December 18, 2014

"Anderson Red" Hat

As I'm wrapping up my first semester of college, I am occasionally reminded that the holidays are coming up. I remember when the obnoxious ads on Spotify for Hallmark cards interrupt my study music, I remember when my parents call to tell me they put up the Christmas tree, I remember when I start humming holiday songs and I don't get any strange looks, for 'tis the season. The paper snowflakes decorating my dorm hall walls are another quaint reminder, but secret snowflakes really encompass the December spirit of giving. 

The third floor of my dorm, referred endearingly as "Club Top," did a "Secret Snowflake" gift exchange last week (non-religious spin-off of "Secret Santa"). We were each matched randomly to someone, and we were to spend no more than $5 on our white elephant-esque gift. Among some gems were second-hand Moon Shoes, a meager collection of balls typically found in ball pits, and picture frames starring the recipients' most embarrassing middle school Facebook portraits.

I decided to take the crafty route and knit a hat for my secret snowflake recipient. Jo-Ann Fabrics sported their typical sub-par selection of yarns (I was searching for some bulky hot pink yarn, is that really too much to ask?) but I made do with a red I'm dubbing #AndersonRed instead.


I also took advantage of this opportunity to design a new masculine beanie pattern. After briefly perusing my beloved stitch dictionary, I soon came up with this slipped arrow motif. And the hat was done in no time, for any de-stresser during this time of year is highly appreciated.


And the hat was a hit! Happy snowflake season, Bryce!


"Anderson Red" Beanie Pattern
Adapted from Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns "Arrows"

Difficulty: Advanced Beginner
Yarn: approx 1/2 skein (72 yd/65.5 m) Lion Brand's Jiffy, color 189 "Wine"
Gauge: 13 sts & 16 rows in stockinette st = 4" (10 cm)
Finished Size: 8" (20.3 cm) in length, fits adult head
Needles: US 10.5 (6.5 mm) double-pointed needles

Cast on 60 sts. 
Work * K 3, P 2 * repeating * to * for entire round until piece measures 2.5” (6.4 cm), about 12 rounds.
Work stitch pattern (see chart to right), repeating Rows 1-14 twice. Be sure to slip stitches very loosely so the hat will fit!
Row 1: K all.
Row 2: K all.
Rows 3, 8, 13: * K 2, bring yarn forward, sl 3 purlwise, bring yarn back * repeat * to * across.
Row 4, 12: * sl 1 purlwise, bring yarn back, K 2, bring yarn forward, sl 2 purlwise * repeat * to * across.
Row 5, 11: * sl 2 purlwise, bring yarn back, K 2, bring yarn forward, sl 1 purlwise * repeat * to * across.
Row 6, 10: * sl 3 purlwise, bring yarn back, K 2, bring yarn forward * repeat * to * across.
Row 7, 9: * K 1, bring yarn forward, sl 3 purlwise, bring yarn back, K 1 * repeat * to * across.
Row 14: K all.

K all until piece measures 7” (17.8 cm).
Then work decrease (see second chart):
Row 1: * K 4, K 2 tog * repeat * to * across = 48 sts.
Row 2: * K 3, K 2 tog * repeat * to * across = 36 sts.
Row 3: * K 2, K 2 tog * repeat * to * across = 24 sts.
Row 4: * K1, K 2 tog * repeat * to * across = 16 sts.
Row 5: K 2 tog across = 8 sts.


Cut yarn eight inches long, thread yarn needle, and tie together remaining stitches. Weave in the ends.

You can find this pattern on Ravelry here.

You can view this on a free PDF here.

Best of luck to my fellow students taking finals this week. Happy December to the rest of you.

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

November 20, 2014

Vegetable Flower Carving

The day after prom, I stumbled out of bed way too early in the morning (around 11 AM) to go to a Girl Scout vegetable carving workshop. 

I didn't really know what I was getting myself into; I had mentioned it to a foodie friend and she presumed I would make a rose out of a watermelon. Cool, I thought. I'm going to learn to make stuff out of fruit!

Well, she and I both were spot-on, except I didn't carve any roses and didn't use any fruit, either. Today was a vegetable workshop. But although it was nothing like I was expecting, it was a really cool introduction to an art form I hadn't even heard of.

