Knitting and Felting and Combining Yarns and ETSY Pictures have to be more professional!!

BEFORE Felting

I found a great link that merits a review: It talks about using non-wool yarns with wool to get a different effect when felted... These pictures are my before and after - after reading this article:

Combining Yarns

I knit one purse a few months ago that I was calling a Foo Foo purse on my Etsy store, I combined fancy fur and merino wool, held together throughout, I've got pictures of the before and after. I was displaying it at a craft show and some younger women, corrected me, "Don't you mean Froo-Froo?" I mean, I don't think I've been Politically correct for a long time, I cannot keep up with the "lingo." But the Froo-Froo or Foo-Foo was my d-i-l's choice this weekend when it got removed from ETSY and adopted out of my knitting closet.

Anyway, it actually looked nothing like the picture on I had on Etsy, because it doesn't really show the fur effect the froo-froo. But seen in real life - it got snagged..

I have a few new goals for 2008. One is to get published in a knitting magazine. Vogue Knitting preferably, (my son and d-i-l bought me a year's subscription - YEAH I don't have to drag the hubby around trying to find the latest issue!!) There is a contest for designing an item and 1st prize will be published!! It is using Aslan Trends luxury yarns. http://www.aslantrends.com/, so when I get to Phoenix, I'll be looking for Aslan Trends yarn, and I'll be writing patterns for some of my bags.

My son thinks I should also make videos of my items, I'm hoping to set that up in Phoenix also. Today I packed all my yarn, books, needles, and of course my polymer clay for the closures for my bags. I love having a plan for the new year.

Last year's goals were: 1. Learn a totally new skill in knitting and 2. Start an Etsy store with my handmade items... I did it!!


Yep, there's water in the basement. And I remember Christmas as a kid.

Well, the hubby is headed out into the rain to clear the gutters, we have these trees.

We have trees that take turns dumping stuff on our roof. They all wait their turn, and since they all have their own personalities and are so creative, they dump everything from limbs, leaves, seed pods, flowers, blossoms, bird nests, squirrel fodder, you name it. But only one thing at a time...the gutters are also particular, please send one item at a time, once the hubby clears the gutters, then you can drop your next gifting. Anyway, if we don't do our weekly gutter cleaning (forget gutter guards) this stuff just crawls under them and clogs everything anyway. Last night the gutter guards were frozen over!! So, if we don't clean them, water stands up next to the house and starts seeping into our basement. No biggy, but we just completely cleaned the basement, organized it and now water - not much - just a nice Christmas Eve project. Yuk!!

I was just thinking about Christmas time as a kid. My Dad is in surgery right now, and my brother-in-law is hanging in there so far, causes a person to pause.

I only remember a few special Christmas presents, Barbie Dolls came out when I was young, I got a brunette one because my little sister's name is Barb and she and I were both blonde, so she got the blonde one. Hmmm, maybe we have issues. I remember a red and white stripe nightgown, my Mom made 3 of them, we could hear the sewing maching at night after we were in bed. My best memories of Christmas was Santa calling me about one week before Christmas every year, he got my list over the phone, he sounded so much like my Dad's cousing Frank that I was sure they were related. He always promised to leave Chocolate Stars just for me ... Cousing Frank always brought Chocolate Stars Christmas Eve, but I never put the two together.

One thing about the weather that is comical to me. In Indiana the weather changes dramatically every 3 or 4 days. Yet, each prediction is the "perfect storm" that hardly ever hits. When I was little, I remember the adults talking about December rain, "If this was snow, just think how many inches we would be getting." Then the Blizzard of 1978 hit and if it had been rain, we'd still be wondering.

Gotta go cook!!


Knitting under pressure! OK I'm doing one more Christmas gift! What about Christmas Cookies?

I cannot believe I'm picking up my needles to do one more gift. We just assembled a 20 some piece toy for (name withheld), and now I have the perfect yarn for a (item withheld) to match. It is going to be so adorable. The toy is kinda plain, so the handmade item will spruce it up!!

By the way Andrea, don't forget to bring Aven's current babydoll Wednesday night, one of her toys won't work without it!!

I have wrapped just about every gift there is in the guest room, they gotta get under the tree cause the guest room is going to live up to it's name this weekend, so all foreign objects must be removed.

I'm still knitting a sister purse, I'm actually working two projects --- something I never allowed myself to do in the past. Wow, what's gotten into me.

Well, we're iced in again, good thing we did the grocery list yesterday, and got all that last minute stuff. We have about 5 items on a last last minute list for tomorrow when it's supposed to rain and thaw. The pumpkin rolls are in the refrigerator and the pork loins go into the slow cooker tonight, our son and his main squeeze from Denver arrive tomorrow, and tomorrow afternoon our other son and his awesome family, wife, 4 sons and daughter come over for Christmas Eve. We'll try to eat a little before diving into packages, but the wait gets shorter every year, no one under 12 is hungry, and the littles are about to outnumber the grown-ups. We've found it takes one grown-up per child to remove twist ties, staples, screws for battery compartments, heat molded plastic package wrap and whatever the heck the manufacturers come up with to keep us from stealing little parts out of boxes of toys for our wonderful grandkids. I wanna buy gifts that a child can open and immediately play with, toy manufacturers must not have kids. I did read recently that AMAZON is approaching toy manufacturers with a new concept in packaging...hmm hope that goes over.


Several years ago our grandson, Chase, asked me if I would be having the Christmas tree cookies again, and try as I may, at that moment, I couldn't remember an occasion where he and I had made Christmas tree cookies, so I pretended to remember, and told him, "Of course."

When they arrived Christmas Eve I had all the decorating supplies laid out and pre-made sugar cookie dough ready to roll and cut and decorate. I asked if he was ready to help me make Christmas Tree cookies and he said, "not really."

I was puzzled. I said, "You asked me about Christmas Tree Cookies and I got all the stuff, you want me to just make them, I don't mind?" He said, "Sure."

He walked out of the kitchen and passing by the centerpiece I had on the dining room table, he said, "Look Mom she does have the Christmas Tree Cookies." He was pointing at my Christmas Tree shape server standing there full of cookies and candies.

A mainstay in our home at Christmas time: Yep, it's on the table, and by tomorrow afternoon it will be full of cookies!!


I just went through all my yarn, and am about to start another project.

My sister in Arkansas put in a special request about a month ago, and I've had a mental block on beginning to knit it. Now that my Christmas knitting is done, I'm ready.

Dedicated to Karen, this bag's for you - I love you.


OK Christmas Knitting is Done and thoughts on Death and Dying

Really can't talk about the last two items I just completed knitting, but they are adorable!!

I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't do last minute gifts in my knitting, because I don't like extra pressure around the holidays. So Christmas is one week away and I QUIT!!

I know everyone dies, but when someone is sick and dying of anything but old age, it's always hard to take. I also know many people who have survived the loss of a loved one, that's why I know we'll be fine, my sister will be fine, their kids and grandkids will be fine, but ...

My brother-in-law has now been told that he may have 2 months to live, and in surgery the other day they didn't do the procedure they planned to do because the cancer has spread to many locations. We're hoping he and my sister can celebrate their 43rd anniversary the day after Christmas. They've had an amazing marriage. They set a high standard for all of us who are watching.

I really struggle with how to deal with this upcoming loss. My mind wants to hang on to hope that a miracle will happen, while my gut tells me to get myself ready for a loss. I hate the battle between my mind and gut. I know life goes on, I know God is sufficient His grace and comfort will carry my sister, she loves the Lord and trusts Him, it's just that the day-to-day pain of loss is slamming her.

Today I just stay busy with packing my office, knitting supplies, and the hubby's tools into the camper for our journey West after the holidays. We're so blessed to be two people who can rearrange our schedule when we're needed in another part of the country.

Even though we know a loss is coming, we also are preparing for a wonderful holiday with our kids and grandkids. What a joy they bring to our lives, and we cherish every second.

My brother-in-law, Norman, has a little 3 year old granddaughter who thinks the Sun rises and sets in Norman, her little mommy is very worried about how Noelle will react to the loss ... she is so precious and just hooked on Norman. We all get through these things, but surely do not choose them as a part of OUR plan for OUR future. God has a bigger picture to fulfill.

Sorry, if this is rambling or uninformative, but it's what is on my heavy heart today.

Gotta go see if the ice is off of the drive-way so we can go get a few more g-kid Christmas gifts...gotta get stuff under the tree!!


Victorian People and Mary with Baby Jesus

We put on Victorian costumes and played a role in the church Christmas program. Our d-i-l was Mary with the "live" baby Jesus miming a beautiful song. She was amazing. We wandered through the crowd as Victorian greeters, too fun watching the kid's faces.

It's been a long time since I've had my picture taken that much, and I've never voluntarily been on camera, but this was fun, three nights in a row. The tension was high just before we went out to do our part, but all-in-all I believe the people who attended to kick off their family Christmas events were moved, entertained, and fired up for Christmas ... the true meaning of Christmas that is.

I asked a young boy if he had all of his shopping done, he was probably 8 or 9. He said yep, he'd done all his shopping, and he also knew he was getting every gift he asked for on his list, cool!!

Christmas is traditionally a time for families to pause and remember how much they mean to each other, for people who don't have families that are close literally or emotionally, I hope you are surrounded by others who care for you and also need company and encouragement. Have a wonderful holiday and remember,

Jesus is the REASON for the SEASON, meaning Christmas ain't without HIM!


I'm knitting and felting slippers. And unrealisitic New Year's resolutions.

I have finished one slipper for the hubby. Since I'm planning on felting it, it is huge!! Remember they shrink about 1/4 to 1/3 in length and 1/4 in width once felted properly. Here is a picture of the before slipper with on of his shoes.

Here are some of the knitting techniques I've learned so far:

Along with Double Pointed Needles, Heel Flap, Turn Heel, Heel Gusset, Cabled Instep, Toe Decrease and Kitchener Stitch.

I've practiced with Double Pointed Needles for several evenings before starting this. Also, I've never used a circular needle before last January, so I think I've learned a lot this year, and I believe I've moved from beginner to intermediate with many of my items I've made this year. It just feels good to reach some personal goals.

With that in mind, I like having New Year's resolutions that help me learn new things, like blogging, knitting, writing, opening an Etsy shop. Wow, now I'm praying about the next year's resolutions. I've spent so many years making my resolution about my weight and appearance, blah, blah, blah, that was either media or fear driven...now I'm really into keeping my mind active and being an encourager to others!


One of a Kind and Unique Gifts

Well, my bags on Etsy are unique.


And I just bought a cool unique ******* ***** ******* off of Etsy for a special gift. It's one of a kind and that's what I love about Etsy.

I really feel bad for the people who have Etsy stores that sell items for children. The article posted here:


Evidently there is a bill that has been passed and is in effect February 10, 2009 covering safety issues of all toys - which will have a huge impact on handmade items.

