Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Finger Knitting

My daughter and I are continuing to explore working with wool. We've done lots of crochet practice and experiments, and also tried French Knitting.
Next to try was some finger knitting!

I watched a Youtube video to see how it was done and then showed my daughter who took to it straight away!

She chose to just use 2 fingers as that was easier than 4 which I had showed her with; and with some funky thick wool she just sat back and knitted, and knitted, and knitted..

Until her wool ran out!
The resulting 10 meter rope was played with for hours after that!!!


I can see lots of fun to be had with this finger knitting. I've seen these types of long 'ropes' then used to make chunky blankets!
I'll have to investigate this further!!

Have you tried finger knitting?
Any suggestions for projects to try?
It's great fun - if you haven't yet you should give it a go!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Skirt to Bag Upcycle - A Tutorial



I've made bag from one of my daughter's old skirts before and it turned out really well:


So when I was sorting through a new pile of clothes to upcycle and found another skirt I knew it would make a pretty bag - and thought I'd make a tutorial to show how easy it is to prolong the life of an old favourite skirt by making it into a pretty and useful bag!

So here's how:

First take your skirt (this one was lined)

Cut a strip around 10cm (4") wide from the bottom of the skirt. This is what you'll use for the straps.


Main bag part

Next you need to stitch the outside base of your bag.
Turn your skirt inside out and fan the skirt right out:

Unless you want your bag to be like a big semi-circle, you'll need to fold the skirt in before pinning and stitching.
I just folded the edges in on either side like this:
But you could get creative here and do pleats all around - or just in the front, or fold and pin however you choose to make your bag your style!


Pin and stitch across the base of the skirt, which will form the base of your bag:
Turn your bag right sides out.


Now if your skirt is lined, you need to stitch across the bottom of this.
First lay it out of the bag like this, and trim if necessary:



Then fold the raw edges of the lining inside on themselves and pin closed:
 Push the lining inside the skirt and your main bag part is finished!


Straps

Take the strip you cut from the bottom of your skirt at the start, and place above your bag where you want the straps to be. Cut 2 strips the length you desire:



For each strap, fold the short end over, then the longer sides to the middle, then fold all in half lengthways and stitch along all 4 edges:

So now you should have 2 finished straps:


Attach straps to main bag

Now all you need to do is place the straps where you want them on your bag and pin into place:

Sew each strap to the bag, using a rectangle with a cross through the middle for extra strength:

Now your bag is finished!




For the free downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.


And for more ideas on upcycling skirts you can follow my 




And for over 600 ideas for upcycling all different types of clothes - take a look at the clothes upcycling linky page here.

Happy Upcycling





Saturday, July 27, 2013

Upcycling skirts



This week I'm looking at skirts and what can be done to upcycle them.


Bags

For me, the first thing I would think of to make from a skirt is a bag because a skirt's shape is well suited to this.

Here's a bag I made from one of my daughter's old skirts that no longer fitted her:

This was a nice simple upcycle - as I just needed to stitch the bottom of the skirt closed ( it was already a lined skirt - so produced a nice lined bag). Then added straps and embellishments!





Here are some other bags that people have made from skirts:

This one from Blissful and Domestic:





Here's even a great Youtube video by GiannyL on how to convert and old skirt into a bag!

 (GiannyL has several great videos showing clothes upcycles!




Now some other things made from skirts:



Second Chances By Susan came up with these great refashions of skirts into a top and a dress:


And here - All Things Reconsidered repurposed some old skirts into tablecloths!


A few more skirt upcycling projects can be found on on my 



And to see other ideas for upcycling clothing item by item
 - go here
I'm exploring a new item each week.

Or browse through the over 600 links we have in the ongoing Clothes Upcycling party. Take a look for some inspiration or add your own projects to inspire others.

Happy Upcycling!



Friday, July 26, 2013

Setting the bar higher

 Regular readers of my blog will know that I do like to set myself 

goals and challenges.

 I may not always achieve these goals, some fall by the wayside, 

but it doesn't deter me from setting more and trying again.

As Thomas Edison said,



So once again I have reset and re-evaluated my goals.

I have worked out quite a comprehensive plan of attack for the 

growth of my blogs throughout the rest of the year. It's clearer than 

any plan I've made before.

I've tried to be as specific as possible - with things broken down 

into 6 monthly, 3 monthly, 1 monthly and weekly goals and tasks. 

Then each week I will work out a timetable and schedule in all my 

tasks to make sure I achieve each of my weekly goals.

In working out my goals this time - this quote I found recently 

really did make me think hard about what I'm doing..



"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value."

 –Albert Einstein




In writing this very detailed plan of action, I'm challenging myself more than I've done before with my blogs.  Each time I've drawn up a plan, it's been much shorter - or not so focused; but equally each time I've done this I've learnt something.

In the past when I've set my goals and plans - I've published them here - to help keep me accountable.
This time I'm not going to do that.  
As I work through my plans and achieve each small goal, I will share and post what I do and learn, but keep the bigger picture to myself for now.

By breaking my tasks down into monthly - then weekly - then daily, the idea is to keep up my motivation - small tasks to achieve regularly so I can see constant learning and progress.


People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither

 does bathing.  That’s why we recommend it daily.

–Zig Ziglar




This plan I've worked out - draws on what I've learned and done over the past few years. It draws together all aspects of what I'm doing and enjoy doing - my different blogs, interests and skills.

Time to raise that bar higher than I've done before - and believe that I will reach it. 
Time to really push myself way out of my comfort zone!




If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve 

always gotten. –Tony Robbins


GO!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

French Knitted Mouse - a different kind of amigurumi


This year, my daughter and I are exploring creating with wool. We've been trying lots of crochet - but a couple of weeks ago we had a go at French knitting.

We had a small knitting doll that we started with, and after starting with plain wool, my daughter decided she wanted to switch to something more colourful - so we ended up with this..


We both made this 'tube' - doing bits now and then when we had a moment.

In a book we found at the library, we found an idea of what to make with these tubes..



We chose a simple, small one to try out - a mouse..

Basically you make a small stuffed form and then wrap the knitted tube around it - stitching in place.

And stitch on small felt ears and nose..


The instructions in the book said we needed around 2 metres of french knitting, but judging by the size of our mouse's tail - I don't think we needed quite that much!

Still, he's a cute little mouse - and my daughter loves it!

She also wanted to try making a bigger tube, by making her own knitting doll...
I think we needed to have the lolly sticks sticking up a bit more as she found it a bit tricky with the thick wool - but she persisted to make a purple 'sausage' and said at least we'll know for the next one we make!

Definitely lots more to experiment and create with here.

She's also trying finger knitting but I'll post about that another time.

Have you tried French knitting?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Komebukuro bag - made by a reader!

It's always so nice to hear from people who have made things using my tutorials. It's especially nice when they send photos!

Maria from The Knackful Knitter did just that!

She made a Komebukuro bag using my tutorial - take a look at her photos:



Isn't it lovely! - beautiful fabric too!


She told me:

"I just finished my little bag.  I made it a little taller and used Kona Cotton in bright yellow for the bottom because I plan on it holding my shuttle tatting.  I also added iron on stabilizer to the bottoms."


Have you ever made anything using one of my tutorials?
If you have, let me know - send me a photo or a link to your version! I'd love to see them!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Furry monster pencil case


My daughter requested that I make her friend a furry pencil case for her birthday, so this is what I came up with.

I used my Giant Twin Zip Pencil Case tutorial, with a few alterations.

I added applique eyes on the front; put the front zip lower and added a row of white felt teeth. I also lined the pencil case with nice soft velour:

The finished case size  is 35 x 26 cm (approx 14 x 10")

It's so soft and cuddly, I'm not sure that I would want to fill it up with pencils, but I'll leave that up to the birthday girl to decide!

If I were to make it again - I think I'd line the smaller zip portion (the mouth) with red or pink so it's more like the inside of a mouth when you open the zip!