Monthly Archives: September 2010

Little Black Clutch

This Pattern is Available as a free Ravelry Download.  It is also available for free, instructions in this post.

When my mother in law was visiting, we stopped in the local yarn shop.  She’s a quilter and I’m a knitter.  I didn’t expect her to think too much about the yarn shop because she’s more into fabric.  Upon entering, a felted clutch that was on display immediately caught her attention.

“I love this!  Will you knit it for me?”  She asked excitedly.

“Sure,” I replied.  It didn’t look very hard.  I asked the girl working what pattern and yarn were used.  She didn’t have an exact pattern and gave me very vague instructions about how it was made.  I inspected it and got a good idea about how I would make it.

Meanwhile, my mother in law was combing through the variety of wools, trying to find the perfect color for her clutch.  Finally she settled on Lamb’s Pride Bulky in black.

I was thrilled to see her so excited in the yarn shop.  I had fun showing it off to her and I almost expected her to be uninterested.  It went so differently than I had imagined.

The pattern came together really easily, and it was nothing like the vague instructions the girl at the LYS gave me.  At first I made a wide clutch style, but I wasn’t totally sure that was what she had in mind.  I made another one using 2 strands of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes.  It was smaller and longer.  The instructions are for the smaller one first, and the wider one in the parenthesis. (I just wanted to come back and add that project notes on Ravelry say they don’t really like the wide, short purse, instructions in parenthesis.  It’s not very practical which is why I made a different version.)

Finished Measurements:

9 x 6 1/2 inches felted (10 1/2 x 5 1/4 inches felted)


3 sts and 4 rounds/ 1 inch before felting  (Gauge is not really important, just make sure it’s nice and loose for easier felting.)


125 yards of bulky weight wool yarn (Or 220 yards of worsted weight wool, with 2 strands held together throughout)

size US 13 16 inch circular needles

stitch marker


Using long tail cast on, cast on 60 (80) sts.  Place marker and begin working in the round.

Work 6 rounds of garter stitch (purl one round, knit one round)

Next round: K 8 (10) sts, bind off 14 (20) sts, K 16 (20) sts, bind off 14 (20) sts, k 8 (10) sts.

Next round: K 8 (10) sts, using backward loop method cast on 14 (20) sts, k 16 (20) sts, cast on 14 (20) sts, k 8 (10) sts.  Begin working in round again.

K every round until it measures 10 (8) inches from cast on edge.

Divide sts evenly, with the first st from where the stitch marker was placed.

Finish by grafting (kitchener stitch) live sts together.

Felt as desired.

Adorn with decorative pin, ribbon, buttons, ect.  Use your imagination!

Resources (click on the links to view instructions on the techniques used in this pattern):

Backward Loop Cast On

Kitchener Stitch

Hand Felting

Machine Felting



Filed under knitting

Sew Manly

My husband is in the military.  He collects guns and tactical gear.  Manly?  Oh, yeah.  He is the most manly man I have ever known.

Ever since I first met him, he has always been designing tactical gear and bags in his head.  One day last smmer, while browsing through a sewing store, he found a pattern for a diaper bag.  He thought it would make a great gear bag so he bought the pattern and the material to make it.

At first he asked me to sew it for him, but after looking throught the pattern, he decided he wanted to try it himself.  I showed him how to use the machine, and off he went.  After a weekend of nonstop sewing, his bag was finished, and a new man was created.  He was now a seamster (instead of seamstress).

He had a newfound appreciation for sewing, especially because it was a hobby be could have that wasn’t being threatened by laws (like gun stuff).

After he made the bag, he repurposed his old BDU uniforms into a quilt (a post about that later).

Our little machine was becoming and increasing problem for him.  It was small and finicky, and most home machines won’t sew through the type of material he was using.  After months of research, he bought a sewing machine for himself.  It’s a commercial machine and will sew through 1/2 inch thick leather.  It’s a beast.

After he purchased his machine, he has been sewing all kinds of gear.  He’s so good at sewing.  Our weekends are spent in the sewing room together, and we have really enjoyed it. 

There is a funny thing about a man sewing.  People say things like, “Wow, you’re really crafty” to him.  We both roll our eyes.  Crafty is popsicle sticks at 4H camp, or making holiday decorations for Super Saturday.  Sewing bags that hold magazine clips out of 1000 D nylon and chest rigs that hold shotgun shells is not crafty. 

When people come over and see his set up or the things he’s made, immediately they change their initial thoughts about him sewing.  “Holy crap, that’s awesome!”  

And he is awesome.


Filed under sewing

Friday Favorites II

My sock obsession continues, and perhaps is more extreme this week.  I’ve decided I’m in love with stockings.  Lacy knee highs are sexy, and they would be perfect lingerie and go well with a flirty skirt.  Today my stocking obsession is Bintje-Socks by Jatta Saukko.  I love the lacy pattern and the picot cuff is just icing on the cake.  Hmmm… now that I think of it, maybe I also have a thing for picot cuffs on socks.  Anyway, look how beautiful these are!  I MUST make them.  I don’t know when, but sometime.

Photo by Jatta Saukko

Speaking of socks, I made my husband’s last pair of socks with some wonderful yarn, Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine.  This yarn is 50% wool, 20% Superfine Alpaca and 30% Nylon.  It’s oh so soft, sturdy, and it was perfect to cable with.  The colors are all beautiful, most of which are heathered.  It’s 430 yards at $10.50 a hank.  It takes a full hank to make a pair, and it’s about half the price as other comparable yarns.  The only problem was it was a bit splitty when ripped back, but it wasn’t bad.  Anyway, this yarn was fantastic and I will be using it again and again!

