Mar 31, 2014

Chevron Bag with Faux Leather Accents

I love bags! They're a fun accessory that say a little bit about your personality. I knew when I saw this bag I wanted to give it a shot, especially because I already had some chevron fabric and some faux leather.
The tutorial was excellent! My only problem was that I didn't quite have enough main fabric, so I had to adjust the measurements to make a smaller bag. Which is fine with me. I like the finished size of my bag very much. (For example, I used a 16" zipper instead of a 20".) The only other change I made to the pattern was making faux-leather handles rather than using cotton webbing. I thought that the faux-leather handles would make the bag look a little less casual.
I added an inside pocked with a 7" zipper (and wish I took a picture of the pretty pocket fabric. Darn.). I figure I can stick my phone in there since it always seems to get lost at the bottom of my bags.
I have to say I love this bag! Faux leather (i.e., pleather) is SO much lighter than real leather, so this bag is extremely light on my shoulder, which is a wonderful thing.

Would you like to make faux-leather straps for your bag? Here's how I did it:

Cut two strips 28" long and 3" wide. 
Fold in the long sides twice (like you're making bias tape) so that the rough edges are concealed inside the "tube."
Stitch the length of each strap leaving about 2.5" at each end (stitch very close to the edge). 
I then used a small round object (mine happened to be an Angry Bird plastic ring) to round out the ends. I traced the round edge on the backside of the pleather with a pen, then cut.
I stitched the straps down, following the curve of the bottom, then went back and stitched an X for extra strength!

I like the look! What do you think?

Mar 24, 2014

Early Spring Cabled Fingerless Mittens

How about a cute knitted project for early spring? What about a pair of cabled fingerless mittens? Aren't they pretty? I am super proud of myself. The cable part was really not as hard as I thought it'd be. Once you get the hang of this pattern, the mittens can sew up pretty fast. 
These mitts are perfect for early spring, providing just enough warmth for those chilly walks to and from school when temps linger around 45 or 50. 
It's a good pattern, but you do have to focus, at least until you get into the rhythm with counting. My husband started talking to me a few times and suddenly I couldn't quite remember which stitch number I was on. So I did have to re-start a couple times. However, once you finish one mitt and are satisfied with it, the second one goes much quicker. I actually did watch a little TV with the second one. That's the mark of success, no? Counting, cabling, and House of Cards.
The original pattern can be found on Lion Brand. In the comments section, a kind knitter named Charlotte Waters adjusted the pattern so that the cables are now centered on the back of the hand (the LB pattern had them off-center). I finished re-writing the pattern below. For my mittens, I did the exact same pattern twice, one for each hand, instead of doing the opposite as Charlotte suggests (I just flipped the second mitten upside down to sew up the thumb hole, while keeping the cables on the top of the hand).

This is the the revised pattern below:

STITCH EXPLANATION: 3/3 LC (3 over 3 left cross) Slip 3 std to cable needle and hold in front, K3, then K3 from cable needle 
Using US 8 needles and worsted weight yarn,

CO 38 stitches (I used Paton's Classic Wool Worsted in Aran Tweed.)

Rows 1, 3, 5: (K1, P1) 4 times, K2, P6, K2, (P1, K1) 10 times
Row 2: (P1, K1) 10 times, P2 K6, P2, (K1, P1) 4 times
Row 4: (P1, K1) 10 times, P2, 3/3 LC, P2, (K1, P2) 4 times
Row 6: (P1, K1) 10 times, P2, K6, P2, (K1, P1) 4 times

Good luck and enjoy your new, cute mittens!

