Tag Archives: crafts

Alaska Knit Nat’s top 6 posts

Today my Facebook page reached 1,000 likes!

Alaska Knit Nat turns 6 | My top 6 blog posts

As Alaska Knit Nat enters its seventh year, I thought it would be fun to dig into the archives and pull up some of my favorite posts from years past.

I started Knit Nat AK in November 2010 with the intention of cataloging my craftiness.

“It’s mainly for my own benefit,” I wrote in my first-ever post. “I make so much stuff I can’t keep track of it all. In addition to knitting (hence the Knit Nat title), I cook, sew and repurpose things. This blog is a catalog of all things Craft.”

So here’s my top 6 posts since 2010. Enjoy!

Continue reading Alaska Knit Nat’s top 6 posts

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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

An East Coast Halloween: 3 tricks and treats

Soon after becoming friends with Kasandra in college I discovered we had one big difference: she celebrated holidays.

An East Coast Halloween | 3 tricks and treats that are affordable and easy from Alaskaknitnat.com

Kasandra is from Connecticut where they have four seasons, a long history, darkness in the summer and tolerable cold in the winter. These reasons are why East Coasters celebrate holidays differently from Alaskans.

“I love that the East Coast celebrates every holiday to the fullest,” Kasandra said. “It makes me look forward to the seasons.”

I visited Kasandra and her husband, Gary, in their hometown seven years ago in May. As she was giving us a driving tour of a road used to deliver mail during the Revolution, I was seeing house after house ridiculously adorned with flags and patriotic banners. I asked, “What the hell is going on here?” and she said “It’s Memorial Day weekend.”

Feel free to contradict me, but Alaskans just don’t celebrate this way. Sure, I’ll carve a pumpkin in October and string up some lights at Christmas, but there isn’t a single house on my block right now with Halloween decorations outside.

So today I wanted to show off a little of what Kasandra has going on in her neck of the woods to hopefully inspire Alaskans this Halloween.

An East Coast Halloween | 3 tricks and treats that are affordable and easy from Alaskaknitnat.com

Kasandra maintains that frugal collegiate spirit but includes East Coast charm and sophistication. All of her crafts are easy, quick and affordable. Here are three that she shared with me.

1. Bedazzled Pumpkin

An East Coast Halloween | 3 tricks and treats that are affordable and easy from Alaskaknitnat.com

Paint a pumpkin. Stick craft store jewels all over it. No glue necessary if the paint is still wet.

2. Mummy cookies

An East Coast Halloween | 3 tricks and treats that are affordable and easy from Alaskaknitnat.com

Melt some white chocolate. Dip Milano cookies halfway into chocolate. Drizzle chocolate over the cookie to make it look like a mummy. Stick on sugar eyes.

3. Monster mouth snacks

An East Coast Halloween | 3 tricks and treats that are affordable and easy from Alaskaknitnat.com

Peel some apples and slice them into wedges. Spread peanut butter on one wedge. Add some yogurt-covered raisins to look like teeth. Top with another apple.

So, get out there, Alaskans, and show some last-minute Halloween spirit!

 

DIY mini greenhouse: A quick kids craft

Last week was our son’s third birthday party. He requested it be Lorax themed, which is fitting because his birthday is on Earth Day. Although I consider myself of the crafty variety, birthdays are overwhelming to me and going all out is too exhausting. So I choose activities and decorations with minimal prep work.

One of the save-the-trees crafts I put together was a miniature greenhouse where the kids could plant a seed, create the greenhouse, take it home and watch it grow. It was a hit among two partygoers and that’s a success in my book for a 3-year-old birthday.

DIY mini greenhouses || a quick kids craft from Alaskaknitnat.com

DIY mini greenhouses

Materials:

  • Clear plastic cups
  • Potting soil
  • Dry beans
  • Painter’s tape
  • Knife

Directions:

Fill a plastic cup halfway with potting soil. Wet the soil so it’s moist, but not sopping.

With a knife, poke three holes in the bottom of another cup. Set aside.

Let your little one plant two or three beans in the soil. There’s no wrong way to do it. Jack barely put them beneath the soil and they still sprouted.

DIY mini greenhouse || a quick kids craft from Alaskaknitnat.com

DIY mini greenhouse || a quick kids craft from Alaskaknitnat.com

Place the other cup on top and affix a few pieces of painter’s tape to hold the cups in place.

DIY mini greenhouses || a quick kids craft from Alaskaknitnat.com

Set in a sunny window. No need to water it. About three or four days later your beans should sprout. You can transfer your sprout to a small pot if you like. Be sure there is a drainage hole.

DIY mini greenhouses || a quick kids craft from Alaskaknitnat.com

The Aspen Ascot – a free knitting pattern

Happy Easter! It’s currently snowing here in Anchorage, which makes today’s pattern just perfect.

I was scrolling through some old knitting patterns on my blog and I came across my Chunky Ascot Pattern, which included a terrible Hipstamatic photo (before Instagram existed). I decided it was worth making a new ascot just to update the photo.

This pattern uses chunky yarn or you can knit two strands of worsted weight yarn together. It takes very little yarn, so it’s a great way to use up any leftover high quality fibers. I used Malabrigo and Manos de Uruguay worsted alpaca.

The Aspen Ascot is just right for a chilly spring morning when you don’t need a bulky scarf. The two spade-shaped ends create a lovely bow look.

