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