Skip to content

Archive for

Listen Up!

Did you know I’ve been doing a lot with Interweave lately?

cozy knits

 

13kn02_2

I have 2 books coming out with them this year, but am also involved in some webinars through Knitting Daily. “What is a webinar,” you ask? A webinar is an online seminar where you listen and watch a slide presentation. There’s a chance to ask questions at the end, some interaction between the listeners when I take a poll and a lot, I mean A LOT of talk about fibers.

KD_TanisGrayPAID-403

Earlier this week I gave a free, 15-minute webinar preview for my big webinar on Wednesday, August 21st. It was a brief overview on the different types of fibers, what they’re best used for, how to dye fiber at home, DIY yarn and blocking information (my students know how much I love to talk about blocking). The response was overwhelming and I’m excited about next week’s full version.

Click here to sign up for the webinar! Even if you can’t listen live (5:00pm, EST) you can download the presentation and listen any time.

Hope to see you there!

DIY Friday

I’ll be honest… The first place my husband and I lived in together was a craphole.

The bathroom was Pepto Bismol pink, the shower was more of a utility sink that you could barely turn around in, since it was New York, there was an abundance of roaches and the ventilation system was such that when the upstairs neighbors sang “I Believe I Can Fly” every time they did karaoke (which was often), we felt like we were being given a private concert. But the fact is, it was our first place together. Yeah, it was pretty gross, the commute wasn’t great and the basement had a definite “Blair Witch” vibe, but to us (or me at least), it had a certain charm because we were happy there and starting our relationship. It had potential, just like us.

shelf1

My husband teases me that I can find beauty in anything and I suppose this is true. My 2010 New Year’s resolution was to try to be more optimistic and I’ve been true to my word, always trying to find the good and let it outweigh the negative. So when I saw this little rickety curio shelf, slightly sticky, slightly off-kilter and in need of some love, I knew I could make that happen. I decided to get my upcycle on.

SONY DSC

I’ve done cosmetic rehabs to a few pieces of furniture – my nightstand and a living room cabinet most recently. You could do this with any item in your house because they now make spray paint for almost any surface. Clean it up with some mild soap and water (I used the Soak I usually use for my knitting), let it dry, sand it a bit, wash it again, let it dry. I hit it with 3 coats of spray paint for wood, letting it dry overnight between coats. I had intended to replace the knobs, but they proved unwilling to budge, so they got spray painted, too. But it still needed something…

SONY DSC

I LOVE the Paper Source. I could spend hours in that place. I found some amazing fox paper there, bought 2 sheets and ran home to fit it into place. The paper backing took the longest, but really makes this shelf go from being a curio shelf to a curio shelf with panache. I glued the paper in and let it dry overnight. I then took out one of the best inventions EVER – Mod Podge. 2 coats later and this sucker was ready to live in my son’s room and house a few special treasures.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

The whole process took a week, but it was mostly dry time. The shelf was $7, spray paint was $8, paper was $4. I had the Mod Podge and the sponge brushes. I’m a big believer in if you can do it yourself, then DO IT YOURSELF. Also, why go buy a new shelf when I could just fix one up for under $20?

SONY DSCLong live upcycling!

 

Playtime Floor Pillows

Planes, trains, automobiles. My life is chock fulla these modes of transportation, many of which reside on my living room floor.

SONY DSC

Ah, the joys of toddlerhood. I know I’ll miss these days someday, especially when someone shows up to knitting night with a huge bruise saying they got it from tripping over their toddler’s trains, or a scrape on their arm from having a toy car repeatedly driven into it… I’ll nod my head sagely and give them some advice on how to avoid such accidents. But for now, I’m on the receiving end of these injuries, planes, trains and automobiles are in the laundry basket, in the bed, on the kitchen table, sometimes in the dishwasher, under the comfortable chair and usually sandwiched between the couch cushions. It’s an occupational hazard when you are the mom of a two-year-old boy. I roll with it.

SONY DSC

We recently acquired a large wooden train table, containing most of the toy mess to its surface. I still dodge the occasional matchbox car or Thomas the Train on the floor, but this table has helped immensely. The only problem with the table is while my kid will play at it for hours, he gets tired standing and walking around it for so long. Thus, an idea was hatched. You know those cool floor pillows for kids at the fancy shops that cost an arm and a leg? I’m a knitter! I’ll make my own!

Using 2 hanks in two colors of Cascade’s amazingly popular 100% Peruvian Highland wool, Cascade 220 (aptly named for it’s generous 220 yards per hank), I found some great cushions online (for wheelchairs, of all things) and got knitting. I can’t say enough good things about Cascade 220. The yardage is fantastic on this workhorse yarn, the great ply ensures no splitting, the sheer amount of colors it comes in makes it easy to choose colors to match a child’s bedroom or playroom and the price point is what I – a frugal mom – looks for and loves. It comes in various weights, superwashes, and multicolors.

SONY DSC

Starting with my favorite trusty provisional cast on, I knit a striped tube (using the jogless stripe method – so clever), then simply kitchenered the top together, slipped in the pillow, then kitchenered the bottom closed. I made a second cushion with different colors for when we have play dates. I hit it lightly with the steam setting of my iron and left them in my office. Not long after, my son found the pillows, dragged them over to his train table and went about his work building tracks and pushing trains. Mission accomplished? I’d like to think so.

SONY DSC

The thing about these pillows is kids can use them for sitting at low tables yes, but I noticed my son dragging them over to his books for some reading time, then over to the window to watch Daddy mow the lawn, then over to the Duplos to build a tower, then by the air conditioning vent for a little nap. You could take these anywhere – to a soccer game, a picnic, a sleepover, the beach… Another great thing about Cascade 220 is it holds up. It’s the yarn I have most in my stash for this reason – it’s perfect for so many things. No doubt these cushions will be brought along to all sorts of events over the coming years and I know that they’ll stay bright and well made.

SONY DSC

If only these magical cushions would clean my house for me…

Download the free Playtime Floor Pillows pattern here.