Free: December 2010 Archives
If you are in a pinch for a fabulous New Years Dress or just looking for a simple classic but easy dress to wear on the big night. Or you are a budget minded, but not less glamorous Diva looking to out-do all the 'Over-doers' then look no further. I have come up with a great modification of a simply beautiful knit dress, the Nancy Dress found in our Free Pattern Download section. You may previous have tagged this dress as a must-have for spring and summer but you are going to have to add it to your 'little black dress for all occasions' wardrobe category. Not only does this mod make the Nancy dress even better for Spring and Summer but also kicks up the wear ability for dates, dancing and enjoying the night into the wee hours. Because the Nancy dress is a knit dress you know it will be Uber comfy, will not wrinkle, super washable, packable and will swing and clingy like nobody's business while you shake your groove thing on the dance floor. But now you can add some extra style and security that strapless dress cannot offer. My modification is a simple an extra wide, one shoulder, gathered strap that really matches what is hot on the runways this fall. The best part is you don't need to purchase extra fabric to add this detail. You can find it in your scrapes from making the original Nancy dress. Here's the low down
Make your Nancy Dress according to the instructions. Once complete, cut a 6 in. by 19 in. strap from your remaining fabric. With right sides facing pin one end of the strap rectangle to the front of your dress on the side that you would like to have your strap, 1 in. in from the side seam. I put mine on the same side as fullest side of my hair (you ladies know what I mean) that way I could wear a chic barrette to keep that side of my hair back and show off my strap detail. With a ¼ in. seam allowance, stitch your strap on the front, back stitching at both ends. Now, on the back of your dress pin your strap (right sides facing) to the opposite side of the dress and stitch in place. Now mark the center of the strap and using a basting stitch, sew across that line. Gather your strap and secure with a regular stitch. This will add gathers on your strap which you can leave as is or highlight with a ribbon or pin. Your new fabulous Nancy Dress is done and ready for New Year's Eve Parties. You can be sexy and confident that your dress will stay put and you will look amazing all night long.
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A little something for you, a little something for a friend, a silk/wool cable cowl is just the thing. 100 percent luxurious, this delicious cowl is knitted of silk and wool (2 fibers known for their warm characteristics) with a wonderful cable and lace stitch pattern. Wear the Noel Cable Cowl with the lace on the bottom for a shoulder hugging lace yoke with the cable flowing up. Or wear the cowl with the lace on top folded over for a delicate lace edge and extra warmth under your chin. The Noel cowl also comes with blocking choices: you can choose to only block the lace to open it up and leave the cables tight and the cowl fitted. Or you can block the whole cowl to the finished size and have a slouchy, delicate but still oh-so-warm cowl.
The tweedy color way of the Nashua Isabella adds just the right amount of variation in color and a slight slub texture. This texture is not enough to distort the stitch definition so the cable shine bright and really finish off a nice wool or down coat. The colors available in the Isabella are all remarkable winter, fall or spring colors to top off any coating fabric should you choose to make your own coat while you are whipping up cold weather accessories. The feel of the Nashua Isabella is a delightful blend of silk and wool. It is not as stretchy as wool but there is not irritation but all the softness and plushness. I used Garnet in my pattern which was a pleasant bright red but it was not a saturated red (which I often find hard to photograph). Garnet is more of a light red without being in the pink family. It is a soft color that is gentle on the eyes and provides a burst of color for the color shy.
The Noel Cable Cowl is a quick knit that involves some intermediate techniques like cabling 2 cables at once and constructing a flipped lace cuff. This pattern makes a great gift for close friends or a great way to reward yourself. Noel can be knit up in any Heavy Worsted Weight yarn or any DOUBLED worsted weight yarn. Enjoy!
Knitted ornaments are huge this year and why not. They are so classic, vintage-y and can be customized to compliment your tree or coordinated in groups for a great knitted tree. Knitted cupcakes are a great addition to your holiday decorations because they are yummy, are a total icon for holiday baking and are soft to the touch for a baby/toddler friendly bottom of the tree (like at yours-truly's house). Of course, you know I love them because they are fast. These cupcake ornaments can last the whole year through as cute decorations on a cake plate, in a play kitchen or lining the shelf in a kid's room. I knit a whole plate for my mom to display on her dining room table year round.
These cupcakes are easy and fun to make. I based mine on the Floofy Cupcake pattern for free on Ravelry. I used a great bright Peaches n Crème cotton yarn in Peacock (Fabric.com has 5 pages of colors!) for the 'wrapper' of the cupcake. Then I changed to merino wool in a light brown color (Gedifa Extra Soft Merino in Nugat). I choose wool to give it a softer cake-like look. I wanted the light brown because I was jonesing for some caramel cake. Then after 3 rows, on the 4th row I started to strand some White Gedifa Merino to imitate white icing dripping down. Since the pattern is divisible by 6, I knit 4 sts in brown, then 2 sts in white for round 4. The next row, I varied it up a bit by knitting 3 sts in brown then 3 sts in white, then 4 sts in white, then 3 sts in brown, etc. I didn't follow that exactly since icing doesn't always drip the same. I did not add a ribbon hanger because when I pinned it on I thought it was too distracting. A ribbon was pretty but when I just used a wire ornament hanger and hung it in the tree, the hanger disappeared and the cupcake really stood out on the tree.
My cupcake ornament really adds something special to my Christmas tree. It softens the hard plastic, metal, glass and porcelain ornaments. The sheen of the merino catches the light and glistens just like moist cake and royal icing. The bright colors of the cotton mean you can make cupcakes in all colors and flavors (the merino comes in many colors as well) you can decorate your cupcakes with French knot or beads for Jimmies, or buttons make yummy embellishments too.
I-cord is one of the most versatile of knitting stitches; even non-knitters can make i-cord. It makes great straps, handles and edges but knitted in long lengths, i-cord can be used for awesome textural embroidery. Since i-cord takes no time to knit in length and little concentration, you can easily knit enough for this project or a similar while watching your favorite shows, a movie or even at a kids holiday play. I decided on a pillow cover so I could just remove it and tuck it away each year. I can reuse the pillow with another cover and not worry about storing pillows. To recreate my Holly Pillow Cover you will need
1 skein of Acrylic Yarn
1 spool of thread to match the yarn
1 yd of Velvet
1 pillow to recover
Scrape of coordinating fabric (big enough for a 4 in. diameter circle)
The pillow I chose to recover was 20 in. square so I cut one 21 in. square for the front and one 8 by 21 in. piece and one 17 by 21 in. piece to make the back envelope. I laid my front piece right side up and with chalk; I wrote "Holly" rubbing it out till it looked right. Next, I cast on 3 sts and knit roughly 24 in. of i-cord in a green acrylic yarn (you might remember me starting this back in November). I dry fit it to the pillow to make sure it was long enough before I bound off and wove in the ends.
Using the chalk lines and pinning as you go, secure the i-cord onto the pillow front. Starting from the back of the pillow piece, use a running stitch to secure the i-cord in place. Finally, I used a glass to trace a 4 in. circle on a spare piece of red Sateen and made a yo-yo to highlight the 'O' in Holly, and adding some more holiday color. I used a running stitch around the edges to secure the yo-yo.
Next, with right sides facing pin the front pillow piece to the back pieces, overlapping the back pieces to form an envelope and using a 1/2 in. seam, stitched all the way around the pillow case. Carefully clip the corners and turn right side out. Slip your pillow inside and admire your work.
This project is fun and easy way to add Christmas cheer to your home. You can change up the words, of course, for any holiday but I like to stray from the traditional slightly with words like "Holly, Stockings, Eggnog, or Caroling" These words are obvious enough that determining the holiday message will be easy but a little bit different.
I love making wreaths but hate that they don't make it from year to year. Having seen all the great felt delights and crafty wreaths in blogland, I decided that a gorgeous wreath that lasts from year to year is in the cards after all. Deciding on Poinsettias was not hard as they are one of my favorite symbols of the season. Plus, I could easily incorporate buttons as flower centers and holly berries. The pattern is easy and the large flowers mean you only need to make 3-4 of them to cover your wreath. I covered an empty wreath with fleece to give the wreath a cozier look. You can also use sweater knits or minky. Measure around your wreath's circumference and girth and cut a rectangle using those measurements plus 10 in. to the length (this accommodates any tucks needed to make the fabric lay flat around the circle) out of sweatshirt knit. Secure with pins and mattress stitch the knit in place.
