Knitty Gritty

19 Jul

Knit Stitch

Look at my little piece of work!

I created this slightly uneven cluster of knots and loops with my own two hands (and two needles)! Yes, I’m actually knitting!! This pic was my 2nd attempt. ūüôā

Having crocheted for so many years now, I felt a bit uncoordinated as I tried to keep the yarn on my right as I knitted and learned to grasp the yarn to yarn-over the needle (unlike crocheting where the yarn is on my left and there is no yarning-over). Equally foreign was depending on needles, rather than my fingers, to hold my work. Initially, I would relate it to the feeling of writing with your left when you’re right-handed….yet, not quite that awkward. Some concentration and a bit of patience are required at the beginning and despite the learning curve of how to hold two needles and work the yarn without losing the constant tension or dropping a stitch, I am enjoying this newfound challenge.¬† I read instructional blogs, watched YouTube videos and then cast-on, knit or purled a few rows, and pull it all out only to begin again. Sure, some would find this frustrating but I am happier with my progress each time I start over, proving practice is productive! (say that 5 times fast! haha!)

Although I just started I can already see that, like crocheting, knitting is relaxing because there’s a repetitive rhythm to it once you get going. I also love the portability factor of knitting and crocheting which makes these hobbies a great fit for keeping fidgety hands busy while riding the train, carpooling, or watching TV. In general, if there is a lot of sitting still and down time, chances are it’s a fine place to knit!

Recently at my son’s baseball game I saw two moms huddled together under the shade of a tree, knitting! One was giving instructions and the other did the work. It was fun listening to the student’s excitement and hear her satisfaction when she saw what she’d created! The teacher sounded equally thrilled to share her talent with her friend!

Despite what you may think, talent is not a requirement to knit (or crochet for that matter), you simply need to have an interest in learning. It helps to remember that just because something looks complicated, doesn’t mean it is. As with most skills, all it takes is an interest in learning, following instructions, and some practice – and before you know it, you’ve learned a new hobby! So be encouraged my friends and try something new!

Reasons you should knit:

  1. Knitting is a stress reliever
  2. It’s a healthy pastime
  3. Productive use of downtime
  4. It’s a cheap hobby (2 needles, yarn & free patterns online OR create your own!)
  5. Yarncrafted gifts are personal and unique (not to mention, affordable!)

Cast On

By the way, since starting this blog I’ve found it doesn’t hurt to mention to your friends/family that you’re interested in learning a new skill, such as knitting, because you may just find your next teacher is your affable aunt, your fabulous friend, or your nice neighbor who have been knitting for years and never talked about it! So don’t keep it a secret! You may be fortunate enough to get free, expert, hands-on training and can forego the online videos all together!

It’s time to get down to the Knitty Gritty and make something!

And Just for Fun…click here for Random Facts about Knitting!

Here are some helpful links to get you started:

 

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I’m waffling

20 Apr

Although I’m slowly, but happily, progressing on my Filet Crochet Bunny Blanket, which I wrote about in my previous post, I have picked up yet another project! I know better…yes, but I can’t help myself. A coworker asked me to make something for her to gift to her friend who just had a baby girl – I mean what could I say? ¬†Certainly not “no!”

So, I am making a baby blanket! I am crocheting an easy pattern, but moving much slower than I’d like because the colors change every single row! Ugh.

Thankfully, the body of the blanket is pretty repetitive, alternating stitch patterns every other row. I love the texture of this blanket too! It is a waffle-like weave with little popcorn looking puffs. I have quite a ways to go but here’s my progress so far…

I admit, I feel a little guilty starting on something new when I have a project waiting to be completed, but so far I am really happy with this baby blanket.

I know I should stick to a single project at a time but I suppose I’d rather waffle over projects than have no projects at all!

The challenge is to be sure to FINISH every project I start. Not always easy but a great goal! ūüôā

What projects have you waffled over lately?

 

I Say, Today It’s Filet Crochet!

