Friday, February 29, 2008

Let's Shibori!

Maybe I'm just a scavenger!
My family knows that they must save all plastic bottle caps. But why you ask? Well.........

Shibori of course! In the knitting, felting world, Shibori means manipulating the felted fabric by inserting objects during the felting process so that permanent impressions result.

I like plastic because it doesn't hurt my felt. But a word to the wise, always put your Shibori projects into a delicates bag before they go into the washer. No matter how careful you are, it seems a few objects always get loose! I usually use rubber bands to secure the objects into the felt. I prefer the ones that look like plastic (I found mine at Office Depot), because they don't seem to "catch" on the fibers and are easier to remove after the felting process is completed.

Be patient, wait to remove the objects until your felt is completely dry.

Mothers of young children, I hear that Legos work well. I wouldn't use heavy objects like rocks, or metal objects that might rust (or ruin your washer).

Experiment by felting pieces of old wool sweaters to see what the impressions will look like. Then, choose a great felting yarn and make Shibori stuff! It is really fun.

The Rocky Road Shibori Scarf is available at:

Tomorrow let's talk about the joys of night owl knitting!

Now, Go Knit!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Georgia O'Keeffe Said It Best

"I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.”
Georgia O'Keeffe

Yes, I will paint it, knit it, embroider it and felt it!

You can find the Flower Market Bag at:

who has the button?

I don't know about you, but I love buttons. I collect beautiful old buttons and thought I'd share a few with you.
This last weekend at Stitches I bought a brooch which is made up of several bakelite belt buckles and buttons piled up and glued. You can find more goodies like this one at:

I found these little gems in my travels. My mom made the smallest jewel of a brooch (below) for me when she found out how much I love, love, love old buttons.
I'm off to knit! Remember to add interesting buttons to your next project.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Finished, felted and shipped!

Scarf I started yesterday morning, was first knit and then felted and finished last night (or early this morning--2AM)! I wish you could feel what happens when you felt this particular Blue Heron Bulky Chenille 100% rayon yarn. It becomes silk velvet. Light, airy and drapy. I really think this scarf, knit in a dark color could be knit for a man, too.

It is in the capable hands of my favorite FedEx guy, who's delivering it to the East Coast by morning. I'll keep you posted on the name of the book and the publisher, when I'm allowed to tell!

Finally, I can share my whirlwind experience at Stitches in Santa Clara on Saturday! So many great, booths to visit in the Market Place. Here are a few of the highlights:

Arrived in Santa Clara early to stand in line to enter the Market at 10AM. I was so surprised to see the CROWDS of knitters! The last time I was at Stitches was 4 years ago and it was packed (remember when EVERYBODY and their brother was knitting furry scarves?)

Cat Bordhi, my daughter and I had a wonderful visit while sharing boxed lunches together. Then off to the Market where we met up with another good friend, Karin Skacel of the Skacel Collection busily demonstrating Art Felt (is that Amy Singer in the photo, too?)

Rick Mondragon

editor of Knitters Magazine!

Sheila Ernst of makes the most beautiful glass beads and glass knitting needles!!

Stunning knits are always found at Philosopher's Wool booth!

Carol was wearing a great sweater she bought in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I really must go there soon!









knit adorable Baby's hat!!

UnButtons by Linda Sicard. I bought a huge bakelite broach from her. Love it!

Margaret knit her own sweater!

RedFish booth was glorious color!
Lastly, the pillow in my room deserved a photo for being so inspirational. Hmmmmm, what to do with this idea????

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sometimes Designers Change Their Minds!

Or maybe, they just loose their minds! Anyway, I thought I'd let you know that I'm in the middle of a crazy deadline on the felted chenille scarf for a friend's book which needs to be in the over-night mail tomorrow!

I changed my mind on the color. A couple of posts ago I showed you the Leaf colorway which I was sure would work for this project. After changing the pattern about 4 times, I decided it was the color that was making me so unhappy. So this morning (yes, this morning!) I switched the color to Old Gold, also from Blue Heron Yarns.

I've got to run now, I'll be up very late tonight finishing this scarf and then felting it tomorrow before it makes its way to FedEx!

Next time the scoop on Stitches!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mysterious Antique Wedding Stockings

Maybe not so mysterious, but I don't know who knit them, where she knit them or when.

I acquired them from a Canadian antique dealer who thought they were crocheted and used them as Christmas stockings.

Are they wedding stockings? Okay, so I'm taking poetic license here, but it helps me to imagine the reasoning behind their artistry. The gauge is: 13.5 stitches to the inch (that's inch!) and 18 rows to the inch.

They are knit in ivory cotton and are even more charming in person than the photos represent.

Here's a close up
of the leg of the stocking.

Here's a close up of the very top of the stockings.
If you think you've ever seen stockings like this will you let me know?

A new knitting website that looks very interesting and has great potential just landed in my in-box this morning, it is:
Take a look.

Okay, so I promised a look at a bit

of knitting that I'm working on for another friend's book. I really thought I'd be further along today, but I'm not. Hold on just a second, I've got to run outside and photograph it........

