WIP Wednesday

After all the sewing I've done lately, it's back to knitting in full force! Here are my two latest projects ... above, a pair of no-purl monkeys (Ravelry pattern page) I'm starting early for Socktoberfest (a month-long celebration of the sock that happens each October). The yarn is Miss Babs Yummy Sock Yarn, in the colorway Duck, Duck, Quack. The rich reds, golds, and yellows remind me of fall foliage, so these socks are my little celebration of fall.

Below, I've cast on with the gorgeous Malabrigo I snagged in St. Louis to start my Mom's Vest from the Fall 2011 issue of Knit Simple. The back is plain stockinette, but the front will have some great cables. The Malabrigo, as usual, is knitting up like a dream. It feels like a soft cloud! Love, love, love all around.

Don't forget to check out the other works-in-progress at TamisAmis!

leap of faith

I've been working on another Tapered Tote behind the scenes here over the past few weeks. This time I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes yarn for the first time (colorway: Fairy Tale, a really pretty trendy purple). The verdict? Excellent felting yarn! It felt up much more quickly than Cascade 220, which means you should pay closer attention to your project while it's in the machine (but also means you waste less water and electricity repeatedly running your machine!). I'll definitely be using Wool of the Andes again!

Felting was one of the things that really got me into knitting, so it will always hold a fond place in my heart. No matter how many times I successfully felt a project though, I always have a moment of doubt--a moment of, "will this really work out?" Felting is always a leap of faith for me. Take the above picture, for example. This is my "before felting." What do you have before felting? A massive, misshapen, floppy bag. Frankly, a god awful, ugly bag! No matter how many times I do this, I always have a fleeting moment of fear when I see how unattractive the project is before felting.

(this project used four skeins of Wool of the Andes: here's what was left of the fourth skein when I was finished)

But somehow, like magic, it all turns out. I think that's what I love best about felting, the feeling of magic around it. That, and how felting makes all your mistakes and imperfections disappear. (for that reason alone, I will always argue that felting is a great "beginning knitter" project: no one will see your uneven tension or dropped stitches!). Here's what my project looked like after one full "whites" cycle in the washer (no other clothes/towels, in a high efficiency, no agitator machine). The bag on the left is a finished Tapered Tote made with Cascade 220 yarn. As you can see, it was almost there, but not quite complete yet. The proportions were still off after only one wash cycle.

But all it took was a "quick cycle" (approx. 30 minutes) to get it finished! Here you can see the bags now are almost identical in size.

It will never cease to amaze me that the difference of 30 minutes in a hot wash cycle will take a bag from fugly to adorable!

happy day

Friday was a happy day for me because ... drum roll ... I found out that I won the Country Living Blue Ribbon Blogger Reader's Choice Award for the "Crafts" category! Frankly, I'm still flabbergasted by it all! I can't thank you all enough for recognizing my crafty little corner of the web. Seriously. You are awesome. And for those of you dropping by for the first time, welcome!

Remember the happy day flag banner I was admiring in Doodle Stitching? This is my version ... I'm using felt instead of cotton, and went for a different font than the cute cursive script provided in the book's templates (I thought the cursive was cute, but wasn't quite bold enough for this project). This is the "Huxtable" font from Microsoft Word, at size 200 font. I love how preppy and "varsity" this is feeling! I plan to stitch up some balloons or another festive, celabratory motif from Doodle Stitching on another flag to separate the two words.


Thought I'd practice some free-motion quilting with some super-fast coasters. I forgot how rusty I am! Here are a couple of my favorites ...

roar! lion scarf

This is the lion scarf from 60 Quick Knits, a great book full of super-fast projects featuring Cascade 220 yarn. This was the project that convinced me to buy the book--and it didn't disappoint! How stinkin' cute is this? My favorite part are the ears, which were much easier than I expected (you knit four rows in seed stitch, then pull your yarn through the stitches to "gather" the yarn and make the curved shape of the ear--then embroider along the edge to make it look neat. That's it!). I ended up using Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn for the "body" and face of the lion, since it is super-soft, and since this is a kid's scarf, will need to be machine washed. The brown mane is some of Vanna's Choice Lion Brand (which I did find slightly ironic, to be making a lion using Lion Brand Yarn). My little munchkin is already running around the house with it draped around her, telling me "roar." I love it.

Don't forget to check out the other FOs this week at TamisAmis!

pop can jewelry

Would you believe that this ...

was once this?

When I first heard about making jewelry out of pop cans using paper punches (the kind used for scrapbooking and card crafting), I was a little skeptical. But the idea was so crazy and ingenious I just had to try it during my last big chunk of time over the three-day weekend.

Consider this a quick and dirty tutorial on my process:

1. Rinse and dry your pop cans. (I ended up using a lot of non-brand "fruity" flavors--they provide a variety of colors, and have larger sections of color without logos. However, I did have some fun creatively cutting into the logo portions of the "big brand" cans.)

2. Cut off the top and bottom of the can. I started one side with an exacto knife, then switched to sharp kitchen shears and cut across the can through the nutrition label to reach the other side. Then I was able to cut off the other end using the kitchen shears. Make sure you cut off any rounded edges, as they won't fit under your punch.

3. Slip your now flat-sheet of colored aluminum into your punch. This is the apple punch from Martha Stewart's line (in the picture below, I've flipped it over to be able to see how I've lined up the image). Once you've lined things up, flip your punch back over (otherwise your apple will shoot up towards you!).

