Tutorials

Tutorials

How to Make Fabric Yarn All in One Piece


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So you want to repurpose some old sheets or fabric remnants, but all you can find on Pinterest are tutorials on how to make T-shirt yarn. You want to make yarn with no knots from a flat sheet of fabric, not a tube of fabric from a T-shirt. (The methods differ critically.) We had the same problem: for a recent installation of jumbo knit flags, we needed an efficient way to cut nearly a mile of fabric into 20 miles of yarn to knit on jumbo 1-inch diameter needles. We were surprised to find no best method. So, we improved on other techniques to get this efficient, knot-free technique that produces one continuous strand from extra large sheets of fabric. Let’s get started!  (more…)

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Projects, Tutorials

Knit Pies for Pi Day 2015


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Knitters are nerds. Proof? Search nerd, geek, and math in Ravelry’s groups and find tons of chums hanging in places like GeekCraftGeek Swap, and Botanica Mathematica. Needle crafters prove the old adage: if it exists, it’s been knit. So what knitter could let a once-in-a-century event like Pi Day 2015 pass them by? Pi Day 2015 is when the date and time 3/14/15 at 9:26 and 53 seconds lines up with the mathematical constant and irrational number of Life of Pi fame, 3.141592653…

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Tutorials

Needlepoint Monster Bookmark Tutorial


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A new craft mash-up for a new blog hop

Plastic Canvas Craft Tutorial

Why are plastic canvas crafts so… well, lame? When Diane at Crafty Pod asked for plastic canvas tutorials for this week’s blog hop, I signed up to challenge myself.

Here’s a medium ripe for experimentation in three dimensions, and for merging with other crafts. There must be some fun uses for it. Turns out, there are! (more…)

Tutorials

Crochet Friendship Bracelet Tutorial


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Who was your ten-year-old crush?

Somewhere around 1987 I knotted Corey Haim a black and purple friendship bracelet, then checked Bop magazine monthly to see if it pictured him wearing it. Imagine my sorrow twenty years later watching The Two Coreys on A&E! Friendship bracelets definitely outlived poor Corey: today Instagram has about 50,000 pics tagged #friendshipbracelet. But the good news is you don’t have to be ten years old to wear them anymore. And you certainly don’t have to hover over a safety pin stuck through your favorite leggings to stitch one up for everyone in your best friend tier. (more…)

Tutorials

The world’s best yarn storage idea


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Update: Check out our new even bigger peg board yarn wall here.

yarn storage

Your yarn storage is a mess because of this conflict:

Yarn companies want you to buy the yarn. You want to use the yarn. The ideal ball of yarn for each goal is different. You will buy a ball of yarn that is soft, squishy, and that looks big for the price. Plus, small-batch hank producers want to invest in less equipment and reduce labor. But, when it comes to using the yarn, you need to find the end, create good tension, and–let’s face it–store it with the ungodly amount of yarn they’ve already suckered you into taking home. You want to use a ball of yarn that has a conspicuous end hanging out of the middle of a compact center-pull ball.

I can never find the yarn end by Natalie Dee

So, while you’d love to be like Vanna White and have a pretty pedestal bowl for your five skeins of yarn, well… seriously? Do you KNOW how much YARN I have, Vanna? Do you KNOW how fast MY cat (who isn’t a designer Bengal cat, but a fluffy rescue cat that’s way cuter than yours!) would POUNCE on that bowl of yours, DESTROYING those pretty skeins?

A Cat is Kicked Out of A Yarn Shop.Yeah, thanks, Vanna, but no. I don’t even know where you’d get a fancy pedestal bowl like that.

Right now you’re using drawers, baskets, and zip-lock bags. All good ideas, but kind of a pain in the ass to access, and starting to fill every crevice you can find. Plus, they’re missing one big thing. If you have a yarn problem, you probably love gorgeous things. Why keep your best treasures in the dark?

Yarn storage idea: Peg board yarn wall

The result: you need to upgrade your yarn storage solution.

But you’re in luck! Google “yarn storage” and take your pick from over 21 million ideas. Uh… OK, you have standards. Let’s refine that and Google “yarn organization”. Good, now you just have 13 million options. Sigh.

OK let’s look at Pinterest. That’s the better way to look for things like this anyway. (type type type, enter). Woah, that looks awesome! Oh my god, I like that one. Ooooo, so pretty. What else is on that board? OMG I have to repin that now. Squee! Oreos baked inside chocolate chip cookies!? Genius! I’m craving cupcakes now. Isn’t it perfect weather for baking? Oh shit, my cat is eating my yarn!

Oh, internet, you’re as mischievously useful as Aladdin’s Genie, aren’t you?

Try another angle. Jill at The Dapper Toad made a list of her needs: “For me, the ideal yarn storage solution has 3 qualities. It must be: easily accessible, out of the way, and nicely displayed. There are countless ways to store yarn that meets 1 or 2 of these ideals, but never all three! It’s the elusive yarn lover’s trifecta!”

She took a page from makers (those people us crafters date and marry), for storage ideas. Yarn, hooks, and needles are our materials and tools. How do makers store materials and tools?

Yarn Storage Peg Board by The Dapper Toad

Now that’s crafty! Jill even put the peg board behind the door, turning and unused space into a useful one.

Yarn Storage Peg Board by The Dapper Toad

Sold! I’m always rearranging my apartment. I have this little nook that wasn’t working as an office, but would work perfectly as a yarn studio. Plus, think of all that closet space I’d get back! I rearranged (again) and enlisted Jill for help. Let me show you what we did.

What you need to make a peg board yarn storage wall

Back to our initial conflict. You have lots of skeins and hanks that are hard to work with and bulky to store. The first thing you need is like a little eight pound six ounce baby Jesus: a yarn winder. This one is a good balance of quality and price.

Cute retro yarn winder

Winding is fast, easy, and fun! I recommend holding the strand as you wind to give it some tension. It will wind better and create a more compact ball. Winding alone reduced my yarn storage by a third: from 15 ANTONIUS IKEA drawers to just 10!

Peg board and hooks are cheap and sold at most hardware stores. Boards come in 2×4-foot sections: combine or tailor cut them to your space. For each board, be sure to pick up a set of the spacers and screws that hold the peg board away from the wall a little, where the hooks poke through and anchor. They’re usually with the hooks, not the boards. Hooks come in all shapes and sizes: I recommend two- and four-inch straight hooks. Check the combo packs to get the best deal.

Once you screw in your wall and wind your yarn, the fun part starts! I spent hours meticulously color-matching my enormous stash. It was interesting to discover what colors I have and wonder whether that means I don’t use them or like to buy them.

Yarn Storage Idea Peg BoardSo many peg board attachments exist, that you’ll start rethinking all your storage systems. I created rails by laying dowels across peg board hooks and hung some IKEA storage cups from them. I also hung some IKEA cloth baskets. You can even lay your long knitting needles across peg board hooks.

Yarn storage idea: Peg board yarn wallWith a cozy chair and a good lamp nearby, you can even knit or crochet off the wall!

Yarn storage idea: Peg board yarn wall

Installing my yarn wall only took an afternoon and was super gratifying. I can’t stop taking pictures with it. Knitting and crocheting in my little nook is so invigorating now. Everything is instantly accessible and a cinch to put away. When people come over they’re in awe. Personally, I’m in awe of all my empty closet space!

Yarn storage idea: Peg board yarn wall

What yarn storage ideas do you currently use? I’d love to see and swap ideas! Tag your Instagram pics with #knitsforlife to show me or tweet them to me @knitsforlife.

Yarn storage idea: Peg board yarn wall

All this knitting and crocheting in my new studio nook has been productive. Coming up I’m posting a free leg warmer pattern for those of you still weathering out the cold, and for the lucky ones enjoying spring, a geometric crochet bracelet photo tutorial (in neon colors!) using embroidery floss. Catch them by adding me to your Feedly or Bloglovin’ RSS feed, or following me on Facebook.

Peg Board Yarn Storage Idea

Peg Board Yarn Storage Idea

Until next time!

xxxo,

Lorna

All image sources above are linked to the image.

Tutorials

IKEA hack: Hand stamped brown paper packages


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Last year I gave you DIY Christmas gift wrap ideas using a little botanical cheer. Those plain, brown paper packages are my favorite backdrop for dressing up prezzies any time of year. It’s crazy-versatile!

So what more can you do with that bargain kraft paper from IKEA? Indulge your trendy collection of hand carved stamps! If you don’t have any stamps, even better. Now you have a great occasion to try out a new craft. It’s a little tricky, but with the right tools from any good art store, you can have tons of fun. I made this little ball of yarn stamp on my second try!

hand stamped wrapping paper idea
diy hand stamped wrapping paper My sister’s birthday called for some crafty, hand stamped wrapping with a knitting theme.

My sister’s birthday presents certainly called for this yarn theme. Check out her new knitting swag: a handy, retro wool winder and an electronic stitch counter. She loved them, of course!

Cute retro yarn winder
Give your yarn stash a makeover with a wool winder.
Digital stitch counter ring
A digital stitch counter ring is my new must-have for knitting and crochet!
Tutorials

Why Pinterest Beats Google Images


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In 1906, strolling around the local livestock fair, a man comes upon the crowd at a weight-guessing attraction. An ox stands on a scale as people guess its weight on scraps of paper. I avoided feeling like the ox in this game every summer at our local amusement park at all costs – including the best hot pink stuffed animals. Being livestock, this ox was just chillin’ and eventually the closest guess won a bag of hot peanuts, but our observer noticed another funny thing. Most of the guesses were off. Wildly off. Like, “haven’t these country bumpkins ever seen an ox before?” off. But he was one of those charming old-timey polymaths, so he had an idea. After the crowd shuffled off, he approached the man in charge and inquired whether he might have the scraps of paper guesses. This is one of history’s best data collection moments, by the way.

Long story short, our man, Francis Galton, ran the numbers and found that the average guess was one measly pound away from the ox’s weight. In fact, the average was much closer to the animal’s weight than the single best guess. Somehow, the unruly mob, who couldn’t be trusted with democracy, much less you life in a bar fight, could be trusted to know something no single member of the mob knew. This is also one of history’s best WTF moments, by the way.

Fast forward a century and we are using crowdsourcing every day. Sometimes it’s just another word for statistics, the field Galton helped birth. Sometimes it’s just another word for voting, and the result is no great WTF moment. We can use the crowd to answer questions in different ways. Anyone who researches their blog’s SEO knows that Google’s algorithm for search results uses certain data points from your blog more than others. And this is why I think Pinterest is better for images of interesting stuff. An image explodes across pin boards based on one data point: someone found it interesting enough to repin it. In 2010 when I started pinning, this didn’t happen much. Now, when I see an image in my Pinterest feed, someone either pinned it from the web, or – more likely – re-pinned it from another board. This means that the images I see are filtered through at least two iterations of interest, and usually way more. Interest sells, people. This is powerful stuff.

This is why I increasingly search Pinterest for trends, styles, and techniques to use in my art and products. Google images is good when I need a perfect amigurumi blue bird, but Pinterest is best when I’m looking for some cool amigurumi to make for my friend’s kid’s birthday party. Pinterest finds a more interesting result because of crowdsourcing. It hits the ox on the head. (Whoops! Poor ox.) The same applies to product development, inspiration, illustrating blog posts, or whatever iron you have in the fire right now.

Below the images are the best boards to follow for fiber art and other fun stuff. Show me your favorites with links in the comments.

If you’re not on Pinterest yet, leave a comment and I’ll send you an invitation.

Yours truly,

Lorna at Knits for Life

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Free Crochet Patterns and My Crochet Designs by Anne Marie’s Crochet Blog

Camp Crafts by Jill Watt of The Dapper Toad

Knitting Apps and other fiber art boards by knitomatic

CROCHET and My Projects by According to Matt

Techniques I Love and San Francisco Etsy Team Spotted by Lisa Spinella of Tickle and Smash

Scarf inspiration and Patronen en kleuren (Patterns and colors) by Mia Vandenbossche

Fun with fiber and textiles and DIY by Lorna Watt at Knits for Life

One’s Tea Cozies by Loani Prior, the Tea Cosy Queen

Eco boards by Team Eco Etsy

Sustainable Lingerie by Oceana’s Canvas

Clothes to Wear by Andrea of The Paper Sparrow

Fun boards by The Men of Etsy

Eccentric beauty and Imagination by Cody James

Tutorials

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String


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I know a lot of women haven’t outgrown the joy of creating a special package for someone on a special day. My best friend and I used to compete to wrap the most presents for each other’s birthdays. One year we wrapped not just packages of candy, but every piece of candy! Christmas is full of people to wrap for and I love sitting down to a big, clean table, a pile of odd-shaped gifts, and a stash of gift wrap. The last few years I’ve used brown paper and natural jute twine to as a canvas for other embellishments. This year my cranberry and popcorn garlands as well as our tradition of decorating oranges with cloves inspired me to use pretty spices and cutouts to create a natural woodland gift wrap. Pictured are cedar boughs, star anise, Szechuan peppercorns, construction paper and jute twine. I think they turned out so pretty! What are your favorite wrapping materials?

New Patterns, Tutorials

Vintage Book eReader Cover Tutorial


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Penguin Books publishes the best introductions to reprinted books. I always appreciate their relevance and expertise over other publishers. Can you tell I love to read? So, for Cut Out + Keep’s Nov ’11 contest to win a copy of Keri Smith’s “Finish This Book” published by Penguin Books, I wanted to pay tribute to the vintage penguin logo.

My family has shelf-fulls of books and both Barnes and Noble’s nook and Amazon’s Kindle, so I made this to fit all of them! I thought the process would be best to share so you can insert your favorite image on your own. Maker sure you’re familiar with intarsia knitting when you cast on this project! Click any of the images to go the step-by-step tutorial where you can download the chart.