Tuesday, August 30, 2011

20 inches of duck canvas scarf...

"Modern canvas is usually made of cotton or linen, although historically it was made from hemp. It differs from other heavy cotton fabrics, such as denim, in being plain weave rather than twill weave. Canvas comes in two basic types: plain and duck. The threads in duck canvas are more tightly woven. The term duck comes from the Dutch word for cloth, doek." [source]
It all began with my friend Keren from sew la vie!  She has been sewing with knits lately so I wanted to pass on a cute ruffled jersey scarf that I had bookmarked a while back.  This was the scarf I was thinking of:
This pretty scarf is from the
lovely blog, Make it and Love it.
You can find the tute here.
But, I sent this equally lovely scarf by mistake:
This pretty scarf is from the
lovely blog, Ruffles and Stuff.
You can find the tute here.
After I found out my goof-up of sending dear Keren the wrong tutorial, we both agreed that this flannel scarf was very cool and interesting.  The only thing deterring us from making this lovely scarf was that it calls for a piece of soft flannel 10 inches by 14.5 feet.  Yes, 14 feet long!  Obviously one would have to piece together a few strips to achieve that length.  Neither of us had that much flannel on hand.  Bummer.

But that got me thinking.  What about using a single layer of denim?  I have yards and yards of denim!  Would it be too heavy?  Would it be too stiff?  Would it irritate one's neck?  More thinking.  What if the edges were frayed to a soft and fluffy border?   I had to find out.  I couldn't sleep until I knew!

So I tip-toed into my craft room and was about to drag out my pile of denim when my eye spied the duck!  I had a little remnant of wine colored duck canvas I paid $2.50 for at JoAnn's.  That would be worthy of my little experiment.  If it failed, I'd only be out a couple bucks and a good night's sleep.

Well, you can see by this tute that I enjoyed some success.  Please don't judge me by my silly photo montage.  I tried my best to stay out of this photo shoot.  But my dear children were uncooperative, leaving me to fend for myself.  I could not simply hang this scarf on the fence like I do when I shoot bags.  You have to see it "on" to fully appreciate it.   So, I had to feel like an idiot for 10 minutes in my back yard. 

I can assure you that this scarf is very comfortable to wear and really fun to "play" with.  I picked it up several times today just to try out all the different ways you can arrange it around your neck. 

Hello, I'm the dork in duck!  There I was in 90 degree heat in my Barbie pink lipstick trying to wrestle with a camera on a tripod in my back yard.  I will tell you, it was no fun.  Even worse is how embarrassing it is for me to be the "model".

Are you still with me?  Good!  Now here comes the tutorial portion of this post.  Yay!

I started with a 20 inch remnant of duck canvas.  Like most utility fabrics, it was 60 inches wide.  I cut it into four strips that were 5 inches wide by 60 inches long.  That used up every bit of my remnant.

After I cut the strips, I had to go to my high tech lab and construct a pleating gadget.  I created this ingenious invention by cutting a 1.5 inch wide strip of card board. 
I used it to measure out and press every pleat. 

You can see from these pictures, that these pleats are not quite a simple accordion fold.  I think they would be called box pleats.  The Pleat Cheat 2000 was infinitely helpful in the pleating process.
I pleated and pressed each strip separately.  Then, I attached them by over lapping the ends of strips.  The end pleats of one strip tucking over and around the end pleats of the next strip.  I did not sew them together.  Then, I pinned it up nice and neat.  I ended up just shy of 80 inches of scarf.

I made 3 rows of straight stitches right down center of the scarf.  To aid the fraying of the edges, I snipped the edges of both sides.  Then I threw it in the washing machine with some towels.

I had a stomach dropping feeling when I pulled the scarf from the dryer.  As you can see from picture one, the fraying turned out great, but the scarf needed some work.  With just a bit of fiddling I got it to look like picture two.  With a little bit of steam iron, I have the finished product shown in picture three.

I hope you enjoyed this little crafty journey with me.  Thanks so much for taking the time to read all this.  I know, I ramble on sometimes!  I'm long-winded by nature, and I'm trying hard to reign it in for this blog.  Honestly, I am.  :-)

While you're here, I hope you'll vote for your favorite tote from our Solids-Only Tote Challenge.  We have 18 entries to choose from, made by bloggers from all over the world.  You can find the poll HERE.

Happy Crafting and big hugs from Montana,

this is my craftgawker photo, fyi

A big thank you to Ginger for featuring this project:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bias Ruffles: a godsend for ruffle addicts...

