Posts tagged ‘photo’

I-Cord Necklace Tutorial

At the Etsy Craft Party I attended on Friday I got a chance to play with an I-cord machine and talk to people about the different ways to make a cord (the machine, spool knitting or double pointed needles).  I wore the bracelet I created for the rest of the night and put it with my daily jewelry (watch, college ring and small silver hoop earrings) when I went to bed.  The next morning I decided that just wearing this bracelet wasn’t going to be enough, I needed to make more I-cord!

Since Saturday was Knit In Public Day it seemed fitting to choose the double pointed needle method.  If it hadn’t rained I would have biked to the park and knit there, but it was an icky day out and I’d been at the Etsy Party for 4 hours the night before, so the most public I was getting was twitter (and this blog, a few days late!).

I’m not sure that I’ve knit anything since Christmas of 2009, and even then it was just a few tiny snow people.  I was pleasantly surprised that my hands just knew how to hold everything, although it took a long time to get into the rhythm of things since the rows are so short!  Still, by the end I was able to do 7 inches of cord in about 10 minutes, which I thought was pretty good for someone who hasn’t knit anything substantial in more than 10 years.

My go-to website for basic technique has long been Lion Brand’s, they didn’t fail me this time either, giving a simple explanation of how to make an I-cord.

I started as instructed: casting on 3 stitches (yet another thing my hands magically remembered how to do), sliding, knitting, sliding and knitting some more.  Before I’d even gotten this technique down, I already knew that I wanted to experiment with the size of the cord, expanding and contracting to make different embellishments.  I ended up doing something like this:

Cast on 3
Slide to other end, knit 3 (basic cord pattern)
Repeat for 7 inches
Knit, cast on, knit, cast on, knit
Knit 1 row
Knit 2, cast on, knit 2, cast on, knit
Knit 3 rows
Knit 1, k2tog, knit 1, k2tog, knit 1
Knit 1 row
Knit 1, k2tog twice
Knit basic cord pattern for 1.5 inches
Knit, cast on, knit, cast on, knit
Knit, *cast on, knit* repeat from * 3 times
Knit 1 row
Knit 1, k2tog across
Knit 1, k2tog across
Knit basic cord pattern for 1.5 inches
Knit, cast on, knit, cast on, knit
Knit 1 row
Knit 2, cast on, knit 2, cast on, knit
Knit 3 rows
Knit 1, k2tog, knit 1, k2tog, knit 1
Knit 1 row
Knit 1, k2tog twice
Knit basic cord pattern for 7 inches

I apologize for the lack of abbreviations or standard notation.  (Did I mention how long it’s been since I knit something?)  I should probably say that you continue to slide at the end of each row.  If you can understand my pattern, you will end up with a necklace with three bobbles, 2 large and a small one between them.

I Cord Necklace

The problem is, they change size depending on how you push and pull the cord.  I was looking around my apartment for something small, a marble would be ideal, to stick in the spaces.  The best I could come up with without leaving home (still raining) was some styrofoam.  I’d recently purchased an exacto knife so this seemed like a fun experiment.

I cut the styrofoam into a rectangular prism at first, but quickly realized the cord wasn’t tight enough and the corners would stick out.  So I sculpted a bit until I had a piece I liked.

 

 

Then I pulled at the yarn around a small hole until it was big enough to fit the foam.  Once it was in, I wiggled it around and stretched at the cord until the hole had nearly disappeared.

I repeated the same process for the other two bobble spaces.  Squishing the styrofoam helped a bit, and I was even able to cut out protruding corners while the foam was inside the cord.

  Overall I’m happy with the design, although I may end up looking at the thrift shop for some marbles or other small spheres to use instead.  The styrofoam is just a bit more visible than I’d like it to be.

June 13, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

5 Things Friday

Crochet Keychains/Scrunchies  It’s late, but it’s still Friday.  Today was the Etsy Craft Party, I hope you celebrated!  (A list of all the registered parties is on meetup.)  We didn’t plan our party very well (lots of miscommunication) but we still had fun.  I made an icord bracelet using an Embellish-Knit Machine and finished lots of keychains between visitors.
icord Bracelet
I found myself describing most of my projects in terms of the yarns (the use and texture are self-explanatory when you can pick them up) and remembered how excited I am about the different ones I’ve found!

So, today’s five things are my favorite yarns:

1.)  Banana Fiber is the most unique yarn I have, so I start with that one, plus the coasters I made are really funky and fun:

Crochet Coasters

2.)  Color grown yarns are exciting on several levels.  First, no dye!  Second, the colors get stronger rather than fading over time.  How cool is that?  Third, Pakucho is organic cotton.

3.)  Hemp is great for lots of reasons, but the reason I really love it is because it’s so sturdy.  This basket stands up without any support or felting required.

4.) The bamboo/wool blend from Stitch Nation is really soft, plus all the colors in this brand are really bright and fun!

