Monday, November 29, 2010

Knitting Stitch Markers Giveaway!

I made myself knitting stitch markers several years ago, and I love them. They add a little bit of bling to my knitting needles, and because they were hand crafted by me, they are unique.

I don't plan on making stitch markers again any time soon.

But SomerKnits at Knit-O-Matic the Knitting Addict makes them frequently. Recently she had a great day making stitch markers to sell at the Arkansas Fiber Arts Extravaganza. And she wants to share the abundance by giving a set of her stitch markers away to one lucky knitter!

Simply head over to her blog, and enter by posting a comment, following her blog, and sharing this give away with your friends on FB and Twitter.

Note: The pic above are the stitch markers I made. The ones the winner will receive are much prettier and will be better made!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Well Supplied Knitting or Crochet Bag

Life has finally slowed down enough for me to bring my larger knitting projects out of hibernation, and begin two scarves (in tandem) for Christmas Gifts. But life has not slowed down enough for me to sit at home all day knitting and eating bon bons. Which means I will be taking my knitting with me wherever I go.

I've put together a tote bag to hold my knitting/crocheting projects and necessary supplies. Now I can carry my project around the house, or onto the porch on a warmer day, when I get a rare moment to sit. And everything will be together so I can just grab it and toss in the front seat of the SUV when we leave home for the day.

This also helps me stay focused on one project at a time. I can keep one project ready and waiting in the tote bag , and leave the others in the storage bin. I can switch them out as I please, but this ensures that there is only one project out at a time.

It honestly doesn't take a lot of time, or a huge investment, to supply a knitting or crochet tote bag. But gathering a handful of essentials to keep with you will make your project go much smoother in the long run. Plus it will give you a better chance to work on a project when or where you happen to have an opportunity.

The first thing you need is a bag or container to carry it in. A large roomy tote is what I'm using. You can use any large bag, backpack, basket, etc. Your personality and lifestyle will be the determining factor to what you carry your project in. Make sure it's durable, roomy, has some pockets for you other goodies, and does not have any zippers, edges, or corners to snag your yarn.

If you are still carrying your project in the plastic shopping bag from the store at which you bought your yarn, please get yourself a tote. You are creating a beautiful item from nothing but yarn using your fingers. Take a little pride in yourself and in your work, and carry your creation well!

The first thing to go in your Knitting or Crochet bag is of course your project, yarn (protected in a smaller bag), hook or needles for your project, and a copy of the instructions.

Yarn in your tote needs to be protected from spills, children, puppies, etc. I bought a nice yarn holder on clearance. But a freezer zipper baggie will do just fine. Simply close the baggie across the top except for an inch to let the yarn pass through. Only carry one or two skeins of yarn with you. Keep the rest the yarn for your project at home where it will be safe and sound.

A word of experience - do not carry the original instructions for your project in your tote. That is a heartbreak waiting to happen. Make a copy with a copy machine, or write a copy of the instructions, and keep the original safe on the shelf, filed in a binder, or stored with your yarn at home.

After you have a bag you can take a bit of pride in, and place in it your yarn, needles/hook, and instructions.... you need to add a few more necessities. To keep mine organized I use a zippered pencil pouch, and a few small containers such as empty Altoid mint tins.

In my pouch I have a quilter's tape measure, small folding embroidery scissors, a crochet hook, and a set of small circular needles.

The crochet hook comes in handy to help pick up any stitches I may have dropped. The smaller circular needles are a god send if I have to partially frog a knitting project. Ripping back onto smaller needles lessens errors and dropped stitched. The embroidery scissors are useful to cutting out any weak or bad spots in the strand of yarn.

Next in my supply pouch is variety of stitch markers, , a needle size indicator , a tapestry or yarn needle, some band aids, an emery file, and hand cream. Other items in my pouch that are not shown here are stitch holders, point protectors, and a row counter.

There are several types of stitch markers. I use Clover Locking Stitch Markers, Boye close able ring stitch markers, safety pins, and hand made ring stitch markers I made a few years back. These are great for marking increases or decreases, either on the needle or by marking individual stitches after they are worked. I also keep scrap yarn or crochet cotton thread to use as a horizontal thread marker to mark an entire row when I need row for a reference point.

The emery board and band aids don't really have anything to do with knitting. But you never know when you might accidentally nick yourself, or chip a fingernail, which could prevent you from being able to play with your yarn.

It's also handy to have a pencil, index cards and post it notes to write any notes, reminders, or random thoughts (must remember to thaw the chicken for dinner) as you are working.

And last, but not least, in my knitting bag I keep a book light, a small head lamp light, and an MP3 player. The first two will be useful for knitting when you are the passenger in the car at night time, and save you from stabbing yourself with knitting needles. The latter will give you something soothing or interesting to listen too while your hands are occupied.

And there you have it. A well supplied Knitting or Crochet Bag for your current or next project. You don't have to spend a fortune, or get everything at once. But the better supplied your tote is, the better prepared you will be. Plus the more likely it will be that your project will end up finished and enjoyed instead of being sent to the bottom of the frog pond to sleep with the fishes.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Finished Knitting Project - Sunburst Dishcloth

Peaches and Cream Cotton

I've been knitting a lot of dishcloths for gifts lately, and that is leaving me with a small bin of scrap yarn. I found this pattern, and really liked the look of it. So I knit this one up using alternating colors from my scrap stash..

