DIY Christmas Ornaments

Well darned if I didn’t get into the holiday spirit this year! Or, more likely, looking at my sad, tiny fake tree with 5 ornaments on it was so depressing that I had to do something about it. Instead of retrieving the thousands of ornaments stashed away at my parents’ house waiting for me, I figured I’d make some more to add to the pile.

I found some patterns and ideas on Pinterest, naturally (they’re all pinned on my DIY board).

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Know anyone with two tiny hands and an even tinier head?

These tiny mittens (pattern here) and hat (steps here) just turned out so cute! And the best part was that they were so fast and easy to make (as opposed to some of my year-long adult-sized projects). The mittens probably took an hour each and the hat was even faster. These were also ideal for using up scraps of leftover yarn—I didn’t have to buy anything.

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Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how fake are your branches.

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This one came within an inch of running out of yarn. DRAMA.

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P.S. There’s a piece of toilet paper tube under there.

I had been on the hunt at Goodwill for a Scrabble set with the original wooden letters for so long that once I finally found one, I forgot what I wanted it for. So I’ve had a bag of the letters sitting around for a couple of years, and I finally put them to good use!

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Guess which one is my favorite.

These were super easy to make. I just hot glued the letters together and glued a piece of ribbon to the back. Again, a project where I didn’t have to buy anything—hooray! The only thing I don’t love is that the hot glue can look a little goopy in between the letters, so I think if I made them again, I’d use wood glue.

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Snow day vibes.

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Be careful who you give this to. You don’t want people to think you’re calling them fat.

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It had to be done.

Merry Christmas & happy holidays (sung to the tune of the ‘N Sync song, of course)!

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A Kate Middleton-Inspired Knit Shawl

I’m a bit of a Kate Middleton fan, but I hide it really well by trying to dress like her always and writing for a Kate Middleton style fan blog in my free time (it’s actually really good and you should read What Would Kate Do? every single day!). For my most recent blog post, I decided to combine interests and knit myself a replica item of Kate’s (or repliKate, as we in the know call it): a knit green shawl she was photographed wearing to the grocery store a couple of years ago.

PIC BRUCE ADAMS / COPY SCHLESINGER - 5.5.11 NEWLY MARRIED DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE KATE MIDDLETON WITH SHOPPING AT THE MENAI BRIDGE BRANCH OF WAITROSE SUPERMARKET, ANGLESEY.

Via Bruce Adams, Daily Mail

The clincher? I found this replica pattern of the exact shawl by Cat Wong on Ravelry!

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Via Cat Wong, Ravelry

It started super easy and I was like, oh yeah girl, you’ve got this. Cruisin’ USA, right? But since triangles start small at one point and then get larger towards the opposite side, each consecutive row took longer to knit. (I realize this is an obvious fact, but it really took me by surprise, so if I can help one person, this PSA is worth it.) But after some late nights and sore arms (don’t laugh), I finished it!

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Overall, the pattern was pretty easy to follow (just a little time-consuming) and turned out really great. There are a few different pattern options for the ruffle. As opposed to Kate’s, with ruffles on all three edges, I toned it down and just added the ruffles on two edges of the shawl.

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I’m also a fan of how this can be worn as a shawl or a scarf or a wrap. The possibilities are endless if endless equals three possibilities!

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Please give me a haircut someone.

Men’s Gray Knit Scarf

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Little does he know, Mark’s modeling career is just getting started.

Call me the commissioner of the league because yo girl got another commish. This time, the item requested was a men’s scarf (which actually may still be usable in May in the Midwest). I picked a simple but interestingly patterned men’s scarf in dark gray (because men can’t wear colorful colors, duh). While the pattern itself was simple enough, the small needles and smallish-sized yarn meant it took a really long time to knit.

Despite that, it turned out pretty great! I think this may be one of my least flawed pieces to date. Usually some sort of mistake sneaks its way in (just don’t look too close). Farewell dear scarf, you’re off to a new home, which is fine by me because I never want to see the same 10 rows I knit a thousand times again.

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St. Patrick’s Day Beer Coozies

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A trio of St. Paddy’s Day coozies (and just in the nick of time).

You didn’t think I’d let my second favorite holiday pass without a theme project, did you? Well, I might in the future because these were a lot harder than they seemed. There’s not one of these that I didn’t have to restart at least once. I should probably be hiding that fact but, hey, I’ve had a couple of beers so let’s get real with each other.

First of all, I could not find a pattern for exactly what I wanted. You’d think there would be lots of other people with Venn diagrams of interests where knitting and beer overlapped, but I guess not. For the bottle coozie, I based it off of this pattern, adding in the stripes. This one worked out pretty well but I had to restart it after I realized that using the amount of stitches it said to cast on, it was gigantic (more like wine bottle size). I adjusted it from 56 stitches to 34.

