Easy Throw Pillows

Though out the past year, my husband and I have been working hard to make our house feel like a home. This translates into hours of wallpaper pulling and plaster repair, as well as painting, flooring and general house up keep. We have started filling rooms with plants and our photo, as well as thought carefully about how to make the best use out of every room.

One thing that has come of this is the slow creation of built in furniture (he made me a countertop bar for crafting and other activities) and upcycling thrifted finds to add personal touches. My most recent project was to create throw pillows for a guest room we converted into a quiet room, they add a beautiful pop of color and allowed me to practice working with invisible zippers (spoiler alert: I still suck at them).

Multi colored striped throw pillow

Supplies to make ONE pillow:

  • 22×22 Pillow insert
  • 20in invisible zipper
  • 1/2 yard of of fabric or 2 fat quarters
  • Sewing machine (recommended)

Instructions:

  1. Cut the fabric into 2 20×20 squares
  2. Attach the invisible zipper to both pieces of fabric, leave the zipper slightly unzipped
  3. Sew the remaining three sides right sides together
  4. Turn the pillow case inside out
  5. Stuff the pillow case with the pillow insert
  6. Enjoy!

Shoe Insoles (Free Pattern)

L.L. Bean Duck Boots with red crochet insoles
L.L. Bean Duck Boots with red crochet insoles

I purchased my first (and only) pair of duck boots while living in Boston during the 2015 snow storms because that’s what I noticed that everyone was wearing on their walk to work. It seemed like everyone had the same idea, actually, because they immediately went on back order and I wasn’t able to start wearing them until the following winter.

While I understand that leather boots take time to break in, I cannot express how uncomfortable I found these boots. It honestly seemed like the reason they received their name came down to the way that they force their wearer to walk like a duck. The other problem that I had was that my feet would sweat and then freeze, which meant that long walks were still uncomfortable when I finally broke the boots in.

Rainbow crochet shoe insoles laid flat.
My Dad’s slipper insoles

Winters of grudgingly wearing these boots later, I found myself eyeing a leftover skein of Valley Yarns Amherst and remembering a gift that I made for my dad several holiday seasons ago. His knit insoles prevented his feet from sweating and getting cold, perhaps that’s all I needed!

Hikes and dog walks later, it’s safe to say that it worked. In the interest of helping others keep their feet warm, I’m sharing what I did:

Shoe Insoles Pattern

Materials Needed:

Close up of a rainbow crochet square lightly felted
Rainbow crochet square
  • 100-150 yards of 100% wool (or alpaca) worsted weight
  • 6mm hook or needles
  • Scissors
  1. Place your boots on a piece of paper and draw a square around them that’s a 3-4 inches larger on all sides.
  2. CO until your stitch count lines up end to end with your square.
  3. Knit/Crochet until your square until it fills the square that you made around your boots. Note: It’s ok if the square ends up being a little bigger or smaller. Gauge is not critical because we will be cutting the square.
  4. Gently felt the square. Note: It does not need to be perfectly felted, the square will continue to felt as you wear your boots.
  5. Lay your boot’s insoles on top of the square and cut around them.
  6. Slide them into your boots and enjoy!
Red crochet shoe insoles that have barely been felted next to a pair of red handled scissors.
These are barely felted — just enough so that the stitches don’t come out when I cut into the square.

Top-Down Knee High Socks

img_20200819_070428Well, it finally happened. My first pair of knee-high socks is officially in the books! The inspiration came from a yarn club set up by my local yarn shop, the yarn reminded me of winter hiking and the need to keep warm. The tricky thing, it turns out, is finding a sock pattern that is top down. Admittedly, this is probably because knitting toe up gives you the ability to use half your yarn on the first sock and the other half on your second sock — in other words, you can be confident that you’re going to have two finished socks and you’re not going to run out of yarn. Knowing this going into this project, I still opted to write a top down pattern. My toe up socks never hang quite right no matter how I bind them off (I either have too loose or too tight of a bind off).

img_20200819_070457I came so close to using only one skein of yarn (463 yards) when making these socks and needed less than a yard to finish the toe on the second sock. This means that if your foot is smaller than mine (I’m an 8.5 or 39) and you don’t need to make any modifications, then you should be able to get away with one skein. If your foot is the same size as mine or bigger, or if you want to make your socks longer, I recommend grabbing a second skein or using some scrap yarn to knit the Cuff, Heel and/or Toe.

