Friday, January 31, 2014

Knit Some Cozy Mitts: Free Pattern

Free Knitting Pattern for fingerless gloves by Clarissa Knits. Forever Last in Line
Need a quick little project that is high in the cozy factor? With the temp dipping back down below zero here again, I did. My hands are ALWAYS COLD. ALWAYS. I have been wanting to make some mitts for a while now, and after seeing this free pattern by Carissa Knits I knew it was time.

While I have not been active online, I have been very active at home. Well, maybe not "very" active. But somewhat active. More active than I have been online, at least. As you can see by the pictures of piles of boxes and moving supplies that I'm not showing you, I've gotten a lot done. And that means I earned knitting time, right? Right.

Siiigghhhh. Moving is so messy.

Free Knitting Pattern for fingerless gloves by Clarissa Knits. Forever Last in Line

 I used one of my fave shades of Caron Simply Soft. This saturated, jewel-tone teal is just yummy yummy for my eyes. I love it. I am sort of kind of making a blanket out of jewel tones like this. It's on hold though, so I stole the teal for these mitts.

Free Knitting Pattern for fingerless gloves by Clarissa Knits. Forever Last in Line

 Another fun tidbit about this project: it was my first experience with cables!! I am smitten. I want to cable everything.

Socks. Underwear. Shower curtains. Pants. Sweaters. Vests. A box.


Free Knitting Pattern for fingerless gloves by Clarissa Knits. Forever Last in Line

 I also would like to note that I discovered I was doing "make 1"s wrong. I suspected it was incorrect when I was working on Sailor's Christmas present and ended up with a vampire-bite looking hole where I had done two m1's. I had increased stitches before in other projects, but had been with the knit through the back of the stitchy thing method. So I looked up how to ACTUALLY make one using the "raise the bar" technique. And look how clean it looks! That niiceeee lil row of new stitches. So proud.

Free Knitting Pattern for fingerless gloves by Clarissa Knits. Forever Last in Line

This pattern is really quite easy. I would recommend, though, checking the sizing a bit. My hands are itty bitty baby hands, and these mitts are a lil too big for me. I prefer skin-tight, my-fingers-are-turning-purple gloves. You know, the kind like a glove. Right.

I don't fault the pattern with this, because my hands are freakishly small.

Free Knitting Pattern for fingerless gloves by Clarissa Knits. Forever Last in Line

Give this pattern a try! Your hands deserve to be stylishly warm like mine are.

Happy Friday!!
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Monday, January 20, 2014

Free Printables: I Love You More Than Yarn Valentines Card

Free Printable! Forever Last in Line Blog Printable "Love You More Than Yarn" Valentine Card
I have decided to try and make free printables a monthly thing. After all, I am obsessed with them and I love finding fun ones, so why shouldn't I offer some too? This month's freebie is coming at you a little early, but there's a good reason for that which I will explain later.

Happy February!! The month of looovveee. I'm not a big fan of the commercialism surrounding any holiday, so the amount of stuff I already see in the stores for Valentine's Day makes me a little grumpy. But still. I find it to be a fun, light-hearted, happy day amid some of the coldest months of the year. And there is nothing bad about sharing a little lovin' with those you hold dear.

This printable is a spin-off of a valentine's day card I made for Sailor while we were dating. He got a little laugh out of it, and said, "Oh, gee, thaanks. I was really worried," very sarcastically. Little did he understand (after only having been with me for a year) the full compliment of the sentiment I had expressed. I think he is FULLY aware now of my yarn nerdiness, so perhaps this year the card will mean a little more.

Especially considering he has lived with me and my yarn stash for closing in on two years now.
Free Printable Valentine by Forever Last in Line "Love You More Than Yarn"
Find the Download Here!!
It prints on a full sheet of paper, so if you want smaller cards, you will have to resize it. It would also be super cute printed on kraft paper or glittery cardstock! Alas, I do not have either of those right now and I am too lazy to do what I normally do in want of kraft paper: cut up a paper grocery bag. But it looks cute on white still.
Free Printable Valentine by Forever Last in Line "Love You More Than Yarn"

You could even make banners out of the card!! Too cute right? I love holidays and coordination and cute things.

Speaking of cute things....
Arlo the Adorable Bunny: Forever Last in Line
Dat Bunny. Check out Tara Lea Photography here!

