Friday, December 30, 2011

Urban-Inspired Ear Warmer - Free Pattern!




I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! It's so nice to be home and to have a break from school for a bit. I've been using my extra free time to finish up some of the year's knitting projects and also design this new one. This is the first time I've actually wrote down instructions for something I made up and I'm excited to share it will you!






This ear warmer is inspired by one I saw on the Urban Outfitters website. It was so simple and looked so nice I had to give it a shot at making my own.


(clicking on the photo will bring you to the product page)

Ravelry Pattern Page

This pattern uses the provisional cast on and grafting. Below are some links to tutorials to make the process easier:
Provisional Cast-On
Grafting/Kitchener's Stitch



Materials:
Less than one skein of Malabrigo Merino Worsted (Feel free to substitute any other worsted weight yarn. Just make sure it has some wool content so it can be blocked)
Size 8 (5mm) straight needles

Pattern:
Provisionally cast on 27 stitches.
Row 1: Slip first stitch, K to second to last stitch, P last stitch.
Row 2: Slip first stitch, P to end.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until piece measures about 18" from beginning. (If you're worried about fit/tightness, I always find the best way is to put the band around your head, measuring it to your particular fit, and ending when it feels right for you).

Finishing:

1. Graft the two ends together to create a seamless finish. (If you're like me and are terrible a seaming, the braided gather is a great way to cover up a messy seam)



2. Weave in ends.

3. Block! The earmwarmer will have the tendancy to curl, but blocking will slightly reduce this.




4. Cut three long strands from the same yarn. Using a crochet hook, fold the strands in half and draw them through the edge of the earwarmer. Leaving a loop at the top, draw the ends through the loop, attaching the strands to the earwarmer.

5. Braid two braids from the 6 strings, hold them together, and wrap them around the width of the earwarmer. Continue wrapping until the gather is as big as you like. On the wrong side, tie the braids off and hide the ends in the wrap.





You're done! Enjoy your new earwarmer!

This is my first pattern so if anything is unclear or you need any help please feel free to contact me.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WIP Wednesday: The Sweater Saga

Sorry for the long absence! School, as always, has been super, super busy. As I move forward with this blog I'm really going to have to put a more concerted effort into updating regularly.

Even despite my slow updates, I have kept knitting. I had this big idea earlier this Fall to design and knit my perfect sweater... I didn't get very far. I had never knit a sweater at all - how was I supposed to design and fit my own?

So below is step 1 of 'jenny knits herself a sweater finally.' I chose the Sage pattern (Click Here!) as it's knit in the round with raglan sleeves. I royally messed up the first sweater I tried to make by seaming terribly. This time I wanted to choose a pattern that has as little seeming as possible.



I'm not sure if I'm in love with the Morrish Lace pattern, but it's coming along nicely. I haven't hit any major snags (yet!).




As it is only my second attempt at a sweater, I didn't want to buy a too expensive yarn for it. I'm using Ella Rae Amity worsted weight on sale at Webs. I also didn't swatch (yikes!). I know its a heavier yarn than called for but I figured that this is really just an experiment anyway... right? UGh.

Well, we'll see how this goes.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Made It By Monday: Lace Earrings

I'm finally back at school and so excited to be back in the city. Here's a quick project I started just before I left and finally got back to a couple of days ago. These feminine lace earrings are a breeze to make!


Supplies:


1. Lace scraps (I used an old curtain)

2. Craft Spray. I used Krylon Matte Finish. There are many other types of spray out there that I think would work just as well.

3. Earring hooks (optional: jump rings, beads, etc.)

4. Pliers (round nose and flat nose)


Step 1: Choose your motif


I dug up an old curtain and found the motif I liked best. I looked for two of the same as I wanted both my earrings to mirror eachother, but I think a mismatched pair would be cute too. :)






I recommend cutting the motifs out using sharp scissors or an exact-o knife to limit the frayed edges.

Step 2: Spray



Make sure you spray the Krylon in a well-ventilated area. Since it was a nice day I just brought them to cleared spot outside. I used toothpicks to keep my earrings from sticking to the paper towel once I sprayed as well as to keep them in place (the spray from the bottle as well as the wind tends to blow your project away).




Make sure to flip your earrings over and spray the other side as well. The spray stiffens the earrings and makes them water-resistant. Let each coat completely dry before handling your earrings.

Step 3: Attach earring hooks.


I didn't have any jump rings so I just opened the loop of the hook with pliers and used a hole already in the top of the lace earring. Jump rings might make the process a bit easier and add length.

Voila!



These were super easy to make and now I'm constantly on the lookout for lace scraps with interesting motifs. Don't be afraid to add pearl beads or use larger motifs to make your own, unique pair!



Monday, September 5, 2011

Made It By Monday: Friendship Bracelets

This post was actually intended for last week as a end-of-summer sort of project, but hurricane Irene had other plans. We've finally got our power back so here it goes: Ever since I was little and my mom bought me one of those Klutz friendship bracelet books, I've loved making bracelets for my family, friends, and myself! These always remind me of summer and the last two weeks of a sort of nostalgia-inspired vacation I made (and gave) a bunch.





At the day camp I work at these are the most fun to make with the kids.  The result is that we're all literally up to our elbows in friendship bracelets by the end of the summer.


What you'll need:
1. embroidery floss

(available at most craft and sewing/fabric stores)

2. tape or a paper clip. I find clips work best for me as my bracelets always slid out from under the tape.



~*~

Here is a list of some great friendship bracelet websites with tutorials and instructions to get you inspired:

1. Easy, basic friendship bracelets from purlbee
2. Free patterns from friendship-bracelets.net
3. Make bracelets using a cardboard loom.
4. A fashionable take on a traditional friendship bracelet


I'm anxious to try to make the 'peruvian wave' friendship bracelet. Here's a quick tutorial:






Like knitting, I find making friendship bracelets very therapeutic. Be sure to try your own designs and wear them in unique ways!


Have a great week!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Made It By Monday: Paper Beads

There are some crafts you can never be too old for. I hadn't made paper beads since summmer camp days but I've stumbled upon so many tutorials and earrings and bracelets all about (and using) paper beads.



What you need:
1. Old magazines, scrapbook paper, origami paper, whatever!
2. Glue (Elmers liquid glue, glue stick - whatever works best for you)
3. Toothpicks, Size 1-3 knitting needle, chopsticks
4. A varnish (Such a krylon, polyurethane, modge podge)

I have yet to varnish mine. The varnish isn't entirely necessary - it definitely makes the beads look more jewelry-esque but they also lose a bit of the "paper" look.

I made a bunch of these over the course of the last week. (Personally I think my form still needs a bit of work). To get you started, here are a couple of great tutorials for paper beads:

Madmim's Paper Bead Tutorial
Yahoo Lifestyle Tutorial
Paper Bead Templates (7 different forms! Not just cylinders.)

And once you've made your beads, I highly suggest you check out this tutorial also by madmim for anthropologie-inspired earrings: Click here



It's amazing what people have done! I often head on over to Etsy for even more inspiration.


Image Source

Have fun!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Made It By Monday... Cranberry-Dyed Shoes

As summer winds down and the cool days of fall and winter approach, I've decided to share with you all tutorials from both me and the internet to try.


I love crafts and tutorials that revamp old items that I may already have. In this case, I had a pair of very, very worn, dirty and old white Keds sneakers that I was going to throw out. In a last chance effort, I decided to dye them.

I had recently been to the library and was looking through craft books and found one on natural dyes. One possibility was cranberries (or in my case, cranberry juice concentrate). I happened to be wearing my dirty, beat up shoes as I was reading and decided to give it a try.

I was largely inspired by this tutorial by sweet verbena for tea-stained shoes. Definitely go check her tutorial out.



Supplies:

1. White canvas shoes

2. frozen cranberry juice concentrate - however many cans it takes to fill up the pot that you are going to put your shoes in. (the frozen juice is not diluted like the stuff you find in the juice aisle).

3. 1 tablespoon vinegar (so the dye sets)

4. 1 pint of water for every can of cranberry juice.

I had also purchased new laces at Urban Outfitters to replace my old ones.

~~*~~


Step 1: Find your shoes.

These are my terribly old, gross shoes that used to be white. I believe Payless has white canvas shoes for $15.



(These are after I washed them, by the way. Notice the blue from a tie-dye incident and the back held together by electric tape. I have no idea why I've kept them this long).

Step 2: Ready your supplies.

I took my frozen cranberry juice concentrate and emptied them into a pan on the stove. I set the stove to simmer so the juice would melt and added 1 pint of water per can. I also added a tablespoon of vinegar.
I would suggest buying more than two cans of the frozen juice. the resulting dye did not completely cover the shoes so I had to keep rotating them. A big pan and a lot of dye will allow for your shoes to be completely submerged.






(I'm not sure the pros/cons of red/white vinegar. Red probably would have worked well in this case considering the color dye I was using).




Step 3: Ready your shoes.

While your juice is melting, give your shoes a good scrub and remove the soles and laces. Often after being soaked the soles are easier to remove.



(And rinse your kitchen sink after)

Step 4: Stuff your shoes in the pot.

I don't have a picture of my shoes crammed into my too-small pot, but the wear and tear they've experienced allowed them to be very flexible. I will say that the splotchy end appearance may be in part due to my constant rotating during the dying.

I left them on the stove for about half an hour.

Step 5: Remove and rinse.

Remove your shoes (carefully! They might be hot) and run them under the faucet until the water runs clear.

Step 6: Lay to dry.

Stick your shoes and the removed soles out in the sun or wherever to dry.




Step 7: Wear your cranberry-dyed shoes proud!



Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Long Time Coming

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the long long absence. End-of-school and finals and trips to NYC and Canada have kept me very busy the past month and a half. I have a lot to share with you but I'll start with my latest FO:




Pattern: Springtime Bandit
Project Link: Ravelry Page


This is my first lace/shawl project EVER and I loved every minute of it. Even when I messed up and had to rip back (saw K2 P to last 2 stitches, K2 as K2 P2 across... though edge chart only charted odd rows like others - it doesn't) I still enjoyed seeing the beautiful patterns I was creating. I used Malabrigo Merino Worsted in 'purple magic.' It was a dream to work with and the color is beautiful!(and I have some leftover :) )







Unfortunately, my love for lace knitting does not match my love of wearing shawls (none) so I plan to wear this more as a scarf.




This was also my first experience blocking something. I may have to block it again, it kind of contracted back in on itself.



I'll have more updates soon!

Jenny

Monday, March 7, 2011

Slouchy Spring Hat



I got some Kudo yarn on sale at my LYS at the end of January. It was just one skein so I had to make something small - I decided on a hat.




I've made the Katherine Hat twice now, and I really love the pattern. I produces just the right amount of slouch. I ended the hat a bit to early this time, but still fits relatively okay.

Ravelry Link
Pattern Link


I'm excited for spring knitting and crafting - the weather is finally starting to warm up and I can't wait until shorts weather!

Until next time!

Jenny

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bella's Mittens Part II




Well, I finally finished them. Unfortunately, they are a bit too short - just enough to make them uncomfortable to wear. Hopefully some blocking will stretch them out enough.

Ravelry Link


The pattern was fine, it's just me that seemed to have so many problems with it. I don't think I will be using it again. :(

Ugggghhh I'm in a bad mood.

XJenny

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kusudama Flowers and Paper Cranes

This Tuesday is the birthday of a good friend of mine from school. If there was anyone that ever appreciated handmade goods, it's her. That and how nice she is in general was all the reason I needed to spend some time on this very pretty (albeit a little different) paper flower.




Down the street from my school is the art store Blick, which I had never been in before. I usually only go into craft stores that supply a large variety of yarn, which this store does not. I couldn't have been more wrong about how I much I would like this store. I LOVE it! They have the nicest, best craft supplies at SUPER reasonable prices. Plus, I get a student discount. I got almost 100 sheets of origami paper for under $7.00.



I can't wait to use the rest of this paper, though I'm not sure yet what I want to do with it. Suggestions would be awesome.




I came across a tutorial online for a Kusudama by Folding Trees. I thought it looked so beautiful and would look great hanging in her dorm room.



I takes 60 pieces of paper so I cut each origami square into four smaller squares. Each square makes on petal and there are five petals per flower. I was worried it would be tedious but it actually became a very relaxing thing to do. I used double sided tape (I didn't have a glue and it was way too cold to go back out and buy some) to paste all the petal and all the flowers together.

It really ended up being awesome and the colors go really well together. I chained a piece of white yarn (I wish I had brought my fishing wire to school with me) and glued it between the halves so that she could hang it if she wants. I think it will look really cute.





I had a lot of fun making this and a lot of paper left over. With the scraps from the pieces I cut up I made a bunch of little paper cranes. I definitely want to bring my fishing wire back with me so I can string them over my bed in the dorm.










Happy crafting!

Jenny

Knitting Foul

Last week, I lost one mitten that I had made. While I still plan on making another one to replace it, I thought I should try Bella's Mittens.



Quick Disclaimer: I do not endorse Twilight or any related vampire novel.

I always thought they looked really nice and their popularity only made me want to make a pair myself.

Here's where the problems began:
I wanted to make a shorter version so I looked at others' modifications. The first time, I chose a modification that started at row 28. This was just a bad time because at first I tried the magic loop method as the pattern suggested. For some people the magic loop method really works but for me it just resulted in dropped stitches that were too tight on the needle or too loose.

Then I decided to go back to the DPNs but still had a hard time making the stitch count work. When I finally finished the cuff, I moved on to the cables which were twisted the wrong. Then at the thumb gusset the stitches got wonky and the pick-ups were out of control.



Blehhhh....


For some super weird reason, I've always hated the way 1x1 rib looked so that on top of everything else made me frustrated with the way it turned out! I think there was a period of five minutes where I was ready to rip all the stitches out very viciously. But by then, though, I had gone through the pattern enough times to have figured out exactly how it works and could make it how I wanted with the techniques that I felt comfortable with.

I decided instead to do about an inch of twisted rib and start on Row 40, repeat it once, then continue on in pattern. I think the results turned out much better too:




What was supposed to be a fun, simple project turned into a headache, which completely contradicts the reasons WHY I knit at all. At least now I know how to knit the other mitten and can relax.

Comparisons:







I think it's because I've had a stressful week at school, too, that this just sent me over the edge. Now I just need to let out a big sigh and keep going. Expect a project page soon on Ravelry.



xoxo Jenny

P.S. Yarn = Cascade ECO + bought in NYC.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Double Knitting?! The Tutorial of My Dreams

The more I go to school, the more successful I am at procrastinating. The other day while putting off a history paper I stumbled upon (literally 'stumbled' upon as in the website) a tutorial for double knitting.

I've always loved the stockinette stitch and wanted to make a scarf using solely that stitch. Curling, however, will forever be the problem. A tube scarf was an option, but I didn't want to knit a super long scarf of dpns (as dpns are no fun for large items) or a super wide one on a circular needle. (Don't get me started on the magic loop method - nothing has ever so NOT worked for me before).

So at about 11PM this beautiful site appeared:


Click here to view tutorial

Is this the answer to my perfect scarf prayers? Oooo I hope so.

Still procrastinating,
Jenny

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wishing I Was Wise

Well, I am now back in my dorm room facing another semester of college. This semester, I'm taking a lot of great classes that I'm really excited about. Against all odds, I am finding macroeconomics unbelievably interesting and enjoyable. I'm hoping this is the beginning of the end for my quest for what I want to do with the rest of my life. Slowly but surely, I am narrowing down what interests me and what inspires me to work hard and go the extra mile to not just understand but to analyze what I'm learning.

Fortunately, before I left I was able to complete a crochet project for my friend's birthday. She loves owls and I saw these great crocheted owls in New York City. You can see them here: link.



I thought they were so cute and though immediately of her, but of course I didn't buy one. So when her birthday came around I decided I would try to make my own for her. (Besides handmade is always a bit better, right?)

Pattern: Improvised
Ravelry: Link


I crocheted the body and the eyes. The rest was done by embroidery and embellishment. Then I stuffed him with polyfill.




Maybe some of the owl's wisdom will rub off on me for this next semester?

Hopefully he speaks Spanish.

¡AdiĆ³s!
Jenny