Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Imagine Shawl

I admit that I've had a bit of a fascination with Lion Brand Amazing yarn.  It's a blend of 50-50 wool and acrylic, you can buy it at big box stores, and it comes in lovely long color repeats. 

I used 4 balls to make up an Imagine Shawl.  Although the pattern is written for fingering weight yarn and Amazing is worsted, I just knit most of 3 balls of the main colorway (Joshua Tree) and then added one ball of a contrasting colorway (Rainforest) to complete the slip stitch border.  

This is an easy relaxing knit and the shawl is soft and fuzzy.  It's too warm to use this shawl now, but I'm ready when the temperatures drop in the fall.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fresh Ironing Board Covers

My ironing board cover was looking pretty terrible, so I recovered it.

I used this funny vintage fabric, a package of double fold bias tape,  and this YouTube tutorial.   It makes ironing much more pleasant. 

While I was at it, I also recovered the ironing pad I keep next to my sewing machine.

I covered it with another piece of vintage fabric by just folding it over to the back side and taping it down with blue painter's tape.

It's amazing the things that will give you a fresh lease on life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pokey Dots Throw

I wanted to make a baby gift for a young couple expecting their first baby and I found a free Red Heart Yarn pattern Pokey Dot Throw.   (This link is to the Ravelry page as the Red Heart page was down when I wrote this post.)  It's a very easy pattern, perfect if you have a bright group of small bits of yarn.  It was fun to make all the circles at once, and then to add the background stitches that would make them into squares.

This made up very quickly and it left me with the desire to make myself a granny square afghan, but in bright colors.  So since I had to buy some white to finish this blanket, I treated myself to a few skeins of bright colored yarn for my dream afghan.  I'm researching various pattern and when the fancy strikes, I'll be ready to begin.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Zippered Bags

A friend recently gave me a shopping bag full of home dec samples.  They turned out to be the perfect size for some small zippered bags.  I had a small stash of thrift store zippers, and armed with some on-line tutorials, I made up a few bags.

I used some of these on-line tutorials:  Jedi Craft Girl's My Favorite Zipper Pouch, The Sewing Loft's Zipper Tab Tutorial, and the Fat Quarter Shop's video tutorial on making a simple bag.

Since home dec fabrics are heavier than conventional fabrics, there's no need to add a batting or liner.  The two layers of fabric create a substantial bag and it was fun to mix and match the fabrics. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ketjusilmukkahuivi (scarf)

I recently crocheted this fun scarf from a free pattern.   Ketjusilmukkahuivi(scarf) is written in Finnish, but other folks have decoded the  simple pattern and have very helpful notes on Ravelry.

You can either cut the yarn for fringe at the end of each row, or you can just crochet continuously.  At the end I hand sewed some tiny leaf beads onto the edges for added weight.

My scarf was made from a discontinued microfiber yarn with long color repeats.  I've seen others made from crochet cotton, which is often plentiful in thrift stores.  Use the hook appropriate to your yarn.

My scarf was made roughly as follows:

Chain 350 stitches, the pattern repeat is 10 double crochets and 15 chain stitches. 
At the beginning of each row, chain 3 (for the new row) then follow with 2 dc, and proceed with the pattern.  
End each row with 2 dc.  

This is a very flexible pattern.  If your math doesn't work out, go with the flow.  You can also vary the numbers of chains and double crochets to make the scarf more or less solid, for example, 5 dc and 5 chain stitches. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Pillow Talk

I took the house blocks I'd recently made and sewed them into a pillow.  It feels good to be finished with these blocks.  

Continuing with the house theme, I sewed up another pillow with a piece of machine embroidery from Debra, and various home dec fabrics.

These make a nice group on one end of the day bed in my sewing room.

I got pillows for the other end of the day bed from this huipil--a traditional Mexican embroidered tunic--given to me by my friend Maria.  She loved this huipil and wore it until there were threadbare spots in the loose-weave cotton.

I did some very basic repairs on some of the holes, zig-zaging over the frayed edges and backing the fragile fabric with some white cotton.  Then I fussy cut some pillows from the fabric.

One of the small pillows is for Maria, as a thank you for sharing this beautiful embroidered fabric.

