to be Christmas gift to my mom. Here it is!

 

Mom's three heart keychain

Mom’s three heart keychain

This is one of the simplest projects to do with pop tabs. Each heart is made from two pop tabs crocheted together with a chain connecting it to the clip.

I have more yarn scraps than I know what to do with and a few tabs left over from friends collecting them for me. All I needed to buy for this project was the clip. I got it at Joanns in a pack of assorted Lanyard Hooks, Split Rings And Key Rings for $3.

The inspiration for this I found a few months back. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “Youtube is dangerous.” I found a video on how to do this by Yolanda Soto Lopez. This is the same woman who taught me how to make the Black Poncho that Pickachu modeled last year.

So far, mom loves the gift but hasn’t clipped it to anything. This would be a quick and easy thing to make for a friend or family member for any occasion. This heart shape can also be used to create crochet bags and coaster.

With crafting, your only limitation is you imagination.

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Minecraft in fashion

Let me start this one out by asking a question. “Have you heard of Minecraft?”

For those of you who don’t know about this game here’s the lo down from a non-player. Minecraft is a build anything, do anything because you can kind of game. Everything is made out of blocks in this game… even the building blocks are made out of blocks. The options of what you can make are limited only by your imagination. If you don’t believe me, then take a look at this!

That was all made in Minecraft. Pretty cool hu?

Now like I said before, I don’t play Minecraft personally. I back seat game on occasion. What I do with Minecraft is create items the resemble items in the game. I make Minecraft hats.

To be honest I’m proud of myself for lerning how to do this. I’m sure you’ve searched on google for Minecraft hats and have seen come cool creations.

The idea to try my own had at making something like that came from a gift idea for my boyfriend. He is a big gamer and loves Minecraft; he probably has every mod out there. So, I decided that I was going to make him a creeper beanie.

Creeper beanie

Creeper beanie

For this design I made the hat first with only one strand of yarn and then stitched the mouth and eyes on later. It wasn’t bad for my first try, but I thought I could do better. Perfectionist that I am. the second time I made the hat it had two strands of green and the face was stitched in as I went along.

I must have pulled the project three to four times before I had the look I wanted. My problem with do the in stitch design was the face slanting. Counting stitches didn’t help with my slanting problem, so I ended up winging it. I think it turned out alright, don’t you?

But I couldn’t stop there. Somehow my brother caught wind that I was making these and asked if I would make him a black creeper with a red face. He is attending Moorhead State, so his request made sense from a school color stand point.

Moorhead Creeper

Moorhead Creeper

You can see in this one how the nose part is a little slanted, but the rest looks good. The kid loved his Christmas present. I hope he wears it to his classes on campus.

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Playing with Plastic

I wouldn’t call myself a “green freak” but I do like thinking of ways to reuse things so that they don’t end up in the dump. Seeing how I’m in college I can’t do as much as if I had my own house. If that was the case I would have one word right on the tip of my tongue: Compost. but like I said, College in a dorm. I don’t think my floor mates would appreciate the smell.

But this isn’t about what I will do, its about what I’ve been doing. And I have been playing with plastic; plastic bags to be more specific.

I have a friend who one year for a gift gave me a crochet bag she made entirely out of something called Plarn. Plarn is the term for yarn that is made from plastic bags. you can make this stuff from any sort of bag you get at a store. Mine are mostly from Walmart and the C3 store on campus. Before I left for college my family and I would use the unholy bags as trash can liners for in the bathroom, offices and bed rooms. In the form I only have one trash can and it gets emptied onces every two weeks or so. The bags have been piling up and making plarn out of the bags cuts down on the clutter.

There are two ways that I make plarn. I either do the loop method which is the easiest and fastest to make.

From the video you can see that the strand is actually doubled giving it a little extra strength.  This way of making the stuff is good for weaker plastics such as those Walmart bags. that stuff is ridiculously thin and snap under the slightest tug.

The second method is the continuous strand method. It may take longer to do and has a higher rate of possible fixable mistake, but it gives you more plarn to work with. This method works better for a stronger plastic such as industrial trash bags.

