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

ยฉ 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.

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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

 

Of reading and wallpaper

Update: I’mย  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

Alternates/Additional

  • 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

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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:

Awwwwww…

In knitting news, I’ve started another pair of socks – you’re all shocked, right?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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.

In which what was lost is found and lost again

Tracey’s having a “Muggle Challenge” – leave her a comment with the most mind blowing question someone has asked about your knitting and you could win a snarky coffee mug and some yarn. For my non-knitting readers, yes, knitters often refer to non-knitters as muggles – blame the Yarn Harlot for that one. Maybe you can play along in Tracey’s contest and include a question you’d love to ask a knitter to get said knitter’s goat? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Kristi’s looking for a name for her new fingerless mitt pattern – if your suggestion is selected, you will get a free copy of the pattern!

Some of you may remember Chaos’ beloved SRM (Sparkly Red Mouse), lost when it ricocheted off Chaos’ paw during a game of fetch last spring. Guess what I found last week?!

I know, I know, it’s not much to look at, but you should’ve seen Chaos cavorting like a kitten!*

“I can hardly believe my eyes! It’s SRM!!” -C

“Where oh where have you been, sweet SRM?!!” -C

“I’ve missed you so much!” -C

“You can’t hide from me anymore!!!” -C

Alas, Chaos was wrong – shortly after this picture was taken, SRM vanished again. Hopefully just under the stove this time…

*Please ignore the sand on the carpet. Welcome to winter in Minnesota.

Of Contests and Calorimetry and Cat Spit

Jennifer is celebrating her first blogiversary. Leave her a comment by the end of January 25 and you could win a “Yarn Pie Mystery Prize Pack”!

One of my favorite music bloggers, Largehearted Boy, is celebrating his fifth blogiversary – stop by and leave him a comment before midnight, EST, January 28, and you could win a 50 cd prize pack!

Besides finishing the socks, I also started and finished Calorimetry from knitty over the weekend. I knit it from a stray ball of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran and I had less than 18 inches of yarn left. I cast on 100 stitches, instead of the 120 that the pattern called for. I also skipped one set of short rows, but I should have skipped two sets – it feels a little wide to me. Here’s an exceptionally crappy picture of me modeling it as my able assistant attempts to run away:

“I never go outside, so I certainly don’t need anything to keep my ears warm!” -M

Since she didn’t model, you might be wondering what assistance Mayhem provided on this project. I present Exhibit A, complete with a few spots of cat spit where she gnawed through the yarn:

Mayhem professed innocence of any wrongdoing whatsoever:

“What do you mean, I’m not supposed to be on the table?! How did you even notice me amongst all this clutter?!” -M

She is such a teenager now!

I can’t even think of a witty title today

Margene is having a contest. Guess when Salt Lake City will hit the normal temperature of 37F and if you guess the date (or closest to it), you could win a spiffy handknit washcloth, soap, and yarn.

Thanks to Jeanne for the heads up on a new TV series based on the Harry Dresden novels that I like so much. Guess I know what I’ll be watching on DVD next year (besides season six of 24, that is).

And thanks to all of you for your well wishes last week! I am feeling better, but if I was a superhero, I would be Phlegm Girl. Ick!

Reading Update
Notice how these have slowed down considerably since I started watching 24?! I did finish my third and fourth From the Stacks Winter Challenge books:
Like the Red Panda by Andrea Seigel. This was an ok book about honor student Stella’s last two weeks of high school. I’m not sure why this book didn’t engage me as much as Seigel’s later work, To Feel Stuff.
Lambs of God by Marele Day. I loved this book! It’s spiritual and mythic and religious and earthy and a fascinating yet fairly simple story. Plus, it has sheep! And spinning! And knitting!

Knitting Update
I finished the Jitterbug socks. I decided to tough out the pooling; the sock stopped pooling within an inch.

“Oh, look, socks on the floor again.” *yawn* -C
“Oh, goody, socks on the floor again!!” -M

May seems rather proprietary, doesn’t she?

“If it’s on the floor, it’s mine!” -M

“What do you mean, you want me to move?!! I’m sure everyone would rather look at me than at boring old socks.” -M

The sock on the left was the one I was fussing about. The other sock was knit from the opposite end of the ball, so I could maximize sock height and yarn use. Unfortunately, since I only had two 2.25mm needles, that meant I knit most of the final ribbing with both socks side by side on my needles. I hate that. Yeah, yeah, I know it leads to identical socks. I still hate it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s what the other sides look like.

I hab a cold

…and since I’m not getting up bright and early in the morning (really, my coworkers will appreciate my not coming in to infect them), I’ll post this tonight.

Aija is having a random yarn drawing. Leave her a comment before Friday afternoon (January 19) about what you would do with two mismatched skeins of KnitPicks Gloss (one pumpkin, one dusk) and they could be yours!

Christine is having a contest: leave a comment before January 23 about how we survived without email. The most creative answer will win “something wonderful” from her stash.

This is sort of how I feel – sleepy and blurry and sort of floaty…

“…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…” -C

In which I have a non-sock, non-bib FO

I think May was very pleased with how much everyone appreciated her blogging yesterday. Isn’t she a good little helper?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Kat with a K tagged me with a fun little book meme, so I’ll actually play along for a change.

The Page 123 Meme

  1. Grab the book closest to you.
  2. Open to page 123 and look down to the 5th sentence.
  3. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog.
  4. Include the title and the author’s name.
  5. Tag 3 People.

Ok, I cheated a little bit and didn’t do this at work, which is where I discovered the tag – I’m sure that UNIX for the MS-DOS User would be quite fascinating, but… So, here’s what you get from Lambs of God by Marele Day:

Margarita had an idea. She held the walking stick by one end and thrust it into the car. She managed to hook the handle around the folder and pull it carefully toward her.

I’m sure that will make more sense to me later, since I’m only on page 11 right now… I’m not tagging anyone – play if you’d like!

Since I’ll be meeting the KnitOwl for coffee in a few hours, I thought I’d bring along a little knit owl:

Of course, no knitted item can leave my home without a little feline interaction…

“And if I’m cuter than the big kitty, I’m certainly cuter than a washcloth!” -M