Janice's Doings in Tübingen

Fabric and Yarn Crafts

Hello World! This is my first post (from 11 Feb 2011 on the blog ShowTellShare) and my first try at a challenge. Very exciting!

As usual for me, I'm working on prizes for a raffle for my daughters' dance school and I like to keep things simple, quick to make and, if possible, cute and cuddly. The book 'Stray Sock Sewing' was just the thing - sock dolls! (Since finding this book, I have been a bit obsessive in the terms of purchasing zippy-looking socks, especially teensy baby ones.) So, here's some of my exciting stash of socks (Yes, quite a few I admit.)...

...and the book and my little pals so far (the big red-and-white striped one was made by my  seamstress friend Annette):

These socks use very little materials (although a huge amount of stuffing!), are easy and fast to make and turn out looking pretty darn cute. The hardest thing is deciding what type of face to sew on. They draw quite a crowd at the raffle table, but I must say it is rather hard for me to part with most of them.

Stray Sock Doll Tutorial - 19 February 2011
First off, I'll say that this is not my invention and I recommend you buy the book 'Stray Sock Sewing' by Daniel not just because it then gives credit where it is due, but also because his creatures are super cute AND he does a lot more than just the one-sock version that I make. I am not going to go into great detail on the style from the book, but will show a quickie run-down before showing a variation that I came up with the other day in more detail.
Above are some before&after socks, one with 'cat ears', one with bunny ears, and my variation.

Okay, so here goes!

Materials: a sock, stuffing, thread, needle, scissors, embroidery floss, beads and/or buttons.

1. Take your sock and trim off a little bit of the toe - this is where the stuffing will go in.

2. Turn the sock inside out and at the ankle end of your sock, cut a line down the middle for two longer bunny-type ears. The heel is where the face will be. Sew around to make your ears (sew VERY well because these socks really stretch and you can really stuff them with lots, so have a good seam here), turn right side out, stuff the ears with equal amounts of stuffing then stuff the body with a huge ball of stuffing. (Into a baby sock, I put in a non-smoshed ball of stuffing about the size of a cantalope, or more!)

3. The next fun part is deciding on and sewing the face.

4. Finally, sew the bottom closed with a running stitch that you then gather tightly and then stitch closed. (see the pink ones!)

On this cute yellow guy, I basically did everything the same, but instead I did not turn the sock inside out to sew the ears. About halfway from the ankle to the top of the heel, I did a running stitch around the sock, gathered and tightened this to close off the top. Then I cut some slits to give it 'hair' instead of ears. After that, it was the same procedure.

On the little pink one with the 'pigtails' I decided to try an even lazier version and didn't cut away the toe, but just stuffed that baby right off, cut a slit where I wanted the two separate pigtails to be, then did a little sewing (running stitch around each pigtail and then closing stitches in the middle) to keep them in place. I don't think this version stands as well, but I do like the pigtails!

Another Raffle, Another Set of Sock Dolls - May 2011

I just thought I'd share my most recent (and growing) batch of sock dolls with you all. I'm having a lovely time sewing them in the evenings when the kids are in bed.
AND I'm throwing a Sock Doll Party! This morning I decided to invite a bunch of moms to come to my house on Tuesday morning so that we can make lots more altogether and have lots more cute prizes. A stroke of brilliance if I say so myself: I have gobs of socks, stuffing, buttons, beads, etc. but not enough hands or time. I can't believe how much I'm waiting for Tuesday now!

Little Irish dancer bags - 27 April 2011

For the raffle at the Irish dance competition, I make these little Irish dancer bags (with my 'patented' stick figure dancer floating through the air).
To give you an example, here are two photos of my daughter doing this jump:

So, here's my little Irish Dancer stick figure bags, using simple cotton bags and fabric liner paints.

Little Irish dancers - 3 May 2011

Sweet little pouch - July 2011
I'll admit that I am not a whiz at sewing, so following someone's online tutorial or designing and making something myself is quite new for me. This weekend I not only had some free time, but was inspired to play around a bit and try out both! (This opportunity was made much easier by the fact that a few weeks ago I not only cleaned up all of my craft stuff and fabrics, but I also set up my sewing machine on a desk with all my threads, etc. right next to it!)
First, I was a good mom and did all of my mending! After that I added a small piece of elastic to some triangular neckerchiefs for my little daughter to wear instead as kerchiefs to keep her hair off of her face and neck.

A week or so ago, I found this cute pleated pouch pattern at http://www.needleandspatula.com/2010/12/pleated-pouch-sewing-tutorial.html.
I dug through my fabrics, disassembled a cute but outgrown baby sundress (for the lining) and made the pouch. It turned out a little lopsided somehow, but still sweet. My older daughters gave it a vote of approval!