Bird carved out of a carrot, done by the instructor.
Each of us were given a set of Chinese carving tools, most of which were different sizes of "U"s and "V"s. It is with these that the allowed the magic to happen.

The instructor was a Chinese chef who partially developed the art of vegetable carving he was teaching us. When I later looked at his business card, it said he offers carving classes for vegetables, fruits, butter, and sugar! What a career! 

The carving tool-kit is featured out-of-focus to the left of the flower.
The first thing he had us make was a radish flower, shown below. It may look like nothing but it isn't exactly trivial, even if it was the easiest thing we made all day. (The flower is stabbed onto a piece of daikon radish--everything except the toothpicks are edible!)


Left- instructor's bouquet. Center and Right- my own creations.
Then we learned and practiced making several different types of flowers with combinations of red radish, carrot, daikon radish, cucumber, zucchini, and beet. My favorite were the daisies made out of daikon radish and then dyed red from beet juice. The hardest flower for me was with the cucumber; it was basically a stringy mess for me.

At the end, we made flower pots out of daikon radish to present the flowers in an aesthetically-pleasing manner. 


Perfect make-up and nails to cook?! They're leftovers from prom; don't expect it ever again ;)
All in all, the workshop was a really interesting introduction to an art form I didn't even know existed. While I was operating on five hours of sleep and the exhaustion from a big night, I still learned skills I continue to remember. Given the right situation and ingredients, these skills could come in handy!

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

November 6, 2014

Tie-dye: US National Park style

As the autobiographical craft blog that this is, it's a legitimate shame that I have not yet shared my collection of high-quality tie-dyed shirts. What kind of self-proclaimed hippie am I?!

Well, I must consent the tie-dye jobs may not be exceptionally high-quality, but tie-dye is an important indicator of my hipness as a tree-hugging individual. 

Given my affection for national points of interest (parks, beaches, etc.), I recently realized that I have worn every tie-dyed shirt I own at some kind of naturally protected place. So here we go: tie-dye, the national park edition!

August 2010, Yellowstone National Park
First up: indigo. In a middle school Girl Scout event, I had the opportunity to dye some clothing with indigo. This is not as lame as it sounds; the process of dyeing is labor-intensive and advanced, and I was lucky for the opportunity. To get interesting patterns instead of just a solid blue shirt, I used rubber bands and popcorn kernels, gathering techniques, and clothespins to keep some negative white space in the shirt. A year or so after dyeing it, I brought the shirt on our family trip to Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 2010, and I wore it on the day we wandered around the Norris Geyser Basin. 


October 2012, Point Reyes National Seashore
Next up is the revered Panther Camp t-shirt. Panther Camp was the orientation program for transitioning from elementary to middle school that was piloted during my year. Given how atrocious these t-shirts always were, it's both amazing and embarrassing that I even took it to college with me. I first dyed it my freshman year of high school with low-quality dye, so it faded quite quickly, evident in the picture of my sister and I on our first family backpacking trip in Point Reyes National Seashore in October 2012. 

August 2014, Lassen Volcanic National Park
But then I dyed it again! No reason not to, right?! So here's the shirt again, this time traversing the King's Creek Falls in Lassen Volcanic National Park in August 2014.

July 2012, Northern California coast

Last up for now is the chem shirt that brings back...mediocre...memories. That is, the experience of tie-dying the shirt in class made it the sole best chem class ever. But the class the shirt represents... let's just say I never understood the chemical processes involved in tie-dye. But this shirt is the most formal attempt at tie-dye I have ever done, and the traditional spiral turned out quite well. The pic is from a state beach in California near the Oregon border from July 2012.

I hope you enjoyed the #throwbackthursday tie-dye photo tour! Here's to many more backyard tie-dye adventures to come.

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

October 15, 2014

On Spirals and Adulthood

On one glorious day in childhood, I received the Spiral Draw KLUTZ book in exchange for testing one of KLUTZ's ideas for a future book. While these books have become hit-and-miss as they scrounge for additional crafts to feature, this book remains one of my favorite KLUTZ books of all time. (The other books competing for the superlative are Braids & Bows (1995), Friendship Bracelets, The Encyclopedias of Immaturity, and Embroidery.)

These spiral kits allow for the creation of literally millions of different spiral designs and are the #1 best way to doodle your time away. 

I've made several cards, some wrapping paper, and several pages of math notes from these spirals. A highlight of my spiral-making career is a birthday card I made last year.


