How To: Knitting | Part 1 Casting on and the Knit Stitch

HI! I realize it has been months and months since I last posted. I really needed a long break so I could figure out what direction I want to take this blog in. I haven’t quite decided but I am going to try to post things I truly care about and like. That leads me to a series I am going to start about… knitting (yes, I know you already know because of the title, but I like the suspense the ellipsis give). I am going to break it into different sections so if you are a first time knitter, you aren’t to overwhelmed with info.

Now some background about me as a knitter. The first time I knit was at camp with 2 pens and some yarn. A lot of knitting patterns have specifics about needle size, but I personally ignore them. Even though it may not be exactly like the pictures in the pattern, you still knit something! So, keep in mind that even though I use knitting needles in the photos, you can just as easily use pens or borrow a pair of random knitting needles.If you end up doing really fancy projects in the future, you may decide to pay more attention to the details.

In this post, you will learn 3 things: casting on, the knit stitch and casting off. At the end you will have a square of knitting! You can make it bigger to make a wash cloth or a pot holder (but you need yarn that is safe for hot dishes). Your square will be in garter stitch, which means it’s made of only knit stitches, not a combination of knit and purl stitches. The next post will be on purling.


You will need….

Knitting Needles (or pens/pencils)

Yarn

Scissors

 

CASTING ON

Now let’s get started! The first thing you are going to learn is how to cast on. This is basically how you get the yarn on the needle in the first place.

Step 1: You first need to tie a slip knot that has a tail that is about 3-4 inches and put it on one of your needles.

2-slip-knot

Step 2: Then tighten it around the needle so it is as small as possible while still being able to move easily up and down the needle. That is your first stitch! Only the first stitch is a slip knot.

Step 3: To make the next stitch, hold the needle that has the slip knot in your left hand. Pinch the yarn (not the tail of the slip knot, but the yarn directly connected to the ball) in your right hand between your thumb and index finger. Your thumb should be on top.

3-pinch-yarn-for-casting-on

Step 4: Rotate your fingers so they are now pointing down. You should have created a “P” shape with the yarn. The horizontal piece should be on top.

4-making-the-p

Step 5: Next, move the P over the needle, keeping the horizontal piece of yarn on top. This is a bit awkward to explain, but look at the pictures to see how to do it.

5-sliding-p-onto-needle

Step 6: Then tighten. You now have 2 stitches on your needle.

6-tightening-the-p

Step 7: Continue adding more using the “P” method until you have cast on 10 total.

7-10-stitches-casted-on


THE KNIT STITCH

Now, I am going to explain how to do a knit stitch. There are 2 types of stitches: knitting and purling. I am going to explain purling in the next post in this series. Using different patterns of these stitches (ribbing) are going to create a different texture of your project.

Step 1: Insert the empty needle (I’ll refer to this needle as the right needle) into the top stitch and behind the needle with the stitches (I’ll call this the left needle). The right and left needle should make an X.

8-making-x-with-the-needles

Step 2: Take the yarn and put it in-between the two needles from left to right. It should be sandwiched between the needles

9-yarn-inbetween-x

Step 3: Back out the right needle so the yarn is a little over a centimeter (roughly) away from the tip. I didn’t do this in the photo, but I usually keep a finger tip on the tip of the right needle so the yarn doesn’t accidentally fall off.

10-backing-out

Step 4: This is the trickiest part. At this point the top stitch is a basically a circle of yarn on two needles with a piece of yarn dividing it in two. Take the right needle and put it over the dividing piece of yarn in into the ‘left part’ of the circle. If you are confused, look at the pictures or leave a comment!

11-going-over-the-yarn-aka-the-trickiest-part

12-the-trickist-part-pt-2

Step 5: Now just lift the stitch off the left needle and you have knit your first stitch!!

13-knit-1-stitch

Step 6: Keep going until you finish the row – all of the stitches are on the other needle. Now the needles with the yarn is the left needle and the empty one is the right needle.

14-finished-first-row

Step 7: Keep knitting until you make a square (or a rectangle if you want)

15-keep-knitting

16-finished-the-knitting-part


CASTING OFF

Now, to finish off your project, you have to cast off.

Step 1: Knit 2 stitches

17-casting-off-knit-2-stitches

Step 2: Pull the bottom stitch – aka the first stitch you knit in that row – over the top stitch and off the needle

18-pulling-stitch-over-pt-1

19-pulling-stitch-over-pt-2

20-casting-off-1-stitch-left

Step 3: You now have 1 stitch on the right needle, so knit another and then lift the bottom one over again.

21-knit-another-stitch-to-continue

Step 4: Continue until you only have 1 stitch left total (it will be on the right needle). Now cut your project from the yarn ball, leaving a 4 ish inch tail.

22-1-stitch-left-at-all

Step 5: Take the lone stitch off the needle, but make sure it stays intact as a stitch/circle.

