General Ginger Knits

random thoughts on knitting and the universe

Friday, April 29, 2005

a couple more felted FOs

Well you lovely readers were chalk full of good ideas for stiffening your felted bag bottoms. I think I may have to try some of that perforated plastic that Amanda suggested. I also like Miriam’s idea to glue the board in place. That might keep it from shifting around too much.

Jen, please let us all know how your front loader felting experience goes. Wool Winder’s idea to use plastic placemats is an idea after my tightwad heart. You can usually pick those up for a song at garage sales and the season has already begun down here in the south. Valerie also suggested an economical idea to be on the lookout for in those plastic notebook covers. Martha, I love your idea to knit a pocket to hold the foam core board. I will have to think of a design to create one of these that doesn’t involve any sewing. Let us know what your sister says about her bag bottom Lisa. Clearly more user surveys are required to find out just the right combination to create a sagless bottom.

Now for your felting pleasure are a couple more bags that I finished up this week. The blue bag was actually knitted by my MIL. She is English and learned how to knit as a child. She knitted the bag part but had no idea what icord was so she gave the lot of it back to me. I finished it up, felted it, and am planning to surprise her with is this weekend. We’re going off to enjoy a garden tour. So you folks will have those pictures to look forward to on my blog this weekend.

Sadly, I had to say goodbye to my green felted bag with the lovely flower pin. I knitted it for a dear friend of mine who begged me to knit one for her for a charity auction after she saw the first one that I knitted. I truly hated to see this one go because I loved the colors so much. I was especially pleased with it because I’d heard from nearly everyone that the white or light Lopi colors wouldn’t felt. Well I’ll be gosh darned if mine didn’t felt just as well as the green part. I was especially proud of that purse but I know that it is going off for a good cause.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Meme is "a unit of information - stored in a brain or an inanimate storage base" according to Wikipedia. But it did not tell me how to pronounce it. I supposed I've got to go and find a dictionary for that. The lovely Stitchin' Sheep tagged me to complete this book meme.

1. Total Number of Books in Your House:
No idea in truth. Perhaps 30 or 40 maybe 50. Oh, wait, my new other half moved some of his in so perhaps double that. Are you shocked and amazed that I own so few books? It's really true. I do read, a lot; in fact, it's just that when you work where I do there is really no need to own many books. :)

2. The Last Book You Bought Was:
I honestly can't remember. I tend to borrow a lot of books.

3. What Was The Last Book You Read Before Reading This:
I'm currently rereading a fun fiction book titled Peaches and Screams by G.A. McKevett. This author really shouldn't hide behind a pseudonym because she is quite hilariously funny in this series of comic murder mysteries featuring a quick-tongued Georgia gal now living in California. What makes this series different is the fact that our heroine is described as a voluptuous, full-figured lady. If I go twenty pages without reading the word chocolate I'd be surprised! I love the quick way that they read, much like a TV show. They are perfect for immersing yourself in pure fiction for an hour or two at a time and are guaranteed to make you forget your troubles during that time. I laugh out loud at these books so often that my sweetheart probably thinks I'm over the top. Sorry but Yankees and Canadians may not understand or enjoy the humor as much as southerners.

4. Write down 5 (or 6) books you often read, or that mean a lot to you.

An ex-boyfriend introduced my to Spoon River Anthology years ago. Originally published in 1915, this book of poems, or epitaphs, are just as prevalent in today's world. Each poem is actually meant to be the writing on the tombstones of the townsfolk of the mythical town of Spoon River. As with all groups of people, there are good souls, bad souls, with most somewhere in between. You can open up a page at random and begin reading or start at the beginning and read through to the end. There is lots of wisdom between these bookends. It's interesting to read about someone and then several pages later to read about another person who relates in someway (usually negatively) to them. Poor Masters never experienced as much popularity in anything else in his life so much as he did with Spoon River. BTW, my favorite character is Margaret Fuller Slack.

What can anyone say about the Harry Potter series that hasn't already been said? I fought like H-E- double hockey sticks to not read these books. "But they're children's books" I would complain. A couple of years ago I got fed up with being left out of conversations because I didn't know the HP plotline. So when the public library finally got copies of the books on audio tape I figured I'd listen to them in the car on my way to where I was going so that I wouldn't waste my valuable time reading them. Well, I would get to my destination and end up being late going in because I was sitting in the car listening with bated breath to every word that Jim Dale spoke. It's a magnificent series with many twists, turns, and nuances that can be enjoyed over and over again.

