Sunday, December 31, 2006

Beaded bias-knit scarf pattern

Gauge: 15 stitches = 3 1/2 inch, measured on bias

1 ball ggh Soft-Kid yarn
30 size 5 glass beads
US 10 1/2 needles

BK: Beaded knit stitch. After knitting, drop stitch from right needle. Use a small crochet hook or needle threader to pull the dropped stitch through a bead. Place stitch back on right needle.

Beginning of scarf:
Cast on 15 stitches.
Row 1: Bias knit row: Increase one stitch by knitting in the front and back of first stitch. Knit next 12 stitches. K2tog.
Row 2: BK all stitches
Row 3: Bias knit row
Row 4: K all stitches
Row 5: Bias knit row
Row 6: BK all stitches
Row 7: Bias knit row

Body of scarf:
Row 1: *K1, yo; Repeat from * for all stitches in row
Row 2: Bias knit row, dropping all yo stitches
Row 3 and 5: K all stitches
Row 4 and 6: Bias knit row
Repeat pattern until 1 yard of yarn remains. End after row 2.

End of scarf:
Row 1: BK all stitches
Row 2: Bias knit row
Row 3: K all stitches
Row 4: Bias knit row
Row 5: BK all stitches
Row 6: Bias knit row

Bind off. Weave in ends. Block if desired.

This pattern is my original work and for personal use only. Please let me know if you have any feedback or questions!

Completed projects: matchbook notepads and ankle socks

I just finished these super-simple matchbook notepads for my sister's birthday present:

I'm hoping to design some sort of vintage matchbook cover for future matchbook notepads... but my skills with photoshop are very limited so that may be a long time coming.

I finished these ugly anklet socks over my Christmas vacation:

The socks were made with less than 100g of Lana Grossa yarn, plus a little bit of grey yarn for the heels.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas lights!

I saw some pretty great (read: tacky) Christmas light displays in Iowa over the holiday weekend. Here are two of my favorites:

I didn't even know that you could buy helicopter-shaped yard decorations.

This is the first semi I've seen decorated for the holidays.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I'm the proud owner of a Bernina 830, the best sewing machine on earth. In my mind, anyways. It's the same model (although not the same machine) that my grandma taught me to sew with when I was 5. So in addition to being a kick-ass machine, it also has some sentimental value. I bought it (used, of course - it's 30 years old) from a Bernina dealer in Nebraska 3 or 4 years ago. I LOVE IT. I take extra good care of it, I have it cleaned every year at a Bernina dealer and I clean and oil it regularly at home. It is one of my most prized possessions. I have never, ever had any problems with it. Until yesterday.

I was quilting a table runner and I could *not* get the tension right. One of the top reasons I bought the machine is because it's so good at automatically adjusting the tension that I hardly ever have to fuddle with the tension knob. And when I do, it is only slightly. This is such a big selling point for me because it was such a pain in the ass to adjust the tension on my mom's old sewing machine that I totally quit sewing for a couple years. If I have to adjust the tension knob every time I sit down to sew something I WILL NOT SEW. I hate tension knobs that much.

Yesterday there were GIGANTIC loops of thread on the back of the fabric, and they would NOT disappear no matter how I adjusted the tension. I ended up rethreading the machine three times, fuddling with the tension knob - testing it at every possible setting, and finally got it working with the tension set just to the left of the '+' sign. It was working awesome until the bobbin ran out and then I had the same problem all over again! I ended up rethreading and fuddling with the tension for another 20 minutes before it worked right again. Then it happened AGAIN with the third bobbin. And every time it would end up working with the tension knob set to the same spot, but only after 20 minutes of trial and error. What the hell!?! Of course this happens as I'm working on a Christmas present 2 days before it needs to be finished. And it happens when I'm doing free motion quilting... admittedly something that I am an amatuer at. I don't know what to do. Is this normal to have to adjust the tension when you're quilting, as opposed to sewing garments? Does anyone have any suggestions? I am just crossing my fingers and hoping that I can get the binding sewn on tonight before the bobbin runs out again. And I'm hoping that there's nothing seriously wrong with my machine! I would be totally crushed if it broke :*(