5.) Reclaimed yarn is a fun option since the yarn has already lived one life, in this case the yarn is made from scraps leftover from factories.

What’s your favorite type of yarn?  Can you pick just one, or five?

June 10, 2011 at 10:40 pm 2 comments

Blocking Experiment

So far I’ve managed to avoid blocking.  Mostly I work with thicker yarns and often with round objects.  Recently I made some square coasters though that came out a bit crooked and decided to finally figure out blocking.  I went with the soaking method rather than spraying since it’s a thick yarn and pinned them all down to a towel.

Pre-Blocking Coaster

Blocking Coasters

Turns that I don’t have as many pins as I thought (I don’t sew) so I was only able to pin the corners (even then I had to use some needles).  I stretched and squished the edges until they lined up with the ruler and hopefully they will dry that way.

Drying in the sun

I set the whole thing up in the sun and hopefully it will all go smoothly!

Do you have any tips or tricks for blocking?

June 6, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

5 Things Friday

This week it’s really started to feel like summer.  Memorial day is the unofficial start to summer, Wednesday was the first of June and we’ve had temperatures solidly into the 80’s.  Overall my brain is thinking summer even though we have a month of school left (snow days pushed the last day of high school here all the way to the 29th!).  This week’s 5 things are all about what I’m looking forward to this summer.

1.  The big event of the summer this year is a trip to Park City, Utah for 3 weeks.  It’s basically math camp for adults – 55 teachers (plus groups of undergrads and grad students) spend July working on math and discussing teaching methods.  Plus, it sounds like there’s plenty of time to explore the area – concerts, biking, hiking and more!  I can’t wait to get away, meet new people and exercise my body and brain in different ways than they are during the school year.

2.  Since I was already flying half way across the country I decided to visit my friend in Seattle.  Combining the two trips seriously reduces my carbon footprint, so I feel a bit better about jetting across the country.  I’m spending the last week of July there, mostly exploring on my own since my friends have to work, so if anyone has recommendations I’d love to hear them!

3.  Soon after I return I’ll be attending a college friend’s wedding.  It promises to be a great experience- they’re having it at the family lake house and some of us are camping on site rather than getting a hotel.  I love this lake, so much so that the view from the hammock has been my cell phone background for years.  Of course, there’s also the wedding part, and I’m really excited for the happy couple!

view from hammock

4. After the wedding I’ll have a few weeks until school starts back up.  Some of that time will be spent exploring Salem.  There’s a big summer tourist season so there will be plenty of events to attend plus local favorites to explore.  To offset the excessive travel in the first half of the summer I’m hoping to leave my car at home and commute primarily by bicycle.  It will also help me avoid the traffic!

5.  I do really value my alone time though, so I’m also hoping to spend some time camping or just day tripping to local lakes.  It will be perfect to sit back and enjoy the calm, take in some nature and go on an adventure.  I discovered letterboxing about a year ago (it’s like geocaching without a gps) and it’s a great way to discover hidden charms of local areas.

Thinking about all of this makes me even more anxious to get out and start experiencing it all!

Aside from daydreaming, this week I’ve been recovering from pollen exposure over the weekend, working on some new picnic placemats (they roll up with silverware and napkin secured inside) and playing with needlepoint coasters.  More on all of that soon.

That’s about it for this week.  What have you accomplished over the past 7 days?

As always, thanks to Allison for the “5 Things Friday” theme.

June 3, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Single Crochet Entrelac

After making two projects in tunisian entrelac I considered that topic ‘mastered’ (ha!) and moved on to experimenting with single crochet entrelac.  This piece is a cloth of some variety and was most definitely an experiment.

1. Just like tunisian entrelac I made one long chain to work all of my squares into.  For this cloth I wanted to make three large squares, 10×10, so I started with a chain of 61 (any multiple of 20+1 will work).  (It actually turned out to be 10×11 since you need an odd number, but that amount of chains still holds.)

2. Single crochet in the second chain from the hook and the next 9 chains (10 sc).  Then slip stitch into the following 2 chains (one to end this row, the second to start the next row).

3. Turn.  Single crochet in 10 stitches across.  Ch 1.

4. Turn.  Single crochet in 10 stitches across. Slip stitch in the next two chains.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 four more times (11 sc rows total) except skip the final slip stitch.  This completes the first square.  Repeat from row 2 for each square (start row 2 in the same chain as your final slip stitch rather than the 2nd chain from hook).

Once you have 3 squares (or whatever you decided), finish off that color.  Start your new color in the top right stitch of your first square.  Just as before, follow the instructions from row 2, but you will be stitching into sc rather than chains.  I decreased to two squares for this color, but you could do the same number again if for your last square you only used row 3 (the standard single crochet square).  Finish off your second color and repeat once more to make a row of one, filling in the open space between the two squares you just made.

