Archive for the ‘books’ Category

My latest project has been trying to create a form to felt a size 2T coat for Alaina, but I knew I would have a hard time felting it to sizeThe coat is for next year so after talking with Emily Ann we figured she will be about a 2T by then. The pattern is by Nani called “Ella & The Legume”. It is so cute I saw it done in pastel colors at Knitch in Atlanta and just had to get the yarn and pattern to make her one.  (If you are going to get the pattern look also on line @ Deep South Fibers there is a correction to the pattern there.)






The thought I would share with you the project because it was easy fun and very useful when felting or even knitting.




Making forms all came about because my daughter Tracy was mentioning that when I knitted her a sweater she has to much extra fabric under her arms. I thought about this problem and did not know how I could work without trying it on her or having a form. Trying it on her with her living Michigan and I in Georgia seemed a bit difficult. However, a dress form was not out of the question. I did not want to buy a form they cost so much so that left me to exploring making one. I found a great book called “Custom Knits” by Wendy Bernard. She suggests making a form for you with the help of a friend out of duck tape. This worked really great and was an easy and fast way to solve the problem.


Making a form for Alaina like this presented two problems. One she is not a size 2T yet and the second and biggest problem was I would never duck tape a little person. She would hate it and never sit still and I would be the Nana that traumatized her at a very early stage!!!!! So with that said I started to think about what could be done.


Several years ago I made Santa Clauses out of children’s clothing. They were really cute and I enjoyed making them. I thought maybe I could do that. The next problem would be that they would be all wet during the felting process. Whether during the drying or spot steaming process, they would become damp and limp. Then I thought I could water proof them.



1.        Paper Mache ……..not waterproof again. Nope!

2.      Plaster of Paris……not waterproof again!!! Nope.

3.      Water proof the above…..HHHHHmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

4.     Why brother with all the mess just waterproof the fabric of the outfit!!!!!!!!

5.      But how??????????

6.      Buy spray waterproof like the kind for boots and stuff………….too much money

7.       what makes cloth waterproof……………..Enamel Paint


So I did I spray painted the outfit with enamel paint and water proof she became. The following are pictures and explanations of the process I used to create Alaina 2T: 

 First step was going to a thrift shop to buy cheap 2T long sleeve top and pants.





Then you need to make the form:

 I  closed the arms with fabric circles to give room for the wrists of the coat. I stuffed the top and the began to work on the bottom.







I made the same type of circles for the legs and sewed them to the opening. This insured that the legs were round and not pulled together. Stuffing the legs came next but I wanted them to be weighted so they could stand if I wanted.




I put the stone weights you use for flowers in vases in a plastic bag to keep them together and placed them in the legs. I then stuff the legs tight and began to attach the top to the bottom.




Next step.

After I stuffed the top and bottom tightly I then attached the two together. I whipped stitched them all the way around.  


















I can either stand the form up or put it on a hanger in the neck of the top. Depending on now heavy the garment you are felting, will depend on which way you will want to put the form.




Standing on it’s own!






I put a paper tube from wrapping paper down the back like a spine. This helped me be able to handle the form when I was spraying the paint. I left it in while it stood to dry and will cut it down later so there is room for the hanger too. I painted the form green because that is the color I had on hand. It also made me think of Michigan State. Go Green Go White. But I think I would have rather  had the white. I would pick a color you like and go for it! make sure you get all the spots. Under the arms around the legs around the neck. You want it water proof so it doesn’t go limp or mold while drying.


I think it came out rather well. I am just about finish knitting the coat just a front ruffle. I will be felting it next week and will make sure to share the finished project and the coat drying on the form.







Good Luck putting your form together. Let me know how it goes!


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Me and Sock Monkey thought it would be fun to put together a map of all the places the family has visited over the last 40 years. So we got a world map. We mounted it and took a few color pins and went to work. Black pins are for Paul’s work travels, red Emily’s, green are where Paul and Emily went together, white is where the whole family went. The big pins are places we have owned a house and blue are where family live. There is one lone yellow for Tracy by herself in South Africa. She has been the farthest south in the family and Paul the farthest north with Helsinki. It was a lot of fun to do and see. Paul really enjoyed the surprise! He got to add a lot of pins from places we did not remember. How he wants to go through all the boxes and boxes of old pictures we have and sort by decade. So look forward to the next addition with old pictures to come soon.



