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Posts Tagged ‘knitting’

Why you should buy local wool, from WhipUp.net

“Processing wool in Australia is fast becoming a dying art, and wool needs to stay in Australia for creation from sheep to skein in order to support small farmers and micro business.”

Kylie Gusset wants Australian wool to be processed in Australia. Most Australian merino is shipped to China to be cleaned and is then sent back to Australia for spinning.

Does American wool go to China for scouring? What about all the lovely wool from South America?

I’m curious to learn more about the process of making commercial yarn. Not to mention commercial ice cream (also mentioned in the article).

You can help fund Kylie’s project on Pozible, a crowdsourced funding platform similar to Kickstarter.

Why you should buy local wool — whip up.

Sew, Mama, Sew’s Giveaway Day!

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to #29, Maureen!

sew, mama, sew!

Welcome visitors from Sew, Mama, Sew! Today is one of my favorite days in the blogosphere, because I discover new-to-me crafty people from around the world. I’m looking forward to spending a few hours this week exploring all sorts of endeavors, from sewing and knitting to pursuits I know much less about, like dyeing and upholstery.

emma's star

I’m giving away this lovely hand-knit beret. I must confess that I originally intended it as a present for myself. I carefully selected the pattern from Rocket Boy Knits and the superwash merino wool yarn from Black Sheep Dyeworks with plans to knit myself a three-season hat. And I truly enjoyed both the pattern and the luscious variegated yarn. But it turns out that I’m not a beret person.

If you can stylishly sport a beret, and you’d like a chance to win this one, please leave a comment below. You can comment on anything: your latest project, where you’re from, thoughts on my Etsy shop…whatever you like as long as it’s fun for me to read. I read all the comments, and a plain old “enter me” is no fun on my end. I may even send a second prize to the most delightful/entertaining comment. The giveaway will close at 10pm EST on May 25, and a winner will be chosen at random.

As a thank-you for stopping by, I’ve set up a special offer for free shipping on any item in my Etsy shop, Petite Legume. Use coupon code SEWMAMAMAY for free shipping within the U.S. through the end of May.

(The giveaway is open internationally. If you’ve been to my local post office you’ll understand why I simply can’t offer free shipping around the world for my shop. It would mean hours in line at the post office, which is staffed by a gaggle of slow-moving, cranky individuals. I’m extremely thankful for online methods of shipping packages!)

Thanks for visiting the land of Apparently. Come back anytime – I usually blog about making stuff, but occasionally I diverge to such topics as growing butterflies, visiting museums, other cool stuff I’ve found online, and falling in love.

Now go check out some more blogs!

To Dye For, Redux

In other crafty news, I’ve been knitting an anglerfish. I started this project back in January and stalled out when I decided it would be completely fabulous to knit the lure with glow-in-the-dark yarn. All the yarn I could find online was acrylic, which I didn’t think would go well with the otherwise-wool fish, and so I got it into my head that I should dye some yarn myself.

I found the fluorescent dye online and ordered a packet. Since I planned to dye only a few yards of the yarn, I used about half of the powder and left the yarn in the dye bath for half the recommended time. Look! Orange yarn:

attempts at dyeing

My second try, on the right, involved only a quick ten-second dip and swish. This yarn looks much better but still doesn’t glow in the dark.

This was my first attempt at hand-dyeing yarn, and so I don’t know if it was my technique, the dye or a combination of both, but I definitely did not get the results I sought. So I finished the anglerfish lure with the undyed white wool.

Knitting in 3-D isn’t challenging technically so much as it can be hard to envision exactly what you’re creating as you knit. The instructions in Hansi Singh’s book Amigurumi Knits: Patterns for 20 Cute Mini Knits are crystal clear (although be sure to check the errata). However, you must love both short rows and Kitchener stitch.



I have already knit a sea star from this book, and I think next I will attempt either the hermit crab or the peas in a pod.

What I Made Last Month: Xmas Edition

One iPad sleeve (sewn), photo not taken.

Two Clemence knit cowls, photos not taken.

Four men’s scarves sewn from vintage suiting wools inherited from my late great-aunt’s seamstress shop, photos not taken.


One pair Veyla fingerless gloves, knit in 30% silk 70% wool hand-dyed yarn from RiverPoet, with mother of pearl buttons. A lovely pattern that resulted in a beautiful (if not very warm) pair of gloves. I wish I’d been able to use the lacy shell buttons I originally purchased, but they were too large and I used tiny smoke mother of pearl buttons instead. More photos here.

Lacy Shell Button

One project failed, which was a replacement Greek Coffee Cup Cozy for one that’s been lost. But I felted it too much, and now it will only fit on the smallest of take-out cups.

A final project was delayed until January and will receive its own post soon. One word: anglerfish. Be afraid.

What I Made This Week: Knit Edition

More finished objects from last month:

sweet jazz
Sweet Jazz, a crescent-shaped shawl pattern by Samantha Roshak. This was my vacation knitting, and it was a perfect project for sitting in front of the tv watching home buying shows on HGTV. That is to say, interminably long rows of stockinette. But I love the end result. Mr Apparently bought the yarn (Koigu PPM) for me on the day our cat died, so between that and the lovely vacation, this shawl is full of memories.

beehive hat

Beehive Hat, a reversible hat pattern by Linda Romens. I had partial skeins of Manos del Uruguay from two different projects and they worked together perfectly in this pattern. I ran out of the blue with only a few yards to go, and Apparently Jr and I agreed to frog the baby sweater I’d used the yarn for originally. (It was pretty dirty and not nearly as sentimental as others I’ve made. Believe me, we have other baby sweaters that are keepers.) Ripping out an entire sweater was oddly exciting, and Apparently Jr pretended he was the bird from No Roses for Harry.

elfin hat

Elfin Hat, pattern by Amanda at Zhinka Dinka Doo. For a sweet little boy we know.

emma's star

Mr. Apparently surprised me with a copy of Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Patterns That Go Way Beyond Socks! and the first pattern that jumped out at me was Emma’s Star, a beret pattern by Jennifer Chase-Rappaport. I loved knitting this, except for the first five minutes, which were incredibly fiddly. But I did like starting in the center and working outwards. I purchased the gorgeous superwash merino from Black Sheep DyeWorks on Etsy.

This hat looks gorgeous on a table and kind of ridiculous on my head.

Now, the craziest thing of all is this: when I drafted this post late Thursday night, I looked up the names of the pattern designers to list them above. On Friday morning I was reading my Facebook feed and noticed that a Jennifer Chase-Rappaport had commented on one of my friend’s posts. A little research proved that she was indeed the same…and it turns out, a lovely person! You should knit her stuff.

What I Made This Week: Felt Food Edition

I actually spent most of this week working on a crescent-shaped shawl (Ravelry link) that I knit much of while we were on vacation, but right now it’s in a big messy heap waiting to be blocked, so no pretty visuals. I’m also finishing up a warm wool hat that I started last winter, as I need the needles for a custom knit hat for a sweet little boy in the neighborhood. In true shoemaker’s-children-go-barefoot fashion, my own son’s new winter hat will have to wait until the others are complete. But don’t feel badly for him; he has plenty of mommy-made hats.

In fact, here’s a sneak peek at part of his Halloween costume:

owl hat

On Thursday, a lovely friend contacted me about making some felt food for her nephew’s upcoming birthday. I love making felt food, but in a cruel twist of parenting, my son isn’t very interested in it. So I particularly enjoy custom orders of felt delicacies. Here’s what I packaged up for the little man this afternoon:

petite legume felt food

My favorite part is that the friend in question is one of the owners of Two Smart Cookies, a charming cookie shop in St. Paul, MN. So although she didn’t request cookies, how could I not whip up a little box with her logo on it?

<a href=

Seriously, if you are in the Twin Cities (my former home), please stop by the cookie shop and have several for me!

