May 22, 2010

Switch Plates! And how to make one from an old record cover!

My club mail out day was Tuesday, and, like I do every month, I put the 2 patterns up on ravelry and flickr after sending out the pdf to the members.  Normally, since the patterns aren’t available to the public, plus they are small trinkets that most knitters don’t seem to care much about, this doesn’t really mean anything – but holy crap you guys, this light-switch cover pattern has gotten a crazy response!!

Garter Strip Light-switch Cover Garter Strip Light-switch Cover

It got blogged on Knit Hacker and the number of hearts on ravelry have surpassed not just all my club patterns, but most of my full-sized patterns as well!  Of course, I so wish I could be selling the pattern to everyone who loves it, but my club promises exclusivity for 3 months, so it’s members-only until August… this system will actually be changing soon, but that’s another post for another time…

Anyway, for the record, the knit switch plate concept was Pete’s idea!  I had thought of the cord pull for the Home Decor club theme, and we were trying to brainstorm other ideas, and genius Pete thought of this!  Here is my first try – the center hole was messy and uneven, so I tried solving the problem with ribbon, which probably made it look worse:

firstknitplate1 firstknitplate2

So, moving on to the point of this post, making the knit plate cover got me all inspired to make more, since the switch plates our house came with looked like these, about half of each:

oldplate2 oldplate1

A quick note to club members – most of you should have gotten your packages by now, but if you haven’t (because you live outside the US perhaps) and you don’t want any spoilers, you probably want to stop reading now and come back to this post once you’ve opened your package!

My first try, covering a switch plate with a book page, was a bit silly… I tried attaching the page to the textured kind of plate pictured above, with spray adhesive, not a good match, so the edges never really glued down.  But I learned from my mistakes and made some rad ones, and plan to make another, better book page plate, for the library light switch!  Once I started seeing how cool covered plates look, and how simple they are to make, I decided to include some extra goodies in the club packages that could be used to make more switch plates!

bookpageplate

So I included a couple of book pages and half of a record album cover, with a little instruction sheet for how to turn them into either magnets or switch plates…  The instructions included are just text, so I thought it would be a good idea, and fun for everyone, to put up a more visual how-to here, for making a switch plate with an old album cover!  (This is just how I made mine, and I am definitely not an expert – there are lots of great switch plate tutorials out there from people with more experience, which I collected for my recent Threadbanger roundup here, so check those out to see how to cover plates with fabric, polymer clay, and other things!)

Let’s get started!  First, you’ll need:

  • an old record album cover with a good switch-plate-sized image
  • an X-acto knife
  • a basic switch plate
  • craft glue (I use Aleene’s Tacky Glue, but there may be glues that would work better for this type of project), and a brush to spread the glue

Start by laying the plate down on the album and positioning it where you want the image, keeping in mind the where the holes will be for the switch and screws.

Use the blade to trace around the plate, with plenty of extra space for the curved edges – I made mine so the the paper curved around to the edge of the plate, but I think it would be better to have more extra image so it wraps around to the back a little.  To have it wrap around the back, cut at least a half inch out from the plate edges.

You don’t need to press down through the whole album cover cardboard piece with the knife, as you’ll see in the next step that you’ll just be using the top image layer…

howto01

Carefully separate the image into its own layer, peeling the cardboard apart – this is easier with some albums than with others, depending on age and wear.  You want the image layer to be as thin as possible, but not to rip; though if it does rip, you can put it back together when you glue it onto the switch plate.

howto02

Peel it all the way off and you should have a rectangle of thin cardboard with your image, curling up at the edges.  If it seems too thick to be able to curve around the switch plate smoothly, you can carefully peel more cardboard layers from the back.

howto03

Now lay the switch plate on top of the rectangle, centered, and cut an X across the switch hole, from corner to corner.  Also, punch holes with your blade where the screw holes are, but they don’t need to be big or neat, since you can twist through them with screws later.  Now turn the cardboard piece upside down and fold the X tabs back, like this:

howto04

Note: in the club instruction sheet, I just said to cut out the hole, but I’ve since found that this X method makes for a neater switch plate.  This first one I made used the cut-out-hole method, and it looks fine, just a little more handmade-y or something.  Here is a progress shot of that one, with the cut-out hole:

makingfirstalbumplate

Before gluing on, curve the edges back, like how they’ll be curved around the plate, with your fingers.  Now cover the back with glue…

howto05

…then spread the glue to all the edges, corners, and X tabs with a brush (I used a foam brush, but a paint brush should work fine):

howto06

Position the plate onto the glued piece, and center it so that the holes and edges line up:

howto07

This part gets messy, if you’re doing everything with your fingers like I do… Pull the X tabs down, and curve all the edges around, keeping everything centered and straight (it’ll want to slide around the whole time).  If you cut the piece bigger to curve around to the back, press the cardboard on to the back.

howto08

For the corners, I first curve the edges around up to the corners, then fold the corners down, as you can kind of see above and below.  You could also make the corners neater by making small cuts in them so they curve around without folding like this.

howto09

Let it dry, punch through the screw holes and twist them open with the screws (below).  Then you can coat it to make it longer-lasting.  (You could cover it with Mod Podge, or use something like Krylon Acrylic Crystal Clear, which is what’s recommended in The Big Ass Book of Crafts – I’ve never used it, but I bet it would work well and make your switch plate more permanent and durable.)

howto10

Screw it into the wall and enjoy!  I put mine in the bathroom to brighten it up in there, but I might need to make some kind of over-sized plate (like this or this one, for example) to hide that terrible paint job around the switch…

albumplate2 albumplate1

By the way, I have no idea who that is on my plate – anyone know?  It’s on some best of the 70’s album with this watercolor collagey kind of artwork… I just like the colors and the happy tone of the image.  Ok that’s all, and I’m hoping to be posting more home decor projects soon! Yay!

Filed under: general crafts,home stuff,quick knits,tutorials — leethal @ 2:55 pm

March 17, 2010

Make long stripes in your hand-dyed yarn!

Here it is, part 4 of my yarn dyeing tutorial series!  This is probably a good place to announce, my next big project (not counting all the smaller projects I’m currently working on) is a yarn dyeing ebook!  I’m guessing the release date will be around late summer, and it will be awesome, seriously.  Everything you could ever possibly want to know about dyeing yarn the way I do it, plus a bunch of knitting patterns designed to work especially well with hand-dyed… it will rock. hard.

