Tuesday, September 30, 2014

DIY Upcycled Cat Bed - Tutorial Try

As I'd mentioned last week, I've been thinking about making some cat beds for our kitties, one of which is currently begging as hard as he can for my mashed potatoes.
Our tabby loves this thing. I've since
rearranged the blanket a little so
they can nestle into the bed more.

No, kitty. These are MY mashed potatoes.

Anyway, yesterday, I decided to give it a try with this crochet tutorial over at The Zen of Making. Since I have a thing for upcycling, too, I thought I'd use the beat up bed sheets we no longer use and some fabric I already have for the lining.

As you can probably see from the picture, a full sized fitted and flat sheet don't provide quite enough material for the entire bed, but adding the complimentary color a little early isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The tutorial itself is very easy to follow, and Haley provides some great pictures to illustrate what needs to be done.

Since I don't own a cutting mat, my strips ended up somewhat uneven, which is why the bed ended up a bit oddly shaped. I think the lopsidedness gives it character, and our cats don't seem to mind.

As for time, crocheting the bed didn't take me very long, since it is only twelve rounds. Cutting the fabric, however, took me quite a while. Part of that was because my hand started hurting about halfway in, but another part was two of our cats decided to "help". Overall, I think it only took me about four hours from cutting the fabric to finishing the crochet.

That's Legend of Korra playing in the background. I've found Avatar action is a good supplement to craftiness.

You do need some basic crochet skills for this one, and a Large Hook, but if you have some fabric on hand, a cat in need of a new bed and some time on your hands, I suggest giving this tutorial a try!

Here are a few of my progress shots:

The ball on the right is the flat sheet. I cut out the elastic and corners of the fitted sheet before cutting it into strips.
The bottom of the cat bed.
I had moved into the living room to watch Gotham and Sleepy Hollow while finishing this bed up. Our tabby got impatient and didn't want me to keep working on it.
There we have it. It's not molded here, and there's no blanket in it, yet, but she was still happy to try it out.

Friday, September 26, 2014

But dragons!

I ended up taking an unexpected vacation this week, accompanied by countless little germs. The house is a wreck, I'm still worn out, and I'm so behind on writing that I feel a bit like I'm stuck in a pit.

On the up side, I did get a start on a dragon scarf.

It's a NOSE.

The pattern does actually call for some sort of script before the actual dragon, but I didn't want to include it, so...I didn't.

That's the beauty of making stuff by hand, right?

I chose white and orange, because those were two common colors in the stash of yarn my grandmother had sent. They're the right weight, so, why not? I have the feeling the dragon will end up being various shades of orange, since there's not much yarn of ONE shade, but lots of several.

Maybe I'll try dedicating the rest to a blanket or something.

I've also gotten started on a bit of mending. Hubby's thick winter gloves are ready for use, at least.

As for now, I should try getting a little housework done before my energy runs out again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Stupid Germs

It's been a miserable couple of days. At least my fever has gone down.

Some of hubby's wicked pepper soup, and ginger tea brewing to the left.

Monday, September 22, 2014

DIY Clothing Alterations - Crochet Edging

Since I had somehow managed to misplace the original in progress pictures I'd taken of adding
I like how it turned out. It's all flippy
when I walk, and I can take full strides!
crochet edging to the skirt, I used scrap fabric to demonstrate how I did it.

You can use this method for adding crochet edging to anything made out of woven fabric. This includes shirts, skirts, washcloths, towels, and tablecloths. Basically, if it has an edge, and it's made out of fabric, you can probably use this method on it.

Before you get started, you'll need the following items:
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper (optional)
  • Crochet hook (I used size 8, or 5.0 mm, but feel free to experiment with other sizes)
  • Yarn, preferably in a complimentary color.
  • Ruler
  • Chalk or tailor's pencil (optional)
Now that I see this picture, I used a different color yarn as an example. I'm not sure why I'd changed my mind.
Step One: Poke Holes
You can either mark off half inch intervals with your chalk or pencil, or cut small holes in the fabric while holding the ruler in place. It's a good idea to keep the holes under an inch from the bottom-most part of the hem.

If you're marking where you'll be putting your holes, turn the garment inside out to do so.

For the actual skirt, I used a seam ripper to cut small, regular holes, but this time, I just used the scissors I had on hand. As a result, the holes were a bit sloppier, but they did their job for this purpose.

Step Two: Starter Stitch
Once the holes are poked, slip your crochet hook into the first one, from the right side (outside) of the garment. Then, loop your yarn over the hook, leaving a tail of an inch or two long, and pull the first loop through.

Step Three: Start Stitching
Draw the yarn from the wrong side (inside) of the garment, yarn over, and pull it through the first loop. This will be half of your first stitch.

Step Four: Stitching
Keeping the yarn stable by holding the tail against the back of the garment, insert the hook into the next hole, yarn over, and crochet as usual.

This is what the first true stitch will look like.
Although you can use various stitching techniques, I've found that using a simple single stitch to start is easiest. Once you've created as much fabric as you'd like to add, just finish it as you would any other crochet project - by weaving in any ends, and, if necessary, blocking.

Don't be afraid to experiment with gauge, various stitches and increasing your number of stitches to varying degrees.

For my Crochet Basics series, which includes tips on how to do various stitches, and a key to common abbreviations, check out the master page here. For more on clothing alternations and upcycling, click here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Finalities

This has been an experimental kinda week, and at least moderately eventful.

I have finished the wrap! I still need to weave a few ends in and block it, but I'm relatively happy with how it turned out. I also figured out a few things that I'll do differently the next time. I'll probably be keeping this one, since it ended up being a bit on the small side.

A bit of experimentation with crocheting flowers. This is the result of getting bored one day and needing something to do with my hands. I think I may use this idea as a basis for a door wreath for winter or something.

And that beef stew from Wednesday? It turned out quite nicely. I think I'll be using a dark beer instead of red wine for it in the future.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Upcoming Projects!

When I came home from the library, I found this adorable mass of cuddles:

The three of them rarely lie like that, and when they do, it's almost always on my side of the bed. Unfortunately, it's never shortly before bed, so I don't get to curl up in a feline-generated warm spot.

Ah well.

Seeing them like that, however, reminded me of the idea of making cat beds for them. As it stands now, I have folded blankets in their favorite spots under my desk, and the cat fort I made for them last year.

So, to the internet I go! Right now, I'm thinking of something like the Cuddle Cup from Guinea Pig Cages or this one from Lori Marie. There are quite a few adorable knit/crochet options out there, but I'd prefer to stick with fabric. In my experience, woven fabric and felt tend to stand up to kitty claws than knits.

Though, speaking of knitting, I am going to pick up this pattern for a dragon scarf/shawl from Ravelry. A girl can never have too many dragon things, can she?