Wednesday, July 28, 2010

...and this little piggy got toasty warm in a new pair of socks

I'm teaching myself to knit socks.  I found this great book at JoAnn's that breaks the process down step by step.

It's fantastic.  Lots of pictures too.  Here's the link for it on Amazon if you want to pick up a copy. Click here
I haven't gotten very far yet because I just haven't spent the time to sit down and knit, but I do have the entire cuff and leg portion finished as well as the beginning of the heel.  I'll let you know when I have one sock finished. What are you crafting this week?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Glass Slide Pendants

I've learned a new skill for my crafting arsenal. Soldering.

Side 1

Shopping around on Etsy I had seen some really neat pendants made out of glass slides.  Immediately I wanted to learn how to make them.   Once I looked up the directions I shyed away from the project because I didn't know how to solder.  Still, every few weeks or so I'd see another pendant and the desire to make them returned.  Finally, I caved and decided to teach myself the technique.

I found a question and answer forum on the internet where somebody else had asked about making the pendants. In the responses was a link to Fusion Bead's technique section, which had full directions not only for the pendant project, but for soldering too. These really are the best directions I've found for this project, so if you're interested in trying it, follow the one's they've posted.  I doubt I could improve upon them.  While you're there, check out some of their other jewelry techniques and projects.  Lots of great inspiration and tons on photos to help you out.

For a little less than $20 you can get a complete soldering kit from Michaels or JoAnn's that has the metal tape needed, the soldering tool, and the lead-free solder that doesn't require additional flux.  I also found the glass slides at both stores in the scrapbooking section near the embossing supplies.  There are a couple different sizes of slides, but I chose the 1" square ones for my pendants.  They come in a pack of 24 for around $6.

Side 2

A note about the soldering tool: It looks just like the wood burning kits, but the tips are different.  Make sure you get one that has the tips specifically for soldering. Some of the wood burning kits have them and some do not. I already had a wood burning kit, so I just bought the solder for my first pendant.  By the time I was done, I had melted half of the tip off my tool (It's a wonder I didn't burn the apartment down) because the metal was too soft to use with the solder.

Also, this is a project about patience.  I'm still working to get my soldering even around all my edges.  While I am improving, it took about 2 hours each to finish the pendants above. (Soldering that jump ring on is also not as easy as pictured.)  It's not something that is "hard" to do, but it does take practice. So take your time and don't get frustrated. Besides, the reward is worth it.  Who wouldn't want a beautiful, personalized pendant?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nifty Knitting Roll...and no I don't mean that crazy loom thing

I'm alive.  I swear. And I haven't forgotten you, I was just enjoying a bit of 4th of July vacation time last week, so I never got around to posting. But now I am back with a fun-tabulous craft, which turned out so nicely it almost looks like I knew what I was doing.

I needed a case to keep all my knitting needles in, and not wanting to shell out 25 bucks for some wierd zipper case that was super ugly I went looking for online instructions in how to make one.  I was most inspired by this one from, but I was still unhappy with some of the directions, and I didn't want the pocket dividers visible on the outside of the roll. So I tweaked it as I went, and hopefully I'll be able to convey those changes to you now in a manner that is understandable. I know this is a wall of text, but I assure you this is an easy sewing project, and it'd be a perfect first project for a kid who wants to learn.  Let me know if you need any clarification or if I can explain something better.

So here's what you need:
2 coordinating fabrics*, cut to dimensions specified.  I bought a yard of each which was way more than enough, but if you're budget minded you can purchase less. *You will have 4 cuts of fabric total. If you want to make them all different, be my guest. Also, my cutting mat only accomodates a 23 inch piece of fabric, so I shortened my roll to make the pieces easier for me to cut.  This just means less pockets, but I'll give the dimensions that the instructions reference.
     Fabric A (outer fabric and tall interior pocket):  Cut (1) piece 25 inches x 17 inches. (outer)
                                                                                   Cut (1) piece 25 inches x 11 inches. (tall pocket)
    Fabric B (inner lining and short interior pocket): Cut (1) piece 25 inches x 17 inches. (lining)
                                                                                   Cut (1) piece 25 inches x 8 inches. (short pocket)
1 yard of ribbon in a coordinating color to match your fabric.  This is the closure for the roll, so try to pick something sturdy like a grosgrain ribbon so that it holds up over time.
Thread in a coordinating color
Tools:  Dress maker's chalk, pencil, or tracing paper to mark the pocket divisions. Your preference, you just want it to make clear lines and come off the fabric once you finish sewing.
            Sturdy Ruler
            Scissors or Rotary Cutter and mat
            Iron and Ironing Board
            Sewing Machine

The basic construction is this: make the inside section, put with the outside fabric, sandwich in some ribbon and sew. You want the fabric pieces arranged with the longest dimension running horizontally when putting it together. (See the finished picture.) So here we go:

1. Fold down and sew a half inch seam along the top edge of each inner pocket.
2. Lay the tall pocket on top of the lining fabric (both pieces right side up), aligning the bottom and side edges.
3. Lay the short pocket on top of the tall pocket (right side up), aligning the bottom and side edges. Your fabric pieces should all be laid out like the photo above, in their finished positions (excluding the outer fabric for now).
4. Pin all 3 pieces of fabric together along the side and bottom edges so that they don't slide.
5. Use your ruler to find the center line of your fabric across the 25" length. Mark this measurement with your removable pencil. Draw a line from the bottom of the short pocket to the top of the tall pocket.  This is how you'll keep your sewing lines straight when you actually run it through the machine, so be diligent in lining it up straight and correctly.
6. Starting from your center line, mark the divisions for your pockets moving out toward the edges of the fabric. Again, draw the lines all the way from the bottom edge to the top of the tall pocket. I made my divisions every 2 inches, but you can adjust this as you like to get the pocket size you want. Also, because I shortened my overall width, the pockets on the very end of my roll ended up a little wider since I didn't have enough space to make the next division.
7. Once you have all the divisions marked, sew along the lines, again beginning with the center mark and working your way out to the edges of the fabric. Feed the fabric through the sewing machine starting at the bottom edge and stop sewing just past the top edge of the tall pocket. Once you've sewn the pocket divisions you can remove all the pins.
8. This next step is a little tricky to explain because it seems backwards.  I made a little diagram to help show you what I mean, so hopefully that will help.  Cut your ribbon into 2 equal lengths.  Align the top edge of your ribbon just below the seam line for the top hem of the tall pocket.  Position it so the majority of the ribbon lies across the tall pocket, leaving about an inch hanging over the side edge. You want both pieces of ribbon on the same end of the roll, but it doesn't matter which one you choose.

You want the ribbon laid out this way so that it will be on the correct side once you sew the exterior and interior piece together. Which just happens to be the next step!
9. With your pockets facing up, lay the outer fabric (right side down) on top of the inner section. Pin all the layers together.  You'll have a little inside-out sandwich of your knitting roll.

10. Sew around the outside edge starting with the bottom seam, leaving an opening about 6 inches wide. I used a 3/8" seam allowance around my edge.
11. Clip the corners to your seam line and press your seams open as best you can.
12. Reach inside the "sandwich"  and turn the entire thing right-side out. If you need to, use the end of something pointy to get crisp corners.
13. Pin the opening shut, folding the edges in to match the seam line as best you can.
14. Sew an 1/8 inch seam across the entire bottom edge to close the opening and give a clean looking finish.
15. Load with knitting needles, roll up, tie shut, and go!  You're done! (See, I told you it was easy.)