Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Practically Knotless Netting


I talked about knotless netting on gourds today on my podcast, but once I started, I realized I should have had the directions in front of me. I promised to share on my blog, so I hope this helps those who would like to try this technique.

1. Cut a piece of waxed linen about 2 yards long (I find 2-yard lengths to be easy to work with. If you run out of thread, tie another piece on and keep going). Begin attaching the palm inflorescence using the holes you have made. Attach using a simple over and under stitch or blanket stitch, leaving some ends hanging for effect if desired.

2. Tie one end of a new piece of waxed linen to a place on the top row of inflorescence.

3. Allow some length of the waxed linen to hang down from this knot. Loop the other end around the inflorescence and back out, careful to come out over the left side (See illustration 1). Continue to do this all the way around the gourd; do not pull wax linen tight as you need some loop to do the next row.

4. On the next row around, continue the same stitch but going into the loops you made on the first row. Continue to do this for the rest of the gourd, allowing for changes below to add interest:

5. To make holes in the weaving: Instead of going around one stitch in each loop, skip several loops leaving enough waxed linen to make a space - do not pull tight. (See illustration 2)

6. When you come back to this space on the next go-around make more than one loop on this one long one. Use your judgement!

7. I try to make spaces around the leaf stencils so that it appears that you are looking through the net at them. They can also be partially covered for effect.

8. Bottom: Continue to go around and around the gourd until your circle comes together on the bottom. Tie off your waxed linen. Enjoy your work!

I also promised to show my method of treating my wool once spun. It tends to be too curly if you don't dampen and stretch it out. This is how I do it: Wrap yarn around the legs of a footstool. Tie off in four places with old scraps of badly spun wool. (And you just threw yours away, didn't you?) Wet skein, then gently squeeze out excess water. Hang from wire rack suspended over deep Rubbermaid container with metal clips which clip through ties. This whole contraption is placed in my attic where it dries pretty quickly. The yarn will stretch and uncurl and will be ready for knitting.


Saturday, October 18, 2008



Our Knit & Swish was held today at the new Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center. We had nine people in attendance with some help from the Spay/Neuter Clinic staff. It was fun and everyone there contributed with either knitting or crochet. Two completed blankets were given to Justin Sculley, Director and most took their blankets home to finish. The two resident cats, Smokey and Gisi (?) were on hand to inspect, play and interact with the participants. I taught Suzi Wharton to loom knit and she made very good progress toward a blanket. Thanks to all who came. My Knitting Club kids at school had started several blankets this past Thursday on the looms and will finish them throughout the year.

Knit & Swish A Success







Our Knit & Swish was held today at the new Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center. We had nine people in attendance with some help from the Spay/Neuter Clinic staff. It was fun and everyone there contributed with either knitting or crochet. Two completed blankets were given to Justin Sculley, Director and most took their blankets home to finish. The two resident cats, Smokey and Gisi (?) were on hand to inspect, play and interact with the participants. I taught Suzi Wharton to loom knit and she made very good progress toward a blanket. Thanks to all who came. My Knitting Club kids at school had started several blankets this past Thursday on the looms and will finish them throughout the year.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Faux Fur Mouse








I've made these countless times for my cats and they seem to love them. They're relatively simple.
Materials needed:
Fake fur, thread to match
Piece of cording about twice as long as your fur
Dry catnip and funnel
Sharp scissors and sewing machine

Remember when you learned to cut out a heart by folding a piece of paper the long way and then cutting out half a heart from the side that was folded? Start cutting upward, then round out to make the big top part of the heart, then cut downward until you reach the bottom point. You then open the paper and there is the heart. I learned to do this when I was in elementary school and can cut these mice out without a pattern, but I'll provide one here in case you're not sure. Stitch them on the sewing machine starting at the "head" part, or bottom of heart with about a one-eighth seam. The faux fur is sturdy and a larger seam will be too bulky to turn. Leave about an inch to inch and a half opening near the top curve, then insert all of the cording tail but about an inch and stitch the last inch or so. Use a funnel with a large opening to pour dried catnip inside to stuff. Hand-stitch the opening closed and toss to your cats. They'll take care of the rest. I've included a picture of one of my cats' old mice. It's pretty mangled, but they still love it. Have fun and send me pictures of mice you make.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

7 O'Clock News/Silent Night

I've been tagged by one of my writer friends to find a song that speaks to me as a writer. I do write mostly fantasy, but at times, okay a lot of the time lately, I'm feeling more political. I've been trying to learn to play Scarborough Fair lately on the piano and yesterday let the CD I was playing along to continue while I segued into spinning. The songs took me back to another part of my life when another war was going on and the government was struggling against a part of the population, mostly young people who violently opposed it. The song also spoke to me of attitudes then and now. When I write, I write from my heart, whether it's a fantasy or a picture book. And when I write about wildlife or human rights, this is even more so. I look at when I grew up and think about so many people being arrested for speaking out for what they felt. People do that to a point today, but could anyone actually risk going to jail or being hauled off from an anti-war rally? Could we bother? My students had "free day" today as a reward for bringing in their PEP's and progress notes signed. My 7th grade class, mostly girls asked to watch the movie about Rosa Parks. Such an inspiring person even today speaks to a new generation. But, I wonder if they would have her determination if they had to face more than complying to a dress code? The lyrics of 7 O'Clock News/Silent Night are spoken over the song Silent Night, a peaceful song full of new life and love. The song brought tears to my eyes, not for the war, but for what we've lost in other ways. I'm glad for technology (like this blog), but not having to actually work towards something I think in some ways does more harm than good.
I wonder sometimes if I have the conviction to speak out for and write about what I believe. These days we have to be politically correct, especially here in the South. I worry about how strong to press in my other blog, Crafting for Animals. It took me a couple of weeks to decide to post the wolf video. Do I say what I feel or toe the safety line and not step on others' toes?
The song does have its parallels to our situation now. If you own the CD or still have an old record player, get this album out and listen to it again. I plan to take it to school when I teach poetry this year. I'm sure none of my students have heard of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.

"This is the early evening edition of the news.
The recent fight in the House of Representatives
was over the open housing
section of the
Civil Rights Bill.
Brought traditional enemies together but it left
the defenders of the measure without the
votes of their strongest supporters.
President Johnson originally proposed an outright
ban covering discrimination by everyone for every
type of housing but it had no chance from the start
and everyone in congress knew it.
A compromise was painfully worked out in the House Judiciary Committee.
In Los Angeles today comedian Lenny Bruce
died of what was believed to be an
overdose of narcotics.
Bruce was 42 years old.
Dr. Martin Luther King says he does not intend
to cancel plans for an open housing march
Sunday into the Chicago suburb of Cicero.
Cook County Sheriff Richard Ogleby asked King
to call off the march and the police in
Cicero said they would ask the National
Guard to be called out if it is held.
King, now in Atlanta, Georgia, plans to return
to Chicago Tuesday.
In Chicago Richard Speck, accused murderer of
nine student nurses, was brought before a
grand jury today for indictment.
The nurses were found stabbed an strangled
in their Chicago apartment.
In Washington the atmosphere was tense today
as a special subcommittee of the House
Committee on Un-American activities continued
its probe into anti-Viet Nam war protests.
Demonstrators were forcibly evicted from the
hearings when they began chanting
anti-war slogans.
Former Vice-President Richard Nixon says that
unless there is a substantial increase in the
present war effort in Viet Nam, the U.S.
should look forward to five more
years of war.
In a speech before the Convention of the
Veterans of Foreign Wars in New York,
Nixon also said opposition to the war
in this country is the greatest single
weapon working against the U.S.
That's the 7 o'clock edition of the news,
Goodnight.

Silent night
Holy night
All is calm
All is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace."

Knit One, Save One Hat


I finished my hat and I think it turned out quite nicely. I used a loom pattern called Strawberry Sundae Delight designed by Robin McCoy. When I have time to knit a hat with needles, I do. When I want to finish one in a hurry, I pull out my Knifty Knitter looms. This pattern was fun to do. It used a one over two stitch and the brim was crocheted onto the loom to simulate whipped cream. Thanks, Robin for this pattern. I'll mail it out hopefully by this weekend.