Monday, 29 October 2012

"Slender Man" Sock Monkey.

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Slender Man

Until recently I had never heard of "Slender Man".  This mythical being was brought to my attention by my 14 year old after seeing my attempts at making a sock monkey.  Given the similar elongated body types, we thought we'd have a go at modifying our sock monkey technique to come up with a creepy stuffed toy for a fourteen year old friend who's birthday just happens to fall around Halloween.

After looking at some google images of "Slender Man", we decided a suit wearing, faceless monkey-ish being could work quite well.


Materials 
2 pairs of childs socks - one black and one white (knee high school socks work well.)
Black and white cotton
Polyester fill
Scissors
Tailors chalk
Sewing Machine
Cotton Tape






Our previous Sock Monkey instructions are available here and for the Slender Man we followed the instructions for making the body and the arms and legs, but left off the tail and facial features and added a different coloured face. 

Method



Using the black pair of socks, mark and cut arms, legs and body as per our original sock monkey blog post.  As we want the slender man to have a white face, cut and remove approx 10 cm (approx 4 inches) from the toe section of the black sock and sew approx 10 cm from the toe section of the white sock in its place.










Once the leg seams have been sewn and the head attached, it's then onto stuffing the Slender Man.  I found it best to under fill the body, in keeping with his slim nature.











Once the stuffing is complete, it's time to add the suit details, hands and arms.  I simply used pieces from our white sock to add a collar and white triangle for the shirt.  A thin piece of black cotton tape was used for the tie and an offcut from the black socks was used to simulate a jacket front seam.


I was very glad to get to the end of this project - it turns out creepy characters are fun for fourteen year olds, but not so much for their mothers!


Happy Crafting - Deb

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Friday, 26 October 2012

No-carve Jack-O-Lantern

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Mr Buttons - Crafty and Child friendly.


Halloween is a great time for kids, but not so good if you are a teacher and trying to figure out a way for the class to have a Jack-O-Lantern that, in the process of making, does not involve sharp knives or candles.

Let us introduce Mr Jack Buttons, our no-carve, kid friendly Halloween pumpkin.

This is a very easy craft activity that will keep the class (working in groups) busy for the afternoon.

The process is very simple
Take one pumpkin, assorted buttons, hot glue gun and a marker pen.

Draw on the face of your 'Jack'.


... and start gluing on buttons.


A much safer way to create a focal point in the classroom.

Happy crafting (and Happy Halloween)

Louise

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Crochet Ballerina Slippers

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My niece Andie is a wonderfully talented ballerina - something I wish I had been.  However, the closest I can get to dancing is by crocheting these absolutely adorable slippers.
In hindsight, I could have made them for her but, being unsure of the pattern, followed it exactly and they fit me.  I'm sure she won't mind.  Should she want a pair though, I shall be more than happy to make some for her.

Pattern Download  (DROPS Design)

They are extremely simple.  I am only an intermediate crocheter at best and I had no problems with these at all and finished the first one in one evening.

They are much nicer than wearing a pair of socks around the house - something I have found myself doing even though I constantly grumble at my son for doing the same thing.  Funnily enough, he doesn't want a pair although he has asked for a pair of knitted black socks.  It's back to knitting for a while then ..

Perfect for dancing feet .. 
Couldn't resist another pair.
Happy Crocheting
Louise

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Monday, 22 October 2012

Simple Mens Satchel

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I'm starting to find that I don't like to purchase ready made items anymore.  Perhaps it's a blogger thing, but there's certainly a lot of enjoyment to be had, and a lot of money to be saved, by getting the sewing machine out of the cupboard (I will have a sewing room one day) and setting to work.

My eldest child was in need of a carry all for his technology and so we decided to have a try at making a simple  satchel that was not only sturdy but stylish as well.  I was told in no uncertain terms that if it looked anything like a "ladybag" it would not be used...ever!  Floral was definitely out of the question.


Materials

Approx 50cm of denim
Approx 50cm of cotton fabric for lining (I used cotton Ikat)
Cotton thread to match
Snap fasteners
Cotton strapping
Oblong bag rings
Zip (if adding a zip pocket)
Denim needle for sewing machine
Sewing Machine
scissors
tailors chalk




 Cut fabric to desired size.  Our final product measured 33cm wide by 25cm high so I cut the denim piece approx 35cm wide by 70cm long.  The 70 cm allows for the front and back of the satchel as well as the front flap.  I then cut the Ikat cotton lining appoximately 32cm wide and 69cm long so that it would sit comfortably inside the denim casing.

