December 18, 2014

Quick project tutorial: Record yarn bowls!

If you follow me on instagram, you may remember my excitement when I hit upon this idea many months ago:

Made a broken record into a yarn bowl! It's not perfect, but I think this concept could be awesome with some practice!

(caption: Made a broken record into a yarn bowl! It’s not perfect, but I think this concept could be awesome with some practice!)

A photo posted by Lee Meredith (@leethalknits) on

I had a broken record, so I made it into a bowl, but with a hole chipped out of it, and then I realized… I could thread yarn through the hole and use it as a yarn bowl!

Experimented a little more with the record yarn bowl idea - eeeek it's working!! Needs a bit more perfecting but I'm loving this idea! Thinking about both a blog tutorial and selling them around Portland... Fluevog store event is off to a great start! Fun to mix all my samples in with the fancy shoes. Come by before 9 if you're in portland!

So then I played around with the concept, made a bunch to bring to an event where I was selling things, but in the end decided it’s not something I’m going to make to sell as a regular thing.  Shipping would be annoying, and I wouldn’t be able to sell them for much since they do break pretty easily if you drop them, so they’re not like a long-lasting high-quality item (I sold them for $6 at the event, just a fun cheap impulse buy kind of thing).  They totally function as yarn bowls, but not to the same extent as nice ceramic bowls, since they are very lightweight and bounce around if the yarn ball pulls.

Record Yarn Bowl

What they are is a fun thing to make in 5 minutes for yourself and for knitting friends!  They are SO quick to make, and cheap if you have access to vinyl records no one wants to listen to (thrift stores, record store 50 cent or $1 bins, or sometimes records stores have free boxes in the front to give away crap nobody wants) – I imagine this being an easy project you can make a bunch of one afternoon, and bring them to your knit night to pass out for everyone as a fun holiday gift, or just for the heck of it!

Record Yarn Bowl

So, here’s what you need:

  • A vinyl record (one that’s too scratched up to listen to, or that no one would want – don’t melt anything good, it would make me cry!)
  • Scissors (big ones that are okay to use for this kind of thing, not nice ones obviously)
  • An oven
  • An oven-safe bowl
  • Gloves (things will only heat up to around 225 degrees, so knit wool gloves should be enough to protect your hands, while letting you use them) or oven mitts
  • Optionally, another bowl or two for shaping your yarn bowls into different shapes and sizes

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Before I make a bowl, I usually wash the record, with dish soap like a dish – it’s much easier to wash a flat record than to clean the bowl after it’s been made!

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Heat up the oven to around 225 degrees (anywhere from 200-250 should be fine). Turn your oven-safe bowl upside down, and place the record on top, then put that in the oven:

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

While it’s in there, put on your gloves and get your scissors ready…

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Leave it in for about 2 minutes, or until you see it melt down over the bowl.  Don’t leave it in extra long, as it may get too melty and fume-y.  If you take it out as soon as it’s soft, the fumes shouldn’t be bad, but of course keeping the room ventilated is a good idea!

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

So, take it out, and immediately make your cut, to form your hole for the yarn to go through.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

There are lots of different ways you can do this – the simplest is as you see below, just a straight line diagonally into the edge:

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Once the cut has been made, it will already be starting to harden back up again (by the time I took that above photo, it was already hardened), so put it back on the upside-down bowl and back into the oven for another couple minutes.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

When it’s re-softened, take it out and put it inside a right-side-up bowl (either the same one you’ve been using in the oven, or a different one), and form your bowl shape, and your yarn hole.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

For the bowl shape, remember your yarn needs to fit in there, so it can’t be crazy wavy in and out (which is how the record will naturally want to bend).  For the yarn hole, if you made a cut like the one pictured, then spiral the strip into a tube.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

For other kinds of yarn holes, just remember you’ll want to be able to get the yarn in and out, so make a hole with a slit or opening of some kind.  After the tutorial are lots of photos of different bowls I made while experimenting, so you can get ideas for different kinds of holes.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Once things are formed, just hold it all in place how you want it for about a minute, and then it should be hardened up and finished!  If you mess it up somehow when forming the shape, just stick it back in the oven for a minute to re-soften.

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

Here’s that finished bowl in action!

Record yarn bowl tutorial shot

You can also form bowl shapes around the outside of an existing bowl, if you want a different kind of yarn hole – I think this one was made that way, so it’s wider / more open:

Record Yarn Bowl

So that’s it, so easy and quick!  Now here are a bunch that I’ve made!

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

Record Yarn Bowl Record Yarn Bowl

If you make some bowls, I would love to see them!  If you post a photo on instagram, @leethalknits to show me, or tweet @leethal, or add photos to my old leethal flickr group :)  Have fun!

Filed under: general crafts,gifts,home stuff,quick project,tutorials — leethal @ 11:10 am

December 17, 2013

Block puzzle tutorial!

A couple years ago, I made a gift for Disney princess loving Alicia, using wood blocks and pages from thrifted books.  I photographed the steps, and then forgot to blog it!  So here is how I made it – it only takes a few hours, so you have plenty of time to make one for a kid gift this season (I’d love to make one with something other than princesses, like baby animals, or cats, or pretty much any kind of animals…).

Or, you could make one bigger with more pieces (and/or harder by mixing up the blocks, as explained below) for an adult version, with like photos of yarn, or photos from a trip you took together… oh shoot, I’d never thought of that until right now – now I want to make a trip photo puzzle!!

Princess gift block puzzle

So, you need wood blocks (I got these at Michael’s), pictures to use (my princess pictures came from some cheap thrift store books), a paper cutter (or scissors if you’re careful, in which case you also need a ruler), Mod Podge and a brush for the Mod-Podge-ing, newspaper or something to protect your work surface, and optional Sparkle Mod Podge if you want a glitter finish.

Princess gift block puzzle

I started by making a template for the pictures; I used the cardboard packaging from the wood blocks, cutting the piece of thin cardboard to the size of the blocks all together in a rectangle:

Princess gift block puzzle Princess gift block puzzle

Then I used the template to cut out my pictures to that size:

Princess gift block puzzle Princess gift block puzzle

So now I had pictures of the exact size of the blocks all touching:

Princess gift block puzzle

I used four pictures, to make the puzzle a bit easier than if all six sides of the blocks had pictures, since she was pretty young when I made this.  Pictures on all sides of the blocks (six pictures total) would make for a harder puzzle.

Princess gift block puzzle

I carefully measured and cut the pictures into squares the size of the blocks (if you’re using a paper cutter, you should be able to measure directly on the cutter – if you’re using scissors, then you’ll need to measure with a ruler).

Princess gift block puzzle

Be careful with your measuring and cutting so that you don’t accidentally cut the wrong size for some reason (I don’t remember why this happened!) and ruin your picture, so that you have to find another princess picture to replace it:

Princess gift block puzzle

So, once I cut a picture in both directions, I had a puzzle picture like this:

Princess gift block puzzle Princess gift block puzzle

Now I Mod Podged those squares of pictures onto the blocks:

Princess gift block puzzle

Princess gift block puzzle

Here’s another decision you can make.  I wanted the puzzle to be easy for the young kid, so I kept the first puzzle in order, turned each block the same way, and glued on the second picture in the same order, so that once she solves the puzzle for one of the pictures, she can then flip all the blocks in the same direction to see the next picture, then the next, then the next.  If you want a more challenging puzzle, you can scramble up the blocks so that you have to solve each one separately.  There are actually two more levels of difficulty – you could either flip all the blocks the same direction, then glue the pictures on in random order, all on the same sides, or you could glue them on random places and random sides, so the puzzles for each picture all start from scratch.  Just make sure you glue one square per picture onto each block.