I had no idea how The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn would change my life when I ran across the book years ago. Yes, it is a how to save money book but it is also so much more. Based on the lives of the Dacyczyn family, matriarch Amy wanted to have it all, and she managed it by using a myriad of tips and tricks to keep from spending money. It helps you to feel empowered so that you can take control of your money of your life. That reminds me of a couple of other books that are also in a similar vein, Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin and How to Get What You Want In Life With the Money You Already Have by Carol Keeffe.

I could go on and on with the books that are important to me but I'll just leave you with a sort of list in no particular order: Notes to Myself: my struggle to become a person by Hugh Prather, oh and Notes on Love and Courage by the same author; The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot; Endurance by Alfred Lansing; My Life by Golda Mier; most of Andrew Weil's books; Thats about all that I can think of off the top of my head.

5. Who are you going to pass the stick to (three people) and why? Hum, well, how about Amanda and Janice?

Well that was a bit fun. I wonder what ya'll think of my list.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

advice for front loaders & bag bottoms

Thank you all for your lovely compliments about my felted bags. I highly recommend them to those of you who haven't created one yet. It is so much fun! Its also a fantastic beginner project.

Several of you asked me what the secret is to felting in a front loading washer. Having just completed another couple of bags last night (pictures forthcoming) I think I may have the answer. This time I did not put the tennis ball in with the bags. I did place several towels in with them and used the longest setting. This setting started on prewash with hot water and rinsed in cold. I still found that I had to put the bags in again for a second washing. I have heard that this is not uncommon for top loading washers as well, so expect that to happen. I wanted a really felted look for the bags. Next time around I will place them in a closable pillow case. I didn't really think that much fuzz was released but after a thorough inspection of my machine I spied some loose fuzz down in its innards.

foam core

I've found that the bottom of my bags need some sort of reinforcement. For the longest time I couldn't really figure out what to do about that without having to sew anything. Then I hit upon the idea of foam core board. You buy the stuff poster board size at the craft store for just a couple of dollars. It even comes in a variety of cheery colors. I simply plopped the bag down on the board, whipped out my handy dandy Xacto knife, and cut it to size. I also cut off a bit of the corners so a sharp edge won't poke out. Then I slipped it into the bottom of the bag and presto! A stiff board to keep the bottom of the bag from sagging with a bright color to lift your spirits while you're rifling around for your keys. What do you folks who felt use in the bottom of your bags to dispel the sag?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

a felting adventure (or multiple FOs)

Finally, I finished the felted bags! I bet ya’ll were starting to wonder if anything at all was getting done over here at the general’s place. It’s going on a couple of weeks (or is it months) that I’ve finished up these bags and had them lying around in the yarn storage unit. I’d tried felting one of them in my front loading washing machine and it just wouldn’t felt. So I’d made up my mind to haul them down to the laundomat to use a regular washer. My heart was aching to get out to the laundromat last weekend and get the things felted. But the fates were against me so that I ran out of time…

This weekend I was bound and determined to get them finished up. On my drive to work last week I scoped out a fairly new, roughly two years, laundry facility that looked fairly reputable. I planned out my Saturday morning chores to include a stop by the bank to pick up a roll of quarters. Boy do I not miss the days of living in apartments and having to scrounge enough quarters to have clean clothes for the week. I also don’t miss lugging all those heavy, awkward plastic bins up and down the apartment stairs! This alone is enough to convince anyone to become a home owner. But I digress…

I gathered all necessary supplies including towels for thrashing around with the bags, laundry soap, latest VK to reread while awaiting the magic, my latest knitting project and of course the unfelted bags themselves and headed out the door. There was a spring in my step as I bounded from the car towards the laundromat’s front door. I wanted to scope the place out first incase all the washers were taken so I didn’t waist time dragging all my accoutrements inside. I was through the door while pushing my sunglasses on top of my head with a smile on my face that slid suddenly off as I stood stock still when I realized that every single washer in the place was a front loader. I went down every aisle just to be sure…

