Tuesday, October 9, 2012

WIP (A Noble Cowl)

My last posting showed you guys how to dye yarn with food coloring, as a frugal, non-toxic alternative to harsher yarn dyes. I've been knitting up a cowl with that yarn, and so far I'm in love with the color spread.

This is a pattern I've done several times, it's a wonderful, flowing and derived from a classic lace motif. A Noble Cowl [ravelry] is a pattern I'd recommend to anyone wanting to start progressing into lace work, the repeats are easy to flow with and memorize. 

I think this time I'll be keeping this project for myself. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Coloring Your Yarn

I have finally tried my hand at dying yarn!

It's something I always thought about trying, but most sources will tell you that you must use often harmful dyes, which require masks to use, and require you to discard any utensils you use during the dye process. I am not comfortable using a chemical that I have to have a mask to be around, especially when I can't mask up my pets.

Then I stumbled upon a site that outlined how to use vinegar and food dye to color your yarn, with the same result, without the harmful drawbacks - and it's a frugal alternative to buying single acid dyes that cost 5 dollars or more a piece. I had me a spare skein of bare yarn lying around, and I decided it was time to try this out.

Implements Needed:

1. A skein of bare yarn, be it alpaca, merino, or wool. (I used 100% wool, from Knit Picks)
2. A clean sink (Time to get those dishes done!)
3. At least 2 cups of vinegar.
4. A set of food coloring. (Mine were McCormick)
5. A working crockpot. Because it's food coloring, you will not ruin it!

The Night Before:

Note: The crockpot isn't on during this step, I just didn't want to dirty two dishes unnecessarily, and when we do "cook" the yarn, it'll be in this dish anyway.

For starters, I grabbed my crockpot, poured 3/4ths cup of vinegar in, and then added some water. After getting my yarn settled in this bath, I added enough water to just cover my yarn, popped the top on, and walked away. You'll want to let this sit overnight, if you really want your yarn to absorb your colors. If you don't want your yarn so bright, you don't need to do this soak. I did end up checking on it later on, and added more water as the yarn had absorbed some.

The science here is, really simply, the vinegar is an acid that works to open up all the crazy little fibers in our sheep hair, so that when the color and heat are introduced, all the color can be soaked up. Without the acid, your yarn won't absorb the color, and you'll be the new owner of a skein of off white, or oddly brown yarn.

The Next Day:

In a nice clean sink, drain the water off and gently rinse out the yarn. Don't go too crazy here, just give it a quick run under the tap, I did this when it was still in the crockpot bowl. Refill the water so that it's just covering the yarn, you can add more, so that your dyes float around more and mix more, but that's up to you. Then add 1/2 cup of vinegar.

Pop it back into crockpot heating mechanism, put it on high, and wait until the water is hot enough to steam. Roughly 2 hours, depending on your crockpot. Do your nails, take the trash out, or whatever it is that makes you happy. (Knit, perhaps?)

Near the tail end of the heating process, it's time to make your dyes! If you are using gel, or any food coloring that isn't liquid then you absolutely have to dissolve it in boiling water. I used liquid food coloring, so I didn't have to worry about that.

I used a 1/2 cup of water to dilute each color in. I made them pretty dark, but once added to the pot
 and the water therein, they lightened up. I'm sure there's an art to this sort of thing - but don't look at me for the secrets, I haven't figured it out yet. Then I did what other dyers would probably say is a bad thing, a very bad thing indeed, but I skip to the beat of my own drum, dammit - I grabbed my spoon, lightly held sections of my yarn down, and added a few drops of color here and there. Right from the bottle. I swished the spoon around some, and then finally walked away when I was happy with the witches' brew before me.

Now your yarn sits. It's out of your hands. My yarn sat for about an hour to an hour and a half before it had soaked up all the color. My water was 100% clear, seriously, your water should look like this. (Which is actually what my water looked like after the yarn was removed for rinsing.) If it doesn't, the yarn has not absorbed all the color it can.

I was pretty satisfied with my first yarn dyeing, so I turned off the crockpot, and let the yarn alone until the water was room temperature again. I really don't recommend getting hasty and skipping this step, you're using an animal fiber here, and the chances of felting all this beautiful newly crafted yarn is just too high. Now, if the coloring wasn't exactly what you were expecting, it's fine to add more coloring and then let it sit until the water is clear again.

Once the water your yarn is setting in is room temperature, it's time to give it a rinse. I dabbed some baby shampoo in my hand, got it nice and bubbly and very lightly washed the yarn out in cold water. Rinse it out real nice like.

I then threw it in a lingerie bag, and put it through the spin cycle in my washer (which is a top loader). This step isn't necessary, I just wanted to get as much water as possible out. If you don't have a lingerie bag, and don't want a tangled mess of yarn, just wring it out as best and lightly as possible.

Then it's time to hang it up as best possible, as I did, to dry. I tried to have it drape across two hangers, for even drying. My final color was a little more pastel-y than I had anticipated, so next time I will definitely be going heavier with the food coloring added, but I'm still pretty pleased with what I got. I even have the perfect project.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Christmas FO #1

My first Christmas knitting project is complete!

I know it's simple, but I also think it's very chic in it's very own way. And hopefully my little sister will agree.

Pattern located here: http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2011/10/11/sweet-stitching-with-erin-bandana-cowl.html

All credit for the pattern to The Purl Bee. I found this pattern via Ravelry.

For those who don't know about the forum visit: Knitting Paradise

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Twisted Stitches

Using cables in knitting is an easy way to incorporate both feminine and masculine touches to a project. Using a Celtic knot can make a pair of mittens interesting and strong for your special man friend, and just a braid can make a hat pretty and beloved by a mother or sister. In this tutorial, I'll be showing you how to cable without having to use a cable needle.

Before we get started, I'd like to cover a few basics about this technique. For one, it's not my favorite way to cable, but when you've left the house with your project, find yourself with time to kill, and then realize you didn't bring your cable needle along this technique can be a real life saver. There are drawbacks, however. My rule of thumb for using this technique is simple - if I'm doing more than a 6 stitch cable, meaning if I'm actively cabling any more than 3 stitches, I won't use it. The work gets too tight, and it's much too easy to lose those stitches and unravel hours of work - which doesn't save anyone any time. But when used over a small number of stitches, it can help speed you up by taking out the repetition of picking up and putting down your cable needle.

Left Cable (Often LCT, LCB, or C(#St)B)

A left cable twist is a cable that will point, or go off to, the left side of your work when the right side of your work is facing you. To create a left cable twist, the cabled stitches will be held to the back of your work.

Right Cable (Often RCT, RCF, or C(#St)F)

A right cable twist, on the other hand, will go off to the right side of your work. To create a right cable, the cabled stitches will be held to the front of your work.

And that's it! It's really that simple. Usually cabling is done with a cable needle, or just a double pointed needle, where you'll slip the stitches onto the cable needle, hold them in their respective place while you knit the stationary stitches, and then knitting off of the cable needle. This makes it easy to not lose track of stitches, or have them come unraveled. Cabling without a needle is a little (or a lot) more daring, but if your cable pattern is a simple braid, like the example above, or is a cable pattern worked over a small amount of stitches, I think you'll be just fine.

Left Cable Without a Cable Needle:

1. Work up to the stitches that would normally be cabled. Now, skip the normally cabled stitches (in my case it is the first two stitches of the stockinette panel) to the next two (again, this in my case, your pattern may be worked over three, or more stitches). Insert your right hand needle into the back of these stitches.

2. Here's where it gets scary. Mentally steel yourself, my friend, it will all be alright. Deep breath in, deep breath out.

Now you're going to slide the preceding stitches (the 2 that would normally be slipped onto a cable needle) off the left hand needle, and slip the two stitches you just went into the back of onto your right hand needle. (Do this slowly, don't jerk your knitting around, and you shouldn't have any problems.)

Taking your left hand needle, scoop those free stitches up. Again, do it slowly. Going fast is instinct, but if you jerk too much you're bound to have those free stitches unravel at some point.

Now you're going to pull the 2 stitches your transferred to your right hand needle up and slip them back onto the left hand needle, in front of the two previously free stitches. (I kinda messed up and didn't get a picture of that, sorry!) Now all you have to do is knit across the now cabled stitches. Easy peasy. Essentially all we did was rearrange the stitches on the needles themselves, instead of doing it with the help of the cable needle. 

Right Cable Without a Cable Needle: 

Now we'll move on to the right cable steps. A right slanting cable calls for the stitches to be held behind the work. As you can imagine, we'll be reversing the directions above. Again work up to the stitches you'd normally slip onto the cable needle, skip those stitches and insert your needle into the front of the two stitches (or whatever your pattern specifies) after. 

