Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Waldo Canyon Fire

The air in Colorado Springs is feeling more like soup than something breathable this week. As a west side resident I've been keeping an eye on the Waldo Canyon Fire progress. It doesn't look good. Evacuations and notices currently extend from Woodland Park to Monument and into the Colorado Springs City Limits. I find my own home a mere half a block outside of a pre-evacuation area.

While my home is still a few miles away from the actual front line of the fire I admit my stomach is twisted in knots. I've already left once due to the smoke. Thankfully the wind changed and I am now home again. The situation is so surreal. People have already lost homes and places I used to hike are now consumed by flames. The mountains I used to love so much are now an inferno fueled by years of collected pine needles and dead brush. I can't help but think about how long it will be before I'm allowed to walk through beautiful William's Canyon and drive on Rampart Range Road again. In my head it is still unreal.

I wait with my ears turned toward the TV all day to see if anything will change. The meager 5% containment and the ever growing fingers of the Waldo Canyon Fire threaten more communities as each day passes. I can only wonder if, or maybe when, I will have to leave my home again too. My heart goes out to those who have lost their home. There are no words strong enough to comfort their losses.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fabric Bowl Project Obsession
I've been a bit obsessed with fabric bowls this week. What a useful concept! They are washable, portable, and nearly unbreakable (perhaps the most useful feature for a stay at home mom.) I saw a picture on pinterest of a tutorial on how to crochet a sturdy bowl using multiple threads. When I clicked the link of course they wanted $4.99 for the "pattern" so as a seamstress/artist/creative type I stared at the picture for a moment and then set about making myself a bowl. I've since moved on to making nesting bowls for my husband and I's fifth wheel as these proved so nice.

First I would like to cover the various types of Cloth Bowls I saw. There are wrapped and sewn bowls, pattern sewn bowls (I call them petal bowls because of how the pattern looks before sewn), woven bowls, glue hardened bowls, and crocheted bowls. Of these types of handmade bowls the ones hardened with glue or fabric stiffener are the least portable. A soft bowl can be folded so that it fits in a small flat area and takes up less space - something I appreciate very much for storage space in the camper.

I decided to try the crocheted bowl since I had the materials readily available. Since there are two threads involved it makes the bowls a little stronger and more able to retain shape. The outer thread that is seen is plain yarn while the inner thread is an old t-shirt I cut into strips. The t-shirt yarn is thicker than the regular yarn so it gives the bowls the stability the standard yarn lacks. As you can see in the photo I used a single crochet and simply worked my stitch around the t-shirt yarn. When I've completed 10-15 stitches I gently tug the t-shirt yarn and it tightens everything. I repeat this the whole way through giving the bowl a more finished look. Don't tug too hard on the t-shirt yarn though or it will cause the prior stitches to buckle. 

I don't really have a formula or pattern I follow. I increase stitches and do my best to keep the first few rows flat and even because these become the base of the bowl. When I have the base 10% larger than looks needed I stop increasing so the sides will start to come in. I like to pull the sides of the  bowl in at the top as an extra stability feature. I do this by decreasing stitches on the top 2 rows only. I do the top 2 rows with a contrasting standard yarn and no t-shirt yarn filler. 

You can cut the t-shirt yarn and simply leave it loose in the stitches over it or you can pull it out and use it as a decorative stabilizer. I pulled my white t-shirt yarn out when the main bowl color ended and stitched it in swirls around the exterior of the bowl. This seemed to pull the various rows together even more and added a look I liked. 

The first bowl I made. It contains my husbands lighters on the counter.
There are no limits to these bowls except your ability and creativity. Crochet stitches come out so try something new. If you don't like it just pull it out!

To see other things I've made that are for sale or to request custom items and art visit my Etsy Page.