This how-to is just for the striping, not the dyeing itself – for how to dye, see my recent part 3 post, and my old part 1 and part 2 dyeing tutorials, plus the other sites I linked to, and a bunch of questions and answers in the comments of part 3.  If you’ve never dyed, I strongly encourage you to dye up a couple skeins of solid or simple variegated yarn before going for the long stripes!  And here we go…

knit up preview Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Place two chairs facing each other, as far apart as you want for your stripes.  My yarn is dyed with suuuper long stripes (I think around 12 yards), so it was wound across my whole apartment – from the corner of the living room to the end of the dining room (granted, my apt is small).  You can make the stripes as long as you want, but this tutorial is kind of optimized for long stripes…

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

It’s easier to keep your yarn in place with towels around the chairs, so it doesn’t slide.  On one of the chairs, wrap the yarn in sections – I wanted 5 colors striping, so there are 5 sections.  Wind the yarn around the back of one chair, over to the other chair, around the back, and back over to the first – it’s just like winding yarn around your knees or a swift, but just longer, in a huge loop.  On one chair, keep it in order in the sections (wind from top to bottom, and repeat), and the other chair can just be all in one big section.  (Careful with cats, they like yarn you know.)

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing! Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Tie each of the sections together behind the chair – I color coded mine because I wanted to dye them in a certain color order.  If you don’t care about the order, don’t worry about color coding (and if you’re not lucky enough to find scraps of yarn in each of the colors you’re dyeing, you can just use whatever scraps you can find and write down a key, like black=blue, etc).  Then carefully take off the top section loop and wind it over to the other chair, or just kind of fold it, however you can keep it from getting all tangled.

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing! Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Tie the yarn together in the back of the other chair, in a figure 8, holding all the yarn securely – this will be where the colors change.  Then tie that first section into a kind of hank, close to the back tie…  Repeat for each section, carefully making 5 (or however many sections you have) different hanks, all attached together at the top:

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing! Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

If you dye them like that, you’ll get major tangling problems later, so you’ll want to add a couple more ties to each hank section – it doesn’t really matter how you tie them, as long as it holds the yarn in place, but not too tightly…

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing! Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Now soak your yarn and get ready to dye!  For a little color-mixing bonus info, I wanted to tone down my kool-aid colors a wee bit, so I blended them in shot glasses… I was using Lemon Lime, Berry Blue, Strawberry, Orange, and Lemonade (the exact same 5 colors used in my crock pot yarn) – I mixed a little green into the orange, a little orange into the green, a little green into the blue, a little orange into the yellow, and a little blue into the red.  There’s not a huge difference, but if I were to compare my colors to the straight-from-the-packets colors, you’d probably see it…

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

I dyed this yarn on the stove top, which I think is easiest for this kind of striping – you could use microwave or crock pot methods if you prefer.  You’ll need to set up your dye pot (heat up the water before adding yarn and dye), a bowl with your pre-soaked yarn, and another bowl – I like putting a colander in the other bowl, which helps the yarn cool faster.  Take the first section you want to dye and place it in the heated dye pot, submerging it right up to the edge where all the sections are tied together, but make sure no yarn from the other sections touches the water.

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing! Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Add color and dye the first section, then lift it out with a spoon (or tongs) and place it into the other bowl (or colander).  Place the next section into the dye pot, and repeat for each section, always being careful to dye up to the end, but not into the other sections.  When dyeing the last color, you can try to fill in any spots that didn’t get dyed from the other sections – I dyed yellow last for this reason, since yellow overlapping with other colors wouldn’t be a problem.

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Once it’s cooled, rinsed, and squeezed dry, try to get it all untangled the best you can and hang to dry for a day or two.  When dry, replicate the way it was wound on the chairs.  Start with the side where the colors meet, then untie one section at a time and loop it onto the other chair.  Then hand-wind it all up into a ball – you’ll have to weave it through the loop sometimes to untangle parts, so trying to wind it into a hank instead of a ball can be disastrous (I know from experience)!

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing! Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Now you have a big, awesome ball of striping yarn! Yay!

0212

Wind it into a hank if you want to photograph it or keep it around for awhile before knitting or crocheting (or weaving) it up…

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing! Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

Mine knit up in these big fat stripes! Fun!  This is a hat – of course, if knitting something like a sweater, the stripes would be more narrow, and on something like mittens, they would be much wider… and, on a finer weight yarn, they’d be more narrow too…  (By the way, my base yarn is Imperial Stock Ranch’s bulky Lopi wool.)

Self-Striped Yarn Dyeing!

I’d love to see your yarn!  Have fun!

Filed under: self-publishing,tutorials,yarn — leethal @ 7:35 pm

February 25, 2010

Tutorial: Crock Pot Yarn Dyeing!

You may not even know about these, but way back at the beginning of this blog, almost 3 years ago, I did a couple of kool-aid yarn dyeing tutorials.  They were specifically how-tos for getting particular kinds of variegation (as opposed to dyeing basics) – part 1 being three blending colors, part 2 longer stripes of random-order solids.  (I’ve just gone back and edited these old posts a little, changing some bad advice I’d given and some minor details, but not anything major.)

So, after 3 years and countless skeins of dyeing experience have now passed, I want to do a couple of new dyeing tutorials for you!  (For the basics of dyeing, if you’re new to it, see the link list in my first tutorial, since this post is only meant for this particular variegation method, not for kool-aid dyeing in general.)

crock pot dyed yarn!

I recently dyed up a skein of bulky yarn (Imperial Stock Ranch Lopi) with 5 different colors in my crock pot, for a spotty, kettle dyed kind of look, as you can see above.  Dyeing in a crock pot is different from dyeing in a pot on the stove because the water is more still, so the dye tends to stick to the yarn where it falls more, and colors tend to blend together less.  This makes a variegated yarn with more defined colors, instead of just a few colors which are blended together.  My specific flavors used were: Lemon Lime, Orange, Strawberry, Berry Blue, and Lemonade.

crock pot dyeing crock pot dyeing

To get this look, you’ll need a crock pot (I got mine at my local Goodwill outlet for around $5), wool yarn (or a blend with other animal fibers like alpaca, angora, cashmere – a small percentage, like 15% or less, of something man made, like nylon or rayon, would be ok) in hank form, several colors of kool-aid, a large spoon, a colander, and vinegar is optional since kool-aid already has acid, but I usually use a little anyway because I feel like it might help with colorfastness.

