12.06.2015

Easy DIY Kimono Robe with optional Hood

So I have been looking at Kimono’s and kicking around the idea of sewing a Kimono cover of some type for a couple of years. I’ve watched numerous YouTube videos on how to make the pretty flowy ones that look sexy. But couldn’t find a scarf or fabric that I wanted to make one out of.

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Cut to me online looking at things, I ran across some Kimono tutorials again, and  thought Oh! I have some fleece that I bought to make a hoodie for a present, and that never happened so maybe I could make a kimono robe from it! I made one once from a real pattern and loved it and wore it for years. But I don’t want to invest in buying a pattern. I run across this vague tutorial on http://www.instructables.com/id/Instant-Cozy-Kimono-Robe-Made-from-Blanket/. Interesting, but I was having a hard time understanding how to put it together, Sew lines??? This is how I figured it out!  Instructable directions, cut 3 lines in blanket. WTHeck??

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OK I see, So I got my fleece out, and laid it out on the floor and laid on top of it to try and figure out where to cut it. And just got the scissors and cut it. So I made a small error. Be careful how far you cut the horizontal lines in. I’ll add a diagram at the end.

I got so excited that I added a shawl collar, and then a belt and belt loops, and then some trim. A loop to hang it on the back of my closet door and  was going to add a hood but decided that it weighed about 5 lbs., and I was sweating, due to it being the end of July, so I stopped. (OK its Dec and I’m finally posting this) Sorry but I’m making another one for a gift and thought this could help someone else out.) It is super warm and snuggly!

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I was so pleased with it, I bought some lighter fabric to make a summer robe! It is not as wide but I’m going to make shorter sleeves.

Fabric used: Fleece 60 in wide (plenty wide) perfect in fact for my arm span, approx. 3,5 yards total, and this was enough to make it floor length for myself and I’m 5’6”. I bought it at JoAnns with a 50% off coupon. The author made hers from a blanket, I didn’t have one, but I’ll keep it in mind.
Notes:
Measuring the sleeve cut:  I laid the fabric out and laid down on it, then folded over from the top to how deep I wanted the sleeves, I measured 17 inches, so that was a 17 inch fold from the top, that was plenty wide for a Kimono sleeve with no pulling for me. While your on the ground laying in the middle of your fabric, measure from where the fabric hits your wrist area to your arm pit. This will be how deep your cut will be. I cut mine too deep, you can make a seam and sew it up if it is too deep, it is under the big kimono sleeve so it will be hidden.
Shawl collar: That is just a collar the same width all around, I cut two strips the same length from back of neck to floor, and stitched then together, then put the seam at the back of the neck and stitched it all around. My strip was about 6 inches wide. But you could just make it as long as the neck hole if you are running short on fabric.
Belt: Just cut a long strip as long as you want it. I had enough fabric to double it and sew a seam, then I stitched it at the waist in the back for about 8 inches, I hate those dangling robe ties.
Belt loops: easy just cut a couple, if you are using fleece it will not fray, I just zigzag stitched mine around the edges and then sewed one at the waist on either side below the arm pit about an inch.
Hanging loop: I just made another belt loop and sewed it at the inner neck.
Hems: You can add trim or just turn it under and sew it. Easy.
Hood: Your on your own there, I was going to look at a hoodie and make a guess

Good luck and let me know if you make one!

8.11.2015

Fit Bit Obsessed

Well, I read and looked at reviews, talked to people who had one, and finally purchased a Fit Bit. I decided on the one. I didn’t like the look of a rubber bracelet. Little did I know that this little device was going to launch me off of the sofa to crazily walk everywhere. I literally got hardly any exercise, my excuse was I’m always standing at work, and walking. And I do walk quite a bit of work, but seeing the numbers, for some reason really made it “click”.

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As David Sedaris  people either get a Fit Bit (or other activity monitor) wear it and when the charge runs out, put it in the drawer, or worry because they won’t be wearing it while it is charging. Well that was me. When to charge it? I’m loosing steps!

Maybe I am slightly obsessed, one morning I dropped by fit bit one while transferring it from my sleep band (for my wrist) to my clip, and dropped it! It landed just on the corner, and it wound not record steps! I gave an involuntary shriek, and my husband says “what's wrong? Are you OK?” I bought my Fit Bit at Best Buy and he took it that day and they replaced it with a new one! Whew!!

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I chose the Fit Bit One after much thought, I was going for the bottom of the line no frills Zip, but I liked the fact that I could have ‘Floors counted” one floor for every 10 feet in elevation gained, nice on outdoor walks, that big hill I walk up really is big, (14 floors). The Sleep mode helped me, I’m a light sleeper, and usually walk around the house quite a bit at night, go outside, look at the sky, read, etc.… When I saw it on my Fit bit weekly stats I really started paying attention to how little sleep I was getting and paid closer attention to “sleep hygiene” This eventually lead to me getting a better quality of sleep and feeling less tired. (I would advise you to put the setting on the Fit Bit to “normal” and not “sensitive” for sleep)

I found the One to be reliable in counting steps for me, I wear it attached to my bra strap. Easy, and no one knows I even have it on. If you are interested here is a link to the different trackers that Fit Bit has (https://www.fitbit.com/ca/compare and their differences.

Read this interesting essay from David Sedaris in the New Yorker (link here) It is so funny, I understand what he is experiencing, but I’m not this obsessed. David's blog here

It has sidetracked my knitting. Any spare time? I could be walking. Instead of relaxing, I could walk down the street. I know how many steps it is to just about anywhere that I usually go. If I could only knit while I walk…

Taking 10,000+ steps a day has health benefits, see article here, and I get to eat more. I don’t worry about that piece of cake, now I’m on the search for the most comfortable running shoes. And trying to avoid injuries, I started running=more steps faster, but decided I can walk as fast as a run. LOL

There is a FITBIT group on Ravelry, and numerous knitting groups on the Fit bit website.

Get off the couch and take some steps so you can live to knit longer!

This is a real review, Not sponsored, I choose and purchased my Fit Bit myself. Now there are many other lifestyle trackers. I would be interested in hearing your opinion on your favorite! I’ve had this one for over a year and it is still going strong. But when it dies I will be buying another one!

7.31.2015

Free Knitting and Crochet Patterns

I’m always on the look out of free knitting and crochet patterns.

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There are so many talented designers that publish online for free! I’ve started linking to these on my Facebook page, I’ve tried to I include some daily, but if not daily then 2-3 times per week.I may accidently link to a pattern that is not free, but that would be an oversight on my part.

If you are interested in checking these patterns out I’ll leave my Facebook page link, not selling anything or capturing any info on anyone, just trying to share great patterns from Indy designers, and big name also!

https://www.facebook.com/knittingdragonflies main page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Knitting-Patterns-and-Tutorial-Links/172573586122205

I actually am linking to patterns from both pages, different patterns, I was going to try to consolidate into one, but had people following both pages. Enjoy, and if you know of any great patterns, please share them with us!

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I also have a Pinterest page with free knitting patterns and one with free crochet patterns that I’m always adding to, feel free to take a look there, and please let me know of any great links!

https://www.pinterest.com/knitdragonflies/crochet-free-patterns/

https://www.pinterest.com/knitdragonflies/free-knitting-patterns/

Happy Knitting and Crocheting!

7.25.2015

Sisal Mats

I like to knit with unexpected materials. I’ve knitted with wire before and made some fun birdhouses, which held up well and have had many generations of bird families in them. (See posts here)

I found some Sisal at my local Stuff Mart, and bought 4 balls. Ended up casting on with size 8 needle and about 20 stitches to test it out, and the result was two very nice mats to sit plants on in our sun porch. My original plan was to make a door mat, but I decided I would start small. In the meantime I’ve found some cheap trays and am making inserts for them to set plants etc.. on.

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The larger mat (above) is done on size US 13 needles and cast on 30 stitches and knit until it is long enough. The casting on it the hardest part of the process. Then I cast off and I did a row of single crochet all around to make it neater looking. I had though of crocheting an entire mat, but this proved to be too hard on my fingers.

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Before soaking above, all wavy & stiff                   Drying after the soak, outside in the sun, pull it even.

Oh Yeah, one of the most important parts of knitting with sisal! After you have the size you want. Fill the sink up with warm water, and soak your mat for about 20 min. Then put it out in the sun to dry flat. It will be ripple free and all nice and flat!

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These work out nice to set plants on, easy to wash and there is an air space between the pot and the surface. If it gets wet and moldy, no problem just scrub it out, and lay it out in the sun and your good as new.

Off to cast on with some jute now….and also knit a larger sisal door mat.

7.20.2015

Wouldn’t You Like to be Knitting Here….

My husband and I have spent much time in the Smokies. Good memories of hiking and knitting and great adventures.

I love this photo from Dave Allen Photography, Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Morning Haze at Oconaluftee

I couldn’t resist sharing it! I would love to be there looking out over the hills and casting on a new project. Where have you been knitting lately?

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Morning Haze at Oconaluftee

May your knitting needles fly as fast as Dragonflies….

7.18.2015

Everything is Coming up Daisies

I saw a hexagon granny square pattern and had decided I needed to make it. A blanket made of flowers! Easy to take along and work on, what's not to like?  I was out of town when I decided to start on it, so ended up buying the yarn at Wal-Mart, I wanted something durable, soft and washable.
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Yarn, amounts, needle used:
I choose Caron Simply Soft due to the colors and fact that I could buy more if needed. I wasn’t sure how large it would turn out. I do love the yarn for blankets or something that is going to be used and washed a lot. Easy care, love the sheen on it and softness.
The colors used were: white #9701, Sunshine #9755, Ocean #9758 and Charcoal Heather #9508, I didn’t keep track of how many skeins I used, I think is was approx.. 2 yellow, 1 white, 5 blue, and 7 gray. All of the colors have 315 yards or 288 meters except the gray (heather) which has 250 yards or 229 meters per skein. So in total I would say an estimate of total yardage was: White 315 yards (had a small amount left on skein), Yellow 630 yards, Blue 1575 yards, Gray 1750 yards.(I used the gray to go around it 4x to make a boarder)
Needle size used: G size or 4 mm, also I used the Clover brand hook that has a flat soft grip on it. I loved it! It is hard for me to go back to the skinny ones now, especially if it is a small gauge.
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I picked Daisy colors, but think it would look nice in colors similar to a purple cone flower, or a black eyed Susan. I will probably make another one. It was easy to carry and crochet on these little flowers, I discovered after making a few that the assembly line technique was most efficient. So I figured out my line lengths, (which for me ended up to be 7 or eight motifs, and made that many centers and then did the next color. I tried to hold the ends down and crochet over them so I wouldn’t have to sew as many ends in. Originally I was going to make the blanket longer and larger, but it was heavy and I decided a throw size would be better. I settled on 13 rows long. The size ended up to be approx.  (48 x 65 inches).in the end after going around it several times in double crochet.
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That being said, I’m primarily a knitter and just do simple crochet. The pattern I found was The Bobbly Flower Hexagon by The Mad Blanketer.  I decided that was too thick and I modified slightly as below, I’m glad I did because it was plenty thick for what I wanted. A beautiful pattern!

Daisy Hexagon pattern modifications:
The Main stitch pattern for the petals I did a total of 3dc instead of her 4 dc for each petal.
After round 4 I added dc all around in each stitch and 2 dc open areas and 3 dc in corners.
To Join: I used the sc all around holding the hexagons wrong sides together. I liked how this gave me the “ridge” in-between all of the hexagons.
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Boarder: I dc all around two times, decreasing two stitches in each dip area in between motifs, and increasing two stitches at each point.
There are all kinds of ways to join granny square, I didn’t know they could actually be crocheted together as you make them. Great video on this from The Corner of Craft https://youtu.be/Pw5hrNwLDi8 (you tube video)
Here is a tutorial from The Crochet Crowd on 5 ways to put your squares together (you tube video)https://youtu.be/F31ActsLT9Q
There is also a hexagon group on Flickr if you need any eye candy or inspiration!
I love how it turned out, and I made it for my niece
Happy Knitting!