Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Knitting Class

This year, after moving and dealing with certifications and legal drama, I took a job in the fall as an after-school instructor at a local middle school.  One of my responsibilities there is to create 6-week enrichment classes, and without further ado, I present to you the results of my first class: Fiber Works!

In this class, students were challenged to start by learning either knit or crochet, and then to build upon their skills by making a series of blocks, each with a different design, stitch, or style, which they would put together at the end to make a pillow.

There were certainly moments that were frustrating, but the most amazing part of the whole class was to see the kids who were really struggling, and who really just couldn't get it down, succeed, and finally break through.  Realizing that their hard work had paid off, it was often those kids who were the most behind that ended out on top.

We had some pretty creative projects, and though I can't show you their gleaming faces as they hold their productions for confidentiality's sake, I can certainly show off how amazing my kids are!

Here's just a sample of what was accomplished those six weeks, and I hope you enjoy remembering all the times you learned and pushed through to complete something you were passionate about.

(Often, two pictures that are on top of each other are the front and back of a single project.)

UPDATE: One of my students took a video explaining how to knit and put it on youtube to send to her grandpa - and ended up getting hired at a local yarn store to teach a youth course!  YAY!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Dishcloth Update (15)

We're nearing the end of these borderline obnoxious dishcloth posts.  Even I'm sick of them.  Only one more after this.

Dishcloth Forty-Three

For this one, I went with a basket-weave crochet pattern from KnitPicks.  The pattern has a beautiful texture and look, but it burns yardage, so I wasn't able to make it particularly big for fear of running out of yarn.  However, I still like the final look.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Forty-Four

A little crochet star, I love this one because I'm able to use up smaller scraps on the centers.  I'll probably make at least one more.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Forty-Five

I decided to go back to the hankie pattern I had done before, but use my new book of Crochet borders to make the edges.  I'm on the very last limbs of my colored yarns, but all-white dishcloths are really not the best idea, so these styles are my way of getting around that.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern: Vintage Hankie
Ravelry Pattern: Border

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dishcloth Update (14)

I'm nearing the end...

Dishcloth Forty

I decided to do one more of the "Wiggly Dishcloths," and on this one, not only did I switch to double crochets, but I also used single crochets for the pop-ups instead of half-double crochets.  It worked out well, though it's certainly not as "wiggly" as the others, or as 3D, but it works.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Forty-One

Another double-sided knit from Knit-Picks, I love the way this diamond came out.  I was pretty used to doing these by now, so it was a piece of cake once I figured out this pattern.  Most of these are pretty repetitive, in order to get the double-sided look, so once you get into the rhythm of it, they're pretty easy and mindless, but not too mindless.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Forty-Two

This one is a cable-stitch knock-knees crochet dishcloth, and came out smaller th
an anticipated (probably because I used a smaller hook than I should have), but it works well for what I need.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

DIY Essential Oil Rack

Everyone has a comfort food.  I have two.

Firstly: Kraft Macaroni on Cheese.  In the box.  Beautiful.  It tastes like motherly love and warm, cozy winter evenings bundled in blankets.  Of laughter that starts on your insides like a warm tickle and follows your soul out through your mouth.

Secondly: Crunchy, Nutty, Granola-y Cereal.  Hard work and persistence in a box.  With skim milk.  It tastes like early mornings, silently bonding with dad, preparing for a day of hiking or building a tree-house.  Of making things happen.

Three lines of Kraft; Glueing the second cereal box
And when I'm having a hard time, these I stick to.  Every morning starts with cereal, and (almost) every evening ends with Kraft.

Right now, I'm having a rough time.

I'm also in need of some place to store my essential oils!

Trimming edges in step 2
Back in January, I began my journey into Young Living essential oils, and though I haven't worked out all the kinks yet, I've certainly seen how valuable they are in my daily life.  Since I only use a few drops at a time, and Young Living has lots of free promos, I have, pretty quickly ended up with a decent collection of oils.  But what to do with them?

For a while, I have them lined up in alphabetical order on my dresser, but that didn't work.  They made quite a nuisance quite quickly.

Then I tried stacking them in an old YL box by the mirror.  Same result.

I started looking online, and saw many beautiful ideas for storing them vertically (which I had by now realized was optimal), but they were all expensive or required nailing something into the wall, which I couldn't do in my apartment.

Finally, it dawned on me.  I don't need a long term fix; I need something that will last me a few years while I continue to jumble from apartment to apartment, until I move back East for good.  And I need something cheap.

