Archives for posts with tag: DIY

We all do it. Don’t be ashamed. If you know how to knit, you have some… FAILED KNITTING.

An anecdote: A friend of mine announced she was pregnant with her second child. In anticipation, I bought a pattern for a cute little sweater. Friend had baby: A girl! So I bought some pink-ish wools and started in.

A year later, it evolved into a first-birthday gift.

Many other years later, it evolved into something for one the child’s dolls, perhaps.

Yet more years later… and I will be incorporating the pieces and bits of knit into some scarves.

I have done something like this a couple of times before. Once I felted an unfinished knit charity quilt-square (I missed the deadline, of course) into the end of a scarf. Here is a photo of the finished scarf:

my scarf!

I have more recently created a similar scarf. This time I used a finished, knitted scarf I wasn’t happy with, and sewed on (by hand!) some ruffly chiffon. I have this for sale on my Etsy page for a few days, and if it doesn’t sell it is MINE.

a knitted scarf and some chiffon find a new life together

Some of us just aren’t true knitters. We can’t find happiness with what we make; however we are continually drawn to trying again and again. The path to peace within the realm of knitting is perhaps in finding a mixed-media outlet for yourself. Sew on knitting. Felt with knitting. Re-purpose knitted bits. Go on, you can do it. Do It Yourself.

knitted bits of pinky wool will find their ways into scarves

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

*note this would work with crochet, too… and there’s nothing stopping you from making something like a cup-cosy out of your little knit and crochet bits. Small is good…

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One evening, Tuesday December 6, 6:30-8:30pm $50, everything included!

Felt is an amazing material. Real felt is made from wool or other animal fibres. It is compressed, agitated, boiled, and manipulated until it becomes a single piece of fabric. Felt was developed in every culture where herding animals were kept, and used not only for clothing but for housing and industrial purposes too.

In this workshop, students will learn about the technique of making felt fabric from loose wool roving. They will make their own elegant, warm, snugly, beautiful, handsome, thick, or thin scarf out of wool. All materials and instruction (and fun) will be provided!

Instructor Natasha Henderson is a visual artist, painter, crafter of wool scarves, puppets, and cat-toys. She loves making things by hand and teaching others how to do so, too. She has years of experience teaching workshops in painting, felt-making, and other crafts. Her work (including felt scarves) can be seen in various galleries and shops, as well as being available for purchase online.

Register online: nhen@videotron.ca
Check out Natasha’s scarves at http://HendersonArt.etsy.com/

Workshop is located in Fleurbain at 460 St Catherine West, Suite #917, H3B 1A7, Montreal.

scarf with rescued materials in it

Go to any craft fair, fashion expo, or design show these days and you will undoubtedly find upcycled clothing. Old garments, say for example a beautiful coat or sweater that developed wear and tear over the years, could be combined with another garment to be new, fresh, and exciting.

In Montreal, there is a hip shop in the St Henri neighbourhood that caters to this idea. La Gaillarde features finished clothing by Montreal designers, as well as sewing/alteration classes in their sewing room. They also sell fabric remnants and used garments that are ready to be worn as-is, or upcycled into something more enticing.

At the Biodome in Montreal, every winter there is a craft fair that features crafts and clothing and all sorts of exciting things made out of over 75% post-consumer waste. Many of the offerings I saw last year were of better quality, more stylish, and clearly more functional than their brand new counterparts.

This article in the Guardian newspaper outlines some of the challenges that manufacturers and retail stores face in regards to textile waste. The manufacturers must be more responsible, and we as the purchasers of garments must be more accountable for what we do with them as we finish. It does take an effort. As the article says;

“…the various fibres that comprise clothing make reprocessing and recycling a challenge. Some materials such as cotton and linen can be composted, but petroleum-based fibres such as polyester have little chance for reuse. Few municipalities accept textiles into their recycling programmes… the result is a resource that is not as easily recyclable as aluminum cans, glass, or even plastic.”

scarf with unrecyclables

The ability to truly recycle textiles is rare. We will donate unwanted (but still wearable) clothing to charity, but what do we do when there are too many holes or stains? We usually throw them into the landfill… Though I am not anywhere near perfect in this regard, I have tried to save fabrics from this fate.

I make felt wool scarves, and have been incorporating bits of used fabrics into them. Also I like to take unrecyclable (yet durable) materials, such as plastic/foil catfood bags, and use them within the scarves, too. This is more fun than anything, but I hope that my efforts have diverted yet more toxic landfill from accumulating!

