Tuesday, November 17, 2009

advent calendar

from here


I took a break this weekend to work on a few projects. First I finished up our advent calendar for this year. I decided to keep it simple and something we could use each year.


I used items I already had on hand. The backing is a metal piece I received from one of Jenni Bowlin's monthly kits a while back which I had spray painted with chalkboard paint. The tins had been organizing a bunch of alphabet embellishments- which I ended up mixing altogether in a glass jar (which totally freaked Justin out- he said I would be regretting that move later). The ribbon I had on hand also (but only in two short pieces which I knotted together). The star is a nail I picked up at a local antique/flea market a few years ago.

To make this a little more interactive I plan on typing out a bunch of quotes and/or quick projects for each day and tuck it in with a small candy (of course).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Knitted Neck Scarf

Knitted Neck Scarf

Tools and Materials

  • Yarn: 2 skeins (50 grams )sport-weight yarn in desired color, using about 150 yards
  • Needles: 2 needles in size U.S. 4 (3 1/2 mm), 1 double-pointed needle in same size. Adjust needle size as necessary to obtain correct gauge (gauge: 5 stitches and 11 rows equal 1 inch in garter stitch)
  • Stitch holder
  • Tapestry needle

  • Knitted Neck Scarf

    When instructed to rib in the pattern below, knit 1, purl 1 alternately across the row. To wear the scarf, slip one end through either of the loops at front.

    Finished Size: 4 by 26 inches

  • Step 1

    Cast on 3 stitches.

    Step 2

    Row 1: Knit 2, slip last stitch purlwise.

    Step 3

    Row 2: With yarn in back, knit 1, increase 1 (see how to increase), knit 1, and slip last stitch purlwise.

    Step 4

    Row 3: With yarn in back, knit 1, increase 1, knit to last stitch, slip last stitch purlwise.

    Step 5

    Repeat row 3 until you have 24 stitches. (Piece should now measure about 4 1/2 inches wide.)

    Step 6

    Continue to knit across every row, still slipping last stitch of each row purlwise, until piece measures 4 inches long.

  • Step 7

    Divide (see how to divide). When you're finished, half the stitches will be on double-pointed needle and the other half will be on your working needle.

    Step 8

    Rib across the stitches on your working needle (leave the stitches on double-pointed needle as is), still slipping the last stitch purlwise. Continue for 1 1/2 inches. Transfer these ribbed stitches onto stitch holder. Break yarn, leaving a tail long enough to weave in later.

    Step 9

    Rejoin yarn, and rib across the stitches on double-pointed needle for 1 1/2 inches.

    Step 10

    Transfer all stitches onto 1 needle as follows: Slip 1 stitch purlwise from double-pointed needle, then slip 1 purlwise from working needle. Repeat across row until all stitches are on 1 needle.

  • Step 11

    Knit every row, slipping last stitch purlwise, for 15 1/2 inches. (To adjust the size of the scarf, knit fewer inches for a child or more for a large adult.)

    Step 12

    Using same method as in step 7, divide the stitches between the 2 needles.

    Step 13

    Repeat steps 8, 9, and 10.

    Step 14

    Knit every row, slipping last stitch purlwise, for 2 1/2 inches.

  • Step 15

    To finish: Knit 1, decrease (see how to decrease), and knit to end of row, slipping last stitch purlwise. Repeat this sequence every row until only 3 stitches remain. Bind off. Using tapestry needle, weave in ends.

braided scarf

from here


Finally I have time to share this fun way to make scarves.

The yarn I used here is blue sky alpacas "Bulky Naturals", I used one skein.(45 yards)
The color is silver mink. ( these look very nice too)
The length of the finished product is 6'4" and the width is 2'-1/4".

First, cut the yarns to the desired length. I had 12 of 10' long yarns. 2 of them as a group and tie them together. like the photo shown below.

**( it could be 14 of 8' long yarns or 16 of 7' long yarns. you will have shorter but wider scarf.)

so you will have six group of them. Tie them to the clothes hanger.

Follow the instruction here. I quickly did some sketches here. I hope this is helpful.

I hung my hanger to my book shelf structure so I can sit on my chair. The Ikea book shelve I have happens to have the steel rod structure so I can easily adjust the height I want. I also tried to hang it to the bath room's towel hanger but then I could not adjust the height. It's a bit painful to stand for a couple hours. Also you need a clean floor space for the excess yarns. remember they are 10' long yarns!

I think I was inspired by those back strap loom which attached to wood trunk and human body. It reminds me that I can simply use my clothes hanger to finish this project.

No. 8 is the end condition. You need to always adjust the shape of the scarves. Pull them tight!! but not overly.

try to do some swatches before you did a real project. to check the texture, color and get used to the braiding patter. Also you will know what kind of the tension you need. This is the swatch I used the irregular shape yarns so you can see that it got various width.

