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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hiatus

I will be unable to update my blog for a couple of weeks. I've been recruited to help with sheltering for the American Red Cross for people affected by the flooding in North Dakota. I'll be back in a few weeks. In the meantime, here are a few pics of the hundreds of folks helping to fill sandbags in Fargo.


Fabulous Felted Purse Patterns - Day 10 ~ The Bobble Bag

JaneyP offers this cute spring bag called the Bobble Bag. Her free pattern and pics were posted on the Craftster forum. I've always heard that white does not felt well, but this bag seems to have had no problems felting.






Felted ‘Bobble’ Bag

Materials:

3 x 50g Balls Aran Weight 100% pure wool yarn.
Scraps of DK yarn for bobbles
Wadding and small amount of stuffing
Lining Fabric
4.5 mm Knitting Needles US 7
Knitting Needles to match yarn for bobbles
Button and elastic
Piping Cord to fit top edge

Pattern

Cast on 65 sts
SS for 8 rows
Knit 23sts Cast off 19sts Knit 23sts
Purl 23sts Cast on 19sts Purl 23sts
SS for 50 rows
Cast off 7sts at beg of next 2 rows.
SS for 20 rows
Cast on 7 sts at beg of next 2 rows
SS for 50 rows
Knit 23sts Cast off 19sts Knit 23sts
Purl 23sts Cast on 19sts Purl 23sts
SS for 8 rows
Cast off

Stitch side seams together
Stitch base seam together to form boxy shape.

FELT!!

Cut a piece of wadding to fit inside of bag below handle opening.
(like the shape of bag before stitching up)

Put into the bag.& pin in place
If the bag is ‘floppy’ even after felting, rol over the top edge of the bag, encasing the piping cord as you stitch. This gives the bag a good strong handle and edge.

Make Bobbles

Using needles to match the type of yarn you have chosen for the bobbles
Cast on 5sts
Garter stitch 7 rows
Cast off
Stitch cast on and cast off edges together
Gather round one open end and fasten off
Stuff lightly
Gather round other end fasten tightly and pull yarn through bobble to create a nice round shape. Leave tail end to sew bobble to bag.

Finishing
Stitch bobbles onto bag wherever you want, stitching through the wadding to hold it in place.

Embroider your design

Lining
Cut a piece fabric similar to the piece of wadding allowing extra to fold over top edge.
Stitch side seams and base edge.
Place inside bag folding over top edge so that it sits nicely below handle
opening.
Stitch along top of lining with a slip stitch. (if you want you can stitch your elastic loop on at the same time so you can hide the ends of the elastic)
Put a couple of stitches through base corners to hold lining down.

Stitch on a button and a loop of elastic on opposite side to fasten the bag with.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fabulous Felted Purse Patterns - Day 9 ~ Ayla Backpack

Here's an adorable backpack to knit and felt. It's offered as a free pattern at knitty.com and was designed by This is a perfect project if you've never done colorwork before. Any messy color changes will be felted away."



model
:
Ayla photos: Margot Centanni, Jordana Paige

Here's the link to the free pattern: Ayla Backpack





Monday, March 23, 2009

Fabulous Felted Purse Patterns - Day 8 ~ Mitered Squares Bag

This bag is beautiful! It was offered as a free pattern on the domestic sphere blog (she's moved on and no longer maintains the blog.) But what a cute purse ~ and the directions are detailed and easy to follow for a bag that looks more complicated that it is.

Felted Bag with Mitered Squares


MATERIALS
5 skeins Noro Kureyon [100% wool; 100m per 50g skein]; colorways 124 and 128
1 US size 10 [6mm]circular needle [or size to obtain gauge]
2 bamboo purse handles
stitch markers

GAUGE
13 sts and 26 rows = 4" in garter stitch.

SIZE
15 x 15 x 5 inches prior to felting
9 x 11 x 3.5 inches after felting

DIRECTIONS
The purse is worked in one piece beginning with the bottom. The diagram below shows the order in which the mitered squares that make up the bag are knit. Mitered squares are worked all in garter stitch. Even rows are worked plain, On each odd row, a double decrease is worked at the center -- this creates the square.

BOTTOM OF BAG
Cast on 32 sts using a knitted or cable cast on.

SMALL SQUARE
Row 1: K14, K2tog, place marker, K2tog, K14.
Row 2 and all following even rows: Knit.
Row 3 and all following odd rows: Knit to 2 sts before marker, K2tog, slip marker, K2tog, knit to end of row.

When 2 sts remain, remove marker and K2tog. Do not bind off last stitch.

To work second small square:
From the live stitch, pick up 15 more stitches along one side of the square [one stitch per garter ridge]. 16 sts on needle. Cast on 16 additional stitches using cable cast on -- 32 sts.

Work these 32 sts to create a second small square.

Repeat this process once again to create a third square in line with the first two.

FRONT AND BACK OF BAG
Beginning with the remaining live stitch, pick up 23 additional stitches along one long side of the bag's bottom, one stitch per garter row. The last stitch you picked up should be at the center of the piece. Cast on an additional 24 stitches [48 sts on needle].

Work the large square as you did the small one:

LARGE SQUARE
Row 1: K22, K2tog, place marker, K2tog, K22.
Row 2 and all even rows: Knit
Row 3 and all remaining odd rows: K to 2 sts before marker, K2tog, slip marker, K2tog, K to end of row.

Work a second large square above the first. This time, break yarn and pull through last st to secure.

Go back to the bottom of the bag and pick up 24 sts along the bottom of bag and 24 sts along the first large square. Work these 48 sts as described for the large square.

When this square is finished, work another above it to complete the first side of the bag. Break yarn and secure it by pulling through the last stitch.

Work the back as you did the front with 4 large squares. Referring again to the diagram for the order of squares.

SIDES OF BAG
The sides of the bag are worked in double-mitered squares which look like U shapes. The technique is very similar to the technique used above.

Beginning at the point where the bottom and front of the bag meet, count back 16 garter ridges from the bottom of the bag. Pick up 16 sts from the front of the bag, 16 sts along the bottom of the bag and 16 sts from the back of the bag.

Row 1: K14, k2tog, place marker,k2tog, k12, k2tog place marker, k2tog, k14.
Row 2 and all even rows: Knit.
Row 3 and all remaining odd rows: K to 2 sts before first marker, k2tog, slip marker, k2tog, knit to 2 sts before second marker k2tog, slip marker, k2tog, k to end of row.

When there are no longer any stitches left between the two markers, K 1 even row, then use a three needle bind off to seam remaining sts together. Break yarn and secure.

Work a second and third U above the first. The third U should come to the top of the bag.

Work the second side panel the same on the remaining side.

FINISHING
Decide which is the wrong side of the bag and work in all ends on the wrong side.

If desired, pick up 128 sts along the top of the bag (one for each stitch or garter ridge) and knit a couple of rows, then bind off loosely.

FELTING
Place finished bag in a zipped laundry bag and toss into the washer with a pair of old jeans. Put washer on "hot", "small load" and "heavy duty" settings. I ran mine through the wash cycle twice and allowed the bag to be spun out.

Block bag on appropriately sized box. and allow to dry thoroughly. This may take a couple of days.

Sew handles in place with appropriately colored heavy duty thread or yarn. Noro Kureyon is not particularly strong, so it may not be the best choice for sewing on the handles.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fabulous Felted Purse Patterns - Day 7 ~ The Balloon Bag


I love the shape of this bag, which is blocked with an inflated balloon! The i-cord at the cop edge really finishes this bag.

This pattern is another from Diane Sutliff and is offered as a free internet pattern. This bag can be knit with 3 balls of complimentary Kureyon, double stranded. You can download the pdf file here: Balloon Bag

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fabulous Felted Purse Patterns - Day 6 ~ Brown Bag

Now here's a creative idea for a lunch bag! This little bag was designed by a high school student and is offered as a free pattern at knitty.com.

