It’s time for spicy scents and cuddling under blankets with loved ones as the air starts to get chilly. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite DIY’s to get your home Autumn-ready. Happy crafting!
Both of my quilts are in the home stretch. Quilt A is being quilted (I think I bit off more than I can chew with my stitch choice… but we will get to that in a future post) and today I wanted to share a little of Quilt B’s progress.
I picked up one charm pack of Moda’s Nocturne and a couple of yards of higher quality unbleached muslin for this simple fabric pull. I thought about adding a color to the mix, but didn’t want to over complicate things. Since the pattern for the other quilt was a little on the ambitious side, for this one I went with super simple half square triangles and added interest by creating a gradient with the triangles from corner to corner. I kind of wanted it to almost feel like twilight when the moon is rising.
It came together super quickly using this tried and true method and 5″ squares. After I laid them all out in a way I felt worked, I sewed them all together using TONS of pins to make sure my corners were nice. Accuracy is one of the most important keys to quilting even in simple patterns like this. I added a nice thick border with the muslin to finish it and bring it up to size.
Today I’ll be making my sandwich and prepping it for quilting. I picked some yardage of Winter Sweater from Cotton + Steel’s new Bluebird collection for the backing and will be using simple dusty blue Essex yarn dyed linen for the binding. I’m still trying to decide how I want to quilt this. I’ve never done “stitch in the ditch” before, which is kind of appealing. Usually I work 1/4″ off the seams with HSTs. I’m trying to keep the border in mind too. I don’t want too many starts and stops that don’t extend to the edge. I’d love some suggestions.
As if I needed to start something new… The quilt I shared with you last week is coming along REALLY nicely though, I promise! I should have the finished top to share with you soon (if not here, than on Instagram). Right now I’m obsessing over this mini project I started last week.
I love doing embroidery. It’s so therapeutic and meditative. However, I really don’t like transferring patterns onto fabric, so I end up buying patterns and sticking them in a drawer for a later day that never comes. When I saw this Sea Captain by Cozyblue, I didn’t want that to happen. So, I paid the extra $2.25 to have her send me an iron-on transfer of the pattern! Genius!
I love how it’s looking in this dark teal thread on linen essex. I’m determined to finish it ASAP so I can get back to my never ending in-progress list. It’s the perfect project for laying in bed and resting my poor back right now (these humans are getting HUGE and heavy!).
I have hoops, thread and needles galore, but if you don’t, she also sells kits ready for the beginner. Check out all of Cozyblue’s kits, pdf patterns and other projects on her Etsy Store. I want to do them all! One step at a time though. First to FINISH some things and then I can pick up another new project to keep my hands busy.
What are you working on right now? Starting something new? Finishing something old?
February is a great time to try something new! Between the cold weather still keeping you indoors and needing little gifts for all your valentines, I’ve rounded-up a group of fresh tutorials and patterns to get the creativity flowing. Enjoy!
Chilly weather makes for great days to do indoor activities and try new hobbies! Here is a little collection of projects to keep you busy. Some are simple, and others a bit more advanced. All of these would make amazing holiday gifts for your loved ones as well.
- Easy Pom Pom Rug from Say Yes
- French Dot Constellation Table Runner from Design Sponge
- Copper Tealight Candles from The Merrythought
- Wooden Bead Trivet from Carnets Parisiens (French)
- Semi-Precious Stone Soaps from Fall for DIY
- Felt Leaf Garland from Lindsay Stephenson
I journal. I have a 5 year journal that I’ve nearly completed (one year to go!) and I love looking back and remembering all the moments that have brought me to where I am today. It’s a way to celebrate the victories and reflect on the low times.
In 2016 I’ll still be working on my traditional journal, but I will also be doing an alternative form of journaling, in the form of a blanket. You read that correctly! Mood blankets are becoming increasingly popular in the crochet and knitting community. Creating a mood blanket, involves selecting a set of colors that represent various moods. Each day/week you complete a row or a block in the color or colors that represent your daily/weekly mood. At the end of the year, you have a beautiful blanket that chronicles a year in your life.
- Habitual Homebody
- According to Matt
- Purl Bee (not technically a mood blanket)
- Shhshh on Ravelry
- Bella Coco
- Le Monde de Sucrette
There are some variations on the project including a temperature blanket (using the colors of the average temperature each day) and sky blankets (using the color or colors of the sky at high noon every day).
Here is a quick guide to start planning your own for 2016…
I’m in the process of planning my own and soon I’ll have a plan ready to share. If you want to take this project on, visit our new facebook community, Mood Blanket Darlings. We are a very international group of yarn addicts and I can’t wait to watch everyone’s 2016 blankets come together.
Stick around in the next couple of months to see where I’m taking my mood blanket and get tons more tips and maybe some tutorials! I’d love to share more of my crafting life with you.
