Quick DIY: Rainbow Loom Handcuffs

These are really useful for controlling rambunctious pre-schoolers.

Kidding! But they are apparently fun for them to play with. They are a little nicer than those plastic handcuffs that always break five minutes after you open the package, because these stretch.

They are also super easy to make. Start by using two rubber bands down the center of the pegs. Place a cap band on the end and work like you are making a regular bracelet. Instead of using a c-clip, place both ends on a holder (like a toothpick or some other type of stick).Now make a diamond bracelet using one end of the strand you just made as the cap band, and connect it with a c-clip. Do the same thing again for the other side of the handcuffs, and you are done.

Whole process takes ten to twenty minutes at most. Really super simple, and you can make it in any colors your tiny police officer wants. (Or super villain who likes being put into jail).

Early Hats

Yes, you read that right. For once I have made something before it was needed and not six weeks after. Or even the day before. Woo!

Remember how I finished those baby blankets about a month ago? Well, I had a ball of the lace yarn left over that I decided to turn into hats for the whole family.

I had to use some sock yarn to create the bottom bands, partly for structure and mostly to stretch the ball of yarn to make three whole hats. Though, they did come out pretty slouchy:

“Father’s Hat”

“Mother’s Hat”

“Baby’s Hat”

They have even been delivered to the recipients, and I got back the cutest picture of all three “wearing” them. I say it like that because recipient number three is still a few weeks away from being born. These are for next winter.

I’ve got to admit, I didn’t take very good notes at the end, mostly because I was juggling trying to take out lots of stitches and replace them. That and I just generally was trying to get these things done. I used the pinecones stitch pattern from that lace baby blanket, and I was kind of getting tired of seeing it. But I think I have enough information to write-up the pattern rather quickly. When I do sit down to write some patterns, that is. I’ve got quite a few to get to, but I’m fully immersed in some more Starry Stoles at the moment. New patterns coming soon, though. I promise.

Happy Easter Eve!

Which snuck up on me like a ninja. Seriously, until last week I wasn’t aware that Easter is tomorrow. Maybe I do miss out on things by not watching broadcast TV. Except I was watching TV last week and didn’t see anything about it…

But, I’m rambling. What I’m really here to say is, “Happy Easter-is-tomorrow, fellow procrastinators!” That’s right, I spent all afternoon making Easter surprises for the boys because that is how on top of it I am. And because I know there have to be at least a few people out there in the same boat, here is a quick tutorial of what I did today. Well, quick if you actually have the right supplies on hand.

Do yourself a favor and start by clicking that image to download the template for all of the pieces of the egg and chick. That will save you a lot of time. If you want to also cut out the name of the recipient to glue on, the font used is American Typewriter set in bold at 72pt.

Now, gather some paper in the colors you want to use. You know, pick one color for the eggshell, one for the stripes, one for the dots (which I used as eyes because putting the double stick tape on each one was going to be really annoying to use them as shell decoration), one for the letters, yellow for the chick’s body, and orange for the beak. You will also want glue of some sort, but double stick tape will work in a pinch. And don’t forget the scissors or X-acto knife.

As you can see, I didn’t have colored paper on hand. I made some instead using some Strathmore Mixed Media Paper in the 6×8 size and my Prismacolor markers. It took a few coats, but I came up with these:

Now it’s time to cut out all of the pieces using whichever color you choose. Note: The beak pieces, wings, and chick body need to be cut out for each side but were not included twice on the printout. Sorry. Also, the print out makes one set of pieces, but the pictures show it doubled since I was making two at a time.

Working from the inside out, first glue the beak pieces together to make two double-sided triangles. Set them like a slightly open beak inside the body pieces and glue the body pieces together. Next, set the chick in the top opening of the egg and glue the egg together. Decorate the egg with the zigzags and dots, then attach the wing to the body overlapping the egg. Finally, put the letters on the front, add an eye to the chick, and you are finished!

See how easy that is? The most time-consuming part (assuming you are using pre-colored paper) is cutting out all the pieces. If you choose to make one, leave me a link in the comments. I’d love to see them.

Happy Easter, Everyone!

Kool-Aid Does What? (Dyeing Yarn With Drink Powder)

I’m fairly certain everyone has had some form of Kool-Aid in their lives. Which is why it is almost slightly disturbing to find out that it works so well as a fiber dye. Not that that means I will stop drinking the stuff, of course.

Not being able to find the correct shade of yarn to make my next Starry Stole, I decided to try dyeing my own. I was going to order some acid dyes, until I saw this tutorial on Kool-Aid dyeing on the Knit Picks website.

The blank yarn came last week, so I picked up some Market Pantry Sugar Free Strawberry Lemonade mix (which turned out to be a pretty color, but totally the wrong shade), because Target doesn’t actually carry powdered Kool-Aid anymore, apparently. I started by washing the yarn in the sink:

I used the Yarn Harlot washing method of tossing the yarn on top of the soapy water and letting it sink on its own. I just let it go until I remembered it was in the sink and realized the dog hadn’t peed on the carpet and that was just the wet wool in the sink.

I mixed a bit of the drink powder with some water, put the yarn on top, and filled the rest of the dish with water. The next step is microwaving it in spurts until the color is all soaked into the yarn, like this:

After letting it cool, I rinsed it, washed it again, and let it dry on the sink.

I was supposed to make this a very pale pink. It didn’t exactly work out. I mixed up Strawberry Lemonade and Pink Lemonade in my mind. So now I have ordered two hanks of the blank yarn, one to use to test out the colors and one to actually dye once I find the right shade.

As for this flamingo yarn, I’m thinking an overdye with some light blue to get me to a purple/blue variegated-esque yarn to turn into some sort of scarf or shawl. Undecided right now, but I have a few other projects to finish before I start something that doesn’t really have a specific purpose.

A Bevy of Baby Blankies

Okay, really just two. But I like alliteration, and bevy if a pretty cool word.

Remember the commissioned projects I mentioned yesterday? Those just happened to be two very different baby blankets. One of a bulky yarn:

And one of a lace yarn:

For the bulky blanket, I chose a rectangular shape with a border motif, center motif, and garter stitch border knitted on at the end. It is kind of difficult to see on the white yarn, but you can tell a little in this picture:

The lace one I just created from the center out in a square until I got sick of knitting on it thought it was a good size.

More details about the projects can be found on the Ravelry pages: Lace and Bulky. When I have time to finally sit down and make sense of my notes, I’m planning to release the patterns on Ravelry. I’ll keep you posted on that progress, along with the family of hats I am working on to match the lace blanket.