Category Archives: Purl

Karma’s Hand-Stamped Tote

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I took my stamping skills to a new level with this project!  My inspiration for this craft came from a genius subscription-based craft company called WhimseyBox.  I found their fabric stamping tutorial incredibly helpful.

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I found an inexpensive canvas tote bag at my local A.C. Moore Craft Supply Store.  This one is particularly useful for Karma’s overnight trips to the Doggie Hotel or road trips with us because it has 2 large front pockets, perfect for a leash or treats (or both!)

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After printing my desired image, I used a #2 pencil to cover the image with lead.  Then, I flipped it onto the blank carving block and rubbed the image to transfer the pencil marks.

Then, the carving begins!  A great craft to get out some aggression!! :)

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An inexpensive brayer was necessary to get even amounts of ink on the stamp.

I used an oil-based fabric ink in White and Orange.

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Ta-Da!  The final product is both practical and fun!  I love that having Karma’s name on her sleepover bag is helpful to Doggie Day Care and an edgy expression of creativity.   Useful art is the BEST!

Personalized Luggage Tag

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I made this personalized luggage tag with Echino Decoro Fabric “Buck Turquoise” and Dear Stella “Honey Crisp/Twiggy Brown”.  It was my first project with a button hole.  My new sewing machine makes this a breeze!   The button hole makes the perfect way to attach the ribbon.

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I found a very helpful tutorial from Soubelles that includes step-by-step directions.

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This print makes me giggle!  I love this Buck in eyeglasses!

 

Kitchen Gear with Attitude

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For an accessory to my Father’s Day present, I embellished a pot holder with the same Echino “Buck with Glasses” Fabric.   I pre-washed and ironed a scrap to prepare for this project.

Trimming the fabric was tricky due to the repeating pattern.  I wanted to showcase a Buck in the bottom center.  Unfortunately, that meant there would be a small part of another deer peeking out on the side.

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I carefully folded in the edges and pinned the fabric in place.  Using a neutral colored thread, I slowly machine stitched around the perimeter to tack it in place.

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I found this Room Essentials set of 2 Pot Holders and Oven Mitt at Target.  I thought the tan was the perfect neutral background for my Echino Fabric by Etsuko Furuya “Buck with Glasses” (EF500 in Blue).

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Voila!  Here is a peek at the whole gift set:

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 This project was so much fun!  I love practical and personalized gifts and lucky for my Dad –  this one is both! :)

My 1st Baby Blanket

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FREE PATTERN: available here from Lion Brand by Martha Stewart.

SUBSTITUTE YARN: Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima – Yellow Rose ($9.50/hank from yarn.com)

FLICKING TUTORIAL: available here by Very Pink.com

My Knit Notes:

5/5/13: A road trip project for my big trip to Florida for my swearing in ceremony (into the Florida Bar). Even though my “Sheldon” Bobble Sheep is yet to have any feet, I was adamant about starting this project for some mindless knitting in the long car ride from NY to FL. My husband and I are hoping on our first child in the next few years, so he encouraged me to start a baby blanket. :)

This is my first project using the “flicking” technique. I am an English knitter, so I decided in an effort to pick up speed and maintain contact with the right needle, I would try verypink.com ‘s technique of pivoting the right needle to hook the working yarn. While I have to admit it felt a bit awkward in the beginning, I am really loving the feeling now. It will take time to develop a consistent position for the working yarn in my right index finger. This will be key to maintaining a consistent tension throughout the work.

I’m using my Knitter’s Pride circular needles, size 8. I love that I can keep switching the length of the cable to accommodate the growing width of this project. I experienced my first splinter today. Yuck! Luckily my husband cut me a small piece of sandpaper to keep in my knitting tool pouch to quickly remedy this bamboo ailment.

5/16/13: Webs (yarn.com) sent replacement needles just in time. I suffered 2 painful splinters on my road trip while trying to use the damaged ones. Luckily, when I got home my needles had already arrived! No charge! Great customer service!

I’m struggling with the decreasing lace panels “C”s. I am not sure but it creates a different 3 hole pattern in the panel. Maybe it’s intentional. I’m not sure. My first and third rows of holes were aligned on all the “A” lace panels during the increase.

I have used 2 skeins so far, so I am happy that I estimated needing 4. The plan was to have at least 1 skein leftover for a baby accessory to match – a tiny hat perhaps!

It has been exciting to share this project with my mom, nana and sister on my road trip home to FL. It is special because my husband and I have baby plans on the horizon. :) it’s really exciting to start allowing myself to dream about this goal in my life. I’ve held off for a long time while we trudged through college, grad school, then law school. I want to work for a few years before I attempt the mom title, but at least this project is a physical representation of my commitment to achieve this lifelong goal.

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I am loving this lemony yellow! It’s called Yellow Rose. It’s quite silky – no knots formed in my hand wound center pulled balls. It’s soft and sweet!

Flicking is going great! I have found that wrapping the working yarn around my ring finger creates the perfect tension.

5/19/13: The final row is complete! Weaving in the ends must wait for another (more patient) day!

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  Check out this project and connect with me on Ravelry!

Rolled Hem Hanky

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I love creating handmade gifts.  For Father’s Day, I decided to step up my game and make up for my lost crafting years (aka law school) and get back to basics to create a special surprise for my step father.  He is the best dressed guy around, so a fun summertime handkerchief that would be a festive pocket square was the perfect project.

I started with a tutorial from the Purl Bee Blog.

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I used a great fabric called Liberty of London Tana Lawn Classic.  It is so luxuriously soft and silky, yet 100% cotton.  It was the perfect fabric for this project because it is silky enough to be displayed as a pocket square, yet soft enough to be used as a handkerchief as well.  This pattern reminds me of The Great Gatsby – which seems to be a hot trend this season.  IMG_6462

I also picked up hand sewing thread in white (for a great contrast on the rolled hem) and size 10 hand sewing needles.

IMG_6460It was useful to acquire a quilting square for this project.  It seemed like the appropriate time to add one to my toolbox, so I found this Quilt Square on Amazon by “Quilt in a Day”.  And of course, my handy rotary cutter was a blessing for this project (as cutting the perfect square on an exact pattern was necessary).IMG_6463

The rolled hem was really fun to make!  The tutorial makes it SUPER easy and straightforward.  I opted to use a few lengths of thread (about 20 inches each).  The instructions also recommend using one long 60″ thread as an alternative.IMG_6506

For a personalized touch, I added this embroidery detail.  I am still enamored with my new Brother 4200 PRW Sewing Machine that does all these fancy stitches.  I attached Scot’s initials in the bottom right corner.  I hope this handkerchief will be a useful addition to his dapper wardrobe!

Happy Father’s Day!

 

‘Downton Abbey’ inspired Lucy Hat

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I’m crazy about Downton Abbey!  I love the cloche hat – so stylish! So of course, I fell head over heels for this pattern!  It’s called The Lucy Hat.  It’s made with the most amazing yarn called Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in “Hickory” and “Tart”.  I had a difficult time tracking down these colorways, but ultimately landed a skein of each from Jimmy Beans Wool.  Woot! Woot!  (Even though the stock was listed as 0, it shipped to me the next business day! It certainly pays to ask! Excellent customer service!)

I tried to substitute with “Teddy Bear” and “Byzantine” – which are the similar but more muted than these.

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Wrap Stitch: I found the verypink.com tutorials helpful here. I was relieved to find that it wasn’t necessary to pick up the wraps in subsequent rows. What a relief! I think sparing us that challenge was kind of the designer. :)

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I just watched ‘Christmas at Downton’ last night.  It was fun to see all the cloche hats in action!  I love the post-war style; as the ladies’ clothes get a little more simple, their accessories have a chance to shine!  (Especially these hats!) My Season 2 DVD has a special feature, in which the actors discuss their characters’ style of dress throughout the season.  I love it!

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My Knit Notes:

5/19/13: This is my first experience with Madelinetosh.  This hickory colorway is everything I was hoping for. It has great color variety and richness. I was going to substitute with Teddy Bear, but I am so glad I didn’t. It was more solid color without the variation that I love a out Hickory. No shedding so far. It’s a quite durable fiber, which is perfect for a hat. It seems like it will stand up to years of use.

5/20/13: short rows done! Ready for the contrast color!

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5/21/13: stockinette in the round = knit every round. Why is this so confusing? I wish the designer would just say knit! This is the first time I’ve seen this straight knit referred to as stockinette in a circular pattern. I’m glad I was paying close attention to the model photo and realized there is no purling in the mid-section.

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5/25/13: I decided to make the body a bit longer than the pattern suggests. I went for 6.25 instead of 5.25 inches.  This is a testament to the customization you can achieve when creating garments with yourself in mind.  I love wearing hats low and over my ears a bit.  To suit me and to prevent tugging from making the top perfectly round, I added one inch.

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5/29/13: All done! Ends weaved in! I decided not to sew down the flap, I think its “adjustability” will be beneficial with use.

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I truly LOVED making this project.  I have my eye on a similar pattern that will use this same type of yarn.  I am a BIG fan of Madelinetosh after this and I can’t wait to order a blue hue for a hat for my husband.  It knit up very fast!  Since it is knit from the bottom upwards, the challenge of the flap is over right up front and then the easy mindless knitting of the body begins.  I loved the top decreases.  It adds a subtle sophistication to this project.  I also think that this pattern is so gorgeous because it is perfectly suited to this Tosh Vintage yarn.  It has enough firmness to keep a shape and enough stability to withstand use during wear.  I love it!

 Check out this project and connect with me on Ravelry!

 

Whimsical Kitchen Towels

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Adding a little whimsy to your kitchen is easy with this project!  I found an interesting way to embellish kitchen towels to add some jazz to an otherwise plain ole’ towel.  For some inspiration, I found the this tutorial helpful on Sew4Home that includes detailed measurement suggestions and technique tips.

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As a special Father’s Day present, I embellished two kitchen towels for my Dad.  He recently renovated his kitchen, so accessorizing now is a must!  He loves using blue accents.  I thought this Echino “Buck with Glasses” Fabric was perfect for my Dad – the avid deer hunter and father of 2 eyeglass-wearing daughters. 8)

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I found a complementary fabric of beige bubbles at my local JoAnn store.  I used it to trim the blue Echino print and add a soft detail to the kitchen towels.    The towels are 100% cotton Room Essentials brand from Target and measure 16 inches by 26 inches.  The subtle lattice detail in the towels adds another layer of texture.

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I added a special embroidery on one towel for my special gift recipient. :)  My new sewing machine, Brother PC 420, has so many fun options for decorative stitches and lettering.  It was a fun experiment!

Kitchen Towels Buck with Glasses 7 I decided to make two different designs, as seen here.  It was fun to alternate the fabric dimensions a bit.

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 Voila!  Super cute kitchen towels!

My Adventure: Amy Butler’s Weekender Tote Bag

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For my first Amy Butler project, I fell in love with the Weekender Tote Bag pattern.  An customized overnight bag sounded so romantic, so I dove in head first!  I am pleased with the results and my improved skills.  I hope my detailed account of this experience will be helpful to those attempting this project.

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I found the cutest home decor fabric by HGTV at my local JoAnn Store.  I took the time during the cutting phase to make the exterior pocket pieces match the pattern exactly for the pieces cut for the front and back exterior panels.  This made all the difference in the final result.

THE PIPING:

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Creating my own piping was actually quite fun.  Sewing the strips together on a bias was challenging to get the angle exact, but it worked up beautifully.  I only purchased the cotton cording required and it was an accurate estimate of the piping needed.  Only a small segment was discarded in the end.

THE ZIPPER:

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When making this zipper, I am so happy that I decided to trust the instructions and throw logic out the window.  I have no idea how it turned out so perfectly because the instructions were a bit bizarre in instructing you to sew over the zipper and close it in completely.  But in the end, it’s gorgeous!  I’m completely shocked!

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For me, this was the end of the easy part of the pattern.  I had no issues when creating the front and back panels and the zipper piece.  However, when I started with the joining process I was in pure misery.  I had to rescue my bobbin from a nest of tangled thread so many times!  Not only do you have to join the pieces, but you also have to be mindful of the alignment of the piping! Oh the nightmare!

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The binder clips look hilarious!  It was the only way to keep the pieces together while sewing.  I had to throw away a few dozen bent pins after this project.  Oh well!

ADDED FEATURES:

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I added silver purse feet to the bottom of the Weekender Tote.  Since I used a lighter fabric for the exterior, I thought it would be a good idea to keep the fabric off the floor as much as possible.  I also finished the project with a light mist of Scotch Guard.

THE INTERIOR:

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The interior was the worst part of this crafting experience.  I didn’t look ahead to realize that it would require extensive hand sewing.  It took at least a week for my fingers to heal!  The interior sewing was incredibly awkward because the fabric shifts as you pull it open to do the actual sewing.  This causes some looseness inside.  I tried my best to keep it tight, away from the zipper and tacked well in the corners.

My Reflection:

All in all, the project was a satisfying experience.  In hindsight, it was probably too advanced for my newbie-level skills.  I can’t believe I used my old sewing machine – it struggled so much to sew on the thickness this project required.  We both survived, but my old Brother LS1717 is a little worse for wear.

“Sheldon” the Bobble Sheep

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My first adventure with Bobbles! Woot Woot! Learning a “Bobble” stitch has been on my “Knit Before I Die” list for a long time.  When I saw this adorable project on the PurlBee.com blog, I just fell in love Kiss ………

PATTERN: http://www.purlbee.com/bobble-sheep-pillow/

It is made with 2 luscious yarns:

  • Blue Sky Alpaca Sport Weight in Dark Gray – 1 skein
  • Purl Soho Super Soft Merino in Heirloom White – 3 skeins

 

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My Knit Notes:

4/5/13: I am getting the hang of the bobble stitch. Thank heaven for the mini tutorial on Purl Bee -http://www.purlbee.com/bobble-5-stitch-garter-bobble/

This is my first project with the Crochet chain cast-on technique (aka Provisional Cast On), so I am anxious to see how it turns out when I have to return to the live stitches on the belly. I found this tutorial SUPER helpful for the Provision Cast On method: http://verypink.com/2011/02/15/provisional-cast-on/

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It is so adorable already! The bobbles have such an interesting texture that I love holding it even when I’m not in the knitting throws. The side gusset worked out perfectly. The pillow architecture is coming together beautifully.

There is a typo on Row 17. There is any extra “K2” before the SM. Disregard that.

I added new pictures – showing my progress. I am now starting the mid-section of the Sheep. No more increasing! :) The instruction for the markers is incredibly helpful.

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4/16/13: Starting the decrease! Starting the last skein of the Merino! I’m getting nervous about the other parts, but hopefully I will conquer my fears soon. Picked up a mini Sheep toy for Karma, my dog. Now she can have her own! Looks the same!

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4/22/13: The body is complete! I survived the kitchener stitch to close up the back. Now, its on to the head! I wish that I would have waited to weave in the ends because I just realized that I will be picking up stitches in this same area to create the head and ears. I hope I don’t accidentally pick up the weaved-in ends as new stitches!

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4/27/13: Oh no! Yesterday I cast on the head beautifully and knit the whole thing – ready for kitchener stitch and a little stuffing – when I realized that I had put the head on the tail’s spot! I was devastated!! I had already cut the yarn and everything! I can’t believe I never noticed. I knit the piece in one sitting, so I guess I never laid it down to notice the curvature where the head should be. I snapped a few pictures, then ‘frogged’ the head into a small center-wound ball and I am ready to try again on the correct place soon. Wish me luck! lol!

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5/1/13: Almost there…. Finished the head (now in the right spot..lol), added the adorable ears and tail. The ears are so cute! They give this sheep such personality. I was debating on including the ears, but I am so glad that I went for it. The tail is pretty plain, but adds spunk nonetheless.

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I also did the body stuffing and final grafting to close the belly today. I wish that I would have left a longer tail at the initial cast on because I ran out during the Kitchener stitch and had to add on about a foot. I love how it turned out. Now only feet to go! lol! what a pun!

My Insight:

I think the pattern needs some clarification -

  1. When casting on for the head: you make 3 stitches for each one picked up only on the left and right sides of the head (not the top of the head). Its a 3-sided head. For the top, you only make one out of each one picked up. Therefore, 15 becomes 45 on left, 15 becomes 45 on the right, and 2 becomes 2 on the top. Total: 92 stitches after the set up. Then this is divided onto 4 DPNs for 16,30,30,16.
  2. I used DPNs for the head and the markers kept slipping off, so I decided to clip them onto the yarn in the row below so I could see them but didn’t have to slip each round or worry about them constantly falling off. This was effective.
  3. When casting on initially make sure you leave a tail that is long enough for the final stage – Kitchener stitch. I had to add some length at the end and it felt awkward. I wish I would have known to leave more than a few inches, which I typically leave for weaving in.
  4. There should be clearer notation that the tail is NOT knit in the round. I made it first connecting in the round, only to rip it back out and try again. Since it comes right after the ears, I was in circular mode I guess. :)

Check out this project and connect with me on Ravelry!

Karma’s New Dog Bed


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From FabricWorm.com, I found the most adorable print for my dog, Karma.  I purchased a unit (1/2 yard) without a real plan for how I would use it.  It has all of Karma’s mannerisms captured in the cartoon dogs in this modern playful print, so I knew I just had to have some! It’s by Michael Miller called “Dog Speak Multi”.

On sale last week at Target, I found a dog bed insert (poly filled) for less than $10.00.  It’s from Target’s Boots & Barley line.  Target sells many covers, but I ventured to make my own!  The bed measures 36 inches by 29 inches, so I needed a complementary print to cover the entire face of  the pet bed.  I paired this designer fabric with a inexpensive light grey chevron print that I found at my local JoAnn store.  I only needed 1/2 yard.

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I also picked up a solid light grey fabric to use for the backside.  Instead of a zipper, I used overlapping back pieces to hold in the insert.  To finish each edge of the overlap, I used a “Loopy” decorative stitch.

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I had some scrap fabric from a recent project called Stampin’ Up Tea for Two Fabric that I used to create a “K” on the bottom right of the dog bed.  I used a decorative zig-zag stitch to tack it in place.

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  It was my first time to add applique like this – daring to wing it on my own but I think it worked beautifully!

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BIG YAWN!  Now, Karma is ready for a nap!

 

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