Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Hats

I'm sure people are tired of reading about my darn hats, but I made a few variations (for donating to the hospital). If you don't want to go with a traditional type Christmas hat (Santa), you can change things up with stripes of various thicknesses and elf-inspired variations on the puff-ball tipped hat (like the green and white one on the right, which I LOVED, and am now making a larger sized one for my youngest niece).

These are basically the same pattern as the Santa Hat, except you start with 50 sts (these were all newborn sizes).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kanzashi Fun

Ever since I discovered the existence of Kanzashi flowers a couple months ago, it's been on the top of my To Do list to learn to make them.

And this week, I attempted my first ones! I have to say that it was so fun!

I wanted to make one like this - leave it to me to try the hard ones first.

Anyway, I wanted a classy pin to jazz up my black dress for my husband's company Christmas party. I  haven't decided what I'm going to use for the center yet. I used this old button as a stand in for the pictures.

What do you think? Not too bad, eh?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Felt Christmas Ornaments

It's that time of year again for make Christmas ornaments.

This year I decided to do something I've never done before and that was to make ornaments out of felt.

I had a church activity I was asked to lead again (making Christmas ornaments) so I came up with the tree at the top and this lovely star and bird.

But after I finished those I didn't want to make them for my family.

One day I got an ad/catalog from Shutterfly (which is where I get photobooks - which look great, by the way, if you're interesting in doing that sort of thing) and there was a cute little felt owl ornament on one of the pages....which I then proceeded to copy.

Unfortunately, this post will ruin the surprise for some people (sorry Tammy - but you can choose which one you want!).

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gryffindor Halloween Costume - Part 4, Tie & Robes

Toddler Tie

I attempted to find a tie I could buy, but finding one for a toddler was impossible.

For the tie, I used this tutorial over at the Purl Bee.

I couldn't find a fabric with stripes that had the right color combination, so using leftover maroon fabric from Evie's robes I just top-stitched stripes onto the fabric after I'd cut out the pattern shapes.


This is the part of the costume that I thought would be exceptionally difficult. You can't just go out and find a pattern for Harry Potter style wizards robes! That would be too ridiculously convenient!

My initial research led me to this website which shows you how to adapt a standard robe pattern into a Harry Potter style robe....for adults, anyway. I used the same method for a child sized robe.

The pattern I use was Simplicity pattern #2571. I scoured Joann's and the internets for fabric in the right color. I found some at Mood Fabrics - it's cotton poplin and I just love the maroon color. It just so happened that I had recently purchased a Groupon that gave me $30 worth of fabric for $15. Go me!

It took me a couple of days to adapt the pattern, which I thought was going to take me forever (!) - hence why I started in, like, August. But it went surprisingly fast and easy.

After the pattern was finished, I made a basic toile out of white fabric and it looked great! (I love when that happens!) However, that one won't be worn outside anytime soon - white robe with a pointy hood.....yeah, didn't think that one through. I'll have to add trim or lace or something to it in the future....can't let a good robe go to waste.

Here's my oldest modeling the toile.

Some improvements I made to the pattern - I added a lining to the whole thing, a side pocket and a wand pocket on the inside. For the neck closure I used a frog closure that I found at Joann's.

Frog closure:

Wand pocket:

Gryffindor Patch

The little Gryffindor patch was hand embroidered by yours truly. 

(It was surprisingly difficult to get a good picture of this thing)

I found a picture of what the patch was supposed to look like, then scaled it down in Inkscape to the size I wanted. I printed it out and basically just eyeballed the design as I was sewing (I used a separate piece of leftover fabric and a small embroidery hoop). The pattern was just too small and the fabric too black (go figure!) to draw it out before I did it. 

The finished product:

I am very proud of how well these robes turned out.

Can anyone argue against this little girl being the cutest Gryffindor ever? No? I didn't think so.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Knitted Santa Hat

I whipped up a quick knitted Santa hat for my son. You know, just because. He refuses to wear it, of course, preferring to rub it on his face instead. *Le sigh*

This hat is probably 6-12 months size. It's pretty simple. I used a fluffy/wispy (yes, very technical!) white yarn for the trim and ball; Vanna's Choice "cranberry" for the red.

Cast on 70 sts with the white on size 7 dpns. Purl around until the work measures approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches (when the hat is finished, this trim will naturally roll under a little bit).

Switch to the red. Stockinette stitch around until the red part of the work measures about 3 1/2 inches.

For the decreases, start by knitting 8, then knit 2 together. Repeat all the way around (7 times total). Then knit 2 full rows.
Next decrease, *k7, k2tog*, repeat around. Knit 2 full rows.
Continue decreases in this manner, remembering to knit 2 rows between decreases, until you have 7 stiches left. *k2tog* until you have 1 stitch left. Tie off and weave in all ends.

