May 29, 2014

Circular Radiating Blossom Baby Blanket

I love making baby blankets. They give the satisfaction of making any blanket, yet they require only half the time and a quarter of the patience. You may have noticed that there have been more new baby blankets than babies in my family over the last couple of years. But I guess I'm stocking up for the future...

I wanted to make a circular baby blanket just to add the new technique to my skill set. I made a hemlock doily earlier as my first circular project, but I made that with insignificant yarn simply to test the waters. I picked this free pattern from Ravelry and made a smaller version that measures 32" diameter. The pattern is much easier than it looks (which was a bit of a disappointment, actually). Although you do have to count stitches the entire time, the pattern is quite intuitive and the knitting went by quite quickly.


This was knit with US 8 and US 7. Although it was intended to be fully knit with 8's,  my needles broke midway through and I finished it up with 7's. I knit with two yarns together --Bernat Baby Coordinates Solids in soft blue and Bernat Baby Sport Solid in white -- to get the soft powder blue color perfectly snuggle-icious for any baby. Hopefully it will be put to good use someday. :)



Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

May 22, 2014

Graduation Cap Decoration

'Tis the time of graduation, and per my high school tradition, many of us are decorating our graduation caps with indications of our plans for the future. Most people normally cut out felt letters and maybe their school mascot and call it a day, but of course I wanted to do mine a little differently.

After deciding that I cannot write out block letters to save my life, I turned to the fact that I can embroider 'most anything at your beck and call. So I hand-wrote out my college name first on paper, then traced it to the felt, which I then embroidered. Easy peasy (and so much fun!)


As you may be able to tell, I will be attending Whitman College next fall. I didn't embroider an image of the mascot because, well, I'm not super thrilled to be attending the school home of the "Fighting Missionaries." At least we're also called "Whitties," too.

Can't wait for next year and exploring "the hard streets of Walla Walla," as they say.

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

May 16, 2014

And Some More Hats | Hat Week

Welcome to the final post of Hat Week! If you've missed some of the hat-tastic excitement, check out the other posts from this week:


To wrap up Hat Week, I have two last hats to share. I made them several months ago and planned to post them earlier but I kept pushing them back for whatever reason. Anyway, here they are!

After I made this Kittyville Hat for my sister, I still hadn't had enough with the terrific pattern. So I made another hat (but this time without the cat ears) for Emma last year with a purple Patons yarn.


Pattern adapted from Kittyville Hat (pictured above)
Pattern from Stich 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook, by Debbie Stoller (2003).
Pattern: "Adults-Only Kittyville Hat" by Kitty Schmidt


***

I made this hat for Rebecca's birthday last fall. I made up a simple beanie pattern and  used Loops and Threads Charisma in Mountain Majesty (#24). I thought the color scheme really suited her adventurous and outdoorsy personality. 



Recognize the yarn? I used the leftover yarn from this hat to make the cabled beanie I shared earlier this week. ;)

Hope you enjoyed my first Hat Week! I know warm clothing is probably the last thing you're thinking about right now (unless you're from the Southern Hemisphere with winter approaching), but I wanted to share my newest pieces sooner rather than later.

See you all next Thursday--back to weekly posts for now!

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

May 15, 2014

Nordic Snowflake Beanie | Hat Week

Welcome back to Hat Week! If you have missed any of the past hats in the series, you can find them here: 


About a month ago, I made this birthday beanie with some DROPS Karisma wool that I love. I only used half of the yarn I bought for the first hat, so I immediately started looking around for another Nordic hat pattern to use the extra yarn. I couldn't find a Nordic snowflake hat I liked, so I decided to make one myself. I found a color pattern for a traditional Nordic snowflake and altered it to fit the basic DROPS pattern I used for the past beanie.

I knit the beanie during the return bus trip from a fabulous choir trip and competition at Disneyland. Between the knitting and interspersed games of "Heads Up!" the time passed by much faster.



Thanks for modeling for me, Ruth!
Nordic Snowflake Beanie Pattern
Yarn: DROPS Karisma Superwash: 50 g (1 skein) Navy Blue #17 (A), less than 25 g (1/2 skein) Light Grey #44 (B)
Gauge: 21 sts x 28 rows = 4 x 4 in. (10 x 10 cm) in US 6 stockinette
Finished size: head circumference approx. 21 in. (54 cm), height approx. 9 in. (23 cm)
Needles: US 2 – circular (16 in / 40 cm) or double pointed
                US 6 – circular (16 in. / 40 cm) and double-pointed
Other materials: yarn needle, ruler, stitch marker

Instructions:
CO 120 with US 2 in A (navy). Place a stitch marker to indicate end of round.
For first 2 in (5 cm), rib K2P2 around.
When piece measures 2 in (5 cm), switch to US 6 circular needles.
Row 1: K all and dec 24 sts evenly around to have 96 sts.
Row 2: With B, K all.
Row 3: With A, K all.
Row 4: With B, K all.
Rows 5-6: With A, K all.