All of these pillows are backed with the banded portions of the fabric, and I have some pieces left over--maybe for some zippered bags.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Knitted Kitchen Towels Free Pattern

The skies must have been dreary the day I brought home four bright balls of kitchen cotton.  I decided that all that color should be kitchen towels and adapted a published towel pattern to change the gauge and to also fix an error.  

The big striped towels are made from one ball of each of two colors, and the towel with the thin stripes is made from the leftovers, plus maybe a bit of yellow from another project.

They measure approximately 13 x 17".  In a more demure color scheme, they could be hand towels for the bathroom, but I envision these as cheerful kitchen towels.

Here's the recipe:

For one 13 x 17 hand or kitchen towel:

2 balls of kitchen cotton, approximately 120 yds each, eg., Lily's Sugar and Cream
Knitting needles size 7

With color A cast on 54 stitches

With A work knit every row for 1.5"

Switch to color B on the right side,
pattern row 1:  Using color B, k5, *k2tog, k2, kfb in next 2 stitches, k3, slip one, knit one, psso, repeat from * three times,  k last 5 stitches
pattern row 2:  K 5, purl to last 5 stitches, k5

repeat rows 1 & 2 twice

Switch to color B, repeat pattern for 4 rows, continue alternating colors A and B, end with 1.5" of garter stitch.

I carry both colors up the right side of the work by knitting the two strand together in the first stitch of every right side row.  The thin striped towel is made by alternating colors every 2 rows instead of every 4 rows and uses up your scraps from two towels.  I knit only 5 garter stitch rows on the thin striped towel.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Another Embroidered Blouse

Last year I made an embroidered blouse with fabric Debra embroidered for me.  My mom liked in so much, she asked for one of her own for her birthday.

For mom's blouse I sent Debra some bright red poly cotton-- Mom hates to iron--and used the same blouse pattern I used for myself.   My blouse had embroidered sugar skulls in addition to birds, and Mom got flowers, birds, and butterflies for her blouse.

This is a very easy process:  I email Debra and she sends me links to available designs.  Then I send Debra fabric with the places marked where I want the designs, and she mails it back to me ready to sew.  I'm thinking I'll ask Debra to embroider these designs on another batch of fabric so I can make myself a blouse, maybe in black.  They would also make cool pillows.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Quick Cardigan

Sometimes I just need a quick project, something that's not likely to get set aside because there doesn't appear to be an end in sight.

One Friday night I really needed to cast on a a quick new project.  I chose the Short Sleeve Quick Knitted Cardigan by A Crafty House.  The pattern calls for super bulky yarn to be knit on size 17 needles.  I don't have super bulky yarn stashed, but two strands of worsted in an especially cheerful color fit the bill nicely.

The project took about two weeks to complete.  I had the perfect vintage buttons also in my stash.  When the sweater gapped in the spaces between the buttonholes, even though I used grosgrain ribbon to stabilize the button band, I sewed that part of the sweater closed.  It's extremely wearable sweater, perfect for the transitional weather between seasons.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Making a New Messenger Bag from an Old Skirt

Spring is upon us, and I wanted to make a new, more colorful, work bag.  I've been saving this microfiber skirt in my stash for a long time.  I more or less followed my old tutorial for this project, though this bag turned out much nicer than the first one.

Microfiber is very nice to work with.  It's basically fake suede, and it's machine washable and doesn't fray.  This skirt was nice and sturdy, unlike some of the lighter weight microfiber that you find in shirts and some other garments.  My first step was to unsew the hem and the silt, and then machine sew them closed using the original fold lines.

I used a great home dec fabric ( I think this came from Debra) for the lining, and added pockets.  The lining is a slightly smaller version of the outer dimensions.  For this bag, I didn't include any bottom reinforcement, as the whole thing is pretty sturdy.

This project uses the whole skirt, and the original zipper opening is now a zipped pocket in the flap.

This took me less than two hours from start to finish.  I had the button and the d-rings in my stash, as well as the strap, which was reclaimed from a purchased bag.  The color in the photo of the skirt--a teal blue-- is most faithful to the real color. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Pink Vest

I'm loving this vest I recently finished.  It's from a free pattern, Hiker's Waistcoat.  The pattern isn't well written, so it requires some adaptation and decision-making on the part of the knitter.