It was with this second method that I’ve been playing the most with.  I cut seven (and a smidge) 50-60 gallon trash bags into plarn and with that I made my first rug. Not going to lie, I’me kinda proud of this. The idea didn’t really come from anywhere specific but the stitch that I used was the weave. The Crochet Crowd has a video on how to make the basic stitch. I tinkered with it from there.

Can you see the Mistake?

Can you see the Mistake?

In the video he uses two strand of normal yarn and a 6.5 mm crochet hook. I also used two strand of my plarn and for once I had the same size hook as the one in the video. My rug measure 18.5 X 30 inches. It probably took me two days to get it crocheted , granted I did mess up and have to pull a good five inches or so and start over.

 

 

The start of the weave

The start of the weave

Once it was to the size that I wanted I started weaving in strips left over from a botched Halloween costume. To tell the truth the fabric was a table cloth that I  bought at the Bemidji Goodwill for $3.00 about. The fabric was cut in a round so I had a continuous strip to work with. after weaving it through I left approximately 6 inches at the ends. I haven’t tied the ends yet but once that’s done I’ll clip the fabric strips. Some of the strips I have tied down but they make the back-and-forth pattern look weird. To fix this I’m thinking that I’ll warp the strip around the plarn outer post and then tie the knot.

I liked working on this project and it made heads turn when I was working on it at work. The rug itself has an almost soft and squishy texture to it. The best part about this project is that this rug will last longer than the bags would have on their own.

However working with the Plarn was a killer on my hands. Plastic cuts aren’t as bad as paper cuts granted but weaving the fabric through ate away at my cuticles. I’ll be having hangnails for a week at least. Another thing that was a little frustrating was that my fabric strips kept fraying. I had snibbles clinging to everything; my shirt, my pants my socks, the futon, my bedding, even my computer (figure that).

When I do try this project again I’m going to try just one strand of Plarn. Using two made the rug very stiff and thick. using just one should let it fit under doors better. Another thing I want to try is using ribbon or actual yarn to weave through the posts. at least that stuff won’t  leave snibbles behind… I hope.

Pretty socks on Plarn Rug

Pretty socks on Plarn Rug

In Case You Missed the Links

Weave stitch tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCRWsush4PE

The crochet Crowd YouTube Channel:  http://www.youtube.com/user/mikeyssmail

Looped plarn method video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdTm2V4ssvY

Continuous strand method video:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo0xsp5SCFE

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Mr. Bear’s new hat

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Its been awhile since I’ve done a crafty post and for that I apologize. This recent project gave me a bit of trouble. I ended up pulling this project 3-4 times before I finally managed to get it right.

This project was found once again on Youtube. The creator of this hat is The Crochet Zombie, and for all my problems with making this hat, the tutorial video was brilliant. In this case, my problems was in “crafter error.”

 

In the tutorial, Crochet zombie calls for a  5 mm hook. Being the college student that I am, I don’t have a 5 mm. I had a 4.25 mm and thought that would work alright. Ah, no. If the pattern calls for this size hook don’t go smaller if its for clothing. I ended up having problems with the yarn that I was using and the hat was very tight and honestly would have fit a small child. Not what I was going for. This was pull #1

Pull #s 2 and 3 were because I messed up on the increases and hiding the resting color. I didn’t even finish the bottom of the hat on these tries they were that bad.

So try 4 was the one that became Mr. Bear’s new hat. Gosh knows I had plenty of practice with the previous tries. I ended up using a 6mm hook. This made the stitches a little bigger and looser than what was in the tutorial, but it works. I followed my memory for the most part of making the hat (thank you failures), only consulting the video to know how deep to make the hat.

I must have a bigger head than Crochet Zombie. I made the hat as deep as she did, but it just covered the tips of my ears. Normally I like my hats to come to the bottom of my ears, so I added another row of half double crochets and did a finishing row of single crochets to end it.

I might actually keep and wear this one. Before I wear this hat, I would soak it in cold salt water so the dark color doesn’t fade or bleed and then wash it with like colors.

In Case you missed the Links:

Crochet Zombie’s Youtube channel:  http://www.youtube.com/user/TheCrochetZombie?feature=watch

Swirl Beanie Tutorial: www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mP-tquWvA0

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Pikachu in a Poncho

I finished this latest project last night while I was working the front desk. I found the Youtube video for this over the Christmas break, but didn’t start it until a week or so ago. The neck is 130 stitches around and is 33 rows long. In the video Yolanda Soto Lopez, the creator, shows her work before she teaches you how to make it. On her it reaches to her hands. The one I did only comes to the elbow and isn’t as flowey as her’s. I think when I try this again I will decrease the number of stitches around the neck to 120 or 125 and do 32 rows of just the netting, that should help with the length.

