Thursday, April 26, 2012

Knitted Hand Towels

When I was growing up I used to get hand towels from my grandma for my hope chest.  I loved them!  When I was first married I would use them till they were faded.  I didn't want to part with them or throw them out until they were replaced by new ones.  Now over the years my grandma has made me several and I've been able to switch them out.

Every month I plan a girl's tea party/ craft day with my friends.  We have made so many fun things for our home.  The part I love about planning it, I normally choose the craft.  So of course I choose things I want to learn to make.  A couple months ago I asked my friend to teach us to knit hand towels on a loom.  

It was so easy and fun; I have since made 10 different hand towels!  This time I chose to make three different colored ones as gifts for my children's school teachers. The kids have a sink in the classroom and I thought they might appreciate a cute hand towel. 

I always let the kids choose a gift to give their teachers for the last day of school.  Normally we do a plant.  I thought this would be a fun change.  Can you believe it's already that time again?  Summer vacation is coming!

I start by cutting my hand towels in half and sewing a small seam, folded once. Whenever you dry your hands, you usually would grab just one piece of it so it's completely unnecessary to keep both sides to the towel. This way you get two towels for the price of one.

I don't know any special knitting or sewing terms so this is going to be said very simple. In fact, I will try to explain it best with my pictures.  This might be a bit like the blind leading the blind.  I am definitely no expert here.  Thread your craft needle and start by poking it through the backside of your towel. Make sure you also end with the yarn out the backside. This will matter more on a towel with a picture.

You want to start weaving your yarn in and out until you reach the other end.  I try to save as much yarn as possible so I don't cut my yarn off until I've completed the entire row.  Then you can play with it and make it fit better.  You will need to have extra yarn on both ends, long enough so that when you complete your towel you can tuck your strings in.  You can see from the picture about how much I leave on the right end.

Your next step is to slide the loops onto your loom. Make sure the pretty side of the towel faces out, and the backside with the strings in on the middle of the loom.

When I bought my loom it came in a set of 4 different sizes.  I always use the smallest, but I know all 4 will work the same. I wait until I get all the loops on and then I tie a knot as close to the towel as possible on each string.

Now you're ready to start your knitting. I tie my yarn onto the peg on the side of the loom before I do the first row.  I usually untie it after a couple rows.  It's too hard to keep it tied the entire time.

Once the yarn is tied on you can start winding the yarn around the pegs.  You start by winding behind the first peg, circle around it clockwise and move on to the next peg. Circle behind it clockwise and move on to the next peg.  You continue this until all your used pegs have been circled.

I found this to be very confusing when I was first learning.  I took a picture without the distraction of the towel to show you what this will look like.  Take notice of the first peg.

The part that looks like a continuous string will always be in the middle of your loom.  It should never appear on the outside. Just remember, if you're going clockwise around the loom, you will wrap it counter-clockwise around the peg.

For your hand towel you want to make sure you never do a full circle around the loom.  You can use all the pegs on your loom, however you don't work in a continuous circle.  I start by going counter-clockwise around my circle, and then once you make it to the end, your next row will be clockwise.

When you have completed your row, find the first peg.  This is not the one you just wrapped the yarn around. Using the loom pick, lift the bottom row of yarn over the top of the peg. Work your way counter-clockwise, just like you wrapped it counter-clockwise.

Once you have lifted the entire bottom row with your loom pick, you will take the yarn loop on last peg you touched, and gently with your fingers put it on top of the loop on the peg next to it. Each time you complete a row you will be shortening it by one peg until you get down to only 4 pegs.

Use your loom pick; lift the bottom row of yarn over the top of the yarn loop you just placed on top.

If you started going counter-clockwise, you will now be circling back around clockwise. You should always go the opposite way you just finished of your row.  Every time you switch directions you will wrap your yarn a different way.  The way I always remember it is when the yarn makes a continuous line it must be in the middle of the circle, not the outside like I have pictured below.

Keep alternating directions and continue to move the last peg until you make it down to four pegs.

Sometimes you will encounter the two lines of yarn bunching up on the outer edges. (Pictured above)  It can be hard to know where to put your loom pick to correctly lift the bottom yarn over the peg.  Somehow it gets moved to the back.  If you turn your loom around you can see the bottom row much clearer. (Pictured below)

It's up to you how many rows of 4 you want to continue making.  I don't have a set amount.  I do them until I feel like it will fold over the bar on my stove snugly.

It's very simple to finish it off.  You can now cut your yarn leaving about 8 inches on the end.  Remember you want to be able to tuck this in. Using your craft needle, beginning with the first peg closest to your yarn, run your needle through the loop on the peg, and gently lift off the peg.  Continue to do this for all 4 pegs. When you have all of them off of the loom, tie a knot as close as possible.

You're almost done!  You need to tuck in all of your yarn ends. It should be four of them.  It's very easy to do this if you thread it into your craft needle. All that is left now is sewing on a button.  The yarn is loose enough you can choose anywhere to button it into.  There was no need for a hole!

I found some really cute school buttons to add to my hand towels for the teachers!  I hope they like them!

I am so glad I learned to make these towels!  It's an easy project that you can finish very quickly.  I made all three during one movie with my son.

