Archive | October, 2012

No-Sew Napkin Pillows

30 Oct

I just got some long awaited new furniture for my living room (woohoo!!) and wanted to add some fun pillows to the room.   Is it just me, or do throw pillows seem overly expensive?  They are pretty, but I just don’t want to spend that much money on them.  I decided to try a couple different DIY pillow covers.   To start, I made napkin pillows.  I have seen these in the blog-o-sphere and thought it seemed easy enough to try.

Since not everyone has a sewing machine on hand, I thought it would be fun to demonstrate an easy no-sew option.

What you need:

  • 2 Cloth Napkins per pillow
  • Fusible Bonding Web  – I found it at Joann Fabrics for $3.99 (see picture below)
  • Iron
  • Damp Cloth

I found some 20″ cloth napkins at World Market for $3.99 each.

I wanted to make these easily changeable, so I cut one of the napkins in half in order to make an envelope style back to the pillow.

To assemble the pillows, I placed the full napkin face side up, and cut a piece of the bonding web to fit across the top of the napkin.

Then I placed one of the back halves face side down on top of the full napkin and bonding web. I made sure I had the original finished seam in the middle of the pillow, since that is where the envelope finish will be.  I followed the instructions on the fusible bonding web, which was to place the bonding web between the fabric layers, cover with a damp cloth, and then press on each side for 10 seconds with steam iron set to “wool”.  This fusible bonding web could come in handy to do any quick trimming or hemming around the house.

I did this on all four sides of the napkin, with the envelope back pieces overlapped.  With the overlapping, you can see I had a couple extra inches of the full sized napkin.

After the fabric cooled and was bonded, I cut this extra piece away.

I flipped my new pillow cover right side out, and inserted an 18 inch pillow form I had for some holiday pillows that I only use at Christmas time.

I am pretty pleased with the outcome.  And $8 per pillow makes me happy!

Pumpkin for your little Pumpkin

26 Oct

Since the Halloween/Autumn/Thanksgiving season is upon us and I’ve taken up my crochet hooks again for the winter I thought I’d show you how to make my version of a pumpkin hat for a baby or toddler that I mentioned in this post.

It seems like I could crochet one of these these hats in my sleep, and for simplicity’s sake, a basic tutorial on how to create the single crochet baby hat can be found here. I’ll show you an updated photo of this hat there, but first we must crochet the stem and leaves that really make it a pumpkin hat!

To begin this process I chain 5 or 6 and then link the chain together using a single crochet stitch.  I continue stitching a single crochet in each stitch until a small tube begins to form.  I believe I was using a needle sized  “J.”  Continue to repeat this process until you have a small tube the desired length of your “pumpkin” stem.

When you have reached your desired length single crochet twice in each stitch.  This will expand the size of your stem and make the base of your stem.  I typically double stitch in each stitch two complete times in a circle.

You now have a pumpkin stem.  From there I create a chain through the last stitch about 25 to 30 chains long.  This will be your pumpkin tendril.  When your tendril is the desired length long begin single crochet in each chain link back to the stem of the pumpkin.  This tendril should begin to twist and look like a pumpkin tendril.

It is now time to create the leaves.  In the stitch next to your “tendril” single crochet along the stem for 4 to 6 stitches. Chain once and turn your piece adding in two single crochet stitches every other stitch. This will grow the width of your “leaf.” When you reach the stitch before the tendril-  single crochet twice then chain once and turn your work again repeating the process.  I repeat this process until the width of my leaf looks about right typically 4 or 5 lines.

At this point I need to apologize for my shoddy photography work (smart phone)  and lack of photos.  I was so caught up in leaf making I forgot to grab a mid-leaf shot.  So, now that you’ve seen the leaf let me explain my decreasing method.  When you want to begin decreasing your leaf, first chain once  to turn your work, stitch a single crochet in the first stitch, then skip a stitch and single crochet. Skip another stitch and single crochet again and repeat until you’ve made your way across the leaf skipping every other stitch.  Single crochet in the last stitch on that row, chain again, turn and repeat process until you are down to a single stitch on you last row.  Cut off 3 to 4 inches of yarn and using a large tapestry needle, work it through the last loop to tie off.  You can them weave a small section into the piecing underneath to make sure it doesn’t come loose. Cut off the extra yarn.

