Painted t-shirts are one of my go-to gifts for kids. They are so easy to tailor for each kid’s taste and level of individual quirkiness. Plus, the time to cut the stencil and paint is short enough that I don’t gasp when the recipient grows out of it in two minutes flat.
For this shirt, I embraced my inner nine year old. What’s better than owning a bearded dragon? Watching it eat lunch! Nom nom nom. Run little cricket, R U N !
You can see some variation in the lizard color on this photo; some of the paint went on a bit thicker, and it really shows up in the photos. In real life you barely see the variation, especially when the shirt is on a nine year old boy who is whizzing past you on a skateboard.
The lizard was done with a freezer paper stencil. I opened out the top of the shirt, put a paper bag inside of it, and stenciled the lizard right around the neck hole – its tail goes right around the back of the shirt. I did have some trouble with fabric buckling around the neckline; next time I will either have separate stencils for the front and back, or just apply it half at a time.
I cut the little crickets out of template plastic (thinner is easier), and then used a repositionable spray adhesive to keep the paint from running under it. The beauty of using a plastic template is reuse – I washed it and flipped it over for the second cricket. Originally I was going to paint more crickets on the back, but I didn’t leave myself enough time.
My arm and hand seem to be getting better, so I should be back to knitting and spinning soon. In the meantime, I’ve been exercising my embroidery skills. Photos soon!
Time for the annual Halloween recap. This year, we had a ghost and a skeleton in our midst.
The ghost costume is about eight layers of tulle put together in the fashion described in this tutorial. However, it looked nothing like the photo. You could clearly see the little ghost’s front, as it came out basically like a cape that covered sides and back. So I took leftover tulle and made about eight layers, enclosing one end in material that could stretch across J’s chest. I sewed one end to his white zippered sweatshirt, and pinned the other end after he zipped the sweatshirt closed. He thought he wasn’t white enough over his legs, but he wanted dark pants so he looked floaty. I whipped up a ‘ghost skirt’ from some stash knit fabric (I have no idea what I originally bought it for) and then snipped the bottom for a rag effect. He giggled, but it did what he wanted it to do. We took this photo right before trick-or-treating. After about 10 minutes, we figured out that he had the cape on inside out – the fabric actually floated around more than this as he walked around, and away from the porch lights he did look rather like he was floating. Spooky!
The skeleton costume is simply paint and a black sweatshirt and sweatpants. I tried glow-in-the-dark paint, but it wasn’t showing up. Two coats of the white fabric paint did the trick! For this costume, I sketched out skeleton bits on paper, cut a stencil with an xacto knife from thin template plastic, and then affixed the stencil to the fabric with re-positionable adhesive. B and I painted the bones with foam brushes. The skeleton actually lines up well – he’s all fractured here because he was running about like a maniac and had twisted his shirt a bit.
Another year done! Next year, I need to start in August.
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to find *just* the color of yarn you want right when you want it? This time, I was searching for wool in a skin tone. Now, finding this online is easy – it’s finding it in person and quickly to whip up a small project that’s the bear. After spending a few minutes in my local yarn shop, I sighed defeat and grabbed a white skein of Galway. I figured I’d soak a bit in tea and call it good.
A quick perusal of tea dyeing on Google caused me to believe that it really is that easy. Tea (and coffee, for that matter) stain so very well. I wonder what red wine would look like on white wool? Hrmmm. I *know* pizza sauce would work. Hrmmm, now I don’t know whether to be hungry or go do my laundry. Back to tea!
After reading about how the tannic acid in the tea weakens fibers, I started to lean toward coffee dyeing. But, I have some undrinkable nasty old tea bags hanging about in my pantry (why clean out the pantry when you can knit?) I wasn’t sure I wanted to waste COFFEE on dyeing wool. I decided that tea would be fine; after all, this is a lark sort of project, not a hangs-around-for-generations knitted heirloom.
I grabbed my thrift-store dyeing pot and spoon and wandered into the kitchen. Lo and behold, there sat about a third of a pot of coffee that had been on the burner too long that morning. It sat neglected all day, and was fairly begging to be poured over wool. Who am I to argue with the fates? Coffee it is.
I’m sure there are as many methods to this as there are posts on the subject, but I’ll just tell you what I did.
- Combine 1 2/3 C coffee, 2 C water, and 25 g wool in the dyepot.
- Bring to a nice, steaming, almost-simmer.
- Keep it steaming for about 5 minutes.
- Add 1/2 tsp alum; stir gently.
- Turn off the heat; add lid.
- After a while, drain the water and let the wool cool down. Then, rinse with tepid water.
If I’d been going for a darker brown, I’d have steamed the wool for longer, and I’d have let it sit in the dyebath overnight to cool. As it was, I was aiming for a light brown, which is just what I got.
Surely I’m not the first mom to notice the similarity between a wizard’s wand and a nostepinne. First the legos, and now this; if I’m not careful, the boys will start hiding their toys from me.
I dyed the yarn with Wilton’s food dye; the variegated coloring is intentional. It’s destined for a swatch for my Hogwarts socks, so I can’t tell you about it here. Don’t worry, Lesley, your socks won’t be kelly green.
A cutie patootie in my life has just turned seven. She’s just fallen in love with skating, so I stenciled her a little tank top for her birthday.
This was done with glittery purple paint, using a freezer paper stencil of a silouette I found on the web. This is the first freezer paper stencil I’ve done for painting purposes, though I’ve used them for applique before. I’m impressed with the amount of detail that is possible (those fingers are tiny, people!) I used the directions from the Angry Chicken for my project.
Best of all, she liked it. Whew! Ya never know ’til it’s opened.