Just as before, slide the stitches to the tip of your left hand needle, letting the first two stitches fall free, and pulling the stitches you went into off the left hand needle, and on to the right hand needle. Using your left hand needle, pick up the free stitches. Then slip the two stitches transferred to your right needle back to the left hand needle. 

And then all you do is knit along as normal! 

We're done! That's how you cable sans the actual cable needle. As always, if you have any questions feel free to comment, email, smoke signal, or telegram! But the first two really are ideal. 

If a video would work better for you, I have found the couple listed below helpful. 


Monday, September 17, 2012

And It Begins

I got a new laptop! It's nothing too fancy, but it will do the job for the time being (I plan on updating all the fancy stuff once the PCS is handled.) I'm ecstatic to be back in action, and I'm itching to pump out some patterns and new knitting and crochet postings.

The season for Christmas knitting is upon us, fellow knitters! I've been feverishly clicking through the pages of Ravelry (the last few weeks on my phone) trying to find the perfect patterns that are perfect for the special people in my life. Men, of course, are always the hardest recipients to knit for (What do they want? Scarves? Hats? Gloves? Remote control snuggies?!) My husband actually made it easy for me this year, with direct requests. But I still have a brother and father to scour the lost annexes of knitting on the internet to please.

I could also buy them more traditional gifts, but what's the fun in that?

Here are some links to a few of my Christmas knitting projects, and some of my all time, go to favorites.

Bella's Mittens - I've got to be honest here, I've never seen the Twilight movies, nor read the books. But I fell in love with the look of these mittens. A couple of my gift list friends will get these, in different colors, obviously. They're a relatively quick knit, and I found that cabling these without a cable needle wasn't too tight. (Post to come on that!)

Katherine Hat - I just finished one of these for my very own mother. The cabling ends up costing your more in yarn than average hats, but the finished piece is just gorgeous.

Shroom - With a nice bulky yarn, this hat is ideal for that quick project, especially for someone who falls into that younger category, and may not be too fond of intricate fair isle, or cabling work.

Skyrim Dragon Mittens - These are by no means a quick knit, and I wouldn't recommend them to a new knitter. But gosh darnit, they're a beautiful finished piece and they will ensure that the gamer in your life will be your best friend forever.

What is your go to Christmas knitting gift? A hat? Maybe a nice set of mittens? Share the patterns to help ease the worries of the rest of us!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tiny (Er)Lenmeyer!

Well, I am still awaiting my battery. It should be here Monday or Tuesday, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I can say that one good thing has come from the visceral pain and suffering of not having a computer at my disposal - I've been a lot more creative. Instead of having Ravelry at my fingertips, I had to actually figure out things, by myself! I usually try and figure out shaping issues, or pattern hiccups, but it's so easy not to have to strain your thinking cap too hard when you have wonderful communities like Ravelry and Knitting Paradise. The fiber crafting community is a special kind of welcoming, and I've never come across a senselessly mean word in my time in it.

So anyway! I have a new pattern for you! Well.... sort of. A pattern adapted from a pattern to fit my own selfish love of small things. I was searching for the perfect gift to make a past teacher, for their new addition, and I came across Earl Lenmeyer, published by Shanna, or as she's known on Ravelry - Craftyshanna. He spoke to me. He was perfect. So I zoomed along and made one over the weekend - and decided I wanted a teeny tiny little one. I present - Tiny (Er)Lenmeyer:

With size G hook, chain 2 stiches, in the second stitch from the hook, chain 6.

Increase into each of the 6 stitches (12 stitches)
SC 1, Increase around (18 stitches)
SC 2, Increase around (24 stitches)
SC around the 24 stitches through the back loops of the stitches.
SC around.
SC 2, Decrease around (18 stitches)
SC around
SC around
SC1, Decrease around (12 stitches)

You may want to start adding safety eyes (if you're using them) and stuffing here, if you haven't already.

SC around
Decrease through the back loop of the stitches all the way around 

Cut yarn, and pull it tight. Those 6 stitches should be able to close up just fine.

Now insert your hook into the row where you decreased through the back loop the last time. There should be 12 front loops. Chain one through each of these, for 12 stitches.
SC around
SC around
SC 1, decrease around (8 stitches)
Cut yarn, finish his or her adorable little features, and you're done!  Stick a key-chain in him and enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Before I start: I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July filled with family, grilled foods and of course, explosions. Now, let's start the show.

