i made it machine embroidery

Conjoined lamb skulls

Machine embroidery on cotton duck.

The back looks particularly evil, with the thread tails:

Since these pictures were taken, I added a little more black around the outside parts. It still needs to be blocked, but I think I’m done for now, until I figure out how to mount it.

i made it machine embroidery

The King of Carrot Flowers, Part 1

This year, I decided to use the Neutral Milk Hotel record In the Aeroplane Over the Sea as a starting point for some work. I was thinking about the Journal Quilt Project and how I’d like to try something similar. My start has been a little.. unsure, I guess.

There are eleven songs on the album, and I will focus on one song per month as my image/narrative resource. I’m not trying to totally decode the songwriter’s [Jeff Mangum is his name] original intentions, or even really follow what I know he meant (via interviews and other research). This record means a lot of different things and takes me to a lot of different places mentally. It is crooked landscapes, half-smiles, stale bread, worry, ache, beautiful magic.. I have a huge mental list of things I associate here. It is impossible to explain. I put it on in my car and I can’t take the CD out for the next three weeks. If I make it to my destination while the last song is on, I have to wait until it is over before I can get out.

Anyway. For everything it means to me, like I said, not a great start.
I only managed to eke out a handful of drawings, and most were very cartoony/prototypical. So. engh. (Some are here.)

One I did like was this:

So I redid it with my machine on some linen I dyed grey.


It’s very similar in style to my Pop Shirt project (which remains woefully unfinished and in limbo, and Evan is going to hit me) – it’s the same fabric (dyed different colors), black embroidery (this is machine, pop shirt was by hand).. It makes me want to revisit that plan and just take a big piece of fabric and cover it with drawings. I loooooove doing this type of thing..

Things learned:
-Feet are hard to stitch.
-Figure out a better way to stabilize.
-Spend less time thinking and more time just DOING.

I don’t really know what to do with it now. January’s over, and I am going to follow my rules and move on. If I do something I really like for the next month and finish early, maybe I’ll revisit. Maybe it’ll wait til December. Just a little drawing..

i made it


Last year I got some Angelina Fibers and was doing some tests re using them with molds. The other day I came across a small pile of cut-off bits and scraps, and immediately had to iron them all together into one big sheet. Then I sewed a little hamster on it.

Since then I cut it into a little rectangle. Bill asked me to just satin stitch up the edges and give it to him so he can hang it somewhere. Hahaha.

dye i made it

A second bag.

I made the second version of the pleatness bag. It features corduroy with the metric system print and two different cottons I dyed in green and orange.

The fabrics here are much stronger than the ones I used in the other bag. I also added interfacing to the liner pieces for even more strength. It has been keeping its shape well. The original tutorial gives no seam allowances and skips over some other measurements that would have been helpful, so I just kind of went with what I had. It also never mentions any kind of trimming or anything.. I dunno. This time at least the top fit together.. it’s STILL not entirely correct, but it’s leagues ahead of the other one, since that one ended up not even closing! Oh, and I did a WAY better job of pleating this time.

I really wanted to make the liner out of all the same green cotton, but I just didn’t have a big enough piece. I’d picked up the orange to do the pockets, but it ended up also being the bottom and the short sides. I like my pen holder! Dozens of pens and markers are always floating around my bags.. It was great when I was carrying a backpack, but now it just makes me look crazy. Haha.

There are still some things I need to fix, but overall I am pretty happy with this bag and have used it most of this week.

i made it

Cube rooms

Last week I got all productive in the middle of the night, on Sunday night/Monday morning when I had to go to work, and then I couldn’t sleep until 5am.. But that’s another story. I worked on a number of things.

One thing I did start to finish was make a prototype fabric room. It’s a prototype because I was just kind of winging it and didn’t measure well to make the parts match, and did all the edges with overlocking. (OK I never got to do this before with my old machine, and find it fun. Some people might consider this cheating, and that’s fine.. haha.)

The floor and ceiling are yellow muslin I dyed an eternity ago (the only other time I can remember using it was as a pat of butter on my toast halloween costume in 2005), the walls are two prints I picked up during The Great “Oh My God We’re Graduating” Studio Cleanout and Exchange of 2007. The outside is some cotton I dyed a few months ago with random amounts of like nine different blues.

Some things to consider, should further production occur:
1. Creating groups of these units
2. How to fill them? Will the scale need to change to make filling them a little easier? Felted furniture, animals, people?
3. Embellishment of the outside: using decorative stitching for like.. adding flowers along the ground, maybe making a shingled roof section

So far the only thing that’s been inside it is Dosa (our Russian dwarf hamster). It was adorrrrrable.

dye i made it

Crossing things off my list

I made a list of things I think I should accomplish this year.. Sort of a “stuff to make and do” list, rather than resolutions. And it’s not all ART ART ART stuff, there are some simpler things that, while the projects themselves aren’t ART ART ART, they will just be more experience/skillbuilding that could help in the future.

One of those things was to make a new purse. I’ve been using this mustard yellow fake leather thing from H&M for a while now – two years maybe? – and it is starting to come apart, as $16 sweatshop-constructed accessories are wont to do. I have neither found a bag in a store I liked enough nor been able to convince myself that it would be OK to purchase one – I made four small totes to choose from for Christmas gifts! There is no justification for not making something myself if I can!

So over to Craftster it was. A quick search for tutorials, and I found one called “pleatness.” It’s about the same size as my H&M bag, sounds good.

I ended up dyeing a bunch of cotton duck in red and green to match up to some prints I was thinking of using. Which should I use, HMM HMM?

red with space?

green with metrics?

I ended up using the red/space. I learned a lot about the pattern from making this first one, and made a few mistakes.


A space print inside, too.

This was a good decision, sort of: I’ve been carrying the thing around for two weeks now. The rocket print is flannel, which is an unusual choice for a bag.. It’s not fraying at all, BUT the front is starting to pill and get reeeally dirty. Ack. My top wasn’t wide enough to match up with the end panels, so I ended up just overlocking the ends and leaving them open. I also figured out I really need pockets inside!

Now I’m torn between making another bag with the green/metric print with the pleating, or replacing the pleated panels with quilted panels. Quilted bits would add nice structure, I think.. I’m just not sure what I want to do! I love the metric stuff, but it’s corduroy and I don’t want to quilt that..!

christmas i made it

Intro and Christmas gift roundup

I promised on LJ that my next post would be a roundup of all the things I made for Christmas gifts. Then I decided that I should throw a blog onto my regular site, so I could post exclusively about the stuff I made, and not include so much whining about other things in my life. I guess this decision could backfire a bit – I show up on LJ friends lists, so I theoretically have an audience there, and no promise of an audience here. Whatever. Blah blah.
So, hi. This post will be long and image filled.

Here’s the stuff I made for people for Christmas. I made approximately 80% of the gifts we gave. I tried to make thoughtful, personal things, but definitely had some panic moments and threw in some generic Christmassy stuff.

I made ornament sets for all of my aunts and uncles, and my older cousins. I did some drawing/embroidery with my sewing machine and some felting.

On my mom’s side, everyone got one of these:

The front is an image from 1950(?) of my grandfather in a motorcycle race in the Pine Barrens of NJ. The photo was printed on thin inkjet fabric, then fused it to another thin cotton, and put it over some poly batting with a cotton duck back. I sewed along some lines in the photo, and then cut a piece from his beloved hideous fleshtone polyester shirt (ubiquitous in family photos) for the backing. Overlocked the edges and added ribbon for hanging. I need to make a few more of these.

The sets:


Aunt and uncle

(the pinball machine is my favorite, I think)

Aunt and uncle

Aunt and uncle

Uncle & his girlfriend

Cousin & her husband

Cousin & his wife

Cousin’s two toddlers each got a six-page coloring book I had made (just Kinko’s) from my drawings, and a crayon roll with her name embroidered on it.

18 year old cousin

13 year old cousin

both bags made from belle epoque’s bias tape tote tutorial

16 year old cousin

from a knitting needle roll tutorial whose provenance I cannot remember

11 year old cousin

from Super Cool Wallet tutorial
We wrote out definitions from the board game Balderdash, and I laminated them and put them in the card slots, because my cousin thinks they’re the funniest thing in the world.

Boyfriend’s parents:

Same method as the ornaments of my grandfather, just with pictures of their dogs instead.

NP: Small wallhangings of my brother and his girlfriend and my boyfriend and I for my dad’s mom.