This is bat country


A gift – look away if you are related to me….

A few weeks back I mentioned A Little Hut.  I have had this project in my head for…well, look at the date of the blog post.  That long.  I wanted to put a spin on it, but didn’t want to get all math-y to work out the right proportions, so I cheated.  I found an image of the Golden Ratio spiral and printed it out of sturdy card then cut along the spiral.


Again, I didn’t have the time to sit and cut a load of triangles from scraps, by hand with scissors, so I created an SVG file to cut them out with SCAL.


Just laying out strips of scrap card let me cut them all in two lots, getting 14 different colours.  As DH had picked out small canvases (a pack of four 8 x 8 ones) I was dealing with a smaller scale project than her large wall canvas. I used the golden ration spiral (two of them) to mark the lines.  Had I cut it a bit smaller I could have arranged them on the canvas to create a heart. Maybe I’ll use that idea for one of the other in the set of four.  Then it’s just a matter of arranging and sticking, really.


Cute, humm?  I think he’ll like it



WOYWW 289 – family, look away NOW!

Happy nearly Christmas WOYWW!  Just one more to go.

There is much scattered across my desk today – Those damn socks (SUCH boring knitting, for very big feet) and some (hidden) wrist warmers (more on that another day) and a bit of canvas art (more on that tomorrow when I finish it and can take a better photo) and the gift tag remnants from yesterday. Do peek back if you have time – I think the ones I embossed look so adorable, I am totally doing that for the rest of them this year.  If you still need tags, feel free to pop back and grab the printables.


I did think about being more careful to hide stuff, but my hope is the people these gifts are for are way too busy at the moment to waste time looking at my blog.   If not, that I can at least trust them to look away when they see the title.

My desk seems to be a desk of two halves – one side paper and one side yarn.  But they are united in the fact both sides are a mess LOL!

V V excited that DS is coming home on Thursday, and still some wrapping and (sadly) a little shopping still to do, but for the most part pretty happy with where I am.  Of course if the turkey and the ham delivery goes wrong, or a couple of gifts that are listed as “shipped” don’t arrive in time I may be less so. Keeping my fingers crossed and not leaving the house during delivery hours.  Oh, if there really WAS a one-night-only, no need to answer the door, or explain location over a crackling cell phone delivery, in a jolly man in a big red suit….




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Remember those card toppers? Gift tags!

I got such a nice comment on my circle greetings from this year, that they have formed the cornerstone of her card-making this year.  I usually also design some gift tags and to be honest, this year I was doing so much knitting and other hand crafting, that I just didn’t make the time.  When it came time to start wrapping up my own gifts it was a struggle – did I take the time to think up  a new design?  did I go back to last years tags, or (heaven forbid!) use store-bought ones? My eyes landed on the circles I had printed out to check the colour and sizing.  Although they don’t have the TO: and FROM: bits I didn’t see any reason not to use them as tags.  So I did. I used both the original, modern coloured ones linked above and the richer, more Christmas coloured ones from this post


I opted for a pretty simple wrapping style this year, red yarn and a soft twine.  DDs gifts usually get stick-on bows, as with her disability, opening gifts can be tricky.  I tend to use minimal tape and bows that can be ignored.  The boys have to work a little harder to open their gifts. I think the tags look quite nice, even if the photo is a little dark.


The point is, think outside the box (package?)  These are even easier to cut out than tags, as the smaller ones fit a 2″ circle punch and the larger ones a Nestability die or other circle cutter.  Easy peasy. Feel free to use them … OR read on


As I had already done the hard work, and I had some time today, I went ahead and converted the circles to blocks.  My idea was that you can do a number of things with them. I did the 2-to-a-page PDF, so you can just slice and dice then, to make 18 smallish tags (about 1 3/4 wide by 2 1/2 tall, seen there at the left) or you can cut the larger ones either as a block or use some sort of tag die.  In the actual PDF the greeting part is slightly smaller than here so it fits better in the couple of tag dies I have.


On a whim I popped a couple of the larger ones into an embossing folder.  I love how they turned out so I am adding the ones with the bigger greeting part as well.  Hope that isn’t confusing.  All three will be useful in different ways, I think.

2xmastagsampleSo to recap:

THIS set is the 18 small tags

THIS set is the 9 large tags with a slightly smaller greeting (1 1/2 ”  size)

THIS set is the 9 large tags with the larger greeting (2″ size)

And of course the reverse use works too – you can easily use the blocks for cardmaking, either with a punch or a die.  Hope they are useful!

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Double the time but it’s still better….

