Tuesday, January 11

New year, new ideas

Project Sweater-to-Sweater: Complete
Recall my sweater project that I began a few weeks earlier? Well, by golly, it's complete! And it fits like a glove.
Today, I am trying my hand at homemade knitting needles. For those of you who know me, surely you have heard me talk of my best friend (and soul sister) Liza. Let me tell you about Liza: she is a gem, to say the least. Liza and I have been friends since we were in diapers, and I predict we will be friends until the end. I am so lucky to have Liza in my life, because it seems that she is always doing the most wonderful things and has all the best ideas. And the nice thing is that we are always doing the same wonderful things. Sometimes, we will go a month without seeing or talking with each other, and then when we reunite, we have both been reading the same book or starting the same new adventure. It is perfect.
Liza and I, happy as could be
Well, lately, I have been knitting up a storm (a common theme for my wintertimes). Luckily for me, Liza has also been knitting this winter. This year however, I have been expanding my horizons with knitting. While for some, this may mean spending a pretty penny on yarns and needles, I have taken deliberate action to knit frugally. For instance, most of my yarn as of late has been "harvested" from old sweaters. Not only does this yield plenty of yarn, but you are able to feel how the yarn feels when knit and you are saving loads of money. My next step, as I mentioned previously, is to make homemade knitting needles. This idea came from Liza, who has been making needles for years. She started making homemade knitting needles at the Waldorf school she attended as a kid. Making them is really quite simple, and very cost efficient!
Homemade knitting needles
All you need is:
1 wooden dowel (depending on the size needle your pattern requires, this will vary; you can also use chopsticks!)
1 pencil sharpener
Sandpaper, 220 grit
Boiled linseed oil (you can find this at any hardware store, in the paint section)

1. Go to the hardware store, and buy: a wooden dowel, some fine grit sand paper, a pencil sharpener, and boiled linseed oil.

2. Go home, sharpen the end of your dowels (I made double pointed needles, but if you're not making them double pointed, then glue something on one end! You can use modeling clay or a bead to cap the ends). Then, sand them down really well. This is important, because otherwise your yarn will get snagged on the wood. I had to sand them a bit after I started knitting with them, because little splinters happened, but that stopped after a little while. Then, rub them with linseed oil and let set for about 10 minutes. Then, wipe off the extra oil and ta-da! you have knitting needles! 

3. Knit knit knit knit knit knit knit :) 

Also (I have been crafting a lot lately) today I made homemade candles! So simple and resourceful. Here is what to do:

Homemade candles
Left over wax from burnt out candles
Wick (which you can find at any craft store)
Chopsticks, pencils or any other item to hold the wick in place, over your container of choice
Something to pour your candle into (Careful with glass, some glass may shatter with heat; canning jars are a perfect solution!)
A saucepan (I recommend buying one at a thrift store and dedicating it to candle making)
Something to protect your counter tops (I used paper plates and a flattened cereal box)

1. Sort your left over wax by color and melt similar colors in your saucepan over low heat. Candle wax is highly flammable (hence, it is used to burn candles) so BE CAREFUL! :)

2. Prepare your candle containers: Cut a piece of wick that is a little longer than the depth of your container. Tie the wick around a chopstick and rest it over the mouth of your container. Trim the wick so it just barely touches the bottom of your container. Having a straight wick is important so that when burning the candle, the wick doesn't drown in candle wax. Place the containers on your protective surfaces (i.e. your paper plate, cardboard, whatever you choose).

3. Carefully pour the wax into the containers. Reserve a bit of wax. Allow the candles to cool completely. As the wax cools, the center of the candle tends to "fall". Use the reserved wax to fill this hole once the candle has cooled.

4. Once you have burned through the wick of these candles, repeat!
Happy New Year, and I look forward to sharing many new ideas.

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