DIY Yarn Swift!

Today I’ve got another DIY for you – how to make your own yarn swift from things you can pick up at Goodwill!

DIY Yarn Swift with green yarn on it

I’ve needed a swift for a long time, but it never seems to make it to the top of the supply list, so I thought for quite a while about how I could just make one with stuff I had on hand or could pick up used. My first idea was an upside down umbrella, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to make the yarn stay where I wanted. My next thought was an expandable wine rack, which is actually what I went to find at Goodwill, but they didn’t have one, so I ended up with the coat rack instead, and I think it actually worked better. If you’d like to make one, please read on!

To make this project, you will need:

1 Expandable Coat Rack,

4 Large Pegs (I used these Shaker Pegs that we found at Home Depot, but any pegs that are about 3 inches or longer will work)

1 Lazy Susan (Mine is a 15 inch from Ikea. I wouldn’t go any larger than that but smaller would be fine.)

6 screws (The thickness will depend on how thick your shoe rack and Lazy Susan are; you will be screwing two of them into both pieces to hold them together, so you’ll want the screws to be long enough to get through both. Mine were about two inches.)

A drill (While this project could be done with just a screwdriver, it would take a lot of arm power and time. I don’t recommend it!)

I found my pieces in my own hoard of junk, and Goodwill. You could certainly buy each piece new, but I’m not sure it would save you a significant amount. My swift ended up costing about $14, as I already had a Lazy Susan, the drill, and the screws. I bought a coat rack (that was originally $30 at World Market) for $8 at Goodwill, and the pegs were about $6 new at Home Depot.

So, on to making your swift! Start with your coat rack and pegs.

Expandable shoe rack and four wooden pegs (start of DIY yarn swift)

You’re going to be replacing the short peg on each corner with a longer one. Take your drill and make a pilot hole in each peg, like so:

Putting a pilot hole in a wooden peg

Then, take the short pegs off of the corners and replace them with long pegs:

Shoe rack with two pegs replaced with longer ones (part of a DIY yarn swift)

You may be able to reuse the screws that you already took out, but in my case, the short pegs were held on with flat ended screws (rather than the more usual pointed end), so I had to use different ones. Now, see that lone short peg on the very end of the coat rack up there? Go ahead and just turn it around – it might catch the yarn when you’re winding. There’s no need to cut anything or get fancy with it (unless you want to), so just switch the peg to the back. When you’re done, it should look like this on the back:

Back of shoe rack (part of DIY yarn swift)And like this on the front:

Shoe rack with 4 long wooden pegs (part of a DIY yarn swift)

You’re halfway there! Now take your coat rack and center it on top of the Lazy Susan; it doesn’t have to be exact, so I just eyeballed mine, but you could measure if you’d like.

Making a DIY yarn swift with a lazy susan and expandable shoe rack

Then clamp it down so there’s no sliding around while you’re trying to drill.

Making a DIY yarn swift with a lazy susan and expandable shoe rack

Take your drill and put two more pilot holes on the bottom middle rungs, where the pink arrows are pointing in the above picture. You want to put them as far from the very middle as you can, so that you don’t drill into the base. Then drill your screw into each hole; if you find that the pointy end reaches down far enough to touch whatever surface you’ve got your swift on, it’s too long! You want it to go through the coat rack and the Lazy Susan with only a little of the pointy end poking through on the bottom. It should look like this when you’re done:

Making a DIY yarn swift with a lazy susan and expandable shoe rack

And you’re finished! The coat rack part of your swift should still contract in and out, so it should be able to accommodate most skeins of yarn. I tried it out with some Hawthorne Fingering from Knit Picks, and it looked great!

DIY yarn swift made from an expandable shoe rack and a lazy susan

I don’t have a ball winder either, so I use an old medicine bottle, and to show you how to do it, we made a video! It’s my first one, and we accidentally filmed in portrait (not knowing that all editing software turns it into landscape – oops!), but I think it’s got some good info and will teach you how to wind yarn, starting from the very beginning; most of you knitting veterans won’t need it, but I thought it would be a good brush up, or a place to start for newbies!

I hope this helps at least a few of you, and if you end up making one, I’d love to see it on Instagram or Facebook!

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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Hexies!

I was commissioned to make a quilt recently of hexies in blues, grays, and yellows. I’ve never done hexies before, so I was really excited to try them, and I can now report that they are as addicting as everyone says! I’m about halfway done (I’m english paper piecing these bad boys) and these are just a few of the fabrics I’ve used:Image

I wanted a nice mixture of fabrics, and I’m pretty excited about how they’re all going to look together. So far, these three are my favorites:

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That octopus fabric is in serious running to be my favorite pattern ever, and when I have time I’m totally making a dress out of it.

I’ve been storing my hexies in a vase, but I’m rapidly outgrowing it…anybody have good suggestions for storage of these little guys?

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I think I’ve decided that I’m going to pattern them in groups of each color, like so:

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But chevrons have also been mentioned, and I think it might be interesting to put hexagons and chevrons in the same quilt…stay tuned!

Finished Project – Braided T-Shirt Rug

It took me a lot longer than I was planning, but the braided t-shirt rug is finally finished!

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I must admit that I cheated on the finishing – I had it all sewn together but when I laid it on the floor, it wouldn’t lay flat! I was so frustrated that I put it away for a week or so to give my fingers (and my mind) a rest. Then, I decided to rip out the stitches and try holding it together with some liquid stitch. It didn’t work so well when I tried the liquid stitch in between the coils, so I laid some fabric on the floor and attached the yarn to that instead. The fabric backing did the trick and was a lot quicker than sewing, as you might imagine. Now, obviously this is not a forever and ever solution – after a few washings the liquid stitch does tend to fall out. I think at some point I’ll go over the coils with my sewing machine to make it more permanent, but the machine is a little occupied with our quilt right at the moment (more to come on that, hopefully next week)! It will work for right now, as rugs don’t tend to get washed as much. 

The kitchen and the bathroom are the only rooms in our new house that don’t have carpet, so my choices on where to put it were somewhat limited (something I should really think about before starting these things…). The bathroom is currently housing the baby chicks, who are now about a week and a half and making a bit of a mess. I didn’t want to risk their chickie dust, not to mention the floor getting wet all the time, so into the kitchen it went!

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It looks pretty good it there, I think (side note on the blue towels: they were made for us as a wedding gift from my husband’s grandmother, who knits and weaves and is generally awesome), and it’s a nice cushy rug for a standing at the sink to do dishes. And, of course, our resident rug approver had to try it out:

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Pretty sure she likes it – and she even color coordinated her bandana :P.

Callie’s Rainbow Quilt

Another of my sisters-in-law graduated from high school this weekend and I decided to make her a quilt as a graduation present. It was originally going to be made of all purples (purple is her favorite color), but while shopping for the fabric I saw this little jelly roll and I knew it had to be Callie’s:

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I bought two jelly rolls, with the vague idea that I would sew the strips into giant squares and then cut them into triangles, similar to the first couple of quilts in this post. Then I decided that since I had all those colors, I had to play with it a bit. So, I sewed four strips at a time together, in different combos, and then cut those into 9 X 9 squares.

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Then I cut the squares in half so I could switch the colors around even more.

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I ended up semi-matching bands of each color, with the alternating bands being different colors.

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I paired it with some white fabric from my stash (always nice to be able to use up something you already had). I’ve actually been stash busting my white fabric a little too much lately, as I’ve been really into using it for sashing for some reason. It turned out to be an explosion of color (in a good way).

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I love the tiny pinwheels it made – completely on accident, I assure you. It’s such a good feeling when you start a pattern and realize that a certain part just WORKS without any planning!

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For the back I just used a simple polka dot pattern that had colors echoing the front. Admittedly, it wasn’t too hard to find something in my fabric library that matched since the front has ALL the colors :P.

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I used green and pink bias tape for the binding (I had both colors but not enough of each to go all the way around, so I just decided two tone would work), and I hand sewed it. Machine quilting the binding is MUCH easier, but I just prefer the way that hand binding looks and I actually find it to be soothing – assuming I remember my thimble.

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This was my first time free motion quilting an entire quilt – it’s only lap size, but I’m still pretty proud of it! I’ve been practicing free motioning for a few weeks now on little pieces of quilt, watching TONS of tutorials, and getting frustrated with the giant loops I was creating on the back. For some reason, one day it just clicked; I got the tension, stitch length and speed of quilting down just right and it started coming out exactly the way I wanted. I was so excited I made my husband come watch :). I kept it simple and just traced loops every which way, but it’s pretty heavily quilted so when it washed up it made really fabulous quilty crinkles!

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Look how even and pretty my stiches are!

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I’m really, really pleased with how this one turned out, and more importantly, the new graduate loved it :).

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