To start your second leaf I skipped a stitch next to the leaf that was just completed.  I then created a loop through the stitch where I wanted my next leaf to begin. While holding the loose end taut I followed the directions to begin a row of single stitches as I did for the leaf above.  The loose end near the stem can be worked into the underside of the stem with a larger tapestry needle. Cut off the extra yarn.

I then stitch the stem and bottoms of the leaves onto the hat with the tapestry needle.


A view from the top of the pumpkin.

And a better side view.  Unfortunately, these photos don’t do it justice. I think this is cutest when it is on some little punkin’s head.  I’ll search for some photos of this in other shades as well- it makes a good berry if you eliminate the tentrils and add in an addition leaf or three. Happy fall!

Toddler Hat

23 Oct

Crocheting has become one of those things that is nearly mindless for me. I can sit in the car and crochet as a passenger and it allows me to (1) let my creative energy out (2) get a project done! and (3) still converse with whomever might be driving.
This project was a hat I started last January and never got around to finishing. I used some left over yarn from an adult hat I had made.  The thing about my crocheting is that I rarely use a pattern. I tend to stick to just a few stitches to make baby hats typically using the simple single crochet stitch.  On this one I branched out to what I thoughts was a double crochet stitch.  You can find a great tutorial for that here, While I am more about trial and error this appears to be a great basic double stitch crochet hat pattern tutorial. I adapted mine using a size S-35 hook and extra bulky yarn.  The good news about using yarn like this is that hats go together quite quickly.

To add a little flair I played around with some extra brown I had left over from another project. I  made this flower by chaining four or five and connecting the chain for a circle. I then completed two single stitches for every chain increasing my circle. To create the flower petals I chained four or five again and then reattached to the center after skipping one stitch creating flower loops. I then attached the flower to the hat by stitching it in with extra brown yarn.

This is one of those examples of when your completed project might not be quite what you hoped.  I think the flower is a bit too big for the hat, but it is hard to tell when my hand is wearing it!

Here is another view.

I think I need to find a little sprite to try it on just to be sure, but the flower doesn’t appear to be the right scale for the hat.  Do you agree?

Autumn Leaves

18 Oct

At this time of year, I usually find myself looking for that perfect autumn leaf in my yard to preserve in some way or fashion. I have to admit, I’ve pressed many a leaves over the years, but rarely end up doing anything with them.  This year, I made a point to actually do something with at least one!

To press leaves, I layer them in between newspaper, and then stack some heavy books on top.  I typically leave them to press for at least a week.

 

I went through a stack of frames I had, and found a small glass backed frame that I thought would be perfect for framing one of the leaves.

I cleaned up the glass, and centered the leaf inside the frame.  The beauty of placing things between glass, is there is really no need for any  kind of adhesive. The tight fit of the glass together holds things in place with no issue.  I fastened the back on the frame.

This is a quick and simple low cost way to use some of your leaves.  Of course, a backed frame will work just as well with some pretty paper or piece of fabric for the back ground.

Happy Autumn!

Just Bead It!

16 Oct

I don’t have a whole lot of experience making jewelry, but I had spotted this sweet necklace on pinterest a long time ago, with the hopes that I would some day try it out.

I had also noticed a longer ombre version of a braided bead necklace at a clothing store that I decided to model my necklace after.  I started by gathering the bead supplies I needed.

  • Beads – I chose size 11 beads
  • Beading needle
  • Jump rings – I had on hand
  • Crimps – to connect the wire to the jump rings
  • Soft Touch beading wire – I cut 6 pieces of wire, as shown.

I started by attaching the wire to the jump ring, by using a crimp.  As you can see, I looped the wire through the jump ring, and back through the crimp. I then used a flat nosed pliers to squeeze the crimp shut to hold the wire in place.

