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How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestation

How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationSo as you may know for me this year was all about organising. Because there are lots to tidy up after doing (still doing) so much DIY! Few months ago I started working on my craft supplies and sadly I came across a horrifying moth infestation which made things a little bit more complicated... arghhhh!  Not only did I have to untangle my very messy yarn I also had to get rid of these unwanted creatures... yuck! This is how my yarn basket looked like when I discovered the sad reality...How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationFirst I googled if it was really moths I was dealing with. Pictures online matched with mine which confirmed that it was indeed what I feared most.  I realised I had to just get on with it, quick! So I read and I read about different methods how to kill the moths, larvae and it's eggs (this article was my favourite), but the only one that seemed practical to me was to freeze all my yarn. Hmm... that will need lot's of freezer space! So I did it in batches which caused some problems with the yarn that was waiting in the queue. You see these evil moths are very quick to breed! I started with eggs and one moth and after just a day it turned into more eggs, moth and larvae...arghhhh!!! I ended up freeing up as much space as I can (that meant using up some of the frozen food) so I can stuff leftover yarn into freezer. Luckily we were going on holidays so I could just leave it there and forget it for a bit and deal with it later... phew!How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationHow I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationOnce I was back from holiday (all relaxed and all) I went back to sorting out my precious yarn. I cleaned the basket where I store my yarn with vinegar. I ordered some moth cedar and distributed it around the house. I organised the yarn and I think is so far so good. I think I won!  How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationHow I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationHope you found my story comforting if your yarn got infested (to be honest I just hope it does not happen to you).

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IKEA hack: custom laundry baskets

Ikea hack: custom laundry basketsWell.... hello here looking through my never ending laundry pics. I never quite manage to have all baskets empty completely! This is why I was looking for ways to organise my dirty clothes while I work my way through it if you know what I mean. I thought under the sink in the bathroom would be the most convenient for them since this is where we get undressed and changed most often. Except I struggled for a while to find a right size baskets.... until one day it occurred to me that the storage boxes from Ikea we already have fit perfectly! I know I know, they are storage boxes, not a laundry baskets, but I saw a vision how I could alter them a little. All it needed are some handles, a little bit of lettering embroidery and its done! Yey!Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets So this is how I did it. I purchased some fabric storage from Ikea. I know I know I said I had them already, but wanted in different colour and it's not like £2.50 breaks the bank! Then I found my fabric pencil, embroidery tread & needle + some ribbon to match. Ikea hack: custom laundry basketsFirst I marked the writing I wanted to embroider. You don't have to use special pencil for it, but it helps since you can rub it off if you make mistake. Otherwise regular pen mark would be hidden behind the stitches (I have gone this risky route too many times before).Ikea hack: custom laundry basketsFor embroidery I chose my favourite stitch which is the chain stitch. You can get more inspiration for your embroidery here.Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Next I stitched the handles. I folded the ribbon at the ends so it does not fray ;-).Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry basketsHope you found this inspiring

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My New Year goals + free printable 2017 planner

printable 2017 planner/calendarAfter reflecting on 2016 I decided to make 2017 goals a bit differently this time. I made only one main goal this year which is to organise our family life. Let's be honest, I don't exactly expect to achieve 5-7 goals when we have so much on this year. Even one goal is big enough for me considering we have a little one coming up very soon! So I did count in three months of "cloud phase" (no firm schedule period)  after new baby is born.

When it comes to organising I find planner or basic calendar is essential. I did not find a good one to buy so I ended making one myself. Because I wanted lots of space for scheduling I decided to make the calendar weekly. I also included goals page with the to do lists, because I realised that some plans cannot be scheduled even if it is beneficial to schedule. We all know that things change so quickly and you end up just cancelling and scheduling. This is why I made the goal page which can be attached to each week! So all to-dos are planned in the specific week, but not specific time or day. Fingers crossed that works!   printable 2017 planner/calendar printable 2017 planner/calendar

Click here to upload your 2017 planner.

You can either print the page for one week as it comes and attach it on the wall or fridge. Or like me you can print all of it and tie it with the string so it can be hung as a one piece. printable 2017 planner/calendar printable 2017 planner/calendar printable 2017 planner/calendarHappy organised 2017 to you all xx

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My reflections on 2016

My reflections on 2016Can you believe it? Tomorrow we are entering 2017! (I personally feel its going to be the best year ever).

