Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fiesta Skirt

I wanted to use more of the fiesta yarn that I had so I decided to make a little skirt to go with the fiesta swing vest. I want to share the pattern that I made for this skirt, but if you read down to the bottom I will try to help explain how to make it for pretty much any size.  This one is for my 2 year old who wears about a size 3.  It is pretty stretchy though, so I'm thinking it is probably about a 2-4 size just like the vest.

Again I used the size 10 circular 16" needle and also a size 7 circular 16" needle, and worsted weight yarn.

Start by casting on 126 stitches onto the size 10 needle.  Join to knit in the round.
Knit the 1st round.  Purl the 2nd round.  Knit the 3rd round. Purl the 4th round.
After this you will just knit.
Each of my stripes is 8 rounds long.
I made 3 stripes then changed colors and knit one round with my next color of choice. Those 3 stripes were about 4 inches of knitting.

After you have completed one round in that color you will decrease the number of stitches on the needle. On this round K1 and then K2tog all the way around.
You will now have 84 stitches on the needle.  Continue with the stripes.
After I had 5 total stripes, or about 7 inches of knitting, I switched to the next color and at the same time switched to the size 7 needle.  I knit 9 rounds in this color.  Since it was a smaller needle I needed to do more rounds to make this stripe a little closer to the size of the other stripes.
Then switch to the next color, which for me was my "fiesta" yarn and also the same color that I started with.  You will now begin knitting the waistband.  K1, P1 all the way around, and continue in this pattern for 18 rounds or twice as long as you want the waistband to be.
Now turn your garment inside out.  Be careful not to let stitches fall off when you are doing this.
You are now going to knit the stitches on your left needle to corresponding stitches on the last round of your previous stripe.  This was the last round before the waistband.

So maybe from these pictures so can see that I have folded the waistband over and basically knit 2 stitches together to create a casing sort of.

Now if you want to it might be a good idea to cut a piece of elastic to the length of your child's waist measurement, and before you completely enclose the casing feed the elastic through the casing and sew the ends together creating a tight elastic waist band inside the casing and finish closing up the casing by continuing to knit 2 stitches together.  I did not do this for this skirt, but I might should have.  If you yarn doesn't keep its springyness (is that a word?) then you will definitely want to use elastic.

As you are doing this knit 2 together thing make sure that you are picking up the correct stitch on your round from the previous stripe.  Just keep checking that if you are knitting a purl stitch that you are picking up a stitch in that same purl row. Did that make sense?  Like just keep checking to make sure everything is aligned.

This is what it should look like once you have knit all the way around.  Your waist band will be on the inside of your circular needles, and the rest of the garment on the other side.  I hope you can tell what I mean from this picture.  Now get your size 10 needle again, and use it to loosely cast off these stitches.
When you have cast off all the stitches this wrong side of your waist band will look like this.
Now you can weave in all the ends where you switched colors and all that good stuff.

You may not need a size 2-4 skirt, and if that is the case it is pretty easy to modify this pattern.

Basically you need to know what your gauge is.  Mine is about 4 stitches by inch.  You will need to measure the hip measurement of your model.  Mine was 21 inches.  Multiply that number by the number of stitches per inch in your gauge.  For me that was 4 so 21 x 4 = 84. Now you want to divide your results by 2 and then add that result back to the number.  So 84 / 2 = 42 and 84 + 42 = 126.  That is how I got my cast on number.   Now if your hip measurement is 24  and your gauge was 5 stitches per inch you would multiply 24 x 5 to get 120.  120 / 2 = 60.  60 + 120 = 180.  180 would be your cast on number.  The only other thing that you would want to change for the pattern is the length of your bottom ruffle perhaps, and the overall length of the skirt.

Good luck and let me see pictures if any one else tries one!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Little Girls Swing Vest

I wanted to knit something with this new yarn I picked up a Micheal's.  The color is called Fiesta!  I absolutely love the colors in real life.  I took this picture with my iphone and the colors are somewhat close to actual, but not spot on.  I wanted to make something quick, so that I could really good ahead and enjoy those colors.  I was inspired by a pattern for a doll sweater that I found on ravelry.  Although I basically followed her pattern as a recipe I had to come up with new numbers of stitches and measurements in order to get a garment for a 2-4 year old.  It fits both my 2 year old and my 4 year old, so it should get a lot of use.

What to get:
Less than 244 yards of worsted weight yarn in your color choice.
size 10 needles.  I used 16" circular, but this can be worked on straight needles as well or longer circulars.

