That time I destroyed a t-shirt

So we are a little behind here, but long story short my phone shat itself with half of my photos for content on here and after much swearing, I recovered nothing. Are you surprised?

So today I’m trying something new. I’m going to do a “DIY upcycle” shirt thing. Because DIY wasn’t wanky enough without adding “upcycle” to it. Yes, I’m sure I’m saving the environment by hacking up something old of mine. If it does, well hey, call me a lean, green DIY machine. But don’t, because that’s stupid.

Anyway, so I have a backlog of DIY shit to try, so here’s my first attempt at doing a cut out braided t-shirt thing. Previously I’ve bought shirts like this, but figured, like many of my arty, crafty, talented, frugal friends, that I should give this a go myself.

diyNo, no I don’t.

So because I love geeky things and being a fatty, I scored a free Batman Arkham Knight *insert shameless promotion* shirt with my free gelato at N2 Extreme Gelato *insert even more shameless, but delicious promotion* who were just giving shit away to promote the new game.

After a failed attempt at winning a playstation with my amazing photoshop skills (see below) I thought I should at least attempt something cool with my free tee.

batmanEven Batman likes free gelato.

Anyway, enough Batman and back story, lets get to the cutting up and destroying of my free couture.

To start, I cut off the collar and hemmed part of the sleeves. There is probably a better name for this.. Sleeve end? End cap sleeve? Sleeve butt? Obviously, I cut this with extreme precision.

tshirt1This is a straight line, right?

Then I pulled on the bits I cut off to make it bend and shit. This is my favourite part because when it curls over, you can’t see how shitty and jagged you cut the sleeve butts off. It’s also a bit like waiting for something to explode. You hear a snap or two of the stitches coming out and just wait for it to explode into a thousand pieces with your mighty strength, in a mushroom cloud of cotton and shame.

After this seemingly easy part, the pictures became unclear and I discovered that my first problem was that I was following a tutorial that was clearly German.

“2. Den Rückenteil genau in der Mitte falten (am besten kurz bügeln, damit das ganze stabiler ist)” …. Of course!!

I could have used Google translate for this, but I decided to be a stubborn asshole about it and “do it myself”.

So the next step was making all of the horizontal cuts in the back of the shirt to prep for braiding. In theory, this seems easy, but I had many questions. How far apart? What shape? Should I draw this shit on first? What if I try to do this gradient shape and it looks more like a rubbish can or Sarah Jessica Parker’s face?
I decided to abandon my cautionary anxieties and figured that I’d just knife it and see what happens. Ironically, the phrase “I’ll just knife it and see what happens” is probably the motto of all of Batman’s enemies, so this approach felt fitting.

This actually took me a while to work out. How am I supposed to cut the holes properly without piercing the other side of the shirt? And don’t tell me “just put some cardboard or a cutting board in the shirt, moron” because that wouldn’t work and fuck you.
This stupid shirt didn’t have a side seam, so that made my life much more difficult. Thanks free shirt, you and your hippy ass, seam-free ways are preventing me from knowing what the fuck direction you are supposed to sit. I made a crisp fold down the middle of the shirt (thanks, pointy Batman symbol!) hoping that it would reflect the same crisp fold on the back side, you know because t-shirts are square.

But no, this shirt is apparently a fucking rhombus or something, as it kept having a big curve for some reason. Like this wasn’t enough of a problem, the sleeve now looked like a vulva and I couldn’t stop staring at it.

tshirt2This about sums up the last paragraph.

Anyway, I gave up on getting a straight line for the middle of the back, as this shirt was clearly made for Quasimodo, and decided to just cut it anyway and hope it turned out okay… Until I went to start and realised how high the first cut was on the tutorial. The aim was to cut the first line about 2cm away from the very top. However, this appeared to be near the vulva sleeve, which, like vulvas, isn’t quite clear where they begin and end when you first look at them. I did my best and started to cut my strips, trying to create a diagonal line so they got smaller each time.

Unfortunately, I was also sitting at a bit of an angle, and this happened.

tshirt3Maybe “Blurred Lines” is really about just trying to DIY a t-shirt.

Anyway, that shit turned out not to matter. I did the fun stretchy thing again where I watched strips of fabric turn into string.

Now was the “fun” part! I use the term “fun” loosely, because this is where it starts to feel more like crochet or knitting, or some other repetitive thing where everything gets fucked up. There were a few ways to do this – I could braid down the middle, do both sides, do some kind of weird twin braiding thing but I figured I’d just stick to basics and go with straight down the middle.

The tutorial said (okay fine, I caved and translated the page, but it was all backwards and rarely helpful anyway, so eat a dick) to go anticlockwise, but I was just looking at the pictures so I decided to do whatever the fuck direction I wanted and went clockwise so I could stick it to the man of DIY.

Take that, Tim.

I did my best to stick to the middle of my loops so I didn’t get all off centre, leaving me with a drunk looking braid. Surprisngly, I did okay at this. I also decided that my loops were too big once I finished, so I got the shits and did it all again.

tshirt4That shit is tight, yo.
(actually you can only really see that its tighter at the bottom, but shut up, this is my story)

This time, it looked a lot more awesome, but as I would tighten the “string” around my finger to make it smaller, it got more and more to one particular side and I got that drunken braid look. I just shoved it around until it looked about right again and kept on my merry way.

I got stuck at the end. I didn’t read the last step where you need to sew in the bottom (realistically I had no idea what I thought was going to happen, obviously that it would magically just combine itself into an infinite knot of disarray) so I just sat there for 20 minutes with my finger in a loop, not sure how to make my next move. Fearing my work would unravel and lives would be lost, I waited, alone, for someone to save me.

A dramatic re-enactment.

Eventually, boyfriend came to the rescue and after a brief argument about what cotton is (“can you get me some black cotton?” “No! What are you talking about? What is that? You come get it.” “I can’t, I’m stuck.” “Gah! What is it?” “Cotton!” “Thread?” “YES.”), I was saved.

The last step was vague, “last small loop with a few stitches sewing” thanks to Google translate, so I knew I had to sew something. I just grabbed the bottom piece and shoved it through the loop and hoped for the best.

For some reason I thought this method lengthened the shirt, but maybe that’s only if you do the stretching thing on the sides, or all way down, or don’t braid it. I don’t know, I’m not a physicist.

As I was nearly done and my subconscious clearly decided I hadn’t fucked this up enough, I decided to cut the sleeves down more and do some stretchy things on them too for good measure. I then decided to do it again because I had no idea what I was doing and it looked ridiculous. In this last minute panic, I of course accidentally cut a loop, soo, I just cut that whole bit off. Pretend you didn’t notice it.

This bodged it even more, so I decided to use my new found braiding talents!

Until I accidentally sewed the armhole shut.

tshirt5Help.

After I rectified that rookie mistake, I completed the braids. They looked just as bad, maybe they need to just settle. But I did find they looked slightly better if I wedged it into my bra a bit, but that’s not an ideal long term solution.

tshirt6a

tshirt6b

… For this reason, I’ll probably just end up cutting the whole sleeve off, otherwise this crying sleeve will haunt my nightmares.

So lets just remember the shirt in its former glory.

Here is the finished* product!

tshirt7Don’t act like you’re not impressed by my bacon and egg pajamas.

All things considering, pretty happy with a first attempt at t-shirt braiding in the back.

As for the sleeves, well, lets just pretend that never fucking happened.

Stay Cussy!!

-M

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That time I learned crochet

So I have this group of crafty friends who are great at everything they do, but a particular group favourite is crochet. Watching them sipping tea accompanied with their mountains of yarn gives me ‘Nam flashbacks of trying to learn knitting as a nine year old.

Despite this, for a year or so I’ve waved off their futile efforts, saying “yeah yeah, I’ll try it one day”. So, I was getting ready to leave my friends place before this craft hell began, I made the mistake of sitting near a pile of yarn. It was swiftly handed to me, along with a book. I still had my bag on, so I figured I couldn’t get sucked into anything too serious when I began perusing pages of various stitches and witches (okay, maybe just stitches, but I don’t know what kind of book this really is).

WP_20150112_18_33_59_Pro What the shit is this.

I’m not too sure what exactly happened next, I assume one of them blanked my memory with some kind of blood sacrifice as I had basically walked into a fluffy, woolen cult. The needle thing I was given is apparently called a “hook” or some shit. It looked like something you would use to clean those hard to reach areas in your ears. Maybe they’re for picking wooly filth out of your nails, or jamming in a filling, I don’t know what really goes on here.

hooks… Yes.

The cult leader began asking me questions.

“Do you know how to do a slipknot?”
“Unless it involves masking up and headbanging, then not really.” I replied. She made one for me and started to give me instructions.

Not how you start crochet.
But they could be row numbers, how am I supposed to know.

She tried pointing at pictures on how to start but it just looked like squiggles, especially as I just don’t understand diagrams of depth perception. I couldn’t tell what went where, what was behind, what was through.. I tried just mooshing it together but that didn’t seem to work.
see And here is how you begin a foundation stitch.
WHY DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND ME?!

I kept pulling at the stupid white yarn but it just wasn’t getting any easier. I also swiftly learned that crochet involves far too much innuendo than I like to imagine older ladies chortling at over scones.
“Always go from behind”
“That’s too tight”
“Sometimes you’ve just gotta push it in there”
“Turn it around and go through”

Crochet advice, or marriage advice? You decide.

After about ten grueling minutes, I had made what looked like a headless sperm.  What an achievement.

I finally started to get on a bit of a roll, despite my thumb feeling like the bone was going to fling out from being jabbed with a wool stick. I didn’t really know what to do, so I just sort of kept going for a while. Once I had made a mighty fine string, I figured I should thicken this bad boy up.
As it turns out, going back the way you came is about five times harder and feels like the biggest waste of time. I had apparently made my first line too tight so I couldn’t wedge the stupid stick in properly. Apparently there’s even a certain direction you need to jab it in, but it becomes this weird cube, how am I supposed to know where the goddamn front is?!

Turns out I am not so good at winging it.

thefuckhappenedhereCrochet never lets you forget your mistakes. Never.

Anyways, after I did some blotchy cubing I decided that this was balls and I was ready to pack it in.
“WAIT! You need a stitch saver!”
A what now?

So there’s a fancy paperclip that you also need to stop your life’s work from unraveling itself, making your day pointless.

stitchsaver “I’m all that stands between you and your tears unraveling. That will be forty nine dollars.”

After I spent a thousand hours going back the way I came and seemingly making no progress, I defiantly quit. Crochet lowers you into a false sense of security. You eventually get a rhythm happening until you have go back the way you came and it ruins your life forever. Perhaps if I ever try this damn thing again, I’ll try making a thing so I feel like I actually accomplished something. Perhaps that will make it more enjoyable, rather than spending hours creating a deluxe tampon string. That’s exactly what breaking my fingers all day accomplished, a fancy string.

WP_20150112_20_31_11_Pro I’m fancy.

I feel like all I accomplished today was getting a lot of swearing out of my system and World of Warcraft amount of RSI in my fingers and neck.
This was the worst.

Until I work up the courage to make a thing, I will put down my weird hook stick and move on to another monotonous craft. Hopefully I won’t have any crochet PTSD flashbacks next time I’m at the dentist.

dental-pick-0“Say ‘yaaaaarn!'”
“AHHHHHHH!!!”

Stay cussy,

-M

New Year Desolutions

So, here I am. You found me.

…Condolences.

You know how everyone has that one thing that they’re great at? That one cool thing they’re better at than anyone else, that comes to them so effortlessly with such passion and joy?
Well I, most definitely, do not have one of those.

I have failed at almost everything I have ever tried at in my life. My biggest sporting achievement was coming second last in a race when I was seven years old. I felt like a gladiator.

As such, this year like every year, I promised myself that I will find a hobby that I enjoy and that I will be good at. Now don’t get me wrong, I am very aware that some people have a knack for things and others work hard to get just as good. But I am someone who lacks skill and dedication of any kind. Unless it’s to some kind of netflix marathon. That I can get behind.

The struggle is real.

As well as being a chronic failure at activities, I’m the odd one out of my group of friends when it comes to “craft nights”. I either avoid them entirely, or drink heavily to avoid awkward crafty conversations (craft beer is a kind of craft, right? Right). Besides endearingly jeering at them about how they indulge in old lady activities, I do crave having a hobby, besides my love of television and snacks.

I mistakenly mentioned this to them and before I knew it, I was sat down and given a crochet needle.

Oh GOD.

More on that evening later. Before I knew it, I was doing a thing. And I was failing at it quite spectacularly.

I reflected back on some DIY posts I have read in the past and grumbled to myself about how they always produce flawless results with minimal effort. As I began to swear at the remains of a bad haircut from a sheep that was pulled tightly around a needle that looked like it was made for cleaning out ears or fingernails, I thought to myself “people need to see just how not easy this shit is”.

After a few discussions with some other not so creative types, I took solace in the fact that I am not alone in feeling like a failure when trying to make a “simple DIY” doodad from the internet. Humanising failure not only makes us feel better about our own abilities, but allows us to poke fun at the need for perfection. It encourages us to having a go, no matter how poorly it turns out.
And besides, it means you spent a good few hours of the week creating and focusing your mind rather than hating yourself for binge-watching episodes of your favourite tv show and not showering for three days.

As such, in a pitiful display of being inspired by the season of change (or as I like to call it, January), I hereby declare that I will attempt to create a thing at least once a fortnight.

They will be imperfect, they will be yelled at and potentially thrown or flushed down a toilet, there will be numerous disasters, but dammit, they will be made.
So, if you enjoy seeing someone else suck as much as you do at crafts, continue to enjoy my misdemeanors in creation.

Stay cussy.

-M