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I have been busily working on my latest knitting projects. I am making two “Cable and Lace wrap cardigans” from Baby Knits by Lois Daykin.  They are quick and lovely wrap around cardigans done in a DK weight. I decided to make these for my friend Karen’s two new granddaughters. Her son Mathew’s family had their second daughter this July. There other beautiful daughter is Laura who is the cutie wearing the blue and yellow stripe sweater in my earlier post. Plus their second son Adam and his family had their second child who is also a girl born in June. Adam and AnnMarie now have a boy and girl.  I wanted to make them both something and wanted them to be similar even though they live miles and miles apart.  The cardigan is warm yet lovely.




The second project I am working on is for me. It is a lace sweater from Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine Number 43. There are several projects in this book that I would like to make but the top called “Eerie” designed by Sarah Hatton is really very lovely. All I have left to do is sew the shoulders together, put in a four row garter stitch around the neckline and gather the front accent.   There is maybe an hour worth of work but I have been working on the wraps to mail off before the babies are to big to wear them. I really can’t wait to finish the top. It will be to hot in Georgia for at least three months to wear it but we are heading up north to Michigan for Labor Day and I am sure it will be cool enough to wear it then.






The third project I am working on is one of the most fun projects I have worked on in a long time. It is the digestive system that I have been promising all summer to finish for Tracy’s class room. She will be back to school by September and I want to have it all done and ready for her by then. In fact I would like it ready by Labor Day as she will be going to visit family too and I would like to have it done to give her by then.   I will post the progress on this project as I go along for you to see. If you would like to knit it along with me you can find the pattern at Strange but Trewe. He must be a whole lot of fun to knit with. There was a knit a long in 2005 onCraftster and they have the finished pattern posted there as well.


I must say I had the best time answering Paul’s questions driving home this weekend from Florida. He wanted to know what I was working on and it was so much fun to just say I just finished knitting an Anus and was starting the Rectum. I can’t wait until I am out some where and have strangers ask what I am working on. I get weird looks as it is with the normal stuff, it should be great fun to see their reactions with “Oh I am working on the large bowel right now and working my to the colon soon”. Besides the project is a great way to use up all the odd balls in my stash I had hanging around.  



I am still working on Tracy’s Anna Sweater by Debbie Bliss. That has been on hold for about four months now. It will be a beautiful sweater when I am done. The pattern is very repetitive and I had lost interest in it fast. I will return and finish next. I promised myself that I would not start anything new for anyone else until I finish this sweater.  And I still have not started the red shell for Debbie. The shell has been on my needles and frogged twice now. Just don’t like the pattern for the shell. I will keep on looking until I find the right one. I am looking for a round collar, short cap sleeve, shell for a large size gal. If you know one or have a suggestion please leave a commit and let me know.


I have organized my want to do projects. I have divided them by what I want to make for Alaina and what I want to make for everyone else. I figure I would make one for one. I put them in an excel file and rated them by what interested me to do. I have at least two years of projects ahead of me. I figure I would now start making size 2 and 4 T stuff for Alaina so she can wear them in the future. I also want to sew Emily Ann one more baby sling made out of fleece for the cooler days ahead in Chicago.


Well that has been my projects for the month of July. I will keep posting the progress on the digestive system and let you know the reactions I get.






Secert Garden Sweater for Faith


booties for Alaina Baby slipers Knitting Pattern designed by Caroline Dlugy-Hegwer

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I bet you thought I fell off the ledge of the earth! No I have just been really busy with home, however, I am never to busy to knit. Or maybe this time I should say crochet too! I have been working on several projects. I finished Paul’s traveling socks, started a red Secret Garden sweater for Alaina, and worked on the Tribal Baby Carrier for Emily Ann. All are coming along fine.



 Paul’s socks from: “2 at a Time Socks”    by Melissa Morgan-Oaks



Tribal Baby Carrier from: “Folk Style: Innovative Designs to Knit” by Mag Kandis


  I am working on the sleeve how so I am a lot farther along than this picture.     Secrect Garden Sweater from: “The Children’s Collection” by A Starmore and J. Starmore.