I cut out my patterns pieces (4 petals per flowers and 2-3 holly leaves per berry bunch) out of felt and selected my buttons. I used interesting ¾ to 1 in. buttons for the flower centers and 1/8 to 5/8 in. red buttons for the Holly Berries. Layout your completed poinsettias and holly leaves on your wreath and arrange as you see fit. Once you like the layout stitch each flower and leaf in place and then stitch on your holly berry buttons. If needed tack down the tips of your poinsettia leaves to keep them from flopping forward. Add a ribbon loop to the back and hang from your door. You can call it complete and set up shop by your front door to eavesdrop on all the compliments your neighbors will surely pay on your wreath. When the season is over, tuck it away to be trotted out again year after year!
The Felt Poinsettias and Holly leaves can easily be used to decorate other Christmas projects such as table runners, gift tags, Felt Advent calendar, garland, bunting, pins or headbands.
You might still be rushing to get some more homemade holiday gifts under your belt or maybe just looking for some quick projects to help keep your sanity as you plan to spend the next weeks surrounded by family, friends and friendly strangers. I find knitting to be a really good excuse for some blatant "Me time". When I first whip out my needles the questions are inevitable but after the first few minutes all goes quiet as they watch me work and then drift away to leave me be. This might be just what you need this holiday season. But if you needth not quiet time, then these quick gifts make great ice breakers and are easy enough so you can share some seasonal gossip while your knit away.
Tea Towels: I love, love a pretty tea towel. These knitted tea towels make awesome presents or hostess gifts. They are some simple but so beautiful. Tea towels are also a good excuse to bust out your cotton before your spring sweaters come calling. They are small enough to test out a new cotton or linen yarn before committing to 10-12 balls for a sweater or shawl. These towels are meant to be used but don't be surprised if the recipient thinks they are too beautiful and uses them for display only. There are tons of free patterns on Ravelry, including a great one from Lion Brand but mine is from Mason Dixon Knitting. Try a cotton blend for better drape and sheen (Nashua Creative Focus).
Pocket Monsters: Though actually named Pocket Creatures, Pocket Monsters stuck in my head when I first beheld this free pattern from Knitty and I refuse (Refuse, I say) to correct myself. I love making these little guys and always make at least 6 each Christmas. They are fast, super cute and loveable to children and adults. In fact, my first monsters went to my brother and his wife and they love them. They are all handmade, even the warmer that is heated in the microwave to keep wee and not-so-wee hand warm. Pocket Monsters are also fantastic stocking stuffers! I think the Monsters would look smashing in this Filatura di Crosa Fancy Tempo yarn with its variegation and slubs. Very monsterish!
Photos by Shaun Krisher
1/2 yd quilting cotton (makes 2 hangers)
1/8 yd of muslin
2 small buttons
8 in. of 1/8- 1/4 in. ribbon
These fabric covered hangers with herb filled scented
satchels make great Christmas presents for your whole list. Mine are child
sized to make sure my little one's closet always smells sweet and her best
dresses are lightly scented with lavender. These are great in aboys' closets or
teens that often let unpleasant scents grow from lack of attention. You can
also fill the satchels with rice scented with essentials oils in a favorite
scent for special friends. These delicious delights take no time but are a
dreamy luxury to bring to any closet.
Click on the image to download.
1/2 yd 72 in. wide Craft Felt for background
6 sheets of 9 x 12 in. Rainbow felt cuts in several colors
16 in. wooden dowel
2 yds of Ribbon
Everyone loves a good (I mean GOOD) Advent Calendar and especially when you have kids. There is the token chocolate filled one I receive every year but that is just one chocolate. I wanted something big and full of pockets for my daughter. I dreamed of treat and candy filled pockets ready for sticky fingers every morning, excited to see what each pocket held. The Felt Pocket Advent Calendar was created to be fast and easy, with no hemming, little seaming and plenty of color. The pockets are a big 2.5 in. and all are hand embroidered with a different stitch, color and number for each of the #1-25 that is needed in an Advent Calendar. I made #25 extra special by cutting one square into a frame and stacking it on top of another. You could easily frame it in Rick-rack, ribbon, or felt flowers. Without hemming, this Advent Calendar is hassle free and a great nap time project but a little bit of a blank slate. You and your kids can pick some trimmings to make it yours and add some Christmas spirit. Felt Roses, Poinsettias, or Holly leaves come to mind. Don't forget you can print free coloring pages to use as Christmas stencils for your felt trimmings. If you opt to snazz up your Advent Calendar with embroidery, Sublime Stitching has some awesome pie, cake, and other food patterns that are perfect for bringing the joy of Christmas goodies to your Calendar! I am bringing out my copy to add on to my Felt Pocket Advent Calendar this year.
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