Start by casting on 64 stitches.
Knit 2 rows.  On the 3rd row knit to the final 4 stitches.  Yarn over.  K2tog.  K2.
Knit for 3 more rows.
From this point out make sure that you keep 5 stitches at the beginning and end of each row in garter stitch.  The rest will be in stochinette stitch.  (I can't spell.)
So on this row you will knit 5 stitches, then knit in the front and back of each stitch all the way across to the last 5 stitches which you will knit.
Next row purl.
Next row K5, then (K1, Kfb) repeat across to last 5 stiches, K5.  At this point I believe that you will have 172 stitches.  If my memory serves me correct.
Now continue knitting in st stitch with your garter stitch border for 4".  That is 4" from where you started st stitch. Finish on a purl row.
At this point you will knit 28. This will be the first front part of your vest. You could place a marker here but you don't have to.  Next knit 33 stitches.  This is a sleeve.  Turn your work and knit those 33 stitches again.  Turn and bind off those 33 stitches.  Now knit the next 50 stitches.  This is the back of the vest.  Knit the next 33 stitches.  Turn and knit those 33 stitches again.  Then turn and bind off those 33 stitches.  Then knit the remaining 28 stitches.
On the following row you will purl and join all of your remaining stitches to make the sleeves.
Continue in st stitch for about 6 to 6.5 inches.  Remember your garter stitch border of 5 stitches on each side.
Then knit 7 row for a garter stitch border at the bottom.  You could do it for 5 rows if you like, because the garter border on mine has a tendency to want to flip up and I feel like if I had made it a little thinner it might not flip up as bad.  Then you can bind off all you stitches.
Last thing is to sew on your button.

This will be great in the fall with a long sleeve shirt underneath.  I finished this in about a day and half due to the fact that the pattern calls for larger sized needles.  I really love any project that is a quick knit a I am one of those people who revels in instant gratification.

Greatest Baby Announcements on Earth

We finally have a new baby!!!  After what seemed like a super long wait, and tons of attempts at natural inductions our newest family member was forced from his snug little cocoon and into the world.   Now, how to tell all of his eager fans?  Well here is what my mother and I came up with.

We made a trip to the store and picked up a bunch of movie theatre candy boxes, cracker jacks, and Barnum's Animal Cracker boxes.  Then we printed out a picture of the new baby with all his stats onto a 2x4 sticky label and slapped them onto the boxes.  Each label has a catchy title that corresponds to the type of candy or snack.

I decided to put the labels on the back of the boxes rather than on the front, but of course it would be good either way. We chose these titles:
Junior Mints: Welcoming our Little Junior
Reese's pieces: We Love Him to Pieces
Sugar Babies: Our Sugar Baby
Cracker Jack: Cracker Jack of a Baby
SweetTarts:  Our New Sweetheart
Hot Tamales:  One Hot Tamale
Animal Crackers:  Greatest Baby on Earth (absolutely my favorite because I love the little boxes, and our "Greatest Baby" goes perfect with the Greatest Show on Earth.)

I think we did pretty good coming up with the right favors to hand out to guests coming to visit our new little guy.  The new dad insisted on having some more traditional favors, so we also printed out some It's a Boy labels with the same pictures and stats onto card-stock, and tying these business card size announcements to cigars with It's a Boy ribbon.  I'm glad we can now contribute to all our loved ones less than healthy habits.  Come visit our baby and we will either help you get fat off sugary candy, or you can coat your lungs with carcinogens.  Which ever.  Ha.  Happy Birth-Day.  What's life if you can't celebrate with indulgences?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Gluten Free Dairy Free Banana Bread

This is a variation on my great grandmother's banana bread. I have really never found another banana bread that I love as much as this one. Honestly I think the best part of it is that when you bake it for the recommended time you still get a slightly gooey center in the middle of the bread. I am such a sucker for gooey dough. Ha. As a kid I would refuse to eat any part of the bread other than the center pieces. 

1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs beaten
2 cups brown rice flour minus 4 teaspoons
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 teaspoon of xantham gum
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
3 mashed ripened bananas

Cream the coconut oil, sugar, and eggs.
Remove 4 teaspoons of flour from the 2 cups of brown rice flour. Then add in the baking powder and salt. Add the xantham gum, and then mix flour mixture together with whisk.
Add flour mixture to oil, sugar, and eggs. Mix
Add bananas. Mix.
Add flaxseed. Mix
Grease your bread pan, and fill with bread dough mixture.
Bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes. Again you can bake for longer, but the best part is definitely the delicious gooey center. It isn't too too gooey, so don't let my description scare you.

Ruffled Puff Sleeve Shrug

Here is the pattern for this fun shrug. You will need: Worsted weight yarn (I'm not sure of the yardage yet because I used a big huge lb skein, and I used part of it for another project, plus had left over from this one. Maybe if someone else tries the pattern they can share their yardage with the rest of us. size 13 straight needles size 9 29" circular needle (you could probably use any size larger than an 8 or so) size 7 16" circular needle Begin by casting on 90 stitches onto the size 13 needles. Knit in garter stitch for approximately 24" and then cast off.
You should have a rectangle that is approximately 24" by 30". Fold it in half so that it is 30" by 12".
Seem up 6" on each end of the open edge.
The above picture shows one side seamed up. You can decide to only seam 5" or 7" depending on your own body. Turn the garment right side out and try it on. Make sure you don't need to make adjustments on the length of your seem. It will look like this.
Now you will use the 16" circular needle and you will pick up stitches around the sleeves. Do this working right side out. You are going to be decreasing the number of stitches as you pick up your yarn. For every two stitches you will only pick up one. Insert your needle into each valley in between the garter stitch.
You want to end up with 57 stitches on your needle. If you have to skip a few spots here or there to get that number that's okay too. If you have more rows than me in your original triangle then you may have to make adjustments to this step to get 57 stitches, or you need to have around 57 with a number that is divisible by 3 and that when you subtract 1/3 from the number it gives you an even number. Hope that made sense. Once you have 57 stitches on your size 7 16" circular needle begin working in the round. On the first round k2tog, k1 all the way around. You should now have 38 stitches. After that k1,p1 for 4 inches and then cast off loosely. I knit my knit stitches and purl my purl stitches when I cast off.
Repeat this on the other sleeve.
Now you will switch to the size 9 29" circular needle. You will pick up one stitch for each stitch in your center opening. The number of stitches will vary depending on how many inches you decided to seam up for the sleeves. It is not necessary to have a particular number of stitches.
Round 1: Knit Round 2: Purl Round 3: Knit Round 4: kfb of each stitch Round 5: Purl Round 6: kfb of each stitch Round 7: Purl cast off.
Weave in any

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Gone Fishin

I recently helped plan a baby shower for my nephew who is on the way an day now. I wasn't totally in charge of things, and I was very lucky that those colaborating with me were so willing to take my suggestions and then do all the work themselves. Haha. I suggested that the theme for the baby shower match the nursery theme. That way some of the decorations, such as little duckies and stuff, could be sent home with the new mama. Plus it let people invited to the shower know that "Pond" nursery items were welcomed. All I had to do for the shower was make the fondant toppers for the cupcakes. They even made and iced the cupcakes ahead of time for me. Made it really easy for me to just show up.
At the last minute I thought to arrange the cupcakes like an actual pond instead of just sitting them out on the table in any old order.
We used metal pails that had been used at my sister's wedding last year to float duckies in as centerpieces on the tables. Someone was nice enough to cut out lily pads to go under the buckets, and each table got a cute little wooden turtle that I think they found at Wal-mart for a dollar a piece.
I also whipped up some little dirt cups last minute. These really can be made last minute. It's nothing but instant pudding spooned into the bottom of a individual baking cup. Then sprinkle Oreo cookie crumbs on top, and place your gummy worms in the desired spot. It is best to do these last minute though if you are going to use these little paper baking cups because the pudding is a little to moist for this type of cup and it will make the paper a bit mushy. The cup will loose its shape. There are a lot of things you can do for a Pond Party. Cucumber salad could be "lily pad salad". The punch could be "pond scum." Little Smokey sausages on a skewer could be "cat tails." One of the delicious treats at our party were grapes on a skewer made to look like caterpillars. They were very cute but the eyes kept sliding down, and I didn't get a good picture of them. Chicken/Tuna salad sandwiches could be cut into butterfly shapes with a big butterfly cookie cutter. I mean really there are so many ideas. I was happy to be a contributor to this event, and I was really lucky that my sister has some other great friends who wanted to do so much.

All Hung Out

It looked great hanging out. It actually rained on it a little bit, and didn't ruin it either. I was pretty excited about that. I was for some reason imagining that it would mildew over night or something, but Nope.


Just an example of the fun sign I made with my mother-in-law's nifty cricut. I really don't use it enough, but those cartridges are just so darn expensive. Although they do go on sale a lot. I made this as a gift for a friend. Basically it is just a 1x12x8 that I bought at Lowe's for $11. I was able to have my husband cut it into a bunch of smaller boards. This one is roughly 1x12x30". The black lettering is just vinyl that is sold with the cricut stuff in the craft section of walmart, and the white lettering is just contact paper. That's what I had around the house. I primed the board with some primer leftover from priming our fence and then I covered it in lavender acrylic paint. Done. I would be pretty excited to get it as a gift.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

4th of July Hand and Foot-Print Flag for Hanging

Today we went to Lowes to find a outdoor garden flag to hang outside my mother's house on the 4th. They had really small ones, but no larger flags. We were disappointed. So then I started thinking that I had seen some cute hang and foot-print flags on pinterest. There are some really great ideas online for this type of flag, and honestly a lot of other peoples actual hand and foot print stamping look better than mine. Most of the flags I saw though were flags to frame and hang on the wall. I wanted to make one that I could actually hang outside on the 4th, or possibly hang inside on a curtain rod mounted to the wall later. So here is what I came up with. Maybe I'll do it again next year and lay out may hand prints more like THIS. I started with some white fabric that I already had around the house. It is 100 percent cotton and probably not a good idea to actually use outside, but I'm only planning on using it outside on the 4th and then using it inside later. Maybe it will be fine. I bet that there are outdoor fabrics available that might be better. I've never looked for solid white outdoor fabric though. If you have ever bought fabric before then you know that it is folded in half on the bolt. This worked out nicely for me. I unfolded the fabric but used that center fold to differentiate between the two sides of my flag. I only decorated one half. I took a pencil and lightly sketched out what section would have the hands/stars and then where the stripes/feet would be.
The length of your fabric can vary depending on how long you want your flag to be. I just sort of eye-balled how long I wanted it, and then I added about 5 inches. You can cut your fabric there. I squeezed out red paint onto a disposable plate and then used a paint brush to paint the bottom of one foot of my willing children. I set this whole project up on our kitchen table because it is a huge work surface, but if you are really worried about getting acrylic paint everywhere then you may want to do this outside. I had their daddy there to help me steady them, while they were standing on our table with one foot in the air having it painted.
Then just stamp their foot down onto the flag in your guidelines. It works good if you ask them to stamp with their painted foot then step forward with their other foot one step before picking up the painted foot to get painted again. This way they will be lined up to stamp their next print.
Next repeat using your blue paint and a small critter of your choice with precious hands.
Again, I recommend checking out the flag on the blog link above and seeing how they positioned their hands. I think it is much cuter.
You can see from the picture above that you have one big piece of fabric, half decorated with a flag and half plain white. Next you will fold you fabric in half. Fold it so that wrong sides are on the outside and the picture is on the inside.
You are going to sew closed two sides. First sew the short side without stars/hand prints, or the bottom of the flag. Then sew closed the long side that is open. You know, not the folded side. You obviously will not have to sew that side. I used a 1/4" seem. You will end up with something that looks like a pillow case once you turn it right side out. At this point it would probably be a good idea to take your pillowcase and iron it, so that latter everything is even when you topstitch around the outside. I didn't do that, and my flag did not come out horribly wonky. If you want the perfect flag though then now is probably the time to bust out the iron. Of course I would recommend not ironing directly on the side with the acrylic paint. Also probably don't do it on a high temperature.
After you have turned it right side out pin back the raw edge of your open side about an inch towards the undecorated side of your flag. Stitch that in place.
Next top stitch around the other 3 sides of the the flag. I usually just stitch as close to the edge as I can, but roughly 1/8" from the edge.
Once you have finished stitching around the edges, direct your attention back to the top short side. Make another fold. This time fold the remaining 4 inches of white at the top of your flag to the back side of flag to create the loop that you will hang your flag from, and stitch it in place.
Here you can see the resulting casing.
Then you are finished. I'm thinking of taking a decorative curtain rod and mounting it somewhere in the house, and then rotating flags on the rod for various holidays, but I haven't gotten that particular project taken care of yet. Sorry for this boring picture of the flag, but since I don't have a decorative curtain rod yet, and I'm not at my mother's today to hang the flag up and take a picture, this will have to do until I get a better one.
Also it would be cool to decorate both sides. You could use puff paint, fabric paint, or more acrylic paint to write Happy 4th of July on the back or do another flag on the other side. Whatever floats your boat. I intend for only one side of the flag to be seen for the most part, so I wasn't too worried about it.