Category Archives: Tutorials

Little lady scarf — a free knitting pattern

Last week a friend asked me if I could make a toddler scarf for her little niece, Amelia. The idea of a toddler wearing a scarf is funny to me. I can’t imagine it staying on a wriggling little 2-year-old. But that got me thinking: why not make a scarf that will stay put?

I searched Pinterest and came across the most adorable scarf pattern that uses a bow as a button. This was definitely the right idea. Create a buttonhole near the end of the scarf and secure a knit bow in the buttonhole. That should keep the scarf in place on a hippitty-hoppity hyper toddler.

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

I love the look of seed stitch, a.k.a. moss stitch. It keeps the knit piece from curling on the edges and it looks attractive on both sides of the fabric. And it’s a little fancier than garter stitch.

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

This is a simple weekend project that’s bound to keep your little lady cozy and warm.

Little lady scarf with bow

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

Materials:

  • 1 skein Lion Brand Woolspun in Fisherman
  • 1 skein Lion Brand Woolspun in Charcoal
  • Size 10 US needles
  • darning needle

Seed stitch:

Row 1: k1, p1 across all stitches

Row 2: p1, k1 across all stitches

Essentially, you knit where there’s a purl and purl where there’s a knit on the previous row.

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

Note: I slip the first stitch of each row, knitwise, and purl the last stitch of every row regardless of where I am in the seed stitch pattern. This creates a neat edge. It is not required and therefore I haven’t included it in the row-by-row instructions below.

Instructions:

Cast on 20 stitches.

Seed stitch for 18 rows.

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

For the buttonhole:

Row 1: Slip 1 stitch, seed stitch for 9 stitches. With the left needle, pull one stitch over the other stitch, *knit one, pull the second stitch over the knit one; repeat from the * twice more. You have now cast off 4 stitches. Continue with the seed stitch for the rest of the row. You should have 8 stitches on either side of the cast-off stitches.

Row 2: Slip 1 stitch, seed stitch to button hole, cast on 4 stitches, continue the seed stitch for the rest of the row. – 20 stitches.

Continue the seed stitch pattern until the whole piece measures 25 inches. Cast off and weave in ends.

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

Bow: Cast on 10 stitches and knit in garter stitch for 10 rows. Cast off and weave in ends. Wrap grey yarn around the middle of the strip several times and tie the ends in the back of the bow.

Using the fisherman color yarn and darning needle, sew the bow to the end of the scarf opposite the button hole, the same height as the button hole (about 4 inches from the edge).

I don’t have a little lady, so my little gent got to be the model. Kind of looks like a bow tie, right?

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

The top can be folded down a bit like a collar to make it a little narrower and warmer.

Little lady (or gent) scarf | an easy, free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com. I can't get enough of that little bow!

Sausage 101 — a photo & video tutorial

The kitchen is the heart of our family. My dad would spend the weekends making vats of marinara sauce and in the late summer my mom would be canning blueberry jam. Back when apples were cheap we’d make gallons of applesauce with the food mill and mix in low-bush cranberries for color. Most of my childhood memories are centered around cooking.

One staple in our family is sausage. I remember waking up early on Saturday morning to the loud humming of my dad’s homemade motorized sausage grinder. I was thrilled to stuff  hog intestines with meat — I was the best sausage stuffer in the family thanks to my deft, friendship bracelet-making hands.

Sausage-making 101 | a photo tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com. Learn how to make your own Italian sausage with this step-by-step guide.
Me, age 9, stuffing sausage with some old family friends.

My dad owns one of the most popular sausage-making sites on the Internet, sausagemania.com (yes, that is really the name). People from all over the world come to his site for his detailed recipes and tutorials.

When we decided to make 100 pounds of Italian and breakfast sausage this morning at 7:30 I thought it would be the perfect time to make my own tutorial for my little DIY audience.

Continue reading Sausage 101 — a photo & video tutorial

Dress to Apron Refashion – A free tutorial

Sewing is by no means my greatest talent. My mom taught me to sew at a young age, but that doesn’t mean I like it. It’s time consuming to cut out a pattern, cut out the fabric and take out the sewing machine. If I’m going to sew something it’s got to be a two-hour-or-less project.

I love the concept of refashioning clothes; i.e., taking an article of clothing and turning into a different article of clothing. Refashionista is pretty much my sewing/thrifting idol and she’s incredibly cute.

Lately I’ve been noticing gigantic church-lady linen dresses at the thrift shops. My mother loves linen dish towels because they are lightweight and absorbent. I thought about purchasing a linen dress and cutting it into dish-towel rectangles, but the concept didn’t really excite me much.

Last week I saw a lovely linen apron at Anthropologie. I had an “I can make that” moment. I figured an apron was a great way to refashion an old dress.

Years ago I made an apron for my sister and managed to write down the pattern measurements. I have included that pattern in this tutorial. Keep in mind my sewing skills are far from elegant so I’m sure some of you could come up with a prettier apron, but I’m satisfied with what I ended up with and it only took two hours from start to finish.

