Saturday, February 28, 2009

Easy Loom Knit Beanies

One of my new year resolutions this year is to be more charitable. I wanted to put my new found hobbies into good use by helping out others in one attempt to leave this world better than I found it. In looking for a way to incorporate my crafts into a charitable endeavor, I found this program called HeadHuggers, run by a very nice lady, Sue. She accepts handmade caps and distributes them to hospitals all over, for patients who are undergoing treatment that result into hair loss. There are other programs just like this all over the web if you're interested. Here are a few that I found.

Knitting Pals By The Bay
Stitches From The Heart
Newborns in Need
More Charity Links

For my first donation of caps, I decided to make a few of these basic beanies using the knifty knitter. Here's how to make it.


Yarn - thickness depends on how warm you want it.
Knifty Knitter Round Looms
Blue for infant
Red for child
Green for adult
Yellow for large adult

How to:

1. Tie the yarn to the outside peg. You'll want to be able to take this off so make sure you can do that... I like to do a crochet chain for the hook.

2. With the pegs facing you and the outside peg on top, start doing e loops (loops that mimic the cursive letter e) around each peg working clockwise.

3. When you've completed one full revolution, push down all of the e loops and go around again.

4. There should now be two loops on each peg of the loom. Turn the loom so the pegs are facing outside, and for each peg, start pulling the bottom loop over the top loop and off the peg. Continue this on all the pegs. This is called knitting off.

5. Now there should be only one loop left on each peg. Wrap the loom again with e loops all the way around (like #2). And Knit off again. Repeat til the knitted part is twice the length of the brim of the hat you want. I made the brim of this hat only about an inch so I knitted til it was about 2 inches.

6. To make the brim, you would, pull up the end of the knitted portion and bring the first row of knits that you did above the peg (from the inside).

7. You should now have two loops on each peg. The first row and the last row that you've knitted. Knit this off.

8. Repeat #5 again til you've reached the length of the beanie that you want to make.

Closing using the gather method

9. Cut the yarn, leaving about a 6 inch tail. Cut another piece of yarn, let's say 1.5 times around the loom.

10. Use the needle that was provided with the loom set and thread the 1.5 length yarn thru it. If you have a hard time putting the yarn thru the needle hole, you can use a small piece of tape to flatten the yarn. Afterwards, just snip that small piece off.

11. Use the needle to thread the yarn thru all of the loops on the pegs. You can begin to remove the already threaded loops off of the peg to give you some slack.

12. When all of the loops are threaded and off the loom, invert the hat so that the hat is inside out.

13. Hold one of the yarns that you threaded thru, and pull so that the end bunches together. Tie a double knot tight. Tie a few more knots with the 6 inch piece that was originally cut and the threaded pieces. Cut all yarns close to the knots. I like leaving small tails of about half an inch to an inch.

That's it. Invert the hat and it's ready to go. (Well, almost, I like to wash it first before I give it away)

If you're interested in donating to some of these charities, check out the websites above, they usually have email addresses to inquire more info from. There's much that can be done to help.

For a bit of variation, try a beanie with a visor.

Recommended Products:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dinner Menu for Two

Yesterday, I decided to surprise my guy with a dinner. It was a long week, and I haven't made dinner like this in a long time. It turned out to be a good plan, and a good dinner. He insisted that I blog about it, so here it is. Here's the menu and links to the recipes, plus a few pictures (no laughing at my cake decorating skills (or lack thereof) please).

Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip
Quick recipe, but tasty. I try to make it or something like it whenever I bake bread.

Easy, No Knead Crusty Bread
This had a lot of rest time but the time it took to actually do things were pretty small. It actually turned out like those at the stores. We were impressed.

Coq Au Vin
This was quite tasty. I've never had it before, so I don't know if the taste was right, but I heard no complaints, so I guess it doesn't matter at that point.

Pan Fried Asparagus
These were excellent. I used less butter than the recipe called, and added the garlic mid way of cooking the asparagus. I also took it out just after it turns bright green. We like Asparagus sorta crisp.

Roasted New Red Potatoes
Excellent potatoes. Easy and tasty. Definitely will do it again.

Black Forest Cake
Wow... that stuff is strong! At least to me. E actually enjoyed it quite well. So, when you don't account for the fact that I can't decorate a cake at all... this turned out pretty good. Once the cake was finished and cooled, I poured the kirschwasser on them and let them sit for about 5 hours before assembling. If it were for me, I'd like it with less kirsch, but I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to that stuff.

[Update: 2.22.2009] I had some more cake last night, and the kirsch eased up in the cake itself, but was still strong in the icing.

Anyway, thanks for riding the day with me thru twitter. :-)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Reusable Sandwich Wrap

I ran into this idea a long time ago... (maybe mid last year), and have wanted to try it out since. The idea is that you'd save the paper towels that you'd usually wrap your sandwich in by using and reusing this instead. When you've eaten your sandwich, that side can be easily wiped clean and/or washed with a sponge, and it's ready for use again. Oh, and it can also be used as a placemat. Just nifty!

So, here's how I did it. First off, I tried to diagram the shape for you guys. If you're curious, I used Inkscape, an open source vector drawing program that I just recently discovered. Pretty cool, and the price is right. :-)

Diagram is not to scale but should give you a good idea, should you want to give this a shot.


Velcro (small strip of maybe 2"-3" long)
Vinyl fabric with flannel backing - like those table cloths.
Cotton fabric of your choosing

How to:

1. Cut vinyl fabric and cotton fabric like the diagram. I put the diagram onto an open paper bag then traced the diagram to the fabrics.

2. On the right side of the cotton fabric, sew on the fuzzy side of the velcro, positioned as shown. (I sewn this on the bottom area of the fabric)

3. On the right side of the vinyl, sew the prickily side of the velcro, as shown. (I sewn this on the top area of the fabric)

4. Pin the two fabrics together with right sides facing each other. The velco should be on opposite sides as well (one on top and on the bottom)

5. Sew around the whole thing, leaving a decent size hole for you to invert the whole fabric. It's very important to make the gap big enough for the next step.

6. Invert the whole thing so right side is out. Be extra careful here because the vinyl can be easily torn. Clean up the edges using a capped pen, or something like it.

7. Fold in the opening so that side is nice and straight, and sew all the way around the whole pattern.

That's it. You're done. Wipe it up, make your sandwich, and wrap it as shown. Mmmm... PB&J, my favorite.

By the way, Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dollhouse Premieres Tonight

Just a quick post to remind you that Dollhouse premieres tonight, Friday, Feb 13th, on Fox at 9/8c.

Super exciting!

If you want more info about the show, here's what Fox says about it:


Monday, February 9, 2009

Tea Bag Wallet

FYI: Rad Linc Crafts is currently having a giveaway and the prize is a Tea Bag Wallet and a $10 giftcard to Joann's.  See here!!! Giveaway ends July 31, 2011.  Comment the Giveaway Post to Enter.

I have a friend that takes tea bags with her everywhere. When we go out to eat, she just orders hot water. I thought of her immediately when I saw a different version of this tea bag wallet come up in my RSS reader. After some searching I found this pattern.

Anyway, here's the one I made, and how I did it.

5.5" x 6.5" fabric (2)
4.75" x 6.5" fabric (2)
3" - 4" piece of ribbon
1 button

How to:

1. Fold the 2 smaller fabrics lengthwise. Ironing these down make it easier to work with. These will be the pockets.

2. Sew the folded edge of the 2 fabrics.

3. Sew the bottom edge of 1 of the pockets onto one of the bigger fabric rectangles. This will be the top pocket so what I did was sorta position the tea bag to where I wanted it. I eventually decided to line the bottom edge about 1.25" away from the bottom edge of the bigger fabric. Pinning this down would have probably been a good idea, but I didn't find it too necessary... so it's up to you.

4. Sew in the bottom pocket to the same fabric rectangle that you sewn the other pocket in. You'll want to line up the bottom of that rectangle to the bottom of your pocket.

5. Mark a center line of the rectangle (fabric pencils work well here). Sew a line straight down the middle like the picture.

6. Sew in the ribbon with the fold facing the pockets like shown.

7. Put the fabric with the pockets and the last piece of fabric together right sides facing each other. Sew almost all the way around. Leave a small hole in one of the sides so that the fabric can be invereted to the right side out.

8. Oops, I forgot to put the interfacing... well, I went ahead and put it on here... I guess it doesn't really matter much, so iron it on.

9. Cut the corners.

10. Invert the fabric thru the little hole you left.

11. Iron the edges down.

12. Sew around the whole thing. Remember to fold in the open hole.

13. Almost done. You just need to attach a button now. Fold it in half, and see where the button should be. I marked the spot with a pen. Sew in the button.

That's it. Not too hard, right? I'll be ordering hot water the next time I go to a restaurant. :-D

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Easy To Sew Messenger Bag

I made this bag sometime last week. Mostly, I saw the fabric in the remnants bin and decided it was a good idea. I didn't have any patterns, so I pretty much winged the whole thing. Hopefully, I took enough pictures for you to figure out what I did. I'll try to explain it along as well.

Okay, so first cut some fabric pieces.

1 - 12" X 19" rectangle (back side and flap)
1 - 12" X 9 1/2" rectangle (front side)
1 - 31" X 3 1/2" rectangle (sides and bottom)
1 - 3 1/2" thick from selvage to selvage (strap), or a ready to use strap.
small strip for closure (optional)

Next, put together the main part of the bag. I really made this easy and didn't deal with hiding the edges that are sewn together since I figured it was in the inside. I did, however, use some fray-check so the bag wouldn't fall apart on me. :-)

1. Fold down (right side out) and sew the short edge of the sides/bottom piece. This will make it a clean appearance when it's attached. ( I did this after I pinned down everything... believe me, it's much easier doing it first).

2. Attach the front to the sides/bottom piece. Start with the bottom piece. Align the center bottom edge of the sides/bottom piece to the center bottom edge of the front with the right sides facing each other. Pin down.

3. The next part is tricky. You need to make a diagonal cut on the sides/bottom piece so the edge can continue to follow the side edge of the front piece. The cut will basically be the size of the seam allowance that you'll leave. I cut it in about 3/8ths an inch. Pin the edge to the edge of the front, again with the right sides facing each other. Do the same on both left and right sides.

4. Sew the sides/bottom piece to the front piece. Just follow the edge, around 3/8ths inch seam allowance. Remove the pins.

5. Fold in the top edge of the front piece so the top edge of the sides/bottom piece is even with the top edge of the front piece. Pin down and sew. Be careful not to catch the sides/bottom piece when you're sewing the front piece down.

6. Next, attach the back/flap piece to the sides/bottom piece. Pretty much do the same thing as before (steps 2-4), but on the other long edge of the sides/bottom piece. Have the right sides facing each other.

Note: After I made this, I was playing with some of the stitches on the sewing machine and decided to add an additional layer of zig zag stitching over the seam allowances. It'll probably help in the long run.

7. I'm sure there's a much more graceful way to do this, but this bag isn't easy and fast for nothing. :-) Clean up the edges of the flap. I start this by cutting a small straight slit onto the back/flap piece where the top edge of the sides/bottom piece ends. The slit should be about the same size as the seam allowance. Now, fold in (right side out) along the side edges of the flap. Do the same for the far side of the flap. On the two corners, fold the corner down (like a dog-ear fold) then the sides. You may need to cut a small part of the corner so that it's well hidden under the folds. Should look like the picture.

If you haven't noticed by now, I've been pinning then sewing. An iron would also help immensely, but, I was lazy... at least til I actually had to bring it out.

Anyway, once that is sewn together, you can invert the bag right side out.

8. Next, I make the strap. There are several ways you can do this. You can buy a ready to use strap. Or you can use the same fabric and make one. (if you buy one, you can skip this step). I chose to make one... mostly because I forgot to look for one when I was at the store... oh well... I saved money. :-) I cut a rectangular strip pretty much from selvage to selvage about 3 1/2" thick. I folded it in half,with the right sides together, and sewn along the edge. Then I painstakingly inverted the long strip so that it was back to rightside out. Use an iron to flatten down the strip with the sewn in seam in the center. Clean up the edges by folding into the strap. I didn't sew this down, because it got sewn down when I attached the strap to the bag.

9. Attach the strap to the bag. First use pins to align the strap to the center of the outside of the sides/bottom piece. I pinned it down to about 1 1/2" down. Sew in an X and a box, like shown. Do the same on the other side of the bag, making sure not to twist the strap.

Okay, so you're pretty much done. Now, it's just a matter of if you want to put closures. I used D rings and some extra fabric to make small strips.

10. (Optional) Make a small strip about 9" long and a little thinner than the flat side of the D ring. Cut the strip into two (a 3" piece and a 6" piece). Attach the 3" piece to the flap side and slide two D rings in then sew on to close the loop. Folding in before sewing keeps it neat. On the 6" strip, fold down one side so it has a handle, and sew in. Attach the other side of the strip to the bottom of the front side of the bag. Folding in before sewing keeps it neat.

That's pretty much it. I went thru and put some fray check on open edges that I saw.

It's my version of an easy to sew messenger bag. Hope I didn't confuse you away.