Macrame Wall Hanging How-to, and Cats. So.

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Two exciting things to report:

I made a macrame wall hanging that I am actually proud to display
and
I got a kitty!

Let’s talk macrame first. I’ve been wanting to create a macrame wall hanging for a couple months now, to hang over our bed in our apartment. I bought some stuff for it while I was still at Lee’s parents’ house, but it’s sort of an involved craft and I make a mess/take up a lot of room while I do it. So I had to wait to be in my own space first.

What I bought:

100 yards of cotton piping, 1/4″ (I started out with only 50 yards, but quickly realized that wouldn’t be enough)
A three(ish) foot wooden dowel (home depot, most art stores carry these)
Tape
Scissors

The total cost was about $40, which is a lot, but these puppies can sell for up to a grand if they’re done really well and they’re as big as the one I made. If you make a smaller one, I’m sure 60 yards would be plenty, especially if you used a smaller size of rope or a different kind. A lot of people use plastic rope, which you can find at Home Depot. I found my rope at a little yarn shop close to my work, but I know they also have it at places like Hobby Lobby.

The first macrame I did was made of really thick yarn, and while I really like the texture, it was a bit too stretchy and the hanging narrowed at the bottom. I also used the square knot for that one, so I wanted to change it up for this hanging. I used an alternative method of the square knot, which uses a loop and looks slightly different.

Make sure all your individual strands of rope are twice as long as you want them to be when you cut them, because you will fold them in half when you attach them to the dowel. Fold in half, then wrap around the dowel by pulling the two ends through the loop you have created. It will look like this:

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As you can see, I did not remember to make my rope twice as long as I wanted it to be. I think if I had, each piece would have been about 12 feet long, maybe a little longer. I had to tape them together at the ends and try and camouflage it into the knot on the dowel. It worked pretty well. Also make sure to tape the tips of your rope, so they don’t fray.

Now for the fun part, knotting!

Each knot takes four strands of rope. You will be working with the two outside strands of each knot. In each row, you will alternate which four strands you are working with. You’ll grab the last two strands from the knot on the left, and the first two from the knot on the right in the row above.

To start, separate the two outer strands of the four from the two in the middle. These are the two you will be working with for each knot. Create a “C” over the two center strands with the rightmost strand.

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Then (this is sort of hard to explain), using your pointer finger and thumb on your left hand, reach through the loop you just created, under the two strands in the middle, to the base of the loop. Grab both side and pull through to the other side, so they wrap around the two strands in the middle and create two smaller loops inside the big one on the other side. You will be grabbing from underneath on the right, and bringing them through to the left. It will look like this:

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Now, take the leftmost strand and string it through the two loops you have created, like this:

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Pull through until it is taut. You will now have two loose ends. Pull these, along with the loop on the bottom right side of the knot, until the knot sort of twists and straightens out to look like this:

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And there is your knot! I usually have to reorganize the middle strands so they aren’t all twisted up; you want them to stay straight.

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So, go ahead and repeat this until you run out of strands. Make sure you alternate between each row of knots. In the end, I was pretty happy with mine. It came out like this:

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I had to take a straight iron to the rope that was left hanging at the bottom. It honestly made the piece look a thousand times better. I also added an angled edge to each side to make it look a little more interesting.

In my next piece, I would love to incorporate a different color, or attach some yarn somehow to make a chevron pattern. I’ll keep you guys posted! And both of you, let me know if you want one. I might ask for a little help paying for the materials, but I can’t have a hundred of them around my apartment and I love making them!

Now, on to the interesting part: my kitty!

His name is Kristoff, or as we call him, Kristofferson (after the cousin in Fantastic Mr. Fox). He’s a rescue kitty. He’s still super shy, his current kitty cold probably has a little to do with that. But if you put him down somewhere he will curl up and fall right to sleep, be it your lap or a bed you make for him full of comfy pillows and blankets in your dresser drawer. He is too cute to handle. His tail curls around his little paws every time he sits down. He loves to snuggle. We are so very happy to have him in our home.

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My Imminent Tiny Kitchen

Good news, y’all:

Lee and I got an apartment!

I hope I’m not jinxing it – we haven’t signed the lease yet or anything. But we have it! It’s ours!

It’s great. It’s on the beach, ocean view, top floor, all hardwoods and a really cool wood panel on one of the walls. The only problem: the kitchen is very, very small. It’s L-shaped, with the fridge at the entrance, the sink next to it, and an empty counter space. That makes the long part of the L, then at the bend there’s a second counter space, and the stove/oven is next to it. That’s it. That’s my entire kitchen.

Honestly, I’m not much of a cook, so this shouldn’t bother me much. But it bothers me quite a bit. The apartment was too cheap and too perfect to turn up, but the kitchen will take some strategizing to make it fully functional.

I’ve been looking at a lot of blog posts and little tips for making a small kitchen easier to deal with. This is what I came up with:

6 small space living ideas to create more space, bedroom ideas, foyer, kitchen design, living room ideas

I love the idea of using a mirror to make a space bigger. Obviously, this is an old technique, but it’s really smart! My kitchen has a wall facing the side with counter space/the sink with a big hole in the middle (what Lacey and I called the “portal” in our kitchen at Linfield, because it had one too). That wall would sport a mirror spectacularly. Plus, it will look cute next to the cactus display we’re going to put in the portal (we have to get cacti because I killed all the succulents Lacey and I had).

From blog hometalk.com 

Lee and I bought some pretty plates and glasses, which would look really nice on some shelves we could put on the other side of that empty wall, next to the stove. (The kitchen in this picture is actually around the same size as mine!)

From blog freckleschick.blogspot.com

Organize by pegboard, a la Julia Child.

Genius! I love peg boards. They’re so versatile, and they look great. Of course, I’d have to figure out where one would fit…

The rest of the tiny kitchen hacks: http://www.buzzfeed.com/twopoodles/lifehacks-for-your-tiny-kitchen

Use an over-the-sink cutting board to temporarily expand your counter space.

I definitely need to invest in an over the counter cutting board. We already bought an expandable and retractable drying rack (no dishwasher! Eek!), I believe this is the next step into tiny kitchen mastery.

The insides of cabinets are also great places to put hooks for rags, gloves, and pot holders.

I obviously must use every bit of space I have, with hooks, baskets, command strips and boxes, etc.

Put shelves inside of your shelves.

Shelves inside shelves? Who knew.

And lastly:

If you have the space, a kitchen cart can serve multiple purposes.

A KITCHEN CART. I might do something super tacky and move my fridge outside of the kitchen and invest in a kitchen cart for counter/storage space instead, if I can find somewhere sensible to put my fridge. We have a closet right outside the kitchen, so I’m thinking we could take the door off and put a curtain or some beads in there instead, and store the fridge in there. Might keep us from overeating at night as well! As long as it’s not too tacky, it could be very helpful!

By next Wednesday…well, I still won’t be in the apartment. Move in day is the seventh. I’ll make sure to dedicate a post to our new space the week after!

DIY Travel Wallet

DIY Travel Wallet

Hello from America, Lacey!! Before Lacey took off for a new country, I wanted to give her something to keep her organized. It’s really important to keep all of your important documents at hand, so I thought it would be really useful to make her a custom wallet with a pocket for her passport and that would be big enough to hold boarding passes.

Sew a Travel Wallet

I headed to one of my favorite fabric stores in Portland, Cool Cottons on Hawthorne and poured over all of the adorable fabrics for like 20 minutes before making my decision.

Continue reading

All American Headband

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Sup sistahs.

So, this is what I call the “All American Headband.” I found the original beehive pattern here: http://www.beingspiffy.com/blog/the-hive-knit-dishcloth-pattern.html. When I first saw the project I was just interested in whether or not I’d even be able to pull it off, but then I found that it was actually a really fun pattern to knit and full of possibilities. So, the instructions are essentially the same, the difference is the size of the needles, the amount you cast on and using different colors. 

What I love about this headband is all the opportunities it provides. Want to be school spirited? Use your school colors, one for the outside of the circle and one for inside. Like sports? This will keep your ears warm and let everyone know where your alliance lies. Or, you can be like me and be patriotic/make matching headbands for your pong teammate so everyone knows how cool you really are. (And who needs to be mature, right?)

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So, the actual pattern.

I used size 5mm needles and Bernat Baby Sport yarn which is gauge 3 and by the way, is not at all itchy. For the colors I used Caron Simply Soft – gauge 4, which also feels nice. 

CO 18 stitches

Start with the color you want outside the circle

Row 1: Purl across

Row 2: Knit across

Row 3: Purl across

Row 4: Switch to the color you want inside the circle. K1, P3, slip 2 as if to purl (do this every time you slip) with the yarn in                 front (yif), P6, slip 2 yif, P3, K1

Row 5: K4, slip 2 with the yarn in back(yib), K6, slip 2 yib, K4

Row 6: K1, P3, slip 2 yif, P6, slip 2 yif, P3, K1

Row 7: K4, slip 2 yib, K6, slip 2 yib, K4

Row 8: K1, P3, slip 2 yif, P6, slip 2 yif, P3, K1

Row 9: K4, slip 2 yib, K6, slip 2 yib, K4

Row 10: Switch back to your original color (or if you want to have three colors, like mine, you would switch to your third                           color) K1, P3, slip 2 yif, P6, slip 2 yif, P3, K1

Row 11: Purl across

Row 12: Knit across

Row 13: Purl across

Row 14: Switch back to the color you want in the circle K1, slip 1 yif, P6, slip 2 yif, P6, slip 1 yif, K1

Row 15: K1, slip 1 yib, K6, slip 2 yib, K6, slip 1 yib, K1

Row 16: K1, slip 1 yif, P6, slip 2 yif, P6, slip 1 yif, K1

Row 17: K1, slip 1 yib, K6, slip 2 yib, K6, slip 1 yib, K1

Row 18: K1, slip 1 yif, P6, slip 2 yif, P6, slip 1 yif, K1

Row 19: K1, slip 1 yib, K6, slip 2 yib, K6, slip 1 yib, K1

Row 20: Switch back to the color you want outside the circle K1, slip 1 yif, P6, slip 2 yif, P6, slip 1 yif, K1

Repeat rows 1-20 until the pattern is long enough to fit around your head, CO, and sow together. 

Here is the headband being worn in a normal, hair up type of fashion as well:

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Welp, happy knitting sisters. Just think of all the sport teams that we don’t watch possibilities with this. Have a good one!