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Posts Tagged ‘craft of the month’

Craft Project for July - the Sit-upon

August 4th, 2009

The finished sit-upon (mug for scale)

The finished sit-upon (mug for scale)

Music festivals and outdoor concerts are fun and a great way to enjoy music during the warmer months. But you need something to sit on. When I went to MerleFest a few years back, my choices were to either drag around a camp chair or a picnic blanket. Most of the time, I just sat on my giant hippie skirt.

This year, with a trip to the Newport Folk Fest in the works, I decided to make a sit-upon. A girl scout sit-upon is usually a pile of newspapers wrapped in plastic used as a portable seat. Mine had the same purpose, but I wanted something lighter and maybe a little larger, so I could get my legs completely off the ground.

I designed it to be reminiscent of a quilt, with a pieced top (made out of fabric from my scrap box) over a layer of flannel and a layer of fleece. Then I bound it with a wide bias band. The backing was plastic tablecloth fabric. While I want the sit-upon to be waterproof, the backing fabric tore while I was turning the finished product and I don’t know how it’s going to wash up.

One of the corner grommets

One of the corner grommets

I put grommets in the corners so that the sit-upon can be gathered on a carabiner and clipped to my backpack. Ironically, I didn’t use it to watch a concert at Newport (I was way too busy to sit and watch anything) but I sat on the sit-upon at our table. I’m keeping it in the back of my car for last minute get-aways (it should be great for concerts at Blossom and Cain Park - and maybe this weekend at Lock 3).  All in all, I like the finished project and time will tell how much use I get out of it.

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My Craft Project for May: Lining the Picnic Basket

June 4th, 2009

From the front

From the front

Yeah, I know it’s June, but this project took me a little while longer than I thought it would.  Two years ago, I bought an old picnic basket at the Hartville flea market on Memorial Day weekend (last year, I bought a guitar - this year, I got away with only a chair).  I took it home and cleaned it up, but it was obvious that it had been living in someone’s garage for a very long time.  So, I wanted to make a liner that could be removed for washing.

I started with two contrasting fabrics (because they only had about 3/4 yard of the one I really liked).  I measured the basket - around the inside and around the outside - and I made a pattern out of the lid.  I added around 3″ to the top of both for the drawstring casing and foldover.  I added an elasticised pocket inside for silverware and a tie on the lid for napkins and a tablecloth.  Then I pulled out the napkins and tablecloth that I started last year and finished hemming them for good measure.

Inside. Pocket on left, lid tie with napkins on right.

Inside. Pocket on left, lid tie with napkins on right.

I put velcro tabs in the back around the hinges so that the foldovers would look unbroken (I used narrow bias to bind the edges).  I left the wrap around the handles open because I figured the drawstring would give the illusion of fabric across the bottom, and I was right.  I’m pleased with the final product (and just in time, because summer picnic season is just around the corner).  The new basket is wider across the bottom than my old one, making it easier to stack in plates and cups, and I always thought it was gross that the other liner was glued in and I couldn’t wash it (yuck!).

Next month, I think I’m going to work on bedroom curtains.  I have fabric and a plan, so I’m good to go!

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Craft Project for April: Bag out of bags.

May 1st, 2009

This is the bag of bags.

This is the bag of bags.

Last month, when I was visiting my cousin Robin in DC, we made a pledge to make a new craft project each month.  So far, so good!  I plan on posting details here and hopefully in a shared flickr account.  There are no rules or restraints, opening up a lot of possibilities.

For my first project, I made a reusable grocery bag out of used plastic bags.  I saw an etsy tutorial about fusing the plastic (which, of course, I couldn’t find again once I was ready to start the project) and I used another shopping bag as a pattern.

Here’s how it started.  Last month, I was vacuuming my livingroom and I suddenly looked up and thought, “What’s in that shopping bag I’m vacuuming around?”  Now, I do vacuum on a regular basis, but I always saw that the way my year goes, I’m in a work-induced coma until April (at which point I snap out of it and realize that my house is a mess and there are two strange cats living in my basement).  The giant shopping bag was filled with the bags that held all of the Christmas gifts I gave people.  In fact, it had been sitting, filled with trash, in that spot since I was wrapping pressies before Christmas.  That would be (for those who have lost count) more than 5 months ago.

Post pressing plastic pieces awaiting assembly

Post pressing plastic pieces awaiting assembly.

Yikes!  Then I watched the etsy.com tutorial on fusing plastic bags together to make basically a sturdy sheet of colorful plastic.  I needed lots of bags and I had them.  This week, I went through the sack and separated bags out by color and size.  It was a mix of #2 and #4 plastic.  Each side needed to have 6 to 8 layers.  I got my stacks and put them between two layers of plain brown paper with the print facing in.  Then I ironed the stack until it melted.  I was using a heavier piece of paper, so I had the heat up to cotton (no steam).  The melting part was a little haphazard.  One side melted too much and I could see some holes.  The front and back aren’t quite melted enough.  You’ll want to keep the iron moving and check frequently to see how it’s going.  Then flip the whole thing over and do melting on the other side.  Repeat with all 5 pieces.

I had drawn a template on the brown paper using the measurements from the other bag.  I lay down the melted pieces and trimmed to size.  I used a size 16 needle to sew it, and I didn’t have any skipping issues.  I started by folding down around an inch on all of the pieces (except, obviously, the bottom) and stitching it.  I had some lightweight belting that I wasn’t using and that became my handles.  I sewed the pieces together using a generous 1/4′ seam allowance and trimming things even.  Then I found a pack of white single fold bias and bound all of the seams.

The finished project, all set for shopping.

The finished project, all set for shopping.

Et, voila!  My favorite part is how the Target bag and Geoffrey from Toy ‘R’ Us work together on the one side.  Quite accidental and lovely.  I used around a dozen bags (some were those really big bags that I never know what to do with), a 4-yd package of bias and maybe 1 1/2 of webbing for the handles.  I didn’t purchase anything.  And now, I have something fun and unique to go shopping with!  Fun!

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