Rows 7-21: Follow color chart rows 1-15, knitting each row with six repetitions. Take caution to keep the yarn loose.
If you don’t want to look at the chart, you can follow the written instructions below:

Row 7 (chart row 1): *K1 A, K1 B, K1 A, K1B, K3 A, K1 B, K3 A, K1 B, K1 A, K1 B, K2 A*, repeat * to * 5 more times
Row 8 (2): *K1 B, K2 A, K2 B, K5 A, K2 B, K2 A, K1 B, K1 A*, repeat * to * 5 more times
Row 9 (3): *K3 A, K3 B, K3 A, K3 B, K3 A, K1 B*, repeat * to * 5 more times
Row 10 (4): *K3 B, K1 A, K3 B, K1 A, K3 B, K1 A, K3 B, K1 A*, repeat * to * 5 more times
Row 11 (5): *K1 A, K3 B, K1 A, K2 B, K1 A, K2 B, K1 A, K3 B, K2 A*, repeat * to * 5 more times
Row 12 (6): *K2 A, K3 B, K1 A, K1 B, K1 A, K1 B, K1 A, K3 B, K2 A, K1 A*, repeat * to * 5 more times
Row 13 (7): *K1 B, K2A, K3 B, K1 A, K1 B, K1 A, K3 B, K2 A, K1 B, K1 A*, repeat * to * 5 more times
Row 14 (8): *K1 A, K1 B, K4 A, K1 B, K1 A, K1 B, K4 A, K1 B, K2 A*, repeat * to * 5 more times
Row 15 (9): *K1 B, K2A, K3 B, K1 A, K1 B, K1 A, K3 B, K2 A, K1 B, K1 A*, repeat * to * 5 more times
Row 16 (10): *K2 A, K3 B, K1 A, K1 B, K1 A, K1 B, K1 A, K3 B, K2 A, K1 A*, repeat * to * 5 more times
Row 17 (11): *K1 A, K3 B, K1 A, K2 B, K1 A, K2 B, K1 A, K3 B, K2 A*, repeat * to * 5 more times
Row 18 (12): *K3 B, K1 A, K3 B, K1 A, K3 B, K1 A, K3 B, K1 A*, repeat * to * 5 more times
Row 19 (13): *K3 A, K3 B, K3 A, K3 B, K3 A, K1 B*, repeat * to * 5 more times
Row 20 (14): *K1 B, K2 A, K2 B, K5 A, K2 B, K2 A, K1 B, K1 A*, repeat * to * 5 more times
Row 21 (15): *K1 A, K1 B, K1 A, K1B, K3 A, K1 B, K3 A, K1 B, K1 A, K1 B, K2 A*, repeat * to * 5 more times

Rows 22-23: With A, K all.
Row 24: With B, K all.
Row 25: With A, K all.
Row 26: With B, K all.

When piece is 7 in (18 cm) long, begin decrease. Switch to double-pointed needles when needed.
Row 1: *K4, K2tog*, repeat * to *. You will now have 80 sts.
Row 2 (and all remaining even rows): K all.
Row 3: *K3, K2tog*, repeat * to *. You will now have 64 sts.
Row 5: *K2, K2tog*, repeat * to *. You will now have 48 sts.
Row 7: *K1, K2tog*, repeat * to *. You will now have 32 sts.
Row 9: K2tog across. You will now have 16 sts.
Row 11: K2tog across. You will now have 8 sts.

Cut yarn, leaving an eight-inch tail. Weave in the ends and tuck in all other yarn ends. No blocking necessary.

Abbreviations:
K – knit
P – purl
st(s) – stitch(es)
CO – cast on
K2P2 – knit 2, purl 2
dec – decrease
A – Yarn color A (in example, navy), the color used for ribbing and background of snowflakes.
B – Yarn color B (in example, light grey), the color used for the snowflakes.
Kn A – Knit number of stitches with yarn color A
K2tog – Knit 2 stitches together to decrease

You can find a printable version of this pattern here.

You can find this pattern on Ravelry here.

Tune in tomorrow for the final post of Hat Week!

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

May 14, 2014

Child's Heart Hat | Hat Week

Welcome to day three of Hat Week! Tune in every day this week for a new hat and other hat-tastic thrills.

