Guest Series 2011

Today I would like to welcome Jessica Fediw to whipup, Jessica blogs at Happy Together. There you can find all kind of tutorials and free patterns.

I love to create especially by sewing and crocheting, and also have an Etsy shop. With that said, I am always looking for ways to use up scrap fabrics, even the tiniest bits are hard for me to let go of. So one day I remembered some bows I had made a while back and figured that I could do the same with fabric. Guess what? It worked! And I like it :)

Fabric bows tutorial:

What you need:
-Scrap Fabric (for the one I created for my daughter specifically you will need 8 pieces of .5″x4″ and 5 pieces of .5″x4″)
-Hot glue gun
-Something for the center (a button; fabric yoyo; fabric rosette)
-Piece of felt for back
-Optional: pin back or hair clip

1. Cut out your pieces. You can add as many as you like to make it “poofier” or make the layers longer to make it larger, etc. I also starched and ironed them.
2. Glue the short ends of each piece together to create a loop, wrong sides facing.
3. Glue two of the long pieces together, right across from each other.
4. Continue to glue on the rest of the long pieces evenly.
5. Then glue on the shorter top pieces. I just filled in the spaces of the bottom ones for an even look.
6. Glue on the center piece of your choice.. I added a button to this one, but you could add a fabric rosette or yoyo like I did on the other ones below.
7. Use a round object (such as the bottom of a glue bottle) to trace onto the felt. Cut it out and glue it on the bottom of the bow to cover up the glued pieces.
8. Glue on a pin back or hair clip if desired.

Now you can clip it into a little cuties hair or add it to a card or a present!

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Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Lee Meredith to guest blog at Whipup. Lee is a maker of things and doer of stuff.

I live in Portland, Oregon and focus mainly on designing knit accessories, but I also dabble in all kinds of crafts, and write about them all on my Blog Do Stuff! . I also run a website, leethal.net, where you can find all my knit designs, embroidery stitch sets, tutorials, yarn, and more!

Sideways edge cast-on and a free knitting pattern: Cassady

Awhile back, I developed this technique that I’ve been using in a lot of my patterns lately, which I call a sideways edge cast-on. It’s not what you normally think of as a “cast-on” because you’re knitting a whole piece at the same time, any way you want, but you’re leaving new stitches along the side, which you go back to later and knit across, which is why those stitches are essentially cast-on stitches. It’s a way to knit something in 2 directions without ever having to pick up stitches or sew seams. Anyway, I wrote all about the technique here, but it’s kind of hard to grasp just by reading about it, even though it’s very easy to do!

So, I wanted to offer up a free pattern using the cast-on method, as a kind of introduction to show you how simple it really is! Cassady can use any yarn and needles, works up pretty quickly, and uses only garter stitch, a couple of increases, and 4 different decreases. It’s a great pattern for an adventurous beginner knitter, ready to try out some new techniques, practice some new increases+decreases, but keep it small and simple.

Once you try out this kerchief and see how easy the technique is, maybe you’ll want to put it to use with one of my more complex customizable patterns! My Custom Tritops hats and the Betiko shawl, both pictured here, take advantage of the sideways edge stitches to make completely custom sized, any-gauge, super versatile designs that you can knit again and again in all different ways!

Cassady Pattern

Cassady is a great way to show off a nice multi-colored yarn – since it’s worked in two different directions, variegated or self-striping yarns will really make the most of the design. The yarn I used here is some beautiful hand-dyed worsted weight merino wool by Knitted Wit, perfect!

This pattern works for any gauge, so you can choose any weight yarn, and the appropriate needle size to match. Worsted weight and finer will work best, as a bulky yarn will make for a bulky kerchief, not ideal; sock yarns will work wonderfully! There’s no need to do a gauge swatch, unless you want to check if a certain needle size will work well with your yarn – the whole pattern is garter stitch, so do any testing in garter (knit all, flat).

- Use either 1 very long circular needle (at least 32″ but longer is better), or use any shorter circular (16″ is fine) plus a set of straight needles (2 double points would work, or a second circular) of the same size. The whole piece is knit flat, but the circular cord is necessary to hold the extra sideways stitches.
- You also need 1 stitch marker, and a yarn needle to weave in ends.

Abbreviations:
st(s) = stitch(es)
k = knit
kfb = knit into front of stitch, then into back (increases 1 – see here for help)
k2tog = knit 2 stitches together (decreases 1 - see here for help)
m1 = lift a strand of yarn between the stitches on the right and left needles, with your left needle, from front to back, and knit into the back loop (increases 1 – see here for help)
p2tog = purl 2 stitches together (decreases 1 – see here for help)
p2tog TBL = purl 2 stitches together through the back loop (decreases 1 – see here for help)
ssk = slip, slip, knit slipped stitches together (decreases 1 - see here for help)
RS = right side
WS = wrong side

Note:
If you’ve never used short rows before, you may find them weird at first and feel like you’re doing something wrong – you’re not! There is no need to wrap stitches or anything like that which normally happens with short rows, but you will just be turning your work before knitting across the entire row. When the pattern says “turn,” do just that. Stop working in that direction, turn your work, and start working back in the other direction. This is how those sideways edge stitches are formed, it’s magical!

