Recycle Day (not a lot of knitting..but getting ready!)

Posted April 21, 2008 by dehbi
Categories: Crystals, knitting

(Written on Sunday, April 20, 2008)

I did not get much done today other than taking apart 4 (or maybe it was 5) of those sweaters for the purpose of recycling the yarn.  It took a while, but I am excited that I now have about 2 lbs. of yarn in this beautiful green colorway:

Knitting to be ripped out for recycling the yarn

Of course it is prettier than I am able to capture in a photo.  I want to make that long pencil skirt (mentioned the other day in another post) and now I can start on the green one, at least, without having to stop to dismantle more sweaters.

When I got to the last sweater/capelet in the greens colorway, I considered saving that last one, not ripping it out,  to perhaps wear it…but the sweater is knitted flat and I don’t like the way the colors line up (or don’t line up) at the seams. 

So I will be making the skirt in the round and if any other ideas come to me for what to make from this yarn, I’ll be sure that the design works better with the yarn in terms of color continuity. Or I might just offer the extra yarn for a trade on Ravelry.


I am a member of a couple of communities of women who all have one thing in common:  we knit dishcloths and swap them with each other. 

This is turning out to be a lot more fun than one would imagine because, not only do you get to make lots of new friends, you get to learn lots of new stitch patterns and things to do with very inexpensive (around $2) dishcloth cotton, available everywhere.

The above link, which I learned about in the group “Dishcloths R Us,” takes you to a fantastic list of blogs featuring 500(!) knitting patterns that use from only 1yd. to 285 yds. of yarn.  They ask that this resource not just be used for the patterns… the whole point of publishing the information is to get folks to visit the blogs where they are found and have a look around, too.  I think I can manage that…at least I will plan to do that as I work my way through the list!


As if I needed any more interests!  A few weeks ago my friend Victoria handed me a lovely chunk of clear quartz crystal.  I could feel the energy in that crystal as I held it for a while.  It got quite warm and brought me a sense of something that I can only say, after 5 years of taking yoga,  is like yoga bliss. 

Here is a pic of Victoria’s crystal present to me:  Terminated Clear Crystal

Here’s some lovely Chinese Rhodochrosite: Lovely Chinese Rhodochrosite

and finally , a bunch of tumbled Prehnite crystals: Tumbled Prehnite Crystals

So, you ask, what the heck do these have to do with knitting or art or creativity, or anything? 

Well, they have to do with my new interest in harnessing crystal energy! 

I’ve had books on crystals for years, but they always seemed to be in my “stuff to read” pile. After what happened when Victoria gave me that crystal, however, I am all over those books and now on the prowl for more crystals of different types. 

One of my swap partners, in New Zealand, is going to send me a piece of “pounamu” from her country.  It has spiritual significance for the Maori people and I will be adding that to my collection of “working” crystals.

There was a gem show this weekend in San Diego and I went down and picked up the prehnite, a nice piece of fluorite, something for my father’s jewelry-making, and something called “white turquoise.”  I am interested in learning more about the metaphysical properties of crystals. 

Different crystals correspond to different signs of the zodiac and can help to energize the natural electromagnetic fields around all living things.  Something definitely happens when I hold one of these crystals so this definitely bears further exploration!

More about crystals and their uses here.


My next post should feature shots of my skirt project, which I think I’ll start  My wardrobe has too many sweaters and not enough skirts.  So skirts will be added to my knitting repertoire for me.

For my charity knitting projects, I am switching over to preemie caps (from bandages for lepers in India…whose need for the bandages is winding down) and probably blankets.

If you are a knitter and are interested in charity knitting projects, there is a lot of information about may different types of items needed and sponsoring organization contacts on the Lion Brand Charity Connection pages  (also linked from my Blogroll (the column on the right).

