Spinning Karma

I’m so proud to share that Josh’s novel is published! It’s available for purchase through the publisher Camphor Press or at Amazon.

Spinning Karma
A reluctant American spiritual leader,
A fake viral video,
A media-driven propaganda war between America and China that spirals out of control.
Spinning Karma is the East-Collides-With-West farce the world needs – and deserves – now.
Order it today from Camphor Press

“I heartily recommend this cynical and funny book! If you don’t read it the winds of change shall destroy your serenity (or something of that nature).”
~ Eddie Pepitone, The Bitter Buddha

Can a New Age guru save his cult without losing his soul?

In an ill-conceived effort to bring his once-popular meditation group and its teachings back into the limelight, Rinpoche Edward Schwartz heads to Taiwan to fabricate an improvised “religious oppression” video – starring a group of clueless language students who think they’re taking part in an English conversation class.

The video goes viral and the scheme succeeds beyond Schwartz’s wildest expectations, triggering a media-driven propaganda war between the United States and China that spirals out of control.

Before long, everybody from spiritual seekers in China and America to the Chinese government itself wants a piece of Schwartz’s cult – and of Schwartz himself.

It has been such a pleasure witnessing this book come to life. I got to read earlier drafts and have enjoyed watching it transform into the polished final version. Josh finished this book while we were housesitting in Boston and we would discuss it while walking the owner’s dogs in the nearby cemetery. Spinning Karma is a very funny book that satirizes New Age spirituality and world politics. I highly recommend it!

Blue Blanket Beginnings

I’m finally getting back to my lotus pond blanket. The last time I worked on this was when Josh and I were housesitting in Boston. That feels so long ago! 2020 has been a long year.

The blanket part will be blue to represent water. I thought about buying new yarn but a persistent theme of this year was working with what you have at home. So I went through my stash and rounded up all my blue yarn.

Turns out I had quite a selection. I like the idea of the water flowing into different colors. Several yarns are leftovers from previous projects so this blanket will be a warm reminder of past knitting. I still need to figure out the lotus leaves and get some green yarn for them. But I’m putting that off for now.

For the blanket I’m using Frankie Brown’s Ten Stitch Blanket (Ravelry link). I made this pattern years ago and really love it. It’s super easy and makes for great TV knitting. Ursula is putting her kitty goodness in early on. She’s such a dedicated assistant.

Knit Gift Purse

A version of this pattern was previously published on Think Crafts!

The holidays are here. Need a quick handmade gift? I had a last minute gift to make and managed to crank this purse out over a weekend. If you need a gift and have little time make this purse. I wrote this pattern as simply as possible to help save you time. Plus it’s completely adjustable. Want a bigger or smaller purse? Just adjust the square and strap to your desired size.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL
Beginner knitter

Intermediate sewer (optional)

MATERIALS
Yarn -fiber and color of your choice
Knitting needles
Fabric for liner (optional)
Zipper
Thread
Buttons (optional)
Yarn needle

PATTERN
Decide how big you’d like your purse to be. Want a 12” rectangular purse? Cast on until you have 12” of stitches. Want a small square purse? Cast on until you have 6” of stitches. Then knit stockinette until you have a square or rectangle that suits your tastes. Bind off.

Knit a second square or rectangle to match the first. Decide how wide you’d like the shoulder strap to be. I went with two inches. Cast on and knit stockinette until it’s the length you want. The shoulder strap, like the purse, is completely adjustable to your tastes.

Keep knitting stockinette so the shoulder strap wraps around the sides and bottom of the purse squares. This will create space inside your bag.

Block the pieces. If you’re pressed for time can skip this step.

Seam the squares to the strap. Seam the strap ends together.

Don’t know how to sew on a machine? No problem. Just weave in your yarn ends and call this purse done!

If you can sew, then grab some fabric. Again this is a quick project so I didn’t do any measuring. I just cut a length of fabric and pinned it to the strap.

For the liner you can make it as simple or as complex as you like. Cut two rectangles of fabric and a thin strip. Sew together and call your liner done. Or you can add pockets:

I got fancy with this one and added small pockets and a thin pocket for a pen. However, this was a last minute gift for Thanksgiving so I didn’t have much time. I measured nothing! I just cut out squares for pockets, pinned them down and sewed them into place.

Sew the strap lining to the knit strap. You can do this on the machine or by hand.

Put the liner into the purse and pin the zipper into place.

Sew the zipper into place. But oh no what’s this? My zipper wasn’t long enough!

There’s nothing like a deadline to spark creativity. I just knit two small squares and sewed them in and it looked intentional!

If you’re pressed for time you can call this purse done at this point.

A handknit purse that’s lined with pockets makes a great gift.

But if you have a bit more time you can make some I-cord flowers to give it that extra flair. I made mine out of scrap yarn and buttons from my button jar. Here’s a handy I-cord tutorial:

Knit I-cord to your desired length. Then curl it around and sew down onto the purse. Sew a button in the middle. I made three flowers in different colors.

FINISHING
If making, sew flowers onto purse. Weave in ends.

Now your last minute gift is done. Wrap it up and pat yourself on the back. Craft on!

Crochet Flower Ring

An earlier version of this tutorial was published on Think Crafts!

Winter is here but you can still keep summer blooms alive with this crochet flower ring.

CRAFT
Crochet

DIFFICULTY
Beginner

MATERIALS
Yarn (Whatever type reminds you of summer)
Crochet Hook (Appropriate for chosen yarn)
Button
Yarn needle
Elastic
Thread

PATTERN NOTES
CO: Cast on
Ch: Chain
SC: Single crochet
DC: Double crochet
BO: Bind off
CO: Cast off
*: Repeat instructions between ** symbols

DIRECTIONS
CO enough stitches to make a 5” chain, ending with an odd numbered stitch.

ROW 1: CH 4, *DC, CH2, skip stitch* until end of row, ending with a DC.

ROW 2: CH2 , *SC 1, SC 4 around CH stitches*, ending with a SC.

ROW 3: SC until end of row.

Cut yarn, leaving a long tail.

Curl piece around itself to make a spiral shape. Sew into place using tail.

Sew on button in center of flower.

Cut a piece of elastic to fit snug around your finger. Sew ends together and then sew onto bottom of flower.

FINISHING
Weave in ends.

Wear on a cold day to remind yourself that warmer temperatures will return.

Craft on!

Renovare Monstrum

I’ve created a new monster pattern! This time it’s a sewing pattern kit that comes with instructions and all the materials you need to make your own monster. The precut fabric is made from upcycled sweaters. The felt, yarn, ribbon and buttons are all upcycled as well. I’ve chosen the name of this kit to reflect these materials being reused for a new purpose: Renovare Monstrum (Latin for Renew Monster).

A limited supply is now available at Salty Teacup in Portland. Future kits will be available for sale online. Stay tuned!

As always, my faithful sewing assitant supervised the design process.