Sunday, August 28, 2011

Knitted Cacti

Birthdays present shopping has never been a strong suit of mine and in the past year I have come to the conclusion that the only worthwhile gifts that come from me are alcohol and hand made crafts. (these also happen to be the only birthday presents I enjoy receiving as well) So when my roommate asked me to make her a meal of knitted sushi (as seen in earlier posts and already in the possession of your most dedicated blogger and my beloved Linda) for her birthday I decided to try my hand in her favorite plant instead. The Cactus.

Knitting the body of the cactus was much like knitting a tiny hat. I used a garter stitch and ended up preferring the pearl side for it's texture. I then stuffed it with yarn scraps and created a circle to close the bottom. For the needles I cut craft wire into inch long pieces and twisted them around the yarns of the cactus form. To top it all off I knitted a long, thin rectangle and simply twisted it and stitched it into a circle which created a flower.

The finished product was a little
messy and I think if you were to try this it might make sense to insert a styrofoam ball inside and use that to stabilize the wire needles.

In the end, it has become a lovely addition to my roommates potted garden, and unlike the real cacti, it's needles have not protected it from the terrors of my cat.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Coffee Filter Hydrangeas

Since the most popular posts seem to be those concerning coffee filter flowers, I thought I'd try to experiment with a few more types of flowers.  I've always liked hydrangeas; every time I enter Whole Foods and see the blue-green potted plants featured in the flower display, I have to sternly remind myself that anything dependent on me for food and water would die within a week. Paper hydrangeas, on the other hand, are much easier to take care of!

Materials need for this project include: coffee filters, thin silver wire, Styrofoam balls, watercolor paints, floral tape, green paper, and thick floral wire.

To begin, you need to cut out a large number of four-petaled flowers. They should be about 1.5 inches in diameter (1).  Next cut 1 inch pieces of wire and bend them into a narrow "U" shape (2). Insert the wire through the center of the flower (3). Small pins would work just as well if you want to skip step 2.  Attach the flowers to the Styrofoam ball in an overlapping pattern (4).  Make sure the ball is completely covered.  If you want to cover the ball first in coffee filter paper, you can avoid any unseemly white patches in your finished project. 

Paint the flowers in a mixture of blue, green, and purple hues (5 and 6). After the ball dries you will need to "fluff" the matted down petals. Finally, cut out a broad leaf from green paper and attach it to floral wire with floral tape.  Insert the wire into the base of the ball and you're done! I used rather small Styrofoam balls in my project because that's what I had on hand. After grouping three of the flowers together and pinning the sides together with wire, I think it came out rather cute.  A larger Styrofoam ball might work better and appear more realistic.

Let me know how your flowers turn out!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stuffed Creatures

First of all, I want to apologize for the delay in posting.  I've been moving, so my craft supplies have been in complete disarray, making new projects difficult. Secondly, I'd like to thank Vixen for featuring my coffee filter gladioli on her blog.  As I'm somewhat of a techno-peasant, I had difficulties leaving my thanks in a comment on her blog.  Thirdly, I'd like to mention a blog that I've become obsessed with.  After my foray into sewing in June, I started researching stuffed animal designs and patterns. Abby Glassenberg over at While She Naps does amazing soft toys and sculptures.  She also has a very through series of blogs detailing the basics of soft toy design.

I first attempted to recreate the stuffed bear shown here. It ended up turning into a strange bear/pig hybrid. My boyfriend thought it was a cat. It was still pretty adorable though (at least I thought so). My first attempt at solo design turned out better, so well in fact that I made a second one.

Please tell me you know what these are supposed to be!