Thursday, October 20, 2011

Loom Dude's Rhine (beck) Journey

This week, instead of an update on the skeleton, I bring you my story about the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival. I was fortunate enough to attend this event last weekend, and the weather held up the entire time I was there. But I did pass through a few brief showers before reaching the festival.

I knew it was going to be a great day when I woke up just in time to see this glorious sunrise:

After that I got ready to leave for what would be an all day trip from where I live. I was making a stop in Cornwall to meet a friend and then it was on to the festival from there. I didn't realize it, but my journey would also be taking me down memory lane. It brought to mind all those annual fall foliage trips our family used to take when I was growing up. Every year we would drive on Saturday in October to Upstate NY to admire all the fall colors and stop at whatever interested us as we drove to Hepworth Farms on Route 9W. To my surprise, I would be taking the exact same route past the farm to get to Rhinebeck. I was delighted! As I got closer, I began to remember all the places we stopped, all the landmarks I had memorized, and how much they had changed or stayed the sames in the years since I had last seen them. One place we often stopped was at a scenic overlook on the side of a mountain on 9W:

My route took me right past Hepworth Farms, but alas it was no longer there. It was sad because I remember they had a nice farm stand with all kinds of fresh veggies and fruit, a huge barrel with fresh apple cider in it, fresh hot donuts, and pumpkins. Fortunately I have plenty of great memories and pictures to remind me of the special place that Hepworth Farms was.

Finally it was on to Rhinebeck. It was my first time at the Sheep and Wool Festival, and I was looking forward to it. I was not disappointed. There was so much to see and do and hear, not to mention eat!

The biggest spinning wheel I ever saw. It was taller than me:

I bought some yarn to work on a Christmas project, but I won't show you what I bought just yet. And at the end of the day, the sunset was just as wonderful as the sunrise had been:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Skeleton Shirt Half Done

Here's my progress so far:

I plan to make one more row of ribs and then the clavicle. On the side anchor pegs I will begin making the holes for the sleeves. I hope to have it completed by the next post. The pants shouldn't take too long to complete. It has been fun making it, but especially seeing the "bones" as they are completed. It's coming out so well, it's scary! : ) Can't wait to see it with the lights out...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

There's a Skeleton In My Closet

Well, ok, it isn't really in my closet... it's on my loom! For Halloween I decided to create a skeleton costume, using the long straight blue loom on all pegs (including the corner pegs) and a giant ball of Loops & Threads Impeccable Big Worsted Black yarn, with Bernat Glow in the Dark yarn for the bones (to make it even more creepy when trick or treating). I'm winging it, based on what I already know about creating shirts on the loom. Here is the pattern I drew up:

Each week I will post a little more of the progress until the costume is done. So far I cast on with the Glow yarn 1 over 2 stockinette stitch and knit off 15 rows. I plan to sew in an elastic band later, so this will stop the stockinette curl. Some of you more accomplished loom knitters could probably add the elastic band while you put the loops of yarn from the cast on row back onto the loom to knit off a "brim" with the elastic band enclosed inside. Right now I want to get the costume finished so it can be ready in time. I'm making pants to go with it. I decided to make this costume large enough to fit over a pair of black pants and long sleeve black shirt for my 6 year old daughter. She wants to be a princess, but I figured she wouldn't mind modeling it once it's done.

The spine is 4 pegs wide, knit for 25 rows, and the bones go from 16 to 20 pegs wide for 7 rows, and I plan to make 3-4 rows of them, depending on how many I can fit on the size shirt I am making. It will probably wind up being just 3 bones, since I need to leave space at the top for the clavicle bone. Here's a close up of the ribs so far:

I got a new digital camera, and so far I am not thrilled with the pictures it takes, but it will have to suffice for now. I'm hoping that the glow effect will be visible with this new camera.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Holiday Knitting Orders

Did you know that Christmas is less than 100 days away? The holidays are just around the corner, and it’s not too early to start thinking about those special people on your gift list. I am accepting orders right now for loom knit items you can purchase. These items will be knit to order by yours truly, and you can receive them well in advance of the holidays. Why wait until the last minute? Shop now! You’ll be glad you did. Send me an e-mail at with your choice from the list below, and I will send you a Paypal link so you can prepay for your order. Items will take 2-3 weeks to knit and ship, so ordering early is essential to receive in time for the holidays! Last date you can order from this list is 11/11/11. All yarn used is Lion Brand (or equivalent) acrylic, unless noted. Photos are for suggestion only; actual knitted items may vary slightly in color or design. You may request a photo of an item that doesn't have the photo here:

Adult hat and scarf sets (not sold individually) one solid color or two color: $40.

Child hat and scarf sets (not sold individually) one solid color or two color: $35.

Child hat with pom pom and scarf sets (not sold individually) one solid color or two color: $40.

Newborn baby hat and booties set (pink, white, yellow or blue): $25.

Adult or child watermelon novelty hat and scarf set (in sizes above, not sold individually): $45.

