Draft Blocker

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

We’re deep into winter and the air is chilly. If you live in an older house you may have doors that let in the cold. Make this easy draft blocker to keep your home cozy warm.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL
Beginner

MATERIALS
Fabric
Stuffing
Ribbon

DIRECTIONS
Measure the width of your door and add seven inches. This will be the measurement for your length of fabric. For the width I find nine inches makes a thick enough blocker. If you have an especially wide gap at the bottom of your door you may wish to increase the width.

Cut out your fabric. Sew a hem on both ends. I went with a 1/4” hem.

Sew fabric lengthwise using a 1/4” seam allowance.

Turn right side out. Tie ribbon 3” from the edge to close off one end.

Stuff the tube with stuffing.

Tie the other end 3” down from edge with ribbon.

Put in front of your door and kiss those cold drafts goodbye.

Craft on!

More Monsters

There’s a new gang of Twilly23 monsters on the prowl.

I’ve been playing with yarn weight to increase the size. This monster is several inches taller than my original size.

Embellishments are my favorite part of the process. Little details can create such unique personalities.

Felt eyes are fun but I’m really grooving on using buttons lately.

These monsters are now for sale at Salty Teacup in Portland.

Want to make your own? You can buy the pattern via my Etsy shop or Ravelry store.

A Return To Spinning

I got the most wonderful present for Solstice last year. This beauty is an Ashford Kiwi 3 and a double treadle, my favorite. It’s been years since I’ve spun and I’m ecstatic to be back at the wheel again. She’s a gem to spin and I’ve named her Arachne. She’ll help me strive for greatness. And remind me to humble myself before the crafty gods!

Four ounces of Corriedale Wool roving made for a smooth return. Spinning singles came back pretty quickly. Plying was a struggle at first and I put too much twist into the yarn.

A yarn bath and some whacks against the tub took a lot of extra spin out. This is mostly a worsted weight though it ebbs and flows between DK and Aran in spots. Still, after five years away I think this skein turned out fabulously.

Yarn: Anew
Source: 4 oz Corriedale Wool roving
Yardage: 89.0 yards
Spun: Dec 2020/Jan 2021
Colorway: Natural

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.

Vote 2020!

My great grandmother Flo was a suffragette. I’m told that men hit her with brooms as she marched for the right to vote. One threw a brick that struck her head. And yet she persisted.

This year the phrase “the most important election in our lifetime” has been popping up almost everywhere I look. And while this election is absolutely vital, I also think every election is important.

By all means please register and vote in this presidential election. But also I implore you to vote in all elections that you can. Minor elections may seem unimportant but they have small ripple effects that over time, and combined with others, can create huge waves of change.

Politics start in your home and in your neighborhood. I encourage you to get involved in your local community. You could join your local neighborhood association. Josh and I have and recently had the opportunity to hear our local state senator speak and got our questions answered by the current Portland mayor candidates.

And please take jury duty. Getting out of jury duty is an old joke that conveys an ugly truth. People like to bitch about politics rather than participate. Jury duty is a direct way to make change. (Read a definition of jury nullification here.)

Need more information on how to register or where to vote? Portland bookstore Two Rivers put together a resource guide. (Oregon info is first, generalized info second.)

Election 2020 – Resources for Voting and Getting Involved