Saturday, December 30, 2023

2023 Make Nine recap

It's a wrap! Make Nine 2023 finished up in early November with the last UFO prompt fulfilled.

Make Nine 2023 completed tracker.

Make Nine 2023 Finishes

In order of completion, these are my Make Nine finishes for 2023:

  • New to Me in ’23 came the first month of the year with the January Junk Journal Challenge. (January)
  • Stash Buster was a yarn stash buster this year. The Inclinations Shawl was completed inFebruary and now that the weather is cold again, it gets much use. (February)
  • Make it Again was a long sleeve Bristol top with Art Gallery knits. (March)
  • Wild Card 1 was another Bristol Top with long sleeves in green knit fabrics for St. Patrick’s Day. (March)
  • Mend/Repurpose a new binding was put on a well-used, well-loved, vintage quilt. Now it’s a time-span quilt and a collaboration with Anonymous. (May)
  • Online Challenge was a new prompt for 2023. I participated in the World Watercolor Challenge. (July)
  • Wild Card 2 was for the kitties at the Cat Clinic. They received 12 new scrappy kitty quilts this summer. (July)
  • Fast and Fun were three cuddle quilts for my guild’s community service project. (August)
  • UFO was a productive prompt. I had fabrics set aside for a pair of pants and a jacket. The pattern pieces for the Valencia pants had been cut out for a while. I completed both in time for a business conference and have worn both pieces a lot since. It was a beneficial investment of time to get these pieces finished. (November)

This past year, the Make Nine challenge has been beneficial to my skill development, my art practice, my wardrobe, and to the charities I am happy to support.

I’m planning to participate in Make Nine again in the new year. Who’s with me?

Sunday, December 24, 2023

A Winter of Care and Repair Challenge

The topics of mending (visible and invisible), maintaining and caring for our wardrobes, sustainability, and eliminating waste from fast fashion are very prevalent these days. Jeanna Wigger, @thepeoplesmending, has proposed a winter "Call to Action" to promote the idea of repairing and caring for clothes, accessories, and other items with the "Winter of Care and Repair" project. Care to give it a go?

Winter Care and Repair Challenge 2023

How to participate in Winter Care and Repair 2023

Jeanna suggests customizing the project to your individual needs, skill level, and degree of participation. Participants can use this project as a framework for a personal Mending To-Do list. The project, or Challenge, also serves as a a good motivator as others will be participating—and there is strength (encouragement) in numbers.

I'm going to participate with a focus on textiles:

  • mending and repairs, 
  • upcycling/repurposing, 
  • organizing my fabric stash, and 
  • finding ways to minimize scraps. 

I've read other great Challenge pledges that include maintaining or repairing things beside textiles and garments, such as:

  • tending a garden and prepping it for the next season's plantings,
  • de-cluttering a room/house/garage,
  • repurposeing or repairing (rather than disposing of) other household items,
  • strengthening habits to promote personal health and mental well-being.

The timeframe: Solstice to Equinox

The Winter Care and Repair project goes from the Winter Solstice to the Spring Equinox—December 21, 2023 to March 19, 2024. 

Mend/Repurpose prompt from Make Nine 2023

I'll incorporate the Winter of Care and Repair pledge into my 2024 Create Daily practice. In my past three Make Nine Challenges in 2021, 2022, and 2023, I've included prompts related to this topic so I feel I'm cognisant of this practice. (See my previous Make Nine prompt pages in this blog post.)

Do you have a mending pile? 

This is is the perfect project to whittle down that mending pile! I have a few items in need of stitching and mending and there are likely others that will pop up between now and the Spring Equinox. I like that this project is also a good reminder that "loved clothes last" and a quick mend will keep them in circulation much longer. 

A stitch in time saves nine,
               ... and keeps textiles out of landfills and the waste stream.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Winter Solstice: a good time for making pillowcases

Yesterday, December 21, was the Winter Solstice. It's the day of the year with the shortest amount of daylight and the longest night. Ancient astronomers refer to it as the day "the sun stood still" as it's when the sun reaches its highest or lowest point in the sky (depending in which hemisphere you live).

Set of pillowcases.

After getting all the holiday cards mailed out, I retreated to the sewing machine for those extra long, winter solstice evening hours. I got two sets of pillowcases finished for Christmas gifts.

A productive Winter Solstice for me!

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Jackets need pockets! Use the selvedge for a clever detail

Need pockets? You bet! Pants, jackets, skirts, shorts... they all need pockets. If these wardrobe pieces don't have them, they get added.

Make Nine cotton/linen jacket with a patch pocket

This cotton/linen jacket is one of my Make Nine 2023 projects. It was finished just in the nick-o'-time to wear at a business conference at the end of October, but I didn't have time to add a pocket.

Incorporate an interesting selvedge on your pocket

Fabric selvedges these days are decorative as well as functional and informative. Many printed fabrics—especially in the quilting industry—have information such as the fabric collection and designer's names printed on the selvedge in addition to the classic "color dot" registration marks. The typefaces used often reflect the theme or aesthetic of the printed design, as well.

Closeup of information on the selvedge.

For this patch pocket, I used an offcut piece of the fabric from the jacket. It was serendipitous that this scrap had a selvedge and the printing—the fabric line and designer name—on it. 

Trimming the scrap into a long rectangle, I folded it nearly in half, sewed the sides, turned it to the right side, and flipped the selvedge edge over at the top of the pocket. The hand embroidery secured the flap to the body of the pocket and the perle cotton thread color echoed the colors of the jacket lining. 

A few weeks ago, the pocket came on the road to West Virginia with me as my "hand work" project. It's now [hand] sewn on the jacket's inside.

Patch pocket attached by hand to the inside of the jacket.

Even though the pocket can't be seen on the outside, it has fun details!

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Carve December 2023 is underway

Last year, the Carve December 2022 Challenge was a good activity for me to practice carving rubber stamps. The Carve December 2023 Challenge is underway and I'm participating again this year to brush up on my carving skills and expand my stamp collection.

Carve December 2023 stamps for the first 9 days.

Julie Fei-Fen Balzer at Balzer Designs, the host of Carve December, offers a list of daily prompts should you be at a loss for inspiration. You can use some, all, or none of the prompts and you can post daily or as you can. I'll do my best—as time, work schedule and life permits.

Carve December prompts for 2023.

Nine days into the Challenge, here are a few of my favorite prints so far.

Bird print.

Inspired by holiday botanicals, I carved these...

Poinsettia print.

Paperwhite print with watercolor.

This stamp had a real-life model for drawing the initial design. I think it turned out quite well.

Christmas cactus print.

Christmas cactus in bloom.

More stamps are in sight this month.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Loopy Loom weaving with Bombas socks

I’ve been enjoying doing upcycled and scrap busting projects lately. They’re stress free… mindful… textural… and it keeps textile items out of the trash and landfill.

Woven rug mugs from upcycled socks.

As long-lasting and hard-wearing our Bombas socks are, eventually the heels develop thin areas or holes. This weekend, I pulled out the Loopy Loom and a bag of un-mendable socks and started to weave with sock loops. A pair of light colored tie-dyed socks were incorporated with some of the darker colors. 

Weaving with light and dark color values on the Loopy Loom.

Because these socks have areas where the knitting has tighter elasticity, the weavings don’t come off the loom completely square. However, I think the organic shapes are interesting and fun (and a bit funny-looking). But they are thick and dense and make great hot pads and mug rugs. This batch is slightly more decorative because of the color combinations.

Three woven mug rugs off the loom.

So, cheers to the upcoming season of colder days, hot chocolate, hot tea with honey, and using a new set of upcycled mug rugs!

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