Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Sweater

Sorry for the long absence. I've been busy working on Christmas presents. At first the plan was making knitting bags for my mom and sister since they just got into knitting this year, making another bag, but for quilting (same pattern, but labeled for a different use,) a sweater for my dad, two pairs of socks and a sweater for my husband. It's at this point in time that I should point out that I've been sewing for several years but have only started knitting this year. My list of finished projects included a scarf and a pair of socks that I finished after starting the sweater for my husband. (I do have a sweater for myself that's knit, but hasn't been assembled.)

My quilters party was on December 6th and it was strongly encouraged to bring a handmade gift. Turns out most of the handmade gifts were table runners, but I'm also new to quilting this year so I stuck with sewing rather than quilting. (Pretty sure I could handle the piecing, but I don't have a quilting foot for my machine yet and wasn't going to try real quilting for the first time on a gift.) I tried taking pictures for a tutorial, but they all turned out really blurry so after Christmas I'm going to make another one of these bags and will make another attempt at a tutorial.
Unfortunately the bag took 6 hours to make. After completing one I decided that my mom and sister would probably like DVDs just as much as knitting bags since they haven't really become hardcore knitters yet.

Because I'm such a brilliant and fast knitter (ha ha) I figured I could work on my dad's sweater during my breaks at work. The only catch to this plan is that my work place has been under construction for the past year. Once I move into my new room I'll get breaks again, but right now I'm watching over the residents during break so have no knitting time. It sounded like we'd be in the room before Thanksgiving, but we still aren't in there yet which means no knitting time at work. Hey, dad would like dvd's too, right?

I realized the sweater wasn't going to happen, but they said we'd be getting breaks by December 8 so the socks could still be possible. (Note the massive amount of optimism here.) Thankfully my husband isn't overly picky about dates and won't be upset with receiving Christmas socks in June. This left me with only the sweater left. The pic below is an early one of the sweater, but gives you an idea of the color and design.

I was doing great on the sweater. I have the back and one sleeve done. The front had been coming along really nicely and this weekend I made a big push to finish it up. Right before I started binding it off I measured one last time (yep, 27 inches long) and checked to make sure that I followed the pattern correctly. The fact that I didn't check the pattern until the end should have been my first warning sign that things would go horribly wrong. I followed the first part of the front "work same as back" but forgot those key words "until piece measures 20 inches." Yep, I made two backs for my sweater. Since my husband is insisting that it doesn't need to be done by Christmas, but it does need to have a hole for his neck I may have just doomed my last handmade Christmas present. There's still 12 days until Christmas so maybe I can pull it off.

*While I was deleting all of these projects from my list I did add one more for my husband that is sewing based. I've even managed to keep that one a secret so I'm not going to write about it until after Christmas though.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Magic of a Heel

Last year for Christmas my mother-in-law gave me a set of knitting needles. I quickly became hooked. My first sweater is nearly done (all I have left is to sew the seams together and figure out what language they used to write the collar in.) I'm also busy working on a sweater for my husband for Christmas. Unfortunately right now I don't have a full tutorial to share with you. I have a lot of projects that are half-done, but nothing really ready to share. I want to keep my posting fairly regular so I've decided to share one of my half-done projects.

It's hard to tell, but that is the foot and heel of a sock. I've done one and a half socks before.(Did you know that sock yarn is not always sold with enough yarn for two socks? Apparently there are a lot of one legged knitters out there and the sock companies are considerate enough not to stick them with extra yarn. More yarn should be arriving soon for that pair so pics will be coming.) I just recently completed the first heel. Heels are very magical to me. It seems that you mutter a magic spell containing strange words like slip and knit and with a little hand waving you get this:

If you are interested I'm knitting these socks two at a time using Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks. I love the patterns, but am not in love with circular needles. Hopefully soon I'll be getting some DPNs and will be knitting her socks one at a time without all the extra stuff getting in the way. 

I'm working on lots of handmade Christmas presents right now so keep your eyes peeled, I'll be sharing them as they get done.

Monday, October 31, 2011


I am a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkein. (Okay, so I'm a huge fan of Lord of the Rings. I tried reading a couple of his other books but struggled too much to keep all of the elven names straight. My husband however does qualify as a HUGE fan of Tolkein.) When I saw fandom in stitches was planning on doing a There and Back Again Block of the Month I was excited. I mentioned it to my husband and he immediately agreed that I needed to do it. I've been sewing for years, but am very new to quilting. I've never tried paper piecing before, but read a lot of tutorials and figured it shouldn't be too hard. For my first attempt at paper piecing I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

I tried something a bit unusual with the fabric. I really wanted him to have a dark grey coat, a medium grey hat, and a light grey beard. Rather than buying three pieces of fabric when I only needed a little bit I found a dark grey piece of fabric and used bleach to lighten it.  When I got my fabric home I decided it looked more black than grey so I put a large piece in for the cloak for five minutes, a small piece for the hat in for ten, and a small piece for the beard for fifteen minutes. The beard didn't turn out and I used a piece of white for it, but I like the effect the bleaching had on the cloak and hat. 

I apologize for the lack of pictures in this post. Since it was my first time doing paper piecing and bleaching of fabric I was more concerned with doing it right than documenting what I was doing. November 2 month 2's block is released. I'll try to take more pictures of the process as I work on that one. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ring Box

Over the past couple of years I've developed a love of rings. I was throwing them in the same box as my earrings, but I was worried they'd get scratched so I decided to make a ring box for them. (Yes, I know you can buy these from the store, but where's the fun in that?)

To start I found an old box, this one happens to be the one that my ipod came in. (Sorry I don't have a picture of this empty.) I had some thick foam in my sewing area that I cut into one inch strips for my spacers. (You could easily use styrofoam or anything else laying around your house.) I placed all of my spacers in my box to make sure they fit.

I took some scrap fabric and covered the foam. This probably would have been easier if I'd glued it in place but since I didn't have any glue on hand I used pins to hold everything together.

Since my box was clear I covered the bottom with a piece of fabric. If I'd had mod podge on hand I would have used that, but since I didn't I just set it in there. (If you haven't figured it out my craft space is lacking some of the basics. I do a lot more sewing and other fiber crafts that don't require glue.)

To finish I placed the wrapped pieces in a box and added the rings. I didn't need a large box, but this would be easy to do in a larger box to display rings at a craft fair or farmer's market and would look a lot prettier than the plain styrofoam or black velvet trays I usually see.

I'm sure someone else has done something similar to this before, but I didn't look at any other projects when I made this so I can't link to my inspiration.

I'm linking up with these parties:


DIY under $5

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A New Blog is Created

I've quietly been stalking various crafting blogs for months now. While I enjoy reading about crafts, I like making them even more. As I read what other crafters are doing I realize that I can do that too. I've even started taking pictures as I've been creating things with the intention of writing future tutorials. The time has come for me to take the plunge and start sharing what I've been making.

You'll see a little bit of everything here. I'm one of the fortunate people who's mother is a genius with a sewing machine and passed some of her knowledge on to me when I was young. She still gets random calls when I get stuck. In college I would amaze (or maybe annoy) my friends when I'd sit near a small lamp and cross-stitch during movie nights. I even inspired others to bring their crafts out of the closets on movie nights and got to learn crochet. Most recently I've begun quilting, knitting, and have leads on learning to spin. I'm sure as I go I'll find my voice and will focus on a single craft more. Of course it's also possible that my voice is not a single voice, but a dozen chipmunks each going their own way doing their own crafty thing.