23-remove-needle

Step 6: Take the tail and put it through the stitch through the bottom.

24-pulling-tail-through

Step 7: Tighten!

25-tightening

 

Step 8: You have now made a square of knitting! I didn’t take any photos of this, but if you want to use your square for something, just take a darning needle and sew the tails (1 from the beginning and 1 from the end) into your square.

26-final-project

27-close-up-of-final-project

 

 

 

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Paint + Tape Silhouette Canvas

Everyone has seen the project where you put tape on a canvas, paint over and then peel off the tape. While that is a fun project which makes cool geometric pieces, I decided to take that method and make a silhouette! Read on for the instructions.

SUPPLIES:
-Painters/Masking Tape

-Canvas

-Black (and White) Paint

-Large Paintbrush or Sponge

-Small Detail Paint Brush

Tape.JPG
I am reusing an old canvas I have, so I spray painted it white, but if you have a new canvas, you can ignore this step. The first real step is to apply the tape. Start with longer pieces to get the basic shape of the face. If you need to use a pencil to trace the shape. Add smaller pieces to add nicer curves. Smaller pieces will give a more precise shape.

Paint

Start putting the black paint next to the tape (Filling in the face shape). Start blending it out. Make sure the paint next to the tape is not puddly so when you peel the tape off it doesn’t run.

After Peeling off Tape

Peel the tape of when it is still wet. If you wait until it is dry, it could peel off some of the paint. I had to go back in with a paint brush to clean up the edges. I used an small angled brush that came in a set of kids paint brushes from Crayola.

Final!

 

That’s it! Thanks for reading and come back next week for another post!

 

DIY Rubber Stamps

A long time ago I got a set of Speedball linoleum carvers which you can also use on rubber. So I started carving stamps! Read on for a tutorial.

SUPPLIES:

-Carvers (Here is a newer version of the set I have)

-Rubber (I happened to have a left over block, but cheap erasers from the dollar store work just as good. That’s what I usually use!)

-Pen

-Ink Pad

-Paper

Design

First step is to pick out your design. Words can be tricky because you have to carve them out backwards, so be warned!

Trace

Trace your design onto the rubber.

Carve

Now it’s time to carve. What ever you carve will be white (or whatever color the paper is) and the rest will be ink. I like to carve out the lines I drew of the design so the design turns out white and the negative space is colored. If you want to positive space to be colored, carve around the lines you drew.

Be careful when you carve! The carver is sharp so carve away from your body if you can and keep your fingers out of the way. Even if you think you are being careful, the carver can slip.

Final Print

Now dip your new handmade stamp in ink and go to town!

Paper

For a while I have wanted to try to make paper, but I just kept putting it off. But finally, I did it! It wasn’t too hard to make, and it would make a great base to a Valentine’s Day card. Keep reading for the tutorial!

SUPPLIES:

  1. Paper (I used some old school work)
  2. Water
  3. Blender
  4. Foil
  5. Paper Towels
  6. Screen (Mesh)
  7. Some type of weight (I used a few textbooks)
  8. Something to mix in with your paper! (glitter, flower petals, anythings small and fairly fine)

Ripped Paper

First, cut up your paper into pieces roughly 1 1/2 inches by 1 1/2. I used 4 sheets of paper. Put the paper into a blender

Paper and Water

Now add enough water just so the paper is submerged.

Pulp

I put my blender on the ice crush mode because it helps make sure all the paper is completely blended. Keep adding water to make a pulp. Make sure you don’t add too much, but enough so that it blends smoothly. Look at the photos if you want to see how much I added, but I mostly eyeballed it which I think works best for this project.

Added Lavander

Once it’s fully blended pour it into a bowl and add your ‘paper filling’ (the glitter or flowers). I used some dry lavender I got when I was in Croatia a few years ago. It makes the paper smell amazing, but it does leave some oil spots. If you are . flowers, fold them into the pulp; don’t stir

Now lay out a piece of foil; you will fold it in half during the drying process so make sure it is long enough so that the piece of paper you are making only covers half. (If you are confused leave a comment!)

Cut 2 pieces of the screen that are the same size. Together they should be the same size as the foil. Put 1 piece of screen on one side of the foil with a few paper towels underneath

Setting Up Contraption

Pour your paper pulp onto the screen and smooth it out! It should be a millimeter or under in thickness.

Folding over Foil

Place the other piece of screen on top and use a towel to get as much of the moisture out as you can. You may have to replace the 1st layer of paper towels if they are already soaked. So now you have a layer cake of foil, then paper towel, then screen, then paper pulp, then another layer of screen. Now add one more layer of paper towels on top and then fold over the foil. I had to add some more foil to keep it all together.

