Gentleman's Fancy Polymer Clay Cane Tutorial

Learn how to make a quilt block inspired polymer clay cane using Sculpey clay.

Earlier this week I showed you how to make an easy, quilt block inspired, polymer cane called Friendship Star. I have one more to show you that is a little bit larger, and more intricate called Gentleman's Fancy.

Materials



Directions



The only extruder disk you need for this project is the right triangle. I cut all of my extruded lengths to 3 inches, but you can make yours longer or shorter depending on how you will use your cane.

Extrude 8 light colored triangles, 12 medium colored triangles and 16 dark colored triangles.
Press together a length of medium and light colored clay to make a square. Make four of these squares.
Press together the four squares to make a block that has the medium clay at the center and the light at the corners.

As you may be able to see, to create this cane we are going to work from the center out.
Next, make 4 dark colored triangles by pressing two triangles together, side by side.
Add the dark triangles to the block.
Next, using two medium colored triangles and a light colored triangle for each piece, make 4 trapezoids.

(This may be the first time I have used the word 'trapezoid' in a blog post.)
Add the trapezoids to the block.
Make 4 more large triangles using the dark clay as before.
Add the corners to the block.
Once this block is assembled, it's easiest to compress the pieces together with a roller.
After the block is completely compressed, you can use reduce the cane and use it in your work as desired.

Learn how to make a quilt block inspired polymer clay cane using Sculpey clay

If you make a project using this cane design, please share a picture on my Facebook page or tag me, @thechillydog, on Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr.




Friendship Star Polymer Clay Cane Tutorial

How to make a simple polymer clay cane inspired by the Friendship Star quilt block.

You don't have to be a quilter to appreciate some of the stunning designs and motifs used in traditional quilting. One of my favorite quilt blocks is called the Friendship Star. And yes, many years ago I even made a quilt using this design. Today however, I am going to show you how to make a polymer clay cane that incorporates the Friendship Star motif.


Materials




Directions



The clay extruder comes with a bunch of different shaped disks. For this project you only need the square and the right triangle.

I cut all of my extruded clay into 3 inch lengths, but you could make them longer or shorter depending on how you plan to use your cane.
With the triangle disk, extrude 4 pieces of dark colored clay, 4 pieces of medium colored clay and 8 pieces of light colored clay.

With the square disk, extrude 1 piece of medium colored clay.
Press together a dark clay triangle and the light clay triangle to make a square. Repeat to make a total of four square lengths.
Now make four squares using the medium and light clay.
Next, make three rectangles by placing the square strands together as shown.
Carefully stack the left rectangle on top of the right.
Then stack those onto the last rectangle.

Carefully press or roll the entire stack together.
Once your block is completely compressed, you can reduce it and use it in projects just like any other cane.
Later this week I'll show you how to make another quilt block inspired polymer clay cane called Gentleman's Fancy.

Quilt block inspired polymer clay canes




10 Things to Love About Slow Fashion

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater

The Slow Fashion movement is gaining popularity around the world. Quite simply, the idea is about choosing more sustainable clothing alternatives such as eco and fair trade fashion, second hand buying, swapping and repairing existing wardrobe items.

As a crafty girl that puts a lot of time and effort into design and making, I can definitely appreciate the fact that quality is better than quantity. So, when my husband's favorite sweater was in need of some TLC, I decided to take the time to repair it instead of just chucking it in the trash.

My husband keeps this sweater in his office and it has likely been worn every work day for the last five years. Unfortuantely it had developed two problems. First, the zipper pull broke off in the laundry. Second, one of the pockets was detached and beginning to unravel.

The good news about the zipper was that my husband never actually uses it. Also, there was already a redundant set of buttons in place, just in case. This meant I was able to simply remove the zipper and restitch the facing. Easy peasy.
The pocket presented a slightly larger problem, but one that I was able to solve thanks to my knitting experience. Since the pocket was unravelling I needed to re-knit the stitches. Fortunately the yarn was not damaged. After that I used a piece of scrap yarn from my stash to graft the pocket back into place.
So, what did I learn from this slow fashion experience?

1. Slow fashion is empowering!


In just a couple hours, I was able to at least double the life expectancy of this garment. That may not seem like a big deal to some people, but I feel like I accomplished something pretty amazing.

