Tuesday, December 15, 2015

FREE Shrug, Owl, Boot Cuff Patterns + More for Last-Minute Gifts

The holidays approach, whether you like it or not. If you're stuck with last-minute gifts to make, try one of these free patterns from Craftsy. They're free, and if you have some random skeins of yarn in your stash, you can start stitching right away!

 All finished with your handmade holiday gifts? High five! Save these for projects in the new year -- or to get a jump start on next year's holiday gifts. (Hahaha, yeah, right!)

Free Shrug Knitting Patterns from Craftsy

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Quick DIY Glitter Pine Cone Mason Jar Centerpieces

Tis the season for glitter and pine cones! I love both of those things, don't you?

I've been working on holiday DIYs lately that take days and even weeks. These holiday DIYs are eating up my time, and eating up my money. So I was in the mood for a DIY that I could do in one day for free.

Our yard is littered with pine cones this time of year, so Alex and I spent a few minutes gathering them to make this festive glitter pine cone mason jar centerpiece.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Family Tree Embroidery Wedding Gift + Kitty Cuteness

Alex and I have been to a lot of weddings this year, but I only crafted a handmade gift for one of them. Sorry, all you other married people, but Kristen was the only one who asked me to be a bridesmaid and therefore earned her DIY gift.

You have to be careful who you give DIY gifts too, because some people would rather get a toaster than a handmade gift. They will spit on your handmade goodness, even though it took you hours and hours to make it. I knew this was not the case with Kristen and Rob.

Pattern: Custom Family Tree Embroidery Pattern by Cozyblue

Monday, November 16, 2015

Let's Talk Crochet!

Do you have a question about crochet? Or want to join in on making really lame crochet jokes? Join me on Craftsy's Facebook Crocheting Club tomorrow night from 7pm - 8pm EST to talk everything crochet! Get the details here.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Carson's Bear Birthday Hat

My nephew celebrated his 7th birthday last month, and I wanted to make him something fun that he could wear this winter.

I found this Bashful Bear Hat on Red Heart, but the hat was designed for a 4 year old. I was worried the whole bear face might be a little too much for Carson, who is already embarrassed by things like his mom. This might be my last chance to make him something cute before he's embarrassed by me, too!

Pattern: Bashful Bear Hat (Free Pattern)

If Carson doesn't like, Alex said he'll claim it.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Beaker Muppets Halloween Costume

When Halloween rolls around, I always think about my favorite Halloween costume I've created as an adult: Beaker from the Muppets.

Flashback to 2009: I was living in Brooklyn with my roommate Heidi. (You can tell how tiny the bathroom was just based on these photos.) My friend Jessica dressed up as Bunsen Honeydew and we hit the streets of Brooklyn.

Before we left, I took some pretty ridiculous photos.

Unfortunately, I had more fun taking these photos than I did walking around Brooklyn. We spent part of the night posing for photos, but I spent the rest of the night getting punched in the head by drunk people.

I spent an entire day making this costume. I vaguely remember calling in sick to my job at Martha Stewart to finish it, which is a pretty good reason to call in sick there. Right?

Here's a no-details breakdown of how I created the Beaker head:

Eyes: I glued white felt around two small Styrofoam balls, then glued black felt circles onto each one.

Nose: I cut two pieces of orange felt into the shape of Beaker's nose, then stuffed it with PolyFill.

Head: The head is made out of foam sheet that is wrapped around a Styrofoam disk. The only issue with it is that it lost its stability and swayed back and forth. If I ever wore this again, I'd like to find a way to make the head more stable.
The foam was then wrapped with felt that I hand-dyed myself.

Hair: I bought a cheap red feather boa at Michael's and glued it in a spiral on the top of the head.

What's the most awesome Halloween costume you've ever made?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Try Creativebug for FREE and DIY Your Halloween!

Have you tried Creativebug yet? I am hooked. Sometimes I don't even make the projects; I just sit and watch the gorgeous videos as I drool over the yarn, fabric, or just the technique. (Is that weird?)

It's a good time to try Creativebug if you haven't already! You can get your first month FREE by using the code HALLOWEEN when you sign up.

Here's a peek at some of the new Halloween classes you can take with your free code. Click on the image to see more details.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Felt Leaf Wreath for Fall

Did you ever cut out paper leaves when you were a kid? You can use that same kid-friendly technique to make a colorful felt wreath for your door this fall!

Don’t forget that you can make this wreath in one solid color if you choose, rather than alternating colors like I did.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ahoy! Sea Captain Embroidery

Over the summer I participated in local craft shop Blackberg Creative Studio's Cozy Blue sea captain family stitch along. There are three in the series (the sea captain, sea captain's wife, and sea captain's daughter) but I only made it through the first one.

Obviously plans to finish the other two are in order. I just needed a little break. If you have issue completing projects, join a stitch-along. It really motivates you to finish projects.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Lots of FREE Sewing, Knitting, and Crochet Patterns

When I'm writing for Craftsy, my favorite posts are free roundups. There are so many awesome free sewing, knitting, and crochet patterns available for download from talented designers. In fact, I often end up downloading most of them as I'm writing.

Spend your money on fabric and yarn -- because you know you need more of those -- instead of patterns when you download these fab freebies from Craftsy.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

FREE eGuide to Finishing Your Knits

If you've ever downloaded Craftsy's eGuides, you already know how awesome they are. The editors at Craftsy curate content on dozens of topics, and this month they just released The Knitter's Guide to No-Fuss Finishing.

Four of the articles featured in this guide are written by yours truly, and the rest are written by three other lovely Craftsy writers who love knitting just as much as I do. (Confession: I do not love finishing knits as much as I love actually knitting, but it's gotta be done.)

Get tips on binding off, knit edges, adding buttons, blocking -- it's all here! And did I mention it's free? Yeah, it's free.

Download the Knitter's Guide to No-Fuss Finishing for FREE here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Knit Gingko Socks, aka Painkiller Socks

I'm surprised that these socks are identical. Actually, I'm surprised the second sock even looks like a sock.

I worked on one sock while we were in New York visiting Alex's mom, and the second sock was mostly worked while I was high on painkillers after having my wisdom teeth removed. Clearly, not even bloody gauze and a few drugs will stop me from knitting.

Not so bad, eh?

Photo by Alex

Pattern: Toe Up Gingko Socks by Cotton & Cloud (FREE pattern!)
Yarn: Kraemer Yarns Saucon Sock in Purple purchased at Purl's Yarn Emporium here in Asheville

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Win a Copy of Lark's Craft Camp Book For Kiddos

Say hello to Craft Camp: Over 40 Fun Projects for Kids! I'm thrilled to be a contributor of this fun book from Lark Crafts.

Read on to find out how to win your own copy!

Inside the book you'll find three of my projects:
  • Galaxy T-Shirt
  • Yarn Painting (pictured below)
  • Arm-Knitted Scarf

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sewing an Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress

I sewed this dress for my niece for her birthday back in March, but it's only in the last week that my mom could persuade her to try it on and take pictures. Judging from these photos, I think she likes it.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Crafty Stuff in Austin, Texas

Chair at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's café

I visited Austin, Texas, a few months ago and I neglected to share all the awesome crafty stuff I saw. Better late than never, yes?

I was super lucky to see Shou Ping's paper sculpture exhibit at the Wildflower Center.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Pass to Try Creativebug FREE This Month!

Creativity is Contagious - 1 month free

I'm a longtime member of Creativebug. I took their Imposter Shawl class over the winter, and right now I'm working on a sampler from the Advanced Embroidery Sampler class taught by Rebecca Rinquist.

Creativebug recently restructured their pricing, so it's much more affordable. And now, if you use this pass, you'll get Creativebug FREE until June 30th, plus one class to keep forever. Pretty good deal, huh?

Click here to redeem your FREE month using code SUMMER2015!

*Note that this is an affiliate link, and I will be compensated if you use this link to sign up.*

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Enter to Win a Copy of Super Simple Stick Weaving

Last week, I had a little booklet called Super Simple Stick Weaving published. The book uses Clover weaving sticks, a neat tool that lets you use yarn to weave pieces of fabric without a fancy loom.

This booklet is meant for tweens and teens, but anyone can try out the projects in it. There are even instructions in the front to help you learn all the basics.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Oh, Baby! Knit Baby Booties + Choosing Baby Yarn

Knitting baby gifts is awesome because they're so darn tiny. They take no time at all when compared with, say, that pair of socks you knit your Dad for Christmas that took more than ten hours.

I made these cute booties for my friend Anna's baby girl. She's due very soon, though I think it might take some time for Baby L to grow into these. Anna was the first person I met in Asheville, and as an ex-NYCer herself, she was a lifesaver when I transitioned from Brooklyn to Asheville. Her baby deserves lots of handknit goodies.

Yarn: Lion Brand Modern Baby in Green

Pattern: Time Flies Booties from What to Knit When You're Expecting by Nikki Van De Car

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

FREE eGuide: Take Better Photos of Your Crafts (and Everything Else)

When you blog on a budget, you have to be a jack of all trades. You need to have skills in HTML, CSS, writing headlines, tagging your posts -- an amount of knowledge that is usually spread throughout a web team of ten people. But the one area where I struggle most is taking photos.

Photos are one of the most important parts of blogging. Photos are what most readers notice first, and if your photos are yucky, you're likely to miss out on a lot of page views.

Taking great photos doesn't just apply to blogging. It can even apply to crafters who want to sell their patterns, photograph an event, or show off their work on Ravelry.

If you're like me and you struggle with getting the right light, focus, props, and angle with your camera, then this free eGuide from Craftsy is for you.

Download the Free Photography eGuide from Craftsy and start improving your photos now.