Princess gift block puzzle Princess gift block puzzle

Repeat for each picture until all the squares are glued on:

Princess gift block puzzle

Princess gift block puzzle

Because this was a gift for a frilly little girl, I chose to add sparkles to the whole thing at the end:

Princess gift block puzzle

I don’t remember exactly, but I’m guessing I covered five sides with the sparkle Mod Podge, let them dry overnight, then sparkled up the sixth side the next day.

Princess gift block puzzle

Finished sparkly puzzle:

Princess gift block puzzle

Tah dah!

Filed under: general crafts,gifts,tutorials — leethal @ 10:56 am

December 11, 2013

Pom-Poms! book and pom-pom wreath project!

I made a thing!

Pom pom wreath project!

A little while ago, the publisher sent me a review copy of this book, Pom-Poms! 25 Awesomely Fluffy Projects by Sarah Goldschadt and Lexi Walters Wright.  The holiday season inspired me to make the pom-pom wreath!  Fun!

Pom pom wreath project!

I got out the book, my Clover pom-pom makers, a fork to try out the fork method in the book, my own hand to try out the finger wrap method in the book, scissors, and a big pile of old yarn.

Pom pom wreath project!

I didn’t end up loving the fork method – I think it’s good for super teeny tiny pom-poms, but I was trying to make small, dense ones and it didn’t work so well.  But I liked the finger wrap method for small ones!  The book goes into lots of different kinds of pom-poms, like how to make them with coffee filters, paper, cupcake liners, and how to make different color patterns with yarn.

Pom pom wreath project!

Most of the book is projects using pom-poms, so if you get addicted to making them you’ll have lots of ways to use them.  I really like the bouquets (like the one pictured on the cover), the garlands, the various jewelry items, the hedgehogs (also on the cover), and the wreath, of course.  I might make more projects in the future, but my hands are killing me after making all the pom-poms for the wreath today!

Pom pom wreath project!

I made them in all different sizes, using my two official makers and my fingers and the fork, in different yarn types and different thicknesses.  Then I cut out a circle of cardboard, and glued them all on:

Pom pom wreath project!

I really like how it turned out, yay!

Pom pom wreath project!

It will live on the inside of our front door, with a suction cup wreath hanger (crossing our fingers it doesn’t fall down after a few hours).

Pom pom wreath project!

Fun way to use up some unwanted yarns!

Filed under: books,general crafts,home stuff — leethal @ 4:17 pm

February 15, 2013

Convertible cowly sweater vest made from recycled sweaters!

I made a thing!  My now-functioning studio made me itchy to make stuff, so the other day when I should have been working at the computer all day, instead I did a little digging through my reclaimed sweater stash, and made this!  What is “this”?  It’s a convertible cowl-neck sweater vest slash cowl slash shirt slash skirt…..?  It’s a simple concept that I came across on pinterest/ravelry and have been eager to try out ever since!

cowl neck sweater vest thing cowl neck sweater vest thing

cowl neck sweater vest thing cowl neck sweater vest thing

First, to give credit… that pin which first introduced me to the idea had no source (the original wrong source led me to the pattern-less rav project page which helped me reverse engineer the shape; I’ve since edited the pin source and description), so I did some reverse google image searching and found that the pin image is a garment by Elementum, and can be seen in this video (4:40 minutes in).

A major design element of the inspiration garment is that it’s oversized – the baggy size is part of what allows it to be worn comfortably in all the different positions.  Well, I wanted to try the idea, immediately, with what I had on hand.  And what I had on hand were a couple of fitted-sized sweaters.  So my version is the same concept as the inspiration, but fitted, for a pretty different look.  (I plan to make another in the future, appropriately oversized.)

Also, one of the sweaters I had in my recycling stash had a kangaroo pocket, which I thought would make the garment even more awesome, right?!  Well, sort of; it also makes it less versatile.  So, don’t necessarily follow my every move with this tutorial – if you want the most convertible, comfy finished result, then go for big sweaters with no pockets.  If you like mine exactly as it is, find a fitted sweater with a kangaroo pocket and you’re good to go!

A few more words on what to look for in your reclaimed sweaters… Sweaters knit seamlessly in the round would be ideal, but are rare to find at thrift stores, as almost all mass-produced sweaters have side seams.  Seams aren’t a huge problem, but the more clean / less visible the seams, the better your garment will look worn in all the different possible positions.  (It would also be easier to make without seams.)

Your two sweaters should be as close as possible to the same width – if one is a bit bigger than the other, then the slightly bigger one can just have slightly bigger arm-hole parts, not a big deal.  But the closer in width, the better.  As for gauge / stitch count – if you have two sweaters in the same gauge, the same width, for the same (or extremely close to the same) stitch counts, excellent!  This would take some serious thrift store luck to happen though.  Probably, the two sweaters you use will be different gauges, for different stitch counts.  You’ll just need to do a little math to work decreases around the smaller gauge one so that they end up with similar stitch counts, it won’t be too hard.

A couple last notes – if you’re not a knitter, you can do this project without any knitting, by sewing everything together instead.  It won’t be as neat, but it will work.  Stitch around the armholes carefully so no stitches unravel, and sew the edges together (instead of grafting) securely, so everything stays together and nothing unravels.

If you are a knitter, and you’d prefer to just straight up knit this entire thing, that should be easy enough!  You can see the shape here, a big tube with two big holes.  Go for it!

Lastly, if you feel guilty using perfectly good sweaters for craft materials, then look at thrift stores for sweaters with stains or holes… flawed old used clothing at a thrift store is unlikely to be bought and appreciated by normal (read: non-crafty) shoppers, and if you craft with it, you’ll be giving it a brand new life!  Crafting with reclaimed materials from thrift stores is a win-win for everybody, the way I see it!  It’s not like there aren’t plenty of clothes still remaining on the racks for shoppers in need of cheap duds.

Now, on to the tutorial!

You need:

  • 2 reclaimed sweaters, which are not felted (this means you can see the individual stitches, and will be able to unravel them and knit with them), as close as possible to the same width (around the body, under the armpits) – for my sample, one sweater is stockinette, and the other is ribbed; this worked nicely, but is not necessary, they can both be stockinette or both be ribbed (see notes above for sizing info)
  • scissors
  • 2 circular needles, sized to work with the sweater gauges
  • paper and pencil, and a calculator, to figure out and make note of your numbers
  • a yarn needle for grafting

(I used a weirdly shaped sweater which had already had one arm removed for another project, and a sweater from my crafting stash that I got super cheap from a thrift store because the previous owner had sloppily cut the collar off to give it a scoop neck.)

Start by cutting straight across each sweater under the armpits.  To make the right shaped garment, one tube should be shorter than the other; my orange sweater happened to be significantly shorter than my grey sweater, so I just cut under the armpits of both.  If they are the same height, and/or if both your sweaters are big and oversized, cut one of them further down so that it’s shorter than the other.  (Exact measurements are up to you!)

cowl neck sweater vest thing cowl neck sweater vest thing

If cutting across stockinette stitch fabric, turn the sweater inside out, as it will be easier to cut perfectly straight across using the reverse stockinette stitch lines as a guideline:

cowl neck sweater vest thing

Now you have 2 knit tubes, hopefully the same width, one a bit (or a lot, your choice) taller than the other (kangaroo pocket optional):

cowl neck sweater vest thing

For each tube, stretch it out, to loosen up the stitches, then unravel the top 1 or 2 rows.  You’ll end up with a pile of little yarn bits, as a result of cutting across, and the top row may have been snipped into accidentally.  I find it’s easier to get the stitches onto the needle if I unravel 2 rows – those little yarn bits tend to stick in there when you rip out the first row, then they generally fall out with the second row.  Once you’ve unraveled a row or two, and are left with a clean line of live stitches, slip all those stitches onto your circular needle.

cowl neck sweater vest thing

Be careful to pick up all stitches in the seam area so they don’t end up unraveling later – you’ll probably need to do some extra snipping or fiddling around to get every stitch on the needle.  If you end up taking out part of the seam stitching, that’s fine, as you can re-seam it up when you’re weaving in all your ends.

