Our new apartment is somewhat… limited… in terms of cabinets and counter space. Half of our kitchen is taken up by appliances, and our “pantry” had been this cluttered table in the corner where a dining room table would have gone, if the owner hadn’t added a washer and dryer to the kitchen, leaving no room for a table if chairs were also involved. (we are very thankful for the washer and dryer, however)
So for Ryder’s birthday my parents bought us some wood, and my dad helped us plan out some long shelves under this window, to replace the table which was pretty much always messy.
The shelves are 6′ long with simple 2x4s for the vertical supports.
With these new shelves, we finally have a place to put all our snack food, a nice home for the microwave, and even a handy corner for the dust-buster. Hooray!
Recently, I was browsing a bookstore near our house and saw a very cute knitting book, Super Scary Mochimochi. I promptly bought it, my very first knitting book.
Ryder suggested this as my first project: a Killer Bee. I have to say… it’s pretty adorably ferocious, with its tiny little sword and drooping antenna.
This was also a good learning project: I learned how to knit stripes, and that stripes knitted in the round are, by default, ugly:
And then I discovered jogless stripes, which convinced me to take apart the bee and do it over, this time joglessly. Now you can’t even see where I changed colors!
Next up from the book: the Hurly-Burly.
Working a bit on a light, lacy scarf-that-won’t-be-a-scarf-because-I-don’t-have-enough-yarn
Having fun with double pointed needles
Reviving an old pastime thanks to a bookstore find
What are you working on?
After my successful first foray into knitting, I wanted to learn how to knit in the round so I could make cute tiny things. My knitting friend suggested the hurricane hat as a good starting place for learning, so I purchased circular needles and double pointed needles, plus some new yarn. Well, the start of our knit-a-long got delayed by too-much-work-to-do (imagine that), but I wanted to try out knitting in the round anyway.
I wanted something that would be relatively quick, and not too complicated. I found this adorable bunny pattern that seemed to fit the bill.
It was designed to hold a cadbury creme egg, but alas, there are none of those to be found in my house right now, so I stuffed it with polyfil and sewed the bottom shut instead.
This was a really great project to learn on. It was small enough that it knit up in an evening, and I wasn’t too invested in it if I messed up. It also gave me the chance to practice increases and decreases, plus, of course, knitting in the round.
And to top it all off, it’s totally adorable. I think I was literally squealing with excitement when I finished it and saw just how cute it was.
And of course, I couldn’t stop at just one.
See all the details on my ravelry project page, and maybe knit one for Easter! (another adorable Easter project would be this reversible duck-to-bunny – how awesome is that?!)
Last fall, I learned how to crochet, but the extent of my knitting abilities was the time in college I tried to learn how to knit from a youtube video… and got really bored with garter stitch. At the time, I thought that’s all there was to knitting, and wasn’t really interested in learning more. However, I was recently in Atlanta for work and my friend who taught me how to crochet determined that I need to learn how to knit next. (Logically, I agreed: this will open up a whole new world of tiny adorable things to be created, including tiny gnomes).
After learning the basics of knitting, it was time for me to head back home. Conveniently, a five-hour plane ride is ideal for knitting – no on/off switch, so you can knit straight through take off and landing. My friend suggested my first project be wrist warmers, which is perfect since I wear wrist warmers a lot in the mornings while it’s chilly inside and I’m working at the computer.
I made up the pattern based on what I had learned: about 8 rows of rib stitch, then a pattern of knit 3, purl 1 (shifting the start by one each row) to create the diagonal lines, followed by 8 more rows of rib knit.
I knit these flat (so when I was finished knitting, they were rectangles), then I crocheted the sides together and around the thumb hole.
These… could have been better. If I were to make them again, I’d make them an inch or two longer to warm more of my arm. I also bound off too tightly on the first one, so it’s a bit of a challenge to get on of them on over my hand. But, that’s why you practice, right? (stegosaurus here)
I started this project back in January when we were moving cross-country, and finally finished all the pieces and sewed this little guy together!
I am really pleased with how he turned out. I’m still debating on whether or not I should add eyes… for now he’s a blind stegosaurus.
