Tag: upcycle

“This is the kind of thing you only see in fairy tales!” • DIY Yarn Swift

Just two months in and the dad of the year award goes to…

For Christmas I requested a ball winder, which I received from my mom. It does wonders, and I have spent hours re-caking floppy cakes. But, with the lack of yarn swift, winding new hanks was still quite the task. I found ways to do it, with upside down chairs and lazy susans, but obviously, it wasn’t ideal. My dad, who knows absolutely nothing about knitting saw my struggle, and took it upon himself to resolve the problem. That’s what dads do isn’t it?

One day, I came home from work and he said, “I made you a swift“. We both looked at each other for a moment- me, not fully grasping the idea that my dad knew what a swift was, and him wondering if he had called it the right thing. Turns out, he really did construct a fully-functioning yarn swift!

When I was little, I had a toy ironing board made of wood. Looking back, it was quite the gendered toy for a little girl to have, but I loved it. I had a wooden iron and would flatten out little handkerchiefs for my bears. Last summer, we did a massive house purge, and all the stashed childhood toys came out. While the rest of us were ready to be rid of the past, I think my dad struggled to let go of the memories of his little girls. He ended up hoarding some of the possessions we threw out, including the aforementioned ironing board.

As it turns out, ironing boards can be easily reconstructed into yarn swifts! What I love most is that what was once something I loved has now grown with me. I’m glad we didn’t throw it away. There are still a few minor kinks to work out, but aside from that, it does the trick! Any chance to make it yourself, upcycle, and save some money is awesome to me. One night, a friend visiting from Singapore commented, “This is the kind of thing you only see in fairy tales!”. Either yarn swifts aren’t as common as I think, or maybe my life is like a fairy tale. Either way, I’m not sorry!

You’re always my dad of the year, but this is pretty neat. Thanks, papa. <3

DIY Letterboard

I am the proud owner of a letterboard! Am I cool yet?

I have been totally envious of people I’ve seen who have felt letterboards or cinema marquees. They’re just so incredibly neat! However, as a maker who is just starting to make her mark in the online world, these are a luxury I can’t justify having.

On the flip side, as a maker, I have the tools and ability to create my own budget-friendly version! It took me a few failures and adjustments before I was able to come up with something functional, but that’s part of the crafting fun, right?

I started off following instructions I found online for a felt letterboard using dowels wrapped in felt, but I just couldn’t achieve an even layout that kept my letters attached securely. As frustrating as this was, I wasn’t ready to surrender just yet. I set it aside to return to another day. It was actually my also-crafty mother who brought a photo on Pinterest to my attention. Her idea was for a DIY ring holder/display using sponge or foam, but the concept inspired a whole new thought process.

All I had to do was fit a piece of flat sponge/foam batting inside a box frame and slice some lines about halfway deep running across the sponge. I centred the sponge on the back board of the frame and glued it down. I did have to order the letters online, but it worked out perfectly and is super customizable! The pegs on the letters fit inside the slits and can be changed just like a felt letterboard. Aside from the letters, everything I used to make this project could be found in the home and reused, or bought for cheap.

I will totally be using this all the time. Feeling excited to step up my Instagram game, starting with a SALE announcement! I recently hit 200 followers on Instagram, and I’m all about celebrating the little things, so I’m offering 20% off everything in the WWK Shop for the next 2 weeks. Just use the coupon code “hooray200” at checkout! I have also added a few new items which are also included in the sale. Head on over to check it out!

The Stitch Marker Revelation

The Stitch Marker Revelation

In my previous post about stitch markers, I thought I was so smart using paperclips to  mark my stitches. I was so genuinely happy with them. I didn’t know what it was like to have any better, so I was satisfied…until NOW.

First, I saw that other people had taken the colored paper clips and bent them into cool shapes that made them more user-friendly. This took me through a Pinterest wormhole of other hand-made stitch markers and I was blown away at how simple they were!

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I definitely had all the tools to make them, and it would only take a few minutes to put some together. I don’t know how I managed to overlook this concept before. With just a few jewelry tools and pendants, I have made new, super cute stitch markers that clip on or loop around the needles. They are so much more refined and leave minimal disruption when knitting or crocheting.

