Tuesday, November 27, 2007

felt wreath...

excuse the washed out photo, folks. this is the result of the end of daylight savings time, leaving for work when it is still dark and getting home at sunset -- no good picture-taking light.

also, the wreath is a little smooshed from being sandwiched between the storm door and front door all night. imagine it a little more fluffed and it will be more accurate.

this was easy to make and only took about an hour. i used felt scraps that were already just lying on my cutting table.

i love it and now i want to make a million of them in every color in the rainbow...not like all of the colors of the rainbow in one...like this one.

happy tuesday, party people!

Monday, November 26, 2007

giving thanks...

early in october i set up my wares at a locally owned, fabulous store called recycled rose. the owner, sue, sells a super eclectic mix of handmades, antiques, florals and gifts. you name it -- she's got it.

in anticipation of the show, i had just finished a blanket made up of felted wool squares. it had an asymmetrical gees bend kind of feel. i loved it and hoped that someone else would too. turns out someone did...but not in the green colorway i had chosen. the admirer of the blanket asked if i did custom work and as i am always wont to do in those situations, i said, "yes."

truth be told, i don't really love doing commissions. normally, i work if/when the spirit moves me, on items that speak to me at any given moment (that's the beauty of also having a 9-to-5). commissions can feel like a homework assignment. this commission was especially weighted, too, because the sweaters my "benefactor" wanted me to use were her husband's...her husband who was deceased...and they were all 100% cashmere. she was very excited about the prospect of having a blanket using these otherwise unused sweaters. she came to my house the very next day and dropped them off. we decided to mix in a few of her sweaters too. i got very excited too, seeing how much this would mean to her.

then this happened...you know that saying, "life is what happens while you're busy making other plans?" yea, that was the universe's very thinly veiled message, "slow down, wallace family and spend time with each other."

but i did finish up the "quilt" last week and delivered it on tuesday. as i drove to drop it off i got more and more nervous. these were some seriously meaningful sweaters i just cut into a million pieces. was she going to like it? was it going to live up to the expectations she had?

i walked into her office and unwrapped the blanket and held it out for her to inspect. as her expression, she wore a truly beatic smile. it was a success. she said she was so glad to have the blanket for thanksgiving. we hugged.

i hope you had a blanket of love this thanksgiving...in more ways than one.

Friday, November 16, 2007

beaker bag instructions...

beaker bag


small amount of malabrigo worsted weight for contrasting color (cc) (reserve about 2 yards of this color for sewing together the bottom of the bag)

one skein of malabrigo worsted weight for main color (mc)

size 11, 24” circular needle

tapestry needle



not really important as this bag is felted/fulled…this is a “let go and let it be” project. go with the flow, knitter!


bo - bind off
cc - contrasting color
co - cast on
dec - decrease
dec rd- decrease round
k - knit
k2tog - knit two together
mc - main color
pm - place marker
rd - round
sm - slip marker
sts - stitches


body of bag (knit from bottom edge up)
co 110 sts with cc. join for working in the round being careful not to twist stitches. pm for beginning of rd. k55 and pm to denote middle of rd. k every rd until piece measures 3” from co edge.

change to mc, and k every rd until piece measures 5” from co edge.

decrease round – on next rd dec as follows: k1, k2tog, k to 3 sts before next marker, k2tog, k1, sm, k1, k2tog, k to 3 sts before marker for beginning of rd, k2tog, k1. 4 sts decreased (106 sts). k 3 rds even. repeat dec rd and following 3 rds of straight knitting 8 times until you have 74 sts left.

k until piece measures 12.5” from co edge.

on next rd, k10, bo17, k10, sm, k10, bo17, k10, sm; next rd – k10, co 17 using backwards loop method, k10, sm, k10, co17 using backwards loop method, k10.

knit above handle opening for 3”. bo all stitches. sew in ends using tapestry needle. turn bag inside out; with cc yarn sew bottom of bag using mattress stitch or whip stitch.

i have really good results in my washing machine using dawn dishwashing liquid. i use the lowest water setting and a hot water wash cycle with a cold water rinse cycle. some suggest not letting your machine spin when felting. i always let the machine spin and i also put most of my felted items in the dryer. this purse, however, will dry very well flat on a dry towel.

here is a picture of the bag before felting:

see that little bit of orange at the very top of the handle? that's where i ran out of the main color of the malabrigo, got too lazy to rip out the last two rows so i could have enough to cast off with, couldn't find yarn harlot's instructions for binding off without using any yarn and decided to use some of this yarn instead. of course i knew that it would felt at a different rate than the malabrigo. it ended up okay...not great, but okay. i felted the bag twice so it's extra dense. (there's a joke in there somewhere...ya know, all, "i like my felted bags like i like my men -- dense")

please note, these instructions have been knit ONE time...not test knit by anyone other than myself, and i may not have the nomenclature or abbreviations down, although i do think a medium/beginning knitter could figure them out. please e-mail me using the button above if you want these instructions in a Word document. and let me know if you make this bag...and please send pics that i will post.

have a great weekend, wool-ites!

