FO Friday: Snug

One project defeated in my war against my WIPs ... Snug is complete! I used Lion Brand Homespun in the Ambrosia colorway, and size 10.5 needles. With the larger needles and longer sleeves than the pattern called for (9 inches), this fits my 2-year-old despite the fact the pattern size is "6 months"! Hopefully it will still fit her when fall hits us here in the south, which is usually around November. I really enjoyed the unique construction method this pattern calls for. This pattern will definitely be added to my baby shower queue!

And making good progress on my next WIP to defeat, my cotton candy socks ...

Don't forget to check out the other FOs at Tami's Amis!

declaring war ...

... on my works-in-progress! I'm going through my annual summer-is-ending-soon-so-I'd-better-get-going reality check, which means cleaning and organizing and getting myself ready for the fall. Today I sorted through the miscellaneous bags of yarn and unfinished objects that have accumulated around the house, and realized I have a bunch of projects that are thisclose to being finished. So for the next couple of weeks, my knitting time is going to be devoted to moving these projects into the finished object category.

Snug only needs a second sleeve, seaming and buttons ...

My Cotton Candy Socks are victims of second-sock-syndrome ...

The adorable lion scarf from 60 Quick Knits ...

Yet another knotted openwork scarf ...

And the butin collar (this one really just needs weaving in ends and attaching the necklace finding!) ...

create your own laundry hamper liner

This is another long overdue sewing project. There simply isn't a good, hidden place for a hamper in our master bedroom/bath. The closet is a little too narrow, and real estate is already at a premium in the bathroom. That means that our hamper is forced to hang out in relative "public" place next to one of our dressers in the actual bedroom. Until now, the "hamper" has really been a large laundry basket, which really didn't add any aesthetic value to the room. When I spotted this MainStays Folding Laundry Sorter (link is to the most similar product I could find) at my local Wal-Mart, I was excited by 1) its large size, and 2) its wheels. But the plastic-y plain white actual liner? Not so much. So here are the steps I followed to replace the hamper liner with something I found more appealing:

  1. First you need to measure the size of the liner you are replacing. Mine was 17.5 inches tall (not including straps), 15 inches deep, and 24.5 inches wide.

  2. To construct the liner, you are basically using a large "T" shape. You need to divide the depth in half and add that amount plus a 1/2 inch seam allowance to each side, and add the same amount to the bottom. My final dimensions were 40.5 inches wide and 26 inches tall (at the tallest part).

  3. Now cut two T-shaped pieces from your fabric. I used this cute giraffe print by Premier. At 58" wide, I only used 1.5 yards for this project (and had plenty of scraps left over). You'll also need to cut six 4 in. x 2 3/4 in. straps.

  4. Fold and iron the top edge of the "T" down 1/4 inch and topstitch in place. Repeat for your second "T."

  5. Take both pieces, holding right sides together, and sew together along the right, left, and bottom edges using a 1/2 inch seam allowance (the edges highlighted in red in the diagram below). Do NOT sew together the "corners" of the bottom edge.

  6. Iron your seams open.

  7. Now for the trickiest part: match your left-edge seam to the bottom-edge seam to form the square bottom of the bag. Pin together and sew (you'll still be working with the bag inside-out). Repeat on the other side.

  8. Move on to your straps. Fold down and iron 1/4 inch on each 4-inch-long side and topstitch in place.

  9. Space three straps evenly across each side. Pin and then sew into place.

  10. Turn your liner right-side out and then construct your hamper following your model's instructions. Sooo much prettier than the old laundry basket!

easy almost no-sew placemat tutorial

When I dug out my embroidery supplies to do my doodle stitching, I rediscovered supplies for some sewing projects I had long ago planned on making. This resulted in a little sewing binge over the weekend, which means you'll be seeing some sewing tutorials this week! First up? Easy-peasy, almost no-sew placemats.

Placemats are one of those things that frustrate me. When I am intent on purchasing some, it feels like the options are so blah and boring. I never seem to find exactly what I'm looking for. Why settle for ho-hum when you can make exactly what you want? I have a black table, so I wanted a black and white graphic print that I just couldn't seem to find anywhere among store-bought placemats. Hobby Lobby has started carrying a great selection of cotton duck fabric in some cute prints, so after some deliberating I settled on the Black Swan colorway. I made six double-sided place mats, which required 2 7/8 yards of fabric (45" wide) --or you could play it safe and just get three yards. :0)

I had fabric I loved, but then I was faced with deciding how to construct my place mats. Most tutorials you'll find instruct you to sew both sides together, right sides facing, and then turn your placemat right side out and top stitch the edges and quilt to finish (sandwhiching in some batting at some point in the process). Although I love the look of quilting, I just couldn't come up with a quilting pattern that wouldn't (in my mind) mar the look of this fabric. So, quilting was out. But I still wanted a thick, sturdy placemat--which requires some sort of batting or interfacing. My solution? Double-sided stiff fusible interfacing! I ended up using Dritz InnerFuse, since that's what I had on hand (hooray, stashbusting!). Each package contains two 18" x 14" rectangles, which are the perfect size for placemats.

Ready to make your own almost no-sew placemats? Here are the steps:

  1. Cut twelve rectangles from your fabric that are 19" x 15" in size.

  2. Using an iron, fold down and iron 1/4 inch strip along each edge (this step allows you to avoid having a raw edge that could unravel around the perimeter of your placemat).

  3. This is what your rectangle will look like when done ironing down each edge.

  4. Make a "sandwhich" of two placemat sides with the double-sided fusible interfacing in the middle (obviously, make sure your right sides are facing out).

  5. Follow instructions for fusing your interfacing. In my case, it was iron slowly across the fabric allowing for five seconds of constant heat in each position. Allow to cool. Flip over the project and repeat. Allow to cool, then permanently fuse the project by pressing both sides again. This is the trickiest step, since you'll be tucking in and finessing your folded down edges to line things up as you fuse it all together.

  6. After project has cooled, top-stitch around the edges to add extra security to the bonding of your edges and to add a little professional polish.

  7. Enjoy your new placemats!

Additional notes:

  • According to the InnerFuse instructions, these placemats should be machine washable (on gentle with cold) and tumble dry on low heat. I will have to update you when I test that!

  • The finished placemat has a really good sturdiness and weight. The texture of the cotton duck makes it feel like it will be really durable, as well. I'm sure this project would work well with quilting cotton, but I really recommend the cotton duck.

Let me know if you make any placemats using this tutorial! Happy sewing!

doodle stitching project #1: pillowcase

My first project using Aimee Ray's Doodle Stitching book is complete! My little munchkin is obsessed with puppies and kitties right now, so to celebrate her transition to a big girl bed I embellished a pillowcase with the cats and dogs from the "Farm Animals" section of the book. Super fast, and super cute! I love how each animal has its own character, due to the natural variation that comes with hand embroidery.

good mail day

Look at all the goodies that came in the mail for me today! I am the lucky winner of the first month of Project Yarnway, a year-long design competition group on Ravelry. I won for my Tapered Tote, and Ruth from Sheep Dip Cottage generously donated these stunning vintage buttons for my prize! I feel so lucky--I knit with these colors all the time, so they'll go to good use! Thanks so much, Ruth!

FO Friday: Gulf Shores Socks

My Gulf Shores Socks are done (Rav project page)! The pattern: the infinitely popular Monkey by Cookie A. The yarn: Knitting Knotions Classic Merino Superwash Sock in Mediterranean (think subtle greens, turquoise blues, and periwinkle). Love all around! When I wear these, they'll forever remind me of the beach. I'm thinking a pair of no-purl Monkeys is next!

Gulf Shores, Alabama

WIP Wednesday: Butternut Scarf

I recently picked my Butternut Scarf (Ravelry pattern page) back up. This is one of those projects that has been years in the making--every so often I pick it back up and make some progress, and then get distracted and set it back down again. Despite my lack of commitment, I really love this yarn and the pattern is really fun. Who knows, maybe this summer I'll finally finish it? We'll see ...

tutorial: recycling old floral shop vases

If you're like me, you just can't throw away those clear glass vases that come with any floral shop bouquet. It's a perfectly good vase that might come in handy someday, right? But then you're stuck with a dilemma: they're functional, but they sure aren't the prettiest looking thing. And since they're not that flashy or pretty, they get tucked away, hidden in the back of a cabinet, and then you basically forget they even exist until you get another bouquet and yet another floral shop vase to add to your collection. Recently, I ordered Sundance Catalog's sunflower bouquet to add some everlasting cheer to my work office and home. The recycled metal and wood flowers are so happy and cheerful, but then I needed a vase I was equally happy about to display them in. Given the recycled nature of the flowers, it only seemed appropriate to recycle one of my many old floral shop vases. While part of me likes the look of the clear glass vase (so modern and industrial!), I found that it receded too much into the background when I placed the vase in the room. The answer? My trusty friend, spraypaint.

Want to transform your old floral shop vases using spraypaint, too? Follow these steps:

1. Clean your vase with glass cleaner and wipe dry.

2. Apply a thin coat of primer.

3. After the primer is dry, check for rough spots and sand them smooth (I used 220 grit sandpaper). This is an important step if you want a smooth, professional looking finished product.

4. Apply your chosen color of spraypaint! Be sure to hold the can 8-10 inches away from your vase, and work in thin coats. Thin coats are important, because if you just blast your object with tons of spraypaint it will start to run and form drip lines that show up when it dries (I learned this the hard way when I spraypainted an old lamp base!). For this project, I used two coats. If you see imperfections you missed when sanding your project at the primer stage, this is your chance to sand it down again and then finish off your project with a final coat of spraypaint.

5. Voila! Enjoy your finished product!

The best part is that you can easily obtain a vase in the exact color you desire, and so inexpensively. I can't imagine how long it would have taken me to find a vase this color, and don't even want to think about what one would have cost me. Enjoy!

feeling stitchy

Lately, I've been feeling the urge to do some embroidery. This doesn't surprise me, since normally I have about ten different crafting projects of various crafting genres going at one time. It's shocking to me that I've been so relatively monogamous in that I've been only focused on my knitting for the past few months. Embroidery was my very first craft: cross-stitch to be exact. Somewhere I still have the ribbons I earned from entering my work in the county fair as a kid! This book, Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray, isn't cross-stitch, but is still feeding my itch to stitch nonetheless.

The book has 17 different projects, and embroidery motifs in 19 different categories (alphabet, asian chic, baby, celebrations, circus, embellishments, farm animals, flowers, food, fruits & veggies, garden time, space, sweet shoppe, trees & leaves, under the sea, weather, winged wonders, woodland animals, woodland fairytale). What I love about this book is the cute, contemporary aesthetic of the motifs. While I have purchased (and loved!) many of Jenny Hart's great embroidery patterns over at Sublime Stitching, her style sometimes is a little too edgy and punky for me. Doodle Stitching, on the other hand, is more sweet in comparison. Designs that would work better for a contemporary, but still cute, kid's projects.

Here are some the projects that immediately caught my eye:

These would be a perfect baby shower gift ...

So cute! I'd love to use these patterns on kitchen towels ...

Someone has a 2nd birthday coming up that this would be perfect for ...

Needless to say, I think you'll be seeing me make a lot of projects out of this book!

2021 year in review

  Who would have thought that the second year of a pandemic would be worst than the first, in terms of crafting mojo? Not I. But this chart ...