tutorial: pan chang chinese knot

In a previous post from a few years back, I made some Chinese knots for Chinese New Year 2010. Well, January 23, 2012, is the date for this year, and it’s fast approaching! I still had some of the same red cord from that previous project, so I decided to try and learn a new knot. And I picked a doozy of one called the Pan Chang knot.

120115 01 all knot

It took me a few times, but I finally got it. I had to get some cardboard and stick some pins in it to keep the cord where I wanted it, but in the end it turned out kind of cool. I had take more photos, but when you work at night and your room has incandescent lights and therefore a dim yellowish hue … it’s just too much work trying to make them presentable. Anyhow, I missed using Adobe Illustrator so much I decided to use the program to make a little guide. Yay.

120115 02a board

1. Get some cardboard stack it up (two or three layers so the pins stay in). Then following the guide, put pins where there are pink dots.

2. Get some cord/string that’s got some thickness (red is a lucky color). You’ll need about a yard … maybe more. In the middle, create a loop tied off with a knot. With one end, string the cord around the pins following the guide – stringing it vertically and then horizontally. Make sure to note when it goes over/under the already-laid cord.

3. With the other end of the cord, you’ll weave it through vertically and then horizontally. Again, make sure you take note when the cord is supposed to go over/under another one.

120115 02f pull

4. And that should be that. Carefully pull the cord up from around the pins and carefully pull on the outer loops. After you get the center roughly squared away, then you can begin adjusting the length of the loops by slowly working the cord through the piece, tightening along the way. The original knotted loop should be tight to the center square, and the two side loops should be bigger than the four other ones.

120115 03 knot

5. Voila! After all the tightening you’ll have to trim the ends of your cord. And then you can either leave the ends hanging or finish them off with some button knots.

120115 04 ends

Whew. Wasn’t that fun? I don’t have enough cord to make another knot, so that’s it. It’s kind of a small thing to show for all the time and effort I put into making it. It was fun though. Once you make one successfully you can sort of understand how the knot is constructed. The one I made here has four rows, but you can easily expand the knot to have six or eight rows just by increasing the number of vertical and horizontal moves you make. Good luck! Wishing everyone a happy new year!

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

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a little pouch

Nope, I’m not dead and I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. Wow it’s been a while since I posted anything. Busy with finals and such. Graduation is coming up, tonight is my last final, and then I have a whole host of things to do.

By the way, does anyone need a place to live during the summer in Austin? If you’re in the market for an apartment, let me know!

I haven’t done anything crafty in a while. A week or two ago I made this little pouch when I was particularly bored. Nothing too impressive.

100512 01 pouch

After tonight things should be better … I hope. Probably not though. I still have to pack, sell things, find someone to sublet. And then I have a list of Austin restaurants I have to go to before I leave and friends I need to see before we all depart. That’s okay though. I think I’d rather have too many things to do than nothing. I’d be too bored with boredom.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

a bag for a swap

Lately I’ve been participating in swaps over at swap-bot.com, which has been quite fun. For the latest swap I had to send something handmade. So … if you’re in that swap and your name is Clara, stop reading here (because I haven’t sent it yet!).

100421 01 bag straps

I have a lot of fabric, so I’m going to try to use it by sewing stuff. I found a pretty simple tutorial for a bag which you can find here that I decided to use for the swap. I think the bag came out rather nicely, but next time I make one I’ll probably change the fabric and shape.

Other stuff is in the works and hopefully my self-imposed deadlines hold fast. Now I’m off to actually do homework!

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

framed green letters

I finally finished the gift I had blogged about in my last post. Here it is! I know, you’re probably scratching your heads trying to figure out what the heck it’s supposed to be, so I’ll do you the favor and explain.

100314 01 framed

First of all, it’s art, so it’s not meant to do anything but hang on the wall and look pretty. I cut out the letters of my friend’s name in various fonts out of green card stock. Then I randomly jumbled carefully arranged said letters on another piece of green in a lighter shade, stuck it all in a frame, and voila.

Pretty simple and I thought it was rather cute. Whaddaya think?

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

creative space: green letters

My friend’s birthday is coming up, so I’m working on a little present for her. I couldn’t think of anything to get her and since she’ll be moving soon, I didn’t want to get her anything to bulky.

100310 01 green letters

I’m making her a little art piece to hang on her wall. Green card stock, a picture frame, and some funky letters. Hopefully I’ll get it finished tomorrow, but … ya never know.

