Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Contest Winners!

As always, I was so moved and thrilled by the response I got from you all! Great thoughtful answers, suggestions, tips - you guys rock!

Our winners, who will each receive a fold-up reusable shopping bag and a PDF of the Momogus Knits pattern of their choice, are (drumroll please): Lisa, David (who very graciously asked that his reusable bag prize be reused for another contestant - more recycling!), Debi, Kathleen (Ramseyer - Kathleen - please email me at - I couldn't get a message to you on FB!), Cathie, and Julie.

Here are some of the great tips: Save our Beach has some great recycling and earth-friendly tips at the bottom of their home page.

Composting raw veggies, dumping coffee grounds on your plants, leaving yarn ends out for the birds to use for their nests (love that tip!), using old canning and peanut butter jars to hold craft supplies, decorating old Pringles jars as knitting needle holders (another knitter-friendly tip!) or using them as part of a game, using wax paper instead of plastic wrap - so many great, easy-to-implement ideas! You can review them in more detail on the Facebook page or in the comments in the previous post here on the blog.

Congrats and thank you so much for your (and everyone else's) participation!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day! Giveaway! (Bags and Free Patterns!)

No sermons here. If you're a breathing human adult, you're aware of the importance of taking care of our dear planet. To push things along a bit, though, I'm having a giveaway! Some details.....

My personal pet peeve is plastic bags. For the past couple of years I've tried to train myself to say, "I don't need a bag," as often as I can. It's difficult at first to remember, but it's amazing how often you don't need a bag. Of course, I live in the suburbs and drive a car, so it's easy to carry things from the store to the car and just plop them on the seat. When I lived in the city and walked everywhere, then you do need a bag, which brings me to.....Giveaway!

I'll pick 5 people at random and they will each get this bag:

AND the Momogus Knits pattern of their choice emailed to them in PDF form (we'll save some trees!) I have a lot of reusable shopping bags, but these ChicoBags are my favorite - they fold up small into their attached pouch and have a clip to hold them to your purse.

Leave a comment here (make sure you add your email address in your comment) or on the Facebook page. Share an Earth Day thought, recycling tip, or nature appreciation, and also which pattern you'd like.

Here's mine: I'm pretty sure I was a tree in my last life. This big old tree in my backyard is like a soulmate for me:

I love looking at it in all seasons, I worry about it in windstorms, I pat it with my hand when I walk by it. Happy Earth Day, tree!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Our Friend, Duplicate Stitch.

As you may or may not know, there are many many ways to introduce colorwork into your knitting. There's Fair Isle or stranded knitting, which I discussed here. There's mosaic knitting, which you can try with this pattern:

There's intarsia, my Lex Luther:

And then there's my dear, dear friend, mighty duplicate stitch.

Duplicate stitch allows you to create one section of colorwork that you would have to knit in intarsia otherwise. No bobbins, no trillion strands of yarn tangling everywhere. It's essentially an embroidery stitch that mimics the look of the knit stitch. Here's how you do it. Start with a graph. You can make your own with graph paper [note: knitter's graph paper is available, but I just use regular graph paper] or use the colorwork chart that comes with your pattern. Cross-stitch and needlepoint charts will work as well, but keep in mind that they do not compensate for the size of the knitted stitch as a chart written specifically for knitting will.

(that's a smiling face, folks). Notice that the design is slightly elongated top to bottom, as compared to the finished result below. That's because regular graph paper is composed of squares, where the knit stitch is more of a rectangle.

Finished result, much shorter vertically than the graphed design.

Here we go. Each block of the graph represents one stitch. Thread some yarn onto a yarn needle. I usually use 12" lengths of yarn. Bring the yarn up at the bottom of the "V" of the stitch you want to cover:

Next, bring the needle through the tops of the V of the stitch ABOVE the one you want to cover:

Bring the yarn through. Don't pull tight. You need very little tension on the stitches. You want the duplicate stitch thread to cover the stitch.

Now bring the needle back into the bottom of the V where you first came up.

Done and done.

It's easy! You can add designs or embellishment after you're finished your garment. It's great for putting initials on kids' sweaters.

Or make up your own motifs - this was for my train-loving son. Please note awesome smoke, which I am very proud of: