How To Knit A Coaster

A few weeks back, one lucky winner claimed her #scissorsandsage contest prize.  I decided to make her a cozy coaster she could use on her breakfast table, night stand, or side table.  I had been wanting to learn how to knit the knot stitch, a beautiful stitch that creates perfect texture for a project like this one.  The Weekly Stitch provided a straightforward tutorial on how to create this stitch.  (I learn best from watching YouTube videos, so I was happy to see that her website had both a video and written tutorial.)

If you are looking for a last minute gift for the holidays, let me assure you that my slow knitting skills got me through this project in no time at all!  This knot stitch coaster would look great gifted in a set of 2 or 4, perhaps in different colors.  I used The Weekly Stitch’s pattern to create my own design with a border, and am really happy with how it turned out!

The Materials:

  • 1 skein, or a decent amount of leftover yarn
  • Size US 8 straight needles
  • Tapestry needle
  • Scissors

How-To:

  • Cast on 23 stitches
  • Garter stitch for 6 rows
  • Then:
  1. Knit 1 row
  2. Knit 3 stitches / purl 17 stitches / knit 3 stitches
  3. Knit 4 stitches / make knot* / knit 3 stitches / make knot / knit 3 stitches / make knot / knit 4 stitches
  4. Knit 3 stitches / purl 17 stitches** / knit 3 stitches
  5. Knit 1 row
  6. Knit 3 stitches / purl 17 stitches / knit 3 stitches
  7. Knit 7 stitches / make knot / knit 3 stitches / make knot / knit 7 stitches
  8. Knit 3 stitches / purl 17 stitches / Knit 3 stitches
  • Repeat steps 1-8 two-and-a-half times (ending on step 4)
  • Garter stitch for 6 rows
  • Cast off 23 stitches
  • Weave in ends with a tapestry needle

*To make a knot, purl 3 together and leave them on the left needle.  Knit these 3 together, and then purl these 3 together.  Finally, drop them off of the left needle.

**Be sure to purl each stitch on the backside of the knots separately.

That’s all there is to it!  Happy knitting!

Picking Favorites

Last week, Scissors & Sage was featured on Paper Source’s blog (*GASP!).  I could hardly believe it.  They posted a picture of my DIY Advent Calendar that uses their text-weight paper and mini clothes pins.  Also last week, I updated all of the recipes I’ve ever posted here on Scissors & Sage to now include that recipe view “print” button.  Check them out here!

I’ve got Christmas on the mind, so this installment of Picking Favorites definitely has a festive feel to it.  (By the way, are you all enjoying Picking Favorites?  I’ve been writing these posts, where I share current inspirations from other blogs, once a month since October.  You can find all of the Picking Favorites posts under “more” in the menu up top.)

The color palette of the three pictures above is very inspiring.  This seed stitch scarf from The Purl Bee looks so cozy.  I wish that I had the patience to make a big project like that!  There must be thousands of stitches in there.  And those soaps from Suki over at Varpunen? I’m not sure I could ever choose a favorite color.  Photographer Eric at Brb-Syd captured this rooftop picture in Reykjavik, Iceland.  I find it breathtaking.  I often think of summer as being the time to travel, but winter excursions bring out a different side of places, don’t they?

Hanging lights in tree formation against black siding is such an inventive way to gear up for the holidays.  It’s a nice change of pace from the usual wreaths and greenery, especially with that metal bench.  (Nicole Balch wrote about this DIY project for Babble.)  I wasn’t able to find the original source of the beautiful outfit on the right, however I did come across it here.  Let me know if anyone out there knows who took this photo or where it came from.  The long pleated skirt in combination with the denim shirt is very cute!

To the kitchen we go… These Pretty Package Almond Sugar Cookies from Better Homes and Gardens bring me holiday cheer!  I’ve never tried intricate icing like this ribbon before, but I would be interested in giving it a whirl someday.  The root vegetables above come from blogger Elizabeth Stark of Brooklyn Supper.  Don’t they look just divine?  I could probably eat the whole plate in one sitting, maybe with the help of my veggie-loving sister and cousins.

And finally, this DIY chalkboard fridge from Conan and Katherine of Keep Smiling has me all excited.  Anne and I have that same fridge in our apartment, and I would just LOVE to give it a head-to-toe makeover (do fridges have heads and toes?).  If only our landlord allowed it… The project seems very doable and, according to Katherine, holds up quite well over the years.  Maybe one day!

Project Roundup: Holiday Inspiration!

I have to confess that I did not pre-plan a blog post for today.  I practically forgot that today is Monday.  Anne and I had a wonderful weekend together, as we celebrated our 6-year anniversary! We purchased our very first Christmas tree — a little guy, about 2.5 feet tall — that fits perfectly in our apartment, and enjoyed a delicious dinner at probably our favorite restaurant in Philly.

In conclusion: I didn’t write a blog post.  So, today I have for you a nice roundup of a few giftable projects I’ve created here on Scissors & Sage.  I hope that they inspire you to make something special for a loved one this holiday season.  And if they don’t inspire you — well, let me make it for you!

EDIBLE

These Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies really are perfect.  If you don’t believe me, make them yourself and find out!

Make Quick & Simple Fudge for your holiday hosts, family members, or friends.  It makes a big batch that can be distributed among many.

These Chewy Chocolate Jumbles are delicious, and can be customized with all kinds of added ingredients like nuts or dried fruit.

NON-EDIBLE

Make someone happy with this Honey Citrus Hand Scrub.  It smells incredible, and leaves your hands feeling very soft.  Easily gift it in a small jar.

This DIY Stencil Pillow is a labor of love.  There’s still plenty of time to begin working on lengthy DIY holiday gifts!  (This was also, believe it or not, the first project I ever posted on Scissors & Sage!)

Learn to make these Mirror, Mirror bathroom signs that are only readable when viewed through the mirror.  Check out the first installment of Mirror, Mirror here, too!

Feel like knitting?  This Cowl Me Crazy project has you covered.

These DIY Pencil Eraser Stamps require few materials and yield great results.  Use these stamps to create a matching set of custom stationery for a friend or loved one.  Need envelope inspiration?  Look here, and be sure to use old December issues.

Do you know someone who loves cooking or baking?  Give them the gift of a curated recipe box.  First, find a beautiful recipe box.  Second, learn to create custom dividers (see link).  Third, add recipes you think your gift recipient will enjoy — perhaps recipes that are important to you!

These DIY Dragonfly Earrings are cute and simple for the nature lovers in your life.

Make a statement with this Oscar Wilde Stencil Art.  It’s easily customizable if you know your gift recipient loves a specific quote.

I hope you enjoyed this roundup.  Be sure to let me know if you make any of these projects!  Share your creations using #scissorsandsage on Instagram and Twitter.

DIY Advent Calendar

Late last week, I was inspired to create my very first advent calendar.  I was catching up on posts from A Beautiful Mess, a lifestyle blog I follow, and came across this DIY project.  I’ve thought of making an advent calendar in years past, but never had enough foresight to create it before December began.  Now that the calendar is finished, it will certainly bring a lot of holiday cheer into our cozy apartment this season!

Elsie Larson of A Beautiful Mess was kind enough to share a PDF of the advent numbers in her blog post.  When I noticed that some of her numbers were missing in the download, I wrote to her in the comments section.  She got back to me very quickly, and fixed the download the following day!  It was so nice to receive a personal response from such a well-known blogger.

I posted two process pictures (below) on Instagram of my DIY advent calendar, and couldn’t believe when Elsie not only “liked” both of the pictures, but also commented, “Looks great!” on the first one below!  I felt starstruck.  What’s more, Elsie’s activity on my two pictures brought a lot of new traffic to my Instagram profile; I received over 80 likes on the first picture, plus new followers!

I completed this project over the course of two days.  There were more steps to it than I had anticipated, and crafting + taking pictures of crafting = a lot of time per project.  Here’s how I made my DIY advent calendar!