This video has instructions spoken in English but there are Spanish subtitles, which made things interesting. There were times that the English instructions were not clear and caused some confusion, this is why I’m thinking about tinkering with the original design.

Poncho laid flat

Poncho laid flat

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Mr. Bear wears hats

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Over this past Christmas break I learned to crochet three different types of hats. I had heard that my aunt who knits had learned to make some and I had hope that she would teach me, but a family chili cook off got in the way. Thank goodness for Youtube. Youtube is good for two reasons:

  1. I can’t read a crochet or knitting pattern to save my live. I work better when I can see it being done and can mimic what I see.
  2. If I ever need more ideas that I have yarn to make them, Youtube it the perfect muse.

The first hat I attempted to make was a simple Easy Beanie. The woman who did the tutorial walked me through step by step with easy to see and follow instructions. Let me just say that tutorial videos that have the person talking you though the steps make for a better learning experience for the viewer.

The second hat was a Granny Square hat. Bobwilson123 is an excellent creative crocheter that I now go to for a lot of ideas for my own projects. The thing that I like about her videos is that if she makes a mistake in the tutorial you’re watching she will actually show you how to fix the mistake without completely pulling out your work.

The third hat I didn’t have for Mr. Bear to model, but it is called the Brick Stitch hat and was also another hat I learned to make from Bobwilson123. Mom loved this one and has it at home with her. This was a simple hat to make once you got used to the pattern. Another cool thing about this hat is that the pattern can be for a hat or it can be modified into a bag. So say you made the hat too big for a person’s head you can just turn it into a bag and save the project.

Thank you Mr. Bear for modeling the hats.

In case you missed the links: 

Easy Beanie

Bobwilson123’s Youtube channel:  http://www.youtube.com/user/bobwilson123?feature=watch

Granny Square hat

Brick Stitch hat

Brick Stitch bag

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Beowulf Scarf

Not to brag or anything but I’m rather proud of this.

The story goes like this:

Once there was a great teacher of men, who knew a great many things; Professor Swain was his name. Depending on the season he would teach differing things. In the fall of the fifth year of Obama’s ruling(2013), Swain shared his vast knowledge on the Great hero of old, that mighty slayer of beasts, Beowulf. This he did with much pleasure. He taught his pupils well about the importance of a king’s benches, personal honor over the the honor of your king and what makes a good warrior and a “good King.” When the time came for his pupils to shower him with gifts to prove their learning, the great Swain cried, “If only I had a pair of socks with the story of this great hero immortalized upon them. An “A for the day” would be the reward to one who can bring me these treasured war-sandals.”

What he wanted

The Immortal war-sandals of that long ago warrior

Many quested for the prized war-sandals, but  none had the skills needed to succeed. One student thought, “I will use what skills I have to immortalize that great warrior in the best way I can. I shall craft a winter’s necklace as a wearable tapestry.” Many nights passed in sleepless determination to finish the neck-tapestry, all else took second place to the quest at hand. On the rising of the third day, the student surveyed the final work. They packed it in a box of fire toasted jelly breakfast bread, (pop-tarts) and presented it to the teacher. Too shy to watch him open the package, the student fled before receiving the highly sought after “A for the day”.

More or less that’s how it happened, well with less of the attempt to be Beowulfy in style.

In case you were wondering, this is the text Old English as it appears in the Original Manuscript.This is how the first 11 lines appear in the Manuscript. To read the full prologue check out the link.

LO, praise of the prowess of people-kings
of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,
we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!
Oft Scyld the Scefing from squadroned foes,
from many a tribe, the mead-bench tore,
awing the earls. Since erst he lay
friendless, a foundling, fate repaid him:
for he waxed under welkin, in wealth he throve,
till before him the folk, both far and near,
who house by the whale-path, heard his mandate,
gave him gifts: a good king he!

Translated lines provided by Beowulfepic.com

I Knitted Beowulf!

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