Category: Yarn crafts

Seven awesome free nerdy crafts

I can’t think of anything to write this week, so instead, I’ve lovingly curated a collection of ten free nerdy crafts for you all.  (If my Facebook friends come through with cool post ideas, there may be a second post this week to make up for this one!)  It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so I figured, why not? So, here we go – seven nerdy free crafts!

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My knit and crochet tool kit

Every crafter has one (or more) – a tool kit they use to crank out their projects.  I’ve actually got a handful of little tool kits, for each of my main hobbies.  As I was digging around in my most frequently used one, my knit/crochet kit, I thought “hey, why not show off what’s in your yarn craft kit? Someone might find it useful to see what you’ve got!”  And this week’s blog post was born.

This collection of goodies helps me while I make yarn crafts.

It’s a random assortment of goodies, but they all help me out while I craft! Here’s what I’ve got, top to bottom, leftish to right:

  • Knit Happy bag: I got this as part of a yarn swap years ago on Ravelry.  I wasn’t quite sure what I’d use it for back then, but now it serves me well as the bag that holds all the tools I use frequently.
  • Gauge counter: I’ve had this ever since I started crocheting, back in the early 2000s, but never really used it until recently.  It’s been helpful as I try to figure out the gauge for my projects!
  • Yarn cutter: I love this.  It’s way easier than carrying a pair of scissors around, and is far more likely to be travel friendly than most scissors.  Plus, it’s fun having what my friend J calls a “yarn shuriken”, heehee.
  • Buttons: you never know when you’ll need a button.  This heart one was originally destined for a skirt I made years ago, then I almost put it on a sweater I made recently, and now it’s hanging out in my craft bag.
  • Measuring tape: This is helpful for so many reasons – measure the length of a tube sock, measure around a coffee mug for a cozy, measure myself to make sure an object will fit.  It’s great to have.
  • Hairclip: This little guy serves multiple purposes.  It can be used to hold two sides of a project together for seaming, as an impromptu stitch counter, and it can also keep your hair out of your eyes if it’s getting obnoxious while you work. 😛
  • Needle point protectors: You have no idea how many times I’ve tossed a knit project into my bag, only to find that it’s slid off my needles by the time I’ve gotten to my destination.  These things are a lifesaver – and a project saver.
  • Yarn needles and needle holder: Most projects I make are going to need to be sewn together at some point.  Having needles on hand is good – and having them all collected into one place is better.
  • Itty-bitty circular needles: Honestly, I think the only reason these are in here is so I don’t lose them elsewhere.  I’ve used them for making socks, but they’re not all that comfortable to work with, since they’re so wee.
  • Tin full of stitch markers: Self-explanatory.  Stitch markers are always needed.  I’m actually going to have to reload this with some more, as stitch markers tend to disappear easily.
  • Foldable scissors: Yeah, I’ve got the yarn shuriken, but sometimes it’s nice to use actual scissors.  They let me get a bit closer to a yarn project than the yarn cutter.  Plus, these guys collapse, too.
  • Labels, sassy and non-sassy: I’ve got these for when I make really nice garments for myself or others.  The sassy ones tend to find their way into my own clothes.

And that’s what I’ve got in my yarn tool kit!  What do you all keep in your crafting kits?

When worlds collide

While I don’t ramble about work often here, I’m sure most of you longtime followers know I work for UITS at Indiana University – and every year, UITS hosts the Statewide IT conference, which is a fun few days of seeing what colleagues are up to, learning new things, and for me, teaching a workshop or two.  This year, they’re doing something a little different.

There’s going to be an Artists Showcase.  And I’ve submitted a “proposal” to show my crochet!

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Cue the excited flailing.

I’ll likely hear back in a few weeks about whether or not I’ll actually get a table there to show my work, but here’s hoping that I do.  For the most part, my colleagues don’t really know about my crafty nerdiness, and tend to be surprised when I’m wearing something I made or have something flopped in my cube and realize I made it myself. It’ll be fun to get the chance to show things I’ve made, as well as hopefully make some new crafty friends who work for UITS as well.