4. Punch out an assortment of colors for your project.

5. Using a 2mm hole punch, I punched one hole in the corner of each apple to attach a jump ring.

Here you can see how I positioned the hole. I thought about punching it in the stem/leaf, but that seemed too narrow. I liked how the apple dangled at an angle by doing this, and it had the added benefit of positioning the stem in a way that would keep it from tangling in the bracelet's chain.

6. Attach your cute new apple charms to your pre-made bracelet chain, and then enjoy!

Other notes:

  • You do need to be careful about sharp edges with this project. I found that the cleaner line you cut, there weren't any issues. Small jagged edges can be filed with a nail file.

  • The charms ended up being really lightweight. Which is great if you don't like heavy jewelry! I think I'll try this method again for funky earrings/necklace pendants. My only worry about bracelets is that you may easily end up bending your charms during your daily activities (the aluminum bends really easily).

an apple a day tablecloth

Having grown up on a five-acre apple orchard, apples have a fond place in my heart. When I stumbled across this fabric in the bargain section at Hancock Fabrics, I knew I had to make something using it. Have you seen a cuter apple print? (unfortunately, the selvedge has no labeling, so I have no idea who makes it if I want to track more down ...) But what to make? My first thought was kitchen. My Mom's been on the hunt for a bright, cheerful tablecloth for the better part of a year now with no luck. Bright and cheerful? Check. Tablecloth it is!

My plan was to feature the apple print, and then make up for the lack of width with some piecing around the perimeter (my sisters got me the dimensions of Mom's table, and then I added 9 inches to each side to give it a good "overhang"). With so many colors in this print, there were a lot of different ways I could go in terms of picking a color scheme. Since I wanted to keep it bright and cheerful, I decided to stick with orangey yellows and throw in some classic apple red. I ended up doing long horizontal strips of the yellows and oranges, with smaller pieces of red in between each strip (just enough to keep it interesting, but not so much that the red took over). I staggered my strips (see below), a method I love for a couple of reasons: it looks interesting, and I don't have to obssess over making sure things line up perfectly.

And here's the finished "top." I am so happy with how it turned out! My plan is to attach a backing (a red flat sheet purchased from Wal-Mart) and finish the edges with binding. I'll do some simple quilting to hold the front and back together, but nothing too elaborate.

With any luck, I'll have this finished by the end of this long weekend! (fingers crossed)

Country Living Blue Ribbon Blogger Awards

I can't believe I am typing this ... I just found out that out of 700 submissions, I am one of the finalists in Country Living Magazine's Blue Ribbon Blogger Awards! Seriously? This isn't a joke, right? My little blog? For real? I am so humbled, and so excited to be recognized. Country Living has assembled a celebrity panel to choose the winning blogs in each category, but you have a chance to vote for your favorites in the Reader's Choice awards. So this is my humble appeal for your vote. I appreciate your readership over the nearly five (!) years I have posted my crafting ramblings on this little space.

To vote, visit Country Living Magazine's website and vote for me, Snapdragon Crafts, in the "Crafts" category. You can vote once per day until voting concludes on September 15. Thanks for your readership and support!

smile: it's friday!

My finished object this week makes me smile every time I look at it ... it's the happiness wash cloth (free pattern!) by Heather Mountain (Rav link). Our knitting guild is knitting up a bunch of these using Hobby Lobby's uber-soft I Love This Cotton, and then will sew them together to make a blanket we'll donate to a local charity. I haven't knit many "picture" dish cloths like this one before, but now I'm hooked! There are soooo many funny and cute patterns out there.

Here are some that have caught my eye ... the next time I need some easy knitting, I'm casting on for one of these:

Be My Dishcloth, by KrisKnits (another freebie!)

Pig Out! by Elaine Fitzpatrick (free!)

Happy Penguin by Alli Barrett

Little Miss Happy Flower by Rachel Van Schie

Don't forget to check out the other FOs at TamisAmis!

st. louis stash

While exploring St. Louis, Missouri last August, I discovered two amazing local shops... a local yarn shop called Knitorious and a quilting shop, The Quilted Fox.

The Knitorious staff were friendly and welcomed me the minute I walked in the door ... and their selection? Two words: overwhelmingly good. Their shop was jam-packed with the perennial knitter's favorites: Noro, Malabrigo, Rowan, SWTC, Blue Sky Alpaca, Lorna's Laces ... I could go on and on ...

You know I didn't leave that store empty-handed!

Malabrigo Worsted in Jewel Blue

(destined to become this vest from the Fall 2011 issue of Knit Simple)

Colinette Jitterbug in Summer Berries

(destined to become a light-weight cardigan of some sort)

Claudia Hand Painted Yarns in Turquoise Jeans

(destined to become socks)

I was equally impressed with The Quilted Fox. The staff was also very friendly, and after giving you an introduction to the layout of the store, gave you plenty of room to browse without pressure. The store was bright and cheerful, and well organized. They had a great selection of contemporary designers, Japanese and Australian fabrics, and batiks.

I couldn't resist this modern, graphic "floral" (Herman Miller, above), nor this dramatic Kaffe Fassett floral (below).

If you are in the St. Louis area, I definitely recommend visiting Knitorious (directions, hours) and the Quilted Fox (directions, hours)!

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 ...