More creative spaces here at kootoyoo!

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

some pillows bleed red

I haven’t posted in a long while, which I could blame on increased homework and studying for the GRE, but in reality I was just lazy. I had some fabric remnants from freshman year (that’s three years!) and I finally got fed up with it laying around and cut the red into pieces and sewed them together with some white cottony/plushy fabric and gray fleece. The result was a passable but boring pillow about 12″ square.

100303 01 pillow

Then, because I’m a perfectionist, I thought: That just won’t cut it. So I sewed on piece of black ribbon to make a bow. Yay. But then, because I’m also an idiot, I decided to wash it … forgetting that RED dyes tend to bleed RED, especially on WHITE. Oops.

100303 02 tiedye

The white pieces are now more of a coral/pink tie-dye. Kind of ruins the effect I was going for, but it’s not that big of a deal. All in all, I’ll live. The pillow was meant as a floor cushion for myself because I tend to do all my work (like typing this post) while sitting on the floor.

100303 03 detail

What I am annoyed about is that I washed that pillow WITH my comforter. I’ve had that comforter since I was really little and now there’s large red smears on it. Any solutions?

Happy March, everyone. Don’t be stupid like me.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

creative space: pink + red

I absolutely adore holidays. ADORE. That being said, this Sunday is a double-whammy of Valentine’s Day and the Chinese New Year. Thank goodness the colors coordinate!

100210 01 pink red

I had planned to go all out on gifts for Friday, but I’ve decided against it. Instead, I’m just making little no-frills things. Nothing’s been put together, but I have red satin cord and pieces of pink fabric ready.

Using some online tutorials, I figured out how to make the lucky and button knots. I was going to buy oranges also (for the Chinese New Year) but they’re too darn expensive because of the frost in Florida. Oh well, I’ll just have to do without.

Now I just have to wait for my glass bottles to finish drying and I can fill ’em with M&Ms. Yep, that’s my grand plan: M&Ms. All my friends are college students – I doubt they’d mind.

Ah, and I almost forgot again! Linking up to kootoyoo for creative spaces!

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

cookie tags

090830 01 three

I make a lot of cookies. Most of my friends are in architecture studio, slaving away until the wee hours of the night. Since I don’t have studio and I get lonely, I like making them cookies or doing menial tasks for them (like gluing together a pile of cylinders). Since I make a lot of cookies and I feel bad throwing away all those plastic bags, I have decided to make reusable, washable fabric bags for cookies. Well, I haven’t gotten around to that part yet, but I’ve made the fabric tags to identify the cookie types. I’ll get around to making the actual bags later … eventually … sometime. I’m busy!

First comes the template. I would’ve just cut out a chunk of fabric and started sewing, but I have finally learned that I am not good at cutting a straight line. I drew a rectangle 2.5″ by 6″ in the corner of a manila envelope with my trusty metal L ruler. Cut out a chunk from the corner of the template and then went about tracing shapes from the fabric. I have a lot of this cheap fabric because I originally used it to cover the wall partition in my studio. It’s the same fabric I used for these.

Cut out all those shapes, and then fold them in half with the wrong sides out. The fabric I used was the same on both sides so it really didn’t matter. Sew the two long edges and the short side closed while leaving open the wedge. Then flip it right-side out through the opening that was left. I ironed it at this point to make it easier to work with. I’m not good at drawing a straight line, cutting a straight line, or sewing a straight line. Oh well. Wonky edges make it seem more homemade, right?

090830 06 stuff

Then comes the stuffing. I just added a bit of stuffing into each tag to give them some thickness and make them a bit more substantial. Batting probably would’ve worked easier, but I don’t have any of that. While embroidering I would have to keep pressing the stuffing to where I wanted it because it moves a bit. Once the letters are embroidered, however, it’s pretty much stuck.

To make it easier to attach the tags onto the bags (which I intend to have some sort of drawstring or handle), I decided to sew on some loops. I used a random shoestring that I had and cut it into three-inch strips. By the way, this was a new, clean, completely unused shoestring. Since it was going to be used near food and was meant to be washable, I avoided my usual twine and ribbon. Tucking it into the wedge, which had been folded in, I secured it with a pin, and then took it to the sewing machine. I stitched around the edge of the entire thing, and when it got to the area of the wedge, I stitched that opening closed, making sure to get the ends of the cord as I went.

