Ruminations on knitting at 3 a.m. and home of the Giganto-blanket.

Ruminations about knitting at 3 a.m.

My First Handspun Skein

My first handspun skein

My first skein

Look at that! It’s my very first handmade skein of yarn! It’s far from perfect, but I’m kinda in love with it, guys.

I started learning how to spin through this Craftsy class, and then got some first-hand instruction from a local arts teacher.

Closeup of skein

I was working with some sample superwash I got as a bonus in another order from Sheep Shed Studio, and this skein ended up being approximately 1.5oz/42g and 99yds/90m. According to this chart, that would make my yarn a dk weight, but according to wraps per inch it’s more like a fingering weight. I think the disparity is because the yarn is so uneven.

All balled up

But I don’t even care, because I feel so accomplished for creating this! In case you’re curious, I used an Ashford Classic Drop Spindle to spin this thing.

Now I have to figure out something to make with it! What do you think I should knit with this? I need suggestions!

Skein on pegboard

Cabled Giganto-Blanket – Instructions Included!

Cabled Giganto-Blanket Throw

Hi all! Just a quick note to let you know that my Giganto-Blanket Pattern available on Ravelry and Etsy now includes the chart and written instructions for the cabled version seen above.

Get your copy on Ravelry for $4.99

Or get your copy on Etsy for $5.20

If you’ve already purchased the pattern on Ravelry, you should be able to go into your library and download the new version for free. Here’s how to check for an update on Ravelry. If you’ve purchased the pattern from Etsy since July 2013, you should be able to download the new version on your Downloads page. Here’s how to do it.

If you’ve tried all the steps in the links above and STILL can’t find your updated pattern, send me a message and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.

IKEA Hack – Litter Box from Byholma Chest

Ikea Cat Litter Box Hack - turn a cheap chest into custom cat box furniture in under an hour. Cool!

byholma litter box hack

I just moved to a new apartment, and while the new place is spacious and has plenty of storage, there was just no good place to put the litter box. The idea of putting it in the living room or bedroom seemed quite unsavory, and there wasn’t enough room in the bathrooms. We quickly decided the best place for it would be the upstairs hallway, but even there the box was a little too in your face, if you know what I mean. It was a bit unsightly.

Obviously, my adorable little fluffballs needed a place to do their business. I thought about buying some pre-made catbox furniture, like this one from Amazon or this one, or this smaller, bathroom-focused one, but none of them seemed right. They were either too small for my cats (Magnus is nearly 16 pounds… he needs to go on a New Year’s diet, but that’s another post), or way more money than I wanted to pay for what was a glorified sandbox.

Being crafty, I looked into DIY solutions, but most involved putting pet doors in the side of cabinets. I don’t own a saw and didn’t feel like buying one. So I ventured out to Ikea to see if there was anything I could turn into a litter box.

And there it was: Byholma! It almost sounds like “eureka!” Which is how I felt when I saw it.

Byholma from Ikea

It’s a rattan chest and each side is woven independently, so that meant I could take out the rattan on one side and the rest wouldn’t unravel. Perfect! And at $60, it was a lot cheaper than any other litter box furniture I had seen.

So here’s how I did it! It only took about an hour, but you could do it in less time if you don’t line the box. I’ll include instructions on how to line the box, but it’s not totally necessary. Also, the color I got was the “brown,” but it looks a lot darker in real life than on the Ikea site, just FYI. My pictures seem more true to color, but I imagine the stain may vary from chest to chest.

Tutorial – How to turn a Byholma Chest into a Litter Box

MATERIALS:

STEPS:

1. Unfold Byholma chest and set it standing.
Step 1

2. Cut through rattan on one side.
Decide which side you’d like to leave open. Then start snipping the rattan with the wire cutters close to the edge, working top top bottom.

Step 2

You’ll soon be able to start pulling the rattan out completely.

step 2

Continue pulling the horizontal rattan out until you’ve almost reached the bottom.

step 2

3. Pull out vertical supports.
Once you have enough of the horizontal rattan weaving removed, you can wiggle the vertical support beams out.

2014-01-07 13.11.48

They should remove fairly easily by twisting and pushing inwards. If they don’t move easily, remove more rattan before attempting. Pull out all vertical supports in the center of the panel.

