July 28, 2014

Glass Sun Catcher

Glass can sometimes be considered an inaccessible art, but I've been lucky enough to dabble in several different glass art forms thanks to Girl Scout events over the years. Last weekend, I went to BAGI again with my Girl Scout troop to learn how to make glass sun catchers from borosilicate flameworking.

So, for the Girl Scout glass experience repertoire, here we go:

The first glass art I ever tried was glass fusion, in which you place colored glass pieces on a clear piece and then melt it together. This medium is pretty accessible at several ceramic studios like Create It! in Palo Alto. 

The next medium I tried was full-blown glass blowing, which was amazing and awesome but oh-so-tiring and very hot. We were lucky enough to do a workshop at Paly, one of only about five high schools in the country with a glass blowing program. BAGI also offers classes in glass blowing.

Then I tried micro-mosaic jewelry work at Stained Glass Garden. Because we got to work with low temperatures and has abundant room for creativity, it was much less tiring to the senses-- I would like to try it again.

A couple months ago, I tried flameworking with soft glass and made some beads at BAGI. Fun but hard, and also quite tiring on the eyes. I think I would like to try it again.

And now I've added borosilicate flameworking to the list. I worked with glass tubing, colored streamers, and a propane-oxygen torch, just like for the soft glass flameworking. 

This technique was much harder than working with the soft glass. Melting the tube down to a skinnier tube is still a technique I have yet to muster. But I finally did get the hang of making streamers (above & below pics), where you melt down a little bit of a colored glass rod, and stretch it to be much thinner for easier melting onto a piece. It's a similar technique to the tube-stretching but with a much larger room for error. 

I also made some dual-colored streamers, where you twist together two different colors and stretch when they are melted to create a candy-cane type look. When you have several candy canes, it can look extra cool to twist those together to get a more diverse marble. 

Although I couldn't stretch the tube properly, I still wanted to make the sun catcher (a.k.a. an ornament in summer), so I used a pre-stretched tube. Oh, the benefits of a class! I did use my own homemade streamers to decorate the sun catcher, though.

Because I didn't spread my colored glass evenly, the tube warped into a shell or bell pepper-like shape instead of the sphere I was striving for. But for a first attempt, I think this will do just fine for me!

I still have stained glass and mosaic work on my glass bucket list. I'm sure I'll get to try them out sometime.

Happy Crafting!!

July 14, 2014

Evolving 森 Mori Infinity Scarf

It may be July and you may have noticed I've knitted more infinity scarves in the last year than is healthy, but I can promise this will be the last for a good while (hopefully). 

I'm calling this scarf Evolving Mori to celebrate the yarn and scarf itself as well as the scarf's recipient. To me, the yarn's muted green colors perfectly illustrate a grove of old-growth trees, hence the word mori (), Japanese for "forest." The forest is evolving to embrace other forms, like the growth-like bobbles on the scarf or the friend who I made this for, who happens to be Japanese and American. (As you may notice, the model -- my sister -- is neither the owner of this scarf nor biracial.)

The scarf is meant to be a belated birthday gift. I knew it would be late, but over a month?! Oops. This scarf took me a bit longer than usual. My extended tardiness cannot be credited to the pattern's difficulty, because it was quite doable, but probably because I've knitted way too many similar pieces lately. Even better reason to give the infinity scarf obsession a break!

Evolving Mori Infinity Scarf Pattern
Adapted from Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns "Amber"

Yarn: 200 m (2 skeins) Loops and Threads' Charisma in Deep Woods
Needles 10.5 (6.5 mm)

Cast on 21 sts.
Row 1: P2, yo, k1, bobble, k3, double decrease, p1, k 3 tog, k3, bobble, yo, k1, yo, p2.
Row 2 (WS): Work as sts appear: k the k sts, p the p sts, and p yo loops. 
Row 3: P2, yo, k1, yo, k3, double decrease, bobble, p1, bobble, k 3 tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, p2. 
Row 5: P2, yo, k1, yo, k2, double decrease, bobble, k1, p1, k1, bobble, k 3 tog, k2, yo, k1, yo, p2. 
Row 7: P2, (yo, k1) x2, double decrease, bobble, k2, p1, k2, bobble, k 3 tog, (k1, yo) x2, p2.
Row 9: P2, k 3 tog, k3, bobble, yo, k1, yo, p1, yo, k1, yo, bobble, k3, double decrease, p2.
Row 11: P2, bobble, k 3 tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, p1, yo, k1, yo, k3, double decrease, bobble, p2. 
Row 13: P2, k1, bobble, k 3 tog, k2, yo, k1, yo, p1, yo, k1, yo, k2, double decrease, bobble, k1, p2.
Row 15: P2, k2, bobble, k 3 tog, (k1, yo) x2, p1, (yo, k1) x2, double decrease, bobble, k2, p2.
Repeat rows 1-16 twelve times or until desired length. Cast off, sew ends together on the wrong side, and weave in ends. And voilà! (or should I say ここに !)

k - knit
p - purl
st(s) - stitch(es)
yo - yarn over
bobble - in same stitch, p, k, p, k, p. Then wrap first four layers over last p st.
double decrease - sl 1, k 2 tog, psso
sl 1 - slip one st as if to k
k 3 tog - k 3 sts together as 1 st
psso - pass slipped stitch over k st and drop it
x2 - work pattern in parenthesis two times

Notice: As I have learned from my past scarves with this yarn, blocking efforts will not be very useful. Part of the design is to let the scarf stay curled.

You can find a printable pattern available in a bit under the "patterns" or right here.

You can find the pattern on Ravelry here.

Happy summer!

Happy Crafting!!

July 7, 2014

Exploring the Wilderness Quilt

One accidental result of having a ton of new sewing supplies on hand is... deciding to use them. I was reading through one of my new books containing quilt block pattern ideas  specifically, Nancy Johnson-Srebro's Block Magic, Too! (2003)  and noticed that one of the block ideas was a moose. 

"Mikey Moose"
Now, if you've ever heard my father share any family camping stories, the moose story would surely pop up in the first act. While we were camping in Grand Tetons National Park, my father's sole desire was to see a moose. He went on solitary hikes, stayed up past sunset, and did anything else within his power to find one, to no avail. So you can imagine the surprise when he learned from a camper passing by that a moose had been licking our tent while we were sleeping! 

Dad never did find a moose on that trip, but since then, the moose has been added to his list of all-time favorite animals. When I saw the moose pattern, I simultaneously scanned the contents for other similar patterns and started hunting for appropriate fabrics for the endeavor. 

Most were Grandma's, but some are mine.

Soon enough, I decided on three other blocks to turn into a quilted wall hanging. Our family has had several unforgettable encounters with bears, and my mother is known for her tree-hugging tendencies, so those two blocks were no-brainers. And then I chose to finish it up with flowers, given that adding a honu wouldn't make much sense and wildflowers can only add to a wilderness scene. 

While I wasn't expecting my progress through the project to be so speedy, it turned out to be a very popular gift to my parents for their 21st anniversary.

I also have to credit my sister for being super helpful at the ironing board and helping me choose fabrics. Thanks gurl!

"Fancy Petunias"

"Barney the Bear"

"Twin Pines"
I hope you all had a lovely 4th. I'll check back soon.

Happy Crafting!!