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Halloween Costume Tutorials

Another year means another roundup of costume-related projects and tutorials! With almost 3 weeks left until Halloween you’ll still have plenty of time to make any of the projects below.

Easily my most popular post (with almost 140,000 impressions on Pinterest in the last 60 days alone!), here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to make Minecraft Steve & Creeper heads.

Next up (with almost 50,000 impressions) is a similar tutorial, this time for making a Minecraft Enderman head along with a diamond block trick-or-treat box.

Both projects include full charts for game-accurate colors and the exact hex codes for perfect color matching!

If your idea of fantasy is less block-based and more magical, here’s a free knitting pattern for an easy scarf in the Gryffindor house colors.

If training a dragon is more your thing, here’s how to make a viking vest.

If you prefer Pokemon to Night Furies, here’s an easy, last-minute Pikachu costume idea.

If your friends-group themed costume runs more Grease than Greninja, here’s how you can make a super simple Poodle skirt.

Finally, if you’ve got enough knitting time on your hands, you can knit my Baby’s First Superhero Costume pattern as-is with cute designs for boys and girls, or convert the chart and the colors to create your superhero of choice.

Find more tips and tutorials on my How-To page!


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Happy Birthday Sweet Seventeen

Seventeen years ago, on September 7 2004, I started this blog. Yes, this creative passion project of mine is officially old enough to be in college and donate blood. It began on Blogger in the boom of knitting/craft blogs that fed blogrolls and Yahoo swaps and RAOK groups.  We’ve seen the onset of Ravelry and Worldwide Knit In Public Day, and welcomed pattern sources like Knitty, Craftsy, Twist Collective, St Denis Yarns and others before having to say goodbye to some of them.

With YouTube, Instagram and TikTok flooding the internet with video-based creative content, running a blog feels almost antiquated. I’ve been asked by friends and family why I don’t switch to another format but the truth is… I don’t want to. I love video tutorials. I follow a TON of craft-content YouTubers, and have saved a huge amount of “try one day” crafty TikToks to my favorites list too, so it’s not a critique of the other formats. They absolutely have their place, especially for some techniques or tutorials that can really only best be shown in video. That said, I still think there’s a place for blogs and photo-based project/pattern support.

My “blogaversary” this year falls on the first day of Rosh Hashana, which is the Jewish New Year.  I think that makes it perfect timing for a long-overdue blog restart. (I know, I know, I’ve said this before. Shhhh!) Coincidentally I was born on was erev (eve) Rosh Hashanna (we won’t say how long ago!) so Happy birthday to the blog, happy sort of birthday to me, and happy Jewish New Year!

To celebrate 17 years in the public craft domain I’ve scoured the site, my notes, folders, and metadata and picked 17 fun, interesting or long-forgotten items from my blogging history.

1-7

Numbers 1-7 are from the archives.  These are posts even I forgot about!  Some are helpful tips, some are free patterns/tutorials, and all are added to the How To section above.

8

Even when I don’t post regularly I get a steady stream of visitors (thanks!) and I’m always curious to see what search terms bring people my way.  So number 8 is my top referrer keywords from back in my Blogger days.  Funny enough it’s a tie between two completely random things that have almost nothing to do with my site: “cute japanese cartoons” & “hangman”.  I’m guessing the former is related to the time I knit a Japanese boy band, but the latter?  NO idea.

9

Number 9 is the results of my top search terms after migrating the blog to WordPress.  Unfortunately/fortunately Google has been encrypting the vast majority of search terms since 2013 so 9771 of my results are “unknown”.  Of the list that remains the top three terms are: “Toothless”, “pocketbook slippers”, and “pocket book slippers”, likely linking back to these two projects (Toothless, slippers).  Wanna know the lowest search result that brought someone my way?  “Long hair cut feet”.  I wonder how disappointed the searcher was to find my post was literally about a long hair transformation??

10

Number 10 is a really cool fact- I’ve had visitors from 170 different countries!  The majority are, unsurprisingly, from Canada and the United States, but rounding out the top 20 are the UK, Australia, Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Mexico, France, Iceland, Spain, Italy, the Philippines, Israel, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Argentina, Hungary and Denmark.

11-14

Numbers 11-14 are my the top 4 posts since switching to WordPress.  I had a hunch what these were because they keep Pinterest flashing up on my phone.  What I didn’t expect was that the top post would outrank second place by more than double!

15

I’ve spent the last few months poring over my unshared projects and planning out a blog schedule for the year.  For number 15 I thought it would be fun to look through my folders and see just how old my oldest unshared project truly is. There was a lot to wade through but I found it!  Coming in at over a decade old a crafty hack that you’ll see on the block next year dates all the way back to February 2010!

16

Looking through all those projects was a fun trip down a creative memory lane.  As number 16 here’s a little teaser of a post I can’t wait to share in full…

Any guesses?

17

And finally, for making down this far: number 17 is a picture of me at the same age as this blog.

Whether you’ve been here since day 1 or day 6204, thanks for being a part of my creative adventures. I run this blog for me, but I love sharing it with you. ♥

*All search terms and other totals above were accurate as of the date of preparing this post.


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Ear Saver Mask Hook Lanyards

Just in time for Back To School, I’m pleased to share my ear savers / mask lanyards! Mask are an important part of life these days, but they can cause more harm than good when you’re constantly fiddling with them to relieve pressure on your ears or keep them from slipping off your nose. And then there’s the issue of where to put it when you take it off to eat (or in class). Enter the ear saver / lanyard / mask buddy / mask mates / mask hooks (and I’m sure another half dozen names for them!)

There are many options and designs available online, from knit to crochet to sewn or 3D-printed. When my kids asked for something custom, I decided to try my hand at designing my own, in a medium I saw ill-represented – my favored plastic canvas. It’s soft, flexible, washable, and I knew would be excellent for this purpose.

Jakob asked for a Creeper, Henri asked for a Boom Slime from Slime Rancher, but I didn’t stop there.

Want something neutral, to match your hair and not stand out? Got it!

Want something bright and colorful? Got it!

Want to rep your favorite team’s logo? Got that too!

There are currently 13 designs, with more being added as custom orders come in.

All hooks are soft, flexible, made with anti-pill yarn and are completely washable.

All the designs are available in my shop page or here on Etsy. Local Montrealers who arrange for pick up (vs shipping) can contact me for a discount code good on any order!

NOTE: For those of you who’d prefer to make your own, I’ll have a PDF coming for that soon! If you’d like to be notified as soon as it’s available, email me or leave a comment down below.


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Harry Potter: Knitting Magic (including a design by ME!)

I’ve been waiting so long to share this wonderful project with you, and I’m delighted that I finally can, because the book is officially out today!

Harry Potter: Knitting Magic – The Official Guide to Creating Original Knits Inspired by the Harry Potter Films

Featuring more than 25 projects, the 192-page book includes patterns for clothing, home projects, and keepsakes pulled straight from the movies – and even includes a few iconic costume pieces as seen on-screen.

There are projects designed with the movies’ actual costumes in mind, like the House Scarves:

…and the Beauxbatons students’ capelet:

…as well as projects inspired BY the movies like this gorgeous sweater based on Hermione’s time-turner:

…and this adorable hanger featuring the Sorting Hat and the animals that represent each House:

Even the staging and photography of the book is incredible- I mean COME ON-

This entire Umbrage scene is perfect!!

The book also includes fun facts, original costume sketches, film stills, and other behind-the-scenes treasures.

The book has already gotten really good press reviews (Martha Stewart, The Nerdist, Mental Floss, House Beautiful, Apartment Therapy, among others) and I’m seriously honored that I got to be a part of it, and thrilled to finally present my pattern: The Order of the Phoenix Lace-Knit Throw Blanket.

It’s a circular blanket knit from the center out in alternating strands of a beautiful orange/red hand-dyed yarn that reminded me so much of Dumbledore’s cherished phoenix Fawkes.

The center of the blanket features flames to represent the phoenix’ fire, and is separated from the next section by a jagged dividing line that is actually Harry’s lightning bolt scar.

The middle section proudly proclaims the title of the fifth HP book (and blanket inspiration) in an eyelet font.

Anyone who’s knit my Lullaby blanket pattern can attest that while it might seem daunting, the text charts are really easy to follow and work up pretty fast.

Finally the border section features Fawkes’ feathers, elongating in rows until finally ending in individual feather tips.

I loved every aspect of designing, swatching and knitting this blanket, and I truly hope you enjoy it too.

You can click HERE to get your own copy.


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Secret’s Out!

Harry Potter Knitting Magic cover

It’s official! And it’s also OFFICIAL! As in – it’s THE OFFICIAL HARRY POTTER KNITTING PATTERN BOOK, licensed and everything!

And now that it’s in pre-order status, I can finally tell you all (a little) about it!

I’m so excited to be a part of this gorgeous book, and beyond thrilled that my pattern was one of the ones chosen for the cover! There will be 28 patterns in total, 208 pages, and includes costume replicas, projects inspired by the films, film tidbits, behind-the-scenes info and more.

I can’t wait to share more info and pics as it becomes available, but in the meantime here’s the lovely cover.

It will be released on January 28 2020, and for those of you interested in pre-ordering, you can do so here.


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FREE PATTERN: Perfect Lay-Flat Knitted Diagonal Garter Washcloth

Update: see end of post for information about a downloadable pattern pdf

With my upcoming surgery looming in the near future, I decided to make the most of my time and get a head start on this year’s holiday teacher gifts.  I still make the Christmas and Hanukkah gifts for my kids’ teachers, lunch ladies and daycare workers, and, not knowing how much I’d be up for a long bout of down-to-the-wire crafting post-op (since I somehow always end up working til 4am the night before the last day of school), I was smart and started early.

I decided to make dish/washcloths again.  It’s been a few years since the junior campus staff got regular square washcloths, and I haven’t made them for anyone on senior side yet, so I wasn’t worried about being too repetitive.  I dug some favorite Bernat Handicrafter Cotton from my stash and pulled up the most basic, well known, standard dishcloth pattern Ravelry had to offer – a plain old, diagonal-knit garter washcloth.

Plenty of yarn, plenty of time, and a well-worn pattern.  This, I thought, would be a breeze.  I was even optimistic enough to think I’d have the Xmas gifts ready before November!

Heh.

My troubles started early on.  After completing the first washcloth, actually.  I had finished it and set it down flat on the table and noticed the lower edge immediately curl upwards.  I smoothed it flat but it quickly rolled inwards again.  It wasn’t terribly noticeable, and – let’s face it – this is a dishcloth.  If used properly it would end up scrunched and rolled and pulled and would sag and ease out of shape quickly.  But I was annoyed at how it looked and poked around at it a bit trying to figure out why the top half was fine but the lower half curled in.  The top half, by contrast, lay beautifully flat. I couldn’t figure out what I’d done wrong.

Finally I realized it wasn’t my fault – there was an inherent flaw with the pattern. It was the kind where you increase into the second stitch of every row.  That type of increase pulls imperceptibly on the outer stitch, eating up the slack between the first two stitches.  When this is done at intervals one would hardly notice, but when it is done at the beginning of every row the result was edges that curled inwards.  This didn’t occur on the top half of the diamond because that was the decrease half and I wasn’t using any of the previous row’s slack at all.

I could smooth it flat and I could have blocked it but come on… blocking washcloths?  No thanks.  I’d rather figure out how to knit it without the flaw.

The main thing was to figure out what increase to use.  Any increase which went into the prior row, including a standard ‘make 1’, would cause the same inward tugging.  Yarn-over increase patterns didn’t have that problem, but I didn’t want eyelets dotting the sides of my washcloth.  I wanted these cloths to look less dainty, more ‘rugged’, if that makes sense.  I decided to work YO increases but to close them on the subsequent rows by knitting them through the back loop.

Once I was tinkering with the pattern I also added a plain row at the max width point before transitioning into the decreases. Diagonal patterns always seem to have you go from wide to narrow without any plain row in between and I find that the extra row tugs less on those points of the diamond.  The result is a lovely garter washcloth which has wonderful drape and lays flat beautifully, and is now my go-to knit washcloth or dishcloth.

photo2016-10-28113107amedit

I’ve knit 9 of them so far… sadly not anywhere near how many I need, but enough to know I’m really happy with how it works out, and I added it to Ravelry tonight.

The yardage listed is for a dishcloth knit to 41 sts, which results (at my tension) in a 9” x 9” square. You can easily make them larger or smaller. If desired before binding off you can create a strip to fold over and sew down for a hanging loop by either knitting about 4” of garter on those 3 sts or knitting them into a 4” long 3-st i-cord.

This pattern would work equally well for baby blankets or throws, continuing to increase until whatever max diagonal is desired before working the plain row and then beginning the decreases.

photo-2016-10-28-11-32-05-am

Directions

  • CO 3 sts 
  • row 1- k across 
  • row 2- k1, yo, k to end 
  • inc row– k1, yo, k to previous row’s yo and knit it tbl (to close the hole), k1 
  • Repeat inc row until diagonal of cloth is at desired widest point (I stopped at 41 sts)
  • Next row- k to previous row’s yo and knit it tbl (to close the hole), k1 
  • dec row– k1, k2tog, k to end of row 
  • Repeat dec row until cloth is back down to its original number of sts 
  • BO remaining sts & weave in the loose ends

Update!

This pattern is on Ravelry here.

This pattern is provided for free above, but if you’d prefer an easy-to-print version, I have made it available here for a very small fee. The PDF includes the full instructions, an easy to read layout and full color images.

*Updated January 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


new pattern up: my first hockey player: montreal canadiens

NOTE: for some reason comments are closed for this post…I’m not sure why, but you can still reach me by email if you want.

It’s up!!  I’ve been working on it for a while, and I’ve finally finished my HABS player pattern!  And thanks to our boys making it to game 7 tomorrow, now YOU’VE got enough time to knit up a little good luck totem of your own!  (Or, depending on how things turn out, it makes a great voodoo doll…hehe)

The pattern is $2.99 CAD and is available in Ravelry here, or to purchase directly click here.  That link is for a Ravelry PDF download, but you don’t need to be a Ravelry member to purchase.