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Bottle coozie in Irish colors.

The next coozie turned out pretty well, at least compared to the first one. I adjusted the same pattern for the size of the can by measuring and multiplying stitches per inch. Stay in school, kids. Algebra is real life. Turns out checking gauge is actually a pretty good idea! Note for the future.

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The Irish flag coozie.

This next one was what I intended to do all along and had to work my way up to. While I knit the others in the round, I could not figure out how to get the intarsia clover pattern in there at the same time and ended up starting over. I knit it flat and then sewed it together up the seam. It turned out being much taller than I intended and also don’t look at the lower right leaf. I don’t know what happened there. I’m not even sure if this counts as a beer coozie. Any idea what else it could be? Whiskey bottle coozie? Arm band? Garbage?

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The fancy one. Hey, I tried.

I would say I’ll be making this next year but after these projects…maybe I’ll just stick to drinking beer. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Cheers!

My First Commission!

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It fits!

I just had to share my very first commissioned knitting project! If that hat looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same as the one I recently knit for myself in tan and pink. My friend saw it and requested one in gray (with specific instructions to include “NO PINK”). I used thick, chunky yarns like I did for the first one but in light and dark gray.

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Gray on gray on gray.

One thing I’ve always been unsure about, if I ever did sell any of my stuff, was how much to charge. I wanted to make it affordable and give a deal to people I know, but, at the same time, make it worth it for myself, considering all the time these projects take. I found this blog post which gives an actual formula for calculating what to charge for a project that I found helpful. Basically…

  • Cost of supplies + $10 per hour = Price A
  • Cost of supplies x 3 = Price B

Then calculate the average of A & B, and compare it to the market price of the item. The price I got with this formula was pretty close to what I had seen on etsy for similar items.

Hope you’re enjoying your hat, Brie!

Slouchy Knit Hat with Pink Accents (and a Pom-Pom!)

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Photo cred: my sister Ellen. Awkward facial expression cred: me.

Where do I submit my hat for the fastest-project-ever-completed award? As opposed to the pillow that never seemed to end, I did this one from start to finish in under a week. I think it only took about three total nights of sitting down to knit for an hour or two to finish it—a refreshing change!

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Tan and bright pink—who knew?!

This was a fun, super-easy pattern (that I found on Ravelry) to knit that started on circular needles and then switched to double-pointed needles. I must brag that the pom-pom was not part of the pattern—that was all me, baby! As usual, I didn’t check the gauge and winged it with the yarns that I used (both of which I already had lying around) but it worked out. The thick tan yarn (Patons Classic Wool Roving in Natural) and the bright pink yarn (a cotton yarn I had from a dishcloth I made awhile back when that seemed like a fun idea) turned out looking pretty good together. The whole hat required less than one skein of the main tan color and hardly any of the accent color (perfect for using up leftovers). I definitely want to make more of this hat and I especially like the pop of bright color in the purled rows.

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That pom-pom tho…

My stock of yarn is making me question one thing, though. Am I so boring that my favorite color might actually be tan or gray? I don’t think so but, man, for everything I knit, I’m drawn to using shades of grays, browns, and neutrals. Oh well. Maybe I’ll make a neon green turban next.

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The perfect chunky hat for a snowy day.

A Knitted Union Jack Pillow

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That’s right—I’m not burying the lead. Here’s the finished product before I even say a word. #generous

Good gravy, it’s been ages since I’ve posted! Which is about how long it’s taken me to knit this pillow. Seriously, I started it at least a year ago and while, of course, I wasn’t working on it constantly, it was really putzy. It didn’t help that I had to start over twice (during which time I learned a new word and a new knitting technique called intarsia) and that the needles required for this were approximately the same circumference as toothpicks. But I did it! I’m finished! And no, I will not make one for you! Sorry. But just no.

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Aw, it’s already fitting in and getting along with my other pillows!

Even though the pillow is way bigger than I was expecting, I love how it turned out. I especially love the colors because they’re muted and go with almost anything. My apartment is starting to go a bit England crazy, so this is one relatively subtle addition to the decor. I used this pattern from Ravelry which, once I figured out what intarsia was and how to do it (look it up), was pretty easy to follow and execute—just time consuming.

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Close up of the colors (there are actually 2 slightly different dark browns that I used) and the INTARSIA I finally mastered.

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The finishing detail—buttons to close the opening in the back. I now see that the ribbing doesn’t line up 100% but screw it; it’s on the back anyways.

Now that I’ve finally finished my epic knitting project, I am jazzed about it again and excited to start knitting something else. I’m thinking this hat will be up next. Stay tuned, little turkeys. Yah? yah. #MakingAMurderer

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My picture-perfect apartment. Just kidding. I moved about 10 pounds of crap off the couch to take this picture and there are dead leaves all over the floor to the right. Oh well.