SIZE
One (comfortably fits a sandwich, cupcake, juice box, and small bottle of aspirin)

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS

Before Felting
Width: 9 inches
Depth: 7 inches
Height: 13 inches
Flap: 6.5 (w) x 7 (h) inches

After Felting
Width: 7 inches
Depth: 4.5 inches
Height: 7.5 inches
Flap: 6 (w) x 4.25 (h) inches


MATERIALS
Cascade 128 [100% Peruvian Highland Wool; 128yd/117m per 50g skein]; color: 1208; 2 skeins

1 16-inch US #10.5/6.5mm circular needle
2 stitch markers
Tapestry Needle
Purse fastener or Button of your choice


GAUGE
Approx. 12 sts = 4 inches in stockinette stitch.
Exact gauge is not important for this project.

PATTERN NOTES

The base of this bag is worked back and forth in garter stitch, then stitches are picked up around the circumference of the base, and the bag body is worked in the round. When the bag body is the desired height, some stitches are bound off, and the bag flap is worked back and forth. This easy project is a good introduction to both knitting in the round, and felting!


DIRECTIONS

Base
CO 25 sts.

Row 1: Sl 1, k to end.

Repeat this row 35 times more. There should be 18 slipped sts along each side edge of the work. After last row is worked, do not turn work.

Bag Body
Place marker on needle at end of last row to indicate beginning of round, pick up and k 18 sts (1 st in each slipped st) along adjacent side edge of bag, pick up and k 25 sts along CO edge, pick up and k 18 sts along remaining edge of work, k to marker. 86 sts on needle.

Work in the round in stockinette st until work measures 13 inches from edge of base.

Next Round: BO 61 sts, k to end. 25 sts remain.

Flap
K 4 rows.
Beginning with a P row, work in stockinette st until flap measures 7 inches.
BO all sts.


FINISHING

Weave in ends.

Felting
Place the bag in a pillowcase and tie it closed. Set your washing machine for hot wash/cold rinse, with a low water level and the maximum level of agitation.

Place the pillowcase in the washing machine, adding a small amount of detergent and a pair of old jeans or other heavy article of clothing, to provide additional agitation. Run the washing machine, checking progress regularly.

When the bag has reached the desired size and density, remove it from the machine and rinse it thoroughly. Shape it with your hands, folding it to resemble a paper lunch bag. Lay it flat and leave it to dry thoroughly (this may take a day or two).

Final Touches
Either cut a buttonhole in the flap (reinforce it by sewing around it, if you want) and sew a button to the bag underneath, or get yourself one of those snazzy purse clasps and attach it, following the manufacturer's directions.

Pattern & images © 2006 Frances Swiecki

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fabulous Felted Purse Patterns - Day 5 ~ The Little Coco Bag


I love that this bag is edged in the solid color yarn. I think it makes it look much classier with the extra detail in finishing.

Diane Sutliff says she "designed this simple pattern for knitters who were looking for a crisper look in a rectangle, pleat-top handbag. The base is firmer, the transition from base to body is neater and the contrasting colors give a more tailored finish. It is a collection of tips and ideas from knitting/felting colleagues." It is offered as a free pdf pattern download. Click for the Little Coco Bag pattern.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fabulous Felted Purse Patterns - Day 4 ~ Moda Dea Felted Bag

This cute felted bag is designed by Maria Cook and offered as a free internet pattern from the Moda Dea free knitting and crocheting patterns site. The tabs are added after the purse is knitted, so would be optional if you wanted a plain bag. I like the decorative "scarf" woven through the tabs and I don't see why that couldn't be interchangeable to match your mood. I see a lot of color possibilities.

Moda Dea Felted Bag

Finished bag measures approximately 8" high x 13" wide.

MODA DEA® "Cartwheel™": 5 Balls No. 9745
Raspberries CA.

MODA DEA® "Spellbound™": 1 Ball No. 2737 Guinevere
CB.

Circular Knitting Needles: 6mm [US 10] – 24"; 6.5mm [US
11] – 24".
Two Double Pointed Needles: 6mm [US 10].

Stitch markers, yarn needle, sewing needle and thread, 1 snap,
2 small beads; Optional: "Stick It Felt", 4 gold foot brads.

GAUGE: 14 sts = 4"; 18 rows = 4" in St st with 2 strands before felting. CHECK YOUR GAUGE. Use any size needle to obtain the gauge.

