The Simple Slouch – Free Knitting Pattern

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This months tutorials have been unfairly balanced so far in favour of polymer clay, so here is one for a super cute knitted slouch hat. This one works up very fast, without too much shaping, and is ideal for beginner knitters. The simple knit-purl design is patterned on every row, but the results are super pretty and textured. If you cast on this week, you might just be done before Christmas!

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The yarn has quite a bit of drape for super slouch, and the hat is a forgiving fit. The medium sized hat should fit most adults.

You will need:

  • 200 yards of worsted weight yarn. (I’m using KnitPicks Comfy Worsted, Colour ‘whisker’)
  • 16 inch circular needles and 4 double pointed needles in the size needed to obtain gauge. (Sample shown using 5.5mm needles)
  • 1 stitch marker (beginner knitters may want to place a marker every 10 stitches to help them keep their place)
  • Tapestry needle

Gauge: 4 stitches/inch

Size:

  • Small (17.5 inches around)
  • Medium (20 inches around)
  • Large (22.5 inches around)

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Construction notes:

The pattern is in multiples of 10, with no edge stitches required. If you wish to increase or decrease the hat size, or adjust for a different weight of yarn, simply add or subtract 10 stitches from your cast on. Beginner knitters who are not yet used to reading their stitches may find it helpful to place a marker every 10 stitches, and use a different coloured marker to mark the end of the round.

Charts

Using circular needles, cast on 70 (80, 90) stitches

Ribbing:

Rows 1-14:  *p3, k2*, repeat to end.

Body:

Working from either the body chart (above) or written directions, complete 8 full repeats of the stitch pattern.

  • Row 1: *p4, k1, p1, k4* repeat to end
  • Row 2: *p3, k2, p2, k3* repeat to end
  • Row 3: *p2, k2, p1, k1, p2, k2* repeat to end
  • Row 4: *p1, k2, p2, k2, p2, k1* repeat to end
  • Row 5: *k2, p3, k3, p2* repeat to end
  • Row 6: *k1, p4, k4, p1* repeat to end

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Decreasing

Working from either the decrease chart (above) or written directions, complete 1 full repeat of the stitch pattern.

  • Row 1: *p4, k1, p1, sk2po* repeat to end
  • Row 2: *p3, k2, p2, k1* repeat to end
  • Row 3: *p2, k2, p1, sk2po* repeat to end
  • Row 4: *p1, k2, p2, k1* repeat to end
  • Row 5: *k2, p1, sk2po* repeat to end
  • Row 6: *k1, p3* repeat to end

Break the yarn with at least 6 inches of tail. Thread the tapestry needle with the tail yarn and run it through your remaining stitches, cinching tightly to close your hat. Weave in your ends and gift it, or rock it yourself!

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Sculpey Silkscreen Tutorial

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I’m sure by now you’ve noticed a theme for the Blue Brick this month–as a Christmas gift to my readers I’m trying to post nothing but crafting tutorials until Christmas day! I wanted to go for 12, but that might have been a bit ambitious ;) Here’s number 4!

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This tutorial covers the Sculpey Silkscreen kit. This thing is awesome. It’s a fool-proof way to create gorgeous patterns on your polymer clay, which you can then manipulate into anything you want. I had so much fun with this that I had to divide it into two tutorials, just to show off everything I tried.

You will need:

  • Polymer clay
  • Sculpey Silkscreen kit
  • Acrylic roller or pasta machine

1. Roll out your clay, by hand or using a pasta machine, to about 1/8 inch thick.

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2. Your kit came with a number of silk screens. Place the one you want, shiny side down, onto your polymer clay. Run your finger lightly over the entire surface, to make sure that the silkscreen is firmly in place.

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3. Your kit also came with sculpey paints. Squeeze a line of paint, just outside of the patterned area.

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4. Using the plastic tool that came with your kit, spread the paint throughout the pattern, being careful to get every detail.

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5. While the paint is still wet, peel away the silkscreen to reveal your design. Get the silkscreen sheet and the plastic tool into warm water right away to rinse off the paint before it has a chance to dry. Take the time to rinse it off and pat it dry before doing another piece.

