this week’s awesome finds

 

 

 

First, I want to share with you this AWESOME installation that my sister pointed out to me, by Chicago artist Melissa Jay Craig. Why books as mushrooms, you ask? She says, “When I was a child, the first time I had the intriguing feeling that the planet carried messages (texts, if you will) for those who were curious enough to look, was when I came upon a group of Amanita Muscaria, huddled together in a dark, secret space under tall pines.” Isn’t it beautiful? Read more about the installation at This is Colossal.

 

Now, want to make your own mushroom installation? Here’s a lovely how-to using wine corks and magnets on At Home in Love.

 

These cacti are so very cute. From Craftberry Bush.

 

I don’t know much about beading, and I wanted to make a statement necklace to wear to a wedding with an old black sweater dress, so I was looking for tutorials, and I really like this one on tuts+, featuring different stones.

 

Tutorial for making these beautiful needle felted birds, by Joe & Cheryl.

 

Origami is one of my favourite things, and this is just adorable — diagrams for making the sushi AND the wooden platform they’re on, plus a treasure trove of origami diagrams from dinosaurs to flying squirrels to soft serve ice cream cones on Origami Club! :D

 

A beautiful wall hanging of moon phases, from Almost Makes Perfect.

 

A super fun strawberry cake tissue box cover by the awesome Twinkie Chan, using loop stitch! (my favourite!) From The Tissue Box Bakery.

 

If I have a cat, I would make him this cat tent. From Practically Functional.

 

Beautifully knitted broccoli florets by Ravelry designer Sara Elizabeth Kellner (check out her other patterns too! I especially love the queen bee). I love how the textures are made of purl and knit stitches. Pattern for sale on Ravelry.

 

Wishing you a week of delightful crafty adventures!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

insta-sunshine

It’s been a cold week around here! Could use some tropical sunshiny-ness right about now, in the middle of January. So I made these :D

Photo 2015-01-18, 7 21 34 PM

Made these using the pineapple from the old piña colada pattern, but using embroidery thread and a 2.35mm hook. I kid you not, I thought I smelled pineapples when I was crocheting this. Need to get some canned pineapples next time I’m at the grocery store…

I then attached jump rings (which I made by bending head pins, because I didn’t have large enough jump rings on hand) to the base of the leaves, then attached the pineapples to earring hooks.

Give this quick project a try and instantly add some sunshine to your day! :D

Have a great week, everyone!

 

holiday crafting

I was waiting until the last presents were opened to post this :D And by the way, if you’re visiting because of the grown-up cardigan, thanks so much for dropping by! I don’t think I’ve ever had that many views in a day before. Thanks so much for checking out the pattern!

So, holiday crafting! This bonsai is a custom order. I’ve never made anything like this so it was all an experiment. I never really do preparatory sketches (or check gauge, or make swatches) but I actually drew a picture of how I wanted the branches to twist this way and that. It didn’t turn out looking like the picture at all after I inserted the sculpting wires, they seem to have a mind of their own? But I’m glad it worked out looking like a bonsai anyway :D

bonsai 1

And we even had a bonsai pot hidden away in our closet, waiting for years to be used for this of course! It was from a bonsai that didn’t live :( apparently few people can keep a bonsai alive for long — hence the need for a bonsai that never dies!

And I added a tiny gnome because I thought the bonsai looked a bit lonely. Here’s a close up of the gnome. It was crocheted with embroidery floss with a 2.3mm hook (2.3 is kind of an odd size for a crochet hook don’t you think? But that’s what it says on the hook… anyway, I digress).

bonsai 2

He’s kind of like a candy corn, except with eyes and a beard. Maybe I can even make a candy corn gnome in the fall… I like the gnome so much that I put him in the shop :D With a new and improved extra fuzzy beard. He is a pin :)

wee gnome

And then Mike requested a tiny yeti pin for his co-worker who is rather fond of yetis. So I thought I could use the same method as the tiny yeti, except with the thinnest yarn I have and the trusty 2.3mm hook…

Behold the tiniest yeti!

tiniest yeti

Doesn’t he look like he’s ready to give the most sincere hug? :D He’s in the shop as well. Both the gnome and the yeti are about an inch tall. My hand is in the pictures for scale.

And I made these for Mike — they’re soot spirit hand warmers :D

soot warmers

I decided to make hand warmers for Mike because his hands get really cold in the winter, to the point where he has difficulties typing when he first gets into work in the morning. So I thought these would work great if he pops them in the microwave for 30 seconds before he heads out to subway to work in the morning and before he heads home from the office at night. There are many tutorials on the web showing how to make them (with rice inside). But because I have black flannel on hand I thought it would make really great soot spirits! They appear in My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away. Here’s a lovely video montage of them in action if you haven’t seen the movies already :D

Also made these for my friend’s shop, cat earrings and necklace!

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

cat 3

I bought them from a local Etsy seller, Yum Yum Objects. The shop owner is super friendly, and the package was wrapped in book pages and pattern tissue, with extra cat beads! The cat beads are a beautiful translucent grey that have an iridescent quality to it in the light. And so of course I have to immediately make myself a necklace (and a pair of earrings) when the beads came in the mail! :D I’ve been wearing it for the past few days. So excited.

cat
I also knitted and crocheted an assortment of scarfs/neckwarmers, a shawl, a hat, a few brooches and a loop stitch bathmat for various family members, but didn’t take pictures of them. Aaaand there’s one more gift that I haven’t yet mentioned because it will come with a pattern! So stay tuned! :D

Have a wonderful week everyone!

 

a grown-up cardigan

I thought after the Totoro sweater I should make a dressier cardigan for more grown-up occasions like interviews and work.

And today, I’m going to attempt to translate my scribbles and diagrams into an actual pattern! Yes, my diagram of a rectangle, a trapezoid, and several numbers on a single piece of sticky note. I did jot down these things so I can write the pattern later, and I’m sure they made perfect sense then, but how did I expect myself to make sense of it months later? Please bear with me as I try to write a pattern that makes sense, and please drop me a note if you have any questions!

Here’s the cardigan :D

DSC03913

Because I made it in black (for dressiness, you see), I overexposed the photos a lot so you can see the details. I like shawl-style collars, they go well with most shirts. Except maybe collared shirts, but I don’t have many of those.

I added some simple details so it’s not just rows upon rows of double-crochet, which would be boring to look at and to make. Here’s the back…

DSC03909

 

Here’s a close up of the shawl-collar…

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The construction is extremely simple. There’s hardly any shaping, just a bunch of rectangular shapes sewn together, and then crocheting along the front and neck to make the collar. So I imagine it would be pretty easy to modify by adding or subtracting stitches as needed.

I got this yarn from my mom, who got it from my grandma in Hong Kong. There was never any label on it. But I compared it with my other yarn and it looks closest to fingering weight. One way to increase the size of the cardigan would be to use a heavier yarn (sport, DK, or worsted with good drape) and larger hooks (5–6.5mm).

Edit: Since I’m seeing A LOT of traffic to this post lately (thanks so much for visiting everyone! I have never had that many views before and I think the site might have crashed for a bit…), I’m reposting here my reply to a visitor’s comment below about adding stitches to the foundation ch to increase the size of the cardigan — hope this helps! As usual please feel free to drop me a note if you have any questions!

to add width to the sweater shouldn’t be difficult, as they are just rectangles. you can add more stitches to the foundation ch. it’s approximately 10 stitches for 2 inches, and the sweater i made is 32″ around. so for example, for a size 36″ sweater I would add 20 ch to the back, and 6 ch to each of the front left and front right pieces (the eyelet row needs an odd number of stitches). so you can add ch in multiples of 10 and split them between the back, front left and front right pieces according to the size you need. the same goes for the sleeves. my sleeves are 11″ around at the widest part. you can also do more increase rows in between so the cuff wouldn’t become too wide, maybe increase every other dc row throughout after the first 6 rows. hope this helps!”

I used:

Fingering weight yarn, about 1600 yards

4 mm hook

Stitch markers (or contrasting colour scrap yarn)

Size:

Bust 32″, length 21″, sleeve length (underarm to cuff) 17″

Gauge:

6 rows of 10 dc = 2″ x 2″

Pattern:

Back

ch 83.

Row 1: dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in each ch across, turn.

Row 2: ch 3 (counts as a dc throughout), dc in each dc across, turn.

Rows 3–5: repeat row 2.

Row 6 (eyelet row): ch 4, skip first dc, dc in next dc, *ch 1, skip next dc, dc in next dc* repeat from * to * to end.

Row 7: ch 3, dc in first ch 1 sp, dc in next dc, *dc in ch 1 sp, dc in next dc* repeat from * to * to end.

For the rest of back:

Work in pattern so that there are 5 dc rows between eyelet rows, until there are 8 eyelet rows altogether, then work 5 more dc rows. There will be 53 rows altogether. Fasten off.

Right and left fronts (make 2)

ch 25.

Work in same pattern for back until there are 53 rows altogether. Fasten off.

Sleeves (make 2)

ch 41.

Work in rows 1–7 of back.

Row 8 (increase row): ch 3, 2 dc in next dc, dc in each dc until last dc, 2 dc in last dc, turn.

Rows 9–11: dc rows.

Row 12: eyelet row.

Row 13: dc row.

Repeat rows 8–13 four (4) more times. Basically, every second row after the eyelet row is an increase row.

Next: work 1 dc row, one increase row, one dc row, one eyelet row.

Next: *work 1 dc row, one increase row, one dc row, one increase row, one dc row*, one eyelet row. (Basically, every second and fourth rows after the eyelet row is an increase row.)

Next: repeat from * to *. Fasten off.

Assembly

With right sides facing each other (wrong side facing you), sew shoulders together.

With right side facing itself, fold sleeve in half lengthwise, mark the center at the top edge of sleeve. With right sides facing each other, pin the center of top edge of sleeve to shoulder seam. Pin the rest of the top edge of sleeve along the front and back pieces. Sew sleeve to front and back. Repeat for the other sleeve.

Sew side and underarm/sleeve seams together.

Turn cardigan right side out.

Collar

With right side facing, attach yarn to lower left corner of cardigan front. ch 3.

Row 1: Evenly crochet a row of dc up the left front, 2 dc tog in the last stitch of the left front and the first stitch of the back, place marker, dc along the top edge of the back, 2 dc tog in the last stitch of the back and first stitch of the right front, place marker, and dc down the right front, turn.

(What seems to work for me to evenly crochet a row along the edges: up and down the front pieces, crocheting into the side of a the rows — dc into the middle of the dc, then dc into the joint between 2 rows. It’s not exactly 2 dc in each row, it’s fewer stitches than that. When working across the back pieces, just dc into each dc.)

Row 2: ch 3, *dc in each dc until the stitch before marker, 2 dc tog, move marker up a row*, repeat from * to * once more, dc in each dc to end, turn.

Row 3: repeat row 2. Remove all markers.

Row 4: eyelet row.

Rows 5–7: dc rows.

Row 8: eyelet row.

Repeat rows 5–8 three (3) more times. Work 3 more dc rows. Fasten off. Weave in ends.

And here we have it, a grown-up-looking cardigan :)

DSC03910

 

Happy new year everyone! :D