*Cricket Chips* I know I have been a wee bit quite, but it’s because I am hooked… literally. I have become an overnight crochet addict. I can’t get enough yarn and I spend every free moment with a hook in my hand. It’s become very natural very quickly and I’m thrilled to have discovered a new hobby that is giving me so much joy.
The project that is currently sucking up most of my time is the Spice of Life Crochet Along (CAL) with Black Sheep Wools and Sandra Paul of Cherry Heart. A crochet along is a project that is divided into parts. Each week a new piece of the pattern is released and the whole group follows along, encourages each other and shares their progress on social media. There is a very active facebook group of amazing crocheters of all levels of skill. The best thing about this crochet along (also known as a CAL) is that each step increases in difficulty. It’s perfect for a new crocheter who has a good grasp of basic stitches (a Chain, US Double Crochet and Single Crochet). It gives you lots of practice with counting stitches, controlling your tension and stacking and combining various types of stitches to create new patterns.
Another great thing about this CAL, is that everyone is making it their own! Obviously the suggested colors are amazing, but most people have looked in their stash and created beautiful and unique palettes that make the blanket one of a kind. A lot of people are also adding stitches and rows to make the finish blanket larger. I skipped a row when I started my waves in part four. To “fix it” I went rogue and created my own design by adding a couple of rows. I love how it ended up looking, even though it doesn’t follow the original pattern.
The community aspect of a CAL really encourages you to keep going and is a great way to troubleshoot if you struggle with a stitch or find your blanket shrinking. The #spiceoflifeCAL hashtag on Instagram already has over 1,000 tags. It’s a global group too! Black Sheep Wools is located in the UK, so the group is mainly focused there and here in the US. There are people from every continent (except Antarctica of course).
I’m using all Stylecraft Special DK for mine. It’s the very best acrylic I have come across. It comes in tons of colors and have a beautifully soft hand. It also stitches really nicely and the price is great. I get most of mine from Love Knitting. Get 15% off your first order AND free shipping by visiting this page. You will also need the following…
- 4.0 mm Clover Amour crochet hook (or a hook size that coordinates with your yarn of choice)
- Stitch Markers
- Darning Needles
By the end of this crochet along, I’ll have a gorgeous one-of-a-kind blanket to throw over my lap on a cold Ohio winter night while we watch TV. I’ve started a second one in ice cream colors for a future baby shower as well. I think it’s going to be a stunning (but deceptively inexpensive) gift for a lucky kiddo and mama. If I didn’t have a million things in my “in progress” pile, I would make a ton of these for Christmas gifts.
You still have time to catch up! Visit this page to get all the current PDF’s and check back there on Tuesday morning for the newest section to be released.
First up, a little house cleaning. For the last year I dabbled with moving all my crafting and DIY posts to another blog. It became too much for me to maintain, so as of today, those posts are coming home to Lost and Fawned. Along with my usual fare of shopping, style and decor, I’ll be sprinkling in my quilting, sewing and now crochet as well. I can’t wait to show you more.
On to the topic at hand… learning to crochet! You may know that I’m an avid quilter (if not, be sure to check out my Instagram feed). I’m also a chronic dabbler in the world of crafting. I needed a new hobby like I needed a hole in the head, but here I find myself, hording yarn and starting projects.
My great grandmother was a whiz with a crochet hook. Our family has piles of amazing zigzag afghans that she made over the course of her life. They are full of memories and are so comforting, physically and emotionally. The last time I was in Oregon, my mom and I spontaneously picked up some crochet hooks and yarn while we were at the coast for the weekend, and made it our mission to learn Granny’s craft.
It didn’t really click for me until I got back to Ohio. My goal was to learn to make granny squares. My search brought me to this video tutorial by Bella Coco. I settled in for the evening with my hook, yarn and iPad. It took me about and hour and half of stitching, ripping out (also called “frogging”… riiiip riiiip riiiiiiip) and starting over before I got it. It clicked! I was not only understanding what I was doing, but I was also getting faster and more comfortable with the hook.
I’ve officially finished a couple of projects, including 2 chunky infinity scarves, an adorable coffee cup cozy and a little amigurumi bunny doll. I also have a few other projects in progress (like my huge scrap yarn granny square blanket and a hexagon afghan). I’m having a blast learning new stitches and techniques. Everything think I have finished was guided by video tutorials. I’m getting comfortable enough to modify the tutorials and read patterns.
Interested in giving it a try? Here are some of my favorite tutorials to get you started. These are ones I have tried myself and had success with.
- Granny Squares with Bella Coco – Use scrap yarn to make colorful granny squares. Can be combined to make afghans, scarves, bags, etc.
- Joining Granny Squares with Bella Coco – Put your squares together!
- Join Granny Squares as you go with Bella Coco – Another method of joining squares that saves time.
- Bear Coffee Cup Cozy with Flying Mio – Does not use accurate terminology, but a very cute and quick project. Try this one after you are more comfortable with the techniques and terminology.
