Saturday, May 31, 2008

Nifty Worm Trim Variation

Time for me to get back to machine knitting on this blog!

This easy trim is a variation on the standard worm edging commonly put around knits. Its uses are many … from necklines to hems, to placemats and embellishment on clothing. I would not suggest this be used for baby items since the loops are quite long and tiny fingers can become entwined easily.

My apologies for the colors in the picture. It was the only way I could show the contrast with the two rounds of knitting this trim and more readily explain the technique. Let's get on with it and begin making this trim! You'll need a swatch of knitted fabric and for the purposes of our demo, pick a contrasting color of yarn for the worm edging.

Pull out 3 needles on your machine. E-wrap those three needles with the contrasting yarn. With the wrong side of the swatch facing you, hang three edge stitches on those needles. Set machine to do I-Cord and (*) knit 12 rows. SKIP three edge stitches and hang the NEXT three edge stitches on those three needles. Repeat from (*) along the edge. End off.

Again, pull out 3 needles on your machine. E-Wrap those three needles with your contrasting yarn. Again with the wrong side of the swatch facing you, hang the first set of 3 empty stitches. (*) Knit 12 rows, hang the next three empty edge stitches onto those needles. Repeat from (*) around.

Here are some how-it-looks in stages. The first picture shows the first round of 'worming' and the second photo was taken after the second round was formed. On the sample, I added another variation to the pattern and moved the looped I-cord to the front when picking up one set of stitches and then moved it to the back when picking up the second set of stitches. This gave me a much more intertwined look as you can see.

A variation on any kind of worm edging, is to spin your fabric full circle a couple of times as it hangs on the machine after you've knit the 12 rows (6 for standard worm edging). this little twist to it is quite firming to the edges, and causes a different look. The trim no longer lays as flat, but has even more depth which can be a nice addition to edgings of knits.

Another twisting one to try is one 12-row piece twisted to the right, then the next one twisted to the left. You'll see quite a difference as opposed to twisting in one direction. Whether you do single or double worm edging, this very simple technique can add a lot to your knitting. Enjoy!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Spice Up Your Dinner Menu

Is your life feeling ‘stuffy’? Stale? Mundane? Can’t figure out what to fix for dinner that you haven’t fixed umpteen times before? Ever notice when you go to the grocery store for the big shopping trips, you buy the same things? Week in, week out … month in, month out. Boredom can set in quickly with that routine.Time to dig yourself out of that rut. Here’s just one thing you can do to put some pizzazz back into your life.

Break out of that confining mold. Let someone else do up your grocery list and plan your menus! No, seriously … it can add some real adventure into your culinary arts. I was at a group meeting a few years ago when we all were moaning and groaning about having to do the biggie shopping the next weekend.

Suddenly, one member of the group suggested we trade shopping lists for a one week period of time and when we met next month, we’d compare notes on the outcome. Now we’re all two-person households, our kids are out on their own, so quantities were going to be about equal. Our income levels were also approximately the same, so it wasn’t going to be a heavy strain on anyone.

I was so excited about this! We all went home and began working up a week’s worth of menus. Then we created the shopping lists. We met for coffee two days later and swapped lists. We confined our lists to dinners only for this first venture, and would include a salad or soup, a starch, a meat dish and a veggie dish. Nice well balanced meals. What a kick this was going to be!

Another thing we’d agreed upon was to provide as many coupons as possible for our counterparts to use. I went online and snagged all sorts of coupons for groceries right in my own area.

What all was on my new menu? It was like dining out at a new restaurant every night. Here are a few of the items … I’d never had baked chicken chili with sour cream & mozzarella cheese before – Sheila informed me that she makes it at least once every couple of weeks – I can see why! Not only is it inexpensive (uses wings, drumsticks and/or thighs), it’s downright scrumptious!! Then there was the Waldorf Salad … I’d not made one of those in eons! Orange & Cranberry baked ham slices went with that salad. Oh, the list of yummy, mouth-watering, delectable culinary delights goes on and on!

We’ve done this same thing numerous times now over the years, but with a new feature – we could add new recipes we’d never tried before. And our husbands are actually looking forward to the next time! Hmmm … wonder if that’s a commentary on …. nah, can’t be. I always have fascinating, innovative food to put before my hubby. Don’t I?? Maybe it’s time for another menu-swap.

~ Marge in Reno ~

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Getting Organized! Har Har Har

This is kinda long ... but misery loves company and I'm in the throws of getting my craft materials in order.

I've received confirmation of my applications to 3 craft fairs this fall. So out come the craft tubs / bins / boxes, wanting to get a head start. But what have I got and better yet, where are they??

