Showing posts from 2017

knitting in ethiopia

In November of 2008, Rick and I went to Africa for three weeks, as volunteers for the Hope Bracelet Project, at Project Mercy, in Yetebon, Ethiopia. Our main task was to continue the beadmaking education of the young artisans there. While that in itself was a life changing experience for us, there are other memories that surface for me now, and give new value and meaning to our time there.

One of the fun things our group of volunteers did was to teach the children who lived in the compound how to knit. We brought needles and yarn to share and to leave there, and sat outside in the soft November sunshine, surrounded by eager little boys and girls who sat as close to us as they could get, and did their best to learn through our clumsy, mimed instructions.

A few of the local women also joined us. No one had their own project to work on, and so each of the starter pieces was passed around, so anyone who wanted to knit could take a turn. I had also brought along my own large wool bag proje…

last minute knitted gift-card pouch

You meant to make thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list, but somehow the time just flew by, and now it's officially the Last Minute as far as hand-making goes. Oops! Speaking for myself, I'll start earlier next year, like maybe January. 

To the rescue, these cute little pouches make a nicer-than-store-bought presentation for a gift card, and later magically transform into biz card holders or handy pocket wallets. Depending on your knitting speed, these take roughly an hour to make (for slow-knitting me), so you should have time to whip out a bunch before gifting day arrives.

This is not so much a pattern as a basic guideline to making a little buttoned pouch. Improvise where you need to! Now enough chit chat. Ladies and gentlemen, start your needles!

Knitted Gift Card Pouch

small amount worsted weight yarn (these bags each weight about 1/3 of an ounce, or 8 grams)
size 7 circular needle (8 or 9 inch, or longer for magic loop, or DPNs)
yarn needle and scissors fo…

wavelength scarf

Triangular scarves are often called shawls these days. Some can be worn as either one. The Wavelength Scarf, however, is best worn around the neck, because the center pointy part is kind of shallow. This sweeping, asymmetrical triangle is knitted from one side to the other, with increases at one edge, and decreases at the other. This gives it a gentle curve that wraps nicely and drapes in graceful spirals. (Buy this very scarf right off my neck! Link at the bottom of this post!)

The yarn I used here is a soft cotton/polyamide "ribbon" type yarn, with a fine metallic thread running through it (details below). It has a subtle gleam with no itchiness at all. I really love it.

This scarf is done in garter stitch (you know I like simple knits), in a really easy to remember two-row repeat. Try it! And send me pictures!

Wavelength Scarf
dimensions: wingspan, about 75" x 16" at the off-center point

You'll Need -
yarn: 3 balls Louisa Harding "Mazzo," in Villa D…

snuggly double cowl

As an imperfect vegan, I do my best to knit with non-animal fiber yarns. I'll talk more about that in a future post. For now, I'll just say that sometimes I find myself in a similar situation to my darling husband, Rick, when he becomes "vegan between parties" and plunges face first into the baked brie.

My personal downfall is not cheese. It's yarn. If someone gifts me with a ball of handspun wool, or shares some beautiful cashmere or merino they (unfathomably to me) can't use, I happily adopt it and immediately start thinking about what to make with it. It's "rescue yarn," so it's all OK.

I will also admit to sometimes being "vegan between yarn stores." When I wander into a soft and fluffy fiber shop, my hands wander the shelves, fondling skeins as if they were puppies. I make little cooing sounds. I rub yarn on my neck to see if it's scarf-worthy. And then... I usually buy something. I can't help it.

On a recent trip to …

the one hour preemie hat

I started making baby hats for the local hospital this summer, as a way of justifying my knitting habit, and as a way to meet people in a town that's still new to me. Knitting in public is something I love to do, and knitting something tiny in public is almost always a good conversation starter. People are curious, and little hats make them happy. Almost as happy as my red rain boots also seem to make them.

The hats I make started out as regular newborn size, and when I delivered my first batch, I threw in a few that accidentally came out too small (I thought). As it turns out, those little bitty hats are the ones most asked for by the nurses who distribute them. The last time I saw the volunteer coordinator, he showed me the two tiniest hats he still had, and told me they wanted more like those, and even smaller. What???

