Vintage Knitting Needles and Antique Bottles

Vintage Knitting Needles and Antique Bottles

Monday, August 31, 2015

Making Monday

My first Twiddle Muff
Making Monday is focused on Twiddle Muffs. I first heard about these from my FB feed and followed the articles to see how they were made and used. It is basically a knitted tube with various sensory items attached. When given to a person who is blind or who has Alzheimer's, it creates a warm and soft exploration device which calms the person using it.

When I showed my mum, she liked it and explored a bit, but then put it down. I will leave it nearby to see if she wants to explore again tomorrow. Truly, she may be in the middle phase of the disease and doesn't need it as yet. I am seriously thinking of starting a charity knitting circle for this type of item. They can be found ready made, on the ALZ Store website but the cost runs around $40-50.00.
Twiddle Muff from the ALZ store.

The concept behind a Twiddle Muff is that it gives a patient with a diagnosis of dementia something to hold, explore, or stroke to calm themselves. The muff design also allows them to have their hands held in a cocoon of warmth whilst providing them with stimulation.

Pattern: Twiddle Muff by Warrington and Halton Hospital
Yarn: Red Heart Worsted on size 13 needles, yarn held double
This was a quick project, but not so enjoyable to knit with squeaky acrylic. The items I added include three pompoms, two buttons, a string of beads, a fabric pocket, a fabric pouch, holding marbles and a ribbon of same fabric, tied in a bow. This design is really a spring board for your own ideas and the yarns you have on hand. It is best done in a bulky weight or by holding the yarn doubled or tripled. I would definitely think about how it will hold up in the laundry when choosing yarn!

Flat piece and components before sewing.
It was a pretty quick knit, given the large needles and bulky yarn. I sewed most of the component parts to the flat piece of knitting before I seamed the long edge, and then turned the lining side inside and seamed the ends. I did use my sewing machine when I put the pocket and pouch of marbles on the knitted piece. I used the yarn to tie down the buttons and when I attached the pompoms, I used a double strand to tie off the pompom and then using a crochet hook, I tied it securely to the inside. I did not sew the tube together until I had all of the components attached. The free pattern gives you basic directions and you could improvise as you go if you like.

Pocket, beads and ribbon.
Inside is a cushy pompom (and a bag with marbles sewn in).
Buttons from an old pea coat, to look at and touch.
So, that is a little about Twiddle Muffs. They seem to be more popular in the UK, do you think we can bring this to our local nursing homes with a charity knitting project??

Friday, August 28, 2015

Family Friday....

Hydrangea shrub
Hello readers, knitters, and crafty types. I have been preoccupied on this end, and though the knitting happens, the postings have not. My summer, as you may know, has been spent here in Southern Maine where I am living with my parents and assisting them in general housekeeping, cooking, and companionship. During my time here I have witnessed a shift of her level of need for help and the ensuing confusion and forgetfulness. I have been nudging my dad to pursue the next steps of care for  my mom and doing the legwork to research what options are out there. It has been exhausting, emotionally draining, and I often feel like Judas, a betrayer. We have reached the point where a placement has been found in a lovely assisted living home not far from where they live. The daily routine there is filled with activities and socializing. Still, though I should feel a surge of accomplishment, I face my mom and experience the worst sense of betrayal. I know the time is ripe for this transition but when I think of her, living separate from my dad and family and familiar things, my eyes well up and I have a hard time processing the changes that are coming.
I don't really want to get much more detailed in what I share, out of respect for my parents, but I felt I needed to let you know where I am and why I am not posting much. Keep us in your thoughts and send us your positive energy. It will be greatly appreciated. erin

Monday, August 17, 2015

Making Monday, Drawstring Bags

A Day at the Beach Drawstring Bag
Cabanas Drawstring Bag
I found this beautiful fabric in an online shop and ordered it back in May. I really liked the detailed and colorful illustrations. I brought this fabric stash to Maine with me, but had no sewing machine until I splurged on one last week. There are two beach prints, and a quaint village print made in a new style of project bag. The bags are made of quilter's cotton weight fabric, lined and soft sided, as they are not reinforced with interfacing. They have ribbon drawstrings and measure 8" tall, 14" wide and the box-pleat base is 4" across. I have pressed them and hit them with a light spray of starch. They are washable, I would let them air dry, or dryer tumble with a risk of shrinkage. The price on these bags is $22.00; I believe you will be pleased with the quality should you order one. They will be listed in my Etsy shop (there is a link to the shop at the top right corner of the blog).

Sunny yellow lining

Village Square print, lining available in golden yellow or off white.

I do love the quaint New England shops portrayed in this fabric.
I plan to add some new prints to the shop in the coming weeks. There are still a number of beautiful decorator fabrics that need to be sewn into zipper style bags. Keep checking back for updates.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Other Finished Objects

Union Square, floats.... not bad for my first real stranded knitting?
Union Square

Pattern: Union Square by Jumper Cables
Yarn: Lady Dye Yarns, sock weight in solid orange, second skein is turquoise and bright pink. Knit on size 6 and 8 needles.
I had saved this pattern to my Favorites when I first saw it on the Top Twenty in May. I like the windows of color and the close fit of the cowl. It was fun to knit and went fairly quickly, I finished it in a week. The yarn was sent to me by Diane when I responded to her request for booth samples. I wish this had been done in time to send it to her for a second booth display, but she said she was good with samples and to keep the yarn for myself as payment for making the Topography Shawl.
I have done a tiny bit of color work, but this project helped me to overcome my trepidation for future patterns that call for this technique. I found it to be fun and the knitting went quickly as I was eager to see how the windows would look in the shades of blue and pink.
Fit wise, it could become a cowl/hat in stormy weather, or you could let it scrunch at the neck or fold it over for a more sturdy turtleneck look. I wet blocked it, no pins, dimensions are 10" x 19".