My sister, the very clever photographer, took some stinkin' cute pictures of Arlo while we were visiting family at Christmas. This is one of my favorites! He was so intrigued by his gift from my parent's dog, Roxy. Spoiler alert: It was a sweater. How cuuuttee is thaattt??

On to the last bit of business before I close out this post: the reason why the free printable for February is a few weeks early. There are some big changes going on here at the Carrot Cottage. Boxes are everywhere I look, and the sound of packing tape cannot be escaped. You know what that means...

We are moving!

I can't give all the details now, but I wanted to post a bit of a disclaimer as to why my posts are going to be pretty sporadic throughout the next two weeks. By February, we should be all settled in to our brand new (albeit still temporary) home. This is not a forever move, but rather a nine month to a year long move. After this...we will begin the adventure of looking for a house to own.


I am so excited. Baby Z is on the way, moving is underway, and I am currently in the way. -flees to dodge couches and boxes being moved-

Hopefully I'll sneak in a few more posts before we go, but do not be surprised if I suddenly become silent. This also means that Last in Line Shop on Etsy will be closed in a week or so until we get all set up in the new place.

Happy -early- Valentine's Day! Can't wait to get back in the swing of posting and show your our new home!

Linkin' up at these fine sites!

Friday, January 17, 2014

DIY Refashion: Men's Shirt to Peplum Dress

 Hey guys! Remember this big old ugly shirt? A week or so before Christmas I set to work chopping this shirt up and designing a snazzy peplum dress out of it. I wore it on Christmas Eve and got asked a few times where I bought the dress! I consider that a successful refashion.

#betterthanstorebought #booyahmozzerellasticks #awyeah #hashtag

Ahem. Enough of that. Let's talk about the dress. I started by properly dissecting the men's shirt and gathering some matching thread and some extra fabric in the event that I needed to add more.
 While I do not have any good pictures from the process, you will have to make do with my turn of phrase and poetic descriptions.

I started by drafting up what I wanted in the dress. It had to feature a princess-seamed bodice. The lines are flattering to every body type, and will hopefully suit me for at least another month or so of Baby Z's growth. Hehe!!

To achieve a well fitting bodice, I was lucky enough to have a princess-seamed dress that fit me quite well. I used that dress as a basis for designing mine. I added a little wiggle room in the bust area (since pregnancy has already left me floundering for tops that fit in that realm) as well as the waist. After drawing up the pattern on cardstock (and making sure to add a seam allowance) and picking which pieces of the shirt would become which parts of the bodice, I set to work cutting.
 After piecing the bodice together with pins, I was shocked and concerned to discover that the bodice was FAR too tight. So, without a moment to lose, I drafted a side panel. Having such limited fabric from the men's shirt, I had to use some sections from a pair of teal old lady trousers I scored a year ago. I also decided to use the teal pants to assemble the peplum ruffles as well so that the side panels did not look out of place.
After the bodice was pieced and sewn, I quickly trimmed up the skirt and edged the peplums. Then, after attaching the skirt to the bodice, all I had to do was finish the neckline and sleeves and WHAMO. One bootiful dress.

Since this dress will hopefully be able to be worn for another month or two of this pregnancy, it is a bit billowy. I pair it with a brown belt to keep some of the girth in check. You can hardly tell that it has got extra belly room!! The shoes are a Goodwill score from a few weeks before Christmas. $3!! Holy schmowzow!! And they are practically new. I love me some fun flats.

There you go friends!! Have you done any spiffy refashions lately??

Linkin' up at these fine sites!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Free Patterns: Nerd Crafts

I've been vowing to make more things for my own use for as long as I can remember. It is hard to dedicate a large amount of time on a project for myself. It feels selfish! Only certain projects can really stir up the desire to make something for myself. Usually those projects have a certain...geekiness to them.

Here we have a round-up of some free patterns for the crafty nerd in each of us. Perhaps you can convince yourself to whip up a little something for you if the project is delightfully nerdy. -winkwink-
Find the pattern here
I could not resist setting to work on this pattern as my first foray in knitting dishcloths. It is bigger on the inside, you know. (Hurhurhurrr) The chart is very easy to read, and it worked up quickly!! I made two of these cloths: one for me and one for my dear friend Becca. I have quite a bit of blue cotton yarn left from these projects, so there may be a few more in the future.

