Apr 16

As a busy mom of three little boys, I don’t always have time to do my hair. (Like, never, actually! I try to sneak in sessions with my flatiron while the boys are distracted with a cartoon… IF I have to leave the house. If I don’t, my hair looks like the bus driver from South Park’s… i.e., bird’s nest. Hmm, a bird’s nest headband sounds kind of cute and funny, actually!) I think I need some headband action to disguise my less-than-perfect hair!

Notes from a very red kitchen just hosted a Headband Tutorial Roundup, and there were some super headbands represented!

The roundup was full of inspiration, but this rose and pearl headband by Whitney was one of my favorites. The grey roses are pretty – and grey is such an elegant and unexpected color choice for roses!

This scrappy leather headband by Missie Krissie is super cute, too! I love the texture of the different leathers used for the leaves. I have a few leather garments I’ve purchased at the Goodwill bins ($.99 a pound!) that would work well for this!

Other Headband Resources:

  • I loooved this yarn braided headband when I saw it a few months ago at EvaForeva (don’t you just LOVE the styling of the pic, too?)
  • Holly has a bunch of ways to bust your stash by making cute headbands at Art, Meet Craft

Nov 2

This week’s free pattern from the Knittn Kitten is by one of my favorite crafters of all time, Lee Meredith of Leethal Designs. These Lined Zippered Knit Coin Pouches are so nice – definitely something to add to the Holiday crafting list! Lee says:

I had fun combining knitting and hand sewing together in this project, and seeing the different pouch types you can get from different gauges. This isn’t exactly a quick project, with all the hand sewing (at least not for me!) but it’s so satisfying when it’s finished and looks all neat, with the bias tape and lining.

Be sure to stop by the Knittn Kitten this week to pick up your free project sheet along with all the materials you’ll need to make your own batch of these cute coin purses.

For those outside of Portland, we’ll be offering all the patterns together in a free e-book when our in-store promotion is done! Stay tuned for details!

Feb 25

I visited my grandma this week, and she gave us stacks of old knitting and crochet patterns to look through. There was a pattern for this map of the world cardigan, and my mom and aunt told me that my grandma had actually knitted one for my grandpa. I didn’t remember it, so I asked her about it and she pulled it out. She said my grandpa chose the yarn and everything for the project (but that she made the USA on the back of the cardy LAVENDER because it’s her favorite color!)

She also showed me a cardigan she knitted that had bowling pins & balls on it. Apparently my grandpa wore it on bowling night. Love it!

Jan 14

waving1

I’m not much of a knitter, but a Threadbanger post by Leethal last week encouraged me to try a new project in the form of Lee’s own Waving Chevron Scarf. I LOVE the striping in my scarf! I think it’s so pretty!

waving-yarns

I have a whole bunch of hand-me-down yarn of dubious origin in sherbet colors, and I really loved the way the yarns stripe in Lee’s pattern, so I used some cool variegated acrylic (I have a soft spot in my heart for that stuff!) that goes from salmon to butter yellow to grey and looks atrocious when knitted or crocheted up by itself. It looks pretty awesome in this scarf, though! I paired it with some orange sherbet and some vintage faux mohair in magenta (the color name is “American Beauty.”) These colors aren’t typically me (I wear a lot of navy blue and brown!) but I secretly always want to wear orange and hot pink, so I’m thinking this scarf is the way to go!

It took me awhile to get started since I haven’t knitted in probably three years, but I am clipping along now.

I also logged onto my new-ish Ravelry account and updated my profile with some of my projects. I uploaded even the embarrassing ones (all of them! ha ha), so feel free to take a look and friend me!

Dec 17

I’ve seen this yarn-filled glass bulb project around, but I can’t remember where I saw it last year. I was so inspired by that post author (whoever you are!) that last December I got three boxes of these glass ornaments with which to make this craft. I was kidding myself because I was 9 months pregnant, it was Christmas time, and we were moving on December 26th… so I didn’t get around to making these ornaments until last week!

The idea I saw centered around putting yarn from your stash into the glass bulbs. I love this idea because I have some pretty novelty yarn that I bought randomly with no projects in mind (like the Noro shown in the bulb above), that just don’t suit my crochet/knitting style.

My twist on the project is that I also used a length of the same yarn to hang the bulb with, showcasing the yarn another way.

To make them: I either fed the yarn through the hole in the bulb slowly (to create the coiling/balling effect), or I had a big mass of the yarn and shoved it through the hole with a pen (this method used for the pink ornament).

These are hard to take good photos of if you’re in a hurry (as I always am), so I hope you will get the idea! I like the orange eyelash yarn – it looks like fire in a bulb in real life!

p.s. If you know where I saw it last year (I think it was linked to on a pretty big blog), let me know and I’ll link to it!

Nov 17

Tammy at The Crafty Princess Diaries blogged about a project to make special scarves for Special Olympians. This sounds like a really great project for any knitter or crocheter to work on! No specific pattern is required, but Red Heart is aiming to collect 5000 scarves knitted in their Red Heart Super Saver yarn in white and delft blue.

Oct 9
scrumptious toppers

scrumptious toppers

Title: Scrumptious Toppers for Tots & Toddlers
Author: Debby Ware
Release Date: October 10th, 2008

I have admitted before that I’m not a knitter, but I have also confessed that I LOVE children’s products. I was really excited to get my hands on this book, with all its promise of cuteness overload. The image on the book should have given me a twinge of fear, though. If I would have studied it, I would have noticed the faux fleur topping the cover girl and been duly warned.

Peppermint Candy Cap

Peppermint Candy Cap

(Okay, maybe stuff from the plastic flower department of your local craft store is cute on top of a two year-old’s head. I don’t know. It’s not my cup of tea.) If I would have studied the cover image, I would also have come away with something else. The hats inside the book are bright, zesty, and full of fun. And if a toddler can’t wear a zesty chapeau, can’t nobody.

I am not familiar with Debby Ware, but Taunton’s website calls her a “children’s knits maven.” Her website displays some children’s knits that are pretty cute. She definitely has a style, and these hats fit into that style. They’re not my style, but they are pretty fun.

What I liked: Debby admits to being a designer who just jumps in and goes wherever he designs take her. I can definitely get behind that type of Auntie Mame creativity. She graciously stuck to the same types of novelty yarns for all the patterns in her book, so, as she says “buy just one skein and you’ll be set.” I love considerate designers with a mind for the every-knitter! The hats are cheery, whimsical, and fun.

Cute use of novelty yarn on the Holiday Hat

Cute use of novelty yarn on the Holiday Hat

Notable Patterns: I liked the clever use of novelty fur yarn to evoke shiny Christmas lights on the Glittery Holiday Hat.

Circles & Dots Beret

Circles & Dots Beret

The Peppermint Candy Cap is sweet (maybe I could reinterpret it in sailor blue, white, and red for my boys). Oh wait, I don’t have to, because the Circles and Dots Beret would work instead.

What I didn’t like: maybe because my tastes run more Ralph Lauren simple than Betsey Johnson crazy, there were few hats in the book that I want to make. Most of the hats have multiple colors, bobbles, zigzags and I-cord sticking out at odd places. I couldn’t really even imagine my toddler wearing any of these. (I could, however, imagine a lot of kids in my Southeast Portland kooky neighborhood wearing them!) The

Fizzle Ruffle Beanie fizzles for me

Fizzle Ruffle Beanie fizzles for me

Fizzle Ruffle Beanie really fizzled for me. What’s that on top of that adorable girl’s head?

The good news and the bad news: She uses similar techniques to embellish each hat, which is good if you are trying to practice a french knot, for example, but bad because it seems kind of repetitive. There seem to be some silhouettes that repeat in the book (to me, it seemed like she was trying to stretch one pattern into two or more by switching out the yarn colors). She uses some striking novelty materials (novelty feathers, for example, on the Black and White and Red All Over hat) that look awesome, but are totally impractical. Babies wearing a be-feathered hat will likely try to eat the feathers (that seems really icky) and my toddler, while not being tempted to eat the feathers, would pick all the feathers off the hat, rendering it extremely un-awesome.

A full view of the Holiday hat

A full view of the Holiday hat

This book does live up to its name: “scrumptious.” It’s frothy, billowy, and sparkly. Maybe it’s just the kind of book you need to inject some whimsy into your kiddo knitting.

Sep 5
classic elite knits

classic elite knits

Just looking through this book is making me super-excited for fall! Autumn is my favorite season, and the shorter days and cooler weather make me want to pull out my yarn and knit up some cozy sweaters!

Title: Classic Elite Knits: 100 Gorgeous Designs for Every Occasion from the studios of Classic Elite Yarns

Release Date: September 9th, 2008

As it states in the title, this book contains 100 knitting patterns, most of which are patterns for sweaters of various types for women, men, and children. There are also a number of accessories patterns of the usual type: scarves, hats, and bags. The patterns range from beginner, easy, and intermediate to experienced, which means there is something for everyone here.

seed stitch blazer

seed stitch blazer

Each pattern is titled and then just jumps right into the instructions, with no introduction to the pattern or explanation of its name or special features. Experienced knitters are probably fine with this, but for me, a beginner, I found it to be a little disconcerting. I like to get a little bit of chat with each pattern, even if it’s just a sentence to tell me where the intriguing title for the sweater came from or why that particular yarn or colorway was chosen.

As far as the patterns go, again, I am not an experienced knitter, but I didn’t find anything that knocked my socks off as far as knitting couture or cutting edge ideas are concerned. What I did find was a nice selection of quality patterns that seem to be really well-designed. I would call these patterns “classic” for the most part. This book could have been published in 1980 or 2020 (I’m assuming it will still seem classic by then!). The patterns do showcase the yarn beautifully! I have not used any Classic Elite Knits yarn, but there are some beautiful examples in this book.

Patterns I would most like to try (or wear): Seed Stitch Blazer (nice and tailored sweater blazer – this is definitely a stand out pattern… I lied, this one did knock my socks off. Too bad I’m not an experienced knitter!) The Garter-Stitch Color-Block Cardigan has a zipper, which is fun. I don’ t know if anyone else would be into that pattern, but I can see myself wearing it.

awry cardigan - what were they thinking?

awry cardigan - what were they thinking?

“What were they thinking” patterns: The “Awry Cardigan” that is designed to look like you buttoned it up wrong… Uh, even if it was designed that way, it still looks like you buttoned it up wrong! And there’s nothing wrong with this pattern, but the photo for the Lace-Panel Vest makes the model look pregnant, which, I’m pretty sure she’s not. My mama always said: if the pattern photo makes the model (who you know is a size 2) look pregnant, STEER CLEAR!

Charming detail: There are several adult patterns that have accompanying children’s patterns (and most of the adult patterns are men’s sweaters – nothing says cuuuuute like a dad and kid with matching Cosby sweaters! Cue jazz music and dorky dad dancing here!)

cabled purse

cabled purse

Cute accessories: I love the Rainbow Scarf (but probably more just for the colors chosen than the pattern itself.) The Cabled Purse is super-cute, too, and I bet it’s a great thing to make to practice your cabling.

cat sweater and mouse skirt

cat sweater and mouse skirt

My personal favorite section: has to be the kids’ knits. You might think it’s because I’m a mom, but I think it would have been even before I had kids (Martha Stewart Kids magazine is my all-time favorite, and it bit the dust before I even had my first child!). These patterns are cute and pretty chic in a kid-in-a-sweater kind of way. They really don’t scream “my Grandma KNITS!” at all, which is saying something. I love the Cat Sweater and Mouse Skirt (there are matching socks, too, but to have a kid wear all three at once would definitely be taking it into “my Grandma KNITS” territory). The Rib Pocket Hoodie is an adorable pullover, that would look great on any kiddo, and the Large Flower Pattern Cardigan is cute for your little pre-tween (too bad there’s a matching mommy sweater… a little TOO cute).

My favorite kid pattern is the Zip-Up Sweater (wow, my favorite

zip-up stripe sweater

zip-up stripe sweater

pattern choices appear to be chosen by the hyphenated titles) which features multi-striped non-matching sleeves. Super cute, and something you would see in a kids’ boutique for $200. Another bonus is that even though the pattern uses six yarns (wowee-wow-wow!), the “pieces are worked flat but are worked on circular needles to eliminate cutting and rejoining colors, leaving ends to weave in later. Simply slide the stitches to the end where the next color to be used was left and work the next row in pattern.” I don’t actually know how to do that (the pattern is intermediate, and you know, I’m not), but it sounds easy and a lot more reasonable than weaving in millions of yarn tails.

If you are looking for a book with lots of classic patterns, look no further. If you are looking for the hippest and the most cutting edge, try another book (or better yet, a magazine, as their shorter production time allows them to get the hottest styles to you sooner.)

Aug 20

Denise at Knitting Without Needles posted this great idea and tutorial for DIY knitting looms made from junk you can find around your house.

Check it out!

Nov 12

Here’s another funny knitting pattern I pulled out of my Pattern-a-day calendar. Anyone need to knit themselves a Barrister’s Wig? Anyone in the US know what a Barrister’s Wig is?? (Do they wear them in Canada? I thought it was an England thing… but I guess Canada was an English colony until recently… or is it still?)

If you really want to knit it, I can send you the whole pattern (I’ll just send you the page from my calendar).

If you don’t want a Barrister’s Wig, perhaps you would like to knit a more chic wig. Try the Hallowig. OR, check out this adorable Baby Hallowig!

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