NOTE: Felting is not an exact science due to the many different variables, however up to 25% of the height and 15% of the width may be lost in the felting process.

BAG: With larger circular needle and two strands of CA held together, cast on 90 sts. Join and place a stitch marker on needle to mark beg of rnds. Knit 9 rnds. Purl one rnd. Now K 35 more rnds. Change to smaller circular needle and [Knit one rnd, Purl one rnd] 3 times. Bind off in Purl.

Fold bag flat and sew the bottom seam. With wrong side facing, open the bottom of the bag to the first Purl rnd at front and back of bag – approximately 2" on each side of seam. Triangular ends are formed at each end of the seam; fold the point of each triangle to the seam and stitch in place.

Flap: With double point needles and ONE strand CA, pick up and K9 sts on center back edge of bag. K each row until flap measures 4". Bind off.

Handles (Make 2): With double point needles and two strands of CA held together, cast on 5 sts. Knit 1 row. DO NOT TURN. * Slide sts to other end of needle, move needle to opposite hand without turning and Knit. Rep from * to form a tube until approximately 16" from beg. Bind off.

Sew each end of one handle to wrong side of bag about 2" in from each side edge. Repeat with remaining handle.

Tabs (Make 4): With double point needles and ONE strand CA, cast on 6 sts. K each row until 4" from beg. Bind off.

Sew tabs in place directly below handles and about 3" below top edge of bag, sewing down only the top and bottom of each tab strip to allow for "scarf" to weave through.

Weave in all loose ends.

Felting: Place assembled bag in the washing machine in the smallest load with hottest water setting and a small amount of liquid detergent through one wash (agitation only) cycle.
(Option: 1 tablespoon of baking soda in the wash may speed
the felting process.)
Remove bag and check on amount of felting during this process. Two or more wash cycles may be needed before you will be satisfied with the effect.
Repeat until pieces are felted and bag is desired size.

Rinse in cold water to stop the felting process and to remove
the soap.

Pull pieces into shape and allow to dry away from sun or heat for a day or two.

Felting will cause a certain amount of pilling which is easily removed by brushing briskly with a hard nylon brush.

Scarf: With larger needle and one strand CB, cast on 2 sts. Work back and forth in rows. K every row inc 1 st at each end of first 3 rows – 8 sts. Work even, K every row, until 40" from beg. Dec 1 st at each end of next 3 rows – 2 sts. Bind off leaving a 4" tail. Tie a knot close to finished edge, thread a bead onto tail and tie another knot to keep bead on the yarn. Trim ends. Repeat on beg yarn end. Weave finished scarf through tabs and tie in a bow.

Sew snap pieces in place to wrong side of flap and corresponding right side of bag front.

Optional: Cut "Stick It Felt" to the size of the bottom of the bag and apply according to manufacturer's directions. Attach foot brads according to manufacturer's directions.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fabulous Felted Purse Patterns - Day 3 ~ Felted Skull Tote


Shiver me timbers! This tote would make a great bag for carrying knitting projects or just a fun bag to show the "dangerous" side of your personality. Pattern and photos are from Adrian Bizilia, who says "Print it, share it, link to it and enjoy it. Just don't take credit for it or sell it. Thank you."

Felted Skull Tote

Materials:

- MC-10 oz./ approx 500 yards worsted weight 100% wool yarn in your main color (black shown)

- CC- 2 oz./ approx. 100 yards worsted weight 100% wool yarn in contrast color (white shown)

I used vintage Coats and Clark's Red Heart 100% Virgin Wool 4 ply Knitting Worsted, but as long as you use worsted weight 100% wool you should have very similar results.

- One size 13 US circular, 32" long. I never had to switch to DPNs while decreasing for the bottom. I just pulled the excess needle cable out between two stitches at the back of the work. If you like, DPNs may be used for the latter decreases at the bottom and the i-cord.

- 4 stitch markers or scraps of contrasting yarn for this purpose

- tapestry needle to weave in ends

Size:
This pattern produces a tote approx. 17.5" x 14" before fulling and 13" tall by 10.5" wide, with 23" straps that fit nicely over the shoulder after fulling.

