Saturday, May 26, 2012 1 comments

Knitting: Felted Bag 2

I finished another felted bag! After the first one came out of the washing machine all felted and cute, my daughter started begging me for one. So this one is hers.

This time I only did 15 stitches per square, instead of the 20 stitches per square that I did on the first one. I don't know if you can tell or not, but the first bag is in the back and the second bag is in the front. There is a significant size difference, although this picture probably doesn't illustrate it very well.

Maybe this one will be a bit clearer. I am able to perfectly nest the second one inside the first one.

And here's a picture of my daughter holding it. It's so cute and petite, just like her!

If I were to make this size for an adult, it would have to be for a special occasion bag because you can't fit much more than a few accessories inside. But it's really cute!

Friday, May 25, 2012 2 comments

Knitting: Felted Bag

I've been knitting again, which explains the lack of posting this week. Sometimes I feel like writing about what I've knit, and sometimes I just feel like knitting more. I'm sure you understand how that goes! :)

This week I tackled a felted bag project. I absolutely love how this bag turned out! The whole process was so much fun.

I started out with the Garter Stripe Square Bag pattern, a free pattern you can access through Ravelry. Since it was originally written in Japanese, and Google Translator didn't help at all with the directions, I searched through other projects to find directions in English. The original pattern calls for you to make 21 squares and then sew them together. I found project notes that described how one lady accomplished the same thing via entrelac. Since I recently learned entrelac and really enjoy it (whereas I hate seaming), I was excited to give it a try.

When it was all done, I was really glad I had done it in entrelac. And although I enjoyed the process, the finished bag was a bit ugly, in my opinion. That's mostly because I don't like the look of garter stitch. BUT after I threw it in the washing machine with a pair of jeans to see if it would felt, I was in love with the finished, felted bag!

I will definitely be making more of these!

ETA: I should have mentioned that I made this from 100% lambswool I upcycled from two thrift store sweaters. I didn't need two whole sweaters, I just used two different ones because I wanted it to be two-color. It used about 1/4 of each sleeve, if I'm estimating it right. You have to have mostly animal fiber to achieve felting.
Friday, May 18, 2012 1 comments

More Memory Quilts

It's been ages since I posted any quilts, mostly because I've been knitting more than anything else the last few months. However, I recently ran across the pictures of memory quilts I made for a fellow pastor's wife this past Christmas, and I thought I'd share them with you today.

I used the same sheets as the previous memory quilt that she commissioned for her husband. This time, she wanted a mini quilt for each of his brothers and sisters. We had to do a mini quilt size to have enough to go around, but it worked out better this way, in my opinion.

I used a plain white fabric for the sashing stripes, and I think it worked out nicer than the last one because it helped to break up the prints and colors better.

These were done in a rush the week before Christmas, but I was very pleased with how they turned out!
Monday, May 14, 2012 0 comments

Homemade Potato Chips

Sorry I don't have a photo for the post today, but I hope it's helpful even without a picture.

Yesterday I was craving potato chips, but we didn't have any in the house. I try not to keep too many here because I really do love them and they're terrible nutritionally. But when you have a craving, sometimes it just won't go away. Since it was Mother's Day, I indulged my craving with some homemade potato chips.

I've made them before, but always before I would peel a potato and use my vegetable peeler to slice off super-thin slices to fry in my FryDaddy. You can get a lot of potato chips that way (about the equivalent of a bagful with one russet potato), but I found the whole process a bit tiresome, especially because the potato gets really slippery after a minute of working with it.

Yesterday I decided to try the easiest way I know - I used the slicer attachment on my small Salad Shooter. I only had red potatoes on hand, but they fit in the chute perfectly, so I left the skins on them and it worked great.

After slicing them, I put them in the preheated FryDaddy. Since these slices are a little thicker, I had to experiment with frying times. Two minutes produced something that was like a thin, flat French fry. Not what I was looking for. Four minutes was a little closer to a chip, but still not crispy the whole way through. Six minutes was perfection!

I discovered that one red potato is about the equivalent of a serving, but I suspect you'll get a lot more out of regular russets. So, for those of you (like me) who prefer a written-out traditional-looking recipe, here you go:

Homemade Potato Chips

1 potato (any kind will work)
salt or your preferred seasonings
food processor with slicer attachment
deep fryer with oil

1. Peel the potato, if desired. Cut into chunks that will fit into your food processor's slicer attachment, then process.
2. Fry the slices in hot oil for 5-6 minutes.
3. Drain on paper towels and salt or season as desired.

Yield: 1 serving (red potato) or 2-3 servings (white potato)

I want to try baking some in the oven at some point, but I'll have to wait for another week to try that. I don't want to gain ten pounds in one week!
Saturday, May 12, 2012 0 comments

Your opinions, please!

I posted a question on the shop's Facebook page, and I'd love your input. You can find the poll here.

I've never posted a poll on Facebook before, but I think you can answer the question without being a "fan" of the shop. (Although we'd love to have you join us for shop updates and announcements, if you're interested.)

Thanks for your help!
Friday, May 11, 2012 6 comments

Frugal Graduation Announcements

How many of you are tired of all the expense surrounding life-changing events (graduation, weddings, etc.)? Me, too! I have a nephew graduating this year, and let's just say that there isn't a never-ending stream of money flowing his direction.

In case it's been awhile since you or a child graduated, let's review how expenses can really add up. When I graduated from high school (1994), senior pictures ran into the hundreds of dollars, and you didn't get much. I'm positive that they're even more expensive now, although I don't have any recent figures.

Announcements and all the accessories that go with them also ran well over a hundred dollars and could easily top $200 if you got more than the basics.

When you add in the cost of a yearbook ($50 at this particular school), cap and gown rental, senior trip expenses, etc., it's getting to the point that you almost have to take out a loan to graduate from high school. Personally, I think that's ridiculous.

As a result, I took my nephew's senior pictures and also offered to make his graduation announcements. For $20 (including postage), they were all shipped to his door. I was pretty happy!

I ordered the pictures through ArtsCow, a company I've dealt with a lot over the last few years. They do a great job for a small price.

I made the announcements from those graduation invitations I picked up three years ago for $0.25/kit. They were designed to invite people to a graduation party, but they're very high quality and make great announcements, too!

Here's the original announcement:

At first I wasn't sure how to cover up that year. But then I remembered that I had blue metallic paper in my stash - lots of it! Since blue is his school's color, this worked perfectly:

I love how it turned out!

The inside is a removable insert that has all the information that a regular announcement would, in a formal style just like it would. I actually looked at sample announcements online to get the wording just right. I also chose a font that looks like some I've seen on graduation announcements in the past (French Script MT). Oh, and I made him some of those name card enclosures from a regular sheet of cardstock, using the same font.

I doubt that anyone who gets these nice, thick 5x8" announcements is going to think, "Wow, what a cheap invitation!" That's what I call success - frugality that looks expensive. :)
Tuesday, May 8, 2012 2 comments

Knitting: The Traveling Companion Shawl

Yesterday I finished my first knitted shawl, and I'm in love!

It's a free pattern called The Traveling Companion Shawl, supposedly because it has enough repetitious work to take with you on the road. There are no charts to read and keep your place in until you get to the lace border - which I definitely don't recommend a new lace knitter attempt while traveling. I learned that from experience.

You could probably pick out several flaws in my shawl if you were so inclined, but after ripping back several rows of lace twice, I decided that any minor flaws weren't going to matter. In a shawl this size, only big mistakes tend to show up much.

I used an acrylic yarn instead of the wool yarn the pattern calls for. I would definitely recommend using wool, simply because it can be blocked easily to the correct dimensions. When mine came off my needles, it was much smaller than I expected. It fit my 6-year-old daughter quite well. I was secretly horrified, wondering if I would ever get it adult-sized by steam blocking (the only kind of blocking that works with acrylic).

Yes, it worked! I was so thrilled to see that it stretched out perfectly when I pinned it to the correct dimensions. I think mine is just a tad under the pattern dimensions, but I'm thrilled at how well it came out.

These pictures aren't the best, but it's terribly difficult to take a picture of a shawl on yourself in the mirror. You can get the idea, though. :)

I started this shawl in February, got bogged down in the lace trelllis section, and put it on hold until last week when I felt like picking it back up.

If you're not on Ravelry, you wouldn't have access to my project page, so I'll post my modification here in case you want to try this shawl ...

In the 2nd Lace Trellis Section, I worked a row 4 of purling as well, instead of just rows 1-3 as the pattern states. After adding in the row 4, it went much better and even looked better. (Perhaps I just misunderstood how the pattern was written and you’re supposed to do this, but I’m a very literal pattern-follower.)

I'd love to know if you have any favorite knitted shawl patterns. Now that I've done one, I'm not so scared of them. I have two of them lined up right now that will probably go into my gift stash, but I'm always looking for good ideas!
Saturday, May 5, 2012 0 comments

Coming Soon: A Shop Update

If you follow the shop on Facebook, you have probably noticed that I've been posting the "last fat quarter" notices for quite a few fabrics lately.

That means that I can start adding some of the new prints that I've been picking up. I think you're really going to like them, but it will take me some time to add (and name) them all. As a result, I'm thinking about adding five or so at a time, like I did for awhile.

I also have a few finished products to go into the shop, including quilts and aprons made from vintage sheets. I'm waiting on a willing apron model and some good weather for pictures. Hopefully I'll get both of them soon!

Stay tuned sometime next week for the first shop update!
Friday, May 4, 2012 1 comments

Knitting: Princess Hat

I've had this hat completed for awhile now, but I just recently got my daughter to stand still long enough to get a picture.

Isn't this the cutest? I love the attached crown, and the fact that we don't have to keep rearranging it to stay on her head.

Best of all, this is a free pattern called Princess Crown. It's apparently a free excerpt pattern from a book that I would enjoy going through at some point. :) It's a bit more challenging than a standard beanie, but it's totally worth it.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 1 comments

Knitting: More Dyed Socks for Lesotho

I made some more socks for Lesotho! I found a sweater (to unravel) with the perfect blend of wool and nylon, so I've been working on lots of socks for cold little feet.

These socks are so quick and fun that it's really hard to stop at just one. I used the (free) Kid Socks 32 pattern for these, and it was so quick and easy that I had the pattern memorized after making this one pair.

Since yellow isn't very conducive to keeping socks clean-looking for longer periods, I overdyed these with 2 packets of Cherry Kool-Aid. The end result was perfect!