Saturday, March 31, 2007

Um.... Holy crap!

The title is, of course, the first thing I said this morning because I had, at just that moment, flipped over today's page in my crochet calendar to find this:

Can you blame me?

I spent several minutes thinking my crochet calender had flown completely over the edge of the Cliffs of Insanity and looking forward to the crazyness to come when I realized that this page also covers the first, April Fool's Day.

Oh, well.

I guess there's still hope that this is just a coincidence. These are the people who brought us Baby Abraham Lincoln, after all.

There is a real update coming. I'm just trying to decide which project to talk about.

P.S. I've just been informed that the guy in this picture looks like an uncle of mine. I'm not sure how to feel about that.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Thrift Store Sweaters: Revisited

FINALLY, I'm ready to tell you how my sweater unravelling went! It took forever because of camera-related technical difficulties, but I've finally done it.

I'll start out by introducing you to one of my favorite tools ever, and one that came in very handy for this project:

My trusty seam ripper. I love this thing. I've had this very seam ripper since I was a little kid and my grandmother was teaching me how to sew. As its name might imply, this thing is perfect for taking seams apart. Just jam the pointy end in there and use the sharpish part in the crook to cut the threads. (Easier to do than to explain). Then rip the seam open as far as you can (fun!) and repeat. Every crafting person should have one of these. They're great.

They're good for shoulder pads too.

Lots of times a shoulder pad will only be held on by a thread or two. It's way easier to remove shoulder pads with a seam ripper than with scissors because with scissors it's easier to accidentally snip into some of the yarn you're trying to save. Don't even get me started on how well they work on removing labels. Yay for seam rippers!

So while I ripped up many sweaters, the only one I'm going to give you the step-by-step for is this one:

The reason for this is that this sweater was the biggest pain in the ass, so there's the most to tell.

Before I get too far into complaining about this sweater, there is one reason I liked it. The yarn was big, which made it easier to photograph. This is pretty much the only pic of a good seam I got where you can kind of make out the seam:

You can see near the top where I've started pulling the seam apart. If you're lucky, the seam will be crocheted and you can just find the correct end of the magic string and pull and the seam comes apart. (This does NOT reduce the usefulness of the beloved seam ripper! You never know when you might get stuck! Besides, it helps when getting those seams started.)

Anyway, there's a reason this sweater was a bitch, and you can barely see it in this pic:

Fuzz. Lots of fuzz and lint all over this sweater. It had actually melded itself into the fibers of the sweater and made the deconstruction a much more difficult prospect than just pulling on a string.

My preferred method for unraveling is to unravel straight to a yarn ball winder, like so:

If you have a cooperative sweater you can just turn the crank and it will just pull the yarn along and do most of the job for you. This sweater wasn't so cooperative. The lint made the yarn stick and just turning the crank to do the unraveling would have threatened to break the winder at worst, and wind the ball far too tight at best. Besides that, I don't want to wrap up all that lint.

That meant that I had to pull out long sections of yarn by hand (which in some cases took a surprising amount of muscle) and then go over every inch and pull off any large hunks of lint.

After a while I had big balls of fuzzy lint floating around my table and that became irritating, so I broke out the scotch tape:

The tape was good for wrangling the lint and keeping it out of my hair. That doesn't look so bad, I know, but this is what I ended up with after doing one sleeve:

And this is some very densely packed lint!

One sleeve later, and this is what I get:

And work goes on and on. Five sweaters later, and here are the results (with some comments thrown in):

One ball of yarn for each sleeve, and two each for the front and back.

The white sweater was also a pain in the butt, but not because of lint. This yarn wasn't twisted very tightly when it was spun. You can kind of see this in the one piece of yarn trailing off the bottom ball there. This meant that if at any time I pulled the yarn too overzealously there was a very good chance that I would tear it apart. Very annoying.

The green gave me no trouble, mostly, except that the seams around the shoulders were bad seams and that cost me a lot of yarn.

The pink yarn came from what was once a GAP sweater, which according to one of my sweater unraveling tutorials, is a good kind of sweater to rip up.

Nothing much to say about the red yarn. I just like this tower I built here.

And so concludes, at long last, the great sweater odyssey. I already have a project in mind to use some of this yarn up (from my crochet calendar, no less!), but I'll have to finish a couple of other things first. I can hardly wait!

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Friendly Blog Roundup

Yes, I'm still alive!

A new post about those sweaters of mine is soon to come. I've unraveled them and taken pictures documenting the process, but technical difficulties with my camera made it extra difficult to transfer the pictures to the computer. I've found a work-around, but I'm not quite ready to post yet.

In the meantime, allow me to plug some blogs for my friends:

Holeee Cow
This is my other blog which I co-run with my friend, wurwolf. We take a look at fundamentalist Christian tracts and make snotty jokes. But from the perspective of non-fundamentalist Christians. Yeah, we're a little weird. But the blog is funny. I think so anyway.

Cooties Cards
This is wurwolf's personal blog. She likes to make greeting cards for her friends and family and show them off here. She makes nice stuff. If you're into card making or scrapbooking or stamping or other paper crafts (except maybe origami) you should check this out.

Tork's Blog
Mostly it's about video games, but sometimes he talks about sports and maybe even tv shows he's seen. Take a look into the mind of the nerd from whom this blog got its name. See if you understand a single thing he's talking about. None of the rest of us do.

The Micerty Files
Mickry is the nice guy with the name I can't type. He became jealous of the resounding success of Tork's blog and came up with one of his own, only to become even more jealous as time went on and Tork's obsessive-compulsive updating put Michey's post count to shame. The rivalry between Tork and Micthy is surely one for the ages.

Tork's Objectified Knees
This is Rimmi's blog where she shows off her fantastic mosaic creations. Her craft is beautiful, but I can't get past her stealing her blog title from me. Accept no substitutes! I exploited Tork's knees first!

PMS Lair of Villainy
PM is an evil criminalistic jerk. That's why when he saw that all his friends had blogs he felt the need to swipe the idea for his own. He's a funny jerk, though, and that's why we like to have him around.

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