Fans & Lace Afghan Square Video

After far too many adventures and the acquisition of new skills I am happy to announce that the first video for my “Fans & Lace Afghan Square” is up on my YouTube Channel. If you missed the post with the pattern you can find it here.

Click here to see it: Fans & Lace Square – Part 1

4-squares

This video was coming out rather long, so I split it up. Part 1 shows Rounds 1-6, Part 2 will be Rounds 7-12 with a quick animation of Rounds 1-6.  There is still a bit more production work to finish up on Part 2. Part 1 has all the “tricky” bits of the pattern though.

costume-supplies

Hope you are all having a great start to your week. In between working on videos and new designs, I’m in the trenches of helping my boys pull together costumes for Halloween. They’ve both picked characters from a video game called “Undertale”.

thing-1

 

thing-2

This could get interesting.

Being a Mom

This past weekend turned out very differently than I had anticipated. Instead of working on my video for the Fans & Lace Afghan Square, I ended up helping my 10 year-old son (also known as Thing 2) finish a project for school.

He had picked a rather ambitious project. His class at school has been reading mystery books and then doing a unit of study about them. As part of that they each needed to create something at home to bring in for a presentation at school this past Monday.

His at home project was to build a model of the mansion where much of the story took place in his book. He decided his model would be a sort of doll-house that would open up and show the various levels of the house.  He had 4 weeks to work on it, but he had a little trouble realizing how big a project this really was. Then this past week he realized he had a lot of work to get done.

We had already picked out a large cardboard boot box with a hinged lid to use for the “house”, so he just needed to decide what he wanted to do with the interior of the house. We have lots of cardboard and cardstock from our re-cycling bin to use, so supplies weren’t a problem.

I did all of the cutting of the heavier materials with a utility knife because he was scared of how sharp it is. Right as I was telling him that you just have to be cautious and you won’t hurt yourself I managed to slice my fore-finger on my left hand.

thing-2s-project-a
Thing 2’s completed project.

We kept working on the project and he emailed his teacher to see if he could have an extra day. Yesterday evening was the wild push to finish the project. I stayed up late doing the last of the hot-gluing bits and bobs in place.

We all learnt a lot on this project, I learnt I need to teach my boys to use sharp blades and the glue gun. Yes, they might end up cutting themselves or burning themselves, but that is part of learning to work with those tools. Chances are they are less likely to hurt themselves initially. I know I rarely did any injury to myself when I first worked with any of those tools.

Familiarity with the tools over time may have dulled my fear, thus the current injury. Not helped that my attention was divided between the task of cutting and talking to my son. Seems to be one of the dangers of motherhood, constant distractions.

bandaged-finger

I spent the rest of the weekend with a bandage on my finger. Total pain in the backside when I want to crochet because that is the finger I use to feed my yarn into my work. The yarn kept wanting to catch on the bandage.

I also need to re-film one segment for my video because of the upload issues last week. Somewhere in all the mess of that adventure one segment was completely corrupted. I have been hesitant to re-film with a bandaged finger though.

quantities-of-yarn-for-flas

I hope to be back in my studio filming in another day or 2. My cut is healing up pretty quickly. I did get this photo of the quantities of yarn needed for the Fans & Lace Afghan Square. For the actual amounts used in each round my post about changing colors can help you.

I won’t be doing any more cutting with anything other than scissors the next couple of days, hopefully that means I will be able to get my video completed before this weekend.

*Update October 21, 2016 9 p.m. Not quite to the finish line with the video still, though loads closer. Looking like Monday before it is on YouTube. I’m taking most of tomorrow off from work to meet with a dear friend in Denver for brunch and some museum time. Thanks for your patience.

Happy Halloween!

It’s looking to be another cold Halloween up here on the mountain. We’ve had frost and snow the last couple of mornings, but nothing too dreadful yet.

Pumpkins

I didn’t bother with purchasing a pumpkin to carve this year as they always freeze and become a gross soggy mess on our front deck before we really get to enjoy them. I did get a photo of the big pile of pumpkins in front of our favorite grocery store though.

Supplies for Crafting

Thursday evening was my exciting Halloween Costume crafting evening. Seems we do this every year. There is always a last minute item needed for a costume and it’s the evening before the Halloween celebration at school.

Beginning Goggle Project

My oldest is planning on being a Steam-Punk Tech Pirate. Fairly simple costume involving Goggles and fingerless gloves with black and white theme in the rest of his attire. The goggles we had ordered off Amazon for him, but they were a bit un-comfortable and he wanted me to add some padding to the edges.

Goggles re-assembled

Goggles ready to wear

I found myself very grateful for adhesive backed crafting foam. After a bit of experimenting I had cobbled together a pretty decent solution. He picked the white color to go along with his black and white theme in the rest of the costume.

The next project was a bit more challenging, mainly because it was time consuming. My youngest had decided to be Ironman from the Marvel comics. We had found a pretty awesome costume at Costco earlier this Fall, but it was only a bodysuit with the armor created with padding and printing on the fabric and a plastic mask.