Fold and sew a 1cm seam around the edge of the denim (or desired outer fabric) and then repeat for the lining.





Using the denim outer fabric and with right sides facing, fold  up approx 23cm of fabric from the shorter edge,sew side seams and turn right side out, as pictured.











We chose to add pockets to the lining of our satchel and to do this we cut the fabric to the size desired (we decided to have our pockets hold pens, iPod and have a zippered pocket for change and transport cards.  For and easy zip pocket tutorial try Sew Mama Sew )

Once pockets are sewn in place, and with right sides facing, fold lining as per outer casing and sew side seams.  Turn right side out.






To attach straps, pin in place and sew.   I oversewed these a few times to ensure the strap would not come loose.  We used a pair of oblong rings from the bag making section of our local craft shops, which don't add any functionality to the satchel, but add a little bit of detail (although thankfully in this case, not in a "ladybag" way!)

In this photo you can also see a part of the snap fastener.  In the bag section of the satchel (as opposed to the flap) put the fasteners in place so that they will line up with the flap and follow instructions on the packet for securing correctly.







Turn outer casing inside out and place inside lining as shown.  Pin entire bag in place, including flap (but do not sew flap at this stage) Sew around the bag opening.  Close satchel  and line up the snap fasteners on the main body of the satchel with the lining of the flap.  Attach snap fasteners as per manufacturers instructions.  Sew flap lining to outing casing.







The final product.  I think you'll agree it's not "Ladybag" at all.

Happy Crafting

Deb


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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Beaded Summer Swish Poncho

Pin It I had some blue cotton in my stash that I bought when I made my black poncho.  At some point in time, there was something I had in mind for it, but that was long gone.  I had even gone to the trouble of threading little blue beads onto it - which made it easier for this poncho but all the more troubling that I couldn't remember what I was going to do with it.

The Summer Swish Poncho came about as a result of my desire for a piano shawl (read about it and see the pictures here) and I couldn't resist the urge to make another one.  There is also a link  on our previous page to the 'Solomon Knot' instructions.  All you need is some cotton and a small crochet hook and you will be ready to go.

I placed the beads at the join of every 'knot' along the neckline.  However, depending on how much patience you have and how many beads you want to thread, they can be placed absolutely anywhere.
Perfect for Summer .. 

The black summer poncho can be dressed up or down whereas I find this one is perfect over a white T-shirt and blue jeans.

Happy knitting Crocheting ..
Louise.










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Thursday, 18 October 2012

Daisy Flip Flops

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Springtime in Melbourne is a very hit and miss affair -  more miss than hit for the most part!  The cool chilly days of Winter seem to drag on for far longer than is entirely necessary and the warm days of Spring coyly wait their turn, rather than burst forth as I feel they should.  To coax the sunshine out of its slumber, I thought this year we would make some Daisy Flip Flops and Miss 11 thought that she could help out by crocheting a matching headband while I did the shoes and flowers.

*Before I go any further, a word of warning.  In Australia we call Flip Flops "Thongs" and so if I start referring to "Thongs" in this blog, I do not mean underwear...






I chose the traditional yellow and white colour scheme for our daisy shoes and headband in a standard 8 ply yarn.  To crochet the straps on the flip flops, I did a band of single crochet as if I was crocheting a circle and treating the shoe straps as if they were a crochet chain.





 



We used a simple daisy crochet pattern from Zen Crochet by Akua and chose version two of the varieties shown.  I left a long piece of yarn at the start and finish of the work and used that to sew the daisies onto the thong Flip Flop.








The headband is suitable for a total beginner (Miss 11 has been learning for approximately a month) and the pattern we came up with is:

Chain 6
*Single crochet into second chain from hook, and then Single Crochet into each stitch until the end of the row.
Chain 1, turn work*

repeat from * to * until headband fits around the head.  Slip stitch to join ends.




Who needs Spring sunshine when you can wear daisies in your hair!

Deb

You can follow the rest of my learning to crochet journey here

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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Halloween Wine Cosy - Creepy Cabernet and Menacing Merlot

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Due to the popularity of our Halloween Wine Cosies, we have come up with another simple idea to present a bottle wine during the holiday season.