- Amigurumi Rabbit for Beginners with HappyBerry Crochet – Learn to make sweet little stuffed critters and characters. Good tutorial once you have mastered basic stitches. Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3
- Hexagon Granny Squares with Bella Coco – Once you have nailed down square granny squares, try hexagons!
- V-Stitch Infinity Scarf with Bella Coco – I used this tutorial but modified it by using super chunky/bulky yarn and a larger hook to make the heavy scarves you see above.
Some tutorials (including the ones by Bella Coco) will use British terminology. Here is a great conversion chart to help you translate.
So there you have it! This is how I learned in the matter of a couple of weeks. With enough practice and determination, I am convinced anyone can learn. It’s a very portable hobby. It’s so easy to throw a ball of yarn and a hook in your purse and crank out a granny square or two while you wait for your appointment. Please share your favorite resources or tutorials in the comments! In the future I will cover some of my favorite tools and yarns for beginners.
Time for a new series! I am all about shopping used. We have expensive taste and tiny pockets, so I often hunt for overlooked items that can be saved with some elbow grease. I find deals at thrift stores, online consignment, garage sales (real ones and Facebook pages) and craig’s list. So this spring, I’m planning to share some of my favorite tricks to make used/vintage items look like new for less.
I had some good conversation come up in my post last week about vintage Pyrex. You can, of course, buy shiny, ready to display pieces from Etsy or EBay, but if you are looking for the best prices you need to find them “in the wild” (aka thrift stores, estate sales, garage sales, etc.). Often times this means luck and willingness to drive to sales and dig in cupboards. A lot of the time antiquers will snag them all in the first hour, so be prepared to go home disappointed. BUT if you are lucky enough to find retro glassware, it usually needs some love before it’s ready to use.
Here is a prime example. I found a nice stack of these adorable Anchor Hocking ‘Athena’ dessert cups recently. They are from the 1970’s and were part of a full opal glass place setting that came in 2 patterns. They were shoved all the way to the back of the shelf and look just awful. Most people would think “omg gross”, but I saw potential.
Here is my line up, starting on the left and moving right…
- I always start with the most mild products first. A nice long soak in some hot water with simple dish soap will sometimes do the trick. Fill the sink and let them sit. Then come back and give them a good scrub.
- If that doesn’t work I start bringing out the bigger guns. Next I try a very mild abrasive cleanser, like Affresh Cooktop Cleanser. It’s made for cleaning ceramic and glass cooktops and comes with a little blue brillo-like pad. Some people swear by Liquid Barkeepers Friend, but with any of these types of cleansers you have to be REALLY careful. Do not use them on any gold leaf and use them very gently. If your piece is nice and shiny, you can dull the finish over time with these mild abrasives.
- Next on my list, if the above doesn’t work, is powdered Barkeepers Friend. This is an abrasive. You have to be super gentle. I usually make it into a paste and try it somewhere unnoticeable first. If it’s something with a lot of decoration or is a solid painted finish I sometimes skip this step all together. This is great for the inside of the white glass pieces to get rid of the silver utensil marks.
- The last thing I try is this heavy duty oven cleaner. It comes in an aerosol can and smells awful. Try and use this on a day when you can crack a window, because it will give you a headache. The upside is this cuts through just about everything. Like with other products I have listed, you need to be cautious. I’ve seen some blogs say to spray it on and let it sit up to 15 minutes. I stick with 5 minutes. After 5 minutes everything wipes away. I’ve heard through the grapevine that this can strip paint. I haven’t experienced that personally, but better safe than sorry.
These bowls went from dish soap to Affresh, and straight to oven cleaner. I need to get a toothpick to clean out in between some of the little spaces in the lettering, but by the time I am done with them, they should look almost new. I probably won’t be keeping them, since I have more than enough bowls in my cabinet, but I know someone out there is looking for them to complete their set.
Next on Vintage Rehab: I will be sharing my favorite tool to take those annoying pills off of vintage sweaters, ties, upholstery, etc. This thing is seriously life changing.
Everything seems to come back around. Today I was contacted about a craft project I shared on my first blog almost 6 years ago. I had nearly forgotten about this one. The pictures have disappeared from my old photo sharing account and the blog is all but forgotten, but it found it’s way back to me.
I might have to dig the plate-clock out of the box it’s still packed in from when we moved into the house. It’s adorable and holds so many memories from college and living in our little apartment when we were first married. It was such a cheap and easy project. Here is a snippet from the original blog post…
I finally got around to finishing some projects up today that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. A couple years ago I found this vintage plate at a thrift store for 30 cents. I loved the folk inspired farm scene and lovely yellow color. I used it to hold keys in my dorm and decided I wanted to find a more useful purpose for it.
I got out my handy Dremmel and bought a ceramic and glass drill bit for it at Lowes for a couple dollars. Picked up a clock motion at Walmart for $6 and once I found the center of the plate it just took a few minutes of drilling and screwing the motion into place and voila! I have a wall clock!
A big thanks to Fern of Rokolee who jogged my memory on this one! I’m so glad to have rediscovered this piece of my blogging history.