Recommended Knitting Tutorials

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Grandest of Mondays to you, fellow Hackers!

I hope that all of you enjoyed a restful and enjoyable weekend and that most importantly, you fit in a little crafting time. This week, I wanted to share with the knitters out there some of my favorite places to learn more about knitting. Most are YouTube channels and I highly recommend subscribing so that you can get alerted to when there are new videos up. But there are also a couple websites that I check out occasionally to learn new stitches or find out the latest about new yarns on the market.

One of my favorite YouTube channels to follow is Joanne’s Web. There is something really lovely about Joanne’s tutorials. She is very good about going slowly through each step so as not to confuse newer/beginning knitters. She is also the adorable older lady and from the very first of her videos that I watched, I just loved her. It felt like sitting down and learning to knit with one’s grandma (who is ironically who originally taught me how to knit when I was just a preteen). She not only teaches things like how to actually do different types of stitches, but she also has specific patterns she teaches you. I use her fingerless glove pattern all the time because they are quick and easy to make. Another benefit is that a number of her videos are in Spanish as well.

Wool And The Gang is another fun channel to subscribe to. They also offer easy-to-follow tutorials so it is great for beginning knitters and novices. They also have a number of free patterns that they offer. Wool And The Gang is an actual company so in addition to their YouTube channel with wonderful tutorials, they have a website and blog. You know what else they have? A mascot… Meet Al The Alpaca.

Those are my main go-to YouTube channels when I’m either looking at learning a new stitch or trying to find a new pattern to try out. Some others that I subscribe to are RJ Knits and Sheep & Stitch.

Most of us are not only aware of Craftsy, we practically LIVE on their site. This is fabulous place to find patterns (they offer free and priced, but I have yet to see a bad pattern on that site). I also am a fan of LoveKnitting because they also sell yarn (like Craftsy and Wool and the Gang) and offer coupons and special pricing almost daily. (I recommend signing up for their email list to see what’s new and what specials they’re offering that day).

I hope that, for any beginners or skilled knitters out there, these resources not only help to continue your ever-expanding knitting knowledge but also provide you with a bevy of new projects for your horizons.

Happy Knitting!

 

~Scribe Sarah~


Cookie Ring Tutorial

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Hi there and happy Wednesday! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. I wanted to share this quick and simple project with you. It’s a cookie ring, using polymer clay for the cookies.

What you’ll need for this project is:

  • Premo clay in ecru and burnt sienna
  • an adjustable ring base of your choice.
  • A straight blade. You can use a knife, a tissue blade, or whatever you are comfortable with.
  • Somethjng for texture, either a texture mold or even some wrinkled up foil.
  • A miniature plate. You can check the miniature section of your hobby store, or even a toy store. It need to be oven safe to 275 degrees F.
  • Adhesive.

Steps:

  • Condition your clay by kneading it. Separate out three pea sized balls of ecru clay.
  • Flatten the balls, leaving them a little rounded like real cookies would be after baking.
  • Using your texture stamp or crumpled foil, add some texture to the cookies. 
  • Make some very tiny balls of your sienna clay. These are your chocolate chips. Randomly place them on your cookies, flattening the balls as you place them. 
  • Optional- add some bronze pearlX powder to simulate baking color. You can also do an acrylic wash with brown after baking instead.
  • Using adhesive, attach the cookies to the plate and bake in your oven. Premo bakes in an oven at 275 degrees F, and I would bake your plate for 30 minutes. After cooling, it can be attached using the same adhesive to your ring base.

If you don’t like rings, it can be done as a pendant, or even earrings.


Cosplay Crafting: Breath of the Wild Bow

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Yes, yes, I’m a sucker for any and all things Breath of the Wild right now. My excitement for this game is probably the highest it’s been for any game in at least the last decade. So, I wanna share with you other fans and cosplayers a fantastic tutorial that had been created for making your own Breath of the Wild style bow!

Made and designed by , this is one excellent tutorial on making Link’s bow as well as custom fantasy bows in general. The base bow they got was from Amazon and is not practical for hunting/shooting, but great for cosplay. Obviously metalic paint was used, but you’ll need to get your hands on craft foam (a cosplayer’s best friend) to make the added on guards at the very least. You’ll find the whole detail process here, and I highly recommend it if you were thinking about adding a new costume to your closet this year. 😉


Crochet Block Stitch Tutorial

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It’s getting chilly in the Northern Hemisphere so it’s time to bust out your yarn and start making cool winter clothes. 😀 If a sweater or a scarf is on your to do list, I’ve got a really neat looking stitch to showcase today from the people at Dream A Little Bigger.

Once you get it set up, this stitch is super simple to do, and gives a nice visual texture to your piece; almost making it look like it’s two layers. Even if you’re not making anything this Holiday season, it’s still a fun and different stitch to learn by working up a practice square on. 🙂 The full tutorial can be found here at Dream A Little Bigger, and I’d be surprised if even a beginner crocheter couldn’t get in down in just an hour.

 


DIY Shelves: Pro Edition

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Yup, I’m back with a final update in making your own display shelves for shows. For awhile now I’ve been wanting to ditch the foam cores I originally made over a year ago. As time has gone on I’m always in constant fear of them being crushed or broken due to their lightweight material. So, back in March I had the idea to instead make them out of wood. They could remain the same thickness (meaning no new math to figure out, yay!) and shape, but by being made out of wood I would have a more professional display piece that could hold up for years to come with only a small amount of care.

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This is how mine they turned out in the end, and below I will walk you through step by step how I went about constructing my lovely new display shelves. PLEASE NOTE: Unlike working with foam core, working with wood involves at minimum a jigsaw and a sander. If you do not feel comfortable using these tools be sure to have a friend/family member who can help you.

Items you will need:

-1/2″ Thick wood (as much as your designs say)
– A Jigsaw (I used a hand one, but a standing one would also be lovely)
– A sander
– Pencil
– Measuring Tape/Ruler

Optional:

– Wood Stain
– Sealent
– Paint Brush or Rag
– Drop Cloth

Since I had access to a jigsaw, I knew my first challenge would be having the big cuts I needed from my large piece of wood done. Thankfully, most hardware stores that sell such large pieces of wood will cut it for you into any size square or rectangle you like. I got my wood at Home Depot and after the first 2 cuts they charge $1 for each additional cut. I don’t remember how many cuts I needed in the end, but it was more than 10. Getting as many cuts as you can done will only save you time. It’s worth the extra charge as long as it’s done properly. Once you get your wood and get home, it’s time to once again get your pencil and ruler out to mark all your measurements for where you’ll be cutting your wood. As always: measure twice, cut once.

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You can see on mine where I had issues with one. Yeah, the guy cut one board 1/4″ shorter then all the others for my support struts and it messed me up. Maybe have an eraser handy in case this happens to you when you’re measuring. Once everything is marked, bring your wood over to your cutting station and carefully cut out your design/pieces. You don’t want any crooked lines so take your time and do it right.

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Now that you have all your pieces cut, it’s time to sand! Get your sander ready and start with a high grit paper like 80-100 for your first pass, working your way up in numbers to a finer grit and a smoother finish. Make sure you get all of your edges too to prevent and splintering or roughness. Last thing I want is to have a rough section when handling my display stands. This step will take awhile to do and that’s okay, cause if you want, you can stop after this step!

029You’ll have a fully finished display stand at this point (baring any gluing/drilling to add dowels like I do with mine) that you can simply take as is and use all you like. Personally I wanted mine to be a darker color so I opted to stain it ‘Dark Cherry’. Before you start brushing your stain on, you’ll want to prep your area by laying down a drop cloth, an old sheet, or even old towels. You’ll also want to wipe your display pieces down with a clean cloth to remove any fine particles that may be hanging around from sanding. Once that’s done, simply lay your pieces out on your work space and evenly coat your wood with stain.

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This will take at least 2 rounds as you’ll need to flip your display to make sure you get all the sides. You can use a brush or an old rag to put your stain on. As long as it’s evenly applied you can choose whichever applicator works best for you. Knowing this is a several hour project overall, I also recommend getting a stain that is also a sealer to save some small amount of time. You don’t have to of course, but sealing is needed to make sure your stain retains it’s color/look for as long as possible.
034And there you have it! Once everything is dry and finished your new display is ready to use at your next show. It will be sure to impress the guests and other vendors as they all wonder where you got your great display shelves. 😉

~Nicole


Basic Hand Stitching

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As someone who only just recently developed a tentative truce with my sewing machine, I often find myself still relying on hand sewing for all my general sewing needs. Old habits die hard and all that I’m sure, but sometimes you just have a fickle bit or you just don’t feel like carting around a big machine on the go. In either event, if you’ve been thinking about brushing up on your skills, or just learning how to hand sew in the first place, I have found a lovely illustrated guide just for you.

There is much, much more (I just took the top part to keep this post form scrolling for ages) that you can easily scroll/read at your leisure here on Lady Cels’ deviantart page. Don’t be dismissive of the title either and think it’s not for you. While it may have been written with a cosplayer in mind, cosplay is still just working with fabric and these techniques can still help your basic sewing skills.

~Nicole


Prop Creation: Rey’s Staff

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So, if you’re anything like me, you left the new Star Wars movie in love with lead character, Rey. 😀 As with any character I fall in love with, I start to research cosplay options to see if others have discovered any tips/tricks that I can use. One very kind cosplayer made an in depth tutorial on how to make Rey’s Staff that she uses in the film.

Her tumblr name is takiki16, and she is wonderful as her whole process was very clearly documented via pictures and detailed descriptions; including measurements! She calls it a “quick and crappy” version but her method is easy (and low cost!!) and thanks to the solid wood core it’s considerably sturdy so she should really giver herself more credit.

Definitely check her tutorial out if it’s anything you’ve been considering. Now I just have to call my local Home Depot about wooden poles…

~Nicole


Once Around a Pincushion

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Two Sundays ago I promised a pincushion tutorial and here it is! For reference, I used this Instructables tutorial on how to construct a pincushion cuff. It had a good foundation and some great tips, which I will include but lacked a little bit in some relevant details (more on that later). Please note that this tutorial assumes you are familiar with hand and machine sewing terms and techniques (if not, stay tuned at the end for some recommended viewing). To begin, you will need the following:

PincushionTutSupplies1

  1. Fabric (I used cotton)
  2. A mug or round item approximately 3″-4″ in diameter
  3. Poly fiber filling
  4. Sew-on Velcro
  5. Embroidery floss or other cording
  6. A button
  7. Scissors and/or a rotary cutter
  8. (If using rotary cutter) Self-healing cutting mat
  9. Ruler or measuring tape
  10. Pins
  11. (not pictured) Iron and ironing board

The following are not absolutely necessary but I found it easier to use them and I will refer to the steps where I used them.

PincushionTutSupplies2

(optional) Iron-on interfacing or stabilizer (pictured above)

(optional) Pinking shears

(optional) Seam ripper

(optional) Fabric pencil

Prior to cutting out my fabric, I washed, dried, and pressed it accordingly. You will need to cut 3 circles of fabric each measuring 3″-4″ in diameter and 2 strips of fabric measuring about 9″ (I made my a little bit longer) long by 2.75″ wide. If you opt to use the interfacing, cut it slightly smaller (length and width) than one of your long strips. Cut two 2″ strips from the Velcro.

To begin, I used the mug and fabric pencil to trace out circles on my fabric. The center circle will be used as reinforcement only so it does not need to be a pretty piece. I then used my ruler, cutting mat and rotary cutter to cut out my strips.

PincushionTutMugCircles  PincushionTutFabricStrips

If you choose to use interfacing, which I recommend if you intend to use this often as it will add strength and durability to the cuff, now would be the time to iron it on to one of the wrong sides of one of the strips. Then pin the right sides of your strips together. Using the edge of your presser foot as the seam allowance, sew around all sides of the strips **EXCEPT** about a 1″ space on one of the long sides (this is very important as you will need to flip the whole cuff through this hole later). The Instructables tutorial actually gives a great tip at this point, “Tip: Sew the opening area closed first by back stitching, then lengthening your stitch and sewing about an inch, and then back stitch again where the opening ends. Then you can press the seam open in this area and remove the stitches. This will give you a nice crease to follow when stitching the opening closed.” I did utilize this technique for both the cuff and the cushion. It made hand sewing much easier later on. While you are still at the sewing machine, you may as well sew your cushion, too. Make sure when you pin it beforehand that the right sides of the fabric you want on the outside of your cushion are facing each other while the reinforcement circle is on the wrong side of the “bottom” fabric. All I can say about sewing the seam on a circle is take your time and don’t forget that 1″ opening!

PincushionTutFabricStrips2  PincushionTutSewstrips  PincushionTutSewCushion

When you’ve got your seams done, it’s time to iron! Take both pieces over to the ironing board and iron that seam space open where we left a spot for the flip. Trust me, it will help! You’ll probably notice that my edges look all nice and full of ridges. Alternately before pressing, you can using the pinking shears to trim around your seams (this will prevent fraying when you are attempting to force a bunch of fabric through that 1″ hole), which is what I did. Next is the fun part! If you followed the wide stitch technique as suggested, you need to use your seam ripper to pull out those stitches. Then (brace yourself) you need to flip both things right side out by stuffing all the fabric through that 1″ hole you in the sides. Once you have it flipped, use a chop stick, pencil, or other stick-like implement to pop out your corners. Still with me? Awesome! At this point, you need to hand sew (with a slip/ladder stitch) that little hole closed in the cuff. Before doing the same to the cushion, stuff with what appears to be far too much poly filler (you want a really poofy cushion so you don’t get poked with a pin!). After you’ve stitched both parts closed, you can opt to topstitch around the edges of your cuff which I also recommend for added strength.

PincushionTutIronSeams  PincushionTutStuffCushion  PincushionTutTopstitch

We are in the home stretch now! The next part is to sew the little ridges into your cushion by using floss or some kind of cord to divide the cushion first into quarters, then into eighths. If you can come back up through the top of the cushion after dividing that last portion, you should be able to pop the button right on the top of that end of the floss and dig into the center of the cushion to anchor it.

PincushionTutSewFloss   PincushionTutSewFloss2   PincushionTutButton

Almost there, I swear! Now you will attach the cushion to the cuff by hand sewing the bottom of the cushion into the top layer of the cuff. This does not have to be perfect as it will not be visible but ensure that you sew it down firmly. Once your cushion is not going anywhere, sew your Velcro on – one on the top side and one on the bottom side of your cuff.

PincushionTutAttachCushion   PincushionTutSewVelcro

Clip your ends, grab some pins, and pat yourself on the back! We just made a pincushion cuff!

PincushionTutComplete

It’s going to come in real handy if you’ve decided to join in on the NES block of the month quilt-along over in the forums. This thing is the perfect wrist armor for those darn pins!

PincushionTutOnWrist

Above I had mentioned some things that may or may not be lacking (pending your sewing experience level) in the original tutorial. I found a couple of great videos if you aren’t that comfortable with ladder/slip stitch (through this link) or if you’ve never had to topstitch anything (through this link).

Hope you had as much fun as I did today!

See you next Sunday and stay crafty!

~Laura

 

 

 


Build Your Stocking With Care

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Less than a week until the big day and, of course, I’ve been inspired to add some last minute crafting to the mix…stocking making to be exact. When I was a child, we didn’t have a fireplace but my parents always hung our stockings somewhere in the house so that Santa could find them and fill them with goodies! My Mom actually took the time to cut out, stitch together, and embellish felt stockings for each family member (including the dog). Over time the poor things got a bit warn out and we replaced them with the store bought kind. Being the sentimental type, I never forgot my handmade one and have been considering making new stockings for my family that reflect their interests. I’ve collected some tutorials to get us both started.

First up is what I would call a traditional stocking using some festive fabric and a bit of machine sewing know-how from FabricWorm. You could honestly use the template for any number of other eye catching stockings.

So simple and made to hold loot!

So simple and made to hold loot!

Maybe you are better with a hook or knitting needles than you are with a sewing machine? I think this crocheted second stocking from the Red Heart website also looks pretty quick and easy. Once again, this could be adapted to other designs to suit the recipient.

Or it could double as footwear for giants...

Or it could double as footwear for giants…

Ok, let’s say that neither sewing nor crochet are your specialty but how are your skills with a glue gun? Pretty handy with one? Then this third type of stocking (with many variations) from Better Homes and Gardens is just the thing!

Who knew what a little glue could do? Now try saying that five times, fast!

Who knew what a little glue could do? Now try saying that five times, fast!

My list wouldn’t be complete without just a little bit of geekery. For the Whovian in your life, I present a tutorial that includes this lovely Dalek stocking from Doodle Craft:

DECORATE!

DECORATE!

I don’t know about you but I am getting super excited! I love watching the faces of my gift recipients light up as they open something I made just for them. Have a safe and happy holiday, everyone!

Stay crafty (and warm)!

~Laura

 


Joining Crochet Squares

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A quick tutorial method today. As we get closer to colder weather, I’m sure many people will be busting out their hooks to make their own (for themselves or others), so today I wanted to show case a different technique you can use to sew blocks/granny squares together with your crochet hook instead of a yarn needle, while still allowing it to lay flat.

Dedri from Look At What I Made calls her method the zipper method since it, well, looks very much like you are slowly zipping up your squares. Slow is the keyword here too as this method will definitely take some time. The teal color was only used for the images so it could be seen easily.

How to Join Crochet Squares Using the “Zipper” Method

To join the squares using the zipper method, you will place the squares side by side, instead of on top of each other. When you place the squares side by side like this, the v’s formed by the stitches of the last row/round of each square will be parallel to each other. You will be working ONLY into the inside loops (back loops).

Starting with the block to your left , insert your hook from front to back into the inside loop of the first stitch.  Now insert your hook from front to back into the inside loop of the first stitch of the other square.

If you are going to be adding new yarn to join your crochet squares, add it now by placing a slip knot on your hook as in Photo 4.  I like starting with a slip knot.  If you don’t like starting with a slip knot, simply yarn over with your new color.  Pull through both of the stitches (loops) on your hook (Photo 5).

Insert your hook from front to back into the inside loop of the next stitch of the square on your left (see Photo 6).  Then insert your hook from front to back into the inside loop of the next stitch of the other square (Photo 7).  Grab your yarn, which will be at the back of your work, and pull through all three loops on your hook (Photo 8).

Remember to keep your tension loose.  Slip stitches are not as elastic as other stitches, so if you work very tightly, your edges won’t have any “give”. Keep working a slip stitch into the inside loops of each stitch (through both layers) this until you have joined all the stitches down the side of your squares.  When you get to the end, bind off.

You can find more images and pictures at Look At What I Made for the complete tutorial. This method would be great for those who are making pixel character blankets or maybe block scarves too! It’s a very simple technique that looks great, so go crazy!

~Nicole