And of course, in my role as “Gogo” (what my grandbabies call me, or at least the one who can talk calls me that), I have to keep working on projects for them.  I just found a great pants pattern for the baby, and my daughter has her request in… 

It is amazing how much others can benefit from something that takes so little effort.



Time for an art pottery break….

Posted April 19, 2008 by dehbi
Categories: art pottery

Time for a little departure from fiber/textiles talk.  Tonight I’m unveiling some of my father’s latest creations. 

At 85 years old (86 within weeks!), Daddy spends 30 hours or so in the studio, making very inspired artworks in clay.  Like his mother and siblings, and his only child (me!), Daddy was born under the sign of Taurus. 

Taurus is an earth sign and Daddy’s connection with clay, always very strong and a real constant in his life, is providing him with one way to be the artist he always wanted to be in his youth. 

His was a generation that did not really see “artist” has an honest profession and so he dutifully got a good education, worked hard as a social worker, hospital social work director, and mentor to many comingup in that profession….but he has always collected art, married an artist, had many artist friends, and promoted art whenever he could.

When he was finally able to create as much art as he wanted, he made beaded jewelry of African beadstuffs bought from the Gambian traders who criss-cross the U.S. in their overladen vans, sharing their contact lists. 

I once went with Daddy to see one of the traders who was in Cincinnati during one of my visits there.  Going into that room where he had set up his temporary “shop” was like a visit to a treasure cave.

Beaded jewelry is still a passion…and I am slowly working my way up to setting up an Etsy shop for his jewelry, my knitwear patterns and finished art-to-wear, and his art pottery, like this guy:

Nariz in Profile

Nariz, another view

Nariz, full frontal!

“Nariz” is one of my favorites.  Lots of detail and even more attitude!

Daddy doesn’t usually name his pieces, so I decided to have fun with this.  This one’s name means “nose” in Spanish. 

Here is another piece with a lot of personality:


This mask makes me think of a production of Oedipus Rex that I was taken to see by my mother, a thespian herself.


Dermie needs help!

His name is “Dermie” because he looks to me as if he needs to go to dermatologist like, yesterday. 

Dreaded contemplating his wardrobe

This is “Dreaded,” who is trying to figure out what to wear today.

rear view...and I do mean

Dreaded ‘s rear end

I’ll put more of Daddy’s clayworks up in later posts.  I will showcase items for sale, as well as items from my own collection.  They won’t be for sale, but they should be seen!


Clay sculpture by Herbert J. Allen of Cincinnati, Ohio 2008

Photo images –  Copyright Deborah A. Fleming 2008

Time to focus on skirts and a windfall for yarn recycling

Posted April 15, 2008 by dehbi
Categories: knitting


Recently I was in the “Everything $5.99” store which will occasionally have a gem or two. That day was the best yet for finding a bargain. In fact, it was a bargain times 11!

I found a bunch of knitted tank sweater and capelet sets for $1.99 for each set. Amazing! Each had been knitted in a lovely subtle variegated colorway with long color repeats in the way that the dye was used. The yarn is a soft blend. I think I may have left one set in the store.

I had been wanting to make skirts for some time and finding those sweaters means I’ll be able to make them for very little money.

A few weeks ago I lucked out in my hunt for a certain kit thanks to friends at the wonderful fiber (knitting and crochet, mostly) community at Ravelry and found someone with a kit for this:

PenelopeWhich is called the “Penelope Pencil Skirt” …

 and best of all, she was willing to part with it! She actually had the short version of the skirt to trade (whereas I had wanted the long version), but that was o.k. I can extrapolate with the basic pattern.

I sent her some lovely merino hand-dyed yarn I had picked up in Chile a couple of years ago, and she sent me the skirt kit. We had some nail-biting because, even though I had shipped first, I got my package from her first. The Chilean yarn took a rather long time to get to her, but it did arrive and Teri is very happy with it, revealing to me that she had put it on a counter and “petted” it every time she walked past it. We fiber folk are like that about our yarns!

