I did, however, go BIG when it came to crafting for this swap.
I LOVE fairy tales. I LOVE Grimm's stories, and I LOVE the new show Grimm which draws a little upon those stories, but gives it a quirky kind of twist. And I am completely, hilariously in love with one of the characters: Monroe.
Now, Monroe is the "big bad wolf"... only he's not so big, and he's not bad anymore. On the show they call them "Blutbad" (which is German for bad blood) but he says he's "reformed". Whatever the case may be, he's got some of the best lines I've heard on TV in a while.
I decided to make a few things for my partner:
1) A shell necklace similar to the one Nick buys for Juliette from the street kids in the episode Organ Grinder
2) A Blutbad to the Bone knit envelope clutch:
This clutch was a fun, simple knit. I held together an acrylic grey tweed strand of yarn, and a black eyelash strand and got this great wolfish looking pelt. Knit a rectangle, then when it's twice the depth you wish your clutch to be, start decreasing 1 stitch at the beginning and end of each row until it comes to a point and bind off. Sew up the sides, fold the top over and stitch on a button and voila - envelope clutch.
3) A Tea wallet. Now, everyone knows I'm a huge fan of tea. So was my swap partner, so that was a great excuse to sew something so completely frivolous as a wallet specifically designed for tea. I loved it. I'm going to sew one for myself. It was ALSO an opportunity to try out something a little wacky. Which I'll walk you through here:
I wanted a fabric that showcased some of Monroe's best one-liners (because there's SO many) but having a fabric specially printed for such a small item was totally not in the budget. And then I thought - freezer paper! (I love freezer paper, have I said this before. It's craft-ambrosia). So I went into Word and created a document with no margins chock full of Monroe's quotes over and over.
Some of my faves: "I get it. Be cool. Wear pants." "What am I, your personal Grimmopedia?" "I'm not really a 'status quo' kind of guy" and "You should see me in my Santa Suit!" Classic.
Anywho - I cut a piece of freezer paper to exactly 8.5x11 using my bypass cutter, and then I ironed it to a piece of plain white cotton broadcloth. Make sure it's ironed down REALLY WELL. Then I cut the fabric out to the same size. I now have: fabric paper! Put it into my printer, and let it fly. Voila! Speciality printed fabric! I peeled the freezer paper off the back, then ironed and peeled off another piece of freezer paper on the front to heat-seal in the ink. I think if I were using this for fabric that was going to be washed I'd have to find a dye-setter to soak it in first, but a tea wallet's not going to hit the washing machine that often.
Onto the construction! Tea wallets are pretty simple. There's a tutorial on Craftster here by MissingWillow that is TOTALLY awesome and perfect if you've never made one before. I changed it up a little because I wanted it to be a bit "fancy" and fairy-tale-ish but her tutorial is awesome if you want to try it out. The only real difference is that I used fusible fleece interfacing on the back of my cover, and I used a ribbon closure. Otherwise, it's the same. But now I had a cute tea wallet with a beautiful black ribbon closure and Monroe quote fabric pockets! Sweet! I packed it with some of my fave teas to send to my partner. It was a hit!
4) A Little Red Capelet.
Okay. So, this is where I might have gone a little bit overboard. A)I've never sewn a capelet before, let alone a hooded anything. Let alone something that I was going to send to someone I don't really know. Kind of a big gamble. But hey - you know me - go big or go home, right? B) I didn't want to sew your typical totally costumey little red cape either. No round cloaks and hoods here. I had in my mind a picture of a cape that was longer in front than back, waterfall a bit at the neckline, a BIG hood, gathered at the nape of the neck, sort of pointed, almost elfish. And lined of course, because otherwise it wouldn't feel "finished" to me. And a ribbon closure. It was a lot of work. It was worth it. I loved how it turned out, and my partner looks great in it (you'll have to go to Craftster to see her pics of course). It was a big, trying exercise, from pattern drafting to completion. And if you want more info, please let me know and I'll tell you what I can.
And wow. It was finally finished, went in the post from here to the states, and arrived safely with my partner today - so NOW - I can share it with you.
Have you ever crafted something for someone you don't really know? It's a mental exercise for sure! And it requires a lot of gumption, patience, and tea. Always tea.