Hold on to the yarn strands that you unravel, as you’ll use them to finish the armholes and graft.  You can also rip out a couple rows worth of yarn bits from the unused part of the sweater, if you need extra yarn.

cowl neck sweater vest thing

Here’s when you’ll have to deal with stitch counts and gauge issues… I didn’t take photos of this part for my project, and it’ll probably be different for you anyway, so you’ll just have to figure it out for yourself with your particular sweaters.  My fine-gauge orange ribbed sweater happened to be almost exactly twice as many stitches as the chunky grey sweater, making the math easy for me – I doubled up the yarn (held 2 strands together) and knit around, decreasing all stitches, for one row around the orange sweater, k2tog every stitch.  It was 2×2 rib, so I k2tog the 2 knits, then k2tog the 2 purls.  I could have k2tog the knits and p2tog the purls, but since I knew it would be grafted in stockinette, I just knit all the decreases.  I did this at a loose tension, so it wouldn’t pull in.  If you don’t luck out with such as even ratio of stitches to decrease, decrease evenly around one tube as needed to give your two tubes close to the same stitch count.

cowlneck sweater vest thing

Now you’ll need to do a little math.  First, you’ll need to figure out how big you want your armholes, and therefore how big your connected parts will be.  The armholes should be big enough for your head to fit through, so at least 22 inches or so around, stretched.  Each tube will have a line of stitches bound off for each half of each armhole.  Make sense?  So, each bind-off section should be approximately 11 inches (or more) across.  (My sample, because the whole thing is so fitted, has smaller armholes – approximately 10 inches across each part, stretched, and juuuust barely fits over my head.)

Count all the stitches across, from seam to seam.  Usually the stitch count will be slightly different on one side from the other – write everything down.  My notes as I worked are shown below.  My orange tube had 79 stitches on one side, 75 on the other; my grey tube had 71 stitches on one side, 69 on the other.

Determine how many stitches will be joined – the stitches not in the armholes.  In the above sketch, this is x (x is the same on all sides of both tubes).  This measurement depends on your total tube width, but it should be somewhere around the width across (when laying flat) minus 11 inches or so (armholes)… or somewhere near 2/3 of the total width.  If your stitch counts for each side are all odd, choose an odd number, if they’re all even, choose an even number; if they are different, then you’ll need to adjust by having slightly different armhole bind-off stitch counts as needed.  I decided my joined stitches would be 43 stitches (odd number).

Now, for each side (4 sides total – 2 tubes, 2 sides each tube), subtract the joining stitch count from the total stitch count, and then divide each of these numbers in half.  (You can see in my notes, 79 minus 43 is 36, in half is 18; 75 minus 43 is 32, in half is 16, and so on.)  These numbers are your bind-off stitch counts for each side of the armholes.

If you like algebra, then using the labeled sketch above, you need to find y and z values for each tube (different for the 2 tubes).  x is your joining number (which you just decided) – so, total stitch count on the y side, minus x, divided by 2, is each y; total stitch count on the z side, minus x, divided by 2, is each z.  y + z is the total armhole length (for the one tube – the y+z numbers for the two different tubes added together makes total armhole circumference stitch count).

project sketch planning

Now that you know the stitch counts, make the armholes.  On the first tube, with needle points at the seam, looking at the wrong side, slip the correct number of stitches to begin first armhole – slip the number that corresponds with the side you’re on.  (Eg: with my numbers, if I’m slipping into the side which has 71 stitches across, then I need to slip 14 stitches for that section of the armhole.  Or, using the variables, if you’re slipping into the y side of the tube, then slip y stitches.)

Knit across all armhole stitches – so, knit to seam, then knit correct number of stitches on other side of seam.  (For mine, if I slipped 16 stitches, then I knit across those 16, then I’d continue knitting 18 on the other side of the seam.  Using the variables, if you slipped y, then knit the y, now knit z.)  Now bind off those just-knit stitches, loosely, purlwise – I recommend the decrease bind-off method.  *Purl 2 together, pass just-purled stitch back onto left-hand needle without twisting it, repeat from *.

Repeat this for all 4 armhole parts, slipping stitches around the circular needle to get from one to the other.  Keeping those center live stitches on the needle for the next step…

cowl neck sweater vest thing

Now you should have two tubes that look like this, all 4 of those rows of stitches between bound-off parts with the same stitch count:

cowl neck sweater vest thing

All you need to do now is graft those live stitches together, for a nice, clean join!  If your tubes’ sides each had different stitch counts from each other, join the two sides which had higher stitch counts, and the two sides which had lower stitch counts.  Hold the 2 rows of live stitches together, needles parallel, wrong sides facing, and thread some of the extra yarn (whichever is the more sturdy, less breakable yarn of the two) onto a blunt yarn needle – try to use a length of yarn at least 4 times as long as the line of stitches.

Head over to my (brand new!) full step-by-step photo tutorial in my leethalknits.com knitting tutorials for grafting instructions.

cowl neck sweater vest thing

Once that’s done, on both sides, all that’s left to do is sew up any holes you might be left with (around the seams, maybe), and neatly weave in all those loose ends:

cowl neck sweater vest thing

And here is my finished piece, shown inside out and folded sideways, and then right side out after washing:

cowl neck sweater vest thing cowl neck sweater vest thing

And all the ways I can wear it!  The standard way places that kangaroo pocket kind of awkwardly… I can pull it down when I put my hands in it:

cowl neck sweater vest thing cowl neck sweater vest thing

The length is better with the cowl neck around my shoulders:

cowl neck sweater vest thing cowl neck sweater vest thing

It’s a better look with the pocket hidden in back (proving that the pocket wasn’t the best idea…)

cowl neck sweater vest thing cowl neck sweater vest thing

I love it as a cowl!

cowl neck sweater vest thing cowl neck sweater vest thing

And then some of the other ways the inspiration piece was worn… I didn’t even bother photographing it worn upside down, since the small, fitted orange section as the body looks ridiculous.  It doesn’t work so well sideways, because of both the pocket and the fit (or in the kind of halter top style):

cowl neck sweater vest thing cowl neck sweater vest thing

But, because I made mine smaller and fitted, it can be worn a couple extra ways – as a skirt:

cowl neck sweater vest thing cowl neck sweater vest thing

…and as a weird tube sweater thing, haha.  I had fun playing around with the different ways.

cowl neck sweater vest thing cowl neck sweater vest thing

Anyway, conclusion on my end, try again with bigger sweaters and no pockets, and it should be awesomesauce.  If you use the tutorial to make your own, I’d love to see it!  I have this flickr group that I tend to forget about, but you can stick a photo in there to share!  Happy crafting!!

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,knitting,tutorials — leethal @ 8:45 pm

January 27, 2012

Pendleton scrap blanket (and matching pillow)!

Awhile back, Susan blogged about a blanket she made with scraps from the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, I thought it was fabulous, and Pete completely fell in love with it.  He’s been a bit Pendleton obsessed since he started getting really into men’s fashion a couple years ago… So we started taking trips over to the store and grabbing good looking scraps whenever we found them.  And then when the holiday season started, I took a couple secret trips by myself and gathered enough material for a giant blanket gift!

Pendleton blanket

I never scored like Susan did, with the super cheap precut sample cards, but I got mostly the thick, blanket quality wool pieces, so our double layered wool blanket is thick and heavy and WARM!  My blanket ended up costing more like $40-50, with all the by-the-pound thick scraps (as opposed to Susan’s amazing $12 creation, which is more what I was hoping for when I decided to go ahead with the project), and it took several days of work, with my limited sewing experience, but it was so super worth it all!  Once of my favorite things I’ve ever made!

Of course, most of you don’t have access to Pendleton wool scraps, but this same basic project can be done with recycled wool clothing (like plaid shirts and skirts) from thrift stores, or with felted sweaters!  So, I’ll tell you how I made mine…

Pendleton blanket

I started by cutting all the pieces in blocks to make strips of all different widths.  I cleared my living room floor to spread the project out and plan out the blocks as I cut.  After I took the above photo, I decided to make it a bit bigger, so I added more blocks to each strip.  Then I stacked each strip in order, and lined them up so I’d know how they were meant to be sewn together:

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

I sewed each pile together into the strips, just as I’d laid them all out before, with a basic straight stitch, right sides facing.  As I finished sewing each one, I laid it back out on the floor, to keep everything in order:

Pendleton blanket

Then I ironed all those seams open on the back of each strip:

Pendleton blanket

I used the wool setting, with maximum steam…  Here are the seams before and after ironing:

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

The strips after ironing:

Pendleton blanket

So then I sewed all the strips to each other.  Starting at one end, the first to the second, then the second to the third, and so on, until the whole thing was one big piece.  Careful to keep the ironed seams flat when sewing over them:

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

Here’s the whole thing after that step:

Pendleton blanket

The next step, of course, was to iron all those seams, completing the top layer of my blanket:

Pendleton blanket

Then I made my lining layer.  I didn’t have any one piece large enough for the lining, but I did set aside a few of the largest scraps to piece together for the back side.  Once the top layer was complete and I measured it, I figured out exactly how to put the large pieces together to make a block of exactly the same size…  There’s a screenshot of my iPad app where I worked out the measurements, just for fun:

blanket planning Pendleton blanket

(All those numbers are inches; after it was finished, the final blanket measurements ended up being a bit over 6 feet by a bit over 5 feet.)  I sewed those together and ironed the seams, and then I had my lining:

Pendleton blanket

I laid out the lining with the top layer on top, right sides facing…

Pendleton blanket

…got the layers all smoothed out the best I could, and pinned the edges together:

Pendleton blanket

Then I sewed all around the edges, leaving about a foot open to turn it back right-side out.

Pendleton blanket

After sewing, I trimmed some parts where the edges didn’t line up perfectly, and clipped the corners to minimize bulk.  Then I turned it right-side out, ironed the edges well, and hand-sewed the part that was left open.

Pendleton blanket

Lastly, I sewed around the whole thing, about 1 1/2 inches in from the edge:

Pendleton blanket

I thought about different options for connecting the layers – tying or quilting or something – but with my lack of experience with this kind of crafting, and with how much I loved the blanket as it was, I didn’t want to risk messing it up.  It functions perfectly as is, so I don’t see any reason why the layers need to be attached…

Pendleton blanket

So there it is!  Pete’s giant Pendleton blanket!  I made it for him, but it happens to be huge enough to keep both of us warm at the same time – I’m sneaky like that!

Pendleton blanket

Some more beauty shots…

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

It’s hard to tell the thickness and weight of it by the photos, so just trust me, it’s big and heavy!  I love it so much!

Pendleton blanket

And then, there’s more!  With some of the extra scraps, I made a pillow to match, before I started sewing the blanket, to kind of practice.  I wanted to make sure I knew the best way to sew and iron the seams before starting the blanket, so I cut these extra scraps, to fit a cheap Ikea pillow…

Pendleton pillow

…sewed them together…

Pendleton pillow

…ironed the seams…

Pendleton pillow

…and sewed on the two overlapping pieces for the back:

Pendleton pillow

And tah dah!  Pillowcase!  This project took about a half hour, so I definitely plan on making more of these!

Pendleton pillow

On the pillow:

Pendleton pillow

 

Pendleton pillow

And the back side:

Pendleton pillow

So that’s everything, except for one last note.  Throughout all the steps…

Pendleton blanket

…Banzo had to claim the wool as her new spot.  And now, of course, it’s her blanket.  I may have made it for Pete, but we all know who it really belongs to!

Pendleton blanket Pendleton blanket

I’d love to see if anyone uses my process to make a blanket from recycled clothing fabrics!  Just be careful if you make one with sweater pieces – the stretchiness will make the seams buckle if you don’t figure out how to best sew them (I know from experience as a self-taught sewer, and have never really figured out the best way to avoid buckling).  Sewing with the woven wool was still tricky, as the different scraps had varying amounts of stretchiness.  I had to figure out how to hold the 2 pieces with different tensions to make the seams even… But I made it work in the end.  Yay!

And just so you know, I’m writing this post curled up on the couch with the blanket over my legs, and the kitty curled up at my feet.  We are both very snuggly and warm!

Filed under: general crafts,gifts,home stuff,portland stuff,tutorials — leethal @ 12:46 am

December 23, 2011

What’s to come and some random bits…

Hope you are having a good holiday-ish week!  I am hanging at my parents’ house in Orange County for a couple weeks, hoping to get tons of knitting and ebook photo editing done, between silly times with my brothers and California adventures with my parents…  Just wanted to kind of check in here since not much leethal stuff is going on, but will be in the near future!

Remixed pattern #6 is basically done – just needs to be tested once I finished laying out the pdf.  Giving my testers a break for now, for gift knitting times, so it’ll go out to them next week, then be out to Remixers in another week or so, beginning of January:

Freak Out! Freak Out!

It can be super extra terrifying if you choose:

Freak Out!

But it can also be folded up into a hat for normal everyday use.  See more photos of the stripy one and the bulky one on ravelry.  It’s for any weight yarn, worked top down, to get the eye and mouth placement just right.

Freak Out! Freak Out!

And then the seventh pattern is just about done as well!  Gentle on My Mind is a bonnet style hat, which can be made with or without i-cord tails, and works excellently with stripes…

Gentle on My Mind Gentle on My Mind

This is my first prototype, and was made with normal short row wraps.  After completing it, I discovered Socktopus’s shadow wraps method, which is so freaking awesome and a perfect fit for this pattern!  So my other samples are using that, and that will be the recommended technique in this pattern…

Gentle on My Mind

Below is my second sample, in several different handspun mini-skeins and leftover bits (plus a couple stripes of Malabrigo Twist thrown in there)… I love the front part, and I like the back of the head, but the middle is kinda weird, oh well.  It’s a sample without the i-cords (more photos are on ravelry).

Gentle on My Mind

Right now I’m working on another striped sample – 2 contrasting recycled solids – which I am super loving!  So, this design should be ready for testing in a couple weeks, and then just one Remixed pattern left in the collection!

Besides the designing and knitting, I’ve been making lots of recycled yarns for the ebook.  This one is the yarn used in the stripy mask – a striped wool unraveled sweater yarn, plied with thread:

recycled spun yarn

Here are a couple of navajo plied recycled striped yarns – the left is cotton, the right is wool:

recycled spun yarn recycled spun yarn

And from the same sweater as that wool navajo plied, a sleeve became this stripy yarn, plied with an angora blend:

recycled spun yarn

So that’s what I’ve been working on – well, the work work I’ve been doing… I’ve also spent lots of time working on gift projects, or one main gift project, which you can see a peek at through my twitter.  It will be blogged at some point soon!

