What I’m loving right now: Rainbow Loom

While hanging out a few days in LBI this past July, I got to hang out with a pretty cool girl named Jane.

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Jane makes these pretty awesome bracelets. In my day (yes I think of my pre-teens as "my day"), I was a fiend for friendship bracelets. So when Jane whipped out her Rainbow Loom and asked if I wanted her to make me one you can imagine how thrilled I was. 

First, I was to pick a color combo from her stash of rubber bands.

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Then she assembled the bands on her loom and with a crochet hook began to wrap each band around another. 

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When she was done wrapping she pulled the bracelet off the loom and WHOLA! The bracelet was done! It maybe took no more than 5 minutes. She could even go back and make it bigger or smaller depending on how it fit. 

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Jane ended up making all of us (even my husband!) a bracelet that afternoon. We still proudly wear them and get compliments when we do!

While it's obvious that I am late to the Rainbow Loom party, I can see why it's become so popular! It's pure genius! Quick to make bracelets that both boys and girls enjoy.  If you haven't read the story of how it all started – do so now. It will warm your heart. (thanks for the link, Cara!) 

Part of me wonders if it is appropirate to purchase one for myself. I got kid-cred, even though he can't quite stand or talk or knit yet. Right? Right.

Thanks Jane for sharing the obsession!! 

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Crochet craze: Rainbow Loom bracelets a hit with kids

Tutorial: Wrap Bracelets

I'm happy to bring you a tutorial on how to make the "Chan Luu" bracelets with the girl who taught me, Emily!

Emily, the bracelet master!

Bracelet Supplies

Materials: 
Leather cording, your choice in color. We used the 1.5mm thickness. You can also use other cords made of linen or a natural fiber for a vegan option. 
Beading thread, color to match cording 
Beads, size, color and type up to you
Needle, thin enough to pass through your beads (sewing needle works well, too!)
Larger button or bead for the end of bracelet 
Measurements: 
4 wrap bracelet 34-36 inches when cord is doubled 
3 wrap bracelet 20-22 inches when cord is doubled 
Make sure to wrap the leather around your own wrist to check for length and also allow enough cord for a knotted loop at the end to secure around the button. 
Let's Begin!
Take your button and thread it on the leather placing it halfway, folding the leather in half.

Tutorial Button placement

Step 1: Thread your needle and your first bead on to the jewelry thread, sliding it all the way to the opposite end of the thread – leaving yourself a 6" tail. Place the bead and thread OVER the leather cord with the tail of your thread coming from the bottom of the bracelet and working thread on top.

Bracelet Tutorial: Thread Bead

Step 2: Bring your needle behind the bottom cord, through the bead and out under the bottom cord.

tutorial bracelets

Pull Thread through.

Step 3: Bring needle from the bottom over the leather cord through the bead and under the top cord and pull tightly.

Tutorial

Repeat by bring the needle over the top of the leather cord through the bead and under the bottom cord.

bracelet tutorial

Bring needle up through the bead one more time ending with the thread coming out from behind the top leather cord. Pull tightly.

Step 4: Thread another bead and bring it down to the leather cord. 

Thread a new bead

Step 5: Bring needle over the the top cord and under the bottom cord holding bead in place with your fingers.

bracelet tutorial

Step 6: Bring needle over the cord, through the bead and under the top cord. Pull thread through.

bracelet tutorial

Thread another bead on the cord and conintue adding beads as in Step 5 and 6 until desired bracelet length.

Secure your last bead as directed as first by pulling thread through at least 3x. Tie a knot with the cord and thread at edge of bead. Cut thread. Tie 2nd knot allowing a space large enough to fit your button through.

Finished Bracelets

Make a full arm's worth and be the envy of your friends.

Shops on Etsy that sell beads: 
If you're local so SF there are our favorite bead places:  
The Bead Shop, in the Castro
General Bead, downtown 
Successories in the Button Box, Noe Valley 
 
Happy bracelet making!

Learn How to Knit

I realize that 99.9% of my readers are most likely knitters but for that 1% of you who pop by this ol' blog just for the sheer enjoyment of my knittyness I thought I'd at least encourage you to try to pick up some sticks!

Did you know knitting has been shown to help prevent stress, arthritis, heart attacks and dementia! Not to mention it's the perfect ice breaker for anyone who has to move to a new city, across the country, or around the world?

AND, I'd like to think if I was stuck on a deserted island I would be a hot commody with my skill. I know I could fashion a few sticks from some bushes or palm tree and some "yarn" from a leaf to knit from. Move over Professor from Guilligan's Island!

