A little DIYing and Knitting

How has your summer been going? Have you knocked off many things on your never-ending to-do list or DIY list? I’ve been able to do a little crafting for items that have been on my list or jumped to the top of my never ending list overnight.

As a blogger I sometimes have a hard time taking photographs… Meaning, the background is never what I want. I always find myself moving things around my counter or on my kitchen table to get the right shot. During these warmer months I am fortunate that I can head out into my backyard and take pictures on my picnic table without too much worry of obstructions in the background… Grass isn’t bad as background I think. It’s especially difficult when I take pictures of some of my jewelry pieces or yarn projects… I have to wait until the light is just right (which is still usually in my kitchen) and set up a snack table with a white foam board as a backdrop to get the “right” shot. But, sometimes you want a little more color and personality than just a plain white board and I personally think that the white background isn’t always complementary. So, I did a little DIYing and created some backdrops myself. Now I know that you can purchase more sophisticated and professional looking one’s online, but, I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted and I am one who believes that if I can do something myself instead of paying someone else to do it then I might as well do it. Also, I just love creating things. It’s one of the ways I learn new things and get ideas for other things.

So, one day while I was at my local Jo-Ann’s I picked up project paper in two different patterns – quatrefoil and chrysanthemum – and decided to give this DIY project a go. I began by cutting a piece of the decorative paper bigger than my foam board. After covering my work surface with newspaper I sprayed the foam board with adhesive spray and carefully placed the paper on top of it, smoothing out any bumps. After letting the glue dry overnight, the following day I folded the excess paper around the edges and taped them to the back. To ensure that I would get smooth corners I cut the paper on an angle there before folding it over.

Backdrop Collage

And now I have two colorful and decorative backdrops than I can use for an array of things!

IMG_9009

Next up… Flower Crowns. Last year I went to the Renaissance Faire in upstate New York – I had wanted to go for years. I truthfully had no idea what to expect, all I knew was that the description made it sound like fun, and it was. So much so that I went again this year. While there last year I was tempted to buy a flower crown, not sure what stopped me. Oh yeah, I know, the fact that I would never wear it. I won’t even put a hat on my head when it’s freezing cold outside! This year my friends daughters were coming along for the fun; although only the eldest one ended up going. So I decided to make them flower crowns to wear!

Supplies needed are silk flowers, floral wire and tape, wire shears and a hot glue gun.

IMG_8531

After measuring the girls’ heads with the floral wire I wrapped the ends with the tape and began gluing flowers to it.

IMG_8703

And it wasn’t long before I had completed both flower crowns.

IMG_8707 IMG_8714

And finally, my knitting project, which at the moment is a WIP – a work in progress. I finally taught myself Entrelac and I am quite excited about it (Hmmm… maybe I need to get out more!) Anyhoo… It’s been on my to-do list for years and I just never got around to it, but, I made it a point to hunker down this summer and learn. And thanks to YouTube the pattern didn’t seem as confusing as I initially thought. Oh, and I am sure you may be wondering… Entrelac is an interlace knitting pattern that creates a textured diamond pattern.

IMG_9005

Here’s a close-up shot of it… While it may look as though it’s different strips of yarn woven together it’s the complete opposite, the entire scarf is knitted in one piece with a series of triangles and squares. It sort of reminds me of a basketweave pattern, but, on an angle. Using yarn such as this one – Lion Brand’s Amazing – really helps one to appreciate the pattern because of the color variations.

IMG_9006

And that’s been my summer thus far on a crafting perspective!

 

A Blanket, a Runner and a Scarf

I recently completed a few crocheting/knitting projects – one was sitting on my needles a little longer than I had hoped, one came together rather quickly and another was semi-done but just waiting to be sewn together.

Up first a baby blanket that was a cinch to make. This is actually the third baby blanket I’ve completed this year – I previously made a Violet V-Stitch Baby Blanket and a Baby Blue Basketweave Blanket. Every time I make one I try to find a completely different pattern to follow and for this one I opted to use the Spring Ripple Baby Throw pattern from the Lion Brand Yarn website. At first I wasn’t seeing the ripple pattern come through but midway through it became clearer. I’m really happy with how this blanket came out and I loved the yarn I used – Loops & Threads Snuggly Wuggly in Doodle Dots. It wasn’t too heavy or too light which is perfect since the baby it’s meant for is due in late spring.

IMG_0026 IMG_0108

And next a crochet project that I actually started late last year… the Crochet Shapes Table Runner, once again a pattern from the Lion Brand Yarn website. I liked this pattern even before I knew how to crochet because of the different motifs it consisted of. I had crocheted all the motifs but needed to stitch them together, unfortunately I got sidetracked with other projects before doing so. I ended up putting the motifs away but it was always in the back of my mind that I needed to finish it and I recently found the time to do so.

