January 2007

A free pattern and a cat picture or two (of course)

Several years ago, I wrote a pattern for a felted bookweight. When Limedragon declared this week the week of the book and started reviewing some book gadgets (including bookweights), I decided this would be a fun project to share.

Felted Bookweight
A bookweight is used to hold open recalcitrant books that refuse to stay at the page you want. I use my bookweight a lot on cookbooks and knitting books. This project is good for using up scraps of feltable wool. It also makes a quick, unique, and useful gift. If you want to learn how to use double-pointed needles, making a bookweight is like making a sock that has no heel or toe, or a mitten with no thumb. (The bookweight is the brightly colored blob to the right in the photo below.)

Gauge: Doesn’t matter, but your knitting should be loose.
Needles: A set of four DPNS or a very short circular (such as a plastic Clover 8″). 10.5s or 11s should work well for most worsted weight yarns.
Yarn: Feltable worsted weight yarn. Superwash wool and most white or cream non-superwash wools do not felt well. I used Noro Kureyon.

Cast on 31 st for a wide bookweight.

Knit first and last stitches together to join the round (30 st remain).

Distribute stitches evenly across three needles if using DPNs.

Knit circularly until piece measures 9-12″ (remember, it well felt more in length than width).

Bind off and weave in ends.

Run an old sock or part of an old t-shirt through the middle of the tube to keep it from felting shut.

Place the tube into a zippered pillowcase and zip shut. The pillowcase will protect your washer’s drain and motor from the felting wool.

Toss the pillowcase into the washer with a bit of detergent and an old pair of jeans, tennies, or a tennis ball. These items add friction and help the felting process. Extremely hot water will also help the felting process.

As the tube is felting, regularly check on it and reshape as needed.

When the tube is sufficiently felted, block and let dry.

“If it doesn’t turn out quite the way you want it, you can stuff it with catnip – makes a great cat toy!” -C

Pin one end of the bookweight and sew it shut tightly with yarn or embroidery floss. Run the ends of the yarn several inches down the inside of the tube, trying to catch some of the fabric without piercing it. After several inches, push needle and yarn to the outside of the tube. Cut the yarn close and tug slightly on the tube so the ends go back inside.

Fill the tube with small pebbles that have few sharp edges. I used “river pebbles” from a local garden store. Sew the open end shut as described above.

“Don’t mind that hole. I couldn’t resist – I had to see what was inside this thing. Besides, don’t you think I make a better bookweight?” -C

© 2002 by Chris. This pattern may be freely used in a non-commercial fashion. It may not be used as part of a commercial transaction, including as a “free” in-store giveaway, without my prior written permission.


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In which more knitting is revealed

I know, I know – if I keep having knitting on this here “knitting blog,” some of y’all are going to have to stop reading. 😉 But first, I would like to clarify – Chaos was not sitting in the litterbox in the last picture yesterday! He was simply sitting on his cardboard scratcher…

Although I am not officially participating in any UFO recovery knitalongs, I did pull out one of my older UFOs over the weekend. The Door County Cable (pictured here December 2005) was started September 6, 2003. I probably haven’t worked on it since November 2003!

I originally abandoned it because when I switched from knitting in the round and started knitting back and forth, I found the directions horribly confusing. When I revisited the directions this weekend (since a few more years of knitting experience might help, right?), they were still horribly confusing; I frogged the sweater and started the Refined Raglan from the Winter 2006 Interweave Knits. Please ignore that it’s black, which is the kiss of death for a blog project…

“Don’t mind me – I’m just here to grab my mouse!” -M

Last week I also started another pair of gift socks. (Don’t worry – I’m still working on the green stripey socks – the first sock is done and I’m about 2″ into the second sock.) The yarn is Socks That Rock and it’s Jeanne’s “Rare Gems” bonus skein from the 2006 Rockin’ Socks Club. If you know Jeanne (who just got sucked into 24 last weekend – darn that Amy anyhow!), you’ll know why I ended up with this skein! I have dubbed the colorway “70s Kitchen.”

“Don’t mind me, I’m just trying to bite through this yarn here…” -M

“Don’t mind me – I’m just making sure it isn’t a bib…” -C



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Of reading and wallpaper

Update: I’m  upgrading WordPress today – please ignore any format oddities! Thanks. -Chris, 1/29/07 13:55

Christine of Pointy Sticks is having a podcast anniversary (podiversary?!) contest. She’s interested in comments or blog posts about socks (before midnight, February 6) – additional details are available in her most recent podcast. Prizes include a Lyra mp3 player!

Lisa is having a contest – you can submit guesses on an assortment of things, such as how many miles of yarn in her stash, and win an assortment of prizes! Contest ends midnight, February 9.

