Saturday, October 20, 2007

More Legwarmers!

Hey, I might as well tell you, I made TWO pairs of legwarmers. These were pure recycling: I made them with an old sweater.

I know that photo makes my carpet look really gross, but really, it isn't that bad. It's actually pretty white. But my old, non-digital photography somehow made my off-white carpet look like the floor of a crackhouse. Ignore that. Stop looking at it!

I cut the sleeves off of a sweater that was both too large, and also chafing to the new disorder that I've added in recent years to my growing collection of disorders: the one in which I can't wear anything around my neck. No, no, that sweater would not do at all. So I cut into the body of the sweater just a bit for a cuff around the top of the legwarmers, then I turned them inside out, cut more of a calf and knee shape ( I measured around my knee and calf), sewed it back up, finished the top, and turned it right-side out again.

I like them. They don't come over the knee, so they don't really have far to fall, and are made to be a bit slouchy, anyway. They are a great use for a knit you like, but a sweater that you don't.


Christopher said...

Some photshoppity color correction makes your old carpet look magically new!

a witt said...

That's .jpg at the end of Chris' comment, cuz it got cut off, dunno why... You can see his correction to my carpet!

Thanks Chris... I considered that but got too lazy. :D


nicole said...

I don't think it looks like a crack house. And those SHOES are definitely not crack whore shoes. If they were my size, I might feel compelled to crawl through your window and steal them in the night. But since you're way more petite than I, I'm guessing you don't wear an 8 1/2. Rats.

Christopher said...

Here's my experience with crafting with old sweaters:

In the field of printmaking, press beds are usually covered with a series of large pieces of industrial wool known as blankets. These blankets perform two functions: 1. They protect the press from being damaged by your printing plates 2. More importantly, they act as a cushion which allows the paper to contact the uneven surfaces of the plate. This contact allows ink to transfer from plate to paper.

I decided to build my own simple press so that I could do some printmaking at home rather than driving to the studio all the time. Building it was relatively easy. It is really nothing more than a car jack and a frame built around it that can withstand the tons of pressure that the jack exerts. The jack pushes too pieces of melamine together with your inked plate and paper sandwiched between them.

After finishing construction, I started to consider possible substitutions for the wool blankets as they are relatively expensive. A real printmaking blanket would cost more than I spent on the entire press. I considered using cork board and/or that craft foam that old women and little kids cut into shapes and glue googly eyes on (I'm going to assume you know what I'm taking about.) I asked my printmaking instructor if she thought either one of these would work sufficiently. She was adamant that they would not work and suggested that I make my own blankets by washing an old wool sweater in hot water. This process was supposed to make the sweater shrink and become more dense, just like the real, expensive blankets. I went through my closet and found a sweater I thought I could sacrifice. I ran it through the washing machine on its hottest setting and then did it again just to be sure. Halfway through the second cycle, the washing machine started making a weird noise and then stopped working. I noticed an alarming, electrical fire smell. The sweater, rather than contracting had almost totally disintegrated into tiny pieces which had, during the rinse cycle, clogged the pump that expels water from the machine. Luckily my washing machine is pretty easy to take apart, so I took the water pump off and, using my fingers, a pair of pliers, and a bent coat hanger, managed to get all the wool out. before it was all over, I needed to let the machine run its cycle a few times, each time cleaning out the water pump again.

I saved one piece of the sweater and tried using it on the press, it was way too soft and didn't really work the way I wanted it to. At this point I stuck a piece of cork in there and cranked the pressure down. Guess what. Perfect print. I bought some of that craft foam and it works pretty good too.

here's the press if you want to see what it looks like.

a witt said...

Hey! You should have done that as a blog post!

I have tried something similar with shrinking 100% wool items in hot water. I use the technique to make larger secondhand items fit me, or if you cut them up, you don't have to finish the edges at all. Only I've never had them break apart like that! That sucks! And yeah, it sort of stands to reason to me that the googly-eye foam would give you a more smooth, evenly distributed print. I bet it soaks up and therefore wastes less ink, too, huh?

Awesome job on the press. I'm amazed by that.