Sunday, December 31, 2006

A warm head

Here is the corrected hat - done just in time to keep my dad warm on a cold New Year's Eve.


I have been humbled. I smuggly polished off the hat for my dad, having fit it to his head and just as I was getting ready to hand it over, I saw (gasp) several places where I had knitted when I should have purled! It showed up on the inside of the double row rib knit. I could have just handed it over. He might never have noticed and would probably not care. I could feel the words forming, "Just don't show it to any knitters." But this was a problem I knew how to fix - fortunately or unfortunately. It required undoing the hat to below where I'd started the decreases and then purposely dropping a stitch down to the problem area and then using a crochet hook to pick the stitches up. Once or twice, it wouldn't have been so bad. But there was an entire row that I must have been paying more attention to my children than the knitting. The other option would have been undoing to below the problem stitches. I'm not sure that wouldn't have been faster, but I couldn't face the frog.

How could I have not noticed this earlier? Such a rookie mistake. I paid my penance and undid the hat, fixed the wronged stitches and reknitted the crown. Thankfully, dad loves the hat.

What would you have done?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The one that didn't get away

This is one of the projects I did manage to finish on time. It's a round-about-town bag for a guest who is visiting from Australia. It's just the right size for a passport, cell phone, keys, wallet and a pack of gum.

It's knitted with Noro Kureyon. I made up the pattern. I cast on 60 stitches across and knitted for 17 inches. At the end, I reduced stitches toward the sides to give it a rounded bottom and then cast off and sewed up the bottom. I then picked up stitches at the top to make a five-stitch i-cord and the flap. I like the size and I love the stripes. I found that the Noro knitted with an extreme bias. Based on a previous bad experience, I decided to ignore the bias when deciding where to pick up stitches. I laid the bag flat and picked up from the sides, disregarding where I'd started. It turns out that was the right thing to do. The bag lay flat once felted.

I'm also posting a pre-felt picture of the Run Amok Knotsew hobo bag from the pattern posted last month on the bag-a-holic web site. It took me this long to finish it. I love the color but alas I'm having felting troubles. It's knit with Nature Wool, which is sticking together and felting unevenly. Fingers crossed...

I also want to send out a very special THANK YOU to my great Secret Pal who sent me a package just before Christmas. It was filled with great things to treat my feet, the lovely yarn for the Funky Chunky Charmer and The One Skein Wonders, which contained the pattern for the fingerless gloves I knitted for one of my daughters. (I've actually only knit one of the pair, but that's a story for another day). It was a great surprise and much appreciated.

Small hats big heads

It turns out it's a good idea I didn't finish dad's hat - it would have been too small. He was a little mystified about the trail of yarn he pulled out of the bag with the hat. It didn't help that I forgot to include the card explaining the whole "custom made" idea. Still, he smiled politely. This is the hat in question. This is, of course, not my dad modeling it. That would be Watson, who is getting very good at modeling hats.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Half baked ideas

My husband, a former carpenter, says mistakes are opportunities for creativity. In the challenges in life are like that. Take, for instance, running out of time before Christmas. This isn't just a hat I didn't have time to finish -- it's a custom-made hat left undone so that it can be perfectly fit to the recipient! In this case it will be my dad. The hat in question is made with two strands of Cascade held together and knit on 11s. It's very thick and quick, but not quite quick enough. It's in purple and white, which are the colors of the high school where he used to be a hockey coach. He still goes to all the games.

Unfortunately, no time to knit, means no time to get pics off the camera. Photos will follow soon.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom

In my "free" time when I'm not knitting, I occassionally pick up the beads. It's not got the same meditative quality of knitting, but it results in some pretty things. And, if it gets broken, I can fix it. If it gets lost, I can remake it. And if I see a gorgeous but pricey piece in the store, I can replicate it on the cheap.

Mom requested a long blue necklace, which she said she couldn't find in the store. This one was inspired by one I saw on an anchor woman. Mom said she was so eager to see it, she opened it a day early. She said she was pleased. But of course, she's mom. She has to be pleased even if its a macaroni strung on twine, right?


Clean house or knit? Well, the house won't stay clean, but the knitting could last a life time.

Christmas is coming. Must knit fast.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Funky Chunky Charmer

I am generally a play-by-the rules kind of girl. But I’m learning that knitting isn’t about following the rules. It’s about taking off and exploring and trying new things.

