How to Sew a Lining for a Knitted or Crocheted Bag

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008
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Sew A Lining For A Crocheted Bag

Oh man, did I need this! I’ve been sitting on my Isabeau Purse for a few years now because I had no idea how to line it. But now I can try my hand at this tutorial and see if I can indeed Sew a Lining for my Knitted Bag! Updates soon.

Reverse engineering an Estonian lace pattern

Monday, June 30th, 2008
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Reverse engineering an Estonian lace pattern

Here’s a great post on reverse engineering an Estonian lace pattern.

50 Great Yarn Tips

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008


Lion Brand has 50 Great Yarn Tips (at least). Some of my favourites:

Double-pointed and circular needles are often not marked for size and they almost always get separated from their original packages. I mark them with a fine-point permanent marker (two dots for size 2). The larger needles usually have enough space to mark the actual number. It works for all needles (wood, metal, and plastic.) I never have to search for my needle size gauge. Also, I keep a complete list of the needles I own in my purse, so I know at a glance whether I have to buy needles for a new project.

Keep your pattern and the copy of your pattern that you marked up and notated in a plastic sleeve in a 3 ring notebook. Slip in your swatch and a picture of the finished project as well. This way, when looking to make another of that pattern, you’ll have all your notes right there, suggestions for what you’d like to change for the next time, and how it turned out the first time. All your notes, etc…are all in one organized place.

Free yarn bras: Ask your florist to save you the plastic webbing that protects Fuji mums and other large-headed flowers during shipping. This webbing is a lightweight version of the material used for yarn bras, and florists throw it out. A little cleaning with soapy water will remove flower residue and voila! Yarn bras for all those 50 g./1.75 oz. yarn balls! A larger, more sturdy version for larger skeins can be found at some wine or liquor stores. This larger webbing is used to keep bottles from clanking together in consumer’s shopping bags.

You can also use the wrappers around asian pears.

Found via

Bleaching Wool

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

There’s a great article about “Why You Can’t Bleach Sheep” at A Moment of Science (which is a great name for a science site):

It all boils down to simple chemistry. Household liquid bleach is a basic chemical, with a fairly high pH of about 10. Bleach whitens clothes by releasing oxygen that combines with chemicals in dye, making them colorless. The higher the pH of bleach, the greater the amount of oxygen that’s released–and the whiter your clothes become.

Like bleach, cotton fiber is also on the basic side of the pH scale, and cotton usually bleaches well. But wool is acidic. When you combine acidic wool with basic household bleach, you get a chemical reaction called a neutralization reaction–and the result is that the bleach dissolves the wool fibers into a goopy mess!

You can do it, but you have to be careful. You can follow these instructions, but you should test a small piece first to make sure it will be alright.

Tsumami Kanzashi Tutorials

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
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I’ve fallen in love with Kanzashi. Here’s what Wikipedia says about them:

[[Kanzashi]] are created by Japanese artisans from squares of silk by a technique known as tsumami. Each square is multiply folded with the aid of pincers and cut into a single petal. These are attached to backings of metal to create whole flowers, or attached to silken threads to create strings of blossoms…. Geisha wear different hana kanzashi according to the month, or public holiday. In the summer months (June to September), jade ornaments with white or silver themes are worn. During the winter months (October to May), tortoiseshell and coral kanzashi are worn.

Here are some beautiful Kanzashi I’ve found on the web:

Kanzashi cherry blossoms

Japanese Hair Ornaments for Geisha Kimono Costume & Cosplay

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Why we can’t knit a sock in 15 miles

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
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Square ShawlsHere’s a beautiful post from Knit Buddies on square shawl construction. It looks like it will be the first post of many on the subject, and they’ll be a doozy if this post and similar posts are any indication. I’d like to link to it, as well as giving my thoughts on the introduction to the post:

“An industrious knitter could just about finish a man’s stocking in a 15-kilometer stretch of even, easy walking. So said an 80-year old woman from Leksand in the 1890′s.” — Brigitta Dandanell-Ulla Danielsson, 1984. Twined Knitting.

I keep thinking about what that 80-year-old woman in Leksand said. I couldn’t even walk 9.3 miles and certainly not while knitting. On the other hand it really also made me think about all the skills and techniques that have been lost or almost lost through the ages.