So, start by filling the crock pot with water (and a little vinegar if you want) and submerging the yarn in there.  Let it soak a bit, then turn on the heat and put the lid on – the yarn should soak for at least 15 minutes or so (longer is fine) before dyeing, and the lid should fog up to show that it’s hot.  (My vintage pot only has two settings – medium and high – so I usually use medium and it works well.)

crock pot dyeing

Now you can add your first colors – this is all up to you, but I’ll just tell you exactly how I made this particular yarn.  First, I covered one half of the yarn in the pot with orange, and the other half with green (lemon lime), sprinkled directly from the packet into the pot.  Orange and green are complimentary colors (edit: no they’re not! what was I thinking?! but they don’t always blend well, which I what I meant), which means you need to be careful about putting them together, but it doesn’t have to be avoided completely – green with some orange makes an olive green color, and orange with a little green makes a darker orange.  So, I tried not to overlap them at all on purpose, but I knew that if they bled into each other a little, it would be fine.

crock pot dyeing crock pot dyeing

Cover with the lid and let it sit until the dye fully absorbs into the yarn, so the water looks clear and the yarn is colored.  Now use your spoon to turn the yarn over, so all the undyed yarn from the bottom is now on top.  I tried to keep it arranged the way it was, just flipped, so that the bottom layer stayed orange on one side and green on the other side.  I poured blue on the half that had green below, and red on the side that had orange below.  This was because green and blue blend well, as do red and orange (blue+orange or red+green, not so much) and the top colors were likely to do some blending with the bottom colors.  Red and blue were chosen to add next to each other for the same reason, to make some purple when they touch and blend.

crock pot dyeing

Cover and let the dye absorb again, then use your spoon to turn the yarn around and search for white spots.  I used my last color, yellow (lemonade), which would blend well with all of the other colors, especially since lemonade kool-aid is really light and subtle, to fill in any white spots I could find.  When I found white, I’d arrange the yarn with the spoon so as much white as possible was on top, sprinkle on some lemonade, and cover to let it dye.  Then I kept repeating the white investigation and dyeing until the yellow packet was all used up.  (As you can see, the powder sits on the water surface a little before sinking to the yarn – if it doesn’t sink down right away, you can push it down with the spoon, but this might mix the colors more than you want.)

crock pot dyeing

Once the dyeing is complete, turn off the heat, and let it sit in the water to cool for awhile (until cooled to room temperature is best, but not totally necessary).  Now scoop the skein out with the spoon, into the colander in the sink, and let it cool all the way to room temperature there.  Rinse a bit, with water of the same temperature, and squeeze the water out as much as you can, without twisting.  Roll up in a towel to dry more, shake it out, then hang to dry (in the shower, or on a hanger in a doorway, or on a coat rack, etc) overnight or until totally dry.  Ball up and knit!

crock pot dyed yarn! crock pot dyed yarn!

A note about my yarn, and the colors I used… red bleeds like crazy, way more than any other color, so even though I used exactly equal amounts of the 5 colors, the red really took over the skein.  (The photo below shows how much red there is.)  So, if you are using the same (or similar) colors as me, and want more even variegation of the colors, I think it would be wise to use about half a packet of red instead of a whole packet.

crock pot dyed yarn!

But, that said, I still love this yarn, and knitting with hand-dyed variegated yarn (that you dyed yourself!) is unbelievably fun and satisfying, an experience I think every knitter should try!  With yarn like this, every stitch is different from the last!

crock pot dyed yarn! crock pot dyed yarn!

Oh yeah, I should show you, this is the same method I used to dye these yarns (and more):

Razzle Dazzle Rose

crockpotmanycolored05 fierysunset04

trilliumyarn12.jpg

Fun! Yay! And I’d love to see your yarns dyed using this how-to! (you could link to photos in the comments, or add them to the leethal flickr group!)

Filed under: tutorials,yarn — leethal @ 8:16 pm

October 24, 2009

Fingerless Mitts part 3: Knit Gradient Mitts!

Now for part 3 of my Fingerless Mitts Times 3 tutorials from Craft: 10Knit Gradient Mitts!  It’s written as more of a how-to than a normal knitting pattern, with step-by-step instructions and photos to go with them!  I made it into a free PDF – download it directly here or head over to ravelry to add it to your library – and I’m pasting it all right here as well…. enjoy!

knit mitts

This is a fantastic project for beginner knitters bored with scarves – just don’t be scared off by the double pointed needles, which are very easy to use once you get the hang of them. By knitting in the round with DPNs, you only need to know the knit stitch (no purling) and there will be no seams to sew.

Pattern is for sizes Small[Medium, Large].  Pictured are small and large.
(Small will fit kids or women with smallish hands, medium is for most women, and large is for most men.)

Materials:

  • Set of size US 11 double pointed needles
  • 30[35, 40] yards each of two colors of bulky yarn, or multiple strands of finer yarn held together (2 strands chunky, 3 strands worsted, 4 strands DK/sport weight)
  • Tapestry/yarn needle

Gauge is about 3 stitches per inch (un-stretched).

knit gradient mitts knit gradient mitts

Step 1: Cast-On.
Cast-On 18[21, 24] stitches around 3 double pointed needles with Color 1 (C1), so there will be 6[7, 8] stitches on each needle (pictured below, left – with multiple strands of yarn held together to equal a bulky yarn weight).

Step 2: Knit up to the thumbhole.
2a. Join in a circle and knit 5 rows in the round with C1, then knit one row with the second yarn color (C2).  Switch back to C1, with the tail end of C2 over C1 working yarn from left to right, and the working end of C2 over C1 from right to left (pictured below, right).  Bringing the new yarn underneath and over the old when changing colors prevents holes at the seam.

step1 step2a

2b. Following the chart below for color changes, knit up to the C2 stripe that includes the thumbhole.  Carry the yarn up across the stripes without tension, and bring the new yarn over the old with each change.  Knit the first stitch of each new stripe a bit more loosely than the rest to allow for stretch at the seam. (pictured below – how the color change seam should look when turned inside out.)

chart step2b

Step 3: Make the thumbhole.
3a. Knit the first 2 rows of the 5 row C2 stripe normally.  On the third row, bind off 4[5, 6] stitches in the center of the first needle for the left-hand mitt, the third needle for the right-hand mitt (pictured below, left).

3b. Knit around to the hole, then cast back on those 4[5, 6] stitches using a single cast-on (also called wrap cast-on or loop cast-on) (pictured below, right).  Cast on the thumbhole stitches tightly, since they will become looser when you knit into them.  Finish knitting that row, and knit the last row of the C2 stripe normally.

step3a step3b

Step 4: Finish and repeat.
4a. Finish knitting the mitt in color pattern up to the top, then bind off (pictured below, left).  Bind off not too tightly, but also not too loosely to prevent curling.

