Friday, November 27, 2009

Patchwork and my first zipper!

I wanted to make a grocery bag as a Christmas gift, and I thought it might be fun to make it in patchwork. I am pleased with the result, but I have learned several things:
  • when working with patches, the final product comes out MUCH smaller than the sum of it's parts. I forgot about seam allowances!
  • it is hard to make all those little seams match up. Boo.
  • Interfacing is cool, but hard to put on the back of a patchwork piece. I think if I were to do this again I would interface the lining but not the patchwork - it came out a little wrinkled because it didn't lie completely flat.
So, although the final product is pretty, it's too small to put groceries in!
Then, I attempted to make a bag with my first zipper! It was easier than I thought it would be.

Last weekend I went down to Providence to spend the afternoon crafting with Carole Ann (you can see her cool stuff here). I am working on making a braided rug, and after several false starts, I think I've figured out how to work it so that it's really reversible. I'll write more about the process and post pictures soon...but I haven't had too much time to work on it since I've been thinking about/making Christmas presents! (Yes, I know...Thanksgiving was yesterday...but if I want to be done on time, I have to get started soon!)
I have been making several snowmen as gifts for my grandparents, and I'm going to make a paintbrush holder for my brother's girlfriend, who is a painting major at RISD. In my immediate family, we pick names from a hat and buy presents for just one person...and this year I got my dad, which means I have some serious thinking to do. I'd like to make him something, but he's a hard guy to give things to...any suggestions for brilliant gifts for the man who has everything? I think I will make him a set of microwaveable handwarmers...he teaches skiing in the winter, so that should be handly for the ski lift.

Happy crafting!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

I love winter. I love snow, and I can't WAIT to go skiing.

So, in order to occupy myself before there's snow...I have been knitting snowmen :)

And here's how I did it. I've made these snowmen in two sizes: large (pictured above) and small (about half that size). They are exceptionally easy to make.

I used a bulky yarn (it's nice and fluffy, like snow) and size 10.5 needles. It could be done with any kind of yarn as long as it knits up tight enough so the stuffing doesn't show.

Cast on 6 (12) stitches.
1. K1, Inc1 all the way across. (9/18 stitches)
2. Divide the stitches onto three needles.
3. Knit 1 round.
4. K1, Inc 1 all the way around. (13/27 stitches)
5. Knit 1 round.
6. K1, Inc 1 all the way around. (19/40 stitches)

At this point, if you want to make your snowman fatter, repeat rows 5 and 6 again.

Knit even in the round until the snowman measures about 5 (11) inches.

Begin decrease:
7. K1, K2tog around.
8. Knit 1 round.
9. K1, K2tog around.
10. Knit 1 round.
11. K1, K2tog around.
12. Knit 1 round.

Cut off the end and pull it through each of the remaining stitches. Stuff.

Once the snowman is stuffed, thread a yarn needle with a bit of white yarn. Tie it around the snowman's "neck" and pull it tight.

The scarf can be made in any variety of ways. For the large snowman, I make it ten stitches across, for the small snowman, five stitches. You can add stripes or ribs or whatever makes you smile.

For the hat: The number of stitches you use will depend on the kind of yarn you want to use. Since I am using up scraps, every one comes out a little different :)

Cast on 45 (60) stitches.
Work in K1, P1 rib for 5 rows in the round.
Work even in the round for another 5 rounds (more if you want to make the hat a bit floppier).
Decrease rounds - alternate the following two rows until 6 stitches remain.
K1, K2tog across
K across.

Cut the end and pull it through the remaining stitches. Voila!
For his cute little nose I used an orange pipe cleaner. Embroider on some eyes and he's done!

Think snow!

Any comments on my pattern would be appreciated - I don't usually write things down, but I'm trying to start. Was it clear?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Belated Halloween...

Keith and I were Halloween-inspired to make these excellent Jack Skellington cupcakes. We found that drawing with frosting was more difficult than we'd thought...but it was fun anyway :)

I made two bags from leftover fabric a few months ago using this tutorial. I wasn't completely satisfied because I thought they were a little boring. So, I spruced them up using embellishments inspired by these. I made circles instead of butterflies, but the idea is the same - I was amazed what a difference such a simple change made!

I also made a whole bunch of ornaments using this tutorial. Some of them are Christmassy, some not. So cute and so easy to make! I think I'll make more to give as Christmas gifts.

Adventures in Craftland...

The church fair was yesterday, so for the last few weeks I've been doing lots of knitting and sewing so I'd have things to donate. Here's what I've been up to...
Two sets of mittens and scarves (child sized, mostly because I didn't have much of this yarn left)

This next one is my personal favorite. Last winter, Keith's mom made a snowman using some sort of kit she got at work. I thought it was really cute, but it would be easier to knit one instead. So I sort of made it up as I went along. I think it came out really well. Now that I have a general idea, I'm going to work up a pattern. It was really simple to make, so I'll see if I can explain it on paper.

I also made another reversible purse. I like this fabric a lot. Think I'll make a few more to give as Christmas gifts.