Baskets!

For the last few months, I’ve been working on what I’ve been calling “Operation Organized Sewing Room”. At all the houses we’ve lived in so far, I’ve only had a corner of a room for all my crafting things, and now that I have a whole room, I’ve had a hard time trying to figure out where to put everything, with storage being an especially big issue. I like to have stuff at least partially visible, because I often don’t know what I need until I see it. It basically always looks like fabric just exploded in there, especially the scraps everywhere that I refuse to throw away. I wanted to sort them by color (I’ve found that works better for me than say, by shape), so I needed a lot of containers, and those containers had to be pretty but functional – this is going to be my studio for the foreseeable future, so I want it to look nice! I tried a few different variations on a basket, but my absolute favorite is rope bowls.

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I’d seen some pictures around Pinterest and they looked fun, so I grabbed a couple of packages of clothesline and started experimenting…and now I’m hooked! If you’ve ever made coil bowls out of pottery, it’s a very similar build process; you slowly coil the rope, zigzaging with your sewing machine as you go, and then when you feel the base is big enough, you just tip the whole thing up to be parallel with your machine and keep sewing. It’s like magic! This is the shape you get with no manipulation at all, just letting the bowl shape how it wants to:

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But you can also vary the tension of the rope as you sew to make more deliberate shapes:

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And, to make cool patterns, you can cover the rope in scraps of fabric:

White Bowl Pink and White Basket

I finish my bowls with embroidery thread to close the ends, but lots of people just go back and forth with the thread to secure it, which looks cute too.

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I use variegated thread on most of mine, because I really like the way it looks, but really any thread works (I’d recommend 40 weight or thicker; anything thinner than that kind of disappears into the rope). I’m having a lot of fun working out how to different shapes, adding handles, and (maybe my favorite thing), making yarn bowls!

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Some of these are already listed in the Etsy shop, and there will be a lot more in my future, so keep checking back for new listings. Happy Friday and have a good weekend, everyone!

A Few WIPs

I’ve had some trouble settling on just one project lately; I have Christmas presents to make, but I just can’t seem to concentrate on anything for very long, so I don’t have any finished projects to show this week. Instead, you get a bunch of who-knows-when-they’ll-be-done projects!

First up, I’ve been making applesauce like crazy around here. I normally hate to cook and consider it more of an inconvenience than anything else, but for some reason I love to can and make jam. I got a brand new, giant canning pot, so now I can process a bunch at a time instead of trying to fit them into our little pressure cooker (there’s only 3 in this pot because it was the last of the batch, but I can fit up to 8 pint jars in here!).

Applesauce being canned

In craft project news, I’ve been working on making a Super Grover costume for friends of ours (they have a dog named Grover, so it had to happen) and I’m fairly proud of this helmet I made:

Dog wearing a Super Grover helmet

Zoey is quite rakishly modeling it for me in this picture (she is the WORST model, so she’s being bribed with a tennis ball here), but I’m hoping Grover’s Mom and Dad will send me some pictures when he dresses up for trick or treaters, so hopefully you’ll see the whole enchilada (there’s a cape too) soon!

I’m also working on a birthday present for the husband – he is a notoriously difficult person to shop for, so when he really liked the Warwick sweater from my The Knitter magazine, I decided that would be the way to go. I can’t show the full thing because he reads my blog (hi babe!), but showing the backside is safe, and I’m actually pretty proud of it:

Back of navy and light brown tweed men's sweater

Of course the sweater he liked involves colorwork, which is not a thing I’m particularly good at. After completing the entire back and half of the front, though, I think I might finally be getting the hang of it; my floats are pretty uniform and not totally out of whack gauge-wise. The pattern is well written and fairly easy to follow, and the colorwork is pretty simple as far as it goes, so I recommend it if you like making sweaters and want a bit of a challenge. Now that I’m getting a bit more confident in my technique, I’m eyeing some of the more complicated patterns in that issue – like this adorable sweater vest. Maybe after the new year!

My youngest brother (age 11) has been asking for a hand knit sweater for years, and I always hesitated because 1) he grows SO FAST and 2) like most kids, he’s really hard on his clothes. But, I found this Red Heart “Team Spirit” yarn at Joann’s in red and black (his favorite colors because he’s a huge Manchester United fan), and decided it would be perfect.

Halfway done knit red and black striped sweater

This a great yarn for a kid sweater; it’s totally acrylic, comes in fun colors, and is really bulky. I don’t love knitting with it, but I found some tutorials online about softening up rough yarn, and since it’s inexpensive and quick to knit, it won’t matter super tons if he puts holes in it. I’m using the Flax pattern, with a little modification, and I’m loving how the top-down knitting makes the stripes different widths.

And because I don’t have enough fiber projects happening, I’m also working on a couple of blankets. I can’t show one of them, as it’s a Christmas present, but the other one is just-for-fun crocheted blankie. I started out with a hexagon pattern:

Blue crocheted african flower hexagon, made with Cascade Yarns

But as it grew, I just didn’t love it, so I frogged it and decided to try out a wave stitch, which I am now totally crazy about.

Blue crocheted baby blanket using wave stitch

This is just a small sampling of what I have going on (there’s some other top secret stuff I can’t show yet), but I’m hoping to actually have something finished soon, so stay tuned!

 

No Carve Pumpkin Decorating

Once a month, a group of us get together for a crafting day. We all really look forward to a few hours of girl time, and, of course, making cool things. This month we decided to go with decorating pumpkins, for obvious reasons :P. We trekked out to a local pumpkin patch and got a nice assortment of small to medium sized ones, plus some extra goodies:

Pumpkins in the back of a car

We decided we didn’t want to mess around with carving, so we each brought stuff to decorate. There was glitter, paint, rhinestones, buttons, ribbon…all kinds of stuff! We used spray paint as a base for a few of them, which worked well as long as you weren’t messing around with them too much afterward (they spray paint didn’t adhere super well but definitely enough to work).

Spray painting a pumpkin

Destiny did an awesome drip on one of hers:

pumpkin spray painted black

She eventually added some cobwebs and hot glue/glitter spiders (this is a genius idea and I may steal it to do a tutorial one of these days!):

Spider decoration made from hot glue

Meanwhile, I started rhinestoning my littlest pumpkin, which was super time consuming, so if you decide to try this…use a really small pumpkin! I actually didn’t end up finishing it that day, so I need to do the bottom half at some point this week.

Pumpkin with rhinestones on it

Britney decided to decorate a few of hers with buttons, and I think you’ll agree that they turned out so cute:

Pumpkins with button faces

That baby pumpkin with the pacifier is the best, seriously. The rest of hers (she was making some to give to family) were also pretty adorable:

Pumpkins decorated with paint and glitter and ribbons

Like the rhinestones, the ribbon was pretty time consuming, so give plenty of time for that one too. I think it’s cute enough to be worth it, but if your time is limited, glitter is always a good option! I used painters tape to section one of mine and took the opportunity to put tons of orange glitter on it.

Pumpkins with black stripes and orange glitter

D found this bigger green pumpkin at the patch and turned it into a grinning witch with a glittery hat:

Pumpkin with a pained witch face

And for my last two, I went with glitter polka dots, bows, and flowers (affixed with a hot glue gun):

Pumpkin painted bronze with glitter polka dots and a bow

And black with pink polka dots (painted with my Martha Stewart craft paint). The dots on both of these were made with the end of one of the glue sticks that goes in a hot glue gun.

Pumpkin painted black with pink polka dots

These were really fun and easy alternative to carving (and should last longer), and they look great on our porch!

Painted and glittered pumpkins sitting on front steps

 

 

More Stockings!

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! I’m running around putting finishing touches on things and doing some last minute wrapping, but I wanted to share the stockings I made for us this year!

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We don’t actually have a chimney to hang them by, so I made do with our porch. The first one is for my youngest brother; he’s ten, and thought that the green fabric looked Sounders green (the Sounders are our local soccer team). I lined it with some blue scrap fabric to make the cuff and used a ribbon for the loop (I actually used the same kind of ribbon on all of these).

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The second one is for me. I used the last of a jelly roll of Aneela Hoey’s Sew Stitchy line – I’ve been saving the green and red strips since the summer for this purpose. It’s based on a picture I saw somewhere (which I can’t find right now, so if anyone knows where the ruffled stocking idea originated, please let me know!), but I kind of winged it and came up with how to actually sew it one my own.

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I love how it looks like different shades of red and green, and of course the sewing notion prints are very me :).

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My mom liked the one I made for me so much that she wanted that design for hers, so I made some strips out of some Michael Miller fat quarters that had polka dots. The ruffles sewed up a little bigger, which turned out to be a bit harder to work with, but I think it still turned out well.

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And last but not least, we have the one I made for my husband. It turns out that he has very definite ideas about Christmas stockings, and my attempts to talk him in to a more modern looking one met with serious resistance. He was stubborn about only two fabrics and originally wanted just plain stripes, but eventually settled on chevrons. I didn’t really follow a pattern for this one either, just made the zig zags out of triangles and then cut the stocking shape out of the resulting fabric. It’s very lightly quilted in straight lines down the seams, with only a backing fabric, no batting in the middle. He also asked for the more traditional furry cuff (repurposed off an old stocking that was bought in a store). I didn’t give in all that gracefully about making what I kept calling a boring design, but I actually think it turned out really nicely and my husband is very happy with it :P.

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So there you have it, four stockings made this year! They’re all packed and ready to take to my mom’s house tonight, and hopefully they’ll hold all the goodies Santa leaves :).

Zoey the (wannabe) Christmas reindeer and everyone else at Measured and Slow headquarters wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday, and we’ll see you all post festivities!

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