Sep. 12th, 2009 09:12 am
wrongera: (knitting)
Thanks to Ravelry, I have a trade in progress. Somebody is going to be trading me 30 sheets of personalizaed calligraphied paper for 8 of the Celtic knot bookmarks that I originally stitched as Yule gifts some time ago.

This makes me happy, because in addition to somebody actually compensating me for crafty work, it also means that I have a gift for my roommate. If I can put them aside until Yule (or Samhain, if I'm really itching to see the look on her face), then I can give a gift without having to spend more than the cost of a stamp. I already have the materials here, so it's not like I need to go out and buy a bunch of embroidery floss and evenweave/Aida cloth.

In the mail the other day I received a package from Kristen Tendyke, containing two large bags of swatches that she was trying to destash. And boy howdy, are there ever a lot of swatches!

I'm frogging most of them, but there are a few pieces that I'm going to work with as they are, since I either like the pattern or the swatch can very easily become something useful. I've got some ideas for a few things already, and it's going to be fun to get right back in the knitting groove and start making things with my hands again. As I've mentioned before, my crafty mojo sometimes goes on vacation for months at a time, leaving me feeling as though I should be doing something with my hands but just can't be bothered to.

I was sure I'd mentioned knitting leprosy bandages for charity before, but for the life of me, I can't find the entry in which I did. So I'll explain it all now.

The DOVE Fund collects knit and crocheted bandages to send to other countries where leprosy is still both a serious medical problem and a social problem. People make bandages out of white or tan crochet cotton, then send them off to the person who collects and stores them before shipping them off to the places in the world that need them most. In this case, Vietnam. The bandages are incredibly simple to make, and so I've challenged myself to knit 10 of them to send off. The picture above is of the first bandage completed.

Because the bandages are made from mercerized cotton, they're breathable and washable, and hard-wearing, which is exactly what's needed. Bandages don't need to be the gauzy stuff that gets used at hospitals all the time, especially when said bandages aren't always readily available in some of the poorer areas of the world.

I figure that I have the crochet cotton and am probably not going to do much else with it (except practice tablet weaving), so I may as well get some good use out of it and make something that can help somebody along. And to be honest, I'm also going to knit a few extra for personal use. Soak these guys in boiling water and they're sterilized. And then they're good to wrap around blisters, cuts, all manner of things.

I just wish I'd had a few when I sprained my ankle. The only bandage I could find at the time to help support my ankle was a self-adhesive one, which cost far too much, stuck to itself in ways I didn't want it to, smelled funny, and was a pain to use more than once. Whatever happened to good old cloth bandages that fastened with a little metal clip or two, anyway?
wrongera: (Default)
My crafty mojo hit sort of a downslide this past while. I returned to work and then promptly lost a load of my time, and a lot of my inspiration went with it. If I did anything, it was usually knitting on a few rows of a boucle afghan, or some leprosy bandages I intend to send off to a charity organization that collects them.

But now, things are a little different. For one thing, I no longer have a job. Yup, got laid off. The whole campany went belly-up, and we got all of a few hours of notice about not having jobs anymore.

But I won't grumble on about that here. I've got my personal blog for that. What I will grumble go on about is how I've found a bit more crafty inspiration lately. I think the cooling temperatures have something to do with it. This time of year comes along and I always want to be productive in a rather domestic way. Baking, making warm things to wear in the winter, that sort of thing. So I do, and I am.

No pictures at the moment, but I've started knitting myself a cowl out of some lovely worsted wool that I've had in my stash for a while. Forest green and rather soft, it's knitting up nice and quick and with any luck, should be finished in a few days of intermittant knitting.

I also got the inspiration to make a set of bracers, as shown here. Mine would be knit rather than crocheted (as you all know, I can't crochet to save my life), and I'm tempted to experiment with making a second pair and felting them, to see which one is more servicable.

Not that I have a particular need for servicable bracers, of course, but heck, you never know. :p And if nothing else, they'll be good for costume purposes, and I can think of a certain roommate who'd probably appreciate them as a gift for her costume stash.

When I find my camera and get off my lazy tuchus, I'll upload some pictures of what little I've got going on these days. And maybe by that point, there'll be more than just a little going on.
wrongera: (Default)
A few of us are going away next week, and so we're trying to get everything together in preparation. One of the things we're going to need to bring will be pillows. We've got a body pillow that we want to bring along, but it doesn't have a cover, and we don't want to get the actual pillow dirty (we'll be sleeping outside and in a tent), so I offered to use some of the spare material I have to make a pillow cover. I've got a fair bit of pinkish cottony stuff that I was going to use to make some pillow cases anyway, probably to try to sell at a craft fair, but this is a much better use for it. There's more than enough to make a cover for the body pillow, after all, and even though I'll have to handsew it and it'll need to be done by Thursday at the latest, I should be able to get it done. It's not like it needs to be anything fancy, after all.