But for now I would like to reflect on 2016. I must admit it was't the easiest year, but I guess you need those type as well sometimes ;-). Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of good times such as finding out we are expecting a new baby and having own house to DIY. But if you look from the other side (more negative one) it has been very challenging. The house has been chaotic while I am gradually getting less and less energetic due to pregnancy. Having no basic bathroom for few weeks has been very hard to cope with. We went on holidays of course, but then I realised its not the same anymore when we have a baby on board. But then again, it has been a learning processMy reflections on 2016 When reviewing my 2016 resolutions I realised that they were a little ambitious. But how do you know whats in store in the future? Things happen completely differently to what you expect sometimes!

1. I was planning to upgrade Friendly Nettle website, but who was I kidding? I was lucky to find some time to blog. Instead I was busy with Lukas helping him to discover food, playing and singing. My reflections on 2016 2. I hoped to turn our house into home, but instead we got a chaos. Few projects in one go and doing almost everything by ourselves has never been a good idea. Well at least we got few rooms almost finished such as Lukas bedroom :). My reflections on 2016 3. I wanted to learn to take better pictures and thankfully I did have some luck with it! I used up a lot of Lukas nap times practicing with the camera which has been very useful. Now when I take pictures I often apply the tricks I learned. My reflections on 2016 4. I hoped to teach Lukas to swim, but yet again I failed here. Have you ever tried to go swimming pool alone when you need to get the baby and yourself dressed in a tiny dressing room? After many tries I realised we missed the window when swimming should come natural to the babies. Lukas is a toddler now! My reflections on 2016 5. We said we would grow cucumbers as a joke, clearly this is not the most important goal :D. However, this was successful, look at those funny shape cucumbers!My reflections on 2016So of course I am looking forward to tomorrow (as I am certainly not staying up till midnight tonight), 2017 I am ready :).

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My reflections on 2015

Look who is swimming already :-)It's almost 2016 and I am very excited to share my reflections on 2015 ;-). What a year it has been! In the beginning of 2015 I have created 7 new year resolutions that most have been achieved and on top of it some dreams came through that I did not imagine it would happen so soon. 

Two major things have happened this year: we now are a family of three (Yes, Lukas is our new addition!) and we bought our first family house. Ok, we hoped for both to happen, but we were not sure if it would happen so we are really really happy that it did. We just need to fix that house and it will be totally great(something for the next year)!Our dream house!We also had an opportunity to visit Iceland which was my dream for many years. It exceeded my expectations!Me and Blue LagoonNow, back to 2015 resolutions...

1. I hoped to upgrade Friendly Nettle website. I will be honest I fail on this! I have not changed one bit about the website or learned coding. Sadly just did not find the time (hopefully in 2016 I will be able to achieve it). On the positive note I did manage to successfully run a crafty group here in Bedford!  Live in Bedford? Then join us here ;-).Craft group leaflets

2. I am really pleased to say that I did create amazing new products and bakes for a new website this year! I just need to keep it coming somehow... Here it is!Friendly Nettle Bakery 3. Updating budgets comes naturally to me. I mentioned already I really like keeping our finances organised. All I need to do now is to update it again as our needs keep changing all the time (we now need to save for house upgrades and Lukas future). Here are my 5 steps to basic budgeting if this is something you are struggling with.Budgeting4. I totally nailed it and read more books this year! In fact this goal was the most enjoyable :-). In the beginning of this year I preselected 6 books to read and guess what, I finished reading all of them!A year with books, 20155. When it comes to taking better pics, I did not do much about it! I did not even manage to read the manual of my camera :(.My reflections on 20156. In the beginning of this year I did eat healthier and I think I would have carried that on if I did not become pregnant. The fact that it almost did not matter how much weight I would gain loosened up my standards a bit (if you know what I mean!).My reflections on 20157.  Swimming is what became my fun sport (it was practically the only sport I could do)! Now I am onto teaching Lukas how to swim ;-).My reflections on 2015Now when I had some time to reflect on 2015 I can welcome 2016 :-)

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Clean-out-the-cupboard granola

