Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring inspired doodle

So happy to welcome the arrival of Spring.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Spin and Ply

My experimenting with reclaimed yarn continues.  After deconstructing this lambswool sweater, I found that the yarn was extremely fine.

SO.......I decided to create a drop spindle that would allow me to "ply" the yarns together

A few simple bits from the hardware store came together to form a surprisingly effective spindle.

the yarn plied on the spindle is shown on the left and to the right, is a purchased sock yarn, as you can see they look very close to the same weight.  They knit up well together.

below, you can see the single ply as it came off the sweater, along side the yarn that had been plied on the drop spindle in the process of being knit

I also have a some reclaimed silk on the is being spun and dyed and turning out wonderfully

Monday, February 20, 2017

Knitting with reclaimed yarn

Okay, I seem to be stuck in knit mode currently.  I deconstructed another sweater.
This one was labeled 70% Cotton / 30% Lambs wool. 

This is a look at the amount of yarn I managed to salvage, (roughly 340g ) and the start of my very first sock

and here is the completed sock, now to see if I can actually make its twin

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Reclaiming and Repurposing yarn

My last post was about deconstructing a thrift shop find. My first test subject, a 100% cotton sweater. It has provided me with a good amount of yarn to play with as you can see in the photo below.

I dyed some of it a sort of, mottled, dark, Denim-y blue and left the rest that natural cream colour.

It is lovely to work with, soft to the touch with such wonderful drape. 
here is a peek at how it is currently looking on my needles

I am rather surprised at the amount of yarn I managed to reclaim. (what you see in the bin in the top photo along with what I have already knit) appears that I will have enough for a couple of projects

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Deconstruction....reclaiming yarn

Those of you who visit this site know that I like a challenge, that I like to "try" playing with fiber in a variety of ways.  As with most creative types, I have many interests. One of them is knitting and as is true with much of what I like to do, it is more about the process than the finished product.

Not long ago, I happened upon a video featuring a gentleman who deconstructs sweaters to reclaim yarn with which to knit. That caught my interest immediately. If you are a knitter, one who prefers to use quality yarns, you know it can get expensive in a hurry.....but this was less about saving a few bucks and more about experimenting (cause let me tell you...I have discovered it is a time consuming endeavor)

Anyway, at a thrift shop, for a $1.76, I found a large sized, 100% cotton, man's sweater. It was clean with no holes and looked to be a great candidate for disassembling

it did take me a couple of hours to get it apart, it is likely the most important part of the process because if you are not careful and cut into those wont be getting nice long continuous yarn ( to give you an idea.....I am getting anywhere from 100m to 300m of continuous yarn in each ball)

once I had a piece turned into a ball, I put it into skeins it so it could "un-kinked". (see how kinky it was)

after a warm bath it is relaxed

I even tried a couple of dye tests.

it is knitting up wonderfully......the photo below is showing the cream ( which is the reclaimed sweater yarn knit in seed stitch)  draped along with something I had previously knit using a decently priced cotton yarn....I really can't tell the difference in the feel and drape.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Designing for an Embroidery Artist

You may remember that some time ago, I talked about how honoured and excited I was when Trish Burr contacted me with an interest in turning one of my doodles into her unique style of embroidery.
If you are not familiar with Trish's work, I suggest have a look at her web site and Etsy shops, here & here..... she is an extraordinary embroidery artist, teacher, and author.

What I have not told you is that since that first project, I have worked with Trish on both existing and new designs  (some of which I will reserve for a later post)

let me begin by introducing Chloe. 
Chloe will be a sister to an earlier design.

My first feline doodle pictured below, was transformed by Trish into a gorgeous embroidery design she calls Katarina, which is available to purchase as a pattern or as a full kit....Katarina has been extremely popular and now Trish will perform her stitching magic on Chloe.

I should be clear that, Trish "redesigns" my drawings to better relate to needle and thread....and what she does is absolutely remarkable!