Pattern

Using size 4 DPN's and black 8ply (no need to be too fussy about the yarn you use here), cast on 40 stitches and distribute evenly.
Set up a K2,P2 ribbing and continue for 7-8cm's.

On the next row, increase between each K2 using the M1 increase.  (This is where you K1, using your right needle lift up the bar between the stitches and slip it onto the left hand needle.  Then you knit into the back of the bar that you have just lifted.  Knitting into the back of the stitch ensures that it is not loose).

Continue in stocking stitch until you are 1cm less that your bottle length and then decrease at each end of each needle until 4 or 5 stitches remain on each needle.  Using a wool needle, thread the wool through the remaining stitches and secure.

The Cosy is finished.

I searched the internet for instructions on how to tie a noose and then hung the little skeletons for maximum effect.  Once the skeletons were hung, I used cotton filler to create a creepy, cobweb effect.

More Cosy Ideas

Tarantula Wine Cosy
Orange Cosy with Spiders


Cheers! Happy knitting and happy Halloween.

Louise.

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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Legend of Zelda Loom Knit Link Gauntlets (Fingerless Gloves)

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Not so long ago we made a Link hat (you can find the instructions here ) and  my son decided that a pair of gauntlets to match were desperately needed.  One of the wonderful things about loom knitting is that anyone can do it and you don't need to know how to knit to produce a knitted garment.  So it was that I gave my 14 year old the loom knitter and some instructions and away he went.


The plan we had was to essentially make a pair of fingerless gloves in the same manner as I had made a pair of Loom Knit Leg Warmers.   The instructions for the leg warmers, which includes video links for casting on/off and rib stitch are here)

Loom Knit Fingerless Gloves (Gauntlets) Pattern

Cast on using the small 24 peg loom and two strands of 8ply wool.  Knit one, purl one rib stitch for seven rows
Purl stitch 5 rows

To make thumb hole: 

Row 1:  At the horizontal peg and rather than continue knitting, reverse and using purl stitch go back over the stitches from the last row (eg,  I knit going to the right of the loom, so at the marker peg I stop and reverse, meaning I'm now knitting to the left of the loom.  You are essentially going back and forward on the loom, rather than knitting in the round, without crossing over the pegs inbetween the horizontal marker).  Stop when you get to the peg on the opposite side of the  horizontal marker from where you started this row.

Row 2:  Reverse and using Purl stitch go back over the stitches as knitted in Row 1.  Stop at the peg on the opposite side of the horizontal marker peg from where you started this row.  Repeat Row 1 and Row 2 a further 2 times to form a hole.  A total of 6 rows.

Row 7:  Using Purl stitch continue knitting in the round beyond the horizontal peg as you did prior to commencing the thumb hole. Purl a further 8 rows

Rib Insert:  Rib (Knit one Purl one) for 15 rows

Continue in Purl stitch for 15 rows

Rib (Knit one , Purl one ) for 12 rows

Cast off.



My son wanted to include a bit of detail on the gauntlet and we both thought the section of rib in the middle was a great addition.

Happy loom knitting

Deb

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Thursday, 11 October 2012

Rose Medusa Cowl

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The Rose Medusa

I already have a Medusa Cowl (I Wish I Was a Fashionista blog post) but I wanted a more 'summery' one.  Something that says spring is in air - or soon will be so I thought the addition of a flower or 2 would be just the ticket.

Last week when I was in my local craft shop browsing - I was looking for grotesque Halloween items - and I had my arms full of Halloween colours and plastic tarantulas, I spied this wool.  When I say 'wool', it's a combination of 70% acrylic and 30% milk protein.  I was intrigued.  Could you get your daily dairy allowance by wearing it?

I loved the colour and the texture and broke with my long held tradition of never buying acrylic and purchased a few balls.

It knitted up beautifully, and I must say, I love the end result.


Rose Medusa Cowl Pattern


Using circular needles in the size recommended for your wool cast on approximately 150 stitches.

Knit 3 rows in stocking stitch

4th row: K6, then cast off all stitches until you come back to the original 6.
5th row: k6 (these 6 stitches form the 'spine' of the scarf which sits comfortably at the back of your neck) .. cast on a further 150 or so stitches. Varying the amount of the cast on stitches gives you the varying lengths of strands. Feel free to choose the sort of scarf you wish.

Knit 3 rows in stocking stitch.

9th row: K6, then cast off all stitches until you come back to the original 6.
10th row: K6 and cast on a further 150 or so stitches and continue until you have 10 or 11strands. The scarf pictured has 11 strands.

