Saturday, February 28, 2009

Felted Coffee Clutch

In lieu of having the time to make part two of the limp binding videos today, I decided to share a knitting pattern instead. This recipe is for an easy felted wool coffee sleeve that you can stitch up in just under two hours. It's also a great way to use up wool skein remnants.




K= knit the entire row
k= knit the number of stitches indicated after k
inc= increase (there are several methods to do this, use the one that suits you)
dpns= double pointed needles




Worsted weight feltable 100% wool yarn (1/4 to 1/2 a skein should suffice)
A set of four size 7 double pointed needles
A stitch marker (this is optional, but can be helpful)




Cast on 36 stitches

Split 12 stitches to a needle

Row 1: K

Row 2: K

Row 3: k4, inc, k20, inc, k12

Row 4: K

Row 5: K

Row 6: K

Row 7: k12, inc, k20, inc, k6

Row 8: K

Row 9: K

Row 10: K

Row 11: k6, inc, k20, inc, k14

Row 12: K

Row 13: K

Row 14: K

Row 15: k14, inc, k20, inc, k8

Row 16: K

Row 17: K

Bind off

Weave in ends




1) Hand wash the project in fairly hot water (not hot enough to burn!)

2) Rub the coffee sleeve together as you run it under the water to aid felting

2) Half dry using a hair dryer

3) Block using the intended size coffee cup as a form

4) Repeat the felting process if your coffee clutch is too loose

All done! I hope you have fun making this one.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Medieval Limp Book Binding Part I: Tools

I've been wanting to post a little bit about medieval limp binding. It is a bookbinding process which involves using leather for a soft cover and securing the signatures to the spine with a long stitch. The process creates a "limp" cover because it uses no boards. The effect is a lovely hand bound book that travels well and is representative of the medieval limp bound style. My tools are not very period, but they get the job done effectively. In the video below I will discuss my bookbinding tools and their uses. I apologize if the video is a bit jumpy at times. Enjoy!

Here are some links for materials I mentioned in the video:
Articus Studio - bone folder and book binding supplies
Harbor Freight Tools - paper cutter
Dick Blick- a kit included my wood folder and metal awl
The Leather Guy- a great source for small pieces of 4oz upholstery leather

Just a quick note about reclaimed materials: If possible, check out your local Craigslist free section for any shops that may be getting rid of leather samples. Ask around for sources of leather pieces as it doesn't make sense to get a new hide if there are quality materials available that would otherwish hit the trash.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Pint Sized Budgie

I adopted an adorable little pint sized budgie today from a local breeder. My two budgies recently passed away and it has taken me a few weeks to decide to bring a new feathered friend home. She/he is barely three inches from toes to the top of her/his head. She/he is home safe and settling in well so far. The bub isn't named yet, but I'm sure the perfect name will come along in no time. Oh, I forgot to mention she/he is only three and a half months old.

What a cutie bub!

Birthday Limoncello

This past March I spent two weeks in Italy and in the process managed to fall in love with limoncello. For those who haven't experienced limoncello before, it's a delight! It's a sweet dessert liquor with the natural color and flavor of candied lemon zest. Having polished off the stock I was able to bring back with me from Italy, I felt inspired to make some of my own.

Actually I've been itching to try my hand at some form of home brewing since I took a course on mead making two summers ago. Limoncello seemed like a simple, enjoyable way to start. I found the most useful information about making limoncello from a wonderful site called Limoncello Quest. If you are looking for a good limoncello tutorial, start there. For now I will explain how my batch is coming along.

I started with:
1 Microplane zester (very much worth the $12 investment)
10 organic lemons (these have no wax on them, which makes for an easy prep)
1 large bottle of Smirnoff vodka (which I filtered twice using a Brita for a smooth taste)
1 half gallon growler (I used a glass one from a microbrewery that I love)

So far I am through steps 1-6 of the Limoncello Quest Process, just with a smaller batch. I am calling this my Birthday Limoncello because I wanted to make sure I allowed plenty of time for the mixture to sit before touching it. This means I can't add the simple syrup until my birthday in April and I can't even dream about tasting the final product until at least my dad's birthday in June.

I'm doing suprisingly well forgetting about the limoncello until it's ready. I'm hoping it turns out well. In an ideal world, my next brewing project will be a fruit wine or honey mead. The mead sounds so tempting and I know I could get my hands on some great organic honey this summer from Local Harvest.

I will add pictures of this project as it progresses.