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I was determined to make my kids some super warm hats and mittens before the weather turned cold. I managed to do all the knitting over a couple of nights in September. I didn’t manage to sew on the button until after the first snow. Small victories.

The hat is from this pattern.  I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick. I chose that yarn because it is machine washable but still has the warmth and water repelling qualities of wool.

For the mittens, I didn’t want to go out and buy some larger double-pointed needles. So, I used what I had and made up my own pattern. These are knit flat and then seamed up the sides. It really isn’t my first choice but, I was too cheap. Below you’ll find the pattern for the mittens. They are easily adapted to accommodate larger sizes of hands if you’d like to make some for yourself!

Thick and Quick Mittens Pattern

1 skein Lion Brand Thick and Quick yarn (you’ll use approx. 1/2 the skein) or other bulky weight yarn

Size 11 needles

Stitch markers, stitch holder or spare yarn

Plastic needle for seaming

Size small (my daughter is 5) as written. Larger sizes (M, L) written in parentheses.

k= knit

p=purl

pm= place marker

m1= make 1 stitch

k2tog= knit 2 together

Cast on 21 (23, 23) stitches.

Starting with a knit stitch, work k1 p1 rib for 7 (9, 11) rows.

Work in stockinette stitch (k 1 row, p 1 row) for 5 (7, 9) rows.

Next row: Knit 10  (11, 11) stitches, pm, m1,  k1, m1, pm, knit to end (3 sts between markers)

Next row: purl all stitches

Next row: Knit to marker, m1, k3, m1, knit to end (5 sts between markers)

Next row: purl all stitches

Next row: Knit to marker, m1, k5, m1, knit to end (7 sts between markers)

Next row: purl

MEDIUM AND LARGE SIZES ONLY:

Next row: Knit to marker, m1, k7, m1, knit to end (9 sts between markers)

Next row: purl

Next row: Knit to marker, m1, k9, m1, knit to end (11 sts between markers)

Next row: purl

ALL SIZES:

Next row: Knit to marker, place sts between markers on a stitch holder or a spare piece of yarn, knit remaining stitches.

The stitches on the the holder are your thumb stitches. Just leave them be for now.

Next row: purl

Continue in stockinette stitch for 2 (4, 6) more rows.

Next row (right side): *K2tog, knit 6 (7, 7), k2tog* repeat to end

Next row: purl

Next row: Knit all stitches

Next row: purl

Next row: *k2tog, k 4 (5, 5) k2tog* repeat to end

Next 3 rows: stockinette stitch

Next row: *k2tog, k2 (3, 3) k2tog* repeat to end

Next row: purl

MEDIUM and LARGE SIZES:

Next two rows: stockinette stitch

ALL SIZES:

Next row: *k2 tog, (k 1, k 1) k2 tog* repeat to end

Cut yarn leaving a tail of approximately 12 inches. Place on seaming needle and thread the yarn through each of the remaining stitches on the knitting needle. Pull taught and leave until you’re ready to seam up the mitten.

THUMB:

Place all stitches from stitch holder onto knitting needles.

Knit in stockinette stitch for 7 (9, 11) rows.

Next row: k2tog across all sts

Cut yarn leaving a tail of approximately 10 inches. Place on seaming needle and thread the yarn through each of the remaining stitches on the knitting needle. Pull taught. Using the mattress stitch, seam the thumb to the edge of the mitten.

Using the tail from the main mitten, finish seaming the side of the mitten using the mattress stitch.  Hide all yarn ends.

Repeat for second mitten.

Vinyl Covered Mousepad

Posted by christy in Craft | Cricut | Projects | Tutorials | Upcycling - (Comments Off)

I predominately work on a laptop.  It is all mine.  I’m really used to using my touchpad and haven’t used a mouse for a couple of years.  This weekend, I’m having some strangers use my computer to help me do some usability testing for a client of Toolulu.  Having a mouse for them to use was kind of important.  I found a freebie mousepad I received from CHA and decided to personalize it!