Today is my 18th birthday. Today seems like an appropriate day to share my affinity for spirals, as the last few months have a been a continual spiral of awesome and, well, less awesome, as I have adjusted to the college lifestyle. The last year has also been a crazy spiral of stress in the form of preparing for the new transition that thankfully is finally calming down. 

This is also an appropriate birthday post in that the fact that I am now an adult in no way lowers my appreciation for KLUTZ kits and spirals. Call me crazy, but I guarantee that I will love doing this at age 60 as much as I do now and did when I was 8. 

So thus I welcome my new-found adulthood as simply a change in status allowing me to sign my own waivers, go to jail, and pay taxes. The crafts--and spirals of life--are here to stay. 

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

September 14, 2014

Aidez Cardigan

I may be in college and busier than ever but that does not mean this blog is done nor that I will ever stop crafting! In other words: the second annual summer sweater is complete!



I actually finished it about a month ago but was putting off the post because I wanted to get some good photos. But that hasn't happened yet, so I just want to share it already!

I had been eyeing this Aidez sweater pattern on Ravelry for months before I finally started it in late June. I could see from the 3500 other people who made this sweater that it was not nearly as challenging as it might look, so I knew it would be manageable. For this second sweater I wanted to make a cardigan and try a harder pattern than my first one, so Aidez was perfect! For yarn, I chose Berroco Comfort Chunky in purple. It's a nylon-acrylic blend, which was totally intentional to prevent my possible wool allergies. I don't want to spend fifty hours making a sweater and then not wear it because of itchy yarn.



All in all, the sweater fits well and is quite cozy and superbly warm. The one downside: it fits my mother better. (Good thing we're 700+ miles apart!) I am also a little bummed that the design didn't permit for buttons or a zipper; if I were more comfortable with the pattern, I would have altered it, but I didn't understand it well enough to manipulate it effectively. It took about one month to complete, including two backseat car trips to and from Los Angeles, plenty of World Cup couch multitasking, and also a drive to Lassen Volcanic National Park, where I of course continued my national park knitting tradition.

 

My college move to the bitterly cold state of Washington (it's 82F today, but psh details) will definitely make this warm sweater come in handy. It may be more traditional to purchase the warm layers I need, but I think the handmade garments keep me warm effectively anyways. :)



Looking into the future, posts will be few and far between as my spare time for both crafting and blogging has been drastically reduced by the phenomenon known as college. But, slowly and surely, I am still working on new projects, and there are still the Walla Walla yarn shops that need exploring--and new project inspiration.

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

July 28, 2014

Glass Sun Catcher

Glass can sometimes be considered an inaccessible art, but I've been lucky enough to dabble in several different glass art forms thanks to Girl Scout events over the years. Last weekend, I went to BAGI again with my Girl Scout troop to learn how to make glass sun catchers from borosilicate flameworking.


So, for the Girl Scout glass experience repertoire, here we go:

The first glass art I ever tried was glass fusion, in which you place colored glass pieces on a clear piece and then melt it together. This medium is pretty accessible at several ceramic studios like Create It! in Palo Alto. 

The next medium I tried was full-blown glass blowing, which was amazing and awesome but oh-so-tiring and very hot. We were lucky enough to do a workshop at Paly, one of only about five high schools in the country with a glass blowing program. BAGI also offers classes in glass blowing.

Then I tried micro-mosaic jewelry work at Stained Glass Garden. Because we got to work with low temperatures and has abundant room for creativity, it was much less tiring to the senses-- I would like to try it again.

A couple months ago, I tried flameworking with soft glass and made some beads at BAGI. Fun but hard, and also quite tiring on the eyes. I think I would like to try it again.

And now I've added borosilicate flameworking to the list. I worked with glass tubing, colored streamers, and a propane-oxygen torch, just like for the soft glass flameworking. 


This technique was much harder than working with the soft glass. Melting the tube down to a skinnier tube is still a technique I have yet to muster. But I finally did get the hang of making streamers (above & below pics), where you melt down a little bit of a colored glass rod, and stretch it to be much thinner for easier melting onto a piece. It's a similar technique to the tube-stretching but with a much larger room for error. 

I also made some dual-colored streamers, where you twist together two different colors and stretch when they are melted to create a candy-cane type look. When you have several candy canes, it can look extra cool to twist those together to get a more diverse marble. 