Textbook

Add some textbooks and let it dry over night! Make sure to keep the textbooks on as long as possible because if you let the paper dry with out weight, it will curl up. But you have to let it dry with out the textbooks or it won’t dry at all. So the next morning set it out until it is completely dry.

Now go ahead and cut it out, draw on it, sew on it, or whatever your heart desires!

{FINAL IMAGE COMING THIS WEEK!}

 

 

Upcycled Scallop Edge T

A while back I bought a super soft mens shirt at an Army supply store for $3. Naturally it didn’t fit me, but I wanted to cut it in a way different than the typical muscle tank, so I made a scalloped edge T!

SUPPLIES:
-Large T Shirt

-Pen

-Scissors

Full Shirt

Lay out your shirt flat on a hard surface. Make sure the seams are all matched up.

Scallop Edge Sketch

Use a pen to sketch scallops around 2 inches each. Also make sure you try on the shirt before you cut to make sure you like the new length of the shirt.

First Cut

Because scallops are a bit difficult to cut, I did a straight cut close to the scalloped edge.

Second Cut

Now cut out the scallops. I also cut off the neck, close to where the original collar was.

Neck Sketch

Then, while wearing the shirt, I marked where I wanted the neckline to be. I did this while wearing it so I didn’t make it too low or too wide. I then cut along the line, keeping in a bit rough looking.

Close Up Sleeve

The sleeves were too long for me, but I didn’t want to make it a tank top. Instead I just rolled up the sleeves. If you want you can sew a few stitches to make sure the roll stays in place, but I opted not to.

Final 2

That’s it! The boxy fit is super comfortable but the sleeves and new hem makes it look just a little bit nicer. Check back next week for another post!

 

 

No Carve Pumpkin!

Normally this weekend I would be posting my October Favorites, but I wanted to post a Halloween themed post! With being so busy, it can be difficult to carve pumpkins for Halloween. This DIY is super quick and easy so it can be done last minute!

SUPPLIES:

-Pumpkin

-Paint

-Fake Blood

-Knife

Step 1: Pick out your pumpkin! The size doesn’t really matter, but I went with a sugar pumpkin because I didn’t have a lot of paint.

Step 2: Dust off your pumpkin. If it’s really dirty, use some water.

Step 3: Paint your entire pumpkin black, for a spookier style. I did one coat all over the pumpkin, and then went back and did a second coat on the parts where you could still see orange.

Step 4: Stick your knife into the pumpkin. You can either buy a fake one, or use a plastic one and just paint the end to look like a read knife. I made a cut with a real knife in the pumpkin, and then put the fake knife in the cut.

Step 5: Put some blood around and on the knife.

That’s it! It’s super simple, you could even do it on Halloween day!

PUmpkin Close UP

Pumpkin Full

DIY Paper Bowl

My side table has been a bit cluttered recently with earrings, clips and hair ties among other things. I didn’t have a small decorative bowl around my house to keep everything in, so I decided to make my own. Keep reading for the tutorial!

SUPPLIES:
-Plastic Cups

-Paintbrush

-School Glue

-Water

-Newspaper

-Balloon

-Hot Glue Gun

-Lid of a Jar (like a jam jar)

-Paint (optional)

Newpaper Strips

Rip up pieces of newspaper, thinner than I have here. It’s easier to have them pre-ripped so the process is more quickly.

Glue

Pour some glue into your plastic cup, start with a little, and add as needed so you don’t waste any!

Water and Glue

Add some water to the glue to thin it out a bit. It should be a little thicker than the consistency of milk.

Painting on Strips

Paint the glue mixture onto the strips, and put them onto the balloon in a bowl shape. Do a layer, then let it completely dry before doing another layer. I would say do around 5 layers, just so it’s super sturdy.

Painting

This is optional, but I chose to paint the outside of my bowl with black paint so it looked a bit ‘cleaner’ on the outside.

Bottom Stand

Take a lid from some jar, and hot glue it on the bottom. The size of your lid should depend on how large your bowl is.

That’s it! I haven’t seen a bowl like this before, and I hope you enjoyed!

Final Bowl

Final Partial

DIY Solo Cup Flowers

I hope you all day a great Labor Day weekend! My family had some friends over for a BBQ on Monday after we came back from Cape Cod. Like at most BBQs, we had solo cups, but we had a few extra left over. If that is the case for you, read on to learn how to turn solo cups into flowers!

SUPPLIES:

-Plastic Solo Cups

-Wire (the thicker the better)

-Tape/Glue

-Scissors

Snap

Bend the white lip of the cup until it snaps. Then, a thumb’s width away, make another one.

Strip

Pull down the strip you just created. Keep adding snaps the same width apart all the way around and pulling the strips down.

First Bend

Now bend one of the strips back and to the left. Look at the photos if you are confused!

Second Bend

Do the same to the next strip on the right. This time tuck the end of the strip into the loop created by the one you just did.

