For a Cozier Bed: Knitted Pillows

Returning to my dorm room this past weekend was a little bittersweet. The holidays are officially over, and as you can see by my lack of posts, the busyiness of school has begun. Though one of the many positives, like reuniting with friends and the start of Step Sing, is returning to a room full of finished projects I can show off during the busy times.

Take for example the knitted pillows on my bed.

This was the project that made me fall in love with knitting all over again. The pillow is basically a rectangle knitted in garter stitch, and then stitched together with a white ribbon.

Since this was before I had a sewing machine, I bought a basic pillow from a craft store, and I was able to use the pillow as the mold for the size of my knitting. And as a final touch, I embroidered (in a kind-of made up style) a flower onto the pink pillow.

For you super fast knitters, this project could be completed in a weekend, but for me, this took me about 2 and a half weeks. But its simplicity makes it the perfect project for watching a movie on a lazy afternoon.

DIY: Apron

Sewing project #2 – The Apron

My grandmother told me that the first thing she ever made on her sewing machine was an apron, and fully appreciating her wisdom and experience, I decided to give it a shot after finishing the skirt (plus I had a friend who loves aprons and had a birthday coming up – win, win!).

So I gathered supplies and went to work. And let me tell you, if you need a confidence booster in your sewing skills, aprons are the way to go. Following the pattern was stress-free. I mean, it’s an apron, it would be pretty hard to not make it fit.

A technique I picked up during the experience was gathering. It was the first time I really played around with the settings on my sewing machine (remember this is only my second major project). I basically set the stitch length as long as it would allow and then I decreased the tension by 1. Once sewn, I carefully pulled on one of the strings until the whole line looked “gathered.”

The only issue I had was with the fabric. In the fabric store, my parents and I went back and forth about what color the dot was in the blue, patterned fabric. We decided it looked orange, and I purchased the orange fabric to compliment it. The problem was I came home and under natural light the dot was definitely red. I freaked out for maybe a minute, but then I just had to let it all go. I had already bought the fabric, and there was no turning back. So I continued on, and now with the finished product, the orange fabric makes the dots look more orange.

Oh and did I mentioned I sewed in a pocket, plus I lined it – for the win!

 

A hair bow for all seasons

The other day I was looking through an old suitcase that my mom stores ribbons and buttons in, and I stumble upon a how-to booklet containing this cute/horrifying picture.

Funny story is, my mom actually made that bow for me when I was younger, but I bet the bow was not the first thing your eyes went to. (I think it’s the glasses that make her eyes looks so huge!) But weird picture aside, the book inspired me. And with some ribbon, an obsession was formed.

I can see how my Mom had so much fun making bows to match my outfits. And though I don’t think you’ll be seeing me wear a bow to class, Samford has this thing called Step Sing and I’m thinking a different bow for each day’s practice! And then, while I had the glue gun out, I made a simple barrette with buttons. It was a good craft day!

Knitting a Hot Pad

If you have an hour to spare, you can totally make this knitting project – a simple hot pad. And this is not the hot pad you made in 3rd grade. You are going to be knitting with two threads, so the first step is creating a second ball of yarn (about 25 grams). Then with the two threads, cast on 21 to 27 stitches  (depending on the thickness of the yarn), but always cast on an odd number. Then use the seed stitch (knit 1, purl 1) until you have knitted a square. The important thing to know about seed stitch is you need to start and end the row with a knit stitch.

Once you have finished knitting the square, cut a square of fabric and press (meaning pull our your ironing board) down the hem allowances. Then all you have to do is whip stitch the fabric to the knitting.

Look to the Stars: Constellations Embroidery

I worked at a camp this summer that opened my eyes to the different, cultural stories about the constellations in the night’s sky, and I quickly became obsessed. This idea of embroidering a constellation has been floating around my  head for awhile now, and it took a simple swatch of navy blue fabric in the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby to put my thoughts into action.

