The Mad Hatter

Well its been a long while since my last blog. Lets just say life has been very busy and the time I have managed to set aside for projects has been limited, so therefore blogging time has been even more so.

This project kind of jump started my knitting again since I hadn’t really started a new project after Jesse was born. I guess you could say my husband is my champion encourager since he bought me this pattern for Christmas and I couldn’t resist starting a hat right away.

Stash
Stash
Tiny Empress Set
Tiny Empress Set

So I dove into my stash and found this wonderful yarn that I had purchased with the gift certificate my husband gave me on our engagement treasure hunt.  I used five Double Pointed Needles size 5, and Cascade Cotton Yarn. I changed the yarn twice to add the nice little stripes. This wasn’t in the pattern but I thought plain yellow was too boring.

Halfway done.
Halfway done.

One thing to mention is that this hat is worked in the round and I learned very recently that to knit in the round is easier on your hands and muscles if you use Continental style knitting vs. English style. Now I didn’t know there were different ways to knit at all, but they are very different styles. English style uses the right hand and ‘throws the stitch’ over the end of the needle, while Continental style holds the thread in the left and ‘hooks’ the thread in a way similar to  crocheting. I was taught to knit the English style and had never tried the Continental, but this hat seemed the perfect sized project to learn Continental. I’ll admit it made me very frustrated to switch since I was very slow at knitting in the beginning and I just wanted to see the finished hat, but with perseverance I can now say I’m almost as fast at knitting Continental style. It really is a better style for knitting in the round but I still prefer English for straight needles.

For more detail on English click here, for more detail on Continental click here.

And here is a picture of the cutest model you’ll see, wearing the finished hat.

Hat Model
Hat Model

That was the first one, it came out rather big since I wanted it to be newborn sized so I went to Walmart and got more yarn (cause a knitter can NEVER have too much). I bought beautiful light pink, cause I’m optimistically hoping for a girl in April :). Here is a picture of the Crown of the pink hat, it came out much smaller then the yellow one. I used Size 2 needles on this hat.

Crown of Pink Hat
Crown of Pink Hat
Detail of Stitches
Detail of Stitches

By this time I was getting bored of solid colors so off to Hobby Lobby for more yarn, yes more. I made this little beauty for my nephew due in July. It is made with size 2 needles and a variegated yarn.

Little Beauty
Little Beauty

And followed it with this one, which I made using Size 3 circular needles instead of the double pointed ones.

Boy Hat
Boy Hat

So finally here is a picture of the yarn and needles used for each hat. And after all that work I got my copy of Vogue Knitting magazine in the mail and to my great delight they are featuring this exact pattern. So not only are these super fun to make, I can honestly say they are also ‘in Vogue’.

All hats and supplies
All hats and supplies

P.S. In Canada this hat would be referred to as a Toque, pronounced  tu-k.

Red Scarf For Christmas

After going through all the totes and boxes of various crafts, yarn and material this summer, I decided I have way too many unfinished projects. They are started with really good intentions but then that new pattern just screams to be made. So I put aside what I’m working on and start a new project only to realize a couple months later the first one isn’t done yet. So I made a pact with myself, for every two old projects I complete I can start one new one. That way its not just working on old projects all the time but eventually I should catch up, right? Well so far I have managed to complete four old projects (I think I might have started at least three new ones though, oops) I just have to post them now so you all can see the finished product.

This is a scarf I started last year around Christmas time. It was snowy and cold and I made the mistake of browsing the Hobby Lobby selection of new yarn. They had this amazing lace weight ruby red with sequins attached yarn. I needed it. It was perfect for this pattern which I got from the book ‘Knitted Lace Of Estonia’. It is a very good book, by the way, if you are interested in Knitting lace and comes with a DVD tutorial. So here are some pictures:

Cast on

Cast on

The cast on was a technique I had never tried but it wasn’t difficult to do. It started with a crochet chain of scrap yarn, you can see the grey I used. Then the lace yarn was picked up through the chain and cast on the needle. You can see this on the picture to the left a little better. After the desired number os stitches were cast on you just started to knit the pattern.

Lily of the Valley

The pattern was very pretty and it was called the Triinu Scarf. It is a variation on the Lily of the Valley pattern. As you can see it has little nupps in the center of the V’s. These are created by picking up seven stitches in a single stitch and then knitting all seven stitches into one on the opposite side. (the technique is a little tough at first but its not hard once you get the idea) If you have had trouble doing this one please comment and I can give you some tips on how I made it work for me.

