Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sweater blocking and a fun craft project to save the planet!

We are back from Cabo with tan arms and a suitcase full of laundry. So glad to be home since we really missed Charlie. Here is a photo taken with my new iphone. Pretty good picture from such a small phone!

I got a lot of knitting done on the trip, but that will have to wait until another post. I also read four wonderful books that I suggest to all. "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert is a life-changer. Go get it today. Really. Also, "Water For Elephants" by Sara Gruen, "The Known World" by Edward P. Jones and "The Inheritance of Loss" by Kiran Desai. All great books that I am so glad I had the chance to read. This is why I love summer so much. I get time to read and two favorite things to do.

On to crafty things...
I finished knitting this gray sweater from "Fitted Knits" by Stephanie Japel ( over a month ago and just couldn't find it in me to block the darn thing. So, this morning I got up, had a chai latte then set to work. I followed an online tutorial for sweater blocking and really had no problems.

Here is the pre-blocked sweater. The sleeves are to the elbow and the ribbing of the lower body needs to stretch out and be able to wrap around more of me.

first step, get it wet. No wringing or twisting, just soaking.

next roll the soaking wet sweater into a towel to absorb the excess water.

blot. change the towel if you need to.

carefully stretch out the sweater to the shape you want and pin in place. I set up a towel on the top of the dryer and pinned to that. Our laundry room gets really hot during the day, so I am hoping the sweater will be done by tomorrow.

Close up of the bottom edge.

Ok, so we all have the drawer. You know the one. Every plastic bag you ever received from every market, shoe store, downtown back alley shop, etc. These plastic bags seem to multiply in the drawer in our kitchen, to the point where I am constantly taking a bag full of bags back to Ralph's to turn in for credit. (did you know they give you 3 cents per bag you bring in and reuse on the spot? not a ton of cash, but at least you get a little reward for being a friend to the planet) So I have recently become obsessed with eliminating these bags from my life. I bought something called "Envirosax" which is a nylon bag that contains 5 folded up tiny nylon bags that each hold more than twice those plastic Ralph's bags. I found them at They are rolled up really small and I keep them in my car for my weekly trip to Ralph's. Plus, they are so cute! So, in my quest to never use plastic bags again (lofty goal) I have been looking for some way to reuse the bags that I still seem to be accumulating. I read on Betz White's blog how she turned these flimsy plastic bags into something more useful. Following the onine tutorial at, I found myself fusing these flimsy bags together to form a much stronger plastic. According to Etsy and Betz, you can sew this new material into all sorts of stuff.

I cut up some bags from Target and lined up the bullseyes. 6-8 layers of plastic seems to work well.

Place these bags between parchment paper and iron on an ironing board. I set the iron to rayon and ironed for 15-20 seconds, keeping the iron constantly moving.

Viola! The finished "fabric".

For this one, I used plain white bags and drew flowers on one layer with a Sharpie. I also stamped some flowers on there too. I ironed the same way, making sure to put a plain bag over the layer with the writing on it.

Close up of the flowered plastic.

Now that I have the fabric, I am going to try to make a "make up bag" with a zipper. From what I have read onine, this stuff will sew on a regular sewing machine. I am really excited to see what I can do with it. I'll post more when I do more.

And finally, the weird picture of the day. This is a whippet with a genetic mutation that makes his muscles grow to giant proportions. Some mutations can be so strange and wonderful! This guy looks like a Japanese cartoon superhero dog.

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