(The "Rose Medusa" scarf pictured is knitted on 4.0 circulars with 8ply. The scarf lengths vary from 145- 180 stitches)

Final row. Cast off all stitches.

The addition of a crocheted rose adds a beautiful feminine touch which I love.


More Cowls & wraps from FitzBirch



Happy Knitting,

Louise

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Work in Progress




Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Halloween Wine Cosy (A Tarantula Tipple)

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Red wine .. or something else?
If you are heading to a Halloween party or dinner and feel like taking a bottle of wine, then this extremely simple wine cosy will ensure that there will be plenty of conversation around the dinner table.

Pattern

Using size 4 DPN's and black 8ply (no need to be too fussy about the yarn you use here), cast on 40 stitches and distribute evenly.
Set up a K2,P2 ribbing and continue for 7-8cm's.

On the next row, increase between each K2 using the M1 increase.  (This is where you K1, using your right needle lift up the bar between the stitches and slip it onto the left hand needle.  Then you knit into the back of the bar that you have just lifted.  Knitting into the back of the stitch ensures that it is not loose).

Continue in stocking stitch until you are 1cm less that your bottle length and then decrease at each end of each needle until 4 or 5 stitches remain on each needle.  Using a wool needle, thread the wool through the remaining stitches and secure.

The Cosy is finished.

Using a hot glue gun, apply any grotesque, revolting or creepy looking insect or body part.  I used cotton filler for the cobweb effect.

Another Halloween Cosy Idea


Happy knitting and happy Halloween.

Louise.

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Monday, 8 October 2012

The Legend of Zelda - Link Hat

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Not long ago I made my 14 year old a "Fabulous Finn Hat" and not content with having only one piece of cosplay headwear in his wardrobe, decided that he would also like a Link hat.  Link is character from the "Legend of Zelda" game series and while there are many, many Link hats available for purchase, actual instructions for making one seem few and far between.

We started with two shades of green fleece fabric, about 1 metre of each, which actually gave us enough to make two hats, with plenty of fabric left over.  In this instance we chose the lighter green for the band and measured around my son's head, then cut a length of fabric to that length, plus 2cm seam allowance with an overall width of 10cm.


For the main body of the hat we folded our fabric in half and cut a large triangle, using the fold in the fabric as one of the edges.  We used my son's head circumference to work out the length of the shortest side of the triangle, which would be attached to the headband.  The equation was basically half of his head circumference plus 2cm for the seam allowance.  We then measured the length of the hat at right angles and drew a 65cm line using tailors chalk.  We also wanted to add a little detail to the pointy end of the hat so cut out two smaller triangles to sew in place later.




The machine sewing is really quite simple for this project.

Headband:   Fold fabric length in half with right sides facing and sew along length to form tube.  Turn tube inside out.

Main body of hat:  With right sides facing, pin triangle in place and sew along longest seam.  Turn inside out.

Attach headband to hat:  I did this by hand sewing as I wanted to have the hat looking as less manufactured as possible.  I placed the seam of the headband so that it would sit at the back of the head, while the seam for the main body of the hat would sit at the side of the head so that we could add detail later.



Add details:  We cut off the tip of the hat and hand sewed a small green triangle on the end and used two strands of wool to add detail to the side of the hat. 














Happy sewing

Deb





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Thursday, 4 October 2012

Halloween Wine Cosy

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Drinks anyone ??
It would take a glass of wine or two before I ceased to look at this wine cosy with anything but unease. I was unaccustomed to browsing for spiders, eyeballs or skeletons to use with my knitting .. but there is always a first for everything.

Of all the wine cosies, this one is by far the easiest.  I suppose the more adventurous of knitters could attempt to knit their own tarantulas - but I'm not one of them.  The very thought of knitting fuzzy, revolting spiders does not fill me with any enthusiasm.

Pattern

Using size 4 DPN's and orange 8 Ply, cast on 40 stitches and distribute evenly on 4 of the needles.
Set up a K2,P2 ribbing and continue for 7-8cm's.

On the next row, increase between each K2 using the M1 increase.  (This is where you K1, using your right needle lift up the bar between the stitches and slip it onto the left hand needle.  Then you knit into the back of the bar that you have just lifted.  Knitting into the back of the stitch ensures that it is not loose).