Be sure to check out the bottom of this post for more clothing refashion tutorials I’ve done over the years.

Refashion a thrift store linen dress into an apron | a free pattern from Alaskaknitnat.com

Continue reading Dress to Apron Refashion – A free tutorial

Pinterest Perfect: DIY Rustic Headboard

I wish my house were magazine-worthy. I wish one interior wall were made of raw brick. I wish I had large windows with endless natural light. I wish I had crisp white linens. I wish I had 11-foot ceilings. I wish I had a subway tile kitchen backsplash.

A woman can dream, right? And that’s what Pinterest is for.

I’m usually a practical pinner. I pin recipes I’ll actually make, knitting techniques I reference over and over, but once in a while I just want to be dazzled by what I call “Pinterest perfectionism.”

My friend Julie’s “For the Home” board is just that — a virtual cork board of immaculate kitchens, bedrooms and dens that are seemingly unattainable. But Julie is a DIY-er. I’ve seen her tackle several projects that require power tools. I’m a crafter, but I can’t get myself to pick up anything heftier than a staple gun.

I thought of Julie last summer when my parents were tearing down their 25-year-old cedar deck. My husband meticulously planed every board that came off of that wrap-around deck. He was left with quite a bit of cedar, which he used to build our son’s playhouse.

In the spring I invited Julie to stop by and pick up some planks because it just looked Pinterest worthy. The last month she sent me photos of what she created — a rustic headboard with personality.

DIY Rustic Headboard | just a few unsanded cedar boards are all you need to easily create your own rustic headboard. Free tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

I guess this post is an ode to those who actually do it. Her bedroom is a DIY, Pinterest-perfect dream come true. Well done, Julie!

Here’s what Julie had to say about how she made her too-easy-to-be-true, step-by-step instructions for a super cute headboard.

1. Get some awesome friends (wink wink) who offer you already sanded and planed cedar planks AND cut them to the length you want. I did some measuring prior to that and decided how long and tall I wanted the pieces.

2. Lay out your pieces how you want them and use wood glue to glue the sides together. I will admit, it was a little tricky because it was hard to apply enough pressure so that the wood would adhere together. A table with clamps would work a whole lot better than what I did!

3. Once all the pieces are glued together, I waited 24 hours to let the glue set, according to the instructions on the bottle.

DIY Rustic Headboard | just a few unsanded cedar boards are all you need to easily create your own rustic headboard. Free tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

4. The last thing I did was take the special piece I had picked out to go across the headboard and nail it down. I picked out some 2-inch galvanized nails. I really liked the way they looked with the raw cedar.

DIY Rustic Headboard | just a few unsanded cedar boards are all you need to easily create your own rustic headboard. Free tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

5. For installation, I was lazy and just set it up behind my bed. But you’re probably more motivated than me and might want to actually take the time to attach some longer pieces on to the sides to give the headboard some more height and screw those into the frame. I’ll probably do that…next summer.DIY Rustic Headboard | just a few unsanded cedar boards are all you need to easily create your own rustic headboard. Free tutorial from alaskaknitnat.comSo that’s it! There’s your new headboard! There’s a lot of creative license with this you can take, so just have fun and make it your own! Enjoy!

 

Babe in Shining Armor

It’s been a busy month here in Alaska blogland. Akshopgirl, Tessie Style, DJ Spencer Lee, The Sawbuck, Fernanda Conrad and I have been providing tips, costume ideas, music mixes, cocktails, decor projects and more for the Halloween season.

This week is dedicated to all those procrastinators. We’ll be featuring last-minute Halloween ideas, but today I wanted to feature a costume that if you have a few hours to spare this week you could still pull off.

My friend Kait sent me photos of her daughter’s costume and it was too darn cute not to share.

DIY Knight in Shining Armor Baby Costume | made from soda pop tabs and jump rings, this DIY baby costume is a great project for those dedicated crafty parents. Featured on Alaskaknitnat.com

Little Bea’s armor is constructed out of soda pop tabs and jump rings. Kait said she used about 350 tabs. Construction wasn’t the hard part, she said. It was collecting the tabs themselves.

“That’s the long game part of it,” she said. “You have to start collecting and asking around if people will help.”

Luckily she was able to find a friend with a whole bag of tabs.

DIY Knight in Shining Armor Baby Costume | made from soda pop tabs and jump rings, this DIY baby costume is a great project for those dedicated crafty parents. Featured on Alaskaknitnat.com

Kait used 10cm jump rings to connect the tabs, but if she were to do it again she said she would use 12 or 14cm instead so it would use fewer tabs and take less time to make.

The dragon emblem was part of a handmade birthday card her husband received in the mail and the belt and crown are made from a belt purchased from a rummage sale.

DIY Knight in Shining Armor Baby Costume | made from soda pop tabs and jump rings, this DIY baby costume is a great project for those dedicated crafty parents. Featured on Alaskaknitnat.com

Bea’s costume doesn’t stop here. Bea’s father is going to be her damsel in distress and Kait will be dressed up as a dragon.