But since I can't really get to work on that until my roommate comes home and gives me the body pillow (so I can get the measurements), I keep thinking that I really ought to be knitting more on that rug I'm working on. Simple garter stitch in thick soft yarn, and I've only got a few balls left, so if I work on it diligently I ought to have that done soon too.

Then I can work on a few of the dolls I want to knit. I had an idea to do character dolls, so I found a basic doll pattern, will edit that as I need, and then when I've got that down as best I can, I'll customize and individualize them and make amusing character dolls. I've got the idea to make Heralds first, of course (my obsessions run deep), but in terms of humanoid characters, I could pretty much adapt to any character.

I'm very tempted to make a doll for my roommate of her favourite role-playing character this way. I know she'd like it, and it'd be fun to make.

The only thing is that I don't think I have any good flesh-coloured yarn lying around, or even anything that would work as a close approximation, so I might have to wait until I get a little money before I make a serious start on that. I can make a few practice dolls with what I have lying around, though, while I work on adapting the pattern to my own needs. It doesn't really matter if the practice pieces of bright blue or variegated or whatever. :p

It's nice to feel busy and productive without feeling stressed about too many deadlines. Feeling busy and productive always feels good, I suppose, when you're being busy and productive with something you enjoy doing anyway, rather than just something you have to do.


Jun. 6th, 2009 04:18 pm
wrongera: (knitting)
It's a lovely day right now, so my roommate and I decided to go uptown for lunch at The Infusion. (Wonderful place, by the way, and if you ever happen to be in this city, I recommend you go there and try out their food and tea selection.) On a whim we decided to stop by Keltic Revival, because we saw they had a sale on.

The roommate came away with a dragon pendant and a new highland shirt, which pleased her to no end. What pleased me to no end was seeing that they sell handcrafts made by locals. I said that if they're still there in the winter that I'd knit up some scarves with knotwork-style cables, and the owner (who's a fantastic guy, very friendly and welcoming) said certainly, if I had anything like that he'd sell them.


So I've made up my mind. I'll knit him and his wife good warm scarves with knotwork patterns, and give them as gifts. If they think they could sell similar scarves in their store, then I'll gladly make them and supply them.

I think I just made my first tentative business deal.

Thankfully, the owners are the kind of people who would likely understand just what the value would be behind such a scarf if I knit it from, say, cashmere as opposed to acrylic, so I have no fear of them trying to compare apples to oranges that way, so to speak.

My roommate was also saying that if they do sell my scarves, it would be a great way to get people in the area knowing my name, in case anyone wanted something custom or other stores wanted to make a similar deal. I doubt that would happen, but she has a point. If someone wants a scarf in green rather than white, for example, they can contact me and let me know and I can get to work on it. And it might bring in a few sales for other projects of mine that I work on, too, not just knitted winterwear.

And now, I have to see if I have any good yarn that would make a good scarf for this project. I'm sure I have some, somewhere. Just have to sig through the stash enough and I'm certain I'll come across some good wool, if not actual cashmere.
wrongera: (Default)
I've created an ArtFire seller account for myself. There's nothing listed there right now, but give me a week and I should have some things ready for sale, on the offchance that anybody's interested.

Basic ArtFire accounts can list up to 10 items at a time, which is good enough for me right now. If it turns out that the things I make sell so quickly and so well that 10 items slots just isn't enough, I might consider upgrading to a verified account, which would allow me to list more items. For now, though, things are good as they are, since I doubt I'll end up churching out 50 items for sale each month. (It'd be nice, income-wise, but I'm not counting on it.)


May. 24th, 2009 02:15 am
wrongera: (Default)
Serves me right for not checking for a while, but only now I discover that I can easily add background images to my journal. So I've done so. Purple ivy leaves on a black background. It's amazing what inverting colours can do, especially for plants. The greens turn into such amazing shades of purples, and I love how purple-on-black looks.

Haven't been doing much crafting lately. Knitting on and off on the Clapotis, which is starting to get a little bit boring but isn't quite long enough that I feel I can start on the decrease section and finally bind off. A lot of the crafting that I have been doing is more theoretical. Plans and mental designs and whatnot. Too much of what I want to do doesn't go beyond my mind. I ought to stop contemplating so much and just pick up the supplies and do what I want to do rather than just thinking about it so much.

