*please note there are no affiliate links in this blog post. I simply add links to patterns or tutorials that I used to make things.
Fall and winter of 2021 was a season of so much crafting for me! It was really fun and productive. Many projects were to spruce up my home for the holidays. There were also a few gifts made!
Starting from upper left corner, here is my finished Three Witches by Barbara Ana Designs. This was so fun to stitch and I finished it onto a board from Michael’s with some spooky ribbon, a wooden mushroom from Germany, some large rick rack, and mounted the stitching on a piece of chipboard with a fabric covered board behind it.
The next two photos are three punch needle ornaments from an issue of Punch Needle and Primitive Stitcher Magazine. I used floss I had on hand, including some fancy flosses and finished the ornaments with wool trim. I have a little pencil style artificial tree I keep up year round and I had it all decked out with autumn decor.
Middle row left is a photo of my spooky owl lantern, designed by Christopher Hiedeman. I love watching his YouTube videos, whether they’re about his beautifully decorated Victorian home or a tutorial on making something vintage-looking. I found his video on how to make this paper mâché looking owl and loved creating it. The eyes are so brightly colored in this photo because there is a battery operated tea light inside the lantern. It looks so neat on the front porch with other autumn decor.
In the very center of the collage is my finished and framed Feast of Friendship cross stitch by Blackbird Designs. I am in love with this piece and am so happy with the framing. I purchased the design and flosses at Stitchville USA in Minnetonka, MN and also had them do the framing. I had coffee-tea dyed the 28 ct. Monaco fabric myself and I’m very happy with the overall look of the piece.
The little heart ornament on the bottom left is just a creation I made after browsing thru Pinterest and seeing a similar felt and needlework ornament.
Bottom row middle pic is my finished Merry Chalkfull cross stitch which is one of several design collaborations between Priscilla Blain of Stitching with the Housewives and Cathy Haberman of Hands on Design. This was a gift for my mother-in-law. I’m trying to make all of the Chalkfulls for her.
And the last pic is of my Christmas tree cones made with poster board and yarn and some little pom poms. I see these in stores and I refuse to pay for something I can easily make on my own with supplies I have on hand. I did have to buy school grade poster board, as the only board I had was too heavy to be manipulated.
Seems like a lot of crafting, right? It was! But that wasn’t all. In my next post, I will go into detail how I made a painted sign for my bedroom for Christmas decorating.
There are no affiliate links in this blog post. I simply add links so you can go to the sites where I got information, patterns or tutorials.
I was literally flying last week. Flying in a plane, then flying on a raft across a small lake in Michigan! I didn’t expect the latter type of flying but it was thrilling for sure! I don’t often experience a lot of thrills in my life, so it was a welcome experience.
I keep telling myself I have to get better at more consistent blogging. If I could be as consistent about blogging as I am about crafting, I’d be set! Today I’m going to share a few things I’ve made and also what I have plans to work on. As usual, I do have quite a few projects going at once, but I’ve also managed to complete quite a few things, one of which is a large project, one that I didn’t know if I would finish.
This Ribosome cardigan caught my eye because of the cables that seem to be floating atop a striped garter stitch pattern. And the yoke cables are traveling horizontally while the body of the cardigan have them traveling vertically. I just loved it and knew it would be the most complex project I’ve ever attempted. When I attended the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in the fall of 2019, I purchased the yarn for it from Artisan Yarns. The yarn is a scrumptious baby alpaca from Hampden Hills Alpacas. The color brown is called Macho and the white is undyed natural white. The yoke is shaped using German short rows. The pattern is well-written and accomodates 7 difference sizes. I knit mine with a 48″ bust circumference. I love the way it turned out and it’s very warm. I’m looking forward to wearing it for some better photos this fall!
I also managed to knit a pair of socks for myself this summer. I had purchased the yarn by Hedgehog Fibers over a year ago. This pattern, called Simplicity, is from the book Toe Up 2-at-a-time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. You can find the pattern in this book, and you can find the Ravelry link to the pattern here.