Teddy bear (pink, blue or brown): $25.

Sunflower air freshener: $20.

Glass Christmas ball ornaments with Christmas tree inside – set of 4 (family heirloom quality – each gift can have individual gift tags with your family’s names on them – up to 6 different names): $45.

Glass Christmas ball ornaments with Christmas wreath inside – set of 4: $30.

Knit Christmas ball ornaments – set of 4: $20.

Baby Daffodil Christmas Ornaments – set of 6: $25.

Mini Christmas stocking ornaments (stuff with a peppermint stick and attach to your Christmas gifts, or trim your tree with them!) set of 4: $22.

Glow in the Dark stars – set of 6: $30. (made with special glow in the dark yarn)

Cupcake: $15.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Steering Wheel Cover

I needed another steering wheel cover for a green minivan, and since the last one I made came out so well (see here for pics and directions:, I decided to make my own:

Here is a detail of the stitching. I used 1 over 1 stockinette, double stranding (1 strand of Sugar 'n Cream Green Twists and 1 strand of Lion Brand Hometown USA Oklahoma City Green), and knit off 110 rows on 10 pegs on the flower loom:

These steering wheel covers are simple to make; the only bit of a challenge comes when you have to sew the cover onto the steering wheel. This can take time, but it is well worth the end result. I suppose if you wanted to use velcro strips instead of sewing the cover on, it would probably work, but you would need to knit on 12 pegs instead of 10. I knew I wanted to use green yarn, but I didn't want something too pastel or deep green. Combining the Sugar 'n Cream with the Hometown USA provided just the look I wanted: variety without being too busy. What do you think?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Oh my Stars!

I’m a little late posting due to Hurricane Irene blowing through NJ and having the power off for several days. You can read more about my hurricane experience here: ( For now, I’d like to post the latest project: stars!

They are relatively easy to make, and I will have the complete directions in my upcoming book. In the meantime, I used the Bernat Glow in the Dark yarn on the flower loom for the small star and the blue round loom for the large star.

Knitting the stars doesn't take long, but shaping them afterwards will require a little nimble effort with the yarn needle. This time I dunked the completed stars in the fabric stiffener and saturated them before I placed them on a plastic bag, shaped and blocked them. After a couple of days they were both dry. They are perfect to hang in a child’s bedroom as a sweet little electricity-free night light! You might consider involving your child with creating a mobile using a coat hanger and some string, to hang the stars and make them seem as if they are floating in the child’s room. Along with the firefly I posted last month, your child’s room will be full of glowing nighttime novelties in no time!

Naturally, the camera was not steady for such a long exposure to capture the glow effect.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Starting New Baby Gift Set

Here is the start of my next baby gift set: a blue baby hat and socks -

I will work on the blanket and post that as well, but I'm curious to see what kind of box I can find to put the gift set in. There really aren't a lot of choices that I've found for a baby boy gift box. Anyone know of where I might find something suitable?

I am also going to put a different design on this blanket instead of the one I used for the baby girl blankie. New pictures to follow soon!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Up Up and Away!!

In my beautiful, my beautiful hot air balloon!

Out here in Hunterdon County, NJ it is not an uncommon sight to see a multicolored hot air balloon drifting by on a summer's day.So I thought, why can't I knit a sculptural balloon to "float" on the wall inside the house?

I will have the directions on how to make this one in my upcoming book, but I basically used the yellow round loom with 5 Red Heart yarns. It was a challenge keeping them all tangle free, but I was able to do it with a little bit of practice. The basket was knit using Hometown USA yarn on the flower loom.

Once I completed the knitting, I covered one of my daughter's toy balls in a plastic bag. Next I stretched the balloon over the ball.

Then, using Sta-Flo liquid starch straight from the bottle, I painted the balloon.

I had never used liquid starch on yarn before and wasn't sure how it was going to turn out. All I knew is that I wanted the yarn to be very stiff so it would look take the shape of the ball once it dried. I coated it until I thought the balloon was drenched in starch, and then let it dry overnight. The next day the outside of the balloon was stiff, but the inside was still flexible. So I coated the inside and outside with starch and set it aside to dry overnight. This stiffened it up very well, but something I hadn't counted on was that the starch would not dry 100% clear. Something else I realized after I was done was that I could have just as well dunked the balloon in the starch and then stretched it over the ball to dry. Maybe I'll try that for the next one. Anyhow, every coat of starch was making the yarn a bit duller, so I decided to stop, even though it was still not strong enough to be hung without it sagging. So I thought, why not weave some jewelry wire around the edge of the inside of the balloon? I bought 3 yards of Jewelry Essentials Stringing 12 gauge blue aluminum jewelry wire,

and carefully poked it through the outer loops of the balloon.

This worked perfectly, and I could now hang the balloon on the wall without a problem! But first, I attached the basket to the balloon by weaving the yarn through the inner loops of the balloon flap at the bottom. If you don't weave the yarn through the inner loops, it will show through on the front part of the ballon and won't look as attractive (to me anyway).

You can add your child (or grandchild) to the basket by cutting out a photo and taping it inside the front of the basket.

Or, perhaps your child might want to put a favorite action figure or doll in the basket!

This one is a miniature doll Christmas ornament that fit just perfectly.

Personalize your balloon with any color combination you want, limited only by your skill, imagination and patience!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cutest Cupcake!

Here's a cupcake that I whipped up from scratch in a jiffy, and it didn't even make the kitchen hot!

With a delicious dollop of frosting and a cherry on top, it looks good enough to eat! You can make it too! You will need your flower loom, blue round loom, spool loom, hook, yarn needle, pen, scissors, cardboard, batting, and various yarns. All stockinette 1 over 2 stitches.

To make the cup: Drawstring cast on with a light brown yarn (I used Caron Simply Soft Bone). Knit 8 rows, then cinch bottom shut. Knit 12 more rows then bind off with yarn needle. On cardboard, trace the inside of the flower loom with a pen:

Then cut out the circle on the cardboard, and put the circle inside the cup (to make the bottom of the cup stand. If the cup seems a little wobbly, you may consider taping a heavyweight metal washer to the cardboard circle. Set aside.

To make the cake: Drawstring cast on the blue round loom using a medium brown yarn (I used Loops & Threads ImpeccableTopaz).Knit off 13 rows, then cinch bottom shut. Knit off 12 more rows then bind off with yarn needle. Turn piece inside out. Trace the inside of the blue round loom onto cardboard and cut out.

You may want to cut off more from the edges if the cake overlaps the cup too much (that's what I did). Place the cardboard circle inside the cake

stuff with batting, cinch the top shut and knot. Set aside.

Next, stuff the cup with batting,

center the cake over the top of the cup, and sew the bottom of the cake onto the top of the cup:

For the frosting dollop: Regular cast on the flower loom with white yarn (I used Bernat Baby Coordinates white).Knit 15 rows, bind off, turn inside out. Carefully stretch one end and sew it onto the top of the cupcake. Stuff with batting, then cich the top of the frosting shut and knot.

For the cherry: Regular cast on the 5 peg end of the spool loom, 1 over 1, with red yarn (I used Red Heart Cherry Red - how appropriate!). Knit off 5 rows then bind off. Turn inside out and cinch one end. Instead of batting, cut some red yarn and stuff it inside the cherry. Then bind off. Braid three strands of red yarn to make the cherry stem, and sew the cherry stem to the cherry.
Sew the cherry on top of the cupcake, and voila! You're done! It took me about 2.5 hours to complete. Great for simple party favors, give as a gift, or keep it as your first no-calorie cupcake!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Great Glowing Fireflies, Knitters!

Here is one of my favorite bugs of the summer: the firefly!

The back:

I had been mulling over this idea for some time, wondering how I would do it. I looked at photos of fireflies, chased a few and caught them to study them. I learned that there are several varieties around the world, some famous for their synchronized display! While they are complex little creatures indeed, I decided to keep it simple and made the following drawing as a guide for what I would knit:

To make the body: Using Red Heart Cherry Red and Black yarn, and the pink straight loom, starting with a drawstring cast on I knit 9 rows of 1 over 1 stockinette stitches on 14 pegs (including loom clip and corner peg). For the black yarn, I knit 24 rows. The white yarn I knit 14 rows (more details on the white yarn later). The white yarn was a thinner gauge than the Red Heart, so I had to double strand it. The body measures 12".

For the wings I used the Red Heart Black yarn and Caron Simply Soft Bone yarn, knitting a flat panel 1 over 1 stockinette stitch on 6 pegs for 33 rows. Then, by switching to all Bone yarn and moving the yarn from the outer pegs to the inner pegs 1 row at a time, I made the tapered end of the wing. Each wing measures 7.5 inches. I knew I didn't want to knit the wings so long that they covered the white yarn completely, so that's why they are a little short.

For the eyes I simply sewed the yarn 3 times over and underneath one stitch on the head., and knotted the black yarn on the inside of the head.

Fireflies are more flat than round, so instead of regular batting I cut 2 pieces of foam batting and stuffed them inside. After that I cinched the firefly's head shut.

The antennae and legs are simply braided bits of black yarn that I sewed on in the appropriate places. And I also sewed the wings on at the top under the head, and all the way down his back until I reached the white yarn, where I wanted the wings to flap freely a little bit. And voila! It's done! Here's a closeup of the bottom part of the firefly:

Oh, I almost "forgot"... it wouldn't be a firefly if it didn't GLOW!!!

The "white" yarn is actually Bernat Glow in the Dark Glow White yarn! You place it under a light for 5 minutes, and it will glow for 5 minutes in the dark! Imagine having a few fireflies hanging in your child's room! Perhaps it would be just enough of a distraction to keep him/her in bed after you turn the lights off at bedtime!