A Little Something: Autumn Cardigan Vest Pattern for Toddlers

I started knitting about eight years ago, and while I’ve purchased dozens of knitting books and individual patterns since then, free patterns have always been a staple. The appeal of online patterns is obvious – find something you like and you can cast on without putting on your shoes.

A friend gave me an unfinished sweater when she ran out of yarn at the shoulders, so I knew I had enough wool for a fall outdoor vest to fit my son. I poked around Ravelry but couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for: something warm and unfussy, designed for bulky yarn yet streamlined. Since a vest is basically just a sweater without sleeves, and I’ve knit any number of sweaters, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to puzzle out my first pattern. And of course it had to be free and online, as just a small way of saying thanks to all the designers whose work I’ve discovered via their blogs and web sites.

(If you do knit this vest and you find mistakes, please let me know! I wrote this up from my working notes, and so there may be errors. I’ll gladly fix them.)

Without further ado, my first pattern. Here’s a downloadable PDF, if you prefer.

Autumn Cardigan Vest

Autumn Cardigan Vest for Toddlers

Size: 3T (easily made smaller using a worsted or aran yarn and corresponding needles)

Suggested Yarn: I knit mine from two skeins of Debbie Bliss Donegal Chunky Tweed, but about 200 yards of any super bulky yarn will do.

Gauge: 12 stitches and 17 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch

Needles: US 10.5

Supplies: Tapestry needle, stitch holder or waste yarn, T-pins for blocking, size J crochet hook

OK, here we go…


Cast on 42 stitches.

Row 1: [Knit 2, Purl 1] across

Row 2: [Knit 1, Purl 2] across

Repeat these two rows two more times, for a total of six rows in K2P1 ribbing.

Knit 32 rows in stockinette stitch (knit on right side, purl on wrong side).

Shape armhole

Row 39: Bind off 3 stitches and knit to the end of the row.

Row 40: Bind off 3 stitches purlwise and purl to the end of the row.

Continue in stockinette stitch for 26 more rows. Place all stitches on a holder or waste yarn.

Right front:

Cast on 21 stitches.

Work 6 rows in K2, P1 ribbing as you did on the back.

Rows 7-39 are stockinette stitch with 6 stitches of ribbing on the inner edge.

Rows 7-39, odd/right side rows: [K2P1] twice, K15.

Rows 7-39, even/wrong side rows: P15, [K1P2] twice.

Row 40 (ws): Bind off 3 stitches purlwise and then purl to the end of the row. (18 st)

Continue in pattern (stockinette with the ribbed edge) for 18 more rows, ending with a purl row.

Shape neckline

Row 59: Bind off 3 stitches and knit to the end of the row.

Row 60: Purl.

Row 61: Bind off two stitches and knit to the end of the row.

Row 62: Purl

Row 63: Bind off one stitch and knit to the end of the row.

Row 64. Purl.

Move all stitches to a holder or waste yarn.

Left front:

Cast on 21 stitches.

Work 6 rows in K2, P1 ribbing as you did on the back and the right front.

Rows 7-39 are stockinette stitch with 6 stitches of ribbing on the inner edge.

Rows 7-39, odd/right side rows: K15, [K2P1] twice

Rows 7-39, even/wrong side rows: [K1P2] twice, P15.

Row 40 (ws): Bind off 3 stitches and then knit to the end of the row. (18 st)

Row 41: Purl.

Continue in pattern (stockinette with the ribbed edge) for 17 more rows, ending with a knit row.

Shape neckline

Row 59: Bind off 3 stitches purlwise and purl to the end of the row.

Row 60: Knit.

Row 61: Bind off two stitches purlwise and purl to the end of the row.

Row 62: Knit.

Row 63: Bind off one stitch purlwise and purl to the end of the row.

Row 64. Knit.


Join these 12 shoulder stitches to the corresponding 12 stitches of the back using a 3-needle bind off.