BEFORE:

AFTER:

toolulu.com mousepad

THE PROCESS:

1. Measure your mousepad.  Mine was 7.5″ X 7.75″.  Using my Gypsy and my Cricut, I cut out a frame background shape with those approximate dimensions.  This particular shape is from the Songbird cartridge.  I cut it out using the Provo Craft black vinyl.

2.  Because this was one solid piece of vinyl, I didn’t bother using transfer tape.  I just applied it to the top of the mousepad like a giant sticker.

3.  I cut out “toolulu.com” using green vinyl.  I set the letters to cut at 1.5″ tall.  I used the Simply Sweet cartridge.  HINT: there isn’t a “.” on this cartridge.  I set it to cut out “toolulu!com” and then just didn’t use the top of the exclamation point.

4.  You’ll definitely want to use the transfer tape if you’re doing a design like this one.  I show how to cut and apply vinyl in a video post I did a few months ago.

5.  Use your mousepad!  I tested out the mouse I was using on vinyl before I applied it to my pad to make sure it would work.  Vinyl is a nice, smooth surface and works well.  If you’re planning on adding a lot of different layers, you’ll want to keep those along the outside of the mousepad so it doesn’t interfere with the main path of the mouse.

This is a really fun project because it is quick and non-permanent.  If I decide I don’t want a Toolulu mousepad anymore, I can just peel of the vinyl and add on something else!

I’ve been knitting quite a bit on this trip.  I spent a couple hours on this project during our train ride from Venice to Geneva.  I had some licorice, a Coke Zero, and some amazing views.

The knitting is pretty easy once the pattern is memorized.  It’s definitely not a project for beginners.  But I think any advanced beginner could follow along with the pattern no problem.

I’ve been doing some shopping, too.  This picture gives a hint to one item that will be going in the August craft challenge packet. This is a cute little stationery store that I found near Campo Del Friari in Venice.  I have a limited number of packets available for August, so if you want to participate–get your packet before they’re sold out.

Last night as I was packing, I realized that I didn’t have a good knitting project to bring along.  I did a search on Ravelry and came up with this project that fit perfectly with this skein of mystery yarn I got from Julie.  I’m modifying it a bit to suit my taste.  I’m making it into a scarf so instead of 15 repeats of the wavy pattern, I’m only doing 5.  I didn’t have enough yarn to make a shawl, anyway.

Sorry for the poor quality of the picture.  It was late at night and all I had was my camera on hand (the other camera was packed).  You can’t really tell how beautiful the yarn is.  I should be able to post some in progress pictures over the next few days.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been so excited about a project!

photo credit 46137 on flickr

The first time I ate asparagus wasn’t very long ago.  I think it may have been within the last year or two.  I liked it…but not enough to really seek it out at the store and make it at home.  Now that I’m trying to focus more on veggies and eating locally grown produce, I took into account that it is asparagus season (or is it about to end now?).  I found some from a local-ish farm (less than 100 miles away) at Open Harvest–this really great grocery store that has a lot of locally produced food.

The asparagus I purchased was really big–not like those tiny, flimsy spears you see bunched up at the store.  They looked amazing.  I brought them home and followed James Peterson’s “recipe” to roast them.

After peeling the stems, I coated them with olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and roasted them in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

YUM.

May is National Foster Care Month.  Many of you know that our family has been blessed through adoption.  Our adoptions were done privately and were domestic so I don’t have any first-hand experience with foster care.  I do know that there are more than 463,000 children that need family support—even temporarily— and I can help just a little bit by bringing it up on this site.  Over 100,000 of those children are available for adoption.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video about children in foster care.

You may not be in a position right now to care for foster children. But you might be down the road. You can find out more information at adoptuskids.org.

I’m going to be supporting a local to me agency with an in-kind donation.  They need clothes, blankets, washcloths, etc… and those are all things that I can make.  Will you join me?

Make something in May for National Foster Care Month.

Fabric Scrap Ideas

Posted by christy in Projects | Sewing - (Comments Off)

image copyright photos8.com

I’ve been cleaning my craft room (again and again) and I’ve got some really great fabric scraps I can’t bear to part with.  I have a few ideas on what to do with them now and thought I’d share what I found!