I hesitated at first because I just wanted to get things done. I hated the idea of having to undo hours (or even minutes) of work. I hated the idea of spending loads of time on a project only to decide it wasn’t quite right.

But then my secret pal sent me this great chunky yarn. It knits up so quickly that I didn’t mind undoing the work if I didn’t like the way it was turning out.

First I tried the lace pattern I’d used the last scarf. The holes didn’t show up very well, so I scrapped that idea. Next I tried a basket weave pattern – first with groups of 3 and then with groups of 4. I liked it, but it didn’t seem quite right. Then I tried a wide stripe. It looked good, but wasn’t quite fancy enough. Then I remembered the ruffled edge I’d made on a dolls dress. The yarn begged to become a long skinny scarf with a ruffled edge. Despite all the starts and restarts, I finished it in one night.

The yarn is Berger du Nord Colorado, Colour 11 (100 percent wool) Any bulky yarn could substitute.

Gauge: 2 stitches per inch on size 15 needles

66 yards of yarn (more for longer scarf)

Here’s the pattern:
(Made in two halves)
Co 16
Knit for 4 rows
K2 together across (8 stitches)
K1 P1 across for a single rib pattern
Repeat in rib pattern until scarf is half the length you want the scarf to be.
Leave the stitches on a spare needle or stitch marker
Make the other half the same way.
Join the two halves using a kitchner stitch or preferred method.

You could make it wider by adding stitches in multiples of two or try it with different yarns in a different guage. You could also hold two yarns together for a varied effect.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Santa Springer

Poor tortured Springer
Too much love

Too many projects not enough time

No time to blog
Must knit for Christmas
Here's a nice pic instead
Taken in my garden three days ago - yes, that's a rose blooming in December!
That's the extent of our snow. It's long gone. It's raining now. Global warming?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The eight-hour four-hour scarf

This scarf is from the Knitted Gifts, a book I highly recommend. The project is supposed to take four hours, but that doesn’t account for having to start over several times and take out rows because of having dropped or added a stitch. What I liked/hated about working with this yard (Rowan Kidsilk Night) is that shows every stitch. Mistakes are obvious, but then so are the loops of the stitches. It’s like seeing the bones of knitting. It’s a great way to understand how the loops fit together.

I made the scarf longer than the one in the book because my non-knitting husband said it seemed too short when it was the length called for in the book. It is supposed to be 36 inches, but I added 10. I prefer the longer version, but in a pinch – if the party is tomorrow - 36 would do.

The yarn is remarkably soft and delightfully warm. An added bonus: It’s really cheap to mail because it’s so light!

Friday, December 08, 2006

beaded beauty

This is lovely beaded hat knitted from the kit sent to me by my fab Secret Pal 9 pal. I learned that I love knitting with beads!

I think this about the pattern - it looks nice to have the beads on the rolled up brim, but you have to stop before the roll starts or you'll have cold beads resting on your forehead. On the hat I thought I was altering the beads, but I realized after I was done that they lined up so I must have lost count somewhere. I still like it. I would definitely try this again and highly recommend it.

BTW - I usually wear the hat - my 1.5 yo was clowning for the camera.

Speaking of my Secret Pal - a wonderful package arrived today filled with items to pamper my poor weather-worn feet, some great blue and green BIG wool that will make a great scarf to complement my hat.(?) And "One Skein Wonders" a book I just happen to have had my eye on! And she remembered the kids with packs of candy including "Angel Kisses," "Bah Humbugs" (gummy bugs) "Worm Wishes for the Holidays" (gummy worms) "Reindeer Noses" (cinnamon drops) and "Elf Pillows" (square peppermint candies)

Flying through the air with the greatest of ease

This is a story about adventure, although not in knitting. As a birthday surprise, I took my 14 yo to Trapeze School. She was really, really surprised, but not in a good way.

The school is at the front of an elaborate mall at the entrance of a huge furniture store. The entrance is filled with giant statutes made from jelly beans. There is also a giant water feature, a restaurant and a candy store. There is pleasant, inspirational music playing on the loudspeaker.

