Monday, October 27, 2008

Fingerless Gloves

I'm not sure why, but not everyone is as excited about the phenomenon of fingerless gloves as I am. People often as me why I wear them, how they can be considered gloves if they don't cover the fingers, etc.

I wear fingerless gloves mostly at work, although I have worn them to drive also, when it's cold but not so cold that I can't touch my fingers to the steering wheel (although I've been known to do that, too, when I don't have alternatives.) I wear them because they keep my wrists warm and free up my fingers for writing with ease. Additionally, they aren't super obvious (as they really only cover half of the palm of my hands and most of my thumbs), so it's okay to wear them at work.

One of the best things about them is that they are super quick to knit up... and easy, too.

I made my first pair of fingerless gloves (shown above) about four years ago at Christmastime while visiting an "in-law." I used scrap yarn for that pair--pink, blue, and green in stripes--and my plan was to make the stripes in different orders for both gloves so that they are a pair but not exactly alike. I love them. So much so that I decided that I needed another pair (like one with purple in them, since that's my favorite color). My aunt recently gave me some purple-and-green variegated yarn (green being my second-favorite color), so I had exactly what I needed to get to work.

It took me a long time to search out just the right pattern four years ago, and so, while I'm not in the habit of making the same thing twice (and I think this is a lie I tell myself, because I've admitted more than once over the past year that I've done just that... with the same preface), I used the same pattern. One of the things about me and patterns, though, is that I often make changes when going through the second iteration. I have a difficult time staying with the same thing twice. This second pair has certain necessary structural changes based on the comfort of the first pair. These are longer (although, that change was an accident that I was ultimately happy about), and the buttoned edges are sewn together so that the gloves don't open up where/when I don't want them too. The buttoned edges are just decoration, anyway. I intend to sew up the edges of the old pair, too. The fun thing about using variegated yarn is that it takes far less effort to create a pair of gloves that are similar to each other but not exactly the same. There's no need to continually change the yarn to get the desired effect.

I had fun making these gloves this weekend. I have ideas for making other changes in the future. But, I think I'd like to try some of the other patterns I found four years ago, as I saved them as I went along, just in case I didn't find the perfect pattern.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, October 13, 2008


Where I lived before my current home, there was a man who liked to gather furniture and other odds and ends from people's garbage and store them behind the back door of his neighbor's apartment. (I often wondered if they had some kind of agreement about his, because his doorway was always unblocked, and I wondered what she'd do in case of emergency.) It was common knowledge in the complex that anyone could take what they wanted from that spot, as he had offered many of his treasures to others on many occasions. At one point in his collections, he found this little blue table, which I initially thought was not very attractive but could be with some changes. Pictured here, I had already begun to sand the piece, because I had forgotten to take my before-shots before starting. The top of the piece was what I most disliked about it, since it appeared that someone attempted to paint something else on top of it. In order to cover it, I decided that a piece of cloth I had acquired in Bali would do the trick, and so it sat, hidden in my tiny apartment till I had enough room to change it into something else.

Sanding and staining furniture was never something I had decided I'd want to do. I could never see why it would be of interest to me, but I learned something during this project--I like the smell of wood! This realization makes me a little nervous, as I saw several pieces of furniture at Michael's when I was there that would be cute after a little paint- or stain- job. I may just have found a new hobby to add to my incredibly long list!

I guess I want to say now that I didn't read any instructions on how to do this. I'm sure that I did a lot of things in a way that could have been quicker--like using sandpaper rather than one of those electric things--but I really didn't want to have spend a lot of money, especially if it was a one-time gig. There are probably other things I could have done to make this "better," but I figure, if I don't like it, eventually, I can try again (or, I can simply paint over what I did!) I did, however, try to do things that seemed logical, like stain in the direction of the grain. The instructions on sanding said to do as much, and I did that, so I figured that the staining part would work the same way. I think about how it may have looked if I'd tried doing it differently, and I can't imagine that the lines I imagine would have looked so great.

I can't say for sure how long the actual sanding took, because I didn't do it daily, as I was in the midst of other projects simultaneously, but the staining part happened on this past Saturday in the wee hours of morning. I did the first coat, which was extremely light--I figured I'd need to do at least two or three more coats after that one in order to make it even remotely dark--at about one a.m. and attempted to fall asleep till the 4-6 hours passed for the next coat. At about five I got up from not sleeping to do the second coat which was surprisingly much darker than the first. Weird. I decided to stick with two for the time being, mostly because I wanted to move on to other things, and partly because I think it looks pretty okay (if you don't stare at it for too long!) I like it. And, I'm proud of myself for doing it all by myself!

I'm sure that, in time, I will become much better at it. Something I learned when I ended the project was that I kinda like the toxic stain smell too. Maybe because it was a reminder that I was able to turn a piece of furniture from something that I really didn't like at all into something I can tolerate. And, I had fun while doing it! I guess that's really the most important part! I enjoyed every part of it. Even the parts where the cats decided to "help" me!

Imagine what will happen when I create something I'm really proud of! Then, my family and friends will have to be careful on holidays!

And, if anyone has tips on refurnishing or can direct me to some good books on the subject, I'd be much obliged!

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Puzzling Pieces

A while back, I told the story of making a bookmark. For sealing the envelope that would mail this bookmark to its destination, I made a puzzle piece sticker. This is not an update on that, but a new experience with puzzle pieces.

An aunt of mine has an affinity for puzzle pieces, something that is recorded in her email address. When I saw the metal puzzle pieces in the craft store, I knew that I had to make her a necklace with matching earrings with what I found (and, of course, she loved them.)

I've started a new avenue of making jewelry. Before the projects that included this set for her, I had been only stringing beads, as I've shown in previous projects, including the set that I made for my mother for my cousin's wedding (that ended up including necklace, earrings, and bracelet). One night, while looking at the pieces that a coworker had made, I decided to try using chains in making necklaces. I had made a couple of pairs of earrings and a chain for my cell phone, so it wasn't too far out of the realm of possibility, but I'd never tried it for necklaces. That same night, my coworker gave me several stones to make jewelry with, because I had helped her to work out a piece that she was making for someone else.

I had purchased two chains that were all ready to be necklaces--they were just waiting for my creativity to determine what they would be. So, I made two necklaces using the pre-cut chains. I also had some chain that I'd bought to start from scratch, so to speak, and made a couple of necklaces that way. In total, I made five necklaces while watching two James Stewart films one Friday night. Two of the necklaces contained the stones that my coworker gave me, one necklace was the one for my aunt pictured above, the fourth was a locket I made for a friend of mine, and the fifth was one with a plaque containing a floral design. Additionally, I made the earrings pictured above and earrings that matched the other pieces.

I had mentioned in an earlier post that I'm looking for quick projects these days. I find myself amazed at how quickly I can make jewelry to be ready to wear. It's always stuff that looks good and merits compliments. I find that they make great gifts, too, and it's fun to buy the stones and such for pieces that are tailor-made for a specific person! I enjoy working with a specific person in mind, imagining how the person will react upon receiving the piece that I put together lovingly. For me, that's part of the fun. Of course, I tend to keep more than I give away, but I do enjoy giving, too. It's coming upon the time of year when coming up with ideas for Christmas presents is upon me. And, since I'm flying up North this year, rather than driving, I'm going to have to keep things on the small side....

Thanks for reading.