Continue in stocking stitch until you are 1cm less that your bottle length and then decrease at each end of each needle until 4 or 5 stitches remain on each needle.  Using a wool needle, thread the wool through the remaining stitches and secure.

The Cosy is finished.

Using a hot glue gun, apply any grotesque, revolting or creepy looking insect or body part.

Another Halloween Wine Cosy Idea

Floral Wine Cosy -  Perfect for Birthday wine giving

Happy knitting and happy Halloween.

Louise.

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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Fabulous "Adventure Time" Finn Hat

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If you're living in a house with teens, it's highly likely you've become acquainted with "Adventure Time with Finn and Jake"  The tale of a fourteen year old boy and his best friend Jake, who is actually a magical dog.  It came as no surprise when my own fourteen year old boy hatched  a plan to add a Finn hat to his wardrobe, Halloween isn't that far away after all!  As is usual in our household if you hatch a plan, you're also asked to be involved in its coming to fruition (in other words, you really need to make a contribution to the project or it's unlikely to proceed) and so it was that I was handed a template and white fleece fabric cut to size...

My son had downloaded the template from instructables (you can find it here) and then even messaged the link to me via Facebook.  I was going to Tweet him a response, but I was worried that my making a point about communicating through the spoken word, may come across as a tad old fashioned to a tech savvy youth <sigh>

So out came my sewing machine and a simple case of sewing up the rear seam of the main flap and sewing the hat top into place, quickly became more difficult when I tried it on for size...











I'm not renowned for having a particularly small skull, so it was pretty obvious some changes needed to be made.






Back to the template to  make a few adjustments.  We shortened the forehead section and also the side flaps












A little unpicking and resewing later (the ears are on the inside handsewn in place) the hat was nearing completion.  Just the edges to sew together and turn inside out and velcro to hold the chin flap in place.




This was a very quick and easy hat to make (even with my basic sewing skills) and all it needs to compete the outfit is a light blue t-shirt, dark blue shorts and a green backpack.










Deb

P.S.  We made the backpack too!  You can find the link at "Adventure Time Finn Costume"

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Monday, 1 October 2012

No Sew Christmas Elf Tutu

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I have two little nieces who quite recently moved to Melbourne with my younger sister and her partner and they are as cute and adorable as a two year old and  an almost four year old can be.  As my tribe outgrew younger kids toys and crafts many years ago, it's a delight to have some little ones to make and buy for...and of course it's much quicker and takes less fabric to make things for little kids than big ones!

As Christmas is quickly approaching, I thought it would be lovely to make a funky elf style tutu skirt, that was a little bit edgier than the usual soft pastel colours that tutus are renowned for.

Level of Difficulty - Easy
Time - About an hour

 

Materials

Green and red tulle (I used plain red, and found a gorgeous spotty green tulle at Spotlight which I just love for this project, but feel free to use glitter tulle or plain tulle)
Scissors
Elastic (I used quite wide elastic, to hold the weight of the tulle, but a long thick ribbon would work equally as well)
Measuring tape or ruler


Method
To Fit 2-3 year old - Cut longer lengths and longer elastic if making for an older child or adult.

Cut a 55cm piece of wide elastic (approx 21 inches) and knot to form a circle.

The fabric strips need to be approx 40cm long (16 inches) so I cut the fabric to this length and then folded over several times, as per the photo below to make cutting easier.


Cut strips of tulle approximately 5cm wide if using soft tulle and 2.5cm wide if using stiff tulle.  My green spotted tulle was very soft, while the red tulle was quite stiff and 5cm wide strips of the red were too difficult to work with, so I cut them to half the width and used two strips of red to one strip of green when attaching to the elastic waist band.  If cutting 5cm strips you will need about 20-25 and for 2.5cm strips 40-50 if using two colourways.




 
To attach the strips to the skirt, fold the fabric strip in half widthways, hold the folded edge to the front of the  elastic, loop the ends of the fabric around the back of the elastic and pull through into the loop.  Continue adding the fabric strips until the elastic is completely covered.

 I was thinking of also adding some thin ribbon strips to this skirt, but I've decided to leave it as is.  As this is for a young child, I haven't added sequins (I never add embellishment that I think may be a choking hazard), but if it were a costume for a school age child, I think a little bit of sparkle is usually appreciated by the recipient.


Deb
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More FitzBirch Crafty Christmas Ideas

Crafty the SnowmanCrochet Snowflakes

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