Saturday, November 21, 2015

Free Gingerbread Stocking Pattern



I have been searching Ravelry lately for a white on white cabled stocking pattern worked up in worsted weight wool.... but I couldn't find one that looked like what I had in mind.  I had also recently seen this very beautiful cable, "Gingerbread Cable" on LionBrand.com.  Thus, the "Gingerbread Cabled Stocking" pattern was born :).  

Photo Credit:  Lion Brand Yarn


I adapted the cable pattern to a 6 stitch cable (which I prefer) from the original 4 stitch cable.  Here is my finished stocking:




  The stocking pattern features a knit-in hem to reduce bulk and add a nice finished edge to the top of the stocking.   


The Gingerbread Cable pattern is worked over 60 stitches until the desired length is reached (10" in the sample).  I chose a short-row heel for this particular pattern, but you could insert whatever your favorite heel technique is! 


I also chose to keep the instep stitches in pattern as I worked the toe, but you could knit them plain to match the heel.

I finished up the stocking by crocheting a chain to add the inside back of the stocking as a hanging loop, and then steam blocked the entire stocking.  I hope your stocking makes you as happy as mine did!  This pattern is available on Ravelry OR ....


 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fall Crafting

I think Autumn may be my very favorite season... there is something about the crisp, cool air paired with blue skies, red and yellow leaves, and fun family activities!  It is also my favorite season for crafting!  So many projects, and so little time!  Here's what I've been working on this month:

1.  Embroidered Fall Tablecloth - pattern from Sweet Pea Designs

I recently upgraded my sewing machine to the Pfaff Creative 3.0 - and it came with a bonus embroidery unit!  This little runner is pieced and quilted in the hoop, and then you just sew the blocks together and add a backing.  I love the addition of the fall leaf outlines.. and the satin stitching on the "L" shaped blocks!




2.  Knitted Mini-Pumpkins (betcha can't knit just one!)
I think my favorite project this month were these little knitted mini-pumpkins (Itty Bitty Pumpkin by Sparrow Kelley)  They knit up quick, and a are a snap to finish.  The cute little stems are also easy.. and they really add to the finished item.  As you can see.. it's hard to stop at one!




3. Pumpkin Dishcloths
I try and knit up several of these every year, because they make great hostess gifts!  My secret is that I knit them 2-3 at a time on a long circular needle.  That way, you have to read the pattern line in the chart only once, but you end up with several cloths!  I prefer to knit off a chart, so I whipped one up to go with this text only pattern.



4. Last but not least... embroidered dish towels on by new machine.  I just love this stitched out redwork design (and all of the open space in the design helps to keep it from puckering in the wash!)  The design is from Emblibrary!


That's all my fall crafting in progress!  I hope your Fall season is crafty as well :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dozens of Dainty Dishcloths



Dozens of Dainty Dishcloths
We are getting ready for a big, cross-country move... and I wanted to leave a little something for each of my wonderful friends.  I thought about socks... but my sock knitting ability wasn't up to knitting 17 pairs in a short 30 days... so what to do?  And then it hit me.... DISCHLOTHS.  Humble... I know; but oh-so-practical!  And so many pretty designs and beautiful colors.  I also learned a thing or two along the way about each pattern that I used, which I will pass along :).  



First up:   Grandmother's Favorite by Traditional Design.  
I think this might be the VERY first dischloth pattern that comes up on Ravelry when you type in "easy" and "knitted dishcloth" - and for a very good reason!  This is a mindless pattern that you can do just about anywhere.  Also, because it is knit on the diagonal, you don't lose your sanity in endless knit rows with no variation.  These are the first ones I started with.   Simple, no frills, and absolutely practical!


Next up:  The Almost Lost Washcloth by Julie Tarsha.
These little beauties are fun to knit, and provide almost an endless variation in color!  It is supposed to be knit flat, and then seamed at the end, but I quickly started doing a provisional cast-on (via a 16-18 stitch crochet chain) and grafting them together at the end with a garter Kitchener stitch.  Easy Peasy.  I also used the German short row method (love this!) It makes an almost invisible short row turn - and makes these cloths look very finished!



For a little added challenge, I also tried the Dash Cloth by Renee M (in two different color schemes):


And the Circle Cloth by hakucho:


As well as this cute Pumpkin Dishcloth by Kathleen (with bonus chart for those of you that prefer charted directions like I do!)



And have you tried illusion knitting yet?  What a fun technique!  The arrangement of purls and knit stitches makes a wonderful design that only pops out when you are eye-level with the piece!  Like this:  Illusion Snowflake by Emily Byrd Adams 




From there, I branched out into a couple of cute crochet versions:  Rose In Bloom Crochet Dishcloth by Deb Wolf 




But my very favorite?  Hands-down it was: Yvonne's Double Flower Cloth by Yvonne Hussey 
This sweet cloth looks fancy... but the pattern is very intuitive, and easy to follow.. and such a gorgeous result!


I hope this list has motivated you to do some fun knitting of your own! I also whipped up a batch of cards to attach to these little handmade gifts:


Feel free to click on the picture, and download your own!
https://www.dropbox.com/s/dcchuphv8dzg6si/Dischloth%20labels.pdf?dl=0


Monday, April 14, 2014

AHOY me MATIES!!!

Our five year old's most fervent wish this year was for (you guessed it):  A Pirate Party.  I'm sure this is due in no small part to the copious amounts of "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" that my littles have been watching for the past few months.  Nevertheless.... a pirate party was the order of the day. 
 
First things first... the decorations.  I used this tutorial from GloriousTreats to sew up a sturdy bunting for the birthday girl that could later hang in Captain Emma's bedroom!
 
