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Category Archives: Make-Do Crafts

Molly Makes {A Deal Part II}

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A few months ago I came across a Test and Sample Knitters group on Ravelry.  I’ve had sample/test knitting in mind for a while as a make-do sort of way to fuel the crafting bug.  When in Oregon I would take on work – knitting things for others with a few caveats 1) they purchased all needed supplies except needles, etc. 2) I got to keep the pattern and any leftovers and 3) I got to make it on my time.  I made a few things this way and have kept it in mind as I moved, yet again, across the country.

It wasn’t long before the perfect test knitting opportunity came up.  A fellow ravel-er wanted people to test knit vintage patterns that she was selling, offered with free pattern was free recycled yarn and as an added bonus, in exchanged for nice pictures and words on a blog I got to keep my finished pattern.  I got a 2 month from receipt due date and have knitting consistently in all my (copious) downtown time since mid-june.

I’m pleased to say so far  I’ve completed the two fronts and back.  The arms are started and on their way.  With a little elbow grease and a late night or two I think I should be able to get this finished by my August date.

So far it’s a great little pattern.  I chose it because I wanted a nice fall weight and style sweater, perfect for throwing on for chores or quick trips to the store.  As a vintage pattern it’s not geared toward the real beginner, you need to know your increases and decreases as the pattern on tells you to do so, but is lack on what type to use.  You also need to be able juxtapose instructions as complete instructions are only given for one side and then with the instruction to reverse for the other – with plenty of “work as for back” thrown in there for good measure.

The yarn she chose for me was fantastic too, I was given an unraveled XL sweater and she even thought to include the tag for care instructions.  Now, recycled yarn (as seen here) does not look like yarn from a fresh skein of yarn, however it’s a great way to make-do with what you have and I haven’t found that it takes any different type of work to use.

As a test knitter I will be making this sweater exactly to the specifications of the instructions – no changing gauge, # of stitches or details so I’m preparing myself for the reality that when it’s done it may or may not be perfect for me, but so far I love the pattern and can see myself knitting it again with little bother.  Just remember when using a vintage pattern that they are written with the aesthetic and average body shape and size of the time in mind.

I’m excited to share this and other opportunities as they arise in the hopes that others can see that there are ways to fuel our creative interests without breaking the bank.  Combining your crafting pursuits with charities, the holidays or doing things just for others who can’t (or don’t want to) are all fantastic ways to keep your fingers busy!

Please visit the SweaterGirlKnits recycled yarn store HERE and the pattern store HERE.


Molly Makes {Baby Blankets}

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A brief interlude to show you a couple things I’ve made for other babies.  Two similar blankets, one for the new baby of an old boss and a second sent off to comfort a baby and mother I’ve never met for Craft Hope.  The second was made of the left over yarn – I always buy too much when I do buy for a project.

It’s a great simple pattern, you just repeat the fan pattern to your hearts content and it lends itself wonderfully to striping.  Perhaps after I finish my plans for Henry’s next sweaters and his quilt I’ll make him is own version of this.  However we were gifted so many wonderful blankets already we’re kind of in baby blanket over load so perhaps I’ll make a throw-blanket sized version later down the road.  I love having future crafting plans!

Have you ever sent anything to Craft Hope*?  What are your future crafting plans?

* Currently Craft Hope is taking for two Projects – Security Blankets for Tornado Survivors – Infant thru Adult Sized and – Orphan Outreach – Handmade Bracelets.  If you have any projects like this that have been sitting around wait for the right kick in the pants to get you to finish them, this is it!

Molly Makes {Baby Sweaters}

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One of the best things about getting ready for Henry last winter was planning things that I would make for him, and though he’d only get cold months at the beginning and end of his first year I still had plans!  Here are the two sweaters I made for him for his first couple of months, I have a third sweater I made for him for this fall so that will have to wait until he fits in it.  They were both made from yarn I already had, leftovers from past projects.

The first was his “Grandpa Sweater” – pattern HERE

This is him in it at about 3 weeks old (note the rolled up sleeves).

And this is him in it last week (note the now short sleeves).

Wooden buttons were a gift from his Grandma.  I plan on removing them and putting them on a bigger version of this I’ll make this fall.

And his Kimono sweater – pattern HERE

Button from a jar of buttons I got as a gift years ago.

I like the Kimono pattern, but love the Grandpa Sweater.  I have plans on making Henry a new one for this winter, along with one for his 2 boy cousins, one who will be almost 2 and one who will be arriving in September.  I think I’m going to go for a solid grey, red or brown this time around.

Molly Makes – Nerd Edition

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Oh I’m a nerd, my husbands a nerd  and there’s pretty much no hope for my son to escape it.  We nerd out to a lot of things, but over the last couple years our specialty has been Dr. Who and like any good Dr. Who nerd whose wife or girlfriend knits there must be a Dr. Who scarf.  It took about 5 months of knitting off and on and a demand that it must be part of his Halloween costume, but it was worth it in the end.

Here’s an in progress shot of the infamous scarf.  I’m about 5’3″ on a good day and at this point the scarf is only half way done.

Here’s the finished product on my hubby for that Halloween of 2009.

I’m proud to say that the scarf has been worn as his actual winter-wear every winter since.

Extra nerd tidbit – since we refused to tell anyone Henry’s name before he was born he was christened Baby Who by a friend of mine… I told you he can’t escape it.

The pattern I used was found HERE.  I have a dream of someday knitting a blanket with this color scheme.

Molly Makes…

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After the onslaught of the Homemade Christmas gifts from the last post I decided I wanted to have January’s crafting a little more “me” centered.  Mainly because my walls were a little on the bare side.  What resulted was a lot of embroidery.


Also finished this


and this

And for an idea of gauge, and because I’m rather proud of my small stitches.  A close up next to a bottle cap left over from New Years Eve.

These three projects were made from patterns found in a Dover Needlework Transfer Pattern Book picked up at the Goodwill for about 50 cents.  Thread was left over from the craft de-stash I was gifted, fabric was leftover from my days as a freelance costume designer and embroidery hoops were picked up years ago probably from a Goodwill.

Molly Makes…

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The best part of Making-Do is the making part.  Figuring out how to turn something you love to do into something better for you or those around you.  For me I love that I can turn my hobbies into something useful, it helps the cheap and miserly part of brain relax a little when I know that what I purchase for a craft will eventually become something wearable, gift-able or usable.  I have quite a few projects to share, and have been having great fun making things for my little boy, but right now I’m going to rewind the clock back to Christmas 2009, or as I like to think of it “Make”-mas 2009.

Because of my jobs yearly schedule I had November, December and January completely free.  Before you start seeing red please let it be known that they kindly gave me this time off free of any sort of paycheck.  So with my ample free time I decided to go all out with the Christmas presents that year.

Now this wouldn’t be appropriate if I said I ran out and got all new supplies, rather I dove deep into things I had – leftovers and notions from unfinished or abandoned projects.

Hand – Cross Stitched “Noel” Decorative Pillows with Felt Backs for the Grandmother-in-Laws

Wool Felt Bird Ornaments – My Own Design –

One set for my Cousin and her New Husband and One set for my Aunt and Uncle

Ben said the grey birds looked evil because of the red french-knot eyes.

I said I didn’t ask for his opinion.


Lots and Lots of Knitting –

I owe you a clearer picture of these later and that last hole is stitched up – but these are the hubbies WWII Era Pattern “Trigger Gloves”.

Made with this Amazing Purl Bee Pattern “Simple Pleasures Hat” for the Best Friends New Hubby.

The Montse Beret for the Best Friend to Keep Her Warm Up By the Lake

The Meret Beret for my Mother in Law

And Another “Simple Pleasures Hat” for my Father in Law

A run down of my materials and expenses –

Noel Pillows – Purchased the pattern from a local quilting store.  Fabric, thread, wool-backing gifted to be from my mothers de-stashing of her own craft supplies  (she has a side business selling her craft-wares)

Felt Birds – My own pattern and design, felted wool (recycled from skirts and sweaters) and thread also from my mother de-stashing

Knit Hats & Gloves – Patterns were all free!  Purchased yarn for the pink hat and black gloves from local yarn store, the rest were made from leftovers from past projects.

Overall nothing store-bought, nothing expensive all from the heart and (especially the knitwear) appreciated and used!