Little Domo's have taken over my free time as of late. I might suffer from fiber-adhd because I find it impossible to solely focus on one project. I have a rug going, a cowl, a blanket, a Domo, and multiple hats. And on top of everything, the past month and a half has been hectic for lil' old me. Juggling a husband, school, military holidays (as a military wife) and being a homemaker feels simply impossible sometimes.

He's getting his appendages as we speak! 

Crocheting has given me a strong confidence boost. I'm surprised at my ability to remember how to do something that I haven't even thought about in several years. This confidence boost has translated into some other areas of my life, as well. In fact, yesterday I totally disassembled my vacuum because it wasn't working - cleaned the 5 pounds of dog hair from every nook and cranny, and then even managed to put it back together. Now that sucker (pun intended) is running like a brand new vacuum.

It's the little things in life that really count, right? That makes this 5 inch tall Domo-kun perfect.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Crochet Lust

For the longest time, though knowing full well how to crochet, I refused to take up the one hook half of the fiber crafting world. And then pinterest started filling my head with those darn amigurumi animals and other adorable things. Seriously, I really think pinterest had a mission. Mission accomplished, pinterest, mission accomplished. I hope you're happy with yourselves.

Then I saw this -

Do you SEE this?! It's made from granny square "pixels." Now I'm on my own mission - granny square 8-bit nerd rugs for my home. Updates to come! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Entrelac Revisited

A while ago I did a tutorial on entrelac, a great way to knit a modular-type of garment with blocks of alternating colors. Now I decided it was time to do a tutorial on entrelac in the round.When working entrelac in the round you're basically just excluding the side triangle, which may be a godsend for some. Entrelac is definitely easier when worked in the round. But, I recommend everyone learn entrelac flat first.

It might seem counter intuitive, but when you learn how to knit entrelac flat, and then learn it in the round it will just feel like doing it a little differently. If you learn in the round first, and then decide you also want to learn how to work it flat, it will feel totally alien and be extremely confusing.

Materials: I'm using US size 8 Takumi Clover needles, with a 12 inch cable. The size of you needle and cable really depends on your yarn, and the pattern. My yarn is a cream and light pink color of Berella's "4" yarn.

Step 1: Cast on a multiple of 8 stitches to fill up your needle. The blocks and base triangles we'll be working, just like my flat tutorial, will be worked over 8 stitches. It provides a nice even number that's not too large, but not so small that the slipped stitch edges are hard to identify.

We're going to be working the base triangles identically to how you work the base triangles in a flat piece of entrelac. If you're working on an entrelac hat, you will probably have done a set number of ribbed rounds or something similar. I'm just picking up and just knitting the entrelac.

Step 2: Building the Base Triangles 

1. Knit 1 stitch
2. Turn your work around, and purl the stitch you just knit.

Note: Some patterns and instructions on entrelac will slip the first stitch of each row, including this very first stitch. I personally do not do this because I've found that knitting the first stitch provides a more "stable" triangle for me, after knitting it once I slip purlwise for the rest of the triangle. If you want to slip this stitch and then purl, that's fine too. 

3. Turn work. Slip 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch.
4. Turn work, purl back to start. (By start, I mean back to the start of this base triangle, or, in other words, back to the first original stitch that you're slipping.)
5. Turn work, slip 1 stitch, knit 2 stitches.
6. Turn work, purl back to start.
7. Turn work, slip 1 stitch, knit 3 stitches.
8. Turn work, purl back to start.
9. Turn work, slip 1 stitch, knit 4 stitches.

Continue in this way, adding 1 more stitch of the set 8 every time you turn to knit. Once you have 8 stitches on the right hand needle, you will stop. Do not turn and purl.

You're now done with that base triangle, and you will just pretend for the time being that it doesn't exist anymore. Begin the next triangle on the next set of 8 stitches in the same way as above.

Continue your way around the needle, picking up the 8 stitches of each base triangle.

At this point it looks like you have an awkward, mushy crown on your needles. Now we're basically going to be filling the little loops formed between each of the triangles with the right slanting diamonds. 

Step 2: The Right Slanting Diamonds 

Like I said, there are no side triangles in entrelac worked in the round! Yay! We just get to move on to the central diamonds.

This first diamond might throw you off, it's a rebel without a cause, and it wants to be different than all the other diamonds, it wants to be special. The first diamond will be picked up with the right side facing you. All the other diamonds will be picked up with the wrong side facing you, and there's a special maneuver to begin the other diamonds as well, but we'll worry about that later.

Because you've been slipping the first stitch purlwise, you should have a very neat little edge of "v's" to pick up from.

You'll be inserting your needles between each of the "legs" of this v, and picking up a new stitch with your alternating color. In this case, that's white. 

As I said, you'll be picking up from the front for this diamond. Insert the right hand needle into the "v" at the base of the last triangle (the one you just finished knitting), with alternating color behind, loop and pull the new white stitch onto the left hand needle. Continue this way, picking up a total of 8 stitches. Now it's time to begin forming the first diamond.

Row 1: Purl 7, purl the last white stitch, p2tog (1 white and 1 pink) together
Row 2: Turn and knit across the 8 stitches.
Row 3: Turn, slip 1 stitch, purl 6, p2tog
Row 4: Turn and a knit 8.

You'll keep working this way until the pink stitches (or whatever color you're using) are decreased away. Once you have purled the final pink stitch with the white stitch, you will stop. Don't knit back across. It's time to pick up 8 new stitches.

This time, and for all the rest of the diamonds this round, you'll be picking up with the wrong side facing you.

To begin, yarn back and insert you right hand needle into the first slipped stitch and pull yarn through. (If you're having trouble, this is shown on my original entrelac tutorial, located here: Entrelac Part 1 and Entrelac Part 2) Pick up a total of 8 stitches.

Now bring your yarn back to the front, and slip the last white stitch you just picked up onto your left hand needle, and purl it together with the first pink stitch.

Row 1: Turn, knit 8 stitches.
Row 2: Turn, purl 7, p2tog.
Row 3: Turn, knit 8 stitches.
Row 4: Turn, purl 7, p2tog.

Just as before, continue this until all your pink stitches are gone, on the last p2tog do not turn and knit, just pick up 8 more stitches and do it all again.

That's it for now, folks! The rest of the tutorial, for the left slanting diamonds and the ending triangles should be in tomorrow! If you have any questions, email me at Ashley.mishmoshcrafting@gmail.com 

Also - if you like my tutorials, maybe you'd like to donate a dollar (or more!) for my little yarn fund (which doubles as my Addi needles fund, sigh, maybe someday), which of course will be used for more tutorials! Donate Here

No pressure of course, everything here will remain free.

Edit: I would like to put a very special thank you out to Kay Green for being my first donation. I really appreciate it, thank you for the very special night. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pulling the Wool Over My Eyes

And my feet, and lap...

I'm tackling my first blanket. I've shied away from blankets because of the time commitment they require. I typically want that instant gratification of a project off my needles by the end of a week. I'm using the extended version of the Radiating Star Blanket available for free on Ravelry.

I'm only in the first 20 rounds, and I love that it's worked in the round, that in itself makes me more likely to finish it. That, and the fact that I got 6 balls of the same color for less than 10 dollars.

This is all I have done so far. But I can't wait to see it lovingly draped across the edge of my chaise lounge.

Have you knitted a blanket? How was it, and did you finish it?

Monday, June 4, 2012

On the Next Episode

Since Alex and I have been a little more busy these last few days or so (well, I've been more busy than usual, Alex somehow juggles a hectic life 24/7) I guess we've taken to posting blog teasers. I wanted to give a little preview of what I'm planning for the next week, provided I learn to juggle this blog, my other blog, and my writing work.

I was cruising through Pinterest searching for inspiration for my next project when I saw this.

I love big, bold socks like this. Sure, the only place to conveniently wear them is at home, but isn't that where they're the most comfortable anyway?

I couldn't find a pattern for this picture, so I'm putting together my own sock tutorial (complete with video!) and pattern, both will be available for free. The tutorial will cover an afterthought heel and a star toe.

So, stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sneak Peek :: {Laugh, Live, Love}

I'm doing a quick sneak peek into what I'm working on.  It's in the beginning stages of what I'm doing, so I can't give it all away.  I think this might be the toughest craft I'll do all summer.
I bought these each for a whopping .29 cents at my local Michaels.
Here's a peek.  Now, here's what I can give away.  I'll be busy with artist tape and two shades of brown spray paint.  :)

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder, Right?

Have I really been gone for over a week?!

Sorry guys, life has been busy. With a military husband to spoil over Memorial Day weekend I had my hands full.

But I do have good news - my knitting mojo has returned! What a glorious thing it is. I'm currently working on a version of Pumpkinbelle's cowl, located here: http://pumpkinbelleknitsandbits.blogspot.com/2011/05/grey-loop.html

I'm switching it up a little bit, and I'll be sure to share my changes with you. I'm also working on some patterns of my very own, like a hat, and.. well, mostly hats. I love lacey head-wear this time of year.