To get to the trapeze, you climb up a scaffolding that is about as high as where we go for the waterslides. Those who will be flying wear harnesses attached to ropes held by someone on the grown. And, you swing over a net. It's very safe, but when you haven't yet gone and you don't know quite what to expect, it is pretty frightening. And I say this as one who has bungee jumped, sky dived and craves double black diamonds.

To fly, you start standing on the edge of the upper deck holding onto a white pole while your spotter holds your harness and pulls the trapeze swing toward you. You grab it with your right hand and then with your left. All the while, your spotter has you by the harness, which is like a very thick belt. This is the scariest part of the journey. Your mind just doesn't understand and is screaming at you to get back from the ledge. But you must ignore that advice and instead jump off.

Once in the air you realize that holding onto the bar is easier than you expected and that you are held securely by the safetyropes. Then you get to enjoy this incredible sensation of swinging. It's exhilarating. You fly past all the decorations and the colors and through the music, but you don't really see it or hear it, you just have this incredible sensation of speed and weightlessness. It's like when you were a little kid on the swings only much, much, much better.

If you want to do a trick - hanging from your knees, the spotter on the ground talks you through some moves. As you swing away from the platform, he says to bring your legs up and hook them on the swing. Then you let go of the bar and swing from your legs. You arch your back and put out your hands as if you were going to reach up and grab the arms of another trapeze flier. Then you grip the bar again and bring your legs down. Then you kick forward, back forward, let go of the bar and tuck and do a back flip. If you land it right, you pull out of the tuck and hit the net in a seasted postition. You don't fall fast because your spotter has the ropes and is slowing the descent. This is all easier than it sounds because of the momentum of the swing.

The second time, you're not scared - at least not as much so. And the third time, you're really thinking about how to improve the leg hang. Toward the end of the lesson, if you're ready, they have you try to perform a catch. That's just like it sounds - there's a person on a swing on the other side who catches you as you swing across.

My daughter didn't think this was a good idea. She stood at the top of the plat form repeating over and over, "I can't do it. I just can't do it." I tried to talk her through it, because I thought once she'd tried it, she'd be so glad she did. The man who ran the show suggested I leave it to him. "Sometimes, we do better with 14 yo than do their mothers," he said. I decided he was probably right. At that point, however, I was starting to think I'd blown it. I promised her this big surprise for her birthday and she hated it. Well, we can't win them all.

After one of my jumps, I came walking up the stairs and was surprised to see that she wasn't huddled in the corner. Had she left the platform? Did she finally just give up? No, she was getting read for her first flight. She loved it. She walked back up the stairs babbling about how great it was. She even thanked me and said she loved me. I cried.

She now has a t-shirt that says "Don't worry about the fear, worry about the addiction."

Friday, November 24, 2006

Left over lovliness

So what to do with left over felted fabric that I cut from the Run About Bag? I thought about leaving the pieces flat and using them for spare hot pads, but they were just too pretty for that.

There is always a shortage of coasters in our house (the baby tends to wander off with them) so I turned one piece into simple coasters. It proved to be a good project for my 13yo who for some reason was fascinated with the border stitch. The top two we did with yarn. The bottom is embroidery thread, which doesn't show up very well.

The other piece clearly needed to become a small bag of some sort. It turned out to be just the right size for an eye glass case. I folded up the bottom to form the case and sewed it by machine. I then folded down the top to fold a flap. I added a magnetic snap and covered it up with a funky button. I got the stripe on the side by folding it horizontally instead of vertically. It is 7 inches long and 3.5 inches tall. I like it enough that I would consider making another on purpose. It would be easy to knit a big rectangle, felt it and then cut it to size.

