Knitted Afghan

 

 

I interrupt your nap time with a new project.

This homemade Knit Afghan is a popular fixture at our house. Our cat Pixel has decided it’s the perfect spot to snooze the day away.

It’s the perfect spot for me too. This blanket is so warm and cozy that I kept knitting and knitting, not just because it was fun, but because it was so nice to have on my lap.

This blanket started out as a project for my son’s bed. However, I like it so much I want to keep it on the couch in the living room instead. I was inspired by a similar project in a vintage knitting book. I can’t imagine knitting a blanket big enough to cover an entire bed, but that was the general idea. I am not that ambitious.

I do love how it turned out. The neutral color is great with any decor and this yarn was a dream to work with, so soft and easy to knit. The project, although large, went together quite fast, working with the larger yarn is very satisfying because you can really see the progress you are making.

 

 

The problem was, the kitty thought this blanket was pretty nice too. Have you ever tried to knit with a 10 lb. ball of fur on your lap? It’s easier said than done. Yarn makes for a very interesting plaything, especially when it is constantly moving about. I have the scratches on my thighs to prove it.

This project is super easy, a brainless thing to do while you are watching the TV and cuddling with your cat.

Here’s how to make one:

You will need:

36″ circular needle, size 15

12 Skeins Lion Brand Wool Ease Yarn, #123 Oatmeal

 

directions:

Cast on 113 stitches.

Knit 72 rows.

Cast off, weave in ends.

Using the leftover yarn (I had about 1/2 a skein left), cut 72 pieces of fringe 8″ long. Sew into short ends of blanket, folding the yarn in half, fringe will be 4″ long when finished. Trim ends if needed.

Finished size is 70″ x 90″, without fringe.

 

 

Be prepared to share your blanket with your furry critters.

They have claws you know.

 

Confetti Soap

 

 

 

Confetti soap and wash towel

 

I recently taught a soap making class. It was so much fun! A group of local home school Mom’s and a few of their kids got together for a time of fellowship and learning.

I am not really sure who learned more, me or them. That’s the funny thing about being a speaker, you go in expecting to teach, but come out having been a student.

Even if it’s something you have been doing for years, like making your own soap.

I would do it again in a heart beat.

We spent the entire night discussing soap bases, herbs and essential oils. We debated about different chemicals in the bases, what’s good, what’s not. We even googled a few technical terms for clarification.

It was a blast.

We experimented with new molds, tested new soap bases, mixed beautiful new colors and tried out new experimental techniques.

The results were beautiful.

They smelled even better than they looked.

Confetti soap and wash towel

My favorite soap of the night was this Confetti Soap.

It’s not at all complicated.

The basic soap has a combination of 3 Butters, Mango, Shea and Cocoa butter. It’s the first time I have used this product, and I love the way it moisturizes my dry winter skin.

The beautiful color comes from adding chopped up bits of Glycerin Soap that I made previously.

We simply chopped the soaps into little pieces and added them to the white liquid soap base when it was poured into the mold.

How easy is that?

I had been working on this little Confetti Wash Towel as well, here’s the DIY Knitted Dish Towel Pattern. I thought it would be fun to use the two Confetti items together.

Homemade is beautiful, don’t you think?

Pink Wash Towel

lead

 

 

I have been knitting for weeks. It’s part of my winter routine, each night I spend an hour or two working on projects. You would be amazed at how much you can produce in such a small amount of time.

I made a number of small gifts for the holidays. My favorite gift combination was hand knit wash towels and home made soap. If you would like to make your own soap, check out my tutorial here.

Now it’s time to get back to my own knitting projects, I have been dying to make a couple of Wash Towels for myself.

 I love their soft cotton texture, it feels like a gentle exfoliant on the skin. They look as luxurious and beautiful as they feel.

The towels hold up amazingly well with regular use. They do stretch a bit as they are wet, but put them in the laundry and they shrink back to their original state in the dryer.

Who knew yarn was so resiliant?

in progress

The biggest plus of this project is it’s compact size, it’s easy to stick the needles and all in your purse and take them on the road with you.

This is Peaches and Cream 100% cotton yarn in Rose Stripes. I love how the variegated yarn makes stripes appear as you knit. It’s like the yarn has a story to tell you that is revealed as you work.

Who doesn’t love a good story?

For this project, you will need 1 skein Peaches and Cream yarn and a pair of size 8 knitting needles (I love the Susan Bates needles).

Here’s the pattern:

Cast on 44 stitches

*Knit 4 stitches, Purl 4* Repeat until end of row.