The pattern itself offers a bit of a challenge. But not overwhelming. Once the first section in complete, you get a feel for the pattern and it's fun to knit.

Although it is a round dishcloth, it is not knit circular, but in rows. Yarn overs, and bind offs every 5th row create the lacy effect and the edging. Knitting in sections, wrapped stitches and short rows create the circular effect. The first row and last row are grafted together to complete the circular shape.

I enjoyed this pattern, and will be starting another one this weekend.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Saturday, November 13, 2010


Friday, November 12, 2010

Maternal love is the first agent in education

"It is upon the mothers of the present that the future of the world depends, in even a greater degree than upon the fathers, because it is the mothers who have the sole direction of the children's early, most impressionable years. This is why we hear so frequently of great men who had good mothers - that is, mothers who brought up their children themselves, and did not make over their gravest duty to indifferent persons.

"'The mother is qualified, says Pestalozzi, 'and qualified by the Creator Himself, to become the principal agent in the development of her child.... and what is demanded of her is - a thinking love... Maternal love is the first agent in education.'"

Charlotte M Mason
Volume I - Home Education
pg. 2

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Meal Plan Nonday

This is the paycheck comes mid week meal Plan.

We are at the end of this pay period, and our pantry and fridge are rather bare. I have Monday and Tuesday planned out. I am waiting for the sale circulars to come out to make my menu and my shopping list for the rest of the week. And then I will go shopping on Wed.

Monday - Oatmeal with cinnamon and peanut butter
- Cheese Sticks, veggie sticks, apple sauce, peanut butter
- Liver and onions made in the crock pot. Steamed and pureed butternut squash.


Tuesday - Scrambled eggs, sautéed diced onions and peppers.
- Mixed fruit/berries, cheese sticks, milk
- Poor Boy Special (Mac n Cheese, Tuna, Peas) Milk

Wednesday - Pancakes or Crepes with berries
- Most likely stopping at Braums for fruit, cheese, and yogurt
- Dinner out before church

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Recycled Overalls Tote Bag

This is my current knitting bag. I bought it on clearance for less than $5.00 at a local craft store. I have had it for almost forever, and it is my favorite bag of all time. I love and have used it as a tote for absolutely everything. It's faded and it's out of season, but its just so perfect I love it so much. (Can you tell I love this bag?)

Well.. my bag is so well loved, the handles are starting to fray and are about to the point of breaking.

I honestly have thought long and hard about using duct tape, or red athletic tape, to tape the handles. But that would really be tacky, and just prolonging the demise of this poor bag.

Out of the love and the respect I have for my bag, I am just going to let it retire gracefully.

I have been perusing the craft stores, thrift store, and every store I walk through to find a worthy replacement. I have yet to find one that is the right size, the right color, and that fits in my budget.

This past week we have been purging closets for out of season or outgrown clothes. Out of my oldest daughter's closet came a cute pair of khaki over-all shorts. They were still in really good shape, and had lots of pockets.

I had seen some time back a lady carrying a purse made from toddler overalls, and thought it was a really cute idea, but never had the opportunity to try it.

But here I was with my daughter's outgrown overalls, and me in need of a new bag. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to try making a tote bag to me!

It took me several hrs to get it done, but I was interrupted with a toddler not napping, yard work, and then dinner for my fam. If I was not inerrupted I am pretty sure this would not of taken more than 30 minutes at the most to start and complete.

Best part is it fit within my budget because it cost me nothing. The overalls were going to be given away or tossed anyway, and I had the thread on hand. Oh... the sewing machine I made it on was given to me for free as well.

How's that for a free tote bag?!

Here's how you can make your own....

Please note... I didn't pin any of the edges before hemming them. I just hand pressed them, and then held them together as I sewed along. I also wasn't very picky about hem allowances, but I think they ranged between 1/2" to 1".

Start with clean over-all shorts.

To keep the length, cut out the crotch seam. If you don't want your tote bag as deep, simply cut the legs off above the crotch.

Turn the over-alls inside out. Match the raw edged of the crotch together in the back, and then again in the front. Dont match up the front with the back, but make sure the back and the front stay separate so you don't sew them back together.

With a sewing machine, Hem first the back crotch cut. Then hem the front crotch together.
After they are hemmed it should look like this when laid flat. Notice the side seams are what are in the middle, and the hemmed crotches are on the sides.

Now with the over-alls still inside out, lay them flat with the side seams on the sides again, and the front and back crotch hems matching up.

Before sewing the bottom edge closed, to reduce bulking, fold the top crotch hem allowance one way, and the bottom hem allowance the opposite way.

Machine hem with a generous edge allowance.

This is what it should look like after the bottom is sewn closed.

To help make a little bit of a flatter bottom, Sew the bottom corners at a diagonal.

Turn it right side out, fill it with your favorite things or you daily must haves, and enjoy!

Here's what mine looked like filled.

To give you an idea of how roomy this tote is, I have my current knitting project, my book tote, my knitting instructions, and a notebook on the inside. The front pockets have my hand lotion, and my chap stick. The two back pockets were perfect for holding my book light and my MP3 player.

I am not head over heals in love with this bag yet, but it's cute and so far I like it pretty well.