The table runner consists of six motifs: Octagon Star, Granny Stitch Hexagon, Circle in the Square, Octagon, Six Petal Flower & Flower Center Circular.

Motifs

And when all of these pieces are stitched together you have a unique and customized table runner.

IMG_0392

Finally, a scarf that I began when a fellow blogger, For The Knit Of It, ran a knit-a-long back in March. The pattern chosen was the Bosc Pattern from Robin Ulrich. And yes, Bosc as in pears. If you look closely at the scarf you can actually see the curves of pears in the pattern. I loved the pattern and was excited to work on it, but, getting it started was such a task. Just getting to this point – the first 10 rows of the pattern – took me about 10 tries.

IMG_9769

The reason… the pattern consisted of numerous yarn overs and I kept missing them and would ultimately have to start over. (Knitting is not as forgiving as crocheting.) To combat that I actually typed of the pattern and then marked where the yarn overs would be so I wouldn’t keep missing them. Once I did that working on the pattern was a piece of cake. Unfortunately for myself it wasn’t the type of pattern that I could mindlessly work on while watching television so it took me a lot longer to complete it than I had hoped. I am happy though that I didn’t give up on it and am looking forward to wearing it next winter.

IMG_0355 IMG_0369

Baby Blue Basketweave Blanket

I started this blanket a few weeks ago after I finished the Violet V-Stitch Baby Blanket. I should say though that I started this blanket quite a few times before I got it right. From the get-go I ran into stumbling blocks to get it done.

To make this blanket I used Lion Brand Pound of Love Yarn and size 10.5 circular knitting needles  . The pattern I was planning on using called for two strands of the yarn to be held together so I decided to take this huge skein of yarn

IMG_9392

and unwind it

IMG_9398

and then wound it up into a ball – which was no easy task since I ran into a few tangles along the way. Once I got to this point I was happy and ready to begin knitting. But, my joy was short-lived.

IMG_9416

The pattern I initially wanted to follow is called the Seed Stitch Baby Blanket from the Lion Brand Yarn website. Unfortunately I had a hard time following the seed stitch* pattern on circular knitting needles. So, I had to scratch that idea and look for a new pattern. I opted to go with a basketweave pattern since I had made a blanket following the pattern once before with the same yarn. The pattern I semi-followed is the baby blanket from the Simply Perfect Baby Set** also from the Lion Brand Yarn website. I knew I had to make modifications to the pattern though to get the blanket to be a decent size; when I made this before I ended up following the pattern exactly and ended up with a fairly small blanket (approximately 18 in x 24 in). To make the blanket larger I ended up knitting four mini blankets and stitching them together.  I didn’t want to do that this time so I decided to modify the original pattern.

So, the original pattern called for casting on 88 stitches, but I opted for 90 stitches and added the two additional stitches to the side border of the blanket. All was going fine until I realized that somewhere along the line I had added on an extra stitch, so I was working with 91 stitches as opposed to 90, and unfortunately knitting isn’t as forgiving as crocheting. It’s possible to hide a stitch while crocheting with no one being the wiser but when you are knitting it’s not so easy. (If anyone has figured out how to do so please share!) So, I had to start over.

On my second go at it I noticed that my rows for the basketweave weren’t as wide as I remembered them to be from the first time I made the blanket and I immediately realized it was because I was working in intervals of six rows as opposed to twelve rows. So, I started again.

But, a few rows into the pattern I decided that it looked better with the smaller intervals so I took what I had done thus far off the needles and decided to start AGAIN! I also noticed that the blanket wasn’t going to be very wide so I opted to cast on 100 stitches instead of my original 90.

I figured at this point I was good to go, but, I had one more hiccup to overcome. With the original pattern the basketweave is created using an even number of blocks in the rows, but, when I added the additional ten stitches the basketweave pattern was now going to be created over an odd number, nine to be exact. I should note that that didn’t even cross my mind when I decided to add the additional ten stitches; it was only when I finished my first row and wanted to follow the pattern that I realized it wasn’t going to work. Thankfully the solution came to me quickly. Essentially with basketweave you are knitting the purl stitches and purling the knit stitches as you go along to create the illusion of the weave – basically a version of seed stitch. So I just needed to do that as I went along and I was good to go. From that point on the blanket was a cinch to make. Sometimes the most simplest things are the most difficult to make.

And here’s the final product that measures approximately 29.5 in x 31.5 in.