I did accomplish one goal I've been putting off this weekend - working with polymer clay.

I mostly wanted to get into working with polymer clay to make buttons for my knitting. And that's exactly what these lil' beauties will be used for. I even got my husband to help make them with me, and while we're not professionals yet, I think we did pretty alright for a couple of first timers. 

How was everyone's long weekend? How do you dress your knitting up?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Make It Yourself (Recipe) Monday!

My husband and I recently started hitting the gym vigilantly. At least three times a week we head on in, and two times a week I try and do an at home workout as well. And I've even started incorporating a healthy menu that both of us can accept.

Anyone knows, when starting a workout/weight loss plan you're told by everyone and their 4th cousin twice removed that you have to eat breakfast. I am not a breakfast person. That's right, I said it. I don't like eggs, I don't eat any pork product (and haven't for years), and oatmeal is the epitome of gross to me.

My mother tried and tried all my formidable years to get something in me before school. I was unrelenting. Especially because it was not uncommon for breakfast to make me feel physically ill for the first 4 -5 hours of the day. Who wants that?

Now I'm 23, married, and thousands of miles from home. I find myself forcing my husband to eat breakfast for his health and still not doing it myself, oh the irony!

I'm a big fan of meal replacement shakes, so I always have whey protein in the house. I don't like going through the trouble of making a big lunch if my husband isn't home, and often make green smoothies.

Today, I think I have finally found the cures to my morning blues. Iced Vanilla Protein Latte. 

Don't rub your eyes, or try to adjust your t.v. set, you saw this right. Low calorie, high protein, and high energy breakfast latte that you don't have to feel bad about all day. And who doesn't like lattes? I just don't like paying 5 dollars for one, and then thinking about all the calories.

What You'll Need: 

3/4ths a cup of prepared coffee, I used Seattle's Best Number 4 (my personal favorite) 
1/2 cup fat free milk 
1 scoop vanilla protein powder 

Throw the first three ingredients into a blender, or a shaker bottle, and blend 'em up. Then grab a handful of ice and pour your delicious latte over, enjoy. 

After all is said and done, your latte only has 2.5 grams of fat, 30 awesome grams of filling, muscle repairing protein, and is under 200 calories. 

What tips and tricks do you guys use when trying to lose weight and improve your lifestyle? 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Knitter's Block

Anyone who knits for a period of time understands the frustration of Knitter's Block. You search through pages and pages of Ravelry pictures, hoping for one of the thumbnails to jump out at you, inspire you, and launch you into a fury of needles and yarn - ending with a final beautiful project. But this doesn't happen. You cease to be inspired. You feel as if your mojo has abandoned you. Your needles lay dormant, your stashed untouched. The world is cold, and lonely, devoid of the warmth of your 100% baby alpaca lace weight sock yarn.

Maybe that last part is an exaggeration.

Regardless, this is where I am with my knitting at the moment. I was incredibly inspired by the thoughts of recycling everyday items that no longer had a use into yarn, and making wonderful home decor with them, ie the t-shirt pillow and the sheet bowl. Once I completed these projects, I just failed to have anything jump out at me and inspire me. It might be the changing seasons, it's hard to justify knitting scarves and hats in the middle of a 105 degree Las Vegas summer, or it's just a plain lack of motivation.

I keep starting projects. Having hope for them, and then ripping them from my needles, and tossing the yarn back into the ol' stash bin. So, I started doing the thing that typically remedies these moments for me - knitting dish cloths. I posted about this awhile back, and linked to a pattern I really like: Instant Knit-ification

At the moment, this is exactly what I've been knitting this week. Wash cloths. So many cloths. I purchased a large cone of cotton yarn, aptly named "Ivy League," by Peaches n' Cream. I actually settled on the yarn, because the other cones available were all bubblegum pink, or a crazy purple color. My kitchen has a lot of blue and greens, so it worked. Now I'm really in love with the yarn, and I enjoy how the greens and blues snake across the knitting, reminiscent of ivy.

The pattern for the finished cloth shown on the corner of my wash cloth bin is located here: Modified Feathers and Fan Cloth. The original pattern, from Dishcloth Boutique, is here: Feathers and Fan Cloth, I followed this pattern for the cloth shown in the Ivy League yarn.

