Friday, January 29, 2010

Beer Can Hat – Part 3

(continued from Part 2See Crochet Basics for stitch descriptions and abbreviations. 

5. Make the Base (Top): 

I call this part of the hat the Base because that's where a hat usually begins. Crochet the Base of the hat from the Basic Hat Pattern. Work in the dc stitches as described until the underlined number is 4. You should end up with a nice circle that has 60 sts around the outer edge. Do not tie off.

6. Join the Base to the Crown:

Hold the Crown and the Base wrong sides together with the labels facing you and matching up the stitches as you work. Sl st into any st at top edge of Crown, *insert hook through same st and corresponding st of Base, yo and draw a loop, yo and draw a lp through both lps on hook. One Joining Sc done. Repeat from * around top of Crown, working into edge dcs only (not the stitches joining the labels). Sl st into first sc worked (60 sts total). Tie off.

At this point, the hat can make a great Beer Can Fez. Just sc around bottom edge, then make a tassel and attach to the top. Boom, Fez. Still a very respectable party hat.

7. Make the Brim: 

Hold the Crown with the labels facing you, working from the lower edge. Stitches will be worked into each edge dc, and 2sts into the space under joining dcs (the joining dcs are laying sideways, work 2 sts around each of these bars as you work around). 

Optional: To even out the lower edge of your Crown before adding the brim (and make working the first row of increase a little easier), you may choose to work one row of sc all around before moving on to the next step.

Start Brim: Sl st into any edge dc, [ch3 (counts as 1 dc), dc into next 6 sts (7dc total). *Work 2 dc into next st. Dc into next 7 sts. Repeat from * around, sl st into third of starting ch3.]

Repeat from [ to ] adding 1 to the underlined number for each additional row (ie. Row 2 = 8, row 3 = 9, etc) until your brim is as wide as you like. I worked 3 rows for a big sunhat brim, but I think 2 would have been better for the fisherman style I was going for. 

After you're happy with the brim, work one row of sc around (no increase). I went one step further and worked another row of sc into the same sts worked (over the top of the sc just worked), which adds a little more stability to the edge. That's totally optional of course.

Ok there you go! Please forward any photos of finished projects to me! Or better yet, fan me on Facebook and post photos there. Woohoo!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Outdoor Dog Bed

My girl Panda likes to sleep outside. In the summer, she likes sleeping on the dirt and grass... but now that it's winter and rainy, she can't really sleep in the mud. So she lays on the cement, which is not very easy on her old bones. I wanted to make her a dog bed that would be soft and weather resistant. I looked around the net for instructions and found nothing, so I thought I'd post my own How To Make an Outdoor Dog Bed project. Here you go...

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to make it out of... I went to the fabric store to see what I could find. Here's what I bought:

1 yd Vinyl upholstery fabric (54" wide)
1 yd wool/polyester twill fabric (54" wide)
1 22" zipper
Heavy duty sewing machine needles

Starting with the vinyl, fold the fabric in half short-ways, to make the widest rectangle you can and measure it. Mine came out to 27" across by 36" long. Fold it right sides together so the edges match all around. On one short end, mark with a pen where your zipper will start and stop. Using 1/2" seam allowance, sew around 2 edges. On the zipper side, sew only where your zipper will not be. At the corners, reinforce the stitching by running backwards once then continuing on.

To add the zipper, line up the zipper's outer edge with the fabric edge (where we left it open) and sew 1/4" seam all the way from one end of the zipper fabric to the other. Repeat for the other side of the zipper. Rather than using my zipper foot (which let the fabric slide all over), I used my regular foot and moved the needle to the left. I did not bother with top stitching. (Use the diagrams inside the zipper package if you're not familiar with how to sew a zipper.)

Turn it right side out and the outer part of the dog bed is complete.

For the inner case, I used a heavy wool/poly twill fabric. Wool will naturally repel moisture, and the polyester will add durability. Again, fold the fabric short-ways for a wide rectangle. Cut to measure the same as the vinyl cover. Sew around 2 sides and 1/2 of the third side. Leave the last 1/2 for stuffing. Turn right side out.

To stuff my dog bed, I used two funky old bed pillows my boyfriend inexplicably wouldn't throw out. Two fit into my case perfectly. I also took some old t-shirts, cut them into pieces and added them as extra filler.

To close the inner case, fold the edges inward and top stitch from the outside. You may opt to add a zipper to the inner case as well, for ease of washing. I am hoping mine will stay relatively dry inside and I won't need to wash it.

Now fit the inner case into the vinyl case and zip up. Boom! Quick and easy, just like we like. I couldn't get Panda to lay down for the pic, she thought we were playing. But I think the size is just right. Victory!

I Heart 70s Craft Books

(From my stash of little articles written about 10 yrs ago... I've not changed my mind. In fact the 70s styles are even more popular today. Woot.)

Let's not forget those awesome days of yore...when crafting and needlework were having a real heyday.  No, not the Renaissance, nor the Victorian era, classic though they may be. I am referring to the colorful and creative 1970s.  I am a child of that period, and as such took part in nearly every creative whim of my parents...latch hook, crochet, needlepoint, crewel. And do I recall some of those cellophane dipped flowers and some sort of toxic resin plaques? Yes, those were the days. Funk was the norm and looking through my mom's craft book collection was so much rainy day fun. 

 "Granny Square Vest Family" painted from a 70s crochet pattern booklet

I have now amassed my own impressive collection of craft books, also of the 70s variety.  Most of these (surprise) relate to working with fibers in some way.  I just can't rave enough about how much I love those books. They are full of techniques, histories, creativity and inspiration. The crochet books are without a doubt the most interesting I've found...I have books on crochet and needlework as sculpture and fine art, wearable art, clothing design and the usual pattern magazines and booklets.  Some may whine about the outdated styles available in these oldies, but really the styles are very interesting and back in fashion. Usually these can be updated simply by altering the color scheme (even too much for me at times).  Not only that, but where else can you find a pattern for 4 types of crochet sandals? 

Here's an example to illustrate my point. A while ago I decided it was time to own a good overall book about quilting. I wanted a good source book with info about each of the common techniques.  So, I moseyed to my favorite used bookstore, which has exceptional art and craft sections.  I had noticed on previous visits the volume of quilting books, and so settled down on the milk crate to do some searching for the end-all-be-all of quilting books.

Well, let me tell you...I looked through all the modern type books and was sorely saddened by the lack of basic instruction and creativity in these books.  They were generally ten projects for your cutesy home and I thought they really lacked room for experimentation. When I did find the book I desired it was a 70s surprise. This one has it all: numerous methods of quilting including trapunto, piecework basics, borders, cutwork, appliqué and cultural styles like Hawaiian and Amish.  Of course, there are projects included for each process and style. There's even a whole chapter devoted to designing your own quilt, step by step. Now THAT'S what I call a craft book. And it was much less expensive than the modern ones.

So, there you have it. I love the 70s books. They are well written, colorful, creative, stylish, cheap and available everywhere. Now, I'm off to read about granny squares...

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Easy Crochet Slippers Pattern

OK, as promised... more free crochet patterns. I wish I had better photos for you, but I used to sell these printed out, so the photos are small. Unfortunately I don't have the original pics or samples. I made these years ago. As always, feel free to contact me for help if you get stuck. Enjoy.

Bohemian Mermaid Crochet Pattern
 Warm &Comfy Slippers

Description: Simple and warm house slippers with optional non-slip soles, size adult large.
Materials: 4oz worsted yarn, K hook, rubber shelf liner (optional). 

Instructions are for adult size. Work 2 strands worsted tog (1 or 2 colors as you wish) throughout. Make 2:

Rnd1: (Toe) Ch 3 (counts as 1st hdc here and throughout). Working into 1st ch made, 8 hdc. Sl st into 3rd ch of ch3 (9 sts total).
Rnd 2: Ch 3. Hdc into same st. Work 2 hdc into each st around. Sl st into 3rd ch of ch3 (18 sts total).
Rnd 3: Ch 3. Hdc into same st, hdc into next st. *Work 2 hdc into next st, hdc into next st. Repeat from * around. Sl st into 3rd ch of ch3 (27 sts total).
Rnd 4-9 (6 rnds): *Ch 3. Hdc into next st and into each st around.
Sl st into 3rd ch of ch3 (27 sts total). Repeat from * for each rnd.
Row 10-18 (9 rows): (Start mouth) Ch 3. Hdc into next st and into each st across. Ch 3, turn. Repeat from * for each row, ending with ch1. Do not finish off.


Mouth edge: Working along edges of rows just worked, work 26 sc, ending in opposite corner of work. Do not finish off.

Heal seam: Continue working sc down folded heal edge, matching sts and working through both layers, until 2 sts remain to be worked. Proceed as follows: Insert hook into next st (both layers) and draw a loop. Repeat (3 lps on hook). Yo and pull through all 3 lps on hook. Finish off. 

Non-slip Sole (optional): Make a paper pattern by tracing foot and evening out into a long light bulb shape. Cut ¼" inside lines drawn. Fold lengthwise to check symmetry, trim as necessary. It should measure approx 10" long, 4" at its widest, 3" at its narrowest. Pin pattern to rubber shelf lining (with stripes going vertically) and cut 2. Pin to slipper with wide end at toe and narrow end at heal. Hand stitch using whipstitch and doubled thread. 

Etsy again.

Yay! I've been working hard to get my online listings going again... and my first round of etsy stuff is up. Oh, let me put up some sort of cool gadget.

Jeesh. The photos, as always, are a challenge. The light has to be perfect to see the colors properly & clearly. I thought it was bright enough outside even though it was partly cloudy... I mean, I had to squint! But the pics were still quite dark. So I had to mess around with brightening them and tweaking some of the colors. Ah well, I'll get better and faster as I go.

Anyway, my goal is to list 10 items per week on etsy, and concurrently update my regular web site with the new photos. This week the goal was 20 things, to get started. Done.

Oh and I have become completely addicted to the etsy forums. I'm learning a ton about all sorts of craft business stuff, not just more about etsy. It's quite a bit of craft nerd fun. A couple examples... there is a great wholesaling thread going, started by the owner of a shop who answers lots of helpful questions. I found this page of neato etsy aps, which was very helpful as well.