Thursday, December 6, 2012

More Knitted Critters (and a New Project Bag)

Exciting news flash--you can now follow my knitting projects on Ravelry! Over there-----> on the top of my side bar, you'll find a brand new "R" button, which will link you directly to my project page on Ravelry. That's where you can find all the details of my knitting projects, from the patterns to the yarn colors. I am still building my stash and project page, so it will get more interesting, I promise!

In the meantime, I've discovered (through Ravelry) the Knitted Toy Box blog, and have made several of her amigurumi knitted critters.

I love these little guys. They're really fun and quick to knit up, I can usually do one in an evening. I've been making these for the early childhood teachers at my children's school. Each classroom has a name, so I'm making little "mascots" for each teacher and classroom.

Here's what I have so far;

A tiny Turtle

Two sweet Butterflies

Aren't they cute!?  

And then, of course I needed to make a new project bag for all of my small yarn and critter parts that kept getting lost in my big knitting bag.

I thought the little toadstool fabric was appropriate for a bag that will hold little critters. It's a basic small tote bag, with one front pocket and one inner pocket. I had less than a yard of this fabric and I used every bit of it.

And then I filled it up with a bunch of knitting goodness! I love the Lion Brand Bonbons for knitting amigurumi, they're the perfect size and weight, and my small DPN's fit nicely in the front pocket. There may be a new version of the Knitting Needle Roll Up for this bag's future. But for now, this all works just great.

So, hop on over and take a peek at my projects on Ravlery. I'll be knitting up more critters and posting them soon!  

Happy Knitting!

Linked Up HERE

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Braided Rug (I finally finished it!)

Ahhh, scraps! In some ways it's so nice to have so many, after all, it means a lot of completed sewing projects. (Or at least, projects that have been cut out and are ready to be sewn) But on the other hand, once my box starts to overflow, all I can think is, "what the heck am I supposed to do with all these scraps??"

I've found lots of uses for my cotton scraps. I've given a bunch to my teacher friends for art classes, I've stuffed (or re-stuffed) various toys and door-stops with them, made them into whole other projects, (see my Scrap Map project), and this fall, I even have 2 quilts in the works.

But this summer, I've been making skirts for myself and have been using knit fabric almost exclusively, and the scraps I've been left with are long, skinny strips. And then a good friend of mine, who has also been sewing with knits, her obsession is knit ruffle scarves, gave me a bag FULL of long, skinny strips of knit scraps. So, then I had a ton of knit scraps and no ideas.


I found her on Pinterest. I can't even remember what I was searching for, but there it was, the perfect use for all the knit scraps, a braided rug! Cathy from Sewing For Life, wrote several tutorials, has lots of tips on braided rugs from t-shirts, and an awesome Braid-A-Long which I followed to make my own rug.

I pulled out all of my long knit scraps. Wow! Turned out to be even more than I realized.

Cut them into strips and wound them up into balls.

Then started braiding. The braiding was easy once I got going, it took me a few hours one evening to get a nice long braid from my fabrics.

I didn't really measure anything, I just laid it out on the floor as I went to gauge how big the rug would be, and as you can see from this photo, my original intention was to make a rectangular rug.

But once I started sewing the braids together, the rug sort of naturally coiled into a circle, so I decided not to fight it. Because I was having another issue.

I could not, to save my life, sew this on my machine. I tried, but once it was all done, instead of a nice flat rug, what I had was a giant braided bowl. So, I ripped the whole thing apart and started over. I tried dropping the feed dogs, using a darning foot, a different machine, no luck.

There are really only 2 choices in a moment like this, either throw in the towel or sew it by hand.

So, I sewed this sucker by hand over the course of 2 months. It wouldn't have taken that long if I had just sat down and spent a few nights doing it, but that's just not what happened. I finally finished it the other night at a craft night at a friend's house.

I'm SO glad it's done!! It's nice and soft because of the jersey, it fits in the kid's bathroom, it's colorful and fun, and most importantly it's DONE!!

I am a little nervous about washing it, but for now I'll just feel triumphant and satisfied for a job well done!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Costume Round Up

Phew! October is nearly over, and I made it through another season of Halloween costumes! Actually, I think the combination of early deadlines, planning, and a little bit of crazy went a long way to making this October so much smoother than last year.

To all my friends who asked me to leave my house in the first 2 weeks and got as a response, "I can''s October..." thanks for your understanding, I am now able to come out and play again!