Everyone has a great tutorial on creating something with ruffles.  Most of the tutes you see are for refashioning t-shirts or making ruffled skirts from t-shirts.  Since t-shirts are made of jersey and jersey doesn't fray, creating ruffles is very easy.  But what about woven fabric?  It frays like crazy.  You have to hem it or your ruffles will turn to fringe and you'll be shedding strings all over the place.  There has to be a better way, right?  Well there is!  WOVEN FABRIC CUT ON THE BIAS DOES NOT FRAY!!!!  After fighting with my narrow hem foot for hours trying to hem some calico to make ruffles, I came across this tute:

Squiggly Twig Designs showed me the light!
Bias strip ruffles were the solution to my
ruffle dilemma!
and this tute all about ruffles:

This is an informative ruffle tute by See Kate Sew.

Bias strip ruffle usage is not unheard of in the blogging tutorial world, but there isn't a lot out there. 

Here are some of my favorites:

Micah C Micah Do has a great ruffled pillow tute!

Another pretty pillow tute by Midwestern {sewing} Girl

This beautiful skirt uses bias strips sewn in tiers
for a gorgeous effect.  Kudos to No Big Dill for this beaut!

This cute pouch is made even cuter with a bias strip ruffle.
Find the tute on That's My Letter: "R" is for Ruffles.

You can find the tutorial for this phenomenal pillow
at Ameroonie Designs.

Here are a few things I've made using bias ruffles:

 How would you like to see a neat-o torpedo little ruffle shortcut?  Awww, that perked up your ears!
This is how I deal with rows and rows of cascading ruffles:

What you'll need to start:
  • fabric that looks the same on either side cut into wide bias strips (4"-6" is ideal)
  • sewing machine with a straight stitch and coordinating thread
  • hot iron with steam

The 1st step is to cut your woven fabric into wide bias strips.  How long?  Super long.  I wouldn't start unless I had a strip at least 6ft long.  Think about it, if you gather it really tight, you would probably only end up with 3 ft of ruffles. 
This is a good video tutorial on how to attach strips of bias. 

The 2nd step is to mark an off-center mid-line down the length of your strip.  I did this by ironing in a good crease.  For this tute, my bias strip is 4" wide and my off-center crease was 2.5" from the edge.

The 3rd step is to gather your strips along the crease. 
Most people will gather fabric by sewing a long straight stitch and pulling one of the threads.  I tried that, but my thread kept breaking.  Other folks are lucky enough to have a ruffle foot for their sewing machines.  I am  not so lucky.  Because I was frustrated and a bit lazy, I came up with my own gathering method.  I simply pinch and pleat/fold my fabric as I am feeding it under the foot and to my needle. No special equipment needed. One step and I'm done. You can see that my ruffles are more like irregular pleats.  This may bother you, but I've made peace with it.  :-)

The 4th step is to fold and press your strip on your off-center mid-line.  Like magic, you have a double row of ruffles.  Now you can see why you choose your fabric carefully.  The peach linen I used doesn't really have a right or wrong side. 
Another thing you may have noticed is the seam where I connected two bias strips.  The seams will show.  I've made peace with that fact.  You can too! 

And that's it!  You're done.  Easy huh?  Hmmm, still can't visualize why this is such a cool technique?  Keep scrolling down and look at my little demo.  If you're like me, you need to SEE it all played out in order to be properly inspired.

What could you do with 2 double ruffles?

Why, you could stack them up and make a quadruple row of ruffles!
Starting to see where I'm coming from?

How many rows of rufles do you see on my little handbag? 

To make this purse, I made one long strip of ruffles and sewed them around a tube of fabric.
The ruffles literally spiral up and around the tube.
The arrow points to one end of my ruffle.

This arrow points to the other end of my ruffle way down on the bottom of the handbag.

Like looking up a lady's skirt, right?
I mentioned sewing around a tube earlier, right?  Well, I sewed up one end of the tube using a french seam to hide the raw edges.  The other end of the tube was folded over a few times and hemmed to finish the top edge of the bag.  I sewed on strips of bias to the top and tied on the bamboo handles.

Because I believe one cannot have too many visual aids.  I drew up this little sketch to show you how I started stitching the ruffles onto the purse.  I began near the "bottom" of the tube and spiraled up to the top.  I left enough unruffled fabric at the bottom to make a decent french seam and enough at the top to fold under a few times and hem to finish the top.

And so concludes yet another long-winded post by Rikka J!
Thank you for hanging in there with me!
Please let me know if I can make anything clearer for you.
I love that you are reading my posts and I have to tell you, it is so awesome to see my stats get better and better every week!  Thank you so much for becoming a follower and telling others about Ricochet and Away!  You all rock!

Happy Crafting and big hugs from Montana!

Be sure to check out the Retro Pillow Challenge!
It starts in September so you still have time to join in!