Side Note: Look at that spiffy coffee mug! The TARDIS disappears and reappears on the other side of the mug when it is filled with a hot beverage. Delightful!
Find the pattern here
 I know I wrote about this Direwolf Cowl before, but it deserves to be mentioned again. The pattern is written for double knitting, but I instead used it as a guide by which to stitch the direwolf onto the cowl afterwards. Very easy!!
Find the pattern here
This pattern marries two of my great loves: yarn crafts and patterns worn by characters on shows/movies I enjoy. This particular scarf is modeled after one worn by Luna Lovegood in the 7th Harry Potter movie. There are many versions of this scarf, but I like this pattern best. It is easy, beautiful, and fun. In fact, I was so fond of the finished product, I rewrote the pattern to make it an infinity scarf and made one for myself. You can expect to see it soon!!

Those are the patterns I have used so far. Here are some free nerdy patterns I want to make soon!

Amy Pond's Pandorica Opens Scarf
Vincent and Amy Pond Scarf
Harry Potter Bookscarves
A Practical Animal Cracker Hat
The Weasley Sweater
Bow Ties Are Cool Washcloth

Have you made any of these patterns? Do you have another favorite nerdy pattern?

Happy Thursday!
Linkin' up at these fine sites!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Yarn and Upcoming Projects

 So I scored some new yarn from If you are a yarn crafter and you don't know about this site yet, you really need to check it out. They sell major name brands of yarn at discounted prices. If you are like me and you need some good-quaility yarn that you have worked with before but are too nauseated to leave the couch don't want to drop big dollars at Michael's, this is the site for you! Plus, in my opinion, they have a better selection of colors than most chain-craft-stores. Yaayy!!

I got 8 skeins of Lion Brand Cotton Ease for less than $30, plus shipping. Woohoo!! I consider that a win. -high fives self-
 I purchased two skeins of this nice grey and some ocher to make a baby cardigan for Baby Z. Since I want to get crafting and it's a bit too early to know the gender of our lil babu yet, I picked out colors that can go either way.

Yes, I am one of those people that sticks to the "normal gender roles color schemes": pink and purple are for girls. But pretty much everything else is fair game. Hate all you want, haters, but it's my opinion, yo.
 I want to use the Baby Sophisticate cardigan pattern by Linden Down on Ravelry for this cardi. I'll probably do the ocher for the collar/button flap. Any left overs are going to be for socks and mitts and hats for lil Baby Z.
 This color was really hard to capture on camera. Probably because the lighting here is terrible. This is about accurate to the true color of this yarn.

Regardless, I'm going to have to wait until we know if the baby is a boy or a girl for me to use this yarn. If Baby Z is a girl, I want to make the Angel Wings Pinafore by Bev's Country Cottage on Ravelry. If Baby Z is a boy, I am thinking the Wonderful Wallaby Hoodie is in order.
Blarg, soooo washed out in this pic!!
 That brings me to the last two skeins! This classic blue cotton will go to work as a baby blanket. I'm thinking it'll be a simple baby blanket like the Classic Baby Blanket by Rayn Blair on Ravelry. It's sturdy, but still pretty. But not too pretty that I won't want to use it 24/7. I mean, come on, this is cotton yarn we are talking about here. It's a work horse! Use and wash and use and wash. Babies are messy.

Can't wait to get started!! Have you used any of these patterns? How did it go? I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Linkin' up at these fine sites!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

WWII Watch Cap: Free Pattern and Reflections on the Past

If you follow me on Deviant Art, then you have already seen a little blurb about this free pattern. I was so excited to stumble upon it! I'm a major nerd when it comes to history, so when you add knitting to history, I'm all up in that.

Both of my grandfathers are interested in history, so I knew this would be the perfect project to work up for both of them. I used the same yarn for each of their hats, and included a note regarding the history of this pattern. It went over quite well at Christmas, so I am very pleased.
This pattern is the Classic World War II Watch Cap, derived from Beanie No. 212, Bucilla Yarn Booklet, Volume 318, dated 1940.