So where to begin? 

Find your Local Yarn Shop!
The easiest thing to do is to search for "yarn shops" near your town OR you can use this nifty little site Knitmap. Most yarn shops offer beginners knitting and you can meet other newbie knitters like yourself and create a whole crew of new and obessed knitters!

My personal favs: (as in I know the owners and they are all FABULOUS! Tell em' Margaux sent ya!)
Hoboken, NJ – Patricia's Yarns
Babylon, NY – The Village Knitter 
Philadelphia, PA – Loop
San Francisco, CA – Atelier Yarns 
Oakland, CA – A Verb for Keeping Warm 

Do an online course!

Craftsy
If you can't get to your LYS or you prefer to learn at home check out Craftsy.com! It's a new site that offers a great number of knitting courses. You can follow along at your own pace and you don't need worry that your fumbling fingers will embarrass you.

I also tell a lot of people I know who want to learn how to knit to use knittinghelp.com. I've even sent this site to my own beginner knit students to help them with their knitting homework.

Get a knitting handbook!
Even if you do a course at a LYS or online having your won knit handbook is a MUST in your knitting library. The one I learned out of (yes yours truly learned from a knitting book!): Stitch N Bitch. Debbie Stoller's personality shines through in this must have book. There are great sketches and no nonsense writing.  

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For a more traditonal route, get Montroe Stanley's Knitter's Handbook. These two books are ones you will come back to again and again!

Find other knitters like yourself!
Once you get your knits and purls down you're going to want to meet other knit enthusists like yourself. Enter: Ravelry.

Ravelry - a knit and crochet community
The "Facebook" for knitters. I pretty much talk about Ravelry at least once a post. I primarily use it to research patterns I want to make or to pair a yarn I have in my stash with a pattern. The benefits are endless in being a member, plus it's FREE.

Knitty.com is also another fabulous place to find patterns and instructions. Techniques with Teresa is my favorite column! I've learned so much from her column.

My other knitters out there – how did you learn how to knit?

Friday Links: Doing & Making

Inhabitat, Earth Day, Jill Fehrenbacher, Emily Pilloton, Jorge Chapa, Tylene Levesque, Mike Chino, Haily Zaki, Abigail Doan, Mahesh Basantani, Ali Kriscenski, earthday2008

(image via inhabitat.com)

Happy Earth Day! This Friday's links include some things I would do if I could actually put my knitting needles down. 

This couple built a huge console for their living room and even "weathered" their wood. Yup. I am lazy.

I love these paper flowers and am now envisioning a knitted version.

This made my husband go "woah." I will be making it for him soon. I mean it has biscusts – cream cheese biscusts!

Just click, I really don't think this needs a lead in other than: holy yodel!

I can't wait for May so that I can begin to participate in this!

And becasue it's also Easter, time to decorate some eggs!

renewal

Ishbel

There's something magical about the Spring.  There's an element of rebirth in every aspect of nature.  Trees are flowering, grass growing, people have emerged from their homes and are out enjoying the sunshine.  Particularly, after this brutal winter weather I think everyone was ready to bust out their doors!

Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague – Raveled
Yarn: Madeline Tosh Sock
Needles: Size 6 Addi Circulars

I for one was no exception.  I am loving the warmer weather and cannot wait to get my spring knitting on.  When Patricia got her shipment in this past fall I grabbed this color knowing it would be the perfect ummph to get me out of the winter "waa waahs".  I started the shawl in early December carrying it with me wherever I went and it soon became the project that just never seemed to get done. At first I was a little discouraged because I wanted to have an FO to show.  I did some behind the blog-scenes projects like baby booties and other "secret knitting" which made this project take a little longer than expected. I even left it at my local Panera after knit night one week and it was kept safe and sound for me by one of the workers who returned it the follow week!  This poor shawl has had an adventure of it's own.

Ishbel

 The pattern is very well written and like many other Ishbel makers I did a bit of a combo of the pattern.   I decided to do the Large portion of the regular stockinette and did the Small directions for the lace charts.  I probably had enough yarn left over to do one more repeat but am happy with the finished size.

It's really a perfect springtime shawl and I really cannot get enough of the color!  I actually snuck a last minute bright orange chunky scarf earlier this month which I posed on the Patricia's Yarns blog. I am predicting that orange/yellow is going to be SO in this spring 🙂

Arrowhead Vest

That is if my new lilac sweater doesn't take over… details to follow 🙂

Happy Spring!!