Sunday, March 26, 2017

Pop-Up Flowers
(Click on photos to enlarge)
I seem to keep finding new and fun things to do.  This time it’s pop-up flowers.  While surfing  thru You Tube for something totally unrelated, I ran onto a video showing how to make pop-up flowers for greeting cards.  Oh my.  I’ve been making my own greeting cards for just ages and have always wanted to do pop-ups but never took the time to explore.  There are several videos on You Tube showing the technique, search for 'pop-up card'.  Most of the tutorials show how to do the flower design with markers or colored pencils but I don’t have enough colored markers on hand and don’t intend to buy a bunch of the right markers.  So I chose to make them in Photoshop. Getting a perfectly proportioned template was the hardest but I think I have a couple good designs going now.

The basic technique is to cut 7 squares of paper about 3.5” to 4” or whatever size you want.  Fold them onto themselves into halves 3 times so there are 8 layers of paper.  Remember making paper snowflakes when you were a kid?  This is the same concept.  Then cut the petal end into shape desired.  Unfold and there should be 8 petals on the flower.  Using markers or colored pencils, design each petal as desired.  The You Tube videos show some nice examples on how to do that.  Then cut out one petal, overlap the first petal by the cut onto the next one by the cut and glue.  Voila, a pretty flower.  

In Photoshop, I designed and colored the flower, saved and copied/pasted into a Word document.  By decreasing the side margins of my document, I can get 4 flowers on a sheet of paper.  Print and separate the flowers, fold and cut as described above.  Another glory of Photoshop is that the color can easily be changed without making a whole new flower.
The videos also show how to glue the flowers together.  I put together a tutorial on how to do that cuz I didn’t want to open the video each time and at that point, I really didn’t want to mess up the gluing.
In this picture, I saved the petals that I cut from the flower and made a design on the front of the card.  And in the last photo, I printed the pink flower on light pink paper instead of white. 
Use your imagination.  I’m really having fun with it.  I’d really like to try other pop-up too, lots of ideas running thru my brain.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tuck Foldover Scalloped Border
(Click on photos to enlarge)
I needed a border to put around the tuck baby blanket I just completed in my previous post, of 20 March 17.  Because I had one unsightly side because I had yarn ends to do something with, I thought the easiest way around that was to do an edging that enclosed them.  I ran onto Diana Sullivan’s Scalloped Foldover Trim  on YouTube and thought that would work perfectly plus look very nice.  However after I got the blanket done, I thought that I wanted something a bit wider so I experimented and came up with a nice border just by adding another tuck row to Diana’s trim.  It still folded over great and does look nice. 

I started with waste yarn and ravel cord because I wanted to have live stitches to be able to do an invisible graft to the other end when I got done.  I made the blanket on my KX350 at T5 with sport and DK weight yarns.  The yarn for the border was a bit heavier and I wanted it nice and soft so I went up to T6.  But this border can be done on any machine with appropriate yarn and tension.
1.   CO 11 stitches with waste yarn and ravel cord, knit 1 row to the left,
2.   *  Put machine on hold, pull needles 3, 5, 7 and 9 out to hold position,
3.   Knit 4 rows,
4.   Push needles back to working position and knit 2 rows. *
Repeat this pattern from * to * for 1800 rows!  Yes, 1800.  Then scrap off to leave live stitches to be able to unravel and adjust for size and grafting to the other end later.
I used a 3/15 thinner weight yarn and a running stitch to sew the border to the back side.  Make sure to adjust stitching so the edging lays flat without flaring or puckering.  Gather up the border on the corners to make nice turns.  I then sewed the front side down.  I was afraid that it wouldn’t lay flat during the trips thru the washer and dryer so I loosely ran another running stitch thru both layers of the border, next to the inside row of tucks. 
I did a bit of experimenting to see how I wanted to attach the edging and decided to go under the ladder after the first full stitch of the border (much like mattress stitching), the picked up a stitch on the edge of the blanket.  Then go back and pick up the ladder, then over to the blanket.  Snug up the sewing yarn but don’t pull it tight.  It may take a bit of practice to see what you like best.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Tuck Baby Blanket
(Click on photos to enlarge)
I’ve been wanting to use this tuck pattern for just ages and we have a new little member coming into our family soon so thought it’d be a good time to just do it.  And I got even more motivation from seeing several other versions on Ravelry lately.  
I made this on my KX350 midgauge with sport and DK weight yarns so it’s all manually manipulated tuck patterning.  The KX350 has 135 needles but I wanted it a bit wider than that would allow so I robbed a section from another machine and added it to the end which added an additional 43 needles.  This pattern can be done on any machine with any yarn and tension the machine likes but I already had the sport weight yarns on hand so I opted for the midgauge.  
Here’s the story:
Machine:  KX350 midgauge, extended bed by 1 section
Yarns:    Patons Astra, Peony Pink and Aqua, 2 skeins each
               Redheart Designer Sport, Blossom, 2 skeins
               Bernat Berella Sportspun, White, 5 skeins (including edging)
Tension 5
Approximate size:  45”L x 35”W
With background color, e-wrap CO 158 sts, or any number desired as long as the following needle selection is used. 
Carriage to N and knit 1 row to the left.  Hang weights evenly across.
Carriage to H to hold, change to a contrasting color and begin patterning:
Skip 6 stitches, pull 2 needles out to hold position.  Repeat this patterning across the bed.
               . . . . . . x x . . . . . . x x . . . . . .
RC000, knit 6 rows.  Take carriage off hold, change to background color and knit 2 rows.
NOTE:  Before you knit the first and second rows of background color after each set of tucks, visually check that the stitches beside the tucks have knit off properly.  6 rows of tucking might be a bit much for the machine, depending on the yarn used.  If they didn’t knit off properly, manually knit the errant stitches before proceeding with the next row.
For the next set of tucks, put the carriage back on hold, skip 2 needles and pull 2 needles out to hold position, skip 6 needles and pull 2 needles out to hold position.   Repeat this across the row.  With a contrasting color, knit 6 rows.  Take carriage off hold, change to background color and knit 2 rows.
               . . x x . . . . . . x x . . . . . . x x . .
Note that the two tucking needles will always be lined up with the center of the ‘bubble’ of the previous pattern set.   
Repeat this patterning sequence for 450 rows, or as desired, ending with 2 rows of background color and carriage on the left.
I did a backstitch bind off but use whichever bind off you prefer as long as it’s not tight.
I used a variation of Diana Sullivan's tuck scalloped foldover edging but you can use whatever border or edging you desire.  I liked this foldover edging because it encased the edge of yarn ends...that I neglected to weave in as I knit.  I will post my 'how I did that' too in another posting, soon.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Diaper Wreath
(Click on photos to enlarge)
Need a quick and easy baby gift?  This wreath is not only pretty but practical too.  Most often new moms don’t get these little kinds of necessity things as gifts so why not present them in a cute way?  These wreaths are a hit at baby showers.  They can easily be made in a few hours with very little hair pulling. 
Needed Items:
A 10” Styrofoam wreath form
14-15 #3 diapers with a cute pattern
Curling ribbon, your choice of colors
Assorted baby items, enough to attach one to each diaper
Wreath hanger, if desired

First off, fold the diapers in half and around the wreath form and tie them to the form as shown.  They should be tied fairly snugly with about a 2-1/2 foot strand of ribbon.  Use enough ribbon to be curled later.

Then I arranged the little gifties to see where I wanted them.  I used another strand of ribbon around the diaper to tie them on.  Again the ribbon will be curled so use enough ribbon. 

After the gifties are secured to the wreath, curl the ribbons.  Trim as needed.
I made the ‘bow’ at the top by using about 15 strands of ribbon about 3’ long, securely tied in the middle and curled.  Fold the ribbons in half and tie to the top diaper, around the ribbon used to attach the diaper.  Arrange and again trim as desired.
Voila, a nice gift that couldn't be any easier.