I have found out however, I am not to fond of intarsia knitting. All the changing of colors and weaving in ends drives me crazy. I have also found out I work much better writing out the entire chart instructions, then slowly reading the color chart. I always seem to lose my place and it is hard to tell the color needed, plus you have to count it every time.  I was listening to Kelley’s podcast from “KnitPicks”  

Episode 33# on how to read patterns and she suggested trying this method. She writes each row of pattern for lace or color chart on one index card. Then she keeps them in a small zip lock bag so that you can keep them in order easily. I tried this for the Journey Shawl that I just finished and it work beautifully.





Japan’s Journey Shawl:  Voyager Lace Stole Pattern from elann.com this is a free pattern.


 So I adapted the concept to the color chart for the baby carrier. The chart is very long and cards would be too much so, I tried it with small sheets to fit the chart holder I have. It took some time to get it all down but I think it was well worth the effort. I am not sure how long or if I would have finished the carrier if I had just used the small color chart given. Make sure you print it with the gridlines and change every other line’s background color to help keep your place. I have been moving right along with this method. Kelley’s podcasts have many helpful hints and she reviews some great books. But this comes with a warning if you start to listen. You will be buying knitting, spinning, and crochet books all the time. She makes each book sound wonderful and so special you can’t live without it. I must say however, she is usually right about the book.


Well, in the middle of all the things I wanted to get done for others projects, Emily Ann seems to be having some difficulties and will deliver early. This makes the baby carrier, and a few other projects on the top of my list to get done now! Except I have been reallllllllly wanting to try my hand at one or two of the patterns I bought home from Japan. I decided to try one pattern that looked like a day project and see if I could follow along with visual clues. I choose the crochet hat from the book with all the crochet projects and began. I really like the results and have been wearing it all the time. In fact I am currently writing this at the airport on my way to visit Pete and Emily Ann. I am wearing the hat on the journey as we speak. I hope you enjoy the pictures and try a straw hat or two. The yarn was bought in Japan but it is very similar to raffia and I am thinking you could use that or a similar feeling yarn.


         To connect the two balls together there is a small plastic tube that you put together than use your blow dryer to warm and melt together to hold. It works really great!   


    I need to shape the bowl of the hat and rim. I went it lightly with warm  water and molded it on a metal bowl. I used a plastic tube to shape the rim and then put a plastic thread through the end stitiches to keep the shape. I think it turned out rathe well.


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While in Japan I purchased six books. One knitting, two embroidery, two lace crochet, and one crochet garment book. I thought I would share with you the books and what I found so interesting that I was willing to carry them back to the States. They were the heaviest items in my suit cases. We check three suitcases each were to be no heavier than 30 kg.    One was 27, the other two were 26 and 33 kg. The kind man at the check in let them go by with a cute commit of that he thought it all even out in the end. I still had more stuff in two carryon bags with my knitting and projects.


The six books have become my favorite treasures of the trip. I am not quite sure when I can start all the projects I want to make with them but I have plenty of time to worry about that in the future.


The first of the six books I wanted to share my favorite of them all. It is an embroidery book and not really a pattern book. I think of it as an art book and idea book rather than a how to book with patterns and instructions. It is called “Flowerworks” by Keita Maruyama. The garments in this book are stunning and just exquisite!


It gives me all kinds of ideas to use embroidery in different ways and on different items. The textures are intriguing. The book is a joy to look at and just beautiful. The ISBN is 978-4-579-10924-1. 




The second Embroidery Book called “Embroidery Book an Embroidered Linen” by Mori Reiko.  



This book does have patterns and directions on how to complete the projects. The reason I liked the book is that it had patterns for some really lovely snowflakes. I had been interested in snowflakes as a project for my friend Karen. Her son is getting married January 2009 and she wanted to have white shawls embroidered with blue snowflakes for the wedding party. I volunteered to help her with the project. The book has photographed pictures of the projects with good detail. The visual directions are clear enough to follow and the ideas are just great.  She even has details of how to build the boxes, purses and other accessories shown. I would be happy making and owning any of the projects offered. It is rare to have a book of projects that I am willing to say that.