I’ll keep everyone updated as to whether or not I get a table – given that my convention schedule is far lessened this summer due to wedding things, being able to show off my crafty goodness is probably going to be one of the high points of the Crafty Nerd’s year here. If I do get to show off my work, I may put up a poll to see what everyone thinks would be good for me to show off!  (I may have to borrow my crocheted Toothless back from Morgan, to show off some of my awesome amigurumi skills…)

Classy Crafting and the Ugly Blanket

I apologize for the goofy picture, Siobhain!
I apologize for the goofy picture, Siobhain!

First off, I’ll say this: I miss my classy crafting buddy, Siobhain.  She graduated last May – but before that, whenever we were in class together, she’d knit and I’d crochet.  And it was awesome.  It made classes a little easier to pay attention in, and crafting together was better than awkwardly crocheting in the back corner of the room, like I do in Public Library Management nowadays.  (I still proudly crochet in the front of the room for Metadata, though, as the professor for that class only remembers me because I used to do yarn-craft-stuff at the front of the room with Siobhain!) I’m the only one still doing any sort of yarn craft in my classes – unless I try to encourage people to craft with me, I guess.  And that’s if they’re even interested in doing yarn stuff.  I get a little bit of a social crafting fix when I crochet with Ellie on rainy Thursdays instead of going for our weekly walk, though, so that’s good!  And this May, I’ll be graduating too, and then I won’t need a classy crafting buddy because I won’t be crafting in class! (Unless I go for the Specialist in Library/Info Science degree…)

But yes, classy crafting is in full force.  And this semester, so far, I have made a pretty blanket (which lives at my desk), and I’m working on a delicate shawl to go with my wedding dress and the focus of my post today, an ugly blanket.

An ugly blanket, but oh so soft!
An ugly blanket, but oh so soft!

This blanket came about due to having a huge mess of Mighty Stitch yarn at home left over from the corner-to-corner blankets I made for Ross and myself – it’s so soft, and I love working with it, but the mess that’s left is an odd arrangement of blues and greens with some purple, gray, pink, and white thrown in.  So, the only thing I can think of to do with all that yarn is to use two strands of it together and make a thick, snuggly, small, and ugly blanket.  It’s actually a rather sentimental ugly blanket, considering it’s a combination of the yarn I used for both mine and Ross’s blankets, and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy, figuratively as well as literally, to work on it.

I haven’t done much work with two strands of yarn before – it’s a little trickier to work with, that’s for certain, but it results in a really unique look.  One of my classmates in Metadata, Samantha, said that Ugly Blanket kind of resembles some of those woven rugs you might see in specialty shops, and I think she’s right.  It doesn’t really stop it from being somewhat homely-looking, though – some of these colors don’t quite go together well, heheh.

I’ve never actually worked on a blanket in class before.  I figure at some point, it’ll get unwieldy, and I won’t be able to cart it along with me anymore. Until I get to that point, however, I’m gonna load it into Mia (or into my backpack, which I shall take on Mini-Mia, my new bike!), and drag it to Metadata and Public Library Management every week this semester, and keep adding onto this semester’s big classy crafting project: the ugly blanket.

Triangle Shawl Pattern (based on the ever-popular Corner to Corner blanket)

A friend of mine (hi Ellie!) just got started crocheting, and asked me for a shawl pattern that was relatively simple for a beginner.  I’ve been cranking out Corner to Corner blankets like nobody’s business for the past couple of months, and Ellie and I both figure that half of a Corner to Corner blanket would make a pretty awesome shawl.  However, the pattern for the Corner to Corner blanket is written rather complicatedly, despite it being a simple pattern to work. So, here comes The Crafty Nerd’s first ever crochet pattern – even if it’s just a simplified writing of an existing pattern!  And, of course, I’m including pictures.

To start:

  • Chain six.
  • In the fourth chain away from the hook, make one double crochet.
  • Double crochet in remaining two chains.  You will have a little square at this point.
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Gah, my crocheting task lamp is way too bright for the whites in this yarn

First row:

  • ​​chain six, turn the work over to start the next row
  • in the fourth chain from hook, make one double crochet
  • double crochet in remaining two chains – this will result in two squares next to each other. We’ll be joining these two squares together with a slip stitch in the next step.

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    Two awkward little squares
  • In the chain space at the end of the first row, make a slip stitch, and then make a chain of three.  It’ll look like the following picture:

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    Squares, joined!
  • In the chain space, make three double crochets.  You’ll end up with something that looks like a little heart.  That’s it for this row!
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Our first full row!

All the rest of the rows:

  1. Chain six, turn the work over to start the next row.
  2. In the fourth chain from the hook, make a double crochet.
  3. Double crochet in remaining two chains.

    Here’s the steps you’ll repeat until you get to the end of the row.

  4. In 3-chain space, make one slip stitch, then make a chain of three.
  5. In the same 3-chain space, make three double crochets.
  6. Move to the next 3-chain space, start from step 4 again.
  7. Repeat until the end of the row.  Once you get to the end of the row, start from step 1 in this section.

Here’s what you’ll come up with after one repeat…

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…and after lots and lots and lots of repeats.  (Granted, this is an entirely different project, but still the same corner-to-corner pattern!)

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Once you get to the desired size, just fasten off your last stitch and you’re done!

If you learn better by watching, check out this video by Stitchinstacy on YouTube!  She walks you through the process of doing the corner-to-corner stitch, but in more detail than the pictures I’ve got here.

If you work through this pattern and have questions, let me know in the comments!  Or if there’s something that needs better explanation, let me know.  I’ll happily rework this until it’s easy enough to understand for crocheters of all ages!  (And if anyone wants me to break down the other half the blanket pattern… let me know!)

Classy Crafting: Spring 2015

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a Classy Crafting post – and I was particularly productive last semester when it came to crafts!  I finished two shawls and started a third, and worked on a couple of other random projects that have ended up stuffed in my “in progress” pile in the basement…  Here’s the crafts that I finished this semester, though, that I worked on during my spring classes!

Rarity’s Shawl

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I made this shawl as a birthday present for Ross’ mom, and draped it over Rarity (who was also part of the gift)! She absolutely loved it.  I had a great time making the shawl – it was my first knitting project in a very long time, and my first project with sock yarn.  The way the yarn striped as I worked on the pattern was awesome to see, too!

Pattern: Pretty Basic (Ravelry)

Cozy Rose Shawl

IMG_20150524_114937The idea for this shawl was born from a Knit Picks sampler pack of yarn I bought – I fell in love with the colors, and had been wanting to make this wrap for a while, and after some creative splitting up of the shawl so it could work with four colors instead of two, I got to crocheting.  It ended up coming out beautifully, and the yarn is incredibly soft.  I wore this with a matching dress to Ross’ mom’s wedding a few weeks ago, and got lots of compliments on it!

Pattern: Ocean Splash Wrap (Ravelry)

Sunset (Shimmer) Shawl

IMG_20150520_145927This one I didn’t end up finishing during class, but I did finish it up during finals week.  This was the result of another pattern lingering in my Ravelry queue matching up with a Knit Picks sampler – and I think this is my most favorite project yet.  While I wasn’t sure about the colors at first, I kept chugging through, and as it came together I fell more and more in love with it.  I originally called it the Sunset Shawl, but then jokingly ended up calling it the Sunset Shimmer Shawl, due to it having a similar color scheme to the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls character of the same name…

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… yeah, I do suppose I have to work some pony into everything I do, don’t I? 😀

Pattern: Perfectly Elegant Shawl (Ravelry)

I’ve got some more projects I’m working on, including some crafty nerdiness for my new car (yes, I’m finally learning how to drive) that I’ll show off when I’m done! 😀

 

 

10 Free Nerdy Knitting Patterns!

Wow!  My last post, about ten free nerdy cross-stitch patterns, was a huge hit – over 300 hits in two days!  I take it that everyone’s looking for some new nerdy projects to keep themselves occupied with, so for my knitting fans, here’s ten awesome nerdy knitting projects – that are all free, of course!

Goomba Hat

goomba_hat

Minion Slippers

minion_slippers

TARDIS Scarf

tardis_scarf

Wall of 221B Pillow

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Space Invaders Socks

space_invaders

Pac-Man Dishcloth

pacman

TARDIS Socks (to go with the scarf!)

tardis_socks

Star Wars Double Knit Scarf

star_wars

Chain Chomp Hat

chain_chomp

Double Knit One Ring Scarf (the one scarf to rule them all?)

one_ring

I hope that all you knitters out there find something awesome to keep your hands busy from this list of free patterns!  Next up is going to be a whole stash of free crochet projects – so stay tuned!  Oh, and here’s a handy image for those of you using Pinterest to help keep track of all your crafty to-do lists:

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Things I Want to Make (when I finally get my craft room back)

Four more days until I move!  Oh, you have no idea how happy this makes me.  Not only will I not be limited to wearing whatever clothes I didn’t shove into vacuum sealed bags and toss into the treacherous cave that is the storage unit, I will also have access to ALL my crafting stuff.  Not just one crochet hook and a blanket that’s too warm to sit under while I crochet it.  And there are a number of things I want to be making…

Crocheted Toothless

Amigurumi Toothless – yes, I want to make another one of these little guys.  The one in the picture here, I ended up giving away to a friend – and they’re so quick to make, too, so why not make another one?  (or six, or eleven, why not a whole tiny Toothless army?)

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The Modern Poncho – It’s no surprise that I have a fondness addiction to making shawls and ponchos.  And I think this one would look very lovely in a nice warm shade of brown or combo of browns and reds.  It’s a good thing I’m moving closer to my favorite yarn shop…

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I’d really like to finish the third Fourth Doctor scarf I’m working on – I’ve got less than a third of the scarf to go, and I was hoping it’d be done in time for GenCon this year, but no luck.  Plus, the only part of my Fourth Doctor costume I can locate at the moment is the coat… so unless I can magically find all the other parts in the week before GenCon as I unpack, no Fourth Doctor for me this year… :/

scooter

Crocheted Scooter – In seafoam, naturally.  Or I could make four of them – red, blue, seafoam, and red/cream, one for me and each of my housemates…  And having at least one of these would be pretty cool, considering the theme for the living room in the new place is going to be scooters…


(nsfw, language!)
And finally, last but definitely not least, the first project I’m probably going to work on as soon as the dust settles and I can find my various costume pieces is the Cupcakes Pinkie Pie costume (the video above is the least violent reference I could find to it, hahah).  I’m not going to lie – I’m afraid it won’t be done in time for GenCon, but Ross says he’ll help me out, and this is the only costume I’m really working on, so here’s hoping I can pull it off…

I’m going to be busy after I unpack, haha.

Beth’s Random Craft Picks – 5/7/14

It’s been a while since I’ve done a craft roundup, and I’ve missed scouring the internet for cool craft project inspiration!  So, without further ado, here are five awesome craft projects to add to your to-do list!

Minecraft Creeper Afghan

Photo of an afghan made to look like a Creeper from Minecraft.
*hissssss-BOOM*

For those of you who love Minecraft (much like myself), or know someone who does, here’s a treat for you!  This Creeper afghan looks pretty simple to put together, and would look cool in a geeky guest room or would make a great gift for someone who’s super obsessed with Minecraft!  You can find the pattern here.

Charmander Amigurumi Plush

So adorable!
So adorable!

Here’s a cute little Charmander amigurumi plush that looks like it would crochet up pretty quickly – I love his happy little smile!  I might add this little guy to my to-do pile, myself…  The pattern for Charmander is on Ravelry, right here.

Nintendo Controller Purse

Nothing says awesome like a Nintendo controller purse.

Next up is a Nintendo controller purse!  I’ve never seen anything like it – and it looks like it’d be fun to put together, too.  You could probably up the size of the pattern and make a large book tote, too.  Find the pattern here!

Nintendo Controller Wallet

This is a perfect way to breathe some new life into a dead Nintendo controller...
This is a perfect way to breathe some new life into a dead Nintendo controller…

And how about a wallet to go with the purse?  This looks like the best use ever for a dead NES controller – and could be a fun afternoon project for a rainy day.  The tutorial for making a controller-wallet of your own is here.

Fifteen Doctor Who Cross-stitch Projects!

*vworp vworp*
*vworp vworp*

This isn’t just one project, but a list of fifteen!  Find some inspiration for your next cross-stitch project here.

Hope this gives you guys some inspiration for your own craft projects, or gives you some cool ideas of things to try!  😀

Sub-zero temperatures: perfect time for crafts.

Well, I went on vacation to Florida for a week – which was a welcome respite from the crazy end-of-semester busy-ness.  However, I came back to probably the coldest weather I’ve experienced in a decade!  (And brought a cold home with me, to boot.)  It was pretty, that’s for sure, but not the type of weather I enjoy…

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Look at those pretty frosted branches!

What’s a snowed-in nerd to do?

Well, lots of things, actually.  I may have spent the day listening to NPR on the radio, since the internet was out most of the day.  And believe me, a snow day is the worst time to have the internet die on you.  Thank goodness for the radio – I listened to classical music while working on some craft projects!

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Scooter cross-stitch and the world’s first glimpse of my Doctor Who Season 18 scarf, take two!

This winter break has been lovely for working on projects – I’ve got a shawl in progress that I started on the way to Florida, I’ve got a counted cross-stitch project I started just after Christmas, and I’ve got my new Doctor Who scarf to boot!  So while the snow blew around outside and the temperatures plummeted, I stayed warm on the couch and worked on nerdy crafts.  (It was pretty much all I had the energy to do, anyway. Stupid chest cold.)

I also took some time to clean out my closet a little bit, and may have dug up some My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic goodies I might give away in a contest during this week… so stay tuned, pony fans!  I promise I’ll start blogging more regularly, too.

The Crafty Nerd Goes On Vacation: Part 1

No no no, not a vacation from posting – although I did unintentionally take one of those, and I’m sorry!  I’m going to stick to a schedule from now on – Wednesdays and Sundays will be my posting days, with an occasional Roundup here and there.  And since today is a Sunday…

WE HAVE A POST!

Now, I really am on vacation – back in my home state of New York, in the lovely Adirondack Mountains.  Bryan’s grandparents have a cabin here, and I’ve been coming up here with Bryan and his family for about six years now.  We’re close to Lake George, which is a very touristy place, but far enough away from all the busy-ness of the town, which is wonderful.

2013-07-26 17.09.25I mean, come on, look at this beautiful view of the Hudson River.  Absolutely wonderful.  I’ve been looking forward to this all summer – and I am incredibly happy to be here.  All my classes are done for the summer, work has entered a lull (I taught a ridiculous amount of page layout and design workshops during the early part of last week, and that’s it for my teaching schedule for the rest of the summer), and it’s the perfect part of the summer to take a vacation.  So here I am, parked at the kitchen table in my pajamas and my Escher-inspired Doctor Who sweatshirt, with my laptop, writing this post while listening to the birds tweet outside.

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Second Doctor Who Scarf!

Well, it only took me six months to do it this time – I finished my second Doctor Who scarf!

Doctor1

 

The scarf turned out pretty well, although there were a couple of hiccups along the way while making it, including…

  • It turns out I used the wrong size needles.  for some reason I figured that I’d be using the same size needles as I used for Bryan’s scarf, but nope.  I was wrong.  I needed a size 9 needle – and used a size 6, and didn’t realized I was using the wrong needles until I was about five rows away from done.  Not even kidding.  Being a bit of a perfectionist, I may try to make a new one in the correct size… is that crazy?
  • Crocheting the edge was a bit tough, especially on the side that had all the color changes.  The pattern didn’t exactly explain how to do it (“slip stitch crochet on right side only” is not quite enough detail – where the heck am I supposed to put that slip stitch?).  I ended up just single-crocheting around the edge on the right side – it made the edge a little more obvious, which I was fine with, but I don’t know as it’s entirely show-accurate…  The worst part was trying to wedge my crochet hook through the color changes – that side’s a bit messy because of that.  It’s not horrible, but when it comes to my craft projects, I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
  • I am really sick of doctorwhoscarf.com changing their patterns every year!  This happened when I was working on Bryan’s scarf, and it happened this time too – I inevitably lose the pattern somewhere, and then go to look it up online, and it’s completely different.  While the change wasn’t so drastic with Bry’s scarf (it went from just a list of colors and rows to a graphical pattern), the change on my scarf was much harder to deal with – the maintainer of the patterns switched from counting each rib as a row, and listing the amount of ribs on each color span, to counting each individual row and therefore doubling the amount of “rows” in each span of color.  It really threw me off, especially when I did my counting.  Next time I do a scarf, I’m going to get in the habit of printing out a couple of copies and sticking the extras to my bulletin board, so I don’t have to switch to reading a pattern in a different format.

Doctor2

Aside from these issues, making the scarf was fun, and it kept me occupied during many long chilly nights of TV watching and gave me something to do while sitting through family gatherings and classes.  I’m kind of sad that I’m done with it… and I’m considering taking on the task of making scarves for friends, should they want one.  I’m starting to question my sanity, with that last bit, haha, but there’s nothing so soothing as knitting a nice, long, Doctor Who scarf!

Beth’s Craft Picks of the Week! – 4/15/13

Hello all!  I hope your Monday went well – mine was a bit of a mixed bag.  Ah well.  I’ve got a fresh batch of crafty picks for everyone this week!

Case of the Mondays Cross-Stitch Kit

hatemondaysSpeaking of Mondays… this would be a hilarious addition to anyone’s cubicle, haha.  It’s in a handy dandy kit, put together by Purple Hippo Stitches, and also part of their Tax Day Sale!  I’m half done with my own set, and plan on sticking mine in my cube once it’s done.  It’s really simple, and an easy intro to cross-stitching if you’ve never done it before.

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Making the best of a sick day (or two)

You know what’s worse than being sick?

Being sick on a weekend.  A beautiful weekend, no less, where it’s finally warm enough to open all the windows and sit outside on the porch, and enjoy the beautiful flowers.

I hate late season colds.

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The beginnings of a TARDIS blanket

However, I did make the best of this cold – yesterday I decided to jump in on the Worsted for Wear Knit/Crochet-a-long on Ravelry (it’s Doctor Who themed!), and am working on a TARDIS blanket.  It’s small – I suppose I could make it a lot bigger if I upped the hook gauge, but I figure I should stick to the pattern for right now, since it’s my first time working with filet crochet.  You can’t really make much of it out, but that’s totally the bottom of the TARDIS. I swear. 😀

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How to Make Your Own Dragon

2013-03-24 22.09.21I’ve noticed that people keep coming to my site to look at all the various Toothless plush that I’ve made (well, the one plush, and the one crocheted Toothless) – and I just now realized I don’t have any links to where I got the patterns or inspiration for these awesome dragons!  So,  this post is dedicated entirely to where to find out How to Make Your Own Dragon.

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