Thread Thoughts

The Nut Graf knits, sews and attempts other crafts

Another fiber craft! October 15, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — chengat @ 12:02 am

It’s weaving, y’all!

Knitter's Loom

Knitter's Loom

This is the 20-inch Ashford Knitter’s Loom meant to make quick projects using knitting yarns. This is actually my 3rd scarf you see warped here. And this is the first scarf (with the baby giving final inspection):
I took a class on this at the Bonita Knit & Sew, which I highly recommend. I found the instructions on warping confusing so it helps to have someone personally show you how to do it. Plus, with the class, you walk out of there after an afternoon with a finished scarf. Now, I hope to use up some stash yarn to make some quick holiday projects. IMG_0403


Sock Summit rocked August 15, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — chengat @ 8:48 pm

It was a great weekend in Portland. The weather cooled down enough to actually wear socks. I took a class on Durability Issues with Charlene Schurch. Here are the samples she uses in her books.
And here she is with me and Andrew. (He was allowed to sit in on the class. It’s a good thing I know how to breastfeed and knit at the same time)
Then there was the marketplace, full of independent dyers, handspinners, small yarn shops and other crafty goodness. It was great to meet the folks behind my favorite yarns like Three Irish Girls, Madelinetosh, Mama Llama, Sanguine Gryphon, Material Whirled and Unique Sheep. And met some new people too, like Holiday Yarns, Here are some of their cool socks::
Some fun booths. Look at this sign made from pieces of knitting:
The Sock Museum had a display of colorful socks through the ages:
Book signings. Here are Barbara Walker, Anna Zilboorg and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
And the Luminary Panel: Lucy Neatby, Cat Bordhi, Deborah Robson, Anna Zilboorg, Judith MacKenzie-McCuin, (moderators Tina Newton and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee in the center), Meg Swansen, Barbara Walker, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Nancy Bush (I was in the back so the photo’s a little blurry)
And the final damage:


My friends are talented July 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — chengat @ 5:06 pm

Just wanted to show off the talents of some of my crafty friends who made some wonderful gifts for baby A. Here is an assortment sewn together by Onebyone. More on the clothes at her blog


And here are a quilt, burp cloths, booties and Owl Vest by Cora (Waterwitch):IMG_0160

Here’s baby A looking dapper in the Owl Vest. (Ravelry link to pattern here)



Baby booties bonanza!

Filed under: Uncategorized — chengat @ 7:42 am

What’s a fun, easy and fast knit for a newborn? Baby booties of course. Here’s what I have so far for baby A. Some fit right now and others he will grow into. I love all of them. From bottom left corner going counterclockwise: is Baby Keep Your Socks On, booties from Knit Picks’ Little Bubbles Baby kit, Blue Sky Alpacas Baby Booties, Baby Moc-a-Soc (knit by Cora), Lacy Leaf Booties from Zoe Mellor’s 50 Baby Bootees to Knit, Bully Woolies socks and Magic Slippers in the center.



I’m back! August 15, 2008

Filed under: Knitting,Quilting,Sewing — chengat @ 9:03 pm

I have finally found the time to take photos, upload them and update you on my goings on. Since coming back from Stitches in late February, I had been working nearly full time (8 hrs a day, 4 days a week) at my former job, filling in while they looked for a permanent replacement. Initially it was only going to be 2-3 months, but it ended up lasting through mid-July. Then I got caught up with some summer programs with my son. Anyway, enough of the excuses. Through it all I was still knitting, just not blogging. Check out my Flickr files and Ravelry account (user ID: thenutgraf) to see photos and more details of my knitting/sewing stuff.

The two knitted items I have been happiest with were the Manos Four Seasons blanket bought from a kit from the Yarndogs booth at Stitches and the Glee top. I thought it would take a long time to make the blanket because I have a hard time completing rectangular objects (i.e. stoles, scarves, and other things that require long sections of repetitive knitting). But the switching of the various colors and stitches kept it interesting and I was able to complete it in just a few weeks. Even the seaming wasn’t bad.

Here’s the Glee top using Sheep Shop 3 yarn from my stash. The only changes I made were a little shaping around the waistline and shortening the slit of the neckline (joining the piece to work in the round shortly after the sleeves.)

Recently, though, I have been focusing on sewing. My mom was in a town for a few weeks and I decided to enlist her expert sewing skills to help me complete a few projects. Plus, I had been inspired by all the fabrics and projects I saw at this year’s Southern California Quilter’s Run, which I missed last year because I was moving. Here are some of the small projects, some pillow cases and a table runner:

The table runner was my mom’s selection of fabric and her first attempt at free-motion quilting. Great job I think. It’s nice to grow up with someone with such talent. I have fond memories of helping her with her sewing projects as a child, and now the tables have turned!

