Lovely Lacy Mitts

I’m a huge fan of Tin Can Knits and I’ve bought several of her patterns! You can still get in on The Twelve Days of Christmas and receive some free patterns!

Tin Can Knits

On the tenth day of Christmas, Tin Can Knits gave to me…

Loch Mittens by Tin Can Knits

lovely lacy mittens,

bon bon delight,
boot topping beauties,
gartery goodness,
twist stitch tam,

booties warm and wee!

hip slouchy hat,
honey flavoured mitts,
sea inspired socks,
and cabled mittens for under the tree!

Day 10 of the Tin Can Knits 12 Days of Christmas features the Loch hat and mitten pattern, free for 24 hours only, from now until 23:59 PST Dec 22 2015. [check your local time here].

Get it now… it will be full price again tomorrow! [confused? see the FAQs]

organic lace

Loch by Tin Can Knits

Emily designed the Loch hat and mittens shortly after moving to Scotland, as part of our lace collection Handmade in the UK.  If cables are my forte, then lace is Emily’s!  The collection of 10 lace pieces includes the popular Lush cardigan and Vivid blanket – if you love…

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An Inside Look at Adult Coloring Books! – Pinetree Garden Seeds

Pinetree Garden Seeds has the best seeds around. Take a gander at this fantastic blog post from them regarding adult coloring books. They carry a couple of them on their website. TLD

Pinetree Garden Seeds

All the rage lately are something called adult coloring books! Detailed, intricate drawings that call for a steady hand and a need for colorful artwork; these coloring books are claimed to be a new form of therapy for stressed adults.

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Studies show that coloring or doodling is a way for people to focus and organize their thoughts. It’s an easy task that allows the brain to slow down and process. Coloring also provides an escape of sorts; allowing people to be creative within a certain set of parameters. The linework (pun intended) is already laid down for you; all you have to do is go crazy with color!

kaboompics.com_Top view of colored pencils

Repetitive, hands-on actions are shown to release serotonin, which is responsible for relaxation. As you can see from the below coloring book excerpts, each image is highly detailed with lots of intricate, repetitive patterns. We suggest using colored pencils for these designs…

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A Hard Lesson About Row Counter Apps

It’s kind of odd that I’m finally reading this. I was going to download an app for row counting, etc. and then promptly forgot about it. I guess I’ll just wait for now.

A Rocky Mountain Knitter

Last night, I had a knitting crisis. We finished with dinner early, leaving me with a good hour-plus to work on Mom’s sweater.

I haven’t touched her sweater in over a week. My knitting has been mostly relegated to stockinette and garter stitch projects only, because much of my so-called spare time is now taken up by Nordic walking, strength training at the gym, and working with Eric on his chemistry homework. So, having an hour or so on a day when I wasn’t totally wiped out and had retained sufficient mental energy to follow a chart meant that I could make at least a little progress on the top-down cabled cardigan for Mom. I settled into my knitting chair, pulled out the chart and sweater, plugged in my iPhone, and pulled up the row counter app.

And then — nothing! The app refused to load or to do anything…

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Fridays with Franklin

A most titillating installment, about shadow knitting, in Franklin Habit’s new blog, Fridays with Franklin!! I can’t wait for part 2!!

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Adventure in the Shadows, Part One

With this issue, Franklin’s adventures begin in earnest. For an introduction to this ongoing project, click here. 

Blame it on a childhood spent as the oddball and the outsider–I often find myself irresistibly drawn to knitting techniques that can’t get a seat with the cool kids.

Shadow knitting (sometimes called illusion knitting) is one such. I remember with perfect clarity the first time I saw it. I was a fledgling, making my maiden visit to a fiber festival. As I toddled through the vendor market with a clutch of far more experienced knitters, I came to a dead stop in front of a striped sweater with a geometric pattern that appeared out of nowhere, then disappeared. Then appeared. Then disappeared. Then–

You get the idea.

“How does it do that?” I asked.

The leader of our group winced. Her chief lieutenant came to my…

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Fridays with Franklin

For all of my fiber arts friends out there: Check out Fridays with Franklin on the Skacelknitting wordpress blog!! Franklin describes the creative process in a very bold, honest way!

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It’s Play Time

Ten years ago, had you asked any of my coworkers to describe me they’d all have said the same thing: “He’s the weirdo who knits in meetings.” It’s true. I am a weirdo, and I did knit furiously through every meeting that didn’t require me to check my needles at the door.

I am sorry to say it was not a very nice place to work. Some days, the soothing influence of knitting was all that kept me on the side of perfect propriety. It is not easy to slap someone when both your hands are otherwise engaged.

Stuff I was knitting began to draw notice in the burgeoning online fiber arts community. I was asked to write articles. I was asked to write a book. I was asked to teach knitting classes. I was asked to design patterns. I sad yes. Also yes, yes, yes, and…

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One of the neato things you can do with old bowling balls (and one of the reasons I get sucked in by facebook).