Clean-out-the-cupboard granola recipeOnce in the blue moon I like to organise my cupboard so it is easy to find stuff I need. The cupboard gets usually cluttered with small random packages of of seeds, nuts and dry fruits (all that just from trying many baking recipes). But once in the while I feel like cleaning it all out by using it up on one something big. That tends to be granola!Clean-out-the-cupboard granola recipeI must admit that granola is not the healthiest breakfast item (even though some people consider it to be on the healthy side), but it so tasty! It transforms a very boring yogurt and fruit into something more pudding like. And it is soooo useful when you run out of your regular cereal!Clean-out-the-cupboard granola recipeSo here is what you can use up and how to make your Clean-out-the-cupboard granola...

CLEAN-OUT-THE CUPBOARD GRANOLA

  • 500g oat flakes (or any other flakes, I used barley flakes here)
  • 450g seeds, nuts and fruits (will try to mention as much as I can remember):
    • sunflower seeds
    • poppy seeds
    • sesame seeds
    • pumpkin seeds
    • hazel nuts, chopped
    • walnuts, chopped
    • pecan nuts, chopped
    • almond flakes
    • coconut flakes
    • raising
    • apricots, chopped
    • dried cranberries
    • dried mango, chopped
  • 200ml coconut oil (or any other oil that does not taste strong and overpowering)
  • 300g honey (or golden syrup or brown caster sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • spices (I used 1tsp cinnamon, but you can use ground cloves, nutmeg or few tbsp cocoa power)

1. Place all ingredients (except dried fruit if using) into the pot and "cook" it on the low heat for 5-10min till honey disappeared into the mixture and everything is well combined.Clean-out-the-cupboard granola recipe2. Now spread the mixture onto large baking tray (use two trays if possible so it bakes evenly) and bake it in 180C oven for 30-40min. Check granola every 15 min to check if it's not burning and mix it to turn around. Add dried fruits 20min before the finish. The granola should be golden colour, it will become crunchy once it cools down.Clean-out-the-cupboard granola recipe3. Once it cools down store it in jars and enjoy it with yogurt (or milk) and fruits.Clean-out-the-cupboard granola recipe Clean-out-the-cupboard granola recipeHave a lovely weekend!

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Organised bags are happy bags! (make custom handbag organiser)

Make your own custom bag organiser insertToday I wanted to share about my most favourite handbag and a little project with it. My "Zatchel" is what I use most of the time as it looks good (get so many praises from everyone!) and it fits only the most important things. So I never end up carrying too much which means I could go cycling with it any time!Make your own custom bag organiser insertAnother cool thing about "Zatchels" is that it is quite hardwearing. I worn it almost every day for the past two years and everything seem to be still intact! The top that is slightly crinkled and few pen marks inside adds up to that rustic vintage appeal in fact!Make your own custom bag organiser insertThe only negative thing about this bag is that stuff don't stay organised inside. I had numerous incidents where I lost my keys in the worst situations! Small things slide out when the inside surface of the bag is hard. So for quite a long time I have been thinking of the solution for this. Make your own custom bag organiser insertMy solution was an insert that would have a zipper where I could put the keys and other stuff in. I know it may not be the most equipped bag organiser insert, but it really works with the small handbag like mine. Do you have a small bag like this without a lining? Then help yourself to this quick project here!Make your own custom bag organiser insert Make your own custom bag organiser insert Make your own custom bag organiser insert Make your own custom bag organiser insertHappy organised bag :-)

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How to organise your knitting/crochet stuff (in little spaces)

How to organise knitting/crochet stuffIn the beginning of this year someone have asked me "How to keep all your knitting gear organised, needles, thread etc etc etc?". Ha ha, you got me there! The pic above is exactly how my yarn looked like yesterday before I tidied it up for this post. Although I am proud to say that my needles and crochet hooks are organised nicely (at least current method is working for me for now). 

The thing is when you live in a small rented flat it is difficult to keep your yarn and needles organised. Like every crafter I dream about one day when I do have an actual craft room or a study at least! But for know small space is the reality and here are my few tips to keep organised in situations like this.

1. Make it as part of your deco! I don't know about you, but I don't like a minimal looking home that looks clinically pristine (unless this represents your personality). So if you are someone who knits/crochets why hide it? Yarn and needles can compliment your home!

I store my needles and crochet hooks in upcycled jars that are placed on the shelves. These go well with other jars stuffed with dried branches and other pretty stuff I find outdoors. If you have a large selection of needles and stuff then you can split them into jars according to their types and sizes and label them. I don't have a large selection of needles so I sometimes just wrap my jars with wrapping paper and some ribbon. But when I do have lots and lots of needles then probably I am going to crochet around those jars and label them like this! I have seen some people storing their needles in rolls or pouches. I guess if you are constantly crafting on the move then this is great. But for me that would not work. I like to take only one project at the time when traveling so I only need one size needle/hook and some yarn that I just stuff in my handbag.

When it comes to yarn I keep it low (see the next tip). I only have one big basket that also sits there in the open (ok, not so open, because we have a very curious cat in the house). Because colourful yarn looks sooo pretty! I have a dream one day when I do actually open my dream cafe I will have a wall full of yarn! If you (unlike me) would like to keep your organised yarn stash in secret then here is a solution for you...You could sooo keep that in your secret closet!How to organise knitting/crochet stuff2. Keep it low, I mean your yarn stash! I never saw a point of keeping a large amount of yarn in the house. If I buy a yarn, I always try to think of what I am going to make with it. And even if I think of what to make I try to consider to giving unused yarn a chance!  3. Prioritise your yarn stash. Go through once in the while (it took me 15ming to reorganise my basket yesterday). See which yarns you are going to use one day (usually itsy-bitsy stuff) and separate that from the yarn you are working with now. Place those unused yarn balls at the bottom while leaving the "current" wool on top! 4. Keep records of your yarn stash! This is if you have lots of yarn and keeping them in many separate baskets, crates or boxes. In this case I would try recoding in a notebook or folder with little samples of yarn. I would record their name, colour, size, location (where it is stored) and how much of it you have left. If you prefer a more virtual organising system then you should definitely have a go with Ravelry! I did sign up but never used. But I heard good rumours that it lets you to take pics of your yarn and record it in same way as you would with the folder I mentioned here. I hope this has been useful!

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New Year resolutions + free printable 2015 calendar

free printable 2015 plannerWow! It's 2015 already! I hope you had great New Year celebrations! Every year I love making New Year resolutions (some are more effective then others). Last year I set simple goals, mainly because I knew it was going to be a very exciting and busy year personally (planning a wedding takes up a lot of time and energy). This year my goals are more ambitious as I am eager to learn more and improve the Friendly Nettle business as a whole.

Here are my New Year resolutions for this year:

1. Upgrade Friendly Nettle website so it's easer to use. This means that I also need to learn to code (at least the basics). I started training myself in this once before, but dropped out as when I became too busy. I am hoping to establish a training schedule where I spend 30min every second day. That can't be that hard!

2. Create amazing new products and bakes for a new website. I relaunched the bakery website last month, but it still needs quite a lot of updates to make the website shopper friendly. Oh, and I already have sooo many ideas on other exciting products which I am working on at this moment.

3. Update budgets. And by budgets I mean our personal budgets. For the past few years I had a system that really worked for me and I updated that for us both once me and Joni got married. We have since realised that we need to add extra budgets since we now have more things to save for. I am hoping to share very soon my years of experience with personal budgeting.

4. Read more books, because I am hoping this will improve my writing. As you may know I am not a native english speaker, so I often experience writers block because of that. I am sure you sometimes even come across some grammar mistakes. I really hope this will be less of an issue in the future. 15 min of book reading before bed is quite realistic don't you think?

5. Learning to take better pics is one of my bigger goals! I already learned so much about photography from writing my own blog and taking pics of my projects at the same time. Getting a DSLR a few months ago transformed my photography completely, but I still feel there is room for improvement.  I feel I don't use the DSLR camera to it's full potential, but I will start reading the manual and that hopefully should change :-D.

6. Eat healthier! This is probably the most common New Year resolution. I don't quite know how I am going to achieve this yet, but is very important I do ;-).

7. Get active. Eating healthier and exercise goes hand in hand. At least I have a plan for this goal. I will just pick a fun sport activity! Hopefully this is as simple as it sounds!