Download the pdf file pattern here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fabulous Felted Purse Patterns - Day 2 ~ Felted Purse

Day 2 of the Fabulous Felted Purse patterns is a classic bag. I've seen many variations of this pattern in different sizes and different colors of yarn. The pattern below is offered at Knitting Pattern Central as a free pattern. It's St Patrick's Day - knit one in GREEN!

Be sure to read the fine print at the bottom for copyright compliance.

Felted Purse




Materials:

2 balls Paton’s Classic Wool Any 100% wool yarn will do. Do not use a superwash wool as it will not felt. Colors matter. Light colors, white, aran, natural do not felt as well as darker colors.

16” circular needle size 10 ½
2 double pointed needles size 10 ½

Purse:

With two strands of yarn held together, cast on 34 stitches. Knit back and forth in garter stitch for 34 rows. Break and finish off one strand of yarn. Now with remaining strand of yarn continue by picking up 16 stitches down short side of piece. Place one of the 3 same color markers on needle. Pick up and knit 34 stitches along long side of piece. Place another of the same color markers on needle. Pick up and knit 16 stitches along remaining short side of piece and place last of the same color markers on needle. Knit across remaining 34 stitches. Place remaining marker. This marker marks not only the corner but the row. From now on you will be knitting in the round. Knit 56 rows.

Next round: *Knit 3, bind off 3, knit 4 (includes stitch on needle after bind off), bind off 3, knit 3 ( includes stitch on needle after bind off) Slip marker.*
**Knit 7, bind off 3, knit to last 10 stitches before marker, bind off 3, knit 7 (includes stitch on needle after bind off). Slip marker.**
Repeat * to * for next short side.
Repeat from ** to ** for remaining long side.
Next round: Knit around casting on 3 stitches over every 3 stitch bind off of previous row. Leave the row marker on your needle, but remove the other markers as you go.
Knit for 8 more rows. Bind off. Weave in ends on wrong side of work.

Handles:

Make 2. Handles are made in 5 stitch I cord. Cast 5 stitches on one of the double pointed needle. Do not turn. Push stitches down to working end of needle. Pull yarn across back of work and knit. Continue in this way, pushing the stitches down to a working position at the end of the needle and pulling the yarn across the back of work. Never turn work but always have the right side facing you. Make each I cord 36” long. Bind off.

Felting:

Put your finished pieces in a pillow slip or net bag. Note: This is highly recommended as it will keep your I cord from tying itself in knots as well as keep lint from clogging your filter. Set washing machine for the smallest load, hot water wash and cold water rinse. Add a bit of detergent. Put the bag in the machine and run through a complete cycle. Some recommend putting towels, jeans or some other heavy items in with piece to be felted. The friction of items rubbing together during the process is suppose to facilitate felting. I have never found this necessary. At the end of the cycle check the purse. If properly felted the fabric should be thick and firm. You should not be able to see the individual knit stitches on the sides of bag. (The ridges of the garter stitch bottom will still be visible.) If purse does not meet those standards return to machine and run through another cycle. This time, however, check the progress every five minutes. When the purse meets your criteria, advance the machine timer to rinse and complete the wash cycle. Remove purse. Begin to shape with your hands. Pull and stretch the wool until you are satisfied with the proportions. (Note: It is not possible to give definitive measurements as felting is not a precise process.) Hold the ends of the I cord and pull, stretching them to be sure they are the same length. Place pieces on a towel away from direct sunlight. Allow pieces to dry thoroughly.

Finishing:

Thread I cord through eyelets. Tie ends on each side in overhand knot. If necessary, adjust knots to insure handles are even. If you have used a yarn that got very fuzzy during the felting process you can trim the fuzzy ends if you wish.


Copyright 2006 Yvonne Boucher
This pattern is for your personal use only. It may not be reproduced for sale or to conduct classes. It may not be used to make purses for sale.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fabulous Felted Purse Patterns - Day 1 ~ Felted Tab Bag & Pouch Pattern

I figured it's time to check out some of those fabulous patterns for felted purses and bags. We'll start off the first day with the Felted Tab Bag and Pouch offered as a free downloadable internet pattern by Jeanne of Cleveland, OH. Her picture picture and pattern follow...love the colors!


