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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Summer Season Kickoff

I know this blog has taken a backseat to a lot of things, and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be frustrating for readers. I've recently found new blogs to love and revisited some old chums, and it made me realize how badly I needed to start keeping up with this blog.

So, with that mostly-direct apology, I would like to introduce you to my Free-Form Felted Needle Cozy!

And when I say “Free-Form”, I mean it! The only pattern-dependent portion of this project is the cable braid that is sewn along the middle. Even then, if you have a favorite flat-cable pattern, feel free to substitute it here.

Any scrap wool you have lying around.
Note: Do NOT use pre-washed or pretreated wool. It will not felt!
Any size knitting needle that gives you tight stitches
A sewing machine with multiple stitch options
Needles to be stored

Measure your shortest needles and add an inch to the size. Cast on enough stitches to reach that width, then knit on until you feel like changing the pattern.
Measure your next-largest length of needles and increase stitches on one end to reach an inch larger than your needles. Continue on knitting as before, but not with more stitches!
Continue increasing size until you feel the piece is long enough or you've run out of yarn. Bind off in your preferred manner and set the body of work aside.
Cast on 16 sts and knit in the following manner:

Rows 1, 3 and 5 (RS): Knit.
Row 2 and all WS rows: K2, p to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 7: k2, sl 6 sts to cn and hold in FRONT, k6, k6 from cn, k2.
Rows 9 and 11: Knit.
Row 12: Rep Row 2.

Knit until the piece is just slightly shorter than the longest length of the cozy's body. The knitting will stretch when sewn.
Pin the cable to the cozy in your preferred manner.
Set your knitting machine to a wide-stitch setting. I recommend this one:

Sew along the four edges, making sure to catch the edge firmly in the stitch. This particular stitch will hold down more of the yarn than a single-line stitch, securing the cable more securely.
You're done! Push your needles into the cable and enjoy your new cozy.

You can create an I-Cord and sew it to the back of the cozy to keep it closed when it is rolled up. I'd recommend only sewing it in one spot, at the center, so that it can be adjusted based on how tight you roll the cozy.

This concludes my first-ever tutorial! Please let me know what you think in the comments below!

In my next post, I will be reviewing not three, not four, but five recipes from the lovely website, Pinterest.

Until then, Blessed Be.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Few Quick Updates...

It's Spring Break here in the muddy Midwest, which means I finally have time to get back to all of you lovely people!

Between classes, clubs, and work shift, I haven't had much time for crafting, but I have managed a few hours to myself here and there to spend on crafting. I've come close to finishing a few projects, and I expect to use the next week to get them done! Why the rush, you ask?

Brace yourself folks:

Our moving deadline was pushed up!

Instead of moving in the scorching heat of summer, we'll be trundling across the country in January 2013.

I could not be more excited! The family, the food... the MOUNTAINS! Our relocation out West has been a long time coming, for me at least, and January couldn't get here fast enough.

In the mean time, I have quite a bit to do! Mr. Spiral and I aim to go through our apartment this week and weed out things we don't need. I have until January to finish my projects, and then there are all the usual steps to take before one moves.

Fear not, lovely readers. Though school may distract me, you won't fall by the wayside because of the move!

One final note before I go: Mercury is in retrograde and will be until the beginning of April. Make sure you communicate clearly for the next month and be careful when you travel.

In my next post I will show off the lovely felted needle cozy I made (and it's one of The Projects I have to do!)

Until next time, Blessed Be.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My New Year's "Resolutions"

Let me start of this post by making one thing painfully clear:
I hate "resolutions"

I never actually live up to my New Year's promises and the rest of the year feels wasted because I never completed that one thing I said I would.

This year is different!

When midnight struck and I toasted my assembled friends, talk turned to resolution. Many had the usual resolutions:

"I'm going to lose 10 pounds!"
"I'm going to quit smoking!"
"I will erase my debt to (Company Name)!"

I alone sat quiet while my friends made promises to the newborn year. Eventually someone looked at me and asked what my resolution was. Imagine their shock when I said that I had no New Year's resolutions.

That's right folks, I have absolutely NO New Year's resolutions! This does not mean that I don't have any goals, quite the opposite. My lack of resolutions simply means that if I fail to complete my goals, I don't feel disappointed. And almost every goal I have has a much longer deadline than the end of 2012.

For those of you curious to know what my goals and deadlines are, here's a list:
1. Write 1 freelance article (end of 2012)
2. Finish every UFO hanging around our apartment (Summer 2013)
3. Be able to run a mile (Summer of 2013)

In case you're wondering, the "Summer 2013" deadlines are set because DH and I are moving in summer 2013 and these things need to be accomplished before then. I've been meaning to get on these thing for a while but packing up everything you own and relocating really makes you focus on your priorities.

That's it folks! Pretty spiffy eh? And without all the "resolution pressure" I've been doing great!

My next few posts will be about the projects I've got to finish. Until then, Blessed Be.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pinterest Review: Wooden Heart Tags

For those of you who have never heard of Pinterst, let me fill you in on why this site is the best thing since warm Italian bread. After you've set yourself up, usually through an invitation from a friend, you can create "boards". There is no limit to the number of boards you can create and the options for board themes are endless. I create a board every time I want to plan a party, though I delete them once the party is over. Some of my permanent boards include a Harry Potter fan board, a board of recipes DH and I want to try, a board of home decor and alteration ideas, and a fashion board. These four themes barely scratch the surface of my boards and I have seen dozen of themes on other Pinners' pages. And if you find something online that you want to add to your board, you can create a pin of it. So if you like crafting, home decor, cooking, general hobbies, fashion, and/or organizing all your ideas in one place, then Pinterest is the place for you!

And with that site plug, we are ready to move on to the review.

Wooden Gift Tags
The women in my family are getting ornaments for Yule this year, but they are no ordinary ornaments. Each one is knit in the shape of an apple and hung with a wooden tag labeled with a family member's name. Starting with the woman and moving down her direct line, the ornaments make up a "family tree". Everything was going well until I started looking for a way to label the apples.

Pinterst to the Rescue!!

I was browsing the site one day and came across this pin which led me to the Etsy shop of Rusticblend. The shop has many charming wares, but I really could not afford to pay that much for the number of tags I needed. After looking over the original pin for a bit, I came up with a simple DIY version. They're not mini chalkboards like the ones in the Rusticblend shop, but the names on these tags needed to be permanent so it all worked out in the end.

1 Bag of 1 1/2" wooden tags from Michaels or Joann's (Heart, Circle, Star, etc)
1 Can of Matte black Krylon spray paint
1 Can of Krylon Low Order Clear Finish
1 Silver Paint Pen (Fine Tip)
1 Power Drill with small tip

1. Drill a hole far enough from the edge of the tag that the drill won't split the tag, but far enough from the center so there is room to write the person's name or other information.
2. Sand down any rough edges.
3. Lay out all the tags on a flat surface and spray paint them. You may need to do two or three coats to get everything covered evenly (front, back, edges, etc.). Allow the tags to dry per the instructions on the can.
4. Use the silver paint pen to write any necessary information on the tag.
5. Lay the tags out again and spray them with the Krylon Finish spray. Let them dry and then turn them over and spray the backs as well.

Once the tags are dry, loop a ribbon through the hole and attach it to the item in need of a tag.

All in all, you turn a bag of tags like this:

Into a set of gorgeous gift tags like these:

My next post will be a New Year's post. Until then, blessed be.
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