A couple other things I wanted to mention here…  I’ve been saving all my coffee cans for the last couple years, since I made this cubby, in case I might want to make another one, but now I have something like 16 or 18 saved up, and nowhere in my house to put another one, so I’d love to give all the cans to a crafter who doesn’t drink coffee and wants to make a cubby.  Anyone in the Portland area want them??  Comment if you’re interested and I’ll email you…

coffeecubbies05

And this one last thing – thought there might be some readers out there who might be interested in this:

craft show flier

The casting agent happens to be an old co-worker from my day job in California many years ago… weird connection to my current world (that day job had nothing to do with craftiness).  So I just wanted to throw that up here… not exactly my thing (I don’t have that necessary tv personality) but it sounds pretty awesome!

Filed under: general crafts,hats,knitting,personal,portland stuff,random stuff,Remixed,yarn — leethal @ 5:14 pm

September 13, 2011

My recycled fabric infinity dresses!

I made some dresses!  These are infinity dresses, using this tutorial, made with recycled sheets!

infinity dress! infinity dress!

So, awhile back I had a wedding to go to and I wanted to use it as an excuse to buy a new dress… but after a day of shopping I found nothing I liked, so then my plan changed to it being an excuse to make a new dress!  I searched around and found that tutorial, then I went thrifting for knit sheets that might work, and found a couple good ones – the first, a twin size green stretchy knit sheet ($1.50), I used to make a trial dress, to learn from my mistakes before making my real dress.

infinity dress! infinity dress! infinity dress!

It has some major issues – it doesn’t work worn most ways, and it’s too short worn most ways (since a twin size sheet wasn’t enough fabric)… but I did indeed learn from my mistakes (some of them, anyway) and I went on to make my second dress.  This one was made with a t-shirt material duvet cover ($5), I think queen size, so it was the amount of fabric in 2 large sheets – plenty for a big, twirly circle skirt!

infinity dress!

I made a stupid mistake which ended up resulting in awesomeness.  When I folded my big square in quarters and cut it into a circle, I accidentally cut on the wrong side and made 2 halves of the circle.  Since I had to then sew the halves together to make my circle, I took advantage of the mistake and added pockets!  Love them!

infinity dress!

My one regret with this dress is that I didn’t overlap the two top/strap parts as much as they should have been (I only overlapped about 1 1/2 inches for some reason, even though the tutorial says 3-5 inches – I meant for it to be more, but messed it up somehow).  This made it so I can’t wear the dress most of the “infinity” ways, but after a few hours of playing around with different ways of wrapping it, I found a couple ways that work well, so it’s cool.

infinity dress!

Yay new dress!  It’s super twirly and has pockets and is soft, comfy t-shirt fabric and I love it!!

infinity dress! infinity dress!

I made another dress around the same time as this one (most of it on the same day actually, I was on a roll!) but it’s a different style, so I’ll save that for another post… soon!

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,skirts — leethal @ 1:57 pm

May 19, 2011

Maker Faire!! wooooo!

For the first time ever, I’m going to Maker Faire this year!  Aaaand, I’ll be doing a demo and speaking in a panel discussion!  So super awesome and since I’ve never been before I have no idea what to expect, so I’m totally excited and crazy nervous at the same time.  I’ll only be there on Saturday, so I’ll be just packing in as much as possible for that day, after completing my events – I know I won’t be able to do close to everything I’ll want to do (from what I hear) but I know it’ll be an amazing day!

So, if you’re going and want to track me down… at 10:30am (Sat) I’ll be doing a demo on No-Sew Projects Using a T-Shirt!  The main project will be my no-sew t-shirt bag, which I’ve just entered into the Make Projects DIY wiki database!

No-Sew T-shirt Bags! No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

And then, for the remainder of the demo, I’ll be showing how to make other things from the parts of the t-shirt that are left over after you make the bag!

no-sew tee projects

The point being, of course, as little waste as possible…

no-sew tee projects

Hopefully you can gather enough ideas for small tee projects that by the time you’re done crafting with one recycled shirt, you’ll have a bunch of cool stuff, and nothing more than a few tiny scraps of cotton left!

no-sew tee projects

Besides lots of different kinds of bracelets and necklaces (which I’ll be doing blog tutorials for sometime in the future), you can make no-sew hats and cuffs/mitts from t-shirt sleeves:

no-sew tee projects

And by the way, this is a t-shirt strip version of Olga Buraya-Kefelian’s Cable Braided Necklace knitting project:

no-sew tee projects

So then after the demo, I’ll be part of Saturday’s Crafting Your Online Presence Panel Discussion!  I’ll be alongside Susan Beal (West Coast Crafty), Bridget Frankowiak (Mr X Stitch), Garth Johnson (Extreme Craft), Alice Merlino (Futuregirl), and Moxie (Made by Moxie).

saturday maker faire panel

You can read a little more about it, and ask us questions, over on the craft social blog – the panels will be live-tweeted so you can follow along if you can’t be at Maker Faire!

After Maker Faire, I’ll be taking a little road trip around California for fun and also to stop at every single yarn store I can find to drop off wholesale catalogs – let me know if you have a favorite lys in California!  (My list of shops that carry my patterns is slowly growing, and the faraway shops that I haven’t been to seem super awesome, yay!  See them along the sidebar of this page.)  Being my own distributor is tough work, but hopefully my patterns will make it to your part of the world soon enough!

On the trip, I’ll be doing tons of passenger seat knitting, of course, working away on my future ebook patterns.  I’m so excited about those, and if I get enough done on the road, I may have something substantial to show you when I get back!  I also may be working on a mystery knit-a-long pattern (one that I started designing quite awhile back, but got distracted from and had to set aside).  Summer knit-a-long, anyone?  I’m hoping I can make it happen soooooon!

Filed under: general crafts,personal,random stuff — leethal @ 12:33 pm

February 22, 2011

World of Geekcraft!

I just want to take a minute to tell you how incredibly excited I am about this awesome book that’s coming out in May!  I know, that’s awhile away still, but I just have to show you a peek!  World of Geekcraft:

Geekcraft!

Update 6/4: Just a belated note that the book ended up coming out earlier than I’d thought, so it’s been on shelves for a couple months now!  My pattern is now listed on ravelry, so add it as a project if you make a geeky sleeve!

My buddy Susan put together the most nerd-tastic amazing collection of geekery inspired craft projects, and I am so lucky to get to be a part of it!  I designed this simple coffee cup sleeve knitting pattern that can be customized and embellished to show off whatever geeky obsession you might have:

geek sleeves!

My three chosen themes are: a Trivial Pursuit sleeve to display my board game geekery…

geek sleeves!

…a Jayne hat striped sleeve for the Joss Whedon nerd in me, and a Dr. Mario sleeve to show off my most favorite video game:

geek sleeves! geek sleeves!

I got the opportunity to flip through the book a few days ago, and my project’s spread looks so good!!

Geekcraft!

The book has tons of different types of craft projects represented, and so many awesome contributors – see the list here on the book’s site.  Two more super duper exciting things about this book – Pete wrote a page for a Geek Speak segment!

Geekcraft!

And, my project made it onto the back cover!!  Woooo so awesome!  Ok, so I’m sorry to tease you with how great this is, and you’ll have to wait to see more projects from it, but now you have it to look forward to!  It really is a fabulous book – I would be totally excited about it even if I had nothing to do with it, for reals!  So, follow the book’s blog and/or Susan’s blog to stay up-to-date, and I’ll definitely be posting more details about my design and the book in general when it’s released!

Oh, and be sure to check with Susan’s post for ways to pre-order and other book related links!

Geekcraft! (back cover)

And yes, that is Oregon Trail cross stitch.

