Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Puppets, Pumpkins, and Pirates...Oh my!

We had a wonderful Halloween weekend. We spent the holiday with friends at their "cabin by the lake"...The girls decorated the cabin and then carved Jack-O-lanterns by the water. We made Mummy pizzas and pumpkin pancakes and had a Halloween-good-time!

For our second night at the lake we had a camp out and made some really cool and simple Halloween shadow puppets to use in the tent. The girls made up their own stories and put on a wonderful show.

In addition to the simple one part puppets in the previous link we also made a cool spider puppet as well. The legs on this one use joints to connect them to the body so you can make your spider look like it's crawling up the side of the tent.

We returned from our camp out on Halloween day and went trick or treating in our neighborhood. M and I put together a pirate Halloween costume by making her a hat, eye patch and jolly roger flag. All we had to buy for her costume was the hook. L was a bit more difficult. She decided at the last minute that she did not want to be a fairy... so she simply picked some items from the dress up box for her Halloween outfit.

I hope you had a wonderful and scary Halloween as well.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Kitty!

Today is my youngest daughter's 3rd birthday... and for the occasion I made her this Kitty purse and I designed the following change purse to match. I'm including my instructions for making it. It was very simple to make and she enjoyed it a lot. Enjoy!

EDIT December 2012 there is now a crochet version of the kitty change purse HERE.

Using worsted weight yarn and size 7 needles CO 15
Knit all rows until it is about 8 inches long
K2tog, K 11, K2tog (13)
K2tog, K 9, K2tog (11)
K2tog, k7, K2tog (9)
Ears Make 2 Co 5 on a size 5 needle
Row 1 - K1, P1, K1, P1, K1
Row 2 - K1, P1, K1, P1, K1
Row 3 - P2tog, K1, P2tog
Row 4 - P1, K1, P1
Row 5 - K3tog
Cut yarn and pull end through remaining loop.

Loop for button crochet on a f or g hook a chain of 8
Bow for ears crochet a chain of 22 and tie in bow.

To assemble: Weave all ends in that are not necessary for attaching the pieces together. Fold over like an envelope and sew the face of the kitty on the flap. Use your imagination with this one... I used buttons for the nose and eyes... but use felt or embroidery... whatever you like. Attach ears and bow at top.
Attach the 8 chain to the bottom of the flap and sew on a corresponding button.
Once everything is in place you can line it by attaching a small bit of fabric to the inside (this hides all the thread ends from making the face and sewing on the button) or just skip this step and simply sew up the sides... making sure all the part align properly. And now you have a cute kitty change purse.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Knitting Rut...

I have been creative in many other areas of my life lately... I've been writing music, keeping up with my foodlore blog, and coming up with a lot of new creative ideas that I plan to work on "someday"... but my knitting and crochetting have turned stale. I'm feeling a rut coming on... and I don't mean "an annually recurrent state of sexual excitement"... because that would make for some interesting crafting...I mean the stale boring kind of rut like the path worn by a wheel.

I'm getting bored with making dishcloths... but I don't seem to have the time or attention to make much else. Anyone else feel this way sometimes? Is it time to take a break from it and concentrate on other creative ventures until I find inspiration... or do I just keep plugging through until I break through the barrier and find something new to do?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Learning to Crochet

I have been teaching myself to crochet by making these simple cloths. They will make great housewarming gifts and stocking stuffers at Christmas. I am finding that I like to crochet dish/wash cloths more than I like knitting them. I still think that knitting is more versatile... but I like the crocheted cloths better.

These are the
These are the Back Loop Stitch, Grit and Sedge cloths from the Sandy Shore Washcloth set. They were easy and quick and an excellent second project in crochet.

This is the Tulip Stitch cloth and I think it is one of the prettiest ones I've done. The pattern is easier than it looks and pretty addictive.

This one is the Bubble Stitch and I think that I will be making a lot more of these. I really enjoyed making this one. It was quick, easy and it made a cloth with a nice texture.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Out with the old and in with the new...

