Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My New Baby

Ok, so, no, I did not have a baby, but I did get the best Christmas present ever, a Kindle! I'm so excited. I still need the learn the ins and outs of it, but so far I have downloaded about 5 books, some of them free or only $5, so I'm getting the hang of it. I wasted no time in knitting a case for it, because I plan to carry it in my purse and I don't want it to get scratched or anything, and why buy a case when you can make one yourself? Fun! I first made a black one, but it didn't work out so well because I had been drinking a lot of beer and, consequently, made a couple obvious mistakes. So then yesterday I knit a pretty lime green one, which is shown in the picture. And I have to say sorry about the pics... they were just taken at 5am so I had no good lighting and they look terrible. The case is not actually that color. It is more of a light lime green.

Since I don't usually follow patterns, I can't really share anything spectacular with you. You may be disappointed to know that I really just knit a big rectangle and sewed up the sides :) I used a double strand to make it a bit thicker, used size 9 needles, and started with 16 stitches. Then I just knit in stockinette stitch until it was long enough to fit the kindle when doubled over. Sew up the sides and you're done!

This holiday season, I also had fun making the rag wreaths shown in the previous post. Here is a picture of our mantle with three of them. They are quite addictive. It is so fun picking out the different fabrics. I ended up having a craft party at my house a couple weeks ago and we all made these wreaths. I have no pictures of that night, regrettably.

Happy Holidays!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Beautiful Christmas Rag Wreath Project

Recently, I was looking around for a good craft to make for a Christmas present for my friend, and I saw some pictures of rag wreaths. I thought it would be a fun project and a great gift, so I tried it out and absolutely loved the result! And, it was quick and super easy, yet impressive-looking, as if you spent hours on it.. tee hee. Here is how I made it:

I started out by purchasing two fabrics, 1 1/2 yards of each, as pictured. I wanted a vibrant red and green, as it was to be a Christmas wreath, but you can use any fabric you wish to make a wreath for any time of the year, such as Easter, Halloween, etc. Also, since this project is meant to be a quick, easy, and cheap craft, you can use any fabric you have laying around the house. It does not have to be only two types.

I also purchased a round, styrofoam wreath form, found in the flowers section of JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, or any other craft store. I also needed very strong glue (I used Amazing Goop craft glue) and some pretty ribbon, both of which are also available at a craft store. The only other item I used was a bamboo skewer, but you could use a screwdriver or something else instead, I would think. I cut the very tip off of the skewer to it wasn't too sharp, so as not to puncture the fabric, although I'm not sure that would even matter.

Next, I cut up the fabric into strips that were roughly 2 inches x 6 inches. I did not measure anything. It is not important to get it measured exactly right, and frayed edges don't matter either.

Then (you're not going to believe how simple this is), I simply popped each piece of fabric into place by stabbing them in the middle and into the styrofoam with the skewer. Make sure the vibrant side of the fabric faces up as you do it. The skewer comes out, but the fabric stays in. I placed each piece of fabric very close to the next to assure a dense placement of the pieces, so the styrofoam wouldn't show at all. I covered the whole front of the wreath, the sides, and the inside. The inside is the hardest part and can be a tiny bit tricky, but all-in-all, this is one of the easiest and prettiest projects I've ever made. It took about one hour, start to finish. In fact, I loved it so much, I turned around and made another the next day :) Don't worry about covering the back, since it will not show at all anyway.

The only other thing to do is simply glue a ribbon on for hanging, and, voila, you're done! If you make this project, I want to see pictures!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Atlanta Twitter Knitters

This past Sunday, a group of us Atlanta Twitter Knitters (and crocheters and spinners) met at my house for some knitting, spinning, crocheting, eating, and great conversation. Here are some pics that were taken.

Above, you see Cathy (@cathycarter), Kellie (@futterwackan), and Claire (@sk8rknitr).

Below, you see Nicole (@nalmaraz) and Lia (@liaknits79) demonstrating spinning while Kellie observes.