The third book is the one knitting book I bought. It is a stitch dictionary and not a pattern book. It is called “250 Knitting patterns Book 250”  ISBN 978-4-529-04176-8 I do not know who it is by because I cannot read Japanese Kanji. There are seven sections dividend by color. From what I can tell they are patterns that are used in different ways. It appears to be by how large the overall pattern is. Some would be used as the entire front panel of a garment; some are narrower and can be used in combination with each other or as a small part of the garment. Some are for borders or edgings. I have several dictionary type books but I had not seen several of these patterns before. Most are very detailed and beautiful combinations of twists and cables. The charts are very clear and there are a lot of pictures to give hints in what the symbols mean. I am however, trying to purchase from Amazon Japan two books to help translate the kanji. The only problem I am having is that my credit card company will not clear the purchase. I will have to call them to get it straighten out I fear.



Back to the book I really enjoy the different patterns and the complex but beautiful designs offered in this book.


The fourth book is a crochet book which I cannot give you the name as I cannot read it. It by Sachiyo & Fukao and it is a pattern book of garments and accessories. ISBN 978-4-277-17227-1



I have become interested in crochet again because I have been listening to my favorite podcast “Yarn Thing” Marly is the producer and I just love listening to her. She has review several crochet authors and books on her podcast and they all sounded so interesting that I have been trying my hand at crochet again. Crochet has come a long way in design since my mother showed me how. There are some beautiful garments and items that were never available before. This book is my first crochet book in my collection and I wanted it to be well rounded in a variety of items to make. The hat catches my eye. I also purchased a hat kit at the same store in Yokohama and wanted a book with a few visual directions to help me complete that project. This book offers  some very good directions and pictures that I can figure out without needing to understand the Kanji.


The last two books are really wonderful too. They are both crocheting but they are crochet lace and jewelry.
The first one that I like the best is “Lace” by someone else I can’t read but will include her smiling face.
ISBN-10: 4-529-04575-7




I must say that this is my second favorite book I brought home and the favorite for patterns. The grapes and leaves necklace or collar will be the first project I make out of all of the books. It is beautiful! It reminds me of my mother’s era style yet contemporary enough to wear today. Very vintage but stunning.  They are visually detailed enough to follow.   There are also several sweater and top patterns that would be just beautiful to wear.



The second of the lace books is more detailed in directions and will help me understand what to do with the patterns in this book.

This brings me to the last of the books which is “Crochet Lace” by Someone I cannot read. But I have included her author page so you can at least see her face. ISBN-10: 4-529-04434-3 


I not only brought this book because of the great direction but it included several projects I have not seen patterns for before. It included jewelry, neckwear, barrettes, rings, and capes. The lace capes are very much like shawls but much smaller and neater. I think they will be great to wear instead of the extra bulk that shawls can and to your outfit. The garments offered in this book are very pleasing to the eye but very practical to use too.


Well there are all six books. I can wait to get started on them but they will have to wait until I finish the projects on my list. Alaina is due to arrive soon so I need to finish the tribal carrier, the baby blanket, and a couple of baby items for her. I need to finish Tracy’s Ana sweater (even if the pattern is boring to me) it will look great on her, and I must finish the red shell top as promised for Debbie. Once these are none I can play around with the patterns in the book. I will never be done with all the things I want to make for Alaina but many are for her when she gets bigger so they can be done later. There is one lace top pattern I found at the Knitch  http://www.knitchknitting.com/ I bought the yarn and pattern book by Rowan and I will share with you that pattern book later in the week.



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these are todays pictures. I am going to take a nap and come back and write a blog with it. Right now I need to rest, it has been a long busy day.


Hi I am back!

I was really glad today that I did road rallies in the past because that is what I felt like I was doing today. I would get a clue here and talk with someone else about how to get somewhere and then get another clue to figure out. But the long and short of it I got there with a little bit of thinking.


