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.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Of Sandpaper and Spray Paint

I've been getting into the idea of finding not-so-perfect but more than perfectly priced home decor, to then refinish and make beautiful again. Typically I wussed out.

Today, I finally made the steps towards a project like this. I got some not half bad floating shelves from my Airman's Attic, which means they were free. I thought, "I can put those in my bathroom!" My bathroom doesn't have nearly as much counter space as my husband's, but it has a tub... So I win. And because I do find myself in the predicament of being a female, I have about 100 too many products that clutter up my small bathroom. Having some small shelves would be a saving grace.

They weren't too beat up, or shockingly ugly, but I wanted them to be matte black. Queue the spray paint.

I would like to take time to say, that as someone who has very little experience with such things, I did purty darn good. I'm the daughter of a painter who's been in the business for longer than I've been on earth, but I somehow evaded all of his lessons through books and studying, and plain old laziness. 

But after a little love, this is what I ended up with.

So, the total cost for this project comes to: 

Shelves: I picked them up at the thrift store on my Air Force Base, so: $0.00 
Sandpaper: $1.99
Spray Paint: $3.99 (had it from previous project, too.) 

Grand Total: $6.00

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Look here, everybody!

Well, for over the past couple of months Ashley has been filling up our blog.  It's clear what she's doing is a hit with a bunch of you, as she has increased our followers with her amazing knitting tutorials.  A huge thank you goes to you for keeping-up with her and her posts!

Now, I haven't been able to catch up on crafting with new things going on in my life, however I have a craft that I did finish & I intended on sharing today.  The only hold up?  It needs to have the final picture taken during a sunny day and it is currently storming here in Michigan.  Once it clears up, I'll post it.

One thing can be posted today.  I don't know if Ashley will check-in today, but here it goes!

I wish I could be in Las Vegas with you to celebrate!  Hope it's a great one! :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Geek Knitting

If it's something you haven't noticed by now - I'm what some would call a geek. I love video games, get lost in comics, can spend hours reading a historical biography in one night, have excerpts from Douglas Adams' 'trilogy' memorized by heart, and I have a tattoo dedicated to Kurt Vonnegut. Those are all things I believe contribute to being a 'geek.' Lately, I've been thinking about ways to incorporate my inborn geekiness into my knitting.

I just completed this little beaut' for one of my husband's coworkers, and this is my husband jokingly modeling for me.

The symbols are from two popular, and very pervasive in the 'geek' community, games called Portal and Half Life. I'm more of a Portal girl myself, but I've spent many an hour battling my way through Half Life with no remorse. My husband actually came home with this request, and I was pretty giddy to try it out.

I find that using intarsia or fair isle when knitting hats that it takes a lot away from the structure of the hat, so I just did duplicate stitch over the finished hat to prevent from any gaps in the work, and just an overall 'weird' effect when it's actually worn. I'll be doing a tutorial on duplicate stitch soon, because I'm currently planning a line of... dun, dun, dun, SKYRIM hats.

So far these are the symbols I plan on charting up:

The first symbol is the Thieves Guild symbol for "fence," a person you sell your ill begotten goods to. The next the symbol for "protected," and the last is just the symbol simply for "Guild. 

I would also like to make a Nightingale hat. This one will be for my husband, because he's pretty proud of his Nightingale status. 

I obviously have a sliiight obsession with the Thieves Guild right now. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Knitting In The Round: Double Pointed Needles

Knitting in the round is a technique that often scares new knitters, or even seasoned knitters who have just avoided doing it. But knitting in the round is much easier than it appears, and it's a lot of fun when you get the hang of it. One of the best perks of knitting in the round is - get this - no purling to create perfect stockinette stitch. Purling of course can be used to change texture, and just add a border other than stockinette.

Knitting in the round is definitely intimidating at first, but if you just follow along below, take breathers and make sure not to get ahead of yourself, or expect perfection on your first go at it, you'll be fine. :) I promise.

Now, there are two popular ways of knitting in the round: Magic Loop, and Double Pointed Needles. Some use both techniques, and some are loyal to one or another. I am a sucker for magic loop, I find that overall my work goes more quickly, and there's a ton less "laddering" in the work. Laddering occurs when you're not knitting tight enough over the needle change offs and you get, as the name suggests, little ladders between your work.

In this post, I'll be covering working on double pointed needles. Double pointed needles are a bit "fiddly" at first, but don't let that scare you away, it always feels like that and it's totally normal. Once you get in a few rounds, it will start to feel a whole lot more stable.

Okay, here goes:

Let's pretend we have a pattern, and it calls to cast on 20 stitches. Grab your dpn's, and cast on 20 stitches to a needle.

So now we've got 20 stitches on our needle. The set of dpn's I'm using is a set of four, some come in sets of four, others in five and so on. Do your best to distribute the stitches among the needles evenly, just slip them onto their respective needle as if to knit. I have 6 stitches on two needles, and 8 on the last. 

As the picture shows, the tail end of the yarn, and the working end, are on the needle on the right. We're going to be working on the left hand needle. Where the working yarn leaves off indicates where you begin, laying the needles flat helps you find where they naturally fall more easily, which is the needle to left. To make sure you're not twisting stitches, you can align all the knots of the cast on edge in towards each other, if you look at the picture you'll see what I mean. When I start the first round, I pick up tail yarn and knit it into the first two stitches, for a snug connection. This is my preference, it's not necessary. 

Just start working on that first row. It helps to just pretend that those other two needles don't even exist, you don't need them right now, just focus on the two in your hands. Once you complete that needle, just move to the next as you just did with the first needle, all the way around. 

I place a marker on the last needle that completes the round, so the third. So I know, when I finish this work on this needle, I've completed a round. 

As I mentioned earlier, some have problems with laddering. Laddering looks a little something like this: 

This happens when your dpn's meet, and you're not knitting that stitch quite tight enough. This can be avoided a couple of ways: 

1.) Make sure you're knitting the first stitch on each needle a little tighter than normal. 

2.) You can switch where the stitches are, so that no two stitches are always the beginning stitch. You can do this by slipping stitches between needles. But this can be a pain in the bum. Usually just making sure you're giving the first stitch some special attention helps just fine. But with lace yarn, it may be best to move the stitch around. I find I have much more of a problem with laddering the finer the yarn I use. 

And there you have it! You just keep working around like this, and you will get a tube. Knitting in the round is a wonderful skill to have. In a later post I'll be discussing Magic Loop, and even knitting with two circular needles. 

Hope to see you there! 

Having trouble? Need a video? Here's a great Youtube link: 

And as always, if you have questions, shoot me an email, I'm here for you!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

I'm really on top of it this Easter, wishing ya'll a good holiday at midnight! At least, midnight for me. In celebration, I knit this little guy. 

 Pattern can be found here:

I did it a wee bit different, in the fact that his ears weren't completed and sewn on, I picked up 4 stitches on each side of the head, rather than having to sew on twice.

My husband was being silly, or he was just really excited. :)

He even has a little puffy bunny tail. 

Happy Easter! Hope you and your family have a splendid Sunday.