Category Archives: Crafts

Knit Nut

I learned how to knit over the holidays and now I can’t seem to stop.  It has such a wonderful, therapeutic motion and rhythm to it.  I even like the sound that the knitting needles make as they touch together.  🙂  I have always enjoyed working with my hands and so doing this knitting thing just feels really good to me.

I’m not entirely that great at it, however.  It takes a certain bit of finesse to remain consistent with the amount of tension you use on the yarn.  Oh… but speaking of the yarn… who knew there were so many completely delicious textures, colors, and varieties of yarn?!

I decided I wanted to learn how to knit on a whim.  I was browsing around at a thrift store one day when I noticed some navy blue colored yarn nestled among some of the other random crafting items on one of the shelves.  It wasn’t especially nice yarn, but the blue color of it reminded me of someone special and for some reason I suddenly got the urge to learn to knit with it.  My sister knows how to knit and she was there with me so I asked her if I forked out the whole 50 cents for the yarn and some knitting needles if she would teach me how to knit, and she said she’d be more than happy to oblige.  My big sis has taught me so many things over the years… from quilting, to beading, to canning homemade jam, and now knitting, she’s the best!

Well, it’s a good thing I had some cheap stuff to practice with because it ended up being quite challenging for me at first and had I used a more expensive yarn, it would have been a waste of money.  Nothing worthwhile other than experience came out of that navy blue yarn and I have since pulled out all of the practice stitches and rolled it into a nice little ball for my kitties to play with.

The easiest thing I could think of to learn to knit was a scarf, but even that isn’t as simple as one would think.  After practicing a bit with my thrift store yarn, I went out and bought this absolutely scrumptious yarn from the craft supply store.  It’s so unbelievably soft, and the scarf I made with it is so warm and cozy and… deformed.

My sis failed to tell me until I was finished with it that you have to periodically count the stitches as you’re going along with each row and keep the same number as to keep it the same size/shape throughout.  I know that may seem like common sense, but I’m a knitting noob and didn’t know that, so my first scarf turned out looking quite misshaped.  It’s unfortunate too because I kinda had someone else in mind that I wanted to give it to once it was finished, but I didn’t because it ended up being so deformed.

For some reason every time I tried to take a photo of the scarf by itself I couldn’t get it to show up very well, but one day when I was wearing it and my daughter and I were out and about, she had me stand over in front of some trees so she could try and take a picture of it for me.  I look a bit silly and the overall lighting in this photo is a little off, but the scarf shows up nicely.  And you can’t even tell it’s deformed.  🙂

DSCN6496a1But even deformed, this scarf is seriously the snuggliest thing ever.

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Well, I couldn’t stop there, so off I went back to the craft supply store to get more yarn.  This time around I picked out a lovely purple colored blend with a fun knobby, fuzzy texture to it.  With this yarn too I had yet another someone else in mind to make a scarf for, but because my first one had turned out so badly, I still wanted to practice a bit more, so I made one for myself with it first.

Knowing now to count the stitches as I went along resulted in a more uniform shaped scarf, but I still made a few bloopers which caused looser parts here and there, so it’s a good thing the style and texture of the yarn helps hide them nicely.  😉

I failed at trying to take a decent photo of this one too, so I stole this picture off of Facebook of my dear friend wearing the nearly identical one I knitted for her (she is the one I originally planned the purple yarn for :)).  And because this was the third scarf I made, it’s somewhat of an “improved model” with fewer bloopers.  And speaking of “models” the one in this photo looks quite stunning in her new scarf don’t you think?

I love her to pieces!  Warm, fuzzy, and purpley hugs to your neck, my friend!  ♥

Mindi's ScarfBut like I said… be careful because those little fuzzies really like to get stuck to your lip gloss and tangled up in your eyelashes.  😉

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So now I was on a roll, with three scarves under my belt, maybe I should expand my knitting horizons and try and knit something a bit more complicated ~ mittens, a hat, or socks maybe?  No, I’m afraid I’m still feeling very much like a beginner and really not quite confident enough yet to attempt any of those.  So what did I do… I knitted another scarf, of course.  😉

On this trip to the craft supply store I surprised and confused myself because I chose to get some red yarn.  For one thing, red is not a typical color that I tend toward.  For anything.  I don’t often wear red and there are only certain shades of red that I even like.  But here as I was ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over all of the wonderful different varieties and colors of yarn to choose from, suddenly out of nowhere this red yarn starts crying out in a loud voice “Pick me!  Pick me!”  I argued with myself over it for a little while, but for some reason I just couldn’t resist it.  So weird.  My sis was with me and knowing me quite well, she too was surprised at my selection of red.  But sometimes you just have to “follow the force, Luke” even when it doesn’t make sense, so in the end that red yarn went home with me.

As I worked with it I completely fell in love with it, the deep rich color and the simple texture.  And the scarf I made with it is my favorite of all the scarves I have made so far.  I’m not even sure why.  The first scarf is definitely the coziest and the purple scarf is most certainly the prettiest (purple is my favorite color), but this red one… this red one, I just really especially adore.

In the end I’ve just decided that maybe it was meant to be a Valentine’s gift to myself ~ it is red after all.  😉  I also ended up using it to take a Valentiney photo of myself wearing it to give to my special someone for Valentine’s day.  ♥

It’s just a plain, ordinary looking scarf, not anything special, but for some reason I just really love it.  And it’s so weird because I don’t usually like the color red, but this scarf feels like me…

Red Scarf~

I am currently in the process of knitting yet another scarf.  Not for myself, but for someone else.  I think three scarves for myself is enough, don’t you?  Well, maybe not.  😉  I still haven’t moved onto learning to knit anything else or learned any other stitches except for the basic knitting stitch yet, but my sister has plans to teach me more.  She better hurry though because I think I may be moving out of knitting mode soon; for spring is coming.  Knitting is a great indoor winter activity and I have been enjoying it immensely, but spring means ~ gardening!

Winter is so long and oh how I miss my garden and all of the green and growing things.  I can’t wait to get back out there and play in the dirt…

~

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Tie-Dying Mischief & Mayhem

So my daughter sends me a YouTube video the other day of this gal doing a tutorial on making tie-dye shorts and tells me that she’d really like to try it.  Well, I could hardly get to the arts and crafts supply store fast enough!  I’m not just a huge fan of tie-dye… I’m a gihugeic fan!  Gigantic + huge.  Yeah… I like to make up my own words.  😉  I love it so much in fact, that I would embarrassingly have to confess that at least 1/4 of my wardrobe consists of some sort of tie-dye or other variation close to it.

Funny thing is though… I have never tie-dyed anything myself before.   I actually find it a bit shocking that with all of the other creative endeavors I’ve explored and with my obvious love for tie-dye, that I’ve never thought to do this before now.  And an even more ginormous shocker to me is that my sis (who is the most “authentic” hippie I know) hasn’t either!  So, thanks to my kiddo (who it just so happens is not especially crazy about tie-dye) for suggesting it!

Here’s more pictures than you’d ever want to see that we took of our tie-dying mischief and mayhem…

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On the video tutorial the gal made the shorts using cut off jeans, so my daughter found an old pair of jeans that she never wears and got down to business.

Here she is marking where she’ll cut.~

And then cutting.  Watch your hair there kid… ~

Next they needed to be frayed a bit.  She used a tweezers to pull at the edges.~

Fraying all finished.  Or at least good enough.  It was a bit tedious.~

Her dog Teddy was standing near her during the fraying process and didn’t even notice he was getting frayed upon.  He was too busy being on the look-out and guarding the patio from other dogs in the neighborhood.  Quite fierce looking don’t ya think?   😉~

Here’s the tie-dye kit that we picked up at the craft store along with 3 hobo style white bags, and my daughter’s freshly frayed shorts ready for bleaching.  She also found an old crusty white camisole she thought she could infuse with new life by tie-dying, and a pair of light blue shorts she thought she could bleach and then tie-dye as well.  ~

So now we’re all set to get started!

Right after I set up this fan…Who takes a picture of a fan?  (Apparently me.)  And what does this have to do with anything?  Well, it was way too warm out early in the day, and I absolutely hate being hot.  So being the weirdo that I am… I brought a fan outside.  Yes, and then I took a picture of it.  Funny thing is… it got super windy out as the day went on.  And we’re talking windy like “It’s a twister auntie Em!”  Guess my having a fan outside gave mother nature a little hint.  Maybe bringing a fan outside on a hot day is kinda like doing a rain dance…  😉

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Okay, so first things first, it’s time to soak her shorts in the bleach.~

And then wait for them to process.~

“Meanwhile back at the Bat-cave…” 

We started binding up our hobo bags with rubber bands.

My daughter’s conglomeration ~ all loosey goosey with no rhyme or reason whatsoever.  So cute.  🙂~

My sis scrunched hers and bound it up real tight.  Not sure what she was doing using a piece of twine for that one little random part, but she always has danced to the beat of her own drum…~

And finally mine ~ I tried to be organized about it and spun the main part of my bag into a spiral.  I wasn’t so sure what to do with the strap though so I just kind of twisted it up.~

Finally it’s time to add the dye…

Here’s my daughter little miss free spirit just splashing on the colors (and making a mess ;)).~

My sis started by dabbing yellow here and there and then moved onto pink while going around in a circular pattern.~

Being the orderly person that I am, I decided to color mine in sections.  Never mind the fact that tie-dye, in it’s very nature, is not orderly.  At all.  ~

When my sis and I saw this photo my mom took of the two of us we laughed so hard!  For multiple reasons… first of all, our facial expressions ~ they’re nearly identical, lips pursed, furrowed brows, and we look “oh sooo serious.”  Usually, no matter what we’re doing, we are laughing our heads off without a care in the world, but apparently tie-dying is very serious business.  😉   Next, notice each of our left hands ~ again nearly identically posed.  What a couple of freaks!  ~

Here’s our colorful little bundles…

My sis’sAnd mine

Didn’t catch a photo of my daughter’s bag before we wrapped them all in plastic to let them sit overnight.

~

Here are our finished bags…

My daughter’s~

My sis’s~

And mine

Not too bad for a bunch of noobs!

~

Here’s my daughter working on her camisole.  I love the pink, purple and blue that she used!~

“Haste makes waste” and my daughter got sick of waiting for her shorts to dry so the first time around, the shorts ended up being a complete fail.  They hadn’t dried enough and there was still so much bleach in them that the colors didn’t take.  Ew the colors were all muddy… ~

So we had to re-bleach them and try again.  “Practice makes perfect” and the second attempt = success!  Beautiful vibrant color!~

It seems that my family never does anything in small quantities and while we were yet in the middle of all this tie-dye mischief and mayhem, we decided that we liked it so much that we wanted to do more.  So back to the store we went to get more dye…

And after watching the rest of us, my mom wanted to give it a try.  Here she is applying some color to her own hobo bag. Yeah, my mom is pretty cool… 75 and doing tie-dye!

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Her finished bag~

As for me the second time around ~ I grabbed an old crusty white tank top of mine and pretended I was a sculptor (or something).  Hah take a look at this freaky binding job…and then I added color…Ta-Da!  Look at the fun results…

FrontAnd back…I got confused when I was binding and coloring it and thought that the designs along the bottom there on each side was the front shoulders.  Oh well it’s pretty having it on the backside too  😉

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I also tried my hand at tie-dying a pair of socks.  I was bummed that the only ones I could find had gray on the toe and heel because I was worried about what it would look like once colored.  I also noticed as I was coloring them that the way they absorbed the dye was weird.  But look how they turned out!Talk about happy feet!

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My daughter colored a pair as well…~

My sis had a different idea for her second project.  She bought some white rayon fabric and made herself a nightgown/dress of sorts.  Here it is all bound up…And this is how she colored itIt reminds me of a dragon.  🙂

And now for the grand finale of our tie-dying adventures…

I don’t know about you, but I think the way this turned out is absolutely amazing!  Everything my sis touches with her unique creativity becomes a beautiful masterpiece!  These pics don’t even do it justice…l absolutely love the colors she ended up with on this sleeve!

~

I have been stealing my big sis’s clothes since I was a little girl ~ sometimes to my detriment (ie getting the crap beat out of me for it), and even though this new nightgown/dress of hers might not fit me, I still may have to sneak into her apartment one day when she isn’t home and nab it.  Her own fault… she never should have given me a key.  😉  That or make her help me make one of these for myself.  Although she has already said she has no clue how she even did it.  She’s always winging it and ending up being amazing.  When I grow up I want to be just like her.  ♥

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So tie-dying was pretty fun!

🙂