We have a marvelous store in Portland named Scrap.  People donate all sorts of left overs and recyclables and art supplies and random weirdness like barrels of bottle caps, and then other people like me come and buy them.

I tend to stick to the more fibery sections – fabric, yarn, thread.  I get lots of zippers there for almost nothing.  My sister, who does a lot with collage, finds all sorts of cards and frames and things to glue together.

On a couple of trips I’ve done some deep diving into the upholstery samples carts.  Seriously, giant carts piled high with squares and rectangles and whole sample books of sturdy, gorgeous fabric.  I brought home bags of it.

And then stared at it, because what was it going to be?  Why did I buy so much of it?  Where was all this supposed to be stored?!

I haven’t fully answered the last question, but I at some point I started sewing pieces together without a clear goal in mind.



While I was playing with it, the situation got worse because my sister gave me a big box of the stuff.

And then we moved, and our enormous sectional couch didn’t fit in the new family room, and the smaller furniture didn’t give us quite enough sprawled seating, so I sewed a lot of the segments I’d made together and created an ottoman sized pouf.


I stuffed it with everything I could find.  Bags of sewing waste, old pillows, ratty t-shirts and sweaters we were throwing away, the remnants of stuffed animals that our dog eviscerated.  It actually sat in the corner of the family room for a couple months, and every time we had something soft to throw away, we stuffed it in.  The dog on occasion dived in and pulled stuffing out, and then we’d gather up all the fluff and back in it went.

The thing weighs a ton.  The next one is not going to be nearly as big!  It devoured stuffing and asked for more.  But we finally got enough in there, and I was able to sew the opening closed, and now we have this big, soft, slightly lumpy pouf to put our feet and our kids on, and I’m declaring it a success.  (At least until the seams fail.  I’ll use more than 1/4″ seams next time – I didn’t realize how much this thing was going to be dragged from room to room by the kids.)


It is a rectangle about 25″ x 20″ and about 14″ high when no one is sitting on it.  The sides are a little bulgy, and it seems like it will pack down and have to have more stuffing added, but for a first try, it turned out well.  Next time I’ll use a zipper so that stuffing can go in more easily.

I have enough fabric to make 30 of these things, so I still need to come up with more plans for it all, but this made a useful start.


This will, I hope, be one of the last pictures of projects on this awful carpet.  New floors go in next week!




DPN holders

I like to knit two socks at a time, to avoid second sock syndrome, the condition of getting one sock done and then wandering off and never finishing the second.  (There is a related syndrome for mittens and gloves.  I have a wonderful stranded mitten that has been without a partner for years.)

I use two sets of double pointed needles and knit each section on both before moving on to the next – first the both cuffs, then the legs, then heel flaps, etc.  This means that one unfinished sock is always stuffed in the sack on its five needles while I work on the other.  Needles get dislodged, or caught, and I found myself frequently having to thread them back into loops, trying to pick stitches back up before they run down the rows.

I bought some cardboard tubes that worked quite well for a while.  but they are starting to bend on the corners by the cutouts and catch on the yarn as I slide them.  Plus, they are fairly utilitarian – not much charm.


Then I found a pattern by the Nome Knitter for cloth dpn holders.  I think I saw it on Pinterest first and then followed the link to the blog.  Plenty of room for charm because I could pick my own fabrics!


I made two sets.  They are super simple.  Small amounts of fabric, some interfacing, some snaps.  A very quick project.


My only real issue came when I discovered that the snap package came with only 7 snaps.  Why an odd number?!  I needed 8, and of course didn’t check the package carefully so I could only complete one of the sets.  I’ve already ordered some colorful plastic snaps online, so I will be making these again.  And lots of other things that need snaps – the bundle came with 100 of them.  I won’t go short again!


I’m using the first set already, and it is working well.  No pulled out needles, and the holders stayed closed while tumbling in a bag in the bottom of my work tote.  I can see making them in lot of colors so I can match them to whatever yarn I’m using.


(P.S. These are Village Socks, a free pattern by All Knit Up.  A simple, stretchy stitch pattern that is easily memorized.  The yarn is some Knit Picks Stroll bare sock yarn that I dyed in jars. A little splitty but springy yarn.)



My mom needed a present for my cousin so I finally got around to blocking a handspun scarf I made a while back.

I checked my Ravelry projects and couldn’t find this knit anywhere, so I’m not sure of the pattern or the yarn.  It was one of the few times I’ve spun a single ply yarn, and I know that I didn’t like the original dye job so I overdyed it with blue.  I think there is mohair in it from the sheen and the halo.  Other than that, a mystery.


I know more about the next project, which I just made with some wonderfully soft yarn I bought at OFFF.  Yak and silk and merino from Alexandra’s Crafts.  The pattern, hard to see in the lines of my wooden blinds, is Silverwing.  A fast, easy pattern that I think really does look like a wing.

