Friday, November 30, 2012

Craft Book Challenge Week 46 (belated): Braiding Floss

Last week, between the turkey, relatives, and Christmas shopping, I started my Week 46 Craft Book project.  My mother had the genius idea to use her new knitting cord machine with her old embroidery floss. So we pulled out my floss (I gave up cross stitch years ago) and got to cranking.

floss pile

While my mom was helping my sister–in–law rearrange her wall decor, I tied together all my loose floss (that scraggly pile on the right) into equal strands of six strings each and cranked it through my corder.

tied up cord

Ooh, the result was a fabulous riot of color. My sister–in–law suggested the cord would make a great scarf.

red floss

So I pulled out all my red floss, tied it together using a weaver’s knot, and cranked it through my ancient cording machine. (There are several brands available. Mine is by Bond America. My mom’s is the newer version by Caron. They’re essentially the same hand–cranked, four–needle knitting machine.)

I tied together 24 m worth of random red/pink floss remnants, which is approximately the length of three full skeins of embroidery floss.

red cord

I cranked it all through and then had the idea to braid it into a seven–strand flat braid. Where did I get the instructions? From a rug weaving book from Rafter–four Designs. I could have made a 12–strand flat braid using the instructions in this little pamphlet if I had had enough red floss.

Multi-Strand Braids

Seven long cords later…

seven cords

I tied the red/pink cords together at the top using the loose strands, alternating the colors red/pink/red/pink/red/pink/red.

begin braiding

Starting from the right outermost strand, the weaving sequence for a seven–strand braid is over 2, under 1. Then, from the left outermost strand, over 2, under 1. Move from the right side to the left side outermost strands with the over 2, under 1 sequence.

braid order

At the end of the weaving, I sewed across the end to secure the cords and braided both ends of the loose strands with a standard three–strand braid. The final braided strand is 53 in. long and 1.25 in. wide.

finished braid

The braid can be a scarf, a belt, a purse strap, etc… I’m really surprised at how well the peachy pinks blended into the deep reds.

braided scarf

I’m still playing with how to wear my new scarf. And I’m plotting what other strands I can run through my corder. I’ve discovered that ¼–in. silk ribbon can feed through without catching, so that stash is in line to next become miles of knitted cord.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Craft Book Challenge Week 45: The Ed Emberely Cure

Well, here I am a week late again. I have a good excuse. I was sick. I think I battled the flu last week, but I never went to the doctor to be sure. All I know is that I spent several days in bed, and each day brought a new symptom. I ate my weight in chicken soup. And I was crabby.

When I'm crabby, all I can do is sleep and doodle.

I dug out my childhood copy of Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals and a handful of fat markers.

Ed makes me happy. Who else can turn a D, a Y, and a couple of triangles into a tiger? My brothers and I spent hours turning simple shapes into animals when we were young. Even today, the simplicity appeals to me. So many times we strive for perfection when all we really need is a little doodling.

I like Ed's forward: "For the boy I was, the book I could not find." We don't need to learn how to draw perfectly; sometimes we just need to draw.

And I did. I was happy, and then I took a nap.

Keep healthy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Craft Book Challenge Week 44: Faux Leather Book Volumes

I'm late, I know. It's Week 46, but I did take the photos and do the project in Week 45. I caught that awful sinus cold that is going around, and it really derailed my weekend.

I've been working on turning a stack of shiny textbooks into a stack of antique books for use as nightstands in my master bedroom. I have several squat tables that are too short for bedside use. About eight books stacked upon each table makes them perfect for nightstands. The Fundamentals of Accounting do not make for restful nighttime reading. My book stash needed quick makeovers.

L to R: Shiny textbook before and shiny textbook after.
I love to faux paint. It's amazing how a little paint and texture can fool the eye into seeing timeworn leather. I pulled some ideas on recreating leather from Recipes for Paint Effects. I originally wanted to paint some cheesy resin Pilgrims with faux wood grain, but the need for nightstands was greater.

The first step was to lightly sand the textbook covers. I used 100 grit sandpaper. I tried 60 grit at first, but the scratches it leaves do show up in the final product. Sanding allows the next step to permanently stick to the cover.

Leather has texture that is difficult to achieve with paint alone. Nubby single–ply napkins provide a credible leather feel. I painted a layer of regular water–based primer onto the cover and placed the napkin into the wet paint. I smoothed the napkin with my palm and then painted another layer of primer over the napkin, carefully working out any air bubbles as I smoothed the napkin.

I covered each book with two layers of napkins and paint, letting each layer dry before adhering the next.

To enhance the illusion these books are old, I glued plain kitchen twine to the spines to mimic raised cord binding. I painted another layer of torn napkin pieces over the dried twine to finish the texture layer.

Now for the magic. I wanted my books to be a light cream color, so I mixed up some Oops! gold paint samples with a quart of flat white latex paint to make my base paint color. I then painted a layer or two of the buttery cream paint onto the primed books.

My bedroom is spa blue with blue, brown, and cream accents. I used plain navy craft paint to paint between the spine strips. I'm a rebel, so I thinned gold craft paint and free–handed the titles onto the spines using a small lining brush. I tried to choose titles that my husband would realistically have piled by his bedside.

Monograms are always safe.
Old books are not pristine. They need a little experience, also known as dirt. I wiped on a layer of dark brown wall glaze and wiped off most of the tint with a slightly wet rag.

Heavy glaze.

Light glaze.
The books need a little protection, so I rubbed paste wax over most of the books. The top book will receive the most abuse. I protected the paint finish with two layers of satin Polycrylic followed by two buffed coats of paste wax.

Here's his reading list: A History of Storms, Texas, Thunder (Vol.1), Lightning (Vol. 2), Panhandle Skies, Great Texans (Vol. N), and Weather. Can you see a pattern?

The nightstand is now the perfect height for next to the bed. The table for my side of the bed is slightly taller, but with the right combination of books, I can make it the same height. My cold stopped book production for the weekend, but the primer dries so quickly that I should have my nightstand done by the weekend.

At some point, I need to carve some time to add wood grain to these resin Pilgrims.

The Pilgrims are not thankful for their closeup.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

The 3D Printer

My husband is a gadget guy. If it’s a technical toy, he has to have one. You should see the excitement in this house when the UPS man is at the door.

His latest and greatest is a Solidoodle 3D printer. If you can dream it, you can print it in 3D.

Solidoodle 3D Printer Solidoodle 3D Printer Solidoodle 3D Printer in action.

Several free software packages are available to draw a 3D image. The Solidoodle prints the image by “drawing” layer upon layer of ABS plastic. The nozzle melts a string of ABS plastic (which looks a lot like weed whip string) onto a heated platform. The plastic hardens almost immediately as it is drawn.

cable needleSince I needed a cable needle for my knitting class, I gave my husband a rough drawing, and he modeled a needle for me.

A quick rub with some fine sandpaper made the new needle smooth enough to slide through yarn without catching.

Oh, the possibilities!

What would you make with a 3D printer?

my name