Join the right front piece to the corresponding 12 stitches of the back using a 3-needle bind off.

Leave the remaining 12 center neckline stitches on a holder while you block the unfinished vest. (It’s just easier to complete the edging and seaming on a nicely blocked piece.)

Crochet one row of single crochet around the armhole edge on both the left and right side.

Using mattress stitch, join the left side seams to the left back from the bottom of the armhole to the top of the ribbing at the waist. You can seam all the way to the bottom if you like, but if you stop where the ribbing starts, you’ll have nice little vents. (Isn’t it nice that you can add these little details by doing less work?)

Repeat to seam the right side.


(Note: you could add a hood here, which was my original plan. But I didn’t know if I’d have enough yarn, so this version has a stand-up collar.)

Pick up 13 stitches knitwise along the right front neck edge, move the 12 center back stitches to the needles, and then pick up 13 stitches across the left front neck edge. Knit 6 rows in K2P2 ribbing.

Rows 1, 3, 5: [K2, P2] across, ending K2.

Rows 2, 4, 6: [P2, K2] across, ending P2.

BO in ribbing. (That is, bind off the knit stitches knitwise and bind off the purl stitches purlwise.)

Weave in ends. Add buttons or toggles if you like.

Marvel in your talent and skill.

Put the vest on your kid and take him or her to the park!

What I Made This Week: Knit Edition

I don’t knit during the summer. But hello, fall! Out come the unfinished projects, which must be completed before any new projects begin. The heat isn’t on in my building yet, and so I’ve been curled up in the comfy chair with blankets and tea, knitting away. I don’t want to say that these projects aren’t fun, but I’m looking forward to this season’s crop of new patterns.

Exhibit A: Sea Star, from Hansi Singh’s Amigurumi Knits: Patterns for 20 Cute Mini Knits.

sea star sea star underneath

I’m very pleased with this little guy, and I definitely picked up some new skills. But pardon my language when I say that 3-D knitting is a bitch. So many little fiddly bits.

Exhibit B: Linda Romen’s Reversible Beehive Hat (available on Ravelry), in progress

beehive hat in progress

Exhibit C: A peek at a little something I’ll share with you very soon. My first knitting pattern!


I’ve been sewing quite a bit lately, too. Apparently I have time to craft but not to take photos.

What I Made This Week, or Several Weeks Ago

I’m behind on sharing my crafty output, as I’m slightly frustrated with my photos lately…

Two weeks ago we visited friends at their country house upstate. This upholstery fabric just kept saying “table runner,” and something about “country house” insisted “table runner” as well, and so I made this lovely table runner with matching coasters. It’s about 4 feet long and the panels to the left are all blues.

table runner

Another custom order of two pincushions became three because that’s what you do when your mother likes your stuff. (In general, I tend to include little presents in with my orders.) I’ve started packaging them in handmade origami boxes and plan to update my Etsy listings with photos of the boxed pincushions. I still love this design and would make nothing else…except they aren’t selling. That’s okay – I will use them!

petite legume pincushions

Also completed: one green striped cotton knit hat, one mustard and teal striped wool knit hat, six tassels and a bunch of quick capes for preschool. As fall approaches, I’m starting to knit again. Can’t wait to finish a pair of gloves (Ravelry link) – for me!

What I Made This Week

Thanks to Reading is My Superpower for this darling reversible pinafore pattern, and apologies for the crappy camera phone pictures. Clearly my next project will have to be a pair of matching bloomers from Amy Butler’s Little Stitches.

Otherwise: I just keep knitting around and around on a fine gauge sock. One origami box folded to hold rubber bands in the kitchen. And I’ve finally found the perfect pattern for the lovely handpainted alpaca yarn I received for Christmas (but it’s a secret, for now).

My son has discovered beads, and was so focused on threading them onto a piece of plastic string (the stuff we called gimp back in the 70s – I suspect that’s probably not PC any more) that he ignored the ringing doorbell completely. I’m going to have to get more beads.