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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tunisian crochet potholders

In February I stumbled upon a fantastic pattern for potholders.  The pattern is free on Ravelry and can be found here.  I've been playing a bit with Tunisian crochet, but never really made anything with it.  Just sort of played around trying to learn the stitches.  These potholders were a great way to practice Tunisian simple stitch (TSS).  The only downside is that the pattern doesn't tell you how to do TSS, so I had to do some googling to get the instructions down pat.

However, the finished product is amazing!  It is thick and double sided.  You construct a rectangle and then fold it over and add the border through both pieces--so cool!  It really is good for handing hot lids and handles while cooking.  If you're looking to try Tunisian crochet I suggest starting here (and with some YouTube)..the result is great!

I made an orange one for myself (not pictured) and these two for my mom.  They were her Valentine's Day gift, so I cross stitched a little heart on each of them.  (That might be one of my favorite things about TSS--it's perfect for cross stitching on!)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Yoga mat bags

If you don't know this about me already, you need to know that I love yoga.  Everything about yoga--the message, the spirit, the teachings, the poses, and the way that it is part of everything in life.  My love of yoga ties with my love for yarn (now that's saying something, isn't it?).  As you know Matt just completed his yoga teacher training and he has been teaching me a lot about yoga and its foundations.  He specifically has been teaching me about Raja yoga and its 8 limbs.  I have been trying to abide by the yamas (the first limb that represents the social code) and the niyamas (the second limb that have to do with the 'self').  One of the yamas is Aparigraha which says that one should not hoard things and should be non possessive.  I do have a problem with this sometimes (evidenced by my growing yarn stash).  So I have been trying to work on this in various ways.  I've been gathering items to donate, trying to get rid of items that are unnecessary to me, and also trying to destash when possible.  I am definitely not an expert on the yamas or how to live by them, but I am trying my best.

So what does this all have to do with knitting and crocheting?  Well, I have been making yoga mat bags with my stash.  I am planning on "selling" them at my yoga studio very soon.  The yoga studio has a boutique and it would be a perfect place to sell these items.  So far I have made 4 different bags and have at least one more planned before I'm going to bring them to the studio.  I've used a bag for my yoga mat that I knit back in 2011 and I'm ALWAYS getting complemented about it.  I really like it--it is machine washable and dry-able and is perfect for quickly stashing a sweaty yoga mat.  However, there were things that I could improve on--the strap was too long and the drawstring tie would come untied or be a bit of a pain to tie.  So I improved on these things with the new bags I made.

Here are the first two I've made for the studio.  The purple one is crocheted out of cotton in a ripple pattern.  You can see how they feature a shorter strap and a drawstring that cinches closed when you pick up the bag.  That's my favorite part :).  The second one is knit out of acrylic and also features the same shorter strap and cinching drawstring!

I have two others--one that looks like a tree and a blue lacy one that I developed the pattern for.  I'll post those in another entry when I get some decent photos of them.  I'll also be posting the pattern for my lacy mat bag--so keep an eye on my blog for that :).

Thursday, July 25, 2013

So this happened yesterday... latest Knit Picks order arrived!!  I definitely use yarn as a way to relieve myself of stress. (Hey it's better than many addictions!)  Last week I had a couple of stressful days at work and definitely took refuge in the Knit Picks summer sale and a gift card I had :)

Here are the knitty-gritty details and planned projects!

-14 skeins of Wool of the Andes Sport in Mai Tai Heather for my Humboldt Raglan
-14 skeins of Wool of the Andes Sport in Marina for a Larch Cardigan
-Curio in Ash and Bluebell for who knows what (it’s super soft btw)
-6 skeins of Comfy Fingering in Lilac Mist for an Elvira All Grown Up
-9 skeins of Wool of the Andes Worsted in Claret Heather for a Washington Square Vest
-two balls of Galileo in Nebula for something (can’t remember what I planned to use it for…perhaps a cowl)
-and finally 3 skeins of Felici in the colorways High Tide, Aquarium, and Fizz (I’m thinking of using all of my Felici to make some sort of blanket…perhaps a Babette-esque blanket).

Welcome new stash! You're already very loved!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Baby Mermaid

Let's rewind to the beginning of the year.  One of my close friends was pregnant with her second child (I believe she was due in March).  She already had a boy back in 2009 and this time she was having a little girl!  I know she was super excited for dresses and other girly things!  I had crafted a few things for her son--a little puppy, a blanket, and some bibs--you can see the post here.  So, I obviously wanted to make various things for her daughter too!

I've been trying to be on a destash mission--which has worked some what, but I must admit that I've also purchased yarn...tisk tisk tisk, Jessica.  However, back at the beginning of the year I was TOTALLY on the "cold sheep" "use only from stash" bandwagon!  I've also been trying to use patterns that I already own, rather than finding something new or buying a new one.