2. Slow fashion discourages a throw away culture.


It is so easy to just throw away a cheap item knowing that you can pick up a replacement at the local big box for a few dollars. Is that the type of lifestyle we really want to embrace and model to our children?

3. Slow fashion is a way to practice creative skills.


This little project gave me a chance to flex my creative muscles. I had to figure out how to make a sturdy repair that looked nice and was functional. I was able to incorporate my engineering, knitting and sewing skills. Just look at those neat little handmade stitches!

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater

4. Slow fashion saves time.


This may seem counter intuitive because fixing this sweater took a couple hours. If I had thrown it away and purchased a replacement we would have driven to the mall to browse a number of different stores or spent time online searching for the perfect replacement sweater. And of course there is the time spent working to earn the money to pay for a new sweater.

5. Slow fashion saves money.


I used a seam ripper, needle, thread, knitting needles and yarn to fix this sweater. I already had all of the tools and materials in my sewing room, but even if you consider the full price for each of theses items, it would add up to less than the cost of a new sweater.

6. Slow fashion is a way to express yourself.


My repair was fairly basic, but I have seen other mends that involve patching or embroidery and they can be a beautiful way to incorporate new color and texture into an old garment.

7. Slow fashion creates less waste.


It's well known that the fashion industry creates a lot of waste in the production process. My repair minimized the need for the waste from producing a new sweater and kept the existing one out of the landfill.

8. Slow fashion shows you care.


I took the time to fix this sweater, in part because I know my husband really likes it. I hope that every time he wears it he feels the love that I put into every stitch.

9. Slow fashion makes you appreciate the importance of a job well done.


Of course I am proud of my own repair work and glad I took the time to do it right. While I was working, I also noticed the well-thought design elements from the original construction. Who ever chose to add a sturdy facing to the sweater opening was a genius. It was more expensive to manufacture the garment with this feature, but if the facing had not been there, removing or replacing the zipper would not have been an easy task.

10. Slow fashion generates quality time.


As I sat at the table making repairs, my husband sat with me and we were able to savor a cup of coffee, chat about current events and just enjoy each other's company. Definitely time well spent!

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater
How do you incorporate the concept of slow living into your daily routine?



Twined Colorwork Knitting Video Tutorial

Video Tutorial: Twined knitting is a traditional Scandinavian technique where two yarn strands are twisted around each other creating an unconventional texture.

I am pretty much a self taught knitter. Books, online tutorials and much trial and error. When I first began two-color knitting, I guess I was doing it the "wrong" way. Instead of holding one strand of yarn in my left hand and one in my right, I twisted the two strands around each other with one hand.

Little did I know that this method is actually a traditional Scandinavian technique known as twined knitting (tvåändsstickning in Swedish and tvebandsstrikking in Norwegian). I'd like to say that this method just felt natural to me because of my Scandinavian heritage, but maybe that's just in my head.

On one side of your work, twined knitting looks just like plain, old stockinette. On the other side, the twisted strands become a design element and you get a beautifully textured pattern.

To get an idea about how twined knitting works, here's a quick video so you can see the twisting and untwisting motion of the working yarn strands in action.


The complete pattern for these Spring Violet Socks is available in my Craftsy Shop.

Happy knitting!




How to Knit Star Toes for Socks

Learn how the formula for knitting star toes for any size socks using any yarn.

I have been a knitter for well over 20 years and a sock knitting addict for more than 10, but like many knitters before me, I was very much stuck in the rut of always knitting banded, paired-decrease toes on my socks. It is by far the most common type of toe shaping. And then I discovered the star toe.

Star toes on hand knit socks have a much more rounded, natural shape, and do not have to be joined with the Kitchener Stitch. Also, since the decreased stitches that shape the toe are distributed evenly around the sock so there is no obvious band on the sides of the toe. I personally think socks with star toes are more comfortable and have a sturdier toe.

To make a star toe, you will need to divide your toe sts evenly around 4 double pointed needles. For example if your sock is 64 sts around you would have 16 sts on each needle. To simplify things, we'll notate that as 64/16, or the total number of stitches/number of sts per needle.

And now the secret formula.

Start by finding your ratio of total number of stitches/number of sts per needle in the left column of the chart. Follow the directions then see what row of the chart to look at next.