Here is the original illustrations from the book. You will notice that actually the yarns are fixed by the nails. you also can do this way. I tried this at the very beginning . I used foam core and pins but it failed. The pins doesn't hold the yarns well. I just don't have a surface can nail on and also bigger enough for those 10' long yarns.

マフラー&帽子全書 isbn4-8347-2081-0

I think I'm going to keep this scarf with me this time although it's almost sprint here now!! ( I always ended up not keeping/owning any of the scarves I made.)
Please feel free to ask me any questions. I may miss some details. I think you will find you own way to do it just like what I did.

Happy braiding!! friends!

Patchwork Scarf

from here

Kids’ Clothes Month Sew-Along ~ Patchwork Scarf Tutorial

Are you ready to sew along? Let’s all make patchwork scarves to keep the kids warm through the fall and winter! Anything goes and we can’t wait to see what you create. You can follow our little tutorial or do it your own way. Variation is where it’s at, so fill us in on your tricks and tips, and add your scarf (or scarves?!) to the Kids’ Clothes Month Flickr group. If you’re on the beginning end of the sewing spectrum the blog tutorial “talks” you through the scarf. We also have a concise PDF here for you to download if you want a reminder of the steps (and/or want a little less guidance).

Kid’s Patchwork Scarf

What you need:
- a potentially cold kid’s neck
- fabric
- batting (or not… I used a lightweight batting to give this scarf a little extra warmth but you could use interfacing or skip a middle section altogether)
- thread

- embellishments like buttons, embroidery, etc.

Getting Started:
First decide on a neck. It helps to visualize the little one you’re sewing for, or to have them model scarves you already have around the house. You want to measure the right length for your scarf (and width). This scarf started as fabric approximately 8″ x 42″ which is not long enough to tie around my almost-two-year-old’s neck (but it works well with a button, Optional Step #2 listed below). OK, have a neck in mind?
We’re going to: lay out our fabric, decide on a design, stitch up the top, sandwich it all together like a mini-quilt, turn it inside out and sew along the outside to make it look extra-finished. Ready? It’s only 10 easy steps!
Optional Step #1:
If you want to add embroidery or decorative buttons, now is a good time. Remember to use caution when including buttons on items for small children. I used a water-soluble pen to draw this elephant and then embroidered him on linen.
Official Step #1:
This is the fun part! Throw around some of your favorite fabrics. If you’re going for a “simple” patchwork look sometimes it’s easier to use similar colors (like in this red and tan scarf). It’s also fun to go wild though. Place everything you think might work on the floor or a table and move it around (highly technical directions, eh?).

Once you have a color scheme you think works for you (and the intended neck) it’s time to start thinking about amounts of fabric. While the width (8″) remained constant in my scarf, I didn’t measure out any of the lengths. When it looked like I needed a dash of “pop” I added in a row of big dots, for example, and when it was feeling a little busy I added a big chunk of soothing linen. Cut your widths all the same and then play a little with the lengths. These are mine all laid out prior to sewing.

This is also a good time to make sure you have enough fabric for a back (and the same amount of batting or light interfacing if you intend to use it). I designed the whole scarf around a soft corduroy (the back or neck-side of this scarf) I’m using for my boy’s winter coat.

Step #2:
- You should now have many different pieces of fabric all the same width (8″ for this scarf) and of varying lengths.
- You also have an 8″ wide and oh-so-long (mine was 42″) piece of fabric for the back and a piece of batting of the same dimension (8″ x 42″) for the middle.
Lay your top fabrics out how you want them (like I did in the above picture) and start sewing two pieces together from one end, right (pretty) sides facing each other. I used a 5/8″ seam allowance and back-stitched at the start and finish each time (both of these choices enhance the strength of your finished scarf– important for kid wear!).
Attach on down the line until your whole top is finished. It should look something like this.
Step #3:
It’s starting to look good, right?! Flip it over and press open all of your seams. This will make for a tidier looking scarf.
Your seams on the back should lay flat like this.
Step #4:
Trim the long edges of your scarf with a ruler and rotary cutter (or scissors, if that’s all you have) to make a clean edge. This just makes the scarf less bunchy along the edges in your finished product.
Step #5:
If you’ve never made a quilt before this might seem counter-intuitive, but now you sandwich your scarf together. You put the right (pretty) sides of your top and bottom (patchwork and corduroy here) facing one another and line them up. Batting or interfacing, if you’re using these, goes on the back of this. The sandwich you see from the top is: not-pretty side of the patchwork top, pretty side of the backing fabric, batting. It’s probably easier if your batting hangs out a bit on the sides like mine because you’re sure to catch it with your seams. Pin all of this in place.
Step #6:
Sew around the sandwiched scarf using a 1/2″ seam allowance. There are different schools of thought about when and how to start/finish such sewing. You need to leave a big enough hole (approx. 4″) as you stitch around the edges so you can turn the scarf. I left one end of the scarf completely open. You might try that, or you could try to place the hole somewhere else.
Step #7:
Trim off excess fabric, batting and/or interfacing.
Step #8:
Turn your scarf right side out. Ta da!
As you turn, use a tool (I like to use a chopstick) to make nice, square corners. Don’t poke too hard though or you might push through and have to re-sew!
Step #9:
Fold the fabric in at the turning hole. It’s a good idea to press these folds so you have a tidy seam nobody will notice. In fact, it’s a good idea to press the whole thing before you edge-stitch (but none of my photos turned out!).
Step #10:
Top stitch along the whole scarf. Start and end at a random place on the side (it’s less noticeable). This top stitching will catch the folds you made at your turning hole and will completely enclose your scarf. It’ll also make it look really good! At this point you can quilt the scarf if you’d like, adding a bit of texture and interest (I wanted the corduroy backing to remain plain so did not quilt this particular scarf).
You did it! Here’s mine (er, the boy’s) all folded up. You can see the elephant’s nose poking up.