So with that in mind, I found the cutest pattern from a Crochet Today! magazine to make for my friend's daughter!  The pattern is called "Mermaid Cocoon" and is from the July/August 2012 issue of Crochet Today!  I totally fell in love with this pattern when I first saw it.

I was pretty lucky that I had both mint green and teal yarn in my stash!  I just reversed the colors of the tail--making the teal the main color and the mint the accent.  I also had white and purple!  They are all simply soft yarns, so you can just imagine how soft and snugly this outfit is before washing and how much softer it will get!

I added little white buttons to it rather than colored ones.  I spent an awfully long time standing in the button aisle of Jo-ann's picking out the 'perfect' buttons :).

The construction of the garment is so interesting!  It is all made in one piece without seaming.  You start with the bodice, then work the arms, and then the tail portion.  It was so quick and only took me four days to make!  I'm so pleased with it and can't wait to see pictures of little Keira in it!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Baby Pinafore

I've been really into making items for babies lately.  I think that I've been drawn to small projects that I can work on during my lunch break.  I also have been loving projects that finish quickly, use up bits of yarn, and are simply "totally adorable."

Recently I finished making a sweet little pinafore.  I used some yarn that my mom got me from Jo-ann's.  It's called "Breeze Self Patterning" by Jo-ann's Sensations.  It has nice long color changes that created a pretty rainbow look to this dress.  

This dress seems very easy to customize to make larger sizes.  In fact, I saw a pattern for larger sizes on Etsy and Bernat also has a free pattern for child-size dresses.  They all look like the same dress, but in different sizes.  Honestly, just change your initial chain length and it should be pretty easy to customize.  I think that you would add or subtract multiples of 4 to get larger or smaller sizes.

Some people on Ravelry have added a decoration to the front of the dress, but I left mine plain since the yarn is sort of busy.  I'll definitely be making this pattern again!  It could definitely be made in a few hours.  Great last minute baby gift!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Om hand warmers

Matt (my best friend) just finished his 200-hour yoga teacher training at the beginning of June.  So, being the crafty friend I am, decided to make him a yoga-themed gift.  Using my knowledge of his love for hand warmers and all things Om-related I set off to make him the perfect gift.  And...the Om hand warmers were born!

He absolutely loved them and can't wait for it to get a bit cooler to wear them.  (I'm also hoping to do a photo shoot with him to get some swanky yoga-riffic photos!)

Since he loved them so much, I really wanted to share the love and share my pattern and Om chart with you!  So without further ado, here is the recipe for my Om hand warmers!  Enjoy!

As always, feel free to sell items you make from my patterns, but please do not claim this pattern as your own, post any parts of it or the whole thing in other locations, or sell the pattern. :)

Gauge: roughly 7 rows = 1 inch; 7 stitches = 1 inch on size 7 needles.  The Om chart is 20 stitches by 17 rows and this measured 3 inches (stitches) by 2.5 inches (rows).
Needles: US size 7 and US size 9 or size need to obtain gauge
Yarn: Aran or Worsted weight

You can use any yarn and needle combination that you like.  If you use thinner yarn, increase the cast on stitches by 2 until you have enough to fit nicely around your palm, above your thumb.  These mitts are meant to be fitted to the hand--so if you'd like them looser, increase your cast on.

This hasn't be tested by others, so please let me know if you find any errors!

Mitt Instructions

Cast on 34 on 9s.
Switch to size 7s on the first round of knitting.
Join in the round, place marker for the beginning of the round.
Rounds 1-12: K1P1 ribbing
Rounds 13-24: Knit

This should get you to up to the base of your thumb or slightly higher.  You'll now begin to work back and forth in rounds.  DO NOT JOIN the next 13 rows.  You're creating the thumb opening.

Rows 25-37: Alternate a knit row and a purl row, continuing in stockinette stitch but in rows, ending with a knit row.  You can slip the first stitch of each row to create a nice edge if you'd like.

In more detail:
Rows 25, 27, 29, 31, 33, 35, and 37: Knit
Rows 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, and 36: Purl

[This section leave the hole for your thumb.  If you have a smaller or larger thumb (or different row gauge) adjust the number of rows--adjust by increments of 2 rows.]

After Row 37 join to the beginning of the round and start knitting again in rounds.

Rounds 38-47: Knit (this is 10 rounds in stockinette stitch)
Rounds 48-51: K1P1 ribbing

BO in pattern using size 9 needles, or stretchy bind-off of your choosing.

Repeat for the second mitt.

Adding the Om on the front of the mitts
Us the following chart to duplicate stitch the Om on the front of the mitt.  Remember that you'll need at least 20 stitches by 17 rows to complete the chart.  Try the mitt on first before stitching.  I found it worked nicely to have the side of the Om closest to the thumb opening begin about 2 or 3 stitches inside.

I'd love to see your finished hand warmers!