Monday, October 29, 2018

I'm Back

This blog has been badly ignored, almost abandoned, for the last seven months. I have nothing better in the way of excuse other than that life got in the way.  I put away my needles for the summer and all the other crafts also took a back seat to my family obligations. The next few months are also going to be busy but I hope to put up a few posts now and then.
In knitting news, I only restarted knitting last month and have knitted only two pairs of fingerless gloves.
The first one was a DROPS design that I made on comission. I always enjoy colorwork so it was a breeze. Once it was done, I wanted to knit another.
This design was reverse-engineered from an pin on pinterest. It has some embroidery too, in the form of a flower an the back of the wrist, and I add some pearl beads for good measure. I guess my eldest daughter will be claiming this pair.
  In other news, my biggest project of the year (fourteen months to be exact), the dollhouse, is nearing completion. I just need to add a few minor things and take pictures.

  Other than that, our life has been most ordinary and routine, Alhamdulillah. The weather is slowly turning milder and I feel knitting beckoning me once more. Letvus see how much I can manage in the coming months.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Spring Knitting And Sewing

The spring in definitely in the air, here in Islamabad. The winter chill is gone and we have days at a stretch, of warm sunshine, interspersed with spring showers. My latest projects suit this change in weather.
My old reader might know that I have a thing for girl dresses with knitted bodices. So, I recently got hold of two balls of cotton yarn, in light fingering weight, to make a couple of spring dresses for my 6-year-old. I bought the yarn online and was a bit worried about running out. But in the end, I managed two get both bodices done, using down to the last inch of both yarns.
Next, I went to shop for matching fabrics and thankfully found some suitable ones quickly. It took one evening to sew up the dresses and another to sew on the buttons.
I love these part-knit part-sewn dresses and would love to test some other stitch patterns in the futre, insha Allah.

In other accomplishments, I did an early spring-cleaning of my craft closet and it has made me resolved to use up some of my stash. I'm still undecided about what to cast on next, socks maybe, or a stole.

Thursday, February 8, 2018


The past few months have been intense. Important family affairs took much of my attention, time and energy, so I had little to give to this blog. My crafts slowed down but did not halt, as I would be lost without them.

Coming to knitting, I got some comission work for the first time in my life. I used to dread knitting to someone else's specifications, but it was surprisingly pleasant. I knit some things, I would not normally knit and it was refreshing and fun.

As for the actual projects, these were fingerless gloves_ four pairs. The first was straightforward enough, a DROPS pattern which went fast and quick.
The other three I had to reverse-engineer from some photo the client sent me. There were two pairs of same design in different sizes.

The last one was unique in that main and contrasting colors were revesed for the two gloves of the pair and there were pompoms. Now while I know how to make pompoms, I have not had much practice. So it was an interesting experiment and I got them right in the second try.
Here is the completed comission in full. I am happy to report that it was well-received.
The glove saga does not end here, as last week, my son handed  me some yarn (he has some of his own, isn't that cool?) and asked me to make a pair for him. He drew out the design for me. This one was simple enough to knit, but six rows of duplicate stitch took almost three hours. He is well-pleased with his design.
Hopefully these are all the gloves for this season. I'm eager to work on something new and have just cast on a different kind of project.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Winter Fantasy Cardigan

After a summer-long hiatus, this project was recently picked up again.  At that point, it needed a few inches of knitting on the body and both sleeves. A few rows on it every night and it is finally done. I sewed the buttons on it last evening and wove in the ends this morning.

I like stranded work so this was a good, fun project. Knitting top-down meant reversing the instructions and doing some recalculation to adjust gauge. The cardigan is on the smaller side, because I was tired of baggy sweaters (and perhaps am a bit deluded about my actual size). All-in-all it was a satisfactory project and just the thing to bring back the knitting mood.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Dollhouse Kitchen Highlights

Kitchen was one of the most daunting part of the dollhouse, bathroom being the other. (I'm still figuring out, how to make a toilet.) What made it more challenging, was that the girls wanted it as realistic as possible. They wanted cabinets, drawers and fridge that could open and close. And, I had to made everything from scratch.

