Friday, July 24, 2015

Scrappy Crocheted Rag Rug for Noodle's Nest

Now that it's arrived at its new home, I can finally share my completed rag rug with you all!  For those who might have missed the initial post, I recently organized Round 2 of the One Awesome Harry Potter Thing Swap over on Craftster.  I was lucky enough to partner with the utterly fantastic noodle-bug, who also just happens to be my Deputy Headmistress in the Harry Potter Craftalong over there.  While we were chatting about our mutual HP love, it became apparent that we both desperately want to live in the Burror, the home of the Weasley family.  

The Weasleys are kind, loving, welcoming, and poor.  Mrs. Weasley makes handmade gifts at the holidays and sends Harry wonderful knitted sweaters and homemade mince pies.  (We are clearly kindred spirits.)  I decided that I wanted to give noodle-bug a little bit of the Weasley's loving-if-threadbare home by creating a rag rug for her flat in London.  

The pattern is from ATERGcrochet on Etsy, and calls for tee shirt (or zpaghetti/fettucini yarn), which I thought would be fun to work with, and hopefully work up quickly.  Both of those things turned out to be true.  What didn't work so well was finding the yarn itself.  Tee shirt yarn seemed to be available everywhere a year or two ago, but it has since disappeared from store shelves.  I did some looking around online and found very few sources in the US, but one seller on Etsy called Ganxxet had a decent selection and fair prices.  (Some were charging and arm & a leg!)  Ganxxet was very helpful and great to work with.  She got back to me on a question right away, and I'd order from her again in a heartbeat.  I picked up a dusky pink, and this cool white print from her.

Sadly I couldn't afford to order all the yarn I'd need, so I decided to make some myself.  I made the navy and the black yarn from tube jersey that was on sale at Joann's for 50% off.  I bought 2.5 yards of black and 1 yard of navy for about $15.  There are tons of tutorials for making tee shirt yarn out of actual shirts, and using the tube jersey is exactly the same.  (Like this one.)  The only difference was that I used a rotary cutter & mat, rather than scissors as I had much more to cut.  It took most of the morning to slice it, stretch it out, and roll it into balls, but as I'm addicted to audio books, this really wasn't a problem for me.

After nearly completing it, I decided that while I liked the rug, I wasn't in love with it.  (This is probably putting it mildly.  I might have frantically messaged Shannon over at Flew the Coop, and telling her my project felt like a cluster-fuck.  She might have suggested a cocktail.)  I knew it needed more colors to feel really scrappy, but I didn't want to spend another $50 on more yarn, and I didn't want to take it apart and start over.  So I dug through the bag of clothes I have for Goodwill and pulled out a teal shirt and a violet shirt.  Sliced and diced both, and used them to do the slip stitch rows on top.  I really love how much brighter the rug is with the additional color.  You can see how it looked before in this process picture.  The overall color scheme was softer, and now it's definitely brighter and a bit more punk, like noodle-bug herself.

Here's a detail shot that noodle took, which really shows off the  teal and violet stitches.  It's so much brighter and scrappier now!

The entire rug was supposed to be 34 rounds and measure 4' across, but I didn't get quite that far.  By the time I was on round 17 it was clear that I was nearly out of all my yarns.  It was also becoming quite heavy and I had to ship it to the UK.  So I completed the 18th round, then did 2 rounds of single crochet to finish the edges.  When it was done it measured 38" across and weighted 5 pounds!  Here it is in its new home, noodle-bug's bay window in her London flat.

I will say that while I am normally all for recycling and upcycling, I did prefer working with the ready made yarn and the yarn that I made out of tube jersey, far more than I liked working with the balls I made from the actual tee shirts.  I hated trying to hide the shirt seams.  It's very thick and squish under your feet, and has a solid weight to it that feels comforting.  In the end I'm thrilled with how it came out, but I would like to try the pattern again some day, and actually complete all 34 rounds.  Perhaps when we get a house of our own next year.

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Bracelet With No Name

I've been working on putting together a sewing themed bracelet for the last few weeks, inspired by the totally kick-ass costume stitchers I've worked with over the years.  I had already gathered the charms, and Friday afternoon I finally had time to start putting them together.  The charms include a bobbin, iron, tape measure, buttons, safety pins, sewing machines, shears, "I <3 Sewing", a spool of thread, ruler, embroidery snips and a bobbin.

After getting all the charms together, I started racking my brains trying to come up with the perfect color scheme.  After much puttering, I finally settled on bright magenta, deep teal, jet black and a dark grey hematite.

The only thing missing now?  A name!  I haven't been able to settle on something for it.  I think I might have to poll some of my stitcher friends for their opinions.  How about it?  Any ideas?