When I was at Green Planet Yarn back in June, I came home with this cute little shopping bag.


They had a selection of fabrics and I picked the these cats because I was in the midst of Carla Sonheim‘s Cats! class. I used the shopping bag as my project bag. It really is a perfect size. It is just the right size for a small project and project notes without fear of everything tumbling out if you aren’t careful.

I took some measurements. I may have even bought some fabric. But then nothing.

I didn’t do anything with it for months.

Then this weekend happened. I started a new small portable knitting project but didn’t have an empty project bag handy. Instead of looking in the stash for empty project bags that I know I have around, I dug out some stashed fabric and got to work.

A few hours later, I had these 2 new project bags to play with. My new knitting project is already in the bicycle themed bag because I’m knitting a head/neck warmer to wear for my bike commute. Now, I have 2 cat themed project bags. And yes, they both are already adorned with cat hair.


Why a couple of hours? This was the first time I made these and I was measuring and planning as I went. Next go around will definitely be faster (if I can find my notes or decipher them). I also made this batch with French seams because I was too lazy to pull the overlock machine out but I also didn’t want raw edges. Besides, the overlock would seem counter intuitive since I was using my old school Singer Featherweight. The Featherweight doesn’t do zigzag so I was stuck. But overlock would definitely have made this much faster.

Lastly, I used the sew the box corner technique (#3). It was a little finicky with the French seams and the small size. I think I would go with cut the corner method next time (#2 of the same link above).

General Notes:

  • 2 – 14″ x 14″ squares : I cut them separately instead of in a single long vertical strip (14″ x 28″) because my fabric pattern had up/down direction. I could have cut a long horizontal strip (28″ x 14″) but that would require buying a full yard of fabric. If you are making them in bulk for gifts, that is definitely an option.
  • 2 – 14″ x 2″ strips : If I were to do this again, I would cut 3″ strips. Press the 2 edges toward the center, then fold again. Press.
  • 1″ fold over edge at the top of the bag (with additional 1/4″ fold under so there are no raw edges).

Oh, and part of the time was spent cleaning and troubleshooting my Featherweight. When I pulled it out the other day to do a “quick” project, it was skipping stitches. I didn’t want to take the time to figure out what was wrong so I switched to my Bernina*. (The Needle was inserted incorrectly after I replaced it last time.)

* Does’t everyone have more than one sewing machine? I assume if you are here, you have more than one spinning wheel or loom (or more than one of both). Sewing machines are in the same category. So stop judging.

Every once in a while, you get a craving for a little something tasty. You don’t want that entire box of chocolates but you don’t have the will power to open the box and just take one. After all, once the box is open, who will notice just another one? Next thing you know, you didn’t stop until the entire box of chocolates is gone.

No, I don’t speak from personal experience. This is just what I’ve heard from others. Why do you ask?

Sea Glass Skein

Sometimes it’s like that with spinning as well. You just want a small little something to carry along with you. But spinning a 4-8 oz braid of fiber is anything but instant gratification.

PigTailsBosworthEnter Greenwood Fiberworks‘ Pigtails — approximately half ounce (label says 0.4-0.6 oz) of wool, beautifully dyed.

Just enough to take to a meeting and spin and ply the entire amount on a single spindle.

I don’t think these are part of her regular stock. I picked these up at CNCH a few years ago. CNCH 2014, perhaps? She had a small rack of these tasty little morsels. It was just too tempting.

For the first one, I split it in half and spun each half separately. I wound them off onto individual weaving bobbins before winding them together onto a 3rd bobbin for plying. I think because of how fresh the singles were, I had a difficult time plying them from their own bobbins directly. Too many pigtails.

PigTailsNiddyI think for the next one, I will spin it as a continuous strand and wind it into a center pull ball before plying. I will still split it in half, but reverse the direction on the second half so the colors will still mostly line up.

I pulled out my Bosworth Mini for this little project. It’s strange. I’ve always remembered these as fast little spindles with long spin, but that wasn’t my experience this time around. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been mostly spinning silk on my Goldings. There is nothing like those little Goldings for speed!


Speaking of on the go spinning, I’ve upgraded my little quart sized zip lock bag to this pouch. It’s a plastic (no more spilled water, tea, wine!) expandable zippered pouch that I picked up at Daiso. I use a similar one to carry my travel watercolor kit.

Plying Mistake

Right: Z spun, Z plied Left: S plied

Seriously? 3 posts in one week after such a long hiatus? I don’t mean to shock you into next year. I have a huge backlog of “stuff” that I haven’t had time to blog about.

What’s this post about? Oh, yes. Rookie Mistakes.

After all these years, I still make them. My only excuse for this one is that I have been so wrung out on the work project that I only do things that require zero brain cells when I’m home and not working. When you couple that with using the miniSpinner for the first time in well over a year, you end up with really stupid mistakes. What kind of mistakes? The one where you forget to check which direction the miniSpinner is set to spin before you start plying 12 oz of yarn.

Even worse, I was so disappointed with the plied yarn because it looked so flat and lifeless that I abandoned it there on the spool rack while I pouted. It took me a FULL month to figure out what was wrong. Why so long? It wasn’t until I started to skein it up for Wash Day that I saw why the yarn didn’t look/feel right. It was then that I realized that I had plied it in the wrong direction. Duh!

The singles are Z spun. In the picture on the right, the right yarn was plied Z instead of S (left yarn). Look how much it fluffed up after I ran it back through the miniSpinner, in the correct direction this time. This is before it had a chance to relax in a hot bath.

The picture is of the same length of yarn. What you don’t see is my fingers pinching the yarn just off the bottom of the picture. The top right is as it comes off of the old bobbin, leading to the pinch point. The left yarn is as it heads back into the miniSpinner (top left) after plying it in the opposite direction.

SkeinsThe finished yarn (2nd and 3rd skein from the top of the picture to the left) has a much livelier appearance and softer hand.

Aaah. Much better.

What will this yarn become when it grows up? It will be another fitted vest for layering under winter exercise jackets. I plan to knit narrow stripes with the 2 colors. We will see. The air is crisp now during my morning and evening bicycle commute. I will need something soon.

As for the remaining skeins in this picture, the second from the bottom has already been knitted into the BSJ. That takes care of 3 out of the 5. The pygora blend (top in blue) will be a scarf/shawl. The lavender 3-ply (bottom) will be a sweater/vest of some sort. I haven’t decided what yet. With 1,400 yards, I should be able to do something with it.


This sweater was finished back in early July but sat around waiting for me to sew on the buttons. Yeah. It’s been that crazy around here.

I adapted the Little Hearts baby sweater with my own chart of little red hippo faces *. Why? This is for the baby of my teammate who named our work project RedHyppo (internal acryonym variant) so I thought it would be appropriate to have a red hippo theme baby item. (Partial red hippo is also in progress — still needs stuffing.)

Project finally “launched” last week, hence the frenzy of blog posts and FOs around here. But we are knee deep in the mop up so things here might slow again.


* Hippo face chart is available on my Ravelry project page for this sweater.


Don’t you just love those stripes???? The stripes were in the dyed into the fiber. All I did was split it in half lengthwise and spun the yarn as a 2 ply. You can see the yarn in progress in my previous post, Miracle Fabric. Unfortunately, I ran out of yarn about one color repeat short. I had to finish it off with some Cascade 220 Superwash. It’s slightly denser than my handspun but it worked. Now, I just need to add buttons.

This was such a quick and fun knit. Much more fun than the first time around. Why? Minimal ends to weave in. Unfortunately, I didn’t take notes the first time around either. I zipped along on the sweater before I realized that I forgot to increase for the cuff fullness. Riiiiip.

To ensure I don’t make this mistake again, I decided to write out line by line instructions for myself. After a bit, I wanted stitch counts. So, I stopped once again and built a spreadsheet that calculated my line by line and my ending stitch count by row. Yes, I’m a geek. Anyway, I think it took me longer to build the spreadsheet than it did for me to knit the darn thing. It helped that I took the train into the city to have a tea and chat session with Penny.


  • Yarn: Handspun and Cascade 220
  • Needles: US #4 (3.5 mm) 32″ or 40″ circulars; these were perfect length to work all the way around with enough room to leave the side stitches on the needle while working the center back panel

A few knitting notes on this BSJ (so I don’t lose my notes and have to start all over again next time!):

  • I used double decrease around a center knit stitch so the decreases match the increases.
  • I used a 2 stitch I-Cord all around.
  • I made 3 – 2 stitch buttonhole in the I-Cord edge. (3-2-8-2-8-2)
  • At the bottom corners, I added a single (unattached) I-Cord stitch before and after the centered/corner stitch to make it a clean turn.
  • At the neck corners, I added 2 (unattached) I-Cord stitch to ease the corner.
  • I grafted the end of the I-Cord to the 2 cast on stitches at the beginning.

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