Sunday, November 27, 2011

Textile Friday: 24K Goldplating with Jon Danforth

            We're running a little late on Textile Friday with the Thanksgiving holiday, but I think the wait is completely worth it because I have a special guest for you. Today we are hanging out having with my friend Jon. Jon is a lot of fun to be with and we're lucky to have him here today telling us about custom goldplating. Precious mineral plating occurs by putting a charge on the metal to be plated and then exposing it to a solution. In the industry these can be huge tanks, but the principle is the same on both the large and small scale. Thankfully, Caswell makes some great inexpensive kits to allow custom production for small scale runs in the $35-68 range. After purchasing a kit, you simply order refill bottles which are a cheap and effective way to do small runs. This gives you a great way if you need occasional plating for prototyping or finicky clients who may change their mind about finishes.
             You can generally plate a small piece in 5-10 min by following these easy steps.

 1. Clean out a glass beaker or clean jar to hold the gold solution. T-shirts work great for this. You can hold it under a light to check for residue. As you use the goldplating solution, it will leave a gold film on the inside.

2. Unscrew the gold solution and pour in some of the goldplating solution. Wrap the flat of the electroplating kit in cloth, fabric, or other absorbent material. This is what you will be using to goldplate your material.

3. Plug in the clamp and fix it to your item to be plated. Dip the fabric in the gold solution and begin rubbing it up and down the surface of the metal. As the reaction occurs, it will cause visible bubbles along the surface of the metal. You can also hear a popping sound like faint Rice Crispies Cereal.

4. Move slowly around the piece you are plating. An average piece such as this picture frame will take 5-15 minutes. Rub back and forth. You can move the clamp to plate the entire piece.

5. When you get done electroplating your piece, you will need to polish it for a shiny finish. Your final piece will have the same characteristics as the orginal piece. The gold is covering your metal, it does not change it's initial properties. You can take a polishing cloth, those wrapped in a block do best, and rub it over the surface of the gold to bring out the finish.

6. Voila. Your piece is done. Pretty awesome huh?

You can see the final contrast below.

Thanks so much for tuning in and a super big thanks to Jon for all his help and interesting help.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day Twelve: Pieceables: 3D Fabric Design

Have an idea over your morning coffee? Want to program your bag with your iPhone? Now you can.

Nash and I love to do prototyping design, especially e-textiles.  For Christmas, we thought we would share our joy with you by creating modular fabric design kits called Pieceables. Simply snap the Pieceables together and program any electronics with your smartphone. Voila, the resulting art pieces are washable and can be endlessly modified to suit your taste.

We've taken a lot of the heavy lifting out of understanding various fabrics and connections to allow you to focus on the fun part of design...making. I love watching friends and family surprise me with their inventions, ideas, and coffee creations.Over thanksgiving we took a bunch home to family, a lot of fun cat toys were made. Not what I expected, but hey...if lol cats can take over the internet, then I don't see any reason they can't take over Pieceables. :-)

Over the next few Fridays, you are welcome to drop by Techshop's conference room and try out Pieceables for yourself. We are marketing these for Christmas on Kickstarter where you can pick up one of 3 basic Pieceable kits: Standard (Machine Washable/CPSIA compliant), Beginner Electronics (smartphone light programming), and Advanced Electronics (allows you to also program buttons, sound, directions, and temperature). You can also program these electronics with any computer screen in case you prefer to use a desktop or laptop instead of smartphone. Simply answer the simple 4 question order form so we know what fabrics and colors you would like shipped.

The last day to order one of the kits for Christmas is Monday, December 23rd. After ordering, simply print the gift certificate. The gift certificates may be redeemed any time in the next 6 months. We plan to start shipping Jan 1, 2012. 

We hope you enjoy your Pieceables! Happy Holidays everyone. And thank you so much for your support over the past year.

You can check out the brand new website here:

Copyright 2011 Li Sashay
Patent Rights Reserved

Friday, November 18, 2011

Textile Friday: Speed Knitting Handmade

Today we're going to talk about something I love: handmade knits. Even in the age of machine knitting, a good handmade sweater stands in its own category as a piece of quality art. Sadly not all knitters are created equal. I'm an average knitter at best after several years of lunch and evening groups and my sweaters are NOT works of art YET. This weeks post is dedicated to helping normal knitters like myself get faster. If you want to see someone really fast check out Hazel Tindall, the world's fastest knitter. This week I ran across a lovely blog called "A Fisherman's Knits". It's a fab blog for better tools to knit faster, not be super human. Most of my tricks/tips come out of hitting a wall while my friends would go "Oh, I knit a sweater last weekend." The girl friends you love and hate at the same time. :-) Love you guys.

1. The first easy answer is to make your movements as small as possible and relax. Check-out this great video by Lisa Stockebrand on continental knitting and wasted movement. If you hear nothing else about what I say, hear me...CONTINENTAL KNITTING. I also included a video by former knitting champ showing her tutorial on continental speed knitting. Great video, but she's so fast it's hard for me to follow.

Knitting Faster from Lisa Stockebrand on Vimeo.

2. Belt Sheath- These can either be wood or leather, but having one of your needles fixed and most of your weight going into your waist takes the weight off your hands. You can see this in the first video where Hazel is wearing one. A typical belt will run you $20-40, but is so worth it in terms of saving your hands. Some people knit one-handed with a knitting belt. These are what the professional knitters of Ireland and Scotland used to use supply the British navy, etc. a hundred years ago. Great stuff. You can get a leather one at JourneyMan Leather or make one yourself. The wood ones you can turn yourself or find on ebay for roughly $30-150. Like antiques, there's a wide variety in price, mostly it seems based on the story behind the piece. You can also cheat if you can't spring for this and take your belt and slide it to the side then rest your knitting needles in one of the holes. It's not nearly as good, but it will give you an idea of what to expect.