Last Bend

Do this all the way around until you have one strip left

Flower Head 1

Tuck this strip in like normal, and then you will see two ends that are next to each other (one is not tucked) this is the first strip you did.

Final Flower Head 2

Tuck the double strip on the left into the loop to it’s left so the pattern is complete. Look at the photos for clarification!

Once you get the hang of it, it’s really simple. You can change the width of the strips, but the skinnier the strips, the easier they fall out. You can stop here, or you can go on to make it a yard decoration!

Flower Head Wired

Cut a piece of wire around the length of your fore arm and tape or glue one end to the back of the ‘flower head’.

Final Flower

If you want you can cut a leaf out of another cup and secure it on. If you do, don’t tape it too far from the flower head. The solo cup can be a bit heavy for the wire, so the lower to the ground it can be, the more secure it will be.

In Yard Flower.

What to Put in Your Craft Arsenal!

When I first started crafting, I was excited to try so many different projects I saw online. I had lots of materials from when I was younger like colored paper, felt and markers so I thought I would be able to complete projects without having to go out and buy things. I soon learned that I needed some tools to help me get through many of the projects I wanted to make. I was a bit overwhelmed when I was deciding what I should buy, since I didn’t want to spend fortune on mountains of craft supplies. After reviewing the supplies for projects I wanted, I decided to get some supplies that would be helpful for many projects. While it depends on what type of projects you like to make, here is a list of what I think you should get when you are first starting crafting. Keep in mind this is what was helpful for me, if you like to do a specific genre of crafts (like sewing or paper crafts), your list may look a little different.

  1. Scissors: I have 2 pairs of scissors, one for fabric and one for anything else. The ‘anything’ scissor was one I found around my house, but I bought a new pair of scissors by Fiskars for fabric. This is really helpful because fabric pair won’t dull as easily if I don’t cut paper or other items with it. Now every time I want to cut fabric I don’t have to deal with fabric snagging on the scissors!
  2. Glue Stick: Glue sticks are very helpful with small glueing situations. The one I have is in the shape of a wedge, not a circle, so I can reach corners easily, but a basic school one will do just fine. Take care of this glue stick!
  3. Glue Gun: Many things don’t stick with just a glue stick, and a glue gun works for almost anything. You don’t have to buy a fancy one, just a small basic glue gun. Mine is very small, the size of my palm and I already had it around my house. Don’t forget the glue sticks for the glue gun!
  4. Modge Podge: This is great for so many purposes. It can act like a glue in some cases, and add a shiny texture. You can also make your own glitter glue with it.
  5. Paint Brushes: I just got a pack of Crayola ones for less than 5$. Even if you get cheap ones, you can make them last my washing them immediately after you have finished using them especially if you used glue.
  6. Paints: You don’t have to go crazy and get a bunch of colors, unless you are into painting. I just use paint to decorate projects so I don’t need a huge variety. I would recommend getting one can of spray paint (Walmart has them for much cheaper than craft stores!) and a jar of different color. Make sure it is a thicker paint so it can cover more surface types. If you want more colors for small projects, you can get small bottles at places like Michael’s. Often times there will be sales on certain colors or brands, so look at those first!
  7. Exacto Knife and Self Healing Cutting Mat: This is more of an add-on, but I love mine. When ever I cut paper in a straight line I try to use my exacto knife since it makes a cleaner cut.
  8. Ruler: You most likely already have this around your house, and it’s one of the best supplies. Use it as a straight edge when using your exacto knife, or to measure paper, fabric or anything really!
  9. Wire: I love using wire for projects. I happened to be interested in many projects that use wire. If you find a supply that many of your projects use, grab that instead!

You don’t need everything on this list right away, you can build up towards it. I hope some of you found this useful, and if you have any questions feel free to comment below!

DIY Zen Tangle Trivets

Both Cork

A few years ago I learned how to draw basic zen tangles, and have loved making them ever since. A zen tangle is essentially a drawing made up of different patterns. I decided to use a zen tangle to spruce up some cork trivets. Read on for the tutorial!

Supplies:

-Cork Trivets

-Black Sharpie

Plain Cork
The first thing I did was prepare the trivet for the zen tangle by using my hand to make sure the surface was smooth and no small pieces of cork were loose.

First Lines

Then draw two lines, one somewhat vertical and one some what horizontal.

All Lines

Now draw a ‘squiggle’ around the trivet. I added a few additional lines to create more sections, feel free to do this.

Patterns

Brainstorm a few patterns you think you may want to use. Keep in mind what the value (how dark or light) of the pattern is. Try to get a wide range of values, so try to completely shade in one section and maybe leave one blank. Above are a few of my favorite patterns.

Finished (Flat)

Start filling in each section with a different pattern. As you can see I repeated a few patterns on mine.

That’s it! This DIY is so easy, you can do it in 10 minutes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the patterns!

Finished Angle