30 Mar

Although I love sewing, I seem to have rekindled my love for the art of crochet. It all started with the Braided Blizzard Crowl I made in January (my first crochet project in about 20 years!) and then recently, I stumbled across a free pattern for an adorable Filet Crochet Bunny Blanket! Well, since I had never heard of filet crochet or tried to make anything with a filet crochet pattern – I was determined to give it a go!

Now, this blanket is actually very easy to make because it’s the same two stitches all the way through, a double crochet stitch and a chain stitch – the only thing that changes is how often a chain or a double crochet is thrown in. That said, I must admit that the HARD part for me is that I pick up my crochet projects in between other chores and activities around the house and admittedly, I also like to crochet when I’m watching TV. Because of these distracting habits, I frequently think I am in the right place when I start back up on the blanket, and later (like 4 or 5 rows later) realize my stitches are all off! Waaaay off! On the up-side, these regular errors have not only improved my desire to pay closer attention to my project, but I have also embraced frogging (the act of ripping out stitches) and even view frogging as part of the process when I filet crochet! When you’ve made as many mistakes as I have, it’s better to embrace the rip-out process than get frustrated over it. I’m pretty sure I have ripped out more stitches then I have created in this blanket and yet, I still enjoy watching the darling blanket come together; slowly but surely. ūüôā

Here’s my progress so far…
If you haven’t tried your hand at filet crochet, you should give it a try BUT may I suggest you pay attention as you work to save you some time? Maybe even mark off the pattern as you move along to ensure you keep your place so you can start up exactly where you left off and maybe, frog less.ūüźł (rippit! rippit!…get it?? haha!)

There are TONS of free patterns on the web for filet crochet projects using yarn and even ones you can crochet with string such as doilies, place-mats, beach bags, and even dresses – from the simple to the elaborate!

In fact, after seeing so many patterns out there, I think it would be easy to make my own pattern just by using graph paper and X’s, and add whatever crochet edging would fit the style. Take a look around the internet and you’ll see what I mean.

Have you started any new projects this year that you’re glad you jumped in to?

Fabric: To Wash, or Not To Wash…that is the Question!

13 Feb

 


So this may seem like a silly question to those of you who have been sewing garments for any length of time, but for a novice like me who’s only made craft-type things and hasn’t sewn anything wearable – I found it to be my first question when I brought out my bright, crisp, and beautiful fabric in preparation for my first-ever clothes making project! Should I wash the fabric before cutting it…or is it really necessary to take that extra step?? Will it really make a difference one way or another?!

Okay, okay…so it’s not really clothes that I’m making..it’s an apron! : ) I’m excited about it though and I’m even attempting to follow a store bought pattern. Of course, I have used patterns before…but they were those easy templates printed from the internet that guided me to outline a shape, or I’d draw my own pattern to make a crafty project…but a real pattern on that flimsy, thin paper from an envelope for what seems to be a simple apron was…well – it was kind of intimidating when I laid it all out! Then, this fabric question popped into my head! Wash it? Don’t wash it?? What to do!?

As usual, I went surfing (on the internet of course) and found a great article about this exact subject at Makeit-Loveit.com and thought I should share it with all of you since you too may have had the same question! After all, if I have heard conflicting opinions, maybe you have too! Some quilters say NEVER to wash the fabric first, some crafters say it’s not necessary, and others say that washing fabric ahead of time may cause the colors to fade and only delay starting your project! Still, there are some who swear that washing beforehand is the only option, without exception.

Opinions on this subject may still vary but what I found img_8663to be the best choice was…(drum roll please…)….WASH, DRY and IRON….and always, always, ALWAYS iron after washing. I admit, I hate ironing. Ironing the freshly washed fabric, however,¬† ensures proper measuring and cutting, and makes the fabric easier to work with than a freshly washed and dried crumpled and twisted piece of fabric would be.

If you want to know more, click here for the ins-and-outs of why fabric should always be washed before sewing anything – yes even before sewing those crafts! You’ll also learn why we should wash our crisp new fabric as soon as we bring it home from the store!

Hopefully this little tidbit of info will help you get more out of your sewing experience and keep you happily sewing along!

If you have any sewing tips you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Sewing!!

Whimsical Button Heart on Burlap

11 Feb

As I mentioned in my last post, I LOVE HEARTS, and this Whimsical Heart, filled with an array of buttons, is my latest project! Perfect for decorating this Valentine’s Day! A pretty cute gift idea too, don’t you think?!

This quick creation has personality and is popping with color and texture! I used buttons of all shapes and sizes, layered and hot glued onto a stretched burlap canvas. Everything was conveniently purchased on Amazon.com and delivered to my doorstep! What’s easier than that!?

These little eye-pleasers are great for Valentines Day (or any day really) and the canvas can be hung on a wall or propped on a shelf or mantle! Not a burlap fan??…you could use¬† white canvas, or hot glue the buttons to a patterned fabric and frame it!

I think buttons are fun and are great for decorating up just about any space, and for any occasion! Click here for more Button Projects on Pinterest! The ideas are endless!

Have you made a project using buttons? I would LOVE to see your creations!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone and THANKS for stopping by!

 

UPDATE March 2016:

Just a quick update to show you that this Button project is open to other ideas too! Here are a couple of my other projects; one is on stretched burlap canvas, the other on stretched white canvas.

Stay crafty my friends!

Mini Heart Basket

7 Feb

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I love Valentine’s Day! In fact, the heart is my favorite shape! I see hearts everywhere!…in the clouds, in the snow, in a dribble of spilled milk on the counter, and even in a coiled up hairband on my bathroom counter. Heart shapes vary, just like our moods. They can have straight lines meet with curves or they can be built with nothing but curves…or hard,¬†straight lines. Some have points while others do not. They don’t¬†have to be symmetrical, they can be tall and skinny, uneven, short and wide, doubled up with another heart, and so on. Oh the symbolism of a flexible heart!!

While browsing through twitter, I came across a¬†quick and easy pattern for a little heart basket and immediately had to make these soft little treat holders! You can find the pattern¬†here at PetalsToPicots.com¬†for these adorable Hugs & Kisses Heart Baskets. I was able to create a bunch of them in no time! These easy to make, little baskets have an XO pattern on the side and can be filled with sweet treats for your special Valentine! They are inexpensive but personal. Here’s a couple I have made! Filled with Hershey Kisses, it gives you an idea of their small, but practical Valentine size. I used soft yarn so the baskets’ heart shape changes as they are filled with candy and well…that’s okay with me! I love that no two baskets are exactly alike. I fill them then cup my hands around them to mold their shapes to be skinnier, fatter, or a bit uneven. Besides, who wants a stiff and unyielding¬†heart anyway!? ūüôā

Tell me about the fun projects¬†you have made for all of the Valentine’s in your life?

Braided Blizzard Crowl

26 Jan

I am happy to report that not only did I survive the Blizzard of 2016 here in the DC/Metro area of Maryland, but I have also completed some fun projects while at home with nowhere to go!

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One of my favorite projects was this Double Layered Braided Crowl! I found the free pattern here at the My Hobby Is Crochet blog after seeing a Tweet from @petalstopicots!

Thanks to this fun project, I even learned how to do some new stitches like the HDC in 3rd Loop, Front and Back Bar, simply by watching this video tutorial! So, while this crowl scarf was my first crochet project in at least 15 years, it was pretty much like riding a bike! My hands and fingers seemed to fall into place with the yarn and hook like I had never stopped crocheting, and the scarf was completed in what felt like no time at all. This project absolutely inspired me to pick up an old passion and play with yarn again!

What project have you picked up recently that rekindled your love for the craft?