Ever since I took the time to really sort out the whole two-socks-at-a-time thing, and for me it wasn’t easy, I just know that I can’t do things one at a time any more.  I have ALWAYS struggled with pair of things.  I get one sock done and the second one languishes for (seriously) sometimes YEARS.  Having reached the end, woven in the ends, and tried on the single sock, somehow, casting on the 2nd one just gets put off.  Nothing unique to me – knitters everywhere struggle with it.  But oh, to do them both at the same time?  Have them both done at the same time?  Joy. Bliss. OK so a little delayed, cause knitting two socks takes longer than knitting one, that’s just the way it is.  But still.  It’s tedious, when the person being knit for has, for example, monstrous feet, and the pattern is ..not a pattern, just endless rounds of knit, knit, knit.  Yawn.


Boring shades of grey don’t help. But still, so long as I can alternate between projects I am OK.  A few dozen rounds of grey, then I can shift over and work on the largest knitted knockers I’ve done yet (apparently that isn’t unique either – although I’m not sure if Ds and DDs are the most requested or the least knit or both, causing the shortfall.  They certainly don’t go as fast as As, and on the Magic Loop it is a little more of a struggle, all those stitches.


Still, as I said before, I was getting the same issue, getting knocker one done then thinking wanting to try another colour or try a different pattern or something. Anything other than doing the same thing over again.  So the two-at-a-time made sense.

But I wanted to make DD some wristlets – she bought a pair at a Christmas Market and loves them – but was thinking Oh dear. Two. One at a time. Ugh

Now I am not so skilled a knitter or so clever at patterns that I felt confident in trying to convert a complicated pattern written back and forth as an in-the-round one.  Plus I had no good idea for how to leave the thumb-gap in the round.  But I didn’t see any reason I shouldn’t cast on both flat pieces, knit them back and forth on the same circular needle, and still get both done at the same time.


It’s working a treat.  So long as I use that zip lock bag trick, both balls of yarn inside and zipped in the middle so each ball comes out its own little gap


I can keep it all straight, untangled, and easy to put down and pick up again or transport without ending up in a muddle.  And frankly, as I am doing a billion things all the time (today? knitting, wrapping, making soup, something I can’t mention lest prying eyes see, and doing laundry before cooking tonight’s dinner) and grabbing every chance to get in a few stitches (like in the car on the way and at DDs ice show Friday night, about 7 hours from start to finish) that is pretty important.  And as I have a near endless supply of zip lock bags I can have many projects on the go at one time to keep me from getting bored. If it looks like dodgy, I will drop the other ones and focus on the  two important gift ones to make sure they are done before the big day…


What a lotta knockers!

Funny when a current obsession with something makes you think everyone in the entire world knows exactly what you are talking about  when you mention it.  Two things recently have gone that way.  First, the whole Knocker thing.  My sister had a double mastectomy recently.  She is doing well but thru one of her online forums for breast cancer issues, she saw a link to something called Knitted Knockers.  They are a fabulous organization that supplies, free of charge, knitted breasts. As they say on the site:

Knitted Knockers are special handmade breast prosthesis for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast. Traditional breast prosthetics are usually expensive, heavy, sweaty and uncomfortable. They typically require special bras or camisoles with pockets and can’t be worn for weeks after surgery. Knitted Knockers on the other hand are soft, comfortable, beautiful and when placed in a regular bra they take the shape and feel of a real breast. Our special volunteer knitters provide these free to those requesting them. Knitted knockers can be adjusted to fill the gap for breasts that are uneven and easily adapted for those going through reconstruction by simply removing some of the stuffing.

She doesn’t knit but sent the link to me.  As soon as I got the link, I downloaded the pattern and got knitting.  Within a day I had a pair made. But I started finding different patterns all over the place. I can’t even count the number of variations I have downloaded!  The one I like best is the one here.   This pattern is the fastest to knit, uses the least yarn, and according to discussions with my sister, the easiest to close and open, due to the drawstring effect.  She doesn’t like the look of the side-closure one that seems to be the other most-common pattern, or the extra fabric bulk at the back.  She prefers the look and feel of the flat back.  Lucky, that.  You can get the instruction for that here at Knitty, and it is on Ravelry as well but you have to be a Ravelry member to download.  There is a variation that is done in one piece on the Knitted Knockers Charity site as well (100% cotton only) that is on Ravelry as well.  I have done two sets now using the Magic Loop variation on the page (written for ONE knocker but I just applied the principles of two socks at a time and  used a really long cable, 120 cm)


As you can see, doing two at a time has the same advantage as socks two at a time – they exactly match (unlike most women, to be fair, but still….) My point is that because *I* now knew about these, I just talked about them (in my WOYWW post) as if everyone would have seen the previous post where I mentioned them or knew about them already.  Clearly not, from the confused comments I got.