4b. Tie off and weave in the ends. (pictured below, right)

4c. Repeat all steps for the second mitt.

step4 step5

Tutorial and photos by Lee Meredith, 2009.
For personal use only.
Originally published in Craft: magazine issue 10.

Filed under: knitting,tutorials — leethal @ 3:43 pm

October 20, 2009

Fingerless Mitts parts 1+2: Recycled Sock Mitts!

Remember the Fingerless Mitts Times 3 project I had in Craft: 10 back in February? Well, now that it’s getting colder, I want to share the tutorials with all of you do stuff! readers! I’m dividing the 3 mitt types into 2 parts, because the first 2 go together – the 2 different recycled sock mitts, shown together below.  So I’m just going to cut and paste my original article/tutorial, which was edited and cut down a bit to fit in the magazine… here we go!

V1and2-bothsockmitts

I always have cold hands, but being a crafter, photographer, all-around doer of stuff, I feel trapped when my fingers are covered, so fingerless mitts are the perfect solution! Way back in my early knitting years, when I feared patterns and loved fat yarn and quick knits, I developed my super easy, fingerless, shapeless, fat and squishy “ninja mitts,” as I’ve always called them. Then when I dove into recycled crafting I cut up some old socks and came up with a couple versions of sock mitts – which are warmer than you’d think, and super comfortable! All the mitt designs are great for finger mobility, can be pulled up over balled fists for extra warmth, or can be taken off the thumb and pushed back onto wrists for eating or added dexterity. Once you make yourself a pair or three, with all that mitt agility, you will indeed feel like a ninja!

no-sew sock mitts no-sew sock mitts

Version 1: No-Sew Sock Mitts

Materials

  • 1 Pair of socks that won’t unravel easily
  • Scissors
  • Optional sewing machine or embellishing materials

V1FigAstep1 V1FigCstep3

Step 1: First Cut.
Cut the first sock straight across the ankle, just above the heel (above, left).

Step 2: Cut the Thumbhole.
Try on the footless sock with the end that was the top at your thumb and check where you want the thumbhole to be. For mitts that will keep your hands warmer, put the thumbhole down further from the top; for mitts just meant for wrist-warming, the hole can be closer to the top. Make a small cut – smaller than you think it should be – then try on the mitt to see if you need to make it bigger (below). Make small snips until it fits comfortably.

Step 3: Repeat for second mitt.
Hold the first mitt up to the second sock and repeat the two cuts to match (above, right).  If the socks have noticeable seams, keep them on opposite sides of the thumbholes on the two mitts.

V1FigBstep2

Step 4: Optional sewing or embellishment.
4a. This is the “no-sew” version, so this step is completely optional, but if you want to use a pair of socks that will unravel, you can sew a zig zag stitch around the bottoms and thumbholes of each mitt to prevent that from happening (below).  If you decide to sew around the mitts to prevent unraveling, it’ll create a cute ruffled edge.

V1FigDstep4a

4b. If you want to dress up your mitts, you can add some decorative buttons, stitching, or other embellishments – be creative! (below)

V1FigEstep4b

Version 2: Multi-Sock Mitts

Materials

  • 2 or more pairs of socks with similar thickness and stretchiness
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine with zig zag stitch

I’m showing you how to make a basic 2-sock pair of mitts, but you can use the same concepts to take pieces from several socks and make a crazier set. You can even use the leftover feet from version 1 and incorporate them into some multi-sock mitts!

multi-sock mitts multi-sock mitts

Step 1: Cut up socks.
Cut each of the socks into 2 or 3 loops, cutting straight across the ankle just above the heel, somewhere in the middle of the ankle, and if the foot is not too worn, cut just below the heel and above the toe. The loops do not need to be the same width, but each sock should be cut symmetrically to its mate. (below)  The heels and toes can be tossed in your scrap fabric stash, or the trash.  (side note: I made that “diagram” in like 3 seconds because I was under the impression that Craft’s illustrator would re-do it, but they printed mine!  I was a little bit horrified when I saw it printed, but now I laugh about it…)

V2FigAstep1 v2diagram

Step 2: Design your mitts.
Put the loops in order, switching between the two different patterns. Your mitts will look best if you use the tops of one pair for the tops of the mitts, and the tops of the other pair for the bottoms. (below, left)  If one pair of socks is a bit bigger or stretchier than the other, use that one for the bottoms of the mitts.

Step 3: Sew them up.
3a. Turn the loop second from the bottom inside out and put it over the bottom loop, with the top edges aligned (below, right).

V2FigBstep2 V2FigCstep3a

3b. Use a zig zag stitch to sew the loops together around the edge (below, left).  The stitching will make a ruffled edge, especially on thinner, stretchier types of socks.
3c. Repeat sewing each loop until the top one (below, right).  The fabric will stretch a bit when sewing, but try not to stretch it too much.

V2FigDstep3b V2FigEstep3c

Step 4: Create the thumbhole.
Sew the last loop on the same as the others, but leave a hole about 1-1.5 inches wide for the thumbhole. Be sure to lock the ends of this stitch well by sewing back and forth several times since there will be tension on this stitch at the thumb (below, right).  If you want to make your mitts extra neat, sew a zig zag stitch around the thumbhole edges.

V2step3c V2FigFstep4

There you go!  I wear these multi-sock mitts all the time!  They are warmer than you might think, perfect for autumn days or cool evenings – and easy to take off the thumbs and pull down around wrists as wristwarmers when you don’t want your hands covered.  Love them!  Coming later this week, part 3: Knit Gradient Mitts!

mitts times three

Filed under: general crafts,tutorials — leethal @ 2:04 pm

August 25, 2009

how-to: Recycled Sweater Wool Jewelry!

do stuff! is in need of a new tutorial, don’t you think?  It’s been awhile!  This is a project I’ve been teaching at the Multnomah County Libraries all summer – my last class is coming up on Thursday and I think it’s about time I share it with the rest of you!

yellowhoop

It’s a simple concept: cut a shape or two or more from a felted wool sweater, attach the pieces to jewelry parts – that’s it!  Well, that’s not really it though, you can make it so much more!