The pattern isn’t difficult, but it does require thinking outside the box. You’ll use three double-pointed needles for the part where you create the loop. The instructions sound sort of whack, but trust the way it’s written and it should make sense in the end.

The Aspen Ascot | A free pattern from Alaska Knit Nat. Perfect afternoon project! The Aspen Ascot | A free pattern from Alaska Knit Nat. Perfect afternoon project!

The Aspen Ascot – a free knitting pattern from Alaska Knit Nat

Materials:

One ball of chunky alpaca, or two strands of worsted knitted together

3 size US 10 double-pointed needles

darning needle

Abbreviations:
M1FB — make 1 stitch in the front and 1 stitch in the back of the same stitch, thus increasing the piece by 1 stitch

k2tog— knit two stitches together

Directions:
Cast on 2 stitches. M1FB of the first stitch, K the next stitch.
Continue to M1FB of the first stitch of every row till you have 16 stitches.
K 12 rows in garter stitch. I slip the first stitch of every row to keep the rows neat and even.
Next row: *Knit the first stitch, transfer the second stitch to the third double point needle.* Repeat * to end of row. You should have 8 stitches on each needle.
Starting with the needle that has the working yarn, K1, P1 for 9 rows. Cut yarn, leaving a 6-inch tail.

The Aspen Ascot | A free pattern from Alaska Knit Nat. Perfect afternoon project!

The Aspen Ascot | A free pattern from Alaska Knit Nat. Perfect afternoon project!
With the other needle holding 8 stitches, leave a 6-inch tail and K1, P1 for 9 rows, but don’t cut the yarn when done.

Next row: *Knit the first stitch from both the front and back needles together, then knit one from the front and one from the back.* Repeat * till there is 1 stitch on each needle. Knit these two stitches together. You should now have 12 stitches on one needle.

Knit in garter stitch till the work is long enough to go around your neck and touch the loop you just created, about 12 inches.

Next row: *K1, K2tog* Repeat * to end of row. You should now have 8 stitches again. K1, P1 for 9 rows.

Next row: M1FB in each stitch. You should now have 16 stitches.

Knit in garter stitch for 12 rows.

Next row: K1, K2tog, K to end of row. Repeat the last row till there are 3 stitches remaining.

Bind off. Weave in tails. Sew on decorative button to one side of the loop if you desire.

 

DIY mini hang tags

Recently I was commissioned to sew 10 coin purses out of vintage kimono silk remnants. Part of providing the service of craft is the presentation. Sure, I could have delivered the purses in a plastic grocery bag, but the buyer is more impressed when she receives them as though they are a gift. It’s remarkable how much a tiny hang tag on your product gives it a professional finish.

I have yet to order Alaska Knit Nat hang tags. I just don’t feel like ordering large quantities and I worry they might not turn out right and I’d have spent money on something I won’t use.

Here’s a way to create your own hang tags in small quantities that is super inexpensive.

DIY mini hang tags | Give your products a professional finish with affordable homemade hang tags. Tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat

First, log in to Canva.com. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a fantastic, free site where you can create pretty graphic elements from Facebook posts to business cards. It’s like graphic design for dummies.

Continue reading DIY mini hang tags

I’ll have a glue, glue Christmas — #10: Pompom ornaments

I recently assessed my yarn stash and quickly came to the conclusion that I have way too much. I’m running out of time to knit and crochet presents for my loved ones and I need to taper down my yarn inventory. Enter the pompom. This perky accessory harkens to my younger years when my clothes were adorned with rick rack and I coveted Tinkerbell peel-off nail polish. 

Pompoms are making a comeback in a big way. Plus, they eat through yarn stashes quickly. This was a great way to decorate my tree and it requires barely any skills. I highly recommend using fabric scissors for this project; otherwise you might find yourself getting callouses in the crotch of your thumbs.

You’ll love the trick to making these ornaments. Look no further than your kitchen utensil drawer.

Pompom ornaments | #10 on Alaska Knit Nat's DIY Holiday Craft Guide

Pompom ornaments — No. 10 in Alaska Knit Nat’s DIY Holiday Craft Guide

What you’ll need:

  • Yarn
  • Large serving fork
  • Sharp scissors

Directions:

Cut a piece of yarn about 16 inches long and fold it in half. Run it in between the middle prong of the fork and hold it securely against the handle. Take up to four strands of yarn at a time and loosely start wrapping around the fork. Do this till you’ve got a whole lotta yarn on there. The more strands you use at a time the faster this will go. Cut the yarn when you think it’s enough. This may take some tinkering.

IMG_1973

Use the yarn you originally placed between the prongs to tie around all the wrapped yarn. Another person’s finger comes in handy, but it’s possible to do this alone. Tie a double knot and slip your uncut pompom off the fork.

Pompom ornaments | #10 on Alaska Knit Nat's DIY Holiday Craft Guide

Pompom ornaments | #10 on Alaska Knit Nat's DIY Holiday Craft Guide

Cut apart all of the loops, being sure not to cut the original strand of yarn as this will be what you’ll hang the ornament from.

Pompom ornaments | #10 on Alaska Knit Nat's DIY Holiday Craft Guide

Trim your pompom as you deem fit. Repeat till you’ve run out of yarn or have worked up an appetite for some microwave nachos.