57. Knitting: Double Knit Gingham Neck Warmer (free pattern!)

Remember that nifty new knitting project I showed you a few weeks ago?  Well, it’s all finished and I wrote up the pattern.  I considered putting it up for sale, but I ultimately decided it should be free!  This is the first pattern I’ve written in a while, so I thought it would be nice to give it to the knitting masses for nothing in return except awesome finished products.

So, without further ado, here it is!

Double Knit Gingham Neck Warmer

***Please note:  This pattern is worked in double knitting.  Although it is a good beginner project for this technique, I suggest you do a little practicing before diving into this pattern.  There is an excellent tutorial here. (Skip to about 2:55 to see the actual double knitting technique.)***

Knitpicks Swish DK in coal (2 skeins) and white (1 skein*)
16″ size US7 circular needle
stitch marker
tapestry needle

*If you do not reuse the white from the gauge swatch, you will need 2 skeins.  I had very little white yarn leftover at the end.

18 sts x 25 rows = 4″ in double knit St st (UNBLOCKED)

Finished measurements = 8″ tall x 22″ circumference (UNBLOCKED)

St st = stocking stitch
CO = cast on
pm = place marker
kfb = knit in front and back; knit into the front and back of the same stitch
ssk = slip slip knit; slip 2 stitches as if to knit, then knit together through the back of the loops

CO 96 sts using the i-cord cast on method and coal yarn (or the darkest color yarn you will be working with); pm and join to begin working in the round.

Round 1 (double knit setup row):  Kfb to end. 192 sts.

Round 2:  Working in double knit, begin row 1 of the chart below.  Repeat this 16 stitch pattern to the end of row.

gingham knitting chart

Rounds 3-18: Work in St st according to chart.

Round 19-36: Work a full repeat the chart pattern.

Round 37-45: Complete chart row 1 through row 9 ONLY.

Round 46: Using coal yarn only, work one row in double knit.  Leave white yarn at inside of work.

Round 47: Continuing with coal yarn, ssk to end. 96 sts.

Bind off stitches using the i-cord bind off method.  Weave in ends.

gingham neck warmer pattern

And there you have it: a super chic (and completely reversible!) neck warmer that will keep you toasty and fashionable at the same time! Please let me know what you think, and feel free to ask me questions below! Happy knitting. 🙂

gingham neck warmer pattern

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56. Sewing: It’s time to take it all in.

In my recent quest to dress a bit nicer for work, I pared down my closet and got rid of some things.  I also took out the pile of clothing that needs some sort of alteration (mostly shortening length or taking in).

This is my current list of items that need some sort of sewing:

6 blazers (yep, I’m insane)
2 skirts
2 dress pants
2 jeans
2 hoodies
1 button-up shirt

That’s a lot of stuffs.  I’ve obviously been procrastinating for quite some time…

I’ve decided that I need to make all of the necessary adjustments to THESE clothes before I acquire anything else that needs work.

Now that all of that is out in the open, I actually started some alterations last night!  My first project will be to take in one of the blazers, as well as shortening the sleeves a bit.  I scored this baby for $4 at Goodwill.

red blazer alterationsI guess the fit isn’t all that bad, but I definitely like my blazers a bit more form-fitting.  The sleeves are obviously too long…thank you, petite frame.

There’s also this problem:

red blazer alterations

Apparently, the previous owner was mauled by a cat.  Or a raccoon.  I’m not keeping the lining anyway as I’d like to keep this alteration as easy as possible, so it’s just going to get ripped out and put out of its misery.

I will hopefully get to work on the actual sewing tonight!  Stay tuned to see the “after” version, with a complete run down of how I did my alterations.


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55. Before and After: Shutter Door Jewelry Storage

Remember the door I showed you on Friday?  I finished its transformation today.  I turned it into a display for my jewelry and heels!

To refresh your memory, this is what I started with:

shutter door
And this is what I have now!

shutter door jewelry storage
I’m super happy with how it turned out, and can we talk about how EASY and INEXPENSIVE it was to make?  Okay, let’s talk about it.

How to make a shutter door into a jewelry organizer!


window shutter or shutter door
crackle medium
wood glue
small clamps
s hooks


1.  Wipe down the door with mild cleanser to get rid of any dirt and grime.

2. Using a pair of pliers, remove a few slats from the bottom half of the door.  (You can skip this step if you don’t plan on using this to store any shoes.)   Admire the destruction you have created.

shutter door jewelry storage
3. Here is what the door looked like after I took out three of the slats from the bottom.  You may be able to take out more or less depending on your door.  In order to figure out the spacing in between slats, I just hung a pair of shoes from the top row in order to figure out where to take out the next piece.

shutter door jewelry storage
4. Paint the door to give it an aged look.  Here’s what I used, and the steps of my painting technique:

shutter door jewelry storage

shutter door jewelry storage

1. Raw wood.
2. Streak on brown paint.
3. Layer on tan paint.
4. Add crackle medium + white topcoat.

5.  My door had a hole for a door knob, and I decided to cover it up.  I found these wood accents at Home Depot for a little under $6 for the pair.  If you decide to use these, make sure to paint them to match the door.

shutter door jewelry organizer
6. Once the accents are painted and dry, attach them to the door using wood glue and clamps (or heavy books).  Allow to dry completely.

shutter door jewelry organizer
7. Prop your door up against the wall of your choice.  It’s now time to add all your trinkets and pretty shoes!

8. To hang necklackes, bracelets, etc., add s hooks to the slats on the top half of the door.  Add necklaces to your heart’s content.

shutter door jewelry storage
9.  Hang your shoes.

shutter door jewelry storage
And there you have it!  You made your very own storage unit for loads of pretty jewelry and shoes.

shutte door jewelry storage

I can imagine this project being used in so many different ways.  You could:

– make a bunch and line them along an entire wall…imagine all the shoes and jewelry you could own! 😉
– create a pot rack for the kitchen
– use as a towel rack in the bathroom
– hang family photos with clothes pins

It’s such an inexpensive way to create more storage, I’m considering making another one.

Here’s the cost breakdown:

shutter door – $8.45 at ReStore
wood accents and s hooks – $12.53 @ Home Depot
paint and crackle medium – already owned

Total cost = $20.98

shutter door jewelry storage
What would you use this for?  I’d love to hear your ideas!


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54. I bought a door today.

I’ve had an idea for a new project stuck in my head for the past few days, so I pulled the trigger and bought the supplies today.  The biggest item is a door.  This is that door.

shutter door
I picked it up at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore for a mere $8.45.  I have big plans for this baby.

Can you guess what I’m making?

Your best guess will have to suffice for now, because I’m not telling you what it is yet!  I’m taking the rest of the night off to hang out with my Valentine. 🙂


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53. I have a confession to make.

*** Warning: Shameless self-promotion ahead!***

I’ve been cheating…on this blog.  With another blog.  Scandalous!

Seriously, though, I recently started a secondary blog.  It really has nothing to do with this one.

I post my outfits.  And you look at them.  And tell me whether they look good (or not).

I originally started it on Tumblr back in January…but I’m not a fan of how that site works.  It seems like everyone just reposts photos of stuff.  No one puts out original material.  So, I’m back to WordPress.  I guess I never should have left…how naughty of me!

Anyway, if you are interested in checking out blog numero dos, here’s a fancy link for you to click.  Okay, it’s not that fancy.

Gabby Gets Dressed

Please be gentle; it’s still under construction.  I’ll be drawing a header image for the site sometime this week.  It will be fabulous, obviously.

I do actually have some real posts for THIS blog in my queue.  Stay tuned!


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52. I broke a pair of pants. The first time I put them on.

Last year, I bought my very first pair of white jeans.  I got them on sale at Old Navy, and they were the last pair in my size.  It was like the heavens parted, and God shouted, “Buy them, my child!”  I’m not about to argue with a deity, so I did.  Without trying them on.

It turns out that Old Navy’s Rockstar jeans run a LOT smaller than their other styles.  I did buy a few sizes up because of this, but the jeans were still a teensy bit snug when I tried them on at home.  The zipper is also fairly short due to the rise of the pants, so as I was pulling them on…the zipper completely broke.

broken zipper

I did actually wear them once with the broken zipper; I just wore a tunic-length tank underneath to cover up my blunder.