Lopi loopiness

I bought a bunch of Lopi yarn with the intention of making a Constant Companion bag. But the yarn had a different idea. It told me that it should become a Run About bag that I had been thinking of making.
Sometimes, one ought not listen to the yarn. But I haven't knitted enough with enough different yarns to know better.
The runabout bag is a free pattern on the Internet. You knit a tube and then the main bag. The tube is sewn inside the main bag to form pockets.
The colors are great- a burgundy, a mauve, a tan, and a turquoise. The burgundy actually has bits of turqouise in it.
Soon after I started, I realized I wouldn't have enough of the dark burgundy to make both the inside tube and the bulk of the outside bag as I originally planned. To compensate, I striped the tube, which would have made a nice decorative element, had the rest of the bag came out as intended.
Both the tube and the bag were knitted in the round and came out with a horrible bias. That meant that when I flattened the bag and tube to sew up the bottom, it didn't come together evenly. I straightened it as best I could and hoped it would work itself out during the felting process. It didn't.
On top of that, the inside felted at a different rate than the outside and it all felted up very bulky.
It was time for some serious knitting first aid. Thankfully, felted fabric can be cut without raveling. I cut the bottom and planned to sew it with thread. The inside tube proved to be too bulky and wouldn't sit nicely in the bag. I cut out the tube and planned to line the bag so I could add pockets.
Prefelting, I also crocheted a picot edge around the flap of the bag. I love how it came out. That is a technique I'd like to try again.
My conclusion is that Lopi is NOT a good choice for the Run About bag. It's also felts very fuzzy, which I'm not crazy about. If I get that bias again, I will just close up the sides and felt it without sewing up the bottom. It can always be trimmed and sewn after felting.
I hate to waste knitting, so I haven't tossed the pieces I cut from the inside. I have some plans for those that I'm working on now and will post about soon.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Baby days

A baby has arrived. My cousin gave birth to a little girl, Kayla Ray. That can mean only one thing - all other projects must come to a screeching halt to make way for a sweater, booties and hat to the new little one.

It was the perfect excuse to try the baby sweater in the Mason Dixon book. It took a weekend of intense but broken knitting. The sweater is Peaches and Cream knit on size 6. I added a crochet picot trim - sc;* sc, chain 3, sc; sc* repeat from * to*.
The crocheted hat and booties are Caron So Soft using a pattern from Bev's Country Cottage

This is the hat pattern:
And for the booties:
The flower on the hat is from Hooked on Crochet.

I've learned this about baby things - it's great to find an easy, quick hat and bootie pattern that you can whip up quick when you need a baby present.

On the sweater - it's a great pattern for the most part. It's quick and fun. The only problem I found is that I ran out of room in the front before I had enough stitches to match the back. Next time I'd add an inch. The other problem was that I really didn't have enough of the pink or the multi color. I tried to turn that into a positive by mixing the two.

purse particulars

The coin purse/swatch was 20 stitches across on size 13 needles. The pre-felt measurements were 7 inches across and 6 inches deep when folded. It shrunk to 6 by 4 on the first felting attempt and to 5 x 3.5 on the second. I closed it with a zipper that I sewed in by hand using instructions in the One Skein book.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Felting fun

I dislike swatching because I hate wasting effort. So instead of just making a square, I made a small coin purse to go with the purse I'm makng. I happily found out that the yarn will felt beautifully. I can hardly wait to tackle the tote from the knit along:
The yarn is Nature Wool by Araucania based in Chile. The color is 49. It's a lovely verigated pink. There are no dye lots so the recommendation is to knit with two hanks, switching every two rows. I'm knitting with two strands held together, so it doesn't matter. It shrunk about 30 percent during felting.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Public Display of Knitting

As I settled into my seat at the meeting for my daughter's school, I realized it would be a long night. Everything had to be repeated in Spanish, making it twice as long. My knitting project whispered to me from my purse, "Pick me up." I looked around the room, no one else was knitting. I thought I should be good. I should just patiently sit here like everyone else. But my mind wandered. I thought about my project, I admired the outfit of the lady across the room, I pondered the pattern of the sweater worn by the man sitting next to me. I didn't really hear what was being said. "Just a couple of stitches," my project whispered, a little more loudly. No, I thought, it will embarrass my daughter. "I'm not going to get done if you just sit there," the project whispered. Ever so subtly I slipped just the needles out of the bag, slowly, I hooked one stitch and then another, all while looking attentively at the speaker. My mind focused. I could hear what the man was saying, my hat was getting finished. I didn't get kicked out of the meeting. No one glared at me. They probably didn't even notice. My daughter was embarrassed, but then she's 13, so she's embarrassed pretty easily these days.

The project, shown here in its embryonic stage, is a beaded hat made from a kit sent by my wonderful secret pal. The beads are strung on and then brought down as the hat is knit. It's quite fun.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Clean Sweep

I dream of the perfectly organized work room that contains everything I will ever need for any project. Perhaps that is why I hang on to everything I have ever brought into my room. Tiny scraps too small for anything but a Barbi Doll bikini, empty spools, patterns that I never like well enough to cut out in the first place. There have been times when I've actually found use for these odds and ends, and so I save them, letting them accumulate under the table, in the closet and up on the shelves. Enough already. I can only organize so much and then it's just clear that somethings have to go. It helps to think that they might be of use to someone else. Why should I keep them locked up? I have to set them free. Of course, some things just have to be let go. It's very hard as a child of the recycling generation to come to terms with the fact that some things just have to go to the dump.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bibs Away

I started these bibs long before the baby was due. He came early. Still, he won't really be big enough for them for awhile. I had intended to knit a sweater to go with the bibs, but since baby came early, he'll have to settle for the t-shirt. This is about as close to a sail boat as mom and dad are going to come for awhile. Of course that's the sunrise not a sunset on the back - this is afterall, a new beginning for them.

Monday, November 06, 2006

International Tote Exchange II

For the past several months I've been part of the International Tote Exchange II - a very fun swap in which crafters knit or crochet totes for each other. I've had a great time watching the progress of all the totes. I've also had a great time getting to know the woman who was knitting a tote for me. It arrived and it's wonderful. It's a backpack made out of soft felted malabrigio that matches my wardrobe completely. It came packed with all sorts of goodies - two skeins of beautiful blue yarn, chocolate and note cards, just to name a few. Check out the great detail up above. Allison used a really great stitch that blended in when felted to yield a subtle pattern on the bottom. She included a non-felted zippered pouch that showed off the stitch. The top is made of diamonds. When you open it, there is a blue top also made out of diamonds. The blue part is closed with a pretty glass button. The outer bag is closed with an long, exotic button. The tote arrived just after Halloween - what a treat!

Gratuitous cute puppy pic

Faceless Names

At long last, my teddy bear has a face. He was knitted more than a year ago, but the face eluded me. He was so cute and I didn't want to ruin him with a bad face. He sat on my bureau for months just not staring at me because he had no eyes! The break through came with the buttons. I came across some shiny black buttons I'd taken off a worn out dress and they seemed about perfect. I decided it was finally time. Afterall, it's only a face - it's not like I couldn't take it off and put on a new one if it didn't work out. Now the bear needs a name.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fabulous Secret Pal

A wonderul package arrived the other day filled with all sorts of tempting distractions. Where to start? Cast on for the beaded hat kit or maybe with the turquoise cotton for a bobble wash cloth. Maybe I should just light the candle and page through the two great magazines first. At least my hands will be soft from the lotion.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

True torture

I found the perfect parking spot right in front of the knitting store just on time to get to my lunch meeting at a nearby restaurant. I could hardly concentrate on lunch thinking about yarn and the potential good finds when I stopped in the store before heading home. But when I got back to the car from my lunch, the meter had run out, I was out of quarters and the meter maid was looming. I could have just taken the ticket, but it would have cost about four skeins of yarn! Better to save to shop another day.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My knitting was put on hold to make way for a sewing fever. First was the prototype for a doublepointed knitting needle case that I'm making for my secret pal. I think I made it the most complicated way possible. After it was done, I could see clearly how I should have done it. I think the next ones will go much more smoothly.

That project was followed by curtains for the guest bedroom. With my mom on the way, the office had to be transformed into a cozy hideaway from our chaotic family. I wouldn't normally go so flowery, but it's what I had on hand.

Ode to Coffee

sweet dreams
coffee stirring
I awaken

That is an attempt at Haiku. Not my forte, but what the heck. I realized today, when I ran out of my favorite coffee, how much I treasure it these days. It's the calm in the storm that is my morning. Not that I'm addicted or anything!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Sunshine Moose

If you look cross eyed at this dishcloth, you might be able to make out the moose head. It's for my secret pal, who lives in Alaska. Perhaps it would show up better on a darker yarn?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Prodigal Sweater

The formerly cursed sweater was discovered by my 13 yo hiding behind the radiator. It has, as you can see, been united with the buttons and is being put to good use by the toddler. It's a cardigan pattern found in the Yarn Girls Knits for Kids. The yarn is Plymouth Encore Mega Colors. Would I make it again? I should probably make another one right away while all my mistakes are fresh in my head and I could (hopefully) avoid them.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rose Parade

Birthday bash day 2.
This time for Ruby Rose. Although she is turning 13, she wanted teletubbies, but nary a one could be found. She had to settle for mom's interpretation of red roses. Maybe I should have knit some? At least this cake didn't burn. The 4yo gets credit for the chocolate sprinkle placement.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Take this cake....please

Knitting has given way to baking today and it isn't a pretty thing. I was not blessed with my grandma's baking genes. That's generally a good thing given the size my jeans would be if I had been.

That being said, life sometimes necessitates baking - and so here is my best attempt hampered not only by my lack of ability but also a disasterous oven with a mind of its own. Even at 50 degrees below what was called for and 5 minutes shaved off the cooking time, one of the two layers burned (even though they were cooked at the same time and switched halfway through baking at least only one burned). Thank goodness for a sharp knife and a lot of frosting.

Given that it's nearly Halloween and this is for a 12-year-old boy, the theme is Attack of the Giant Gummy Worms.

Cursed sweater gone missing

I thought that the curse was over. The sweater was done. I didn't run out of yarn. It even fits just a little big so there's plenty of room for her to grow. I found the perfect heart-shaped buttons. I'm read to put them on and the sweater is....where? I don't know. It seems to have gone missing. I don't remember knitting it legs, but it seems to have wandered off.

Maybe I need to make a new brand of "Reverse the Curse" ice cream. It worked for the Red Sox!

I am putting the buttons on my desk with the thread I was going to use to sew them on. Hopefully the sweater will see them and be so attracted to them it will make its presence known.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Is heaven an entire bag of Noro Kureyon?

It is a pity that one can't have one's yarn and knit it too! This yarn almost too stunning to knit. I'm not sure yet what it wants to become. I bought the bag because it was on sale even though I wasn't even sure what the color was. I figured, it's Noro - I couldn't really go wrong.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I think we need more, many more, PDKs - public displays of knitting. No more hiding our needles, suripticiously clacking away under the table. Knit on the subway, knit in the park, knit on the bus, just don't stab your seatmeat by accident. Knit with pride. Show the world the beautiful things that can be made with wool, with cotton even with fuzzy acrylic.
Sure, there will be those who don't understand. Those who think you can't pay attention while creating socks out of string. Ignore these ignorant nay sayers and knit away.

Monday, October 09, 2006

button band blues

I don't like picking up to knit. But it was all that stood between me and a finished sweater. So I did it. What's the worse that could happen? I'd have to frog and knit again. The collar was tricky, but after 5 or tries, I got it. The button band went relatively smoothly. So did the button hole band -- or so I thought until I got to the end and saw what you can see in the picture: Somehow I started picking up stitches about an inch from the edge. It seems like a rookie mistake, but this is the cursed sweater, so I really wasn't surprised. Having come this far, I won't give up. The next picture will be of a beautifully finished sweater.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Thank you purses

These two little purses are thank you gifts to a couple of shop owning friends for some good business advice. They run a fun and funky shop, so I wanted them to have something fun and funky to carry with them. They are 4 inches by 8. Just big enough to serve as a clutch, just small enough to fit in a big purse. I'm very pleased with the way the colors blended together.

What's really nice is that my lessons from this project came from just experimenting, not from making mistakes!

For the red bag, I used Cascade 220, red, yellow and orange.
For the violet bag, I used Cascade 220 violet and Noro Kureyon

The pattern:
Holding two yarns together, cast on 12 stitches. Row 1: knit
Row 2: purl.
For the flap : On row 3 and every other row until you have 24 stitches: knit 2, kf&B (or do any increase) knit to the last three stitches, kf&b, knit to end of the row. Row 4 and all even rows: purl
Once you have 24 stitches, continue in stockinette until piece measures 16 inches from edge of flap.
Sew up sides and felt bag to desired size.
To get blended stripes: change on of the two yarns at any point.
The button on the front is just decorative. I used old fashioned sew-on snaps for closures - the 1/2 inch size. You could easily substitute magnetic snaps.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Jury Duty

This little satchel goes to prove that something good can come out of jury duty. First it gave me something to do until I finished it and simultaneously ran out of yarn. And then, it was a useful starter for a great conversation with some of my fellow jury pool mates. And just maybe, it will be an excellent gift for a friend.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Secret Pal questions answered