This pattern is meant to be more of a recipe, so please feel free to use the Cuff, Heel and Toe of your choosing. I enjoy the Fish Kiss Lips Heel (FKLH), but think an afterthought heel would be a fun way to add a pop of color (which you could totally do with the FKLH). Another thing that’s great about this pattern (but requires more yarn) is that you can extend the length/width of the leg by increasing the number of decreases you have to do. For reference, my:

  • Calf = 14.5 inches
  • Leg = 13 inches
  • Foot = 8 inches before toe decreases

If your leg/calf is larger, you can modify the pattern by adding 10 rows + a decrease row for every inch. Keep in mind, this means adding 4 stitches for every inch you need to add to the 84 that fit me. You can also remove a decrease row for every inch you need to subtract from the 13 that work best for me.

Knee high socksTop Down Knee High Socks:

  • Gauge: 32 stitches and 40 rows = 4 inches
  • Suggested Needle size: US 2 (2.75 mm)
  • Yarn requirments: 264 (more if your foot is larger, less if your foot is smaller)

CO 84

[r1: k2, p1 across
r2: k1, p2 across] repeat until cuff measures 2 inches

[k2tog, k19] 4x (80 sts left)

K40 rows
Decrease row: [k2tog, k18] 4x (76 sts left)

K10
Decrease row: [k2tog, k17] 4x (72 sts left)

K10
Decrease row: [k2tog, k16] 4x (68 sts left)

K10
Decrease row: [k2tog, k15] 4x (64 sts left)

K10
Decrease row: [k2tog, k14] 4x (60 sts left)

K35 rows

FLKH

Foot 8 in or 1.5 inches short of desired length

Toe decreases until there are 12 sts per needle (24 total)

We’re moving; Sock Pattern Preview

My partner and I found a house (she’s a bit of a fixer-upper) and are in the process of fixing it up so that we can move in. As I type this, I’m covered in mud and paint with a huge grin on my face; we’re so excited to start the next chapter of our relationship together!

My original plan for today was to have a knee-high sock pattern ready for you, but I need a little bit more time to take some photos and clean my notes up a bit. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek!

img_20200727_113151

A Christmas Stocking Pattern

Christmas StockingsThough I can only speak towards the weather we’re experiencing, I think it’s safe to say that the cool rainy days are not the reason that I’ve started working on a Christmas stocking for my niece. Though I do typically start my holiday knitting in the summer, the real reason I’m writing up this pattern is that I need to knit a third stocking to match the ones I made my sister and her husband two years ago (I can’t believe that it was only two years ago).

Back when I made the first two, I noticed there didn’t seem to be a simple stocking pattern that I could use to get the effect that I was hoping for. In the interest of making what I wanted, I took notes and created my own stocking pattern. In addition to the yarn required to make the stocking, I also used about a yard of fabric to create a lining so that the stitching wouldn’t stretch as gifts were added to it.

Simple Holiday Stocking

img_20200721_170125Materials needed:

  • 400 yards fingering weight (held double) or 200 dk weight (held single)
  • Size 7 knitting needles (or size needed to get gauge)
  • 1/3 yard of fabric (I brought my finished stocking and had them cut the fabric against it)
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine (although you could stitch this by hand)
  • Fish Lips Kiss Heel (one of the best dollars I’ve ever spent)

Gauge:

22 stitches and 28 rows = 4 inches
in Stocking Stitch (Stockinette)

Knitting Pattern:

Cast on 60 (place at beginning and middle of round)

Knit 80 rows

Fish Lips Kiss Heel

Knit 36 rows

Work toe:

  • row 1 (K1, K2Tog, knit to 3 stitches before next marker, SSK, K1) twice
  • row 2: K

Repeat these two rows until there are 12 sts left

Kitchener stitch to finish toe

Braid some of the leftover yarn to make a loop for hanging.

Sewing Pattern:

Stocking on paper template for cutting.To sew the lining, fold your fabric lengthwise with the right sides facing in and place your finished stocking on top of it. Using a marker, trace your knit stocking and then cut out the fabric. Alternatively, you can make a template for your stocking by tracing it onto paper.

Next lay both pieces so that the right side of the fabric is facing the table, then fold the cuff area down towards you about a half-inch and pin. Sew across the top on both pieces, this will be the pop of fabric that you see at the top of your stocking.

Fabric sewn in the shape of a stocking next to a handknit stocking.Pin your stocking so that both right sides are facing each other and sew around the stocking (leaving the top open, I had ~.75 in between the edge of my fabric and my needle).

Sew your lining into the sixth row down from your cast on.