Here is Etsy's letter about the Safety Improvement Act:


How did I ever survive childhood?

I never wore a seatbelt, walked one mile to school, home for lunch and back again (4 miles a day) on public streets crossing major intersections, passing men working under their cars, walking to town. I sold spray snow door-to-door to earn my first Bible in Sunday School, chased my run away dog several city blocks at 10:00 at night, ran the alleys of the downtown streets of Indianapolis with my cousins, and rode the city bus to art school on Saturdays when I was 11 years old. I babysat cousins when I was 8 years old, and walked to several blocks to campfire girls, weekday religious education, and the corner drug store. I had an easy-bake oven I was allowed to use without parental supervision, and made beaded jewelry all by myself, without swallowing the beads or stuffing them up my nose. I didn't hang myself on blind cords, I only used them to open the blinds in the mornings (and close them when it got dark so bad people couldn't watch me change into my nightgown). I could go on and on, but ...


Hunters and Gatherers - Shopping with my man.

I'm looking for a Large Dark Green or Dark Blue turtleneck pullover (100% cotton) for tomorrow night (goes with the costume for the Christmas program I'm in). Well, not only did we hit every store in the local mall, we also hit the discount department stores, and now, I've been on the phone, "why aren't they available this year?" I ask, no one knows, just a aren't carrying them. OK, now I know why.

But first, the hunter gatherer thing. I like looking on every shelf, especially when it is a particular item I'm looking for, I could miss it altogether if it isn't on an end cap jumping out at me.

The hubby on the other hand likes scanning - and moving right along. He also likes allowing a set amount of time for a shopping trip.

I've quit looking, but still need to know what happened to the Turtleneck staple that you wear under sweaters - the layering look?

I know why. It's the bare it all style that is in every magazine, commercial, and ad in front of us. Don't tell me low cut is in when the temperature is 18 degrees and the wind chill is -10. Show me low cut and check back in a week with a bad head cold, I wasn't born yesterday, not everyone parks in a garage and walks into a building without a coat, not everyone has gone to the new low cut styles for EVERYDAY wear, maybe an occasional special event, but even then gotta wear layers in the mid west icy winters.

OK now I've vented. Back to knitting.

A note about the above picture. When I did a google image search I found this picture, but in the full view it is very tight and showing all!! So much for turtlenecks helping on the modesty issue.


My most visited blog post! HOW TO KNIT AN I-CORD

This has me entirely baffled. I get more hits on this blog by people look for instructions on how to knit an i-cord (a knit cord) than any other search.

Although it is a knitting procedure, I'll give you that much.

http://www.stitchdiva.com/ also has these steps in pictures:


Hmmm! A craft sale where I sold a few things, and bought many things.

Well, this is the second year I've joined my sister at this craft fair, and the customers were pretty much a no-show, it's the snow that fell today, and/or the economy, but for the most part it ended up being crafters buying from each other, which is kinda fun!!

I sold my wristers , they were little and black wool, with a pink/purple/off-white fancy fur trim. They could be worn with the fur trim at the fingers or the end with the ribbing fit snug around the fingers...giving the wristers, (very short arm warmers) two ways to wear them. The hubby didn't think they would sell, they were the first to sell, and other ladies standing around asked if that was the only pair...amazing, could've sold more of them.

Then my leg warmers sold...that's another story, similar to the first. And I sold two more bags today. It was a productive day, but...

I spent some of my money, some on a pumpkin roll (homemade fresh for the hubby).

Gotta be good to him, he's in there trying to fish my favorite emerald earring out of the drain as I type ...

I bought some of my sis's close-out jewelry, and some of the cutest hand painted ornaments, Santa's face - with beautiful eyes, on a banana goard - so impressive.

I haven't had a call from my big sister for two days now ... don't want to call her if she's resting, but can't help but be very concerned.

Hope the Doctors have been successful in getting her husbands bleeding to stop, it's a scary thing ...


Closet clean out, Basement clearing and two bags in three days

Whatever motivated us to clean out closets and the basement ... we've discussed it and it's an underlying umphh from nowhere - a kick in the behind - what were we thinking? Now we both ache all over, but we have empty shelves, we are minus 2 book shelves (I mean two great big 7 shelf huge bookshelves, that held books and binders and pictures and trinkets on every single shelf....yep the junk and books are gone too!!

I sat down to knit started on Tuesday night and made one of the cutest purses I've made yet. Picture to follow --- it's a gift.

Then I made myself a little felted cell phone bag, it's very nice, probably more protective than the leather case it is currently in. Finished both in two evenings. WOW. I'm back to being creative, and the trailer is now empty (the one we filled with all the collective junk from the previous 16 years of living in this house). Today I'm packing up every piece of fabric and yarn and crafty stuff I don't do anymore and handing it over to my crafty sister tomorrow.

My etsy store closes for vacation tomorrow cause my stuff is taking a trip to an arts and crafts fair. ?If anything is left, I'll open back up my etsy store.


I sold 2 purses this week...and sold 21 out of 38 items on my ebay store. I shipped my little heart out and now I'm getting feedback on ebay. It's been productive, and now I can focus on 2 grandkids who have birthdays this month (one little guy turned 6 today) and Christmas ... which is always sweet.

I started to blog yesterday - but just couldn't - I was waiting all day for a call-back from my sister who is grabbing tiny little naps when she can while she waits by her hubby's bed for test results, and treatments. He's gravely ill. She called right when I started to blog - and I went straight to prayer - it wasn't good news, and we are all on pins and needles putting our faith in God our healer, and trusting God is in CONTROL ... because it doesn't seem like anything else is working.

