Wooden End Tables

Our new (rental) house is much bigger than our last 2 apartments, so not only is our dining table in a different room than our couch/living area, but we actually “need” end tables by our couch.

DIY end table

We started roughly from these plans, with a fair number of modifications to make them the size we wanted, add a lower shelf, and keep the top wood looking pretty.

DIY end table

It took some trial and error to assemble them (and did require a few new power tools…), but we now have a nice pair of end tables for our living room.

DIY end table

(lamp from West Elm. Awesome finial from my dad)

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Knitting for baby

Soooo. Baby girl is due to arrive in slightly under 6 weeks. Baby-knitting projects seem to be just about the right size to keep my interest, and to finish them in a timely fashion.

First up: a sheep hat, from a book of baby knits that Ryder got me for my birthday shortly after we found out we were pregnant.

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The hat, I must admit, is wooly really adorable. My only quibble is how the legs are knitted in – if I were to do it over, I’d knit the whole base in green, and go back and embroidery/fake-knit the legs on top of the green. Carrying the brown behind was a hassle, especially since it’s knit in the round (how are you supposed to get the brown yarn back to the start of the leg row?). Granted, I have limited experience with colorwork, so maybe I need more practice.

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Next up, a striped cardigan, also from 60 Quick Baby Knits.

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The yarn is Cascade Superwash (I figured I might as well help myself out with the laundryt), chosen before I knew we were having a girl… I realize it looks rather boy-ish, but I say “too bad!” I love blue and besides, I found some really cute pink bunnies for buttons so that evens things out. Right?

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Finally, a pair of baby legwarmers, made with the leftover yarn from these socks.

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I don’t know how I feel about mama/baby matching outfits, but I love this yarn and had just enough left to make something for baby with it.

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This was a great project for in the car, in the waiting room, and at a friend’s craft night – it’s a simple tube with 1×1 ribbing on both ends, so there’s no stitch pattern to lose track of while chatting. I mostly followed the tutorial from here to guide the dimensions.

Now to see if any of these items actually fit the baby…

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Washi dress, part 2: denim

The day after finishing my first washi dress, I went back to the fabric store, this time envisioning a summery chambray version. Jo-Ann’s only chambray featured embroidered red anchors all over it… not exactly what I was going for.

washi dress with buttons

Instead, I settled for a very lightweight denim (4 oz/sq. yd.). This is actually the “wrong” side of the fabric – the other side is a very blue-blue denim.

washi dress

Along the way, I learned the difference between chambray and denim: chambray is an even weave fabric (over one, under one), while denim is twill (over one, under two).

washi dress button detail

For this dress, I included the sleeves (obviously), and I also made the front button-up. I loosely followed this tutorial for converting the pattern to include a button placket. It was a little fussy to get the lining to still encase all the interior seams, but other than that, adding buttons is pretty easy!

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denim washi dress
p.s. 18 weeks here. Wanting to document my bump motivates me to keep making new things. :)

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Teal Washi Dress

I’m a late adopter. I got my first smartphone a few weeks ago. And I finally made my first Washi Dress. This pattern has been very popular in the blogosphere for the past two years or so, and I’ve had it in the back of my head for about as long as to make one eventually. Well, I continued my theme of summer sewing this weekend, and made a sleeveless Washi Dress!

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washi-back

This dress is lovely and super comfy (plus: it has pockets!). Rae did a great job with the design and I am already planning a second version, with little sleeves and a bodice lining so I don’t have to fuss with bias-binding the armholes.

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washi-side

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Summer skirt

It’s Memorial Day, which means summer, right? It’s hit the 90s a few times already this “spring” and this week it’s been hovering in the 80s, so I decided the long weekend was a great time to add some items to my summer wardrobe. First up, a simple knit skirt:

easy knit skirt

It matches our spider plant perfectly, Ryder determined.

easy knit skirt

The skirt is 2 rectangles for the waistband, folded over, and a trapezoid for the skirt. (I used this tutorial as a rough starting point for the shapes.) With non-fraying knit fabric, I didn’t worry about finishing the inside of the seams, so the skirt was very quick to make (maybe 1-2 hours total). I’m pretty sure another is in the future, but first, I need to convince Ryder that going to get ice cream is a perfect activity for this afternoon. It is summer, after all.

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Socks, part two

Shortly after I finished my first socks, I started a second pair with some sock yarn I had bought on discount from JoAnns.

basic knitted socks

I decided to follow the basic sock pattern from one of the Yarn Harlot‘s books, which promised to be a basic sort of pattern that you could learn, memorize, and add to with your own lace/cable variations. I really like reading her blog and thought it’d be a good place to start.

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Well, these took me about 5 months to finish. I got a little bored of plain knitting, round and round, but a few weeks ago I checked out a new sock book from the library, and wanted to start a new pair. That alone wasn’t motivation enough to finish these, but I needed the needles, so I spent a few hours and finished knitting.

basic knitted socks

The first sock of the pair ended up too big in the ankle, and rather than pulling it out and starting over, I decreased some stitches along the way down the ankle, and for the second sock cast on fewer stitches. You can see the bagging around the ankle in some of these photos.

basic knitted socks

At least they turned out warm and wearable, so they’ll get some use. And I’ve decided I shouldn’t knit any more patterns that require this much plain knitting… they tend to get abandoned.

p.s. the new pair of socks is already 48% done and it’s only been 2 weeks…
p.p.s. they have a more interesting pattern

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Herding chicks

A few months ago, Mochimochi Land had a photo contest for scenes featuring the author’s tiny knitted toys. Cherith and I teamed up for this submission:

Mrs. Chicken recruits the friendly armadillo to herd her chicks

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We were excited to make it to the semifinals, but sadly didn’t make it to the finals. Maybe next year!

