Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Download a FREE eGuide for Knitting Sweaters

Happy sweater knitting season! You're probably already planning your sweater knitting for the cold, yucky days of January. (I'm starting as soon as I get all these holiday knitting projects off my needles!)

To celebrate sweater knitting, Craftsy just released a FREE eGuide to sweater knitting, featuring some of my posts.

Download your free eGuide here!

(Note that this is an affiliate link, and I will be compensated if you download the free eGuide.)

The eGuide includes everything from sweater yoke ideas to different construction methods for sweaters. It's great for every level of knitter -- yes, you CAN knit a sweater if you're a beginner! -- so don't be intimidated.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What to Do If You Run Outta Yarn at the End of a Knitting Project

The Imposter Shawl I showed you a few weeks ago certainly wasn't perfect. Why? I ran out of yarn with about eight stitches left to bind off.

I didn't have any more of the Malabrigo Purple Majesty yarn, so instead I dug through my stash to find a similar color. The yarn I found was not the same weight, nor was it really the same color. But it worked.

You can't really tell unless you look at it up close -- which almost no one ever does. (I'm letting you look up close because I know you won't judge me.)

For those of you who want to make sure this doesn't happen to you, Knit Oasis just blogged this awesome tip for estimating yarn for binding off.

Next time you run out of yarn and you're at the very end of a project, don't go out and buy a whole other skein. Improvise. I promise no one will notice -- and if they do, stick your tongue out at them!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ta Da! Finished Imposter Shawl from Creativebug

I'm notorious for starting knitting projects and never finishing them (the wrap sweater that's been sitting in my stash for ten years, for example). But I spotted the Imposter Shawl and something hit me.

I finished it in less than two weeks.

Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Purple Mystery
(Note that the Creativebug links are affiliate links. I will be compensated if you click through and sign up.)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Last-Minute Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Happy Halloween! If you wait until the last minute to decorate like I did, you might get some inspiration from the pumpkin carvings that are hanging out on our front porch.

My friend Stephanie of Darned Ideas carved this feather design free-hand. She thinned out the pumpkin walls with a scooper so the light would shine through even more.
I carved this yarn and knitting needle design with help from this Craftsy carving tutorial. There's a template you can download, too!
Alex said he hadn't carved a pumpkin since he was a kid. He used this bass stencil to carve his pumpkin. Some of the parts fell off -- hee hee -- so we just T-pinned them back with the pins we used to poke the design.

Since Stephanie lives in an apartment building, she let us keep her pumpkin at our place. Here's a shot of all our happy pumpkins, plus our other fall decor. Our dog keeps watch over everything to make sure no one messes with our stuff!

Happy Halloween! Did you carve a pumpkin this year?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Win a Copy of Chunky Knits for Craft Book Month! (CLOSED)

I can't believe it's already Craft Book Month again! This year is extra special because I'm celebrating with a few projects from my own craft book, Chunky Knits: 31 Projects for You & Your Home Knit with Bulky Yarn, to be released October 14th. And guess what? You can win your very own copy! Skip to the Rafflecopter to enter, and take a look at some projects from the book on your way down there.

Congrats to Josie S., the winner of her very own copy of Chunky Knits!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Take a FREE Craftsy Class!

Obviously, I'm all about Craftsy. I write knitting, crochet, and sewing posts for their blog, plus I use Craftsy for my own personal craft obsession.

If you've never tried Craftsy's classes, now's the time! Craftsy offers free mini classes to give you a little taste of what it's like to learn via video. Here's the full list of Craftsy free mini classes to choose from, and here are a few of my favorites:

Note that the links in this post are affiliate links. If you enroll in any of the classes, I will receive compensation.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but even with 5+ years working at Martha Stewart under my belt, I still didn't know how to properly chop an onion. The Complete Knife Skills class shows you how, plus talks about different types of knives and how to use them. It's super handy, even if you're just cooking for yourself.

The best part about this class is when Deb takes you to the market to see all the adorable sheep. Of course, Know Your Wool is also awesome for helping you pick out wool for your next knitting project. You'll know ahead of time whether that pretty merino is going to pill or be itchy!

For me, one of the biggest sewing challenges is inserting a zipper. I like to refer back to this Mastering Zipper Techniques class whenever I run into an issue, so that I can ensure I won't have to break out that seam ripper again.

None of these classes tickle your fancy? See the full list of Craftsy free mini classes here, including classes in cooking, photography, and more. Have fun!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Super Quick DIY: How to Hide an Ugly Wall

Alex and I just moved into a house that was built in 1905. Though we love the house, there are a few quirks. Translation: we have some slanted floors, a few very odd closets, and some ugly walls.

There's one particular place where the stairs create a little slant in the wall. Alex thought it would be cool to put something there, but everything we had, including a few canvas paintings, were too heavy. Fortunately, fabric saved the day.

