WIP: Passage and new knitting needles!

My LYS recently had a sample of Passage hanging up in the store. I’ve always secretly wanted something with a little batwing to it, but thought I’d look silly in it. Since there was an actual sample, I was able to try it on and see how it looked, and it turned out that I loved it! So I was sold.

I’m using some repurposed Venenzia Sport. I had completed a Wildflower for myself in this yarn, and hated it once I got it on my body. I could see all the imperfections in it, and the neckline looked terrible on me (which I should have known it wouldn’t be flattering on me before I cast on, but I foolishly went ahead anyway). The one time I wore it out of the house was for 5 minutes at knit night to show everyone how much I hated it. Then I unraveled all of it and wound it back into balls.

The yarn was so kinked when I started this new project that my knitting looked like I had done it completely and totally drunk (which I unfortunately was not). So I followed these instructions on how to reuse yarn. I soaked each skein for nearly an hour, and it still didn’t relax as much as I thought it should, but it actually seems to be knitting up OK after it has dried thoroughly.

passage-wip

This is also the first project that I have used my new Knitter’s Pride Marblz needles. I saw them a while ago on the Tanis Fiber Arts blog and fell in love with them. I finally bought myself the large set last month. So far, I love them! I was a little worried about them being acrylic because I usually use metal needles, but it isn’t bothering me at all. They are really pleasant to knit with, and I’m finding an enormous amount of joy in knitting with these lovely bright red needles! Though I have to say, I can’t wait to make a project that requires one of the pink needles. I may have to plan my next project around that. 🙂 I also have my eye on the 16” set because I want to use them all the time. I might just be a sucker for these beautiful colors.

marblz-upclose

And finally, we ended up with an unexpected nap time this weekend (those happen so rarely these days!), and we decided it was time for tea. I took mine with a side of knitting Passage, and Mr Snips took his with a side of making an R2D2. Someone at work gave it to him, and it’s turned out to be a rather labor intensive process of glueing together a zillion pieces of paper. He’s determined to finish it to make it the world’s most impressive centerpiece at BK’s birthday party (she’s pretty hardcore into Star Wars), and I think he’s secretly enjoying it. It was really lovely to have a crafty break together.

passage-crafting

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How to: make a pattern minder

I am finally making some progress on my Bigger on the Inside shawl! I think I have finally found the rhythm of the pattern. And I also addressed a little niggly thing that was bothering me – my pattern minder.

A couple of years ago, I purchased a set of three pattern minders from my LYS. I knew at the time that I could easily make them, but it seemed easier to just buy some when I had a full-time job and a project on the needles where I really needed them. They came in three sizes, a small, medium and large. As I used them over time, I realized that the largest size (12.5″) was just too large for use. I always use an 8.5 x 11″ sheet of paper for my patterns, so it was just insanely big. And lately, it seems the big one was all I could locate. I haven’t seen the small one in a while, and the medium one was on a pattern that is currently “resting.” So here I was with this tiny lace pattern, and a huge magnet. I decided to make my own to make the experience a bit more pleasant.

And now I will share with you how to make my lovely pattern minder!

You will need: 

  • Magnets on a roll that have adhesive on one side. I purchased some that was 1/2″ wide and 10′ long.
  • Ribbon. I went with 5/8″ ribbon so that it was slightly bigger than my magnet width.
  • Fire! We used one of those safety candle lighters.
  • Double stick tape

Supplies for a Pattern Minder

To make the pattern minder:

  1. Cut a length of ribbon to 17.5″.
  2. Use the lighter to quickly sear the ends of the ribbon to prevent fraying. Be careful!
  3. Cut two strips of magnet to 8″ long.
  4. Place one magnet 1/2″ from one end of the ribbon. Roll the magnet down carefully so that the adhesive side smoothly attaches to the ribbon without any bumps and so that it is centered on your ribbon. Press firmly to make sure it sticks.
  5. Put a small piece of double stick tape on the end of the magnet closest to the end of the ribbon.
  6. Fold the 1/2″ of ribbon over the magnet so the double stick tape will secure it.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 with the other end of the ribbon and the second magnet.

This produces a total width of about 8 1/4″ once folded onto a pattern, which I find to be ideal for most of my projects. The 1/2″ gap in between the magnets is just enough to wrap it around the pattern, but not so much you have a saggy spot (something my old ones did).

Pro Tip (from my mom): Find a ribbon that has a pattern which will easily allow you to center the magnet on the ribbon. In this instance, the ribbon with the stitched edging was perfect, because my 1/2″ magnet fit between the stitches. This is why I take my genius mom with me when I go shopping for project supplies!!

Finished pattern minder

Finished pattern minder on my Bigger on the Inside pattern – lovely!

The best part about this is I have $3.84 in this project!! I already had the double stick tape, so all I had to do was purchase the magnets and ribbon, which I did with coupons (all the craft stores have coupons all the time). I have enough to make LOADS from these two little supplies. And I can make larger or smaller ones if I come to a project that will require something different than the standard page size – it’s endlessly customizable. I will probably buy some different ribbon in the future, just to spice it up with a bit of variety.

So there you go – so easy! If you have 10 minutes on a rainy day you can crank out at least 2 of these, and that’s if you measure twice before cutting. 🙂 Enjoy!

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.