A little background – the yellow hoops were the first thing I made with this idea; when I made my embellished cardigan, I had some yellow ovals left over from the pockets, and I thought, hmm, I could make those into something… I cut the centers out, stuck on some earring wires, and that was that!  Rad!  I played around with the idea a bit further then, making those blue teardrops below, adding some embroidery this time:

yellowhoopearrings blueearrings

Well then I thought, this seems like such a perfect class project – not too many materials or tools needed, super simple concept, but with infinite creative possibility!  I bet students could do all kinds of creative things with the concept, I thought… Well, hoo-boy was I right!  Check it out, these are what four crafters did in my most recent class:

studentsearringsandjack studentsletters

studentsnecklace studentsearrings

I hope they don’t mind me sharing their awesome creations.  I didn’t take photos in any of the previous classes, which I now regret – every single class has had amazing pieces!  Don’t you love that pendant on the bottom?!  I do!  It was made by the library helper at the Sellwood branch, who clearly has fabulous color sense and design talent!

yellow bracelet yellow earrings

I made these pieces as more class examples – a matching set of earrings, fastened together with jumprings, and a bracelet, the pieces stitched together with embroidery floss, to show different ways of joining parts.

yellowset

So for this project, you’ll need:

  • Recycled wool sweater pieces, felted (great for using leftover scraps after making bigger projects from felted sweaters)
  • Scissors
  • Jewelry findings of your choice (depending on what kind of jewelry you’re making)
  • Jewelry pliers
  • Embroidery floss and/or thread (optional, depending on your design) and needle
  • Optional cheap felt and pins for using templates

And the “tutorial” from my class handout…

This project is very free form, not requiring a step-by-step how-to, but the basic steps are:

Cut shapes from felted wool.
Use felt shapes to make jewelry, by either
-stitching pieces together with thread/embroidery floss/yarn
-or joining pieces together with jump rings.
Attach clasps, earring wires, or other finishing parts.
Add embroidery decoration or other optional embellishments.

When stitching parts together, if you want the piece to be able to stretch, use zig zags or diagonal stitches.
Use jewelry pliers to work with jumprings, clasps, and other parts to close them tightly.
Cut any shapes you want, either freehand or using a template (paper or felt).  If you want 2 identical parts, cut 1 first, then pin that one to the second piece to cut it the same.

Of course, I’m there for individual help in the classes, with using pliers, sewing, etc, so I’ve linked to a few how-to sites to help you along with any parts you’re not familiar with.  You can also use my earring making tutorial on Craftstylish for help with jewelry-making steps.  If you want a book to help, I definitely recommend Susan Beal’s Bead Simple – she’s the one who taught me how to make earrings!

templates

These are craft felt templates I cut for students to use if they want.  If you’re not sure what shape(s) you want, or you want multiple identical shapes, it’s a good idea to play around with some cheap craft felt before cutting into your sweater.  You can try different shapes until you get it just right, then pin the shape onto your sweater and cut around it.

As for felting, this is also on my class handout (see Diane’s felting post on Craftstylish for my detail):

To make recycled wool felt at home, choose a sweater made of 100% wool, or with other animal fibers (like alpaca, angora, cashmere).  Machine wash and dry the sweater on hot or warm settings; this will shrink and “full” the sweater, turning it into felt.  If you want it thicker/denser, wash and dry it again to felt it more.

redearrings4

These are earrings I made during a couple of classes, and probably my favorite ones I’ve made.  Still not nearly as creative or elaborate as some of the students’ creations, but I like the simplicity of them, since they’re pretty big and bright.  (I tried to photograph myself wearing them straight on, so you could see both earrings in the same shot, and this is the best I could get, hah!)

redearrings2 redearrings1

And here are all of my earrings… Obviously, I like making earrings more than other kinds of jewelry, probably because I rarely wear jewelry besides earrings and cuffs.  I had plans to embroider on those dark grey rings, but I think I’m going to leave them alone; again, I like the simplicity…

allearrings1

So, I hope this was enough of a how-to for you.  Comment if you have questions and I can add more if I need to.  Grab some felted wool, jewelry findings, and embroidery floss, and have fun with it!  Take it even further by adding beads, buttons, sequins, or other bits of crafty fun!  Yay!

Filed under: general crafts,tutorials — leethal @ 6:39 pm

July 23, 2009

free pattern: Penta-Coasters!

Penta-Coasters!

When I was getting ready to release leethal quick knits I realized all of my patterns so far had been cuffs/bracelets, so I designed these Penta-Coasters!  You can get the free pdf from the patterns page over there (or ravelry), and I’ll also paste the pattern below for anyone who is anti-pdf…  I made up a decrease for these that I’ve never seen before, so I made up the abbreviation (just a combination of 2 different decreases), as you can see below.

Penta-Coasters!

From the pattern pdf: This textured coaster is thick enough to keep water off your tabletop by either being felted or being knit super tightly with bulky yarn.  Choose a 100% wool yarn (not superwash) in a worsted weight for the felted version, or a bulky weight yarn in any fiber type for the larger one.

Choose your own yarn/needle size combination depending on if you want to felt.  If felting, knit with a bit of a loose gauge, keeping in mind you’ll be shrinking it – my samples were knit with worsted weight yarn on size US 10’s (dark blue+brown) and 10 1/2’s (light green+blue).  If not felting, you need a very tight gauge, so choose a bulky yarn and use smaller needles than you normally would – my sample was knit with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick on size 10’s.  (I am a tight knitter, adjust needle sizes if you’re a looser knitter.)

Penta-Coasters!

The only abbreviation you need to know is my decrease 2 stitches method…

skp-rpr = SKP (slip, knit, pass) decrease immediately followed by KRPR (knit, return, pass, return) decrease (without the K because it’s already been done), so:
slip, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over, return knit stitch to left needle, pass next stitch over knit stitch, return knit stitch to right needle by slipping it purl-wise.

Penta-Coasters!

Cast-on 45 stitches onto double pointed needles
Join around and knit 1 row
Purl 1 row
Knit 1 row
Repeat [k6, skp-rpr] around 1 row
Purl 1 row
Knit 1 row
Repeat [k4, skp-rpr] around 1 row
Purl 1 row
Knit 1 row
Repeat [k2, skp-rpr] around 1 row
Purl 1 row
Knit 1 row
Repeat skp-rpr around 1 row
Purl 1 row
Cut yarn, thread through stitches, pull tight and tie.

Penta-Coasters!

Now you can felt (or full) it if you want – I like to felt items this small by hand instead of in the washing machine, so I can control the size and shape.  I do this by filling a large bowl with hot water (as hot as your hands can handle, for me this is as hot as my faucet gets) with a little dish soap (might as well clean it while you felt) and setting it right next to the sink.  Dunk the coaster in the hot water bowl and agitate vigorously, as if it’s super dirty and you’re trying to clean it, rubbing it against itself and against your hands.  (To avoid splashing water everywhere, mostly switch between dipping it in the water and rubbing it above the water.)  Once it’s been agitating in the hot water for a bit, turn the sink on as cold as it goes and dunk the coaster under the running faucet, still rubbing it vigorously.  Switch between hot and cold, paying attention to the size and shape once you see it starting to shrink and felt.  You can control the shape by pulling it and molding it as you’re agitating in the water.  When it’s the shape and size you want, simply squeeze the water out, press it in a towel to dry it as well as you can, then lay it flat to dry.