Here you see Cathy, Nicole, and Lia again and below, you see Kellie and myself (@merfz). I forgot to hold my knitting in that pic :)

We had fun! Let's do it again soon!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My New Etsy Shop

Introducing... my new Etsy shop! I have been thinking about re-opening my shop for about a year now and finally did it. I had a shop a couple years ago, but it had my paintings in it and didn't do so great. This time I am featuring mostly my knit items. I will list some paintings later, but for now I am only listing my knit things. Since I'm celebrating my grand re-opening, I am offering FREE shipping on all items for the first 2 weeks. Come check it out my new Etsy shop!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Knit-A-Year Project

Here is a pic of my Knit-A-Year project thus far. It is getting bigger! I can't imagine how long it is going to be when April, 2011 rolls around. I'm on day 49 today. I love the reflection that this project affords. It really requires you to slow down and think for a few minutes each day and reflect those thoughts with yarn. I have to admit, I do skip some days because of being too busy, but I always catch up when I can. I need to do better at knitting on it each and every day. I do have the time, I just struggle sometimes with what kind of a mood I'm in and what color I should use to represent it.

For an invitation to our Knit-A-Year group, just send me your email and I'll send you the invitation.

Friday, May 14, 2010

New Orleans Trip

So we just returned from a trip from my second home, New Orleans. My husband was born and raised there and it was pretty much my second home too when I was attending LSU in Baton Rouge back in the 90s. My husband, David, and I met at LSU. I don't know how many of you know this, but David's family lost their home to Katrina. It was one of the ones that was totally under water for weeks and David's parents and brother lived with us for three months. My Mother-In-Law lives here in Atlanta, right near us, and my Father-In-Law has rebuilt their home in New Orleans, visiting here when he can.

Anyway, we visit New Orleans about once a year, but this time was extra special because my Brother-In-Law, Edgar, graduated Xavier as a DOCTOR of pharmacy. A doctor! Through all the adversity this family has been through over the years, we are so immensely proud of Edgar and his achievements - it was not easy for him.

In this picture, you see my three kiddos, me in the black-and-white dress, my husband next to me, Doctor Ed next to him, my Mother-In-Law by me, my Father-In-Law near the other end, and David's 2 cousins from Honduras. Honduras is where David's parents are originally from.

Here is Andrew having fun with some crawfish.

The other pics are of my babies, Sierra(12), Stephen(9), and Andrew(6).

I took tons of pictures on this trip, but of course I can't include them all. Our days consisted of many beignets from Cafe Du Monde, muffalettas from Cafe Maspero in the Quarter, hurricanes from Pat O'Briens, and many strolls around the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, which reminded me of my old college days. Keep in mind, we did NOT take the kids to Bourbon, just so ya know, but we did see some kids there, which really disturbed me.

Thanks for visiting Merf's Turf!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Talk To Me!

Because I am interested in improving my blog, I'm about to inundate you with questions galore in the hopes of getting some feedback. Bear with me and let's hear from ya!

What do you like about this blog? What don't you like? What do you look for in a blog.. what can I do better? Do you like a lot of pics? Do you like a lot of personal information, or do you like it when people stick to the knitting and creativity stuff? Do you like giveaways?

Anything else you would like to comment on?

Thanks in advance for your feedback, and have a wonderful day!! If Blogger won't let you comment, for some reason, email me at mzel@bellsouth.net or Twitter me: @merfz

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dishcloths for the Moms

I just finished knitting kitchen discloths for my mother and mother-in-law for Mother's Day. I found the super easy free pattern on Knitting Pattern Central. They were fun to knit, and, like I said, perfectly easy and great for beginner knitters. I hope they like them!

