Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pillow (Re) Sham: Put a Bird on It

While I was pretty proud of my knitted pillow sham when I blogged about it last month, the luster quickly wore off. As it turns out the different types of yarn I knit together all stretched out a little differently, and now I have a sort of oblong sack that wont stay on my pillow. And worse, having a part wool pillow sham on your bed in hot desert weather is about as much fun as it sounds. So, while on a trip to JoAnns today trying to avoid the thunder storms that put a damper on my day I stumbled upon some very fun fabric for a new pillow case. I know I don't exactly live in Portland, but still, I figured why not put a bird on it.

Below is a little diagram of the quick (10 minutes!) process of making this cotton pillow sham from 1/2 yard of 45" wide fabric. It takes no buttons, no patience, and only straight seams.


First, fold in 2 inches on each selvage and stitch wrong sides together. Use contrasting thread for pizazz.

Next fold about 10 inches towards the middle on one side, and about 12 inches on the other, this time with RIGHT sides together. There should be at least a few inches of overlap.

Stitch along the top and bottom. Turn rightside out.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

One Unique Cookie


Thanks to Hulu’s new obsession with the Newton Fruit Thins advertisement I found myself craving a fruity, oaty cookie. With a fridge full of fresh strawberries (I have no self control at the farmer’s market this time of year) and the reminder every commercial break to kiss everything that I know about cookies goodbye, I was inspired to concoct a strawberry oatmeal cookie out of what was in the pantry. Strawberries, oatmeal, I say go ahead and eat them for breakfast.


Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies
yields 18 smallish cookies

2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Incorporate oil, milk, vanilla. Add strawberries and mix well. The mixture will be somewhat dry, stir until the moisture comes out of strawberries and softens into a sticky dough.

Bake for 8-10 minutes at 425˚ in preheated oven. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Like a craft, only nerdier....

Alright, so I'm the first to admit this is not exactly a craft. But, I did spend some pretty serious time making it pretty, and I have an awkward cell phone photo of myself standing in front of it. So, here is what I did last month when I wasn't making sushi or baby clothes-- my master's thesis at the International Positive Psychology Association world congress in Philadelphia, PA.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Elephant Onesie on the Loose


On my trip across the US to Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, I wanted a little knitting project to take with me on the plane. Because I still had some of the soy yarn that I have been slowly working my way through (just keep scrolling) I decided to do a little stash buster baby onesie I found a pattern for at Fiber Fervor.
The pattern took about a skein and a half all together and I made a few adjustments, including removing the crocheted edging, and adding 5 rows of 2 by 2 knit/purl rib in a contrasting color instead of adding a sleeve. Also, when I was all done I added three snaps at the crotch and one snap at the neck, then embroidered a little elephant on the chest in the contrasting color I used for the sleeve. Below is the pattern I adapted for this cute little onesie (I would argue even cuter than the original!) I'm no baby expert, but I would guess it turned out a 6-9 month size.

Knit from top down
Using main color and a size 4 16-inch circular needle
CO: 54 sts
Row 1: K14, marker, K10, marker, K16, marker, K10, marker, K4
Row 2: purl across
Row 3: K1, Kfront&back, K11, Kf&b, slip marker (SM), Kf&b, K8, Kf&b, SM, Kf&b, K14, Kf&b, SM, Kf&b, K8, Kf&b, SM, K3
Row 4: purl across
Row 5: K1, Kf&b, *(K to one before marker, Kf&b, SM, Kf&b), repeat from * to one stitch before last marker, Kf&b, SM, K to end.
Row 6: purl across
Repeat last 2 rows 7 times more. 126 sts total.

Row 20: place 12 sts on double pointed needle. Place the double-pointed behind the main 16” circular, left hand needle, holding the yarn behind. Place marker.
K1 from the main needle and 1 from the double-pointed needle. Continue knitting one stitch from each until no stitches remain on the double-pointed needles. Work should now be joined in the round.
*(K to one before marker, Kf&b, SM, Kf&b), repeat from * to one stitch before last marker, Kf&b, SM, K to end of round.
Row 21: Kf&b, K to next marker, remove marker and place next 28 sts on scrap yarn or stitch holder (for right sleeve), remove marker. CO 4 sts, K to next marker, remove marker, and place next 28 sts on scrap yarn or stitch holder (for left sleeve). CO 4 sts, slip marker. (74 sts).
Row 22: Knit round.
Continue knitting in the round until piece measures 7.5 inches from armhole.
Next row continues as “row 23” but many rows have past.

Row x23: Knit until 3 sts left in round. BO last 3 sts.
Row x24: BO 3 sts, K31, BO 6, K to end of round.
Turn work (front now separated from the back).

Back side:
Row 25: purl across.
Row 26: K1, ssk, K to 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
Row 27: purl across (all odd rows will be purl rows).
Row 28: K1, ssk, K to 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
Row 29: purl across
Row 30: K1, ssk, K to 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
Row 31: purl across
Row 32: Knit across
Row 33: purl across
Row 34: Knit across
Row 35: purl across
Row 36: K1, ssk, K to 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
Row 37: purl across
Row 38: K1, ssk, K to 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
Row 39: purl across
Row 40: Knit across
Row 41: purl across
Row 42: K1, ssk, K to 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
Row 43: P1, ssp, P to 3 sts before the end, P2tog, P1
Row 44: K1, ssk, K to 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
Row 45: P1, ssp, P to 3 sts before the end, P2tog, P1. 13 sts remain.
Row 46: SL1 knit wise, K to end.
Row 47: SL1 purl wise, P to end.
Repeat last 2 rows 6 times more (12 rows more).
BO all sts.

Front side (continuing with additional 31 sts on needle)
Row 25: purl across.
Row 26: K1, ssk, K to 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
Row 27: purl across (all odd rows will be purl rows).
Repeat last 2 rows until 13 sts remain.

Row 46: SL1 knit wise, K to end.
Row 47: SL1 purl wise, P to end.
Repeat last 2 rows 4 times more (8 rows more).
BO all sts.

Left Sleeve:
Place 12 sts on two double-pointed needles, picking up final 4 sts on a third needle. Using contrast color, pick up 6 sts from underarm.
K 4 rows in K2 P2 rib. BO all sts in rib.

Right Sleeve:
Place 12 sts on two double-pointed needles, picking up final 4 sts on a third needle. Using contrast color, pick up 6 sts from underarm.
K 4 rows in K2 P2 rib. BO all sts in rib.

Weave in loose ends. Attach three snaps to bias tape and sew in to crotch by hand
Attach snap at shoulder closure. 

Embroider with elephant.
Begin with topmost stitch at center chest 12 stitches below neck.

X denotes a blue stitch. O denotes a purple stitch.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOXXOOOXX
OOOOOOOOXXXXXOOXX
OOOOOOOXXXXXXOXXO
OOOOOOXXXXXXXOXXO
OOOOOXXXXXXXXOXXO
OOOOOXXXXXXXXOXXO
OOOXXXXXXXXXXOXXO
OOXOXXXXXXXXXXXXO
OXOOXXXXXXXXXXXOO
OXOXXXXXXXXXXXOOO
OXOXXXXXXXXXXXOOO
XXOXXXXXXXXXXOOOO
OOOXXXXXXXXXXOOOO
OOOOXXXXXXXXOOOOO
OOOOXXXXXXXXOOOOO
OOOOXXXXXXXOOOOOO
OOOOOXXXXXXOOOOOO
OOOOOXXXXXXOOOOOO
OOOOOXXOOXXOOOOOO
OOOOXXXOXXXOOOOOO
OOOOXXXOXXXOOOOOO


Friday, July 15, 2011

Color Blocking or Color Coding?

Although I am supposed to be color coding open ended responses on interview transcripts, the crafty bug bit me while I was attempting to get back in the swing of real life. So, I pulled out a bag of soy/nylon yarns that I bought a few years back and searched for a something color blocked that I could make to use up some of the stash that I knew I would never knit up in to socks as I'd intended.
I found a free pattern from Pair Of Ducks Knitting for Evie's Dress that I added straps to by adding two 10 inch lengths of seed stitch (six stitches wide) to the back of the dress and buttons (also from the stash) to the front. I made the smallest size (CO 126 sts) on a size 5 needle, but made the skirt 10 inches long, just to be safe since everything I make ends up too big. To do the color blocking I worked the first 7 inches in yellow, then switched to blue for the skirt top, pintuck row, and seed stitch, saving the purple only for the bodice, then switched back to blue for the top seed stitch and straps. It might just be the cutest thing I've ever knitted.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wedding Etching

Another sadly under-photographed contribution to the big wedding were the bridesmaids and groomsmens gifts: etched beer mugs with our names and titles. The bride put together the designs in her reception fonts and I used the etching attachment on my Dremmel tool to transfer them onto each mug. The Blushing Bride and Dashing Groom each got one too, to assure that the bartenders never had to question if this drink was really for the bride.
Another hand-etched touch was the addition of clear wine bottles on each table for water. The bride and I painstakingly emptied 27 white wine bottles, soaked them overnight to remove the labels, and etched them by first cutting a pattern out of contact paper (used for lining shelves and drawers) then adhering it to the bottle and covering the stencil with Armor Etch for about an hour. Each stencil could be used two to three times (depending on how ornately they were cut) as long as we remembered to carefully remove them before before washing off the etching cream.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

This one's for the flower girls

The professional photos from the wedding made their way into my inbox last night, so I decided to take a break from avoiding my work to brag a little bit about the crafts that can finally make their official appearance on the blog now that the wedding is over. While I have more than a few crafts to catch up on I wanted to start with my shining contribution to the wedding, the flower girl dresses and baskets. The bride and I worked together to make a bundle of little pink organza flowers for them to drop down the aisle (which sadly didn't get much camera time) and ribbon wands for all the little girls (and little girls at heart) to wave on the dancefloor.
You might remember from a post back in May that the toddler girls dresses were purchased from Target all white, and I took it upon myself to pretty them up with ribbon rosettes and ties in coral. Since the dresses only came up to size 4T I got to make the two (see top) for the older girls. I adapted Butterick 5458 to be the right length, have buttons up the back, and be covered in three full circles of tulle to give all the these gals the same tutu shape the bride wanted so badly.
 The flowers they dropped were made out of organza, a process inspired by Happily, Becki that involved melting flower shapes over a candle and sewing them together. The bride has all the photos, so be sure to check out Lovely and Gracious for an update on the full project.
The ribbon wands, another of Hilary's adorable ideas were made out of 9 kinds of ribbon (satin, grossgrain and sheer) ranging from 1/8 inch to 3/4 inch wide and 3/8" wooden dowels cut down to 12 inch lengths by my new buddy at the lumber supply store down the street from my house. Using white duct tape torn width wise four times to be about 1/2 inch wide and 8 inches long, we carefully wrapped the ribbon one strand at a time onto the stick. Adding another strand of ribbon about every 2/3 of a wrap. If you were driving in southern California on May 18th you may have seen them flying out the window of Toyota Echo undergoing a durability test. If not, just look at how much fun they turned out.

Procrastination Sushi


When it’s too hot in Claremont to bake or sew I’m usually forced to do my school work, but this afternoon after a few hours of coding I decided to try my hand at sushi instead. While I’m probably not ready to drop out and go to culinary school I am pretty proud of the way it all turned out.

First I prepared 1 cup white basmati rice in a rice cooker. When it was cooked I mixed in a vinegar mixture of:
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup rice vinegar
and allowed the sticky rice to cool while I prepared my fish and veggies.

I made California rolls (minus the avocado because the ones in the store were like rocks) with imitation crab and cucumber, as well as spicy tuna rolls with “fresh frozen” ahi (I know, I know, I’ll probably end up with some sort of parasite, but I live too far from the ocean and beggars can’t be choosers).

For the California rolls, cover a placemat in plastic wrap then set the nori sheet with the bumpy side up to cover it with about 3/4 cup of white rice and sprinkle sesame seeds over it. I Pamed my hands to keep the rice from sticking during this part. Flip the nori over so the rice is on the plastic wrap. and pile the crab and cucumber on top, then wrap the plastic wrap and placemat around the roll and pull it taut. Unwrap the roll from the plastic and transfer it to a cutting board.

For the spicy tuna I made the rolls rightside in. Starting with the shiny side of the nori cover the sheet with about 1/2 cup sticky rice and a sprinkling of sesame seed. Then, right on top of the rice stack the ahi and cucumber, finishing it off with a drizzle of Sriracha. Then roll inside the plastic wrap and placemat, just like the California roll. Cut each roll into 6 even pieces with a sharp knife and serve with soy sauce and ginger.

Finally, I sat down with my gluttonous amount of sushi, and pretended like I ordered take out.