I also made two cowls for the Broadway Youth Center in Chicago. My dear friend, Sacha, has organized a drive to have knitters and crocheters make an infinity scarf or a cowl that will be given to LGBTQ+ youth in the area to keep them warm this winter. She has even procured beautiful superwash yarns that you can use to knit or crochet with. The first one, shown above, is Tunisian crochet. This is crocheted in the round with a double-ended Tunisian crochet hook. If you’d like to try the pattern, you can find it here.
The second one is the Phoenix Neck Warmer by Drops Design. Both of these were quite fast to work up. If you want to make a cowl or infinity scarf for this group, you still have time! Here is some information I found on Facebook to help you.
Happy Pride! We are looking for knitters and crocheters to gift 100 infinity scarves or cowls this holiday season to the LGBTQ+ youth at Broadway Youth Center, a program of Howard Brown in Chicago. All styles and yarn weights are welcome, but please use washable (super wash) yarns. Think: warm, cozy & comforting. We’re looking for a range of styles and colors — things that pop and more muted pieces. Feel free to include rainbow color and motifs. Drop off dates are week of Nov 28 at Knit 1 in Chicago (3856 N, Lincolnwood Ave) and Wool & Co. in S. Elgin, IL (1687 N. Lancaster Rd, South Elgin, IL)
Look at this next little beauty. It’s a little crochet doily I made while helping my friend work out a crochet pattern drawn in diagram form. I really love the diagrams for crochet. This little one I made is called Capri table center from a 1982 edition of Magic Crochet. I used No. 20 Omega crochet thread and a 1.25mm steel crochet hook. It took a lot of pins to block it, but look at the result. I immediately put it in my hutch cabinet for safe keeping and display.
Next up is my Bohemian style fairy light chandelier crocheted using kitchen cotton, two embroidery hoops and the Solomon’s knot stitch. This was made for my tent! I’m going camping/glamping this month and really wanted to create some ambience for my little abode. I made this up as I went along, so sorry, but there’s no pattern. I added fringe at the bottom, and it was just what it needed. The lights are battery-operated so no need for electricity.
And lastly, for completed projects, here are some Rustic Crochet Pumpkins I literally just made a day ago. I am making some fall decor for the group home where I volunteer. The home has two lovely stone fireplaces and mantels that would look so nice decorated for the fall season.
I found this pattern via Pinterest, which led me to Yarn + Chai, where a talented woman is designing and providing not only well-written patterns, but in some cases, very helpful video tutorials. Her name is Rebecca Langford and I will definitely be looking more into her site to see what else I “need” to make. I just love how these turned out. The larger brown pumpkin was more challenging because my yarn needle is considerably smaller than the height of the pumpkin so it was difficult to get it through the piece the several times required to shape the pumpkin. I believe a doll making needle will solve that problem. The larger pumpkin was crocheted with a bulky acrylic yarn by Knit Picks and the smaller one was made with a DK weight discontinued yarn by Mary Maxim. Don’t you love the cinnamon stick for the stem?
What’s coming up
I have recently gotten back to work on a Halloween cross stitch design I began last fall. I’m nearly finished and have run out of the Weeks Dye Works color Onyx. So I have to make a run to my local needlework store this week. I am also close to finishing Three Witches by Barbara Ana Design. I admit, I hadn’t worked on any needlework for months. For a while I was bit by the English paper piecing bug, then I went back to knitting and crocheting. But between these two designs and Feast of Friendship, which is to me a Thanksgiving design, I have plenty to complete for the season, and it’s all doable. All three of these were shown in this blog post.
Lastly, I am also very close to finishing this amazing crochet blanket called Mystical Lanterns by Janie Crow. I am so in love with this project. Here is a progress photo. I am using Cotlin yarn by Knit Picks. This is a DK weight yarn in cotton and linen. There are two or three colors of yarn in my blanket that are StyleCraft yarns I got on eBay. I only had one of each color but I’ve managed to include them in the overall project.
Well, I must sign off for now and get back to crafting. It’s a beautiful Labor Day Monday and I really want to set up my hammock between two trees and listen to the birds and the crazy squirrels running overhead. Thank you so much for stopping by! Happy crafting to you!
(I get no revenue from any links. I simply add links if you need to see a pattern or product or video I have used.)
I was talking with some online knitting/crochet friends via Hangouts the other day and we were talking about quilts. We somehow got on the subject of string quilts and I mentioned that I was saving all my fabric scraps from making face masks and will eventually incorporate them into a quilt project of some sort. This of course led me back to Pinterest, my favorite site, to look at all the beautiful string quilt projects out there.
This happened before, and that perusing became quite productive, as I did actually make a string quilt top, which is still in my storage room in a container. Hmmm…that’s not where I intended for it to land, and how many years ago was this?? So I got to thinking about all the neat projects I have started–and not finished. And I decided it’s time to finish up, or give it up, if I’m not feeling it.
I started with a basket I keep right at my feet in my craft room. It contained two table runner projects, one pieced and quilted with some homespun fabrics, one put together with just three fabrics, and quilted in a basic diamond design, a pair of knitted socks in need of repair, and a small punch needle of a fish that needed its final finishing.
The first of these I tackled were the homespun quilt, which was either going to be a table runner or a wall hanging. It was literally so long ago that I cannot possibly remember! I was inspired by a quilt book called Fast, Fun & Fabulous Quilts published by Rodale Press. The quilt was called Stars and Scraps Forever by Judith Hughes Marte.
I was in a hurry apparently, when I attempted to bind this quilt I made, because I believe I used prepackaged red bias binding and either didn’t take the time to learn how to properly attach quilt binding, or I just didn’t care. (Sometimes I get in that mode of not caring too much–I almost always regret it.)
So I had to remove the terrible red binding, then I found some black fabric in my stash, but it didn’t feel like 100% cotton, more like a stiff cotton blend. I made single fold binding and attached it like a pro, thanks to this wonderful YouTube video by Fons & Porter. Then came time to sit and hand sew the binding to the back of the quilt. Since it’s not a large piece, it didn’t really take too long. I did have some difficulty with pulling my thread through the new binding fabric, so I conditioned my thread with Thread Heaven. It’s a great product to have around.
And here is the finished quilt!
Next, I had to repair my hand knitted socks. These socks, called Tuscany, are by designer and sock earth angel Melissa Morgan-Oakes, who is a best selling author. I purchased her book Toe Up Two At a Time Socks after borrowing a copy from my library and realizing I needed it in my own personal library for ever. I have made a few pair from this wonderful, fully instructional book. I highly recommend this book if you wish to knit socks two at a time, with all the information you need for sizing, fiber choice, etc. There are several wonderful sock patterns in just one book. (I do not receive any commission whatsoever for providing links.) All I had to do was better reinforce the toe. I don’t know what yarn this was but I wasn’t thrilled with it. The stitch pattern does look really nice, but I felt that the yarn might not hold up to my needs around heels and toes. Now that I can wear them instead of staring at them in disrepair, we shall see how they hold up!
Next I wanted to “final finish” my little punch needle of a fish. I probably started this project about 3 or 4 years ago, then finished the punching while living here in Minnesota. Then I didn’t fully finish the project, but rather stuck it in that basket under my desk. This little design came from a pack of 9 iron-on transfer designs in American Folk Art style by DMC. I had completed one other one from this collection and framed it in a shadow box for a dear friend. So I found a little $3 frame months ago that I thought would be a good piece for displaying finished needlework of some sort. I unwrapped it, but soon realized it was not going to work, as my punch needle piece is really a rectangle, while the frame is definitely square. I tried to make it work, with ribbon, etc, but I just wasn’t feeling it. So I proceeded to attach the punch needle work to a small piece of sticky board, and silly me, when I went to reposition the work on the sticky board, some threads stuck to the sticky board and came right out of the work! Arggh!! A short string of profanity followed. Then I had to dig out the Russian punch needle, the hoop and embroidery floss and fix what had come out. Luckily this great little design is very forgiving in that there are so many lovely blues and greens and even tans and grays in the water portion that you don’t need to be precise with color placement. I had it fixed in no time, then instead of repeating my mistake again, I went to the window to help me line up the needlework on the sticky board, and then simply folded the extra monks cloth fabric to the back, added a few magnets and boom–I now have a fishy magnet.