If you missed the previous hats, you can find them here:


Burnt Sunset Cabled Beanie | Kinsey's Beanie

So recently I've been trying to come up with projects that solely involve yarn I already own. As I was brainstorming project ideas to work on over a long bus ride down to Disneyland, I came across some fuzzy yarn that I've had for ages but totally forgot about. I had balls in two tones of pink that I thought would be suitable for a child's hat with some simple color work, and I made up a pattern for the hat and heart color pattern, and off I went.

It took only a few stitches for me to remember how much I hate this type of yarn. It's fuzzy, but it can't breathe at all, which is even more unfortunate when I'm knitting it as we're bussing down one of the many freeways of Los Angeles. But I was eager to finish the hat so I could use up the yarn and never look at it again.



And, since I'm still new to colorwork, I didn't manage to keep the back strands loose enough, so the hat is unwearable. At least it still looks good on Pooh!



I'm including this hat this week as a reminder that not all ideas work out on the first attempt. I think the pattern still has potential, but not with this yarn. Regardless, I'll let the pattern and yarn sleep a while until I come up with a better idea on how to use them to their utmost potential.

Tomorrow will feature a successful hat attempt, I promise! 

Keep crafting, and keep messing up. This way you'll know you're still pushing yourself. :)

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

May 13, 2014

Kinsey's Beanie | Hat Week

Welcome back to Hat Week! Check back every day this week for a new hat and other surprises.

If you missed yesterday's hat, you can check it out here:

Burnt Sunset Cabled Beanie

I also made today's hat over Spring Break. I'm calling it "Kinsey's Beanie" because I'm using extra scrap yarn from her birthday scarf and sprucing it up with some novelty yarn she gave me for my birthday last fall. So it's truly Kinsey's; too bad Ruth stole it the second it was done! Here's a pattern below with directions for making it in the round or just with straight needles. Enjoy!


Kinsey's Beanie, April 2014. 



Kinsey's Beanie Pattern
Finished size: 18" circumference, 9" tall
Difficulty: Beginner
Yarn: Loops and Threads Charisma in Dark Purple, less than 1 skein (A)
Knitting Fever's Spice in Color 03, less than 1/2 ball (B)
Needles: US 11 (8 mm)
Gauge: 4 sts and 7 rows is 5 x 5 cm
You can knit in the round (20 in. cord max), with double-pointed needles, or straight and then sew it together later
You will also need a yarn needle and ruler.

Directions:
Cast on 44 sts with A.
Rows 1-7 or first 5 cm/2 in (brim): K 2, P 2 across.
Rows 8-30 or until garment is 18-20 cm./7 in.: With A and B together, K all RS, P all WS (if knitted in the round, K all)
Row 31: * K 4, K 2 tog * repeat * to *, end K 2 = 37 sts
Row 32 (and all remaining even rows): K all if in the round, otherwise P all
Row 33: * K 3, K 2 tog * repeat * to *, end K 2 = 30 sts
Row 35: * K 2, K 2 tog * repeat * to *, end K 2 = 23 sts
Row 37: * K 1, K 2 tog * repeat * to *, end K 2 = 16 sts
Row 39: K 2 tog all = 8 sts

Cut yarn ten inches long, and tie together remaining stitches. Sew together right sides together if not knit in the round, and weave in the ends.

Abbreviations: 
K - Knit
P - Purl
RS - right side of fabric
WS - wrong side of fabric
K 2 tog - knit two stitches together (decrease one)
sts - stitches

If you would like a printable version of this pattern, click here.

If you would like to access this pattern on Ravelry, click here.

I'll be back tomorrow with a new child's hat!

Until then, 
Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

May 12, 2014

Burnt Sunset Cabled Beanie | Hat Week

Welcome to Hat Week!  Check back every day this week for a new hat and a few other surprises.

I know warm hats haven't been on your minds since February, but I am constantly daydreaming about them. Hats are great for trying new techniques and depleting yarn stashes, both of which are huge benefits for a knitter. I've been trying to think of projects to use up my enormous yarn stash, and hats are certainly my go-to idea. Hats are also fun to make because they are generally small and quick projects, and as we all know, the quicker a project can be done, the more likely it will ever be done.

I designed and made today's cabled beanie during Spring Break, when I was sick and wholly unproductive the entire week. I made up the pattern and promptly forgot it as soon as I finished it. It was quickly knit in a single day, but is currently going unworn and unclaimed. If anyone would like it, just let me know--the yarn is super soft and comfy!

Burnt Sunset Cabled Beanie, April 2014.  Dimensions: 15" diameter, 8" height



Check back tomorrow for a new hat!