I started with this set of drawers. These were a easy start, made with matchboxes, and popsicle sticks. I used beads for drawer knobs.
Next was the sink. It was trickier but turned out OK. The sink is made from styrofoam egg carton. The cabinets underneath were hinged, though it was my first attempt and they are far from perfect. But as my husband keeps reminding me, curbing my perfectionist streak, it is just a plaything for the kids.
The range was easy and looks cute. The oven opens too. 
The hinges for these wall cabinets took some time and effort. These turned out a bit wonky, which seems to be the theme for this dollhouse. The hinges made it possible to open the doors, but keeping them closed required some thought. Velcro was my solution.
Then came the wall tiles. These brought together all the elements.
The refrigerator was my least impressive piece and hated the making of it. But girls are happy with it, and I cannot bear the thought of redoing the whole thing, so is stays. Here too, velcro came to my rescue.
The girls found some food erasers to fill it with.
Lastly, the dining set with four chairs. The red cushions go with the window curtains.

Next comes the top floor of the house. At this point in time, I am almost done with the interior of the house, and am working on the exterior. The end is almost in sight.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Dollhouse: Living Room Snippets

Continuing with the dollhouse, the first room put together was the living room. I started with a sofa, made of fabric scraps and cardboard.  It is upholstered in some leftover cotton from one of my sewing projects.
The I used the popsicles sticks to make a coffee table and a side table. These were later painted brown.
The rug took the most amount of time. It tòk me two weeks to latch-hook this thing. It used up one of the oldest yarns in my stash, but was a lot of work.
I also made some curtains. I'm not sure about them but the girls like them and my husband told me to move on.
Next I did some wall art and built a TV. (My six-year old want me to turn a cellphone into a TV so as to have one with some action.) And a table to go with it. And you can also see a clock there. I rimmed it with green crystal beads.
The wall art for the other wall.
And lastly, I made a chandelier for the room, just yesterday.
The room in its enirety will be posted in the final dollhouse post. Next post, the kitchen highlights.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Making of A Dollhouse

It all started when my eldest daughter wanted a dollhouse and I offered to make her one. I had built one before, when she was smaller, but it was pretty basic. It was made of thin cardboard and was unfurnished. She had very little interest in dolls and their houses at that time. My younger one played with it, but it did not have a chance of lasting _ flimsy as it was _ in the hands of a toddler.

So, I thought now was my opportunity to improve on dollhouse design, and go the whole nine yards. This one is going to be for barbie-sized dolls and is going to be fully furnished. I am utilizing all available resources and skills at my disposal. At the moment of writing this post, I am about 65% done and it is coming together nicely. Not a masterpiece, but good enough for a child's dollhouse.

As for the materials, it is being constructed out of cardboard, popsicle sticks, paper and hot glue being the other essential components. Before actually starting the construction, I measured out the area where it is supposed to go, and calculated the dimensions of the whole thing, as well as the different rooms. I had a basic plan in my head and after a few youtube videos, and lots of inspiration from pinterest, I was good to go.

 Now for some action shots, I started with a sturdy double cardboard base and then put up the walls. I wallpapered them at the same time.
These first windows were very tricky. Initially I tried bamboo sticks to make the window frames but those did not hold well. Later, I ripped them out and used the popsicle sticks. (These popsicle sticks must be the unsung heroes of the paper craft world. I feel sorry that I discovered them so late. And they are very inexpensive too.) At this point, the kids informed me that the dolls must have a staircase to get to the upper floor. To maximise room space, I attempted a spiral staircase. My skills were very rusty at that point and it is not very neat but I covered it in tape and it became satisfactory.
 Next, I put a wooden floor in the living room, with the popsicle sticks. Because I ran out of paper for a wall, that wall got some wooden panelling. It was at this point that the actual magnitude of the project hit me. It was going to take me a few montns, at least, to get this done. Since then, I have been tackling it, one task at a time, and that has worked really well. Back to the living room, you can see the new window panes. The staircase fit best in the kitchen/ dining area, so it went there.
After sanding the floor ( that aiming-for-the-whole-nine-yards thing), I painted it with a mix of water colors and acrylic colors. I did not have a brown color then, and had to mix up red, blue and black. This shows in the color variation on the floor. It was such a relief when I actually got a brown, that I am OK with the vareigated look.
In the next post, inshaAllah, some more details from the living room, including curtains, wall art and furniture.