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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 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?

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?

Sew Snuggly

6 Jan

image2 The weather is changing as Old Man Winter is settling in and I suppose that’s my motivation for suddenly wanting to make blankets! Besides, they are portable, versatile, and practical…plus, they make great gifts!

While I do love to make (and receive) comfy, homemade, no-sew fleece blankets – I really wanted to actually SEW a blanket…a big, soft, SNUGGLY one with no bumpy knots in it!

I am a fan of Silky Furry Fleece so decided to combine my fleece favorites into a single deliciously cozy blanket and loved it so much…I made more and gifted them! The Silky Furry Fleece is a little pricey if bought at regular price, so watch for those coupons from your favorite fabric store!

image4If you decide to try making one of these beauties, BEWARE- the Silky Furry Fleece is MESSY when cut and depending on your machine, it can sometimes get tangled…BUT, if you take your time, it’s really pretty easy to work with and the messy furry fleece fibers are a quick cleanup with a vacuum! (Although your clothes may need a good lint roller!)

This blanket was simple and turned out lovely…I encourage you to try it!

Here’s how ya do it: Determine the size blanket you want to make and buy the appropriate amount of Silky Furry Fleece and coordinating PRINT or SOLID color fleece. Since fleece is generally sold as 60″ wide, you really only need to determine the length. Lay the fabric out with right-sides facing and pin around the edges, IMG_7926cutting any uneven edges so the fabric edges line up nicely. Sew together (I¬† used a 1/2″ seam allowance)¬† and leave a small area not sewn for room to turn the blanket right side out.

I clipped the excess fabric from the corners at an angle for cleaner angled corners when turned, and then turn it right-side out and sew together the last section . I tacked a few inconspicuous spots by hand here and there around the blanket to keep it from turning and shifting while washing, but that was it! DONE!

If you make one, I’d love to see a picture of your finished product!

Creativity Rules!

11 Dec

My son and his girlfriend have an¬†agreement that¬†gift giving means including a personal, handmade gift. I absolutely LOVE¬†this idea! In my humble opinion, there is no better way to say, “you are worthy of my time” then by spending your precious¬†time making a gift¬†for that person!

Recently¬†my son¬†asked me to teach him how to use the sewing machine to sew a simple but comfy blanket. Last year he made a photo album with personal, hand written notes of shared memories! My son’s¬†girlfriend is a master brownie baker, and¬†also has made him a no-sew blanket and even painted a pretty¬†sunset on canvass for him! The idea here is that more of us should do¬†something creative when giving a gift,¬†for¬†that personal touch! It’s not about whether you think you have talent, it’s about finding creativity within yourself, and sharing it with others!

I know, most of us do¬†not have a whole heck of a lot of free time these days but that makes a handmade gift all the more special!¬†I have found that when I make time to read blogs about sewing, cooking or even cute and simple crafts, I am¬†motivated and inspired to create something and then….give it away! I sometimes¬†make multiples and keep one for myself too!

Look, I certainly would not classify myself as the¬†naturally creative type, (nope, that would be my sister actually!) but I am the curious type and I enjoy the challenge of learning new techniques and creating new things with my own two hands. I love¬†reading about other people’s creative concoctions and I always insert my spin on an¬†idea, whether I actually make something from it or not! I mean, what better way to kick-start a creative idea then by blending a bit¬†of other people’s¬†creativity¬†with your own – and then trying to physically build the idea into a thing!…like a blanket, a craft of some sort, or even a new dinner recipe!

Whatever you do, don’t let the project intimidate you! After all, YOU picked the project so you’re the boss! You call the shots and you get to decide if want to follow the instructions or if you want to meander off into unknown territory and try something new! You don’t even have to gift your creations if you don’t want to. ūüôā Keep it and display it, and be proud of your efforts!

Bottom line; there are techniques for sewing, photography, and cooking but there are NO RULES!

BE CREATIVE and release your inner talent! You just might be pleasantly surprised¬†at what you are capable of making and better yet, you may make someone’s day brighter by sharing your creation!

Here’s to being Sew Giddy about sharing our creativity with the ones we¬†love!!

 

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