Through this week I am hoping to fill my 2015 planner with the actions that will help to achieve this year's goals. Do you have any New Year goals? If not, then I encourage you to write some down. It really really helps to see the bigger picture. Click here to get your free printable 2015 planner!free printable 2015 plannerI printed out my calendar and crocheted it together so I could hang it on my wall. free printable 2015 planner free printable 2015 planner free printable 2015 planner free printable 2015 planner free printable 2015 planner free printable 2015 plannerEnjoy New Year planning!

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Something old, something new: my diaries

My new fabric covered "Dear Diary" book DIYSince getting back from Lithuania I have been thinking how to have more organised in 2015. Getting a new diary is one of my methods (actually 2015 diary was a Christmas gift from Aunty Pam and I am very grateful for that!!). I loved how my fabric covered diary turned out last year so I thought I will do something similar this year. My new fabric covered "Dear Diary" book DIYLast year I crossed stitched my diary with "2014" and it was a nice book to keep. Even though it did not always fit into my handbag I liked that it had a lot of space for writing my to do lists, recording appointments and other schedules. My new fabric covered "Dear Diary" book DIYThis year I sacrificed the space for the convenience of being able to have my diary with me at all times (well, almost). I thought "Dear Diary" cross stitch embroidery is very appropriate for my diary. You see I love scribbling in my diary so much that Vicki once thought that I actually have little "conversations" with the diary itself. To be honest, I just love my to do lists. It feels so good to be able to cross them out!My new fabric covered "Dear Diary" book DIYClick here for this very useful fabric covered book project!My new fabric covered "Dear Diary" book DIYWishing you organised 2015!

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Tips on making a photo album

Tips on making a photo albumI will admit, this is my first time making a photo album. So I guess you are thinking why on earth am I sharing my tips on this! The thing is, when I was at Uni (studied Fashion) I did my fair share of presentations in booklet form (I don't even remember what they were called, that was such a long time ago). They were kind of similar to a photo album. At least the planning process is the same. And this is what I am going to share here about. The way I create a layout that is eye pleasing, not just how to cut and paste.

I am using our wedding album as an example as I have been putting them together over the last few weeks.

1. Select the photos that you would like in the album. Go over couple of times to see if there are any photos that look very similar. Make sure you have a good selection of pics to tell a 'story' including some close ups as well as the main photos. I don't personally like a row of pics with everyone posing in the groups, unless this is the style you are aiming for of course.  Basically, aim for variation!Tips on making a photo album2. Organise your photos into subfolders. If you have a large number of photos (which you should as it is an album that you are making) then this is a must. Sorting your pics into chronological or some other order helps to spot even more photos that you don't need. Having to deal with a big volume of photos can be quite overwhelming. So cutting them into smaller bites is always a good idea. Here are a few subfolders I made for our wedding album: preparation, church, bride and groom exit, church group pics and so on. I of course mixed a few pics in between the folders to make it look good, but organising photos this way helps to see a bigger picture. Tips on making a photo album3. Create a mock up photo album on PowerPoint (or similar program). This helps you to play around with photo layouts before it is stuck in the actual album . At this stage you can also decide on the album theme and style. You can pick the font, picture frames, layout style or even small embellishments.  It's important not to overdo it and pick only a few theme details that will reappear throughout the album. Reappearing features (let it be one font type or frame style etc) connect an album as a whole from start to finish. Try to do the same with the photos, look out for similar colours and shapes and have a good variation (some close ups next to wider angle shots). The last thing I want to say is have fun with it. This is your photo album at the end of the day ;-).Tips on making a photo album4. Cut and paste the photos in pre-planned order. This should be quite straight forward. One thing you should remember is that the layout might not look exactly how you planned, but it will be pretty close.Tips on making a photo album Tips on making a photo album5. Fix the unexpected issues. When you plan ahead it can help you to avoid mistakes. However mistakes do still happen. If there are any issues sometimes you have to think outside the box to creatively fix them. Sometimes the fixed mistake ends up better than the original plan. When making our album I made a mistake about the number of pages. I did not want to leave the extra pages blank as it would look unfinished. I put "to be continued..." to give a sense that the story being told in the album is still ongoing.    Tips on making a photo albumI created our wedding album in one of the hand bound books I made last week. That was great as I had complete control on how many pages to insert and what type. I could even choose the most suitable cover for our wedding theme!Tips on making a photo albumI hope this inspired you to make your own photo album!

