Saturday, June 22, 2013

Use it or Lose It: Stash Knit-down 2013


The ladies over at the Stash and Burn podcast issued a challenge last January: to knit 13 yarns out of your stash in one year. I came to the party a bit late, but joined in especially for July's goal: knit your dishcloth cotton. A quick look at my stash and I found 9 balls!

Dishcloth cotton comes in many forms, but my favorite is the garden variety "Lily's Sugar & Cream." It's easily found and one solid ball usually can give you two dishcloths. There are SO many patterns to choose from on Ravelry. Google "dishcloth cotton" and you will find several to choose from. The easiest one is called "Grandma's Favorite." Here's the pattern:

Cast on 4 stitches.

Knit 1 row.

Knit 2, YO, knit across. *continue this way until you have 39 stitches.

Knit 1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, knit across *continue until you have just 4 stitches.

Knit 1 row.

Bind off.

So far, I've knit 2 balls of cotton yarn or 4 dishcloths. If I knit all of my cotton, I'll have 18 dishcloths. Of the handknits, dishcloths really work hard. They are great for dishes and cleaning sinks. It takes quite a few uses for them to wear out. They make great housewarming or "just-because" gifts. Dishcloth knitting is also great for when you are between projects or when traveling. I like knitting dishcloths during the summer when it's so hot outside. You can try out stitch patterns on a dishcloth to see if you like it for another project.

Speaking of, Deb Buckingham of TheArtfulYarn blog, just published "Dishcloth Diva" over at Cooperative Press. For about $0.50 per pattern, you can have 20 new washcloth patterns to use and share. So far, I've knitted Abstract, but there are several in my que to knit up.

** I'm on my way to using my little stash of yarn. I added it up recently and discovered that I have approximately 9,919 yards of yarn. Compared to others, that's not much. And I'm not counting, my handspun just yet. Not willing to cross over the 10,000 mark.

Gotta get to that stash! My knitter friends, have you added up your stash? I'm curious to know if I'm average...


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday's Spin Class

On the third Saturday of the month, I meet with a bunch of ladies to learn the art of yarn spinning. Today's class was all about fiber/yarn dyeing.

Dyeing yarn is a multiple-step or oceans. First, you soak your fiber in a vinegar bath. Then, you use acid dye on a paint brush or in a squirt bottle to add color. After cooking your yarn in cling wrap for a few minutes, you rinse and then let your yarn dry. In a nutshell, within the hour, you should have yarn drying. In a few hours, you should be able to spin or knit your yarn.


Today's project was challenging. I feel that I have a eye for color, especially with my quilts. In fabric, i combine colors, often without thinking about it. It was challenging to look at a white piece of fiber and know exactly what I wanted it to look like. I learned I gravitate toward jewel tones, but I would like to experiment more warm colors like gold, ecru, etc. Knitty has some great articles on dyeing yarn.

I have another 10 oz of wool left in my stash. That's quite a bit....maybe I can figure out the Pantone fall color for this year, and get started on a cowl...



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Crafty Mondays

In the summer, my friends and I renew our creativity by meeting each week for Crafty Monday. We gather around my dining room table, working on our current project. Each one of us brings something different: we have photography, knitting, crochet, scrap booking, quilting, and sewing.

This year, our group has a bit of focus: zentangles or doodling. What is a zentangle? In short, it is a meditative way to doodle. You divide your paper into sections and add different repetitive patterns to each section. The zentangle website has more information. A purist might use the itty bitty papers the website calls for, but basically we create shapes and/or pictures and add patterns with sharpies, watercolor paint or markers.

This photo was taken by my friend Jean Christian. She is a Tulsa photographer who is quite talented behind the lens. Her portfolio is on her website. She has a great talent for color!

Janine has a Pinterest board devoted to zentangles. I also love her "things to make" board.

Next week, we might use this art as inspiration for our doodles:

It's from Elizabeth Caldwell of ecdesigns. I found the print on etsy. I love her moleskin journals!

There are TONS of places to look for doodle art inspiration. Tammy of DaisyYellow, is a great place to start. She has a whole part of her website devoted to just getting started.


Happy doodling!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sewing From Within the Stash

I get so many compliments from this GREAT project bag wherever my crafting adventures take me. It has two front pockets, button closure, and is extra roomy inside. When I took it to my monthly spinning group, my friends told me they had "bag envy." I said, "Thanks, I made it myself. No big deal."


Really, the bag is a secret up-cycling project. I sewed a pocket on the front of an old conference bag that had potential to be something better. After disclosing this, I told them that I could try to reproduce it. After measuring, cutting and sewing (and ripping back a few times), this is what I came up with:

It's the same bag with room for improvements: inside pockets. Seriously though, a few years ago I was obsessed with sewing bags. I made so many I swear that my family was planning an intervention. It's nice to know that I can still whip those things out pretty quickly. And now, without buying a pattern!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Quilty Wednesday

In the past week, I have quilted two quilts. It is so much fun on my new machine. There's this pedal-free mode where all I have to do is just press start and sew a straight seam. Love! Here is Meri-Sue's vintage quilt top - just needs a finished binding.

Here is my "Royal Squares," a pattern from Craftsy. Craftsy is a great place to find, patterns, inspiration and online workshops about all things crafting. There are baking, sewing, quilting, jewelry making, knitting classes, just to name a few.

Would you believe that I have another bag and a half of scraps? Off to look for inspiration from my newest favorite quilting magazine: Quilty.

Anybody have a need for fabric scraps?


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday's Spin

Today's Tuesday Spin comes from Eleanor Thomas of Spin Culture. It's called "The Scream" and is a perfect blend of golden yellows, oranges, indigo and black. My goal is to 2-ply it and make a hat for Vincent. My spinning is getting more and more consistent with each batt. So exciting!

While the kids were swimming, I worked in my summer art journal. One of my summer goals is to blog more consistently, even if it is just a paragraph or two. Summer is my crazy craft period - it's where I really get to work my skills. Here are my plans, err goals.

It's sort of a summer bucket list. I plan on making a bucket list with the kids. What are your plans for summer?


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Crafty Ideas for 2013: Vision Boards

2012 was an interesting year for many of us. My family had many challenges and celebrations that, in many ways, brought us closer together. I feel like 2013 is going to be a great year with exciting adventures ahead. There have been some dreams and aspirations that have been flowing in my head for a few months. I wanted to see how I could keep those goals in mind as I begin another year.

So, I googled "vision board," something I had heard about, but not really understood. And did more research. Basically, there are inspiration boards and vision boards. An example of an inspiration board is kind of like what we make on Pinterest: it's a place to gather images or ideas about a certain goal. A vision board encompasses a little bit more. Many people choose a special word for the year and then create a board around that idea and how it looks in different aspects of their life. I read Joyce Schwarz's book "The Vision Board: the Secret to an Extraordinary Life." Here's a link about vision boards: The subtle tricks to building an effective vision board | Martha Beck.

I started thinking that "abundance" might be my word for the year, but after creating my board, I think my word or phrase is "creating openness." I'm still working on my board, but when, I'm finished, I'm going to hang it in my bedroom so I can see it every day. The idea is, that by creating this board, your brain is thinking of that concept regularly. Current brain research states that your brain only " knows" your thoughts, both negative and positive. So, why not bring positive thoughts and energy into your life?

Even better, make it a party! Gather some girlfriends, wine, snacks, canvas, magazines and catalogs and start creating your vision for the year! I would be happy to help you along.