We dug through my fabric stash and found a piece of fabric we both loved. (It's an Anna Maria Horner fabric from her Innocent Crush collection.) I sewed a little 1/2" hem around the entire piece, and then we just tacked it to the wall. The whole thing took less than 15 minutes!

How do you hide ugly walls?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Get Your Knit On with My Latest Craftsy Knitting Posts

If you're ever wondering why I haven't posted here in a very long time and you miss my crafty yammering, you can find me on the Craftsy blog drooling over patterns and knitting techniques. Here are a few of my favorite recent posts, in case you missed 'em.

Avoid last-minute holiday knitting when you start on those handmade gifts now. There's a hand-knit holiday gift for everyone on your list!

Knit up a tech case for every gadget you own with these 7 tech case knitting patterns.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mom Tattoo Embroidered Card

Back in January, I blogged about a crafternoon in Asheville with my friend Stephanie of Darned Ideas. Darned Ideas is now a monthly Meet Make Take craft night (yay!), and one of my favorite projects to come out of craft nights is this mom tattoo card embroidered by my very own Alex.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Trio of Trees Embroidery Kit

Lately I've been trying to complete projects that have been hanging around my craft room for a long time now. This cute little tree embroidery kit from Egg Press was the latest project on my list.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

How to Crochet a Lobster Stitch Bracelet

I'm finding less and less time to craft these days (where oh where does the time go?!), so quick projects are the only way to get my craft fix. In the spirit of quick crafting, check out my tutorial for crocheting lobster stitch this week on Craftsy.

Lobster stitch is a cool crochet stitch that doesn't require you to decide the number of chains before you start crocheting. The stitch actually builds right off the previous single crochet, meaning you can make that cord as long or short as you'd like without having to decide in advance. As you can see, it makes a pretty rad bracelet.

Pop over to Craftsy and get the lobster stitch tutorial! What kinds of quick craft projects are you working on? It's gonna be a busy summer!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Adventure Time Felt Applique How-To

I don't make handmade gifts for just anyone, but I knew Alex would appreciate anything I made him for his birthday this year. Making the gift Adventure Time-themed ensured its success, even if my craft skills failed me. Luckily, they did not!

This was my first-ever felt applique project, and I learned many lessons along the way. To save you from felt applique anxiety, I'm sharing those lessons here in an easy little tutorial. Adventure felt applique time!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Free Download: Knitting Stitches You Need to Know

Sometimes you're in the mood to try something new, yeah? Me, too. Whether you're a beginner knitter or a more advanced one, this new downloadable from Craftsy is awesome for introducing you to knitting stitches.

Waffle stitch, anyone? Mmm, waffles.

7 free knitting stitch tutorials from Craftsy
Two of my tutorials --  the waffle stitch and the seed stitch pictured below -- are both included in the download, plus there are tutorials from Craftsy writers Lisa and Andrea. Download Knitting Stitches You Need to Know for free and start knitting something new!

How to knit a seed stitch

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Crafty Travels: Fabric and Yarn Stores in Savannah, Georgia

I've just returned from an amazing trip to Savannah, Georgia, that included spiked slushies, an education on architecture, and of course a few new craft stores to add to my list of favorites. Visiting Savannah? Get your craft on with these fabric and yarn stores. (Just don't go in there after you've slurped those spiked slushies. Bad things can happen to your bank account.)

Fabrika Fine Fabrics

If the embroidery hoop wall art doesn't suck you in, the cute fabrics will! I loved every single yard of fabric in this store, from sewing-pin prints to adorable animals.

After you drool over the fabrics, swing by The Book Lady a few doors down. Their selection of craft books isn't great, but they have plenty of other categories, including a sweet Flannery O'Connor section.

The Frayed Knot

The Frayed Knot has some beautiful sample projects on display so you can really feel some of the yarns feel when they're knitted up. Drop by on Tuesday or Thursday nights for their weekly craft and crochet groups. I picked up this pretty trio of Cascade Cherub Aran Sparkle when I was there, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet. Shawl, perhaps?

If you're a movie buff, eat at Laurie's next door where scenes from Forrest Gump were filmed.

Measure: A Fabric Parlor

One of my favorite parts of Measure was the super cute sign. I just happened to spot it on our way to tour the Mercer House. This fabric shop has a nice selection of leather and apparel fabrics, plus some really cute trims.

Shout out to my patient travel companion Alex who accompanied me to all these stores without any complaint -- and even got pretty excited over some of the fabric.

Know any other good Savannah craft stores? I'll put 'em on my list for the next trip.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Make a Finger-Knit Necklace

I'm totally devoted to my knitting needles, but sometimes you gotta try something new. Enter finger knitting!