Kait is already planning for next year.

“I’m thinking famous scientists.”

Super quick baby gnome costume

It’s week two of our Halloween Blog Party and the theme is “Woodland Creatures.” So far we’ve had fairy flower crown and forest garland tutorials, a woodland fairytale mix by DJ Spencer Lee and today I’ve got a super quick baby costume that requires minimal crafty skills and a shoestring budget.

This was my son’s first Halloween costume and I love it so.

Super quick baby gnome costume | a DIY Halloween craft from alaskaknitnat.com.
“Step off. Don’t make me sick my Jeremy Fisher on you.”
A while back AK Shopgirl was inspired by our little gnome. She decided to dress up her twin baby boys as more traditional David the Gnome.

Super quick baby gnome costume | a DIY Halloween craft from alaskaknitnat.com.

Here’s all you need to achieve a gnome-tastic baby outfit:

  • 1 piece of white felt (24 cents from Wal-Mart)
  • A large mug
  • pen
  • scissors
  • safety pin
  • a dark-colored onesie
  • pants
  • booties
  • gnome hat (knitting pattern here)*

*If you aren’t a knitter, I suggest making a gnome hat the way AK Shopgirl did using a sheet of red craft foam fashioned into a cone, adhered with a hot glue gun. Ohhappyday.com has a free template here, if you want to get technical.

How to make the beard

Super quick baby gnome costume | a DIY Halloween craft from alaskaknitnat.com.

Place the mug upside down in the middle of the white felt, 1.5 inches down from the top edge. Trace a circle for the neck hole.

Super quick baby gnome costume | a DIY Halloween craft from alaskaknitnat.com.

Use the mug to shape the corners of the beard bib.

Draw a line at the top of the neck hole to the top edge of the felt. This will be the opening of the beard bib. I just love saying “beard bib.”

Super quick baby gnome costume | a DIY Halloween craft from alaskaknitnat.com.

Freehand the shape of the beard. Cut out your beard bib.

Super quick baby gnome costume | a DIY Halloween craft from alaskaknitnat.com.

Dress up baby of choice in the onesie, pants and booties. Use a safety pin to connect the back edges of the beard bib. Place pointy hat atop baby.

Super quick baby gnome costume | a DIY Halloween craft from alaskaknitnat.com.

Presto. Baby gnome.

DIY Flower Crown – A video tutorial

Flower crowns are my thing. I love making them and I certainly love wearing them. After months of working with Meringue Studio Boudoir and having a couple of booths set up with the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, I’ve had lots of people ask me if I have a tutorial for my flower crowns.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

This is Week Two of the Halloween Blog Party with AK Shopgirl, Tessie Style and me. I’m happy to announce this week’s theme: Woodland Creatures.

Check all three of our sites this week for costume ideas, décor, music mixes and more.

My flower crowns are no trade secret (although you do have to have a florist business license to acquire the light green floral tape). I’ve been held up by simple technological difficulties (I don’t have a tripod that allows for bird’s eye view).

I asked my husband to figure it out. Five minutes and some duct tape later, he had rigged up a suitable bird’s eye camera. Thanks to The Alaska Life for the free selfie stick — I finally found a non-silly way to use it ;).

Whether you’re dressing up yourself or your little girl this Halloween, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have a fresh flower crown to compliment your fairy costume.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Alaska Weddings: Charlee + Marc | Photo by Rhae Anne Photography
Photo by Rhae Anne Photography

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Photo by Kerry Tasker
Photo by Kerry Tasker
DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com
Photo by Laura Stennett Photography

DIY Fresh Flower Crown

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Materials:

Directions:

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Measure your wire around your head and cut the wire with four inches extra length.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Tear off pieces of floral tape about six inches long. You’ll need several, but I usually tear off five at a time.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

In this time lapse video I show you how I construct a partial crown, which is worn off to the side. I usually start in the middle of the wire and work my way toward the edge. If you want a full flower crown, start about three inches from one end and work your way toward the other end.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Prepare your flowers and greens by leaving two inches of stem remaining. Trim away any excess leaves or buds.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Starting at the middle of the crown, lay a green against the wire and tightly wrap the tape around it, working your way down the stem. Add a new flower to the wire and position it to cover the first wrapped stem. Tightly wrap this stem with the floral tape.

Work your way down the wire, positioning the flowers and greens in a herringbone fashion. I usually wrap a green tilting toward the left, then a flower tilting toward the right, a flower tilting toward the left and a green tilting toward the right.

Use your best judgment to nestle greens and flowers together. Pay attention to the natural curve of each flower and place them so they are featured in a pleasing way.

When you have about three inches remaining on the wire, stop adding more flowers. Wrap the ends of the wire around each other so it fits your head well.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Store in the fridge whenever you’re not wearing it. It should last for a few days.

Here is a one-minute time lapse of my making a flower crown. Pretty neat! View the long version here.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com