2,4,6,8 – let's see what adaira creates!

my blog for cooking, crafting, thrift store finds, and more!

Vintage Button and Sterling Silver bracelet

vintage button and sterling bracelet

 

 

We’re celebrating a friend’s birthday this weekend, and I can’t wait to Saturday to arrive! I always like to give handmade gifts when I can, so I started rolling some ideas around on what to make. I took a look at the birthday gal’s Pinterest boards for some inspiration. She’s a busy mom, so she doesn’t have a lot of extra time for herself, and she will tell you that even if she had the time she’s not crafty. (I know otherwise, but that’s alright – it leaves me loads of opportunities to give her the gift of handmade!)  She had this lovely pinned on her crafts board:

What a cute bracelet! I’ve seen a bunch of incarnations of button bracelets around Pinterest, heck – I’ve pinned a few myself! It looks like the buttons were sewn together with thread in the picture, but with all the silver wire I have around I thought I’d use that instead. Here’s what I came up with:

vintage button and sterling bracelet

I took a good look through all of my vintage buttons and futzed around with the combinations. I wanted to keep the bracelet pretty neutral at first, but that just looked a bit too… boring. So I carefully added a few pops of color for a little interest. I’m happy with the different textures I incorporated as well.

button bracelet

bracelet on wrist

wrist 2

I added the silver drop bead for a little flair, plus the weight of it will keep the top of the bracelet at the top of the wrist and prevent it from flipping around. The clasp is one I’ve been making for years. It’s called the Swan Clasp, and I learned it from Connie Fox’s website: Jatayu. There are basic tutorials, and it looks like she is offering classes as well. I don’t know her personally, but I have admired her work for years and years.

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The Million Stitch Hat

I’ll admit I’m a knitting novice. I can make scarves, or scarves, or… cowls ( as long as their made as rectangles that you stitch together at the end). I wanted to do something in the round. Something different. I looked and looked for a hat pattern that was simple, but nice. I wanted to make it for my guy, so I let him look at the top 5 patterns I found and choose from that. He chose this basic hat. (it’s been so long, the pattern is no longer there, but at least there’s a picture of it.) At any rate, I then asked him to go to the store with me to pick the yarn he’d like me to make it out of . He decided on Caron’s Country in charcoal. Looks good to me!

Ok, we’re all set, right? Sure. I pick up my thrift store double pointed needles and do a test swatch. The gauge is off. I pick up another pair of needles and try again. Lather, rinse, repeat. And repeat. And repeat. I finally found a pair of old circular needles that would give me the right gauge (or so I thought) so I went to the next step; casting on and figuring out how to knit in the round. I found a tutorial for magic loop and started in. It took a couple of re-starts to actually get rolling, but I was still having a hell of  a time. The cord on my needles was so unforgiving it was making it really difficult to work in magic loop. Part of the cord would always be in my way or going in a weird direction. I fought through it, and got past the 2 inch ribbing. I thought the width looked small, but decided it must be right since the pattern told me to cast on that amount of stitches. I figured that I wouldn’t be able to know for sure until I had more done, so  I forged on. A  few inches of stockinette later, and it was undeniable. The hat was for a toddler. Frog, frog, start again. But where? How? I looked at the yarn label again. Nothing said worsted. Holding it up to a skein or worsted yarn I realized that my hat yarn was something less than worsted. 4? Sport weight? I looked for different patterns that called for sport weight or dk, but wasn’t happy. I still wanted to make (and Tim still wanted to wear) that original hat. Never having decreased (or work in the round at all for that matter) i didn’t feel that I should dare re-invent any wheels, since I hadn’t ever created a wheel on my own in the first place. Help!

We stayed at Tim’s mom’s house over Thanksgiving weekend, and I brought my knitting kit along to show her the mess I had gotten myself into. I figured if I could be helped at all, she’d be the person to help me. She told me that part of my problem was that inflexible cord on my needles. She had me try out some of her needles to see which ones I liked. I must have knit swatches on at least half a dozen different needles that weekend, and I let her know what I liked most about each one, and which ones I liked more than others. “I would hold off on that hat project for a little while” is something like what she said to me that weekend.

I had a feeling I might be getting some new needles for Christmas. Sure enough – all the beauties from my last post were from her. I just happened to bring the caron yarn with me to her house Christmas weekend in case I was lucky enough to get some shiny new needles, and I can’t tell you how glad I was to have it in hand. Over the next couple of days, she helped me figure out what needles to use (“try the 8s, now try the 7s. I think you’ll be happier with that stitch size, don’t you?”), and how many stitches I’d need to increase the hat by to fit Tim’s head. The pattern called for multiples of 8. I figured it’d take 104 stitches, but she said that she had never heard of a hat that needed that many, so she suggested that I cast on 96 stitches.

sidenote: at that point I didn’t know how to fix a dropped stitch or frog a project partway and pick it back up again. I was deathly afraid of either. You should have heard the colorful language I’d use if I even almost dropped a stitch. It was not pretty. I would’ve rather start a project all over again than figure out how to fix it. Looking back I realize just how silly this was, but that’s where I was at the time.

Where was I? Oh yes, I cast on and started the hat. About an inch into the rib and I realized that I had made a mistake. I can’t even tell you what I had done – I just knew that something was wrong. Tim’s mom took some time and some dp needles, and she fixed it for me. She knits much more loosely than I do (maybe because she wasn’t afraid to drop a stitch?!), so when she handed the hat in progress back to me, she commented on the fact that I might not be happy with the difference in tension. I thought it looked great, and thanked her so much for working her magic.

When we got home, I continued on. And I dropped a stitch. I wasn’t even done with the 2 inch ribbing yet! After getting all of the expletives I had in me out of the way, I looked for a video tutorial on how to pick up a dropped stitch. then I got a crochet hook and tried it myself. Was it really that easy? Was that all there was to it? After all this time of being afraid, I realized there was never anything to be afraid of at all! With new found confidence, I kept knitting.

progress

I got the 5 inches of stockinette done rather quickly. Then it was time for the decreasing. The first time I tried it I thought if it said to decrease every 8, that it must mean k8, then k2tog. When I ran out of stitches in the row I realized something wasn’t right. What did I do? Continued on. Seriously? Yet another Mensa grade move there. After a few rows I began to understand that the hat wasn’t going to have that pretty decrease swirl a hat gets because my decreases were all over the joint. I set out to tink back the 3 rows I had just knit, but I started to see how much of a pain it was going to be with all the decreases. The dropped stitch wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be, how hard could frogging it be? You know what? Not hard at all! Certainly not as hard as tinking it would have been. Another lesson learned. Before I continued on, I had Tim try the hat on with the needles in it. The fit was great! A little snug, but still comfortable he said. I tried it and agreed.  I took another look at it:

amiss

I know it’s not the best picture and it’s been cropped in a weird way (no, Tim’s eyeball in the corner was not intentional), but it’s the only one I have to show what I saw. Can you see the ribbing? Do you see how wonky it looks? I did. I think I blinked a few times and looked at it again. The whole time I was working on it the ribbing was slack, never stretched, so I must have missed what Tim’s mom had meant at Christmas. Her tension is different than mine. Guess which area she fixed for me. The one where the rib takes a bend. I never thought twice about it. Until now.  I really thought I was getting close to the end on this hat. After a few moments of denial, I knew what I had to do: start again.

Basically, the hat went off without a hitch that time. I finished it a couple weeks ago, and we’ve both been wearing it since.

hat1

hat2

I really must take better pictures. But, there it is! The finished hat! I might have hit a million stitches before I started over that last time, but I’m really glad I never counted. I am really pleased with the way it finally turned out, and I’m thankful for all that I’ve learned along the way. Now, what should I try next?

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I got Knittin’ for Christmas!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas – I know I did! We had a a great time with both sides of the family – lots of great food, awesome presents, and lovely time spent enjoying each other’s company.

Although I received lots of super cool items this year, I’m going to focus on the fiber related things. Tim’s mom knows that I’d like to get more comfortable knitting in the round, and that the second-hand circular needles that I have are less than ideal. She gave me more than a wonderful start into the world of quality needles! The first needles I received were the Knitter’s Pride Cubics in size 9:

knitter’s pride cubics

I had tried a set of square needles at Tim’s mom’s house over Thanksgiving and fell in love. Now I have my own to work with! I gave the Cubics a whirl with some worsted weight acrylic that I had brought with me, and I couldn’t believe how comfortable they were to use! She gave me some magic loop pointers, and off I went making stockinette in the round that I was more than happy with!

The next fiber-related item I received was the Knit picks interchangeable circular needle set. How cool is this?! The set includes one acrylic (sz 6), one nickel-plated (sz 7), and one harmony wood (sz 8) pair of needles, and two cables. I love the knit picks needles! The tips are very pointy, and all of the needle varieties have a really nice feel to them.

knitpicks interchangeable circular set

There is a pattern for a simple hat I’ve wanted to make for Tim, and after knitting some swatches with Tim’s mom we decided to use the size 7 needles for the project. I started in on it while I was with her (thankfully – she was there to fix my first mistakes). I can’t wait to pick it back up again after the holidays are over!

I also got some yarn to work with – Tim’s mom got me two skeins of wool-ease yarn (in case I needed yarn to play with right away, she said – how cute!), and a ball of a very pretty soft plum colored rayon yarn with a pattern for a rick rack knit scarf from Daft Dames. The feel of this yarn is amazing! I can only imagine how soft the scarf will be!

Last, but certainly not least, this little pretty arrived under the tree:

needle felting tool

Tim’s mom has been getting my feet wet in the wonderful world of felting. We made some wet felted sheets over Thanksgiving so that I could make some flower brooches. I had lots of fun with it! She also showed me some items she had made with needle felting. It’s a whole world I never really knew about, and am eager to learn! She cards, dyes, and spins wool and has very graciously given me some wool from her stash to begin felting. I have lots of colors to choose from; I hardly know where to start! She suggested I try needle felting a mouse first. I thinks that’s a great idea. Last night I had some idle time, so I perused Pinterest for felting ideas. You should see my felting board: animals, ornaments, brooches, hats – so much to love!

Needless to say, I think I’ll be happily busy for a while!

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Christmas Has Gone to the Dogs (and Cats)

Our dogs and cats are family too, right? Why not have them celebrate Christmas with a present or two! Some days ago I bought a dog bone shaped cookie cutter and made Brown Eyed Baker’s Peanut Butter Doggie Bones. I has our resident taste taster give one a whirl after they had cooled down, and she gave it two paws up – I hope our canine cousins enjoy them as much as she did! Yesterday I packaged them into bundles using waxed paper and festive yarn:

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I’m happy with the result!

Now I can’t forget about family members of the feline persuasion, can I? Of course not! Today I searched Pinterest for cute cat toys and found Lion Brand Yarn’s crochet pattern for Goldfish Cat Toy. I just had to make some!

I filled them with catnip and a bit of wool. I haven’t let Mika try it yet, she’ll just have to wait for Christmas with the rest of us.

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Aren’t they cutie? I wish I had a reason to make more!

 

UPDATE: The goldfish are a hit! Mika has been going nuts since Christmas every time she’s near the goldfish. I never got to see Tim’s mom’s cat play with hers, but if she likes it half as much as Mika does, it was well worth it! My folks’ dog Thye seemed to enjoy the homemade dog biscuits, just as Phoebe did. Dad indicated that he might want the recipe and make some on his own. Score!

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Christmas tree is in the house!

After what felt like weeks of having it acclimate in the back porch, we finally brought the potted pine into the living room last night! Tim put the lights on and then we gave the tree the trim:

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I had some Stuart tartan fabric that I picked up at the craft thrift store a few months ago, not knowing just what I’d do with it (I have yet to use my 5 year old sewing machine). It went well around the pot as a makeshift tree skirt of sorts.

We bought an ornament together earlier on the week to commemorate our first Christmas together in the house:

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Here’s a close up of the crocheted tree topper I posted earlier:

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It’s a little large for the tree, but we agree that it kind of gives it a folk art feel.

We dug the hole in the yard for the tree last weekend, so after the holiday we’ll pop it outside. I am looking forward to watching it grow year after year!

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Mini Silver Pipe Cleaner Christmas Tree

I love Pinterest. I have pinned more crafts than I can probably make in a lifetime, not that it stops me from pinning more. I found this beauty from one of the lovely crafters I follow there. It’s the Martha Stewart  Pipe Cleaner Snowflake Christmas Tree. I didn’t have green pipe cleaners on hand, but I had just enough silver ones. Here’s what I made:

naked silver tree

I had one sparkly white pipe cleaner on hand, and I thought it would make a nice star tree topper! (stars for tree toppers – note a theme here?)

The base is a wooden thread spool!

thread spool tree base

I made the tree itself last week. Today was the day that I decorated it. I had purchased tiny little plaid bows a couple years back, not knowing what to do with them. I actually forgot I had them until I looked in my Christmas wrapping paper and ribbon container. It’s like those little bows were just quietly waiting for me to make this tree. Once I found them, I went over to my bead bins and got some Swarovski crystal beads to add to the tree. Here’s what I ended up with:

all decorated

I had a few beads that I had already herringbone wrapped with silver wire, so I thought I’d add them too. I love the way it turned out! I do have to say that making the tree was not as easy as I thought it would be. I’m not sure I’d want to make a dozen of them or anything. My hands hurt for a little while after I got done twisting all those little pieces of pipe cleaner. It is a little top heavy now that I have decorated it. I’m not sure how to put more weight on the spool to make it more secure. It sure is adorable though, and it makes me smile when I look at it, so it was definitely worth it!

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Knit Cowl – done!

Thanks to Tim’s mom Marge, the cowl is done! She not only commented on the last post, but sent me an email of a message board thread where someone else had a similar issue. There were different suggestions to get the piece to lie flat; after reading and thinking about it I decided to run a single crochet border around the top and bottom of the cowl.

Image

Here it is standing tall. As you can see I haven’t even finished it off – I wanted to make sure I liked the way it looked before I made the commitment. I wanted the cowl to be tall enough so mom could tuck her nose behind it when the wind kicked up, and also so that she could fold it over when she didn’t want it in her face. Here’s what it looks like folded over:

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I think I’m ready to make the commitment and weave that yarn tail in now! Thanks so much Marge, for all your help!

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Knit Cowl Gone Awry – Help!

Earlier this year I knit myself a cowl using this pattern, and it turned out quite well. I have never knit in the round, so I thought making a rectangle of fabric then stitching it together would be quite easy for me, and it was. It worked out so well, in fact, I thought I’d use it as inspiration for my next project. Here’s the finished product from earlier in the year:

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I bought a skein of Lion brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick in Sequoia thinking it would go with my mom’s jacket nicely (and it was on sale). I could have just followed the pattern for the one above, but no, not me. I looked at the New Stitch a Day site and found the Downward slipped double cable pattern. I decided that was too cool not to try!

I made a swatch an figured out how many stitches to cast on for the length I wanted the cowl to be, and set out making my rectangle. Everything was going well. The videos on that site are so easy to follow, I felt like I was knitting like a pro! Last night I spent some time knitting, and this is what I got:

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Once I finished the fabric and moved it around a bit it turned into this:

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I know that knitting curls, but I didn’t think it would curl up completely! All the pretty cabling is hidden! Is there something I can do to prevent this from curling, or is this just the nature of the stitch? Any words of wisdom are appreciated!

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Peppermint Oreo Truffles and Loudmouth pants

I’ve been baking up a storm preparing for Christmas. I love making cookies to share with friends and family, and my KitchenAid gets a workout around this time every year. Yesterday I made Oreo Truffles using peppermint oreos, and crushed candy canes for the festive topping.

oreo truffles

I’m planning on taking pictures of all the cookies I’ve made once it’s time to plate them up.

Last night we curled on our Monday league. It was the last night of the draw, and our team will change next week. We took a team photo on our last night together.

gotta love Tony's pants!

gotta love Tony’s pants!

Our skip Tony loves his Loudmouth pants so much he has been dubbed the Minister of the Pants, and runs the Norwegian Olympic Curling Team’s Pants Facebook page.(I don’t think I’ve ever had so many pants in one sentence!)  My kilt pales in the shadow of the hounds tooth…

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Chrocheted Twine Star Tree Topper

This is my first Christmas living with my boyfriend Tim, and we are excited to make new holiday memories together. I’ve always had an artificial tree, and he’s always had a live one. I like the idea of a real tree, but finding dried up needles in every corner of the house for months after Christmas never appealed to me. He told me that about 15 years ago he bought a potted tree to decorate for Christmas, then planted it in the yard at his old house. He thought that might be a nice new tradition for us to start. I thought it was a wonderful idea! We went out earlier this week and picked out a potted tree that stands about 5 feet tall. It got moved from the deck to the back porch today. The target date to move it inside is December 20th.

I have some ornaments that I moved with me, but neither of us has a tree topper. I thought since we’re in an 1810 farmhouse that a rustic tree topper might be nice. I found a great pattern for a crocheted star, but I didn’t think making it out of yarn would do. Tim pulled some twine out of the cellar, and I got to work.

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I used this pattern from the Jellywares blog for the star, but I used a size L (9-5.50mm) hook.

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I used three tan colored pipe cleaners to weave around the edges of the star to give it shape. I was too excited to wait until the tree came inside to see what it looked like. Here’s a picture of it resting on the tree in the back porch

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Now I have to decide what garland to make!

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