So what else have I been up to lately? Well, besides getting the garden going for this year, I’ve been spring cleaning and rearranging our home with wild abandon. My “refresh and renew” project, as well as chasing after a two year old, has consumed much of my time, and explains the long silence on this blog until recently.
Besides the “green curtain” I created in the kitchen windows, some highlights of my home improvement efforts:
I removed the doors to turn one of my kitchen cabinets into open shelving, trimming it out with some vintage lace. And yes, I saved the doors and hardware, in case I get over the open-shelf thing in the future. Right now it’s a great place to store SP’s special beer glasses and collection of growlers, keeping them out of the “break zone” of our family dishware cabinets.
I painted the wall next to and above my stove with chalkboard paint, which we are all enjoying so much, I plan to do another wall, that the kids can more easily get to, perhaps going up the stairs to the second floor.
I painted the kitchen ceiling light fixture a lovely shade of shabby greenish blue, something I’ve wanted to do for years. It looks great reflected by the mirrors of our “green curtain” wall.
With the exception of the boys’ bedrooms (Big Brother Number One’s I stayed out of, per his request, and Big Brother Number Two’s I have yet to finish,) I top-to-bottom, corner-to-corner, closet-and-drawer cleaned every room in the house. (Not that you could tell this if arriving unannounced – pop-ins, beware! I am still the mother of a toddler and two adolescent boys.)
I realized, after getting rid of a LOT of stuff, that I still needed some storage containers that could be used for various purposes around the house. Not willing to go the route of ugly plastic tubs that always end up broken, emptied by kids to be a “spaceship”, or full of “miscellaneous” (unrelated junk no one uses or needs) items, I decided to make something smaller, that could be easily moved, look good on shelves or in corners, and most importantly be easily WASHED. Utilizing machine washable stash yarns and recycled t-shirt yarn, I crocheted about a dozen circular baskets.
I primarily use these baskets to store yarn and spinning fiber, as shown, but I also made a pair for my closet shelf, to store smaller clothing items that don’t need to be on hangers, but this may not work out as well as I hoped. I didn’t realize that a crochet basket full of neatly folded camis and tank tops makes a very appealing cat bed. I may try a drawstring-top version to solve that problem.
To make the tshirt yarn, I tried a few different methods before deciding that the easiest way for me was to use a rotary cutter and ruler on the bottom “tube” part of a tshirt that had been folded twice over, leaving a 1 inch margin at the top. By leaving this margin uncut, I was able to then make diagonal cuts in this uncut section, creating one long continuous strip. Once cut into a strip, the tshirt yarn only needs a quick stretch along the entire length before it can be rolled into a ball and used. There are a number of tutorials on this floating around on the internet; although she uses scissors instead of a rotary cutter, I still found this one from Joanne L. at craftpassion.com very clear and easy to follow:
I found that a medium-sized basket would use up the yarn made from two XL or three M size men’s tshirts, which were the sizes I’d had in my “donation” pile from the male members of the house, the ball being comparable to the size of one ball of commercially produced tshirt yarn, which was priced at about $10 at local craft stores at the time these projects were done. (It has since gone clearance, and can now be had for half or even a quarter of that price, if you can find it – I guess the fad is over!) Homemade tshirt yarn is a little bit softer than it’s commercial counterpart, I think from a lack of chemical sizing, but I think that makes it easier to work with while crocheting or knitting, since these stiff fibers can be hard on your hands, especially if you’re working at the gauge needed to create something that has to hold its shape. Making your own also gives you the option of making the yarn thinner or thicker as the project needs dictate. Since Big Brothers both seem to stain tshirts on an almost daily basis, I see no end to the supply of materials for making this type of yarn.
I got such a kick out of making the tshirt yarn, it was hard to stop, but I managed to avoid having to make more yarn to create additional storage for all the yarn I was making! BG likes it too, and she now has her own “knittin” as she calls it, which consists of a couple of smaller balls of tshirt yarn and one of my giant size Q crochet hooks. Of course I made her a basket to keep it in…