Lastly, I had another table runner project to finish. Again, I cannot remember when I made this, but it never had a binding, so I did purchase the green fabric before the quarantine and lock down went into effect, so I simply made single fold binding out of 2 1/4″ strips of the fabric. I did not cut bias binding, but rather, cut on the grain, because I knew I would not have any curvy parts to bind. Again, I used the Fons & Porter video mentioned above to attach the binding with such a great finish. It’s a bit fiddly to finish it off but it works like a charm.
I realize my green thread doesn’t match well but you don’t even see it! I love the wonder clips by Clover for holding the binding in place just a few inches away from my hand sewing. I also use the clips when I’m sewing face masks with fabric ties. They are great! I can highly recommend.
I just have to show off this funny photo of the finished piece in my living room with our youngest cat, Dewey, hanging out on his banana. 😉
Thanks for stopping by! I feel pretty good about getting these projects completed. Now I will have to dig out the larger quilt projects I have in my storage area that need finishing and decide how to proceed. I hope you have a wonderful day! — Jenny
How does the time fly by so fast and I haven’t written a blog post? I guess it doesn’t matter because here I am now, attempting to write a post!
Spring has finally arrived in the midwest after a few stray snowfalls that sent most everyone into a depressive rant. Back in February, my husband and I took a work trip (HIS work) to Newport Beach, California. It was so nice to get away but because we have no family here in Illinois, and no family members from Michigan could come to stay with our boys, it was a bit worrisome for me to leave them with friends and neighbors. While my older son was fast approaching 18 years old, he can’t seem to get up on his own for school, so there was no way I could leave him in charge of himself and his 12 year old brother.
It all worked out though, and husband and I had a really awesome time in California even though it was a little bit chilly. It was sunny and seeing palm trees and green grass instead of the brownish-gray frozen midwest was quite nice. Plus, the resort we stayed at (Pelican Hill) was amazingly beautiful.
While we were there, we went kayaking, we went on an Art Walk in beautiful Laguna Beach, we did a super fun cooking class at Manassero Farms in Irvine, and we dined with colleagues at lovely restaurants as well as danced and had a great time at the Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana.
In terms of MAKING STUFF, I have been very busy making things because that is what I do. I love to make things, as I may have mentioned before. 😉 I also attended Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago for the first time and took a class on Japanese Knitted Fingerless Mitts.
So as you can see from these collages, there are a lot of things that have been crafted since my last (so long ago) blog post.
Then my younger son gave me absolutely NO time to come up with a costume and items for him for Patriot’s Day at school. I crafted him a tricorn hat thanks to a wonderful template and instructions I found at Pizza By The Slice!
The muskets were made with thick foam core board that I layered and glued three thick and then cut out with a reciprocating saw. Then my son and I did some carving and sanding and painting and adding paper bits as well as some hardware to get them looking realistic. It was a ton of work but they “sold” fast in the colonial market. Too bad he didn’t think to keep one! Oh well.
These photos aren’t everything but I would say they represent the majority of what I’ve been up to. More to come!
I just LOVE the look of vintage things. They remind me of a simpler time my parents and grandparents would talk about with longing in their eyes.
Okay, that sounds super sappy and instead of the Norman Rockwell painting it evokes, they really just started every sentence with, “In my day, we didn’t have no damn (fill in the blank) to worry about!” and they were clearly annoyed with whatever new piece of “technology” we so proudly held up in their faces.