I wanted to go to the store with yarn I was told about, it is called Yuzawaya. It is Japan’s version of Sears and JoAnn Fabrics rolled into one. The address was Kamiooka-nishi, Kona-Ku Yokohama-City, Kanagawa. It said it was in front of Kamiooka Station of the Yokohama municipal subway and Keikyu Line. Sounds easy. I figured go to Yokohama ask around for Keikyu line and there it would be. Not so easy! I went to Yokohama City then was sent on another train to Kanagawa which sent me back to Yokohama City to find the Keikyu line. When I found the station I found one person with a little English and he printed a map in English for me. Well it wasn’t English it just wasn’t in Congi. He then pointed to the station I wanted Kamioooka which was nine stops from where I was. Great I got on went over and found the store. It was a great store.

I found buttons, stuff for making purses, fabric, and YARN!


 I was surprise to see how many man where there buying yarn and fabric. There was a whole section of fabric to make suits and shirts for men. Thank God I don’t make Paul’s suits. God Bless them. I found four great books. I will share with you later. Two are knitting books (one with 250 different types of patterns, the other is hats), and the other two are Needle embroidery. They are really neat and beautiful!


I found many books and all kinds of stuff. The girls at the cash register there were very nice even when I brought all my buttons without the trays with the prices. They had to go back and match all the buttons to the boxes and then bring them to the register. It only took four girls to help. Two had some English put them together and I could pay.


I then took the train back to Yokohama station and found the rapid blue train to Kamakura. There are twelve temples in this area. I saw two, The Big Buddha – Kotokuin-Temple and Hasedera-Temple. I learned that Hitler took the Congi symbol for peace and temple to use for the Swastika.    The grounds were wonderful and so many different gods. There was statues for at least 10,000 if you count the small ones. The gardens were so wonderful and the trees just beautiful. I am so glad I have one true God there is just too many strange looking things for all kind of reasons. On the bus over to the Big Buddha a gentleman stood by me and started talking in English. He asked about my trip and where I lived and so many things. He said he doesn’t get to use his English often but enough. He told me he once spent a week in Nashville and it was big and he loves country music. He helped me get off at the right place and where to walk to get to the other temple. The Big Buddha had many children with their classes. One set of children came up to me with a clip board and said. “Excuse me, may I ask you questions? Then asked where I was from, and used Hello and a few other phrases. Then they asked if they could have a photograph with me. I said yes but I wanted one too. Took a little while for them to understand that but it was a great photo. I was their English lesson for the day.



I then went to Hasedera-Temple. It is a large wooden temple with many gardens and trees. You go through the temple and grounds and stop at a look out that is over the ocean and then you can see the mountains. To say it was beautiful does not explain the view at all.  I found it very interesting. Many priests were doing things and people were lighting candles and taking fortunes. I was slowing down a little so I stop and drew a few trees and the temple in my art book. I didn’t notice until I looked up and saw several older men watching and nodding at me. I learned they really love their trees and to draw them is very special. Who knew!




I then walked back to the station little did I know it was a 45 minute walk but it was pleasant and I got to see the real city and people. I asked one man for help to the train station and we worked at getting me headed in the right direction. He went off his way and I continued but just as I was confused as which left I needed he appeared and took me down the right street. I think he thought about it a little and then came back to find me and direct me the right way. He had no English but my little Japanese and cheat sheet had me going in the right direction but I bet he was sure I would miss the small street to turn. He was right and I was very grateful he came back! Gochisoo sama deshita! Many people act really surprise that I am by myself. They are always asking ichiban (one) and then put up one figure. I say yes and they give me the bow with the ohhhhhh ahhhhh, thing.



I then found my way back to Yokohama and then to Shi-Yokohama with out a problem this time. I figured out what I did wrong yesterday. There are two places to queue up on the platform. One is green one is blue. I got on the first one that came last time. It was blue and wrong. This time I waited for the green train.  I was Right! I ask less and less how to get around each time. 


Tomorrow I am staying in Shin-Yokohama and going to the Ramen Noodle factory and the art museum. Day after I will head out for the Silk Museum near Yamashita-Koen. I just need to figure out how to get there or at least get started to get there before I go. It will be another road rally I am sure.


More tomorrow. I miss everyone and wish you could be here with me. (need some one to talk to!)  But I am having a great time.

