Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ashley's (Free) Easy Hat Pattern

Christmas is fast approaching, and if you're anything like me, your fingers must be killing you from all the last-minute knitting!  I like to give hats.  They're versatile, unisex, customize-able, and in Michigan, everyone needs one!  Here's a pattern I've written to help you finish making hats for all your recipients.  I have included instructions for 2 versions:  one with a slightly rolled brim, and one with ribbing.  I have also included instructions for an optional stripe.  It's a good starter hat for beginners, and it's easy for more experienced knitters to customize to one's needs.  Enjoy (it's free)!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An Update

Well hello there, strangers!  I apologize for the lack of posting lately.  I haven't been knitting as much, and I haven't had much about which to post.  Truthfully, I've been going through a severe case of TMJ disorder.  Basically, my jaw muscles decided to stiffen up one day and make it so I cannot align my teeth when I close my mouth, chew food,  or talk for any length of time. I'm not able to work right now, because my job is to talk on the phone in a cal center all day.  Because of the circumstances, My life has been pretty boring.  I have been crocheting granny squares for an afghan, but besides knitting-to-order any sales in my Etsy store, I can't do too much until I undergo treatment. I've been seeing the best of the best specialists, but the drawback of this is that it takes a month to get anything done.  Insurance approval, appointments, and such all take a month each to accomplish. Until then, it's a lot of "hurry up and wait," so to speak.

Anyway, I just wanted to let my readers know that I am still going to continue to blog, but this medical issue is something that is getting in the way for the time being.  If I kept blogging though this, each entry would probably just say, "my head hurts, gonna go eat some soup," and I'm pretty sure you don't want to read that Debbie Downer bullshit over and over, and I'm already sick of writing it here right now!  

On the positive side, I am enjoying time home with my husband and my dogs.  Chunk is my little partner in crime, and he sits and watches TV with me. We've watched every season of Breaking Bad and Mad Men.  All my closets are completely organized.  I also planted a garden and have sunflowers that are taller than myself.  Once I go back to work and become a productive member of society once more, I will let you know and continue to update the blog. Until then, thanks for your understanding!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Slouchy Striped Beret

I have a new pattern for sale, it's a slouchy striped hat.  This beret is only slightly slouchy, so it can also be worn as a standard beanie if desired.  The increases are almost invisible, and the brim is snug enough to ensure that it won't fall off your head.    I hope you enjoy it!  PDF file available for purchase and download for $3.00 here:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Free Pattern: Rat Hammock

I know this pattern isn't for everyone, but I recently had the privilege of meeting my neighbor, Jillian's rat, Lily.  She is sooo cute!  I used to think that rats were disgusting little creatures, until my best friend, Cherish, lived with us.  Her rat, Nicodemus, was trained to do little tricks, and he was a neat little guy.  Through Nicodemus (RIP, little buddy!), I learned that rats are actually very clean animals.  They are extremely intelligent, and they're pretty fun.  So, when I got to meet Lily, I was thrilled!  So were the dogs:

I wanted to knit or crochet something for Lily, so I made her a hammock!

She isn't so sure about it yet, but I think she'll learn to like it.  The pattern PDF can be downloaded for free here:

I hope your little buddies enjoy it!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Free Pattern: Chunk's Toy Ball

Chunk sat and watched me knit.  He sat and stared longingly at my needles, hoping he was going to get a new toy to play with!  Sometimes when I am knitting, Chunk will bring me all of the toys I've knitted him and start a pile at my feet, as if to say, "I know what you're doing there, you made these things!"  So, when he was so patient, only to realize that the little Mr. Monkey was not for him, I had to make it up to him.  God, that dog's spoiled!  Thus, this pattern was born.  Chunk loves his ball, and he even throws it up in the air by himself.  A free PDF is available to download here:

download now

"Mrmph mrmph mmmrmph."

Here he is, tossing it up in the air. <3

Mr. Monkey and Charity

My supervisor at work is pregnant and due in May.  It's a girl, and my office is having a baby shower for her on Wednesday!  While I am going to miss it due to my TMJ disorder, I still wanted to knit something for her!  She has been my "test subject" for many baby items and original written patterns, and this time was no exception.

I am told that the baby's room will be decorated in pink and brown, and monkey-themed.  I have never knit amigurumi before (I have crocheted it), so I looked to Ravelry for something suitable.  I was hesitant to write a pattern, since I knew I would want to use short rows for shaping the face, and I'm not very experienced in that area yet.  I finally settled on a charming little pattern written by Sarah Gasson, who donates proceeds from her pattern sales to various charities, including her local Hospice.  Sarah's prices are extremely reasonable: I only paid $1.67 for this pattern!

 For those of you who don't know me, my mother worked for Hospice for 30+ years as a social worker, and she very suddenly died 2 years ago after a nine day battle with stage 4 small-cell lung cancer.  She dedicated her life to helping those at the end of their life, and Hospice helped us through dealing with the end of her life as well. I thought it would be wonderful to purchase a pattern from someone who donates to that same cause.  If you would like to purchase patterns from Sarah, you may do so via her website, or through her Ravelry page.

Here is the finished product:

The monkey is actually worked flat, then sewn up the back.  The same goes for the arms, ears, legs and tail. I actually preferred this method, as I always get ladders using DPNs.  I think the color changes would have been extremely difficult were this pattern written for DPNs.

In order to get better definition of the face, I placed a few stitches to cinch the outer side of each eye, as well as from between the eyes to under the chin.  This ensured that the shape will stay the same through light play.  While I added those to the original pattern, the pattern does call for a similar method to be used for  the neck shaping.

Sarah offers her patterns for sale as individual projects, or as collections.  This is a great idea!  You can purchase a Christmas collection, a Farmyard collection, and more.  Mr. Monkey came from her Safari collection, but I purchased just the monkey pattern alone.    

Lastly, I want to make clear that I am not being paid to feature this knitting pattern on my blog, I simply really enjoyed this pattern and wanted to share the good cause with my readers!  I hope you enjoy it too!

Friday, April 20, 2012

A New Beginning...

I must apologize to all who have come to this blog expecting it to be about knitting.  while I do a lot of knitting, I often use this blog for DIY projects as well.  Because I want this blog to remain mainly about knitting, I have started a new blog and have copied all my non-knitting posts over to that blog.  I will leave them here, with redirects to the new blog in the appropriate posts (as soon as I figure out how to do that).  In the meantime, expect this blog to be strictly knitting from now on.  If you would like to follow my new blog, you can do so at 

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Why I Pick Trash

Yep.  I'm a trash picker.  Why?  Because people throw stuff out for no good reason!  When my husband (then fiance') and I lived in an apartment complex, people would often throw out brand new furniture!  And, of course, I was usually the first one out to the dumpster, snatching it up!  Now, I know better than to grab a mattress or a couch (ewww), but over the years, we have acquired many things (some of which we still use today).  Some of the items include an over-the-toilet shelf, a couple of lamps, an (solid!) oak entertainment center, a school desk, a metal cart with a built-in surge protector, and a very nice office desk that was custom-made by a company in Canada, originally costing over $1000.00 (don't you love Google?) in perfect condition.  When I was in high school, I had an old school bus seat in my bedroom.  I know, livin' the dream!  My point is, don't "be above" stopping to check out something on the side of the road or near a dumpster, because it may possibly be awesome.

Now, we do have many pieces of furniture that we did purchase ourselves, but I get such a thrill from finding something for nothing, and making it into something beautiful.  If I were to list the furniture that I bought at second-hand stores and refinished or reupholstered, this would be a much longer post.

My most recent hobby is to spruce up our backyard.  We have remnants of a nice flower garden that was here several renters ago, and I have been trying to make it pretty again.  I never was fond of yardwork, and the only experience I have in the art of gardening is when my dad made me rake the yard with him in the fall when I was a kid.  Thus, it has been a bit of a learning experience, and mostly trial and error.  In terms of the planting of things, plants are surprisingly inexpensive!  however, any sort of garden "decor" is not.  Luckily, due to my trash-picking habit, I snatched up an arbor my neighbors threw out last year, and it has been sitting in my garage, taking up space that was meant for my car.  I finally took it out yesterday and decided to fix it up.  Now, it's not the most expensive arbor, it's actually made of plastic (basically glorified PVC), and all the pieces were falling out of it.  That is where this wonderful product came in:

Shoe Goo is the best adhesive I could have used for this project.  Truthfully, it's the first thing I grabbed out of the junk drawer, but it's waterproof, flexible, weatherproof, and pretty fool-proof.  Plus, it dries clear!  I slopped this stuff on all the joints and stuck it back together.

This is some mystery vinyl tape I found for a buck at Dollar Daze.  It's kind of like a local outlet store, and I love the place.  I've found great things there, but that's another blog post altogether.  Anyway, this tape is white and shiny, the same texture/sheen as the arbor.  So, the broken piece that was missing?   I just taped over it.  Now, the photo looks like it's glaringly obvious, but when you stand about three feet away, you can't even notice the repair. 

Plus, I started some moonflower seeds today, so eventually I plan to have some vines creeping up this thing, which will further disguise my cheapo repair.

The fact that there are sunflowers and moonflowers are a total coincidence here.  I bought the first white, climbing-vine flower I saw, and I thought that sunflowers would be fun to grow too.  It works.

Here's the finished product as of yesterday.  Of course, I have weeding and mulching to do still, but you get the idea.  Would you have known that I found that on the side of the road?  I didn't think so.  I priced this arbor online, and it would have cost $140.00.  I think that's a pretty good find.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Revamped Mail Holder

I bought one of those five dollar paper organizers so that I could help save our table from getting covered in mail by my husband each week.  Unfortunately, since I was unwilling to spend over five dollars, I ended up with this:
Ewwwww, it doesn't match anything!
So, I decided to use some of that Dollar Tree contact paper I had leftover, and some of my Heirloom White Rustoleum spray paint to spruce it up:

I only did a light coat of paint on the sides, because I just wanted to make sure the blue didn't show through.  I wanted to maintain adhesion and the more paint that was on there, the less the contact paper would adhere.

After the contact paper was added.  I may add a clear coat of spray glaze to protect it, but I like the matte finish.  I'm not  sure yet.

My new mail holder, in it's new home!  Much better than the ugly blue!

Seriously, I HAVE been knitting lately!

I want to apologize for my prior posts that are not knitting-related.  I have been knitting quite a bit, actually, but I use my blog for other things, too.  I have been thinking of branching off into two blogs, but it would be an awful lot of work to update my links, websites, etc.  So, as long as my subscribers don't mind, I am going to keep it the same.  In the spirit of my blog's title, however, I thought I would post some of my recently-finished projects:

I didn't want to give this one away!  for my best friend, Cherish.

Toddler-sized version of my Baby Chucks Booties.  Brayden's dad is well-known for wearing neon colors, so I thought he and his new little brother could match daddy!

A coffee cup cozy for a supervisor at work

Fingerless mitts for my stepmom for mother's day (ssshhhh, don't tell her!)

Another Lemon Curd Slouch hat for my best friend, Julie.

Mittens for Julie

Newborn version of Chucks booties for Brayden's baby brother

Baby Chucks Booties made for my husband's pregnant coworker.

A new pattern I wrote for Baby Bear Booties
See? I have been knitting, just nothing too post-worthy in itself.  What have you been working on lately?  Post your pics in the comments!  Also, don't forget to like me on Facebook by clicking "like" in the column to the right! Thanks for your support!

Refurbished School Desk

Why did my neighbor throw this out?  Well, Unfortunately, I don't have a before photo, but this desk was disgusting.  Just imagine your typical, run-of-the-mill classroom desk, and that's what this was.  I really wanted to fix it up, so I used some paint I had on hand (leftover from my bathroom paint job), a little contact paper from the dollar store, and a clear-coat of spray glaze, and the end result is this:

Total cost:  $1.00!!!!!