Felted Tab Bag
Lamb’s Pride Bulky – 3 (or 4) skeins Sable, 2 (or 3) skeins Fuschia
Trendsetter’s Flora color #722 – 1 ball
Size 13 circular needles
Size 11 double pointed needles

Gauge is unimportant – this is just a bag!

Bottom of bag:
Cast on 40 stitches
Knit for 24 rows in garter stitch
Pick up 12 stitches evenly across the side of the rectangle to form the side of the bag, Pick up 40 stitches evenly across the cast on edge of the rectangle to form the front of the bag, Pick up 12 stitches evenly across the other side of the rectangle to form the other side of the bag.

Bag Body:
Join to begin knitting in the round, being careful not to twist stitches.
Knit 7 rounds Sable
Knit 3 rounds Fuschia
Knit 4 rounds Sable
Knit 3 rounds Fuschia
Knit 4 rounds Sable
Knit 3 rounds Fuschia
Knit 16 rounds Sable
Knit 8 rounds Sable & Flora
Knit 4 rounds Fuschia & Flora
Knit 7 rounds Fuschia
Last Row: Bind off 12, Knit 5, Bind off 5, Knit 5, Bind off 10, Knit 5, Bind off 5, Knit 5, Bind off 12, Knit 5, Bind off 5, Knit 5, Bind off 10, Knit 5, Bind off 5, Knit 5
Transfer remaining stitches to a stitch holder.

Bag Tabs:
For each of the 8 tabs remaining on the needle join new yarn.
Row 1: Knit 1, Knit into the front and back of stitch, Knit 1, Knit into the front and back of stitch,
Knit 1 – 7 sts on needle
Knit in garter stitch for 26 rows.
Bind off

Make 2, 30" long, 4 stitch I chords

Finishing:
Fold each tab in half. Sew end of tab to inside top of bag.
Thread 2 lengths of I chord through tabs
Sew end of each I chord together to form 2 continuous circles.

Felt.. Make sure that you felt this in a pillowcase!!!! The I chords can and will tangle in your agitator!


Matching Felted Pouch:
Leftover Lamb’s Pride Bulky in Fuschia & Sable
Leftover Trendsetter’s Flora color #722
Size 13 straight needles

Gauge is unimportant – this is just a bag!

Body of pouch:
Cast on 24 stitches in Fuschia
Knit 6 rows stockinet - Fuschia
Knit 2 rows stockinet - Sable
Knit 3 rows stockinet - Fuschia
Knit 2 rows stockinet – Sable
Knit 3 rows stockinet - Fuschia
Knit 2 rows stockinet – Sable
Knit 12 rows stockinet – Fuschia
Knit 2 rows stockinet - Sable
Knit 3 rows stockinet - Fuschia
Knit 2 rows stockinet – Sable
Knit 3 rows stockinet - Fuschia
Knit 2 rows stockinet – Sable
Knit 6 rows stockinet – Fuschia

Top flap:
Continue for remaining rows in decrease pattern:
Row 1 – Knit 2, SSK, K across to last 4 sts, K2tog, K2
Row 2 – Purl
Stripe pattern for decreases:
8 rows Fuschia & Flora
2 rows Sable & Flora
3 rows Fuschia & Flora
2 rows Sable & Flora
3 rows Fuschia & Flora
2 rows Sable & Flora
2 rows Fuschia & Flora
Bind off remaining stitches.

Finishing:
Fold body in half and sew side seams.
Felt in a pillowcase!
Line, add a snap closure at the point of the flap.

For a pdf version of Jeanne's pattern, click here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Knitting With Toothpicks?

I've been doing a couple of "altered tins" - Altoid tins turned avant-garde art. For one of my altered tin projects, I needed a very small knitted swatch and some knitting needles. Two toothpicks, two beads, a bit of yarn and voila! But can I actually knit with toothpicks? See for yourself and have a laugh.....

video

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another Road Trip, Another New Yarn Shop!


I had to drive to Rochester yesterday (in a winter storm, no less!) but took this opportunity to stop in a yarn shop in Waseca, MN called Smitten With Knitten. Although the shop is less than 45 minutes from my home, I had never been there and was excited to explore uncharted territory.