Total Sts/
sts per needle
What to do Now go to
88/22 [K2tog, k9] 8 times.
Work 9 rnds with no decreases.
80/20
84/21 [K2tog, k19] 4 times.
Work 9 rnds with no decreases
80/20
80/20 [K2tog, k8] 8 times.
Work 8 rnds with no decreases.
72/18
76/19 [K2tog, k17] 4 times.
Work 8 rnds with no decreases
72/18
72/18 [K2tog, k7] 8 times.
Work 7 rnds with no decreases.
64/16
68/17 [K2tog, k15] 4 times.
Work 7 rnds with no decreases
64/16
64/16 [K2tog, k6] 8 times.
Work 6 rnds with no decreases.
56/14
60/15 [K2tog, k13] 4 times.
Work 6 rnds with no decreases
56/14
56/14 [K2tog, k5] 8 times.
Work 5 rnds with no decreases.
48/12
52/13 [K2tog, k11] 4 times.
Work 5 rnds with no decreases
48/12
48/12 [K2tog, k4] 8 times.
Work 4 rnds with no decreases.
40/10
44/11 [K2tog, k9] 4 times.
Work 4 rnds with no decreases
40/10
40/10 [K2tog, k3] 8 times.
Work 3 rnds with no decreases.
32/8
36/9 [K2tog, k7] 4 times.
Work 3 rnds with no decreases
32/8
32/8 [K2tog, k2] 8 times.
Work 2 rnds with no decreases.
[K2tog, k1] 8 times.
Work 1 rnd with no decreases.
[k2tog] 8 times.
Break the yarn and pull through the remaining 8 sts with a yarn needle.

If you are feeling really adventurous, you can substitute a different type of decrease, perhaps skpo, for every k2tog in the pattern. The shape of the toe will remain the same, but the star pattern becomes more noticeable.

Happy sock knitting!




Knitting Pattern: November 2016 Yarnbox Infinity Scarf

Free November 2016 Yarnbox knit infinity scarf pattern featuring Jade Sapphire Exotic Fibres Re<>Luxe Lite recycled cashmere.

My best friend knows me better than just about anyone. Last year for my birthday she supported my fiber addiction and got me the November 2016 Yarnbox Classic.

I was absolutely delighted when my Yarnbox arrived and inside were two luxurious skeins of Jade Sapphire Exotic Fibres Re<>Luxe Lite recycled cashmere. It was love at first sight!

Of course I could have followed one of the patterns that were included in my yarnbox, both were lovely by the way, but I had a vision for an elegant and cozy infinity scarf. It's 7 1/2 inches wide by 55 inches long and is a treat to wear on chilly days.

Gauge


18 sts or 24 rows = 4 inches

Materials


Abbreviations


BO - bind off
CO - cast on
k - knit
k2tog - knit two stitches together
p - purl
RS - right side
skpo - slip one stitch knitwise, knit one, pass slipped stitch over
WS - wrong side
yo - yarn forward and over

Directions


CO 34.

Set-up row (WS): P34.

Row 1 (RS): K2, [k6, skpo, yo, k2tog, yo] 3 times, k2.

Row 2 and all WS rows: P 34.

Row 3: K1, [k6, skpo, yo, k2tog, yo] 3times, k3.

Row 5: [K6, skpo, yo, k2tog, yo] k6] 3 times, k4.

Row 7: K5, [skpo, yo, k2tog, yo, k6] 2 times, skpo, yo, k2tog, yo, k5.

Row 9: K4, [skpo, yo, k2tog, yo, k6] 3 times.

Row 11: K3, [skpo, yo, k2tog, yo, k6] 3 times, k1.

Row 13: K2, [skpo, yo, k2tog, yo, k6] 3 times, k2.

Row 15: K1, [skpo, yo, k2tog, yo, k6] 3 times, k3.

Row 17: K2, k2tog, yo, [k6, skpo, yo, k2tog, yo] 2 times, k6, skpo, yo, k2.

Row 19: K1, K2tog, yo, [k6, skpo, yo, k2tog, yo] 2 times, k6, skpo, yo, k3.

Row 20: P 34.

Repeat Row 1-20 until piece measures 55 inches.

BO and join cast on to bound off edges to form an infinity scarf.

Free November 2016 Yarnbox knit infinity scarf pattern featuring Jade Sapphire Exotic Fibres Re<>Luxe Lite recycled cashmere.

Happy Knitting!