And she found this great peacock fabric (made by Hoffman California Fabrics purchased from Cozy Quilt Shop in El Cajon) and we just had to make something from it. So to show off the fabric, we chose a pattern from the book, 9-Patch Pizazz. We were debating over whether to have a teal blue inner border or beige-gold inner border. We decided on one, but I will reveal it later. Here are both versions as seen on my design mat:

I am busy with more sewing, trying to get some of my quilt tops done. Here’s one that’s been lying around for a while, the Aloha Carlsbad quilt:


New classes = new projects = more multitasking! February 21, 2008

Filed under: Knitting,Quilting — chengat @ 8:39 am

I have recently taken some classes to learn some new knitting and sewing skills, which means once again I have added to my ever-growing list of unfinished projects. But what fun projects they are.

I kicked off my new year of knitting with a great sock class given by Cat Bordhi and hosted by Common Threads in Encinitas, CA. Cat recently published a new book on socks called, New Pathways for Sock Knitters (Book One). If you ever have an opportunity to attend a class by Cat, I highly recommend you to jump on it. She’s entertaining and has a great way of explaining knitting techniques using lots of visuals and stories. Here she is demonstrating Judy Becker’s Magic Cast-On. Notice all the charts and directions spread out on the floor in front of her:


Cat’s recent book shows new ways of looking at sock architectures, that is, the various parts that form a sock — the cuff, leg, heel, instep and toe. She shows how you can shape the sock by adding increases at the bottom of the foot, the side, or even spread out around the foot. In the book, you learn each new “architecture” by knitting a baby sock. Here are the baby socks I made for the Coriolis pattern (using Dream in Color’s worsted weight yarn in Dusky Aurora). Notice how the increases swirl around the arch of the foot in different directions on each foot:


The baby socks are followed by adult designs and a “master pattern” that you can just plug in your own numbers to knit with any yarn at any gauge for any size foot. That’s probably the hardest part, measuring your feet and gauge to get the right size. Here’s my first sock from her book, the Rushing Rivulet sock (using Claudia’s Handpainted in the Purple Dot colorway). I think I didn’t get an accurate gauge because it seems a bit large in the instep area.


The book’s instructions and illustrations are clear, written for DPNs, 2 circulars or Magic Loop. I especially liked Cat’s technique of right and left increases (La-Link and La-Rink), and she has the clearest and best instructions I’ve seen on how to pick up wrapped stitches when knitting short rows. Cat’s web site links to some You Tube videos showing some of these techniques, including the Magic Cast-On.

My second class this year was a class held at Sowing Sisters in Carlsbad, to make a wall hanging or quilt of batik elephants using the paper piecing method. This technique requires that you sew small pieces of fabric onto the paper pattern. You pin the fabric pieces to the back of the pattern, sew along the lines of the pattern and trim. It’s a great way to sew smaller, more complicated designs. It’s not difficult but does require a bit of concentration because the pieces are so small. These elephants measure about 4 1/2 inches square each. Here are my first three elephants and the batiks I am using:

elephant1.jpg elephant2.jpg

The elephants’ tails will be made of braided embroidery floss. The teacher used seed beads for eyes, but I think I will embroider the eyes instead because I am making a crib-sized quilt and don’t want any choking hazards. Here are some of the supplies I’m using: a cutting mat, a small rotary cutter, a quarter-inch ruler, flat pins and a fabric turner for the ears. To the left is the border fabric in black and the background fabric in cream.


I’m off to Stitches West tomorrow to take some more classes and add to my yarn and project stash. Hope to report on my adventures soon!


Alpacas are funny January 31, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — chengat @ 6:36 am

Happy (belated) new year. I can still say that while we’re still in January, right?

No blog updates in a month because I have been out of town, then was furiously playing catch-up after I got back home. My DH then went out of town for a week and came back with the flu, which later spread to me and now the little one. So, I will have to update with knitting news at a later date. I plan to talk a little about Cat Bordhi’s new sock book and a great class I took with her earlier this year.

In the meantime, here’s a hilarious knitting-related spoof article courtesy of The Onion. Check out the sweaters in the photo:


Last-Minute Gifts: Stuffed horse December 20, 2007

Filed under: Sewing — chengat @ 7:40 am

Here’s an easy stash-buster project that took me less than a half hour to make:

I made a bunch of these last year and gave them away to the little kids in our family. The above photo is the prototype I made for my son. It was inspired by Poncho, a very gentle Shetland Pony that my son used to ride at REINS, a therapeutic horseback riding program for kids with special needs. (If you click on the horses link at the REINS web site, you can see a photo of Poncho — he’s the horse of choice for the toddler crowd.)

Materials: I used fabric remnants found in the clearance bin of my local Joann store and novelty yarn I had in my stash for the mane and tail. You can also cut thin fabric strips instead of yarn.