Mar 13, 2014

Knitted Sibling Winter Hats

These are my hats for the kids this year! It took me a while to make them, and then it took me a while to post them. We still have snow on the ground in these parts, and it was a blustery, freezing 25 degrees today, so the kids got good use of these knitted hats. I love how their ears are covered and both of them enjoy the ties. These pics were taken about a month or so ago on a sunny, but chilly day when we took the kids snowshoeing.
 Green is my son's favorite color, so he was pretty happy with this hat. I thought it'd also be fitting for the St. Patrick's Day parade. Looks like it'll be cold enough to still wear it this weekend.
My little girl chose orange. And then yellow. So there you have it. And the hat matches her snowshoes! Totally not planned.
I found the pattern here. The hat is too small for my head, but makes a good-sized child's hat, in my opinion (or maybe we are all a family of large heads...which may be true).
I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick for the green hat, as directed by the pattern. And I used Lion Brand Hometown USA for the orange. I found the Thick & Quick knitted up much quicker and I also had a little leftover in the end. For the orange, on the other hand, I used the entire ball and was happy she wanted yellow too -- because I couldn't have finished the hat without it. Also, her hat just feels heavier than his. I thought these were pretty interesting observations considering the fact that both are "super bulky" yarns, but definitely knit up differently.
I have had such a good time knitting recently! I am almost sad to see winter go. I have several more knitted projects to post and hope to get them up on the blog before the cold weather really leaves us. I'm sure I'm not the only one sorry to see the snowy see go...or am I?

Have a good week!

Mar 12, 2014

The Winnie Shrug - Pattern Testing

Well, my little girl got a cute addition to her wardrobe! It's the Winnie Shrug, a pattern by Anneliese of the WeeMuses line. I got to pattern test it for her and I made mine out of faux fur and added a shiny vintage button.
I love it!
Anneliese is a great pattern maker. This is the second pattern I've been able to test for her and once again, the directions are clear, the pattern is full of pictures to help you along, and the sizing is right on.
My daughter wears a 5/6 in regular clothes, but because I was using a bulky fabric, I was advised to go up a size. So I cut the 7/8. The Winnie Shrug is supposed to be worn over a shirt and I found this size worked perfectly. I imagine my daughter will get good use out of this shrug for the rest of the winter and into the spring. (I'm hoping she'll get some fall use out of it too!)

Thanks for stopping by!
Other clothes in pics:
Green dress can be found HERE. (Made almost a year ago, this dress is starting to look small on my little girl. Sniff.)
Wool circle skirt can be found HERE.

Feb 23, 2014

5-Minute Faux Fur Pillow Tutorial

I have a great tutorial for you today! Each pillow seriously took me 5 minutes. And the effects look like I took much longer. I think that's the magic of faux fur. It can really jazz up a room! So this is how it works:
First, I got a couple 18" wide cuts of faux fur from JoAnn's. (I think I asked for 1/3 yard.) These, by the way, are a soft poodle-type fur. Really comfy for the couch. At home, I had two 18x18" pillows to cover. The steps are below.
1. Measure the fur by placing your pillow right on top, right side up.
2. Fold the other end of the fabric over the pillow so that the ends overlap about 4-5". Cut and pin across.
3. Slide out the pillow and pin down the sides, measuring to make sure the cover is still 18" long.
4. Sew down both sides of the cover about .5" (not including the fur sticking out). Back stitch at the ends.
5. Trim the excess fur.
6. Take a look at your pillow. You're seconds away from being done.
7. Flip it right side out.
8. Stuff your pillow inside the cover and stick it on your couch. Done!
No need to hem the ends because the fur covers the edges. (This particular faux fur also has a little stretch to it, so as a knit, it's not going to unravel. Still, I wouldn't bother hemming any faux fur.)
I let my daughter come with me into the hall to take pictures of my pillows and she had some fun with it. (Yes, condo living limits me with photo shoots so I use the sparse, clean hallway instead!)
I've had these two pillows done for a couple months now and they get lots of use. The kids both like to sit on them on the floor when we play cards, and snuggle up with them on the couch when we read books. I love the look of faux fur on pillows because they give the furniture a lot more dimension. And I've been reading a lot lately that a mixture of textiles is good for a room. 
I so agree.
If I had a bigger home, I'd do more of these.
They could not have been easier - and I hope you'll agree if you give them a try.
If you have smaller or larger pillows than mine, just get a cut of fabric that fits. Or trim something in your stash, which will only add on a couple minutes to the project.

Let me know if you try it!