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6. I used a round cutter to slice out my piece, it’s now ready for me to bake, or use in another design.

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7. To open up more design possibilities, I was curious about whether I could use ordinary acrylic paints with my silk screen, rather than being limited to the 2 colours that come in the kit.

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8. I proceeded as above, and it works beautifully :)

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Next tutorial I’ll show you how to take this skill farther, to incorporate it with other techniques and even add metal inclusions!

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Resin Tree Ornament Tutorial

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Of course, resin had to be an installment in my holiday-related crafting tutorials, and I honestly think they’re the prettiest ones yet (I’m biased though!). Tito and I made these for our vets, to thank them for the awesome care they have shown our diabetic kitty this year.

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You will need:

  • Contact (sticky) paper
  • A silicone trivet (Click here to buy the one I’m using online)
  • Dried Autumn leaves
  • Glitter
  • Ice Resin

1. Peel the non-adhesive side off the contact paper and lay it down, sticky side up. Place the trivet down on the paper and press firmly to create a seal.

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2. Mix your resin and pour a 2mm thick layer of resin into every circle.

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3. While that layer is curing, cut out your autumn leaves into shapes that will fit into the trivet. To get the sizing right, I made a template out of paper by tracing the shape of the trivet and cutting it out.

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4. When the first layer of resin is about 2-3 hours old, press the leaves gently down into each circle. Mix up another batch of resin and add another layer, just 1-2mm thick, to seal the leaves in place.

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5. This is the stage where you can add some glitter if you want to dress it up more. I like to pinch a bit of glitter between my fingers and sprinkle it on like salt, so I can control the amount I end up with and avoid pouring too much by accident.

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6. About 2-3 hours later I mixed up another fresh batch of resin and poured it into every circle, this time trying to get the resin level with the top of the trivet. I let this layer cure completely (72 hours).

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7. Here is the fun part! Pull off the trivet.

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8. Gently peel the paper off each of your shiny new ornaments.

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9. Use them however you like :) you can glue them onto gifts, wrap wire around them to hang, or drill holes in them to run string through. If you enjoyed this tutorial, and you’re curious about what can be done with resin, please check out my book, Resin Jewelry to learn more!

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Faux Glazed Tree Ornaments

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Continuing on with my Christmas theme, I wanted to share a tutorial on another method for making polymer clay ornaments with a completely different look-faux glazed pottery.  This is super simple, fun, and the results are so pretty!

You will need:

  • Alcohol inks
  • Fimo liquid clay
  • White polymer clay (I’m using Sculpey)
  • A pasta machine, or acrylic roller
  • Parchment paper
  • Molds for making designs (I’m using soap molds and dollar store jewellery)
  • Cookie Cutters
  • Talcum Powder
  • A drinking straw

1. Cover your work surface with parchment paper to protect it. Roll out your clay until you have an even sheet about 1/4 inch thick. To avoid distorting your piece, work directly on the surface you plan to bake it on if possible.

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2. In a separate area, mix liquid Fimo clay with a few drops of alcohol ink. Leave this aside to give the alcohol a few minutes to evaporate.

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3. Dust some talc powder onto your clay, to prevent the mold from sticking. Press your mold firmly into the clay. You want your recessed areas to be deep enough for the glaze to pool, but not so deep that you create thin, fragile areas in the clay.

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4. Press your cookie cutter firmly onto the clay.

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5. Remove the clay that’s outside of the cookie cutter, leaving your piece in place. You can use your drinking straw at this stage to creat a hole for hanging, simply press the straw down into the clay to remove a cylinder for a hole. My pieces do not show holes because I chose to drill them afterwards, which is also an option.

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6. When you’ve made a few, bake according to the manufacturers instructions.

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7. While your pieces are cooling, mix the ink into the liquid Fimo until you get a consistent colour.

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8. Using your fingertips, scoop up some of the coloured liquor clay and smooth it onto your piece. The liquid will pool in the recess and be thinner on top,creating a pottery glaze look.

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9. Re-bake your pieces for another 30 minutes, and set aside to cool before hanging.

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These little pieces make great ornaments for your tree, and also make great gift tags, or even pendants :) For a more metallic look, try adding Jacquard Pearl EX powder to the liquid clay instead of alcohol ink, there are tons of possibilities!