Crastal at Homemaker in Heels featured this post.  Thanks Crystal! 
Check out her sweet and sassy blog:
Homemaker In Heels

This tute caught the eye of Craft Gossip too!  My fave craft site!

As seen on CraftGossip.com

This is where I party:

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Versitile Blogger Award!

Happy Monday to my blog world friends!  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I have been nominated not once, but TWICE for the versatile blogger award by Adrianne at Happy Hour Projects and Kate at Kate's Curios!  I can't tell you how nice it feels to be recognized and acknowledged!  Thank you so much, ladies!

The rules after accepting the Versatile Blogger Award are:

  1. Thank the person who gave the award and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs.

So seven things about me:
1.  My hometown has a population of less than 300.

2.  I make Velveeta Fudge for the holidays.  Seriously, you should google it.  Phenomenal!

3.  I prefer mowing the lawn to vacuuming.

4.  I want to use my reusable shopping bags, but I keep forgetting to bring them to the store.

5.  I am my husband's hottie girlfriend and my kids' mom.

6.  I am just about to give up on craftgawker, who rejects EVERY photo I submit!!!!

7.  I am super excited to co-host the Retro Pillow Challenge with Keren from sew la vie!  I hope you'll check it out and grab a button!

And now for the 15 deserving blogs I would like to nominate:
  1. Terrie ~.~ Smiling
  2. a faithful journey
  3. Ameroonie Designs
  4. Chronically Creative
  5. sew la vie
  6. Unfortunately Oh!
  7. Crafted by KatieB
  8. Designs by Kasia
  9. Seven Alive
  10. Domestic Deadline
  11. Creations By June
  12. Adithis Amma Sews
  13. MoMomma
  14. O. Alouette
  15. Seens from the backs of my eyelids

I picked these blogs for one or more of the following reasons:
  1. I am "blogger friends" with them.  We email and keep up on each other's posts.
  2. I read their posts and think about them for a long time afterwards.
  3. I can relate to them, being crafty SAHM's like me who are trying to throw blogging into the mix!
  4. I think they deserve more recognition for all their creativity and hard work!

Happy Crafting and big hugs from Montana! 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rural Reality

This  beautiful church was built in 1914 and still holds services on alternate Sundays.
It is literally out in the middle of nowhere, serving the local farmers and ranchers.
Can you see the outhouse back behind it?

Hello!  Our family has returned from another weekend of camping and exploring beautiful Montana.   We had a wonderful time hiking, cooking outdoors, braving mosquitoes, driving to a ghost town, and enjoying each other's company.  I couldn't help but share some of the photos from our little adventure.  Being born and raised in rural Montana, I am always pleased to show-off my home state.  

Remnants of an old mining town.
You can see the floods of early summer have given way
to a hot and dry landscape.

This was a basement/foundation of a general store.
Looks a bit like the adobe homes one finds in AZ or NM.

We love camping!  My husband takes the best photos of us....

Now that I'm home, I have less than 2 weeks to finish up all the school shopping, can a million jars of tomatoes, and make one more trip to Grandma's before school starts.  Then I'm going to focus on my pillow cover for the Retro Pillow Challenge!

Happy crafting and big hugs from Montana,

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bunco Recipes!

I don't want to turn this blog into a recipe/cooking blog, but I'm feeling compelled to share this good recipe I made up tonight.   I've been working overtime getting ready for the Retro Pillow Challenge and spending too much time on the 'puter.  So it was a good thing that I had bunco tonight to get me out of the house and reacquainted with the world!  At around 5PM, I start getting ready.  Bunco starts at 6:30PM.  Plenty of time, right?  Not when you have to bring food!  Ooops!  I totally spaced that I needed to make something.  So, I threw this together:

I forgot to take a photo, but this looks exactly
like what I made.  And posts w/o pics are
no-nos in blogland.  [source]

Cinnamon Toast Popcorn

1 big bowl of popcorn
1/4 cup of melted butter
1/4 cup of Splenda ('cause it's not sticky)
1/2 tsp salt
4-5 big dashes of cinnamon

I nuked the butter and dissolved the Splenda and salt in it.  I poured it over the popcorn and tossed it real well.  I sprinkled on the cinnamon and tossed it again.  Then, I took it to bunco and ate a lot of it!  It has that sweet and salty flavor we all crave when it comes to munch food.

I tried a very good and different dip at bunco and here's the recipe for that.

Again, this pic is just
a look-alike.  [source]
Mexican Corn Dip
2 packages of cream cheese
1 stick of butter
2 cans of drained shoe peg corn
1 can of Rotel
chili powder to taste

Mix it all together and heat it up in a crock pot or microwave. 

P.S.  Please check out the Retro Pillow Challenge.  I made a snazzy button for it up on my sidebar.  You can sport one too, if you like.  Read all about it here.
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