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.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

San Fran was great, now off to Mexico!

I went up to visit Larissa in SF last weekend. We had a great time! Thankfully, she understands my knitting addiction, so we spent many hours knitting together. We have known each other since 7th grade and when we are together it feels like we are back in junior high.

We walked from her place down to the Ferry Building for Farmer's Market breakfast, produce shopping and some knitting in the sun. Somehow I got a shoulder burn in an hour. It was fun eating, knitting and people-watching as the big boats went past. We then went to see Ratatouille (so good!) and did some shopping. Then more knitting. Then even more knitting. Here I am sitting in the sun with the Fitted Knits sweater almost complete. I got all of the yarn at Black Sheep Knittery right as they were closing their doors. Sure hope they come back soon.

Larissa models my sweater. Almost done!

Sweater back

I wrote a pattern for a tunic-type sweater for Larissa to knit. I got her this yarn from the Suss Outlet (which I drove by today and was sad to see they are moved out. I knew they were closing, didn't know it was so soon) for her b-day last year and I am so excited that she is knitting with it! The mohair has a gold thread running along with it. Pretty.

Here is a close-up of her knitting. I love the openness of the sweater. Eventually she will add long bell sleeves and the rest of the body.

Like a good consumer, I got an iphone last Friday. We didn't have to wait in line at all. And when I say "we" I really mean Mike. He went to the Grove Apple store around 10pm that first night and waited a few minutes. He bought 2 no problem. So I have been spending the past few days playing with it. I really like it a lot! I am getting caught up on Heroes (missed it this past season) and can now watch it on the phone while working out! So handy. Also, makes the workout fly by. I have been reading that people are having trouble with the keyboard aspect of the phone, but i love it! Really easy to use and the phone guesses what you are typing and finishes a lot of your words for you.

Mike and I are headed to Cabo on Saturday for a week of relaxation at Sunset Beach resort. I am taking books and lots of knitting. I am so ready to relax and do very little. Will post pics of the knitting when we return, as well as the 2 sweaters I have made from "Fitted Knits". I still need to block those suckers.