For the ball, use straight needles (or two dpns) and cast on 10 sts of the white. Stockinette stitch until you've made a square. Cast off and leave a tail. The purl (or wrong side of the work) will face out when you're done (this side looked fluffier with this yarn). Use the tail of the yarn (and a tapestry needle) to draw together the (4) points of your square. Then run the tail through the (4) mid-points of your square and tie off tightly (you should have a round-ish ball). Use the remaining tail to attach your ball to the tip of your hat.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mermaid Halloween Costume - Part 4, Tail

For Madeline's Mermaid Tail I used Simplicity pattern 4043

Incidentally, a word about buying patterns - never (ever!) buy them at full price! Every few months Joann's has McCall's and Simplicity patterns for as little as 99 cents. Keep an eye on their ads!

Moving on.....

Not much to say about this part. I followed the instructions pretty close, except for the sequin aspect. They had suggested buying sequin trim (pre-sewn sequins that you just have to baste in place), but they are very expensive. I thought I could do a good job by hand so even though I had never done it before, I gave it my best shot.

Again, the method is really easy - sequin, bead, and then back through sequin hole again. I used seed beads and these plastic pearl beads I got from my Mom the last time I visited her house. (I pilfer craft supplies, what can I say?)

I sewed them on both sides of the tail. I alternated between the sides on every sequin/bead to make it easier on myself. In other words, I'd do one sequin/bead and then I'd flip it over and do a sequin/bead in the same spot on the other side.

I think it turned out well. It weighs a ton - not literally, but for a four year old, it was a tough proposition to carry it around while trick-or-treating.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gryffindor Halloween Costume - Part 3, Skirt

I whipped this skirt up in a couple of hours. It's made of the same cotton poplin that I used for her robes.

It's basically two rectangles and a waistband. I also put in a lining. There are four 1/2 inch pleats in the front.

The front:

The back - there are three tiny pleats back there:

In retrospect, I should have made it bigger, but I was afraid I'd make it too big. Ah, my irrational fears.

I think it turned out great, though it wasn't part of the costume that would be seen by anyone. It was cute nonetheless.

Stay tuned for more! Up next is Evie's Gryffindor tie!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Looped Hair Bow Tutorial

As promised, here is the hair bow tutorial with pictures! And explanations!

Supplies needed:
  • 1/4" wide ribbon 
  • Alligator clips 
  • Embroidery thread or sewing machine thread OR unflavored waxed floss
  • More ribbon for the bow part of the clip
  • Hot glue gun
  • Beads (optional)
  • Sewing needle
Step 1:  Hot glue a straight ended piece of  1/4" ribbon to the finger grip end of the alligator clip on the BOTTOM prong. The bottom is the part of the clip that's straight from end to end.

Step 2:  Hot glue the ribbon to the inside of the finger grips.

Step 3: Hot glue the ribbon to the top prong of the clip.

Step 4: Measure how much ribbon you'll need to cover the underside of the top prong and cut off straight.

Step 5: Take the ribbon you want to use for your loops and tie it to your clip next to the finger grips (you can use embroidery tread, sewing tread, or even dental floss....). I just used one knot.

Step 6: Fold up a loop of ribbon. Wrap your thread over the ribbon and between the top and bottom prongs of the clip. I wrap it twice around and pull it tight.

Step 7: Repeat Step 6 four more times.

Step 8: Thread your needle with the end of your left over thread and run back through your thread loops.

Step 9: Tie off your thread using the stub from your first knot.

Step 10: Clean up. Cut your ribbon ends at a nice angle and fix them from fraying (I use my hot glue gun, but also no-fray spray would probably work or simply melting the ends a little bit with

Step 11: Hot glue the ribbon end from Step 4 to the underside of the top prong. Cut off the excess ribbon.

And voila! You're done!

You can hot glue beads on as well, if you'd like. For this blue one I used sheer fabric cut into 1/2" strips and ribbon for the bow so that it would match Madeline's costume.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mermaid Halloween Costume - Part 3, Barrettes

I made Madeline matching barrettes for her costume.

I'm going to save myself a lot of grief and explain how I made them in another post - a tutorial even!

For now, here are some pictures:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gryffindor Halloween Costume - Part 2, Scarf & Wand

Gryffindor Scarf 

 This lovely scarf was knitted by Tammy. I asked her to make it 'Evie sized' and she took it from there.

Magic Wand

If you want to make a wand of your own, get a 12 inch or so wooden dowel. You could use Balsa wood, it would be very easy to carve but would be fragile.  I've made a wand before, but I used clay for the handle and I knew that if Evie dropped something like that it would break.

I needed something sturdy so that's why I went with the dowel. I bought some wood carving tools as well and then went at it. It takes a lot of time and patience. I would suggest using gloves to protect your fingers in case you slip.

I carved a flower into the end (though you can't see it well in this picture).

I used 'Mahogony' colored wood stain to make it dark and finished it off with several coats of lacquer.

Surprisingly, Evie clutched onto this thing almost the entire time we were out trick-or-treating. She knows exactly what she's supposed to do with it - poke Mommy in the eye and hit her in the face.