Queen Bean Sphynx Sweater

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In the many months since my last blog post, we have gained a new family member. She’s a beautiful Sphynx that we were fortunate enough to adopt from a pet rescue in the Fort Worth area. Many people cringe at the sight of a hairless cat and even say cruel things, but MAN, if you’ve ever been loved by a Sphynx you know how special these kitties are. They’re not quite like other cats. They crave the affection of humans and want to snuggle 24/7. They’re intelligent, loving, curious, and they never really outgrow their kitten-like playfulness.

Because of their hairlessness, they’re cold-natured creatures and need clothes, blankets, heating pads, etc., to keep them comfy and healthy.  However, there’s not a huge market for cat clothes so finding some that don’t look ridiculous and actually keep the cat warm is pretty tough.

What’s a girl to do besides write a knitting pattern, right? I got to work and wrote a pattern for a simple, ribbed sweater for Queen Bean. Because it was my first time to actually write out a pattern, I had my friend Emily test-knit it for me. The result was fantastic and my kitty has never been happier or more comfortable in any of her other clothes.

sphynx sweater knitting pattern 1

So, about the pattern:

This is a very simple pattern and quick project. If you can knit, purl, k2tog, p2tog, and knit in the round, you’re all set. You can make this larger or smaller pretty easily. Just cast on a multiple of 4 and decrease accordingly.  I do suggest using Malabrigo worsted. I love this yarn anyway because of it’s affordability and softness. Queen Bean certainly approves!

You can find the pattern on Ravelry or you can download the PDF right here: Queen Bean Sphynx Sweater Pattern

Happy knitting!

 

DIY Minecraft shoes

This past weekend, we took Alex to the Vans store to pick out a new pair of shoes.  He originally chose a brightly colored pair and just when we thought we were done, the Vans employee that was helping get Alex fitted said, “You know, a lot of people like to buy the plain white slip-ons and use fabric markers to create their own design.”

Alex’s eyes got huge and bright.  He was sold on the idea!  So we bought a white pair of shoes and headed home with only a vague idea of how we would paint them.  We knew that since his latest and fiercest obsession is Minecraft, the design of choice would likely be something from that game.

This morning, we headed to Hobby Lobby to grab some fabric markers and chose several shades of green, a gray, and a black. Minecraft fans, I’m sure you see where this is going.

 

 

 

Yep! Creeper shoes-ssssssss.  For non-Minecrafters, Creepers are the worst of the bad guys.  They hiss, they blow you up, and they….well, they creep.  Not necessarily in that order.

I’ve put together a little step-by-step of how I decorated these for Alex. It’s extremely simple, but definitely plan on spending a good chunk of your day working on them.

For starters, gather your few supplies.

  • White canvas shoes. We used Vans, but TOMS or any other similar shoe will do.
  • Small straight edge.  I used a popsicle stick to pencil my grid.  The width was idea and the small size made it easy to work around the curves of the shoes.
  • Pencil. Just a regular ol’ pencil will do the trick.
  • Fabric markers.  You can buy packages of many colors, or in some places you’ll find them sold individually. We found the individuals at Hobby Lobby.
  • Waterproofing spray for shoes. This isn’t shown because I haven’t picked any up at the store yet. I plan to use the type they sell with camping gear.

 

Grab your popsicle stick (or similar item) and, starting from the tip of the toe, start drawing your horizontal lines.  They don’t have to be perfect, but the neater you make them, the easier the coloring part will be later.

 

 

Once you’ve finished that set of lines on the front section of the shoe, start your vertical lines.  I made the mistake of started on the side of the shoe (you’ll see my mistake in the following picture) and I had to erase the best I could and start over in the center to ensure I drew out a straighter grid.

 

 

Continue with your vertical lines until your shoe looks something like this.  For size reference, these are men’s size 6 1/2.  How in the world is my baby boy wearing men’s shoes already?!

 

 

Now, turn the shoe around and do the same thing on the heel section of the shoe.

 

 

Repeat grid on other shoe.  Duh.

Oh, and when you’re beginning your horizontal lines be sure and make them match the other shoe so that your Creeper faces won’t be way out of whack in the end.

Not that I learned the hard way or anything.

 

 

It’s time to color! I recommend starting with the back of the shoe while you and your markers get to know each other. Some of the colors will bleed over into the others a bit and, while this isn’t completely avoidable, it’s good to get a handle on that before working on the front of the shoe.  I followed no particular pattern with my colors.  If you want to get super picky with it, there are a ton of Creeper images on the interwebs to guide you in your endeavor.

 

 

Once you’ve completed the back, turn them around and do the face next.  Here’s how I fit them into the grid:

 

 

After you’ve filled in the black facial features, just have fun filling in the rest of your squares! I started with the ones nearest the face and worked my way out to the edges.

 

 

You’ll notice that these are far from perfect and there are quite a few spots where the colors bled, but you know? I love them just that way and Alex is thrilled to death with them.

 

 

 

Alex opted to keep the side panels of the shoes solid white.  Personally, I would have have gone black for practicality, but I won’t be the one wearing them.

Also, after I get the waterproofing spray, I intend to not only spray the outer part of the shoe to protect the design, but also the inside. I’m hoping that will help with any sweaty feet issues or paint staining the socks.

 

 

Like I said, this is a super simple tutorial, but it earned me tons of hugs today and lots of “Mom, you’re awesome!” and “I love you! Thank you so much!” Hope you enjoy making your Creeper shoes!

 

T-shirt Bracelet Tutorial

Not too long ago I spotted a really great fabric bracelet at a high end store.  Since I’m not a big jewelry wearer, I couldn’t bring myself to pay big bucks for a bracelet.  However, that bracelet popped into my mind this afternoon and it sparked a recon idea in my head.  I just gave it a whirl and while it’s nothing fancy, it’s a fun, quick project that’s perfect for a funky accessory.

