Tutorials: December 2011 Archives
With New Year's Eve almost upon us, I realized how tired I was from the holidays and the party yet to come. I wondered how I would recover. With a toddler, down time is a luxury and recovery time is not abundant. So whether you need to recover from an abundance of champagne or from just being out past midnight, my first aid pillow will speed your recovery and get you ready to break all your resolutions (unless you resolve not to make any). The magic is in the rice filling which holds heat and settles to shape to any part that ails you. Be sure and use only natural fibers because poly blends may melt from the heat. I recommend some of our wool suitings for the pillow case and some flannel for the red cross. Here's how to make one or several for you and your pals.
Materials for one First Aid Pillow:
1-2 lbs of rice
Download your First Aid Pillow Pattern and cut out just the square. Trace 2 squares onto your pillow fabric, cut out squares and set aside. Cut out the red cross and cut out 1 from flannel
Hand stitch or machine stitch your cross centered on your pillow, matching up edges. With right sides facing and using ½ in. seam, sew the front pillow to the back, leaving a 3-4 in. gap for turning and filling. Clip corners and turn.
Use a large funnel to pour the rice inside your pillow, stopping when it is ½ full. Pin and hand sew the gap closed.
Heat your First Aid Pillow for 1 min 30 sec to 2 min and apply.
You can make smaller versions (3-4 in squares) for boo-boo pillows. Make several and keep a few in the freezer for cold applications too.
It is always amazing for me to see the uniquely creative but simple pieces of knit accessories that are increasingly popular these days. I am constantly inspired by these pieces and love to challenge myself to recreate them simply because they are so beautiful. Another small, teeny, tiny reason barely to be spoken of merely because it is so trifling, I should not even mention it here because it is such a small reason but as I am amongst friends I shall spill it: I see little reason to pay so much for something I can create myself. See a petty reason after all.
Today's inspiration is the mother of all inspirations: Anthropologie. This uppermost of all fashion icons in the handmade world is coveted for their ideas and use of color. I am not alone in my worship of this store but I am also not alone in mourning my lack of funds to purchase all of their wares. Chief among them is the Sweaterknit Strand. A beautiful wool, cashmere, alpaca and silver necklace that is priced at $198. I made my own for around $10. It took about 4 hours. Here's how you can make your own.
1 ball of worsted weight yarn (I used Caron Simply Soft Ocean because I loved the color)
1 ball of bulky weight yarn (I used Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick N Quick in Grey)
1 ball of sport weight (I used fingering weight doubled)
Several small chains or jump rings (mine are repurposed from a thrift store find)
With the worsted weight yarn, cast on 8 sts and knit in i-cord for 14 in.
Switch to the bulky yarn and continue in i-cord for 4 in.
Switch to the sport weight yarn and continue in i-cord for 1.5 to 2 in. Cut tail to 6 in and weave through remaining loops. Knot and weave in ends.
Connect your chains or jump rings to an end of your i-cord. I used jump rings to connect my chains. I made the chain 6 in. long but you could go as long as 8-10 in. I used 5 chains in total. The completed necklace length should be 28-30 in. This was a fun and fast knit and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed combining the different weights and colors. The icing on the cake was the chain. The delicacy and different textures really complete the look.
If you are looking for a quick, fun, gorgeous project for your green friends, look no further. With 1 yard of amazing Organic French Terry and 1 bottle of Rit Dye, you can create a dreamy and luxe gift that is green in more ways than one. 1 yard is the perfect size for a cozy wrap for weekend date night, weeknight movie on the couch or just curling up with a nice ball of yarn in your favorite chair. Since the fabric is knit, you don't have to hem. In fact, I dig the curled and rough cut edges, it lends well to the green and natural foundation of the project. Creating the ombre look is easier than it seems and really fun.
1 bottle of liquid dye (I used Kelly Green Rit)
2-3 gallons of hot water
1 wire hanger
To begin, soak your fabric in warm water- don't start with dry fabric. Next, heat your water and add 4 capfuls of your dye plus 1 tbsp of salt. Stir until the dye solution is hot. You can either move your solution to a larger receptacle or if your pot is big enough to hold the solution and fabric then keep it at a simmer on your stove. Fold your yard of fabric in half lengthwise and wrap the folded end (the middle) around the hanger to help you manage it (I secured my hanger on my microwave right above the stove- helped relieve some of the weight) and submerge 1/3 of your fabric into the dye solution and hold it for 5-6 min, swishing it around the entire time. Next add another 1/3 of your fabric into the solution by unwinding it from the hanger. Keep this submerged for 3-4 min. Next, you can either submerge the remainder of your fabric for 1 min to give the whole shawl a base color or you can slowly pull and wring out your fabric, leaving the middle white. Rinse out your fabric starting at the lightest end and letting the water and dye run down towards the darker color. Rinse until the water runs clear and no more dye is rinsed off. Wash your shawl in warm water and ½ the usual amount of detergent. Dry on warm in the dryer and you are done. You have created a one of a kind piece that was fun and green. Use this technique to create other Ombre pieces- just remember all natural fibers except dye differently but artificial fibers are the toughest to dye.
Here is another quick and relatively simple kids' Christmas present by Noodlehead: Bicycle Bucket Tutorial. I say relatively because if you read the directions as written and trust that the author recommends the right products and don't try to "make it better" it will be a fun and easy project. That said let me tell you why I had to cut mine out 3 times and spent the better part of the day making one. Let me add that the mistakes were all mine and I regret using my phone to view the tutorial instead of printing it out so I could read the instructions.
First I decided that I wanted my bike bucket to be SUPER strong and durable so I decided to use Peltex to interface both the lining and exterior. This makes it too stiff and unsewable. I was seconds from smashing everything and jumping up and down on it (begin recut #2). Do not use Peltex at all. The medium weight is perfect even for quilting/light weight cotton. Also, if you do not have double fusible medium weight interfacing you can use one side fusible interfacing but make sure you interface the exterior and not the lining (begin recut #3). Please follow Noodleheads instructions and do not follow my example. Once I had it assembled according to the tutorial I discovered that it is very stable, durable and just right for holding rocks, sticks, buddies, and snacks. Oh, one more tip, sew on the handle bar attachment after you complete the top trim. It is much easier to navigate the around the top of the basket if you don't have the handle bar part getting caught up on your machine. If you want to add a monogram or name tag on the front like Noodlehead's boy version do it on the exterior piece before any assembly. It is easier to center and sew on when you don't have to worry about the basket structure. I really love the wide trim at the top. It really helps to hide any cutting errors but also adds extra color and pattern to make it extra special.
Overall I am very pleased with my bike bucket and next time I will print out the instructions and haul them up to my studio. If you follow the instructions it is a fun and worthy project that any kid will love to call their own. Thanks Noodlehead!
I have no idea why but whenever I plan to decorate for Christmas my first thought is: Pillow covers. I guess it is because being a knitter I spend a lot of time curled up on or staring at the couch so of course I want to decorate it first. AND I love a good cozy pillow, so this year when I planned my pillow covers for Christmas I was drawn to flannel. Flannel everything- background, appliqués, you name it. And no zippers as well, they ruin the coziness. No need to take notes, you can just add these pictures to your Pinterest boards. Last year I made a pillow from Velvet with I-cord embroidery and it was soft and squishable as a pillow should be but I was always worried about my little one pulling off the I-cord so this year I went all out. We are talking Heat n' Bond and zig zagging all over the place. I even managed to couch on some yarn for the ornament hangers. All easy and all so soft and cozy.
1 yd of Flannel for pillow cover (I used Quilter's Flannel 90 in. Wide in Natural)
½ yd of flannel for ornaments (I used Cozy Cotton Flannel Grid Marine)
A smidge of wool felt for the hangers on ornament in Red
10 yds of wool yarn in Navy
First find an image of an ornament that you love and print it out. I did a quick search of Ornament Clip Art.
Trace this image onto the back of your Heat N Bond 3 times and cut out all images in one big piece (don't cut out each ornament shape yet) and apply, according to instructions, to the back of your green flannel. Now cut out each ornament, peel off the paper and arrange on your pillow cover made from Hot Patterns Giving Thanks Pillow Cover Pattern in White Flannel. Once you have an arrangement you like, iron your pieces in place. Cut out little squares roughly ½ by ½ in. from some wool felt. Wool felt is a little too thick for Heat n Bond so I like to keep it in place with a glue stick. Zig Zag stitch around your complete ornament. Finish off by pinning some navy wool yarn from your ornament to the top of your pillow. Slowly Zig zag stitch over your yarn keeping an eye on it so it doesn't creep out of place. Trim all loose threads and enjoy!