Finger knitting is similar to loom knitting, and it creates knitted objects in a snap -- especially when you use super bulky yarn. Check out my finger knitting tutorial on Craftsy to learn how to make this cute finger-knit necklace!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Cleaning: Organizing Yarn Scraps

Ugh. Spring cleaning. I get as far as washing my duvet cover and that's pretty much where it ends. But this year, I decided to include some hefty craft organizing in my spring cleaning. Organizing yarn scraps is one of my biggest problem areas.

My solution? I came up with this scrap yarn organizer that makes a pretty display -- and a great organizer.

Want to make one of your own? Check out my Craftsy spring cleaning post for this yarn scrap organizer and ideas for donating yarn you're not using anymore. Let's clean up those craft spaces!
And if you don't launder your curtains this spring, I won't judge you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Make Your Own Lip Balm in Less Than 15 Minutes

I hoard lip balm apocalypse-style, so when Anne-Marie of Bramble Berry contacted me about trying out a lip balm kit, I immediately said yes.

I tested the basic lip balm kit, which came with everything I needed to make 24 heart- and daisy-shaped containers full of balm.

I procrastinated making the balm for a long time (typical of me) and kicked myself when it took less than fifteen minutes to actually prep and pour the balm. About five of those minutes were consumed by me digging in the cabinet for a microwave-safe bowl.

In the past I'd always wanted to make lip balm, but figuring out what I needed and where to get it always stopped me from even considering lip balm as a project. This kit took all the guesswork out of that, making it perfect for crafters who want to try something new but don't have a lot of time to research supplies.

Photo via Bramble Berry
The lip balm base in the kit means there aren't too many ingredients to mix up. My favorite part was deciding how much coral mica powder to mix in to get the exact color I wanted. Smelling that cucumber melon oil while I worked was pretty sweet, too.

I plan to make even more lip balm pots and giving them out as birthday gifts for the rest of the year. I'm even sharing some of the crafty love with my family. I saved some of the supplies so that my 10 year-old cousin could try it out later, too. She was super excited about making her own lip balm and giving it to her friends. I would totally make this a slumber-party craft if it were still acceptable for me to have slumber parties.

Wanna make your own? Grab the lip balm kit from Bramble Berry to get everything you need.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

An Easy Felt Heart Garland

The week before Valentine's Day, I spent a freezing cold Saturday with Darned Ideas at Foundry, one of the most awesome stores in Asheville. Yeah, yeah, this craft involves felt hearts. But who says we can only craft with hearts on Valentine's Day? Not this gal.

The unbelievably adorable heart garland was made using upcycled bed sheets and felt. Simple! It came together easily, too, with just a few colorful running stitches to seam them up. Pinking shears gave them a nice little border.

I didn't finish my garland at the crafternoon, but because I sewed the hearts together using a running stitch, it was the perfect craft to make while watching TV. (I'm currently addicted to Scandal. You?)

I turned this little heart into a magnet for my fridge by just hot gluing a magnet to the back.

I hope you believe in crafting hearts year round, too!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Turtle Power: Ninja Turtles Tee

Remember the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? I do. More accurately, I remember the dangerously violent moves they taught my brother to use on me.

The resurrection of the Turtles means a whole new generation of brothers can torment their siblings. Case in point: my nephew. I guess you can say I condone the violence, because I made him this Ninja Turtles tee shirt for his 5th birthday.

My nephew's favorite turtle changes every day, so the hardest part was guessing who he'd like during his birthday party. I went with Leonardo -- mostly because I had some extra blue jersey in my stash.

Want to make your own? It's so simple and takes less than a half-hour. I found the idea for the Turtle tee over on Sewing Mama RaeAnna. I just sewed some jersey fabric onto a store-bought tee shirt. I didn't finish any edges, and the eyes are made from an old sheet. Tie the jersey on the side, then trim the ends so they're not getting tangled up in your lil turtle's legs. Ta da! Instant turtle power.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Free Download: The Beginner's Guide to Crochet

Today is a good day for two reasons: 1) It's a snow day and 2) Craftsy released The Beginner's Guide to Crochet, featuring yours truly! It's perfect for anyone who wants to dive right into one of my absolute favorite crafts.

The digital guide features basics like crochet abbreviations, plus how to crochet basic stitches like single and double crochet. The guide is free, so download your copy of The Beginner's Guide to Crochet from Craftsy today!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Crafternoon in Asheville

I spent last Saturday afternoon showing crafters how to make silkscreen adhesive totes and notecards with Darned Ideas and a room full of fun, crafty people.

As a tribute to my former employer (*snicker*), I broke out the Martha Stewart silkscreen adhesives for my station. Crafters made totes, greeting cards, and even drawstring jewelry bags. Here are a couple of shots from the awesome crafters who silkscreened with me. You can see more photos and projects from the crafternoon over on Darned Ideas's Facebook page.

Some crafters got creative and started layering the silkscreens on the tote. Even though this tote used some of my favorite colors, I didn't try to steal it. Really dug that lace border, too.