I found a cool blog on Yahoo Green today called New Dress A Day. The writer of this blog is going to make a new dress everyday for a year... and she is doing it on a budget of 1 dollar a day using recycled clothing from thrift stores.
Now I don't know much about the art of making clothes... but this seems like a really cool and interesting project... and it got me thinking... What kind of recycled materials can I incorporate into my crafts? How can I make something new out of something old? And how can I make something that is original out of something that already has a purpose and form? I have a few ideas already... but I still have a lot of thinking to do...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Boredom Buster

Today I made something for my kids called a No-More-Boredom box... or a crazy can. All you do is cut a bunch of index cards in half... and on each card write an activity. Get your kids to decorate the box while you write up some cards. I found it helpful to list the supplies they would need to do the project right on the card... that is unless it is self explanatory. You can list toys and games they already play with, crafts, science experiments, pretend prompts... whatever you come up with. You can even put small toys or craft projects right in the box. The Busy Books series by Kuffner has some really great ideas.... they even have a list in the back called Crazy Can Activities that you can pick from. Any rainy day or activity book would work, however, or just use your own ideas. Here are just a few of the long list of activities I put in the box:

Sock/beanbag basketball
Doll and baby play
Hand art (trace hand and decorate)
Indoor tent
Musical instruments
Funny face (cut out noses, eyes, etc from magazines and create your own funny face)
Counting (have kids count all the light bulbs or canned goods... anything really)
Hide and Seek (hide a timer and have kid find it using the sound of the ticking)
Sidewalk chalk
string beads
Lego mania
crayon rubbings
bubble play
washing plastic toys
cleaning the windows (with a spray bottle filled with vinegar and water)
painting the house (with water of course)

And the list goes on and on and on.... I think I made about 50+ cards... and as a result my daughter is quietly absorbed in drawing pictures of animals in her own homemade animal science book.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hula Hoop

I was hanging out with a good friend last night and she had a whole stack of homemade hula hoops... the girls were having a ball showing off, goofing off, and playing together. There were even a couple of adult size hoops so we all got in on the action. I was thinking that making hula hoops would be a fun and different gift to make for people for the holidays (or any occasion really). It could even be decorated by using double pointed needles to knit a colorful cover for the poly tubing. You can find instructions on how to make your own here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Christmas in August...

Not really... but I need to start thinking about the holidays now if I'm going to make all my presents this year...and I am going to make all my gifts this year... I came close last year... and this year I'm going to do it! The only store bought presents under the tree this year will be from Santa... and we all know those are crafted by elves anyway.
I thought that I would use this blog as a way to brainstorm and talk about making the holidays about something more than just spending a bunch of money... and there is no better time to begin than now... before the rush and craziness of the holiday season comes knocking.

I've always loved to make gifts for people. I'm sure I made presents as a child... but as an adult it began with a cookbook that I made for several years and gave to all my friends and family. I loved doing it... and I am thinking about doing it again someday... I already have a surplus of recipes ready and waiting... all I need to do is get my husband's butt in gear so that he can help me illustrate it.

Another handmade gift I've given in the past were baskets. I took a basket weaving class one year and I was determined that I was not going to let the skill go to waste. Since that time I've made baskets for just about everybody I know. I always find it odd to see one when I go for a visit. Last year my daughter and I made homemade spa products (bath salts, soaps, etc)... and so maybe this year we could whip up some more and put them in homemade baskets.

My most recent crafty obsession has been knitting... it has spawned this blog... and over the past few years I've knitted gifts for my friends and family. Last year was the year of the scarf. I'm not certain how many scarves I knitted... but it was a knitload to be sure. I've also knitted gifts for most of the baby showers I've attended recently.

This year I don't know what I'm going to do... Since I'm starting early I hope to personalize it more and select special gifts for each person on my list. I'm starting to search for patterns and collect finished objects in my closet.... but first I've got to decide to do it.... I've got to promise to do it!

I, Jennifer, pledge that I will make Christmas gifts this year for my loved ones (and other holidays and occasions as well), and request that others will do the same for me.

Who wants to take the handmade pledge with me?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Baby Gifts....

I have been knitting up a storm lately for my nephew who will be born at the end of September. Here are a few of the gifts that I made for him. The links go to my Ravelry project pages... and you can find the free patterns there.

These Chucks were so fun to make. They were my first booties... and my first project with a color change in the middle of the row. They were not particularly difficult... in fact I'm sure I will be making more of these for expecting friends in the future. Some of the ladies at the shower put in requests for friends.
I made this ribbed baby hat to go with the Chucks... No hip baby should be without a black beanie and matching shoes! I know the doll modeling this hat is a bit creepy... but hey creepy is good!
Here is babies first tattoo. Since it is illegal to ink your little brat... I thought this classic tattoo design would be more appropriate done in yarn.

And here is a little sock monkey. I used the anything animal pattern... added a sock-monkey-esque mouth and wah-la!