Hiding Bunny Purse

22 Jan

IMG_3341Easter is just around the corner and if you are looking for that fun project for a little girl in your life, try this adorable Bunny Bag! The pattern is free here at AllFreeSewing.com! The purse is lined and so pretty!

I completed this purse in two days and I LOVE the way it turned out. The directions were specific and easy to follow, so even a novice like me had fun making it! My niece loved it too! She even collected Easter Eggs in it! The first thing she did when she saw the purse was look for that bunny hiding in the pocket!! Maybe as a variation, you could make a stuffed felt bunny for the pocket that’s removable?!

As you can see from the pic, the purse is pretty, patterned, colorful, playful and although small, fits a little girl perfectly. If you are planning to make it for an older child, you may want to amend the pattern a bit to increase the size.

ashlynnBUNNYbag

If you decide to make this adorable Bunny Bag for your Little Love, I’d enjoy seeing pictures of your creation! What ideas do you have to add a variation and your personal touch to this project?

 

 

Reversible Kitchen Aid Mixer Cover

19 Jan

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A while back ago, I morphed together some ideas from various blogs and made a Mixer Cover for my Kitchen Aid using double faced quilted fabric and bias tape. I figured that since it was going to be living on my counter, I should decorate it with a pretty cover and keep the dust off of it between uses!

I’m a huge fan of the double face quilted fabric, and here’s why…The pattern choices are plentiful, the coordinating colors are beautiful, and the quilting adds character and saves a lot of time – so fun projects like this can be whipped up quickly! Another perk…it’s reversible!

My mother-in-law loved this one so much, I gave it to her! Time to create another one for my kitchen! My toaster might just need a cover too! ūüôā

What have YOU made with double faced quilted fabric? I’d love to see the projects you’re Sew Giddy about!

Cozy Casserole Carrier

16 Jan

One of my first sewing projects was quite an ambitious one, to say the least. I had decided the best way to get to know my sewing machine and learn to sew straighter lines was to make Christmas presents for my family and friends. Here’s what I made…

A Cozy Casserole Carrier!

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Yes, I could certainly point out all of the flaws in every cozy carrier, but overall I was happy with the results. The first one I made, I decided I would quilt myself. Yes, I was VERY ambitious!

Let me tell you…all that sandwiching of fabric and insulated batting, then sewing the lines to quilt it together was A LOT of work for a newbie like me! Whew!!

So, after I completed the first carrier, I decided I was going to use¬†my coupons and get Double Face Quilt Fabric!¬†Yes, the double faced quilted fabric is a little more expensive, but it’s already quilted! Also, each side has a different pattern with¬†coordinating colors! Perfect for this project in my opinion, because I wanted¬†the inside pattern to be different from the outside pattern.

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Here’s how they¬†turned out! Below, the Cozy Casserole Carrier on¬†left was¬†my first ever casserole cozy. Yep! The one I quilted myself with¬†insulated (Insul-Bright) batting between the coordinating fabrics.¬†The one on the right however, was made with the double face quilt fabric. The pre-quilted fabric saved a ton of time and overall, even cost a little less (after couponing of course!).

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I used a huge serving bowl to trace the circles for the top and bottom. The bottom circle can be slightly bigger, but I made mine the same size. Then, I used a cereal bowl as a pattern for the top hole. I sewed bias tape around the inside hole, leaving room for a string so the top could be cinched closed and pulled open. For the handles, I did add interfacing for a little more strength and reinforcement.

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Since I had them handy, I used round shoe laces as the cinch-strings for the top hole and finished the string ends with colorful beads! I made 11 Cozy Casserole Carriers in all!!

Here are few of them!

These colorful carriers have held warm casseroles, tins of cookies, plates of brownies, and cold salads! They have even carried pies and cupcakes! Although these pretty little things are round, they can easily hold square, rectangle, oval, and circular dishes and they are strong, durable, and WASHABLE! I can certainly say I was Sew Giddy about these gifts that year!

What was your first big sewing project? I’d “sew” love to hear about it!

 

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