So I will have the yarn that came with the kit and, once I do the ripping out….using all of my yoga training to relax and go into a meditative mode (with my crystals at my side) while I rip out all of those garments….I’ll also have additional yarn for making it in other colorways.

I’ll go from this: 

to having something I can use for at least one skirt, but now it is looking like 3(!).  Don’t be horrified by the brightness of the colors here.  I had trouble adjusting it and the real fabric is much darker and more subdued, quite rich-looking, not day-glo like my photo.

Watch this space for more on the progress of those projects (triple threat?). After so much handling, I hope I don’t get so fed up with this yarn that I don’t want to wear the skirt or skirts when finished!

Also this week I have been making yarn balls for my swap partners.

Making yarn balls, for the uninitiated, involves tying together short lengths of different yarns, ribbon, string, anything that can be tied with the rest, and then rolling the continuous piece into one big ball from which something (like a scarf) can be knitted or crocheted….or used in any way that one would use yarn.

This swap and many others are organized and managed using the free services offered here. A “magic” yarn ball is where you take a ball of yarn and re-wind it, tucking small gifts and “goodies” within as you wind. It is like a little surprise package for the receiver!

Swapping can become quite addictive! You send and receive and it is like having Christmas every time something comes. It is also a terrific way to make new friends all over the world. One of my partners today is from the Orkney Islands, and I have another swap partner who lives on a sheep farm in New Zealand.

The partner in N.Z. is going to send me some of their famous wool and some crystals from there for my crystal work as well as a puffy/scrubbie, since the monthly swap of that group is based on a scrubbie exchange. Scrubbies, which look like this,  Four Scrubbiesand are supposed to be for use in the kitchen, make terrific facial exfoliators. Who knew?

(Back to New Zealand….) Maryanne and I have been having a lively cyber-conversation about sustainable lifestyles and Lotus Birth which is an area in which she has expertise. Fascinating!

I took pics tonight of some of Daddy’s sculptural pieces, but it is almost 5 a.m. and I need to get to bed so that I can get up for work….which is necessary to support my way-out-of-control yarn addiction habit.

Despite the name of this blog, I do need to get some sleep occasionally…but only enough to be able to create with any coherence.

Living the knitting life entails giving up things like keeping a neat house and sleeping!

So those pics of some of Daddy’s work will have to be in the next post which I’ll have up very soon.

Finally joining the legions of bloggers….

Posted April 6, 2008 by dehbi
Categories: Easy Elegance Ponchette, Introductory stuff, Patterns

Tags: , , ,

Late bloomer that I am, today is the day, after years of deliberation (and procrastination), that I have decided to launch my first attempt at blogging.

Welcome to my creative world and please keep reading this first post for a “reward” of a free knitting pattern further down.

I have been knitting and designing for most of my life, have given away more stuff than I can remember, published a bit (in Knitter’s Magazine, Winter 1997 and some self-published leaflets), and lately have wanted to reach out to others, knitters and non-knitters, who might interested in what I do, and what I have to say about it.

Being able to connect with one’s own creativity is a wonderful thing and I believe that each and every one of us has a well of creativity within, just waiting for us to dive in and partake. Not everyone’s creativity comes out in the same way and creativity does not happen in a vacuum. It needs stimulation, something to wake it up and make it want to shout!

Of course coming from creative parents helps:

Perhaps reading my posts will help to motivate a few of you to do what I do…well, maybe not adopt weird sleeping hours, as I did when my daughter was a toddler…just to find time to create…but it might help to stir your own creative impulses. If yours have already been activated, maybe it will spur you on even more!

Here are a couple of pics of my daughter, the beautiful, smart, and talented Julia Barrus, modeling a one-of-a-kind shawl I designed and made for my ex-MIL’s 80th birthday present.  The technique for this design was handknitting with crochet-embellishment using many different yarns, ribbons, and beads.

Clara's shawl

Clara's shawl



Freebie Pattern Coming Up!