I found the store easily, right on the main drag of this small town. The front window was decorated with lots of fun projects. As I stepped inside, my sensitive nose immediately got a whiff of that somewhat damp basement smell. Once inside the store, it was not noticeable.

There was a nice selection of yarns and quite a good selection of knitting and crocheting books. Most of the yarn shops I frequent have strictly high-end yarns and it was nice to see some of the more moderate priced yarns. I'm not talking cheap acrylic here, but just a good selection of mid-range yarns. Let's face it, who wants to pay $80 for yarn to make a market bag? It's good to see alternatives.

Besides yarn and books, there was also a section of DMC floss for crosstitch, knitting and crochet needles, and some fun accessories like Knitted By labels to put on your completed projects.

The woman who runs the store was friendly and helpful. I purchased a felted hedgehog kit and she was willing to substitute one of the yarns in the package for another, as well as give me a few extra yards so I'd have enough to complete the project. Most of the display projects in the store were knitted by the owner, and she is obviously a fantastic knitter. I was so in love with one of her large satchel bags!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Road Trip! A New Yarn Shop Discovered......


This past weekend I took a road trip to Green Bay, WI. It's a six hour drive from my home town, but the weather held and I had clear skies and no snow for the drive. On Saturday, I had an extra hour free so I decided to visit one of the local yarn shops.

I decided to check out Monterey Yarn on Bellevue Street in Green Bay because it was the closest yarn shop to our hotel and I only had a short time for a visit. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised! It's a wonderful shop with tons of beautiful yarns, lots of samples made up (I love to see stuff all knitted up!) and was staffed with two very friendly and knowlegable women. I browsed around and picked up some nice natural cotton yarn, a pattern for some adorable felted baby slippers, and some cute knitting themed cards designed by Kim Cheeley. I could have spent a lot more time there and will definitely put this shop on my "must see" list if I'm passing through Green Bay again.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Knitting Should Be Fun..........Have a Laugh!




A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the
freeway. Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the
blonde behind the wheel was knitting! Realizing that she was
oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the trooper cranked
down his window, turned on his bullhorn and
yelled, "PULLOVER! "NO," the blonde yelled back,"IT'S A CARDIGAN!"

Knitting Chinese

Many years ago my wife was to knitting what Tiger Woods is to golf. She designed exotic patterns with ease.

There was an occasion when we had lunch in a real Chinese restaurant (only one person spoke partial English, all menus were in Chinese). When she saw the hand-written menu she was so impressed with the calligraphy she tucked the menu in her purse. Some months later I saw the result, a stunning white sweater with the Chinese symbols hand-stitched down the front.

She received compliments galore until one cocktail party when we met a distinguished Chinese physician who asked my wife where she got the symbols. He then wanted to know if she knew what they meant.

"I'm afraid to ask," she said, "but tell me anyway."

Even she had to laugh when he told her they read, "This is a cheap dish--but good."


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My First Swap

I'm a member of the Ravelry online group. It's truly the next best thing to sliced bread. A few weeks ago I joined my first Ravelry swap group. It was called "The Beauty of Nature" swap. Each member was paired up with another from the group and each answered a series of questions so that your partner could get to know your likes, dislikes, and wants.

My swap partner was Laura. I cautiously stalked her online - reading posts she had made, viewing her finished projects page, asking her a few more questions, and seeing what patterns she marked as her favorites. I collected an assortment of gifts for her package and mailed it off to her last week. To be honest, I was much more concerned that she like the package I had prepared for her than vice versa. Yesterday our packages arrived at our respective homes and we opened our swap gifts.

Wow! Inside my box was the coolest Pink Floyd t-shirt bag filled with goodies!

This one definitely has special meaning to me, as Pink Floyd is my all-time favorite musical group. In fact, my Ravelry name comes from a line in their song The Wall “All in all, we’re just another brick in the wall.” How clever to make a bag for all my yarn and projects from a t-shirt!