Anyhow, I am lucky to be the owner of a few vintage craft items, like some very old crochet thread in original Coats & Clark’s boxes (although I cannot find them right now!), and the substantial pinking shears below. I wish I had the old sewing machine table my mom once used. It was the kind where you opened the wood lid, which was hinged at the side and up popped the bluish-green sewing machine! I used to drive my little Matchbox cars around it, before I developed my interest in crafting. This was an electric sewing machine, not the really old-fashioned treadle machine. That would be even more cool to have around.
As for the Coats & Clark’s threads, I used them to crochet this tiny little afghan and pillows for my dollhouse when I was young. I am even amazed today I was able to crochet so neatly when I was young, but my mom did sew all the motifs together to construct the afghan. It looked absolutely adorable and authentic in my dollhouse on a sweet miniature bed. These pieces must be about 35 to 40 years old (yikes!).
Every once in a while, I get the urge to make something that is vintage. There are plenty of patterns out there for vintage-looking knits, crocheted items, clothing to sew, and wood things to make and distress, but what I’m actually referring to is working from an old pattern, like from one of these vintage booklets.
These booklets are just a few examples of what were given to me by a friend who got them from her grandmother, I believe. I wasn’t sure if I would ever make anything from them, but so far, I have completed two crocheted doilies, and I am in the process of knitting a baby sweater from a 1986 magazine.
This particular doily was not difficult to crochet, but it did take some time, and I DID have to wear my cheater glasses. I love the way it turned out and it lives happily in my family room under a small lamp. Whenever I get the urge to make another one, I have about a hundred patterns to choose from!
The current “vintage” item on my needles is this baby sweater. It’s only from 1986, so not terribly old.
It is being knit in acrylic baby yarn, instead of cotton as suggested, because like so many times, I want to knit something NOW and not WAIT UNTIL I HAVE THE RIGHT YARN. I was leafing through the magazine and saw this and wanted to start it right away!! It’s a curse.
It’s an interesting pattern, in that you knit it from the bottom up, adding a row of blue every after 14 rows of white, but the vertical blue lines are added later, with chain stitch completed with a darning needle. To assist you in doing the chain stitches and getting their alignment perfect, you knit a pattern of purl stitches every row, every ten stitches, so when you do your chain stitching later, the blue yarn lays nice and flat and makes perfectly straight vertical lines. Very clever!
I have recently completed the front and back, shown above, and am knitting the sleeves, both at the same time.That is something I like to do whenever I can because you really do get two identical things. You just have to work from two separate balls of yarn.
I thought it would be more efficient to carry the white strand as I knit the one blue row, instead of cutting and reattaching the yarn, but I wasn’t happy with that stranding on the wrong side of the work. I thought maybe little fingers would get caught in the stranding and really snag the sweater. So I cut the stranded white yarn in the middle of the body of the sweater, pulled it out of its blue stitches holding it in place, then wove the ends in. There is a fair amount of weaving in on this pattern, but I don’t mind it. I know some knitters really hate this part.
One more note on vintage things…I have wanted for some time to have a vintage camper. The problem is, we aren’t campers. But I realize that many people have vintage campers they keep on their property and it becomes a wonderful little getaway in their back yard! That’s what I want, but I would also LOVE to go camping, too. My husband feels that camping for him, however, involves a Holiday Inn Express. It’s still a dream of mine, and I love looking at Pinterest at all the vintage campers and trailers out there. I like to imagine myself hanging out in a cozy camper with a cup of coffee and a vintage project on the needles…
Blue is NOT my favorite color, but when it comes to a baby blanket, and the baby is going to be a boy, then I do like it quite a lot.
My nephew and his wife are expecting a baby boy this September so I thought I would make them a blanket. Blankets are fairly easy, depending on the pattern, but they can also be boring to knit or crochet, depending on the pattern. When I have a larger thing to make, I have to try and find a balance between “not too terribly involved” and “not so boring I won’t work on it.”