Fabric Headband from Heather Bailey

Simple Makeup Bag

Criss Cross Coasters

Fabric Vase Covers

Modern Scrap Quilt

What do you make from your fabric scraps?  Have a project I should try?

The Klutz Glossy Bands book was something I brought home from my trip to NYC.  I thought it would be fun to make with my daughter.  The book said the project was good for ages 8 and up.  My daughter is five so I assumed that I would need to do most of the crafting and she could help me with color choices and things.  I made the first few but after she saw me make some, she was ready to go!

The book comes with 4 plastic strips that you lay on top of the pages.  You move from one line to the next adding drops of the glossy band gel in the pattern shown.  There is enough gel (in pink, purple, blue, and green) to make at least 14 bracelets.  We were able to make more than that.

The gel could get a little messy (especially letting my 5 yr. old do it herself) but it is really easy to clean up off of tables, books, and hands.  If you aren’t able to wipe it up right away, let it dry and it will just peel right up.  Some of her bracelets turned out a bit lopsided because she wasn’t able to squeeze out the gel as evenly as an older child might, but she loved them all and enjoyed the process!  That’s what matters, anyway.

The bracelets take 24 hours to dry.  Once they are dry, you just peel them off the plastic and put them on.  Squeezing the ends together helps them fuse.  You are able to take them on and off  but after a few times, they start to lose their shape.  They certainly aren’t meant to be long-term.

There is another version of the book that is a little less expensive.  That is a drawback to this product considering the bands don’t last forever.   I also don’t know where to find more glossy band gel.

I asked Eva for her final thoughts:

Favorite part: making the bracelets

Sad part: that the gel is all gone and it was messy

My final thoughts?

I loved being able to watch my little girl be creative and mix the colors and patterns.  She was so proud of her creations and wanted to share with her friends and mine.  Because we could only make 4 bracelets a day (because of the strips and drying time) she was able to make something several days in a row.

Do you have a favorite Klutz book?

This book was a gift from a representative of Klutz but I was not asked to write a review.  These opinions are my own.

The new issue of Knitty is up and there are a few things I can see myself knitting.  Never mind the fact that I haven’t even started seaming up the last sweater I knit.  I will do that soon enough.  In fact, I’m thinking of making that a requirement before I cast on for one of these new sweaters.  Good thing rules are made to be broken.

This is the pattern that first caught my eye.  It is the Tappan Zee.

image copyright Amy King

I really like the overall design.  The lacework on top will keep it interesting.  The major benefit?  No seaming!

This next pattern is Emmaline.   It wasn’t love at first sight but I kept coming back to look at it.  I don’t know if this would be the most flattering on my body type but I think I’d like to try and knit it.

image copyright Jennifer Wood

I think this will be a quick knit and I can fit it to me.  I like the square neck and cap sleeves.  Another bonus?  No seaming!

Remember how last year around this time I was thinking about summer knitting and picked out this project to never mention it again?   I did actually start on the sweater and made quite a bit of progress.  Then it got to a point where I couldn’t stand to knit on it any longer.  Knitting is supposed to be fun and that project just wasn’t.  So, here’s to hoping that one of these projects will work out for me and I’ll have something good to report!

Do you have a preference?  Because, I’m still on the fence.  Help me decide!

Technically, I did not finish.  Here is my photographic evidence of the night.

my olympic knitting project during the closing ceremonies

You will notice that when the flame is being extinguished, I still have my knitting on the needles.  I still had a few minutes left of knitting to do.

sweater off the needles during closing ceremonies

Since we got to cast on during the beginning of the opening ceremonies, I figure I have until the end of the closing ceremonies to finish.  The knitting is complete!

Is it a completed garment?  No.  But I did it!  Here’s my knitting olympics analogy:  I skated a clean program but got disqualified because I forgot to wear my costume.

I so know how those athletes feel that put in a gold medal performance only to come in 4th or fall down at the last second.*

There’s always the Sochi Knitting Olympics.  See you in 4 years.

*please note the sarcasm.