IMG_9676 IMG_9691

Here’s the pattern I ultimately used:

Basketweave Blanket:

Cast on 100 stitches

Knit 10 rows

Row 1: Knit 5, *knit 10, purl 10; repeat from * to last 5 stitches, knit last 5 stitches

Row 2: Knit 5, *purl 10, knit 10; repeat from * to last 5 stitches, knit last 5 stitches

Rows 3, 5: Repeat Row 1

Rows 4, 6: Repeat Row 2

Row 7: Knit 5, *purl 10, knit 10; repeat from * to last 5 stitches, knit last 5 stitches

Row 8: Knit 5, *knit 10, purl 10; repeat from * to last 5 stitches, knit last 5 stitches

Rows 9, 11: Repeat Row 7 Rows 10, 12:

Repeat Row 8 Repeat Rows 1-12 twelve more times

Repeat Rows 1-6 one time

Knit 10 rows

Bind off

 

*Seed Stitch (over an even number of stitches)

Courtesy Lion Brand Yarn

Row 1: *K1, P1; repeat from * across

Row 2: P the knit stitches, and K the purl stitches

Repeat Row 2 for Seed Stitch

 

**Simply Perfect Baby Set Blanket

Courtesy Lion Brand Yarn

Cast on 88 stitches

Knit 10 rows

Begin working in pattern stitch as follows:

Row 1: knit 4, *knit 10, purl 10; repeat from * to last 4 stitches, knit last 4 stitches

Rows 2-12: Repeat row 1 Row 13: knit 4, *purl 10, knit 10; repeat from * to last 4 stitches, knit last 4 stitches

Rows 14-24: Repeat row 2 Repeat rows 1-24 five more times

Knit 10 rows

Bind off

Violet V-Stitch Baby Blanket

After two weeks of crocheting I completed the baby blanket I’ve been working on. I followed a simple V-Stitch pattern and ended up with a blanket that measures 34×39 inches. A little bigger than what the pattern I followed suggested it would be (33×36 inches) but I also used a different kind of yarn (Red Heart Soft Baby Steps yarn as opposed to Lion Brand Babysoft yarn) and added a different border to it. When it comes to blankets I don’t think it hurts for it to be a little bigger as long as it’s proportionately correct.

The pattern called for adding a border around the perimeter of the blanket. I was a little unsure of how to do it from reading the directions, but, as I suspected once I started I immediately got the hang of it. To do so I first worked single crochets around the outside edge of the blanket and then in the second round added the decorative border by working into those single crochets. The pattern called for creating a picot edge. I decided to check out videos on YouTube to see how to make them and after a few attempts I couldn’t get the hang of them myself so I decided to go a different route and added a scalloped edge instead. To create the scalloped edge I worked a half-double crochet, double crochet, treble crochet, double crochet, half-double crochet into every third single crochet.

IMG_9371

And here’s the final product…

IMG_9389

Next up… Another baby blanket – a Seed Stitch Baby Blanket – which I am sure will take me a little longer to make since I will be knitting it on circular knitting needles.

IMG_9392

This is the pattern that I used as a basis for creating the blanket.

V-Stitch Baby Throw Pattern

Courtesy: Lion Brand (www.lionbrand.com)

Throw

Ch 148

Row 1: (dc, ch1, dc) in 5th ch from hook (V-St made) *sk next 2 ch, V-st in next ch; rep from * across to last 2 ch, sk next ch, dc in last ch – 48 V-sts at the end of this row

Row 2 – 78: Ch 3, turn, V-st in ch-1 sp of each V-st across, dc in top of turning ch. Do no fasten off.

Finishing

Border

Rnd 1: Do not turn, work sc evenly spaced around entire outside edge of Throw, working 3 sc in each corner st; join with sl st in first sc.

Rnd 2: *Ch 2, sl st in 2nd ch from hook (picot made), sk next sc, sl st in next 2 sc; rep from * around.

Note: As you near the end of Rnd 2, count your remaining sts. If necessary, you can sl st in 1 or in 3 sc (instead of 2 sc), in order to end the rnd evenly.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Abbreviations:

ch – chain

dc – double crochet

sk – skip

st – stitch

sp – space

sc – single crochet

sl – slip

Knitting for the Holidays

I wasn’t intending on knitting or crocheting any Christmas gifts this year except for the toddler hat and scarf set I had finished a month or two ago for a friend’s daughter, but, when another friend sent me a pic of cowl neck scarf she liked with button closures I decided that I would have time to finish this one item. Every year I find myself racing to finish things a day or two before Christmas because at times I can be such a procrastinator and as we all know the Christmas holiday just sort of sneaks up on you regardless of how early you start your shopping and/or crafting. There was actually one year that I was up until 2am Christmas morning finishing up scarves… Not fun!

