May 2012

Create your own summer badges has an excellent Badges of Fun program. Parents can print out badges for their family to earn as the summer unfolds. These badges can then be displayed on a poster, which can also be printed out. This program is totally free and while I love the goals that FamilyFun has designed for parents and kids to reach, I had a few goals of my own for my children. This led me to create our own summer badges. It is so easy; you can do it too.

Hand-Knit Dishcloth Flame Wars

I get that not everyone likes hand-knit dishcloths. But is it really worth HATING them?
Non-knitters (and even many knitters) are often surprised to learn that the topic of hand-knit dishcloths is a contentious one in the knitting community. More than almost any other issue, second only - in my opinion - to the topic of using acrylic yarn to make baby garments. (Acrylic will melt on your baby in a fire, is the "con." Acrylic is machine-washable for baby puke, is the "pro.")
Dishcloths, pro: reusable, renewable, scrubbier than sponges, machine-washable, cheap to knit, cheerful colors, 100% natural fibers, "Made in the USA" yarn, easy to knit, works best for dishes, makes nice hostess gifts, one of the few things you can't buy at a store.
Dishcloths, con: get stinky, may harbor bacteria and food particles, colors deemed unattractive, too much trouble to launder, don't want to sully precious hand-knits by using them to scrub dirty dishes.

Buy Lisa Souza yarn and help save rescued horses!

Proceeds from "Appaloosa" colorway sock yarn go to Grace Foundation case

Famous yarn designer and dyer Lisa Souza recently announced that she will be producing a special colorway through the end of June, with all proceeds going to The Grace Foundation. 
Why the Grace Foundation?
Souza was moved to help support The Grace Foundation because of their situation with "The Susanville 70." This refers to 70 animals who were rescued from an appalling abuse and neglect situation in Susanville, California. The animals include dogs, cats, and 56 horses. 

Macaroni Jewelry Craft for Kids

Getting your kids involved in a craft on a rainy day will help keep them from shouting out that famous phrase, “I'm bored.” A great craft uses uncooked pasta to create bracelets and necklaces.

You will need the following items to make your macaroni jewelry:
  • Uncooked pasta
  • Disposable bowls
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Food coloring
  • Newspaper sheets
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Beads

Summer Boredom Buster: The Cardboard Box

This limitless imagination-employer will engage your children for days!

Although the lamentations of “What am I going to do with these kids all summer?” are already getting on my nerves—is three months with your child really so daunting?!—there are plenty of ways to answer that question. One of my absolute favorites is the ever-enchanting and exciting cardboard box. Why give your kids hours of mind-numbing, action-packed movies and video games when one refrigerator box can keep them entertained and happy for days on end?

How To Count Your Yarn

Building a stash inventory can be a rewarding experience
If you want to start de-stashing, or even just to keep an informal inventory of your yarn, eventually you run into the question of how to count it. It's more complicated than you might think!
Method 1: Yarn Out
This is the best way for those who want to track their yarn usage in a year. I know a lot of people who are involved in challenges to "knit 10,000 yards in 2012" or whatever. Some bloggers also like to keep a tally of the yards they knit, often in a cute little blog sidebar widget.

Christmas Card Uses

I absolutely hate throwing away all of the Christmas cards I receive once the holiday has passed. I decided to come up with a few creative ways to use the cards, so that I didn't feel like I was wasting them.

First, I cut out any poems that were located on the inside of the card. I set them in a special box to be used in my scrapbooks. In some cases I wrote the name of the individual who sent me the card on the back of the poem. Then when I was creating a scrapbook page with their photo, I could just paste the poem on the same page.

Abe Lincoln Log Cabin Craft

I'm always on the look out for crafts that I can tie in with my daughter's lesson plans. This week I was on the search for a log cabin craft to demonstrate the type of home Abraham Lincoln grew up in. I found a pretty neat one, and then add my own personal touches to it.

The first thing you need to do is locate a small shoe box that you no longer need. This is the base of your log cabin. Next, you need to cut out a door and a few windows with a box cutter. If your children are older, you can supervise them doing this. It is too dangerous for younger children, however.

The next task is to send the kids outside with a bucket. Have them collect plenty of twigs from the ground. If you don't have trees in your yard, you'll have to head to a nearby park.

Cover your kitchen or dining room table with newspaper sheets and set your twigs and shoebox on top. You will also need plenty of glue. I like to have the kids cover one side of the shoebox with glue and then press the twigs on to the glue, but you could cover each twig with glue and then press it on the box. Both ways will work just fine. The trick is to find twigs that fit the space, although we found that we could simply snap the twigs to the size we needed. After you cover all four sides, its time to work on the roof.

Short rows demystified

Not as complicated as they sound!

I'm currently working on a knitting project (Wingspan) which is built almost entirely out of short rows. You would think this would be maddening, but luckily the pattern is designed to make it simple. You set a traveling marker, knit to that marker, pull it out, turn your knitting, work three stitches, put the marker back, and then continue knitting your row. It's even easier than that description makes it sound!
Short rows are one of those things that seem odd, even impossible to knitters who haven't yet tried them. Conceptually, short rows are easy to understand: you don't knit to the end of your row before turning it around. Thus, you knit a row that is short. Let's say your full row is 20 stitches: you knit 15 stitches, then turn around and go back.