Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Garter Stitch

It's time for another entry in the Stitch Victionary! 

Notice the change of venue? I'm in rehearsals for a new show now, so I've moved to the Caribbean!  I'm super excited to be here, but I'm also a teensy bit sad about missing sweater weather back at home.  (A very, very teensy bit, haha.)

Here's this week's video:

I hope you find it helpful!  Next week I'll be covering binding off...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hand Embroidered Thank You Cards with a Free Printable Stencil

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!  There are so many things to be thankful for this time of year, so why not say it with a handmade card?  (I made these because I recently received some birthday presents, but don't forget about the Christmas presents and the plethora of holiday parties on the horizon.) 

To begin, I made a stencil that will fit on a 3.5" by 5" card.  

Once you've downloaded and printed the stencil, place your card on top of a cork board, cut out the stencil, and tape it on top of the front of the card.  

Use a push pin to poke holes all along the letters on the stencil.  When you've finished that, remove the stencil and you'll be ready to begin the embroidery.

Thread a needle with embroidery thread and use a basic chain stitch to embroider the letters.  Here's how to do a chain stitch:
  1. Bring the needle up through the first hole.
  2. Bring the needle back down through the same hole, but don't pull it out all the way.
  3. With the back of the needle still halfway through the first hole, bring the front of the needle part of the way up through the second hole.  Check the picture to make sure your needle looks like mine.
  4. Loop the thread up and around the needle.
  5. Now you can pull the needle through the two holes and you will have the first loop on your chain.
  6. Repeat the process over and over again to make a chain.  Each time you finish a loop, that loop's second hole becomes the first hole for the next loop.  For example, when you've finished step 5 and you have your first loop, you've just done step 1 for the next loop, so you'll repeat your process by bring the needle back down the hole it just came out of, halfway up through the next one, wrap the thread around the front of the needle, then pull the needle out again and you'll have your second link in the chain stitch. Keep going until you reach the end of a line, then bring the needle out and around the last loop and back down through the last hole to secure the chain.  Once your thread is down under the card, you can move it to the hole where you want to start your next chain and begin again.  Keep going until you've embroidered the whole word.

I hope this tutorial makes sense, because once you get the hang of doing a chain stitch it's easy and makes a big impact.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section below.  

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Knit Stitch

Here is the next episode in The Stitch Victionary!
It's about how to do the knit stitch.  =)

I hope you like it!

P.S. Don't forget to click on the little wheel on the bottom right corner of the video to switch the video quality to 720p HD.  It makes it so much nicer to watch.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Infinity Scarf Knitting Pattern

My good friend Leilani's favorite color is yellow because it's the color of sunshine (and french fries). In honor of her birthday, which was on Wednesday, I made her a big, comfy sunshine-colored scarf to help keep her winter days warm and cheery.

Supplies Used:

Throughout this whole pattern, hold the two colors of yarn together and knit with them as if they were one strand of yarn.

  • Cast on 16 stitches
  • Row 1: (knit 1, purl 1) repeat until end of row
  • Row 2: (purl 1, knit 1) repeat until end of row
  • Repeat these two rows until the scarf is 58 inches long
  • Bind off
  • Line up the cast on edge with the bound off edge and use mattress stitch to make a seam. The scarf should now be one big loop.
  • Weave in ends

I think seed stitch (the alternating knit/purl technique used in this pattern) is perfect for big scarves like this for two reasons. First, it is reversible so it looks good no matter how it's piled on your neck. Second, all the little purl bumps add volume to the scarf, making it seem even bigger and cozier than it would otherwise.

Also, this is a very quick, easy knit because the needles are so big and the pattern is so simple. I would highly recommend this pattern to beginner knitters or to anyone who is looking for a nice break from their more difficult knitting projects. (Before this, I was working on this elephant with size 3 needles, so it was super fun for me to switch to the size 19s and fly through this scarf.)

I think Leilani really liked it!

Here she is modeling it, mid-laugh, at her party on Wednesday:

Unfortunately, I only had the camera on my phone with me at her party, as I'm sure you can tell. My new goal for myself is to work on remembering to bring my real camera along with me on a more regular basis.

Happy birthday, Leilani!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving on Etsy

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and if you don't have the time to make your own decorations and accessories this year, there are tons of great ones for sale on Etsy.  (I know because I may or may not be developing an Etsy browsing addiction; there are just so many great handmade things on there!)  Here are my five favorites this Thanksgiving.

1.  I would absolutely love to whip up a turkey wearing this Ruffled Retro Apron from Creative Chics, wouldn't you?

2.  Or you could dress your little boy in this adorable Thanksgiving Bow-Tie from The Director's Cabin.

3. Welcome your guests in style by hanging this Autumn Crochet Wreath from Alice Remembers on your door.

4. I also love this tablecloth from Danielle's Corner.

5.  And wouldn't these clay pumpkins from Skye Art look super cute sitting on your mantle?

All of the photos in this post are courtesy of their Etsy shop owners.  Aren't they pretty?

