Crafty Monday: Painting Curtains

Last week I wanted to blog about my adventure in expanding my overly small bedroom closet. My closet is in the smallest bedroom of the house. Inside the closet, is a fireplace. No, not the front of it, but the entire back of it. It is actually a faux fireplace which faces my craft room. Made of marble, concrete, and plaster, it’s not something that can be removed to make closet space without contractor! So I needed another solution.

Total Closet Size

Total Closet Size

It didn’t work out as planned, but I DID get a few things done to it. The big plan was to move the closet rod to the outside of the closet and hang the clothes in front of it. I didn’t really want a big metal rod hanging there with all of the clothes out in the open. The serenity of my bedroom is something I thoroughly enjoy, but this was not conducive to that serenity. So I was also going to put a curtain in front of the clothes. Simple, right? Well, as I explained in the previous post, it wasn’t all that simple because I didn’t allot enough time, nor did I have all the proper materials ready. *Sigh* This is the bane of many DIY projects.

But I DID have a plan, and I wanted to finish it. First of all, I needed curtains. So what does a crafty sewist do? Ah, yes, I’ll make them. And I did. I measured top to bottom and used a 60″ wide piece of off-white cotton lining I had bought to reupholster a couch. (Couch left, meaning I had 10 yards of this stuff available.) I cut and sewed them, making a simple header style curtain that could have grommets.

Then I started looking at all of these beautiful curtain panels online. You know, the ones that cost well over $100 each? They were embroidered and woven with beautiful scenes. My plain white curtains just didn’t measure up. I decided to paint my curtains. I played it smart this time, though, and made a sampler to try out some techniques.

Cherry Blossom Test Panel

Cherry Blossom Test Panel

Using the “make cherry blossoms with a soda bottle” pin as inspiration, I tried using the method they had. Ok, soda bottle didn’t work out so good. The ones I had, made flowers with spaces way too wide between the petals. So I took out my paint brushes and made little circles with them. Then I added some other colors to the branches and flowers, to see what I like best. Getting a little input from the husband, we went with the pink blossoms lined with a dark pink shade. Now I also had a painted panel I could frame and use to decorate the room! Yay, me!

A couple of days later I laid out my curtain panels and began to decorate them like I had the test sample. Not only was it fun, but I felt really good with paint on my hands and the smell in the air. I used acrylics with a little bit of water. The paint did seep through the fabric a bit, but I had covered the table with some craft paper beforehand. Once it had dried, I pulled it up. It stuck just a little bit, but no big deal.

Here are some progression pictures for you:

Creating the branches

Creating the branches

Branches done, ready for blossoms

Branches done, ready for blossoms

 

Painting on blossoms

IMG_4307

More blossoms

IMG_4308

Shading the blossoms

I love how they turned out! I put one across the bed to let it continue to dry, and instantly decided I needed a quilt that matched. One thing leads to another, and I have plans for my first painted, whole cloth art quilt. I love DIY.

Friday Tutorial: Finishing the 2 at a Time Hats

We’re nearing the end of our hats! This week we’re going to finish them up and learn how to decrease stitches using double knitting. You may want to use a cable needle or stitch holder of some sort, as you will need to move stitches around to do the decreases. Once I’ve made a few decreases and they get closer together, I will usually just move all of the stitches from one hat to a new set of needles to “hold” it and finish them separately. This works out pretty well and is a little less stressful. However, it doesn’t work so well when you’re working the heel of a sock, so i’m going to explain how this is done – just in case you want to do it.

The pattern tells us to knit 6 and decrease (knit together)2. So for our hats, we’ll knit the first 12 stitches (6 blue, 6 orange) and then slip 1 blue stitch.

Slip 1 blue stitch

To get your stitches next to each other you need to drop one orange (back) stitch from your needle, work the knit 2 together with the blue, then place the dropped stitch back on the needle to knit two orange together.

move 1 orange stitch to holder
Move blue stitch back to working needle, knit 2 together
Slip orange stitch back to working needle

2 orange together

 I usually just hold my dropped stitch in my left hand, work the k2tog, then place it back on the needle. However, you CAN use a small cable needle here or a juice pouch straw or something to hold that stitch if you’re afraid you can’t keep it from dropping and running. We want to be careful we don’t knit a blue and orange together either. That defeats our whole purpose.

holding dropped stitch 

If you want to separate the hats to make the decreases, you will need a circular needle or another set of dpns to hold the stitches on one hat. It doesn’t have to be the same size, as you’re just holding them and can move them back once you complete the first hat.

Working in reverse of our cast on, slip 1 blue stitch to the working dpn. Slip 1 orange stitch to the holding needle. Keep slipping stitches until they are all moved. Pull the inside hat up through the top of the outside hat and lay aside to work later.

Finish your hat as directed in the pattern and voila! you have a hat to share and one to keep. Or give both. Or whatever. I hope you had fun with this tutorial series and learned a lot. I also hope you try this technique with other applications like sleeves and scarves. If you would like to donate your extra hat, would you consider donating it to my charity Warm Up the Boro? I collect donated hats and scarves and hand them out in our community during the cold winter months. You can find out more on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/warmuptheboro.

As always, please post pics to the Flickr group

Friday Tutorial: Knitting Two Hats at a Time, Part 2

 Last week we left off on finishing up our ribbing for the brim of our hats. We discussed how to cast on to four double pointed needles using two different yarns and how to keep the stitches divided so that we end up with two separate pieces of fabric. This week we’re going to take a look at how to make stockinette stitch so we can work on the body of the hats.

Stockinette simply means that we knit every stitch on every row. To do this with our two yarns in double knitting, we will have to bring the front yarn forward and backward, but leave the back yarn in the back. The difference is that we no longer have to worry about moving the back yarn to the front.

Now, this CAN be done without moving either if the yarns and working a reverse stockinette in front (purl every front stitch) and a regular stockinette in back. However, when I did this with my first pair of two-at-a-time socks, I ended up with horrible ladders where the joins were. This method seems to work better.

Following Rachel’s pattern, we start knitting in stockinette for the body. To begin, make sure both yarns are to the back and you are starting with your front color (blue in my case) to make a knit stitch.

Make the knit stitch, then move the front yarn to the front of the work.

Make the second knit stitch with the alternate color (orange).

Now move the first color to the back of the work to make the third stitch. Continue in this manner until you have knit you’re hat to the length specified for the body before making the decreases.

Knit in stockinette the hat starts to take shape

For part 3 next week we will finish the hat by learning how to decrease the stitches for the top of the hat. 

%d bloggers like this: