Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Best Nine of 2016 on Instagram

This year was full of lots of awesome crafts. My Instagram #BestNineof2016 proves that everyone likes my knitted sweaters for sure!

They also like unicorns, both pooping and floating.

From top left clockwise:
Lovebird Sweater
Me with my birthday unicorn
The cynical knitter
Commonwealth Sweater (photos coming soon)
Storm over Lake Lure
Pooping Unicorn Cross Stitch
Yarn art from my friend Daphne
Alex's Cotswold Henley
Center: Holiday Ornament Trio

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Festival of Lights Hanukkah Embroidery

Can you tell I've been crafting my face off this year? Cause I have.

This year, my friend Liz of cozyblue released a Hanukkah embroidery pattern. I've made a lot of Liz's patterns lately (see the Holiday Ornament Trio, for example) and I thought this one would be perfect for my mother-in-law.

Pattern: Festival of Lights by cozyblue

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Embroidered Holiday Ornament Trio

It's the first day of December, and our Christmas tree is up. Actually it's been up for almost a week. Ironically enough, this is thanks to my Jewish husband bugging the crap out of me the day after Thanksgiving.

A few months ago, I made these awesome embroidered holiday ornaments that my friend Liz (a.k.a. Cozyblue) designed. I made them so long ago that I actually forgot to put them on the tree until Alex reminded me.

Floss: DMC floss in Blanc

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Lovebird Sweater and a Scary Knitting Story

Sometimes a terrible knitting experience can work out for the best.

Last winter, I knit this gorgeous sweater. The colorwork wasn't puckering, there were no holes, and I was so flippin pleased with myself. Then I tried it on.

I looked like a wrestler. Because I knit the sweater to fit my bust, the rest of the fit was off quite a bit in the shoulders. So I put it in the closet and I didn't look at it for a year.

Don't worry. There's good news. This mishap resulted in me being featured on the Pom Pom Quarterly podcast. Scroll to the bottom for more on that...

Pattern: Lovebird Sweater by Donna Kay
Yarn: Cascade 220 Sport in Natural and Lake Chelan Heather

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Alex's Knit Cotswold Henley Sweater

After a failed attempt at properly fitting a gorgeous sweater for myself, I thought I'd give men's knit sweaters a go.

This was my first time knitting a sweater for a man, mostly because none of my boyfriends in the past have deserved one. (Heh heh.) Now that Alex and I are legally bonded, I figured it was safe. He legally has to love the sweater, just like he legally has to love me.

Have you ever heard that it was bad luck to knit a sweater for your boyfriend? I totally get why that's true.

Pattern: Cotswold Henley by Meghan Babin (featured in Interweave Knits Fall 2015)
Yarn: Plymouth Encore Tweed in Teal

Sweaters are a labor of love. It took me about a month to finish this one, but I was really happy with the results. I worked on it every time I had a free moment, otherwise it probably would've taken a lot longer.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Knit Fingerless Gloves Perfect for Fall

Two of my college BFFs have birthdays later in the year, so when they both planned to visit me at the same time, I wanted to make them something special.

When I worked in a warehouse-style office, I wore fingerless gloves a lot. They keep you warm while you do things like type. They're especially handy in transition seasons like fall.

Pattern: Vermeer Hat & Gloves Pattern by Rowan (FREE download)
Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Superwash in Toffee and Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in Chocolate Brown

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

More Poop Humor Cross Stitch for the Bathroom

Once I stitched that rainbow-pooping unicorn, I couldn't stop. We had another bathroom that was in need of art, so Alex bought me a second poop humor cross stitch pattern. We love it, and our guests seem to love it, too. (We judge the guests who don't think it's funny.)

I present Friends Forever, a heart-warming picture of two friends united for life.

This one didn't take nearly as long as the unicorn, which was a relief. I love cross stitch, but those charts make my eyes blurry and tired after a while.

Pattern: Poo and Toilet Paper Friends Forever by Crazzzy Stitch on Etsy

Monday, September 26, 2016

Knit Socks to Commemorate Our Wedding

I like to commemorate practically everything with some kind of knitting. So when Alex and I got married in Savannah, I picked up some sock yarn so that I could make us sorta-matching knitted socks to pay tribute to the special occasion.

What should impress you most is that I finished these socks just three months after we were married. Miracles do happen.

I wanted a sock that was a little bit lacy and had an interesting edge on the cuff. Alex just wanted a pair with a cool texture. Here are the patterns I chose, along with the yarn details:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Free Patterns for Knitted Gift Card Holders on Craftsy

I'm sorry, but we have to talk about the holidays.

I'm so thrilled to be a part of Craftsy's just-released holiday knitting guide, A Knitter's Handmade Holiday! You'll find all kinds of goodies in there like one-skein gifts, kit ideas, tips, and even a shortbread recipe. Most importantly, you'll find inspiration to get started on your holiday knitting now.

Check out pages 10-11 for tips for knitting on the go from me and fellow Craftsy blogger Kathryn Vercillo. On pages 26-27, you'll find my knitted gift card holder pattern along with several different variations from the Craftsy team.

Download A Knitter's Handmade Holiday for free here!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Crochet Giant Doughnut Floor Pouf

It's rare that I see something I want to make and then get started on it immediately, but that was totally the case with this Giant Donut Floor Pouf.

I spotted the Giant Donut Floor Pouf on both designer Twinkie Chan's Instagram account, as well as on Lion Brand's page. I showed it to Alex, and we both agreed that our living room needed it. Bad.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

What My Crafty Friends Made Me For My Wedding

Having crafty, creative friends is rewarding in so many ways. They're always up for a craft night, they can help you with project troubleshooting, and when you get married, they make you super awesome gifts.

Alex and I eloped, so there was no formal celebration. As a gift, my sweet crafty friends took turns stitching on this fabric to create a collaboration that makes me want to both laugh and cry at the same time.

Each person contributed something to the hoop. It was fun to try to figure out who contributed what. Sally, for example, is a pom pom fanatic, so I immediately knew the two pom poms were her creations. (She added the "yarn floozie" button, too.) Sonali is constantly beading, so she added the little cluster of beads near the top. Krista stitched the cute little rhino and added other cool fabrics. Erica added fun embellishments like the rickrack, while Tara stitched the glitter hearts. Liz added the embroidered flowers and red French knots, and Stephanie painted the hoop, plus added the purple crochet flower with the Paul McCartney button on it. 

What can I say? My friends know what I like.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rainbow-Pooping Unicorn Cross Stitch

You're about to see what's probably one of Alex's favorite things I've ever made. (Yes, he likes it even more than his Doctor Who TARDIS socks.)

We bought a house and moved in March. Once we got everything settled, we noticed that our bathrooms were missing something. Something that's not very classy. Enter the rainbow-pooping unicorn!

I am a big fan of potty humor, and by that I mean that I giggle about poop like a 5 year-old. Alex found this pattern on Etsy for me, and we knew it was the one.

Pattern: Unicorn Pooping Rainbow by Crazzzy Stitch on Etsy

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Alex's Waffle Rib Socks

It's summer, and yes, I'm still knitting socks. It's like an itch that I just have to scratch or I'll go crazy.

I can't help it. Socks are so portable, and if you find the right pattern then you don't even have to look at it very often. It's perfect for traveling or when you're feeling lazy and don't want to concentrate too hard.

My latest sock knitting project is a pattern that I just stitched to make my own Waffle Rib Socks. Alex really liked my socks, so now he and I have twin socks. Sort of.

(It's not that Nietzsche wants to be in all our photos. It's just that when we go outside, he sticks close to us.)

Pattern: Waffle Rib Socks (FREE pattern on Craftsy)
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Alegria in Malvin (75% superwash merino, 25% polyamide)

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Moon & the Mountain Knit Shawl

Clearly, hot summer weather doesn't stop me from knitting.

I needed a little break from knitting socks, but I didn't want to spend any money on yarn at the moment. So I dug into my stash and found the yarn to make this soft, beautiful shawl that I spotted on Craftsy.

Pattern: The Moon & the Mountain (also available as a kit on Craftsy that comes with both the yarn and the pattern)
Yarn: Cloudborn Superwash Merino Bulky in Grey Heather and Ocean

I like this pattern because once you get the stripe repeat down, you just have to refer to a handy little chart to figure out how far over to begin the Ocean stripes. The shawl worked up pretty quickly, and it was a nice project to work on while watching TV. (I watched the Tom Petty Running Down a Dream documentary on Netflix while I worked on this. And yes, the documentary is four hours long. So worth it.)

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Goodwill Tricot Vintage Skirt Gets a New Home

A few months ago, I spotted this awesome unfinished skirt at a Blackberg Creative Studios pop-up shop. It had to be mine.

The skirt had a hand-stitched hem and lovely machine-stitched seams, but it was missing a waistband. I decided that since I didn't have any matching tricot fabric at home, I would just cut from the top of the skirt to make a new waistband.

Nietzsche is like a little shadow these days, so I let him be in the picture.

The only downside to this vintage fabric is that it clings to your legs if you -- ahem -- don't do a great job shaving your legs. Or don't actually try to shave above the knee at all.

Check out those awesome colors!

This is what the top of the skirt looked like before I cut into it. I just measured twice the width of my elastic, plus a 1" seam allowance so I would know how much of the waistband to cut off. Then I used chalk to mark where I needed to cut.

I chopped off a few inches for the waist band, then I gathered the rest of the skirt.

I used an old length of elastic that I found in my great aunt's stash for the waistband. I like that it's a bit wider than the usual elastic, so it doesn't roll in on itself too easily.

Have you ever given an old skirt a makeover? It certainly did take less time than starting from scratch!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Whales Road Waffle Rib Socks

Are you tired of looking at feet on my blog, as well as my blinding white legs? At least they're covered in something pretty.

These days I always seem to have a pair of socks going, even when I'm working on other things. Some people think it's crazy to knit socks during warm weather, but I think it's just sensible planning! When cold weather does hit, I'll have these little babies to keep me warm. And for now I can wear them around the house on chilly mornings.

My latest knit socks are thankfully washable, and they're knit with a color that I've had my eye on for months. It's like all my favorite colors rolled into one supersoft (and superwash!) yarn.

Pattern: Waffle Rib Socks (FREE on Craftsy)
Yarn: Malabrigo Mechita in Whales Road

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Family Tree: Mother's Day Embroidery Gift

Happy Mother's Day! This year I decided to do a combo Mother's Day-Father's Day gift and embroider a family tree for both my parents.

Pattern: CozyBlue's Family Tree, available on Etsy

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dropcloth Embroidery Sampler

A few years ago -- I'm embarrassed to say how many -- I won a Dropcloth embroidery sampler from Creativebug. And I just got around to stitching it a few months ago.

Stitching this was really easy, because the designer Rebecca Rinquist has a Creativebug class that goes right along with it. So if you're stuck on a stitch, you can just look up the video and watch Rebecca demonstrate what you should do. I think it made stitching go a lot faster than if I had to look up each stitch.

(If you're interested, you can enroll in Rebecca Rinquist's Creativebug Advanced Embroidery Sampler class here.)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Smocked Guernsey Knit Socks

Socks, socks, and more knit socks! I always seem to have a pair of socks on my knitting needles these days. Part of the reason is because Alex keeps requesting them.

When I saw the new free Craftsy 2016 Sock Knit-Along, I knew I had to get in on the action. There are three patterns included, and this is the first one that was released.

Pattern: Smocked Guernsey Socks by Lucy Neatby (available FREE on Craftsy here)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cuddly-Cute Crochet Ripple Blankets

Last fall, a friend commissioned me to make Christmas presents for her two little ones. The result: two cuddly-cute blankets in the kiddos' favorite colors.

I miraculously finished both before Christmas, and our friend sent sweet photos not long after to show us how the kids were enjoying the blanket. I love knowing that these blankets are being smothered in sticky popcorn-butter hands while the kids watch movies. (Thank goodness they're washable.)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Crochet Mermaid Tail Blanket

Yes, I'm still posting Christmas gift photos. There were just so many! This one was a crochet mermaid tail blanket for my 4 year-old niece, Kinsley.

You may remember that I made a shark blanket for my nephew, Carson. This is the shark blanket's much gentler counterpart. No bloody teeth here!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Download a FREE eGuide to Sock Knitting

It's no secret: I've been knitting a lot of socks over the past year or so. My sock-knitting obsession is officially out in the open now, thanks to Craftsy's FREE Success with Sock Knitting e-Guide that features my tips and rambling about how much I love knitting socks. (There are also tips and tutorials from my fellow Craftsy contributor Emily Vanek.) 

Download the guide here to get tips on everything from toe styles to heel styles, plus tips and tricks to help you out along the way. Oh, and there's plenty of sock eye candy if you're into that sort of thing. I know I am.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Coffee and Cables: Knit Cable Hats (Cable Eye Candy Ahead)

Cable eye candy! Back in the fall, I checked out a Rowan Yarn Tasting at one of my LYSs, The Knitting Diva. I entered the raffle, and a few days later I got a call that I had won a skein of a new Rowan  yarn. (Yes, I definitely squealed on the phone. I have no shame.)

The Rowan yarn that I won came with a pattern, and Alex was flipping out over it. With just one skein of  yarn I was able to make a hat for him and a pair of gloves for another friend. (More on the gloves later.)

Pattern: Vermeer Hat & Gloves Pattern by Rowan (FREE download)
Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Superwash in Toffee

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Waterspout Knit Lace Shawl

A few weeks ago when we had 14" of snow, giving me the chance to finish this pretty shawl.

