Category Archives: handmade gift

Chemistry Oven Mitts

They’re baaaaaaaaaaaaaack! And only 5 years after I originally hinted they may be available in my Etsy shop ūüėÄ

Robot Lab oven Mitts from Crafty Little Secret

Oh my dear friends, I have been gone for so long and I have so much to tell you! But much of it will have to wait because [Spoiler Alert] one of the reasons I’ve been gone so long is that I was busy birthing and raising a child. And boy oh boy, turns out that takes a chunk out of your free time.

I’ve also been busy working on a passion project and I’m just about to burst with excitement because I’m very near official Launch with a capital “L”. So stay tuned for more on that soon!

And, oh yeah. In the past 16 months I’ve also moved. Twice! One of those times was across state lines and the other was into my very own house. [Another Spoiler Alert]¬† Buying, moving into, and making a home out of a house also takes a big bite out of your free time. Who knew?

Science and Chemistry Oven Mitts by Crafty Little Secret

Babies, new businesses, big moves. It all adds up to me being terribly neglectful to this here poor blog. But I’ve got some fun projects that I managed to work on during all the Busy of the past 2 years that I’m dying to share with you and I’m scheming on a way to make some more time for myself to actually manage that.

So until then, I leave you with this PSA to let you know that you can, finally, have your very own pair of sciency oven mitts. Ta-ta for now, but hopefully not for long!

 

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Willy the Wily….WOLF!!

****UPDATE**** I’ve received several requests to share the pattern since it seems to be no longer available on Ravelry. Unfortunately, the pattern is not mine to share. I’d recommend trying to contact the designer directly through Ravelry if you’d like the pattern.


Crafty Little Secret - Willy the Wily Wolf sweater - www.craftylittlesecret.com
It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to knit my nephew a sweater for Christmas. He’ll be 2 in February so this year I wanted to make him something that he would think was fun. I somehow got it into my head that I wanted to make him a little grey wolf sweater, and the closest thing I could find that was close to what I was imagining was the Willy the Wily Fox knitting pattern. Turns out it’s pretty easy to convert a fox into a wolf.

I really wanted a soft, washable wool that would be nice and warm and feel soft on his skin, but I also wanted flecks of different shades of grey in the yarn. That, apparently, is a tall order. The pattern called for super bulky weight yarn but I just couldn’t find anything I liked in that weight. Why do they make so many scratchy yarns??? I ended up buying something lighter and doubling up the strands as I knit it. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down what yarn I bought so I can’t share that with you. Just trust me that it’s¬†soooooooooooooooooooft.

And expensive. This might be the last year Ben gets a sweater. The little dude grows so fast that I’m sure it won’t fit him next year and I wasn’t that happy with the fit from the pictures my brother sent me. (The hood seems small and tight around his face, though now that I look back at some of the photos of the pattern on Ravelry, I think I should have expected that) It’s a lot of money to spend on something that he’s not really old enough to appreciate and won’t last very long.

Willy the Wily Wolf Sweater - Crafty Little Secret  - www.craftylittlesecret.com

I’m also not sure that I really love knitting sweaters. I don’t know what it is, but I’m truly terrible at assembling them. This sweater looked, ooooooooh about a million times better before I assembled it and picked up the stitches to add the dark trim. I even went through the effort of carefully blocking each piece. I might be a scarf/hat/mitten kinda girl. Hey, kids need mittens too, right? Maybe we’ll be scaling down next year.

Crafty Little Secret - Willy the Wily Wolf Sweater - www.craftylittlesecret.comThe pattern came together pretty well, though it’s a little light on the definitions and instructions. For instance, sometimes the pattern will just jump from Row 17 to like, row 38 or something. That tripped me up and I thought rows were missing until I realized that meant I was just supposed keep knitting as before for those missing rows. But really, how hard would it be to add an extra line that said “18-37: Knit all even rows, purl all odd rows” or whatever? Just to avoid confusion for dummies like me. The pattern did include instructions for picking up stitches and sewing up seams.

Crafty Little Secret - Willy the Wily Wolf Sweater - www.craftylittlesecret.comI used the buttons that I bought in Portland just over a year ago. I think they look cute on a little boy’s sweater and I’m not sure what else I would have used them for.

So there you have it. Willy the Wily Wolf. Cute sweater for a cute kid and would definitely be a great pattern a little more adept at assembly than I.

DIY Grill Apron: Tutorial

Crafty Little Secret Tutorial: DIY Grill Apron - www.craftylittlesecret.comWow. Kudos to all you out there who post detailed tutorials regularly. I always forget how long I take to edit all the photos and get the posts up! This one has been in the making for a month….which I guess isn’t so bad.

What you’ll need for this project…..
– 1 yard of fun fabric (quilting cotton)***
– 1 yard of backing fabric (like a duck or light denim weight)
– 16/100 denim needle
– matching thread
– chalk
– ruler/measuring tape
– scissors

**** You could actually get away with less depending on which way the pattern runs, but for most patterned quilting cottons, you’ll need the full yard.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comCut the following pattern pieces:

A (Apron) – 20″x36″
– Cut one of fashion fabric, cut one of backing fabric

P (Pocket) – 14″ x 9″
– Cut one of fashion fabric, cut one of backing fabric (or two backing fabrics if you want a solid pocket)

W (Waist Tie) – 36″ x 3.5″
РCut two of backing OR fashion fabric

N (Neck Tie) – 24″ x 3.5″
– Cut one of backing OR fashionfabric

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comUsing chalk, make a tick mark on the apron pattern pieces 15″ down from the corner on the long side, and 6″ from the corner on the short side. Draw a line connecting the two pieces and cut the corners off.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.com

To make the waist and neck ties, fold and iron fabric as when making bias tape.¬†Fold the tape in half lengthwise and sew it up as close as you can to the open edge (I kept my seam allowance about 1/8″).

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comCrafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comThis is where it’s very important to have that 16/100 denim needle. Once you start sewing through multiple layers of the heavy duck (or similar weight) fabric, needle shards go flyin’ if you’re not using the right size.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comTo finish the ties I just double overed the ends a couple times and sewed through the bulk of it….carefully. Watch for breaking needles and take it slow. No one likes a needle shard in their eyeball.

[ASIDE: The alternative method for making the waist ties is to fold the fabric in half lengthwise with right sides together, sew all the way up the open edge then turn the tie inside out. I find this technique annoying enough on lighter weight fabrics that I didn’t even entertain the though on these heavy ones. But if you opted for a quilting cotton for your ties, it could be an option if you don’t like the futzing with folding and ironing.]

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comAttach the ties by sewing them into the side seams (I attached them at the point where the angled front of the apron meets the straight sides). Since the ties are so long I found it helpful to keep them contained by pinning them into a coil to keep myself from sewing them into the seams at wonky places.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comTo attach the apron front to the apron backing, place right sides together and sew with a 5/8″ seam allowance. Sew all five bottom edges together (I went back and forth over the spot where the waist tie joined to add a little extra strength) but¬†leave the top open. This allows you to turn the apron right-side-out again. Which you should do now.¬†Flatten the apron and adjust the seams so that the corners are nice and neat (you can use a pencil to help turn them) then iron all the seams so they’re nice and crisp.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.com

Sew the neck tie the same as the waist ties, but leave the ends open and unfinished. Fold the top edges of the apron pieces toward the inside about a half inch.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comPin the neck tie in place with about an inch of each end tucked between the apron layers. Top stitch the neck closed and all the way around the apron with a 1/4-1/8″ seam allowance. The top stitch adds a little extra strength and gives a nice finished look to the apron.

You can stop here now if you want to….but we’re having so much fun! Let’s keep going and add some pockets.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comWith right sides facing, sew the two pocket pieces together with a 5/8″ seam allowance and leaving a 6″ opening at the bottom.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comTo help get nice crisp corners on the pockets, or any time you’re sewing right angles, it helps to trim some of the seam allowance off the corner. But be careful not to snip your stitches!

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comFold the edges of the opening that you left inward and iron in place.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comTop-stitch a decorative border along the top edge of the pocket piece. Again, this is just adding another of those little finishing touches that will help make your apron look a little more pro.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.com[ASIDE: This was a great project to practice my print matching skills. When I was cutting the pattern pieces I realized I didn’t want to cover this awesome print with a big solid colored pocket and it would look odd if the pocket print didn’t line up perfectly with the apron print underneath. So I took care to cut the pocket piece so that the prints on the two pieces would align.]

Center the pocket piece in the apron about 8″ from the bottom of the apron, or at whatever height feels comfortable for you. Top stitch around the bottom and two side edges leaving the top of the pocket open.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.com

The final step is to divide the pocket into small sub-pockets if you want. I found it easiest to draw a chalk line first as a guide to follow since my stitching has a tendency to get pretty wonky if I don’t have an edge to use as a guide.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comAnd……………..done!!!

 

Summer Night Lights Geranium Dress

Geranium numero deux.

Crafty Little Secret - Summer Night Lights, Geranium Dress - craftylittlesecret.comThis one is a surprise gift for a friend’s little girl. I’ll be visiting next month and staying with them for a few days so I thought it would be a nice way to say ‘Thanks’. I went pretty simple on this one: simple neckline, no sleeves. Though I did add some piping to give a little separation to the bodice.¬†

Crafty Little Secret - Summer Night Lights, Geranium Dress - craftylittlesecret.comI actually made the piping myself and it was my first time doing so! I figured it would be too much of a pain in the butt to find matching piping so I just went ahead and cut about an inch and a half off the bottom of some leftover fabric and sewed up my own. It did end up getting a little wrinkled and bunched up in spots, I think either because I didn’t stitch tightly enough against the piping innards or because I improvised the innards (some of it was actually piping cord and some of it was just some elastic cord I had lying around that was about the same diameter). I probably should have exercised a little patience and watched a tutorial or two, but all in all I think it turned out pretty well.

Crafty Little Secret - Summer Night Lights, Geranium Dress - craftylittlesecret.comI was taking forever trying to decide which fabric to buy (seriously consider this Fantasy Forest print from Michael Miller) and when I showed my husband the options he was like, “Pfft. No contest.” So I went with this Summer Night Lights print by Michael Miller. The fabric was a double-edged panel which was great because I only had to buy 1 yard of fabric total to sew this dress up in size 2T.

Crafty Little Secret - Summer Night Lights, Geranium Dress - craftylittlesecret.comAs with the last time I made the Geranium dress, since this was for a gift I wanted to finish it nicely. I also wanted to keep it a nice, cool summer dress and didn’t want to line it. Instead, I opted to finish the seam allowances with ribbon, a first for me!Crafty Little Secret - Summer Night Lights, Geranium Dress - craftylittlesecret.comI’ve always admired how lovely finished seams look on other people’s projects and I gotta tell ya, I think it’s looking pretty slick here too. Maybe I’ll start finishing more of my projects this way.

Crafty Little Secret - Summer Night Lights, Geranium Dress - craftylittlesecret.comI opted to use pink buttons on the back closure because I thought it would nicely highlight the pink flowers in the bottom border print. Originally I wanted the buttons to be little pink flowers but they were all sold out of the ones I wanted at the fabric store and I’m far too impatient to look elsewhere!

Crafty Little Secret - Summer Night Lights, Geranium Dress - craftylittlesecret.com

Fabric:¬†Michael Miller’s Wee Wander Summer Night Lights, Double Border Twilight
S
ource: Fabric.com
Yardage: 1 yard
Pattern: Made By Rae, Geranium Dress

Hot Air Balloon Themed Baby Shower Gifts

For someone who doesn’t have kids I sure spend a lot of time sewing for ’em! I actually really enjoy it. The projects are so small they are easy to finish before I got bored. Most of my friends who’ve had kids live back home in Canada so I usually just make my felt embroidered onesies that are easy to mail back home. But now some of my city friends are pregnant and I’ve gone a little crazy sewing up a hot air balloon themed baby shower gift! Hot air balloon DIY baby shower gift The hot air balloons are a totally random theme and I hadn’t meant to go crazy with them, but I just kept sewing! See, it started with the quilt. I was hunting around for a cute gender neutral fabric bundle and fell in love with the¬†Blown Away¬†collection by Josephine Kimberling. blown away fabric bundle I thought the hot air balloon print was the cutest and used that as the backing for the quilt I made, then had a bunch left over. So then I made a onesie to match. And then I thought how perfectly the green matched some left over flannel from my Halloween costume¬†and decided to make some burp cloths. hot air balloon baby onesieTo make the hot air balloon applique I used the same technique I used when I made plaid elbow patches for my husband’s sweater. It looked a little plain so I embroidered some happy puffy clouds around the balloon to add a some interest. hot air balloon baby onesie detailThe burp cloths are just ~18″x25″ pieces of flannel with a strip of the balloon fabric sewn across the end for some detail. From what I’ve read, people seem to like flannel for burp cloths because it stays in place and is more absorbent than something like quilting cotton. hot air balloon DIY burp cloth I caught myself getting a bit carried away with these. As I was thinking about making some binding to go all the way around the cloth I remembered; I am sewing something whose sole purpose is to be¬†barfed on. So I reined it in a little and contented myself instead with a nice neat double turned hem all the way around. Hot air balloon baby quilt frontIn my humble opinion, the quilt is the star of this baby bundle! It is my second quilt but my first was a t-shirt quilt. Sewing quilts with actual quilting fabric is soooooo much easier than with knits! I knew I didn’t want a pattern that was too finnicky so I chose this pattern¬†from Two Little Banshees¬†and it came together in two days – one day to cut and sew and one day to bind and quilt! To do the binding I pieced together leftover bits from the quilt front and followed this tutorial for making an invisible joint and mitered corners. It was a really helpful video! hot air balloon baby quilt detail I opted for super simple quilting and only had to unpick one extremely wonky row of stitches that was over two inches off from one side of the quilt to the other! I think you can see the quilting better on the back; hot air balloon baby quilt backI hope my friends like hot air balloons!!!!!!!!!

Upcycled Whale Plushie

I made a whale!

I’m not really sure why. Or what I’m going to do with it. But you can make one too! I followed this fabulous tutorial from Valaan Villapaita. It’s a Finnish blog and when I first saw this whale plushie popping up all over Pinterest the tutorial wasn’t in English (though the pictures are detailed enough that it doesn’t really matter), but now the author has translated it. Pictures and instructions – how could I¬†not¬†sew the whale?!

Jean whale

Jeans whale plushie

jean whale plushie

Ben’s Birthday Sweater!

My adorable little nephew had his first birthday this weekend and while I didn’t get his present mailed in time, I at least¬†finished it in time for his birthday!

Paton's Hooded Cardigan knitting patternI really wanted to make him a little hoodie so I chose the free Paton’s Hooded Cardigan pattern in size 12-18 mo. (fingers crossed that it fits him!). Clearly, however, ¬†this sweater does not have a hood. I ran out of yarn.

Paton's Hooded Cardigan knitting pattern size 12-18 moI was commissioned to make a sweater for my nephew by a friend of my brother’s who brought some amazing lamb’s wool back from Australia, so I only had a finite amount of yarn. It was hard to guess how much I’d need since I was altering the suggested color blocking and I think I made the arms too long. Oh well, it’s still pretty darn cute without the hood too.

Paton's Hooded Cardigan no hoodI carried the stripe along the chest and back but didn’t include it in the sleeves. I’d never knit this pattern before (and this is only my second sweater) so I wasn’t totally sure about the construction and how it would all come together. I figured if I did the stripe on the sleeves and it didn’t match up it would make the whole sweater look wonky so it was better to just leave it off.

Baby cardigan knitting patternI used Moda Vera Pure Wool 8 ply, the blue is colorway 47 and the teal is colorway 37. Do you think I would keep track of how much yarn I actually¬†did¬†use in case someone wanted to replicate this? No, of course not. I definitely don’t knit as much as I sew so remembering what details I should be tracking is a bit of a learning experience for me.

The collar was relatively easy to add, which was nice because I’d never made an alteration like that to a knitting pattern before (wipes brow with sigh of relief). I just followed the pattern and cast off the neckline as detailed in the pattern. Instead of adding a hood though, I counted the number of stitches around the neckline (I think I had 62), then I made a K1, P1 [repeat] rib that was 6 rows long and sewed it on.Paton's Hooded Cardigan baby knitting patternIn addition to the collar alteration, another first for me with this project was blocking! I wrapped a bulletin board in a towel to use as my base then spritzed the sweater with a bit of cool water and pinned it in place on the board. I probably should have blocked each piece individually before assembling the sweater, but I didn’t think of it then. So instead I blocked in two stages; the body of the sweater first, then the arms in a second step. The blocking definitely helped keep the collar from folding over and corrected some wonkiness along the button placket.

[ASIDE: All this knitting talk reminds me – you can find me on Ravelry as CraftyLilSecret].

Happy birthday Ben! Sorry your present is late, but something tells me you won’t hold it against me…..