I also stumbled upon this pattern, thanks to Ravelry, Picot Swirl Cloth, which I love. I always had an affinity for round cloths, and thought the only way to really make one was to crochet. Boy, am I glad I was wrong. At first glance, the pattern seems intimidating - but it's really not, just give it a chance. Also, when stitching it up at the end, don't try using Kitchener stitch, you'll want to use the shoulder seam technique. There are directions for this seam here: Shoulder Seam Instructions.

How do you guys pass the time when you hit your own knitter's block? Is there a go-to garment you whip up?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

T-shirt Yarn!

I love recycling, especially when I can use to add a little punch to my home. Last week I went on a midday rendezvous to Goodwill, where I picked up three men's XL t-shirt, with the sole intention to turn them into some awesome, affordable, bulky yarn for a project I had had in mind for several months, my Kilgore Pillow.

This project was also inspired by the awesome things located on the Pickles site. I can't seem to tear myself away from all their inspiring ideas. And Spring has put a real itch in me to switch up my homes' decor, and I can never justify spending much money to myself - especially when there are so many DIY ideas.

The pattern for my pillow itself is for sale, for $1.50, so if you'd like please visit my Crafty page: Kilgore Pillow Pattern. So you, too can get your hands on the pattern! :)

Now for making that t-shirt yarn. It's very similar to the sheet yarn tutorial I had posted earlier, and I had even more fun making it. Of course, you will need a t-shirt that you're willing to mortally wound, because you're going to basically eviscerate the poor thing - as far as t-shirt go.

1. Cut the hem of the shirt off, and throw that junker away. Then you'll cut straight across at the arms. You can discard the top portion, or keep it for spare rags, whatever your recycling-little-heart desires. 

2. Now you'll turn it sideways, basically, so that you can hang it off your arm through the big ol' hole, hopefully that makes sense. Fold the bottom portion in half twice, leaving a 1 inch "backbone" at the top of the two folds. 

3. Start cuttin'! I wasn't very stringent with the sizes of my strips (1 - 1.5 inches), life is just better when you live on the edge like that, except don't ever listen to me about not gauging your projects. This dirty habit gets me in a lot of trouble. Stop cutting at that one inch backbone you created, don't cut through! 

4. Once you have finished all your strips, you get to unfold and free the crazy mess of t-shirt you now have. Find that backbone, and grab your scissors. You will want to gut diagonally across the backbone, so you're not separating any strips from each other. If you cut straight across you'll wind up with a ton of circles. 

 5. When you have finished cutting diagonally, you get to grab your new yarn, and pull it between your hands, so that the raw edges will effortlessly roll into themselves and create a real purdy piece of yarn!

Yay! T-shirt yarn! As I mentioned earlier, I used my t-shirt yarn to make my Kilgore Pillow, which you can see below, the link will bring you to my craftsy page. 

Kilgore Pillow

The t-shirt yarn made a very good substitute for those pricey superbulky yarns, and it works even better for an item in your home that will get lots of use - like a pillow. I hope that you have fun making yourself up some t-shirt yarn, and if you happen to purchase my pattern I would like to say a huge thank you! And please share your finished projects! 

As always, I'm here to answer your questions! Feel free to ask anything. 


Friday, May 4, 2012

Puff Bowl-y

I've been pretty fascinated and inspired with stuff like this lately:

But, if you mosey on over to the yarn section, prepare yourself for a heart attack. The yarn to make one of these bad boys is nearly $100 a skein. And it's recommended to have 2 skeins. I understand, it's a 500 g ball, but even if I did have the money, I don't think I'd ever spend $100 a skein on a yarn. I love cascade, and merino, but not that much.

So, in comes solution numero dos, and a mighty fine solution if I do say so myself. What is it, you say? Well, it's quite simple really - unwanted t-shirts, bed sheets, anything like that. In this tutorial, we're using a bed sheet. With that sheet, I made the soft basket you see below. Perfect for a kitchen, bathroom, even a baby's room (no sharp corners!) this basket is pretty versatile, and a quick knit.

So, when trying to take pictures for the sheet tutorial, I found that was easier said than done, thanks to the size of the sheet. So here is a masterful illustration instead!

Yeah, I know, it's pretty impressive. As you can see, you will fold the sheet in half lengthwise, and cut ALMOST through, my strips were about an inch wide. There's no need to stress too much over the size, though. I had places where the strips were very thin and it all worked itself out. Once you've done that as many times as needed, you will unfold the sheet and snip where the red lines are, if you did it right you will have a long thread of sheet to knit with. 