And so I made one out of old Kraft and Cereal boxes.
Adding the second cereal box

  1. The process was pretty basic.  I cut most of the Kraft box off, just leaving about 3/4" of box left from the bottom.  I tried doing this with other boxes, too, like rice or spaghetti, but soon discovered that they were all ever so slightly differently sized and it would be better to just save up the Kraft boxes.  I also cut up the side of a cereal box and lay them it flat.
  2. Using a glue gun, I attatched the Kraft boxes on their skinny sides, making three sets of four boxes.  Three oils pretty much exactly fit in each box, so that worked out nicely.  Then, I glued the first line of Kraft right on the edge of where the cereal box curled up.  I worked upward, adding the other two lines to make three shelves.  Then, I trimmed the edges to be even with the Kraft, and discovered that it didn't really stand up on its own.
  3. At this point, I cut up the side of another cereal box, and glued it to the back of the first one.  I glued the edges over on the top and bottom, and bent the box up on the sides and glued it to the edges of the Kraft rows, and then trimmed the excess.

I really like the result!  Look at all those pretty oils in a row!

I'll probably paint it or cover it in wrapping paper or something later, but for now, I just need some organization.

Look at them all nicely in a row!  I love it!  And I had just enough room at the end to add a bottle of my own blend (LLP) and the promo packets.  Oh, and that box you can barely see on the left edge?  That's a box of extras/replacements!

What do you think?
Does anyone else have any other suggestions for Essential Oil storage?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dishcloth Update (13)

I seem to be approaching the end of the Dishcloth Updates.  I'm hoping to have at least 16, but the yarn may or may not hold out.  Anyway, on we go!

Dishcloth Thirty-Seven
I found a cute little pamphlet at the local craft store which featured "Wiggly Crochet" Dishcloth patterns, and seemed to efficiently use scraps of yarn, and so I quickly snatched it up and started working.  However, the size ended up being much larger than intended, so I scaled the pattern down and tried again.  I'm not sure how I feel about the result, but it's certainly unique!
Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Thirty-Eight
I gave another whack at the Wiggly Crochet Dishcloths, and this one came out a little better.  Instead of sizing the pattern to fewer squares, I used double-crochet where it asked for extended double-crochet, and put only two half-double crochets along each spine, instead of three.
Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Thirty-Nine
Another one of the KnitPicks reversible dishcloths, Steep Stripes, this one was done in Sport weight yarn, and so it ended up slightly smaller and with less compact stitches.  I like the result, though, even though I hate the idea of using white yarn for a dishcloth.
Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Heart Blanket

One of the other projects that I've been working on using Aunt Vi's Yarn (besides all of the dishcloths!) is a beautiful baby blanket.  The project was almost finished when it arrived at my doorstep, and I had vowed to finish it for the next baby in the family.  However, as I neared the end of the dishcloth yarn, I realized that it would be best to just
finish it now so that I knew how much yarn I had left to use for family dishcloths.  In the end, I only did one more row of hearts, and left off the tassels (I thought they were hideous!), which left me with two whole skeins (and most of a third) for dishcloths!  Hooray!  Perhaps I will hit my mark of two-per-person!

Anyway, here's the result!

Ravelry Project

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Custom Fit Sweater - Success!

Before, I wrote about finally being convinced to try my hand at making a sweater.  Well, the time has come to report on the results, and I have to say, I'm a convert!

The sweater fits me nearly perfectly!  (The discrepancies are due to my impatience with the swatches...had I made a longer one, I would have been able to notice the stretch in the fabric over time.)  The sleeves are a little long, but the rest of it is perfect!
Even though it looks a little off in these pictures due to the fact that I'm wearing a puffy dress, I think you can sufficiently tell how happy I am with the results!  And I just love the buttons!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

School-ID Lanyard

I desperately needed a lanyard for my school ID, key, and whistle (to keep those kiddos in line!) once I finally got my teaching job, so I whipped this puppy up.

I repeated the same pattern that I had used previously for Debbie's Lanyard, except I did a right-side-out i-cord, and I was using a lighter weight yarn, so I used more stitches (I cast on 7 and did 4 on each strand).

I like the way it turned out, and I was able to (almost) use up the scrap from the Erie Canal Block, so that was another bonus.

Don't mind my picture!

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dishcloth Update (12)

Dishcloth Thirty-Four

A crocheted beauty, this pattern was a simple quick fix, only taking half an hour or so, and I love the result.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Thirty-Five

I was looking for a pattern that used less yarn (I'm starting to run out) and this fit the bill.  Quick to make, and a beauty.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Thirty-Six

Another of my double-sided cloths, I just love the persimmon yarn, though I have only a few scraps left.  Worth it, though!

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dishcloth Update (11)

Since I'm planning to get up to at least 50, and more if the yarn lasts, you'll see quite a few more updates like this one...

Dishcloth Thirty-One

I purchased a set of four "reversible" dishcloth patterns from, and this is my first attempt at one of those.  I used "the Big X" pattern and knit it in just a few hours.  I'm pretty happy with it over all.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Patterns

Dishcloth Thirty-Two

This is another crochet flower, and it ended up much smaller than I anticipated.  I suppose that's okay, though, because I'm starting to worry about running out of yarn.  I do like the result.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Thirty-Three

Knit with a crochet border, I actually recently purchased a book of crochet borders (there's that birthday money again!) which I love, and I decided to change the border from the pattern to use one of those.  Unfortunately, I realized the border I chose was way to big, so I only got through two rows, and I decided to just leave it.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Here's a picture of the book I got.  It's a nice little size, and it has over 150 borders in it, with wonderful detailed directions.  I highly recommend it!

Crochet Borders Book

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dishcloth Update (10)

Another Dishcloth Update...

Dishcloth Twenty-Eight

This cloth used the "Ebb and Flow" pattern from KnitPicks, a crochet cloth that features twisted double-crochets.  I love the way it turned out, even though I had to adapt the pattern to be a bit smaller than the original.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Twenty-Nine

I got back on the knitting train with this double-sided entirely reversible pattern, also by KnitPicks, but not as part of their "52 Weeks of Dishcloths."  Again, I adapted the pattern to be slightly smaller, and I love the outcome.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Thirty

With my birthday came a few personal checks, and with those came an order of some knitting books, one of which was Entrelac by Rosemary Drysdale.  Eager to get started on any of the patterns in the book, I knit up an elongated version of the "example" Entrelac piece into a nice dishcloth.

Ravelry Project
Entrelac Book Link

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dishcloth Update (9)

Yet another...I'm on a roll here...

Dishcloth Twenty-Five

Another knitted cloth, this is one of the easiest I've knit so far.  It's done with one simple seam, and an easy pattern to do while watching TV.  I like the result quite a bit.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Twenty-Six

This is another of the KnitPicks patterns, and though I love it, it just doesn't look as good in my pale colors.  I've noticing that's a theme, but alas, that's what I have.  I like it, though.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Twenty-Seven

This pattern looks very different in the example, partially because of the hook size and yarn fiber used, but I managed to adapt it with the Persimmon border, and salvage the thing.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dishcloth Update (8)

And another one...

Dishcloth Twenty-Two

During this last dishcloth phase, I discovered's 52 Weeks of Dishcloths, where every week for the full year, a new, high quality dishcloth pattern is published.  They're mostly on Ravelry, and I immediately jumped on this quick crochet mock-granny square.  I love the result and it was easy to do!

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Twenty-Three

A knit, this cloth ended up being much wider than I thought, so I ended the starfish motif two triangles early.  I might go back and do it again with slightly smaller needles, but I'm working on saving yarn because I'm not even halfway done yet and I'm running out!  I like the pattern, though, and there's a nice rhythm to it.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Twenty-Four

Another KnitPicks pattern, this one looked better in the rainbow scheme of the example, but I still love the way it looks.  Quick and easy to crochet, with a nice thick fabric as the result.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

If you're interested in this, you might like:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Dishcloth Update (7)

Here comes another one!

Dishcloth Nineteen

This dishcloth was crocheted after I completed the Ocean City block for the travel blanket.  I decided to copy the pattern again and make a mint cloth with a baby blue streak.  I like it, and it was pretty simple to whip up.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Twenty

This leaf-like crochet pattern happened to pop up on my Ravelry feed, and I immediately knew I would make it as a dishcloth.  In fact, I had just finished most of the knitting for my sweater, and I wanted to work on a quick fix, so I whipped it up and started another string of dishcloths.  I made a few extra rows on the leaf, making it bigger than the pattern, and adapting the tendrils accordingly, but I like it, even though it's a little differently shaped than the others.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

Dishcloth Twenty-One

Having crocheted the past few, I was in the mood for a little knitting, and whipped up this symmetrical beauty.  It went quickly, and I've always loved the diagonal ones, so this was a breeze.

Ravelry Project
Ravelry Pattern

If you liked this, you might like:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Travel Blanket: Rodanthe-Prius Block

Continuing in the theme of the Family-Life-Travel-Map Blanket (you can see the last post here), I present to you the Rodanthe-Prius block.

This trip was a whirlwind.  We took a red-eye out to Boston, rented a car, and drove out to my grandparents on the Cape for 24-hours.  The next morning, we drove ourselves on up to Albany, NY, where we were picked up in my hubby's parents' gold Prius and whisked into the Adirondacks, where his family owns a house and we connected with his Grandmother and cousins.
Rodanthe-Prius Block

And that night it rained.

The following day, we got into that same Prius, squeezed in the back seat with Hubby's brother, and drove for seven hours.  We stopped.  We stayed in a hotel.  We got up.  We drove 9 more hours.  In the rain.

And we arrived at a giant, 12-bedroom house in Rodanthe, NC, several hours into the Outer Banks, and crammed in there with Hubby's 31 cousins for a week.  We were on the Bay Beach, and less than a five minute walk from the Ocean Beach.

And it rained the first two days.  And drizzled on and off.

We were splashed with rain, splashed with sea spray, and splashed with sun.

And then we packed up, squeezed back into that Prius, and drove up to Pittsburg, where we flew back home, and the other three continued on their way.

While in Rodanthe, I purchased a skein of yarn at Knitting Addiction to commemorate the drizzle.  I adapted the pattern from a few others and used the following strategy to make the raindrops.

Bobble: y/o, insert hook into next stitch, and pull loop through.  y/o and pull through 2 loops.  *Y/o, insert hook into the same stitch, and pull loop through.  y/o and pull through 2 loops.  Repeat from * 3x.  There should be 5 loops on your hook.  Y/o and pull through all 5 loops. 
Row 1: Foundation Single Crochet to desired length
Row 2: 1sc, (sc, hdc, bobble) to last stitch, 1sc
Row 3: sc all the way across
Row 4: 1sc (hdc, bobble, sc) to last stitch, 1sc
Row 5: sc all the way across
Row 6: 1sc (bobble, sc, hdc) to last stitch, 1sc
Blanket at Current Stage

Row 7: sc all the way across 
Repeat Rows 2-7 until desired size.
Of course,  I ran out of yarn.  Surprise!  I decided to compliment by using a nice, golden yarn from the Beverly's near us (where I get a nice teacher discount!) to compliment, and to remind us of all that driving time!

I think the square came out alright.  It's not blocked quite correctly, and so I'll probably re-do parts of it, but it goes well in the general blanket.

Ravelry Project: Block
Ravelry Project: Blanket

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Travel Blanket: San Francisco Bay Area Block

As many of you know, just after our wedding and honeymoon, I moved out to the San Francisco area to be with my new hubby, who had been living out here since he scored a job in Silicon Valley about 8 months prior.  Well, it seemed more appropriate to put the block to represent that move after the honeymoon, because that's when the stuff came out, and that's when we moved into an apartment together, and that's when this place started to be more than just a place we slept and ate.

Almost.  It still doesn't feel quite like home.

It's been long enough, though, that we can distinguish this area and this part of our lives, and therefore add a block to our blanket (details).  The block I chose to make was based off a pattern on Ravelry called San Francisco, which featured a silhouette of the Golden Gate Bridge (which honestly we never go on, we just use the work-horse Bay-Bridge), against a rainbow setting sun.

We'd never seen a rainbow.  We'd never seen the setting sun.  We'd seen fog.

And so I adapted the pattern for a better size, changed the background to be of a single, marbled silk yarn in seed stitch, that almost gave the look of fog rolling in, and stitched it up.  I'm pretty satisfied with the result.

Ravelry Project

I also wanted to make a general public service announcement.  Firstly, I just realized that many of my ravelry links are probably inaccessible if you don't have a ravelry account.  Please let me know if you have issues with the project links, as I can certainly fix those!

Secondly, the school year started up a few weeks ago, and to those who don't know, I'm a teacher, and so I've gone back to work and am busier than ever.  From here on out, the blog will probably only be posting about once a week, simply because I'm not sure that I can craft much more than that!

Let me know what you think of the block, or if you have any suggestions for the blanket!  I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out, but you never know!