Monday, November 12, 2007

harder than it looks...

instead of doing all the things i was supposed to do this weekend, i decided i was going to try my hand at writing a knitting pattern. i started with something simple...a fulled (aka felted) handbag. fulling hides a multitude of sins so i figured if there were any mistakes they wouldn't be too noticeable. also, i used malabrigo worsted weight yarn in two colors leftover from the wrist warmers. that yarn is so fabulous that nothing made out of it can ever turn out badly.

last night i finished everything but the casting off and sewing up. once the bag is done i'll take pictures (before and after fulling), double check my math and post the instructions.

this bag is in a shape i haven't seen before (in my limited experience) and it's a cross between the much loved buttonhole bag and the stripey bag from one skein.

of course, in the name of full disclosure, if the finished product is a bust, i'll post that too.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

we're everywhere...

at our weekly knit and gab fest last night, the barrista watched me knit for a while. i didn't know he was watching me until i got that feeling you get when someone is watching you and that feeling forces you to involuntarily look up and directly into the eyes of the person who is looking at you. he smiled a friendly grin and asked me if i was knitting socks. i told him, no, i was knitting wrist warmers (easy mistake as both are knit in the round on double pointed needles). he told me he was knitting socks for a friend of his. then he walked around the counter and stood at my elbow, raised his pant leg a bit and showed me his socks. he told me he had knit them himself. the socks had small neat cables and were a lovely gray. they went great with his black hi-tops. he told me the socks he was knitting for a friend would not be that intricate. i agreed that was a good strategy. sometimes you need to gauge a person's ability to appreciate handknit items and then you can go hog-wild with something really fabulous.

he stood there for a little while longer and chatted away about knitting.

and then we entered that weird phase that inevitably comes up in a conversation with a stranger when the initial topic is exhausted and you've come up empty on how to (a) transition to a new topic or (b) gracefully end the conversation so you can both go peacefully on your way.

eventually we extracted ourselves so he could go back to latte production and i could concentrate on the CF4.

but now i know a little more about the geeky boy with the straw colored hair and glasses who makes me my coffee each week. he knits too.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

tv is a good thing...and a bad thing...

every fall season i swear i will NOT get hooked on any new tv shows. and then kelly reads me the synopsis and reviews from his bible (aka, entertainment weekly). i then vow to only watch two episodes (to be fair, the pilot could be horrible or the first "real episode" could be, so i have to give them a fighting chance). and you know how it turns out, don't you? tv is like crack, or meth...or so i've heard, not having personal experience...you can become addicted instantly. and so it has gone this tv season.

granted, i wrote off bionic woman and journeyman because, well, they both sucked. i wanted the new jaime sommers to be jennifer garner from the first season of alias, but she's not. and i wanted journeyman to be the time traveler's wife come to life (btw...i looked and this fabulous book is being made into a movie in 2008) but it is just the kind of cheese, cheese, cheesiest episodic one-hour pseudo-science fiction that i hate.

but what do i love? pushing daisies. this show is a one-two punch of fairy tale, alternate universe, crayon-colored sets and costumes, well-written, snappy dialogue, fast-paced, heart-rending subplots that i love, lerve, want to squeeze to within an inch of its life. please watch it, though, because as soon as i let the universe know that i love a show, it smacks me in the face and cancels it (for example, my so called life, once and again and freaks & geeks).

what other shows do i like this season? big bang theory...chuck...reaper...(we've decided that chuck and reaper are really the same show, but i like them both anyway.)

what old favorites are still on my list? america's next top model...amazing race...heroes (i'm about ready to give up on it though, 'cause i'm starting to get that jerked around feeling like i did with LOST)...boston legal (however, what's up with the revolving door on the casting office?)...the office...my name is earl...hmmm, i know i'm leaving some shows out, but kelly will add it in the comments, won't ya?

and what's so far off the radar that i forgot? ER...grey's anatomy...desperate housewives

but as entertained and distracted i am by television, good and bad, i have a love/hate relationship with it. how much more could i accomplish if it wasn't there to pull my attention away from more intellectual pursuits? and if i was honest with myself? what would i REALLY be doing with this fictional extra time i keep fantasizing about? would i still be knitting but while listening to the radio or my iPod? would i read more books from this list? would i go back to school?

just like the tootsie pop owl, though, i may never know, because it is here to stay.

Monday, November 05, 2007

finishing things up...

while sitting in the hospital and then in between doling out medication, ice packs and forehead kisses once we got home, i've finished up a few knitting projects.

>>> two scarves for a swap that's due on december 12 (how good does it feel to be done early?)

>>> two pairs of wrist warmers -- one pair for someone i know who is turning sweet 16 this week! one pair for me.

>>> i've got another wrist warmer on the needles (in a yummy brown for nathaniel) and one of a pair complete (except for the thumb) for my very young cousin's christmas present.

i've really got my eye on this kit, but i am enforcing a moratorium on buying any more projects until i finish up at least one pair of socks.

i also frogged a scarf that i was knitting with two skeins from my rockin' sock club yarn...the combo didn't make my heart sing and what's the use wasting time knitting something i don't love?

and really? knitting is all i want to do these days anyway. grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking...even making the bed (which kelly always does anyway) seems taxing to me. my brain needs a rest, i suppose. knitting is stress relief...yoga for the soul...so i've been feeding the need to move my hands while keeping my rear end firmly planted in a comfy chair.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

all hallow's eve...

yeah, that's right! it's a flaming pumpkin head.