Check out some of the DIY ideas we posted over the last while on Fleurbain… you can use old garments for these things, too!

*Coasters

*Braided Rug

*Mittens, Cushions…

*Scented Sachets

And have some fun while you’re at it!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

orange: beautiful in many ways

orange: beautiful in many ways

A few weeks ago, I shared a link to a video that showed how easy and inexpensive (and non-toxic) it can be to make one’s own hairspray.

Shortly after, I went out and bought myself an orange (something that I normally don’t buy) and some rum (another thing I don’t buy… I’m a gin or scotch girl!) and went about making me some home-brewed hairspray.

The results: I find that it maintains a gentle hold, and smells very nice. My head smells faintly like an orange daiquiri! Not unpleasant at all. When it was very hot and humid, and I needed to perk my hair up a bit for a wedding event, I used a blow dryer on my dampened, hairsprayed hair. This added a lot of body. I then styled it, gave a short squirt, and presto I was done. It held its shape pretty well, again not rock solid like an AquaNet net.

Final Words: I would recommend trying this. It took only a few minutes, and the price of an orange and a drop of rum. You can use rubbing alcohol, if you have it, instead. I’ll try boiling it down a little more next time, to see if the hold increases.

I am glad to not support an industry where the bottles have dozens of mysterious ingredients on the label!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

From “David Suzuki’s Queen of Green“, comes this Youtube video:

I am a fan of hers on Facebook. I love Facebook for the tailored information and priceless international contacts I’ve made.

All that aside, though, I am looking forward to buying an orange and a little rum to make my OWN hairspray!

Oh, yes!!!

 Natasha Henderson, Montreal

so fascinated with light... he'd certainly paint if he could...

Artists who paint are often fascinated with light. Light allows us to see; light forms the subject matter that is painted. When we paint, we are painting light both as it hits objects, and as it filters through atmosphere. However… sometimes we might like to paint actual light sources. Here is a short example on how to paint a “Christmas Light”.

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

Just like last week, this time I started with a piece of paper that I’d smudged some white acrylic paint on. Again, it is not 100% necessary to add the acrylic. If I had thick paper, and I’d wanted to allow the paper’s texture and absorbancy affect the paint’s effect, I could have worked directly on the paper.

getting started

I made a simple shape, similar to an Xmas light bulb.

a simple shape, similar to an Xmas light bulb

Then, I made the “cords”. Most Xmas lights have a casement for the glass bulb, and then cords leading away from this. I opted to imagine a simple cord going each way, although in reality there are usually two twisted cords, per side, that lead away in both directions. Sometimes it is more poetic to rely on memory than observation. Who wants a painting of electrical cords?

bulb with simple cords

Next, I smudged a little watery black down the middle of the bulb.

swiped watery-black paint in the bulb...

Then I wiped some of this paint away, quickly, with my finger. It smudged the paint, giving it a bit of a hazy effect, just like staring into a real light…

smudged!

The most important thing right now was to let this DRY. After it had dried, I painted some watered-down black around the bulb area. I left the imagined-light to “glow” in a circle around the bulb.

painting the world that is not so affected by the light

Next, I added more black, solidly, onto the outside area. The light isn’t reaching there at all…

suddenly, the light seems a lot more "light"

The final, final step was to put a dab of pure white into the middle of the bulb.

final bit... unless I decide to go in colour...

If I wanted to create this image in colour, then I would glaze some colour into the image. Next week, I will do just that!

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

beginning the first tree...

Everyone likes trees. They are pretty and useful things. So why not paint up a little stand of trees to call your own?

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

Before we begin, a few notes on what I’m using to paint. I chose a simple, broad flat brush. I used black acrylic paint. I used a piece of paper. I smudged some white acrylic on the paper first, so that the paint and any water in it would not bleed into the paper. I could have used the paper alone, and the texture of the paper would have had more effect on the paint, and I could have treated it more like a watercolour. But I chose not to.

a line. This will become a tree...

Once the white acrylic base had dried, I used a small amount of paint on the tip of my brush to draw a line. This would be the trunk, the centre of the first tree I would paint.

dabbing on branches, needles, it's all just paint

Then, I simply dotted and dabbed little marks across this line, to make a tree. Simple.

tree is lonely... time for some more

After that I added more lines, and the dabs to create the four trees that followed these lines. I had my stand! I was naughty, and didn’t follow the Law of Odds, but life’s about taking risks.

more trees, made in exactly the same way

The final touch was a sweeping mark that suggested land. The trees needed to be situated in some sort of environment, and I felt that this would suffice.

trees and their land

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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