The clip-ons are just little hooks from charm bracelets or necklaces–these are perfect for crochet projects where you need to be able to open and close the marker, and for marking the front/back of a project piece (which I have just realized is incredibly helpful). The circular loops are made from earring hooks wrapped around a large knitting needle. These slip on and off when knitting rows/rounds, but I left the ends open in case I ever did need to pull it out in a pinch. To see if it would make a difference, I put hot glue at the tips of a couple of them thinking it might protect my knitting from sharp edges, though the other ones work fine without it.

I have since gone from being someone who prefers to count stitches and rows than to work around stitch markers, to someone who marks everything she possibly can! Based on my experience with them so far, here’s my verdict:

Pros:
  • Loops are nice and skinny, so they don’t interfere with the tension when knitting
  • Loops also fit in a nice range of needle sizes (up to ~6-7mm)
  • Leaving the loops open allow you to take them out at any time, but the gap is small enough that they won’t fall off
  • No problem with sharp edges getting caught in yarn
  • The clips are more refined-looking, with an easy to use mechanism
  • The clips are also really convenient to attach to bags…etc…until you need them if you’re knitting on the go
  • SO CUTE.
Cons:
  • The clips definitely look better than the loops, which look more “DIY”–if I really wanted to make them nice, I would have bought some actual circular loops instead of trying to curl them myself
  • Some of the smaller clips are difficult to hook on
  • Some of the clips may not fit around bulkier yarn (bigger ones are needed)
  • Heavier charms tend to tug on the stitches a bit, but nothing so severe it doesn’t work itself out when the marker is removed
  • HOW DO I CHOOSE WHICH ONE TO USE?
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The little stego is my favorite!

Nitty grittiness aside, I love them. They do the job, they look better than the paperclips I was using, and I didn’t have to spend a dime. All the materials came from old costume jewelry from when I was a tween, and my jewelry toolbox full of materials I would have used to make myself costume jewelry as a tween (but didn’t).

I was also going to try my hand at using air dry clay to make some charms, but that’s another project for another day. I definitely have more stitch markers than I need right now. Guess this means I either need to start more projects or one big complicated project. New sweater for winter maybe?

Fading into Fall

Fading into Fall

My last round of tie dye turned out so well I received a request for more! Mama bear came home with 4 new shirts and a couple of packs of dye, eager to see new colors and new designs.

This time, we had more autumnal colors–forest green, and scarlet red (mixed with black to make a deep magenta/maroon color). I was braver this time, mixing the dye quickly and dunking in the whole piece instead of carefully swishing it around.

When I opened them up to rinse, I was SO impressed with the designs, and particularly, the colors! They were deep and unique, unlike any box set of dye I’ve ever seen before.

I call that last one “I Killed a Man”. It cracks me up! All the others came out super peaceful looking, but the red bled out of it like a tragic murder scene.

Sadly, after it came out from the wash the colors had faded quite a bit. I’m a huge fan of deep colors, but the shades remained true, so it’s not too disappointing. The fade also helped mellow out the red so it’s less shocking.

With the little bit of green dye I had left over, I also decided to go back in with a second round of dye on that skein of cotton yarn I had from before and I am in LOVE with how it looks now. The subtle shades of green totally makes it look unique. Haven’t been able to decide what to make, but I’m super curious to see how it would knit up.

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With all my new knitted projects I’ve been unable to wear because of the heat, it’s nice to have some summer-y projects that I can wear into fall. The colors make them perfect for the summer-fall transition. Although the weather around here seems to have taken a sudden turn towards cold and rainy. Has summer suddenly ended?

Tie Dye Summers

Tie Dye Summers

In true crafter’s fashion, I have gotten distracted from all the plans I had and started a bunch of new projects. More on this to come, but first, the activity of the day is tie dye!

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I did my first tie dye project back in high school. Whilst perusing Pinterest I stumbled upon a neat glue-resist dying trick where you use white glue to draw out a design onto your shirt, then dye it and wash the glue off, leaving a design un-colored. I was excited to see that I actually managed to re-create the Pinterest idea, but I found tie dye far too unpredictable for my ocd-mind.

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Last summer, tie dye seemed to be the trend, so I hopped on the bandwagon again and did a few more tie dye projects with the fam.

This summer, it still seems quite fashionable, though I will admit as I get older I do feel more out of touch with today’s “youth”. I still wear my tie dye tops, and if someone decides I am “so last year”, I’d prefer to think that maybe I am just too cool to follow mainstream trends I wore tie dye after it was cool. I mean…as a knitter in her 20s I’m already pretty used to being an oddball in my generation.

I didn’t actually make more shirts for myself this year though. I had unfulfilled plans to tie dye some bedsheets, but in the mean time, mama bear needed some exercise shirts and the white ones she got were too transparent, so the only logical solution was to dye them! I used some darker colors and went for more simple designs, but it did give me an opportunity to try some sweet techniques other than the classic spiral.

The colors looked super vibrant while it was still wet and before it went through the machine wash cycle, but the final product still looks pretty cool! Will wait to see if we receive compliments from anyone in the neighborhood who spots her on her morning walk.

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With some of the extra dye I had, I also thought I’d see if I could die a skein of cotton yarn I had lying around. I think it worked! The color contrast didn’t quite come out the way it looked before rinsing, but it still looks pretty cool–kind of like acid wash denim. The true test will be when I actually knit it up into something.

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De-Poufing My Skirts

De-Poufing My Skirts

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It’s the first day of Summer! …at least…it is the day I’m writing this post.

I am anticipating wearing more skirts this year. I have already taken a few opportunities  to put on some casual dresses and was pleasantly surprised. I remember pulling a couple out, 100% expecting to hate how it looked, but I was wrong. I felt sassy, and confident, and well, pretty. I’m on a feel good crusade at the moment so I plan to wear them throughout the summer and rock them.

I did however pull out a couple of old skirts that I rarely ever wore because beyond the dressing room mirror they never sat right. After thinking about it for awhile I think I’ve decided that they’re too poufy! ((You know…the A-line skirt that never really got the memo that the 50s are over.)) I’m probably exaggerating a little, but the reason why I never wear them is because the extra space it extends makes it a little fancier than I’d like for a cute, casual look. My solution is to cut out the linings so they hang a little more downwards and a little less outwards.

Due to impatience (or as I like to see it, eagerness), I failed to take proper ‘before’ pictures before going at them with my shears. I did however have a little fun getting the ‘after’ shots.

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DIY Candles

Scented candles seem to have gained popularity over the past couple of years. With Fall and Christmas season approaching, candles are starting to make an appearance again.

Good store-bought scented candles tend to be quite pricey for something that can disappear so quickly. The jars that they come in also end up being collected in a closet somewhere or recycled–which seems quite wasteful. I typically don’t buy candles for myself, but I love receiving them as gifts. These don’t tend to last me through the winter though, so buying the components online in bulk was a much more cost-effective way for me to produce my own.

I have never attempted to make a candle before, but based on online instructions and videos, it seemed pretty easy. I decided to do as much of it on my own, without purchasing anything other than soy wax flakes from amazon.

I used:

  • Soy Wax Flakes
  • 100% cotton yarn
  • Recycled wick stands from used tea lights
  • Essential Oils/Candle Scents
  • Ceramic containers (courtesy of One Bear Ceramics)

Here’s what I did:

  • Double boil the wax flakes (2x the amount of your container)
  • Add a tiny piece of crayon to add color
  • Cut a piece of yarn and soak it in the melted wax for 10 minutes, then hang to dry
  • Once dry, use pliers to widen the hole of the wick stand to thread the wick through, then clamp wick into position
  • Take the rest of the melted wax out of the boiling water and mix in a few drops of your scent
  • Place the wick in the centre of the container, using a pen to hold it up straight
  • Pour the wax into the container
  • Leave aside to cool and harden
  • Trim wick and light!

Now, my candles were far from perfect. They really didn’t work very well and had all sorts of problems including but not limited to:

  • Burn range not reaching the sides of the container
  • Scent not strong enough
  • Strange discoloration in wax (ie. not a solid, smooth color)
  • Wick stops burning halfway through and won’t hold a flame again

I am in the process of troubleshooting and will re-attempt this process again. If you have any tips or explanations for the flaws in my candles, please do let me know! I am hoping to fix all the problems and create scented candles that can be gifted by Christmas. I am working alongside OBC to create more ceramic candles, which I think would be a super cool gift since people can use the candle and have a functional handmade pot to reuse after. More to come!