Posted in crochet, knitting, sewing

OMG: UFOooooooossss!

Did you ever decide to organize your yarn closet, and in the process discover an overwhelming number of Unfinished Objects: I have!

I have clearly been in denial about the quantitiy of UFOs piling up on my watch. To be honest, I knew about a few of them. Some are over five years old. They were slumbering quite peacefully until disturbed today in my zeal to clear out the yarn cabinet. They are the dirty dozen, plus one. Here is a brief run down.

From the top, left to right:

  • Cabled gloves in dark green yarn. Pattern by Brooklyn Tweed, from Vogue Knitting magazine Winter 2009. I started with great enthusiasm, but lost steam when I fully understood the complexity of making cables up Each Finger. Tossed the pattern about six months ago.
  • Sparkly and beaded water bottle purse. I was making it for a former boss as a gift about six years ago. I couldn’t decide how to make the closure and strap.
  • Granny Square whimsical bird house. This was an experiment to see what Else could be done with granny squares.
  • Ladies’ woolen slacks. Frustrated with my inability to buy wool trousers that fit I decided to re-fashion a pair of men’s wool trousers. Purchased the pants at Goodwill, the pattern for $1.00 at Hobby Lobby.
  • Made the mistake of buying extra fine alpaca lace weight yarn. Tried to knit it held two strands together into a shawl. It’s not going well.
  • This is almost done. It is a serape-style poncho knit in a Northern Woods colorway yarn. Today I blocked it and expect to finish it soon.
  • This collection of yarn is set aside to make fingerless gloves. Still working on a design.
  • This is the pattern and fabric for making quilted baskets. I’ve made two so far. Eventually I will have enough little baskets to organize and store all my fabric.
  • This is a piece that I knit from Icelandic wool received from my daughter. I intend to felt it into a little purse – at some point in the future.
  • This shawl kit, designed by Laura Nelkins, includes beads. Someday it will be done.
  • Here is the 8 by 10 inch weaving that I made as an example for my fiber arts students. It’s nearly finished. But I ask – what do I do with it when it is?
  • And finally, I recently started a triangular cardi-vest designed by Melody Johnson. I thought it would be a good way to use up the odd balls of yarn.

Oh yes, I did say a dozen plus one. The last UFO is a felt coat.

It needs to be altered. I removed the first sleeve and then hid it in the back of my closet. It will likely stay there until next winter.

So, my fellow fiber artist – which UFO looks the most appealing to you?

Posted in crochet, knitting

Playing with Dolls: The Purple Yogi

Like many women in my demographic, I get my exercise by practicing yoga. I don’t remember when I got the idea to make a purple yogi, but I know where. It was during a yoga session. While searching for a drishti (otherwise know as a focal point) in the middle of forming tree pose, my eyes glanced at a ceramic yogi in seated position. Breaking my concentration, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to make a posable figure from yarn and wire?”

Thus was conceived the Purple Yogi. He is constructed of yarn, florist’s wire, a little fiber fill and some white glue. The gestation period was about three months, and the birth itself took two half days of work. I started with a sketch, and proceeded in single crochet to make his torso and head.

Next I crocheted down from the waist to make a pair of manly hips. The arms were knit in I-cord. One wire was inserted through the body at shoulder height and slipped inside both the arms.

The legs came next. I inserted a wire through the hips, with loops where the ball sockets would be. A wire was inserted into each loops and stretched down for the legs. The I-cord legs had two increase rows, to make them a more tapered shape. Then the knitted legs were slipped over the wires, sewn to the body, and a little glue added to shape his feet. Here is the completed doll.

Yogi is sitting still while his gluey feet dry.
Here he is in seated pose, ready to start his first yoga session.

I discovered very quickly that he could not sustain a pose without a sticky mat. I cut one out of a rug grip pad. Okay, Yogi, let’s strike a pose or two!


This project really made me smile. It’s good to play, even if one is a bit old for dolls.

Posted in crochet, recycling

Consider the Plastic Bag

It is my stated goal to explore the possibilities of everything fiber, or even fiber-ish. Plastic bags seem to accumulate at an alarming rate in my home. This photo shows the orange plastic bag that my daily paper comes in, if the weather is even the least bit damp. Recycling these wrappers is not an option in my community. Of course the re-use option is the most likely destination for this item. I don’t have a dog, so that re-use is not going to happen. I re-use them occasionally to cover my paint rollers temporarily, if I am unable to finish the paint job in one day. But considering that the wrappers are long and narrow, I wondered if they could be woven, crocheted or knit?

The answer is yes to all three. I started out by knitting and, indeed, came up with a respectable looking little orange swatch. But I couldn’t think of any use for it. I moved on to crochet, using my no. 15 hook.

  1. I connected the wrappers with clear tape. I tried sewing them end to end, but the plastic clung to my needle every time I pushed it through wrapper.
  2. Here is my chain, slip-stitched together.
  3. Here is the finished object, viewed from the bottom. My husband says it looks like a bunch of Cheetos.

The object ended up as a sort of Koozie, or in this case, a cover for a plant pot. I inserted a glass jar, added a cotton bow and filled with herbs. One could just as easily insert a cold beer which would likely stay cold until consumed.

My conclusion is that one can crochet a bunch of plastic together, but it isn’t fun and it isn’t pretty. The result is a bit of a “sow’s ear” trying to be a “silk purse.”

Posted in Uncategorized

For the Birds

Photo by Bill Riley

My family is passionate about birds. We feed them, we offer them water, we count them (once a year). My husband photographs them. Over and over. I suppose we would be called bird-watchers, or, if we were in GB, twitchers. To encourage our local birds, we try to keep our yard wild enough to make them comfortable. After noticing a robin stealing fibers of twine from my garden stakes to add to his nest, I thought, that’s it! I’ll start an Air BnB for the birds.

No question about what material to choose. Natural twine or jute seems to have curb appeal for these bird brains. I decided to use crochet to make this object.

The instructions are simple, which is fortunate, because the jute was challenging to work with. Chain three stitches, and form a ring by slip stitching the last chain to first. Single crochet inside the ring ten times. Next row, chain two, single crochet two stitches , then make two sc in the next stitch, continue this pattern around back to the beginning. Slip stitch last and first stitches together. Repeat this row until the base of the nest measures between 3 and 6 inches in width. It will look something like this:

Next, single crochet in each stitch all the way around, slipping stitch and chaining two stitches at the end of each round. Stop when the sides are 3 inches tall.

My nest ended up 4 inches wide by 2 and 1/2 inches tall

Where to put it? I’m told that real estate is all about location. For the birds, that means not too low, not too high, not too visible, not where the cats prowl. Fortunately, we have a row of yew trees in our side yard.

I will be pleased if a pair of our feathered visitors choose to move in.

Posted in Uncategorized

Amuse the Baby

One of the most important functions of women who are mothers to moms is to participate caring for their grandchildren.  Until the little cherubs are big enough to speak for themselves, this care takes the form of feeding, diapering and entertaining them.  Challenge gladly – nay, I say – enthusiastically accepted.  In the photo above, you see a fiber object that my daughter crafted for her baby.  It’s a rather complex ball with multiple handholds.  Really, nicely done, dear.

I have been planning to crochet a small number of sea creatures, with the idea of making a tableau called “Under the Sea.”  I decided to start with a jellyfish.  Jellyfish are abundant in the world’s seas.  They are a significant food source for Loggerhead and Ridley sea turtles.  They are also very easy to crochet.  Since I am currently immersed in baby-care activities, quick and easy is my choice for today’s fiber object.  Here is what I came up with, using an H hook and purple cotton yarn:

Start with a Magic Loop.  Single crochet 6 stitches into the loop. Then crochet around, increasing every other round to 12, 18, and the 24 stitchs.  Continue with single crochet in every stitch for 2 rounds.  Finish off by chaining 3 stitches, slip stitch into 2nd stitch from the hook, and continue around until you reach the start of the round. Cut thread and pull through loop. I made the tentacles with long chains.

Here is the subject, under the spell of the jellyfish.