I have, at least, been writing more. I'm doing a challenge on HubPages, trying to write 30 Hubs in 30 days. So far I'm on track. It's been good to try to write something every day, and to write down some things that I've been meaning to for a while now. So at least I've been productive in one area, if not another.

And now that summer's here, I want to do more passive things because of the heat. While I do love a good walk in the sun, I also enjoy a good stay-inside with a good book or video game. But I'm still trying to get out more, especially with my camera. Budding leaves and flowers make for some lovely pictures. Once I get some really good ones, I'll probably post a few here. This is a craft and art journal, after all, and good photography is as much an art as good drawing.
wrongera: (Default)
Supplies for your first waxcraft attempt in years - $10

Time spent preparing - 3 hours

Feeling of despair as your project fails utterly and completely - Priceless

Managing to salvage a half-decent birthday present for your roommate anyway - Even more priceless, if such a thing is possible.

Pictures to come soon, once I get them uploaded. I'll take you through the whole sordid adventure of failure and then semi-recovery. And learning. I learnt what not to do next time, so that I might actually succeed at my next attempt.
wrongera: (knitting)
I finally found my camera and uploaded a few pictures of a couple of projects I've been working on over the past while.


My Clapotis, done in Noro Kureyon Sock yarn. The yarn's a little too rough and uneven for me to even think about using it for socks, but it works just fine for something like this.

The pattern's simple and easy to memorize, and the long colour repeats of the Noro yarn look quite attractive here.


I haven't touched it in a while, but I've been wanting to get back to it lately. My geisha pattern, based on an image intended for stained glass but one that works just as well for embroidery.

I traced it onto fabric with a washable blue fabric pencil, then started on the hair. Satin stitch in black cotton embroidery floss.

Doesn't look too impressive now, but with a little more time and a few more colours, it ought to end up looking pretty nifty, I think.

I'm thinking that I'll end up attaching the top and bottom of the fabric to dowels and hanging it on the wall like a scroll. I think it would suit the theme of the pattern pretty well.
wrongera: (art)
Turns out that despite me not working very much on this last pay period, I still got a decent paycheque. Why? Because they added in all my acrued vacation pay. No idea how that will affect my chances of getting EI, but at least it gave me a little extra money now to pick up some craft supplies to tide me over.

And by 'tide me over', I mean 'keep me occupied for-freaking-ever'. Today, I picked up the following:

  • A set of 12 watercolour pencils
  • A set of postcard-sized acid-free blank cards that can be used for ACTs and ACEOs
  • A lovely fine inking pen for my roommate
  • An invitation to a craft and art fair this Saturday; anyone want to come with? :D
  • Enough wax to make my roommate's birthday present, and then some!
  • A copper goblet that will also be part of my roommate's birthday present
  • A copper hanging incense bowl thingy
  • A large rough-made wooden box that needs sanding down and then painting, after which I think it'll look great
  • A small bottle of enamel coating for ceramics
  • Simulated liquid lead for glasswork
  • Etching solution
  • A large pot for dyeing yarn, melting wax, and whatever else I can think of to use a pot for; finally, I have a pot that's crafting-only!
  • What looks like a burlap sack that'll be great for a rug idea I have in mind

    All of the above cost me less than $50, which I think is a bargain considering how annoying and bulky it all was to get home.

    Going to Value Village to check out what supplies they have can be so hard on the pocketbook sometimes. They had a fair selection of crochet cotton, and they nearly always do. Lots of candles that could be melted down and turn into other things. Books I might have bought if I didn't plan on taking advantage of the book sale tomorrow. But most intruiguing of all was the old-fashioned almost-heavier-than-I-could-lift typewriter! I didn't dare ask what it cost; I knew I didn't have the money for it nor the space to keep it even if I could have afforded it. But oh, it was so very tempting!

    About a year ago they had an old sewing machine, too. One that was attached to its own table and was powered by a treadle. I coveted it until it was no longer in the store, and I want it still. Or at least one like it. Never mind that I have an electric sewing machine of my own; dangit, I want an old-fashioned one that could have been used in the later 1800s!

    I could use it, then write about it on the old typewriter.

    "Born in the wrong era" isn't such a farfetched notion for me, is it?
  • wrongera: (different perspective)
    The people that read my LiveJournal already know this, but for the next while, I have medical leave from work. I'm not deathly ill, or anything of the sort, but my health problems have been building to the point where I went to the doctor yesterday to get stress leave, so that I can take a step back from a lot of things and see if I can get my life back on track without one of the biggest causes of stress continuing to wear me down.

    I was expecting a few weeks off, maybe a month on the outside. What I got was 12 weeks of stress leave, as well as instructions on how to draw on Unemployment Insurence during that time. With the paycheque I'll be getting at the very end of this month, that ought to hold me over for May, financially, but after that, if I don't have any other income, I'd have to go back to work whether I felt ready or not.

    So once I get my Record of Employment at the beginning of next week, I'll file a claim and hopefully some of that money will be here when I need it.

    So what does this really mean, aside from potentially haing almost a quarter of a year of free time? Well, for one thing, it means I have a lot of free time to work on various creative projects, which is the real focus of this journal. I won't have spare money to go out and buy new materials, so I'll be making the most of what I already have stashed (and believe me, I have plenty) and what I can scrounge up for free. Which, when I put it like that, may not sound like much, but believe me, there's a lot I can do right now with what I have put aside in my stash, or things that are just lying around on the street. I'm constantly amazed at the amount of garbage that litters the ground that makes me go, "Hey, I can do something with that!"

  • If I can get my hands on some screen, like a window screen (which shouldn't be too hard if I search around a few apartment buildings, since those things fall out a good deal), I can try my hand at making paper from the flyers that come in the mail that we never ask for and never use.
  • I've got a sweater or two that can be frogged for yarn that's of the perfect weight for a project of mine. Dye the yarn, knit some two or three colour designs from a few charts I've found or can make, then felt them down and sew a good backing to them, and make patches or badges. I can't think of an easier project to personalize, that's for sure!
  • Cheap candles aren't quite as cheap as I remember them, but I do have some candles that I bought from Value Village a while back that can easily be melted down so that I can work on the waxcraft projects I have in mind.
  • Tons of knitting. Can't forget about my knitting! Or my designing, since I still have a few patterns that I need to test knit and then release, either for free or for a small price, depending on the complexity.
  • I've got a lot of scrap cloth and remnants that can be turned into new clothes or accessories, and plenty of floss that I can use for embroidery on said accessories.
  • I've still got that set of coloured pencils at my disposal, and a camera, and a lot of pictures that I've taken that would be very good practice for drawing. Maybe I'll try my hand at some ATCs and ACEOs, see if I can create something I actually think might be worth passing along.

    And of course, I can always write. I've been feeling the writing bug more and more lately, which isn't surprising since the weather's getting good and I always seem to enjoy writing more in the spring and summer than in the colder seasons. Maybe if I get lucky I can end up with some good short stories, ones I can be properly proud of.

    I don't intend to waste this time I've been given. I've let too many opportunities pass me by in the past, and that's part of my predicament now. I could be doing something I enjoy more, instead of having to take stress leave because so much seems to be going wrong. Maybe this is my real chance to see what I can do, to see what I can make and what might come of it. After all, what I primarily need is time, time to organize and to get all these projects started, and I've certainly got that now!

    I still need to find my camera so that I can show pictures of what I have been working on, at any rate. Journals like this tend to be much more interesting when there's an extra visual aspect to them, don't you think?

    [Edit] There, a few new icons have been added so I can have a little more variety here. Happy happy! This one's my nice-and-amusing "different perspective" icon, since, you know, Lucard makes all kinds of funny faces if you leave him alone long enough. :p
  • wrongera: (Default)
    I changed the layout of my journal page. It's nothing special, but I like it better than the other one, so this is what I'll stick with for a good long time, I think. The only thing it's missing is a nice background image. I've just the one in mind, but not being as savvy as I, erm, originally thought I was, I can't figure out how to add it. Or even if I can add it, really. I'm sure I'll find out how eventually, but until that day comes, I'm quite happy enough with my layout as it is.

    I should be knitting. My Clapotis isn't going to make itself longer, that's for sure! (Must find my camera again soon as upload some pictures of what I've been doing with myself, craft-wise, over the past little while. And my knitblog is long overdue for an update, too!)
    wrongera: (Default)
    Tomorrow after work, I plan to visit a nearby Dollar Store to pick up some cheap candles to melt down so that I can get started on doing some wax carving again. So long as the candle itself isn't painted, if the wax itself is coloured, then it should work well for what I have in mind, which is going to be a birthday present for a friend. (There's just about no chance of her reading this journal, so I can post about it here without worry.)

    And even if the wax is painted rather than coloured, I can still work with that. I can scrape the paint off before melting down the wax, or just let the paint mix with the melted wax so it's got a speckled effect. I might give both things a try, if I have the chance, to see which one looks better. Flecks of paint mixed in with clear or white wax might be something I'll want to work with later on, if it works the way I can picture it working. But we'll see.

    I'm looking forward to starting this. It's been so long since I've played with wax like this, and my mind is racing with things that I'd like to make from it, effects I'd like to try and all sorts of fun projects. The only bad thing about wax carving and sculpture is that the stuff can break so easily if you're not careful and drop it, or holding it in your hand for too long can soften the wax and ruin the definition of the image. It's pretty much something you put on a shelf and admire, not something you use or fiddle with very often.

    But even pretty decorations have their place, after all, and there's no harm in creating something whose only use is to bring a smile to someone's face.
    wrongera: (Default)

    I've wanted to be an artist for a long time. More than that, I've wanted to make my way in the world as an artist. Someone who can pay the bills (or at least pay some of the bills) with money derived from doing what I love.

    I make enough money doing what I do now. But working out in the mundane world is sometimes more stressful than I can handle, and it's taking its toll on my health. My social anxiety gets worse. So does my Tourette syndrome, my IBS, and my immune system doesn't take too kindly to it all either, throwing constant infections at me until I can't remember what it's actually like to be healthy anymore. My asthma prevents me from doing a lot of things that I really want to do, my hearing problems combine with social anxiety to make social interaction outside of a very small comfort zone a real chore. Depression may be making a comeback. And that's the tip of the iceberg. I have to suck it up and work through all of this, all the time, and it's wearing me down.

    I need an out. And now I'm finally working to get one.

    This journal isn't going to be primarily a selling-stuff journal. Each post I make isn't going to be a "BUY MY STUFF" advertisement. That's just annoying. I'm going to post various crafts here, various pieces of art, finished pieces and work in progress, tutorials, ramblings, failed attempts, all sorts. Some things will be for sale. These things will be marked as such. But these will likely be a minority of posts. More often than not you're going to just see stuff that I'm working on or trying out, that sort of thing.

    And if you want to help me along by purchasing a thing or two, that's awesome, and I thank you in advance for it. If you don't, that's cool too. I like to make things for the sake of making things. The potential to make a little bit of cash from it comes a very far second from the job of sitting down and creating something from nothing in the first place. It's the candied fruit on the icing on the cake.

    There have been so many things I've been tempted to try. I already knit, and someday I swear I'll teach myself crochet, but until then I'll happily keep knitting. I've been wanting to try knitting some heraldic image charts and then felting them to make badges or patches. I recently bought a tatting shuttle and want to try tatting. I can sew and embroider decently, but want to practice more at both of those things. I like to design patterns. One of these days I'm going to buy myself a spinning wheel and learn how to spin on that (I'm already getting a bit better at spinning on a drop spindle), and I'd like a loom to weave on, too. Tablet weaving is something else I want to try. Kumihimo braiding, and other forms of decorating braiding and knotting, are also on the list. Naalbinding, which you don't see too much of outside of SCA or other historic re-enactment circles.

    I want to get back into drawing and sketching, and have been loaned a decent set of coloured pencils to practice with too, until I can get good enough to justify buying myself a really good set. I've been wanting to take up painting, too, though that will likely have to wait until I get more space.

    There are other things. I've got a leather tooling kit that I want to practice with as soon as the kitchen table has enough space cleared on it. I keep looking at trash we have and going, "I could make something from that." Broken bottles can be made into colourful glass mosaics with time, paint, and patience. Tin cans can become cheap pretty lamps, or planters for seedlings. I used to make wax sculpture and carvings when I was younger, and I've been wanting to take that up once more, maybe in addition to experimenting with making candles and soap. I want to try my hand at making paper someday, too.

    All of these things excite me, and I want to try them and show off my attempts, my failures, my successes. I want to learn what I'm good at, what I like, and what might be better put aside in favour of something that doesn't frustrate me quite so much. I want to experiment, to play around, and maybe, just maybe, find my niche. I want to find the place where I can be comfortable, doing what I love doing, and making a living from it.

    And you know, there's no better day to start.

    In keeping with the "Born in the Wrong Era" idea that came along with this journal, a good number of these crafts may involve things that you'd expect to see in ages gone by. Patchwork pillows or blankets made from old clothing. Socks done in naalbinding. Embroidered Faire garb. Things that you don't tend to see around that often unless you're in those specific circles. I like them. I find old crafts fascinating, and can easily see myself sitting in some old cottage in the countryside, a fire going on the heart that's heating up soup in an old black kettle, and I'm sewing away at some piece of clothing or other. I feel sometimes that I was born into the wrong era.

    Don't get me wrong. If I was born into any era but this one, I'd probably be dead. My crappy lungs would have given out long ago, or else I'd have been tried as a witch or something because of Tourette's outbursts, or any number of things. I'm glad to live in current times because current times enable me to keep breathing, to get treatment for my conditions. But there's a lot to be learned from the past, and taking a quick jaunt back to yesteryear is no bad thing sometimes.