What to do with origami paper you no longer want, part 1

I used to be really into origami and have a pretty decent collection of origami paper.  Lately,  I’ve not really be into it, plus I have some paper I never liked for origami that had come as part of a set, so I’ve been looking for alternative uses.

One, which works really well for paper with a pattern you like but that doesn’t look good when folded, is re-covering small boxes.

First, you need to get a box:

10-30-14 Covered Box 1I got my hands on a couple of cute little boxes that were from small chocolate sets (bonus: they still smelled like chocolate while I was working on them!).

Next you need some origami paper or any other pretty and fairly thin paper:

10-30-14 Covered Box 2I used 4 sheets of double-sided paper for my box (I lined the inside of bottom and lid with one side and covered the outside of both with the other side).

You’ll also need some sort of glue.  I just used some thick white glue and was very careful how I smoothed things out, but anything that won’t wrinkle the paper too much as it dries should work.

Now, you don’t want to just glue the paper on, because that would make the box too thick and the top wouldn’t fit over the bottom anymore.  With my boxes, I could see that the outside was a piece of paper that had been glued down:

10-30-14 Covered Box 3Peel that sucker off:

10-30-14 Covered Box 4One of mine was significantly easier than the other, so I think it will depend on the brand.  You’ll notice a piece of paper tape holding the box together in the photo above.  If you can, try to preserve those (but don’t sweat it if they break).

Next, you’ll want to carefully peel the tape off the corners and unfold the top and bottom of the box.  Glue them, inside down, to a piece of paper and let them dry (do not glue down the ends of the paper tape):

10-30-14 Covered Box 5Once dry, cut around the cardboard, crease the paper where the box naturally creases, and fold the edges up.  If you managed to preserve the paper tape, you can re-glue it to attach the sides together.  Otherwise just tape it yourself.

10-30-14 Covered Box 6Next, glue the reassembled box in the center of a piece of paper, so that there’s plenty of room on all sides to cover the sides of the box:

10-30-14 Covered Box 7Then cut the paper down so that it’s big enough to cover the sides of the box and wrap over a quarter to half inch inside.  I opted to do my corners all fancy, by folding them upward point first, then tucking the edges underneath the paper that would cover the side and trimming the excess point off (hard to describe, sorry!):

10-30-14 Covered Box 8You can do yours however you want, though — like wrapping the ends of a present would probably look great.  Anyway, glue the paper up the sides of the boxes, dealing with the corners along the way, and let it dry.

Finally, fold the overlapping paper down into the box and glue it in place to create a lip inside:

10-30-14 Covered Box 9Let it dry and you’re done!  You have a cute box and, if you’re like me, found a use for extraneous paper that was never going to get used otherwise!

Cross stitching one color at a time

For my current cross stitching project, I’d decided to stitch one color at a time, across the entire piece. I’m currently adding in the second darkest blue in the bottom right.

10-24 Morning FlightI’ve seen quite a bit of information on parking, and a little bit on doing one section of color at a time, but not a lot about doing all of a single color at once.  Bearing in mind that I am not at all an expert, here are some tips I’ve found so far:

Plan ahead: If you’re going to be jumping around, as I was, you’ll want to look over each major section of a color when you begin, and keep an eye on the next couple of rows as you stitch, so that when you have to jump to a new section, you can do so with the least possible thread on the back.  (Or you could fasten off each end, but that gets obnoxious when you have only two or three stitches in one area.)

Also, before you begin you might want to consider how you’re going to choose your colors.  I saw one video where the stitcher went from the most common color to the least common.  I, instead, chose to work from the background colors to the foreground colors — I sat down with the pattern, color key, and picture from the packaging and worked out what order I wanted to do everything in, then noted that order on the key.

Have a variety of techniques to start and end threads: As much as possible I’ve been catching the beginning of a thread under the stitches I’m about to make and the end under the stitches I’ve just made.  However, that isn’t practical in some cases, such as when I’ve got just one or two stitches in a remote area with no other stitches to help secure the thread.  In those cases, I’ve been using in-line waste knots that I’ll secure with later colors to start threads and a similar strategy where I take the tail a distance away that I’ll stitch over and bring it to the front to secure it to end threads (this is another case where planning is critical, as you need to make sure that you’ll actually secure them).  If I have an even number of threads, I plan on starting with the loop method.

Be prepared to flip your project over: This is somewhat optional, but because of the way I’ve been securing my thread ends, I have been double checking that I am actually stitching over the threads to secure them.  I also tend to run the floss behind any sections I’ve already stitched when jumping to a new area to try to keep the back neater and secure everything better.

Highlight: You’ll definitely need to highlight or otherwise mark up what you’ve done on your pattern, otherwise it’s nearly impossible to keep track of where you are.  I’ve been playing around with using different colors of highlighters, but I think the advantage of that is more to do with keeping me from getting bored than actually helping with the stitching.

Grid your fabric: This is a must, since you’ll be moving around a lot and you really don’t want to be counting 153 stitches in from the left… The grid makes it so much easier to pinpoint where to start (3 squares up, 2 over,  then 3 down and 0 over within that square, etc).