I found what I was looking for on Knitpicks‘ website. But I didn’t start on their website. I started at my favorite yarny place: Ravelry. If you’re a knitter and/or crocheter, you might have a profile on Ravelry. I do, but I haven’t been very good about keeping it updated. With the start of this blog, I do hope I have an easier time keeping my Ravelry site up to date.
I searched for baby blankets on Ravelry and got about a bazillion results. Somehow, I sifted through all the stuff and came across this lovely pattern from Knitpicks. It’s called the ABC Baby Blanket by Jenny Williams and it’s simply knit and purl stitches. It is also a charted pattern. If you’re new to knitting or crochet, you may not know what a charted pattern is. For some people, it can seem confusing or overwhelming. I, myself, am a visual person, and I find I like knitted charts just fine. I am not very skilled on reading some crochet charts, however. Below, you will see a sample of a crochet chart and a knitting chart. Like a map, you need a “key” to understand what the symbols mean.
This blanket kept my interest because in between 24 rows of plain old garter stitch, I had to read the charts so my blanket would have lovely graphical images of a duck, a star, a sailboat, etc. The garter stitch is what went between the nine graphical blocks. The images were knitted in reverse garter stitch on a field of stockinette stitch. If you would like to learn any of these stitches, click here to be redirected to the Knitpicks’ tutorials pages.
I used Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn in Medium Blue to complete my blanket. It’s a decent acrylic yarn to use. It’s soft and easy to work with. I have had babies, and I wouldn’t want to worry about a baby blanket knit in some expensive wool or cotton, and kitchen cotton is not my favorite thing to work with (plus it doesn’t feel very nice for a blanket.) I used almost three skeins of yarn.
As for needles, I used a size 7 circular needle, because you need a circ to get all those stitches of the blanket on. I started out with a circ I had in my “collection” but it wasn’t quite long enough, so I had to go shopping. Oh darn…
My good friend (who does not knit or crochet but is an artist) and I went to visit this very cool place in a nearby town called Fine Line Creative Arts Center. I had been there for the first time in May when I was helping to chaperone a large group of high school art students who were spending the day there doing all sorts of wonderfully creative things. I learned on that particular visit that this incredible place has a shop! And they have yarn, and other fibers for weaving and such. And they have needles! I bought these 40″ wooden needles and I absolutely LOVED knitting with them. And you can see in the photo they cost $9.50, which I felt was a fair price. They sure were comfortable to knit with.
I also tried something new in this Beginner level pattern. I tried to do a Russian join, which is a way to add a new skein of yarn when you run out of the current skein. I knew a little about this type of join, but didn’t know how to do it, so I consulted Youtube. Since I don’t remember the particular video I used, I cannot share that with you here, but I can share this link to Knitpicks where they have a nice non-video tutorial on the Russian join.
I thought I did an okay job with my first Russian join, but I was nervous about it coming unraveled, because the yarn is acrylic, and I figured a wool would perform better. But I did it, then I kept worrying about it. What if I didn’t do the join in a long enough piece of yarn? What if the blanket starts falling apart on its new owners? So I picked at it until it came undone, and let me tell you, it came undone awfully easily. Boo.
Here is what I had left when I picked it apart. Looking at this now, it’s clear I didn’t do the join long enough.
And here is what the blanket looked like when I wove in those ends with a yarn needle.
So, next time I do a Russian join, I’m going to do it better. I need to have confidence that the knitted piece will not come unraveled. Or else I won’t be able to sleep at night! And I love to sleep.
As I write this post, the blanket is nicely packaged in tissue paper secured with a pretty blue ribbon and in a box, en route to its new owners, my nephew and his wife. I do hope they love it, and I hope their new son will use it for a long time.
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. I am in no way affiliated with Knitpicks, and I do not receive anything if someone clicks on the links to their site that I provided. I just shop on their site sometimes, and get free patterns and such.