The absolute simplicity of this project makes it a great summer project for a teen or pre-teen that’s trying out his or her sewing skills.  My 3-year-old daughter is begging me to make her one in ‘prettier colors’ as we speak.

Let’s get started!

Supplies:

Old t-shirts or any old piece of clothing made of knit or other stretchy fabric

Scissors

Sewing machine

So…get your t-shirt.

Cut strips of fabric, making sure the the stretch goes down the length of your strips.  You’ll want the bracelet to stretch a bit so you can easily get it on and off.

My wrist is child-like in size and measures just under 7 inches, so I made my strips about 8-8.5 inches long.  I made mine too wide to start with and ended up narrowing them to about 1 inch.  This is all very approximate.  That’s the beauty of the funky little bracelet–the more random and rough it is, the more fun it looks!  Despite the yard stick in my photos, I didn’t use it once.  Just freehanded the whole thing.  Fast and fun!

Now, simply fold the strips in half and sew, using a straight stretch stitch.

Now loosely gather the ends and stitch across them to secure them.  There’s no rhyme or reason to how I need this.  I just bunched them up and stitched across using a slightly longer stitch length to accommodate the thickness.

To close this bracelet up, you’ll want a wider, shorter strip of fabric that is something like this:

It should be wide enough to cover the end seams on the strips on both ends and long enough to overlap when wrapped loosely around the ends.  Like this:

After you’ve stitched one end into the wide strip (should look like photo above), tuck the other end of your bracelet into it and repeat.  Easy enough, right?  Here’s my bracelet:

To make it more your style, you can mix and match colors, thread on some random large beads, change up thread colors.  Just have fun!  Grab the kids and bust up that summer boredom!

Drawstring Bag Tutorial

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my heating pad tutorial and at the end, I mentioned that I would like to put together a drawstring bag for attractive gift-giving as well as storage.

So…here’s the tutorial.

Cut a pattern (here’s that gridded paper I love so much…in a peppermint stripe) that is a 11.25″ x 7.5″ rectangle.

Pin it to your fabric with one of the short ends on the fold.

Cut your fabric, open up the rectangle (should be 22.5″ x 7.5″) and finish your edges.

Now, with your wrong sides together, fold each of the short ends over 1″ and press.

Stitch near the the finished edge to create the casing for your drawstring.

Next, fold your bag in half–right sides together–with your casings matching up at the top. Stitch 1/8″ up the sides, stopping and reinforcing your seam just below the casings.

For my drawstring, I used 3/8″ grosgrain ribbon that I had on hand and cut two 19″ lengths. Insert a safety pin in one end and use the pin to feed the ribbon through one side of the casing. Repeat for the other side.

Knot the ends of your ribbons together on each side of the bag and, voila! You’re done!

What a lovely little package!

Padded iPad Sleeve Tutorial

When we were at the Apple store buying my iPad, they had a decent selection of protective cases available, but if you guys know me by now, you know that I had to at least try to make my own before I gave in and bought one.  I quickly went through Plan A and Plan B before I was successful.  So, with you I share my Plan C.

It’s a very simple, quick project to put together.

It’s not so much a case as it is a sleeve.

It fits so snugly that there is no need for any type of closure.  Your iPad won’t be going anywhere.

It’s perfect to throw in your purse for protection against keys, lipsticks, Hot Wheels,  fruity snacks, and melted chocolate.  Please tell me your purse is like mine.  Please?

It’s made using a sturdy home decor fabric on the outside and a fantastically soft flannel on the inside.

It’s cushioned with a nice layer of foam so you don’t have to fret over every bump and booboo.

So, let’s get started.  You’ll need:

Paper to draw out your pattern (I use old wrapping paper with the 1″ grid on the back)

Exterior fabric (I used one from Amy Butler’s August Fields home decor line)

Interior fabric (I’m pampering my iPad with an Amy Butler flannel from her Love line)

Foam for cushion (I used automotive headliner that I got for 50 cents in Hancock’s bargain bin)

Sewing basics (scissors, thread, pins, serger, sewing machine

1.  Cut your pattern piece for your exterior & interior fabrics.  It will be 10.5″ x 8.5″.

2.  Cut your pattern piece for your foam.  It will be 9.5″ x 7.5″.

3.  Using your pattern pieces, cut 2 each of your exterior fabric, interior fabric and foam.

4.  Take one exterior piece and one interior piece and place them wrong sides together.  Serge one of your short ends without cutting the fabric.  Repeat with remaining 2 pieces.

5.  Open up your seam and place a piece of foam inside, leaving 1/4″ between top edge of foam and your seam, and 1/2″ space around the rest of the foam.

6.  Now close your “sandwich” keeping your seam flat and edges even.  Pin through all 3 layers.

7.  Serge 1/4″ around remaining 3 sides.

Repeat with your other exterior/interior/foam.  You should now have 2 “sandwiches”.

8.  Now we’re going to double-decker this thing.  Pin your two “sandwiches” together with your interior sides facing each other.

9.  Serge 1/8″ around 3 sides, leaving one short end open.  Then go back with your regular sewing machine and sew a seam just inside your serged seam to reinforce your sleeve.

You’re done!  Now, this is a tight squeeze, isn’t it?  I decided to make it that way because, A) makes the tutorial simpler ;) and B) less junk to mess with when I want to get the iPad out of my purse.  However, if you want yours less tight you could expand the width of this case a half inch or so and throw a Velcro or button strap on it.

Let me know if you have any questions!