*Please note that the above is an affiliate link.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Feisty Links: Succulent Towers, Three-Color Shawls + Textured Clutches

It was a weird week, weather-wise. On Monday it snowed. Today, the high is 66 degrees.

Here's demon kitty in a rare peaceful moment, watching the snow on Monday.

And now for some of my favorite links this week!

1. These pinecone succulent towers from Rad Megan are a great distraction until spring arrives.

2. My sock knitting obsession led me to the public library, where I checked out The Knitter's Book of Socks by Clara Parkes. I love checking out knitting books from the library so I can take my time flipping through them and deciding if I want to buy them. Definitely going to buy this one.

3. These Three-Color Shawls from Kettle Yarn Company might just make me drop my socks for a minute to knit up another shawl.

4. I added this free Short-Row Textured Purse knitting pattern from CraftStylish to my to-knit list. Sigh. That list is realllly long.

5. This needle-felted pincushion from Mollie Makes is shaped like a teacup. A teacup!

6. My friend Liz from Cozyblue is creating and testing new constellation prints. They are awesome.

Friday, February 6, 2015

In Progress: Knitting Cobalt Very Vanilla Socks

Here's a little peek into what I'm working on this week. Oh, what a surprise. I'm still knitting socks!

Pattern: Very Vanilla Socks (FREE on Craftsy! Please note that I'm using an affiliate link.)
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in Cobalt Mix

Jealous of how nice my dad's Christmas socks felt, I decided it was time to knit up a pair for myself using the same yarn. I chose a really basic sock pattern to go with it because I'm thinking about decorating the socks with French knots. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Knitting on Auto Pilot: Fingering-Weight Lace Shawl

Oops. I knitted this shawl before the cold weather crept in, but I forgot to post photos of it.

After working on lots of projects that required paying close attention to the pattern and instructions, I needed something I could knit on auto pilot. With increases only on the edges and in the middle, this shawl fit the bill.

I love this pattern because you can memorize it, then work on it without ever referring to the pattern. I just knit until I ran out of a color, attached a new skein, and kept on knitting.

Pattern: Basic shawl pattern from the Knitty and Color kit I bought at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair
Yarn: Knitty and Color, a small yarn company based in Georgia

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Feisty Links: Free Desktop Calendar, Sexy Men with Yarn + Knitting for a Good Cause

1. This free Marimekko desktop calendar is gonna get me through the February winter hump.

2. Craftsy announced their 2015 Craftsy Blogger Award winners. Go find new crafty blogs to follow (as if you needed more...)

3. The Great British Sewing Bee begins Series 3 this week. Woohoo!

4. I saw some awesome art at Asheville Art Museum this weekend. One of my favorites was the X, Y + Z: Dimensions in Sculpture, which includes the fiber art at the top of this post.

5. A Sexy Man Yarn Calendar. Need I say more? (Thanks to my friend Angela for sending this my way!)

6. Tamara at KnitOasis kicked off her Big 10 Knit-a-Long. Check it out to find out how you can knit for a good cause this year!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Yep, It's Another Pair of Hand Knit Socks

I complained for weeks about how long it took me to make my dad's Christmas socks, and then I immediately cast on yet another pair of socks. Knitting can sometimes make us crazy, yeah?

This time around was way easier, in part because I used knitting needles that were one size larger than the ones I used for my dad's socks and in part because this sock pattern was much simpler.

Pattern: Simple Skyp Socks (FREE on Craftsy;! Note that this is an affiliate link.)
Yarn: Schoppel Zauberball in 1507 Autumn Wind

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Knit Lace Wedge Yoke Sweater

After working on my dad's crazy size 1 needle socks, I needed something chunky that was going to work up quickly. Cue the Lace Wedge Yoke Sweater!

Yarn: Cascade Eco + in Sapphire
Pattern: Lace Wedge Yoke Sweater designed by Eunny Jang for Choose Your Own Sweater Adventure Craftsy class

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Chunky Knit Cowl for Keshia

Let the Christmas gifts continue! I knit this chunky cowl for my sister-in-law, Keshia. It's straight out of my book, Chunky Knits, and it was designed by Brenda Lavell.

I made my chunky cowl slightly smaller than the one Brenda designed by changing up the yarn just a bit. I love how it turned out. The open stitches create instant buttonholes, so you can move the placement of the buttons wherever you want depending on how tight or loose you want the cowl to fit.

Pattern: Goldenrod Cowl from Chunky Knits by Brenda Lavell

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hand Knit Christmas Socks for Dad

My dad is finally getting a mention on the blog! I'm ashamed to say this was the first Christmas I'd ever given him something handmade.

Dad isn't the type of guy to wear gloves, hats, scarves, or any other accessory for that matter. So this year I thought I'd do a little experiment and see how he does with a pair of knitted socks!

I used the For My Man Socks pattern from Craftsy (note that I used an affiliate link there), and I was knitting right up until December 22nd. The pattern took a while to memorize, but once I got the hang of it, I moved along much faster.

Pattern: For My Man Socks by Laura Nelkin
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine