"Designer Handbags - Accessories for Winter" is in a contest.

I write on Squidoo quite frequently.  I wrote this article, "Designer Handbags - Accessories for Winter." in 2011 and now it's up for top 11 of 2011 on Squidoo.

Last year I wrote and published 62 articles on Squidoo.  It is a free platform for writing honest content, and building an on-line presence.  I have had a blast with this fine group of writers.

TODAY ONLY Saturday, December 31, 2011 until Midnight Eastern Time, my article (called a lens) is up for nomination to be one of the TOP 11 Lenses of 2011.  Right now, 10:12 AM Saturday, 12/31/2011, it is #1.

If you go to this link you can vote too:  The voting has been going on a few days, so the page is quite cluttered with comments.  Here's a picture of what you're looking for.

At the top of the page is a display of photos of the 100 top contenders.  20 rows of 5 each.  My article is represented in the photo of a handbag on the 2nd row, 4th from right.

Under all these pictures is the list of 100 contenders to vote for, Mine is "Designer Handbags ... Accessories for Winter," the 9th one down on the list.

Below the list of contenders is a collection of comments from readers.

If you're up to voting for my article I'd sure appreciate it.  I enjoy writing, and hopefully others enjoy reading what I write.

Thank you readers.

Had to add a picture of a purse I made before felting, then a picture after the felting process.  Too fun.  The finished product always surprises me.  This one is still on sale on Etsy.


Sold my Pattern on Etsy.

Peggy Giza bought my knit felt pattern on Etsy, and here is a picture of her finished project. 

This makes me pretty proud.  4 years of knitting, felting and now documenting the process, and I published a few of my patterns.  This one is for sale on my Etsy store, and Peggy of FELT GARDEN scooped up my pattern, knit then felted her own version and sent me this picture.  She modified the bag (to her own liking) and sent me these modifications:

The only modification was to the handle tabs put handle stitches on a stitch holder and first row knit one and then SSK and then to last three stitches K2tog and knit last stitch, Purl next row and repeat row 1 and 2 until 6 stitches ...next row Knit 2 and K2tog and then Knit 2. for 5 stitches...then knitted stockinet for a few rows...maybe six or so...then bind off and when felted add handle and sew to inside. 

I also use a sew in snap that I get here or Etsy too...the acorns and leaves are my pattern...the bee is something I try to add to all of my bags if appropriate...also inside my bags I sew in a button that says Felt Garden(also ordered from a vendor here on etsy as my bag signature. 

I make a purse bottom from prestofelt and plastic needlepoint backing...invented by my hubby... and it works great as a purse. bottom...I have learned a lot but have made hundreds of bags well maybe only 2 or 3 hundred... L I am going to check out your blog I am not as computer tuned in as you...if someone wants to buy a bag...let me know ... email her at feltgarden@gmail.com

Thank you miss Peggy.  I'm so honored,


Here's a photo of the bag I made.  Click on the link to see the article about making these purses.

Here's a link to my Etsy store, for purses or the pattern.    


Kntting baby items.

I found patterns for those cute little baby props being used for newborn photos.  There are sweet little cocoons, hammocks, oversized hats, knit diaper covers, etc.  I'm thinking I need to make several of each, in pastels and naturals for the ladies I know who love to take baby photos.

The store where I purchased these patterns on Etsy has some of the best photos to go along with the patterns, so here's the link to her page and a few sample items:




Long Tail Hat

I have Angie, the designer's,  permission to use her photos.  Go see her work at http://www.etsy.com/shop/4asong.

Here I go a new adventure, and a new Grandbaby on the way ... life is full of blessings.


My Etsy store had a sale!

Today is Thanksgiving 2011.  I'm so thankful for family.  I hope to spend time with them today.  I glad we have the opportunity to pause and catch up on a day like today each year.

I re-opened my Etsy shop a few weeks ago and have already sold an item.

Well, I sold a neck gator.  It was an alpaca knit neck gator that was made in one long piece, then knotted, then seamed.  So the knot is always there, but there are several ways to tie it, and wear it.

It can be a neck gator for warmth, the knot loosened up against your neck or tightened very snug and worn as a fiber necklace, or again loosened somewhat and worn as an ear warmer.  It is also great for kids, because it's adjustable.

Here's a pic of the one I sold.  I have more listed out there.

You'll see tags with photos hanging on some of my items, I use my Mini-Moo business cards for price tags at sales that I attend when I display my items.  The mini business cards are from Moo.com

Get your own Mini-Moos here:  MINI-MOOS


Today is a Memorial for our friend and Pastor, Herb Hull

A Tribute to Pastor Herb Hull

Before we wandered into Bloomington First Assembly July 1978, Russ knew him as “the preacher who told corny jokes.”  Pastor Herb regularly brought church ads to the local newspaper,where Russ was a photographer. 

When we attended the church the first time Pastor Herb and Norma were on vacation.  Our next visit Russ and Pastor Herb saw each other in the church basement before service and both said to each other, at the same time, “What are you doing here.”  Oh I see that giant smile with his head tipped back as I remember this meeting in the hall.

He had known Russ as the shaggy hippie photographer at the newspaper.  Before this encounter, Russ had come home and told me on occasion, “If I ever get the urge to go to church, I’d like to look up that pastor that tells the corny jokes.”

Our first Sunday night in that church, we dropped to our knees at the altar.  God placed a godly man and his wife in our lives at a time when our marriage had all but dissolved.  Hung-over and addicted, still extremely rough around the edges, we were accepted as family with no condemnation.  


Unconditional love was demonstrated continually.  Conviction tugged on us as we were embraced by the sincere teachings, 3 point sermons with illustrations that make you shake your head, roll your eyes, nod or laugh out loud.

With Pastor Herb Hull at the helm, Sunday nights were packed with worship, ministry and altar time, but the after church event, back at the Hull household, was ice cream and a ballgame on T.V.  Don, David and Dale adopted our two sons, Jim and Ken as if they were younger brothers.  Off they went to the basement or outside to the basketball goal, while we sat at the kitchen table and soaked up every possible nugget of wisdom from Pastor Herb and Norma, all wrapped around a snack and a lot of jokes.

I believe Russ stopped by the church almost daily after our salvation, offering to help around the church and gleaning from Pastor’s wisdom by asking questions about the scriptures.  Pastor Herb trusted him as usher, encouraged him to help with the nursing home Sunday school class, let him assist with the youth, and had him play his guitar and sing from the platform on the night of praise.

We lived about 14 miles from the church, out in the country.  Our first winter, about 4 months after we came to the church, we had a very bad snow.  We arrived at church on time, but no one was there.  The church had been cancelled.  There was a lot of teasing over this.  Pastor said he’d never cancel again.

Pastor loved “dinners of 8.”  We had the distinct honor of having Pastor and Norma in our group in our new home.  He never stopped talking about the egg rolls I made, I don’t really think they were that good, but he was impressed.  


I remember most Sunday evenings ending with “Victory in Jesus.”  I smile anytime I think of that sweet smile on my Pastor’s face, as he was belting out each word, with a confidence that captured believer’s hearts and convinced sinners.   “And somehow Jesus came and brought to me the Victory.”
14 months later, when they announced from the pulpit that they were taking a church in Oklahoma, I cannot remember ever crying that hard in a public place.  I’ll admit, I got selfish and angry.

I made an appointment with Norma for one day that next week, with full intention of convincing her and Pastor Herb to stay.  She had me come over to the house.  When I arrived she led me straight upstairs where she was in the middle of packing boxes in one of the boy’s bedrooms.  She got down on her hands and knees crawling around the bed, feeling under it for a shoe, missing from a pair, and gave me a living illustration of life in a pastor’s home. 

Then she sat on the bed and looked at me and said something like, “We love these people here and they love us, but Pastor Herb knows he’s supposed to go to this new church, and I made a commitment a long time ago that I would go where he is called, he doesn’t need a wife that holds back and gives him grief.”

Enough said.  Norma isn’t quick to hug and show emotion, so when we got a little weepy together that day, and I got a hug from her, I knew the move was inevitable and knew what I had to do.  

I purposely used Norma and Pastor Herb as my example, made a new commitment to follow Russ’s calling where ever that would lead.  We sold our house and left 2 months later for Bible College stepping into our first ministry 18 months after meeting Pastor Herb and Norma.  They led us to Jesus, taught us the love of the Father, and demonstrated a Spirit filled life.  They have been friends and mentors 33 years. 


Through the years, every milestone, and every ministry decision has been made with their council, recommendations and full support.  Pastor Herb is closer than a brother.

He considered His faith serious business, but walked it out demonstrating his belief that life was meant to be fun.  He loved to tell stories to make a point. He was a joy in the pulpit and on a personal level.  We knew we had an open invitation at the Hull-i-day Inn and stopping through has always been a highlight of our trip.  

This tribute wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the pain he endured through the years.  None of us know why he suffered so, but I’m certain he found a way to make peace with His Lord and his suffering.  Pastor Herb was like that.

Pastor Herb, we love you and hope you know that without you, your sweet family, and your godly example, we truly don’t want to imagine where our family could be today.