I drew an outline of a horse on a piece of paper (the simpler the better), cut it out and pinned it to the fabric (folded right sides together). Cut the fabric around the template, making sure to leave about a quarter inch or so for seams. Lay your yarn pieces as pictured in the photo below:

Carefully sew around beginning at the saddle area, leaving open about an inch and a half at the saddle area for stuffing. Make sure you leave some shape definition around the head. I also recommend double stitching over the mane and tail area to secure the yarn. Snip fabric where there are sharp curves, making sure not to clip into the seams. Turn inside out, stuff, whipstitch shut. Use pinking shears to cut a rectangular saddle with contrast fabric. Cover the whipstitched area with the saddle and use a decorative stitch, e.g. running stitch or blanket stitch to attach. Further embellish with sequins, bead, or ribbons if so desired.

This is my final installment of last-minute gift ideas. Merry Christmas!


Last-Minute Gifts: Needle felting December 12, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — chengat @ 2:41 am

Here’s another idea for a last-minute crafting gift – needle felting. I completed these two guys in one evening:
They’re from a Woolpet kit that I bought from The Loopy Ewe.
They come in other animals, like sheep, birds, polar bear and I especially like their hedgehog. These would make good ornaments, or leave them in a kit to give to someone. They come nicely packaged in a clear take-out box container with two felting needles, clear photo instructions and, in the case of my snowmen kit, enough roving make at least another pair. You will need foam or a sponge to cushion your project while jabbing with a felting needle. Laurie from Woolpets also sells felted sculptures and kits from her Etsy store.
Here is another cute kit I bought from
They are called Critter Kits and are made by They come with roving, instructions, bead, thread and a Colonial felting needle. Pictured here next to Mr. Boston Terrier are a felting needle tool and a mat made by Clover. The Clover felting tool is more for applique work than for these small sculptures. You place the wool applique over the base fabric and punch it with the tool to apply the piece. It’s a way to easily decorate sweaters, scarves or bags without sewing.

Lastly, if you like the terrier pictured above, you might want to check out the amazingly life-like kits at or get the Fleece Dog book, which contains lots of photos and is fun just to leaf through. Happy jabbing!


Last-minute gifts: Sewing December 8, 2007

Filed under: Quilting,Reviews — chengat @ 12:44 am

Wow. I hadn’t realized it’s been exactly a month since I’ve updated this blog. I was trying to finish knitting up some hats for my nieces and nephew, went out of town for Thanksgiving and then had to get a new logic board for my iMac (no charge thankfully).

So looking for some last minute gifts? Let’s turn to sewing, which usually takes less time than knitting the same item. Here are two books I bought a month or so ago, one to make gifts and the other could make a gift:
These are Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson and Midwest Modern, a coffee table book by Amy Butler.

Hoverson also wrote Last-Minute Knitted Gifts and owns Purl and Purl Patchwork, in New York City’s Soho district. Like LM Knitted Gifts, the projects are broken down by estimated time to complete: less than 2 hours, 2-4 hours, 4-8 hours, 8-12 hours and more than 12 hours. Projects range from pincushions and pillows, to large-sized quilts. Here are some of my favorites:

Color-wheel quilt, a striking wall hanging

(Sort of) Crazy Quilt, inspired by the quilters of Gee’s Bend and Denyse Schmidt
and Peanut, the wee elephant, designed by Hillary Lang of Wee Wonderfuls fame. This looks like a good way to use up scrap fabric.

The book also includes chapters on color theory and quilting basics, although I wouldn’t use this as a reference on quilting as there are no how-to photos. Last Minute Knitted Gifts is one of my favorite knitting books, and this one will likely become one of my favorite sewing books too, alongside Denyse Schmidt’s Quilts and Amy Butler’s In Stitches. (P.S. I forgot to mention the book comes with full-size pattern templates that you can photocopy or trace) Grade: A

For those of you looking for sewing patterns, Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern may disappoint you. There are only two, for floor cushions and an envelope pillow. Instead, this book is more of a behind-the-scenes peek at Butler’s designs and aesthetics. For example, here’s a photo of her workroom
And here are some of her sketches: ab1.jpg

Many of the photos of Butler’s projects used in the book can be found on her web site, but there are also some shots of her garden and other places where she finds inspiration. The photos, taken by her husband, are beautiful and there are tons of them. This book is eye candy for the hard-core Amy Butler fan. Grade: B+

I’ll end this entry with a quotation from Butler’s book: “I wanted this book to inspire you — not to look at my life and work in awe, but to see how simple and approachable a creative life is. It’s not about adding layers to our life, but about stripping away obstacles. Fear is one of the biggest obstacles any of us can face….Don’t allow your fears and anxieties to overshadow your passions.”