   

You can bead right over the extra end of the wire.  Once done beading each wire, I did the same crimp technique on the other end of the wire by feeding the end of the wire back through at least three beads, and squeezing the crimp into place.

After I was done beading all 6 wires, I admired my pretty strands.  I thought I may even make a simple multi-strand necklace like this after completing the braided look.

To begin braiding, I removed the jump ring on one end, and started to braid the three sections of 2 wires.  I pinned the top to the couch I was sitting on, so I could hold it taut.  It was looking fabulous, at first…

Once I braided about half way down, I noticed that the strands of beads were getting really tight, and were harder to braid.  It looked so nice at the top, but not so great at the bottom.  It was getting so tight and unruly, that I was afraid the beads might burst under all of the pressure, so I quickly undid the braid.   I decided this may turn into the simple multi-strand necklace, after all.  I definitely needed to do some trouble shooting on the braided version.

To complete the simplified necklace, I added a connecting chain to both jump rings.

I could have added a clasp in the middle of the chain, but decided I probably wouldn’t adjust the length at all, so I kept it simple and left the chain as is. Here’s the final product.

So, for any of you experienced beaders out there – what would you suggest to complete a braided version? Different stringing material? Looser bead distribution?  Shorter necklace?  Looser braiding technique?  It’s something I’ll definitely play around with and will hopefully have the braided version mastered for a future blog post!

Felted Mittens

10 Oct

I’ve never done any felting before, so this is my first felted knitting project.   There are three key elements to felting – you need 100% wool yarn, hot water, and the knitted object will be very large, since the process of felting shrinks the fibers.  This  may explain what happened to that wool sweater that came out of the wash machine half it’s size, and all fuzzy.

As you can see, the mittens I knit might fit the likes of Paul Bunyan.  This was not a mistake!

I used my top loader washing machine to felt the mittens, while consulting this tutorial on knitty.com.  The key steps to setting up were:

  • 1 Tablespoon of soap
  • Wash machine set to:
    • smallest load setting
    • hottest water setting
    • highest agitation setting (heavy duty, heavy soil, etc)
  • Mesh bag or pillow case to collect extra fuzz

I was all set up.

Once the wash machine had finished filling, and started the wash cycle, I set a timer to check the progress in five minutes.  I was surprised to see that the felting and shrinking had already begun.  Here’s what they looked like at the five minute mark:

I threw them back in, turned back the machine setting to the beginning of the wash cycle to prevent it from moving into the rinse cycle, and waited another five minutes.  Here was the progress after another five minutes:

Even though it was pretty close in size, I wanted the fibers to felt more, so I decided to let it go for another five minutes, knowing I could stretch and reshape the shrunken mittens while they were still wet.  Here was the result on my hand after the final 5 minutes (a total of 15 minutes of agitation):

This seemed good to me, so I went ahead and drained the soapy water, and let cold water start to fill the machine for the rinse cycle.  I stopped the machine once there was enough cold water to cover the mittens and swished the mittens around to get the soap out.  It’s important to stop the machine at this point, because I didn’t want any more agitation to occur.  After this, I skipped the machine setting forward to the spin cycle to remove the excess water.  I pulled out my mittens, and did some final shaping to them before laying them out to dry.  Here’s the final result:

Paint it blue and it is brand new!

8 Oct

I haven’t made it to as many garage sales this summer as I typically do, but on the days I’ve made it out I’ve had such great luck! This is a quick project to show you what a difference a quick coat of paint can make. Generally a few times a summer I’ll have a big bbq and invite friends over for the evening.  I’ve had a few different vessels to contain silverware- none of them worked as well or looked quite the way I pictured  them in my minds eye.  Then I found this for a $1.

A little more dated and country than I was looking for so I gave it a few coats of paint with a can of Rustoleum in Lagoon I had left over from the pots I painted in this post.  Isn’t this a cheery blue? I can’t wait to use it!

And it has this lovely little handle that moves as well!