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I've been doing a lot of felting lately so I like anything that is feltable. Other than that, I knit dish cloths so I like all cotton. And, I like very soft yarns. I tend to shy away from extreme eyelash/novelty yarns although I have tried a few. Mostly, I like to try different kinds of yarns so I know what they're like. I tend toward verigated yarns because I like the effect.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? bags, drawers, purses, vases, boxes, countertops - they're pretty much all over and everywhere.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I started knitting about four years ago, aroung the time my fourth child arrived. I taught myself from a book and then took lessons. I taught myself to crochet a couple of years ago. I'd like to think I'm advanced knitter, but I'm more likely a solid intermediate given all there is to know about knitting.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? no

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)I like lavender and other florals.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I like good chocolate, but I'm not a big sweet eater.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I don't spin yet. I sew quite a bit. I also do a bit of beading - making necklases and earrings. I do fair amount of coloring and paper crafts as well, spending a lot of time these days with a 4yo and 1yo. I also like to garden, bike, hike, ski (downhill) take pictures and write.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)I like the Blues, Jazz and top 40.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? I tend toward burgundy, brown and blues and pinks. I'm not much for bright colors or green, although I do like sage.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I am married and have five children, ranging in age from 1 to 13 (14 in December). We have an English Springer Spaniel and a gold fish. I recently left a full-time job as a reporter to work from home writing.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? I wear hats, gloves, scarves and mittens but not ponchos.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Lately I've been interested in making felted totes but I enjoy making a lot of different things. I've recently been making dish cloths because they are quick and a good opportunity to try different techniques and stitches. I've made some toys to keep the kids entertained. I generally lean toward quick projects because I don't have a lot of time to knit and I need things that I can finish before I lose interest. I have made one sweater for myself and a few for babies. I have the yarn to make two more for myself, but haven't been able to settle on a pattern.

13. What are you knitting right now? I just finished a hat and a small purse for the 4 year old. On sticks I have a small purse that I'm making as a thank you. I have the yarn for a felted tote. I am also finishing a sweater for the baby and a doll for the 4 yo.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? yes

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I generally prefer circular because you can't lose one in transit. I like different kinds depending on the yarn. My favorite are my Denise needles.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Not yet

17. How old is your oldest UFO? 16 months old - that's the doll for the 4 yo. I started it before the baby was born.

18. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas as an opportunity to give gifts. Labor Day and Memorial Day as an opportunity to have an extra day off to spend with my kids.

19. Is there anything that you collect? We don't have a lot of room knick knacks but I do have some vintage knitting and sewing tools. I also collect buttons and beads for my various projects.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I don't subscribe to any knitting magazines, although I do like to pick them up from time to time. I especially enjoy those from Australia. I like books about knitting as well as those with patterns. I've been enjoying the One Skein, the Mason Dixon Book and the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I should learn how to knit cables. I don't think it's too hard, but I keep putting it off. I like to try new things just for the challenge of it.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I'm not a sock knitter yet. My foot is a size 7.5

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)06/24

Sunday, October 01, 2006

purse whimsy

This is the square accessory purse from the One Skein purse made to my 4yo's specs. We used a skein of Gedifra Algarve she got at the Boston Knit Out and added some unidentified sparkly yarn to give it some bling. She has already filled it with a handful of pennies, some tissues and a few crayons.

This is what I learned: it is very difficult to crochet even a simple project with a house filled with five children. I didn't realize until I had already sewn up both sides that I had ended with a row of DC instead of SC. I could have left it. Zara wouldn't have noticed and I doubt we're going to run into any hardliner crocheters. But it would have bothered me. So though I truly hate to undo what I've done I did it. It didn't take as long as I'd feared. Next time: I will READ the directions and CHECK my work before cutting the yarn.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Hat's off

My auntie's bright pink hat is finished. The crocheted flower is attached with a pin so she has the option of taking it off. The hat was completed without issue. The flower was a little more difficult given my apparent inability to follow directions. After just four tries it worked out. If nothing else, it's great for peek-a-boo.
The hat is knitted with Debbie Bliss's Cashmerino. Fabulously fun to work with. The pattern is the Yarn Harlot's no pattern hat. I really like the simplicity of it.