090830 09 embroider

Then came the final step: embroidering! This was the most fun but also the most time-consuming part. I didn’t really plan much before starting the letters, so in some cases I had to go back and redo a letter or two to fix the spacing. This is where a disappearing-ink pen would’ve come in handy … if only I had one. Make sure to sew all the way through the tag to cinch in the stuffing. I think it’s cute because the reverse side of the tag spells out “oatmeal” but backwards.

I currently have three made: oatmeal, choc chip, and sugar. I plan on making a few more, but I have no idea how I’m going to embroider “peanut butter” onto one of these things. I’ll probably also have to make another “choc chip” in case I make a batch of chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal chocolate chip (which would require both an “oatmeal” and “choc chip” tag). I’m running out of the purple embroidery floss I was using, so that is yet another thing to add to my list. On the other hand, my August total is so tiny!

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

gifting pillows

I’m back in Austin! Actually, I’ve been in Austin for a while but I didn’t have Internet. But now that I do (after wrestling with Time Warner for forever), I’m going to be better about posting and being productive. I seem to say that a lot.

While I was away one of my friends had a birthday so I wasn’t able to make it to her little birthday shindig. So I made her a pair of pillows for her new place. Well, it was partially making her a gift, and partially me teaching myself to use my sewing machine. I’m still not very good at it and none of my lines come out very straight. All in all, I still really like sewing by hand (even though it’s time consuming as heck).

090821 01 pieces

I was planning on making pillows with a nice quilt-y pattern, but I quickly realized that I didn’t have enough control to manage that. So I just pieced together some fabric. I sewed it all together, then thought they seemed a bit … bland. So I added some color around the border.

090821 02 stuffed

Then sewed the edge, flipped it inside out, stuffed, blind stitched some of the funky areas, then blind stitched the openings closed. Eh. These took me quite a long time to make, probably just because I’m so darn lazy.

090821 03 ribboned

They’re not that great, but I’m still learning. Tied a ribbon around them and despite my measuring, they’re not exactly the same size. Close, but no. Argh. Well hopefully she’ll at least appreciate the thought. School starts in a week, so I’m off to celebrate the last remaining days of summer.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

tutorial: stuffed hedgie

090802 01 finished

I’ve been a bit busy hanging out with the family, so I haven’t made anything recently. This project is from a little bit ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting it. It’s a stuffed hedgehog made from a car-washing mitt that I got at Dollar Tree. I posted a step-by-step here, but by no means did I think of this myself. All credit goes to Darling Petunia and her tutorial here. The only variation was that I embroidered the eyes. So cute! I named him Hedgie (’cause I’m creative like that).

First step was to get the mitt from the dollar store. I had seen the Darling Petunia blog post a while ago when it was featured on Dollar Store Crafts over here. So I had actually been holding onto this mitt since June. Snipped off the wrist and thumb and then pulled out the sewing supplies.

090802 04 eyes

I had looked for black buttons, but sheesh! Buttons are expensive. I ended up just embroidering on eyes just with black floss, just eyeballing their placement (har har … I’m so punny).

Then came the harder stuff. First up: sewing it up. After the eyes were on, the mitt was flipped inside out and I drew lines, forming a triangle to make its nose. Sewed that shut, leaving the thumb hole open. Once the wrist was sewn into a triangle (and some of the excess material snipped off), it got flipped right-side out and stuffed. Then the thumb hole was blind-stitched closed. Is it called a blind stitch? Like with closing pillows? That’s what I’ve always called it because that’s what my mother calls it … but who knows.

Unfortunately though I had finished the sewing, I wasn’t done because it looked a bit funky. The mitten shape was a little weird, asymmetrical because it was meant to fit a hand, so the poor hedgehog was a bit wonky. The square picture shows how it was, with the weird corners, and the second picture shows the hedgehog’s underside once I fixed it. I just blind-stitched a bunch around the edge to smooth out all those weird bumps, giving it a nice rounded edge. Then the very last step was to sew on a black pom-pom to serve as his nose, and voila! Hedgie is born.

090802 09 sheep

We had some family friends over today and their little boy V is about two years old. He’s such a cutie. Anyway, I had put this hedgehog in the storage room that has all my stuff from school and V, being curious, started rummaging around in there. When he found the hedgehog (although he called it a rat) … it was so cute! He played with it and this sheep that we had. Absolutely adorable. Also, I’m working on a new blog layout, which I hope to be up within the week. It’s been taking a while though because while I know HTML, CSS is a bit new to me.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]