Tag Archives: Crafts

T-shirt Quilt

4 Jan

T-shirt quilt


We had acquired about 3 zillion t-shirts over the years. While it’s impossible to wear all of these, it’s also hard to get rid of them because many are fond reminders of schools, races, and great friends. So I made a patchwork quilt.

Using a template (a coffee table book, not the best option really) I cut out the logo/design part of the t-shirt with a circular quilting blade. Then I sewed the rectangles into strips, and sewed the strips together. This is the time to use your machine- don’t bother hand quilting. Rather than using batting and backing, I just purchased a large swath of fleece and quilted the fleece and patched t-shirts together, bringing the fleece around to the front to create a border.

11 Apr

I made this purse when I was in grad school roughly 5-6 years ago.

Seascape Blues PurseI love the colors! The purse is stockinette stitch with two strands knitted together. One strand is a plain blue; the second is a shaggy yarn with shades of aqua and lime. The “wrong” side of the stockinette stitch is facing outwards. The inside is lined with a light-weight, lime green cotton fabric.

I wanted to replicate this round shape with some lovely “surf blue” merino wool. This was the result of months of testing:

craftfailFinally, I got something approaching the rounded, bubble shape from which I was aiming. I knit this purse in the round, using increases and decreases to create the rounded sides.  I still don’t quite have the smooth curves I’m working on.

Surf Blue Bubble PurseThe purse is lined with a navy blue linen blend fabric, and the handles are recycled from a thrift store belt. The top edge is finished with a simple crochet stitch.

closeup of surf blue purseSurf Blue Bubble Purse, second view




How to: Felted Winter Cloche

10 Dec
First row

First row cast on

It suddenly turned frigid in Savannah with low temperatures in the 20s at night. I discovered that I didn’t have a good winter hat, and as a knitter, I’m not sure how I got myself into this situation. I initially modeled my design on the Monmouth cap, which was worn in sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe and early colonial America. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because it’s a simple pattern that can be easily “freestyle fashioned” into anything.

To create this winter cloche, I started with Paton’s  Classic Wool, a medium weight, 100% wool yarn. My color was harvest, but the color pictured here is rosewood. This is a great wool for felting because it is good quality, but is very regular not that terribly interesting when knitted. I measured my head and calculated my gauge, casting 84 stitches onto size 6 circular needles to make a 22-inch brim, which fits loosely on my head. It is crucial that none of your stitches are twisted when you start to knit on circular needles. If one stitch is twisted around the needle, you will create a Möbius strip, which is its own interesting knitting project, but will never be a hat.

purl rows

purl two rows

Knit in the round until the circle measure 2.5 inches. Then purl two rows. After purling, continue knitting another 4-5 inches depending on how big your head is. Err on the side of larger, because you will be felting this hat, so it will shrink.

ready for decrease rows

The hat is ready for the decrease rows

At this point, I like to transfer the hat from circular needles to double pointed needles, because it is easier to work. You can leave the hat on circular needles, or even knit the whole hat on double points, it’s entirely a matter of personal preference. Either way, split the stitches into four equal sections, with one section on each needle or add stitch markers to your circular needles.

Decrease by knitting two stitches together at the beginning of each needle or at each stitch marker.

binding off the top

ready to bind off the top

When there are four stitches left, clip the end of the yarn leaving a few inches of slack. Use a thick needle to thread the last four stitches and stick the needle down through the top of the hat. Tie off the end inside of the hat.

the hat so far

the hat so far

Turn your hat inside out and fold the brim at the two purl rows. Use safety pins to hold the brim in place. The brim will really, really want to roll, but is is important to keep it flat and in place so it isn’t twisted when you sew it in place.

brim folded and safety pinned

brim folded and safety pinned



Cut a length of yarn 2-3 times the circumference of the brim. Use a thick needle to sew the brim into place, catching every stitch along the edge. Tie off the end securely.

Sewing the brim in place

Sewing the brim in place

Now the knitting is complete, and the hat is ready for felting.



completely knitted hat

completely knitted hat

I must admit to being rather felting-challenged. I have failed many times, before getting it right this time. The traditional method of felting was hand scrubbing the knitted item with a detergent in very hot water until the wool shrunk and  fused together into fabric. Today’s method is your washing machine and dryer.

I put my hat in my washing machine with a load of towels, and washed in warm water. The “scrubbing” effect of the water and heat caused the hat to felt.What doesn’t work: putting your knitted hat in the machine by itself.  If you want to felt your hat further, throw it in the dryer. The high heat in the dryer will very strongly felt knitted wool.

My finished hat

Modeling my finished hat.




Environmentally Friendly Swiffer Socks: Knit and Crochet

20 Nov

My mom told me about a pattern to knit environmentally friendly swiffer covers. The covers work exactly like the paper, commercially available pads but can be thrown in the washing machine after each use.  But then she couldn’t find the pattern again. A few days ago, I came across a crochet version, and sent it to Mom. She sent back a knit pattern which had appeared in the meantime.

The crochet version is on Craftstylish. The knit pattern is available on Skull Charms blog. I haven’t personally tried either, but they both seem to be well-written and charming. I’d love to hear if anyone tries these!

Sew your own Swimmy Seatsaver

1 Nov

To make your own swimmy seatsaver, You will need two yards of vinyl fabric (like the cheap picnic table-cloth) and two yards of knit cotton or jersey.

1- Cut the fabric in half longwise. You will be able to make two seatsavers with 2 yards of fabric. Alternatively, you can buy one yard, cut it in half and stitch together the two halves to make a two yard length.


2- Lay out the material so the knit is right side down on the bottom, and the vinyl is right side down on top of the knit. Trim the fabric so the vinyl is approximately 2 inches smaller than the knit fabric. Fold the knit fabric excess edge in half twice so it overlaps the vinyl without folding the vinyl. Pin the edge in place every two inches on the two long sides and one of the short sides. I know pinning every two inches seems excessive and annoying, but it’s necessary.


3- Sew the three edges that were pinned. This is not a project to handsew! The materials are thick and tough. Sew slowly and keep a good grip on the fabric. It will want to twist, and it will shift easily. Double seam the edges for extra strength.

4- The next step is to shape the end of the seatsaver to fit your headrest. You will be cutting four triangles into the end of the fabric. The size of the triangles will be dependent on the size of you car’s head rest. Mark off the unfinished edge of your seatsaver in four portions. Use safety pins to pin the marked points together (first to second point; second to third point, etc…). 

Experiment with tucking the seams and hang the seatsaver over your car seat. Once you have a comfortable, natural fit, mark the edges of the creases/future seam. Then cut along your marks, through both layers of fabric, removing four triangles.


5- Match the “right’ side of the fabric back to back and pin the edges. Sew a double seam on the edge. I find it is easier to pin and sew them one at a time.

6- Finally, finish any rough edges around the head rest. This “clean up” is usually best done by hand.
All four seams are sewn

the finished product, ready for you favorite swimmer

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