Enjoy!

Filed under: knitting,quick knits,tutorials — leethal @ 9:57 pm

June 9, 2009

bobbie’s tee tote tutorial!

tee totes

a few months ago i got the nicest package in the mail!  pete’s aunt bobbie made this super crafty, recycley t-shirt tote bag and sent me not just the bag itself, but a supernice note with a how-to for making my own!  so flippin awesome!  so this is bobbie’s tutorial, brought to you by do stuff!

bobbie's bag w/note bobbie's bag

start by choosing a fun t-shirt to recycle (i found this one at the bins!) and cut out rectangles from the front and back.  the best way (and bobbie’s way) is to cut equal sized rectangles from each side, but i hacked it a little because my image was on the back and the front collar went down too far – if i cut the pieces equal sizes, i would have cut into the image.  so i cut the back piece bigger than the front, and evened it out later when sewing the sides.

but now, back to the next step… after cutting the rectangles, sew the bottoms together with right sides facing.  stitch it twice for extra durability.

tee tote tutorial tee tote tutorial

then sew up the 2 sides.  since my pieces were uneven, i lined up the top, and stitched down to the bottom, so that bottom seam is off center.

then fold the top edge inwards and sew a hem around.  next, cut two handle pieces from old jeans, or other sturdy fabric (but the jeans work great – fabulous idea, bobbie!) in stripes about 22 inches by 2 inches.  fold the strips in half lengthwise and sew up the edges (i sewed 3 lines, for extra flatness and just for fun).  attach the handles to the bag equal distances in from the sides, by sewing a box with an x for strength.  i sewed mine on to the outside, bobbie sewed hers in the inside, so you choose!

tee tote tutorial tee tote tutorial

lastly, you need to make a flat bottom for your bag… i messed up on this step, partly because my off-center bottom seam made it much more difficult, and partly because my bag is extra narrow so i needed to sew in a much shorter distance.  so, pictured is bobbie’s well-done bottom, and, instructions in her words: with the bag inside-out, fold a triangle by lining up the bottom seam with the side seam.  stitch across about 4 inches down from the point (adjust for your bag size as needed); repeat on the other side.

tee tote tutorial

my finished bag!

tee tote tutorial my bag

yay! thanks bobbie!!

Filed under: general crafts,tutorials — leethal @ 8:51 pm

May 19, 2009

craftstylish celebration month tutorials and more

oh hello there world. i’ve been so out of everything lately, it’s been a weird last couple of weeks.  pete had a semi-emergency surgery a week ago and has been home recovering since, so i’ve been working less than usual, and things like blog-reading and twitter-following almost not at all, so i’m pretty detached.  we’ve been watching lots of tv shows (the wire, party down, x-files for nerd nostalgia…) and movies and i’ve been knitting away on cuffs and brainstorming/planning some future projects.  so, speaking of cuffs, you may remember that several weeks ago i said i’d hopefully have them done in a week-ish… well yeah, that was crazy of me to think that could happen, first of all, and then i got slowed down by other things, but now i’m finally on my way to hopefully releasing the whole thing by this weekend, for real.

cuffs!

one thing that distracted me a bit was finding out that craftstylish has decided to go in another direction (or something) starting at the end of the month and none of us bloggers will be doing tutorials anymore.  which means a couple of things for you, dear do stuff! readers… i’ll have more time to work on my blog/website, now that all those hours per week are freed up, and if i have any fun tutorial ideas now i can post them here instead of there, so hopefully do stuff! content will be more frequent and more exciting!!  (for me, it means a less fun thing – scrambling to figure out ways to scrape rent money together, which has led to some quality brainstorming time and i’m sure will all be for the best in the long run because now i have some plans i’m super excited about!)

fabric CD case

so, my last 3 craftstylish tutorials… out of order because this one – fabric cd cases – is my favorite!  i’d originally planned for this project to be for mother’s day, which is what mine was made for, and then show my wedding case as another example, until i realized at the last minute that it would be posted after mother’s day! so i wrote it up focusing on the wedding angle (so lucky i had that wedding case to show!) and just mentioned that it could be for other purposes, even though that’s so silly because of course it could be used for anything/anyone – any gift occasion or for yourself, as well as for music or video cds/dvds instead of photo discs. duh. but, you know, it’s wedding month, so i had to steer it in that direction.

fabric CD case fabric CD case

for my mom’s gift, i filled that case with music cds because she has a new-ish job which has her driving up to several hours a day all over southern california, and no ipod hook-up in her car.  oh and also, my mom has great taste in music, so i knew i could give her a bunch of my favorite cds and she’d love them!

fabric CD case fabric CD case

the case is completely hand-sewn, with a hand-knit i-cord tie.  i really (surprisingly) enjoyed hand-sewing this project – now i want to do more sewing by hand!  i get so frustrated with my cheap sewing machine so often, i love that hand-sewing puts myself in control, like with knitting!

monogrammed napkins monogrammed napkins

last night, my last tutorial post went up: monogrammed napkins with recycled sheets. i love working with thrifted sheets, all the great patterns and colors! i had a hard time thinking of wedding projects, so this is a simple one, but i love how they look!

recycled greeting cards

before those 2, i started off celebration month with greeting cards made from recycled materials.

recycled greeting cards recycled greeting cards

basic concept, but i was happy to show how easy it is to print on grocery bag paper, something i love to do, and also to make custom envelopes with recycled paper.

recycled greeting cards recycled greeting cards

i had fun decorating my different card examples (one for mother’s day, one for graduation, and one thank you) and i took way too many photos and had to cut it down tons for the post. so these are some that i couldn’t fit in…

recycled greeting cards recycled greeting cards

recycled greeting cards recycled greeting cards

so that’s it for now.  hey, if you’re free tomorrow evening and live in portland, my wool jewelry class still has ten spots as of right now, at the albina library (ne pdx).  it’s free, i provide the supplies, all you need to do is register, should be fun! oh oh i just thought of one other thing i can show you!  check out the hat i knit for pearl for her 1st birthday!  recycled cotton, so soft!

pearl's 1st birthday hat pearl's 1st birthday hat

Filed under: craftstylish,hats,knitting,personal,printing,tutorials — leethal @ 12:57 pm

May 2, 2009

recycled tee skirt on craftstylish!