Filed under: books,general crafts,knitting — leethal @ 5:08 pm

February 10, 2011

February quick knits ebook: Buttons!

February is a month full of love, and I love buttons… well ok, that’s not why I chose the theme… it just kind of developed… anyway, this month’s club:

Buttons! ebook cover

Five different button-filled projects!  The first, a knitting pattern for Shoggoth, the pin cushion demon!

Buttons!

HP Lovecraft monster that knits up in approximately 20 yards of worsted weight leftovers, gets stuffed and covered in button eyes, then functions as an awesome pin cushion!

Buttons! Buttons!

One tentacle curls around, with my intent being that you can store your scissors in there… but it’s not really structurally sound enough to stay up without the scissors balancing on the table.  The curled tentacle looks cool though, even if it’s not super useful.  Also, you could attach googly eyes instead of buttons if you prefer!

Buttons!

The other knitting pattern is called Buttontastic, and it’s a strip of buttons and eyelet holes which can be twisted and worn as a headband, necklace, bracelet, or probably more!

Buttons!

To make it long enough for a headband, you actually need a bit more than 20 yards (I think this one, in Knitted Wit merino yarn, used around 25 yards), but you could totally stripe with different yarn leftovers of the same weight (worsted weight is recommended).  The brown example (in Malabrigo worsted) used around 17 yards, and makes for a fun necklace or bracelet:

Buttons! Buttons!

The linen stitch looks super great in variegated yarns, as you can see…

Buttons! Buttons!

While making these pieces, I came up with a way to attach the buttons into the knitting as you knit – no sewing on oh-so-many buttons afterwards, yay!  The pattern includes instructions for how I did that, but I also plan to do a blog post on it sometime in the near future, for all to see, since it’s an easy process that would be super useful for lots of button-y patterns!  (I’m sure it’s something that many have done before, I’d just never seen it – anyone know of an online how-to for putting buttons into your knit fabric as you knit?)

Buttons!

For my tutorial/extras this month, I actually just did 3 short tutorials for different kinds of fun, simple-ish button craft projects.  The first is an easy clothing embellishment project, which I did on a thrifted skirt – LOVE the finished look!

Buttons! Buttons!

And then a home decor project – a button-covered branch light:

Buttons!

It’s a whole different look during the day, and turned on at night!

Buttons! Buttons!

I am totally in love with how this project turned out, as well!  I think it would also look awesome with just the buttons and no lights… I’ll probably be trying that out soon!

Buttons!

And lastly, a simple little jewelry project – pile of buttons pendant.  A fun way to use up some coordinating buttons… or you could make it with just one extra special small button framed inside the larger button, to show it off.

Buttons!

There are only 4 months left of the club – you can get a subscription starting with this ebook, lasting through the end of the club, which is 5 months for $17.  Or, as usual, you can grab just this ebook alone for $5.

It’s been a weird week, and my computer is in the Apple store getting its fan replaced, so I’m writing this on Pete’s computer… my point being, I haven’t been doing much computery stuff at all this week.  Things should be back to normal soon though, and I’ll have some fun blog posts, and hopefully another mystery knit-a-long very soon!

(One extra thing, you may want to check out my twitter, as I might be having a secret-ish sale this week that I’ve been announcing through twitter only, and that ends tomorrow…)

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,knitting,quick knits — leethal @ 4:13 pm

January 25, 2011

Ten minute no-sew recycled t-shirt bag!

Tutorial time!  I got a gig teaching a recycled t-shirt project at the library a few months ago, with a request for a recycled tee bag – the only bags I’d made from tees in the past had required sturdy sewing, and I didn’t want hand-sewing to be the only thing holding the bottom closed in a class version of the bags, so I started brainstorming about some kind of hand-sewing-friendly or no-sew bag idea…. and here’s what I came up with!

No-Sew T-shirt Bags! No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

The simplest version of these bags is great for smaller tees, or the more light-weight kind of girl-tees – just turn the bottom of the shirt into a drawstring and tie it closed!  As you can see, even with a not huge tee, this will still leave a significant hole in the bottom of your bag, but for purposes like grocery shopping, this size hole shouldn’t really matter…

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

But to make smaller holes, just make more than one of them!  Here’s a bag bottom with 2 holes:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

And now for the actual tutorial – for this one, with the step-by-step, I will be making the bottom with 3 holes.  So, start with a t-shirt that you don’t wear anymore, or a fun one you found at a thrift store.  Besides a tee, you’ll also need scissors and a safety pin.  That’s it!

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Cut the sleeves off, but try to make a somewhat straight line, and go in a bit from the seam – these lines will be the sides of your straps:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Cut some strips from those sleeve pieces – about half an inch wide, the length of one time around a sleeve is good, and as many strips as the number of holes you’ll be making in your bag bottom. (I’ve made bags with 1, 2, and 3 holes, but I haven’t tried more than that.)  Pull the ends of the strips to stretch them out and make them curl in:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Cut the neck out to become your bag’s opening – the way you cut this can depend on your tee’s picture (if there is a picture), and also the shape you want your bag.  Just make sure you cut a big enough opening to fit things through, for a functional bag:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

You could make it rounded, V-shaped, or squared like this one:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Now the top/straps part is done, time for the bottom.  Snip slits in the hem part of the tee bottom – as many slits as you want holes.  3 slits, below, is for 3 holes, for a single hole, like the yellow one at the top, just cut one slit, and for 2 holes, snip 2 slits.  The slits should be equally spaced from each other, but the spacing doesn’t need to be exact – I just eyeballed my slit placement, no measuring:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Now stick a safety pin through the end of one of those strips you made, and start running it through the hem, through one of the slits:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Run it through to the next slit (or all the way around and back to the beginning, if you’re making a single hole) and pull the cord so it’s centered-ish:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Tie the hole closed as tightly as you can, and tie a tight knot:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Now repeat those steps for the remaining sections, one slit to the next, tie tightly.  This is after the second hole is closed:

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

For an ultra sturdy bag bottom, tie one cord strand from one hole together with one strand from the hole next to it, tightly, and repeat for each strand (as many of these knots as the number of holes you have; ignore this step if you’re making a single hole), so that the holes are all tied to each other.

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Now, you can choose whether you want the t-shirt cord ties hanging down at the bottom, or hidden on the inside.  To hide them inside, bring them through the center, then tie bows on the inside so they don’t fall back through.  Or, tie bows on the outside if you prefer (or you could just cut the cords short and skip the bows):

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

My finished Sonic bag!

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

The 1-hole version of this project takes more like 5 minutes, but the more holes you have, the longer it takes (by a few minutes) – it’s my favorite kind of project: 100% recycled materials (in this case, just the tee and nothing else!), minimal tools, quick+easy, and a super useful finished product!

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

I made these for everyone in my family as extra bonus xmas gifts – my mom just told me she’s been using hers all the time and they are stronger than she would have expected.  I even used my family’s bags to wrap their gifts in, to save on paper wrapping waste and because it looked fun!

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

I failed to show you this idea before the holidays, but you can always save it away in your memory (or bookmarks) for your next gift-giving occasion.  I hope you love this project as much as I do!  Now go and make lots of them so you’ll never be without a reusable shopping bag again!

No-Sew T-shirt Bags!

Filed under: general crafts,gifts,quick project,tutorials — leethal @ 3:56 pm

November 8, 2010

Lace Stenciled Framed Song Lyrics! (+our wedding music)

If you’ve been following my blog, you know how I made 60 of these painted frames with song lyrics for our wedding decorations/favors…

wedding!

Well, a lot of wedding guests loved them and took one home, but we had a ton left at the end of the night, which we boxed back up and took home with us…

wedding framed song lyrics!

