Monday, July 19, 2010

Washcloths Are Taking Over My Room

Last year, I donated one of my t-shirt bracelets to Melissa at Mending Hands for a raffle, and since then we've had a nice partnership going. We both had a good laugh when she asked me to donate 200 washcloths for her to use in September for her new clients.

The idea of knitting 200 washcloths is pretty insane, but I'm up for it. (You can bet Feisty Redhead business cards will be attached to each one!)

I bought a ton of 100% cotton yarn...
...and then I started knitting. I made significant progress over the July 4th weekend while riding MegaBus roundtrip from NYC to DC.

Washcloths in waiting:

I tried to buy a variety of bright colors to keep me sane, plus I wanted my bedroom to look pretty when the washcloths take over.

This is the first time I've ever mass-produced something. If you've ever tried mass production, you know my woes!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Brooch Hunt

For my next post on Martha Stewart's Crafts Department blog, I decided to do a how-to for a necklace made of brooches.

This required a trip to one of my favorite stores in Brooklyn. Union Max, here I come!

Going to Union Max is like scouring the boxes at my great aunt Maude's house. Tell me you don't want to drown yourself in this deliciousness:

I came home with a small batch of openwork goodness:

I also placed an order on Etsy with the ladies at ClassicStyleSupplies for some super blingy brooches to add to the mix. Can't wait to show you the results!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Little Earrings That Could

Earlier this week, I posted my finished brooch from my Fashion Institute of Technology class. I'm now proud to present my first completed project from the class: earrings!

I made a wax model of the earrings (over on the left). This took insane patience and a steady hand, which meant no coffee and a lot of swearing.

Using a needle attached to a wine cork and a tea candle, I melted the wax wires together to create what now appears to be a pretzel on top of Lincoln Logs with a swirly underneath. (Didn't really plan for it to look that way, but pretzels are innovative... right?)

When the wax model was complete, I very carefully packed it in a jar with cushioning and dropped it off at Roni Casting in midtown to be cast in brass. These jewelry services in midtown are amazing because they're all in populated areas, but they have no signage so you have to be in a secret jeweler club to even know where they are. Getting inside was like entering the headquarters in Get Smart, except a little shiftier.

The finished product looked vintage, which I kind of liked. I had to do a lot of drilling and sanding and filing and stone setting to get them to look decent, but I think it looked pretty good for my first turn at wax models!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Close My Toga: A Penannular Brooch

I took a jewelry class at the Fashion Institute of Technology here in New York during the spring semester.

According to the professor, a penannular brooch was used to close togas. I don't own a toga (though I could probably make one from a sheet, right?), but I thought my mom could use this to close a couple of the wraps I knitted for her. 

The Process
I started by rolling a doily pattern onto a brass sheet using a rolling mill in the studio. Then I cut the metal down to two squares and drilled holes in the center to try and recreate the doily effect.

For the arch, I braided three brass wires together, then soldered them to the back of the metal squares. I also soldered the bezel setting onto the metal. (I definitely cheated by gluing the stone into the bezel setting.)

The pin was a brass wire that I hammered out until it was nice and stiff (save your dirty jokes!). Then I sharpened the end of the pin so it could go through fabric.

Et voila!

Even though I asked not to be graded, the professor couldn't help himself. Apparently I used too much solder, creating this mess. I didn't think it looked that bad! Anyone who didn't catch their hair on fire (that's me!) deserved an A.

It was fun to learn new techniques and play with fire, but I don't think I'm cut out to do any type of goldsmith work. (I also made some earrings. Post to come later on that little experiment.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Madie's Birthday Bag

The day after I bought my sewing machine (see photos from that glorious day over on the Martha Stewart Crafts Department blog) was a rainy Sunday, perfect for playing around with my new toy. Since my cousin Madie's 7th birthday was coming up, I wanted to make her something special.

Madie is a gal's gal who loves makeup and the color pink. She can walk in high heels better than I can. (Did you know they make those for 7 year olds now?) A pink purse was an obvious choice!

I started by playing around with the decorative stitches on the machine using some pink felt from my stash...

...and finished by attaching a polka dot initial and ribbon handles. I wish I had red polka dot ribbon in my stash to use, but black did the trick. I was most proud of my clipped corners -- a trick I learned from Becky Hanson who teaches Singer sewing classes to employees at Martha Stewart.
My mom delivered the bag to Madie and said she has been carrying it everywhere, which makes me really happy.