Category Archives: Use it Up

Studio Sunday

I’m so far behind with my blogging that the following was taken last Sunday:

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThree Use it Up/Use it Again projects on the cutting table. They’re all finished now but it’s too dark to get good photos. Tutorial and details to follow.

The last two weekends have been busy, busy, busy! Sewing and a lot of traveling around. Saturday found Sabu and I in Corvallis all morning shopping (banjo parts! Thrift stores!) and washing everything that could be washed. Spring Cleaning is nearly done!

Yesterday we visited the dog park (Eight dogs! Sabu was out of her mind with joy) and a visit to Alpaca Alley. Pics to follow.

Now I need to go peel the cat off the wall and try to get something to eat.

Sock Knitting 2014

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ve jumped on Knittingsarah’s  KAL for 2014 – to knit on a sock every day all year long, starting January 15. For those of you who have forgotten:

The goal of this KAL is to condition ourselves to incorporate sock knitting into our every day lives.

I was working on a sock when I joined and had a sock class scheduled, which went very well – both students knit a pair of socks with worsted weight yarn and were happy with their new skills. Last Friday the next class started (delayed a week because of snow) and Kristin is motoring along on her DK weight socks. Both classes elected to knit both socks at the same time rather than complete one and have to worry they would forget the techniques for the second sock and forever suffer from Second Sock Syndrome – that dreaded condition whereby a knitter only ever completes the first sock of the pair. I don’t understand, myself – the whole point is to knit a pair and wear them – anything else is just an educational exercise and wastes good yarn 🙂


Dirt brown DK weight socks. Nothing interesting here – only practical

There have been a few days that I did not knit on a sock, but I have knit most days of 2014, completing five hats (one of which disappeared completely* two of which were ripped out and re-knit because of design flaws that could not be overcome) and three socks so far.

Last week after class I was wandering around the shop, Knitty Gritty, looking longingly at the new Opal yarns Maurine had ordered, when I spied a single ball of something unique: Opal X-Large (the link leads to the exact colorway right at the top of the page – LOVE!!!) Hmmm…I love the colors and patterns of Opal yarn, but it’s fine and requires 72 stitches per round on US 0 or 1 needles and they simply take foooor-eeeveeeer to knit so I tend not to make fine socks. I buy my shoes a half size larger to make up for my sock knitting laziness, in case you need to know.

But this X-Large stuff is DK weight – only 56 stitches – totally do-able! I snatched up the ball and headed home to do some chores.

Over the weekend, I knit both Opal socks to the heel flap (can’t go farther until class, where I’ll use them to demonstrate the flap and heel turn for Kristin) and then picked up another bit of Stash** yarn and started a third sock. Last night I knit the forth sock of what is starting to look like a series in DK weight yarn to the heel flap and picked up the second sock of the most recent worsted weight pair, which is almost ready for the heel turn.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAWhew! That’s five socks on the go – a new personal record, I think. I’m usually monogamous with my sock knitting but the Opal has inspired me to get my sock drawer filled up before nicer weather drives me outside for the season.

So far the socks I’ve knit have been plain stockinette, samples for an upcoming pattern, but I’m feeling the draw towards a new cabled design, or maybe something with a simple all-over pattern suitable for beginners. It looks like my Knitting Mojo may have found its way home 🙂

* I suspect the cat has hidden it somewhere, along with a couple of single socks. I haven’t yet found his hiding place, which boggles the mind as we live in a 30-foot travel trailer and I’ve been re-arranging furniture for well over a week now. It couldn’t have just vanished into the ether, could it?

** There is quite a bit of nice wool yarn in The Stash and a rather embarrassing amount of handspun suitable for socks that should be used before buying any more yarn. Space is at a premium and I am determined! The Plan was going so well, four pairs of socks with the boring cream Phildar, the DK socks in dirt-brown that was originally marked for a sweater but refuses to even swatch properly, even the Opal bought I don’t even know how many years ago – yarn into socks, no money spent. This new Opal X-Large has totally de-railed my stash-busting plans. And last night Maurine told me that she’s ordered more…


Just a few hints about upcoming projects:


Yarn Bowl idea…




Soft flannel pillowcases in the making…

Meanwhile, preparations for the Newport Spin-In are proceeding a bit slower than I’d like, but what can ya do? Three hundred ideas, only 24 hours in the day…

Sock Knitting in 2014

The knitting blogs are all atwitter about the hottest trend for 2014 – Sock Knitting. I’ve been knitting socks for years, and at last I’ll be on the cutting edge of a trend!

Knittingsarah has proposed a KAL for 2014 – to knit on a sock every day all year long, starting January 15.

The goal of this KAL is to condition ourselves to incorporate sock knitting into our every day lives.