He had to be mistaken. No way could anybody be that little. I've certainly never seen a human so small. But I did some googling, and sure enough, there are s…

time for a name change

I've been thinking about changing the name of this blog for a while. Taking the Long Way Home no longer applies. I am home, here at the beach, in my happy little house, with sand on the floors and sticks and string in my hands. Home, at least until I head for the big Home beyond this world. I'm certainly not in a rush to get there, so I guess I'm still taking the long way as much as I have control over. But still, and then again, all I can really write about with any authority is life as it is, right here and now.

So a name change seems in order. I suppose it could be blog suicide, but so what. I don't have that many readers, and I don't make any income from it. (I'd be OK with changing that.) I have little to lose, so I might as well do what I want. I usually do, and it usually works out.

The new name will be... drum roll... Knitting in Public. Or maybe I Knit in Public (which I was able to get the .com for). Knitting in public is something I do all the time. …

my big reader's rap

The Oregon Coast is chilly in winter (and much of the rest of the year), and I wanted to knit something I could snuggle up in rather than turning the heat up, up, up. A wrap seemed good. And I wanted pockets too, because they're useful, and because women have historically been deprived of pockets. True story. Look it up.

Most of the time I knit really simple things that can be made without continually reading a pattern. If I could read and knit, I'd read a book, not a pattern. So much more interesting, right? So far, I haven't figured out how to do that, except to listen to audio books, which are not the same kind of fun as hearing my own little voices in my head, you know? When I have to choose, read or knit, knitting usually wins.

So wandering around Google Images, Pinterest, and Ravelry for something like a "shawl with pockets," I came across a lot of patterns for Reader's Wraps. This was a great idea I'd never heard of. All I wanted were dimensions fo…

when an idea fails

I have an image of my new self, my beach self, my (way) post-beads self and post vegan cheerleader self (although I'm still vegan). This best-old-lady-I-can-morph-into self, includes designing things with sticks and string (knitting and crochet), and sharing patterns with the world. In this image, I never make a mess of anything, and all my ideas translate beautifully into soft and splendid items to decorate ourselves and our homes. In this image... I am someone completely other than my real self, who has at least as many failures as successes, and little idea of how to write a kitting pattern.

Truth is, I actually do make a lot of very fine things, between the failures. Friends walk into my living room and look around saying, You made that? And that? And that??? Yes, yes, yes I did. And it's all cool and wonderful. That's how it made the cut to live in my home with me. I look at the knitted lampshade in the corner, the lace encased glass fishing floats, the crystal trimme…

there's finally time for knitting

I'm back. After almost a year filled with painting, construction, decorating, starting our Airbnb business, guests and beach walks, and getting to know our new home town, winter is sneaking in the back door, making me wonder how in the world I'm going to survive our second soggy winter without the distraction of a house to remodel. I love it here, but winter anywhere always scares me a little bit.

I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to pressure myself into teaching some cooking classes. I think I should, but I don't really want to. I think people would like it, but I don't think I would. I have all this training, all this experience, all this love for my plant-based life, but for some reason, I just don't want to put it out there.

What I want to do is knit (or crochet or just generally play with sticks and string). It's time I started listening to those Wants, those desires, that come from deep inside, rather than the Shoulds that come from some dumb sense of…

How Can So Much Happen in One Little Month?

In early April we finally got access to our rental unit. To quickly catch you up if you need it, we bought a sweet little duplex in Seaside, Oregon in December, and moved in during one of January's most inconvenient snow storms in Portland. We set up camp in the back unit, and fixed it up while we waited for the tenants up front to come to the end of their lease. Now that it's all ours, the plan is to fix up the other little 500 square foot apartment to be used as guest space for friends and family, and also as income property in the form of a vacation rental.

As we set out to get the proper permits for our VRD (Vacation Rental Dwelling), we learned that the codes and standards for Airbnb type rentals are much stricter than for regular full-time leased rentals. There have been way more expensive surprises than we'd imagined, and we actually did figure on some. We didn't know we would have to replace two electrical panels and move one to another room. We didn't know…