Wednesday, August 29, 2012

FO: Beaded Necklace

At Stitches Midwest one booth was selling these kits where you picked three silk ribbons, a packet of beads, and a magnetic clasp to make a crocheted beaded necklace. I have always wanted to try knitting or crocheting with beads to make jewelry so this was a most opportune opportunity!

First you string the beads onto the ribbon using the needle provided in the kit.

Then you start crocheting! There are two chain stitches between each bead. 

Then: braid the three ribbons together (or leave them as three strands). And here is the final product!

Close up! You can double the necklace up to make it shorter!

Closer up! I also like wearing it tripled up as a choker variation!

I loved this project and it crocheted up in three days; whenever I had the time to spare in school! It could be easily finished in a day and the color combinations of beads and ribbons are infinite! I chose black with the blue/green/purple/pink/yellow tinted beads with a few specific outfits in mind but you can choose any here:

Question: Where has summer gone? I went outside to work on some homework and bask in the sun but it was chilly and the tree I was sitting under was starting to look yellow around the edges!

I am going to miss the warmth of summer! But on the other hand, Autumn means I can start showing off all my warm and cozy hand knits! :)

What say you about the changing seasons? Any particularly cozy hand knits you cannot wait to show off?  Let me know in the comments!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to School In Style

In our school district, we start on Wednesday and those first three days are full of re-learning school rules, getting to know the teachers' syllabi, checking out text books, etc. After those first few days, our lessons start and our work loads become heavier and heavier (literally, my calculus book weights 6.5 pounds!!). All this running up and down the stairs between classes with heavy text books we work up quite an appetite! Which leads me to an FO:

Yes, a lunch bag! 

This pattern is roughly based off of this felted lunch bag; I ran out of black yarn and had to cut the length as well as have an acrylic bottom (the main part is made of wool so it can be felted) and instead of the tree, I opted for the constellation Orion!

I found these constellation charts on Ravelry and knew I had to accessorize something with Orion! This constellation is near and dear to me because Astronomy is one of my interests (as a hobby, not a career) and it was the first constellation I learned to identify. It can be found in the Southern sky, December through February (for Northwest Hemisphere residents). For real Astronomy geeks: yes, I know about the nebula that hangs down from Orion's belt and I was actually thinking of needle felting a little nebula there! Stay tuned for more details! :)

I think the bottom looks good with a little white on the bottom to give the bag a little more color! Also, the mixed yarn seems to be a little bit tougher than just the wool on itself.

Well, before I head off to start tackling my homework, I have to round up my little helper:

Biscuit helped quiz me on my psychology vocabulary last year...

I even got him to read To Kill A Mockingbird with me! I think he was a little disappointed that it turned out to be a book about racial injustice in the South rather than a step by step guide... maybe "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" is more his speed!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Art Yarn Extravaganza!

Yesterday I took the Art Yarn Extravaganza class at my local fiber art studio, Esther's Place and it was so much fun! It was also a little challenging for me. As I mentioned a few months ago, the orifice (hole that the yarn is drawn through onto the bobbin) on my wheel  is small so it is a little harder to make big arty techniques and some of them definitely take lots of practice to get it right! Here are some pictures of the yarn and techniques we worked on:

Here is the first skein I spun! Aren't the colors so vibrant? I love it!

This is a Tunisian knot. I like this one because it looks like an organized tangle and is easy to make!

This is a beehive coil. This is one of my favorites because it is fun to make and looks awesome!

We did some beads (above) and some sequins (below)

We spun some silk cloth into the yarn in a little bow tie (above) and spun wrapped around the fiber (below). this looks really pretty and I like both ways of working them into the yarn.

Extremely colorful Lincoln Locks!! We spun them into the yarn flat (above) and then hanging down (below) I like the texture these add to the yarn because they are so curly!

Here is another technique we worked on:

This was plied with one single of fiber and two strands of thread, one being very sparkly with sequins in it.

The technique is so sparkly! (I think I may have spun a little too much sparkly yarn into it...) And the yellow see is another beehive coil (there are a lot of those in my art yarn!) 

The last thing we tried was core spinning! I found this technique to be the hardest to get accustomed too and mine is a little over-spun, but not bad for a first attempt!

Core spinning with a fiber mix!

Core spinning with Lincoln Locks! This was a little harder because you have to fluff them up and a few of mine could have used a little more fluffing... but like I said, first attempt! :)

There were a few other neat techniques but I couldn't find them in the yarn and they are hard to photograph (without real camera) so I'll leave those for the next art yarn encounter of mine! I am really excited to try some art yarn making but I still have to spin a pound of normal yarn for a project! (More on that in a week or two)

And now a brief garden update:

Look what we found: a tomato snowman!

Awwww isn't he cute?

What new things have you learned lately? Any funny mutants in your garden? Let me know in the comments below! Happy crafting and gardening!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Good Night's Sleep

Summer has finally come to a close and it is time to go back to school. Tomorrow morning I will be starting my senior year in high school and I am pretty excited! This year I am taking 7 AP (Advanced Placement) courses which are the equivalent of college classes and can be worth some credit if you take the test and do well, so my plate is pretty full... There will be lots of homework and college apps and scholarship essays in my near future so here's to the last restful night!

Check out these super pajama pants I got from Target!! They have a bunch of pie slices and various fruits on them! My mom bought them because they were just so fitting! (Say, I haven't baked a pie in awhile...)

FO time! I just finished making this Ruched Sleep Eye Mask I found on Ravelry to help block out the light of my clock! 

And here I am modeling it! 

Dun dun dun duuuun.  The bus comes at 6:30 and I am THAT senior who still can't drive soooo 5:10 am it is! 

Well, it is getting pretty late, so I am going to grab my sleep mask and get some rest! Good night Summer, Good morning School!