So we now have 30 of them hanging on our big white living room wall!  Yay!!  There are several duplicate lyrics, some of which I already changed out to engagement photos, but once we get our wedding photos I’ll switch out some more lyrics with photos (but just a few, because we love the look of the lyrics!):

wedding framed song lyrics!

So, hey, you want to know how to make these yourself?  It’s a pretty simple project, but a bit time (and space) consuming… Well, that’s if you’re making 60 like I did… If you just make a few, it shouldn’t take long.  (This project was totally inspired by Mark Montano‘s Big Ass Book of Home Decor and Mark’s love of spray paint!)

I made 2 different types of painted frames: textured frames that were just plain spray painted, and smooth(ish) frames that were painted with lace used as stencils.

Your first step is to take a trip to your local thrift store (or several of them) and find frames – whatever sizes you want (mine were 3×5, 4×6, and 5×7), either textured to do the simple version, or plain untextured frames to do the lace stenciling.  (Of course, you can do the simple version with plain frames too, if you want to.)

wedding framed song lyrics! wedding framed song lyrics!

For the textured frames, simply take out the glass/backing (be sure to keep track of which goes with which frames), lay the (clean) frame down on a protected surface (like newspaper) in a ventilated space (I did it all outside, but breeze/wind makes it tough – an open garage would be ideal – either way, wear a face mask when doing lots of spray painting!), and spray (as the spray paint can instructs).

I did them in batches of 6-10 at a time – sprayed 1 coat over them all, then went back with a 2nd coat over them all.  Be sure to get the sides (unless the frame has an interesting edge and you choose not to paint over it).  After letting dry for 5-10 minutes on the newspaper, I transferred them to an outdoor table to dry completely (or, until bringing them inside for the night).

wedding framed song lyrics!

For the lace stenciled frames, there are a couple extra steps.  You’ll need: spray adhesive, spray paint, plenty of space to work, and lots of newspaper to cover your work surface, and a face mask for safety so you don’t breathe in all those glue and paint fumes.

And then the lace itself – find vintage doilies, curtains, and other home decor items from thrift stores, with interesting patterns.  I’ll show you lots of examples of different kinds of lace used as stencils, in a minute…

wedding framed song lyrics!

  • First, spray the lace with a thin coat of spray adhesive (with it sitting on newspaper).
  • Stick the lace onto the frame, as you want it placed – be sure to stick it all down the best you can.
  • Spray a good thick coat over the frame through the lace stencil.  (At first, I was doing 2 coats, like with the plain painted frames, but sometimes the lace would become un-stuck after the first coat, so the second coat would make it blurry.)
  • Let dry for a minute or so, then carefully lift off the lace (you don’t want the glue to stick it on there permanently!), and lay it flat somewhere to dry (you can use the same pieces again later).
  • Let dry completely as the spray paint can instructs.

wedding framed song lyrics!

Here’s what my yard looked like during this project:

wedding framed song lyrics! wedding framed song lyrics!

And some of the stenciled frames, drying:

wedding framed song lyrics!

I really like how the textured frames look too!  We ended up taking home mostly stenciled frames, which I’m happy about, but I might thrift for some more frames like those crazy curvy designs below and make more of those:

wedding framed song lyrics!

Here are a couple of the textured frames we did take home – that green one is one of my absolute favorites!

textured painted frame textured painted frame

Note – you can click on the pictures to go to the flickr pages and read what songs the lyrics came from, if you’re curious.  A couple more simple textured frames:

textured spray painted frame textured spray painted frame

And some close ups of the lace stenciling over a couple different kinds of frame surfaces (the one on the left is some kind of coated fabric surface, and shiny metal on the right):

lace-stenciled frame lace stenciled frame

And now to show you all different kinds of lace options…

lace stenciled frame lace-stenciled frame

These 3 (above and below) are stenciled with doilies – the above/left frame is the doily pictured in the above/left of the photo, and the other two are the same positions as well.

lace stenciled frame lace stenciling

Below, these are stenciled with pieces of vintage lace curtains (I think, maybe tablecloths?) that covered the whole frames…

lace-stenciled frame lace-stenciled frame

You can see how the lace on the left, with the fine mesh, made a more subtle, textured pattern when painted through (another example here, and one that didn’t turn out so well here), and the lace on the right, with the big holes, made the more graphic, bold design.

lace stenciling lace stenciling

Another big lace curtain, cut into pieces for these…

lace stenciled frame lace stenciled frame

…laid over partially for the purple one, and over the whole frames for the other 2 (green above and blue below).

lace stenciled frame lace stenciling

And then, a messed up, weirdly shaped piece of lace, that I cut into different sized pieces, around the curved shape of the lace design…

lace-stenciled frame lace-stenciled frame

You can see how the same lace can look different when used on a shiny painted surfaced frame (above, orange), or an unpainted wood frame (below).

lace stenciled frame lace stenciling

And lastly, I got this big Noah’s Ark themed kid’s room decor lace thing, which I cut into all different kinds of pieces…

lace-stenciled frame lace stenciled frame

…since there was so much going on, I could get lots of different looks out of the same lace item.  See those square parts, the top edging with the long curved rectangle shapes, and then all the curves and different hole designs in the pictures…

lace stenciling

lace stenciled frame lace stenciled frame lace stenciled frame

So, all the frames above and below here came from that same lace thing, cut and placed different ways (I obviously really like the squares).

lace stenciled frame lace stenciled frame

Look at your local thrift store for lace in the home decor section, with tablecloths, with dishcloths, with curtains, on end cap sections… I find lace in weird places sometimes.  If you try out this project, I’d love to see your frames!

Oh, and a side note, just a reminder that my October club ebook includes 7 of my favorites of these lyric artwork things for printing out.

If you want to make your own, it’s easy if you have a photo editing program that can do text (and some experience using it) – just download some fun fonts (some of my favorites for this project are Bleeding CowboysAngioma1942 ReportBenny BlancoVNI-Thuphap, Schneller), type your favorite lyrics, with the text box set to justify, and mess with the text size, letter spacing, line spacing, etc until it looks good.

wall of framed song lyrics

Because it somewhat relates… want to know about the music we played at our wedding?  We spent tons of time putting together playlists – an hour of songs to play before, and about 3 and a half hours worth for after.

The ceremony was bookended by The Magnetic Fields – It’s Only Time for walking down the aisle, and The Book of Love walking back down after we were married.

I love the whole playlist, but I’ve put together kind of a best-of that’s 1 mix CD length:

  1. The Book Of Love / The Magnetic Fields
  2. We’ve Only Just Begun / Grant Lee Buffalo (covering The Carpenters)
  3. Ceremony / New Order
  4. The Best Is Yet To Come / Tony Bennett
  5. Hazy / Rosi Golan feat. William Fitzsimmons
  6. Lovin’ You Lots and Lots / The Norm Wooster Singers
  7. I’ll Be Your Mirror / The Velvet Underground & Nico
  8. Summers / Loney, Dear
  9. I Found My Way / Dusty Springfield
  10. Our Love Is Here To Stay / Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
  11. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) / Marvin Gaye
  12. Top Of The World / The Carpenters
  13. Darlin’ Companion / Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash
  14. The Greatest Sum / The Avett Brothers
  15. Grow Old With Me / John Lennon
  16. Fly Me To The Moon / Julie London
  17. Pop Goes My Heart / Pop
  18. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) / The Proclaimers
  19. The Very Thought Of You / Elvis Costello
  20. On The Radio / Regina Spektor
  21. Take Me / Karen Dalton
  22. All I Want Is You / U2
  23. It’s Only Time / The Magnetic Fields

I had to put some boundaries on it in order to cut 4 1/2 hours down to 80 minutes – many of the songs played at the wedding were songs that Pete or I had put on mixes to each other when we were first dating, so since those already existed on mixes, I left them off of this mix (mostly).  A lot of the songs have a specific memory for us, or some reason for being on this mix beyond the song itself.  And then, I just tried to make it a good quality mix, lots of variety, ups and downs, etc.  A glimpse into our wedding soundtrack.

wedding framed song lyrics!

And lastly, about wedding music, my brothers played a set for us!  A medley of some favorite tv theme songs (including My So-Called Life and Pete & Pete) and a fantastic rendition of I’m Gonna Be (which is why that song made the cut onto the wedding mix)!  It was so good!! Yay!

Filed under: general crafts,home stuff,music,personal,tutorials — leethal @ 2:37 pm

October 5, 2010

Time to hit the road… and Celebrate!

So we’re leaving super duper early on Wednesday morning, and I’ve been working all day today on 4 hours of sleep… it’s now 1am and before my energy is drained completely I just need to get this one last post out there to you… I’ll be checking email (and comments) once in awhile, but I’ll basically be out of touch from the world until the 21st.  I’ve been really super appreciating all the great roadtripping recommendations, even though I’ve been so beyond busy getting everything done that I haven’t been replying, sorry about that!!

framed song lyrics

Anyway…  my brain isn’t fully functioning, so I’m going to mostly let the photos do the talking from now on…  October’s club ebook is out now!  (on ravelry here)

october club ebook cover

Inspired by my wedding crafting, but not wanting to do a wedding theme, I made all the projects relate in some way to celebrating – with friends over wine…

Drink Sweaters!

… or beer, with these drink sweaters (cabley, knit-tastic versions of wine glass charms for drink identification)…

Drink Sweaters!

…or celebrating out at a special event or just dressing up for fun, because it doesn’t have to be a super special occasion to wear a lapel flower!

Lapel Flowers!

They can also be worn as brooches, or you could turn them into hair accessories too I’m sure…

Lapel Flowers!

The non-knit craft project this month is frilly crocheted shoes, which are my wedding shoes.  As you can see, they can have all kinds of different styles depending on how you lace them up (well, these two aren’t super different, but you get the idea).  Tonight, after I’d already finished and released the ebook, I discovered another way of lacing them that I like even better, using the ribbon more as a drawstring instead of criss-crossing it; I’m sure there are tons more possibilities!

Frilly Crocheted Shoes! Frilly Crocheted Shoes!

This is what they look like before weaving ribbons through:

Frilly Crocheted Shoes! Frilly Crocheted Shoes!

This project is a 4-page photo tutorial of how to turn old flip flops into the new shoes – once you get to the point where the crochet starts, you can come up with your own stitches for your shoes, if you are experienced with a hook.  This is the first crochet design I’ve ever written out, and I wrote the whole thing more as a tutorial rather than a pattern…

Frilly Crocheted Shoes!

The final extra goodie in this month’s ebook is a set of 7 of my favorite song lyric cards that I made to frame for these wedding decorations/favors.  I included the title and author of each font in the included lyrics, so you’ll be able to find and download any fonts that you especially like, choose your own personal favorite song lyrics, and make your own lyric art!

framed song lyrics

These picture frames will be another project for another blog post… after the trip…  Have a good October, I’ll be back in 2 weeks!

oh wait, one more thing.  I keep forgetting to mention this!  Portlanders, I am teaching a self-publishing class at Twisted on the 28th!  This is going to be very similar to the class I taught at Summit of Awesome, except I won’t be trying to relate it to sewing and other craft patterns (which I did very badly since that’s not my area of expertise!).  If you are starting to design knitting or crochet patterns and want to try self-publishing pdfs, but have no idea how to start (or what that even means), then this class should get you on your way!

Ok, now, for reals, I am getting some sleep and heading out! Bye!

Filed under: general crafts,knitting,personal,portland stuff,quick knits,self-publishing — leethal @ 2:35 am

September 15, 2010

2nd Make-a-Long and Skirt I made during the 1st one!

This Saturday, Sept 18th, will be the second official make-a-long, wooo yay!  The first make-a-long, in case you missed it, was April 10th, and I first wrote about the idea here, then posted about the various ways you can participate here.  Scroll to the bottom of this post (under the skirt photos) for a recap of how you can make-a-long this weekend and join the fun!

shirt sleeve skirt close-up

So, I realized when I talked about everything I made last time, I said I’d be giving this skirt its own post, and then with the move, a lot of planned posts never got written… so now’s better than never!  I absolutely love this skirt I made out of the sleeves of 2 shirts:

skirt

The concept is simple – detach the sleeves from 2 long-sleeved, button-down shirts, and sew them together, rotating shirt #1 sleeve, shirt #2 sleeve.  Because left and right sleeves are different (buttons/buttonholes on opposite sides), two of the joins will have a button and buttonhole together (perfect – no need to add a zipper or anything), but one join will have buttons on both sides, and the last will have buttonholes on both sides.  In the top photo, you can see how I handled the join with the holes on both sides, with a ribbon closure.  If you make a skirt like this, you’ll have to figure out how best to join all the parts together depending on your particular sleeves.

shirt sleeve skirt close-up shirt sleeve skirt close-up

I added one button of my own to make for a smooth join (sometimes things don’t automatically line up perfectly), and as you can see, I added a few bits of ribbon where things needed to be neatened up.  And I added some wavy top-stitching all over, just for fun.  I wavy-sewed all around the bottom edge, which was just cut and not hemmed:

shirt sleeve skirt close-up shirt sleeve skirt close-up

And then I sewed extra wavy lines along all the seams where the sleeves were joined (below).   I don’t have a good photo of me wearing this skirt, but it fits perfectly and I love it!  If you want to make a skirt like this, hopefully you’ll luck out like I did and find sleeves that fit around your waist perfectly when joined together, but you may need to play around with different sleeve arrangements, or join them differently, to make for a good fit.  I didn’t take step-by-step photos, and the construction would be different depending on your sleeves, but hopefully this is enough info to inspire you to try one of your own!

shirt sleeve skirt close-up

For this make-a-long, I will be focusing on wedding-related crafting:  my dress, shoes, fabric flower decorations, etc.  You can make anything you want!  Catch up on old, forgotten projects, try a new craft you’ve been wanting to explore, finish up all your work-in-progress pieces, open up a craft book you bought and haven’t used yet, as long as you have fun making!

The date and time are loose… if you have plans scheduled for Saturday, but are free on Sunday, then make that your making day!  I will be again attempting to make for a full 24 hours (didn’t succeed last time, but maybe this time I’ll do it!), so I’ll be trying to go from 7am-ish Saturday to 7am-ish Sunday, or as long as I can last.  Read the original make-a-long post for my initial inspiration and ideas about the make-a-long concept.

stitching during the make-a-long!

And then, to participate (the “a-long” part) – use whichever social media outlets you prefer: twitter, facebook, ravelry, blogs (commenting on mine, posting on your own), flickr.  Use hashtag #makealong on twitter, join the make-a-long group on facebook, I’ll be starting a thread in the leethal ravelry group… and then I strongly encourage everyone to add any photos you take to the flickr group.  I won’t be posting photos during the actual make-a-long day (probably just some twitter pictures), but I’ll be shooting throughout the day for sure, and uploading them to flickr within the next couple days.

Share what you’re working on, your making trials and errors, talk about the crafty fun you’re having, and get inspired by fellow make-a-longers!  You’ll find me mostly on twitter throughout the day, but I’ll be checking in on the ravelry and facebook groups, and blog comments of course.  Hope to see you making!

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,make-a-long,skirts — leethal @ 3:53 pm
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