I don’t necessarily sort by season. I prefer to sort by colors and also by material category (yarns, fabrics, florals, ribbons, lace, wood, plaster, felt, styrofoam, etc.). Whatever your preference, start making piles of your various crafting materials. Once you know the sizes of these categories, it’s much easier to gauge exactly which container will better suit that amount.

Being an avid crafter who displays at craft fairs, future inventory is also in the forefront of my mind as I do my purchasing and my organizing. Many times I will sort out ‘sets’ of crafting materials that become kits in a way, for next year’s stock. These will probably go into a tub all their own, rather than be mixed in with other supplies.

I'm also an inveterate list maker, I also keep a master list going of all my crafting supplies. Not necessarily counted down to the last safety pin, but a good, over-all idea of what is available to me when the crafting bug bites. My receipts from the various craft stores help me make my lists out. Speaking of pins, my very favorite container for all those itsy-bitsy items is found in the sporting goods section. Fishing tackle boxes! Especially the double-sided ones that have clear amber-colored plastic sides and a handy carrying handle. Don’t overlook the automotive section when hunting up containers too!

If the tubs / bins / boxes you are using are not see-through, for heavens sake, mark the outside of them with a few keywords that will tell you what is where. If you take on a new method of sorting, ( for instance if you used to do it by season and now you’re doing color), it might be wise to make a note of that somewhere visible on your containers. Until I settled on my own preference of color/material sorting, I was continually pawing through tubs and boxes, only to find the item I needed at the bottom of the very last one. Naturally.

Remember to set aside plenty of time when you begin organizing your craft materials. When you search the net for ideas, here are some cool sites to get you going …

Get Organized Now! Woo Hoo!! A site totally dedicated to getting organized! And she covers so many subjects, such as home, office, school … your life! Nice pages, easy to navigate, lots of great ideas.

Lowes Perfect place to start in your quest for getting yourself organized. We live only a few blocks from a Lowes (which can be hazardous to one’s budget) and they have a wonderful staff who have never failed to give us good advice.

Home & Garden This is one of my very favorite sites on the web. Oodles of information here, much of it dealing with organizing our lives. Check out the various crafting sections!

Organized Home’s Site Cute. Thoroughly enjoyed wandering about their site. There are lots of good ideas on these pages. Navigation is quite good. Take the time when at this site to thoroughly explore all they have to offer. Lovely site full of information for just about anything you’d need to organize! And a few I hadn’t realized needed organizing! Very pleasant looking site, easy on the eyes, which is nice after looking at dozens of rather garish sites lately. The multiple pop-up screens are a tad on the annoying side, but the information at this site can make that worth your while.

I'd love to hear your comments on how YOU organize your crafting life.

~ Marge ~

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Keeping Track Of Listings!

There's a current discussion on Etsy about how to keep track of your listings OFFLINE so you can edit, etc. Many are using WORD or another word processor. I prefer to use EXCEL for all my online selling sites, such as IOFFER, BluJay, eCrater etc. One spreadsheet per site and one page per my shop's category (sections on Etsy).

Each site has its own forms you need to fill out and it gets very frustrating when you can do HTML on some sites and none on others, title lengths very often vary from site to site. Or the layout is different and you need to refer back to something else in order to get the info needed. Some sites have a timeout built into their listing form ... that can be annoying, if you're not prepared with your text written out ahead of time.

Here's a link to show you the style I use on my spreadsheets ... Excel Example

The example file is downloadable.

Marge in Reno

Friday, May 23, 2008

Advertising / Selling Sites For Crafters

As you can see in the right column, I've started listing some sites that were recommended by various Etsians when I started a thread in the forums. I'll be adding to that list as time goes on and will archive any that I delete due to space restrictions.

If you have a site to recommend for crafters to list and/or sell their items, please send me a link along with your 'review' of the site. Don't forget to include your Etsy Shop URL (or your website) so I can make sure to have the link in there to you.

Here's the direct link to my website where I have ALL of them listed. Selling Sites.


Thursday, May 22, 2008


I've been putting up some PIFs on my Etsy Store. So far, 5 of the vintage sewing notions have been requested. 2 more left in my Etsy store and a bunch more to list over the next few weeks. For those of you who may not know what a PIF is all about, here's a brief explanation: PIF = Pay It Forward. It's doing a good deed by giving something away totally free. Seller pays the listing and the postage. No strings. That's the way it's supposed to work.

You will, on occasion, see PIF's that want the postage or perhaps a reimbursement of the listing fee. To me, THAT is NOT a TRUE PIF. Yes, I feel strongly about that. Others have differing opinions. :-) This one happens to be mine.

Have you ever listed or received a PIF? I'd love to hear your comments.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Memorial Day

Quick craft for Memorial Day ...

These are my little crosses that I knit on my knitting machine, then starch them, glue them together and on a craft stick that I've dipped in verithane.

