Saturday, January 31, 2009

Making Cool Tools : Tutorial

I've been doing alot of knitting lately. I got a knifty knitter set for the holidays and am trying to figure it out. I practically destroyed the little tool that came with it because my stitches were too tight and I was being stubborn. So I got out giant paper clips and some poly clay and made these:
  • knifty knitter tool (far right)
  • a crochet hook (top)
  • 5 stitch markers for knitting

  • Big paper clips
  • poly clay (like Fimo or Sculpy)
  • Needle nose pliers
Preparing the clay:
I rolled a thin strip of pink over and strip of blue over a log of yellow. Each stitch marker is one slice of this roll. For the crochet hook I rolled smaller canes and sliced them, then wrapped the around the paperclip to make spots. For the knifty knitter tool I tool the failed canes and just rolled them together to create a strip and rolled that around the paper clip.

Stitch markers: wrap paper clip in poly caly, leaving the largest loop open.

Crochet hook: bend the paper clip straight with pliers, then create a small hook that faces back toward the other end on one end with needle nose pliers. Wrap clay around it.

Knifty knitter tool: bend the paper clip straight with pliers, then create a small straight hook that faces up on one end with needle nose pliers. It should be 1/4 to 3/8 inch high. Wrap clay around it.

Then bake clay as directed. (I used Scupley III, so I baked it at 275 F for 20 minutes)

With my paper clip crochet hook, I made these:
Crocheted shoelaces:
I used red heart worsted yarn and chain stitched until it was 42 inches long.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ribbons and Bows: Making a Wardrobe

I made a good dent in refashioning and creating my wardrobe over the past week or so.

Plain Jane Jacket to Ruffle Dream Coat

About a year ago I found a plain ankle length jacket in a microfiber suede material. It was way too large and for a whopping $0.96 I took it home as reclaimed fabric.

I took off the standard men's shirt type collar, the cuffs, the arms and chopped it at the waist. The part of the collar that joins the collar to the coat became the ruffled cuffs with a simple pleat. I covered it in pink polka dot ribbon to finish off the seams ($3.29). I fit the sides from the armpit to the new empire waist to fit, and sewed the arms back in. The ruffle going from the collar to the empire waist is the 5 inch section I cut off to make it an empire, doubled over and pleated to make the ruffle.

I trimmed it out with the same ribbon. I chopped off another 10 inches from top of the bottom piece before reattaching it to make it knee length. I modified the button holes to accommodate the bigger buttons I wanted and sewed the buttons far to one side to make the opening asymmetric. I adore this new coat.

I had about 18 inches left over of ribbon so I made a little flower rosette pin with the leftover ribbon, a button and a little gold jewelery finding.

Hippy chic to Dancing Drama!
I had this old ankle length tiered skirt in the most luscious black velvet. However the volume involved in the skirt made it heavy. So out cane my handy seam ripper and 20 minutes later I have a new mid calf length skirt that I can still wear my knee hi socks without showing pale pasty winter legs plus an 11 foot strip of velvet for another project.

Hair things
I made a headband from some red heart super saver in my own design. The yarn was leftover from making my mom's birthday present.

Then I also made a fascinator using extra ribbons and beads and things around the house.

Can't be more Feminine Socks!
I finally finished these socks. The second pair in a pattern of my own design, I added ribbons to make them more girly and fun. I like being girly but sometimes I want to do it in a way that doesn't involve pink or purple. I'm really happy how these turned out especially since I had to frog the first one completely and redo it, so really I made three socks.

In my last post I mentioned my plans for 2009. I finished my victorian inspired ruffly coat and I have already crafted more than usual. I plan on sending the patterns for both the socks and headband into knitting magazines. We'll see how that goes.

Monday, January 5, 2009


A new year usually brings new resolutions as to how we want to change our lives. I suck as resolutions. I get two weks in and go "Why bother?" so instead I thought I'd share my plans with you for the upcoming year. I think plans are better than resolutions. There is more than a general goal involved, it becomes very specific, and the more specific a thing is in your mind, the more likely it is to get done.

1) For the first four months of 2009 I will not buy new clothes and instead will thrift them and make/refashion them myself. i've taked a 4 month pledge with wardrobe refashion. I have to post each week on my progress of not shopping for new clothes and share any clothes that I refashioned from my own wardrobe or thrifted. I plan on making several peices from existing clothes and my sewing stash including:

  • A victorian ruffly coat
  • a short sleeve jacket in an Asain print fabric
  • A pink skirt
  • modified black cords
  • A purple puffy sleeve shirt with patchwork
  • a purple skort

2) I plan to craft more. I have several knitting projects planned including some socks, scraves and tops. As we rang in the new year, I taught myself cabling and managed to already have a birthday present done for my mom. I'm also branching out from using established patterns and designing my own projects.

3) I plan to submit some of these designs to online knitting magazines to keep up my freelancing writing that I have neglected for the past few years.

4) I plan to periodically look at the mundane things around me and devise a better, prettier way. Functional items tend to get forgotten and I want to make sure that at least some of those functional things end up pretty, almost pieces of art in themselves but with a practical everyday use to them.

I invite you to think of what your plans for 2009 are. How do you plan to prettify your life?