I have never tried the various knitted flat versions (the only one I didn’t even try) and there are crochet versions as well. I did knit a couple of them but I don’t find the crochet version to feel as soft as the knitted one.  And the back-loop only work makes the back look ribbed and messy to my eye.  Just MHO, and I’m not wearing it so that could be totally not worth considering  One is at the KKUK site, where they also have a side close version. There is a 100% cotton requirement, you have to apply to join, you may only knit for donation after an approval process and they accept only their patterns with, I was told, NO DEVIATIONS. Don’t look at any other patterns if you fancy joining them.

I won’t even get into the whole nipple/no nipple issue, other than to say that every US person or group I communicated with said most requests are for no nipple and the UK input has been we get very few requests f0r no-nipple knockers. Cultural differences?  Maybe.

Working my way thru this sometimes conflicting information to settle on the best basic set of rules for ME has been tricky.  I was happy to hear back from the founder of that there is NO REQUIREMENT for 100% cotton yarn to be used.  They are happy for it to be a blend but the cardinal rule is NO WOOL – interestingly I totally get that one as my sister is allergic to wool (actually I think it’s lanolin that she’s allergic to, technically) but for at least two sites, as I mentioned, 100% cotton was specified.  That confused me.  What she said is:

We understand variations though and as long as they are soft, pretty, functional and non wool we will take them and get them to the women that need them. The demand is so huge that we need all we can get.

This is sort of how I feel about it – if the demand is that huge, and there is no medical reason for banning blended yarns (bamboo, linen, even a bit of acrylic) then surely that is going to get more knockers knitted, right? Likewise the perfection of your knitting/crochet.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think a hot misshapen mess of mistake-riddled knitting is going to be well received, but so long as it is competently done, is a missed increase a problem or is a slight laddering along the increases a problem?  Mine look perfectly tight and neat but if I over-stuff them (and the recommendation is better to over-stuff than under-stuff so the recipient can take a bit out and still use the right out of the box rather than have to pop to the craft store or raid their kid’s teddy bear for some extra stuffing!) these stitches spread a little. Enough that someone anxiously awaiting a knitted knocker would care?  I doubt it.

I’ve not yet gotten to the point where I have a plan, but I know this is something I will do in 2015.  Somehow I am going to incorporate this into my crafty time.

On a completely other note, my second obsession might be one that people actually DO know about.  I am so glad to hear that the next installment of SERIAL is the final one!  I had started listening to it on BBC Radio 4 but after the first episode I didn’t even want to wait a day for the next one to be available on the iPlayer.  The linked site has all the episodes and lots more stuff to see.  As I am originally from Northern Virginia, not that far away from where it all took place in the US, some of the place names really resonate with me.  That just adds to the grip it has on me.  I simply cannot WAIT for the final episode.  Even if it isn’t all tied up neatly, with some sort of resolution, the process of looking at the crime, the investigation, the trial, the whole thing, so completely, has been fascinating.  Will it be like Jack the Ripper, with no clear idea of who actually did it, even after all the time and effort put in?  I just don’t know! I still have a couple more to listen to so I’m caught up but then, roll on next week!

DDs Ice show weekend and still so much to do.  HOW many (FEW) days till Christmas?   Oh my….all those months of covered ears and pretending I had all the time in the world looks a bit daft now. {wink}


Quick card from printables

After three years, my Glitter Technique post is still the one that gets more hits than any other (except the Home Page) and it’s been viewed 40,295 times.  For something I have often said I thought was a “throwaway” post, something that was cute but not earth-shaking, that still surprises me.  Anyway, I thought I would use it again as a way to get a cute and fast background for DDs cards to hand out this year.  I already created the tree (seems it’s been trees the last few years – and why not?  A tree is so easy to cut!) so the rest of it was simple.  I toyed with the idea of some sort of easel card, and I may still have a go at one of them, but this was pretty quick – quick enough to whip up a handful for her to take to her Thursday night group if she wants to hand deliver some.

It was just a quick emboss and brayer over the glitter gel, as per the original tutorial


then print and snip a couple of the trees.  Either the ones from this year or past ones, all seen here, will work


I decided to do two – one that is made up as the ornament, the other trimmed inside the lines with the text snipped off as a sentiment.

I cut a thin strip of cardstock and cut a notch in the centre.  The issue is always how best to “attach” the ornament, leaving it easy to remove, and I keep trying new methods.  Sticking that at the sides, but leaving the centre under the notch free, seems to hold it in place.



As pretty as the glitter is, once the ornament is pulled off, the card is so plain.  The second tree gets mounted under where the ornament one hangs


so when you pull that off the card, the card is still worth displaying


Easy Peasy. And I think the little tree looks cute on our big tree!


Now, I just have to make five more….