2014-01-07 13.16.46

4. Clean up edges
There will likely be a lot of stray rattan clinging to the frame of the chest.

2014-01-07 13.16.52

Snip or pull to remove them to leave a smooth edge. Make sure to inspect and look for any staples poking out as well. You want to make sure the frame is clean and clear of anything that might scratch your cat.

step 4

If you’re not going to line the box, you’re done! Just put the base into the bottom and set up the litter box.

5. Line the box
I used clear shelf liner and some hot glue to line the box. My cats are slobs, and have a tendency to throw litter all over the place. They also occasionally miss the litter box completely (whoops!), so I thought lining it with something easy to clean would be important. I don’t want to know what cat-pee-soaked rattan smells like, I don’t know about you… Anywho, this was pretty simple – I just fit it in as well as I could and trimmed:

step 5

step 5

I tacked the sides down with dots of glue so they would stay upright.

Then just drop in your litter pan (a jumbo-sized one worked great in this) and you’re done. Here’s the final product:

ikea byholma litter box

ikea byholma litter box

I left the top open for a day or two so the cats could get used to it. They’ve been using it like champs so far, and it looks so much better than a normal litter box. In fact, most visitors haven’t even known that’s what it is!

2014-01-07 14.29.03

Do you have a creative litter box solution? Share in the comments below!

Pikabu Boot Toppers – New Pattern!

I’m coming out of blog hibernation to let you know that I have a new pattern available from Knit Picks. Introducing my Pikabu Boot Toppers:

Pikabu Boot Toppers

These were really fun to design, and they’re the quickest knit you can imagine. Perfect for stashbusting! Here’s the pattern description:

Sometimes you want to accessorize your boots without adding bulk. The Pikabu boot toppers provide just a glimpse of lacy flair without having to wear full stocking. This pattern is worked in two parts. First, the scalloped edging is worked flat to the appropriate length and sewn together to form a ring. Then the leg is picked up along the edging and knit downwards in the round. Because you can knit the top to the exact length needed, Pikabu can be customized to fit any size!

Pikabu is part of a new Knit Picks book called the “Under 100 Knit Collection” which has 30 patterns that use less than 100 yards of yarn. How cool is that? You can get the whole book for $14.99 as either an eBook or old-fashioned, actual book on paper. Or you can buy Pikabu as a single pattern for $1.99.

  • Sizes Included: Teen/XS – 10.5″ calf circ., Small – 12.5″ calf circ., Medium -14.25″ calf circ., Large – 16″ calf circ., 1X – 17.75″ calf circ., 2X – 19.5″ calf circ., 3X – 21.25″ calf circ.
  • Yarn Shown: Wool of the Andes Sport Yarn
  • Yardage: 137 – 274
  • Needles/Hooks Suggested: US 5 (3.75mm) DPNs or size to obtain gauge
  • Fiber Type: Wool & Blends
  • Weight: Sport

Check out the Pikabu Boot Topper on Ravelry
Buy the Pikabu Boot Topper stand-alone pattern
Buy the Under 100 Knit Collection hard-copy book
Buy the Under 100 Knit Collection eBook

American Apparel Activity

aaa-cover

Hi all, I know it’s been quiet on Nocturnal Knits lately! It’s because everything I’m knitting is either super-secret or super-not-exciting!

Something Exciting that I would like share is the short film I produced a while back, American Apparel Activity. It’s a spooky/silly parody of Paranormal Activity — watch if you dare! ;) (WARNING: Contains adult language and human-on-ghost violence. Also, crimes against fashion.)

When Brian (Jonny Loquasto) and Whitney (Shanna Micko) move into their new apartment they think they’re starting a blissful life together. Little do they know a silver-disco-pants-wearing nightmare (Jillean Tucker) awaits them. Strange things start to happen that tear at the very cheap american-made fabric of their relationship.

Can they survive this AMERICAN APPAREL ACTIVITY?
(Personally I don’t think so, but what do I know? I just write YouTube video descriptions.)