I also threw in a couple of these easy to crochet wash cloths and a bib I made with a monkey on it (which I forgot to photograph).
My husband threw in a set of Thank you cards from our Etsy shop and we had a fun homemade gift for my brother, his lovely wife, and there soon to appear little boy.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Olivia and rabbit...

I made these little toys for my kids months ago (before I started this blog)... but since I haven't posted in a while I thought I'd share them with you. The basic pattern is called the Anything Animal. You can find the pattern HERE. To make the rabbit I just followed the basic pattern. For Olivia the pig I added a nose adapted from a from THIS finger puppet pattern. I also used the bunny ears... but simply made them wider and shorter. This pattern is cool because you can make such a wide variety of toys out of one simple pattern. The adaptations are only limited to your imagination. If you are a member of Ravelry you can look HERE for a cool giraffe based on the same pattern. In the future I'd like to knit these in the round and make I-chords for the limbs.

I have been knitting lately... but most of the stuff I'm making is for a baby shower that I won't be attending until the end of July. I don't want to spoil the surprise so I haven't had a lot of new stuff to post. I'm going to be pretty busy for the next couple of weeks... but when I return I'll have some cool new stories to share.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp

boot camp

I haven't posted in a while. I'm in the process of working on Creativity Boot Camp and I have been busy creating stuff on my other blog worth a fig. That doesn't mean that I've stopped knitting. I am working on writing a bib pattern and also one for another washcloth.
I'll be back here soon to post pictures and patterns for my new creations.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Retro and Flashy

I just finished knitting this retro ribbed hand towel and the tweedish cloth in these really bright colors... Now I just have to find someone to give them to... Anyone have a bright orange kitchen???
I'm trying to finish a bunch of projects I have on the needles right now. Many of these I won't be able to post here until August because they are a surprise for my brother and sister-in-law who will be having a baby soon. I'm not sure if they read my knitting blog... but better safe than sorry.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


It seems like these days when I'm not doing dishes I'm knitting dishcloths. Why you ask? Why would anyone want to spend time to make something to wash the dishes with? There are many reasons really...Dishcloth yarn is cheap,the projects are small and easy to take with you, AND the finished project is useful. The one pictured to the left is just a color work sampler...I wanted to see what certain slip stitch patterns looked like so instead of knitting up a swatch that would be useless later I can knit up a dishcloth to learn a new skill. Another reason is my kids love them and use them as blankets for toys both in the bath and out... in fact my daughters are always asking "Is that one for me???" Dish/washcloths also make great last minute gifts with a nice bar of soap or other bath product.

I was looking at patterns on Ravelry and found a spring washcloth that I designed as a weekly KAL on one of the groups... somebody had taken the time to link my pattern in Ravelry. It made me feel somewhat famous. I listed my wheat washcloth too... and now other people are making dishcloths that I designed... How cool is that? Cool might not be the right word... but hey I'm happy about it.

Here are a few of the dishcloths I've made recently...The links below are links to the pattern pages in case anyone is interested in making one.

I made this one for a KAL (Knit along)...This one gave me a bit of trouble. For some reason when I got to the fourth repeat of the pattern the dang thing was so long it looked more like a dish towel than a cloth. My original plan was to go one more repeat and make it into a fancy burp cloth (I did it in a variegated baby color yarn)… but on my 4th repeat I ended up with too many stitches and then too few so I frogged it back to the 3rd repeat (or there abouts) put the border on and made it BACK into a dishcloth.
It wasn’t that it was terribly hard… and I love the idea of the off center lace pattern… I just got frustrated with it at the very end.

I made this one as a prize for the Iron Chef contest in Jenn's Kitchen (my recipe group on yahoo). This wasn’t the easiest dishcloth… but it certainly wasn’t that hard either. As always with any pattern that has yo and ssk if you have to go back due to a mistake or dropped stitch it is a pain… but since it is just dishcloth size it’s really no biggie either. I like the smaller size…and I think it’ll make a great gift. I’ll put it in the mail tomorrow.

Here is my first crochet project. I know it's nothing special... but hey I'm proud. I usually knit and haven't had much luck with crochet.

And here is what I'm working on now... I should finish it in a jiffy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bookmarks and Bunny Nuggets

For Mother's day I knit up a few book marks for my mother, my mother-in-law, and two of my sister-in-laws and gave them as gifts with a book. What a great way to practice a lace pattern. Bookmarks are small so if you make a mistake frogging it is simple... and you can see what a lace pattern will look like in miniature. I got two of the patterns off Ravelry... and the other two bookmarks I used the stitch pattern from the wrap I'm working on.

This cute little project is called a bunny nugget. The pattern is located here. I found knitting the ears in the round almost impossible. I don’t know why… but a small number of stitches on DPNs are almost impossible for me… I found myself cursing so much I just knit them flat. I also knit the whole body on DPNs instead of transfering to circular for the bind off… I just did the 3 needle bindoff on 2 DPN and used the third to bind off.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ravelry and Ravings

I haven't posted anything in a while... and it is not that I haven't been knitting... I just haven't finished anything in a while. I have been working on lots of little projects and not finishing any of them. So yesterday I vowed to finish something for a change... and so I finished up a few odds and ends. One of the projects I finished was this washcloth for my daughter. I found this cool and very detailed pattern is on another blog... check it out here

I have also been knitting up some bibs and burp cloths for all the many babies on the way right now. I finished a bib and started on a burp cloth. I know it seems odd to knit something just for a baby to puke and spill stuff on... but hey if my knitted cloths can make someone smile while cleaning up baby puke then I think I've done something truly special.

I got these patterns from the book Mason Dixon Knitting.

And last but not least... I've been working on this wrap. I had planned on wearing it to my anniversary party... but not only was it too hot...but I hadn't finished the dang thing anyway. Oh well there will be other parties. I think that I might just make this wrap in a specialty yarn instead of the cheap acrylic I used for this attempt. I found this pattern here.

The other knitting related thing that I've been doing is setting up an account at Ravelry. It is a really cool tool for all you knitters and crocheters out there! You can post pictures of you projects... meet other people that are interested in the same type of projects you are... and just have fun looking through the forum and all the free patterns. Stop by and add me to your friends list if you are a member!

Until next time,


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pachy the Pachyderm

This is Pachy the Pachyderm... I made him for my nephew who is celebrating his first birthday today. He was rather easy to knit up. You just knit two "gingerbread man" bodies from the feet up and stitch then together. All you need to know for this project is how to knit...there are no purl stitches in this project. You also need to know how to increase by knitting into the front and back of a stitch. Knowing how to do a single cast on is important so that you can add stitches onto the needle for the arms....other than that you just knit each row. This is a true beginner project and the kids love it. As far as materials go you just need some grey worsted weight yarn and whatever eyes you wish to use. I also made a little red scarf for him in garter stitch by casting on 5 and knitting until it tied nicely around his neck.

Here are the basic instructions... but you can easily make him bigger or smaller by changing the original width of his legs:

I started by casting on 10 stitches and knitting until I felt that the leg was the proper length. I then left it on the needle and cast on 10 more for leg number two. When the legs were of equal length I knit across both to make the body (20 stitches). After knitting several inches the lower boy looked right and I started on the arms by casting on 12 stitches... knitting across the whole thing and casting on 12 more for a total of 44 stitches. Once again I knit until the arms looked to be about as thick as the legs. You then bind off 17 stitches... knit across the rest and bind off 17 more and knit across the last 10. You now have 10 on the needles and are ready to make the head. Increase a stitch at the beginning of each row until you have 18 on... then knit about 10 rows... and begin your decreases until you only have 10. Bind off. You make two of these.

To make the trunk I simply made a rectangle in garter stitch. I cast on 6 and knit until I thought it looked good for his body size. Instead of binding off I just threaded the yarn onto a needle and put it through the stitches to form a tube. I sewed up the tube and stitched it to the center of the face along with two googly eyes.

The ears probably could have been a bit bigger... but I like the mousy look. I cast on 5... knit the first row and then increased until I had 12 stitches on the needle. I knit 2 more rows of 12 and then decreased at the beginning of each row until I had 7 left. Bind off and after making two you are ready to sew them onto the head. I like a bit of an asymmetrical look when I make toys so I don't fret too much about how evenly placed they are.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Newborn Soaker

A friend of mine is having a baby in June and is planning on using cloth diapers. A few months ago she asked me if I'd ever heard of woolies or soakers... and if I knew how to make them. I didn't know at the time... but after a little research and some good information from one of my knitting lists I learned what I needed to know. Soakers are wool diaper covers that go on the outside of the diaper to help draw moisture away while staying dry on the outside. Wool has some pretty amazing properties and I'm really interested to hear how well they work. I just finished my first attempt... I plan on trying out several different styles and making them in a few different sizes so that she can figure out which ones work the best. I thought this one came out a little crudely... but cute all the same. I had forgotten how small a new born butt was...