If you’re using 2 sets of needles, start with the circular.

Start first strap:
- Cast on 1 (just make a slip knot and place it on your needle).
- Row 1: Kfb (2 sts now).
- Row 2: K all.
- Row 3: K to last 1, kfb.
- Row 4: K all.
- Repeat rows 3-4 until piece measure about 1.5 inches /4cm across.
- Knit all, both sides, until piece measures about 8 inches /20cm long.

Start sideways edge cast-on section (creating new stitches along the side edge of the piece):
- Setup row: Kfb, place marker, k to end.
- WS row: K to marker, pass marker, k1, turn.
- RS row: Kfb, pass marker, k to end.
- Repeat last 2 rows until the section with sideways stitches measures about 14 inches /36cm long, or until it comfortably stretches to about 20 inches /50cm, or until that part reaches around your head.

If you’re using 2 pairs of needles, then start using your separate needles now. *After the following row, pull the end of the circular so that the sideways stitches are all on the circular cord, to avoid the chance of them slipping off the end of the needle.

Ending sideways edge row:
- K to marker, remove marker, k1.*

Start second strap:
- If you’re using 1 long circular needle, at this point you’ll need to pull the end of the needle which is coming out of the sideways stitches (the stitches not being worked) so that all those stitches are on the cord (not the needle points). You’ll use the 2 needle points to continue knitting the other side of the strap, but with the cord in between holding onto all those sideways stitches, which don’t get touched for now.
- Knit all strap stitches (the live stitches that you just knit, not the sideways edge stitches) until strap piece measures about 6.5 inches /17cm, or the same as the other strap up to where it comes in at a diagonal, or longer if you prefer asymmetrical straps.

- Strap point row 1: K to last 2, k2tog.
- Strap point row 2: K all.
- Repeat those 2 rows until decreasing down to 1 stitch.
- Break yarn and thread through stitch.

Start triangular section:
- Slide circular needle into sideways stitches so the point is in the side that you started on (not the side you just finished on), and begin working into those stitches.
- Setup row: K1, [m1, k2] repeat across to end of row (you may end after k2, or k1 depending on how many stitches you had).
- WS row: P2tog, k to last 2, p2tog TBL.
- RS row: Ssk, k to last 2, k2tog.
- Repeat those 2 rows until there are either 2 or 3 stitches remaining.

- If there are 2 stitches, then: Ktog if you’re on the RS row; p2tog if you’re on the WS row.
- If there are 3 stitches, then:
- RS: Ssk, slip that stitch back over to the left-hand needle, pass remaining stitch over ssk’d stitch.
- WS: P2tog, slip that stitch back over to the left-hand needle, pass remaining stitch over p2tog’d stitch.
- Break yarn and pull through the last stitch.

Weave in all your ends, and block as you want to (blocking isn’t especially important with this piece).
Tie it on around your head, or around your neck if you like!

Now, hopefully you have an understanding of how the sideways edge cast-on works and you can take it into your own projects! Happy knitting

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Today I want to welcome Guillaume Wolf “Prof G.” who is transforming the way we feel about creativity. The French author, teacher and mentor is showing people around the world how they can activate their creative power in any area of their lives. He self published, “The Creative Advantage Book” which reveals his easy, step-by-step formula, so you can learn how to think, feel and act like the best Creatives in the world – to create the results you want. We reviewed his book here.

There is something amazing hidden in every craft project: the capacity you have with your hands to create beauty (sometimes using the simplest of elements). Craft is, in a sense, “beauty created out of nothing” — which is quite extraordinary when you think about it.

Whether you choose to playfully customize an everyday object, or focus on creating unique pieces, the “act of craft” feels like a meditation: the sense of time disappears, and everyday problems seem to vanish. In Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes this state where “Concentration is so intense that there is no attention left over to think about anything irrelevant, or to worry about problems. Self-consciousness disappears, and the sense of time becomes distorted.” This is the bliss of craft.

And when you’re in the zone, this is an opportunity to let your creative mind roam free. New ideas will come to you, untold possibilities will suddenly arise. I call this method to find new creative ideas the S-Process (S stands for subconscious). And while other artists might enter this space through their brains (writers, philosophers, scientists etc.), in the craft sphere it is your hands that serve as an entry point — they are the key to the poetic dimension in your life.

Take a moment and look at your hands — what do you see? Isn’t it interesting that all your life appears on these little fellows? Every single moment that ever counted (good or bad) is here. Your hands carry their own memory and everytime you connect with them, you tap into the wholeness of your life. This is perhaps why craft projects can be so vibrant.

On your next craft project I want to invite you to do two things:
1. Bring a notebook and write down any new idea that comes to you while you’re in the “act of craft.” See what comes up.
2. I also want to challenge you to listen to your hands. What do they want to do next? How far do they want to go?

Listen, and follow their gentle whisper, you may be in it for a treat.

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Welcome Laura Wilson, pattern designer and artist, who lives in rural TN, USA. She blogs about sewing, motherhood, and simple living at We Wilsons.

Hello, crafty friends! Today I want to introduce you to my friend Brad Montague, co-founder of Love In Stereo, a movement of artists, fans and friends united together to make a global impact. Seeing all of the good work they do has made me want to find more ways to do good in my life and through my work. Maybe you feel that way, too? Brad has some great advice and thoughts on how to get started.

Laura: Can you tell us what Love In Stereo is all about?

Brad: Love In Stereo works to increase collaboration between artists, causes and everyday people. We do this by setting up projects in neighborhoods all over the world. Sometimes it’s a product (like an album, shirt, or handmade item). Sometimes it’s an event (like a concert, art show or film screening). We always start with a need and then work to address it in whatever creative way our community comes up with.

Laura: In what way have you found that artists are uniquely capable of doing social good?

Brad: Whether it’s creating a product to sell for good or aiding in an experience that will bring relief, artists are and always will be at the heart of all powerful social change. Artists are willing to collaborate. They can solve problems quickly and creatively, because they know their greatest resources are their relationships. This is key. Artists also have the ability to communicate in profound ways. In areas across the world affected by extreme poverty it is the artists who are the hope bringers. They are the ones telling the stories that need to be telling and affecting change in the process.

Musicians, visual artists, filmmakers, crafters – they all want to know that what they’re doing makes a difference. Traditionally artists have been used to help ‘raise awareness’. There’s some value to that, but we think artists can create work that not only inspires change, but also creates it. We want to see creativity used to meet needs and make solutions.

Laura: Is raising money the primary means of doing good? What other ways have you seen artists making an impact?

Brad: We originally started as something like a non-profit record label. (Some in the music industry would argue that all record labels are now non-profit.) The thinking was: let’s create a product and raise funds for a good cause. Nice idea. Nothing wrong with that. As we’re heading into our second year our thinking has changed. It’s more than raising awareness and raising funds. It’s about addressing a need and building a community around that need. Money will always help, but it is in no way the final answer.

We’re seeing that artists are making a big difference not just by the products they create, but by the communities they build. Whether it’s a collective like Ember Arts who come together to create beads and jewelry to aid women in Uganda or our team of friends in Florida at Humility Now who create in hopes of ending homelessness there are people all over who embody the Love In Stereo rally cry: “Together, we’re louder.”

Laura: What advice would you give an artist who wants to make an impact for a cause they care about?

Brad: There are some ridiculously talented people who read this blog. I’d love to see what ideas they might have. I’d also love to team up with them. My advice? First: Do it. Right now. Get moving on it. You have the ability to make a difference, but only if you actually do something! Second: Don’t do it alone. Allow your project to do and be more by bringing in others. Allow your friends the joy of being a part of something that does good.

Get involved with Love In Stereo:
Twitter: @love_in_stereo
Facebook.com/loveinstereo

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Welcome Maya from Little Treasures to Whipup.

Hello everybody! I cannot tell you how excited I am to be here! My name is Maya and I blog over at Little Treasures. My blog is about crafts and I am always elbows deep in projects. Drop by and say hi!

Today I would like to write about embroidered lace commonly known as cutwork. Cutwork embroidery is an enchanting and eye-pleasing form of needlework where portions of the background fabric, as the name suggests, are cut out and discarded, while the edges are worked over in variety of stitches (satin and buttonhole stitches being the ones used the most).

Once used to decorate bed linen, this method swiftly turned into a trend of decorating clothing. There are many kinds of cutwork, the simplest being Broderie Anglaise while the most elaborate of all is the Reticella cutwork (see example below).

The basic steps into employing cutwork are the following:

Transfer the pattern onto a cotton piece or linen and use the reinforced running stitch to stitch it all.

Carefully cut the fabric paying attention to those portions having bars. Cut carefully under the bars.

Use the buttonhole / satin stitches to embroider the piece tucking the cut-out piece underneath. * Note: Some people make the stitches first and then when finished do the cutwork, which should be immensely precise or you may cut into the stitched part, thus I am safer with this method.

You are done. When washed and pressed with a hot iron the cutwork will gain a fabulous, rich and neat look.

Since I am addicted to colors I used cutwork for my dress and made a necklace.

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