Reading Update
The Chemistry of Joy: A three-step program for overcoming depression through Western science and Eastern wisdom by Henry Emmons, MD, and Rachel Kranz. This was my final book for the From the Stacks Winter Reading Challenge. Whew! I initally picked up this book because I know Henry and appreciate his belief that, while medication is important for treating depression, it should often only be one aspect of treatment. Changes to diet, exercise, and meditative practices can help as much or even more than traditional medicine. If you struggle with depression, I highly recommend this insightful and thoughtful book.
Cheaper than Therapy: Joy, healing, and life lessons in fiber edited by Annie Modesitt. This was my first book for the 2007 To Be Read Challenge. I think that the short essays and poems in this book went perfectly with The Chemistry of Joy!

Here’s my list of books for the 2007 To Be Read Challenge – all of them have been in my “to be read” piles for at least six months; some for much longer. (While I was sorting through my books to make these lists, I realized that there were numerous books in my “to be read” piles that I wasn’t interested in anymore, so they will be heading to the thrift store.)

2007 To Be Read Challenge Booklist

  • Cheaper than Therapy: Joy, healing, and life lessons in fiber edited by Annie Modesitt; completed 1/28/07
  • Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
  • Thinks… by David Lodge
  • If the Buddha Got Stuck: A handbook for change on a spiritual path by Charlotte Kasl, PhD
  • The House of Sleep by Jonathan Cole
  • Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  • A Conspiracy of Tall Men by Noah Hawley
  • Take the Cannoli: Stories from the New World by Sarah Vowell
  • Digital Photography for Dummies by Julie Adair King
  • The Opinionated Knitter: Elizabeth Zimmermann newsletters 1958-1968
  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides


  • Blue Shoe by Anne Lamott
  • Three Junes by Julia Glass
  • The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
  • Stately Pursuits by Katie Fforde
  • Heartlight by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • My Dream of You by Nuala O’Faolain
  • Blackwood Farm by Anne Rice
  • Bone Dance by Emma Bull
  • Freedom and Necessity by Steven Brust and Emma Bull

Kmkat is curious about what we have as our desktop wallpaper. I have an image of Rurouni Kenshin, the anime character that I named my laptop after.

“I don’t know why she doesn’t have a picture of me for her wallpaper!” -C

“Hmph.” -C


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Flashback Friday

Holly’s holding a Creature Comforts Drive in memory of her beloved cat, Cyrano. She’ll be collecting handmade blankets for pets until April 13 and there will be prizes (besides making life more comfortable for animals in shelters).

Susan knit her brother Steve a binary hat. The first person to decode the hat’s message wins a skein of yarn!

I got nothin’ today. I’m so tired! No, no, not from staying up late to watch 24 – I’m done with season three and waiting for the next two seasons to arrive. No, it’s the tail end of my cold – I feel pretty good during the day, but when I lie down to sleep, I can’t stop coughing. Nothing’s really helped. No, I can’t sleep sitting up – I’ve already tried. 🙂

Anyway, I rummaged around in my “not used yet” photo directory and pulled out some oldies that I never got around to posting. (Are you happy now, Cyn?!)

Here’s Chaos’ paw, May, and a furry red mouse (not SRM) hanging out at the end of September.

“You do realize that I can crush you with just one paw, don’t you?” -C
“Must. Eat. Mouse. Tail.” -M

May fighting with Chaos in mid-October.

“Ok, winding up the Paw Of Death… Don’t say I didn’t warn you!” -C

And May in my Birkie in mid-October – those are size 43, if that helps you with kitten scale.

“There was a clever kitten girl who lived in a shoe. She had so many toys, she knew just what to do!” -M

Those Cats

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Sassy ghost

Louise is having a contest to celebrate her birthday. Guess how many skeins of yarn she and her friend Rebecca will purchase while they’re in NYC this week and you could win some yarn! Submit your guesses before midnight, CST, January 27.

Abigail is having a contest – the person who submits the 100th photo of a Four Corners Dishcloth (a pattern Abigail wrote) will win a prize.

I was looking at some baby pictures of May and found this ghostly image from September:


In knitting news, I’ve started another pair of socks – you’re all shocked, right?! 😉 This pair isn’t for me but will be a gift. The yarn is Cascade’s Sassy Stripes Superwash, which, besides having a silly name, splits like crazy if you have to tink at all. Other than that, I like the yarn.

“I don’t know, Big Kitty, Mom got awfully mad when I bit through her yarn last time…” -M

The stitch pattern is from Kristi’s free Gentleman’s Socks and I think it works really well with self-striping yarn.


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