You don't have to have a knitting machine in order to do these, find some firm lace at a fabric store. Cut pieces 6" long and 4" long (cross-bar). Firmly starch them FLAT overnight on a corkboard you've covered with plastic wrap. The next day, take them off your board, then dip in verithane, let that dry completely and then glue together and then onto a craft stick. They're a nice touch to an arrangement of flowers.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Balloons Graph

I was going through some old picture files and ran across several years worth of pics from the Great Reno Balloon Races held here each year in September. Such a great lot of memories. Not long after we moved here in 1993, I made up this little graphic for use on my knitting machines. 28 stitches x 44 rows. Using a gauge of 7 stitches x 11 rows = 1 square inch, it measures 4" square.

This pattern, although free to copy/download to your computer, is under copyright and may not be distributed by anyone in any format other than by the copyright owner. © 1994 by Margaret Parker for MKDesigner. All rights reserved, both foreign and domestic. Please feel free to use the design in/on your goods for sale online, for charities or at craft fairs. No mass marketing, though. I would appreciate acknowledgement in your blog or ads.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Hand Held Fans With Used Greeting Cards

These are SO easy and quick to do up! Our church ladies usually have a large amount of them available at any time -- you'd be surprised how often the air conditioner doesn't work well enough when we're packed in the nave like sardines! Those fans come in VERY handy to help handle the heat in late Spring and throughout the Summer!! We have a little box in the narthex telling folks to help themselves to the fans, but if they plan to keep them, please donate a quarter. We get a LOT of quarters for some of the youth projects!!!

* Take two cards of similar size (leave them intact, don't remove the backs, helps stiffen them), have them back to back so the fronts are showing on both sides.
* Punch holes evenly around the edges through all thicknesses, with a gap at the bottom so you can insert the handle.
* Beginning on one side of the 'gap', crochet around the cards
* 1 Large plastic knife is your 'handle' (we use the left-overs from our potluck sets - always have knives unused) - insert into the gap with a good amount of tacky glue on both sides.

Voila! You're done.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I Left My Heart ...

These are a kick to do up and go so very quickly. I took a pattern for small, thread crochet heart sachets and crocheted them in 4-ply worsted weight yarns with a "K" hook. Then I made custom shaped pillow forms with plain white fabric, stuffed them with fiberfill and placed it between two of my crocheted pillow tops, adding a scalloped border around. Take a look through any thread crochet 'shaped' patterns you find and then create some stunning, unique pillows.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Beaucoup Blogs

Some blogs I've really enjoyed visiting!

I need a pair of earplugs!

Hi Folks,

Well, it's Saturday already --- not sure what happened to Wednesday last week -- its as if there was a tuck in time.

The guys (hubby Jerry and youngest son Wade) are busy rebuilding the hot water heater area. Man, but they're making a LOT of racket! And DUST!! I had to get out a package of plastic drop cloths I'd tucked away and cover everything in my craft room (aka: family room) since they need the door open to trek their dust and dirt back and forth. Gads, but I need those earplugs!

So far, they've not made what Jerry calls, the requisite construction job 'blood sacrifice' yet. Someone has to come up with a busted knuckle or cut somewhere in the process. It's a 'guy' thing, I guess.

I ran across some nifty crafting sites and thought you might be interested ...

Create and Decorate -- so many of us are trying to be more environmentally conscious and recycle discarded items that can easily become lovely, useful items around the home. This site has a whole section dedicated to showing the innovations their readers have created.

AllCrafts -- if you enjoy many types of crafts, be sure to visit this site. They have a plethora of FREE patterns and instructions for just about every craft imaginable.

Cut Out & Keep -- Wow, this is a fabulous place! Free to register and there are a TON of crafting ideas, patterns and instructions. Excellent source to showcase your fabulous crafted items and if you wish, you can share the instructions with other members.

{{HUGS}} & Crafting Love,

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thinks have changed ...

I've now got TWO stores on Etsy!! Many folks on Etsy said they loved having two shops since they could sort and categorize their items more. And evidently sales began to increase for many of them! I can see why ... having more of a focus sounded good.

Here they are: MKDesigner and KnitsNMore

Please come visit me and let me know what you think ... is it better to have your interests separate?

Marge in Reno

Monday, May 12, 2008

Time does fly!

Wow, I'd not realized that so much time had slipped by since my last post. I've been super busy with spring craft fairs and getting my knitted items stock back up. Now we'll be able to get back on track.

I ran across a couple of sites that are sure to please machine and hand knitters. Do check them out.

1. Crazy Cat Knitting -- she's interested in all sorts of fiber crafts, including knitting, weaving, spinning, dyeing, and quilting.

2. Cornish Knit Wits -- for those of you in the UK, this is a fabulous resource!! They've revamped their site and I LOVE it!!

Articles coming soon ...

Marge in Reno