Felted sweater shoulderbag - July 2011
I unearthed a wool sweater that I had felted in my washing machine about 4 months ago. (That was my first experiment doing that and I was pleased with the result!) The blue wool is so soft and pretty, and I really wanted to make something pretty but also useful. I decided on a shoulder bag keeping as much of the sweater as intact as possible.

First, I cut away the collar and the sleeves and cut across the front of the sweater just under the sleeves. I then had the entire bottom half (which made up the main section of the bag) and the still-attached back of the sweater for the flap. I made the shoulder strap from the sleeves. The buttons and loops came from the leftover scrap from the front top and for each button I cut a strip which I knotted twice and handsewed on. Because it is thick felt, I didn't need to do any hemming or finishing, so I had to sew very little actually: the bottom, the straps and the loops.

I like the texture from the ribbing of the bottom of the sweater and sleeves (straps). And I'm pretty pleased with my little buttons!

Good, Old-Fashioned Crafting Fun - Loop Potholders

Two days ago I went looking for something for my son when I came across our old plastic weaving frame and a bag of stretchy cloth loops for weaving potholders. Inspired I brought it up for my 5 1/2 year old daughter to try out and she was thrilled. She loved picking out the colors to lay down the first set of loops and then the weaving went fairly smoothly with the help of the metal hook: first you weave the hook up and down through the loops on the loom, then you attach your new loop onto the hook and pull it on through. Simple enough for a kindergarten kid to do!

After all the weaving was done, I tried to
remember how to get the potholder off of the
loom. My quick internet search only showed
using a crochet hook to pull one loop end
through the adjacent one, but I remembered
doing all of that by hand. So, starting with a
loop at a corner, I removed it from its peg and
then lifted off the next one and slipped that
through the first, then the next, etc. continuing
all of the way around the frame. It got a bit tricky
towards the last side when all of the loops
starting slipping off of their pegs because the
tension was gone from the other three sides, but
my daughter held things in place for us.

To end off, I knotted the last loop around the first. We were quite pleased with our result.  I love the thick texture of it.
The next day, I couldn't resist making one all by myself.


What a charming little craft that is! I'm so glad we revisited it.

Next project: finger knitting! I already bought some pretty, multi-colored yarn today!

Another Raffle, Another Set of Sock Dolls - May 2011

Crocheted Scarf - 11 January 2012

I did it! I finally turned my soft and snuggly Lion Brand Homespun yarn into a soft and snuggly scarf! And although it took me longer than 90 minutes (as was 'advertised' on http://craftdisasters.blogspot.com/2010/12/christmas-gifts-90-minute-scarves.html), I will admit that I ripped it out multiple times because I was inept at turning and counting. (Okay, I was trying to watch some movies at the same time.) I also made it twice as wide. But the extra width covers my neck very well and it is super warm.

My wider version of Craftdisaster's pattern:
Using a 10.0mm hook and Lion Brand's Homespun yarn, I chained 20 for the base and then double crocheted (dc) across the row, starting in the 3rd chain from the hook. To turn (which I suspect I did incorrectly, but it resulted in that nice scalloped look), I turned my work over, chained 3 and then did 18 dc's across, starting after the 3 chains. (I think that I probably should have chained 21 at the beginning to do 18 dc's to have straight sides, but I'm not quite experienced enough to be sure. That will happen some day I hope!)

Reversible Kilts - March 2011

Hello again! I have been up to my neck in making costumes and things for the Irish dancing championships that my girls' dance school just participated in this past weekend. For our school's 'Show' performance, which I helped choreograph, I wanted our team to go from individual looks to a coordinated team look and decided on reversible wrap-around skirts. I had found a super deal on some cute zip-up kilts which I opened up and made into wrap-arounds (with a velcro closure), then I added a different decorated 'lining' to each one. I bought some inexpensive lining material, cut it out, pleated it (a first for me!),
sewed it on and finally decorated each with fabric paints (some rather ancient ones from my stash collection), lace, ribbon, fabric scraps and a very long chain of hand-knitted yarn.

1. gold liner paint, scalloped and swirled plus ribbons made of gold lamé and green organza
2. flowers made with fabric liner paints and butterflies made from fabric scraps

3. a long hand-knitted chain (made by one of my kids years ago!) of multi-colored yarn and hand-sewn on
4. swirls of fabric paints5. the first skirt I made completely - with lace

6. the word 'dance' and little bows made from blue-sequined fabric

7. lace, polka-dots and little hearts along the bottom

8. with fabric paints and 9. with fabric paint liners

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