teeskirt6 teeskirt5

this week’s craftstylish tutorial was a special one to me – i designed this skirt a couple years ago for myself, and i loved the design concept (super easy, no pattern, custom fit, crazy comfy) but i loved it so much that i wanted to hold off doing a how-to… it’s silly, but i just felt like this one was better than the recycled skirt series i did here on my blog last summer, so i didn’t want it to blend in with those, so i saved it.  then i figured craftstylish having earth-friendly projects month in the springtime was the perfect chance to show my design to a bigger audience, so there it is!

orangeandred1 orangeandred3

but here on do stuff! i’ll share a little more with you… my first version of the skirt, that red and orange one, was a bit different, as you can see in those photos.  i’m not sure exactly how i made the panels since it was undocumented years ago, but i do know that i cut the diagonals in different directions, instead of all in the same direction. so if you want a more twisted, asymmetrical kind of design, when my tutorial says cutting the diagonal line in the same direction on each one. It doesn’t matter what direction, as long as all four are cut the same (in my case, they were all from top right to bottom left) – ignore that and cut them in different directions. then when you’re deciding on the panel order, lay them out on the ground together and see how you want to piece them together for the coolest looking lines.

teeskirt3 teeskirt4

i had fun twisting and twirling for our photo shoot! and being silly…

teeskirt2 teeskirt7

so this skirt was kind of a continuation of my recycley skirt how-to series from last summer – which were part 1: t-shirts, part 2: sheets, part 3: sweatshirts.  i also did a post about trying to make a sleeve skirt, which i plan to try again this season and post a better how-to if it works out. so, i’ve made a new category for skirts since this is an ongoing topic for me, so you can see all of them.

oh hey and speaking of bloggy things – i’ve (finally!) gotten my links page a little bit up to date, although it still needs more work.  i had pretty much completely ignored my poor links page since i first started do stuff!, over 2 years ago, but i got motivated a few nights ago to give it some attention, and now there are a ton of blogs and sites added, some new categories, and hopefully i’ll continue to keep it updated now.

Filed under: clothing,craftstylish,skirts,tutorials — leethal @ 2:12 pm

April 25, 2009

newish projects and knit design pattern reveal!

hey have you been keeping up with craftstylish this month?  lots of great earth-friendly crafts… here are mine!

16orange2 (top3)17purple1

first, make a vest from an old pullover sweater, with different embellishment ideas…

18white11 (top2)orange3

like crocheting into the knit fabric:

14white8 white2

and embroidery with recycled cotton:

11purple6 12purple7

this one has hand-stitched knit tape stuff i got at knittn kitten:

(no)progress11 10orange7

and a super weird pocket:

15orange6

and that other one has slightly less-weird pockets:

13white9

that’s a lot of photos, but there you go.  next up, recycled fabric scrap cuffs!

14 (top)16

with examples of other ones i’ve made

(top2)19alloldcuffs (top3)18yellow2

and last week’s was a handband from an old t-shirt:

headband13 (top2)headband11

with examples of other versions:

(top3)headband33 (no)headband25

and some more photos…

(top1)headband11 headband32

(no)headband23 (no)headband14

and now that you’re caught up with craftstylish projects… something new! if you were curious about that designing photo a couple posts ago, it’s getting closer, so it’s time to reveal what’s to come! i’m working on a set of knit cuff patterns, a mini-ebook type thing, and hoping to have it all done in about a week (but it could definitely end up taking longer). so i’m showing you 4 of the designs here and now, then i may reveal a couple more later in the week before they are all released… the first one is my favorite!!

cuff501 cuff507

cuff304 cuff301

cuff601 cuff605

cuff101 cuff103

i love designing on a tiny scale like this, and since my chevron cuff got a pretty good response over on ravelry, i got motivated to get going on this project.  there are more elements of the whole thing that i’m really excited about, but those details are to be announced later…   i hope more of you out there like knitting mini-projects!

Filed under: clothing,craftstylish,knitting,tutorials — leethal @ 12:31 pm

March 31, 2009

a couple tutorials

quicky post before my friend gets into town… just want to show you the last couple of tutorials i did for craftstylish.  my last button post was a super fun, kid-friendly project – pipe cleaner button displays!

pipe cleaner button sculpture! pipe cleaner button sculpture!

as i said in the post, this is a craft project to bring out your inner-child-crafter. I felt like I was rediscovering what it was like to make things for fun as a little kid, with nothing but the simple bendy pipe cleaners, a pile of buttons, and my own imagination!

pipe cleaner button sculpture! pipe cleaner button sculpture!

i made 4 different versions while playing around with this project, and had a really fun time doing it!  hope you try it and have fun too!

pipe cleaner button sculpture! pipe cleaner button sculpture!

and then today’s post blends the button theme with the new crafting green theme – recycled cotton art yarn, with buttons and beads spun in!

recycled cotton art yarn recycled cotton art yarn

you can also do the project with wool (or other fibers) instead of cotton, like this yarn i made awhile back, which became this hat (rav link)…

recycled wool art yarn

this is a great spinning project if you just want to get used to using a spindle or wheel before making actual handspun. if you are already a spinner, this will be super easy, since all you’re doing is twisting recycled yarn, so it’s a good relaxing kind of project while watching a movie/tv. if you have never done any spinning, and you have access to a wheel (a friend’s or a local yarn store’s perhaps) then this would be a good way to see if you like it…

recycled cotton art yarn

i can’t wait to knit up this yarn and see how it looks! i love it!!

recycled cotton art yarn

and, because i have a feeling this week is going to fly by and i won’t be posting again till it’s over – don’t forget handmade nation this weekend! they just added a third screening on sunday!  i’m so so so excited about the whole crafty weekend!  hope to see you there!

Filed under: craftstylish,portland stuff,tutorials,yarn — leethal @ 1:51 pm

March 28, 2009

free 35mm film stitch pattern!

35mm film strip cuff

so you know how when i discovered short rows and started designing with them, i went a little crazy with the concept (and i continue to use them frequently in my designs)?  i have a feeling the same kind of thing might happen with slip stitch knitting!  it’s not like i didn’t know the technique existed before – i’d been familiar with patterns like star’s band cuffs, but i had never actually knit a pattern using slip stitch colorwork.  when i bought ysolda’s whimsical little knits pattern set, i was immediately drawn to cairn; i read the pattern and started daydreaming about slip stitch knitting.