“Invisible button”

Optional Step #2, Adding a Button:
This scarf was too short to knot around the neck. I pictured it loosely wrapped on stroller rides in the winter but my little guy insisted on walking around the house with it bunched up under his chin (chin pinning loads of fabric to his chest). We decided to add a button. I didn’t want to alter the panel with the elephant embroidery but we wanted the scarf to stay in place. He helped me sew a button onto the back panel (centered widthwise) and place a buttonhole on the other side of the scarf. You can’t tell when it’s buttoned, it doesn’t compromise the look of the scarf, it keeps the scarf snug around his neck and when he wears it loose the buttonhole is barely noticeable. Easy and fun.

Fabric included in this scarf: The dots and bright red squares are Sandy Klop of American Jane fabrics, as is the Ovals fabric. The Japanese calligraphy fabric was from a garage sale (sorry, no info on it) and the rest is linen and old quilting cottons.

Edited to add: Feel free to make scarves using this tutorial for yourself, family, friends and/or to sell.

Friday, November 13, 2009

half eaten gingerbread man

from here

Only six days until christmas and amazingly there is no furious sewing in this house. Just one more gift to make and then we’re off to Grandma’s house. There are always a couple people I forget and they are always the ones ready with a gift for me. So I thought I’d make a few ornaments to keep in my bag for those awful, awkward moments. I’m sure there are people like that in your life too: the weird cousin, the super smiley coworker. I thought I’d pass on a pattern for a gingerbread man ornament that can be whipped up quickly just in case you forgot someone. Click here to download the gingerbread man pattern and instructions. I included some pictures with the instructions below as well. If you make one let me know!

brown or tan wool felt
a tiny bit of white felt too
some stuffing (polyfil, etc.)
red, white, and black embroidery thread
white mini rickrack
fray check
two red buttons
glue stick


1. cut out template and pin to felt. Cut out one gingerbread man out of felt.

2. for the eyes cut two small circles out of the white felt and attach them to the gingerbread man with one black french knot each. With a backstitch, sew a small circle for the mouth. Sew buttons on with white embroidery thread–to make them look like candies, sew from the button holes to the outside edge of the button. Cut pieces of mini rickrack for trim on two arms and the leg, dab all the ends with fray check, and use the glue stick to tack them down.

3. cut a rectangle as big as your gingerbread man out of felt. Pin your decorated man to this rectangle. Make a loop of rickrack and tuck it in between the layers on your gingerbread man’s head (to hang him from later). Stitch by machine or by hand from A to B (the long way) 1/8inch from the edge. Be sure to catch all the rickrack as you stitch.

4. cut off the extra felt.

5. stuff the little man lightly and sew up the opening.

6. hang him up or give him away!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fabric Luggage Tags

from here

These custom fabric luggage tags would make a useful little gift for any friends, family, co-workers or teachers that travel. They are also a great way to use up some fabric scraps.


Handmade Custom Fabric Luggage Tag Tutorial

To print name and address on fabric, cut white muslin and freezer paper 8 1/2" X 11". Iron shiny side of freezer paper to back of fabric. Send paper through an ink jet printer. You can also buy fabric especially made to go through the printer. I also talk about this technique here. Press printing when finished to help set ink. You could even scan in a business card and print that onto the fabric.


Cut one 3 1/2" X 5" piece of printed fabric with name and address, 1 - 3 1/2 X 5" piece of fabric, two 3 1/2" X 5" pieces of heavy weight iron on interfacing and one 2" X 12 piece of fabric for strap.


Following manufacture's instructions iron interfacing to wrong side of both 3 1/2" X 5" pieces of fabric.