(PS I do have an awful lot to do this school year so my posts may become a little less frequent but I will try so so hard to keep it up! I will treat it as a homework assignment!) :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

From One Project To The Next

Okay, so I promised I would have these photos up a few days ago but it has been really hectic around here lately! I have really bad seasonal allergies and recently they have gotten worse so when I went to the allergist for a test I found out I am allergic to more than just the changing seasons; some foods, house dust, cats (!!!). So I had to spend the greater part of Saturday cleaning my room from top to bottom and buying an air purifier and some allergy trapping pillow covers etc. And no more kitty cuddling... But enough of such sadness!

I have an FO! My Margaret Dashwood Shawl from the current Jane Austen Knits magazine has been completed!

I wasn't sure that I would have enough of my handspun yarn so it has been shortened a little bit, but it is still a great size for me! I decided to wear it pinned across with a shawl pin. I did end up having a few extra yards left; enough to make a matching flower headband! 


Closeup of the pattern and the shawl pin I made from a chopstick! Using my dad's branch cutters, I cut the top of the chopstick off and sanded the bottom to be a little sharper and rounded off all the edges. A nice coat of complimentary purple paint and I am ready to step out in my new ensemble! 

Well, school is coming up soon (Senior year already!!) and I need a lunch box so I don't keep using brown paper bags! (Costly and not environmentally friendly) In a recent email newsletter from Lion Brand Yarn, I got a pattern for a cute felted lunch bag and I cast on!

Technically, I need some longer needles but these will suffice!

Grrr! Winding the yarn from a skein (Cascade Peruvian wool yarn) without a yarn swift is such a pain! Always a tangle...

I have been feeling quite productive as of late! To end the evening with a little laugh:

How do you win Words with Friends? Play your name of course! ;)

What have you been up to lately? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fashion Twist!

I have a few silky scarves that various members in my family have brought back from trips in Italy and have passed on to me! I wanted to find a new way to wear these scarves and after getting this beautifully patterned one from my grandma...

...and I remembered a magazine article I read somewhere a long time ago that mentioned folding large square scarves into halter tops! To do it, start by folding the scarf in half to make a triangle:

Then take the triangle part at the top (the right triangle made by two ends coming together) and tie it around your neck like this:

Now you have the scarf hanging off of you with lots of folds. Smooth out some of the folds and get it to a spot where you can tie the other two ends around your waist without it bulging and giving you a weird shape. (You may want to fold it under a little and then tie it):

So I have tied the scarf and then tucked the loose ends in to make it look smoother. You don't have to wear the t-shirt if you are really daring or just using it as a cover up at the pool, but I prefer the t-shirt!
Here is the final look:

This picture is shaped a little oddly and it does look better in person... give it a try! I think it's fun, especially with the long butterfly necklace! :)

My dad's garden is thriving and we have been lucky enough to harvest some yummy tomatoes! 



Bruschetta!! Made with tomatoes, white onion, and some fresh basil from our basil plant! Mmm perfect meal for a cool summer evening if you ask me! 

Biscuit decided to play peek-a-boo on top of our TV entertainment center:

He is just too cute for words! 

Tomorrow there will be some pictures of my finished shawl and a shawl pin I made as well as some new projects I am casting on! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Broke and Satisfied!

Stitches. This day has been one of the best this entire year!! Before we even walked in, we spotted some neat licence plates and the world's best van:

I have to get a knitting related licence plate when I get a car!


And then when I walked in, my jaw just dropped. I think there was more yarn in this room than I could ever have dreamed existed. It took us nearly 3 hours to walk up and down the 9 aisles just to see everything and then a little more going back to pick up the things we wanted to get!
Oh the magnitude! This picture probably illustrates only a small portion of the vendors...

Some cool things I liked included:

Learning how to knit with gigantic knitting needles! It really is very different, you have to hold the work down in your lap because it is very heavy; the needles themselves pack quite a punch. I have to say that I do prefer knitting with sizes 2-13 but still a fun experience!

I also tried latch hooking with different fibers at the Fiber Hooking booth! It was a lot of fun and the company has some beautiful kits! My mom bought a blank canvas and a hook to make her own design.

One booth, Purdy Thangz, was selling cute shawl pins, earrings, and stitch markers. I saw these earrings and bought them in a heartbeat! They were the last ones left and I couldn't pass them up!

Spinning wheels!!

There were lots of beautiful yarns and it was hard to pick and choose which ones to buy, but I ended up buying this yarn with the pattern Abalone from Ravelry in mind:

There was a Halos of Hope booth there (they collect hats for people who have lost their hair during chemo therapy) and I dropped of this hat I crocheted for them:

Only and hour and a half into the show and they had already collected 157 hats (mine included!) Great job crafters!

One company was selling these spiral organizers for knitting needles, crochet hooks, or whatever kind of use you might dream up. My mom bought one for us to use!

The Red Heart Yarn booth was handing away free bags which came in handy after we started buying things:

There was a neat fiber booth that was selling many different colors of hand dyed silk ribbons. They had a kit where you could pick out three ribbons, a package of beads, a magnetic clasp, and a needle to thread the beads for only $10! The necklace is done by crocheting "*ch2, place bead* repeat" and then braiding the three strands together! I chose two black ribbons and a shimmery black ribbon, some bluish-greenish-purplish-pinkish beads, and a silver clasp:

And, finally, I bought one pound of wool/alpaca blend fiber to spin! It is an extreme amount but I am excited to spin it up and then knit it into a sweater of some sort! 

I just love this color, I think it will make a nice sweater (I have this pattern in mind for it)

Overall, I had a great time at Stitches Midwest! I found some great things that will last me for quite a long time! 

Have any of you attended a Stitches convention this year or any fiber fest? What great finds did you buy?