This has been a tough couple of months (really the entire year) he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer on December 11, 2007.


OK I guess it's the 16 years we've lived here, but WHERE DID ALL THIS JUNK COME FROM?

We used to have a "no-use" rule, and a "seasonal" rule, and a "carry-in" rule in our house. We moved periodically, and needed to travel light. Now after 16 years in the same house, we've gotten pretty lax in our RULES!!

The no-use rule meant if we hadn't used it in a period of time - it went out with the trash.

The seasonal rule was if it hadn't been used, but was seasonal it could wait another season for the true test - then to the trash if not used.

The "carry-in" rule which never NEVER worked for us. If you're going to carry-in three bags of stuff then 3 bags of stuff needs to go back out the door ... in the near future. Well, so much for the best made plans at our house ... again, where did all this junk come from.

Today I went from a small wooden desk with 8 tiny drawers and a pencil drawer, to a small table out of an RV. No drawers, no computer stand, nothing.

This is my home office. A table. I emptied 9 shelves of books. I gave half.com a good heaping try (10 days - sold 2 books out of 40) and then I bagged them all up for goodwill.

Goodwill - here we come - bargains galore. Anyone need a 1970's pillow sewing book? Check out this 1980's paperback thesaurus. What about a package of unopened sharpened pencils I've had since 1995. I remember when I bought them, it was an event I planned that year. I'm certain if I had focused more on my eBay.com business I could have sold more, but I'm tired I tell ya! I don't want to list another ISBN number, or restack these books one more time.

I don't feel like going through the box that has all the contents from this desk that has been in this home office for 16 years...did I mention the antique marbles. Yep, back in the '70's the hubby was helping tear down an old farm house, for a side job, and he found a container of old marbles in one of the walls. Hmmm, collector's item...maybe, but for me, in this open container, I may have dropped them for the last time. What about these buckeyes? Where in the world did they come from? and this ancient box cutter. The rusty razon is pathetic. No wonder I'm tired, I cannot process this JUNK!

Well, I've closed the door on the office, tomorrow is a new day, and once the ole' paycheck comes in, it's new blinds, a cabinet with drawers (yep, I'm trying the drawer thing again), and one more book case to empty...I'm trying to get down from 4 to 2 bookcases. Whew. I need a tall glass of ice water, just rethinking my day makes me thirsty.

I think I need to knit now.

My knitting is in a funk! Nothing on my needles.

I have orders for items. I can't seem to get started. I have gifts I want to make and it's like my arms are too heavy, I do have a stiff neck, maybe that's part of it.

I just can't get the umphffff mustered up. This is so not me. Nothing on my needles. I made two sets of wristers this week, I don't like either pair, and I made some leg warmers that look like .....!!

I have a purse order, I start the base and prepare to work the sides, and tear it out. Bummed.

Today I'm walking away from yarn. I'm questioning my Etsy store...I'm cleaning out closets instead.



Tomorrow my etsy business, my knit and felt bags will be featured on Etsy in the SHOWCASE under Bags and Purses. I'm so excited. They only list 16 at a time. And it's all day. Of course I paid a small fee for this service, but hey, i gotta be noticed, gotta sell some bags.


OK I'm Convinced - Etsy is Relatively Unknown at this Point

BUT - it was mentioned in Parade magazine on Sunday 11/23/08 ... this should be good for business.

What do people search for the most on Etsy? I wonder if there's a way to know. Oh well, hope I get some extra buyers since they (we) were in a national article.


Hmmm. http://www.bigsis2.etsy.com/ (that's my store)

I'm on Half.com now

In addition to Etsy.com and Ebay.com I've joined Half.com

http://www.half.com/ my store is jcsgrbr. I'm selling the whole library one book at a time, till I get sick of it then I'm hauling them to goodwill. We really have some awesome books listed.

thanks for lookin

My Etsy Hobby

I guess it is just a hobby.

I thought it would be a small business, and maybe it will be someday, but for now, till I get this shipping thing down pat, I'm definately spending more money than receiving.


I did just sell a book on Etsy - a How to Macrame' book that has been mine since new...1970's. I made so many items out of this book, I almost hate to part with it, but this fits with our cleaning out the library pledge ... and fits on Etsy's VINTAGE listings.

So, it went to a sweet lady named Lynda in the U.K. Once we settled I was going to make 3 or 3 dollars. WHOA!! I spent 2.50 for it new. Oh well, I could count the number of moves this book has made with me. I certainly got my use out of it. But man it's hard to part with it. Lynda, I hope this inspires you for many moons.

Judy - Parting with my Macrame' Book - it's all just stuff!!


Can't Keep Knitting Like This

I heard a great song the other day called "Slow Fade." It referred to compromising beliefs, but really applies to all of life and it's choices and the ways we cope under stress. My slow fade is a great hesitancy to get terribly excited about things as I know I'm facing a loss ... dumb I know but the ache ain't improving with time. No, I don't think I'm depressed, and no, I don't think I'm backslid, Christians love with so much passion that disappointment requires a lot of energy to process.

I've proven to myself that my knitting is therapy. I've started to pace myself. I have certain lists, to-do-lists that must be accomplished before I allow myself to knit. But, I also lay down the list when I feel like this. I'm so focused on my brother-in-law and sister who are hurting so badly right now, that I can pray for them while I knit, I can make something "Special Request" for my niece, I feel like I'm doing something productive in this void called "Wait."