Now that sounds like a resolution I can keep! There was a time when I had a sock project with me at all times and I knit at least a pair of socks a month. When did that change? My sock drawer looks nothing like Susan B. Anderson’s and I hope to remedy that this year with pairs and pairs of wonderful new socks.

I’m sure there will be many popular sock patterns and separate KALs for them, but I will be strong and design my own patterns. There are three or four in the queue at the moment, so inspiration is near at hand, as is a pretty good supply of yarn.

Coincidentally, I will be teaching my first sock class at Knitty Gritty this afternoon. It’s been some years since I last taught. It’s like riding a bike, right? The patterns are printed and all I have left to do is put yarn and needles into a bag of some sort and get cracking!

First FO of 2014

While I was unable to stay up to see the ball drop, I did get up early (Thanks, Revy, for the 0530 wake-up call. Not.) and finish the binding on the newest Strings quilt. I laid it out on the couch, turned my back to get the camera and this happened:


Crazy Helper Dog testing for comfort

I snapped the above picture and told Sabu to get down. As the words left my mouth, this happened:


Who runs this show, anyway?

Sigh. The inmates are obviously running the asylum. No worries, though, the quilt hadn’t yet been washed and no harm was done.

After washing, all of the layers have settled nicely together and the quilt is surprisingly lofty and warm – I had expected the string blocks to weigh it down a bit, but it’s just wonderful and the perfect size for napping on the couch.

Now to go Stash diving to decide what the next Studio project will be. What fun!

New day, new ideas!

The weather here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon has been cooler the last few days, the smell of Summer filling the air, the tomatoes ripening on the vine as if finally able to breathe after so many hot days in a row. The Calendula are in bloom and ready to harvest, their happy yellow petals to be steeped in a jar of sunflower oil for soap making in a few weeks and yours truly has been furiously writing ideas down in a little spiral bound notebook just as fast as the pen can fly over the page.

Work has been busy enough that the new website has not gotten any attention. I can hear her little voice deep in the night, “Please put some pictures up. Maybe a few words here and there? I am longing for pages to tell my story…” but sleep must take priority, paying work must be finished first and there is always a dog to walk.

My friend Awana spent last weekend here with Sabu and I, enjoying Towanda’s peaceful vibe while spinning wool into yarn on the patio; it always makes the neighbors stare. We batted ideas back and forth, the sweet smell of wool making us a bit silly as usual, and now there is a new list: Things to Get Right On To.

The speed at which we just throw things away in our Disposable Society is shocking and against my basic philosophical beliefs; it has led to a passion for (and rather large collection of) vintage linen. Not bedsheets, but linen and cotton towels, the really thick and absorbent kind* that the Grannies received as gifts and kept in a drawer “for special” and never (or lightly) used. Today’s linens just don’t compare unless you pay Big Money for them, but the Good Old Stuff can still be found at estate sales and thrift stores.

My idea is to use these treasures to create modern kitchen wipes that actually do their job, last for years and are wonderful to look at. This line of Useful and Beautiful Things will be called “Use it Again” and will feature original embroidery and trimmings on vintage linens and also designs and kits for you to use to create your own treasures. First installments will be RV themed – vintage inspired images that relate to the RV lifestyle, in jokes, popular sayings and scenes from the road. Each will be one-of-a-kind, or nearly so. Announcement soon.

It might be evident from previous posts (and do look at the pages near the top of the blog – categories have been set up to separate the many and varied interests into some semblance of order) that I have many, many interests and most of them lead to a stash of some sort. I live in a 30-foot travel trailer; space is at a premium and The Stash must go.

The next project on the list for my little Bat Cave is curtains. Travel trailers generally come with those annoying metal blinds that never work right and they rattle with every little breeze or step, making for a very irritated Sofia! The awful window surrounds have been removed, curtain rods hung, a lovely charcoal black wool twill procured from The Stash, fun lining fabric purchased and The Great Curtain Project is set to begin this evening after work.

Because the fabric was on sale and I have a little problem leaving less than a yard on the bolt for someone else to purchase at a reduced price as a remnant, I may have over-bought** and will have left-over fabric. Tossing said hypothetical left-over fabric back into the stash to age for an indeterminate amount of time is not an option because there simply isn’t room for it, so I will be making bags of many sizes, pillow covers and pincushions until every inch is used up. Charm packs, strips and perhaps kits will be offered, too, depending on the size of the remnants. These will be offered under the “Use it Up” label – announcement to follow.

Pictures and a curtain tutorial next post.

That is all. Carry on.

* What’s the deal with modern fabrics? Have they been designed to fall apart after three washes? Why aren’t so-called “dish” or “kitchen” towels absorbent? It’s so frustrating to buy a pretty new towel only to find that it won’t actually dry anything and it leaves bits of lint all over everything.

** Oh, come on! You know you do it, too. Don’t you? Or is it just me?