I only did minimal shaping compared to what the pattern dictates, but I don't like my clothes to be overly fitted.  This version is very wearable.

The yarn I used was reclaimed from a thrift store wool Gap sweater, so it was an extra-thrifty project.  I like this polka dot ribbon I found to reinforce the button bands.   I think I needed some Spring color to wear, especially since we're getting another wave of rainy storms.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Yes, I Knit the Dog a Sweater

We had such a cold winter that I decided to knit our Mimi a sweater.  It actually came in handy for those early-morning walks when the temperatures were in the 30s.  I used this pattern and some aran weight acrylic yarn, so it's machine washable. 

Since Mimi is a largish dog, it was like knitting a sweater for a five year old child, but this is what you do for love.  

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


I'm crazy for chevrons, and I've been knitting a couple of different versions knitting the free ZickZack Scarf pattern .  It's one of my favorite kinds of scarf patterns: a simple 1-row repeat, and a great palette for color play.

I'm knitting the first version from two contrasting balls of self-striping sock yarn.  I love the colors and textures and want to keep knitting just to see how the colors are going to line up next.

But I'm having even more fun knitting a narrower scarf from my stash of self-striping sock yarn leftovers.  I have a pretty good supply of these small balls, and I culled colors in the blue-orange-brown range, and I'm about to throw in a bit of purple for good measure.

I'm alternating the organge-brown yarns with the blues and purples, and enjoying the visual treat.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

More House Blocks

My little house block neighborhood is growing.  I'm debating whether to make one more and make an 18 x 18 cushion, or keep going and make more blocks for a quilt of some sort.

I'm still having fun with these:  I made the pink house yesterday to mark all the rainy weather we've had lately.

Of course I had to make a dog house.

And I confess I had way too much fun making this little house on fire.  Hmm...decisions.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Free Pattern Friday: Looped Dishtowel

I ran across a great pattern for a crocheted potholder, but the part I liked about it the most is that circular loop, which makes it perfect for hanging.  I figured it'd make a perfect dishrag or even a dishtowel, one that had its own loop for hanging.

So I made the pattern, but just kept crocheting, using a whole ball of kitchen cotton.

This is perfect for hanging next to the sink so I can dry my hands.  I may eventually make some actual potholders from this pattern,  There are some helpful notes on Ravelry that describe how people doubled the thickness so that you can actually use them to grab hot pots.  But for now, maybe I'll just make some more hanging towels.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pencil Pouch

My daughter was home between semesters at college and asked for a new pencil pouch.  I was, of course, happy to oblige.

These were made from a tutorial on the Simply Notable blog.  The instructions are crystal clear, and it was fun to let Allie pick from my stash of quirky fabrics.

These can be made with three coordinated fabrics-- the pouch is fully lined--so this is a scrap-friendly project.  Looking for zip pulls in my embellishment stash was also fun.  I may make more of these for gifts.  I'll be scouting the thrift stores for 9" zippers.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Free Pattern Friday: Knit Night Hat and Camp Out Fingerless Mitts

It's nice to have coordinated sets of knitwear.  I often find myself in a mishmash of odd pieces, that while warm, don't always create a stylish image.  From one ball of Malabrigo Rios yarn, and less than one hundred yards of Elsebeth Lavold Favorite Wool,  I knit both the Knit Night Hat, and the Camp Out Fingerless Mitts.

The hat pattern runs big, a good thing for me because I have a large head.  The mitts pattern is fun because it uses a few special techniques: the provisional cast-on, and the 3-needle bind off, that make it interesting.  It made my thrifty heart sing to use the leftover Rios to trim the mitts, since the yarn is so special.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Stitching House Blocks

 I've always loved house blocks, and I even bought a set of templates, Marti Michell's Small Schoolhouse 6" set, a long while back.  I recently thought it'd be fun to make up a few blocks, and they're quite addicting.

 It's been fun finding images to go into the doorway and window.

And of course, the sky is also fun to choose fabric for.

I've got a fantasy of a large quilt made up of these little scrappy houses.  A girl can dream, right?

Sweater Genesis

  A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find...