Okay. For the record: I like facebook. It’s a great place to hang with friends, far and near. It’s a nice, quiet place to have an awesome chat. It’s also a place that I can get sucked in with all of the nifty, neato things you can do with cast off items. One of these items is a bowling ball. I found this post tonight and decided that I most definitely need to find at least one old bowling ball, so I can make one of these cute lawn creatures, as shared by https://www.facebook.com/usbc.

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When it’s time to retire your bowling balls, there are so many cool things you can do with them! Check it out!!

Posted by The Sport of Bowling – USBC on Tuesday, 9 June 2015

P.S. Have I told you that I also love gnomes???? Yes. I love garden gnomes. I think they’re super awesome!!!

Warning: This is a non-fiber post!!! SPRING Has Sprung! A brief tutorial for creating a hanging planter.

Greetings earthlings!

Mark and I put up my greenhouse nearly 2 weeks ago and as we’ve finally entered the spring equinox, I figured I would do a post on how to make a hanging planter for those of you who are space challenged. I’ve seen the upside-down hanging tomato planter thingies and I just don’t like them. I tried the upside-down method of growing tomatoes and found that it’s just not worth the 3 or 4 tomatoes the plant manages to eke out. I have learned that, when modified, these planters are excellent for starting and growing small batches of lettuce, spinach and radishes. The added benefit is that the rabbits can’t get at these!!

Objects and tools needed:

  • washed clear 2 liter soda container
  • utility knife or sharp pocket knife
  • pantyhose
  • hole punch
  • potting soil, your own soil/compost mix, or any other growing medium available to you
  • lettuce, spinach or radish seeds
  • a place to hang your planter

Start by removing the label from a clear, 2 liter, soda container. Use a sharpie to mark the cut-off point (about 2.75″ from the bottom). Sometimes there is a mold mark line there and you can just cut around that.

container with utility knife mark the container

Take the bottom, flip it over so it can be snugly inserted into the opening you’ve just created. Use a hole punch and punch holes in 1/4 increments around the container as shown in the 3rd picture of this grouping. (*Please forgive my errant thumb.) *Use the sharpie to number at least two of the holes so you can line it up later.

cut the bottom off test the fit of the bottom

punch holes for hanging

Get a pair of old pantyhose (nylons or whatever you’d like them to be called) and cut off about 3 – 4″. Place the cut off piece into the mouth of the container. This will act as your ‘screen’ against the dirt falling out of it and will provide extremely adequate drainage in the coming growing months.

pantyhose cut off some of the pantyhose

place the pantyhose in bottom

Fill with soil, making sure to leave at least 4 inches of space so the ‘lid’ will fit and the seeds will have room to sprout. Poke some holes in the ‘lid’ with a sharp knife (please don’t use a dull knife as this may cause injury).

fill with soil poke holes in 'lid'

Plant your seeds. I’m using a space hybrid spinach for this example. This spinach is designed for growing in close quarters and will fill up the top of the container quite nicely by the time you’re ready to harvest it. (Note: I did cover the seeds up, I merely forgot to photograph it.)

plant your seeds spinach seeds

Place the ‘lid’ inside of the container and make sure you line up the holes. The holes are used to hang the planter.

put the cover on

Cut 4 pieces of strong twine measuring 5 feet long. Double each one and thread through the holes. Do this with all 4 holes. Tie up or knot your hanger and hang it up. You’ll notice that I have an inch of space between the bottom of the ‘lid’ and the soil. This will allow the sprouts a bit of room until you need to remove the lid.

hang up the planter

Pour a 1/2″ of water into the top of your new hanging planter. This setup acts like a mini greenhouse so you won’t need to water it a lot.

water the planter watch the water drain

When the plants are nearly touching the lid, take the planter down and remove the lid. Rehang the planter and water as needed until you’re ready to harvest. Do not hang this planter in an area you don’t want to be wet.

Update: 03/21/2015 @ 5:19 PM

I’ve also made a couple of planters from milk jugs and planted lettuce seeds in them. You would make these in the same way as you do the soda bottles.

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

Questions? Feel free to ask!!

Kick Spindle

I’m always happy to see other people building and re-creating their own tools!!! Spin on!

Making Progress

Later this month I’m teaching a two week introduction to spinning course. Here is one of the spinning tools I’ve built recently, a kick spindle.

As a starting point for my design I read this post by Layne Brosius, a.k.a. AFrayedKnotter. My kick spindle is pretty similar to hers. There are two major differences. The first is that I used a 1″ thick piece of poplar with feet, as you can see in the pictures. The weight of the flywheel (a furniture bun foot from Lowe’s) seems to give the device sufficient inertia both to spin for a while and to not slide across the floor during use.  I’ve only used the kick spindle on carpeting and outdoor cement, but I think if I put some rubber feet on the bottom it would stay in place on wood or tile, too.

The second significant change I made is in the…

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