My grandmother's towels will always be special, but it sure is nice to have some backups on hand for when the others are getting ratty looking.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Through the Lens

It's time again to see our life through the lens of my camera.

At the beginning of January we took a family trip to the Children's Discovery Center.  This was the first time my older two and Titus were able to check things out.  They loved it there!  Zech really enjoyed being the tour guide and showing everyone all the fun things the center had to offer.

They have a really fun workshop for kids to build in.  Ariel made an adorable penguin.  Gabe built a house, and Zech made his own car!

Right before we left Zechariah found some face paint.  This was the first time I've seen that there.

The weather was so mild this winter we were able to make a few trips to the zoo.  It's so fun to see the animals at a different time of year than we're used to.

Ariel and Titus had their formal date first this year.  They dressed up fancy and dined at Blind Tiger where Ariel got to purchase a meal from the adult menu.  Talk about special for her!  Afterwards they went out for coffee and then finished their date with a trip to the movie theater to see Happy Feet Two.

Valentine is getting to be such an old bird.  She turned 5 this year!  Depending on how well taken care of a parakeet is, they can live anywhere from 5 to 20 years.  Ariel is hoping her bird will be around for much much longer.

Gabe planned everything on our date out together. We started our fun with dinner at Cracker Barrel.  Gabe especially wanted to go there as he had heard about the shop full of old fashioned candies.  When dinner was done, we browsed all the candy selections and came up with several to try. My favorite is pop rocks, Gabe's was wax bottles (Nik-L-Nips). After we were completely stuffed, we walked around the Mulvane Art Museum and saw their new Twist and Turn exhibit. (It was full of Bird artwork which Ariel actually participated in.) Our date was concluded by seeing The Adventures of TinTin at the movie theater.

Gabe is standing next to Ariel's painting of a white swan swimming on the water.

During spring break the kids had the wonderful idea of driving to Kansas City to eat at the T-REX Cafe.  The kids were wonderful!  They wanted this trip so badly that they each spent their own money.  Our waitress was shocked when I requested three separate tickets. The food is rather pricy so this was a big treat for me.  Each of them also took turns paying for our toll on the way there and back.  You can see Gabriel is cutting his geode in half at the T-REX gift shop.

My brother and Mikaela celebrated their birthdays together.  They are only 5 days apart.  You can barely see the cake for the amount of candles that are on top.  My mom thought it would be a good idea to put 33 for Shaun and 13 for Mikaela.  Those candles could have cooked the cake themselves!

In March I bought a new camera for myself!  It's a small one that I can fit in my purse so I will always have the ability to snap some photos whenever I want.  One of the features my camera has that I really like is the panoramic shots.  It's so much fun to take!

My ornery little boy... he likes to pretend to be unhappy.

I'm so excited to share this with you!!! On St. Patrick's day my husband and I celebrated our 11th anniversary. Three years ago I lost my wedding ring.  You can imagine how sad I was and have been since.  I hated living with out it.  This year for our anniversary Titus bought me a new ring!  I absolutely love it!  This is the same exact style of ring I originally had, only this time the diamond in the middle has been upgraded.  I guarantee you, this ring will not leave my finger.

We had a wonderful time celebrating together.  We didn't leave Topeka, so we purposely tried to do things we've never done here, and ate at places we've never been before, and stayed at a hotel we've always wanted to go to.

Check out the car seat!  Zech has graduated to a big boy booster seat!  He feels so grown up.  I'm sure it will be awhile before he can get rid of the high back on the seat, but we're so happy to have him out of his baby seat.  This car was such a blessing to me because it has a shoulder harness in the middle seat.  Normally you only find those on the sides.  I was so happy to get this car for this specific reason.  The middle seat is always the safest place for a little guy.

My beautiful daughter got all dressed up to go to a birthday party for one of her friends.  They had a fashion show and this is what Ariel wore down the runway.  As the parent I was asked to write her fashion biography.  Here's what I came up with:

Ariel Johnson is wearing a black toga dress done by 2-Hip a part of B. Rapper.  This is part of their new spring line of clothing.  The dress is perfect for that next formal gathering or funeral where you're wanting to pull off a dramatic look.  The dress is complemented by her silver owl pendent, and lustrous engraved hoop earrings. The ensemble is completed by her charcoal American Eagle leather shoes.

Easter!  We never can pass up an opportunity to hunt for Easter eggs.  My kids are addicted to candy.  I mean really, what kid isn't?

Normally I find different gifts for each kid, but this year I decided to make it easy and went for a movie for the entire family to share, HOP.  I found a tutorial for these adorable bunny pops online and had to make them for my family.  Our signs read "Some bunny loves you"  I made each bunny in the favorite color of my kids. The orange one belongs to Alex, a friend of our family.

My sister came home on spring break!  We took a day trip to the Salina zoo and museum.  I love that place.  I didn't want to share too many pictures here because I hope to do a blog post on it someday soon.  It's such a fun zoo!

And lastly... my community.  This is a group of friends from church.

"Love one another in the same way I love you." John 13:34

"If we are ever going to be church, the way Jesus wanted us to be, we are going to have to be a community of people who demonstrate uncommon love."

Uncommon love = forgiveness, compassion, truth, selflessness, and accountability