Nineteen forty!! I know there are many recorded knitting patterns that are much older than that, but the fact that I followed a pattern that was followed by dedicated women during a time of great worldwide conflict strikes me as amazing. It is estimated that the pattern was knitted at the very least a million times during World War Two. As I was working on these hats, I could not help but feel a connection to the women and girls who had labored over this same hat in hopes of warming up a soldier off fighting overseas.
You know you are jealous of my ammo trunk and med kit
 That's what knitting is all about, right? A connection to the past, as well as a hope for the future. You don't make a sweater for a baby and hope that it never gets used. You hope that the child will outgrow what you made them, and that the sweater will get tucked away for another baby to use when they are born. A piece of the past, and a prayer for the future, all in one.

In the 1940's, factories were dedicated to making uniforms, weapons, and vehicles for the war. Women had to become the machines that cranked out the hats to warm the boys out in the field. How many of them were thinking of one or two men in particular while stitching? How many of them prayed that, in the future, their beloved husbands, sons, and brothers would find their way home? These were the questions that rattled around in my head as I worked on these hats.
 My Grandfathers taught me so much: how to grow anything in your garden, how to make a fishing pole out of a stick, how to treat other people with respect and polite teasing, how to set up a tent and build a campfire, how to work with wood to build a new door, a new bed, a new wall- the list goes on. While I was knitting these hats, my hope for the future was that they would both understand the love, honor, and respect I have for them and their life experiences. I hoped they would see the joy I find in understanding the past and how that joy came from the importance they placed on history when I was young.
I think they understood. <3 br="">
You can find the pattern here.

Happy Tuesday!!

Linkin' up at these fine sites!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Handmade Knitting Needle Case

 As you may recall, I give a lot of handmade gifts for Christmas. I love giving handmade gifts because I love getting handmade gifts! It's a "do onto others as you would have them do to you" kind of thing. This past Christmas, my Aunt totally surprised me with the most fantastically crafted knitting needle case.
 When I first learned to crochet, my maternal Grandmother (who taught me to crochet) made me a crochet hook case. I still have it, even though it is in shreds. She replaced it on my 21st Birthday with a new version, but I can't get rid of the old one. Too many feels.

Since I started knitting, I have been trying to cram dpns and circs into my crochet hook case. Each time I struggled to close it, I vowed I would actually get on top of my life and make myself a case for my needles. I'm a big girl, I can sort of sew. It shouldn't be too hard, right? So, I started doodling plans for the needle case I would make after Christmas for myself.
 But low and behold, I didn't need to! My Aunt (my mom's sister, so my crochet-teaching grandma is her mother) is an incredibly talented seamstress. She would be all "Oh nooo, it's nothing, I just mess around" if she was reading this (which...she might be?), but let me tell you, she is so precise with her stitchery. Everything she makes is so sturdy and beautiful. She often makes purses and tote bags out of placemats. I am lucky enough to have one that she made. I've had it for 4 or 5 years now, and it is still in tip top condition. (And that is really saying something, because I abuse my bags.)

This case is going to last forever.
 Another surprise: it was full of circular needles when I opened it!! There is this spectacular shop on ebay that sells high quality, yet affordable, bamboo knitting needles. She scored me a full set!!
 The fabric she chose was "home decor" fabric. Aka upholstery. Aka Carolyn-proof. Seriously, it was a miracle that my first crochet hook case lasted from when I was 7 until 2 years ago. Bags tremble at the sound of my name.
 For even more ridiculously awesome detail, check out those labels!! My Aunt does not have a Pinterest account (though she occasionally peeks at the site), but I tell you, her projects that she undertakes are pure Pinterest gold. She took regular hardware-store washers and some number punches and put the sizes on each washer. Then she rubbed some black ink into the indented numbers to make them even easier to read. -swoons over the details-
I love gifts that are cool, but useful. Not just useful like, "Oh thanks yeah, I needed toenail clippers," but useful like "this is so pretty I want to keep touching it and I forget why I got it out in the first place." I think this needle case wins. Especially now that I have a whole slew of projects that I will need a whole slew of needles for. I'll know riiiiggghht where to find them.

Happy Monday, loves!!!

Linkin' up at these fine sites!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

How to Dissect a Men's Shirt

There are a multitude of ways to chop up a men's shirt and make something completely different out of it. Today, I would like to share with you the art of complete shirt dissection. This is not a way to make a cute dress out of a shirt, but rather a method for getting the most fabric out of a button-down shirt. Of course, you could use the fabric to make a dress later! That's what I did. Let's get started!!!