Although I couldn't stretch the tube properly, I still wanted to make the sun catcher (a.k.a. an ornament in summer), so I used a pre-stretched tube. Oh, the benefits of a class! I did use my own homemade streamers to decorate the sun catcher, though.


Because I didn't spread my colored glass evenly, the tube warped into a shell or bell pepper-like shape instead of the sphere I was striving for. But for a first attempt, I think this will do just fine for me!






I still have stained glass and mosaic work on my glass bucket list. I'm sure I'll get to try them out sometime.

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

July 14, 2014

Evolving 森 Mori Infinity Scarf

It may be July and you may have noticed I've knitted more infinity scarves in the last year than is healthy, but I can promise this will be the last for a good while (hopefully). 


I'm calling this scarf Evolving Mori to celebrate the yarn and scarf itself as well as the scarf's recipient. To me, the yarn's muted green colors perfectly illustrate a grove of old-growth trees, hence the word mori (), Japanese for "forest." The forest is evolving to embrace other forms, like the growth-like bobbles on the scarf or the friend who I made this for, who happens to be Japanese and American. (As you may notice, the model -- my sister -- is neither the owner of this scarf nor biracial.)


The scarf is meant to be a belated birthday gift. I knew it would be late, but over a month?! Oops. This scarf took me a bit longer than usual. My extended tardiness cannot be credited to the pattern's difficulty, because it was quite doable, but probably because I've knitted way too many similar pieces lately. Even better reason to give the infinity scarf obsession a break!





Evolving Mori Infinity Scarf Pattern
Adapted from Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns "Amber"

Yarn: 200 m (2 skeins) Loops and Threads' Charisma in Deep Woods
Needles 10.5 (6.5 mm)

Cast on 21 sts.
Row 1: P2, yo, k1, bobble, k3, double decrease, p1, k 3 tog, k3, bobble, yo, k1, yo, p2.
Row 2 (WS): Work as sts appear: k the k sts, p the p sts, and p yo loops. 
Row 3: P2, yo, k1, yo, k3, double decrease, bobble, p1, bobble, k 3 tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, p2. 
Row 5: P2, yo, k1, yo, k2, double decrease, bobble, k1, p1, k1, bobble, k 3 tog, k2, yo, k1, yo, p2. 
Row 7: P2, (yo, k1) x2, double decrease, bobble, k2, p1, k2, bobble, k 3 tog, (k1, yo) x2, p2.
Row 9: P2, k 3 tog, k3, bobble, yo, k1, yo, p1, yo, k1, yo, bobble, k3, double decrease, p2.
Row 11: P2, bobble, k 3 tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, p1, yo, k1, yo, k3, double decrease, bobble, p2. 
Row 13: P2, k1, bobble, k 3 tog, k2, yo, k1, yo, p1, yo, k1, yo, k2, double decrease, bobble, k1, p2.
Row 15: P2, k2, bobble, k 3 tog, (k1, yo) x2, p1, (yo, k1) x2, double decrease, bobble, k2, p2.
Repeat rows 1-16 twelve times or until desired length. Cast off, sew ends together on the wrong side, and weave in ends. And voilà! (or should I say ここに !)

Abbreviations
k - knit
p - purl
st(s) - stitch(es)
yo - yarn over
bobble - in same stitch, p, k, p, k, p. Then wrap first four layers over last p st.
double decrease - sl 1, k 2 tog, psso
sl 1 - slip one st as if to k
k 3 tog - k 3 sts together as 1 st
psso - pass slipped stitch over k st and drop it
x2 - work pattern in parenthesis two times

Notice: As I have learned from my past scarves with this yarn, blocking efforts will not be very useful. Part of the design is to let the scarf stay curled.

You can find a printable pattern available in a bit under the "patterns" or right here.

You can find the pattern on Ravelry here.

Happy summer!

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

July 7, 2014

Exploring the Wilderness Quilt

One accidental result of having a ton of new sewing supplies on hand is... deciding to use them. I was reading through one of my new books containing quilt block pattern ideas  specifically, Nancy Johnson-Srebro's Block Magic, Too! (2003)  and noticed that one of the block ideas was a moose. 

"Mikey Moose"
Now, if you've ever heard my father share any family camping stories, the moose story would surely pop up in the first act. While we were camping in Grand Tetons National Park, my father's sole desire was to see a moose. He went on solitary hikes, stayed up past sunset, and did anything else within his power to find one, to no avail. So you can imagine the surprise when he learned from a camper passing by that a moose had been licking our tent while we were sleeping! 

Dad never did find a moose on that trip, but since then, the moose has been added to his list of all-time favorite animals. When I saw the moose pattern, I simultaneously scanned the contents for other similar patterns and started hunting for appropriate fabrics for the endeavor. 

Most were Grandma's, but some are mine.

Soon enough, I decided on three other blocks to turn into a quilted wall hanging. Our family has had several unforgettable encounters with bears, and my mother is known for her tree-hugging tendencies, so those two blocks were no-brainers. And then I chose to finish it up with flowers, given that adding a honu wouldn't make much sense and wildflowers can only add to a wilderness scene. 

While I wasn't expecting my progress through the project to be so speedy, it turned out to be a very popular gift to my parents for their 21st anniversary.



I also have to credit my sister for being super helpful at the ironing board and helping me choose fabrics. Thanks gurl!

"Fancy Petunias"

"Barney the Bear"

"Twin Pines"
I hope you all had a lovely 4th. I'll check back soon.

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

June 30, 2014

Living Grandma's Legacy

My crafting days began as most preschoolers' do: finger painting, pasta necklaces, you name it. But my identity as a crafter has nothing to do with my pasta necklace-making abilities. I didn't become the Craft Lizard I am today without the help of my grandmother.

With Grandma, I learned the basics of sewing, quilting, appliqué, and embroidery. I made my first skirt proudly when I was in third grade, and she helped me make other projects during family visits. My one-on-one sewing lessons were cherished as a great means to bond and learn unique skills.
 













When I was in fifth grade, my parents bought me a sewing machine, which came with a year of free sewing lessons at my local quilting store. Gradually, I picked up more sewing skills. But Grandma was the one who sparked my interest and really got me started.


My grandmother passed away a few days ago. She was one of those perfect grandmothers who was committed to professional grandmotherhood full-time: the best cookies, lots of one-on-one attention, and treasured homemade outfits and gifts. She was a mother to seven sons, grandmother to 26, and a friend, baker, and conversationalist to many more. Of course she will be missed.


 


And she will be remembered... in my bedroom. I'm not mentioning her on a crafting blog just to write a eulogy. She was a very talented homemaker and had all the equipment to prove it. I am now the only member in my family that has any interest in reaching her level of crafty prowess. A year ago, my grandmother packed me a giant "care package" of notions that I thought was wonderfully generous. Now I have way more and there still is an unfathomable amount of stuff still at her house to go through.





I'm not one of those fashionistas inclined to write about my latest "hauls," but this is a special circumstance that warrants an exception. I mean, just look at all this loot!


Books

(click to enlarge)




 
L: (c) 1998           C: (c) 1995         R: (c) 1995


           (c) 2008                                       (c) 2002                                  (c) 2003


   
L: (c) 2005   C: (c) 2002   R: (c) 2001

 

          (c) 1995                                        (c) 1996                                                 (c) 1998


                (c) 1994                                                (c) 1996                                    (c) 1998

                    (c) 2001                                           (c) 1995                                       (c) 1999

  
(c) 1990                                     (c) 1996

Fabric

My whites and muslins

Holiday Fabrics

Greens

Warm Fabrics

"Solids"

Blues

Purples/Pinks


Thread

Top: metallic, rainbow, and otherwise special threads. Bottom: turquoise, blue, and purple regular threads.
 Yarn
Swooning for all my new vanity yarns.
Batting & Notions


Warm & Natural, Batting, etc.

Cutting mat, fabric scissors, & rotary cutter!!

I'll be busy for the next three lifetimes making projects with this stuff!

I have often teased that my young passion for the fiber arts has turned me into a premature Grandma figure. And the joke is completely sound -- while I have a few friends my own age who craft, the number of older moms and grandmothers I have met to exchange ideas makes me one weird teenager. But now more than usual, I'll assume that title with a little more pride. Some of my cousins are still quite little -- the youngest is only 18 months. Perhaps I can help provide some of the crafty love and support for them that I cherished so much.


Stay tuned for much more traditional Craft Lizard action to come! My extended absence is over and I'm here to stay for the summer! :)


Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth