The Perfect Coffee Mug For Me

We have cement floors, lots of kids, and a klutzy mama. Add these things together and you get a lifespan of about three to six weeks for all glasses, jars, ceramics, and coffee mugs (which is why my knitting bowl is kept out of reach, but this post is not about that).

I have gone through many “favorite” mugs. I had a really cool knitting one that said, “just one more row”, and one from my sis-in-law that had knitted flowers all over it. I had a brown one that lasted almost a year and I used it everyday. Alas, we have broken them all.

I was looking for a replacement and found some awesome knitting themed mugs, but there was no way that I would spend $15 on a mug that might get broken the very day that it arrives. Besides, I try to be a nice mom and act all nonchalant when a kid shatters a treasured dish, and that would be very hard if it was so precious.

Enter Pinterest, that glorious collection of DIY projects, and I learned that one dollar store mug + a Sharpie + 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven = really fun mug that will make me smile while it lives, but not make me cry when it dies.

I played with a few ideas, but finally landed on that phrasing. It is quite accurate.

The irony is that I bought five mugs at the dollar store last week, and we are already down to three. I am responsible for both of the casualties.

If you are going to try this, I will tell you that it isn’t really permanent. A good scrubbing takes it right off, but who gives the outside of their mug a good scrubbing? Oh, and I don’t have a dish washer so I don’t know if it would hold up in there, either. But, I figure, when it washes off, I will have the opportunity of making it better, funnier, or more witty. It is a never ending pick me up.

Now I am off to caffeinate and get to my spinning.

Knitting Knecklace

See what I made?

Wanna make one, too? Here’s how I did it. (If you want to just buy one, I got the idea here. Mine are not as dainty and elegant as the ones in this Etsy shop. Drool city, I tell you!)

This necklace takes only one yard of laceweight yarn, two brass ring stitch markers and a necklace chain. You will need scissors, pliers and cutters (I used my leatherman), and two tapestry needles (or skinny DPNs or something).

First, I made a teeny, tiny skein with one yard of yarn. Wrapping it around four fingers (slightly spread apart) seemed to give me the right size. I used the needles to hold it while I twisted the loop into a skein.

And finished it off with this little manuever.

(That looks like the yarn is thread through the eye, but it isn’t. I just used the end of the needle to pull the one end of the skien through the other)

Next, I cut my chain in half. My chain was a little long, so I actually cut about an inch out of the middle.

Using the pliers, I then opened the brass ring and thread it through one end of the skien and one end of the chain. Then I bent it shut.

After repeating that last step on the other side, I put on my new necklace delightedly.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Yarn used was Knit Picks Shimmer Hand Dyed in Elderberry; brass rings were from Knit Picks also, found here (mine were used and so no longer look brassy, but have faded into a more silvery look); necklace chain was found in my jewelry box (no link… haha!)

Five Reasons Why Every Knitter Needs A Snap Press

Knitting is a matter of two sticks and a long piece of string. But it is made more fun, interesting, exciting, whatever when you have some other tools as well. I contend that every knitter should have a snap press for the following five reasons.

My snap press from KamSnaps.

1. Buttonholes are so dang tricky.

When it comes time to work the buttonbands in a sweater project, I break out in cold sweats. What if I don’t get the holes lined up right? What if they are too small for the buttons that I chose? Or too large? I usually just plow my way through these doubts, and usually it turns out okay. But, since I got my snap press, I am free to knit plain, hole-less button bands and just attach snaps after the blocking. Easy. And easier for the kids to put on and take off, as well. So everyone is happy.

2. Baby items are more convenient with snaps.

I have wanted to knit a onesie for years, but am always faced with the same problem – how to change the diaper? Now that I have a snap press I can knit onesies and jumpers and all kinds of other baby things that are just as convenient as the store bought stuff, and infinitely more beautiful.

3.Purses are cooler when they snap shut.

As far as purse closure goes, you can’t beat a snap. And I am loving this pumpkin purse! (Pattern coming soon)

4. Snaps are cheap and come in many lovely colors.

This is my current collection of snaps, but there will be more in the future. All the colors, shapes, and sizes that are available makes my heart go pitter patter.

5. Shopping for ribbon adds more pleasure to the project.

When applying snaps to a knitted fabric, it is wise, even necessary, to reinforce it with ribbon. It is also very pretty! Once I started looking at ribbon on Etsy, I just fell in love with the concept and now have a little stash  of ribbon that is growing almost as fast as my stash of yarn.

A snap press. It’s pretty handy. Every knitter should have one. I do. Do you?

I have not been compensated in anyway for this. This is all merely my personal opinion and I gain nothing by telling you all about it. 🙂

Doll Hair – A Quick and Dirty Tutorial

Okay – I don’t have a doll in progress, so I threw this together for you quick and dirty.

First, decide how long you want your doll’s hair to be, then find a flat item that is about that width. I have used CD cases or small books, or even some paper folded to the right width. Here I am using a wide ruler. You will also need scissors, scotch tape, a sewing machine, a needle, and lots of yarn.
Wrap your yarn around it a lot. Then wrap some more. You can always take some off later. It helps if you know the measurement of the dolls head from the forehead hairline to the nape of the neck. That is how wide you want your swath to be.
I didn’t make this example very wide. You will want more than this – wide enough to cover from forehead to nape of the neck on your doll. Now, cut your end and put a strip of scotch tape across the front.
Turn it over and cut it at the same point in back that your tape is in front, so that both sides are the same length from the tape.
Now it looks like this-
If you have a lot and the tape isn’t holding it well enough, put another piece of tape on the other side so that the yarn is held straight.
Now, sew a seam along the middle of the tape.
So that it looks like this –
(obviously you will want to use matching thread so that it doesn’t show). The sewing perforates the tape so that it comes off easily when you tear it off.
Make two of these.
To attach to the head, use your yarn and a needle and line the seam up with where the dolls part would be and sew it on right down the center. Stitch it securely down the length of the seam, from forehead to nape of the neck.
Sew on the second piece, lining up the seam up with the hairline around the face.
Obviously, my piece is not wide enough. Yours should frame the entire face. When you are done, flip the “bangs” part back and style the hair in pony tails or braids as you please.
 
You could even cut bangs if you wanted to. I haven’t tried that, yet.
These are the dolls that I have used this technique on.
Long braids in lace weight yarn.
Short pony tails in fingering weight.
And even a pony mane.
Inspiration for my technique was found here. She tells in better detail how to measure the head. I just eyeball it. 🙂
Enjoy your wig making!

Call in the Reinforcements!

Yesterday I mentioned that I had reinforced the bottom of the foot section of my new socks. This is how I did it. (Inspired by this article in Knitty.com)

First, I turned the sock inside out and put it on my foot. Then, using a contrasting color yarn and a darning needle, I outlined my trouble area – the balls of my feet is where I always get holes in my socks.

If you are following along, outline your specific trouble area – do you get holes in your heels first? Your toes?

Yes, this totally tickled like crazy!

Next, I took the sock off and put it on a sock blocker (inside out). Alternately, you could use a darning egg or really anything that will hold the fabric slightly stretched.

Taking my matching yarn and my needle, I then began weaving up and down over the outlined area like so.

When I had covered the entire section with weaving, I cut the yarn and took my sock off the blocker.

Then I pulled out my outline yarn.

When this is done right, the reinforcement is totally invisible from the right side.

It is my hope and expectation that this will increase the lifespan of these most excellent socks. I will let you know how it works out.