Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lined Drawstring bag

Bags are my favorite thing to sew. I've tried totes and zippered pouches in the past, so I went with a drawstring bag this time. I found this excellent pattern by Jeni on her blog In Color Order. There is both a free version and a paid version (which contains various sizes and options to help you create a custom bag). I chose the paid version, partly because I'm lazy when it comes to readjusting measurements and also to support my fellow crafters. She also allows the sale of the bag as long as credit is given in online sales and it's not used for commercial purposes. The version shown here is the "snack" size. 

Since I have a tendency to mess up frequently, especially on my first attempts, I chose my least appealing fabrics, which is why it's a bizarre mishmash of patterns and color. The instructions had lots of photos and was very easy to follow. Adding a lining is usually the trickiest part for me, but the technique used in this pattern made it easy. I also love that she shows you how to create the ties, instead of assuming you will use ribbon. So now that my confidence has been boosted by this first attempt, I hope to make plenty more, with better fabrics. 

UPDATE: (3 hours later) Here's my 2nd bag! This one is the next size up, slightly more practical. I'd been saving the exterior apple fabric forever and finally found a good use for it. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Knit Armwarmers

Inspired by the circus, Tim Burton and Halloween, I decided to knit some glitzy arm warmers.  The general pattern came from here: It's very easy and great for beginners, you just have to know how to knit in the round, purl and bind-off.

For the silvery arm warmers I used Ice yarn Lame Black, Silver (I'm not sure if this product is available any longer. I had bought it a few years ago).

The striped armwarmers use Vanna's Glamour yarn in Ruby Red and Onyx. If you click on the photo you can see they both have a subtle shimmer to them. 44 stitches was too big, so I reduced them to 34 which was a bit too small, so I'm thinking 38 should be perfect. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

3D character print!

Measures 5"x2". White sandstone. Cost was $50 to print.

3D printing has become more and more affordable over the past few years. It used to be strictly for product designers and technical folk who needed to generate prototypes. Now anyone with a bit of 3D modeling  knowledge can submit a model online and have it turned into a tangible object.

I'd been reluctant to spend the money for a 3D print until I found something worthy of printing. I finally decided to team up with one of my friends, who came up with the character design you see below. I modeled it in Autodesk Maya and submitted it to Shapeways for printing. I had visited Shapeway's booth at SIGGRAPH this year and was impressed by the quality of prints, range of materials and prices.

For those of you planning on trying 3D printing, make sure you read up on how to prepare your model for printing. Even if you have lots of 3D software experience, you still need to think of things like wall thickness, and hollowing out your model to save costs. I did NOT hollow out my model and I definitely ended up paying more than I probably needed to because of the extra material needed to create it. That being said, Shapeways is great at emailing you back with suggestions on how to correct your model.

For those of you who don't own Maya, 3D Studio Max, Zbrush or any of the other big name 3D software, not to worry. You can use freeware, like Blender or Google Sketchup to create your 3D model. If you haven't had any experience in 3D software it takes a while to learn but keep practicing and watch lots of online tutorials.

I'm really happy with the level of detail that was captured. Even the tiny bag buckle showed up! It's heavy, but also very very delicate. I feel like if picked up wrong, or even bumped it could break, so I'll be keeping it somewhere safe. I would have chosen the more durable plastic but it was a bit pricier at $75 and I wanted to test out the result first.