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Trying my hand at weaving

For Christmas this year, I picked out a Cricket weaving loom. You know, because I don’t have enough craft hobbies.

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The loom is pretty easy to work and comes with a little instruction booklet on how to warp it (the vertical strands in these photos that are attached to the loom), and how to weave the weft, which is just passing the yarn back and forth through the warp.

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This is my second attempt… my first practice looks like a kindergartener made it, so I went more slowly the second time and am much happier with how it looks.

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I still have some figuring-out to do – for example, how do I switch colors without making the edges messy?

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There seems to be a dearth of beginner-level tutorials/instructions online for weaving, so I’m trying my best, but am sure there are lots more possibilities and tricks that I’m missing. My local library sadly does not have any weaving books, so I may actually (gasp) buy a book so I can learn something beyond the very basics.

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As Ryder keeps asking me “what are you going to make with this?” Truthfully, I don’t really know yet. Scarves are the obvious answer, but at the moment I live in a place that does not require scarves, and it’s rather the wrong season to be giving them to my Michigan family.

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My other ideas include place mats, decorative pillows, and kitchen towels (once I learn how to warp finer yarn onto the loom). I’ve seen mention of double-width weaving which would enable me to weave 30″ wide fabric on my 15″ loom, which opens up possibilities of small blankets, rugs, and surely other things too. What do you think? What else can I make with my loom? In the meantime, I think I have some more practicing to do…

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Teeny tiny Christmas tree

Lately I’ve been knitting lots of tiny things, and I got it in my head that I wanted to knit some tiny Christmas trees. I couldn’t find a pattern that was appropriately tiny and tree-like, so I did some experimenting, and came up with one.

tiny knitted Christmas trees

Materials needed:

  • Bit of foresty green yarn
  • Tiny bit of brown yarn
  • 4 DPNs
  • Bit of polyfill stuffing
  • Small magnet (optional)

I used Shetland Spindrift, a fingering-weight yarn, to make these teeny Christmas trees and size US1 needles. My trees ended up about 2″ tall. You could, of course, use thicker yarn to make slightly larger versions.

tiny knitted Christmas tree

Abbreviations:

Kfb: knit into front & back of stitch
K2tog: knit two stitches together

Instructions:

  1. With brown yarn, cast on 6 stitches
  2. Divide onto 3 DPNs and join for working in the round
  3. Knit 2 rounds
  4. Switch to green and break brown
  5. Knit 1 round
  6. Kfb 6 times (12 stitches total)
  7. Kfb 12 times (24 stitches total)
  8. Purl 1 round
  9. Knit 3 rounds
  10. (K2tog, knit 6) 3 times (21 stitches)
  11. Knit
  12. (K2tog, knit 5) 3 times (18 stitches)
  13. Knit
  14. (K2tog, knit 4) 3 times (15 stitches)
  15. Knit
  16. (K2tog, knit 3) 3 times (12 stitches)
  17. Knit
  18. (K2tog, knit 2) 3 times (9 stitches)
  19. Knit
  20. Stuff tree firmly. If desired, add a small magnet within the tree
  21. (K2tog, knit 1) 3 times (6 stitches)
  22. Knit
  23. K2tog 3 times (3 stitches)
  24. Add a bit more stuffing if possible
  25. Break yarn, thread end on tapestry needle and draw through remaining stitches
  26. Weave in ends

Ta-da!

tiny knitted Christmas tree

I also made a variation with red garland. To do this, follow the instructions through step 8. On step 9, (knit 8 green, knit 1 red) 3 times. On each successive round, shift the red stitch one to the right. For example, the next round is (knit 7 green, knit 1 red, knit 1 green) 3 times. The yarn carried behind the stitches did pull the tree into a tighter shape (and make it harder to stuff), so I recommend stuffing as you go if you try this approach.

tiny knitted Christmas tree

Enjoy!

tiny knitted Christmas tree

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The things you find when you organize your yarn

A few weeks ago, I got fed up with the cardboard box holding all my yarn. Well, “holding” is a generous term. My stash no longer fit in a single cardboard box, so it was spilling onto the floor of the craft room (well, craft/office/guest/storage room). Ideally, I wanted some wooden shelves – more of cubbies, actually – for my yarn (something like these). But, I didn’t have any extra shelving sitting around, nor do we really have room for it (see aforementioned multi-purposiveness of the craft room). In a moment of inspiration, I remembered that I had a shoe organizer that hangs from a clothes rod. It has 10 slots for shoes, but our closet here is so tiny that there wasn’t room for it. I still have nowhere to hang it, but I wiped down the fabric, put it on the floor, and happily filled it with my yarn stash. The good news is my current stash fits. The bad news… only barely.

Along the way, I found a few unfinished projects.

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My very first crochet project was this ripple scarf in a sparkly green yarn. It was a good practice project, but I never finished it – I got bored with it and moved on to greener pastures (I blame the tiny cacti). Enough! Time to finish it so I could properly store the rest of the skein. I finished the row I was on and called it good.

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And then I found this almost-finished crocheted hat. I made up this pattern, starting the hat (and mostly finishing it) on our epic cross-country drive in January. It only need an hour or two more to make it a comfy, cozy hat. For those cold California Novembers…

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The crown of the hat turned out a bit wonky (and kind of boring, too), so I decided to add a big cheery pompom to the top. The winning yarn was leftover from my stegosaurus, also started on the cross-country drive.

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p.s. While looking for a picture of the storage cubbies I had in mind, I saw this brilliant idea for yarn storage – on a pegboard! And wouldn’t you know… we happen to have a piece of pegboard in our stash of wood! I’ll let you know if I try it.

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