Back this week!  Still knitting for WOYWW too.  I am just about ready to mail the selection of Knockers for my recipient.  I do hope she finds a perfect pair in the selection.  I did find myself with a bit of “second knocker syndrome,”  just like with socks, so just like with socks I had a go on two at a time using the Magic Loop.  Tricky to get those intersections tight, and as each knocker is clearly divided into three segments, it’s harder to find the right place to divide the stitches between in two sections.  Still, it’s not too bad.  I’ll see how I feel when it’s all done.



You can see one escaped from the package, and stuffed rather than flat – I thought at least one pair should be ready to pop in as soon as the package gets opened.   The pair on the needles is a subtle yellow and pink, and I am just getting ready to switch to a softer solid pink to work  the back.


It’s all a little stretched out as I was trying to measure it flat, as instructed.  I’ll share it stuffed when I get done. I might try to sneak in one more pair, worked in the last pattern I’ve found but not knitted, and on two circulars again, just like socks.  Wish me luck!

Have a Happy WOYWW everyone.

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Really, this should be for a Sunday but…

I have fallen out of the habit of doing Sunday Someplace Else posts.  If I were doing them regularly I would hold this over for that but I just love it so much I had to share.

Recently, DH wrote down a couple of passwords I needed to have. He wanted to just tell me what they were, but they were long and I knew I wasn’t going to remember them as quickly as I needed to so I handed him a random piece of paper off my desk and told him to write them down.  He made me PROMISE to memorize them and destroy the paper. I didn’t.  I tucked it away someplace “safe” – but then I pulled it out cause what I gave him was actually a printed pattern from the internet that I was actually USING.  Anyway, cue panic when I feared I had just put it in the bin (and we burn all paper with names, addresses, etc.  Nothing identifiable goes in the trash. EVER) and that he would need to change the passwords.  I found it, it was all good, but still…

I was eating lunch at my desk, listening to TED talks, and saw this one.  SO interesting to me.  I found it amusing that MONKEY is such a popular password.  Can’t say I ever even entertained the thought of using that, nor ILOVEYOU or 12345678 or (heaven forbid) PASSWORD.

I love, too that there is a WordPress shortcode for embedding the video.  But what really tickled me was that the speaker made a QUILT from her password research.  Fab. Had I the time and the talent I would be tempted to make one for DH – it would, I think, appeal to him.

Isn’t it just amazing?  I covet it in the extreme.  You can read the little blurb in Science magazine here. Can you spot your password?  Are you rethinking changing all your passwords now?


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Yesterday corrected and the Monday to Sunday version

My worst nightmare.  Making a mistake on the calendars. As I updated on my post from yesterday I had somehow swapped March and April.  I’ve sorted it and checked and double-checked both again just to be sure, and added the corrected versions.  Apologies if you got the one with the error.  So far I don’t see it pinned so let’s hope it was just followers who saw it while it was wrong and they will see this too.



And here are (checked and double checked) the MONDAY to SUNDAY versions.

Full size two per page

Smaller size four per page



One more calendar for 2015

 Sorted now.  The two PDFs are correct and available to download.

Note:  Monday to Sunday version is available here.

We are busy putting up the tree today – amazed I was able to get DD to wait till this week, she’d have had it up in November if we had a clear day to do it. But I did want to add this printable.  I am aware that I have tended to do more Project Life sized calendars than others.  I wanted to add something a little more vintage than my usual more funky or grungy style.  I hope these fit the bill.  I intend, when time allows, to add a Mon to Sun version but as that isn’t the one *I* use, it’s always farther down on my list.

Because it takes seconds, I’ve done the original size and the reduction:


One is two to a page, can be cut to fit a CD case


With a circle cutter – and actually a little closer to the black frame would fit better but I only have the old CM circles and this is the size you get



If your circle cutter can get that little bit closer you can cut them out then mount them on cardstock or patterned paper, then slip the months into the frame. Likewise, you can cut them and mount them on bigger sheets, if you want to do a more stamped or art journaled background.  You can cut between them and trim the sides to make a rectangle with room to decorate around the edges.  The point is these are just the circles with no cutting lines at all.  That gives you the most flexibility, I think.  If I get time I’ll do some samples but if you do one, please share!

You can also scale the size when printing if you want them just a little smaller or even a little bigger.  Play around with them and tell me what you did.  Someone else might like your idea better.

Rather than just telling you how you can do it, I also did the reduction and saved it as a PDF!

The smaller size might also be useful for a CD calendar,


and you can get a slightly closer trim depending if you use the Nesties Standard Circles Small (largest ring) or Large (second to largest ring – the largest is too large)

Once I get time to do the Mon to Sun version I’ll cross-link so if you stumble on this one you’ll see the link to the other and vice versa.

Off to fight with the strands of lights….


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