Press strap piece in half lengthwise, open up, press each side to the middle then fold in half. Edge stitch down each side. For an illustrated example seetote bag instructions.


Pin fabric pieces right sides together. Fold strap in half and place inside the fabric with cut edges sticking out 1/2". (Make sure not to accidentally stitch into strap as you sew around the edge.)


Using 1/4" seam, stitch all the way around the outside edge, leaving an opening for turning.

Clip corners.


Turn, press, and edge stitch along the outside edge making sure to close the opening. Stitch another row of stitching if desired.


I have entered this in Today's Creative Blog, Get Your Craft On. So many wonderful ideas linked up over there.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

felt circle pillow

from here

I finally finished the other pillow that I started. I love the way that it turned out and it looks great in my living room.

Here is how I made it:

First I measured my pillow and cut out two rectangles out of my gray broadcloth adding a 1/2 inch seam allowance on all sides and an extra inch on the back piece for the zipper.

Next I decided where I wanted my zipper to go (I chose about 1/3 from the top) and cut a straight line across the back piece of broadcloth.

Next I attached the zipper using this tutorial.

Now I set aside the back piece and focused on the front. First I cut out about 1 1/2 yards worth of circles out of my felt (it takes a lot more than you might think). I used the top of a glass for a stencil - mine was about 3 inches in diameter, but yours can be whatever size you want.

Next I folded each circle in half and pressed it to make them stand up and to give a stitching line.

I started randomly placing the circles on the front of my broadcloth and sewing each one in the ditch of the pressed crease. I left about an inch around the edges to assure that I could stitch the front and back together.

Once the pillow front was looking pretty full I stitched the top and one side together at a 1/2 inch seam allowance. I pinned the circles away from the seam allowance first so that I wouldn't get them caught in the stitching (don't worry if you get small bit caught in - it's inevitable and not noticable once the pillow is finished).

Now I can go back and fill in the edges, allowing the circles to overlap the seam line a bit.

Turning it inside out again, I stitched the remaining two edges together and then flipped it right side out through the zipper. Now I was able to fill in the edges of these last two sides.

Lastly, I clipped the many loose strings off, put my thrifted pillow inside, and I was done.

I couldn't be more happy with how this turned out.



Felt Brooches

from here

I have no idea how I went so many years without knowing aboutDigs.com, but now that I know, I've resigned myself to the fact that I will now spend countless hours of my life admiring page after page of the site's delightful, sustainably produced goodies.

My favorite of all of the Digs loot? Their high-style collection ofrecycled, Fair Trade felt brooches. Sure, the word brooch is super funny, but the look? Seriously fabulous.

Here's me modeling the Dahlia:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

minky blankets

Quilt Baby's minky blankets feature a modern cotton print on one side and soft, plush vanilla microfiber on the other. Double top stitched for durability and pre-washed for minimal shrinkage. Machine wash and dry. Blanket size is a generous 36" x 30"

Mini Plush Baby Blanket

Quilt Baby's Mini Minkys are made with a modern print on one side, plush vanilla microfiber on the other, and a pacifier/toy strap with velcro closure. These are the perfect security blanket, lovey, and mini blanket when on the go. Machine wash and dry.

size: 15" x 14"
strap: 4.5" open

Hand Stitched Baby Hair Clip

from here

Fun Felted Pillow Cover

Fun Felted Pillow Cover, 16x16, Pink Petal

Add a touch of three-dimensional texture to your space. These felt pillow covers feature raised petals and scallops detailed with pick-stitching. Scallop cover can be monogrammed. Pillow insert sold separately. Imported.

Scrunchy Gathered Scarves

from here


Jersey knit - To make several, like we did, for your girlfriends or for gifts, use two yards. To make one scarf, you can get one yard and sew the strips together to meet the length requirement.
Elastic Thread (found in the elastic aisle)
Sewing Machine
And about 10 minutes of time

Cut your 2 yards of fabric into 10 inch by 72 inch strips (your fabric will end up being half as long when you finish).

At this point, you can decide to taper your ends or to cut the ends apart, like this, at least 12 inches up from the bottom. I might even make longer tails if I did this again.

Hand wind the elastic thread onto your bobbin and sew with a basting stitch from the center of one tail alllll the way to the end. Then again from the center of the other tail allll the way to the other end. So, you have two long seams about 3 inches apart, down the center. (Make sure you back stitch at the beginning and the end, basting stitches will pull out easily if they aren't anchored like this.) See how it is bunching up as it passes through the machine? (click the photo to enlarge) It's like magic!

Here is how it looks all sewn - just two straight seams from end to end:

Now, prance around all giddy-like with your cute new scarf. Make sure to pose for pictures and make plans to give them to everyone on your Christmas list with a neck.

I hate flash, so I did some posing with my scarf in good light against my favorite red wall just for you. See all the variations?