3. Good needles- I will save you the debate between wood and metal. Both are good. Wood seems to work much better for me. I find ebony a favorite, but the major gift of wood for me is that my stitches don't slide around as much. I knit twice as fast with wood as opposed to metal needles. Some people add texturing to the wood in x, y, or z formations. However, it seems as if the really fast knitters use metal needles, especially long ones out of the leather belt that they bend forward from the waist so wood is probably a crutch in some ways for an intermediate knitter such as myself. I'm still looking for a pair of lignum vitae needles (yum self-lubricating wood), but until I can afford a pair....a girl has got to dream.

4. Large Stitches- Obviously larger stitches knit faster. However, I hate to mention this because with the right equipment investment you can actually knit faster even with smaller stitch sizes.

Ok, I think that's everything. So people, watch the videos, check out the blog and enjoy! Good knitting is amazing and the quality makes unforgettable gifts. Happy Holidays and have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day Eleven: Free Jewelry Making Kit Listia

Today we're winding down the last of Listia Give-A-Ways. You can find our beginning jewelry making kit by the front desk of Techshop which Katie is modeling for us. It has a variety of items in it including:

1. Glass Oven Bake Pens/Paint
2. Needles
3. Twine
4. Seashells
5. Feathers
6. Beads

Most items are unopened in orginal packaging. We are still accepting donations, but after doing a number of these, I've found the shipping is more than the item is worth. We will go back to offering the supplies for free at our meet-ups. Did I mention how much I love our Etsy Group? Thanks guys. You are the best.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day Ten: Seige Warfare

This week it's war in our neck of the woods with the Avalon Reenactments coming to town. Techshop is getting involved building small and large scale trebuchets. Trebuchets are an ancient launching device that armies used to target cities under attack. Pretty cool. This means that Nash has basically died and gone to heaven. Actually, most of the guys in the studios have. So where you may ask does fabric come into this? It's easy to see the wood and metal, but what a lot of people miss is the fact that the slingshot mechanism is made of rope and a fabric cup. Yes, fabric is everywhere around you. When you can cut your own desktop trebuchet in a few minutes on the laser cutter, or a larger seige size in a few hours (car drums are popular counterweights), you get a lot of fun fielding requests for how to make the fabric cups to place the projectiles in. The laser program is available saved on the epilog upstairs, or if you are doing a larger scale model, the measurements are 12 inches by 6 inches as follows to make a huge polygon on a larger standing model.

Simply place a hole in each end and sew the sides. We will be field-testing each division this coming weekend for the open house. I will be competing in the small division, Nash in the large. Good luck everyone who is putting theirs together this week. If you have any questions, you can find Nash at Techshop. Oh, and I will be launching flaming fire projectiles from mine so fair warning to the opposing team :-).

This is great week for mayhem.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day Nine: Free Skirt Making Kit on Listia

This is our second free fabric drawing on Listia this fall for a basic skirt sewing kit. Skirts, aprons, and pillows are the staple of beginning seamstresses as they allow you to flex your sewing muscles and can normally be completed quickly so you don't get bogged down in the process. The kit includes pattern, materials, and fabric to make it. I picked a lovely heavy-weight red double-knit jersey fabric so the finished skirt will be both warm and functional. You can bid anytime this week on Listia. This item ships free in the US. Happy Holidays from all of us at Li Sashay.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Textile Friday: Green Tea Clothing

I love unusual fabrics, some of my favorite new ideas, are actually twists on old ideas as previously mentioned such as the new plastic and vinyl trends for spring. New fabrics often tend to be impractical and of poorer construction quality than traditional so I try not to use them in commercial work, but oh you have to occasionally give in because they're so much fun! So check out this cool Friday video on making CLOTHING from green tea and sugar. Ah, I wish everything I designed was so yummy and earth friendly.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day Eight: Battle Signs

Today we're kicking back and getting ready for the local Avalon campaign. It's fun to create the unexpected and guys are all about tribes. A group of guys getting together to play paintball, outdoor soccer, SCA reenactments, and other event is something intrinsically masculine. I honestly believe that if you leave 4 guys in a room with nothing to do, they'll invent a new game, sport, or activity in roughly 15 minutes. This is a wonderful, fun thing.

The second thing you need is a sign, an emblem to hoist in the air as a battle cry and this is where we come in. We have 2 types of textile signs we do. The first type is today's show which is an athletic or military sign. These are primarily for outdoor sporting events, naval, or military reenactments. They feature a fabric sign with an applique that is finished with embroidery. The signs are weighted, machine washable, can be left outside and hold up to mountains of abuse.
Teams often purchase matching iron-on labels which can be put on arm bands, belts, hats, or other clothing. Overall very cool. Check it out and we look forward to showing you the other type of sign we make.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day Seven: Custom Sewn-In Mirrors

Today I am being a fashion snob and creating something beautiful, just because. I've been falling in love with Spring Fashion and one of my favorite new trends is the glass and mirror tops made from safety glass. They have this lovely captured light effect that makes models float and sparkle. Lucite has an old history dating back to the Bakelite Fashion on of WW II (1925-1940s) and is experiencing a resurgence. The Charlotte Mint Museum did a wonderful show on this last year and I was inspired to create my own engraved pieces from mirrors.
The pieces can be sewn or riveted to tops, clothing, bags, or other creation. We have a host of colors, the silver and blue are my favorite. You can also find: pink, dark blue, medium blue, gold, purple, yellow, bronze, slate gray, red, green, and colorless in 1/8 inch thickness. You can order a sample online at our Etsy store for $12 per 8 or $85 per 100. Please contact us for larger orders. We accept wholesale orders.

You can find our sample in the shop here: