plain old cardigan with bonus headband

Hello there. Meet my new cardigan. (It was made before the haircut, yes.)

It has crocheted buttonholes.

It was made from a turtleneck that was kind of ill-fitting. 

Sitting in my closet collecting dust for years, it was either donate or remake. I’ve been looking for a plain, simple cardigan that I can pair with anything. So remake it is. Remake is always the more fun choice :D

There are certainly lots of shirt to cardigan refashion tutorial in the blogosphere, but I thought I’d share my process too…

I used:

A turtleneck (a regular long sleeve shirt would work too)

Sewing needle and thread

5 buttons

DK weight yarn

2.35mm crochet hook (2.5mm would work too, 2.35 just happens to be what I inherited from my mom)

 

First, I cut off the collar, which has a bit of ruffles and lace on it.

I then discovered that with some stretching the collar bit makes a pretty nice headband! :D

While happily wearing my new headband, I made a Y‑shape cut (can’t help but think of CSI. *shudder*) in the shirt. 

To determine the Y‑cut:

1. I put on the shirt and mark where I want the lowest point of the neckline (i.e. where the three lines of the Y meet).

2. I then measured the width of the bottom front and divide measurement in half to determine mid-point.

3. With tailor’s chalk I drew a line from mid-point to the lowest point of neckline. Then from the lowest point of neckline I drew a line each to the right and left neckline at the shoulder.

Next, I folded and pinned the edge 1/4″ along the front and neck, and then hand-sewed it in place with running stitches. One could definitely sew it with the sewing machine, I just felt like hand-sewing that day. And I thought hand-sewn stitches add subtle character.

So, for the buttonholes, determine how many buttons you’d like to have and mark where you want them to be. We’ll be working from the bottom up.

1. Thread a needle with approx. 3 feet of DK yarn, double-knot the end.

2. Inserted the needle through the hemmed/folded edge of the left front. The needle has to come out on the fold, at the bottom point of the bottom-most buttonhole. Like so…

3. With yarn still threaded, temporarily set needle aside. Make a slip knot with the crochet hook as close to the point where the needle came through as possible. Make 4 chain stitches with the hook.

4. Take hook off loop. Pick up needle and insert needle through the loop.

5. Pull the needle and yarn almost all the way through, then tuck on the loop to close it, then continue to pull through the rest of the yarn.

6. Insert the needle 1/2″ up from the beginning of the crochet chain on the fold line of the front edge, and come out another 1/2″ up from where the needle was inserted. (I messed up the first stitch. There should have been more distance between the crochet chain and the next stitch on the fold line.) One buttonhole made.

Continue to make stitches 1/2″ apart until you reach the next buttonhole mark. Then repeat steps 1–6 for buttonhole.

Row of buttonholes complete.

I hope the instructions make sense. A close up of the buttonholes here might be helpful… (feel free to let me know if you have any questions though)

A very quick refashion that was done in an evening :D

 

Happy crafting!

 

weekend wonders

Mid-Autumn Festival is coming up! :D We enjoyed some mooncake while we stopped at my parents’ over the long weekend.

 

The next stop was Mike’s parents’. Ballerina flowers on the front porch. (Can anyone help me with the plant’s real name?)

 

Then, a game of Mastermind. Apparently awarded “British Game of the Year” in 1973. It was indeed quite fun.

 

The pre-celebration banana foster :D 

 

The pre-celebration animal-farm visit. The animals politely decline our offers of food.

 

A goat peering at me through the fence :S

 

Didn’t have a lot of time before it started to rain and we must head over to the celebration, but I mustn’t leave the farm before visiting my favourite farm animals :D

 

 The celebration! My niece’s plush puppy and I enjoyed a piece of wedding cake after the meal and speeches.

 

The bride made ceramic mugs for everyone! It was an incredible amount of work to make so many mugs. And they were so beautiful. Nothing expresses love better than handmade.

 

Post-celebration, I headed home with thoughts heavy as the clouds hanging over us. Well, there’s my returning to school. And then there was an upsetting news — I found out over the weekend that I wasn’t scheduled to work in the coming school year (I am to be “on call”, whatever that means).

I was only able to work 5 hours a week anyway, so even though extra income certainly helps, losing the job isn’t devastating financially. Actually, the first thoughts that came into my mind when I received the news was: oooh, then I get a day off to craft! And maybe I get to keep Favourite Things Fridays. And the still, small voice in my head tells me that it’s probably a blessing after all:

More time to do school work + more time to attend to my emotional well-being (i.e. crafting) = better results in school work = better chance of getting into graduate programs (if I choose to apply) = more options.

5 hours of work a week at minimum wage OR more options? 

Duh,” says the still, small voice in my head. 

 

So I wasn’t too upset about basically losing that specific job (“on-call” my foot). I think I’m upset because I place a lot of value on having a job, however small that job isAs if others would think of me more respectfully if I can say that I go to work on a regular basis and I have an income. Being jobless is terrifying (even though 5 hours a week at minimum wage with no contract is as close to jobless as one can get without being actually jobless).

That, and I felt totally disrespected, that I was being treated like I was totally disposable and unimportant in the way I found out about my job situation.

Feeling disrespected, for me, is far more difficult to get over than losing a job.

When we got home it was early evening. And as I looked out the window I saw that the sunset sky was purple.

 

… which reminds me of my sister. Her favourite colour is purple and one of her favourite things to do is cloud-watching. Then I remember her attitude of forgiving easily, and always giving people the benefits of the doubts, and always giving her best without thinking about rewards, whether it has to do with financial compensation in a job situation, or people’s recognition in a volunteer situation. 

Then I thought if it would be possible for her, then it would be possible for me, too, to let this all go. And move forward. Start afresh. Who knows what open doors tomorrow may bring.

Indeed, school starts tomorrow :D

Thank you so, so much for your encouragement after my “back to school” post! I will carry your wise words with me as I step foot in the classroom tomorrow.

All my best wishes for the new adventures in your life this fall!

 

 

 

on a journey…

 

I gave myself a haircut during the week. Looking pensive here in the picture because I didn’t exactly know whether it looked OK on the back. That’s right, I hacked (and hack is an accurate description here) off about 3 inches of hair by myself in front of a mirror. And more than once I blindly hacked off the hair on the back of my head hoping that it would look OK

Also pensive because I’m going back to school on Wednesday.

I like to mark a new beginning with a haircut and that’s mainly why I decided to cut my own hair rather than waiting to ask my mom to cut it (she’s always cut my hair. I’ve never stepped foot in a hair salon in my life and I don’t ever plan to if I can help it). 

I’m kind of worried about a full-time course load after a couple of years of a part-time school or work schedule. But at the same time I’m excited about the knowledge and training I will gain.

Recently in an interview I was asked how I take care of myself amidst the often emotionally draining work of therapy and social services. I gave some lame‑o answers that weren’t very convincing because I didn’t really think about how to respond to such questions. And I think subconsciously I’m kind of shy about saying that “I take care of my emotional well-being by crafting”. 

But that’s what I do to take care of myself, really. To keep myself sane. I craft.

And while I craft, I thank God for hand-making this world, one atom at a time, and that I’m alive today, and I’m relatively healthy, and in a relatively good emotional place. I craft.

I paint sometimes as well. But I enjoy crafting more.

I never thought about it that way until the interview. That crafting and having a place to share are actually very important to me across all aspects of my life, that it affects my work/school life as well. It gives me the motivation to notice the mundane, everyday, hopeful things. It gives me the motivation to think creatively and follow through on ideas that I’m excited about, to put them out there and make them alive in the world. 

So I will fiercely carve out time to craft, and to share too. Because I do believe I have made some blog friends here, and I’m so grateful for the connections we’ve made, for the inspirations and ideas and kind words you’ve shared with me. I will cherish these connections always.

But inevitably as seasons and schedules change this blog will see some changes too. I don’t know exactly how the changes will look like yet. I suppose it will all unfold once I get into a new routine. 

But I can foresee that:

  • Regular features”, i.e.  favourite things Friday and Sunday video will be a bit more brief or may not happen some weeks (though I’m working on getting some guest posts for favourite things, we’ll see :D).
  • Today’s awesome finds would make an interesting and flexible regular feature. So you may see more of that!
  • There would be more posts of point & shoot :D
  • There may be fewer tutorial posts :( Though fun, tutorials do take a long time to make.
  • There my be less frequent posts of crafting :( Reality is, I will have to give school work priority…

 

This new journey. It’s a challenge, but it’s so full of possibilities.

Thank you for journeying with me, friends!

 

 

 

 

favourite things friday

 

Oh. My. Goodness. This is made of duct tape. DUCT TAPE! Definitely my most favourite of the favourite things this week! I’ve always been intrigued by coloured duct tape and wondered what I can use them for — now I know! Wouldn’t this make an awesome statement brooch? Or an embellishment for a statement necklace? Or a statement belt buckle? Doesn’t matter what it’s being used for, it will make a statement for sure. Duct tape! Brilliant idea and tutorial by Howjoyful

 

The inner critic says, “aren’t you too old for memory games?” To which I responded, “never! Especially not with these popsicle printouts.” Delightful popsicle memory game for download at Eat Drink Chic

 

Lovely miniature twig chairs for miniature woodland friends :D Wouldn’t they look nice with a tiny twig table in a terrarium or a potted plant? How-to on One Inch World

 

Isn’t this brilliant? Using TB tube to store cables and wires. By berserk on Instructables.

 

 

A lovely quick tee tutorial by Noodlehead. No sleeve-setting, but with the appearance of sleeves! Love the simplicity of its construction and style.

 

A plush and a clever storage idea, all in one pajama eater! It’s not a free pattern but for a small fee it’s a great way to get a new project going and support a fellow crafter. From Sew Fearless

 

From the Martha archive, a stylish scarf that’s kind of cozy but not too warm for fall. It’s a good thing indeed!

 

I love felt flowers. This one has a bit of sculptural quality to it. It would make such a nice brooch! (Yes, I do like brooches very much.) From Inkredible Stamping

 

Peanut butter and jelly that’s fit for a party! :D And in case of food allergies, perhaps cream cheese and jam would make a pretty good alternative? From Shine.

 

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Heinz ketchup ad by McCann Erickson, via Inspire Me Now.

And that’s a wrap for this week! :D Have a great weekend, everyone!