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Make your own custom crocheted and cross stitched laptop cover

Crocheted and cross stitched laptop cover, DIY instructions incudedIt's been almost a year since my old laptop got stolen (never mind, I am fully recovered now). Although I was very lucky to get a new one as a (last) christmas gift, the old laptop cover did not quite fit my new laptop. I like the type of laptop covers that are not a bag by itself, but the slip on ones that can fit in a handbag of your choice. So you can imagine, I have been planning to make a new laptop cover for quite a while! Up until now I have been traveling with the laptop in a plastic bag (not so classy) or a backpack (thanks to my new mum for it!). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don't exactly remember the time when I came up with the idea to cross stitch on the crocheted laptop cover, but I did love all the ideas of cross stitch going anywhere random such as wall, fences and so on (thanks to Pinterest for the inspiration!). A crocheted surface makes a perfect canvas for cross stitch! I sourced different kind of yarns for this project, mainly because I wanted to use up some of my scrap yarn stash, but also because I like this rustic type of look that it created. Anyway... ready to make one of your own?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere you can access the full DIY instructions. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did! You can of course pick a different cross stitch design for your laptop cover to make it custom. I personally picked the rose design on the black background because it reminds me of the Russian scarfs that my grandma wears. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI hope this project helps your laptop to stay organised within your handbag ;-)

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Knitted projects: from vision to reality

Planning knitted projects: from vision to realityIt's this time of year when its getting chillier outside and you can't wait to settle indoors for a cup of tea and a knitting project + the biscuits. I am getting in that mood already! I've started knitting a new cardigan for the winter ;-). I don't know about you, but I love creating my own design, having a fashion degree really helps. For those who would love to progress to that level where you no longer need a written pattern to knit anything you like, I thought I would give you an insight into how I go about designing my own project. I am not promising this will turn you into a knitting master, but it should help you to work out where you could start to develop your skills. Maybe editing an existing pattern is a good place to start? Or maybe starting with the most basic project such as pillow case or a scarf? Anyhow, here is where I start when I want to knit something in specific.

1. YARN is usually an inspiration to me. When I feel like knitting I just browse what I have in my yarn basket, simply go shopping online, or in my local shop. I also check what amount I have and what can I possibly knit from it. So if I only have one yarn ball of a type, I would definitely not knit a sweater out of it! Sometimes, rarely I actually need to knit something specific such as socks for winter or a scarf as a gift.  Then I will decide on the design first and then will start browsing for yarn.Planning knitted projects: from vision to reality2. SKETCHING AND STITCH SAMPLING. At this stage I usually try out the yarn by knitting small samples of different stitches and sketch few drawings to decide on the actual design. Pinterest helps me a lot as an inspiration, but I never take an existing design, instead I take the features from many designs to create my own. For this particular design, I really liked this shape, but I have changed the front opening, the stitch pattern (planning to use Tunisian stitch) and sleeve shape.Planning knitted projects: from vision to reality3. PATTERN CUTTING is something I've learned at University (and a little bit before). So I guess imagining shapes in 3D becoming a garment is much much easer for me. But let me tell you, knitwear requires a very minimum of pattern cutting as yarn and the stretchy knit is very forgiving. Don't be terrified of the pattern bellow, I am currently trying to achieve a very odd shape in this cardigan I am knitting by adding more rows of stitches on the sides (it's quite a challenge for myself at this moment actually). Instead, think of basic sweater, it is essentially made out of few blocks that majority of you know how to knit!Planning knitted projects: from vision to reality4. GAUGE is a knitting term that refers to the number of stitches per cm/inch, not the size of the finished garment. This is very important to work out at the beginning before starting to knit an actual project. Gauge helps you to predict the size of your garments! The best way to work out your gauge is to knit a large enough piece of sample with your chosen yarn, needles and the stitch pattern. If you have more than one stitch pattern on your project (such as ribbing and garter stitch patterns for example), you should knit separate sample for each of them, because some stitches 'pulls in' more then others, fitting in more stitches in the cm/inch. Ribbing usually 'pulls-in' the most, however it is the stretchiest of them all! So to work out the gauge (preferably wash and dry the sample first) measure 5cm/2inch horizontally and count how many stitches fits in it. Repeat the same vertically and count how many rows fits in the 5cm/2inch gap. In my case (used ribbing sample) 5cm horizontally fits 9 sts and vertically it fits 8rows. Now we know that to knit 40cm wide ribbing we need to cast on 70 stitches (I rounded up from 72) and we need to knit 13 rows to get the ribbing 7 cm long. Making sense already?Planning knitted projects: from vision to reality5. WRITING A PATTERN is the last thing I do when designing my own knitted project. I sometimes even wait until I finish knitting the garment and see what worked out and what did not. You see, I never used to use a written pattern as the visual diagram were always my preference. But I know a lot of you love (and understand it better than me) written abbreviations, so I went out of my way to learn it so I can translate my patterns that way for you. I am still however in learning process with this, so please give me a shout if you see something is really not making sense ;-) Planning knitted projects: from vision to realityI hope this helps and good luck ;-)

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Happy 1st of September!

my school years1st of September has always been an official 1st day at school in Lithuania with celebration and parades. Don't you think that celebration is a great way to start the school? To me this was something I looked forward to, although I was never a good student (except arts and biology). Free lovely pattern printouts Another thing I was looking forward to at school was catching up with my friends, shopping for new stationary, organising the books and getting ready to start. So I could say organisation has been my stronger point. I used to enjoy (still enjoying) putting things in order so it looks prettier and it's easy to find stuff when you need them. I guess I should be able to give you some tips in this area of my expertise. But one thing I should point out that this won't make you a better student and spending too much time on it will lose your focus on something else more important. I of course have learned that good balance is the key to almost everything! My school yearsFree lovely pattern printouts to cover your booksSo today I would just like to share a project on how to protect your books with pretty covers (extra printable patterns as well). Click here for full project walkthrough. protecttive book cover DIY protective book cover DIY

 

Good luck and have fun at school (or work)

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17 Christmas gift project ideas to start making now

17 wednesdays to go till ChristmasRecently one of our readers e-mailed me some wonderful pics of projects she completed, that she made for Christmas gifts. That prompted me to think about the gifts I am going to make this year. But how long before Christmas should you start making handmade gifts? Join our forum discussion! But for now, here are some ideas to get you started.

1. RIBBON FLOWER BROOCH, perfect for all the girls out there!Ribbon flower brooch DIY2. SIMPLE TATTED BEAD NECKLACE, another good gift for pretty ladies like you ;-)tatted bead necklace DIY3. SCENTED RICE HEARTS, quick gift to anyone (I am sure you could pull out a manly scented heart if you made it in check fabric)scented rice hearts DIY4.  HEART SHAPED SOAP, make many in one go! citronella, lemon and orange soup DIY5. ENVELOPE BOOK POUCH, great for all of those book worms out there!Easy to make envelope pouch DIY6. KNITTED SOCKS! Who doesn't need socks?knitting socks basics7. CABLE SWEATER, for someone really really special!Cable Sweater8. FABRIC COVERED DIARY, good way to help someone to start their new year organised (subtle way to hint) :).fabric covered diary DIY9. LOAFERS FOR HIM!Loafers for him DIY10. CROCHETING/KNITTING KIT WITH COOKIES, a great gift from baker to maker! Just wrap some yarn, crochet hook/knitting needles, printed project and some cookies!crocheting kit with cookies11. TRIANGLE CROCHETED INFINITY SCARF, is the most fun to make!Crocheted Infinity Scarf12. HOMEMADE CANDIES, yum :-bvanilla and peppercorn candy13. CUSTOM TEA BAGS, another one that is great for everyone (unless they don't like tea of course!).gift teabags DIY14. KNITTED LOAFERS, it is easer than you think.Knit Loafers15. A BIRD PILLOW, or it can be a door stopper if you filled it with rice or some stones. Oh we so need a door stopper right now for all the fire doors in our new house!Stuffed bird DIY16. APRON, that's a perfect gift from maker to baker (or cook)!Apron DIY17. A CAT PILLOW, great for travelers or those who love cats! BTW, it turns out that I am getting a cat for my birthday! Super excited!!!A Cat pillow DIYHappy Wednesday :)

Rasa xoxo

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