As a reaction to all that gray, I’ve started a deep red project for my next knit.



Andy’s boards & hooded scarf

My brother lives on the east coast, and the winters can be bitter.  He’s a fan of my knitting, although I still haven’t recovered from the time he machine washed the handspun cabled blanket I knit him and turned it into a small bullet proof rectangle.  I try to make him something warm periodically, and I definitely owed him because he just made me the most beautiful cutting boards:


They are walnut, made from a tree on his land that came down.  He bought a little mill saw and now he can make his own boards!  I love them both, but especially the one on the right which he left with the live edge.


And the grain is gorgeous.  I’m not sure I’m going to let a knife near them.

He also made a stack of small cheese boards for my friend who wanted them for gifts for her office mates.


And for my mom he made one using dark end grain cuts.


The most creative one I somehow missed taking a picture of – one in the shape of a flying pig for my sister.  I can’t believe I can’t show it to you.  I’ll have to add it if I can get her to take one.

Anyway, as you can see, the man deserved more hand knits!  He’d asked me a while back for a scarf that he could pull up over his head and around his ears when he’s out walking in the cold.  I took some chocolate colored baby alpaca yarn my friend brought me home from Peru and made him a hooded scarf.  It is about the simplest possible pattern – a biased garter stitch scarf with a seam added to create the hood.  I threw in some noro kureyon stripes to add a little more color to it, and made it quite long so he can wrap it around multiple times when he needs extra wind protection.  He can also push down the hood and it just looks like a normal bulky scarf.


It was a hit!



A scaled back OFFF


A plan to spend the weekend at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby was reduced to just Saturday afternoon.  One friend was ill, one on her way to illness and one was sent out of town on a business trip.

So it was just a couple hours with my friend Paige, but enjoyable still. We’ve been enough times that we pretty much have memorized the booth offerings from return vendors, but nothing makes fondling yarn and fiber and petting sheep get old.


So much color everywhere!  And yet I managed to buy the plainest yarn and fiber I saw.

But, what it lacks in pigment it makes up in content – the yarn is yak and merino and silk, and the fiber has enough angora that it is going to get a wonderful halo when it is made into yarn.


The barn where the sheep and goats wait to be judged is, as always, a highlight.

The wildly varying pelts always intrigue me.  So much variation in what are basically close cousins.


All of those are sheep fleece, except the bunny in the middle of the top row.  It is hard to tell, but the brown tipped locks on the lower left were brown on the ends and then went through cream to become gray where it is newly growing out.  My sister pays huge amounts of money to get that many colors into her hair!

The colors llamas come in are also impressive.


The angora rabbits are another favorite. Dust bunnies come to life.


When we weren’t shopping or petting we watched the llama obstacle course trials – very dignified – and then the goats at their course as well – defiant and needing to be carried.

And then OFFF was done for another year.




A finish and a start

I finished the socks I started on our beach and eclipse week.

The yarn had about the simplest way of creating matching striped socks I’ve ever knit.  I just needed to divide the skein into two balls, and they marked the half way point with a segment of bright yellow. While it isn’t very soft, the dying was very accurate and the stripes turned out great.

There are some changes I’d make next time – and since I have another skein of this yarn, there will be a next time.  First, I need to go down a needle size from the size twos I used.  I had to restart and knit much tighter on the first sock leg, unable to find a yarn store on the coast to buy smaller needles.  But it is still a little more open than I like.

Next, I’d go up a few stitches in the legs to fit my calves better, and then back down to the pattern’s 54 for the foot.  Also, I got distracted during a faculty meeting last week and didn’t notice I was making the foot a tad bit too long.


I’m making it sound like the socks were a disaster, but they really aren’t.  They turned out OK, just not great.  Next time!

My favorite way to knit socks is to have both of them going at the same time.  That way I never suffer from Second Sock Syndrome.  I do the cuffs for both, the legs, then both heels, etc.  It also helps to keep me from forgetting exactly what I did for each part if I make any modifications.

As soon as I finished that pair I cast on another pair using this simple pattern (and smaller needles). The yarn is a skein I dyed in jars during our last dyeing day.  The colors are pooling a bit but the colors aren’t wildly different from each other in value so I don’t think it is going to bother me.  And the Knit Picks Bare is a much softer yarn than the Regia.

Hurricane sewing

The local fabric store is collecting blankets for Hurricane Harvey victims.  My sister gathered up fabric from a friend and we spent a day making two quilt tops.

Kathie did the cutting, I sewed, and my son wandered in and took over the ironing.  Theo guarded the work in progress.

We got two tops done, using simple brick pattern with 6 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ bricks.  The plan is for me to piece the backs this week, and then we’ll pin and quilt them by the end of September in time to turn them in.

I will donate money as well, since I’m sure the aid groups need that more than quilts, but it feels good to be sending something concrete to people who lost so much.