Sunday, September 25, 2011

Papercutting Class, Chantilly Dress, Stripe Study Shawl

This weekend, I took a fun papercutting class from Nikki McClure at PNCA. (Big thanks to Patrick for hanging out with Arlo all weekend while I was off on my fun crafty adventure!) This was my first time trying papercutting, and I enjoyed it. The materials are pretty affordable, and it's so cool seeing the finished piece emerge from the paper.

Papercut, End of Day 1

I based my first piece on a picture of Arlo and me, from Jon and Katie's wedding. First, I traced the photo and decided which parts would be black and which would be white (all of the black pieces have to be connected, so it takes a little thinking). Then I used graphite tracing paper to transfer the image onto black paper, and I cut out the picture with an Exacto knife. I wasn't going to include the flower pattern on the dress originally, but I'm glad I did--I like the texture and definition it adds to the picture.

Papercut, End of Day 2

I might do something in the top right corner, and I want to make a companion piece based on a picture of Arlo and Patrick, but I thought I'd post these pictures before too much time elapsed, rather than waiting until I'd completely finished the project.

During the class, we took a field trip to the Museum of Contemporary Craft, where Nikki is currently showing a retrospective of her work. She walked us through the show and talked about the techniques she used and the history of the pieces. Understanding more about the papercutting process makes me appreciate her work a lot more--it takes time and skill to create such intricate pieces! I'd definitely recommend checking out her show if you're in Portland. It's really beautiful.

In other crafty news, I finished sewing a summery sundress just in time for our rainy autumn weather (oops!). Luckily, summer briefly returned this week, and I got to wear my new dress for a little while.

Fruit Stripe Chantilly Dress

This was my first try at making the Colette Chantilly dress. It was a practice dress, so I used a $3 thrifted sheet for the shell and muslin for the lining. I cut the yoke and midriff front on the bias, to add some visual interest. I cut the midriff front a couple sizes bigger than the rest of the dress, to accommodate my post-Arlo waist (I've started doing some exercises to remedy that, but no progress yet). This was my first time installing an invisible zipper, though it turned out that I could pull it over my head without using the zipper--go figure! This was also my first project on my new (used) Bernina 730, and I loved sewing with it!

Fruit Stripe Chantilly Dress

The dress turned out wearable, but I think it would look nicer (and be less heavy) in lighter weight fabrics, as the pattern recommends. I'm planning on making this dress again (next year, I guess), since it's cute and it has pockets. It uses a lot of fabric, but I think it's worth it. The pattern and instructions were awesome, of course. I love Colette Patterns :)

Fruit Stripe Chantilly Dress

I also finished knitting a shawl right before our trip to Montana. It's the Stripe Study shawl, made in two beautiful Madelinetosh yarns (more information on Ravelry). Although I love the graphic nature of the finished shawl and the process used to knit the shawl, I'm not 100% sold on the final product. I'm not a big shawl person, and I'm having a hard time finding a flattering way to wear it given its asymmetry and size.

Stripe Study Shawl

Stripe Study Shawl

I'm also unhappy with how the blocking turned out, but that could be fixed pretty easily. Maybe I'll give this shawl another chance now that fall is here. Or it might get turned into a new sweater for Arlo--I want to make sure that yarn gets put to good use!