Gemini (The Twins)

Orion (The Warrior)

Pegasus (The Winged Horse)

I cut out navy blue felt to cover the back side of the embroidery and added the name to the constellation for any clarification that might be needed. I love how simple this project was, and after I get some nails in the wall, it’s going to look adorable in my green bedroom.

For a cozier passport

You really can make anything out of felt. My sister-in-law’s birthday was this week, and my parents knew they wanted to give her money but they wanted to add little something to go with it. That’s when the idea for a felt passport holder popped in my head. Now, if I could make it again, I would make some changes, but for a project that took me a few hours to make, I was super happy with the results.

I took my passport and a leather passport holder that I already owned as a stencil. I used a disappearing ink pen for dark fabrics to make the outline.

Though I took this picture right before I sewed it all together, it shows the steps that led me up to this point. I cut out fabric for the left and right sleeves. Then I top stitched the edges. (Plus I added a little personalized touch with an embroidered name.)

I used felt to cut out the tree, and I simply hand sewed it down. For the flowers, I cut out a little felt circle then embroidered a dot at the center at each one.

After pinning everything in place, I sewed everything together. It didn’t turn out perfect, but I like that it looked obviously homemade.

A scarf for the snow

As the snow begins to melt, the knitting project that got me through the storm is finished. Casting on 11 stitches on size 10 needles, follow the pattern of knit 1, purl 1 to create a strip of color. Make 3 strips in total (with a length of around 52 inches).

Line the 3 strips next to each other and use the loose strings to sew the ends together (side-by-side). With that done, simply braid the strips. And sew the ends together like before.

Then to keep the braid in place, I used loose pieces of yarn to tack down where the strips overlaid each other. I simply used a double knot and cut off the loose ends. And ta-da! You have yourself a homemade scarf!

Painting Butterflies on a Window

The weather is making me dream of warmer days, so today I decided to pull something out of my craft vault. This summer, everyday on the way to work I passed Dave’s Goody Barn (pause for the weirdness of the name), a place that sells used construction materials as well as a bunch of random, cheap stuff. One day I decided to stop by and look around, and I came home with two old windows.

And with butterflies on my mind, the one window became my canvas!

A Wreath of Felt Flowers

Days like these (when you’re snowed in and have nothing to do) are excellent craft days. And even when the snow covers the ground, flowers can still bloom.

Felt flowers are super simple to make. To make enough to fit on this wreath, I simply bought a half a yard of white felt. Cut out the felt using a CD as a stencil, and then cut the circle into a spiral. To create the flower, simply roll up the spiral, starting from the outside. Once rolled up, use a dot of hot glue on the final flap to secure it in place.

Easy! For my wreath, I wanted different sized flowers so I cut a spiral in half to make two smaller flowers instead of just one. Once the flowers were made, I simply used a hot glue gun to glue the flowers onto the wreath.

I Made a Skirt!

Guess who can make her own clothes? That’s right, this girl! But after  2 days of sewing, I’m pretty solid in the thinking that I will continue to buy my clothes from here on out.

Don’t get me wrong, I am super pumped that I made a skirt for myself, but the facts are that (1) it’s not perfect like something you would buy at a store and (2) it was a pretty frustrating endeavor to undertake.

My biggest issue was all the instructions. They were confusing and I had to look up several terms online, and even then I was still confused. Thank the Lord for the Internet, though. I would not have been able to install a zipper without this website and its pictures

I used the pattern: Simplicity 2410 (Simplicity being the company's name).

And my work is not technically done. This morning, as I pulled on the finished garment, I couldn’t help but notice that it’s probably 2 sizes too big. So I’ll be exploring the art of alterations tomorrow, but oh well, I rather it be too big than too small.

Overall, the experience was pretty good. And if you’ve never tried sewing together a clothing pattern, I definitely think you should try it at least once. (I’m hoping that like most things, it simply gets easier with experience.) And as the over-achiever that I am, I’ve already picked out another pattern to sew… hopefully it will be as easy as the lady at JoAnn Fabrics advertised it as!