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Archive for June, 2010

A Learning Experience

I love tutorials.  Whenever I have a vague idea of something I want to make, I always seem to be able to find some kind of tutorial on line.  Here are two great things I recently made, with links to where I learned to make them:

Drawstring Sock Project Bag – I love this one because its fairly easy for someone of my limited sewing skills, plus it uses two fat quarters which are cheap, easy to find and come in great prints.  Of course, I still managed to screw it up because apparently I cant measure anything correctly – so I had to frankenstein it up a bit, but I think it still turned out adorable.  Its perfect for sock knitting and other small projects – I always find that I can stuff more in here than I think I can. Tutorial from Yarnmonster can be found here.

Row Counter Bracelet – I found this one by accident – I was trying to find the cheapest place to find a decent row counter for someone who asked for it.  Mr Google pointed me to this great tutorial for a bracelet pattern.  This was a little bit of a challenge for me to because apparently my jewelry making skills are even worse than my sewing skills.  My husband helped me with squooshing the clasps on the ends.  If you’ve never seen this before, here’s how it works.  The clear beads on the bottom right is actuall a small circle of clear seed beads strung on elastic cord.  There are 9 small beads and 10 big beads.  Each time you knit a row, you move one small bead through the circle (whose opening is normally too small to let the beads pass through, hence the elastic) to the other side.  After you pass all nine beads through and then knit your tenth row, you move all nine beads back where they came from and instead pass one big bead through.  You continue on like this for as many rows as you need to count, up to 99 rows!  The bracelet below “reads” 12 rows have been knit (one big bead and two small ones).  Pretty neat huh?  If you didnt want to wear it, you could loop it around your knitting bag instead.

So here’s my tutorial for you.  If you’re a (top down) sock knitter like me, you always have to drag out a reference book to remember how to kitchener stitch your toes closed.  I wanted something sturdy I could keep in my project bag to remind me.   I saw the kitchener stitch dog tag on knitpicks for $6.50 plus shipping and thought, “I could do better than that!”.  Since I dont have a laminator, here is my bright idea.

“Laminated” Kitchener Stitch Tag:

Materials:

  • Paper
  • Light weight cardboard
  • 2″ wide Packing Tape

Instructions:

Print out the kitchener stitch mantra (either how I’ve done it below or in some format that helps you remember it) on regular paper.  I drew a text box that was 2.5″ by 1.5″ and wrote the lines inside it.  

Cut it out close to the edges of the drawn box.  Cut out a rectangle out of light weight cardboard that is the same height, but half an inch wider.

Place the paper on top of the cardboard, with the paper’s right and bottom edges lined up with the cardboard.  Rip off a piece of packing taper several inches longer than the cardboard.  CAREFULLY place the tape over the paper/cardboard so it sticks right in the middle. My packing tape is two inches wide so I had about half an inch clearance at the top and bottom.  Turn it over and place another piece of packing tape over the first, sticky sides together.  You are sandwiching the tag between the tape.  Burnish the two layers of tape with a sharp object (Im using scissors below) to make sure the two layers adhere and there are no air bubbles.

Trim around the whole thing, leaving a quarter inch border and rounding the edges.  Punch a hole in the end where just the cardboard is (be more careful than I was, I cut into the box as you can see below)

Ta DA!  I threaded it through the drawstring on my sock bag.  Now just make sure you remember to have your tapestry needle with you!

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Since our visit last year, we decided to make every June our annual week-long camping trip to Hither Hills state park in Montauk.  For those of you not near these parts, its the town at the very tippy tip of the south fork of long island, as far east as you can go. It’s a lazy little beach town, with the perfect mix of locals and tourists.  The campground is at the very beginning of the town line which leaves it nicely isolated from downtown, and the best part is that it is right up against the shore of the Atlantic Ocean.  The weather at this time of year is cooler, and its considered off-season so it is less crowded.  There is nothing better than spending your days playing on the beach that is steps from the camper, and then falling asleep to the sound of waves crashing.  It was such a relaxing time.  Well, as relaxing as it can be when you have a toddler with no fear of the water.  Much of the beach time was spent hovering over him and pulling him back from the water’s edge.  Oh, and except for that first day – when he ran from me and sprinted down the beach – so far that I started to panic both from fear of him running into the water and fear of me collapsing from a heart attack from trying to sprint after him.  It only got worse when he finally stopped and I caught up to him.  Let me say that I NEVER EVER hit my son.  NEVER.  But he got a nice whack on his butt for that one.  Not to hurt him but hopefully to strike the fear of God in him never to do that again.  Lets hope so because my heart can’t take it literally.

But after that things went well (except of course for the bathrooms – showering at a state park has to be akin to prison).   We visited the famous lighthouse and drove through creepy Camp Hero.  We ate grilled hot dogs and homemade ice cream.  We collected shells and hunted for sea glass.  We splashed in the water and built sand castles.  We read books and cuddled in sleeping bags.  We made friends with strangers and together gathered to gaze at a beautiful full arch rainbow.  Its everything I love about the beach and camping combined!

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Summer Gardens

One of my favorite things about summer is seeing my yard bursting with color. Most of what you see in our yard is completely by trial and error.  (And some errors, like my husband planting mint in one of the beds is a nightmare we keep living every year).By the time September comes for the big birthday bash, everything is lush and overflowing.

In the front beds I try to plant as much purple as possible.  Our house is a taupy brown, but my front door is a deep plum.  Every year I try to find some other unique one to plant.

One thing I’ve been meaning to do is hand paint a quote or saying in whimsical writing across the header under our deck – but I can’t seem to find the perfect thing to write.  I was thinking something about a garden, or living by the sea, or a place where friends and family gather – or something with all of them!   Any ideas?  Here’s a pic. Its the wide board at the top of where it supports the floor of the deck above.   Its the first thing you see when you walk out from the house.   If I use your idea, you’ll win a nice bunch of fresh mint!  (or free to anyone who wants it)  (seriously).

In the back I have a mix of everything.   Our pots are a pretty aqua, bought both because they were scooped up for a bargain one fall and because the color reminds me of a calming spa.  This year I put in bright orange geraniums paired with hot pink new guinea impatiens.

The color combo makes me smile every time Im out there.  It also served as an inspiration for a recent crochet project.  I was surfing on Ravelry and checked in on the “Testing Pool” forum – crochet projects are few and far between so when I saw a request to test the Babouches pattern, I jumped at it.  Needing worsted weight yarn, I dug in my stash and came up with this combo.

Pattern:  Babouches

Yarn:  Red Heart Soft Yarn – no idea how much, but WAY less than half a skein.

Hook:  C – the pattern calls for F which boggles my mind – I actually could have gone down to a B

Notes:  Quick, painless and very cute.  Next time I would use cotton.  Im not much of a slipper person, but I thought this was a good project for my first foray into testing.  I think I did pretty good with my feedback, and I would definitely test again.

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