Sunday, November 25, 2007

Books: Ethnic knitting

As any of you know who read this blog even occasionally, I am a NUT for ethnic knitting! Well, I just got a book from the library which will need to be added to my knitting reference library: Cables, Diamonds, Herringbone: Secrets of Knitting Traditional Fishermen's Sweaters by Sabine Domnick. This is a recently translated from German book where Ms. Domnick has researched the patterns, designs and techniques of the traditional Guernsey (or gansey) and Jersey sweaters from the British Isles.

This book is similar to Gladys Thompson's Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys and Arans: Fishermen's Sweaters from the British Islands or Beth Brown-Reinsel's Knitting Ganseys but Domnick's book seems clearer and easier to adapt if you'd like to design your own "traditional" sweaters.

I particularly like (and will quote often) the Celtic blessing Ms. Domnick quotes toward the end of this book:

Blessing for a Handmade Garment
May you wear the garment to shreds!
May you wear the garment to tatters!
May you wear the garment
with food and music in every place.
As I would wish:
with confidence,
with health,
with friends,
with love,
with a grace of the
Threefold Spirit.
(taken from: The Little Book of Celtic Blessings by Caitlin Matthews)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Patron Saint: Please join me in a prayer ...

... to the unofficial patron Saint of knitters, Saint Rafqa (or Rebecca).
I've just sent off the first draft of my knitting book to my publisher and I'd sure appreciate some prayers that all goes well and that we're able to get this book in your hands by Spring 2008.

Oh, Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, You imprinted Your image of salvation upon the life of Saint Rafqa and made her a beloved one and a loyal worker because she prayed and shared with You in the Mystery of Redemption.We humble ourselves before You, with her prayers and a plea, so that You may bless the children, enlighten the youth, make the weariness of people an occasion of grace and goodness, give the sick and those who are suffering the grace of healing, joy and happiness, and grant what they request to whoever prays to You in churches and monasteries.

And as You have honored Rafqa by letting her see Your Heavenly Light, allow us throughout our life to live like her in faith, hope and love, to glorify and thank You with her, with the Blessed Mother and with all the Saints to the end of time. Amen.

THANKS, muchly!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Swaps: Journal-making done

As I mentioned in my post about swaps, one of the swaps I am in is all about making a journal for someone else. Now, since I don't know my swap partner, I had to do a bit of investigating. Seems she lives in Texas and is a professional designer. From comments on her blog, I was able to intuit that she tends toward a bit funky but sophisticated style -- check out her blog here.

So here's what I came up with for her:
A journal with a ribbon cover and a coordinating "bell-pull" style bookmark with a funky bead squiggle on the end.

Here's how I made this one:

  • Ribbons: Two 10" wide 3-3/4" ribbon pieces (with a brocade look); one 18" wide 2-2/1" ribbon
  • 12" piece 18-gauge funwire
  • Seventeen 3x5mm metallic pony beads
  • Tacky glue
  • Scissors
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • 5x8" hard-covered journal/sketch book (black used for this project, could be any color!)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

Measure the ribbon and center on the front cover of the journal. Ribbon should extend 1/2 to 1-inch beyond edges of journal (top and bottom). Using tacky glue, glue ribbon to cover, making sure all edges are down. Glue sheet facing cover to cover (to hide the ribbon ends). Let dry completely.

Make bookmark: fold edges of 18" ribbon piece into a point. (see picture below). Glue tips down.While bookmark ribbon is drying, make the wire squiggle. Taking a 12-inch piece of funwire and using the needle-nose pliers, make a rolled end. String pony beads in any pattern you desire. My metallic beads blend nicely with the gold of the ribbon. Using the pencil, take the wire with the beads already strung and wrap loosely around the pencil. The "squiggle" should be about 2 inches long. Make a twist in the wire to hold the beads in place.Take the now-dry bookmark ribbon, fold the ribbon in half-lengthwise so points meet. Place the metal wire down the center of the folded ribbon. Run tacky glue all over the ribbon and fold, making sure wire is completely within the ribbon (with just the squiggle sticking out) and centered. Let dry completely.

I hope she enjoys this sophisticated, yet a bit funky, journal!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Books: the book I'd have written ...

... if I wrote a book on one of my favorite subjects: ethnic knitting!

Well, it seems Donna Druchunas wrote my book -- Ethnic Knitting Discovery: The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and the Andes -- and did an excellent job, too! For the "get go", I like this book ... it's written on recycled paper (so it has a matte finish rather than the glossy paper everyone wants to use that is SO HARD to read unless you're at just the right angle with the light ....), the books assumes knitting knowledge and the idea that ANYONE can design their own given the proper tools.

She gives her "directions" in three ways -- the first (and my preferred way) by just giving the basic numbers and letting the knitter figure out all else, the second is for the perfectionists who want all the numbers and definite schematic before starting, and the third, a tep-by-step guide to knitting each type of sweater.

This is a great designer book -- a good overview of the history of knitting in the area, a brief bit about the usual colors or stitches used, something about how the knitting is done (special cast ons, yarn-holding, etc), and than a couple of sample sweaters.

A fabulous read on a fascinating subject ... especially useful for those who want to try designing. ENJOY!

Swaps: Cool way to "meet" folks

all over the world! I love these. You just never know what you'll receive and it's so fun to try to create something for someone you only know through on-line relations. Very fun, huh?

Here are the swaps I've signed up for so far this Christmas 2007 season (this is also to help ME keep track of what I've committed to):
  • Unschooling Catholics Postcard Swap -- some 27 other unschoolers throughout the world; those will go out today (if my kids ever get up!)
  • Jesse Tree Swap -- make 28 of the same symbol, send to the contact person, and receive a full Jesse-Tree's worth of ornaments from 27 other folks! Organized by Lorri at 4real -- ornaments should be sent by Nov 21st.
  • Journal Making -- hand-craft a journal for a swap partner; my partner lives in Texas and this is going to be fun to create something for a professional designer. Organized by One Hour Craft blogger, Mia -- journals should be sent by Nov 21st.
  • Holiday Traditions -- this one should be really interesting. The idea is to organize a "holiday traditions kit" -- favorite recipe, memory, activity, handmade decoration, etc -- and send it to your partner. Sign-up deadline was Sunday, Nov 11th with a shipping of package by December 10th. Meg at Montessori-by-Hand came up with this fascinating swap.
  • Christmas Stocking -- hand-craft a stocking in any medium (of course, I'm doing a knitted one!), fill with goodies based on preferences of your swap partner, and send off. Organized by Nissa (who is starting up a craft/homearts/living magazine, Simple Gifts) -- sign-up by November 18th, send stocking by December 8th.
  • KTC Mittens Swap -- this is a knitting/crocheting swap where you create a "kit" for knitting/crocheting hand-warmers of any kind -- mittens, gloves, fingerless mits, whatever! You include a pattern, yarn to make, other treats etc -- this one is well-organized as there is a value set -- $25-35 -- and a sign-up by November 21st and send the kit by Dec 8th.

If I join any others, I'll post here. I love that swap partners can come from anywhere in the world! Isn't that cool?

So why don't you join in the fun .... here's a blog that tracks swaps in just about any category you could think of.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Swaps: Christmas Stocking

Check this out .... and then go ahead and sign-up by Sunday, November 18th!

This should be a boot -- bad pun, I know but come up with a better one then!