Winter

Hard Core Knitters Close Your Eyes! Newbie Solution to Blocking a Cowl!

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This idea may or may not be terribly revolutionary in knitting circles. But it sure has been working great for me!

Wanting to block several cowls and not wanting to block them flat, I came up with this idea. And it works so well I thought I would share. All that is needed - bath towels and steam!

The roll of bath towels can be made to fit almost any size and the loops work great to gently hold the wool in place. (Pins could be used if desired but in my case - absolutely NOT necessary.)

Steam irons work for steam blocking; however, I have an even better tool! A "vintage", I suppose, Steamstress II - see image here! No hot surfaces - just lovely steam! I originally purchased this tool when I was sewing every garment I wore and used it a great deal when setting seams in wool fabrics and when sewing with velvet.

Don't know it something similar is still available - mine still is working like a champ so no need to find out! Many of my brides are using "commercial type" steamers on their gowns and I suppose those would work too.

Technique!

Roll bath towels to the circumference of the cowl. Don't make it so small the stitches bunch up or so big that it stretches the stitches.

Place the cowl on the rolled towel as shown above, nudging the edges into shape so that the width of the cowl is nice and even all the way around.

Place the rolled towel on a flat surface in the position shown above. Thoroughly steam one half of the roll and let the knitted fabric sit until it feels mostly dry. Roll over, steam the other side and let sit until it feels dry. 

At this point, I will usually set the towel roll on one end and let the cowl dry completely overnight. In case you are thinking the cowl will slide off - the lovely little towel loops will hold your cowl in place.

It really does a great job of wrangling those stitches into sweet symmetry!

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I used the same technique on Diane's market bag. This is the after felting before blocking shot when I was testing how much produce the bag would hold. 40 lbs of fruit and veggie goodness in case you are wondering!

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After felting, I filled the bag with plastic baggies and let it dry. It really didn't look so great! So I built an oval roll of bath towels and placed the bag on the towels so that the bottom was facing up.

Then I steamed away! I think the results speak for themselves!

And if anyone owns or knows of a newer steam tool that works without getting hot like an iron, please let me know because this much loved Steamstress may not last forever!

Enchanted God's Eyes (Ojos de Dios) - a Journey

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Gorgeous hand spun yarn rescued at a thrift.

Treasures left to be discovered on my path by crows, jays, sea gulls, robins and chickadees.

Inspiration from Susan, a reader who shared a picture of a gift she made a good friend.

The seeds of a new God's Eye (Ojos de Dios) to add to my collection.

I have never outgrown my absolute enjoyment of weaving a God's Eye. Perhaps it has to do with something Susan said about "the symmetry and intent of protection of the God's Eye".

January 2012 Giveaway! Very First Issue of "&Stitches"

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If you are into embroidery - any kind of embroidery - or hand stitching for that matter - I am willing to bet that you are going to love this brand new e-zine "&Stitches" published by Carina (Carina's Craftblog and Polka and Bloom Shop) and Nicole (Follow the White Bunny blog and Follow the White Bunny Shop.

Since I own and love both of Carina's e-books - "Small Stitches" and "Stitching Borders and Beyond", I absolutely knew the new magazine would not disappoint! The very first issue, "Colour &Stitches" is packed full (48 pages worth) of excellent, well written and thorough content that is generously and beautifully illustrated.

"&Stitches" will be published quarterly and each issue will be built around a specific theme - this first issue - all about color!

I am ready to sign up for a whole year as soon as they make that option available!

Take a minute to read more about "&Stitches" right here and also on the &Stitches blog here. Or go here to order!

Carina and Nicole are graciously allowing me to give away a copy of the very first issue of "Colour &Stitches" to one very lucky reader!

Simply leave a comment on this post before 6:00pm PST,  Saturday January 21st to be included in the drawing. Winner will be announced on Sunday, January 22nd.

Good luck everyone!

Danish Crafty Goodness from Margit

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Do you remember in December I suggested giving little "kits" to crafty friends?

Well, my friend Margit did exactly that! And during my little uh - computer break - I occupied myself doing exactly what I said crafty kit gift recipients would be doing in January - contentedly playing!

Celebrating Twelfth Night with Two Special Cakes Again!

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Tomorrow is again Twelfth Night - The 12th Day of Christmas and time again for a special cake!

If you missed celebrating Twelfth Night with me last year, pop over for a few lovely recipes - good contenders all for a final celebration of Christmas and the end of the season.

I don't know exactly why we don't celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas in America. Must research! I do think we are missing out big time!

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