The jeans are still sitting in my closet, looking pretty much brand new.  I would love to wear them again, but I’d like the zipper to be in working order.  I have a moderate amount of sewing skills and I own a sewing machine, so I think I’m finally going to get around to fixing them myself.  I found a pretty in-depth tutorial here: Replace the Zipper in Your Favorite Jeans

I think I should be able to do this on my own, as long as I take my time.  I might have to purchase a zipper foot, but I’m fairly certain one came with my machine.

We’ll see how this project turns out.  The only alterations I’ve done are hemming a few pairs of jeans.  If this goes well, I’ll have to try my hand at altering some of my thrift store finds.

Wishing you unbusted zippers,

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51. Knitting: Sweater update and sneak peak at a new pattern!

I mentioned yesterday that I got a bit further on the sweater I’ve been working on, and I think it’s coming along pretty nicely.

sweater knitting pattern
Just need to finish up the sleeves.  🙂

I’ve also been brainstorming ideas for other patterns since I need to figure out a way to make a bit of extra money.  I’ve been on a gingham kick lately.  I’m obsessed with anything that has the print!  I thought a cowl/neckwarmer would be adorable in black and white, which I just so happened to have in my yarn cabinet.  I started working on it yesterday, deciding to do it in double-knit so it’s completely reversible.

Super awesome sneak peak photos!

black white gingham cowl knitting pattern

black white gingham cowl knitting pattern

I’m really excited about the results so far.  I can’t wait to get it finished and photographed for the written pattern!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend.


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50. Let’s revisit January!

It seems that January has already come and gone.  I’m totally cool with that, as long as it takes those sub-zero temps with it.  Let’s recap what I shared this month…with updates, of course!

At the beginning of the month, I talked about my resolutions (even though I think they are a bit cheesy).  Below are my five resolutions, and updates concerning each.  I have to held accountable for these!

1. Live a more healthy life.  I’ve been making small changes, like eating at least one type of fruit and one type of vegetable every day.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but there have been days (many more than I’d like to admit) that I didn’t eat ANY fruits OR veggies.  We also joined a gym.  I haven’t gone consistently, but I have gone a few times since we joined, and I started a 30 day challenge called “Guns, Buns, and Abs”.  It’s not too difficult, but I think it will get harder towards the end: the last day consists of 250 squats, 40 pushups, and 100 leg lifts.  I can do it!

2. Write at least 200 posts this year.  I’ve been slacking on this one for sure.  I only wrote 7 posts during the month of January.  If I continue that trend, I’ll only have written 84 posts during the course of the year.  That’s less than half of my goal, so I guess I’d better step it up!

3. Increase productivity at work.  I am totally winning at this resolution!  I got enough data together to submit an abstract for an upcoming conference, and things are shaping up to make a really interesting story.  I can smell the publication.

4. Save money.  As of today, we officially have $100 in our savings account.  Again, this might not seem like much to most people, but we are notoriously terrible at saving money.  Woohoo! 🙂

5. Pay down debt.  This will be an ongoing goal for a VERY long time, and sadly we had to add another debt to the list.  It seems as though I filled out my W4 incorrectly, which means I didn’t pay enough tax to the federal government.  Unfortunately, this means we owe money this year (like a LOT), and we’re going to have to set up a payment plan to take care of it.  I’ve changed my withholding information with my employer, and now my paychecks will be smaller (which I feel compounds the problem).  Total bummer, but there’s nothing I can do about it except try to tighten the belts around our wallets just a little bit more.  C’est la vie.

Geez, I guess I better brighten things up a bit!

January was also a month of knitting.  I shared some of my knitting patterns, and also gave you a sneak peak of a sweater I started working on (of my own design).  I’ve finished a good chunk of that sweater, only the sleeves are left!  I’ll make sure to post another progress pic soon.  I started working on a new pattern today, too!

Next, I showed you an antique mirror I scored for only $15 at Antiques on Second.  I still love it.

To round our the month of January, I was featured on The Knot, I bought a brand-spanking-new drill, and I updated the plans for our DIY rustic dining table.

It’s been quite a start to 2014, and I can’t wait to show you more!


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