Gather your materials, yo:

Big ol' men's shirt
Measuring tape (for seeing how much fabric you got once done)
Seam ripper
Matching thread (for correcting any little oppses you may make)
And of course, a bangin' playlist. I went "Flo & the Mac" on this one.

A few tips on selecting a shirt: most project work best with cotton. But, I mean, this dissection process isn't going to fail if you find a fantastic silk or polyester shirt. The shirt I scored was a gift, so I didn't really have a choice on the pattern. My mother in law had it for some reason and gave it to me for "whatever".  But, for most projects I do, small patterns are the best patterns, so this fine plaid shirt worked out brilliantly.

 Another suggestion: Go for big. Bigger the shirt, the bigger the fabric gain.

SO. To the chopping! If your shirt has a pocket, get out your seam ripper and carefully take off the pocket. Save it for a project that involves pockets taken off of shirts.

 Bam. Be careful when seam ripping, here. Try really hard not to rip the fabric of the shirt itself. If you happen to rip it, that's what the matching thread from earlier was for. Fix dat hole!!
 My shirt had collar-stay buttons. Carefully clip these off. Don't do what I did and get a little enthusiastic and clip a hole in the shirt.
Careful clipping!! Don't make holes!!
Now it's time to cut the buttons, button holes, and collar off in one looonnnngg cut. Trim this whole unit off by starting at the bottom of the button flap and cutting all the way up and around the collar and back down to the bottom on the button hole side. Be sure to cut the seam the attaches all this jazz to the shirt off with the button flap and whatnot. If you don't it's no big deal, but you'll have to go back and trim it off.
The button flap
And it's all off!!
 You can wear it, if you like. Or just save it for some other creative thing later.
ooh gurl, dat headband iz cray!
 Alright, now flip your shirt over to address the back yoke. Most shirts have them. It's that area right at the top of the back where your shoulders would go. Most shirt have a double thickness of fabric here for extra strength. Sometimes they have that weird loop thing. Mine had both.
 Here's what it looks like from the inside of the shirt. It is easiest to remove it while looking at the inside, I think.
 Cut the shoulder seam out. Again, make sure the actual seam goes away with the back yoke. It just leaves a nice clean edge on your big chunks of fabric if you do it this way.
 Trimmy trim trim the part that connects to the sleeve.
 And the part that goes across the baaaack...

And vioala! The back yoke is out!

While this piece is not very big, don't underestimate it's potential. I had it in my garbage pile, but had to fish it out and separate the layers to get all the fabric potential out of it for a project. Thank you back yoke for saving my project!!

So, here's your shirt so far:

Lookin' good. Time to cut the front panels off of the back of the shirt.

It really doesn't matter which piece you leave the side seam attached to, but I prefer to leave it on the front so that the back ends up with a clean edge.

Cut so that the sleeves end up still connected to the front panels.

Do the same on both sides! Woot!! The back of your shirt is almost completely dissected!!

Just trim the bottom hem off of the back, and it'll be all done! If you want to go really fabric-gaining-crazy, you can use the seam ripper to open the hem and get less than an inch extra of fabric for most shirts. I'm lazy, so I just cut it off.


Now let's work on the front panels. You do the same thing for each side on the front.

Start by cutting the sleeve out. Take the side seam with it all the way down.

Take the bottom hem off too. You'll end up with a sleeve with one nice long tail-thingy.

Check out your cuff. It probably looks like this:

Cut the cuff off the sleeve all the way around, starting and ending at the hemmed slit that goes up the sleeve to accommodate big muscles.

Then cut the slit (seams and all) out with the cuff.

Now, cut one side of the sleeve seam out, letting your sleeve lie flat.

Then, cut the other side of the seam out, freeing it from the sleeve.

Some sleeves are strange, like the one I had, and have another seam as well. No worries, chop it out and call it a day!!

Yaaayyy!! Now, iron out your big pieces (back, 2 front panels, 2 sleeves) and decide what you want to do with the extras (the collar/buttons combo, the cuffs, the back yoke, and all the seams) and you are golden!! Iron that bad boy and make all the things!! I'll have a post later next week to show you what I made with my dissected men's shirt!

Love you all bunches!!