Here was the comment I left at her site:

A quick opinion on what you were saying at the beginning about how skills have been lost; I disagree. Yes, most of us can’t knit for 15 miles but that’s because we’ve spent our lives learning all sorts of other things, like blogging and doing math and reading and all sorts of other things. If we spent our entire lives learning to knit, we could certainly knit and walk at the same time, just as I’m sure most of us can read and walk at the same time after years spent in grade school reading and reading and reading. The difference between now and then is that we’ve specialized on different things, and I’m sure you’ll agree (no matter how much we love knitting) that being able to do the odd calculation or paint or recall a poem makes all our lives a bit richer :)

What do you guys think? How have you specialized? How has your specialization helped your knitting?

Spice Up Your Knitting!

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Ruched ScarfGood advice from Knitting Daily:

“The best way to get to know a stitch, and the effect it will have on your knitting, is the same approach used by cooks when faced with a new spice: look at how the unfamiliar ‘ingredient’ is used in other recipes, and then experiment for yourself.”

Clutter-free, DIY Christmas Ornaments

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007
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DIY Christmas Ornaments

My goal this year is to have an uncluttered Christmas, and that includes the destruction of any and all seasonal leftovers. I have this old collection of red ornaments and fake pine cones and an ugly strand of of “ivy” or whatever it is, and with all the moving I’ve been doing the past 6 years, I’ve gotten to really hate them because all I do is keep them in storage or move them around. Not only are they unstylish, but I really don’t need them the other 335 days of the year, so they’ve got to go.

These ornaments are a great solution to the clutter problem, because you can make them up quickly in a few minutes and then throw them in the recycling once you’re done with them. They’re bound to be crumpled at some point during the year anyway, so trash ‘em once you’re done with them and be free of Christmas Clutter!

(I think I actually made a variant of these when I was a kid. Does anyone remember making something like this? I love the paper that they used for these ones, it really updates it and makes it vavavoom without reducing its craft-with-your-kids factor. Cheers to CRAFT for the link.)

kpkpkpkpkpkp… what? A who where underlying what memory in mammals?

Thursday, October 4th, 2007
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Boring LectureI felt a bit weird knitting in a lecture, seminar series and committee meeting yesterday, so I’m glad that Sarah-Hope recently put up a great post on The Fine Art of Knitting in Meetings.

The best advice here is #1:

Speak up early and intelligently. The best way to keep people from resenting your knitting or viewing it as a distraction is to make it clear from the get-go that you are fully engaged with the non-knitting activity at hand. When I bring my knitting to a meeting, I carefully look for an opportunity to contribute a worthwhile idea or comment early on. Help those around you realize that knitting does not limit your ability to participate.

My addition: A big thing I always do is make eye contact with the presenter/prof/other folks at occasional moments while I’m knitting, even just for a few stitches, which lays it down for them that I’m actually paying attention and that the knitting is automatic. If they think I can knit with my eyes closed, they’ll believe that I can knit and participate in a meeting at the same time.

What tricks do you use?

Once I start my mom’s Somewhat Cowl, it will become the ideal meeting sweater. Not only will it be tiny because it’s for my mom, but it will also be plain stockinette so I would barely have to look down at all. Ribbing doesn’t distract me at all but sometimes cables do, which is where I am right now with my Colchique.

Oh yeah, by the way, I started Colchique! I’m past the waist, a few cm from the boobs. I’m knitting it in the round so that I don’t have to seam! And it’s looking mighty good.


Sunday, September 2nd, 2007
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Stephen ColbertI wanted to mention this before leaving for tropical climes, but I’m glad I waited until getting back! If any of you folks watch The Colbert Report (and you should do so every day unless he’s on vacation or it’s a weekend, and in that case you should watch some reruns), you’ll know that The Fair Colbert disturbed his wrist a short time ago and is encouraging awareness of the misunderstood body part. To this end, he’s started a campaign called WristSTRONG, with silicone bracelets to boot.

I thought this awareness campaign would be especially important among the knitting community, seeing as our hands and wrists are quite complicit in the creation of our various garments and novelty dong warmers (yes, that’s two wang references in two consecutive blog posts!).* Since I’ve been gone and back, you can now buy a bracelet! They are oh so stylish and I want one.


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