Love Emily


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I have been waiting patiently for the arrival of my replacement knitting book. I started working on a summer cotton vest for myself (novel idea) a couple of weeks ago. I decide that I really did not have a nice cotton knitted shell type top to wear this summer. It really gets hot here in Georgia and I want to wear some of my knitted items. So the answer is a cotton short sleeve tops.  I had made a pink and a yellow cotton top last year and was able to wear them all fall and winter as a vest.



I went through my stash and pattern books and decided on a vest called “Little Sporty Numbers” by Sublime. It can be found in “Sublime Merino Hand knit Book 602”. The garment can be made with long sleeves or as a vest. The cable pattern for this pattern is really beautiful and interesting. The pattern incorporates cables and bobbles but is not overwhelming.  



 I have been using Super Cable Aran cotton yarn from élan.com. It is reasonably priced and very nice to use. Cotton splits when you are knitting but this seems to keep that down to a minimum. I decide that I had a lime green in my stash and could use that. I really like the yarn because when I ran out of yarn with the blue vest for Lynn I was able to order more and the dye lot matched perfectly. I thought that if I did not have enough in my stash I could do that again. 


Well, I was knitting along and liking my choice of pattern and yarn. I however broke one of my rules about pattern usage. I always (well apparently not always) copy my pattern and put it in a sheet protector to carry around with the project. This time I was running short on time and the book is rather small and light, soooo I thought I would just carry it around and skip the copying. What a mistake! I forgot that the main reason I do that was not to keep it clean or beat up. It was because I lose everything! I went to lunch with the Thursday Bible study girls having a good time but what do I leave at Chili’s???!!! The pattern book! I called, I go back, I look around, I make people in the booth move (they must of thought I was crazy!) But no book no pattern no more knitting! My local yarn shop is anything but local and I was about to fly out for the shower.




I had choices!


Choice ONE:  I could frog it and start something new with the yarn:   So I spent at least another hour looking at patterns. Couldn’t find anything I liked. I don’t know what made me think I would since that is what I did when I started this project in the first place.


Choice TWO: Could start a sweater with the yarn. Flaw with that is I don’t want a sweater for the summer and I know I did not have enough yarn to make a sweater or the yarn would not have been in my stash waiting.


Choice THREE: I could just find the book on the internet and wait!  Then I could start something for the Alaina.



I took number three. I thought it would expand my character as I HATE to wait for anything. I stand in front of the microwave and say hurry hurry hurry. Patience is not one of my strong points. I made Alaina a orange top and jumper.



Well the book arrived. I have been able to finish the front and I am now working on the back. I am really glad I waited as I like the vest very much. I think it will be a garment I can wear all year long with and without a top underneath. I recommend the pattern it really makes a nice looking cable and the yarn is great to work with. I will post the finished vest when done. Which I hope will be sometime this week.




  My next project is working on the Tribal Baby Carrier for Emily from “Folk Style” by Mags Kandis.   I need to finish the Brown Aran Sweater I started for Tracy. Then I need to get back to working on Debbie’s shell and her socks. I think I know why I am not working on Debbie’s shell I am not happy with the pattern. I think I will look around and find a better one or should I say more interesting pattern, then frog what I have done and start over. I think it will fit her better and make me happier while I make it. My goal is to get this done by the end of May so that I can start the hat collection.


I have decided to take the “itty bitty hats” book by Susan B. Anderson and make a hat for each month for Alaina. There are some wonderful playful hats to make and wear. I couldn’t pick a favorite so I will make one for each month in growing sizes for her.  There is a couple that I think I will make matching hats for Emily too. There is one called “From the Garden” that will look so cute on both of them together. The birthday cake hat has one candle on the very top for her first birthday, soooooo cute! But there is nothing like the Upside-down daisy. There is one more hat in the “itty bitty nursery” with the cupcake baby set that I must include in the collection. I think Susan Anderson is a wonderful designer. Her garments and things are so much fun to knit and wear!


Well, I need to get back to knitting. Paul has been saying that I am into production knitting now. He has gone from calling me the machine to inquiring about the production for Alaina. I don’t think is he funny except he is.


Happy Knitting!  


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