Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pin It! . . . and a backpack

Thanks for the nice comments on my appliqued cardi.  I wish I could respond to you all by email.  About half of my comment notifications have your email for reply, but most don't.  Boo.

Anyway, I made a backpack!  Realizing that Ellie is growing like a weed, I wanted to get started on this project before she was too old for a toddler backpack.  Surprisingly, this was a really quick (probably about 3-4 hours) project to throw together.
Pattern: Toddler Backpack, from Made By Rae
Materials: Alexander Henry Kleo fabric, from my stash; I selected a burgundy zipper and piping, but had trouble finding the right colored strap and strap adjuster (thanks, Joann's for continuing to have a crappy, limited selection). Thanks to Strapworks, I found exactly what I needed for only $4, which included shipping. Score!

The only modification I made was to line it.  Having the wrong side of the fabric and seams showing inside seemed unfinished to me.  The lining fabric is leftover from my Birdie Sling and was relatively easy to do.  Ellie has never let me put hats or headbands on her, but seemed to like her new backpack. Now she can carry her "essentials" to my mom's house on my work days.
Can we go outside??
Have you heard of Pinterest? I read about it a month or so ago and IMMEDIATELY requested an invite.

Basically, Pinterest allows you to create an organized place for images you see on the interwebs, with links included. Before Pinterest, when I saw a great tutorial or a fun idea or inspiration project, I would drag the link to my bookmarks folder called "Crafty Stuff". This was a pretty bad way of keeping ideas organized because what I saw was the link's name, not the photo of what I thought was cool, so I would forget about things I saw a while ago . Pinterest has allowed me to delete my bookmarks and now keeps things organized in one place. You can find my boards here.  The only rub is that you need to have a Facebook or Twitter account to join, but I suspect as it grows, it will open up to anyone, much like how Ravelry was in the beginning.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Felted Dahlia Appliqued Cardigan

My latest cardigan-makeover was a fun take on the tutorial posted here by Megan Reardon of Not Martha.  It's called a "Mother's Day Corsage", so it's seasonally appropriate.

I went to Joann's and picked up a bunch of felt rectangles (sold in 8" x 11" sizes for about $0.30 each. Often they are on sale for 4/$1). I then cut them up into little squares per the tutorial. The only change I made was to not do the largest sized square. I did about 14 of the 1.25" size and 20 or so of the 1" squares.  Then put the 14 larger petals around the circle and filled in two overlapping rows of the smaller petals.
I like the combination of bright, jewel tones with the muted camels and browns. I also like that there are 8 that don't match perfectly but complement each other, and I can take off some or use 1 or 2 on another sweater or jacket.

There's no "before" photo of the cardigan. It's just a simple cotton cardi I picked up at Ann Taylor Loft many, many years ago.

A close up.

Though this project does require a hot glue gun, I think anyone, crafty or not, should own one.  I used it last week to repair a pair of shoes and one of Ellie's wood toy hammers that broke in half.  They are SO handy.

All in all, this project cost me about $3 for 8 pins: felt, hot glue refills, pin findings (sold for about $1 for a 10 pack) and an empty cereal box (free). 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Flower Power

I'm just dying for spring these days.  To try and help welcome spring with open arms, I recently starting making flower necklaces.  I mostly used the tutorial posted here by Little Miss Momma
These necklaces are super easy and super CHEAP. I used about 3" cuttings of the inexpensive ($3.99/yard) cotton at Joann's and some of the 72" by the yard felt for the backing. The chain and clasps were also in my jewelry making stash, but you could pick up a bag of chain and clasps for just a few bucks.  The ribbon are just spools of grey and cream double-sided satin for $2.99/spool, which were purchased with 40% coupons.  I did fold under the ends of the ribbons and sewed the edges in a box shape to keep it from fraying.  I have lots of ribbon leftover and plan to use them to do more embellishing of cardigans.
Here are what they look like on. Super fun and definitely statement pieces, especially the cream one with those 7 flowers.  For probably less than $5 per necklace, you can't complain.  This tutorial could be used to make any kind of necklace, really, with any kind of flower, or cluster of buttons, or pins or whatever you like.  You could even use scraps of old t-shirts or printed fabrics instead of buying pieces like I did.  Now, bring on the warmer weather!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Felted Lei Cardigan Knock-Off

Last year I saw this cardigan by Field Flower at Anthropologie and completely fell in love.  Then I looked at the price tag: $118.  I do have a small pile of beautiful sweaters from Anthro that I've purchased (all on sale!) over the years, but this sweater looked like one I could try to create myself.
What's a girl to do?  Well, I managed to make my knock-off, though it did take some shopping and perseverence.
As luck would have it, I headed over to Ann Taylor Loft and found this lonely sweater on the sale rack for $19.99.  It was a medium petite, which is not my normal size, but I had to make it work.  It had most of the details of the Field Flower cardigan: long sleeve, slightly cropped, concealed buttons and a ribbon running along the inside of the button band.

First thing to replicate was the color.  I bought a box of Rit Dye in Teal and got to work.  I followed the directions exactly and only used a teeeeeeeny bit of dye, maybe a teaspoon.  I still had most of the dye still in the box.  The sweater turned a lovely shade of pale, minty green.  Now, I was in business.