To my husband and children, thanks for the support, love, encouragement and help you've given me this month. Oh, and double thanks to the kids for being my super-cute models.

And now, the Halloween Costume Round-Up (in no particular order)

Little Zebra

Nice face, right??

Gus and Jaq--Cinderella's Mice

Red and Green Yoshis (Mario Bros.)

And last, but certainly not least....



I am so glad that I got to make these costumes for all these great kiddos. I hope all of them enjoy being superheros and princesses and sharks and all the other wonderful characters they imagine and that everyone's Halloween is fun, safe and more treats than tricks.

Linked Up HERE

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shark Girl Costume

I have been making this little girl's Halloween costumes for the last 3 years, and let me tell you, she is an outside the box thinker if I've ever met one! So far she's been an alligator and she and her baby brother were the boy and girl bumblebees (with stingers, if you please!) last Halloween.

This year Emma decided she wanted to be a shark. But not a plain, old shark "suit"; a girl shark with "teeth and a dress." As a side note, don't ever let anyone tell you that small children are indecisive, they know exactly what they want, especially when it comes to their Halloween costumes. So, a girl shark dress and hood with teeth it shall be!

During the month of October, I play the role of the Costume Fairy.

My idea was to use make a simple pillowcase dress using grey satin, with a white satin stomach and jagged teeth along the hemline. The dress came together really quickly, the most time consuming part was sewing all the triangular "teeth".

I used a bright pink ribbon through the neckline of the dress, so that everyone would clearly see she's a girl shark.

For the shark's head, I used a basic hood pattern, added a fin on the top, eyes on either side of the head, and teeth around the front opening.

Once I had fit it to Emma's head, I added snaps to the bottom corners to help keep it in place. It was a little big and satin is very slippery.

And easy as that--Shark Girl Costume!

Cue the theme music to "Jaws."


My all-time favorite line,"I think you're going to need a bigger boat!"

Linked Up HERE

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle Halloween Style

I'm going to interrupt the parade of Halloween costumes to show you another fun project we just finished up last weekend. The whole family did their part on this one, from saving our plastic soda bottles, to hanging the lights, the whole thing was a collaborative effort.

Our new Halloween Lights!

I truly do not remember where I even came up with this idea. I've seen various project that use a strand of lights in milk bottles and other things similar, but we don't really have a ton of options for displays when it comes to the outside of our house and we had an extra string of Christmas lights idea was born.

What I wanted was very straightforward, I would decorate the bottles with a few different kinds of Halloween faces, and my husband would put the lights in and hang them.

I asked my husband to start saving his soda bottles back in the beginning of September (and he never even asked why, what a guy!) So, when I finally had a spare afternoon last weekend, I went to see what we'd collected.

Wow! That's a lot of bottles! After I got them all out of the shed, my husband finally asked, "So, what's your plan here?" Don't you love it when they ask?? I explained my idea to him and put him to work pulling the labels off the bottles, untangling and counting the number of lights so that I could figure out how many different Halloween faces I'd need.

I finally settled on 3 different faces and colors; orange, white and green. Jack-O-Lanterns, Ghosts and Frankenstein faces. Here is how I decorated the bottles.

 First, I decided to use tissue paper rather than paint to color the bottles in the hope that it would be more opaque and let more light through. I put a thin coat of Sculpt-or-Coat on the outside of the bottles (Sculpt-or-Coat is very similar to Mod Podge, which you could substitute if that's what you have on hand.) 

 Next, I gently wrapped the tissue paper around the bottle.

 I used smaller pieces of tissue paper to fill in the bottom part of the bottle and the top.

Then, I put another coat of Sculpt-Or-Coat over the whole thing to seal the tissue paper.

Green and orange finished.  The next step, painting the faces! I used plain acrylic paint and just painted the faces freehand.



And Frankenstein.

All together.

The next morning, my husband and kids took everything outside to hang the lights. The kids were so excited.

They loved the way the bottles looked and couldn't wait to help their dad hang them.

I did nothing during this part but stand back and take pictures.

You really have to love a guy who's willing to go along with some of your wackier ideas, right?

The whole family got to have some fun and make some new holiday decorations.

And we used only recycled materials, or items we already had to make this. So, the cost was FREE!

Now we have a festive, not so spooky Halloween house! They really are cute during the day and at night all lit up.   How are you decorating this year?

Linked Up HERE