Although it's a bit challenging to see right now, this is the handpainted chenille yarn that I was talking about a few days ago from Blue Heron yarns. There are four small cables in the center, the edges are seed stitch. Notice that the yellow zig zags from left to right up the piece of knitting (the blues do, too). This always happens with their yarns and the zig zag changes with the gauge.

I'll felt the scarf when I'm finished. It doesn't have a bit of wool in it, but if you've ever mistakenly washed some rayons, you know that they shrink. In this case the shrinkage makes the knitted fabric very drapy. Think french silk velvet, that's the feel. I love it.

I designed another similar scarf for TinkkniT called The Impressionist Scarf. The yarn is Blue Heron and it was felted. This was my answer to the Touch Me chenille scarf in Pam Allen's ScarfStyle. Many of my students got lost in the pattern, so I designed this pattern. It only takes one skein of yarn. More information at:

I leave for Stitches early tomorrow, I'll let you know what I think.
Good knitting to all!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Birds Knit Too!

A little bird wanted me to remind you to toss your wool bits into the yard so that they can knit their nests. I save the tiniest pieces of wool (no longer than 5") so that baby birds are born into soft places. It's always fun to see which colors disappear from the grass first. There seems to be some kind of order, red and blue being the last colors chosen (by my birds at least).

Swatching a secret project for a friend's book. It's an unusual piece (no, not a bag!) that isn't flat. I'll tell you more when I hear if it's been accepted!

The Needle Felted Bucket Bag is easy to knit out of Cascade Pastaza. If you haven't needle
felted, you must try it out. So easy! It takes about 5 seconds to learn. Check it out at:

Another project to show you tomorrow!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Spring Is So Cheery O's!

The Cheery O's Pillow pattern is for every beginner knitter (and everyone else for that matter). Fun to knit, felt and then needle felt. And a great use of bits of wool stash, even the tiniest pieces! Finish the pillow yourself, or even better, send it to a professional to sew up and start your next knitting project.

Cheryl Ritter loves to needle felt and needle felt and needle felt! After seeing her many versions of the Cheery O's pillow in person and some begging on my part, she sent this wonderful photo taken by her husband. Everyone in her family requested (and received) their color version. And they all work!

Okay, since you've asked I'll start to divulge my numerous projects on the needles. Scary to think I've got deadlines next week for projects I've promised to designer friends for their books. I'll be sketching and swatching, but one piece must be completed by Friday. Keep your fingers crossed! I'll use a hand painted yarn from

Blue Heron yarn, colorway Leaf. Visit them at: . It turns out that their bulky rayon chenille felts. It becomes very soft and drapy and I'll use those qualities in a cabled scarf. I'll have to start it today. Yikes!

My knitting is calling!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

All Things Knitted

Like so many of you, I love functional objects that depict knitting. If you haven't seen the gorgeous porcelain work of Alyssa Ettinger, I encourage you to take a look. Although I don't know her personally, I purchased tumblers and bowls, which are beautiful. Her website is:

Behind the scenes of a photo shoot can be fun to look at!

The Barcelona Bag photo shoot took place in downtown Portland, Oregon in front of a 1906 Bank Building.

If you are not yet acquainted with the Barcelona Bag, it is available at:

Did you notice that the photo we used looks like we shot at night? It was 3PM in the afternoon, but through the magic of photography and a very fast shutter speed, the photo we used looks like midnight in New York!

The knitting is incredibly easy, although it appears impossibly difficult. The lace image on the front is accomplished by using...........spray paint! Even on close inspection, it's almost impossible to figure out, tee hee! All the instructions in this 10 page pattern, including where to get the exact handles and buckles are disclosed, as always!

I love beginning knitters and want all of you to know that you can accomplish magnificent things with only a few skills!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Little Slice Of Heaven

During the course of the last week I was away with other amazing knitwear designers to contemplate our ideas on writing books. San Juan Island is the most deliciously quiet place. It rained a bit, the sun came out a bit, but mostly the pace was slow and the ideas plenty.

Our location had no cell phone service, so the only connection with the outside world was about once a day by Internet. Seriously, what could be better?

This week I also found a very interesting small format book/magazine called Craft: Transforming Traditional Crafts. It is really cool. The focus seems to be a twisted contemporary "take" on traditional crafts. Check it out at

The Oregonian knitting blog did a little interview with me, take a look at I'm usually pretty shy about including my photo, but they talked me into it!

Is it just me? Or is there a hint of spring in the air? In Portland, Oregon today we actually saw sun!

If you haven't checked in, has been updated for Spring.

Wanna see the Zebra Bag?
To purchase the Zebra Bag, go to:

It's our newest bag (see our half page ad in Interweave Knits) Knitted felt meets gold leafed zebra stripes, accomplished with our exclusive stencil. It's super simple. The detail is in the finishing.
We've added tutorials on (search Marta McCall) and you'll find three new videos to support this bag.

Many thanks to the brilliantly talented Robert Loran of Portland, Oregon for his incredible photography.