Last year Trish also turned my reindeer doodle into the fabulous "Prancer" who was a featured project in Inspirations Magazine issue #88 and apparently has become one of their most popular Christmas themed projects.

as I mentioned, there are a few more that I will talk about in another post, but what I will say is that Trish has a new book coming out soon, and I am completely thrilled that a couple of those new designs are based on doodles I did expressly for her.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Up-cycling a Vintage Suitcase

Found this sturdy little suitcase in need of some work.  The plan is for it to become a sort of "go bag" for supplies. This should be able to accommodate everything I could need when sewing away from home.

It did not start out looking like this. First it really needed a serious cleaning.  The outer shell was covered in these black marks that cleaners would not remove....BUT did you know that hairspray is a secret weapon for these sorts of marks? cleaned up great! (as you can see in that first photo)

Next I had to tackle the was rough....real rough.

I tore it all out and tossed it away.

now, I needed to rebuild the interior. Wanting create some structure, I used buckram (I had a roll of it left over from my costume building days)

Next, I created  fabric covers for the bits I had fashioned

Covered buckram was also used to create the "hinge"

Wanting to make sure that the top's interior would not pull away, I placed the elastic that runs through that shirred pocket all the way around. I added an extra piece of elastic to help hold things in place and created some loops of sorts that I may want to clip small items to.

This is how the back of this piece looked, wrapped around a piece of foam core and made so that it fits very, very tightly in its spot to help keep it secure

everything was firmly adhered using doubled sided carpet tape.

I am quite pleased with how it turned out.  All that remains to be done is to gather up the variety of supplies I want to live in this case.....ready to go at a moments notice.

Monday, November 7, 2016


I have been intrigued by some short videos floating about in cyberspace showing a very interesting app that allows one to draw wonderful symmetries. I found it in the app store (currently only available for ios devices)  It is called "Amaziograph"  While it likely would not be considered a serious drawing program, it sure is a FUN way to play with design ideas......maybe just a wee bit TOO much fun.

I downloaded it late last week and I must say, I found it to be pretty user is a look at a few of my drawings, keeping in mind, with this app, I need only draw one portion of the design, the app repeats each stroke for me as I go along.  Guess I can put away my mirrors that I have used for so long to create symmetrical design.

these are just examples where I am creating Kaleidoscopic type images, this app allows you to do so much more.

I found lots of videos showing the app in use... but not much in the way of a basic tutorial showing what to expect....the tools, options, how to make copies, save, export and all that sort of made one.  I have only touched on the basics to get one started, there is much more to explore....and yes...for those who love to play with colour, you can pull up a pallet, mix colours, add colour with varying degrees of opacity, and well....if you have an iPad and like to experiment with just may want to give this a look. But don't say I did not warn is addictive!

here is a link to the video tutorial I is not slick, but it will certainly help get you started if you are unfamiliar with this sort of program

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Repair & Repurpose (ing)

I have a thing about sewing drawers, you know the ones that once belonged to sewing machine cabinets from days long past?  They are a great decorative way to store small items in my sewing space. I found this poor lonely thing in need of attention.  Not only was it missing it's top, but one of  drawer pulls as well.

It was a fairly simple fix. To create a new top, a piece of MDF board was wrapped with batting and fabric

stitched neatly in place

a few screws holds the top on firmly

New hardware and its ready to be filled. This set of drawers will live beside my computer to hold flash drives, chargers, cords and all that sort of attractive way to keep clutter at a minimum.


On the subject of re purposing, a friend showed me mittens she made from old sweaters which we thought would make an excellent contribution for an upcoming church bazaar ( each year we donate hand crafted items as this church allows the use of their facilities for our sewing group)
When I came across this was game on. So many possibilities!

my first mitten.

led to many more....I used 3 different sweaters, mixing and matching bits, no two are the same. They are lined with  thick, double sided polar fleece.....super soft and warm.

Wanna make some too? A quick You Tube search will lead you to several excellent tutorials.

Copyright Jill Buckley