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

WIP: hawaiian print table runner

I am *so close* to being done with all of my Christmas gifts this year... I just need to finish quilting and binding this table runner for my parents and sew one last scrub top for my sister. I'm guesstimating that I have about 6 hours of work left. Which, conveniently, is almost exactly the amount of free time between now and when we leave on Friday :/ I'd also hoped to make some gingerbread cookies, but I don't see that getting finished in time.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Wristlet tutorial

Finished size of wristlet: 9" long x 7" tall with a 6" strap


  • 9" zipper
  • medium to heavy weight fabric for outside - I used a fabric napkin from Crate & Barrel. Decorator fabrics work well, too.
  • light to medium weight fabric for lining
  • quilt batting of fusible fleece interfacing - this helps the wristlet keep its shape
  • matching thread


VERY IMPORTANT: Wash, dry and iron all fabrics before continuing.

From the medium to heavy weight fabric, cut:
  • one 10" x 15" rectangle
  • one 13" x 3.5" rectangle
NOTE: if your fabric has stripes or a directional print be mindful of how you cut your rectangles. Think about which direction you want the stripes to go on both pieces of the wristlet and cut your pieces accordingly. For my wristlet, I'm making the stripes vertical on both pieces of the wristlet.

From the light to medium weight fabric, cut:
  • two 10" x 8" rectangles
The following pieces will result in a wristlet with veritical strips on both pieces of the wristlet.


From the quilt batting, cut:
  • One 10" x 15" rectangle

The strap is going to be made just like a piece of double-fold bias tape. To make the strap, lay the 3" x 13" rectangle wrong side up on your ironing board.


Fold the rectangle in half, wrong sides together, so that you have a 1.5" x 13" rectangle. Iron it.


Unfold it. There should be a crisp crease running down the length of the rectangle.


Fold the raw edges in to meet the crease. Iron it again.


Fold in half along the crease so that you have a .75" x 13" rectangle. Iron some more.


Stitch both long edges of the rectangle as close to the edge as you can.


Clip all threads and set aside.


Lay the quilt batting out flat. Place the 10" x 15" rectangle, right side up, on top of the batting. Place the zipper, wrong side up, on top of the fabric and batting. Line up the top edges of all three layers and pin them together.


Place one of the 10" x 8" rectangles on top, lining up the top edge with the bottom layers.


Pin all layers together and sew together, using a 1/4" seam allowance. You may need to stop sewing and move the zipper pull once during this seam to maintain an even 1/4" seam allowance. If the seam isn't even, try again until it is. Trim the quilt batting as close as possible to the seam, being careful to not cut any of the fabric. Trim all threads. Fold the outer fabric and lining away from the zipper and iron. Top stitch the outer fabric to the zipper. Do not top stitch the lining to the zipper.


Repet these steps for the other side of the zipper. After attaching the zipper to both sides of your wristlet, it will look like this:


Open the zipper and turn the wristlet inside out. Pull the lining to one side of the zipper and the outer fabric to the other side. Using a 1/2" seam allowance, sew the two pieces of lining together. Be careful NOT to catch the zipper or outer fabric while stitching. Leave a 4" opening in the side of the lining. Fold the strap in half and place it between the two layers of outer fabric, about 2" away from the zipper with the raw edges of the strap with the raw edges of the outer fabric.


Pin the strap in place. Sew (again, using a 1/2" seam allowance) both sides of the outer fabric and batting together. Trim the batting as close as possible to the seam. Reinforce the stitching around the strap. Zig zag around the raw edges (leaving the 4" opening open) to keep them from fraying.


If you want a flat wristlet, you can skip the next steps. If you want a wristlet with some depth, follow these steps:

Take one corner of the lining and fold it so that the bottom seam matches up with the side seam. Take a ruler and draw a line one inch from the point. Stitch along the line.


Repeat for 3 remaining corners of wristlet.


When all 4 corners are done, turn your wristlet right side out by pulling everthing through the 4" hole in the lining. Make sure that the corners are even. Once the corners are even, cut off the extra fabric at the corners. Iron, iron iron.

Turn the wristlet right side out, hand-stitch the 4" opening closed, give it one final ironing and you're done!!

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments - any feedback is welcome!! I used this tutorial on craftster as reference and inspiration.

This post is my entry into the GIFT category for the December whiplash competition.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Completed project: argyle sheets

Yesterday I machine-appliqued this argyle pattern on some extra-long twin bedsheets for my youngest sister who is starting college next fall. Her favorite colors are yellow and blue.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Completed project: scrub top #1

I finished the first scrub top for my sister today. I think it took about 4 hours in all. Hopefully I can speed that up for number 2! This one is a small, but it seems like a medium to me. I think I'll make the next one an extra small. I'm very proud of the fact that the pockets *almost* blend in with the rest of the top. Also, I used french seams on the shoulders and sides, so the only exposed raw edges are on the sleeve seams (which I will hopefully have time to cover up with seam binding later). I think this is one of the most well-crafted garments I've ever made, thanks to the Built By Wendy book that I just read... who knew you were supposed to wash, dry and IRON fabric before you cut out the pieces? Or that you're supposed to iron the tissue paper pattern before using it? I didn't! And I'm definitely diggin the french seams... I think I'll be using them on everything from now on.

Anywho, I hope that this top is well received... I'm a little surprised that my sister asked someone to make her scrubs as she's not much of a hand-made kinda person. I really hope she's ok with the paisley pattern... it does match the scrub pants I bought her nicely and it is that medical-blue color... I hope those factors outweigh any possible dislike of paisley on her part!

Saturday, December 2, 2006

WIP update

I've taken the initiative to make at least one thing for each person on my Christmas list. This is going to make for a VERY busy December (see my side bar for all the stuff I need to have done by Dec 22nd) but I think it'll be worth it. Here's what I have planned:


I'm making two scrub tops for my sister who's in vet school. The blue matches a pair of Dickies scrub pants that I bought her and the green was the coolest animal-themed fabric I could find in Joanns today. That store was a nut house today... I'm making it my goal to do as little shopping as possible in December. I don't like crowds.


This is going to be a wristlet for my sister-in-law. I'm going to post a tutorial later, so check back!

cat toys

These are cat toys for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. They come with a giant bag of home-grown catnip :)


And this is a package I just got from while she naps, it was one of the 5 packages of fabric she gave away. I love it all! I think that the number and flower fabrics are especially cool.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Completed project: tea towels

Here's the last batch of tea towels that I gave away last week:

I'm working on four more sets of 3 towels each for my family for Christmas... I'll post pictures when they're finished.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Completed project: tea towels

Here are a few more snaps of the tea towels that I embroidered earlier this year, all made from sublime stitching patterns. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Completed project: odessa hat

I finished knitting a birthday present for one of my college friends. She's getting an Odessa hat knit in lilac with some frosty white beads. It took quite a long time to knit. I learned that I'm not a big fan of stringing 150 beads before knitting, it's a lot of work to move them every time you need a few more inches of yarn. But for this pattern its necessary to work like that, and I think the results are worth it. I tried not yarning-over (instead just picking up stitches on the next row) for the first row to avoid some of the gaps that I've seen in other Odessa hats, and I think it worked.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Completed project: tea towels

Earlier this year I embroidered a TON of tea towels to swap with my husband's family at their Thanksgiving craft exchange. I used sublime stitching patterns for all of the towels. Here's a set of the Hawaiian themed towels. I love them all so much I'm kinda sad to give them away, but I know they'll be appreciated.

Monday, November 20, 2006

WIP: ugly anklet socks

I have quite a bit of leftover yarn from the ugly socks, and I can't let it go to waste. So I'm working on a pair of ugly toe-up anklets now. I'm using the universal sock pattern from knitty, and so far it's working out great. I made one small mistake on the toe, but it's barely noticeable. I'm using size 2 needles, which is the smallest I've ever used. They are knitting up a little bit slower than the last pair (which was knit on size 3 needles) but I think they will fit better and be even warmer. I hope to have enough yarn to do some picot edging around the ankle.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Completed project: knit ugly socks

I've finally finished the ugly socks! The toes are wonky and I had to fix what looked like a ladder in the gusset, but overall I'm happy with how they turned out. They are super warm!