Apparently you need “repulsor gauntlets” to be Ironman. So it was up to me to create some. I thought this was going to be an easy project to tackle. Get red stretchy gloves, create a white circle on the palm all good.

Except, I couldn’t find red stretchy gloves that fit my little guy. There were stretchy gloves in Black, Grey and Navy…but no red. I found red stretchy gloves but they were too long in the fingers and pretty baggy in the palm. They were not going to meet the requirements.

Next I tried ordering some online, they were only available as a package of 12. Feeling a bit desperate I decided to order them knowing that in my family we could put 12 pairs of gloves to good use. Unfortunately when the gloves arrived on this past Wednesday there were not any red ones in the package. Pretty much every other color, but not red. To further discourage us, the gloves were all too big.

Pair of Grey Gloves

Now we were starting to get a little worried. Fortunately being a crafty mom I knew this could be fixed. I asked my son how he would feel about me painting the gray gloves with red paint to make them look like Ironman’s gauntlets. After looking at the costume for a little while he agreed to that plan.

Beginning to Paint Gloves

Which brings us to Thursday night, a handful of fabric paints and a pair of grey stretchy gloves. At about 7:15 p.m. I began painting the gloves. While I had been working on the goggles for my other son, the youngest had traced the gloves onto some light cardstock. I cut out the hand shapes and inserted them into the gloves.

Back of gloves red progressing

The black marks you see on the gloves were to help me know where my son’s knuckles were so that I could leave some blank fabric for ease of movement. The fabric paint tends to stiffen the fabric, which would be a bit of a problem for wearing.

Finished Gauntlets

I was getting pretty tired, but I finally finished painting at 11 p.m. The gauntlets came out pretty good, best of all my son was very happy with them. Which made the short night’s sleep worth it.

Halloween Boys

I’ll add Here’s a picture of the boys once they are all costumed up in preparation for Trick or Treating.

I hope you and your family have a fun and safe Halloween.

 

The Last Minute Costume

Finally getting a chance to post about my oldest son, J’s, Halloween costume.  He had a pretty clear idea early on what he wanted, so I only needed a few more bits to make it happen on Halloween day.

After I finished the little guy’s Ninjago outfit there was not a lot of time left. So I had to abandon my earlier ideas on how to finish the cape that J wanted.

He was wearing a black micro fleece pull-over and pants for the first layer, so my big concern was that he be visible in the dark. Granted our small town doesn’t have a lot of traffic, but I consider it betting against the odds to send anyone out at night in dark clothing.

He really like the sparkly green fabric that looked a bit like reptile scales. I was thrilled because the metallic reflective nature of it would increase his visibility.

So I did some quick measurements for length and width, then cut out basically a U shape with the top edge of the U being the selvage on one side.  Sat down at my serger and created a blind hem style casing along the selvage edge. Threaded a 14″ length of 1/4″ elastic thru the casing and tied a knot.

Presto, first layer of cape. And a scrap off one of the corners from the remnant as his  “eye patch” since the fabric is fairly sheer.

J also wanted an over layer made from the holey fuzzy black fabric I had bought.  At this point I’m down to about 35 minutes til they need to leave for the Halloween party.

Grab the fabric, black corded elastic, toggle closure, and the ever handy safety pins.

There are 2 yards of fabric and J is only 4 1/2 feet tall. Okay, fold it nearly in half.  Run the elastic thru the holes in the fabric (handy that). Gather up fabric on elastic and slide toggle into place. Knot ends of elastic so the toggle doesn’t fall off.

Place the double layered cape on J over the green sparkly cape.

Pull up top layer and drape about head and neck to create a hood. Use safety pins to secure into place.

With 10 minutes to spare, he is good to go. Mom is a hero again. Yay!

“You are the best Mom ever!” – My payment.

My husband took the boys out to the party and then trick-or-treating whilst I stayed home to greet goblins at our door. He said J wore the entire cape for the party, but the top black layer was too heavy (hey that is 2 yards of fabric) once he was outside.

So he was even more visible, because the green cape was on the outermost layer of his costume. That works!

By the Seat of my Pants

I had planned to get an earlier start on Halloween costumes this year, but once again it was a mad scramble to complete them.

My youngest had decided he wanted to be Kai from the Lego Ninjago series. I purchased a long sleeve red T-shirt for him from Target.  He had his ninja sword and head-band that he got at Lego Land when we were in California for Spring Break last march. So we were half-way there.

I had hoped to make some red pants and a Gee style jacket for him from some red micro-fleece I had on hand (Kai is always dressed in red in the show). I took his measurements yesterday, but being a bit rushed when designing the sewing pattern for his jacket I left it a tad small. The body fit him okay but the sleeves were super snug, no way a T-shirt was going under there.

Solution? Cut the sleeves off the jacket, which also was more of a “faux” jacket that pulled over his head. Belt was easy enough to make, just cut a length of  mirco-fleece.

Whoops, what about pants?

He had wanted to have boxy pants so he would look like a Lego “people”. So instead of having red pants I cut out 2 long strips of red micro-fleece and pinned them to some dark gray pants.  So glad that I have lots of small safety pins on hand.

At first he wasn’t too sure about this short-cut, but after we got him dressed in his costume he was very happy.

Soon I will have more details about the cape costume I made for my oldest. He was very happy with it, though ended up not wearing it the whole evening as it was a bit heavy for him. That is 2 yards of the black fabric you see on him in the photo above.

It’s Magic!

Crochet is magical.  Any one of us that have even a basic familiarity with the art of the hook know this.

This past week I got to demonstrate another version of crochet magic. I was asked by my sons to create a “Merlin” cloak and hat as a birthday gift for one of their good friends. The birthday party was this past Saturday so I can post the pictures of the finished project now.

I had made a version of this costume for my oldest son when he wanted to be Harry Potter for Halloween last year. What I needed: 1 1/2 yards of 60″ wide poly fleece, about 300 yards of acrylic yarn (I used 2 different colors), 24″ wide by 15″ tall piece of acrylic felt, size G hook, sewing needles and sewing thread.

The first part of this project was to cut out the “cloak” from the poly fleece.  The great thing about poly fleece for a project like this is I can leave the raw edge un-hemmed and it won’t fray.  The piece of  fleece I was using had a few bits cut out of it, so I had to work around that. I folded it in half and cut out the shape I wanted with a concave curved bit for the “collar”.  The photo shows the basic shape I cut out with the collar in place.

Then I blanket stitched along the collar area to give me an edge to crochet into. The collar itself was a single crochet base worked into the blanket stitching, then some slight increasing with double crochet stitches to create the shape I wanted. I wasn’t really following any type of pattern. Just going by a feel for how I wanted the finished collar to look, as well as including a “button-hole” for the button fastening.

You can see the button and button-hole better in this photograph.

Of course, it isn’t a real magic costume if you don’t have a hat. So I grabbed some black felt and cut out a shape to make a cone for the crown of the hat. To make the hat go more with the cloak I cut out some of the leaves and stars from the left-over scraps of fabric I had from the cloak.

I then sewed them in place with a simple whip-stitched edge. Once all the appliques were sewn on I rolled the felt into a cone and sewed the seam where the edges overlapped.

I crocheted a brim by starting with a foundation single crochet strip that was the right circumference for a good fit. Rounds of single crochet worked even and then in flat increases created the rest of the brim with a finishing round of double crochet worked even. After the crocheted brim was finished I used yarn and a zig zag hand stitch to attach it to the bottom of the felt cone.

The final costume was finished just in time to be wrapped and ready for my boys to give to their friend. The costume was a big hit and already has had some serious play time.

A different Yarnie Craft

Yesterday was was an indoor rainy day and was all about my children. Especially Thing 1 (Dr. Seuss reference for those of you thinking I’m a wicked mom to call my children Things).

My children see me playing/working with yarn All The Time. Yarn pervades the entire household.  So there really is no way to avoid it.  They both have expressed desires to learn to crochet, but it is slow going at times.  So what is a Mom to do to share the yarn crafting love with them?

Why, teach them to weave of course. Particularly Thing 1, as Thing 2 is sticking with the crochet hook for the nonce.

Actually it’s sort of funny me teaching my children to weave, since my knowledge base isn’t a whole lot larger than their own. I’m just blessed with a nimble mind and a small bit of experience from over 30 years ago.

The basics to make our loom

The wonderful thing about weaving is it is so accessible, even for the utter novice.  So I grabbed my trusty utility knife and an empty cardboard box from the recycling pile and declared it was going to provide the bits for a loom and accessories.

Without any real measuring I cut out a flat piece to use for the loom and made small slits along the top and bottom to hold the warp of the loom. Quickly warped it with some acrylic yarn. Then I dug out some oversized knitting needles to act as sheds.

Shuttles, with one needing notching

My son and I began to play with weaving a bit of yarn in, but it soon became apparent that we needed some more tools. Like sturdier shuttles for the weft yarn and a shed and sword. So more cutting on the box and I had made shuttles, shed and sword. I also grabbed a comb for him to use as the “beater”.

Then my son went to town weaving happily. He decided this is really a hobby he wants to learn more about.  After he went to bed I did a little research about basic weaving on the internet and learned how to make a simple heddle to use to speed up the weaving process.

Today he and I are going to Boulder to visit “Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins”. This is a LYS that I have visited many times to purchase yarn for crocheting and animal fiber for felt work. As their name indicates, they also have wonderful supplies for weaving. So it will be a great opportunity to look at the various looms available and learn more about weaving from folks that know a lot about the craft.

Since Thing 2 is also expressing an interest in learning more about weaving I’m thinking we will be bringing a potholder loop loom home as well. They aren’t expensive and they are a super fun quick way to learn about weaving that both boys can enjoy.

Best part of this experience is it’s been a wonderful reminder of how much fun it is to do arts and crafts with my kids.  Even if it is just paper-crafts, find some time to craft with your kids, they have a great time learning something new and you may surprise yourself with the new things you learn about them.