I got my pattern here. I will post other attempts in the future.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wheat Washcloth

After all the spring color I decided I wanted to knit something a bit more natural. This washcloth knit using the seed stitch for a border and a wheat cable and bamboo stitch for the body is what I came up with. This washcloth along with my spring washcloth knit in honey colors (it does after all look like a honeycomb) would make an excellent gift with some oatmeal and honey bath products.

Wheat Washcloth Instructions
It was pointed out to me that Rows 1 & 3 should end PKPK, Rows 2 & 4 should start KPKP... if you do it as the pattern instructs there will be a slight glitch in how the top and side boarders match up and it won't be a true seed pattern. I will rewrite the pattern after I've done another test knit to see if there are any other things I missed.

yo- yarn over
Sl-slip stitch from one needle to the other

You need size 7 or similar size knitting needle, a cable needle or DPN and any natural looking cotton worsted weight yarn.

Cast on 37 stitches
First 4 rows K1 *P1,K1 repeat from * across the row
1. (K,P,K,P) *yo, K2, pass the yo over both knit stitches repeat from * 2 more times, P2, K13, P2, *yo, K2 pass the yo over both knit stitches repeat from * 2 more times (K,P,K,P)
2. (P,K,P,K) P6, K2, P13, K2, P6 (P,K,P,K)
3. (K,P,K,P) *yo, K2 pass the yo over both knit stitches repeat from * 2 more times, P2, Sl 3 onto cable needle hold to back, K3, K3 off needle, K1, Sl 3 onto cable needle hold to front, K3, K3 off needle, P2,*yo, K2, pass the yo over both knit stitches repeat from * 2 more times (K,P,K,P)
4. (P,K,P,K) P6, K2, P13, K2, P6 (P,K,P,K)
Repeat pattern 8 times for a total of 9
Last 4 rows - K1 *P1,K1 repeat from * across the row.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Eggs au naturale


I just finished writing a blog entry for my foodlore blog about dying eggs with natural dyes. I thought I'd share it here as well since it fits in well with the craft theme of this blog. This was the first time I've used natural dyes for Easter eggs... In the past I've used a similar process when coloring basket weaving materials. I've read about using it to make beautifully colored wools for knitting or spinning... but I've yet to try it.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Peter Rabbit Finger Puppet

I love making little toys especially finger puppets. It is so easy to come up with cute variations on a simple pattern. I knit this one up in less than an hour...so if you hurry you can make a few just in time for Easter. It would also be cute to knit the whole body in a chocolate brown...kind of like a guilt free chocolate bunny! The cool thing about this is that you don't need any specific yarn...any worsted yarn will work. It is a perfect way to use up all those little scraps of yarn in your stash.

Peter Rabbit Finger Puppet
K- Knit
P- Purl
K2tog - Knit 2 together as one stitch

For this project I just used scrap yarn in blue for the shirt (like peter rabbits jacket in the Potter stories) and brown for the head and ears. I used the same blue as the shirt to make the eyes and a scrap of pink yarn to stitch the nose.
I made this puppet using size 3 double pointed needles… but if you don’t have that size any similar size would probably produce similar results. You can also knit the whole body instead of doing the shirt in seed stitch.

In color 1 (light blue) cast 18 stitches and spread them out onto 3 double pointed needles (6 on each)
1 knit the first row
2 *K,P* repeat until the end of the round
3 *P,K* repeat until the end of the round
4-11 alternate rows 2 and 3 (this will produce a seed stitch)
Switch to color 2 (brown)
12-21 Knit in color 2
22 *K2tog, K4* repeat on other needles until there are 5 stitches left on each.
23 *K2tog, K3* repeat on other needles until there are 4 stitches left on each.
24 *K2tog, K4* repeat on other needles until there are 3 stitches left on each.
Cut yarn and with a needle string it through the remain 9 stitches left on the needles. Pull to close hole.

Ears- Make 2
Cast on 3 in color 2
K, P, K for 6 rows
K2tog K1
K2tog and pull the end of the yarn through the remaining stitch.

To finish use pink embroidery thread or scrap yarn to sew an x in the center of the face for a nose and make 2 French knots using the light blue (used for the body) to make the eyes. Sew on the ears and then weave in any ends.
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