35mm film strip cuff

i was eager to try the technique on a small scale, and when this film strip idea popped into my head i got super excited and worked it up as soon as i could find a little time.  i made a wrist warmer cuff thing, with one color film strip, and one black and white strip.  when i told pete about my knit film plan, he’s the one who came up with the idea to embroider photos on to the strips!  genius!!  i’m so lucky to have a creative mind to brainstorm with; the photos really make it work! here it is pre-photos:

blank film cuff blank film cuff

this being a slip stitch pattern means that you never have carry more than one color at a time – the film holes appear like stranded colorwork, but you are actually only working with one color per row.  it’s like magic!  so this is a fabulous beginner knitter pattern – you basically just need to know how to knit and purl.  when the pattern says to slip a stitch, you just move the next stitch from the left needle to the right without knitting into it.

35mm film strip cuff

i designed the pattern in the round, and it definitely will work best that way.  i rewrote a second version to be worked flat, but the yarn will have to be cut several times throughout the repeats, which means lots of ends to weave in (no fun!).  so i recommend knitting this pattern in the round if you can.  i think it would be awesome in a hat (someday i’ll make one!!) and i’m sure sock knitters could do great things with it!  you could totally make fingerless mitts by knitting wrist warmer parts the same as mine, then adding hand/thumb parts at the top.  i can’t wait to see what you do with it!

35mm film strip cuff

for my cuff i used worsted weight yarn, size 8 needles, and cast on 28 stitches, but i’ve been told i have tiny wrists, so you might want to cast on more stitches if you are making a cuff.

with 9 rows between the slip stitch rows, the film strips are not quite to scale – it would be more accurate with more rows (maybe 12 or 13, just guessing), but that would also make it bigger, obviously.  i think it would be awesome to use much smaller yarn and needles and make the film strips actual size!  you’d need a gauge of 11 stitches per inch, so the film holes would be exactly the same width apart as in real film.  as for the number of rows between slip stitch rows to be accurate, i couldn’t tell you, but real film is just a fraction under 1 inch between holes, so go by that.

35mm film strip cuff 35mm film strip cuff

i think that’s everything you need to know, so here’s the pattern!

abbreviations:

p = purl
k = knit
sl = slip

C1 = color 1, the yarn between film strips
C2 = color 2, film strip yarn

in the round pattern:

C1: cast-on an even number of stitches, join around, purl 1 round.
knit 1 round.
purl 1 round.
knit 1 round.

*
C2: knit 2 rounds.

C1: [k1, sl1] repeat 1 round.

C2: knit around 9 rounds.

C1: [k1, sl1] repeat 1 round.

C2: knit 2 rounds.

C1: knit 1 round.
purl 1 round.
knit 1 round.
purl 1 round.
knit 1 round.

C2: knit 2 rounds.

C1: [sl1, k1] repeat 1 round.

C2: knit around 9 rounds.

C1: [sl1, k1] repeat 1 round.

C2: knit 2 rounds.

C1: knit 1 round.
purl 1 round.
knit 1 round.
purl 1 round.
knit 1 round.

repeat pattern from *

if you’re making a wrist warmer like mine, then turn that last knit row into a bind-off.

flat pattern (not tested):

C1: cast-on an even number of stitches, knit 4 rows.

*
C2: knit 1 row.
purl 1 row.

C1: [k1, sl1] repeat across row.

C2 (break yarn to work from other side): work in stockinette st for 9 rows (first row will be purl, then knit…).

C1 (break yarn to work from other side): [k1, sl1] repeat across row.

C2 (break yarn to work from other side): purl 1 row.
knit 1 row.

C1: knit 5 rows.

C2: knit 1 row.
purl 1 row.

C1: [sl1, k1] repeat across row.

C2 (break yarn to work from other side): work in stockinette st for 9 rows (first row will be purl, then knit…)

C1 (break yarn to work from other side): [sl1, k1] repeat across row.

C2 (break yarn to work from other side): purl 1 row.
knit 1 row.

C1: knit 5 rows

repeat pattern from *

ok i’d love any feedback you might have – especially if anyone tries the knit flat version, let me know if there are any mistakes, if it works, etc.  oh and as for the photo embellishments – i just did some improvised stitching with embroidery floss, but you could also embroider pictures with yarn, or try little appliqués!  it would be super crazy cool to print little photos onto fabric and stitch them on!

35mm film strip cuff

if you use this pattern, please post pictures in the leethal flickr group!  (and you can help support me by checking out my other patterns! thanks!) since this is just a stitch pattern, i’m not planning to make a pdf, but let me know if you really want it in pdf form and maybe i’ll make one.  enjoy!!

Filed under: knitting,tutorials — leethal @ 12:52 am

March 16, 2009

yay button month!

i had been excited about susan beal‘s new book, button it up, since she was writing it, and now it’s out and my review over on the threadbanger blog just went up!  to celebrate the buttony goodness of the book, craftstylish has been having button month all march!  so many fun projects!  i was already totally addicted to vintage button collecting, and now that i’m going through my stash at lightning speed with my projects, i’m feeling obsessive about shopping for more!  i need to happen upon a jar full of em at a thrift store or garage sale, that would be freakin awesome!

08orangeon

so, my first project for the month was a free knitting pattern for this buttony chevron cuff! combining two loves (knitting and vintage buttons) is the best! the pattern is written to work for any needles/yarn and you can choose your cuff width. (ravelry link)

02bothdone 10cottoncuff

next was one of my most ambitious projects – the gridded button portrait:

gridded button portrait gridded button portrait

can you tell who it’s a portrait of when it’s far away (in the photo below)?

gridded button portrait 08gluing

if you can’t tell, you’ll see over in the tutorial. as i explained on craftstylish, i was really into chuck close in college and i did a couple different self portraits inspired by his style (this one with markers and this painting). i was excited to try this gridded concept with buttons, and i think it worked out fantastically! someday if i happened upon a massive stash of vintage buttons, i might do a bigger one, like a whole door or something!

vintage fabric+button wall art

and then last week’s post was how to make wall art with vintage fabric and buttons. i love showing off bits of cool fabric as wall art, and i think adding some vintage buttons to the mix turns it into something special!  the green one is my personal favorite:

vintage fabric+button wall art vintage fabric+button wall art

but i like them all! now i want to make a bunch more and fill up the whole wall!!

vintage fabric+button wall art vintage fabric+button wall art

so you should totally check out all the button projects over there, but a few of my favorites are susan’s shrink art buttons, linda’s woven button coaster, erika’s beautiful button pillow, and diane’s singleton buttons.  i still have 3 more button projects coming up, and i’m sure everyone else will have more great ones, so keep checking back!

button it up!

and now for some buttontastic eye candy from susan’s book! here are a couple of my favorite projects:

button it up! button it up!

and you know how i love cuffs!

button it up!

(check out my threadbanger review for a few more pictures)

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