I opened my bag and found fantastic gifts. First, the most gorgeous earth-tones yarn from Schulana. I’m thinking it would make a gorgeous cowl… And an organic cotton from a local shop that I can’t stop fondling. I think this would make a wonderful market bag to slip into my purse and carry shopping. Here’s a pic of the yarn I received:

The next thing I opened up was an original creation that really makes me smile. Laura made a felted replica of the Stone Head that is on the Pink Floyd Division Bell album cover. She designed it over a pez dispenser (I also collect pez dispensers) and it is one of the coolest things I’ve ever received! Here’s a pic, along with another shot of that cute t-shirt bag:

Wowsers, even more to come! Next I opened up a series of oh-so-fun presents. From the Moon Lantern company, a beautiful silk knitting needle holder and a little notepad holder - the cover was adorned with a yarn and knitting needle design. And to pamper myself, a mini spa set, complete with Sandlewood candle, bath fizz, a crystal, and a clay mask. Laura also made me two relaxing sound of nature cd’s…..ah, I can picture the waves rolling in on a warm night! Here’s a picture of these presents:

Am I spoiled, or what? Thanks to the best swap partner ever!! Here’s a final picture of all of my gifts:

This was so much fun I've signed up for two more knitting related swaps. I think this could become addicting........

Monday, March 2, 2009

Newly Discovered Sock Yarn

I love colorful socks. Yup, the ones that don't match and have outrageously bright colors. While at a yarn store in St Paul yesterday, I came across the coolest sock yarn that definitely fits my yarn requirements for a colorful sock. I picked up two different skeins of Fleece Artist Somoko sock yarn. It's hand dyed and comes from Nova Scotia. It's 65% Merino, 20% kid, 10% nylon, 5% silk and is machine washable. I can't wait to make socks out of this cool yarn! One pair will be for me, the other for a birthday gift for my niece. Shhh! Don't tell.




Another yarn that I purchased was the Malibrigo sock yarn. It's a Superwash Merino from Uruguay that is kettle dyed. I've made a sweater out of a bulky Malibrigo, but have not used their sock yarn yet. This should make a fun pair of socks as well.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Kindle Knitting?

My Kindle 2 arrived this week! So far, I'm impressed with all the fun features this electronic reader has to offer. But how can this cool reader enhance my knitting? I set out today to find out.

First, I did a search for knitting books on Amazon. Not too many were available. 71 selections came up for the term "knitting," but many were novels about knitting or books on crochet or other crafts. One of the things you can do with your Kindle is download a sample of any book for free. That way, if you like the book you can purchase it, if not, you don't waste your money. I found a book called How to Knit in the Woods: 20 Projects for the Great Outdoors by Shannon Okey. I downloaded the sample and found a comprehensive table of contents, pictures of all the projects in the book, and the first 84 pages of the book. This definitely gave me enough knowledge to determine whether I wanted to purchase the book. Add one point for Kindle knitting book sampling; subtract one for the lack of books about knitting in the Kindle store.

What about keeping patterns on the Kindle? Imagine having all of your patterns on this little machine, ready to reference whenever you like! But how well does it work?

I sent a copy of a knitting pattern in a Word document format to mykindleaccountname@free.kindle.com. Within a few minutes, the file was sent back to me in a Kindle readable format. I then plugged my Kindle into my computer and copied the file from my desktop to my Kindle. When I opened the document up on the Kindle, everything looked good and there were no problems with formatting. There is no cost for this method of transferring documents. Another option is to send the file to Amazon and have them convert it and send it directly to your Kindle for 10 cents.

A lot of my patterns are in pdf format, however, and conversion of these files is considered "experimental" by Amazon. I sent a simple pdf file of a knitting pattern to my free.kindle.com account. It was converted and sent back to me in a few minutes and was formatted perfectly, including pictures. WooHoo! No problems so far!

Another try, this time with a more complex pdf file pattern that included a chart and a boxed insert of knitting terminology. It took a mere 4 minutes to return the file. I opened it, saw the pictures, the text, and.......... nope, no chart, no boxed insert. It doesn't really bother me, since I probably wouldn't want to read chart patterns on my Kindle anyway.

The Kindle certainly opens up possibilities for referencing pattern directions on the go. As I learn more about my new toy, I'm sure I'll find other ways to use it.