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

May 8, 2014

Glass Beads

The art of glass is an extreme craft--extreme in temperature, extreme in cost, and extreme in the amount of energy it can consume. I am also an extreme beginner. Glass is around us everywhere, which makes it remarkable that we are so detached from the process of glassmaking. A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my first time glass blowing. That was a couple of years ago, but this year I learned to make glass beads via glass torch at the Bay Area Glass Institute in San Jose.


As glass beads are much smaller than the pieces I made in glass blowing, the conditions are much more...temperate. The flame (propane and oxygen) is only a few hundred degrees and much more manageable than the 2,000+ F crucible and glory holes. Another notable difference is that the glass starts in the solid state to be melted into the molten malleable state instead of starting molten. There is still a safety hazard, so we wear sunglasses to protect our eyes from the negative effects of staring at the bright yellow flame for hours at a time.


To make a bead, first melt some glass and wrap it around a stick with your indicator color already melted on (my indicator color is white). Then, depending on the design, melt other colors on as spots or stripes. You can have extra additions be melted into a smooth layer or stand out. Marble color combinations are also an option. You can also change the shape of the bead with tweezers or rolling the glass on the flat black surface right below the flame.


After the glass arrangement is done, it's time to put it in the cooling oven (annealer) where the glass gradually cools from a few hundred degrees to about 80F. Small pieces can break off in the process, so at this point the turnout of the beads is still up in the air.


There's lots more I could mention about the bead making process, but that's the jist of it. Here are all the finished beads from my first time using the torch!




This long bead was made in one piece, but I guess something happened in the annealer to make it split into three pieces. I could superglue it all together, though.
This was my first attempt at an owl. It's not easy! And the left wing broke off in the annealer, so this owl is disabled.
This was my second attempt at an owl. Both wings stayed on, but the nose burned off in the kiln/annealer.


There was no formal lesson on how to make a butterfly, but I tried to figure it out myself. I guess it worked out alright.
All the finished beads!

I also have an exciting announcement! Next week will be Hat Week! Check back every week day next week for a new hat or two I've made recently starting Monday, May 12.

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth

May 1, 2014

DIY Prom Dress!

One of the top items on my craft bucket list has always been to make a dress. I know that the only way I could ever actually realize this lofty goal would be if I had an inelastic deadline for completion and did it with someone else for extra moral support, advice, and enjoyment. So, making prom dresses with Gowri perfectly fit in to my prerequisites: the date of Prom is a deadline set in stone, and Gowri certainly counts as a fellow DIY-er. 

We started the process in February by deciding on the style of our dresses. Since I've never made a dress before, I insisted on having some sort of tutorial. My dress is based mostly from this excellent tutorial done by a Dutch YouTuber. 

Basic Strapless Prom Dress

We almost ordered fabric online, but fortunately we ordered samples first, and from those we realized that buying chiffon from Jo-Ann's was a better bet. After one trip, we had our fabric and supplies purchased for less than $40 each! My budget wasn't that tight but I'll take it... ;)

Probably the only time I've used my Economics and Environmental Science textbooks this semester.
We each made our own patterns and sewed away during spare moments on the weekends. Although my pattern was considerably harder then Gowri's, I was still impressed by how hard it wasn't. Yes, it took time, and no, I hardly did anything right the first time, but it was always doable. I'm sure my next dress will come together in a fraction of the time. 



I didn't fully go by the YouTube tutorial. I made the inner skirt full-length and decided not to do a slit down the middle. I sewed in two rows of bugle beads along the top of the sweetheart neckline for some subtle bling, and added more elastic for support. And for the belt, I made a sash with 12" of the same chiffon fabric.

The tasks of sewing a zipper and sewing with chiffon (and jersey) were new to me with this project. I found these online tutorials to be extremely helpful. 

Sewing a Zipper


My other main advice is to baste virtually every seam by hand when dealing with difficult fabrics. My seam ripper and I were spending a lot of time together until I started basting everything before I messed up...

At the end, the dress turned out, thankfully! I finished it at noon of the day of prom. Fortunately, my poor time management at the end didn't end up in disaster, and the dress didn't even self-destruct halfway through the night!


I also did my own hair. I based it off this Cute Girls Hairstyles tutorial. The difference is that I curled my hair first and then joined it all in a side ponytail with a flipthrough.


And here we are with our handmade dresses. Gowri's dress was black lace with a forest green jersey underneath. So glam!



To everyone who was also at prom last weekend, thanks for a great night! 

Good luck on finals, AP tests, and the increasingly vigilant senioritis virus. We're almost done!

Happy Crafting!!
--Elizabeth