So - I'm up at 4 AM knitting - checking my etsy store and watching the bids on my ebay store - knitting - pacing, praying, ... coffee is ready ...


Knitting Along and Starting Over - OK THIS ONE IS DEEP (no apologies)

After driving 10 hours to my sister's house, getting unpacked (relatively) and assessing the situation in the home, I sat down to "chill." I wasn't going to knit unless there were long periods of time, of waiting, or being quiet in my "back room." But Big Sis insisted on getting out the needles and string, so there we were late into the evening knitting, crocheting combining yarns, showing finished projects, pulling out pictures of the next patterns in our collective creative libraries, and a certain calm settles in the room. The chaotic existence we call life is on pause.

Big Sis is on the brink. Her hubby has a life threatening disease. He's currently in severe pain and unable to eat solid food or tolerate very many liquids, he isn't thriving and an air of sadness and finality looms.

She wanders from necessity to desire and back, like a squirrel trying to choose which nut to store for the inevitable winter, then she pauses, and remembering her plight and spews out the great questions of life. She has a certain peace and it shows up in every conversation, but it's layered with the unknown, the obvious, underlined by the occasional moan from the other room ... grief has already gripped this sweet little cabin called home, and the newest question is, "Is God preparing me for the pain to come, or is Satan robbing me of what I've treasured for so long?


I heard a sermon on the radio in the car on the way here, as I played bumper cars with the semi-truck drivers on the interstate. The message narrowed life down to 2 questions asked in the Bible. One, Jesus asked, "Who do they say I am?" The other question people asked when they personally encountered Jesus, "What must we do?"

In the face of crisis, I believe we go back to our own personal "experience" quicker than we digress to grass roots "faith." But after exploring our options we end up heavier on faith, knowing that experiences may be carrying us like a trusty old ox cart on a bumpy pitted road ... we can get into the cart and ride it awhile, but the road has changed since the last time, and it's probably a different ox doing the pulling. I'm thankful for the experiences that have made me who I am, but I'm looking to a God who NEVER CHANGES ...

BUT FAITH - wow, it never changes, other than maybe deepening, strengthening, encouraging, and defining ...

As I knit along, and talk, and tear out all the work I just started, I look across the room at my Big Sis and say to her how pretty and peaceful she looks. She smiled and thanked me and said she needed sister time to get things into perspective. I'm so grateful that I am able to jump in the car and travel the distance, drop out of my life and land into hers for awhile. I'm good with starting over ... God is in the suffering for sure - giving grace and peace and comfort. I'm looking for HOPE to fill this home, and our sweet extended family in the next few months.


Knit and Felt Purses go to an Arts and Crafts Show

What a day. I displayed 6 of my purses/bags at a church craft show, and sold one. I met so many neat people. People who knit, people who used to and people who want to. It was amazing how many conversations I had with ladies who could only knit the occasional scarf, and complained about how uneven the rows were. I hope to encourage them to KEEP KNITTING. These bags really looked great on display, the pic doesn't do them justice.

I encouraged several ladies to get their items on Etsy too. I hope they look into it, because Etsy can really boost their business. I'm pretty worn out, but thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with my lil' sis, helping her with her booth and showing my product.


I'm IN PRINT!! Knitting and Felting Pattern is listed on Etsy

I acutally finally posted my PATTERN on Etsy. I'm a little nervous. Can't wait for someone to buy the pattern, make a Computer Bag, Felt it and send me a picture. I know small things really excite me. But hey this makes me a cheap date (wherever that saying came from) or easy to please.

I've been so busy making 3 more bags that I've gotten away from my blog for awhile. BUT THEY ARE OVER THE TOP PRETTY and will be on Etsy Sunday if they don't sell at the St. Marks Church Christmas Craft sale in Indianapolis this weekend.

My younger sister and I are taking all of our "creations" to the sale, so my Etsy store will be on vacation for Saturday. (Back in business when I get back if I have items left to sell.)

Thanks for lookin' - here's a picture of my posting: Go to www.BigSis2.etsy.com to buy a $5.00 copy and it'll be emailed to you, I'll answer your questions about the pattern and would love to see your finished product. In fact I'll post it here!!


Several Purse Straps - I-Cords, Knit and Crochet

Purse Straps

From Left to Right

The RED strap is cast on 13 stitches knit then purl each row consecutively until 1/3 longer than the finished strap you desire, for a large tote with 3 1/2" wide finished strap. This finished strap was knit as a part of the Market Bag.

(See Above) The pink/purple yarn is from my blog banner at the top of this blog. This is an extra (3 times the finished length) long single crochet using all three yarns used in the finished bag. I pinned the top of center of each strap to a piece of styrofoam and did a simple macrame' knot all the way down and tied it off, (made two). These are threaded through grommets attached to the bag.

Next a Blue/Brown/Turquoise Tan strap below is also a cast on flat strap using 7 stitches, then felted, sewn to the bag sides.

A small mauve strap with a pendant attached is single crochet - then felted. This is how I attache jewelry, pendants, etc.

A Thick Felted Brown Tweed strap is the i-cord pattern using 4 strands of the yarn used in the bag along with casting on 5 stitches to start with, making it very dense and strong. After felting while still wet this one had to be stretched a lot giving it more strength when it dried ... it will be carrying a computer bag.

The Blue/Brown/Turquoise and Tan i-cord next is an i-cord made with the same yarn as the color scheme 3 cords to the left and the last one on the right. I held two strands together, Retro Patons Classic Wool and Tan, then did the i-cord method with 4 stitches and felted, stretched, etc.

The Mauve/Purple/Pink thick cords side by side are another computer bag that needed a thick strong cord for the weight.

The brighter Pink/Brown/Burgandy combination is the bag in my youtube video at the bottom of this blog.

The last strap is a computer bag, also in one of my youtube videos. It is extra long and is sewn to the bag starting at the sides/bottom to give the entire structure more strength.

Several of these items are listed on http://www.bigsis2.etsy.com/

Others are spoken for and go out the door today!!

Thanks for lookin'!


How to Attach an I-cord to a Knit Handbag

The easiest way to attach an i-cord to a bag is to go down about 1" from the top rim of the bag and in about 2" from the sides and poke a hole in the felted fabric with a metal pointed knitting needle, remove the needle, and use a larger needle in the holes, until the hole is a little smaller around than your i-cord you'll be threading through it. You can attach grommets to the holes for a finished look, or simply thread the i-cord through the holes you've made.

My candy corn bag, on www.BigSis2.etsy.com has grommets in the holes mentioned above

It took 8 grommets because I did a "paper-bag" style fold and pushed the needles through 4 layers of fabric to make the holes on each side.


Step-by-Step Etsy Business

I got onto Etsy.com for the first time last winter. My d-i-l had friends selling and she was buying. I talked my lil' sis into starting a store, and bought a few things myself. About the same time I started making knit felt bags, I started planning for an ETSY store of my own. Ynttt.


I listed 4 bags and a pair of wrist-warmers, and a scarf. Here it is step-by-step.

1. Log on to http://www.etsy.com/

2. Click on "Sell" and "Sign Up to Sell"

3. Set up your profile - you will need a picture to use for your banner.

4. Take pictures and write descriptions of all your items.

5. Once you register all this info. you can start listing your items. They cost 20 cents each. Then you pay 3 1/2 percent of your sale when the item sells.

6. Figure the shipping - be fair and cover your actual costs, boxes, tape, labels, driving to post office, etc.

Any questions? I'd be glad to help, but you'll find it is so-o-o-o easy. IImssm.


Knit Felt Bag Finished (with pictures) You can do this...please send me a picture if you do.

Another bag for my etsy store. www.BigSis2.etsy.com

Another Bag!!

The picture below shows a finished bag on the right and a bag from the same yarn on the left before felting. The bag on the left is the finished bag above.

This is a close up of the retro yarn and off-white knitted rows before felting:

I held two colors of yarn together throughout. Brown, Off white and Patons Classic Wool "Retro" self-striping in blues, browns and tan. I started with the base (just brown and off-white). I cast on 28, slipped the first stitch on each row, knit one row, purl the next for 16 rows. This gives a nice large stitch on each side to pick up stitches along the sides.

A closer look at the bottom of the bag before felting, the brown and off-white base - you really have to TRUST this will work out, not real obvious at this point, but after it felts it shapes really nice.

To start picking up stitches finish with the wrong side, and using the right needles go into each of your 8 extra large stitches and pull the yarn through leaving it on the right needles. This should be done on a circular needle at this point, and with the smallest length cord as possible, as it gets tight going around the corner. See http://www.knithelp.com/ to get instructions on picking up stitches. Start knitting in the round by marking the corner where picked up stitches and the original knitting meet.
After knitting a round or two - this is coming up from the base, change to the "Retro" self striping. You will need to make the bag 3 times as high as the base is in depth. The base is 10" long and 4" deep, then you want to make the height (before felting) 16" as it will shrink (felt) down to 2/3 it's original height. the piece will felt down to 3/4 it's original width. So the 10" base will become about 7 1/2" to 8".

This sounds a little complicated, but there are many steps in here that http://www.knithelp.com/ coveres. If you are new to knitting open this pattern and open another tab to Knit Help dot Com and watch those videos as you go. To finish do an i-cord cast off - this makes the top of the bag a little more sturdy, and the cast-off is a lot more even - looks like you finished it with purpose. The strap can be as wide as the side, or smaller. I cast-on 5 with size 13 needles holding two strands of yarn together. Then knit and purl each consecutive row until the piece was 1/3 longer than the finished size I desired.

Any questions please comment.

I felted this piece by putting it in a pillow case, tying it shut, dropping it in a small load of very hot, slightly soapy water, and washing it in a top load washer for about 8 minutes.
I think this one actually took me about 6 hours total. These really are EZ4U to do, trust me, and so relaxing.


Knit an I-Cord Strap or Making a Purse Handle

I found this link to a step by step knit an I-cord. This is my most popular hit to my blog. The i-cord is the finishing touch to handmade purses, or computer bags. Once it is felted and attached it is as strong as rope, but matches the finished piece.


Kevlar Helmet Liners for our Troops

This is a great idea ...


make a helmet liner for our troops. The pattern looks pretty strait forward.

Does Sarah Palin Knit?

I was just wondering if Sarah Palin knits, or sews or crochets. I'll bet she has no spare time right now, but I think she probably has the skills.

Sarah Palin was introduced as the most popular Governor in the USA today on a news show ... hmmm who made her so popular? THE MEDIA!!

Well I'm just curious, and will be doing some research. She's gotta have some hobbies!!



There is something strange about having nothing on my needles.

