Sidetracked…By Blankets

Remember how I said I was going to knit an entire sweater over the past two weeks? Well, I didn’t. I did manage to get the back of the sweater fully finished, though:

So that’s something.

I didn’t end up watching much of the competition because NBC requires that you log in to their website through your cable provider to watch the replays of the events. I was trying to watch online because I don’t have a cable provider, so that didn’t work out so well.

I also had something else sneak its way into my work schedule as well – blankets! Two baby blankets to be exact. One out of a fluffy, bulky yarn:

and the other out of a light, lace yarn:

It doesn’t look like it in the picture, but this one if also going to be a square. It is just gathered on the circular needle right now.

The first one was fairly easy to create. I kept the pattern in my head/made it up as I went. Lace, on the other hand, well…

That took a bit more planning – and paper.

I finally managed to puzzle out a good chart. Well, several charts used together:

I am chugging along at it. I’m hoping to be able to have enough of the yarn left over to make matching hats. Lace yarn really does go a long way.

Ever get sidetracked in the middle of a project by a bigger project? What did you do while watching the Olympics this time around?

Rubber Band Batman to the Rescue

To the rescue of the sad little boy who had rubber band Batman number 1 stolen from him. This Batman is based on the Thor action figure tutorial below. I couldn’t find any tutorials on actual Batman, so I came up with this little chart to use along with the other tutorial.

You will need:

  • 52 gray bands
  • 121 black bands (43 without cape)
  • 7 flesh color (I used glow-in-the-dark orange) bands
  • 7 yellow bands
  • and 1 white band

Note:It isn’t mentioned in the chart, but the horizontal bands are singular, not double.

Simple version of the instructions is to start with the arms. Place bands, using 2 at a time except the one that needs 3, from top to bottom, then loop the bands in the opposite direction, placing the 3 bands on the offset top bands. Hold the arms on toothpicks or similar objects, with the top loops grouped separately from the bottom.

Next, place the vertical bands from top to bottom. Put the arms at the shoulders as indicated, then place the single horizontal bands as shown.

Before looping the bands, you are going to first need to extend the legs by wrapping a cap band on the hook, pulling through two (held together) black bands, and two (held together) gray bands as if you were making a single bracelet with the mini-loom. Place this on the bottom peg at one leg and create another for the other side.

Finally, loop all the bands from bottom up, placing all of the top bands (both loops) on the center peg. Pull a single black band through, and loop it through itself into a knot.

To add the eyes, take a single white band, push the hook through the mask area at one side, pull one side of the band through, placing a c-clip on the back side. Weave the band at the front behind the center v and then back through the other side of the head to create two, even eyes. Place the other end of the white band, and the loop created by the last black band, into the c-clip.

To make the cape, make a 6-long by 6-across “triple single”. A good tutorial on the “triple single” can be found on the Rainbow Loom website. To make it 6 across, either use two looms side-by-side, or you can create the regular size, lay the vertical bands for a second one, and stretch the horizontal bands from the first across in the same manner on the second. If you tie off the tops in the same manner as the top of Batman, it gives you two nice loops on either side.you will pull those loops through at the shoulder, loop two single black bands through in a chain, pulling them around to the opposite side of Batman’s head, and secure them in the c-clip. Do that on both sides, and your Batman is complete.

The first time I did it, this took me about 2 hours. Once I got the basic shape down, the second attempt took only about half an hour. So if you are familiar with making action figures on the Rainbow Loom, it is a fairly quick project. If it is your first time, set aside a good bit of time to work on it undistracted.

Quick DIY: Mini Heart Pillows

One would think it would be impossible to forget a holiday that is advertised everywhere for the month and a half leading up to it, but one would be wrong. That is how I found myself desperately making four Valentine’s at 8:00pm Thursday night. At first I attempted to knit some little heart pillows. I found the perfect tutorial and had set about on the knitting, when I looked at the clock, realized it was 9:00pm now, and saw that I was only about a quarter of the way through Valentine #1.

Change of plans, and quick. I don’t have much in the way of craft supplies just lying around. Sure, I could draw up some cards in no time, but these are for little people who are pre-reading and would really rather have something tangible. So I dug through my meager closet stash and found a piece of purple, a piece of yellow, and a large piece of green felt in my “leftovers” basket.

With just the felt, a pair of scissors, some embroidery thread, and a minuscule amount of supplemental yarn to add to the padding, I managed to whip up some cute little love pillows.

Mini Heart Pillow DIY

Materials

  • Colored Craft Felt
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery Thread
  • Stuffing (can use fiber fill, left-over fabric/yarn, basically whatever you have on hand to fill the pillow with)

Instructions

  1. Cut two matching heart shapes from the felt. This can either be done with a template you create on paper or, my favorite method, by folding the felt in half while cutting to keep the hearts as close to each other in shape as possible.
  2. Using all six strands of embroidery thread (to make it stand out; use less if you want a more subtle effect), back-stitch the name of the recipient or your desired message onto one of the felt hearts. This tutorial from wikiHow can help if you have never done a back-stitch before. Note- I don’t knot my thread, i just leave a bit hanging at the beginning of my work on the wrong side of the fabric.
  3. Holding both hearts wrong sides together, take all six strands of thread and a running stitch around the edges to hold the pieces together. Be sure to stuff it as you go so you aren’t trying to push a whole pillow’s-worth of stuffing through a tiny hole at the end.
  4. Bring the end of your thread through the middle of the pillow, putting the needle in between the felt pieces at the edge and taking it out the same way at the opposite edge and cut the thread close to the pillow.

And that is it. You have a nice little gift to show your love and appreciation of a loved one in a very short amount of time. I think each of these took me around ten minutes from start to finish. It may take you more or less time depending on how proficient you are at sewing and embroidery, of course.

What kinds of gifts did you give for Valentine’s day?

Knitting With The Games

I didn’t use the “O” word, so I can’t be sued, right?

Anyway, the event that is now know as the Ravellinic Games is starting tonight. Well, technically started this morning at about 8am, but NBC insisted on not live streaming. So I’m using the start of the opening ceremonies telecast. Which I am watching as I type that. I could be a professional procrastinator, if such a thing could actually exist.

I didn’t join a team. I’m a procrastinator, remember? I just decided to do this…a week ago? I’m not really sure. But it wasn’t the months ago that everyone else started. That’s the important thing to remember. Actually, I kind of kept forgetting that there were even going to be “games” this year. I will be disappointed if someone doesn’t try to push the potato-man logo Bart created in the 2010 “games” episode, though.

Since I’m not actually participating in the Ravellinic Games, I’m going to use Yarn Harlot’s rules she created in 2006.

“Rules:
1. The project must be a challenge for you to complete in 16 days.
2. There are no rules about what a challenge would be. Like the real Olympics, there are many areas to compete in. If you are a new knitter, then a garter stitch baby sweater might do…If you are experienced, well. I’ve already considered Torino. Use your own conscience.
3. While this is intended to be somewhat difficult (like the Olympics) it is not intended to ruin your life. Don’t set yourself up for failure. (Olympic athletes may cry, but they do not whine pitifully, sob and threaten members of their family with pointed sticks because they haven’t slept in five days. ) This is intended to (like the Olympics) require some measure of sacrifice, and be difficult, but it should be possible to attain.
4. No casting on before the flame is lit.
5. Finish before the flame goes out.
6. You may swatch before the games. (I consider this “training.”)”

With those rules in mind, I’m setting off to create this wrap sweater (and perhaps the leggings, if I have enough yarn left). As part of my “training”, I sketched out the sweater:

so I could try out the color combination I am planning:

And, yes, that really is the yarn in there, from a scan of my swatch:

so it’s as close to what it will look like as possible.

Now all I have to do is actually cast on while I’m watching the rest of these opening ceremonies. I’m also machine sewing the seams and planning to knit the sleeves in to save myself all that hand-sewing. If you want to keep up with my progress, I’m going to update the Ravelry Project Page daily.

Quick DIY: Patch Your Skinny Jeans

Everyone has that one pair of favorite, worn-in skinny jeans. Unfortunately, those are usually the ones that get torn up beyond “fashionably distressed.” That is where my pair ended up a few weeks ago, with the left leg ripped halfway from the knee to the ankle.

The main problem was the high spandex content in my jeans. The rip happened from my knee poking through the original hole, so I didn’t want to patch it with something stiff. I was fairly certain I had seen spandex/cotton patches at the store. Apparently, that was something I imagined.

For those of you in the same situation, I’ll give you a simple solution. Go to the thrift store and find a cheap pair of jeans with the same fiber content. That’s the most important part. Seriously, you need to check the tag in your jeans, right down the exact percentages of fiber, and then search through your store for a pair that is the same. You want it to stretch the same amount.

Your next step will be to find a part of the thrift store jeans that are in tact and the same width as the area you wish to patch. I had a pair of jeans about three sizes smaller, but with a slightly flared leg that worked perfectly below the knee to reach slightly longer than seam to seam.

Flip your jeans inside out and lay your patch on the space you need to cover, wrong side facing up (like above). I wanted to leave the original hole open, so I set it just at the edge. Sew the vertical edges of the patch to the seams of your jeans, then flip them inside out again.

Starting from the top, use an elastic stitch (it usually looks like a dotted zig-zag stitch on your machine) to create horizontal lines about 1-1.5 inches apart. It also helps to start and end each line with a few straight stitches (and backstitch them).

Try to match your thread as much as you can. The elastic stitch helps to hide it a bit, too. Or, you could always use a very different color of thread to make the patch a design element. Another tip, you don’t have to sew directly along the top or bottom edges. Your first and last lines will hold the piece in place well enough, along with it being stitched along the edges, that it won’t fold over when you put your pants on.