Monday, December 15, 2008

Socks


I finally decided to tackle socks. I have long questioned the popularity of sock making in the knitting community. It seemed like a lot of work for something you can go buy at the store for less than a dollar. Most of the opinions that I've heard are that they are portable and easy to knit. Mindless knitting was actually the term used.

So, I looked for a basic pattern to begin with, and I found Basic Ribbed Socks by Kate Atherly on Ravelry. The general consensus was that this was a great pattern to start with. The ribbing allows a great fit without being a mind-numbing K2P2 ribbing.

After getting the first sock most of the way done, I realized that I was going to need a sock blocker to make sure both of my socks wind up the same size. Being a frugal mother, I decided to make my own. I found a great DIY tutorial for Super Easy DIY Sock Blockers on Little Seasame Knits by Maryann that outlined how to make your own for a dollar. Unlike some tutorials, it actually proved to be right. Without the cost of scissors and paper, it actually only cost me a dollar!


I am now done with the first sock, and it's on my special homemade blocker. (Very exciting!) I am not enthralled with the process as some people, but I can see its uses. Lord knows I have a lot of sock yarn around. I love the way it feels and looks.

I hope this may inspire some of you to give sock knitting a try. Who knows, you may love it and want to knit all of your family members socks for next Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Chainmaille and Yarn


As some of you may know, not only do I knit, but I chainmaille as well for Renaissance Fairs. It's a lot like knitting, but using wire instead. My husband and I have taught ourselves how to coil wire and cut it into usable rings. It's comparable to spinning yarn for you yarnies.

Well, I was finishing up the gifts list for Christmas, checking off those we have gotten gifts for when I realized that I needed to get stuff for my guys friends. I didn't want to knit something. (Gasp!) First, I don't have the time to knit them all something unique. I also wanted something more masculine. So, my husband and I bought out our box of rings and pliers and got started weaving necklaces and bracelets. I love being able to make something so unique for my friends that usually costs mucho bucko to purchase.

As for my knitting endeavors, I have some pattern that need kinks worked out. But never fear! You'll be in for some surprises if you stay tuned. . .




Yes, that is actually me weaving.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

MIA

I know, I know. . . I haven't posted in a while. It's been an exciting month in my home, so I haven't been posting any new patterns. Though I do have several in the works. It takes time to go through the process of writing one out. And, for me, I have to be inspired.

Another thing is that I have been teaching a beginner's crocheting and knitting classes. It's been a blast getting to know my students and helping them learn how to use yarn. It's really helped me look more at the reasons why I love to crochet/knit as well.

So why do I play with yarn, well, in truth there are many reasons:
  1. I like to work with my hands. Making something from scratch and having someone marvel that not everything is store-bought thrills me.
  2. Yarn is so versatile that I can make everything from toys to clothing to home accessories with a hook/sticks and yarn.
  3. I get to use my creativeness that I've kept bottled up for so many years. I always thought I was going to be a police officer when I was younger, and as I grew up I thought I was going to be a Scientist. Well, in many ways I am, but I've realized that I am so much more in recent years.
  4. I love to teach, and having this unique skill has given me something that I can share with others.
Those are just a couple of reasons of which I'm sure there are more, but for the sake of your eyes, I'll stop there.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Spider Pasties





These dears are show to tickle your fancy with their webs. Knit them for yourself or as decorations for your home. They take no time at all to knit up.

I also want to give a special thanks to bohoknitterchic for the inspiration from her spiderweb bra to create these. Check her website out for more pasties!


Difficulty: Beginners

One Size

Materials:
US #3
MC, scraps of black or purple black sock yarn
Tapestry needle

Pattern notes:
Fbl=knit through front loop & back loop of same stitch
Pattern

CO 4
Row 1: K 1, 2 fbl, K1 – 6 sts
Row 2 and all even: K
Row 3: K1, fbl, K2, fbl, K1 – 8 sts
Row 5: K1, fbl, K (4) to last 2 sts, fbl, K1 – 10 sts
Row 7: K1, fbl, K (6) to last 2 sts, fbl, K1 – 12 sts
Rows 9: K1, fbl, K (8) to last 2 sts, fbl, K1 – 14 sts
Row 11: K across
Row 13, 15, 17, & 19: K1, K2tog, K to last three stitches, K2tog, K1
Row 21: K1, 2 K2tog, K1 – 4 sts
Row 23: K1, fbl2, K1
Row 25: K1, fbl, K2, fbl, K1
Row 27: K 1, K2tog, K2, K2tog, K1
Row 29: K1, K2tog twice, K1 – 4 sts

Break yarn. Using a tapestry needle, thread through live stitches, and secure.

Cut four 6 inch long pieces of yarn. Tie to middle of body and fan out for legs.

Black Widow Spider

NOTE: This pattern will only be free until the end of October to celebrate Halloween. After which, it will be available on Esty and Ravelry for purchase.

Beware this Widow’s bite. Though she might seem of even temperament, she may attack your Halloween guest unprovoked!


Difficulty:
Intermediate

One Size
Materials:
US #3 dpn’s
MC, scraps of black or purple black sock yarn ~50 yards
CC, scraps of red sock yarn
Tapestry needle
Pattern notes:
Fbl=knit through front loop & back loop of same stitch


Copyright 2008. Dawn L.E. Riden. All rights reserved. For personal use only. Not for commercial sale.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Steampunk Jewelry


As most of you know, I've been working on a costume for the Texas Renaissance Festival this coming October. I'm planning on going Steampunk for the fantasy weekend. I was surfing the web when I ran across some cool rings and decided to try and make some of my own jewelry. I started with my copper wire, as usual, and began twisting and bending until I came up with three decent rings. I don't know if they are "Steampunk", but I really like them. Anyway, I thought I'd share them with you all for the heck of it. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Designing Fury

Alright, I've been working my butt off the past week or two designing and making different projects. Some I have submitted to the Knit/Crochet Pattern-a-Day Calender, so I'm not going to post them just yet.

It's funny how that little designing bug bites you sometimes and you have to get working. I'm certain this is the way it works among creative people. Some dream and then write it down the next morning. Some find things around them that inspire. For me, it's a mixture of it all. But I know that if I don't work at it while it's there, it will get lost in the stadium sized closets of my mind. : )

Thursday, August 28, 2008

How to Make a Victorian Hat

I have been wanting a Victorian hat for some time now. Unfortunately, the type I was interested in would cost buckoo bucks that I could not afford. Being the crafter that I am, I figured if I did enough research, I could figure out how to make one with the materials I can get in my small town. I first read up on hat making to no avail. I am not a milliner and cannot find buckram without resorting to online purchases. And to tell the truth, I wanted to do it cheaper. This was a problem. I needed something that is flexible yet sturdy enough to form the base of the hat. Luckily, I got some great advice from others who were making hats in one of my previous blogs: Wired Mini Top Hat. So now with a plan I began to execute my procedure.


I began with craft mesh that I picked up from Walmart in the crafting section. It comes in sheets and circles. The circles are perfect enough that I don't have to do much trimming to get the size. I looked at Blanches Place for ideas on what form of hat I wanted. I settled on the 1870s hat. On the website, there are dimensions on the size of the hat. I used this as a starting step, but trimmed everything down to a shape I liked.

Then, I got out the 16 gauge wire (also can be found in the tools section at Walmart), and I attached the wire to the outside of the brim using the nylon thread I had purchased. This thread is stronger than cotton and will hold up better. I had tried on my sewing machine using a zig-zag stitch, but it didn't work well. Either it did catch the mesh or the needle kept hitting the mesh and bending. The wire is traditionally used to shape the brim when completed.

After that I sewed the top plastic circle to the brim making sure that the bottom of the side of the hat matched with the inside circle of the brim and the top circle. After this step, you have a bowl, of sorts.

Then I cut 4 pieces of fabric slightly larger than the frame: the top circle, the side of the hat, and two circles for the top and bottom of the brim piece. (I'm not very particular about the inside of the hat just yet.) I hot glued the smaller of the circles to the top of the hat. Then I glued fabric to the side of the hat making sure to role the fabric down on the top of the hat to make a nice finish.

Now, I took the two larger circles with right sides facing one another, and stitched around most of the perimeter. After flipping it inside out, I slid in the wired brim section and sewed the rest shut trying to keep the stitches as invisible as possible.
Then, I cut a circle out of the middle of the brim piece, making sure to leave enough to fold up to secure to the inside of the hat sides. I glued and sewed it altogether. After making sure all the seams are nice looking, I add any finishing touches, and there it is!

Hope this helps some!


ETA: Here's another hat I recently made that didn't include the wire brim, but holds it shape perfectly.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Baby Hats for Charity



I'm a big supporter of volunteer work. Before I had my littlest one, I used to drive meals for Meals-on-Wheels and cook for the Senior Center where I used to live. After moving to our new town, I attempted to volunteer for our local WIC, and was basically blown off. I was very disappointed. So, in lieu of actually going out and giving my services, I have been making newborn hats for a charity. They don't take very long to make. I picked a simple pattern that I can do anywhere, but I enjoy sharing something that makes a special day even more memorable. I know more people can volunteer somehow, if they just found something that appeases them. So, in honor of all those who want to give back. Here's my two cents. . .

Other Victorian Hat



I got the other finished yesterday, but didn't have time to post it. This one is more classically Victorian to me. It's larger for more room to add extras. As I expected, this one was easier to make overall. I cut down the sewing by hot gluing some of it, which worked very well with the plastic frame. I still sewed the wire onto the frame and the brim. When I put it on, it looks huge, but I know when I get my hair up and into some period clothing, it'll be perfect.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Victorian Hat


After recieving some great advice from Gypsy Junk Knits, bkwormdeb, and Damsel in this Dress, I finally got the supplies and made my first hat. I expected it not to be perfect, considering I have never attempted a project quite like this before. As I went along creating patterns, cutting plastic, and sewing wire, I found it to be rather easier than I had hoped. And my final product is fine enough to be worn to a Renaissance fair without embarrassment! I found several styles of hats through Blanches. I didn't buy the pattern but cut my own from the pics on poster board. The side band gave me a bit of trouble. I wanted it more tilted in, but it came out straighter. After playing around, I've figured out how to get it tilted which will be shown in my next hat. I did, however, accidentally have the fabric backwards on the brim. (If you won't tell, neither will I.) I still want to add some finishing touches and possible some bias tape on the rim to clean it up. But it is finished and I like it!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Podium


I finished my last Ravelympics project today. She's The Thrifty Critter from Nikol Lohr. She's made from scraps from previous projects. I like how funny she looks. I laugh when I see her. Now onto more pressing matters. I feel to urge to design something again. What, I'm not sure.
Maybe the Critter will tell me. : )


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ravelympics



I've been knitting like a madwoman these past couple of days for the Ravelympics. I have finished my long coveted Staitjacket from the Naughty Needles by Nikol Lohr. I love this sweater, and am contemplating making another out of a different yarn. The style suits me well.
I also finished a swap hat for my partner. AND I finished spinning two skeins of yarn! Wow!



I saw, also through Nikol Lohr, that there is a Yarn & Fiber School that she is hosting in Kansas. I wish I could go. I would love to learn some new techniques and get together with other yarnies, but I honestly can't afford the tuition. We are barely scraping by on one income! Maybe I should suggest a scholarship?


Here's a close-up on my purple skein. I think I've gotten better at being more constant with the drafting and spin. It's a beautiful color! Now to figure out what to make or give it to. Hmm...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wired Mini Top Hat



I was in the process of knitting up another top hat when I had the inspiration to try using the wire I have in stock instead. I've made several masks using wire in previous months, and they all came out beautifully. Why I hadn't thought of using it before now, I'm not sure. But when inspiration knocks, I never say no.

I started with the wire frame shape of the hat I wanted. Basically, it's a stylized mini version of a top hat. From there, I twisted and looped it so that it would give the hat body and substance. I worked on it for two days until I got to this part. Now, I need to go to the store and purchase various knick-knacks to adore the brim with. I was thinking some ribbon and some feathers. Possibly, a flower if I find one that I like. We will see what's available.

I wish I knew how to sew these beauties. There's a woman I found that makes them the way I want to at Gypsy Junk Knits. I adore them tremendously and wish I knew how to make them for myself. But alas, I can find no tutorials and will have to figure it out for myself. I've read some craft blogs that use buckram for the base. Unfortunately, living in a small town has eliminated that. So my next alternative if stiff felt that I can find. Lord knows I have enough wire around here. So now, once I gather the materials, I will try my hand at it. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Adventures in Steampunk Spinning (Painting My Wheel)

UPDATED-



After spinning my first skein of yarn on my new Babe's Spinning Wheel, I realized that the white PVC pipe "look" would simply not do. So I headed down to my local store to pick up some paint supplies to customize it. I got copper, gold, and bronze acrylic paint, along with metallic gun metal and black spray paint for plastics, and a satin top coat.


After roughing up the surface with sandpaper, I coated the whole thing in black. Then I sprayed the gun metal color. After that dried, I highlighted the joints with the copper acrylic on the joints and gold highlights throughout.


I contemplated staining the foot pedal and flyer, but I can't to afford all those supplies. So, I painted them in the bronze/gold acrylic paints, which came out beautifully. It's very steampunk inspired, and yet it matches my other house accessories wonderfully. It's now not an eye sore in the living room, and I love it!




UPDATED 6/20/2009
I got some gears from an Etsy store and glued them on. They are so cool!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fiber Christmas in July Festival





I had the pleasure of attending the Fiber Christmas in July Festival in Kellyville, OK! My Mil picked me up and we headed out together Saturday and arrived at the Fairgrounds around 12:30. Since it was only the second time they have had it, it wasn't very large, but about what I expected. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was all the spinning wheels everywhere! So salivating, I started walking around the booths. The first booth was manned by two delightful women selling roving and spinning material. They were very helpful in deciding what to buy without being pushy or know-it-all. You can find some of their stash at Weavery at Indian Meridian.


Then we looked around at the other booths. We found the woman who raises Alpacas in Oklahoma that we had seen at L&B Yarn Co last year who was selling more roving and yarn. She had more variety this year that was fun to see. I believe her website is Kindred Spirits.

There were also many non yarn booths which included baskets and odds and ends that were very interesting. We happened by the above doll at on of those booths. He reminded me of Carrot Top in a tuxedo. I also ran into Dark Twist from whom I purchased my Top Hat pattern from. Though I didn't realize it was her until I got home. It's always fun to meet the person behind the online persona.


And by the end of the day, a woman at one booth informed us of a spinning wheel that was for sell at a great price! I was so excited, but tried not to get my hopes too high. Naturally, one of the wooden beauties would be the epitome of a spinners dream, but I just wanted something to start with. So we got me a spinning wheel for $110 dollars plus some bobbins! I know it's not the prettiest thing, but I hope to rectify that by painting it. I tried spinning some when I got how and did fairly well considering I had never touched a spinning wheel in my life!

So our haul in the end was 6 skeins of yarn, 4 different types of roving to experiment with, a great spinning wheel, and a Niddy Noddy. But most of all, I had a great time meeting people, talking, and hanging out with my Mil.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Steampunk Weaponry


(If you can think of a great name to write on the side of it, please let me know!)


Today, I worked on the pistol of the costume I'm designing. I found online, where a man was taking Nerf guns, and painting them up to look like ray guns. There was no way I was going to spend $40-50 for it when all I needed was some paint. So, after visiting my son's toy box, I found a water gun that was broken. (Repeat it with me, "Recycle, Reuse, RENEW" courtesy of The Little People also from my son's movie collection) I knew there was a reason I hadn't thrown it away! So after getting some metallic paints, and decorating, I have a fancy new toy to go along with my Air Pirate persona!


Now I know many people out there are wondering, "Why is this crazy girl doing this?". Well, it's simple, some people collect coins, some collect teapots, or roosters or even Mickey Mouse. I love to create things. Whether it be knit, crochet, paint, steel, or something that nobody has even named yet. I pride myself on being good at things that most others wouldn't even thought possible. It's a passion! So instead of asking me why, ask yourself, "What are you passionate about?"


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tie Me Up Spats




While designing a Steam punk outfit for a special event, I came up with this pattern for some Victorian inspired spats to accommodate my vision. I feel that if a pattern is this easy, it should be free!

Simply add your own personal touches to make it yours!

Finished Size:
12 inches around top, 15 inches around bottom edge, and 7 inches tall

Materials:
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn, 150yards
Size I crochet hook
Ribbon
Needle for sewing in ends

Pattern notes:
Half Double Crochet (hdc)- Yarn over hook, insert hook in stitch, yarn over hook, pull a loop through the stitch, yarn over hook, pull yarn through all three loops on the hook.

Pattern:
Ch 36, turn.
Ch 2, hdc across, turn.

*Ch 2, hdc 1, Ch 1, skip 1, hdc across to last three sts, Ch 1, skip 1, hdc last two sts, turn.
Ch 2, hdc across. *
Repeat from * 4 more times.


*Ch 2, hdc 1, ch 1, skip 1, 2 hdc in next st, hdc across to the last four sts, 2 hdc in next st, ch 1, skip 1, hdc last two sts, turn.
Ch 2, hdc 1, 2 hdc in next st, hdc across to last three sts, 2 hdc next st, hdc in last two sts.*
Repeat last town rows from * 2 more times. BO and weave in ends.

Lace ribbon through ch1 spaces like a shoe.



Note: To make taller, repeat between the first two *'s until it reaches desired length.

Copyright 2008. Dawn L.E. Riden. All rights reserved. For personal use only. Not for commercial sale.

Steampunk Designing



Lately, I've been on a Victorian kick. I love corsets and bustle skirts and all things associated with that time period. I found myself crocheting items that reflect this era. I started with a bracelet that, in turn, inspired a choker. After the choker, I started working on a pair of Spats. Yes, spats, and what are they, you ask. Spats are shoe covering. They are a beautiful way to dress up your feet.

Unlike what Red said in the movie "Shawshank Redemption", and I quote, "I mean, seriously, how often do you really look at a mans shoes?". We really do look at shoes. They can tell you a lot about what a person thinks. Do they wear high heels that may look great, but are most uncomfortable. Do they wear Crocs, which are ugly as sin, but are very comfortable. Shoes are the base of every outfit.

So I set out to create a pair of Spats that reflect my personality. Well, it's turning out to be an escapade really, I couldn't stop with just one pair. So for your viewing pleasure, here are a couple of the versions I have made.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What a Wonderful Life

I must say even with gas prices soaring, homes sales down, and the country on verge of a recession, I've never been happier! I have a house (though not the most expensive, but exactly what I need.), my family (who keep me entertained), and friends that may each day special. It just proves that it doesn't matter what you have but what you do with it. Instead of shopping for expensive clothes or jewelry, I make it. Instead of buying $20 grown plants, I buy $0.99 seeds and grow them from scratch or buy plants on sale and revive them. I take my kids to the park, have movie nights, play in our backyard plastic pool, or go to the library instead of spending $30 for a theater movie, theme parks, or buying stuff that isn't very important.

I'm by no means rich monetarily, BUT I feel that I am the wealthiest person in the world! Thank you everyone who is a part of my life!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm on Etsy.com!

I just wanted everyone to know that I've opened a shop on Etsy.com to finally sell all the beautiful crafts I've been making. Check my store out at: Dawn's Crafty Creations!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Circumvenio Bracelet



From the latin word meaning "to come around", this bracelet was a beginning of a journey into the world of rings. From scrapes of stainless steel rings to fantastic bracelets!

My husband and I make our own chainmaille rings for various projects. Unfortunately, not all rings are the same, and we have a discarded or "dead" pile of rings that have accumulated over time. I cannot stand to see anything go to waste. So was born the Circumvenio bracelet!

Finished Size: 9 inches around

Materials:
Aunt Lydia's Fashion Crochet Thread
Size D/3.25 mm crochet hook
5/8" steel ring (you could also try the little plastic ones sold at the store)

Pattern:
Starting with a closed ring, hook and pull yarn through center of ring, YO, pull through loop. (Now, yarn is attached to ring.)
Sc half way around the ring.
Add second ring by inserting hook through ring, YO, pull through center of ring, YO, and pull through both loops.
Sc half way around ring again.
Continue adding rings until you get to a length that will fit around your wrist.

The yarn will give some wiggle room when you close the circle, but make sure it's snug enough to still stay on.
When you get the bracelet to the desired length, connect the first ring to the last using the previous method.

Finish the other half of the bracelet by sc the other half and joining to the next ring, thus reinforcing the joins.

When you reach the end, break yarn, and weave in ends, and "Presto!".

Copyright 2008. Dawn L. E. Riden. All rights reserved. For personal use only. Not for Commercial sale.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Winding up

I've worked up a pattern for a matching necklace to my chocker. BUT, I don't have any pictures yet to post. SO until I get that squared away, I'm keeping the pattern to myself. WhaaaHAaa Haaa!!!


I've been working lately on a beautiful shrug out of the Twinkles Big City Knits book. I would have it done by now, but I got frustrated when I tried it on and it seemed small. I gave into my frustration by putting it in timeout in the back of the stash. I think I've forgiven it, though, and plan to finish it within the next day. I've also decided to join the knitting olympics by completing a couple of projects within a two week period. So here's the swatch for a fun sweater (my first!).

On a side note, I want to give you all a laugh (because I do every time I see it) by introducing you to my Grandmother's bathroom. I always think of Austin Powers when I try to use it!