Monday, May 3, 2010


Here is my finished knit amigurumi ladybug by Amy Gaines. Her's always look better than mine, but I love it nonetheless. We haven't given him/her a name yet... any suggestions? I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this one yet. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it, give it to the kids, or sell it in a craft fair, which Amy says is fine to do. Thanks again, Amy, for your fabulous patterns!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Revisiting a Past FO - knitcroblo6

I love to knit all kinds of things, from scarves and hats to dishcloths and purses, but one of my favorite things to knit is amigurumi, so I thought with this post I'd include my very first amigurumi project. This adorable owl is by Amy Gaines and was knit, as opposed to crocheted. My son (pictured) absolutely loves it, but I think he's forgotten Jorge (that's what we named him) by now because Jorge sits on my craft table, untouched. I prefer to keep him that way because he is somewhat fragile. Since he was my first amigurumi, he has a few mistakes, and my sewing isn't great so things look a bit worn around the edges. I love how his eyes look all worried, as if he thinks he's about to get squeezed to death :) Ah Jorge, we love you so.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Location, Location, Location - knitcroblo5

I love to knit pretty much anywhere! My favorite place to knit is on my couch in my living room or the comfy greenish chair, also in the living room, usually while watching a movie. I also LOVE to knit in the car on a long road trip, when I'm the passenger, of course. I just bring my knitting everywhere in case I have an opportunity to sit for awhile. The baseball field is another spot where I can be caught knitting, only during practices though.. I love to actually watch the games. And another great spot? Doctors' waiting rooms!

Where do YOU knit?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

MANY New Skills! - knitcroblog4

(It's my birthday today!!)

Wow. WOW. I'm supposed to write about ONE new skill I'd like to learn? How about several? This is going to take a while :)

Firstly, as previously mentioned, I really need to learn to knit with double pointed needles! It seems everyone and their brother can and that I'm the only one who can't. I have gone as far as casting on and knitting a few rounds on them, but I have failed to practice and develop the skill. It seems that everything I want to knit calls for DPNs, so I really need to bite the bullet and learn already.

I also want to learn the Magic Loop Method, just in case the DPN thing doesn't work out. I have heard it is way easier that using DPNs, and I already know how to use circulars, so maybe this would be easier.

I need to learn how to fix mistakes! I usually just frog a few rows and start over, even when it is just a dropped stitch, which I hear is easy to fix. I just don't know what I'm looking at, so I don't know what the mistake is, let alone how to fix it.

I would LOVE to learn to crochet! I basically want to know how to crochet or knit anything I want.. I have a lot to learn :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Great Knitter! - knitcroblo3

Well it didn't take me long to figure out who this post was going to be about! I have knit several of this person's patterns, mostly for my kids. This knitter/crocheter is none other than Amy Gaines. I simply adore her amigurumis and find them so fun to knit. I don't crochet yet, so I haven't tried her crochet toys, but I think I appreciate her so much because she provides knit amigurumi, which are more difficult to find than crocheted amigurumi, and she also writes the patterns for 2 straight needles. I love this because I cannot use DPNs yet. Her patterns are so simple that even a novice knitter like myself can follow them. I admire the tenacity she must have to sit down and work out these patterns. As I sit and knit these adorable creatures, I have no idea how she does it. Lots and lots of practice, I would assume. Thank you, Amy Gaines, for your awesome patterns and for providing me with tons of toys for my kids.. they put smiles on the kids faces, especially when they realize I took the time to knit the toys for them.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

An Inspirational Pattern - knitcroblo2

Ok, so you might be thinking, "Just fingerless mitts? That is inspirational?". Well, to me, a self-proclaimed novice knitter, yes, I do aspire to knit fingerless mitts. I love the cables running up and down these beautifully blue mitts. I recently taught myself to knit a cable via YouTube, but that is all I know how to do: knit a cable! I have no idea how to knit something with a cable in it, aka: I can't follow a pattern to save my life. And to boot, I have not yet mastered knitting with double pointed needles. I can knit with circulars, maybe I need to learn the magic loop method?

These "Blue Monday" fingerless mitts are from D'Oh!Mestic and if you click on this link, you can find the free pattern for them that I found on Knitting Pattern Central's Free Pattern Directory... I love that place.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Knitting Roots

And so begins Knit & Crochet Blog Week! Today's topic is: How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting?

Looking back, I learned to knit about 7 years ago because of my grandmother, pictured with me on the right. In this picture, she is holding up an afghan that she had just finished and I believe if you click on it it will enlarge so you can see the detail. My grandmother is currently 94 years old and still knits, although not as much as she did in the past.