Step 1: Download and print Elsie’s advent numbers onto soft white text weight paper from Paper Source.  (I printed my numbers at a scale of 65%.)  Using a paper cutter, cut the numbers into uniform-sized cards.  Lay a large piece of butcher or craft paper on the floor and arrange your numbers in a tree formation.

Step 2: Move the numbers to the side and turn your large paper over.  Create square edges by folding over uneven sides and taping them to the paper.

Step 3: With the help of another set of hands and eyes, hang your large paper in a desired location using clear push-pins.

Step 4: Set up an assembly line of numbers, string, scissors, washi tape, and mini clothespins.  (These clothespins are sold in a pack of 25, however I somehow lost one over the years, leaving me with 24.  I decided to use a regular-sized clothespin for number 1, and really love how it looks as a tree topper — not shown below!)  Cut washi tape into square segments and then diagonally into triangles.  This will allude to the shape of a tree.  Finally, tape the string to the paper making sure to hold it taut.  Snip off the ends of the string close to the tape.

Step 5: Continue this process until you reach the bottom of the tree.  Clip on all of the numbers with clothespins to confirm that they sit nicely.  Then, step back and admire your hard work!

Step 6: Using a thin Sharpie, unclip the numbers one by one and write down winter- or holiday-related activities under each number on the large paper.  That way, you can reuse the number cards in future years for different activities.  (My December activities are fun and simple surprises for Anne and me, so for her sake, I can only share one with you here!)

When December hits, unclip your card to reveal the activity of the day.  Then, turn the card over and clip it on backwards.  That will allow you to keep all of the cards up at once, plus know the current date.  By Christmas, you’ll have a white paper tree decoration that no one would ever know was an advent calendar!

What do you think of this DIY project?  Will you try making your own advent calendar this holiday season?  There are so many alternatives to the usual candy-filled advent calendar that I challenge you to come up with your own way of doing it.  Tag your creations on Instagram with #scissorsandsage and @victoriaavitale so that I can see what you’re working on!

Knitting A Pom-Pom Hat

As much as I want to believe that spring is around the corner, it most certainly is not.  Every year I think that post-Valentine’s Day = post-winter, and that the long days of hibernation are over.  False.  There are probably many more cold and snowy days to come (like this morning in Philly), and one must be extra ready for this blustering wind!  (Okay, it isn’t actually blustering.) Anyway, here is a hat that I recently finished making.  I’ve never knit a hat before (let alone anything on circular needles), so I was very excited to work on this project.

I picked up my knitting supplies for this hat at Rosie’s Yarn Cellar in Philadelphia.  The woman working at Rosie’s was kind enough to educate and guide me through the process of starting my project.  Later on, I decided to add a pom-pom for a more playful look, and I couldn’t be happier with the results!

The Materials:

  • 1 skein of Manos del Uruguay merino wool
  • 1 skein of a contrasting color for the pom-pom
  • Size 8 circular needles (16″)
  • Tapestry needle
  • Scissors
  • Note: I did not end up using the size 8 double pointed needles pictured below.

How-To:

  1. Cast on 87 stitches (use this hat size chart to find your size)
  2. Seed stitch for 1 1/2 inches
  3. Stockinette stitch until the hat is a total of 7 inches tall
  4. Begin decreasing on circular needles (learn how here)
  5. Set aside the finished hat (!!!) to begin making the pom-pom
  6. Use either the same yarn or a contrasting color to make the pom-pom (learn how here)
  7. Secure the pom-pom to the top of the hat using a tapestry needle

While I do hope that winter sees itself out sooner rather than later, this hat is sure to keep me warm in the meantime.  This pattern used about half the skein of Manos del Uruguay yarn, so I may use the other half for another project in the near future.  I love the subtle striation in the color.

Remember that it is never too late to start knitting.  I recently read an interesting article called “Don’t Stop Knitting! It Keeps You Healthy!”  Take this late-winter opportunity to start something new.  Peek into a local knitting store and see what they have to offer.  As my psychotherapy teacher said today, “The way to change your future is to change your present.”

Note: Photos by Victoria Vitale & Anne Kenealy.