That doesn’t prevent him from climbing all over the house, though.
This yarn is hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn by my friend and crafting buddy. =) The pattern is from Planet June. This was my first attempt at following a crochet pattern for something more complicated than a scarf, and although it took a while to make all the pieces, I really like how it came together. I already have my eye on some other patterns from Planet June for equally cute little animals. Since I now live in California, the idea of crocheting cozy hats and scarves has lost its appeal, and instead I see a lot of amigurumi in my future…
My dear sister lives in the tundra (as Ryder fondly calls Michigan), so I figured she would appreciate a cozy lap quilt for her birthday.
This quilt is made out of upcycled t-shirts, so it’s super soft and cuddly for the cold Michigan winter.
The C is reverse-appliqued to the purple front. I echo quilted once around the inside of the C, and the rest is simple diagonal quilting lines. The finished quilt measures about 44″x44″, I think.
The back is more patchwork t-shirts, these in gray. In total, I used 8 shirts for this (3 purple, 1 gray for the C, 3 more gray for the back, and one black to make the binding).
Folded up & ready to go to its new home!
Months ago, I started braiding a rug with strips torn from old sheets. I liked how it looked, but it was taking fooooorever. I would braid a foot or so of strips together, then hand-stitch them to the rest of the rug, and repeat over and over. I hadn’t worked on it in a few months, mostly in the busyness of Christmas and then moving, and also because it was so slow-going.
That was before I learned how to crochet, however. We just moved into a new place that has all hardwood floors, so we’re in need of some rugs. I realized that crocheting a rug would probably be much faster and more enjoyable than the braiding process, so last weekend I purchased the biggest crochet hook I could find, unpicked all the braids, and started over. In one evening, I had undone hours and hours of work, and crocheted all the strips back into a rug.
I’ve been adding more colors from my stash of thrifted sheets, and am amazed at just how fast this rug is growing! I’ve got a few more sheets in similar blue/green/white colors, but I think I may have to start scouring the thrift stores near me to find more material – it goes fast.
Interested in making your own? I’m using 2″ wide strips of cotton, torn from old sheets. I sew the ends together at a 45 degree angle (like this), and then use that as “yarn” to crochet with. My crochet hook is a size Q, and I’m crocheting in the round. I started with a chain of about 20 single crochets, and am putting three single crochets into each corner stitch of each round to create the rectangular shape. You can see that it was ending up a bit parallelogram-esque at the beginning (the white/green rounds), but by shifting which stitch you put the 3 single crochets in, you can move the bulk to one side or the other.
Hopefully this attempt at the rug won’t take 6 months to get past this point!
My craft buddy from work convinced me to make this ruffled scarf as one of my first crochet projects (I’ve found that scarves take a lot longer to complete than cacti).
This ruffly beauty ended up being quite long, but perfect for neck-wrapping in cold, snowy Michigan, where my sister lives (it’s currently 19 degrees there).
For my mom, I stitched up a new apron in her favorite color. This one is so cheery that I am contemplating making myself one.
Our new place in California has a Jo-Ann’s nearby (the source of this fabric) which is much happier than the Hancock near my old place (it was sad and dingy). And this Jo-Ann’s is big, has a good selection of home-dec fabrics, plus a big craft section! It’s the little things of living in the suburbs that make me happy.
Well, somehow three months have elapsed since my last post! A lot has happened between then and now: my husband graduated, we traveled a bunch for Christmas, we moved to California (!) and we traveled more for a belated Christmas with my family.
Now that all our Christmases are over, I can share a few of this years’ handmade gifts.
This charming, quirky bonsai tree is a pattern of my own invention. I wasn’t sure about the leaves until the very end, but I am now quite enamored of this little guy.
The leaves are loops of green yarn, stitched through the crocheted limbs of the tree. Most of the limbs have pieces of thin copper wire inside them, to give the tree the characteristic bendy-ness of a bonsai tree. I wrapped some additional wire around some branches as well, since this is a young bonsai tree, still in training.
A tiny knitted gnome took up residence under the bonsai tree for a few days, until it was time for the bonsai to go home with my brother’s girlfriend, and the gnome to come home with me!