It’s also useful if you have very similar colors, as I have here:

10-24 Morning Flight close

That’s two shades of dark blue, for the record.  Anyway, I found that I had trouble telling if a previous stitch was in the current color or the previous color, which made referencing my location by stitches (for example, stitching along row and stopping two short of the previous color) very difficult.  Having the grid makes it much easier to glance at my pattern and determine what color I’m coming up on so I can tell where to stop and move to the next row.

I did grid with black sewing thread as it’s what I had, but it’s a pain in the butt to avoid splitting it.  I’d recommend a metallic thread, fine fishing line, or something else that can’t possibly be split during stitching.

Areas of scattered stitches take way longer than areas of solid color: Somewhat obvious, but areas of scattered colors are really a pain, as you have to jump around a lot and double check your counts.  I’ve not actually used parking, so I’m not sure if it would be any quicker, but it’s something I’m interested in trying on my next project.

Rug, week 3

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture for you this week, as I barely finished half of a repeat and you can’t see any difference.  My lack of progress is partly due to still being obsessed with cross stitching and partly due to a small cut on the top of my yarn-tensioning finger that was irritated as the yarn slid over it.  I’ve given my finger a break and it seems to be much better, so I have high hopes for next week’s update!

Morning Flight update and DIY needle minder

I’ve been doing a lot of cross stitch this week.  I finished the first color I was working on and added a couple of shades of yellow for the sun:

10-17-14 Morning FlightOne thing that fascinates me about this design is how it uses different numbers of strands of floss and half stitches vs. full crosses to create different effects:

10-17-14 Morning Flight closeThat’s the same color of yellow, but some half crosses are with a single strand and some are with three strands of floss.  Most of my past cross stitching projects have been small images on unstitched fabric and this is my first one with significant background shading, so I’m not sure if this is typical or not.  Those of you who’ve done more projects like this, is it a common feature?

My other minor project was a simple needle minder — you can see it in the first picture.  I’d seen a couple of needle minders on other cross stitcher’s pictures and videos, and I happened to have a couple of broken refrigerator magnets, a random button, and hot glue…

Needle minder 1Needle minder 2I hot glued the button on top of one round magnet, and put the other round magnet on the underside of the fabric.  Eventually I hope to find something prettier than the button to glue to the second magnet, so that I can have the pretty side up and the button on the underside of the fabric.

Rug, week 2

I haven’t made as much progress this past week as the week before, largely due to my renewed interest in cross stitching.  However, I did finish the initial dark-to-light sequence and am about halfway through the return.

Rug Wk 2Knowing that I wanted to post a picture this week did make me finish a repeat and a half that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise, so I’m planning on keeping this up until I finish the entire rug.

Morning Flight background

I’ve been mildly obsessed with cross stitching now that I’ve restarted this kit.  (My knitting is suffering!)

10-10-14 Morning Flight largeCan you see a difference?  It’s in the top right corner — I’ve decided to start with the background colors and work my way forward to the foreground, so I’m starting with the color that’s most similar to the fabric.  Here’s a close-up:

10-10-14 Morning Flight closeI’m probably about 1/3 of the way through this color, and I calculated that I have 35 colors of stitching and backstitch to do…

Morning Flight Cross-Stitch

Several years ago, I bought myself a cross stitch kit (specifically, this one).  I did some work on it, but kind of lost focus and haven’t worked on it in literally years.

Recently I pulled it out and decided I didn’t love the way it had been shaping up, so I pulled out the little work I’d done and restarted.  I also decided I wanted to put in a grid of thread to make counting easier.  So far, all I’ve gotten done is that grid…

Eagle Cross Stitch 1As you may be able to see, I started by doing about even amounts of thread on the top and bottom and cut a new thread each time.  Then I got smart and started keeping most of my thread on top and using longer pieces of thread.  The cloth is quite a bit wrinkled at the moment, but I’m not worried about it — it will get creased as I work on it, and straighten up when I wash it and frame it.

Rug, week 1

It’s been a while since I last updated (major understatement).  In that time I’ve moved to a new apartment with faux hardwood floors, which means I need some sort of area rug, but I didn’t like any of the commercial ones I found at a reasonable price.  Naturally the solution is to knit one. (Naturally for me, anyway.  Maybe not for anyone else.)

I’m using the Ocean Currents rug pattern I found on Ravelry — it’s a great pattern, but the original rug was made with yarn the designer dyed and spun herself specifically for the rug.  I opted for cheap acrylic as I’m trying to get this done in a reasonable amount of time at a reasonable price.

This is the result of my first week of knitting:

Rug Wk 1

The colors aren’t quite as nice of a gradient as I would like — because I am using Red Heart, I have a limited color palette to choose from.  Interestingly, every time I start a new color (so far I’ve used four of the five I will use in total) I’ve hated it and thought it was way too extreme of a color change.  However, when I come back the next morning and look at it, I think it looks pretty good.

Rug Wk 1b