A few new things

How are you, crafters and creatives?

Blog reno is going well and I think I’m done tinkering with it for this little while. I reined in my zeal to change everything, kept most things, and introduced a few little things.

In addition to having a new domain name, the site also has a new header (and a logo!). New photo for me, too (with a new project in tow).

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Sifting through a year’s worth of posts, I lamented the fact that some of my favourite entries were buried. These buried posts are ones that I’d like to more easily access for future projects; coincidentally, they come the closest to DIY tutorials (but are more like “creative tag-a-longs” where I share the process of learning something new or trying a crafty experiment like yarn-recycling). To keep these posts visible, I gave them a visual and positioned them in the sidebar.

Finally, there’s a new page on the menu bar: Books I Love. Looking back on last year’s content, I was struck by how often I wrote about books. Compiling an ongoing list of my favourite craft-related reads seemed like the next logical step. I should note that book links — on the “Books I Love” page and in blog posts — are Amazon-affiliated. This means that the links will bring you to an Amazon book info page. Any purchases made through an Amazon-affiliated link on this site will send handmadehabit.com a little extra change (to help keep the crafting going, of course!).

Ok. Back to the fun stuff.

What have you been working on this week?



Once upon a feltie…


A flashback post today.

After my bf and I first started dating, I came upon Nelly Pailloux’s Felties: How to make 18 cute and fuzzy friends from felt. Being the burgeoning crafter that I was (this was way back in 2011), I couldn’t help but suggest that we grab some felt and try our hands at making some of the characters together. The bf obliged, and we ended up having a fun crafting day with his neices and nephews (some of whose stitches are seen above!).

A few glue-gunned googly eyes and some poly-fill later, we had these two. I took a quick snapshot before the felties went home with the kids. Continue reading “Once upon a feltie…”

Hand-embroidered hats: Top Gun logos

I don’t often see the words “Top Gun” and “embroidered” in the same sentence. The combination brings to mind a cut-throat needlework academy – a place where high-flying crafting hopefuls train their way to the top, and break all the rules doing it. But, I digress. This week, I finished the embroidered knit project I had been working on for February.

The Task

The beau’s cousin, J, recently asked if I could knit him and his best friend a pair of matching caps. Children of the 80s, J and his pal are both big fans of the 1986 film Top Gun. I admit: what I know about the plot comes very second-hand. I haven’t redressed my lack of knowledge by watching it, but in the film “Iceman” (Val Kilmer) and “Maverick” (Tom Cruise) are fierce aviation-school rivals who develop a loyal wingmen friendship by the end. They also happen to be J and his pal’s favourite on-screen buddies. The knitting request was simple: could I knit 2 caps – an “Iceman” and “Maverick” hat for J and his pal, respectively? Knowing little about Top Gun fandom myself, I liked the idea of making something in the name of friendship while trying some new knitting techniques.

The Caps 

I chose to knit the Scraptastic hat pattern, using size 3 needles and two strands of fingering weight held together. At my gauge (slightly looser than the pattern), Medium turned out good, though a tad roomier than I expected. I knit the subsequent hat in Small for a closer fit.

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The Graph

Given full creative hat-design leeway, I thought that using the movie logo would be 80s nostalgic while channeling a little bit of the irony of a knit-embroidery tribute to a movie about fighter pilots.

I used Stitch Fiddle to graph my design out. It allows you to enter your gauge (over 4″/10 cm) to render a grid that reflects your particular tension for making colour work charts. Stockinette stitches tend to be a little wider than they are tall. Because of this, using square-box graph paper to plan a design may result in a slightly skewed final project. Programs like Stitch Fiddle allow for a better idea of what the finished design will actually look like. It’s simple to use; rows and columns are added and deleted with a mouse click. It’s like Excel for your DIY colourwork, embroidery, and cross-stitch projects. All I have to say is “yes!” to this indispensable online tool, and others like it.

Top Gun logo.jpg

ICEMAN - colourwork chart 2.jpg


The Embroidery

Just a single strand of fingering weight and some duplicate stitching was enough to do the trick. I eased into embroidering slowly, working on the hats during free moments during the day. I tend to find my stitching stride best at night, after dinner. The fluid motions of embroidery, and the vigilance to tension, develop a finger-tip attentiveness to the materials quite different from knitting. In contrast to the hardy, elastic, and structured fabric of knitting, embroidered things feel a bit more fragile and precarious to me – until they’re done, my m.o. is to handle with care.


Less exciting was weaving in all the ends. I learned late in the game to use a single long strand to embroider multiple letters, rather than cutting my strand after each character.

Also, I personally find it best to work the duplicate stitch from the bottom to top, starting at the base of a letter, then working up and across. It’s just a little neater that way, I find.

Finally, the Top Gun hats

On the way…


And done.

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All in all, this was a fun project. It’s hard not to see blank stockinette surfaces as a canvas for some stitchery waiting to happen. It was a surprise for the knitting to unexpectedly serve as a gateway to embroidery.

To embroidering, and matching hats…and friends!



Perler pixel necklaces

While working on a longer-term knitting project, I will sometimes manage the urge to cast-on something new (no harm in that, though!) by doing smaller-scale handmade projects.

I enjoy the things that perler beads – in their near infinite versatility – can do. I’ve just discovered perler jewelry-making: fuse some beads, add a chain here, a connector ring there, a clasp, and you have yourself some nifty new pixel-y things to wear.

Here’s a perler necklace picture-DIY for the curious (the patterns are not original).

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Jump rings: the knees and elbows of jewelry. 7 mm rings are big enough for perler beads.

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…and some BB-8 Star Wars love:


Greetings from the messy work table…

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