Gingerbread Tree Ornament Tutorial

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Today I wanted to share a super simple technique for producing gingerbread men tree ornaments! Tito and I will be giving these to our friends as stocking stuffers this Christmas, but they also make very cute gift tags.

You will need:

  • Polymer clay (I’m using Sculpey III, colour ‘gold’)*
  • Talcum powder
  • Cookie cutters
  • Inka Gold Metallic Rub (optional)
  • Acrylic Ink, and a small paintbrush
  • Something for making impressions in the clay (I’m using soap molds and dollar store jewellery)
  • Either a pasta machine or an acrylic roller to roll out the clay
  • Resin (optional)
  • Drinking straw
  • Wax paper

*A quick note on polymer clays:

Sculpey is more brittle than fimo when cured. Fimo is stiffer and harder to work with when not cured. I prefer Sculpey, but to add strength and gloss to my pieces I add a coat of resin at the end. If you are skipping the resin stage, I recommend making your gingerbread pieces at least a quarter inch thick to make sure they won’t break easily.

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1. Protect your working surface with a sheet of wax paper. Roll out a length of clay, larger than your cookie cutter

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2. Dust some talc powder on the clay. This will prevent your molds from sticking.

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3. Use your molds to make impressions in the clay. The impressions need to be deep enough to allow ink to pool in them, but not so deep that they create thin, fragile areas in your clay.

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4. Press your cookie cutter down and remove the clay outside of the cutter. If possible, remove the cutter without peeling the clay away from the working surface, to minimize distortion. If you are skipping the resin stage, use your drinking straw as a punch to create a hole for hanging. If you are using resin, I prefer to wait until the piece is cured and drill the holes instead.

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5. I like to pull my entire wax sheet onto a pizza stone for baking, but you can also use a cookie sheet. Try to minimize handling the pieces so they don’t distort.

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6. Once your pieces are cured, and dry, paint a thin coat of black acrylic ink onto the entire piece. Give the ink at least 15 minutes to dry.

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7. Using a damp paper towel, wipe off the excess ink, leaving ink pooled in the recessed areas of your design.

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8. These look lovely just the way they are, but if you wish to take it further, open up the Inka Gold Metallic Rub and, using your fingers, gently rub the metallic finish onto your piece. It takes very little to cover a large area.

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9. Let the metallic rub lay undisturbed for a few hours before hanging. If you wish to add a coat of resin, this is the time to do it! Resin will protect your design, add strength to the final piece and create a lovely glossy finish.

10. Once your piece is completely cured, run a piece of ribbon, yarn or string through to complete! Give them away this Christmas, or hang them on your tree :)

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Cast on Cast off – Fiber shopping in St. John’s

Of the grand plans that Rayna and I had made (fiber touring through every town we drove through, which would have meant Montreal, Quebec City, Moncton, Edmunston, Sydney, and St. John’s) we only managed to get in one store, on the second-to-last day of the trip. Crazy! 

Cast on Cast off is an adorable little yarn store in St. John’s, and though I wasn’t there for long I felt confident that Rayna was not stuck in a place that, for all it’s loveliness, was going to leave her stranded in a sea of 100% acrylics. The selection is very awesome, and the store has all kinds of cute details.

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This guy had a name, and I’ve totally forgotten it, but isn’t it cute?

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I’m fairly confident that this was Reggie.

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*Drool*.

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My purchases: 2 self striping sock yarns (one for me, one for Tito), a gift skein from the local Indie dyer and one skein of Sweet Fiber, which I had never used before and now officially rocks my world.

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And this is what’s become of that skein so far :) Hopefully an FO shot is coming soon!

Pattern: Grove by Jared Flood.

Stained Glass

I”m sort of in between things today, so I’ll leave you with a shot of my current spinning WIP :) This is ‘Stained Glass’ by Julie Spins. It’s slightly felted, which makes it a tough spin, but the colours more than make up for it!

PS- Apparently the thing to do with sales this weekend is to let them go until ‘Cyber Monday’ so the Resin Jewelry book is on sale til then!

PPS: I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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