 
I made a template using the font Franklin Gothic Heavy in photoshop, so I could cut her name out of black, iron-on fabric (typically used for patching jeans or pants).  This was a lot more cost effective than buying each iron-on letter... and I really like the way it looks! 
 
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Next came the goodie bags!  I found a SUPER tutorial on Kitty Baby Love for sewing a drawstring bag with no exposed seams (using the french-seam method), and whipped out these little beauties from some pirate skull dotted fabric :)  Notice the odd man out sewn out of leftovers... (we just made that one the Birthday Girl's special bag!)

 

Next up were the pirate games (ARRGH!)  We read aloud the book, Pirates Go to School
 
 
 
 
 

 
and played "Pin the Patch on the Parrot" and "Sink the Boat" & "Walk the Plank" (see explanations here on PartyPlanningMom).  We also had lots of "Pirate Accessories" for the kids (AND PARENTS!) to dress up with!
 





 
Lots of pirate fun was had by all :)  
 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

We've been sewing up a storm this week.. and just look at all of the new things we've added to the Etsy store!  Several new coordinating project bags/ notion case sets:
 


As well as a NEW design... See-Through Vinyl Zippered Notion bags:
 
As well as a whole LOT of zippered notion bags!
 
 
It's so much fun to sew with happy fabrics!  Hope you have a great weekend :)

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Taste the Rainbow

What's the best way to lighten up a dreary grey day here in the Pacific Northwest?  To dye your own rainbow, of course!  I've been wanting to dye some rainbow sock yarn for months... but there was never enough time (or opportunity, with all of the littles underfoot).  So.... I waited for the perfect opportunity (AKA naptime) and went for it.
 
I decided to try dyeing my "rainbow" two different ways (on separate skeins).  I wanted to do a "self-striping" skein and then a handpainted skein - and contrast the two methods.  So the first order of business was to prepare the yarn. 
 
I wound the first skein into a center-pull ball, pulled out my "Martha Stewart Craft Loom" that I have never, ever used... and set up the bars and pegs so that I could wind mini-skeins onto it easily.  I wound about 5 times per section, and then moved onto the next section.  I figured this would give me even stripes of all of the rainbow colors (which would then repeat over and over again in the socks).  I tied up all of the mini-skeins separately and put them into a vinegar/water bath to soak. 
 
 


For the other skein that I wanted to hand-paint, I just popped the entire skein into the same soaking water, and set about preparing my dyes.  I made sure to do this part while everyone else was busy elsewhere, since I needed a facemask and gloves to protect myself from the powdered dyes.  I measured out 1/2 teaspoon of 3 different PRO Chemical acid dyes (red (magenta 338), yellow (yellow 119), and blue (blue 490) into mason jars, and dissolved the powder in 1 cup of boiling water.  I then drew out 3-4 tablespoons with a syringe of each of these "primary" colors to mix up the secondary colors (orange, green, and purple) to complete my rainbow.
 
 
I topped up the jars with more boiling water to give the bath enough volume to dye the yarn more evenly, and then put a portion of each dye into squeeze bottles for the handpainted skein.
 
 
By this time, my yarn had soaked for about an hour, and I was ready to commence!  I put each one of the "mini-hanks" from the loom board into a mason jar sitting in a bot of boiling water on the stove, and cranked the heat up to keep the mixture just below boiling.
 
 
Then it was time to head outside for the hand-painted skein.  I set up a card table on our deck (carefully covered in plastic trash bags, and a light layer of plastic wrap), and layed out my wetted skein in a large oval shape.
 

Then it was time to enlist the help of the two older kids (we are homeschoolers - after all.  I mean... this project has "SCIENCE", "ART" and "COLOR THEORY" written all over it!!!)  I helped them get out the plastic gloves to protect their skin, and we squirted, pressed, mixed and squished our dye all in.
 


We then mopped up all of the leftover dye and water from the table, and wrapped the yarn up in its plastic wrap sheath, and steamed it in a tin foil "boat" over a boiling pan of water for about 20-30 minutes to set the color.  I just love the resulting yarn!
 
 

We also removed the self-striping yarn from the mason jars on the stovetop, rinsed it until clear with a little bit of dishwashing soap, re-skeined it and dryed it as well.  Here's the result from that experiment: 


However, as anyone who has ever bought hand-painted yarn can tell you, when it's all wrapped up in a skein straight from the dyepot... the color can be a might deceptive.  You really need to re-skein it to get a better idea of what it will look like in a finished knitted item.  Here's the two yarns after drying and reskeining.
 
The Self-Striping, Mason Jar yarn:
 
 
And the Hand-Painted, Homeschool Friendly Yarn:
 

The handpainted yarn ended up just a tad lighter than I would have expected, probably because it wasn't exposed to as much dye as the mason jar yarn.  But both look good enough to eat! (Can't you just taste the rainbow?)  And the best part is that the kids were THRILLED with their hand-dyed product!  Each skein is about 450 yards of a superwash, nylon mix and will be just the thing for hand-knitted socks :)
 
 
 
Edited to add:  It's taken me a couple of months, but I now have the kid's handpainted yarn all knit up into socks, using the "Vanilla Latte" pattern on Ravelry.  I love the way the differently dyed yarns ended up looking!  Here is my daughter modeling her socks with an Eye of Partridge heel:


and my son, with his beloved, super bright warm feet:




My older kids (12 & 9) were just the right age for this kind of dyeing.  If you are trying this with littles, I would probably stick with the food-safe dyes (for their skin, and your sanity) - but I think all ages would enjoy a similar project!  I hope this post inspires you to do some dyeing of your very own :)  Enjoy!