Reverse cast on to finish lace edgingAfter completely knitting to the end of the pattern repeats and finishing with a lace edge, it was time to complete the matching lace edge on the bottom where the original cast on had started the scarf. This was so simple and something I will do again on any scarf.

The scrap thread was simply pulled back and the chain slowly undone to reveal the loop of the cast on stitches. As I was pulling the scrap thread out of its chain I picked up the loops with my needle and just like that had all the stitches cast on seamlessly. I then knitted the same lace edging as I had finished the other end with, and the scarf was complete. Below you can see the Lace edging drying  out after being blocked to make the points more prominent. And the final picture of the completed scarf.

Lace EdgingCompleted

It was completed just on time for Christmas this year and I gave it to my Mom. If you look closely you can see that this scarf is also featured in the banner/picture at the top of my blog.

Merry Christmas to all and A Blessed New Year. My new years resolution is to complete more half made projects 😉 and start a couple of new ones.

DIY Outdoor Lighted Christmas Trees

Tomato CagesIts the best time of year, Christmas is just around the corner and every one is bustling and hustling to get gifts for everyone on their lists. Its that time when we can’t get enough of the lights that are shining and lighting up the dark nights in patterns so bright. Its the time of year when hope and joy are evident all around us if we keep in mind the joy of the Great Light of the World who came to save us from the darkness.

Well, I wanted to decorate outside our house with lights too and especially wanted the little trees covered with lights. We looked at the local hardware store to see what they cost, and it was too much for my liking. So I got an idea, (HGTV is amazing) and decided to turn my tomato planters into lighted trees 🙂 Following are the photos of the transformation.

First turn the cages upside down and bend the ends to the center and tape the tops together.

Just wrap the cages with lights.

And Voila! Its pretty!

Wrapped Lightslights

Triplets for Christmas

Recently in Grand Junction a set of Triplet baby girls were born. They have two older sisters and the parents were greatly surprised at these new additions. Some good people in the Community decided to pitch in and help organize and gather up things for these new little ones. My Mom and I found out about it and decided to crochet the three quilts that follow. I had a bunch of yarn that wasn’t being used and since the colors were perfect we got started the minute we could.

Three quilts

Mom made the one on the left and in the middle and I did the one on the right. They are a granny square pattern, hounds tooth (my Mom loves this stitch, and I’ve never done it) and the zig zag pattern. Mom finished around them with a simple chain picot combination.

close up of stitches

Picture Frames DIY

When Dominic and I first moved into our house we didn’t have much since we had both moved from a long ways away. I wasn’t able to move the things I did own, til just recently because we had to import them from Canada. So in the meantime I really wanted to get some pictures on the walls, without breaking the bank, and here’s what I came up with.

Below see the frames I picked up at second hand stores for about $.99 each.

After taking the glass and backing out, I laid them flat, and using high gloss black spray paint from Home Depot, painted them in the back yard.

The end result was exactly what I had been imagining. I still haven’t put pictures in all of them yet. Also I would like to paint or have painted a large tree behind them on the wall as a sort of back drop. It would be from the floor to about shoulder height and just be painted in black hanging the pictures over it so it would look like the frames were hanging on it. But for now I’m really pleased with how these turned out. Also about a week after these were finished I found this Mirror at a second hand shop. The frame was bright red, but after an easy paint job, it looked brand new.

Baby Jones

Well I haven’t posted for a while but here we go again. My Husband and I are pleased to announce that we are expecting an addition to our little family in February. When we found out I wanted to make something special for my mother-in-law to announce our happy news. This is her first grandchild and I knew she would be delighted. The following is pictures of the project. Enjoy 🙂

Image

I used a super fine crochet cotton and the same pattern for the booties I posted before, but modified it a little to have the laces instead of the button. Then since we don’t know whether it will be a boy or girl, I added the blue and  pink beads to embellish the plain white.

Image

They came out perfectly and so tiny.

Alice in Wonderland Duster – Knitting

Hello again! This was a project I did last summer/late fall. It worked out exactly like the pictures for me and although my initial thought was that the pattern would be a little difficult to keep doing repetitively, working it without making obvious mistakes, it really wasn’t that difficult. I made this out of mill end yarn from Walmart, similar to what you can find here at buy.caron.com. It only cost me an estimated 3.00 for the yarn I used 🙂

The pattern I used was from the website

Tahki Stacy Charles Inc.

They sell amazing yarn and have an abundance of gorgeous patterns that are free. They have patterns for sale as well, but being me, I like the free ones. I followed the pattern with a few minor changes. I used a thinner yarn then called for but just made sure to make a bigger size and it worked out well. I also made the finished edging on both fronts a little different by knitting three extra rows.

This gave it a little more of a finished look because with out them I thought it looked like the buttons were an afterthought. I got the buttons for free from my dear Sophia and they are splendid and sparkly.

To get the FREE pattern click HERE, and feel free to contact me if you have questions about it when you are making your own.

The picture above is of the Front neck edge on the left side.

The picture above is of the button edge and the gorgeous buttons 🙂

And this is a close up of the pattern repeats.

Hope you have a great week!

Felicia

Evening Gown – Sewing

This project was done a while ago, I made this in May of 2009. Sometimes a project picks you and you have to do it. This was that kind of project. I love evening gowns and sewing and satin material, so the three of those things collided and I was compelled to make something. I found this pattern in the Vogue section at Fabricland, as well as the fabric and notions. When I got it home I realize every piece of the pattern was unique and nothing was cut out in doubles, as is usually the case. It was great fun getting all the pieces to fit on the fabric.

After a bunch of tries everything was ready to cut out, with all the biases, right side of fabric, and fold pieces in the right spots.

I held the pins in my mouth which is not recommended but sometimes it happens.

Then it was time to iron on all the interfacing and start pinning all the pieces together. It started with the bodice, which had an asymmetric waste line meaning each piece had to match exactly to achieve the right affect. Thankfully Vogue patterns are very accurate.

The back of the bodice already has the zipper installed at this point. The lining was next and fairly easy to sew.

This corset piece, (above right) that was in the bodice between the lining and the outer shell, was fairly difficult to put together. As you can see the lining has interfacing applied as well as strips of ribbon pinned on. Those ribbon strips were sewn on and a tunnel was left in the center of the ribbon where I later inserted plastic boning to ensure the bodice would have a good form. It was intricate but so rewarding because it looked amazing afterwards.

The front skirt gather (above left)was a lot of work because it had to be pinned exactly and then hand basted and sewn. this picture shows it half completed. The pins mark where the rest of the pleats will be made, and the distance between them.

Then the Skirt was attached to and bodice (left), and I thought I was almost done. I still had to make the flowers to embellish it, but thats for another post. Below is the finished project.

New Baby Booties – Crochet

It all started with a granny square blanket, well actually it started with yarn lust. The yarn was exceptionally soft and had such a pretty combination of colours. There was purple, light green, yellow and then a variegated one to match. I made the granny square blanket first and had just a little yarn to spare. My sister had sent me some patterns she purchased (here) to have me make booties for her new baby girl. Well those scraps screamed at me to make more booties to go with this blanket.

As you can see I had all the patterns and was trying to decide which ones to make.

I started with the purple and made the sole of the bootie.

Then I switched thread and used the variegated one to do the pattern part, and completed it with purple, and sewed on the little white buttons.

The second pair made with pearly white and pink yarn. I love these!!

This is the completed product. I think they turned out well and they only took me about 45 minutes each Bootie.

It’s About Wine!

So I decided to finish the explanation I had started on how to do a cross stitch. After completing all the whole and half stitches of the pattern you will want to do all the ‘top stitching’ or outlining. This is all the lines around the objects that really make the picture pop. Most cross stitches use one thread for this but some require more threads if you doing more detailed stitches like fences or limbs of animals. So just pay attention to what the pattern calls for and how many threads you should be using. Most of the stitches can be made just like normal cross stitches in length, meaning they should only go over one square length, but sometimes for different angles you can span at least two or three squares at a time. It’s not a good idea to span more then three since that could make the stitch look sloppy.  I would suggest doing all the outlining first and then move onto details like fences or French knots. Make sure you tuck away your threads in the same way you did before on the back.

Getting ready to frame it.
Getting ready to frame it.

Now to make a French knot, you would come through with your needle to the front or the Cross stitch in the exact spot you want the French knot. You would now pick up a tiny thread from the front of the project and just keep it on your needle, wrap the thread (threaded through you needle, color of the French knot) around the front of you needle, in front of the little picked up thread, twice.

Framed Picture

Now hold that wrapped thread tight against the little piece picked up and pull your needle through it and up. Pull till the thread tightens you should have a little pill of ‘French knot’ sitting right on the cross stitch. Now simply put your needle back right alongside the knot, to the back of the cross stitch to complete.  On the front of your cloth you should have a little knot right in the spot you wanted it to be.  As you can see I framed the finished Cross stitch and put a matting around it to make it stand out a little more. Make sure you trim the Cross stitch so it fits the frame and iron it flat, then stretch it out well so the picture doesn’t have wrinkles in it.

And my kitty likes it too