One day, about 7 years ago, I started thinking that it would be sad for her craft to not live on when she passes away. I started expressing an interest in knitting and ended up getting a "Learn To Knit" kit for Christmas that year. I didn't do anything with it at first, maybe because it intimidated me a bit, but a few months later I picked it up and taught myself to knit. I started out with scarves and knit dozens of them, selling many in a local craft fair that I participate in every year.

I eventually branched out to knitting hats, and because I love to knit them and because I also love giving to others, I started a charity called Knits For Needs. I am super proud of this wonderful charity and the people who comprise it. We donated 634 knit/crocheted items to people in need throughout the United States in 2009 and this year's goal is 900 items!

Today I love to knit amigurumi, hats, scarves, purses, afghans, and cell phone cozies. I am not advanced, so I'm sort of stuck on a beginner/intermediate level, which I'm not very happy about. I know how to use circulars, but I have not yet mastered DPNs, which is on my agenda. I do not really know how to follow patterns unless they are amigurumi patterns by Amy Gaines, who writes super easy patterns for us beginner folks. I recently taught myself to knit cables using YouTube videos, but I don't know how to knit anything with cables just yet, I just know how to make a cable.. does that make sense? I love to teach myself new knitting techniques, I just need to make the time to foster those skills and learn how to knit actual patterns. Tips would be appreciated!

A year or so ago I wrote a blog post similar to this one that dove more into my Grandmother, my roots in knitting, and also teaching others to knit entitled "Spreadin the Knittin Love" that I hope you check out as well. Thanks for visiting Merf's Turf!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Knit & Crochet Blog Week

I'm so excited about participating in Knit & Crochet Blog Week next week! This is a great idea thought up by Eskimimi, and I'm totally loving her for it because I think it is brilliant. All bloggers who'd like to participate simply write blog posts on the same topic, which changes by day. Here are the topics, and the strange code you see after the topics is the tagging system we are using so you will be able to find these posts if you search for them:

1) Monday, April 26: How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? (knitcroblo1)
2) Tuesday, April 27: An Inspirational Pattern (knitcroblo2)
3) Wednesday, April 28: One Great Knitter (knitcroblo3)
4) Thursday, April 29 (my birthday!): A New Skill (knitcroblo4)
5) Friday, April 30: Location, Location, Location (knitcroblo5)
6) Saturday, May 1: Revisit a Past FO (knitcroblo6)
7) Sunday, May 2: What a Yarn (knitcroblo7)
Wild Card (I think you can use this in lieu of a topic above): All Tooled Up

Please check back with this blog and others next week to read more! For more information, see the hyperlinks above and feel free to leave comments and questions on this blog. Can't wait to hear from you, and I hope you all will also participate in Knit & Crochet Blog Week.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Knit A Year Project

Here is the most recent picture of my Knit A Year project taken a few minutes ago. The black was knit on a very dark and depressing day for me. As mentioned in my bio, I have Bipolar Disorder and this project is really helping me see just how darn moody I really am, which is not all bad, and it helps me document those moods, which I'm supposed to be doing every day anyway. I like the reflection and awareness this project allows for. I think I learn something new about myself every day and I would encourage everyone to try their hand at the Knit A Year project for these reasons. (if you would like an invitation to our Knit A Year group on Ling, please email me your email address: mzel@bellsouth.net) The light, fluffy green color I knit yesterday signifies the calmness and inner reflection that seemed to engulf me yesterday. My mood has gradually improved a bit since that black day, and I look forward to coming out of this depression soon.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Explorations In Creativity

So here is my Knit A Year project thus far. For more information about Knit A Year, see my previous blog post or click on the clickable link in this sentence. The days are represented as follows:

Day 1: Light pink for Easter
Day 2: Brown because I felt like doo doo that day.
Day 3: Brown and white to represent my favorite part of our zoo trip that day: the giraffes.
Day 4: Yellow stands for my excellent mood, the sun-shiny day, and the yellow pine pollen is everywhere here in Atlanta.
Day 5: Rainbow colors to represent my great mood and happiness that I taught my son to knit that day (yesterday). Here is a picture of him taken just a few minutes ago. He's doing well with that knitting!