While I did start this project about two weeks prior to the holiday I knew I would be able to get it done since I opted to use Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Yarn. This is probably my favorite yarn to knit with since as its name suggests it does work up quite quickly. I did crochet a scarf with it once and for me personally I find it too thick to crochet with. I opted to use neutral colors – Black and Grey Marble – this way the scarf could match with anything. As for the buttons, I spent a good amount of time at my local JoAnn’s trying to find the right ones. I really wanted wooden ones but, the only wooden cylinder shaped ones were on the small side so I decided to go with simple black ones.

IMG_8916

As for a pattern, I sort of followed one that I found on the Lion Brand Yarn website – the Buttoned Cowl – but, modified it a bit this way my finished product would be bulkier. Essentially I just casted on more stitches than the original pattern called for, forty-one vs. twenty-seven. Since the pattern just called for a straightforward garter stitch – knitting every row – I knew this was going to be a piece of cake. I really wanted to knit this in a rib pattern, but, was having a hard time adjusting the pattern into one that would still incorporate the stitches to create the buttonholes. Speaking of buttonholes, it took a few tries before I was able to get them right. I kept missing one and would end up with only three as opposed to four. After about five tries though I finally got it right and I was on my way. If by any chance you are wondering, I decided to start with the grey marble yarn as opposed to the black yarn this way the black buttons would stand out on it.

IMG_8930

I wanted the finished cowl to be approximately twenty-four inches so I worked in garter stitch for about twelve inches, which equates to about fifty-eight rows and then I switched to the black yarn.

IMG_8978

After knitting another fifty-eight rows with the black yarn and binding off this is what I ended up with. Admittedly it doesn’t look like much and I was a little concerned that I wasn’t going to be happy with it.

IMG_9009

But, once I sewed the two buttons on – for buttonholes one and three – and tried it on I was happy with how it looked. And while this picture makes it seem like it’s on the small side it actually has a considerable amount of stretch to it.

IMG_9011

And although my mannequin isn’t doing it justice, its intended recipient was very happy with it and it fit her perfectly.

IMG_9022

And finally, here’s a pic of the toddler-sized hat and scarf set I made. She was ecstatic with it, especially since it matched her new pink coat so well. Making a pom-pom and adding fringe to a scarf was a first for me with this set but it definitely added that fun factor that little kids accessories always need.

IMG_9153

Knitted Flower Headband

I’ve seen knitted headbands practically everywhere this season that I got inspired to make one.

While I do have a decent stash of leftover yarn from previous projects that would have sufficed for this small one, I ended up buying a new skein of yarn after coming across it on sale at my local Michaels store. I am partial to most shades of blue and this basic navy blue yarn from Loops & Threads Charisma caught my eye. The one downfall about this yarn is that it fuzzes a great deal so I doubt I’ll be using it again.

IMG_8826

I opted to semi-follow the Seed Stitch Headband pattern from Lion Brand modifying it a bit to get my desired length and width. Using size 9 knitting needles I casted on 13 stitches (which gave me a width of 4 1/4 inches) and then simply followed a pattern of Slip 1, *P1, K1 (repeat from * to end of row) and continuing it for each row until I reached a length of 20 inches.

IMG_8858
I decided I wanted to spruce up this basic headband so I crocheted a simple flower to attach to it. Once again I followed a Lion Brand Yarn pattern – the Six-Petal Flower Motif – using Red Heart yarn that I had leftover from my Easy Slouchy Beret Hat. This actually wasn’t my first yarn choice to make the flower. I wanted to incorporate a sparkle yarn with the navy blue yarn but unfortunately the navy yarn was just too thick to work with.
IMG_8859
Now that I had all of my pieces it was time to put this headband together.
IMG_8856
I first stitched the two ends of the headband together and then attached the flower and was quite pleased with the final product. I’m sure I’ll make a few more of these, if anything, just for fun.
IMG_8874

Ruffle Scarves

I came across Red Heart’s Boutique Sashay yarn at my local Michael’s store and thought it looked pretty cool, but, I had no idea how to use it – it’s a fishnet yarn that creates ruffles as you knit or crochet with it. So, after watching a few video tutorials and finding a pattern for a scarf I was ready to try out this new yarn.

 

With my first attempt at making the scarf I started by casting on 10 stitches, but, as I was going along I soon realized that the scarf was going to be a bit too puffy for my liking.

So, I started over by casting on only 8 stitches and was much happier with the final result. Using only one ball of yarn and knitting every row I ended up with a pretty cool looking scarf.

I’ve actually made a few more in different colors after a friend saw mine and requested I make her some. Once I realized that it was quicker and easier to work with the yarn by winding it into a ball before knitting, making these additional scarves was a piece of cake.

And in turn she showed hers to someone and they requested I make some for them to give as Christmas gifts. So I have a few colors all wound up and ready to be knitted.