I hope you enjoy it!  I tried my best to make the pattern faithful to the red home uniform, and you can knit it with just stripes, or duplicate stitch/embroider the famous CH logo.  There’s even room on the back to duplicate stitch your favorite player’s initials (and even his name, if you’re good at embroidery!).


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my first personalized pennants: cars

Last Wednesday (last week) was boring- I slept most of the day, then hung out with Yannick and watched TV at night.  This past Wednesday (yesterday) was boring- I worked most of the day, then hung out with Yannick and watched TV at night.  Nothing more to say about the Wednesdays.

Last Thursday (last week) I met with my surgeon for the ultrasound results.  The good news: I’m cleared for surgery!  My rectus muscles on both sides of the abdomen are bruised, but that will go away with time, and there’s nothing to do for it, and no reason not to get this hernia fixed once and for all.  We’ve rescheduled it for April 4th, which was both the first available date, but also far enough away for any swelling to go down.  That delays me by about a month, but at least that’s all it is.

I always leave the surgeon’s office feeling beat up, what with all the pushing and poking he needs to do to feel his way around my belly, so I went back home and took a nap until it was time to pick up the kids.

As for this Thursday (today), nothing special’s going on.  My mom picked the kids up from daycare and we got to hear all about Jakob’s trip to the Cabane à Sucre (sugar shack).  My aunt (who I knit the hat for) is in town, and came by to visit with her foster daughter.  And now the boys are in bed and I can finally get a chance to share my latest pattern with you!

my first personalized pennants: cars

This pattern is a great way to dress up a child’s bedroom or playroom with a fun, personalized touch.

It takes less then a ball of yarn per car, and you have the option of making them with or without windshields.

The pattern is available through Ravelry (even for non-members).  More information here (my site) or here (Ravelry page), and also through Knit Pick’s site here, where you can put the pattern together with yarn to make your own customized kit.

I hope you like it!  A girls’ version is coming soon!

(All photos except the dangling one are by Maaike Sears)


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Lullaby Blanket

I know this was officially published last Summer, but for those of you having a hard time finding a copy of the Spring/Summer 2010 St-Denis magazine, I am now able to get you the pattern directly!

Lullaby Blanket

Photo by Veronik Avery

The pattern is available through Ravelry (even for non-members).  More information here (my site) or here (Ravelry page).

On a separate note, I’ve was home all last week with a sick Henri, so have got NO knitting and NO studying to show for my time.  He had a double ear infection – I know, AGAIN.  He just had a double on Jan 4th, after having a single on Dec 17th.  😦  Anyways, he also had a small infection in his lungs, not quite a pneumonia, but a little bit, and a TON of phlegm with a deep hacking cough.  So though he missed the official PJ day at school, we had a PJ week at home together.

I spent every nap time and bed time working on my KP pattern (that I feel like I’ve been talking about forever…though it’s “only” since last Summer).  I’m almost done!  The pattern itself is all typed up and set into my pattern template, all the notions and details and instructions and such all properly laid out.  All that’s missing is to work up some charts in Knit Visualizer (‘cus it imports looking better than my working charts in Excel) and it will be done!  I’ll mail the finished sample off to Knit Picks and then it will be out of my hands.  I’m really glad it looks like I’ll be true to my plan of getting it mailed off before my surgery.


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My First Costume: SuperHero

Presenting my latest pattern, now available both through Knit Picks or Ravelry.

My First Costume: SuperHero

Some of you may remember the Superman costume I’d knit for Jakob when he was a baby.  This is my update of that pattern.

The pattern is knit toe-up, in (mostly) one piece.  The legs are knit first then joined for the briefs, then the sleeves are knit and finally the body, which is knit in one piece from the yoke up.  I included short-row shaping in the diaper area to give more room and a better fit.

There are photo instructions on how to make the optional cape.

The Power Princess chart is included…

as well as the chart for your little SuperStar.

Not only that, but I provided a blank chart and instructions on how to personalize the pattern, so you can put your own image, your child’s initial or anything you like!  (That’s how I made the original Superman version…I’m just saying…)

I was very lucky to have my friend’s daughter Maya model for me, and her father Avi take the photos.  (If you like his work, he is an amazing Montreal-area photographer.  You can see more of his work on his website).

I hope you like the pattern.  I have been having requests for it ever since Jakob’s version came out, but life got in the way and it wasn’t until now that I was able to get it out into the world.  I would have loved to have had it ready in time for Hallowe’en this year, but at least now it is out there and ready, early enough for next year.  (So you’ve got a whole year to knit!)

Enjoy!