Easy Elegance Ponchette

This design is perfect for those who have not been knitting for very long and affords a great opportunity, if you can stand it, to log lots of time knitting what is essentially a long rectangle of ribbing.  I know, I know, that seems boring…but look at it as a zen exercise.

To inaugurate my blog, I’ll offer this free pattern for my original “Easy Elegance Ponchette,”  and if anyone can think of a name for this other than “ponchette,” please post it in the comments.  I dislike the word “ponchette” but it does seem to fit!

This design came about when I bought yarn to make something for one of my dearest and oldest friends, Ruth R. of Zurich, Switzerland.  She’s not old, but our friendship is!

I was spending a month there with her about 5 years ago and as we traveled around the country, my eyes, ever on the lookout for yarn shops, spied a very nice-looking one in a small town near the Austrian border.

We went in and I lost my mind….yarn costs there are (or were) about a third what they were in the U.S., so I bought lots and lots (and lots!) of yarn.

Fast forward to two years ago in South America.  Ruth and I met there to do some travel in Chile and Argentina.  I had carried the yarn for Ruth’s “whatever,” intending to finish it and give it to her to avoid having to mail it to Europe from the U.S.  Rayon can be heavy!

Another view of the ponchette

The design kind of defined itself on the needles and resulted in a silver grey version of the garment you see here.  She and I both liked hers and I decided to make another one for myself when I got back home.  Ruth wore hers to a tango show that I was too sick to attend.

Later, I made the blue one for myself with yarn I found on the web at Cudgenet, a wedding supplies company.

Then one day a few months later,  I was wearing mine at work, someone admired it and commissioned me to make one for her!

Last year I put together a written pattern for my fellow guild members at the High Tide Purlers knitting guild in Laguna Beach, CA, U.S.A. and here it is:

*Easy Elegance Ponchette


Deborah A. Fleming

Blue Chainette Yarn from Cudgenet used double, or any other yarn to get gauge.  This is probably about a sport weight when using it doubled.

One size fits most


I bought 2 spools  of the chainette yarn and used the yarn doubled.  Any rayon or drapey yarn works well with this design. Other yarns can be used, but the result will vary.


For the size I made, there will be  some yarn leftover…probably enough for a small purse.


Gauge:  On size #9 needles with 2×2 ribbing.  6 sts./5 rows to the inch, unstretched. 


The fabric made is very s-t-r-e-t-c-h-y.


I have one selvedge stitch at the end of each row: 

On each row, I slip the first stitch of the row and knit the last stitch of the row.


Cast on 76 sts.

Row 1 (right side):  Slip 1, *k2, p2, repeat from * across to the last stitch. K1.


Row 2 (wrong side): Slip 1, *p2, k2, repeat from * across to the last stitch. K1.


Repeat these two rows until piece measures about 48” unstretched, ending with a wrong side row.


Bind off loosely in ribbing.


Finishing:  Fold piece in half lengthwise.  Sew sides together beginning at a point 3” above the cast on/bind off edges, and at intervals about 1.5” apart to leave a keyhole effect at the join.

If the wearer is of a larger-than-average size, you will want to increase  the number of stitches you cast on as follows: 

To balance the placement of the knit stitch ribs (as the work is facing you), to increase you’ll want the number of stitches to be a multiple of 4 by an **odd** number, plus 2 stitches for the end selvedges. 

So, for example, my original size has a cast on of 78 stitches.  So that’s 76, divisible by 4 an odd number of times (19, to be exact), plus 2 more stitches for the selvedge.


Now go out and party!  Or, if you are making this for someone else, make another one for yourself!

*Updated September 22, 2014

© 2007-2014 Deborah Allen Fleming

Please don’t sell this pattern or otherwise use it for profit.  If you decide to share it with anyone else  that’s fine, but if you do, please be sure to include my name, the copyright symbol and this note.  Thanks!

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