Skip to content

Save Ravelympics!

June 21, 2012

The US Olympic Team has  filed a cease and desist against Ravelry for the 2012 Ravelympics.  Their claim:  It denigrates the Olympic athletes.

I could go on and on about why this is stupid.  But I won’t.

I will just say this, I’m boycotting all USOT sponsors.

Effective immediately.


May 18, 2012

Please check out my new project over at!

Red Rooster Farms

I recently received an inquiry about my product photos. The person asked whether I took the pictures myself or if I had a professional take them.  What a compliment!  The answer is:  I take them myself.  And get this: I take them on my phone.  Yep.  My pictures are iPhone quality – not some expensive, jumbo lens camera that weighs more than me.

The trick, my friends, is all in the editing.  Here’s another bombshell for you.  I don’t use Photoshop.  I know there’s way cool stuff that can be done with Photoshop but, well… I’m cheap.

So what do I use?  Microsoft Word.

No, really.

It is so simple and gives me the look I want without the cost of software or a need for internet access.  Here’s a basic rundown of how I edit using Microsoft Word.  tip for this tutorial:  to see the images better, click…

View original post 732 more words

Apparently Pigs Eat People

April 15, 2012

Evidently this is true. Hubs told me this and I thought he was trying to freak me out but after a very scientific poll I asked on Facebook and my friends all agree – it can happen. (I would share the article Hubs showed me but the author was an idiot and doesn’t know the difference between a widow and widower so there’s really very little credibility to it IMHO.)

I would also like to mention that Hubs did not tell me this until AFTER we added to this little farm of ours.


But aren’t they cute anyway?

A Dress – Part One

April 5, 2012

As you read this, please know that A) I’m a home sewer.  I don’t work professionally for Singer – but I really wish I did.  B) This is my second time writing a sewing tutorial – so take it easy on me and post any questions you have here and I’ll get back to you!

First I started with two thrifted garments.  (I do so love 50% off days at the Salvation Army.)  This happened to be an oversized black knit dress (brand: Penguin) and an oversized white button up (brand: Gap Factory).  When I say oversized I mean one size bigger.  Much more than that and it would require more sewing and reconstruction.  I like easy.


Shirt Prep

  • (optional) Remove the collar. (That is for, A Dress – Part Two coming soon – you do not have to remove the collar if you aren’t going to make the mods I did.)
  • Remove the sleeves. I just simply cut the sleeves off at the serging line.  I was fortunate in that the serging was already top stitched to the shoulder and that saved me a little time.  If your serged edge is not topstitched to the underside of the shoulder, you will want to do that, but I would suggest waiting a little further on. I’ll mention it below.
  • (optional) remove the pocket with a seam ripper.
  • Try the shirt on and make a pencil mark right at my natural waist – took the shirt off and cut it off right above a button with 1/4″ seam allowance.

  • Put the shirt back on and pinch the material together with the side seam in the middle until the shirt fits right under your arm and make a pencil mark.  Do this down the shirt to the bottom.
  • Sew along the sides connecting your pencil marks.  Serge.  (if you don’t have a serger or are lazy like me, you can clip off the excess leaving 1/4″, press open and top stitch down both sides.
  • Top stitch arm holes if need-be.
  • UPDATED:  I totally forgot to mention putting some darts in so it doesn’t pop open at the arm hole and show off your undergarments. 
  • Stitch the button plaquard closed by setting your needle to stitch right along the very bottom edge (you’ll be thankful when it is time to attach it to the skirt), making sure you aren’t stitching the front of the shirt to the back.

You can see my collar mod here. It looks rather priestly , doesn’t it?
Don’t let that scare you. Once it is on, it gives you (what I refer to as) the “sticky-upy” collar look without all that stupidness in the back…  (p.s. This stupid picture won’t center despite repeated attempts at formatting.  I give up.)

Dress Prep

  • My dress had a wrap belt thingy that buttons (I think I actually did a happy dance in the middle of the thrift store because this was  exactly what  I had in mind.  So, I used my seam ripper to detach it from the top of the dress but left it sewn on under the waist band.
  • Cut the top off the dress, leaving a 1/4″ s.a. above the waist band.

Ever since I got my new phone, I've been too lazy to get the real camera out. Sorry the quality sucks.

The instructions get a little hard to explain here, so bear with me…

  • Turn the skirt inside out and leave the shirt right side out.
  • Turn the shirt upside down and insert it into the waist opening of the dress that is now a skirt.
  • Line the side seams up and stitch.  If you are using a knit material set your stitch length pretty long or use a zig-zag stitch.  Serge (or don’t if you’re lazy like me)
  • Turn it all right side out and with my dress I pulled the belt thingy up and stitched it to the shirt part of the dress on the side seams.
  • If you didn’t have the fortune of using a dress with a built in belt, I strongly suggest wearing a belt with this.  It just looks better.  Plus, if your dress/shirt connection isn’t perfect the belt hides quite a bit.

Updated:  I’m offering a giveaway for everyone that shares this link FROM my Bantam Facebook page.  Check it out here:

Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.

April 2, 2012

Change is good, right?  I sure hope so, because the hubs and I are stepping across the threshold of change this year and we’re praying that this change will be for the better.

For the better part of a decade, my family and I have enjoyed home-grown fruits and vegetables thanks to my green-thumbed hubs and beginning this year, we are dipping our toes into the world of farming with a market garden. Our application to our first choice of farmers markets was approved not long ago (which is really good, because we kind-of put all our eggs in that basket…), the plants are in the ground or just about ready to go in, and

– drum roll please –

we have a name.

Red Rooster Farms, LLC.

But that’s not all!  I’m going to be adding my crafting skills to RRF (’cause y’all know I have a black thumb, right?)!

I am excited to introduce,

Bantam at Red Rooster Farms, LLC

I will have a variety of items available at the farmers market, through Etsy and on Facebook.  Items will range from wearables, accessories, home decor, handspun yarn, as well as custom requests!  I am currently organizing and planning my projects and working on building my Etsy shop and will be excited to share it with you once it is ready!

So, what does this mean for The Knit Life?  Well, eventually The Knit Life will transition over to Bantam too.  The name change is a long way off and will be the final transition to Bantam but in the meantime the changes you can expect to see will be a larger variety of topics like book reviews (one in the works!), DIY homesteading, and sewing tutorials.  In fact, I have another sewing tutorial to share with you this week!

In the meantime, help a girl out and go like my new Bantam Facebook page, would’ya?

And tomorrow, watch for part one of how I turned oversized thrifted clothing into a stylish dress in only three hours!

From That:

To This:

I hate to leave off with a poor quality, “self-portrait” picture from my cell phone so in closing:  Check out the cute tree frog I found out in the yard last night…

[Title] Quote attribution:  Robert C. Gallagher 

Guest Post: Knitwear Designer, Brenda Castiel

March 21, 2012

Today I am pleased to bring you a guest post from internationally published knitwear designer, Brenda Castiel.  I tested her Garden Party Cardi pattern for her  and couldn’t have been more delighted with the pattern and working with Brenda was such a joy.  Be sure to check her out on Ravelry!

So, without further adieu…


Brenda Castiel Designs

I’ve been a knitter, on and off, since my teens. I learned from a grainy black and white Paton’s booklet. Since I’m self taught, I have gotten used to figuring things out on my own. Sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes not!

I first got the idea to start designing when KnitPicks ( started their Independent Design Program in spring of 2010. I thought to myself, “They’re just starting out, so maybe they won’t be too fussy about what they accept.”  I’m not saying that’s true, but that’s what I thought. That gave me the push to get started.

So I submitted a design – for a toddler/child sweater with an embroidered pocket – and it was accepted! I was off and running. I just started figuring out for myself what I needed. I then began submitting to magazines like Interweave KNITS, Knit Simple, Creative Knitting, and YARN magazine inAustralia– everywhere I could think of, really. I wasn’t ready to self-publish because I didn’t want to have to pay for professional photography and editing before I even knew if anyone would want to buy my patterns.

Increasingly, more of my patterns got accepted, including one crazy period when I had 6 sweaters to knit in 8 weeks. That was bad!

No cooking, housework or laundry got done. My hubby was patient with me, luckily, as I sat and knitted all day long and refused to even go out to a movie.

I get my inspiration in several different ways: it can be a dress in a store window, wallpaper, or advertising graphics. It can be a stitch pattern that I see in one item and then I use it in a different way.

For example the lace trim that I used in my Garden Party Cardi, came from a tea cozy.   I decided on a seamless, raglan style because it’s easy to knit and generally fits well. With an attached button band, there’s actually no sewing at all required.

Another design, the Carole Landis Top, was inspired by the call for submissions from the indie dyer company The Sanguine Gryphon (now disbanded and re-formed as 2 separate companies).  They had the theme of a film noir mystery and wanted a sweater for each of the characters in the story. So I designed the sweater with a specific fictional character in mind.

This top is knit in the round, sleeveless, with lace trim and optional beading. It’s one of my favorites.

Recently I have been published in Interweave KNITS (the Quixote Scarf) and I just sent off 2 items to Vogue Knitting!  Very excited about that, as they are the pinnacle of knitting magazines, for me.  I really feel that I’m on my way.

My patterns are found here:

You can read more about my design work at my blog here:

Please follow me as brendacastiel on Twitter.

For all the blog readers, I have a special discount code. Just enter DISCOUNT40 at checkout for a whopping 40% off!

Thanks for looking.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Many thanks to Brenda for writing here at The Knit Life!  Now go download a pattern.  Or two.  Go on now.  -Dusty

More Stylish Than Previously Thought

February 24, 2012
So, it would turn out that I’m more stylish than I previously thought. 

Exhibit 1.1 - Hot Model Wearing Monkey Hat & Mittens

Exhibit 1.2 – Me Wearing Monkey Hat Minus Mittens
If only I had those mittens…