I go through phases with who my favorite designer is.  This week (and most of the time really), it’s Kirstin Kapur.  Her patterns are elegant, fun, and full of cables!  She was recently interviewed on the Petite Purls blog, and after reading it, I love her even more.  She has a group on Ravelry, and a great blog called Through the Loops.  She was the designer of the Make-up socks I made earlier this summer.

I talk about my own favorites too much.  All day we listen to music on Pandora via the Roku box.   This week Little D has a favorite song.  It’s Patrick and Eugene’s The Birds and the Bees.  When it comes on, he crawls to the TV as fast as he can, pulls himself up on the entertainment center, and shakes his little bum.  It’s the cutest thing in the world.  Should I be worried that his favorite song is called the Birds and the Bees?  Maybe it will save me from an awkward conversation in the future.   

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Filed under friday favorites, knitting

Get Well Soon Socks

My sock design is finished!  Pattern is available as a free Ravelry download.

When my husband became ill with pneumonia, I wanted to make him as comfortable as possible. In addition to pushing fluids and making him bland meals, I decided to make him a pair of socks.
The cables make these man socks cozy, perfect for times when he’s under the weather. They are knit toe-up and have Sivia Harding’s toe-up heel flap incorporated into them. She has graciously given me permission to use her heel design.
I’ve added some links to instructional tutorials for some techniques in the pattern.

Magic Cast On

Short row heel

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A Silent Anniversary

Last Thursday I quietly celebrated an anniversary that’s very meaningful to me.  I’ve been a vegetarian for two years.

I celebrated quietly because I took a 24 hour vow of silence.  I did it for many reasons, but mostly to reflect on my two lives; the life before I gave up meat, and the life after.  I took a day of silence to remember the lives that were taken for me, and to pay respect to them. 

I learned some amazing things by shutting my mouth for 24 hours.  I found out how much is going on in my head, it’s busy up there.  Since I wasn’t able to communicate verbally, I had to use body language.  It’s amazing how much can be said without saying anything.  My son and I connected on a new level.  I was afraid he might feel ignored so I made it a point to pay special attention to him.  My husband and I also connected in a new way.  I quietly listened to him, we watched movies and cuddled.   It was a very specail day.  I’d like to do it again because  I feel I have more to learn.

I’m not going to talk about why I have given up meat.  There are so many reasons, and to me, they are really good reasons.  I am going to say that I have never felt better.  Both emotionally and physically.  Since going meatelss, I’ve had a healthy full-term pregnancy, exclusively breastfed my baby for 6 months, and now continue to breastfeed with the supplementation of solid foods.  Even will all these changes to my body, I can honestly say I have never been healthier in my life.

Following my moral compass has brought me so much happiness and meaning to my life.


Filed under Breastfeeding, Exercise & Nutrition, Janelle's Jibberish, Meatless Monday

Friday Favorites

My friend Rae Lynne at Drip Drip Drop does a weekly blog post about her favorite things on Friday.  I really liked the idea because it could incorporate anything favorite- knitting, sewing, food, photos, movies, the list could go on and on.

First of all I would like to share two sock patterns I’ve been obsessing over.  The first is Destin by Carson Allen.  I want to knit this in memory of our summer here.  We live so close to Destin and go there every weekend.  Spending time on the beaches, shopping, eating out, even rented a boat with my parents and saw the waterfront side of Destin.  It’s been an amazing summer and while I’m excited to move at the end of the year, I will always treasure the memories made here.

Photo by Carson Allen

The next sock pattern I have been in love with is from the Fall issue of Interweave Knits.  It’s the Alpen Socken by Judy Alexander.  I have a recent obsession with cables, and this looks like a really fun knit (Sorry no pic- the one on Ravelry is just a scanned pic of the magazine and is very low quality).

My favorite Ravelry friend project is Gathersnomoss’  Adam’s Dinosoar Hat.  I love the colors she used, and the picture of her son is just adorable. 

I watch a lot of movies while knitting.  My favorite this week was Children of Men.  While the CGI baby was a little creepy, the story line was great and it was a great movie both my husband and I could appreciate.

I guess that’s all for today.  I’m not sure how this Friday Favorites is going to go, but today I had a lot of fun with it.


Filed under friday favorites, knitting

WIP Wednesday 9/15

This week all I have on my needles is still my husband’s socks.  I usually knit socks two at a time, but since this is my design, I knit the first, and the second is a test knit.  I’m just about to turn the heel on the second sock.

Yesterday a large portion of my day I was actually writing the pattern.  I’m not familiar with making my own PDF files for download, so I was researching all about that.  I was able to create a cable chart, which was very exciting.  Thanks to the design group on Ravelry most of my questions were answered without even having to ask them.  It’s great knowing the information is out there, all I needed to do was look.

For the most part the pattern is written, it just needs minor tweaking and it will be available soon.  I need to finish the second sock so I can put some pictures in it too.  I am very excited about this!  I can’t decide whether to ask for test knitters or not because it’s going to be a free pattern.  If there is anyone out there who would like to test knit it, I can have an unofficial draft ready by Friday.  Please let me know if you are interested. 

I’m currently not working on anything sewing related.  We did clean the room up so I could sew with a cruising baby so I will be getting back to my sewing soon.

I suppose that’s all for WIP Wednesday today.  I don’t even have pictures to share.    

I hope everyone is enjoying their current WIPs as much as I am enjoying this one.

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