However you choose to celebrate, I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Stitch Victionary, How to Cast On

Today I'm excited to introduce you to a new series on the blog called The Stitch Victionary! It's going to be a series of videos (a video dictionary, if you will) about how to do all the basic knitting techniques. That way, if you see a knitting pattern on my blog and you'd like to make it but you're unsure about how to do it, you can refer to the Stitch Victionary to learn how.

This first entry explains how to cast on.

When you watch the video, I recommend clicking the wheel icon at the bottom right corner of the video player to change the quality of the video to 720p HD.  It dramatically enhances the viewing experience.

There is now a tab up on the navigation bar where you can find all of the Stitch Victionary entries in one place, see?

I hope you like the new addition to the blog!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Interchangeable Embellished Collar

Lately I've been noticing girls wearing sweaters with Peter Pan Collars everywhere I turn. You can buy them on the internet here, here, here, and here, or you can make your own like I did! I don't love wearing polo shirts anymore, but I'm loving collared sweaters. With that in mind, I found an old polo shirt in my closet and I decided to cut off the collar and fix it up so that I could mix-and-match it with any of my sweaters.

I didn't buy anything for this project, I just used things I found around my house: an old polo shirt, a plastic necklace from my childhood, a pair of scissors, and a needle and thread.

Here's the scoop:

1.  Begin to cut off the neck of the shirt, being careful to leave one button and a couple of inches of fabric below the collar.

2.  Cut all the way around until the collar is detached from the shirt. Discard the rest of the shirt (or keep it for future DIY projects!).

3.  Fold over about 1/4 inch of fabric along the edge that you just cut and sew a hem. This will stop the fabric from fraying, so it's important not to skip this step. Feel free to do this with a sewing machine if you've got one handy, but you can totally sew it by hand like I did if you want to.

4.  Make a cut anywhere in the necklace so it becomes a long string of beads. Lay this string along the edge of the collar and begin to sew it down. To do the sewing, start by bringing the needle and thread up through the collar as close to the edge of the collar as possible.

5.  Pass the needle and thread over the string in between the first and second needs, then insert the needle down through the collar again on the other side of the beads. Repeat this sewing method, making one stitch between every single bead until you've covered the entire edge of the collar.

6.  Cut off the excess beads to finish the project.

Now you can put the collar on your neck, doing up the button to hold it in place, and then pull on your sweater over it, and no one will know that the collar isn't attached to either your shirt or your sweater! Because this collar is interchangeable, I'm excited to try out all the different sweaters (or dresses!) that I can wear it with. This outfit is only the beginning!

Happy sweater season!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Perfect Camera Bag

This week I am absolutely loving my new camera bag that my parents gave me for my birthday! It's from Jo Totes and it's the perfect combination of a cute exterior and a functional interior.

I seriously want to take it with me everywhere I go now. I can't get enough of it!
What do you carry your camera in?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Knitted Elephant

Remember when I asked if you could guess what I was knitting in this post last week?  Laura Larson and Miss Moe both got the answer right.  It's an elephant!

I made the elephant for my niece's first birthday, and I used a pattern out of Sarah Keen's totally adorable book, Knitted Wild Animals.  (Book photo courtesy of Amazon.)

I thought the hardest part of the project was sewing all the pieces together while keeping them symmetrical.  Luckily, I think I succeeded.

I think the birthday girl liked it too.  Here she is opening her presents at her Minnie Mouse themed party:

Happy birthday, Elizabeth!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A French Braid into a Ponytail

Lately I've been loving wearing my hair in a french braid that leads to a ponytail like this:

It all started because I was reminiscing about my old skating competition hairdos.  I used to put my hair in two super-tight braids that met at the back of my head to form a bun, and then adorn it with some fake flowers or rhinestones and a massive scrunchie.  It was clearly awesome, as evidenced by the picture below:

So anyway, when I found myself thinking about that old hairstyle, I realized that it's actually quite possible to take the main idea of it and update it to be fun and modern.  I achieved the update by making one braid that is as thick and chunky as possible so it naturally wants to loosen up, giving it an easy breezy look.

Here's how to do it:
(Note: This tutorial assumes that you already know how to braid your hair.  Leave me a comment if that isn't the case and you would like me to do a tutorial on basic braiding skills.)

1.  Brush your hair to begin.

2.  Separate out the first section of hair starting at your temples, halfway between the top of your hairline and the top of your ears and begin to french braid.  (A french braid is the same as as regular braid, except you add a new section of hair to the braid every time you cross a piece of hair into the middle.)

To make your hair symmetrical and to keep the braid large, take sections of hair from the following points on each side of your head as you are french braiding:
     3.  The top of your ear.
     4.  Halfway between the top of your ear and the middle of your neck.
     5.  The middle of your neck (aka the last of the hair).

6.  Now grab the base of the braid in one hand, as close to where the braid ends as possible.

7.  Use a hair rubber band to make a ponytail where you were holding the end of the braid.

8.  You've now got a french braid into a ponytail.

If you want, you can turn that ponytail into a messy bun:

1.  Twist the ponytail around your fingers, then wrap it around itself.

2.  Add a second hair rubber band to secure the bun.

You don't want the bun to be too tight or perfect for the same reason that you want the braid to loosen up on its own; it makes it look more casual.

Happy braiding!
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