Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dying Yarn with Food Colors

I finished my needles out of the closet a few months ago and have been having fun knitting up a storm. I've gotten fussier with the yarns I want to use - I really don't want to use acrylic, I just don't like the way the colors look. I've bought some skeins of wool and wool blends but wool yarn often can get expensive and too often I don't find the colors I'm looking for anyway.

I do have about 3 lbs of Fisherman's Wool from Lion's Brand that I bought several years ago that is sitting there but it is just unbleached and I couldn't get excited over it. I've seen a number websites about dying with KoolAid and I figured I'd try it. Looking around I found this site and they added in food coloring as well for an idea, especially since the Lime (for green is really hard to find). This site had lots of great ideas but was light on the actual technique. On Instructables, I found this article for the how-tos of dying with food color.

So putting them together, I bought some Wilton's food coloring at Micheal's, about 10 dollars for 8 colors and picked up so vinegar. When I got home I found some other food dye as well. I had fun this afternoon playing colors in a new way. I mostly single colors and some like the pink and the orange seem very close. The brown is the exception here. when I got done, I had too much orange and wanted to try something else. I took the orange and then used the Wilton Purple to dye it again to get brown.

So now I have a rainbow of yarns to knit with and also some ideas for overdyeing so of the icky colors I have sitting around. I have 2 more pounds of fingerman's wool too. Even better, the dyeing process itself, softens up the wool.

Monday, May 4, 2015

How handmade is that?

Oh no!

 What is handmade?

Basically Etsy defines it as almost anything. Basically hand-assembled was "handmade" - so string a charm on necklace was handmade and designing a product but having it manufactured also is if you orchestrate the process. They also made this a dead topic in their forums. It usually happens when someone who sells something that is on the edge complains (no insult intended)

What is the line where an item is handmade or are there levels of handmade?

Obviously the charm necklace you buy at Target isn't handmade but is it really handmade if you buy the same charm and a chain and slide the charm on. Etsy said it was. A cluster of charms and beads in a unique way - well you're getting closer. You made the charm or pendant yourself - definitely handmade.

The best explanation I found is how raw are the materials you start with. That single charm is pretty much a finished product so not raw. You put a couple together - a little more work is involved. You made the charm/pendant? Definitely but even there, you can apply the same rule.

Then there is the question of embellishing a finished item - I'd say it depends.

This watermelon stool definitely is. It's suddenly makes you look at it differently, it's creative - it's a product than a plain stool would be. It's an original design.
 Stool By WoodWorxDesign

It goes on and on. Within the handmade community, this can be a hot topic and can push a lot of buttons, it an interesting topic that is really hard to define.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Making a Doll - Fail

In my last post, I went through some of my early steps in making this doll. She 's not quite finished but she is close. Her clothes aren't finished yet but she already has quite personality. I find my self thinking of Magrat - one of the witches from Terry Pratchett's Disc world books. Magrat would be a little younger but she had the wild hair and the country spirit. She was the youngest in the coven of 3 witches, eventually she is known as powerful with in her own right. "All but for a missing letter and her life would have been so different."

I need to add some pizzazz to the clothes, I hand sewed all the garments so far, she has a white petticoat with lace trim sticking out. I added a little ruffle of purple on her shirt and a waist band on her skirt but now interesting details await. Magrat was a herbalist and was into the occult and occult jewelry so I will keep that in mind as I add accessories.

So how to I get to here from this?

First step gluing the hands and feet on, then filling out the body with some aluminum foil and then wrapping the wrapping the doll with quilt batting for a soft body. This is when I really start to see it coming together, all that's left is to dress her. That sounded so simple until I really got down to deciding what to have her wear and then finding the supplies. I wound up dying the skirt since all I couldn't find a color I liked.

Now to clean it all up, clean up the seams, fix her hair, accessorize to make her special. She stands about 11 inches tall and stands on her own. So far this is the largest doll I made, now I want to make it the best one as well. The real mark will coming in the finishing details.

And this was the result

To me,  basically a fail. This is not way I hoped for but I learned a few things but mainly she is going into my box and staying there. The hands were too big, the face seemed wrong. It may not be one I sell but I learned a little, much of it what not to do.

Elf Warrior Doll

polymer clay elf doll
Elf Warrior Princess
With a little love and some more time, I finished a second elf. I am much happier with this doll. I gave the last one to my husband, it was kind of creepy. He's keeping at his desk to scare his co workers.

This one came out a bit better, I decided to just do a simpler face and enjoy the process rather than force a realistic face that just wasn't wasn't working. She is a tomboy of an elf, with her freckles and wild hair. She carries a small knife and has a gold armband.

Right now I'm working on a commission for a Tardis and Dr Who 10 and 11 charms. So until the next time. Have a great day

Monday, April 13, 2015

Crystal - doll in snow

I finished up my latest doll, Crystal. she is all polymer clay and has a clay base as well. Like I decided earlier, she was based on the sad girl in snow trope. I was happy to get the mouth right this time but I still was having trouble with the eyes so I decided to paint them instead of sculpting them.

She has pink lambswool hair and a hand knitted sweater to keep her warm. I couldn't knit small enough mittens so I sculpted them in polymer clay using a faux knitting technique. she's about 7 inches tall.

She's listed in my Etsy shop here.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Planning Sad Doll

I was searching for a new idea for a doll and struggling making heads. I decided until I got head I was happy with, I wasn't going to start building the doll. It's easier to build the proportions about the head than vice versa. Besides the head is the hardest part and I'd rather get than done first.

I was working intently on the head but wasn't sure of what the next step would be. My husband joking said they remind me of "sad girl in snow" which he said was an anime meme but the idea hit me as perfect. I checked a few images for it, just for some inspiration and quickly came up with this sketch. I realized I could do a soft body with polymer clay hands and  legs with boots on them.

I thought first of a winter coat but since I knit I decided a bulky sweater would work possibly a teddy bear. I have fleece and know how to needle felt. The hands will have mittens. Should I make them from polymer clay or make small knitted one, that's still up in the air.

But I have I a plan at least, which is more than I usually do plus I finished the head, I got lips down but sculpting the eyes is giving me so much trouble so finally I decided to leave them and paint them in after. I can sort of do them but they never match and tend to look off. Since eyes are such a focal point, I want them to look good no matter how they are done.

 So I actually have a plan and the beginnings of the head, now to build the rest and dress her. Sounds so simple that way doesn't it?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Anabelle - creepy new doll

Anabelle came out just like I wanted her too. There is no I like her "sorta"; no I am really happy how she came out. She's right on the line of creepy- cute. Her long black hair and eyes just seem to add to it. She is jointed so she doesn't stand on her own but a stand is included. Red striped tights just complete the look.

La da da da -- she is haunting. I listed her on ebay on March 19 to see if she sells. Wish me luck and check her out.