Repeat all rows the same until work measures 10″. Cast off, cut yarn leaving a small tail. Weave in ends.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls

Felted Wool Dryer Balls

 

 

I have seen these Felted Wool Dryer Balls on Pintrest a number of times. They seem to be tried and tested enough to know that they really do work in place of buying dryer sheets.

I have a confession to make…

I have never actually purchased dryer sheets.

At least I don’t remember buying any, perhaps I did way back when.

Before I realized how bad they are for you.

Part of our quest to live an organic and chemical free lifestyle is to review each and every item that comes into our home.

Is it really necessary?

Is it full of chemicals?

Why do we need it?

Is there another alternative?

You would be amazed how your perspective changes after a while.

There are many things that most families purchase that are considered “essentials” , that we simple don’t buy. One of them is dryer sheets.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls-4

The skin is the largest organ in the body, so they say.

Why do we perfume and chemically dose our laundry that goes next to our skin?

It doesn’t make sense to me.

We absorb so much of what we come in contact with in our environment, we don’t even realize it.

When our son was young and struggling with ADD, ADHD, allergies and learning disorders and a bunch of other things, I remember reading about how many environmental chemicals are absorbed by small children.

Children are so much more sensitive to things than adults. If chemicals in our environment bother us, just think so much more it must bother them.

I immediately began seeking chemical free alternatives, and have never looked back.

That’s my soap box for today: the less chemicals you have in your home the better.

If you absolutely love these organic, beautiful Felted Wool Dryer Balls, then read on!

Felted Wool Dryer Balls-10

To make the balls you will need:

one skein of 100% wool roving yarn

essential oil of your choice

a couple of old socks and rubber bands

(Note: You must use 100% wool for this project or it won’t work. Also beware of light colored roving, it may be bleached and will not felt properly.)

Felted Wool Dryer Balls-24

Wind the yarn into balls of desired size. Use a large needle to thread the loose end of yarn back through the ball to secure it and cut off any excess.

The balls don’t need to be all that huge, I would say the maximum size should be that of a tennis ball.

I used one skein to make 4 balls, one is a bit smaller than the others, but I like the variety in size.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls-25

After you make the balls, tie them up in an old sock and secure the end closed with a rubber band.

(I knew that big basket of single socks would come in handy some day!)

The balls are then ready to be felted.

Throw the sock into the laundry with your regular wash on the hot water cycle.

It is helpful to have a full load, more agitation is better for felting.

Don’t forget the soap! It helps in the felting process as well.

When the wash is finished, throw them into the dryer on the hot setting along with your wash, until dry.

When the load is finished, remove the balls from the sock and admire your felted balls.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls-6

Isn’t this the easiest thing ever?

All that is left is to add essential oil to your balls for fragrance.

I chose lavender oil, but you could use lemon, cinnamon, orange or grapefruit oils.

To use, place the balls in the dryer with your damp laundry.

The heat of the dryer during the dry cycle will release the oils into your clothes and they will smell wonderful. You may add more essential oils to the balls if needed as time goes on.

Wool is an anti-static and is excellent for absorbing extra moisture and odors inside the dryer.

It is priceless organic alternative to the chemically laden dryer sheets.

I am going to make a bunch of them to give as Christmas presents.

What sort of organic things do you use in your home?

Yarn Ball Wreath

Yarnball Wreath

 

 

I am normally not one to follow trends. I like to be unique in almost everything I do.

Sometimes though, the cuteness factor sways my opinion.

Like when it comes to making a Yarn Ball Wreath.

HUGE cuteness factors are involved.

I just had to steal this idea.

It called to me.

Many talented bloggers have had their own versions, and I must say I was tempted, but not completely swayed by them.

Until I saw the one over at Cherished Bliss.

She used twine in with the balls of yarn. It was the magic combination for me.

I was hooked!

Yarnball Wreath-2

I also loved her idea of starting with a ball of newspaper and then wrapping the twine around it. Brilliant! It uses less yarn that way.

It’s also lighter, and easier to glue them down.

I used baking twine, regular twine, colored twine and scraps of yarn from my knitting projects.

I used newspapers until I ran out of them, then I started in on the Christmas catalogue pages. I have millions of those, could have made balls FOREVER with them.

Yarnball Wreath-4

I hot glued them to a wire wreath frame and hung it on the door. Easy peasy!

Note to self: hot glue sticks to tables. Use plastic underneath to avoid the embarrassment of prying it off the table before dinner time in front of the family.

I almost stuck a candle in the middle and made it a center piece. Good thing the glue wasn’t really dry yet.

What do you have hanging on your front door?

partybuttonsmall