Prisma Loop
The color of this yarn is so hard to capture.
Pattern: Prisma Loop by Cloud House Studio. Free pattern.
Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Seedling in Horizon and Multi on size 7 needles.
I was in Knit Wit and Just.Getting.Tools. when I spotted these skeins and thought Perfect! A gift for someone who loves denim, who has blue eyes, and birthday coming up! It is 45" of garter stitch, then seamed (uses provisional cast on). After the cowl is created, you pick up stitches for the garter border, the pattern also details alternative edging, like picot. Dimensions after wet blocking are 19' x 11". I really should have bought an additional skein and made it long enough to wrap twice, but I would have had more than half a skein leftover. The yarn is cotton, so soft and lofty. The colors, though muted, are appealing. This is a great gift.


Pattern: Nymphalidea by Melinda VerMeer Free pattern from
Yarn: Madelinetosh Sock, Bearded Iris, Louet Gems Fingering in Navy on size 5 needle.

I first saw this on display in Iron Horse, Natick. The lacy edging is so beautiful and I love welting, the ridges created by purling two rows, then knitting two rows. The raised ridge is so architectural. Hard to believe I cast this on way back in April of 2014.... I had it here in Maine and I guess I thought it was too complicated to knit while sitting and watching TV. I pulled it out of the project bag and reprinted my directions and realized how easy it is. And did I mention I love welting? It really does create a 3D effect! I blocked it using wires and pins, heavily blocked, the size is 76" x 15". I would definitely make this again!

This project has made me fall in love with welting!
Knotting the corners will create a flow-y vest
Folding these stripes vertically or horizontally gives you two looks.
Pattern: Clouds by KnitCafeToronto
Yarn: Madelinetosh Sock in Bearded Iris and Louet Gems Sport in navy on size 8 needles
I have written about knitting this and blocking it, but I never really showed you photos of the finished square. This will be a go-to accessory for the fall and winter, the mohair is so light and fluffy and the warmth it lends is so cozy. The cool thing about this pattern is that you can follow the suggested striping or just make it up as you go. I added garter stitch and like how it looks. I blocked it severely and it really opened up the stitches. Easy, fun and oh so delicious!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Finished Objects Friday, part 1

Poppy Fields Sweater
Sleeve detail
Pattern: Poppy Fields Sweater by Kristen TenDyke
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride, Amethyst colorway, on size 9 and 10 needles
I knit this sweater as a test knit and I really loved the experience. I learned a number of new techniques, and thanks to the deadline, I finished a project quickly. (I am famous for have 10-12 things in project bags at one time). In finishing quickly, I believe my habits may be shifting. I am trying hard to limit myself to three projects. I keep the next project yarn handy so I can look at it and think about what it will become, it gives me incentive to plug away on the current WIP.
I would highly recommend this pattern, read more about this project here.

Pattern: Lady Dye Yarns Topography by Melissa Stadja
Yarn: Lady Dye Yarns on size needles 7, 8, 10
This shawl was knit for Diane's booth at Stitches Midwest. Diane Ivey is a Boston based dyer and teacher at the Eliot School of Fine and Applied Arts. I follow her on FB and when I saw her request for help, I jumped in. It was invigorating to receive a package stuffed with three skeins of exuberant color. Initially, I was uncertain how to proceed, more about my thinking here.
As you may know, I have made Topography numerous times. I like how the wedges sit on my shoulders, and I love the graphic pop of garter stitches in a field of stockinette. This too was a speedy project, off the needles in four days, record time! Gotta love those deadlines, they make me work monogamously.

Closeup of Clouds


Pattern: Clouds by The Knit Cafe Toronto
Yarn: S. Charles Collezione, Rittrato, Grignasco Kid Seta on size 8 needles
Clouds was cast on back in December. It kind of languished in a project bag here in Maine. I am not sure why, but when I pulled it out to tackle it and get it off my project list, I realized I did not have enough yarn. I wrote about my search for additional skeins here. I do love using the Yarn page to find items people are de-stashing. I can find good prices and discontinued yarns and colors. You should consider looking here when you need a certain brand, the deals are good and you help someone unload stash!
At first, I struggled with the mohair, it is so thin and sometimes sticky (humid weather is not a help) but I found my niche and enjoyed working on this knit. The pattern suggests color blocking but you can make it up as you go if you'd like. This square measures 45", and can be worn as a triangle shawl, an oblong scarf or, if you tie the corners, a swoopy, fashion forward vest. I loved knitting this, just when the rows were getting to be too much, the decrease section starts, and you know finishing is not so far away. I blocked this severely and it created a very lightweight and warm swath of fabric. I will definitely make this again. You should try this pattern.

Button necklace
Multi colored purple yarn, off white buttons
Pattern: Crochet Button Necklace or Wrap Bracelet by Ashlee Prisbey
Yarn: Unlabeled cotton, size B/2.25 MM crochet hook
Do you collect buttons? Has someone given you the family button jar? A great way to use up buttons and showcase so oldies but goodies is this pattern. You start by threading your yarn through a button hole, I probably used 60-75 buttons. Then you single crochet a chain, and every 8 stitches, place a button close to the hook and chain stitch. You can alter the density of buttons by chaining more or less stitches, you can also select a heavier or lighter weight thread. The possibilities are endless. If you don't have a button jar, check out the local craft stores, Joann's has a number of pre-packaged buttons in themes of colors. You won't make just one, when people see you wear it, they will want one too!

This is part one of my Finished Objects Friday, I have been remiss in posting. I have more to add in a post that should be up tomorrow morning.
Happy knitting!