Today, I spent the day with lil' sis, we went to open knitting class, but didn't join in as there were already plenty of people around the table. We walked around and talked to each knitter in action, and touched so many yarns ... We did a little cafe for lunch and a little coffee shop for some conversation and knitting techniques ... then we called Big Sis 1 ... and caught up on her incredibly tough life. She is at her husbands side as he recovers from Chemo and Radiation for Pancreatic Cancer...he's progressing and actually has some good days, but right now they are on vacation in Florida, hotel on the beach, and he is in too much pain to enjoy - plus he's on a liquid diet because of a new problem caused from the Chemo and Radiation. He's been in the emergency room - on vacation!!

I'm aching for her and him. My arms are heavy, my joints ache, I get so worried about how she is going to handle this, I want so bad to have the biggest invisible hand in the world that will reach inside my sweet brother-in-law and pull this sickness and pain from him, then I remember who I am, Who's I am, I am a child of the Creator, the maker of heaven and earth...HE IS IN CONTROL. He knows how much our Norman is loved, He MADE him!! Norman is the gentlest caring Christian man I've known - he is patient, kind, caring, loving and very sick. This complicates my brain cells, but inside my spirit I know that everyone dies, EVERYONE!!

So with that in mind, I'm searching those brain cells trying to find a way to help with encouraging words, making myself have as normal a day as possible, trying to coax my sister to take care of herself and reminding her that Norman is number one in her NEW NORMAL.


I just felted another knit bag - computer sleeve!

The computer sleeve I just finished I started on Monday. It's finished size is 14" wide and 11" tall with a "brown bag" style fold, like my candy corn autumn bag listed on Etsy.com. It will have grommets and an i-cord strap. It is spoken for though!!

Setting Goals with my Knitting

I set a goal back in April to have an etsy store by October. I really wanted to open the store with 8 items, just a personal goal, but I ended up giving away so many items. I only have 6 to start with. A scarf, a pair of wrist warmers, 3 purses and a computer sleeve.

So for reaching my own personal goal:

Thank you, thank you ...



This is a close up of the felted computer bag in "Retro" self-striping yarn, the pattern is made in this one by holding two strands of the same yarn together, I often had to re-match the striping colors to keep the pattern going, but it gave the bag a Southwest effect. This one is currently on sale at my ETSY store at http://www.bigsis2.etsy.com/

The pattern in this one made it's own tweed look as I held Plymouth burgandy together with Patons Denim Meryl throughout the work, it is a notebook bag I gave to our d-i-l before her trip to India.

I designed this one on MS Paint software before actually knitting the bag - the tweed effect of the brown is from Patons tweed chestnut color. The Yellow, Green and Orange were also two strands held together for a dramatic effect with the tweed in between as an accent - reminds me of racing stripes, but the finished project was one of my youtube specials on knitting and felting.

When I made this denim bag I was so impressed with the thickness of the finished project, yet it allowed the pattern to still be displayed. The grommet fit perfectly and the i-cord was 3 strands of Patons Denim Meryl instead of two held together throughout the body of the piece.
This piece is a large tote bag that was done in Patons SWS (Soy Wool Stripe) and it had very subtle stripes. Each of these ended up being gifts with the exception of the soutwest inspired which is listed on my Etsy store.

The picture does not give this one justice - it is awesome! Iimssm!


I Have An Etsy Store!!

I've added my Etsy store to my blog. See it to the right of each post!!

I've had several people look at my items already, and I'm featuring one bag on the front page of SHOWCASE under the catgory: bags and purses today only. When you get to the showcase, use the MAIN drop down list to go to bags and purses.

My store name is my Etsy name: BigSis2


search for seller username:


click on the link above to go to my store
or use the store promo on the right


I've made 16 bags since April

I've given away 7 bags and 4 of my 9 that remain are currently spoken for. Starting my etsy store has been tough because when I show one to a friend it either becomes an instant gift or I get an order for one in a specific style or color. I'm learning so much...

NO COMPLAINTS HERE!! It's all great experience and I'm learning what people like, and I love giving them away as much as making them so-o-o-o ...

My goal in knitting these bags is to document the process, write the pattern, and get the pattern listed on-line to sell for a minimum fee, to GET PEOPLE KNITTING. The next step is KITS

I read today in Vogue Knitting http://www.vogueknitting.com/ that entertainers are knitting backstage to relax before their performance, people are picking up knitting projects to auction for charity, teens are knitting creating unique designs ... knitting is becoming a trend, I'm hoping to kick mine up a notch with my felting designs ... my new goal - GET PUBLISHED!!

Anyway, I posted the knit foo-foo bag last week, where I mixed yarns - see:


This is the finished bag:

and a close up of the closure.

Starting an Etsy Business


I'm closer than ever to posting my knit & felt items on etsy.

This is a collection of my projects, a sampling of several items I've completed. The patterns are to follow.

I'm collecting knitter's woes - complaints about patterns, what's missing, etc.

My patterns will assume a few things - They'll be relatively simple assuming the knitter can knit and purl and pick up stitches and slip them, as all of those can be found on-line, through my blog or by a simple search, with pictures. I'll add that link to my pattern also. My favorite how-to page is:

It's the learn to knit page on Patons yarns web page: http://www.patonsyarns.com/

They have great pictures, pretty simple. Casting on is probably the hardest part, then picking up stitches after making the base of one of my "lunch sack style" bags is a challenge, using circular needles was my hurdle, and simply starting over takes a lot of laying down pride!! Hate wasting time to start over.


I Didn't Knit Today - I'm headed home!

I stepped into the pantry looking for oatmeal, and came out about 2 1/2 hours later, with every shelf washed and all of the small boxes of brown sugar in the same canister. I found a tall urn to use for all the plastic grocery bags, and put all the paper goods on the same shelf with the plastic cups. I bagged like snacks together and threw out dated opened bags.

The strange odor was a rotting onion ... it was a subtle odor, we had searched for it, but until I emptied the bag of onions into a wire basket for display, it was illusive.

I found several BBQ sauces, various sizes and brands ... I'm getting to know my sister's favorite foods, her daily schedule and her sweet family and friends. How precious to know she has so many people that care enough to be there for her and Norman through this trying time.

They've lived in this house 5 years now and they still have empty cabinets and drawers, hm-m-m-m we've filled every nook and cranny (where did that saying come from?) in our house, even though I sell stuff on eBay every little break I get, we still bring in more than we send out or throw out or carry out of the house.

OK I'm rambling, but I'm pretty well convinced no one reads this anyway. Maybe it will encourage someone some day. SISTERS ROCK. All these years, 41, I've been married and away from my sisters, yet, we are willing to drop everything in crisis and everytime we're together we don't have to spend time catching up or getting to know each other, we just drop into a relationship and go forward. 3 Knitting Sisters was my way of linking us together, encouraging them both to start knitting, accomplish some projects and sharing the progress...the accomplishments came, and the sharing continues ... not a lot of knitting going on, but I'm honed my skills and learned to be a better sister.


I actually re-felted the purse in the upper left corner of this picture

I "re-felted" the bag because it was still a loose knit, only partially felted. It's really nice and solid now. I put it in a pillowcase and went through a hot wash cycle...I left the stone on the purse and the straps are woven through grommets, so I left the strap on also...it re-felted just fine and looks amazing.
OK this was my first draft of my Knitting and Felting Pattern book. My idea is to make it a file that can be downloaded. This is actually a collage of 3 of my first purses.
I plan on doing a knitting and felting pattern book that has 3 styles, a small purse, a market tote and a computer sleeve.
Along with the pattern I would like to put together purse kits to sell at craft shows and specialty shops...future plans!! All of my bags are a detailed version of the pattern on the right top of this blog.


All About Sisters - Norman's New Normal

This has been quite a week.

I'm at my sister's house. We've cleaned the refrigerator, organized the laundry room, vacuumed, mopped, knit, crocheted, watched old movies, knit, crocheted, cleaned, packed away a months worth of meat into the freezer, did I mention knitting?

We are together making life a little simpler and assessing her next few months, waiting for some test results for her hubbie, Norman, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last December ('07).

He has had so many BAD days lately, severe pain, that he is undergoing another invasive test on Friday, and will get the results then. My sister is in the FROZEN mental state, fear can grip us like a tightening rope, even when we're trusting the Lord, each little bit of information can give the rope of fear another jerk, and blind us from enjoying the moment.

We have laughed, cried, hugged, reasoned, thrown out reason, had near accidents waiting on the drug store manager to open the public bathroom, stopped for drive-through cokes, sat at the dinner table together, sipped coffee in our nightgowns, and stayed up till weird hours of the night I haven't seen since women's overnighters years ago.

I've hooked up with some of my nieces, and great nieces and nephews. Some I'd never met...soo adorable - her grandkiddos.

But most of all it really isn't all about SISTERS. Right now it is ALL ABOUT NORMAN and NORMAN'S NEW NORMAL!!

The new normal hits when our day-to-day life smacks into an invisible wall called dsappointment. It's not really that simple but whether its Katrina, Gustov, tornado, fire, divorce, an accident or terminal illness, whatever stops us in our tracks and causes us to pause and reassess our day-to-day life, that's the new normal.

I've come to the conclusion that the new normal is a new day. Each day is exactly what we make of it, in the areas that we have control, and the outside influences (or inside our body controling factors) are the day's challenge, our reaction to the task at hand is what makes us who we are, who people recognize - our true character.

Norman is a true man of God. He trusts God for a healing, while he rests on a complete understanding that every man dies eventually, but his untimely diagnosis, even though it interupted his retirement plans, caused hm to cancel many events on the calendar, and has stressed my sis to the limit, he stands firm that GOD IS IN CONTROL. When he is in a lot of pain he is tempted to fear, but is so thankful for the last 10 months since the diagnosis, and thankful for family.

Know what - I want to be as gracious as my Norman if i ever suffer the way he has, his suffering has made him a powerful witness of God's love and grace.

Yep, we really are 3 knitting sisters. We just don't get to knit together like this very often, and I am a blessed woman!! (I finished another bag tonight!!)


This is Patons Denim and Yarn Bee Soft Delight

I used two colors of Soft Delight to emulated some stripes, and held each strand with the denim (2 strands of yarn throughout the piece). It is a very loose piece,looks like a giant sock cap right now, but once I felt this bag it will be about a 9" by 11". It is around 13" high and 11" wide right now.

I used the pattern to the right for a purse, cast on 28 instead of 26, knit and purl the base, then picked up all my stitches all the way around (the sl st at the beginning of each row makes it easier to pick up and knit the smaller ends of the base. Then simply knit on a circular needle as high as you want to make the bag a little taller than it's width be sure to knit 1/3 taller than you want the final piece.
Knit an i-cord strap:


Combining Yarns for Felting Knit Bags or Market Bags

I found a web page that talks a great deal about combining yarns for special effects before felting. I'm currently using Patons' Classic Wool and Yarn Bee Soft Delight, I haven't felted the piece yet, but it is certainly pretty to work with so far. I'm wanting to add a third "Fur" yarn to the trim that will not felt, hope it turns out ok.

Check out these instructions and sign up for my updates, I'll be posting the finished pictures.

You can buy this poster.