The photo above is actually a double-DIY, since I'm wearing my Colette Moneta Dress with the shawl. It's a super comfy knit dress that I made using fabric my mom gave me and the serger Alex bought me for my birthday. (More on that later!)

Anyway, back to the Waterspout Shawl.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Doctor Who TARDIS Knit Socks

At long last, I present Alex's Christmas socks! Alex is a huge Doctor Who fan (his favorite doctor goes back and forth between Smith and Tennant), and I managed to keep these a secret until Christmas. Everyone -- especially the people at my stitch groups -- knew about the socks except for Alex. I don't know how I pulled it off!

Pattern: FREE Police Box Sox by Audry Nicklin on Ravelry
Yarn: Schachenmayr Regia Trendpoint 6615 Blue, plus scraps of fingering-weight white and black yarn

The pattern was well-written. The colorwork was a pain in the butt, but once you get past that part, you'll fly right through it.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Join Me in a FREE Sock Knit-Along!

There's no better time than now to knit a pair of cozy socks, and that's why I flipped out when I saw the new free sock knit-along on Craftsy. Good timing.

The knit-along comes with three different patterns, and Lucy Neatby -- isn't her hair the coolest? --guides you through the tricky parts. It's perfect if you're making socks for the first time. I want to knit the pair on the left for Alex and the pair on the right for me. In fact, I think I already have the yarn for both. Woohoo!

Enroll in the knit-along here for free, and join me in knitting some toasty socks!

Monday, January 18, 2016

6 Patterns to Sew in 2016

I have a lot of sewing patterns and a lot of fabric. They look sad and lonely in storage, so this year I'd like to put them to work in my wardrobe.

This list was inspired by my recent purchase of a new serger -- Alex's birthday gift to me from December. The serger will be here sometime next week, so in preparation I'm cutting out a lot of patterns (mostly skirts so far) so that I can finish those seams when the serger comes.

All of these sewing patterns are dresses except for one lonely shirt. Dresses seem to be what I sew the most, and also what I wear the most. The crazy part is that I own all of these sewing patterns except for one, and I even have fabric for most of them. Here's my wishlist for what I'd like to sew this year:

Clockwise from top left: B6284: A vintage-inspired dress from Gertie; Colette Moneta: I have a nice plum knit fabric that would be perfect for this!; M7086: A pattern from circa 1963. I bought fabric for this one at Blackberg Creative Studios during a holiday sale; V2903: I've procrastinated on this one because it requires about 7 yards of fabric. But look at that beautiful skirt!; Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top: I have a nice Liberty of London print that I've been hoarding for years that will work nicely for this one; M6886: This one's from a Craftsy kit I bought last year. The serger will be awesome for this!

What's on your to-sew list for this year?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tadpole Knit Socks for Mom

The parade of Christmas gifts continues! In 2014, I knitted socks for my dad and my mom was clearly jealous. So I knew that for 2015, I was going to make a pair for her. (Please excuse my blinding white legs in the photo.)

I actually made these socks before any of the other Christmas gifts. I finished these in August, you guys. AUGUST. Of course, that doesn't mean that I finished other gifts on time. but I was proud to get started so early. Baby steps.

Pattern: Tadpole Socks (FREE pattern on Craftsy!)
Yarn: Mustard Seed Yarn Lab Hand-Dyed Fingering Weight in Seaweed

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Crafts for the New Year + Top Instagram of 2015

My top nine Instagram photos from 2015

Funny. My most popular Instagram posts in 2015 also happen to be some of my favorites from last year. (Well except for one. You don't even want to know what happened with that sweater in the bottom middle. More on that when I stop crying.)

Every year I make the same crafty resolutions: 1) I will not buy any new craft supplies until I use up most of what is in my stash. 2) I will not begin a new project until I finish the UFOs.

This never happens. Example: 

January 1, 2016. Me: I will finish these UFOs before I begin a new project.
January 4, 2016: Me: Oops, I started a new project.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Carson's Crochet Shark Blanket

I'm still in awe over how many projects I managed to finish for Christmas. Today I'm featuring the crochet shark blanket that I stitched for my 7 year-old nephew, Carson.

Pattern: Eaten by a Shark (FREE pattern from Off the Hook)
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Gray, plus scraps of red and white

The red yarn is supposed to be blood, but Alex says it looks like the shark's gums instead. He's no fun.

See that weird stripe near the fin of the shark? That's where I used an extra skein of Red Heart Soft that I had left over from another project. It looked like it matched the Simply Soft, but I guess I was wrong.