—————————————

A short film by Corey Evett, American Apparel Activity is a parody of Paranormal Activity and the soft-core ads of American Apparel. http://americanapparelactivity.com/film

CREDITS:

Whitney – Shanna Micko
Brian – Jonny Loquasto
Katrina – Jillean Tucker
Writer / Director – Corey Evett
Executive Producer – Laura Birek
Cinematographer – Steve Yager
Sound Mixer – Emett Casey
Boom Operator – Daniel Kaufman
Camera Assistants – Eric Lennon and Danielle Flam
Digital Effects Artist – Adam Lima
Music – Tawny KDSB

Google Play Craft Book Sale

Picture Perfect Knits

I just got word that Google Play has a HUGE sale on craft books going on right now through next Monday, 9/23. And my book, Picture Perfect Knits, is on sale for just $4.99. What a steal! Grab your copy today!

Time Lapse Video: Clouds over Echo Park

Just wanted to share a time-lapse video I shot from my balcony this afternoon! I used my iPhone 5 and an app called LapseIt Pro. I hope you like it!

2013-08-19 17.55.14

Cabled Giganto-Blanket Throw – Now Available!

Cabled Giganto-Blanket Throw

For anyone who’s interested in purchasing a smaller, cabled version of the giganto-blanket, I just put it up for sale on Etsy. I’ll be adding this chart to the pattern in the coming weeks, as well.

Here are a few more photos — I hope you like it!



Click here to see the Cabled Giganto-Blanket Throw on Etsy

I was inspired to make this version for my friends Jen and Stephen’s wedding back in May. (Jen actually wrote a really beautiful piece about friendship and marriage, that I think y’all might like.) I didn’t want to make them any old blanket, though! So I brought out the graph paper and charted out a new cable pattern. It was a bit tricky to figure out how to design cables on such a large scale — I only had about 20 stitches to work with! But I think it turned out great, and I thought I’d add it to my inventory.

At first I was just using my arms to hold the cabled stitches while they were off the needle, but that got old pretty quickly. So I looked around my apartment for something that would double as a giant cable needle and this is what I came up with:

Improvised Cable Needle

Yeah, that’s a wooden cooking spoon. Hehe! It actually worked GREAT for this project, there was no need for any specialized tool! I just had to make sure I got all the stray wool off of it before cooking :)

Anywho, once I get my butt in gear I’ll add this cable chart and instructions to the giganto-blanket pattern. Anyone who has already downloaded it on Ravelry will be able to download the updated version for free from their Ravelry pattern library — how cool is that?

Is there anything else you’d like to know about the Giganto-blanket? Visit my FAQ page for more information, or to ask your own question.

Gone Quiltin’ – Baby Quilts for All!

Sweet Tooth Quilt and Magnus

It’s hot outside and my wrists hurt!

This has been my basic lament/excuse for abandoning my knitting this summer. And it’s true—there’s heat waves happening all over, and I’ve been working on my laptop nonstop, which makes my wrists tired and sore. I know, I know… I should type on an ergonomic keyboard and wear wrist braces and all that jazz. But I like working on my couch, my feet kicked up. What’s the point of working from home if you can’t lounge on the couch, I say?

Anyway, the point is that I haven’t felt like knitting. But the crafting demon inside me must be fed, so what do I do? I start quilting. A LOT.

I’ve now made two baby quilts (from this great, free pattern) and I’m onto a third one of my own creation. And I’ve only been quilting for a month, people! That’s some quick project turnaround… I think I get what these quilting people have been raving about all this time!

Do any of you dabble in quilting? Have any tips or tricks for me?

Photos of DTLA

Downtown LA has some of the best craft stores and fabric stores in the world. I thought I’d share some random photos. Enjoy!

Most of these are from Moskatel’s and Michael Levine, both are magical places. I highly recommend!

Categories

Musings
Writing
Patterns for Sale
Free Patterns
Food

Original Patterns

Giganto-blanket
Giganto-blanket $4.99 -

Giganto-blanket FAQ page

Balos Cover Up
Balos $5.99 -

Cabo Cardi
Cabo Cardi $4.99 - Buy @ Knit Picks

Pikabu Boot Toppers
Pikabu Boot Toppers $1.99 - Buy @ Knit Picks

Slippery Slope
Slippery Slope Sweater $7 -

Perpendicular
Perpendicular sweater - finished! $3.99 -

Refine School
Reform school - finished! $3.99 -

Gondola Cables

Free Pattern!

Kaleigh Kap

download free pattern

Obama-Rama

download free pattern

Tessellated Cowl
Tessellated Cowl Free Pattern!

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