Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat

It was my daughter's first year officially trick or treating, and she was going to be dressed as Princess Tiana from Disney's The Princess and the Frog. I have to say that the Tiana costunes we saw at our local stores were very cheap looking and certainly not durable. The first one we looked at would have left our daughter's back almost fully exposed. Just what we needed, a princess with a cold because of a skimpy costume. The second version of the costume we saw had more covering, but there were no sleeves on the dress. After much debate we finally bought it.

Naturally, we stopped by the Dismey store at the mall and saw the perfect Tiana dress, nicely made and much prettier, of course for $20 more. We decided to stick with the dress we already bought.

As a result, I decided to quickly make a shrug to help keep my daughter warm as she went from door to door. I used Baby Bernat green, yellow, and white to give it a soft tone to match the dress, and some Lion Brand Fun Fur for the cuffs.

After a few measurements, the shrug came together nicely. Whipping it up on such short notice didn't give me much time to check if it fit her properly and it wound up being a little tight around the armpits. But now that I have the pattern down I will make a nicer more durable one for her to wear at other times. I'll just make it a sweater instead of a shrug. Next time I will add Fun Fur to the bottom hem and maybe the neckline, though it might be too tempting for her to nibble on it around her neck. She loved it just the same.

First Pumpkin

I completed my first pumpkin! And I'm so happy with how cute it came out! I love how it has the ridges just like a real pumpkin! I have to say this is probably one of the cutest projects I've ever done. As soon as I saw it when it was finished, I said, "Awwww." And it was so simple to make, using the blue round loom and e-wrap stitches to make an orange tube. I wove yarn back through the stitches to create a drawstring, stuffed it with batting and cinched it just enough to create the "sections" that occur on the pumpkin surface. What do you think?

A Nice Surprise Gift!

You may recall a couple of weeks ago I attended the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival. Well, at the festival my daughter tried her hand at weaving at a loom. The nice lady who was helping children learn to weave told us that she would finish the weaving that my daughter started and send the completed piece to us in the mail. I thought that was a really nice gesture and looked forward to receiving it in the mail. Several days ago, my daughter and I went by the Post Office box and to my surprise there was an envelope. I told my daughter that she had gotten some mail, and her eyes lit up as a smile brightened her face. She was delighted when opened the envelope and she saw this:

I reminded her about how we had attended the festival and how she had started making this bookmark there. I read to her the enclosed note: "Greg, it was great to work with your daughter. I hope that she continues her interest in the fiber arts - Carol (from the Palisades Guild of Spinners and Weavers (" Well, she is certainly off to a good start! Thanks Carol!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Another Coffee Can Doll Coming Soon!

I'm almost finished working on my next coffee can creation, and she's a real darling! A few finishing touches and she'll be ready for her close-up probably late next week, if I can get my props for the photo shoot ready. Regardless, I'll keep you posted.

I'm also working on another fall project: pumpkins! Now, I've seen loom knit pumpkins online already, but mine is going to be made differently. I'm testing two designs right now and will post both of them when they are done.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall Project Number One - Loom Knit Corn!

I started my fall projects late this year, but one of them took a little longer than I expected. I thought it might be nice to loom knit some corn to hang on the door for a fall decoration! It was very simple to do, so I tried making it 3 different ways, using the Knifty Knitter flower loom. The first time, I used some yellow-gold yarn that I had leftover from last Christmas. Since it is such a thin gauge, you can see the batting through the stitches, even though I used 1 over 2 stitches.
Simply e-wrap your loom and knit away to the desired length; mine is 8 inches long. After binding off with the yarn needle, I sewed the bottom end of the corn shut and stuffed it with batting. It is probably best to use one long piece of batting rather than stuffing it with several pieces, since it will not come out even. I stuffed mine with smaller individual pieces and even though I tried to shape it, it still came out a little lumpy. You will want to slightly overstuff it so the corn "leaves" will have a secure footing. For the top of your corn you will need raffia. I cut mine a little too short for the first corn. All you do is - after you cut the raffia, set aside one strand of it. Fold the raffia in half and tie it with the strand, around the folded end. Insert the folded end of the raffia into the top of your corn. Thread your yarn needle with the tail from the top of the corn and pull it to cinch the yarn around the raffia. Then you will go through the raffia with the yarn needle and sew the yarn onto the other side of the top of the corn. Do this a few times, crisscrossing the yarn through the raffia, pulling it tightly so that it will be secure, taking care that you are sewing it on straight. Take another strand of raffia (#2) and tie it around the outside of the corn leaves, about 1.5 inches up from the top of the corn. Then take another strand of raffia and sew it around strand #2 through the raffia, otherwise it will slide down. And you're done! You can either braid some raffia and loop it to strand #2 to make a hook for your corn to hang from, or just use some yarn the same way.
For corn number 2, I decided to use "I Love This Yarn! Candycorn Ombre yarn that I bought from Hobby Lobby. I followed the same directions above and here's how it came out:
I liked it, and it felt and looked more like corn, but I still wasn't completely satisfied. I didn't like how the colors of the yarn made a distinct pattern on the corn; I wanted the pattern to be more random like real corn would be. So I tried again.
For corn # 3 I decided to make the whole thing using what is known as a popcorn stitch. To cast on I used a one over one stitch. Then for every peg I used the popcorn stitch: I wrapped peg 1 once and knit off, then I wrapped peg 1 again and knit off until I had wrapped and knit off peg 1 4 times. Then, using the hook tool, I pulled the loop from first stitch that I knit off and put it back onto peg 1. Then I knit off and moved to peg 2 and repeated the process until I completed 1 row. Then I simply e-wrapped all the pegs once and knit off. For the next row I used the popcorn stitch. I alternated between popcorn stitch rows and plain e-wrapped rows until I reached the desired length and followed the same directions for adding the batting and raffia as for corn #1, except I cut the raffia much longer. I finally achieved the look I was trying to get! Naturally, corn #3 takes the longest to make, but I am satisfied with the results. The candycorn yarn pattern isn't as noticeable, and the texture of the finished product feels a lot more like corn. Had I not stuffed the corn as much, The stitches would have been tighter together and perhaps looked even more realistic. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival

My daughter and I went to the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival this past weekend ( It was nice weather on Saturday, and the drive to the festival was fine until we got closer to it where the traffic was really snarled. But on this particular road in NJ traffic is always pretty ugly.
Anyway, once we arrived at the festival, all traffic cares melted away as the feeling of being among friends welcomed us. The admission fee was $8.00/person, which was certainly a bargain for the fun that was to be had. The festival was inside a center which had two rooms, one large and one small.
In both rooms there were interesting demonstrations going on,
weaving at looms large and small (even my daughter tried her hand at the small loom - no that isn't her or me in the picture!)
and vendors with plenty of wonderful items to choose from.
Duduza Dolls, dolls knitted and distributed to Ghanaian children recovering from surgery
There were also workshops going on, but I knew ahead of time that we weren't going to be participating in any of them. Our friends from Abenaki Acres Alpaca Farm ( were also there, whom we gladly greeted and chatted with for awhile. Outside there was a large tent where you could sit and knit quietly, or eat lunch at tables provided. My daughter and I shared a turkey and swiss sandwich. I'm very glad that we went!
Probably the funniest moment of the day came when I saw this bumper sticker sitting on a vendor's table:

It just cracked me up, since I knew exactly what it meant! Knit 1 Pearl 2! Pretty much summed up the experience for me!

My frog got frogged!

The Pastor at my church started a new series of sermons he entitled "The F.R.O.G. in the swamp," and he asked congregants to bring in a frog to put on the altar. The acronym F.R.O.G. stands for "Fully Rely On God." The object of the sermon series is to point out how God is fully reliable and trustworthy no matter what is going on in the "swamp" of our lives, and regardless of what lies the enemy tries to get us to believe about ourselves.

Naturally my first thought was to loom knit a frog to put on the altar. But I couldn't think of how I wanted it to look. I surfed the web to look at several designs, but none of them really clicked with me. I finally decided to make up my own pattern, and make my frog a children's puppet. Using some of the yarn that I received free using Freecycle, here's the first frog I created:

I liked how it came out, but it didn't seem very frog-like to me. His head was too narrow, and the stitches made him look as though he were an alligator. So I frogged my frog down to the neck and made a new, wider head for him. I also turned him inside out, so the stitches wouldn't interfere with the design. Here's how frog #2 came out:

I like this one much better, don't you? Though he does look a little cheeky, with his tongue sticking out. Either that, or there's a fly buzzing around your head that he's about to zap...

Overall he was pretty simple to make. I used the pink straight loom both times, knitting 1 over 2. I made frog number 1 all in one piece. The eyes and tongue I made separately and attached.

Now when I go to church I will put him on the altar. When I do, I'll take a picture of him sitting with the other frogs and post it here. The sermon series isn't over yet, but when it is I'll post a link to it here.