My original plan was to then turn the entire piece around and repeat the same thing on the other side (2 squares color B, 1 square color A), giving me a checked 3×3 square.  However, I was running out of yarn and in the mood to play, so I decided to fill in the gaps and make a triangle.  I am sorry to report that I don’t remember where I started, quite possibly in the middle and then going back to add the ends in afterwards.  But, the basic premise is to start with the full 10 stitches and then decrease by 1 each row until the final row is just a slip stitch.

To get the triangle which doesn’t have a square to work up from, ch 11, sc in 10 ch across (starting at 2nd from hook), slip stitch to the appropriate row and continue as usual.  In fact, this method would work from the beginning, there is no need to make a long chain to start, simply chain 11, work a single crochet square, chain 10 more and work a single crochet in that, repeating until you have as many squares as you like.  Then for the next square follow the instructions above.

I like this method since you don’t have to change colors nearly as often as if you made all of these square separately, and I’m sure it could easily be adapted for different pattern squares that you just connected as you worked!

 

May 30, 2011 at 6:00 am 2 comments

Summer Table Setting

I was in Michael’s one day (always a dangerous place to be) and saw this adorable bright pink yarn on clearance.  I’m not usually one for pink, but I’ll always take good quality yarn on clearance.  I’m so glad I did because I just love what I’ve made with it so far:

Don’t the placemats remind you of watermelon and checked picnic table cloths all at once?

Both sets are available for purchase now:

Pink and White Round Crochet Coasters

Watermelon Placemats (Pink and Green Basketweave)

May 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm Leave a comment

Building Blocks: Constructing a Wide Shelf

I recently had some space open up in my apartment and immediately realized it was the perfect opportunity to expand my craft corner into a corner plus a shelf.  Last weekend I headed to the target website and started researching.  Once I saw that they carried Way Basics I figured I would get some combination of shelves and/or cubes to start building my eco-friendly craft organization system.  Of course, I neglected to notice that they are only available online, so after circling the store multiple times (why are the shelves in 3 different sections?) I determined I didn’t like anything they had, but I wanted something like this:

I returned home frustrated and headed back to the internet.  I still couldn’t find anything I liked online (plus shipping a shelf is seriously expensive), so I switched to searching for tutorials on building a shelf.  Again I couldn’t find anything appealing – does no one make wide shelves? – although this tetris shelf looks seriously fun (just not so practical).  Not to be deterred, I set about making my own plans.  I quickly became so enthralled that I lost track of time and was up far too late playing with keynote (the mac version of powerpoint) and considering structural integrity.

On Friday I mentioned to a co-worker that I would be building a shelf on Saturday, and after remarking how awesome it is that I’m not worried about my nails (the kind some people paint- I prefer worrying about the kind that go with a hammer) he offered to help.  Saturday morning he and his girlfriend drove up and we all headed to home depot.  The store employee cautioned us that it wasn’t going to be as easy at it looked when I proudly showed him the blueprints, but we were determined and so he showed us several options.  The melamine seemed the easiest to work with: it came in dimensions that matched the plans and we were able to get a lot of finished edges plus a couple plain shelves to paint fun colors.  We calculated, recalculated (having two math majors was a plus) and then got the wood cut.  While we were contemplating screw sizes we decided to lay the whole thing out to make sure it worked (a real benefit of those wide aisles!).  Doing so allowed us to figure out that it would be easier to have the bottom divider cut short rather than sanding all of them down.  One less item on our to-do list!

Step one: Spray paint the unfinished shelves.  I have leftover spray paint from another project so we had a whole rainbow of colors to choose from.  My favorite colors are blue and green so I started with those.  Turns out this particle board is seriously absorbent and the green just couldn’t hang on.  We went with red instead with much better results (barring the part where we ran out and had to return to home depot, or really my awesome friends returned while I made them lunch).

Green goes on the Bottom

Step two: After the paint had dried we began assembly.  Armed with levels, measuring tape, brackets, screws and a drill we set to work.  Starting at the top we connected the sides and the first divider.  Working on carpet wasn’t easy but we would have been seriously cramped in the kitchen (or bathroom!) and those are the only non-carpeted areas I have.  Next comes the red shelf, the boards were slightly bowed so the level was put to good work.  I decided to make 2 one foot compartments on the ends so that if I decide to buy fabric drawers they will fit perfectly in those sections. Then came the blue shelf (also bowed) and finally the last divider.  16 brackets and 64 screws later I had a stable shelf!  It’s far sturdier than I anticipated and I love it.

Step three: (Haven’t actually done this yet) Touch ups- we ended up with two cut edges at the top, plus a bit of unfinished wood is showing on the dividers, thanks to the carpet and the curved shelves.  Those will need to be painted white.  And then the whole surface should be wiped down to clean up all the marks from cutting/transporting/building.  For now just pretend you can’t see them, that’s what I’m doing!

Step four: Fill it up with all of the items that have been tucked in the corner, under the bed, squished between things and overall inaccessible!  If you compare this picture to the one from my Craft Room Envy post you’ll see many of the same items, just spread out and easy to get to!

(click on the photo to zoom in)

May 23, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

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