Norma, we love you and your sweet family and hope to be support and encouragement in your time of loss and readjustment with out this wonderful man in you daily life.  You have our prayers.


My knitting and handbags are finally back on Etsy.

It's been several months since my shop's been opened.  Now I have several items listed.  I continue to make purses, and I've started making "frinji" scarves.  After this weekend's craft fair I'll be listing many arm warmers, fingerless gloves, and scarves.   I'm also about to fire up my hubby's Etsy page, http://www.etsy.com/thestonescryout  which will have his jewelry, sterling silver and semi-precious gemstones. 

Here are a few pictures of some items I'll be listing when I open his shop.

I'm so proud of his work.  Can't wait to get them sized and listed.  He has a new design for opal rings that it incredible.  You'll be amazed.  It's stylish, it's sterling silver, it's adjustable.


Sell-a-Bration Report

I've never sold that much at any given sale.

I sold purses, several.  I sold fringe scarves, made from stash yarns.  Arm warmers, wristers and recycled sweaters made into a variety of gloves, sleeves and boot toppers.  On top of all that the hubby sold a ring, two giant safety pins and a copper bracelet - all his design.

What a great sale.  Made enough money to support my knit - felt habit.  This little item is for sale on my Etsy store: etsy.com my store BIGSIS2

The Sell-a-Bration was the Women's Conference for Indiana District Assemblies of God and my sister and I set up our creations for sale during the 2 day event.  Met some great new friends.


Pink and Gray, Celery and Grape, and a muted Teal and Gray

All three of these purses were made with the same pattern, just embellished differently or finished differently, i.e., shorter bag, taller bag, longer strap, wider stripe, wider base, more colors mixed, etc.


You can make one of these bags if you have wool yarn and know how to knit.  Trust me the pattern is very details.  Win a free kit by naming the bag and winning the most votes on the link above.


NAME THIS BAG CONTEST - named Glistening Starry Sling

I've written the pattern (free form) in this article.

See pictures, step-by-step instructions and the contest on this link.

I'm currently finishing the 4th bag testing my pattern.  It's nearly ready for publication.  Bookmark this page if you'd like to follow the progress of the contest.


Knit and Felt this Bag

 This knit felt bag is my design.

I've knit and felted bags for a few years now.  I'm always trying to do the handles in a unique way.

Below is a picture of the bag before felting.

The basic design is:

Knit a rectangle,  pick up stitches in the two short sides and the cast on side, then knit in the round working bottom up to shape the bag.

Decrease the front and back evenly, 2 or 3 times to bring the shape in on the sides. (Don't decrease the stitches preserved for the straps.

The strap is knit from one side full length the sewn with Kitchener stitch to the reserved stitches on the other side of the bag.  The flap is knit on right side, purl on the wrong side and decreased on edges for the rounded effect.

See full pattern here

This is the brown and tan bag before felting.

 I knit a Gray and Pink bag using the same pattern to make sure I'm able to repeat the process.

This link is all about my knitting in a published article.  Please LIKE it at the top left if you "like" it.


Where have I been?

The last year was a whirlwind.  I can't believe it's the end of July already.  In June of 2010 I accepted the HUGE honor of Chairman of the Board for Run For The Wall, a motorcycle ride from Los Angeles to Washington D.C.

It was only after serving as Secretary for 4 years, and riding the event 8 years, that I would have been considered as the first lady Chairperson.  It was pretty routine for me really, but we had 3 new Board Members (out of 7) and 2 others who were new the year before.  So with the President called away much of the year with his job, I mean out of the country called away, I was stand in President, trainer, historian, research and development, blah, blah, blah.  Huge honor, tons of work.

Spending some of nearly every day working on the web page, the newsletter, correspondence or phone calls, I was covered up - learned so much about the Run, people's expectations, and my respect for the men and women who volunteer for this organization increased.

Now at the end of June I've stepped down, completing my term(s).  I can knit again while riding in the truck or camping at motorcycle events, I can write again, evenings once we're settled in, I can think about something besides RFTW.  I miss it - don't get me wrong, but I feel a great sense of creativity coming on!!  The same scarf is on my weaving loom since January ... it will be completed next month.  I've packed enough wool yarn to make at least 6 purses while we're on the road the next 3 weeks.

I'm fired up about something new I'm doing also.

I'm writing on SQUIDOO.  It's a free web page that allows you to add features called "modules" to your topics, giving people the opportunity to comment, purchase items of interest - it's kind of a glorified blog.  I've written 38 topics and have achieved several levels, and earned awards.   It's' very fulfilling.  Writing is definitely one of my passions, and I've already got a great start.

If you're interested, here's the link to my knitting Squidoo "Lens" DESIGNER BAGS KNIT & FELT

From there you can read my bio or visit my other "Lenses"

On Squidoo people design web-pages called LENSES or articles looking into specific topics.


It is seriously time to get serious

If I'm going to have anything to put on the display tables at this fall's art and craft, fiber art fairs, I'm going to have to get over this "creative slump" and start knitting and felting.

I cannot sell "works-in-progress."

So, as I pack for a 3 week trip - I include a basket full of wool yarns, and embellishing yarns - don't know what colors I'll need, because I cannot be inspired ahead of time ... who can?

Here I go - I'm going to try to make at least 6 purses this next 3 weeks.

Only delay - using my wrist - I was stung by a wasp yesterday and have a stiff left wrist.  Ibuprofen and ice on the ready!

I have a few large bags ready for sale, one needs to be lined, one needs handles and lining, one and about 5 small bags ready - Large bags will go for $125.00 and smaller for $80.00 this year.  No more Mrs. nice lady, cause, these things are a lot of work and love!!


I broke down. I'm getting out the sewing machine.

I really have an aversion to using my sewing machine.  It's an amazing tool, but it seems just about every pattern I've ever tried - FAILS!!

Now, I'm breaking down.  I'm pretty determined to put pretty linings in some of my purses I'm designing.

Today I bought fabric.

It's a sickness I know.  The return of the "Fear of Failure."

At this point - if it doesn't cost a lot of money, I'm ready to experiment!!

This was a great purse.  It was ordered as a gift several months ago.  I decided to line it.  Another view shows it snapped closed.


Purse Handles, Knit, Felt, I-Cord, Crochet, Macrame - a variety of Strap Options

I've pulled together a collection of some my purse straps in pictures.

Pottery embellishment on this drawstring i-cord closure.
 The i-cord is the most common strap I knit for purses and bags.  I also have used my loom to weave straps and closures.

For small embellishments I use crochet or Macrame to finish a purse.
Handwoven (on loom) strap.  Sewn to the rings on a sewing machine.
 Another interesting concept is to add the strap to the bag while knitting.  It isn't difficult, but it takes planning.

I've embellished my purses with stones, pottery, polymer clay, buttons, and jewelry pieces.

Embellished with needle felt.

One of my first knit felt purses. I-Cord handle

Strap sewn to bag after completion, knit/purl rows with an added knit and tucked trim.

Strap knit as a part of the purse before felting.

another i-cord bag.
Over time, I've found the purse strap to be the biggest challenge when planning and knitting a felted bag.  The strap should be the first step, because you want enough matching yarn put back, or the strap created first, in order to match the bag


One of my knit felted purses, custom ordered. Almost finished with needle felting the Rose.

Purse 1 - knit felt, with needle felted rose. This is made in a heather pink with burgandy stripes knit into the fabrick.

I sold this purse last week, and got 4 purse orders by leaving the sold purse on my display table.

The purse below is my newer version of Purse 1.

The order was for a lighter pink with texture (and of course another needle felted Rose).

The Rose needs a little touch up and the grommets need to be added for the strap and walla, a duplicate, in lighter pink. I discovered a new method with this purse. I knit together wool, alpaca and acrylic yarns throughout! The acrylic yarn didn't felt, and that is what makes the nubbies all over the purse. Here's a close-jup pic of the knit piece before felting.

The Light Pink is Alpaca
The darker Pink is wool, and the white with pastels is Acrylic - I'm always amazed at how felting blends to colors ... love experimenting with this, out of over 40 items I've made I've only had one flop (I didn't know I wasn't using wool yarn for a large part of the item, bummer)


Knit Felt Purse - with lining. Why is this a big deal?

I said I'd never do this, because,

I don't like all the detail it takes to finish off a project, I like pieces very basic. But this one demanded a lining. The lining turned out amazing ... hmmm.

It also has two sweet pockets inside.

I up-cycled two identical Goodwill purchased belts for the strap attachments. So, fun.

I really struggle with finishing my pieces. I love making them and felting them, but the details in the end always suffer a big delay. I said I wouldn't start lining them, but here's one I decided to go against my stubborn plans and dive in.

The real reason is I don't like digging out the sewing machine, making a huge mess, and putting everything away before the project is finished. If I could make myself leave the mess till the project is done, I'd be better off, but I'm a clean up before bed person - certainly stunts my creativity (my stubbornness and my vow to clean up before bed!)

This one is sold by the way.


I have a beautiful piece on my floor loom currently.

The "Loomin-area," my weaving room has been dormant all winter.  I had nothing to do with the weather, we weren't home.  Yes it is a portable loom, but even if I had it with me there wouldn't have been time to weave.  So, I set it up with some stash yarn before we left, and came home to a fresh project that is becoming a beautiful colorful piece.


While I was away.

I've been trying to document all my knitting over the last few years, and writing some book reviews.  One goal I have still, is to write patterns for my knit felt handbags.

Scoot on over to Squidoo to set up FREE web pages. 

FREE and EASY web pages

The above link is a sample of one of my new web pages.  So easy to set up.  LIKE it on the page (top left) and if you want like it on FACEBOOK - too top right.



YEP, This sewing kit was Army issue - wouldn't happen today.

I believe I had one of these, or if I didn't I certainly needed it.  Pretty much every evening when my hubby was in AIT (Advanced Individual Training) with the US Army, he came home more than once a week needing his patches taken off and sewn on again, to the point where I dreaded seeing him coming.  Not because I dreaded seeing him, but because I knew he'd excelled in his class and or duties again, and we'd be ripping out stitches and sewing on patches, or measuring, marking, aligning and trying to pin and sew perfectly straight, to the nth degree another patch or two on every piece of clothing he owned with US Army on it.  Some had to be removed and moved up or down by micro specs until they were perfect.  I was experiencing nausea, vomiting and overwhelming fatigue from pregnancy and he was on edge from threats from superiors.  I wonder if the military knows how much pressure they add to families, just thinking on paper here.
He was a PFC at this point, oh do I remember these patches.
My only saving grace was a treadle sewing machine we found at a yard sale.  The needle was bent, so it broke the thread constantly (believe me there were some tense moments).  He worked crazy swing shifts, went for drill and came home with new patches.  I worked, babysat and cleaned house for a family with 6 kids.  Oldest 12, hated me, and the 2 year old was either climbing out windows or flushing very large objects down toilets in Army base housing.  CRAZY doesn't describe it.  I couldn't eat anything but saltine crackers. 

Did I mention this was a tough 13 months in our marriage.  We celebrated our 1st anniversary right after he finished basic training.  Our second anniversary was at Fort Devons, Mass.  Our third he was in Korea, our 4th in Two Rock Ranch CA and our 5 in Ft. Meade Maryland.  I sewed enough patches to make two full outfits for each of us in those 4 years.  I think this may be why it's hard for me to finish any craft that requires a sewing machine.

I need prayer!  I'd love to sew again for my pleasure.


A bio on one of my knit felt handbags. Upcycled to say the least!

This was an interesting purse.

All of this holding two strands of wool yarn together, even when adding the multicolor yarn for the center stripe.

First of all I knit the base nearly twice as long as the coco bag free pattern (see pattern: COCO Bag pattern) 5 rounds on circular needles, then knit them back into the base in a "Tuck" pattern to give the base the extra rib.

Once I had the base completed, I knit in the round bringing up the sides. Explained in Coco pattern.
Then I started knitting around on circular needles but about every 10 rounds I decreased 2 stitches just before the turn and just after the turn on both ends. (that's 8 decreases - knit 2 stitches together x2, at each corner.

Then I started adding sock yarn once I determined I was about 1/3 done with the height of the bag - remember the bag will shrink in felting by 30% in height and 25% in width when washed in hot and cold water.

At this point I knit and continue to decrease by 8 stitches about every 10 rows, but keep bringing in the additional 3rd strand of a multicolor sock yarn.  I drop the sock yarn and finish the last 1/3 with two strands of original color, end bag with an I-cord finish.  knithelp.com explains this method.

The sock yarn???  Leftovers from my granddaughter's hoodie, SAIGE from Berroco.

I took the yarns to my weaving loom, dressed my loom and handwove the strap and attached it with some rings from an old belt.  Added a big button and a crochet loop to latch the purse.

The solid deep green yarn I bought off of Etsy.com from a lady who upcycles wool sweaters back to yarn.  AWESOME.

Finishing touch - braided my fringe on the strap.  That is a really fun technique.


So the news article got me on a research project of my own, shirtwaist factory fire of 1911, What is a "waist" factory.

I heard about the Triangle fire earlier this week when someone moved up a level on the Millionaire show by answering the trivia question correctly.  Then today I watched a commentator on CBS cover the tragic story.

Searching for a "waist" factory, I discovered my new Blog title photo.

Shirtwaist dresses aren't new - they wore them a hundred years ago, but I decided to do a little era research on the "shirtwaist" through the years.

Just curious about the trend through the years.

You can buy this poster.