Come on Fall!

projects to knit and crochet

While I’m not normally a fan of retail stores rushing seasons and pushing holidays on us far too soon, I, for one, can’t wait for fall. Cider, pumpkin carving, and leaves everywhere. It’s my favorite time of the year for sure.

Everything just seems a little cozier. Even though it’s 93 degrees while I’m typing this I can’t help but think about all things knit and crochet.

I tried my hand a knitting (some) last fall/winter and really want to explore it further. I’m not really crocheter, but I think I’d like to learn. Here are some of the things I can’t wait to try make this season.

Starry Night Socks
knitted socks starry night

Seed Stitch Wrap

Crochet Frames
crochet frames

Honeycomb Blanket
rainbow honeycomb blanket

Knitted Wig Lola would lose her mind!

Color-tipped Scarf

Crochet Cactus aka Plants You Can’t Kill!

Crochet Christmas Ornaments
christmas ornaments

I’ve my eye on a new set of needles and have been pinning projects like crazy.

Off to sit in front of a fan with my sweater and scarf on to pin even more!

xo, Jennifer

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Knitting 101 & Free Pattern

knit headband tutorial

I feel like a proud, little kid, “look, mom I made this!” And I wore it to run in a snowstorm, so that’s extra points, right?

I made a knit stitch headband and it stayed together! I worked from the Knitting 101 series on Craft Snob, by Elisa Mclaughlin and downloaded her free It’s a Cinch Headwrap/Cowl pattern. You can knit this pattern in a knit or purl stitch.

This four-part series covers everything from choosing knitting needles to how to cast off, or bind off as it appears to be more commonly called. I wish that the series wasn’t in 4 posts, so I’m going to include the videos here to make it easier. I’ve also included my experience and some troubleshooting below.

Knitting 101: Slip Knot

Knitting 101: Cast On

Knitting 101: Knit Stitch

Knitting 101: Purl Stitch

Knitting 101: Cast Off

Medium Weight Yarn
Size 9 Knitting Needles
Yarn Needle (or plastic kid’s sewing needle like I used)

So, here’s my first finished knitting project (that actually worked). Forgot to tell you about the tragic casting off experince with my scarf. Worked so hard only to have the whole thing revert back to pile of yarn. I channeled my frusterations into a Nerf war so that helped!

Getting Started with Knit Stitch

1. Cast on 20 stitches – then keep knitting, 2. Stitches aren’t quite uniform, and I fear a bit too tight, 3. I learned that the kids are infinately bored by knitting and didn’t talk to me much while I was doing it. So there’s that…

knitting a headwrap

1. The pattern suggested 14″ of finished knit rows that can stretch to 22″. I think mine were too tight. I got to 14″ and was afraid of making it too big, but I should have given it another inch or so. 2. After casting off, fold the two ends in. Maybe they are supposed to be even and uniform, but that didn’t happen. No worries though, you’ll never be able to tell!

stitch up headwrap

1. Really bad photo of how to stitch the two sides together with a yarn needle. I used Lola’s plastic sewing needle and it worked just fine. 2. I was so thrilled to be finished that I kind of forgot to take pics of the next few steps. But never fear the pattern will show you exactly what to do.

headband post run

This one was post-run and it was f-f-freeeeeeezing, so I only took one. You can see actual frost on the front, but my ears were happy and warm. Thanks, Elisa! Great pattern and tutorial.

purl stitch headwrap

I’m working on a second headband in purl stitch – though it’s taking longer than the first. My brain seems to be struggling with working in the opposite direction. I used an inexpensive acrylic for my gray headwrap and I’m using a heavier, wool for the second. Though as I’m working with the second, I almost wish I had used acrylic or something less bulky because I’m not sure how it’s going to work out. But both are what I had on hand.

After I’m a little more experienced I’ll treat myself to some new yarn! Have a favorite yarn line or beginner knitting tutorial? Be sure to tell me in the comments!