Next I had to find some cream color felt to cut out flowers.  I headed over to Goodwill and picked up a men's wool sweater from Abercrombie and took it home and felted the crap out of it.  I used a template I found online to cut out what I counted on the original sweater as 14 flowers.
Last item was to replicate the green trim that runs up and down the sweater.  This was the hardest part.  Joann's had nothing that worked.  I went to a great local fabric store and found a roll of chiffon in a not-too-dark green and bought a yard (which ended up being WAY too much).  I cut strips of the fabric, folded them in half length wise and sewed up the side.  Then I turned it right side out, turned in the bottoms to make a long, finished piece.  Then I attached it to the sweater while pleating and bunching along the way.  Using the Field Flower sweater photo as a guideline, I sewed two strips on the sweater.  Then I attached the felt flowers I had cut with some different colored buttons and a bright yellow thread.  The original flowers were attached with some embroidery thread and other small pieces of fabric, but the buttons seemed to work well for me.

I wore it last Mother's day for the first time and love it.  It's a totally fun addition to my wardrobe!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The demise of the knit blog?

When Ravelry was brilliantly created back in 2006 (I think that was the year), many knitters probably began to wonder what additional value their knit blogs would contribute that couldn't be encompassed on their Ravelry project pages.  I know I did.  I've noticed over the years that many bloggers I used to follow no longer publish and the ones that still do publish are doing so less frequently.  It's not that we aren't interested in seeing everyone's WIPs and reading about their stash additions.  It's that we can get it instantaneously on Ravelry.  I love that.  But, at the same time, it is sad to see this era of knitting start to dissolve.  It is the blog, after all, that partly inspired Jess and Casey to create Ravelry.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that.  It's something I've been thinking about and noticing: that the "successful" bloggers out there are the ones who have sponsors and ads and have enough interesting content that they are able to post multiple times per week.  I know I don't have that much stuff to show you to keep you coming back.  BUT!  I have been doing lots of crafty stuff over the past few months and I plan to make this knit blog thing evolve into more of a craft journal for me.  I have a monthly craft night with 2 of my best friends and they have encouraged me to document all the stuff I am doing.  So, this is where I will do that.  I've been embellishing sweaters, making flower necklaces and sewing some things.  Fun stuff.  Hip stuff (I think).

I have also been knitting, a little.  I have to admit I've realized that I only need so many sweaters and that so many of the ones I have knit I don't really wear.  Here's a summary of my knitting progress since the fall.  It's not much, but it is something!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

FO: Allure

Holy moly, knitters, I finished this lovely knit back in APRIL and am now just getting around to taking photos.  Oops.  Well, Allure sat in my dresser all summer and now that it's finally cool enough to wear it, I thought it time to blog it.
Pattern:  Allure, by Kim Hargreaves [Ravelry Link]
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze, color Bebe (#586), 4.25 skeins 
I love this sweater.  Ever since I learned how to knit, I wanted to make a soft, lofty, pretty, lacey, mohair-y sweater.  I tried working with Kidsilk Haze back in 2006 but failed miserably.  I wasn't until I learned how to "read" my knitting that I was able to tackle this project (and churning out some other lace projects helped, too).
Playing ring-around-the-rosie
I didn't make any modifications to the sweater, except that I knit a size in between the given XS/S and S/M.  This was easy to do, just followed stitch counts in between the two sizes and shaping instructions for the smaller size.  I did have to work the cowl neck end twice - casting off VERY loosely should be emphasized more as my head didn't fit through the first time.

Meanwhile, more babies are appearing.  Good friends recently welcomed little Sophia Rose, so I got down to business.
Pattern:  Little coffee bean cardigan, made with longer sleeves.  [Ravelry Link]
Yarn: About 1 skein each of stash yarn(!): Rowan handknit cotton for the 2 pinks and Berroco Touche for the purple.  Perfectly matching buttons found at Joann's.
 Hooray for fall knits!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fall Sweater Fest

It's been chilly here in the mid-Atlantic recently which means cozy weekend mornings with my fall knitting and pumpkin spice coffee creamer added to my morning cup.  Love it. 

No baby knits here today, folks.  I've been downright selfish with my knitting choices as of late.  I've cast on for three new sweaters and purchased the pattern and yarn for a fourth.  Wanna see?

This is the Venezia sweater, knit in two colors, which has been done often by other Ravelers.  I'm using Valley Yarns Huntington in grey and cream.  I had a hard time finding the right yarn for this project.  I wanted something that would be soft next to my skin and I think the Huntington is going to provide that.  It's a splitty yarn but I am using Knitpicks' yarn thimble (that little purple thingie in the picture) which helps with that and also evened out my tension tremendously.
Next up is the Delancey Cardigan.  I'm being totally unoriginal here and knitting it in colors similar to the model.  I'm using another Valley Yarns: Northfield.  It's a blend of merino, alpaca and silk.  It works up very nicely and I hope the silk helps with the drape of this unusually constructed garment.  It's been a lot of fun to knit and I can't wait to see how the rest of the shaping works.
The third project to show you is the February Fitted Pullover.  I ended up casting on for this on a whim since I had stash yarn that worked perfectly.  I'm using Rowan Cashsoft DK.  I ended up making some modifications and I'm not sure that they have worked, and the sweater GREW a lot in blocking so I am a little unmotivated to finish this one, but we'll see.

So that's where I'm at.  We also squeezed in one last week of summer at Virginia Beach where the weather was great and the beach was not crowded.
Hooray for the beach!!