Monday, April 30, 2018

Low-Tech Wearable (Quilt) Fitness Tracker/Wrist Entertainment System

Are you frequently stuck about what color to use next? Or do you have trouble remembering what color you used last? Then you may need to make this low-cost, low-tech, quilter's wrist color fitness tracker which, although nearly useless, will at least entertain you and people around you. 
I know it's entertaining because I wore mine to a quilt show (specifically, QuiltCon 2018), and people laughed at me. (OK, 3 people in a coffee line with me laughed. I don't actually know if they were laughing at me or with me). It's stitched to a stretch of vintage necktie, embedded with snaps:
It's constructed on a black felt background, with freehand cut silk scraps (that's why there are 7 divisions - I couldn't have achieved that if I'd measured!), and purple tulle on top. The zigzagging is metallic gold Superior thread. That's a tiny mother-of-pearl shank button in the center.
Unlike the annoyingly virtuous fitness trackers your health-conscious friends wear, this kind requires no technical skills. It's so low-tech that, now that I think of it, I probably got the idea from playing "Candy Land" in 1962, when I was a mere child of 46. (Just kidding, I was 5). If you're undecided about what color to use next, spin the spinner. Oh, right, there are two colors, the button and the background - well, you can choose between the two, or use them both! 

Alternatively, AFTER you use a color, set the spinner to that color, and then when you have to walk the dog, and you're bored pleading with it to Do Its Business,  and it occurs to you that you can't remember which fabric you cut last, just look at your wrist! Uselessly entertaining, right?

I had so much fun making that one - which is about 2" across - that I doubled the size for the next one.  This time, I used necktie scraps: 
It's Jerry Garcia o'clock! (I think the yellow fabric was one of his posthumously designed ties). At 4.25", it's too big to serve as a wrist tracker, unless you also declare it a corsage. This one can help you make a decision between polka dot, checkerboard, or floral print fabric. I constructed it on stiff double-sided interfacing, and backed it with more necktie silk. 
Third is this extremely messy necktie scrap dial, which was part of a series of collages that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. It will help you choose a  color only if you have a limited palette of  baby blue, shiny black (vintage faceted glass beads), silver-blue, white or gold. 
Wondering where I got the extremely cool clock hands? Maybe 10 years ago, I bought this package of "Game Spinners," designed by Tim Holtz for paper crafters. They come with tiny paper fasteners,  but I think buttons are more durable (and cuter). 
They're still available - google "Tim Holtz game spinners" and you will find the exact same package - cheap!  Or, make your own, if have some wire around the house and are good with it. I tried making some wire arrows, and it isn't as easy as it looks:
One was passable enough to use in this fourth tracker:
That arrow is wrapped once around the central button once. (It started out much longer). Alas, it doesn't spin as well as the professional spinners.  

How to make you own tracker? Cut a circle of felt or stiff fusible interfacing. Cut 6-8 pieces of fabric and back them with fusible interfacing (if you're using felt) . Cut pie pieces out of fabric and overlap them on the backing. Press in position. 

 Back view.

Cut everything flush with the backing. Option: Put a layer of tulle on top. Use a decorative thread to stitch over the raw edges between segments, and satin stitch the circumference. 

I made necktie bands by cutting about 9 1/2" from the narrow end of a vintage tie (Oscar de la Renta in the case below). On the right end, I trimmed back the interior lining, then rolled the edge over twice and stitched it in place. I used a snap setter to insert a pearl-headed snap top on the left side, bottom half on the right side. 
 Stitched on the "watch"
On my arm, here's the inside....
It's the ideal gift for the quilter who has almost everything!

12 comments:

  1. I don't know about the people in the coffee line but I am ROFL right now - to funny! and much better than the dang fit bit that tells you how many steps you are not taking each day and wants you to share your humiliation of couch potatoe ways with the world on social media.does anyone really care how many steps I took today? I think not. love the clock hands

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you you're so right, those virtuous people counting their steps are so annoying!!! (Or maybe I'm just jealous...)

      Delete
  2. love this idea, my grandkids are always checking how many steps I've taken on my fit bit. I think I make their own with spinner.

    ReplyDelete
  3. OMG!
    this is the perfect birthday gift for a friend who worries so that everything should be perfect. Her anxiety goes thru the roof. I may try it with a plain black elastic for wristband. LOLROTF. Thanks Cathy... always fiddling. always playing. always coming up with ingenious ideas......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are always coming up with amazing things, too, Marilyn! You have to send me a picture!!!

      Delete
  4. I predict they'll love it, Carol. Though small children are technically more qualified to operate a digital tracker than I am.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think this is brilliant. When you are trying to get away from someone, we used to be able to look at the watch to clue them into their time wasting ways. And if just looking and fiddling with it doesn't work, now we can look at our tracker and say "look at the time, I gotta go.".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, you are so right, SM! "I have to go quilt something, uh, blue now, excuse me!"

      Delete
  6. The height of Quilter Cool! You are hilarious as always. Love this! A fidget spinner for quilters...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perfect, Jeri, a fidget spinner without the dangerous lead ball bearings! I should have thought of that, thank you!

      Delete
  7. I am fit to be tied over my fit-bit nit-wit hubby, who has to have a 10,000 step orgasm occur on his wrist before every day ends. This is a hilarious parody, and I'll have to make him a fake fit-bit with crazy numbers on it. Also, I need you to make a wrist "watch" to time the end of Trump's presidency...for United We Quilt.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Trump countdown mental fitness/insanity tracker!!! Great idea, Eleanor!! (Trump lies countdown?)

    ReplyDelete