Craft ADHD: Back to Basics

i never finish anyth

Since starting this blog a month ago I’ve been making things regularly. Which is huge! I’ve been talking and thinking and pinning for EVER, but very little making. So that’s a huge win. BUT I’m all over the place and not sure if Ritalin will help or not. I start a diy picture frame project and then suddenly I think I need to rearrange the living room furniture. Oh, shiny!

And Pinterest is inspiring and overwhelming me at the same time. Ever feel like that?

So, I’m starting over a bit this week. I’m working on not only making for the sake of making – but on building skill and really learning the basics. knitting and zipper tutorials

I started a knitting challenge last month and I’m going to keep at it. I really love it and could see this being “my craft”. This coming week I’m going to learn to install a zipper (1 failed attempt thus far) and continue this Knitting 101 from CraftSnob. I’m going to make this headband and this genius apron with a detachable towel.

What skills are you working on right now? I’d love to know. Maybe we can help each other and do a little skill share.

Knitting is My Everest

craft forest beginner knitting challenge

In addition to making something each week, I’ve challenged myself to spend some time  knitting every day.  I’ve done pretty well at sticking to that challenge! I haven’t quite wrapped my entire house in knitted cozies like the grandma from the Fedex ad, but progress has been made. First lesson learned, when they say to cast on 20 for a typicial scarf, don’t be an over achiever and think that 26 or 27 is better. It’s a bit wide, but it’ll work.

There is something meditative and (not to be too dramatic) cleansing about knitting. I never, and I mean never, thought I could get the hang of it. I’ve watched countless “how to knit” videos and tangled an unspeakable amount of yarn. I’ve tried off and on for about 7 years to learn and then always give up. I could cast on and then nothing worked. Or I’d get a row completed and then forget how to keep going. I was standing in my own way, I guess. 

But I’ve done it! – well, I am doing it. And truly I couldn’t have gotten this far without the knitting basics tutorial from Design Sponge. This was the one that finally made it click! While I haven’t checked it out much further, it looks like they have a whole series. So I’m going to keep working on my current scarf and then follow their plan to build my skills. 

Design Sponge knitting tutorial

And while this little stretch of connected stiches isn’t any “thing” just yet it’s made me feel more capable and proud than I could have ever imagined. Made me think of the chours to the Idlewild song El Capitan. “Stand up. Stand up…I”ll climb El Capitan, And jump off to cheers from the crowd…

These are the moments that form habits. I’ve got this, and so do you. So what’s your crafting everest? Tell me in the comments and maybe we’ll climb it together.

P.S. Here’s some knitting & crochet eye candy over on Pinterest

Yarn Bomb My Life

WAM Yarn Bomb

Wichita Art Museum: Yarn Bomb on Tom Otterness’ Dreamers Awake

It’s been said that it takes 21 days to change a behavior or to incorporate a new routine. I’ve been crafting consistently for 12 days now and I think it might stick. I feel more creative and it’s spilling over into all aspects of my life.

I was visiting friends in Wichita recently and fell in love with the yarn bombs at the Wichita Art Museum on Tom Otterness’ sculpture Dreamers Awake. How cute are those hats and scarves?! I’ve always wanted to learn to knit or crochet. I’ve tried off and on over the years and have only successfully created tangled messes of yarn and tears, but nothing wearable.

Yarn Bombs at the Wichita A

Community Project – Yarn Bombs at the Wichita Art Museum

So that’s the challenge I’m giving myself. Keep making something each week and dedicate time to learn to knit. Luckily there are several really good tutorials on Pinterest and I already have the supplies. So I’m jumping in.

I’m armed with a few tutorials and thought you might want to join me. Misery, err, I mean really super-positive and successful beginner knitters love company.

beginner knitting tutorials

1. Knitting 101 – 4 beginner projects from start to finish, 2. How to Make the Chain Stitch – embroidery on existing knits (looks like a good start), 3. Knitting basics from Design Sponge and 4. Easy Mistake Scarf from the Purl Bee

Share your success and horror stories with me and I’ll share mine. Good luck to us all! We’re gonna need it…

P.S. If you’re visiting the Wichita Art Museum anytime soon be sure to have brunch at The Muse Cafe there. So, so good!