With the sheet yarn, cast on 40 stitches onto size 15 circular needles (you'll need two sets later), I used a 16 inch cable to connect, but it could have been longer.

Row 1: Knit 
Row 2: Purl 

Repeat until your bowl is your desired depth. Now for the decreases, here's where you will want to switch off to using two circular needles. 

Note: The k2tog can be very difficult with the sheet, you can also sl1 k1 psso, but stick with one decrease or the other. 

On an odd (KNIT) row, k4 k2tog
Purl for all even rows 
k3 k2tog 
k2 k2tog 
k1 k2tog 
k2tog, work yarn through the remaining stitches and pull tightly. Weave in the ends the best you can. I snipped the end strand sideways, so it would thread through my tapestry needle. 

There you have it! Your sheet bowl is complete, feel free to wash on gentle cycle. 

As usual, with patterns, feel free to make as many as you wish, gift as many you want, and you can even sell your finished item. But please, don't steal my pattern. And if you do make it, please share pictures with me! I'll feature you! 



I've had some notes on not understanding how to make the yarn. Here's a video courtesy of Youtube that may help you. 

This video does it differently than I did, she is joining the strips of yarn after completely removing them from one another. This is a fine way to do it! I just choose to do it differently, and save some time. I failed to find a video of someone doing it the way I illustrated. 

As always, feel free to email me with any questions, and I'll do my best to get right back with you: Ashley.mishmoshcrafting@gmail.com 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

An Excuse for Me to Drink Frappucinos!

If I didn't mention it in my "About Me" section, I L-O-V-E coffee. Starbucks, Biggby (a Michigan-based company), & out of the home coffee pot, doesn't matter!  Since the city I live in, doesn't have a Starbucks in for about 15 miles, I resort to buying their Frappucino's from the gas station.  I know it's not the same as having one in a cup and made in front of me, but it does the trick until the next time I have a craving for a real one.

However, at one point I was drinking a lot of the glass jar ones.  What to do with those cute jars?


One empty Frappucino jar + some Goo Gone (to remove the label)

Add four daisy stems from Michaels.

I used Folk Art Enamels Paint (Frost White) to get the jar white.  Wrapped some dark plum ribbon around the neck to add a different color.

In picture three, I mentioned that I used the Folk Art Enamels Paint.  I did it wayyyy different than it's suggested you use.  I had a brilliant idea of using it on the INSIDE of the jar instead of the outside.  It was a lot more difficult than I expected, but it turned out the way I wanted it.  You can't tell from the pictures, but there are some air bubbles.  The way the light hits it, looks pretty cool.  It's suggested you air dry it for 21 days, I did 14.

The ribbon around the neck was a bit difficult, too.  The stinkin' ribbon wouldn't stay put, so I had to layer up & ended it with a small dab of Tacky Glue.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Making Your Trash a Treasure

So, if you saw my post yesterday, I refinished some small shelves for my bathroom. I felt like there were some visual "holes" left on the wall, and decided that I knew how to fill them in. With my left over fabric scraps, and some  boxes I was just about to toss. 

What you'll need: 

  • Some smaller boxes. I used a lightbulb box, and a box from some crackers. 
  • Mod Podge and foam brushed 
  • Fabric of appropriate size for your box. 
  • Scissors and/or rotary cutter 
  • Hot glue and an iron (I left them out of the picture, I'm sure they feel very left out.) 

Now cut your fabric roughly too size, being exact isn't needed, or encouraged. :) Once you get the fabric cut, cut around the perimeter of the box, so it's about an inch deep. You can take the box apart and make marks around the whole thing to follow along to. I chose not to put some paper over my box first, because my fabric was thick enough to cover the print well. But if you need to, cut a piece of paper to the size of the face, and mod podge it on smoothly. It should provide plenty coverage.

Put a nice coating of mod podge on the face of your box. I used my cake-decorating-thingy to smooth it out. You don't want any wrinkles or bumps, because they'll obviously look wonky. Let it dry for 15-20 minutes. (My least favorite part.)

 Now that the mod podge has finally dried, you can start hot gluing the fabric into the inside lip of the box. Leave two adjacent sides open so you can "fold" the fabric over on the edges for a neat edge.

Yeah, it's that easy. You can of course do this with a canvas of choice size, but it's not as cheap! If I had to factor up how much I spent, it was easily under 10 dollars. The fabric was unusable scrap, the mod podge was a gift from Alex (!) as was the hot glue gun, and the boxes were literal trash.

And now my bathroom feels less nakey.