Friday, October 5, 2012

Artist of the Month at FabMo

I was recently invited to be featured as the Artist of the Month for FabMo, a local art supply recycling and distribution service. FabMo has monthly events that allow you to get reclaimed materials for a small donation. I also like going by FabMo to get inspired by talking to others about what they are grabbing supplies for!
Display board with craft write-ups and examples
As part of my display, I provided some DIY write ups of some of my craft inventions and adaptations. I'll be posting them as time permits here on my blog!

How to Make a Fabulous Fabric Boa

Below you will find the steps to create fabulous fabric boas that can be made from recycled and reclaimed fabric. These are great accessories to add some texture and fun to your outfits. I've worn them to Burning Man events as well as at at the office!

You will need:
  • Yarn - I like to use 2 strands at once - eyelash yarn and a thicker yarn
  • Fabric Scraps
  • Fabric Scissors

To Do:
Step 1Learn the basic steps of finger crochet. A finger crochet “chain” will form the base of the fabric.

Step 2Gather fabric scraps. I usually choose a color theme and collect an assortment of fabrics that match well together and have a nice variety of textures. Thin, airy fabrics, like chiffon, silk, organza, and tulle work well. I’ve also had success with velvets and velours. Choose things that feel soft. A person will wear the boa around their neck and it shouldn’t be unpleasant or scratchy.  Because you are going to cut the fabric up into small pieces, this is a great project for using up remnants or irregular shaped pieces.  I have even gotten clothes from garage sales and cut them up for my boa projects!

Step 3Cut the fabric into small strips. I generally cut the strips into about the size of a feather, about 1-2 inches wide and 5-6 inches long, with some variance. If they are too small, your boa will seem thin. If they are too long, it will get droopy.

Step 4Gather yarn. You can use a standard yarn that matches the color scheme, or something more festive. I’ve had fun with using “eyelash” yarn as it adds to the shaggy look of the boa. I will sometimes double up on the yarn too – one eyelash, one thicker wool – to make the boa thicker.

Step 5Begin the boa. I usually will start by finger crocheting a small “tail” to get started. Make a few loops. When you are ready to start adding fabric, make a loop as you would normally do, but before you pull it through, lay one of the scraps across the loop so that it gets tied into the knot.

Step 6Continue. Note that you can make thinner, sparser boas by making one or two regular loops in between laying a fabric scrap. Or you can make thicker, fuller boas by adding fabric every loop.

Step 7.  Vary for balance.  Alternate between fabrics of different weights and textures to get a nice, artful distribution.

Step 8.  Easily undo mistakes.  A nice thing about using a simple finger crochet chain is that undo-ing is easy and painless.  If you don't like how a fabric looks in the mix, simply undo the stitch to remove it, and go on.

Step 9Measure the length of the boa. Keep going, alternating between scraps. Try to balance the textures and fabrics so you have a nice variety. Periodically measure to see how long your boa is by holding it up to your body. You can make it long and glamorous, or shorter and more practical.

Step 10Have fun with creative additions! You can add illumination to your boa by weaving everything around a battery operated LED light string. Add ribbons periodically, or attach buttons or fake flowers to the ends. Add something creative to make it uniquely yours!