Venturing into rug hooking: featuring Frankenstein

I’ve mentioned before that Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. It’s also one of my favorite times to craft. When I heard my LYS was going to do a Halloween-themed rug hooking project, my interest was piqued. Since the shop sells rug hooking supplies, I’d always been interested in trying, but needed the motivation that making a small Frankenstein brought. So on Tuesday night, I bought myself a chai latte (my fall drink of choice) and headed on down to the LYS to learn about rug hooking!

rug hooking with a chai

My first row turned out a little inconsistent, but by the time I hit the second side I was feeling more confident. It was suggested that I outline all my parts first and I quickly became addicted as I wanted to get to the next color and next part – a bit like the excitement of knitting self-striping yarn and trying to knit faster to get to the next color.

I’m hooked … Pun intended.

I worked for 3 solid hours on my little project, and this is what he looks like now:

Frankenstein

The little picture on the right is what he will look like when he is done.

I have to say that I have not stopped thinking about wanting to work on him since Tuesday. But I’ve had obligations this week that have kept me from open studio time at the shop. I have to do it there because I am borrowing both the frame and the hook.

I haven’t decided yet what I will do with him when I am done, but am thinking of making him into a little pillow on a ribbon that BK cold hang in her room. Regardless, I love his cute little face and can’t wait to work on him more!! I am even considering adding rug hooking supplies to my Christmas list, but I want to make sure the obsession will continue long enough to justify the investment. The only hesitation I have with doing more and more of this is that I don’t know what I will do I with my finished projects – unlike knitting where most of my projects are very practical. Any ideas?

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Last week in review

I had a fun week this past week. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. I started my pair of Halloween Mitts using the leftovers from my Halloween Socks. I’m nearly done with number 1 (just the thumb left to do!) and will be embarking on number 2 this week! I already love them.
  2. I got a massage. My in-laws gifted me one from my favorite place for my baby shower, and I was finally able to use it! This may go down as my favorite baby shower gift idea of all time.
  3. On Friday, I decided there must be copious amounts of chocolate for knit night. And I managed to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch during BK’s morning nap. I felt like a rockstar having all of my cookies baked before 9am! And they were delicious! I also picked up some s’mores mini cupcakes from Super Target. Sometimes, it just must be done.
  4. I joined Weight Watchers a few weeks ago to help me get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and I have lost my first 10 pounds on the program as of Wednesday! Still a bit to go, but it’s all very encouraging. (and in case you’re wondering, a chocolate chip cookie is only 2 points… so I was fine.)
  5. I got a free drink from Starbucks through my gold card. I discovered a venti Caramel Light Frappuccino is the same amount of WW points as a grande. So I ordered the giant one and happiness ensued.
  6. And while we’re on the topic of food… we made s’mores this weekend. Yum yum yum.
  7. Heather made BK the most beautiful set of West Ham stuff! A sweater with our last name and a number one on the back, a sweet little hat, and some adorable leg warmers. I LOVE them. So does Mr Snips. My brother-in-law asked what happens if she decides to support another team — he’s obviously confused and possibly crazy. 🙂
  8. I finished a pumpkin hat for BK to wear during my favorite month of the year – October! It will get it’s own post very soon.
  9. It was so lovely and cool on Friday that both BK and I took a nap on the sun porch at my mom and dad’s in the lovely afternoon sunshine. It was very relaxing and peaceful.
  10. My parents and I started watching Downton Abbey Season 3. Somehow, we missed out when the show started, but my friends at knit night talked it up enough (and kindly let me it borrow on Blu-Ray) that we watched seasons 1 and 2 and became incredibly hooked. I love it!
  11. Sunday was sports day. We watched West Ham, then the Colts, and then the Manning Bowl. I went to yoga in the middle of the Manning Bowl, but still caught the beginning and the end. West Ham was a draw, which was OK. The Colts lost, which was very disappointing. And the Broncos won, which made me happy because all of Indiana still loves their Peyton Manning.
  12. I feel a bout of startitis coming on. All kinds of patterns have caught my attention and I am feeling the itch to cast them all on!! I have more knitting motivation right now than I’ve had in ages. Watch out — there may be a lot of WIPs to share very soon…

Butterfly Mobile How-To

Today I thought I would share a different kind of craft. A million years ago (actually in January, it just feels like much longer ago), my mom, dad and I made a butterfly mobile for Baby Knitsnips.

I had seen a really lovely one on Etsy that I nearly bought. But as I thought about it some more, I was concerned the colors I liked were not really colors that were going to match BK’s bedding (Princess and the Pea from Land of Nod). And I thought I could easily make mine for $25 (what they wanted for a kit on Etsy that I would still have to put together myself) or less. So I started a tour of the craft stores and purchased my needed items.

I started picking a butterfly paper punch. I saw on one tutorial that the lady had printed out a template of a butterfly and then traced and cut each one individually to save money. Just the idea of that made me feel insane and fidgety, so I was willing to splurge on a nice paper punch. I bought three slightly different ones and let my mom help me make a final decision. We settled on a Martha Stewart one from JoAnn’s that allowed you to make two versions – one with little dots punched out of the wings, and one that was a solid silhouette.

I also bought three metal rings and brought them home before settling on which one seemed the appropriate size. I think in the end I picked the 10” ring, which was the mid-size they sold at Hobby Lobby.

One thing I settled on immediately was the paper. I knew I wanted all of the paper to be double-sided so that the butterflies were colorful from all angles. I found a package of small square double-sided scrapbook paper that came in the perfect colors to match the bedding at Hobby Lobby. I also quickly decided on some nice ribbon from Hobby Lobby that brought out the gold-ish yellow from the crib skirt. I also picked up some clear fishing line type material that I found in the jewelry making area.

When I finally made all my decisions and got all the supplies home, my mom and dad came over to help me put it together.

  1. My dad punched out butterflies using both options (with extra holes and without) from all of the different paper options I had.Butterflies for mobile
  2. My mom and I cut lengths of the clear fishing line. The idea was to put longer pieces in the middle and shorter ones around the outside. To accomplish this, we also tied two pieces across the ring to make an X and allow us to attach butterflies in the center as well.
  3. My dad took a needle and punched small holes through the center of each butterfly using a straight pin. We put a small piece of cardboard on the table to allow him to easily push the needle through the paper without damaging the table.
  4. Mom and I strung butterflies onto each length of line. We started by tying a small colorful bead at the bottom to help weigh it down and put a bit of sparkle on the ends. Then we tied a knot in the line, threaded a butterfly on it, moved up the line a little bit, tied another knot and strung another butterfly on it… etc. This allows them to stay spaced out on the line.
    Butterfly mobile supplies
  5. We then tied the finished butterfly lines to the clear wire we crossed around the ring as well as the actual ring. (We propped it up between two chair backs to hold it while we attached each string.)
    Butterfly mobile in progress
  6. We put a small blob of hot glue on the top of each line to make sure it stayed secured to the ring and didn’t move around.
  7. My mom had a flash of inspiration and suggested we put a butterfly at the top of each line to cover the blob of hot glue and make it look finished while looking up at the mobile. To do that, we used a utility knife to make a small slice through half of a butterfly’s body. We slotted it around the line and then added another small touch of hot glue on the top to secure it.
  8. We tied 4 lengths of ribbon around the metal ring  – making sure they were evenly spaced to hold the ring steady – and then tied them together at the top with a sweet bow. We used a spare bit of white ribbon I had left from the bunting project to tie it in with the whole room.

All in all, it took us about two afternoons of work.

I love how it turned out! We hung it over the rocking chair so Baby Knitsnips would have something fun to look at while she was eating. She loves it! She also likes for us to hold her up near it and blow on it to make them “fly”. It also makes a beautiful shadow on the wall when we have the overhead light on!butterfly mobile with shadow

But my favorite way to look at it is from the chair. Looking up at it makes it seem much more full and impressive.
butterfly from bottom

I wish I had totaled what I spent earlier this year when I remembered what all of these things on the receipts meant (“sewing” is not super helpful). Here is what I think I spent:

Clear jewelry string: $3.20 (w/tax)
Butterfly paper punch: $13.36 (w/tax)
Ribbon (15 feet): $1.50 (w/o tax)
Metal ring: $2.17 (w/o tax)
Double-sided scrapbook paper: $7.99 (w/o tax)
Beads: free (in stash)
Total: $28.22

So… a little over my $25 goal. It was well worth it for me to know that it matched the room exactly. It was also fun to make with my mom and dad and now BK has something that her family lovingly made for her.

Touched

I do charity knitting and crocheting because I like to, and because I believe in the causes.

My charity knitting project for about two years now has been Hats for Sailors. I heard about them on the Wendy Knits blog, and generally only check out the Ravelry group occasionally just to confirm deadline dates. However, today, I stumbled across their Facebook page.

And there, right in front of me, was a sailor wearing one of my hats in the front of a picture posted back in February. I almost cried. Now understand I have been much more emotional since I had a baby (yesterday, I teared up during a Harry Potter movie I’ve seen at least 20 times and never cried during, and now I don’t even remember what was so touching!), but it really struck me in an unexpected way. I know that my hats go off to a good home on a ship somewhere, and I’ve always been happy just imagining that they are keeping a sailor warm. I knit the hats because I appreciate the service of every member of all branches of the military, and I know that they work very hard and spend a considerable amount of time away from their families to serve our country. It’s just a very, very tiny way to say thank you. But there was something about seeing it in a picture on a real person that made me so unbelievably happy.

I went back to November on the timeline and saw some of my hats in the front of a picture full of hats ready to be sent off to a ship. And that made me happy, too. Because though we all know that knitters are generally great people, it’s so lovely to see how people from all over come together to make wonderful things happen.

The reason I came across the Facebook page is because I’m preparing to start another round of hats to send off before the next deadline, Veteran’s Day. And though I certainly do not do anything to get a return for myself, I feel like I’ve been given a great gift to see that picture.

I would encourage any crafter to find a group with a good cause that needs something you like to make. I know every little bit is appreciated, and sometimes you get something unexpected in return.

100 Posts! …and FO: Halloween Socks

Well, it’s taken me much longer than it should have to reach 100 posts. Over this past year and 9 months, I’ve finished 58 projects and shared them all with you (well, except for the couple that are waiting for FO photoshoots!). I don’t think that’s too bad!

While I was on the long wait for Baby Knitsnips to arrive, I started a pair of very basic socks in an awesome self-striping yarn. I figured it was easy enough for me to be able to pick up and do a few rows as I was at the hospital and once I was home with the baby, yet the stripes would keep it interesting enough I wouldn’t be bored. Since she took so long to arrive, I had the first sock finished before she was born, and also had the ribbing plus a small bit of the leg done on the second one.

I’ve had this String Theory Colorworks Continuum yarn in RuBisCo in my stash for a while, and my plan was always to make some lovely Halloween socks with it. And now, they’re done!Halloween socksSince I started these while I was pregnant, it was very hard to measure as I went along on my own leg and foot because of the swelling. On the first sock, I cast on too many stitches and ended up having to decrease as I went along – I couldn’t be asked to rip it all out and start over. This means that the two socks do not match as exactly as I would have liked, but they are very, very close. And the parts where you can tell the color doesn’t change in exactly the same spot will be in my shoes! I’m trying to learn to let go a little since life has gotten much busier. 🙂Halloween socks side viewIn the end, I followed the larger size of the My Love Bugs pattern. This pattern was what I used for my second ever pair of socks, and since it fits nicely, I tend to go back to it for numbers. I usually make the smaller size, but since I went down to a size 1 to knit these, I needed to use the larger size.

These are BRIGHT, but cheerful. And I’ve got plenty of yarn left over, so I’m considering making a pair of fingerless mitts to match. October is a great time for those with just a bit of chill in the air, and if I start now, I may actually get them done by Halloween…