I can't wait to see where this project takes me. I heard that they will be on display somewhere when we are finished with them. To be invited to our Knit A Year group on Ling, please email me your email address: mzel@bellsouth.net.

In other creativity news, my daughter has asked us to keep all the lids from the flavored waters we drink because she is going to make something with them. She is thinking of making a huge fish. I love that she is creative and that she is doing a green project! Here are pictures of her collection hanging off of our cupboards. I think the note is cute! I'm going to show her this website that suggests all kinds of ideas for creating things with bottle caps: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/bottlecapsartscraftstideasprojects.html

I love that my family is so creative! By far the most creative one in the family is Stephen, my 9-year-old son pictured knitting above. He is constantly making things, writing stories, reading, and drawing, and I mean constantly. He is so excited to add knitting to his repertoire... too cute! (I just heard him tell his brother, "I'm going to knit all day today!"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Knit A Year

I just started a Knit A Year project a few days ago. Knit A Year is a project in which you knit according to your mood every day for one whole year. You simply cast on 10 stitches on size 6 needles and knit at least 3 rows. I am using stockinette stitch because it looks really cool when it curls up. Every day you knit a few rows in a color that represents your mood or something about that day. The first day I knit in light pink because it was Easter, the next day I knit in brown with colored flecks because I felt like doo-doo... hence the doo-doo brown, and yesterday I knit in brown and white because we went to the zoo and my favorite animals were the giraffes. I will post a picture of this project soon. To learn more, click on the hyperlinks above, and if you'd like an invitation to our Knit A Year group on Ling, please let me know. We would LOVE for you to join us!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Woodland Cuteness

I had the best time knitting these amigurumi woodland animals by Amy Gaines! These will be given to my boys in their Easter baskets this year. My favorites are the hedgehog and the owl.. too cute!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pea Green

This is a picture of a simple hat I knit today. I knit it with sock yarn paired with a beautiful pea green wool. Nothing fancy, since I'm not experienced enough to do fancy, just a simple baby hat. I simply LOVE the color pea-green, and to prove it, I've included a picture of my car :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hats and Fairies

Ok, I need to take some Blogger lessons or something because I have the worst time getting my pictures in here right! The one with the hats is sideways, for some reason it uploaded that way on Blogger and I can't fix it.

Anyway, I've been busy knitting, as usual. I take time every day to knit because I love it so much and I need the few minutes of relaxation. I do not work during the day anymore so I have much more time to put into my knitting. The first pictures you see here are hats I have knit, mostly for Knits For Needs. I will keep and attempt to sell the bright colored ones in a craft fair I do every year, and the purple and gold one is MINE, all MINE :) Can you guess what school I went to and follow? That one is for fall when we're having our football parties and cookouts. The pinkish one on the bottom, or actually on the left since my picture is crooked and I can't fix it, is felted. It turned out pretty cute. I personally love all the square topped ones I knit. As you can see from the picture of my youngest son, they look very cute on kids!

The other pictures you see here are of an amigurumi fairy doll I knit for my daughter for Easter. It is an Amy Gaines pattern, seen here, although hers looks much better than mine! I had trouble with the eyes and improvised a bit, but other than that I think it turned out pretty cute. I am working on some forest critters for the boys for Easter and will post those pics when I'm finished with them. I just finished the squirrel yesterday and I'm working on the owl currently.

In other news, my daughter (12) and I went to a meeting of Twitter knitters at Rare Purls in Duluth, GA on Sunday. We met up with a couple people I have met before and I also got to meet some people I know from our online conversations. I did not do a good job taking pics, in fact I took none, but Melissa, the Knifty Knitter, did take pictures that can be seen on her blog. There is a picture of me and my daughter sitting next to eachother as well as the other people we met with. I had fun and was so glad we set up that meeting! My daughter is a novice knitter and is currently knitting a hat for Knits For Needs as a service project for the Junior Beta Club at school.

Thanks for stopping by Merf's Turf, and have a wonderful day!