I was so shocked and disgusted that I turned around and headed straight for home. Now there has got to be a laundromat on nearly every other street corner in my town and I had to go and pick the one that only had front loading washing machines. Can you believe that? When I got home I threw the lot of unfelted bags, their accompanying handles, the towels I’d dutifully drug around on this adventure and a tennis ball just of good measure into my machine. I poured in a wee tad of soap, slammed the door and put it on the longest, hottest cycle it provided. I had to run the green one through twice but all in all I’d say they turned out pretty well, don’t you think?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

future object

Isn't she lovely? This sweater invokes slow nighttime walks along quiet stretches of beach. A very serene image indeed. This design is #11 from Vogue Knitting's spring/summer 2005 issue. This particular color of yarn seems to be sold out where ever I look, but no matter, it comes in lots of other colors too. What I don't like is the fact that the yarn is dry clean only. That is a phrase that usually doesn't exist in my world. Trendsetter Yarns Spiral (acrylic/polyamide) in #96 aqua. Anyone have any suggestions for a non dry cleaning substitute yarn?

I haven't been doing much knitting lately. I also still haven't gotten to the laundromat to felt my bags. Its been a very long week and its only Wednesday!

Monday, April 18, 2005

real life knitting

A virtual cavalcade of beautiful, real life knitting.

Has everyone seen the new Vogue Knitting? There are several patterns to love but there is only one that I'm completely mad about. Any guesses?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

in the garden

This is the latest four legged creature added to our collection. Thankfully, it won't cost too much to feed! My sweetheart and I ran across this little fellow yesterday while out searching for a bigger one to decorate the entrance to a dog park. His eyes lit up with he saw this doggy and he scooped it up without a backward glance. Apparently it looks just like the dog he had when he was a kid so it brought back good memories.

Lucky and Ranunculus

We tucked him safely into a crook in the trunk of the car for the ride home and put the newly purchased dog treats from our next stop in the back seat so that he wouldn't be tempted to get into them. (wink) I asked the sweetheart to find him a spot right in the front garden so that he would be there to greet our guests and us when we come home. Oh yes, that is a Ranunculus blooming next to Lucky, the dog. Beautiful, isn't it?

Here are the other four legged angels enjoying sitting on the front porch. That is a fantastic double impatien with white and pink blooms.

porch sittin'

I'm going to try to get myself down to the laundromat today or tomorrow to see if their machine will finish felting the unfeltable bag.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

the art of knitting

"Sisters Knitting" from Jo Adang Studio. Don't you just love the vivid colors and the striking determined face trying to learn how to knit? I think we've all seen that face before!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

wips - felted bags

I'm whipping up a couple of felted bags this week. I still have a pile of knitted bags that need to be felted. I'm going to try to get to the laundromat this weekend to throw them all in at one time.

This little bag is a made up pattern from some Italian yarn called Lane Borgosesia, 85% Shetland Wool and 15% mohair. Oddly enough the color is called Loden. But this is as far from deep olive green as I've ever seen. Its really blue. But its a very pretty blue and I'm enjoying knitting it up. I've know idea how mohair felts but I thought I'd give it a go. Anyone have experience felting this combination of wool and mohair?

I've also got another Lopi bag in the works this time in a lovely, cheery bright red. I need to work on the icord handles though and for some odd reason I can't seem to find my double pointed needles. I know they're around here somewhere....

I'm seriously considering knitting St. Brigid from Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore. Vicki's is so beautiful and I tend to go over and visit her's from time to time. Since Webs is having a Cascade 220 sale do I really have any excuse not to?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

the art of knitting

Artist Germaine Koh had an exhibit of knitwear from recycled sweaters. Pretty interesting.

A couple of recently acquired books. I love it when Michael's has 40% off coupons in the paper because I can dash out indulge in knitting whatknots. I decided I needed these books because I when knitting a pattern one day and couldn't figure out a particular acronym. Knitting reference books are always great to have around.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

the art of knitting

Ran across this interesting website with historical information about Currier & Ives. Here is their take on knitting.

Now why hadn't I thought of the idea of combining the garden and knitting by taking my hobby outside and indulging in it amoung the lovely blooming things. Thanks for the great idea Lorette. Its definitely warm enough here today. I think its near 80 degrees.

front garden

Saturday, April 09, 2005

the art of knitting

From artist Julie Baroh. Sorry folks, this one has already sold.

Its going to be another lovley day here today. I've still got lots of spring fever left in me. Things are blooming all over. I've even got the stuffy nose to prove it! The side garden is exploding with azaleas. Can you find the angel in the picture?

What should I do to the garden today?

Friday, April 08, 2005

the art of knitting

This lovely lady is a result of artist Yasuji Paul Hamanaka.

I’ve got a plan of attack for my felting problem. I’m going to give it one more go in the front-loading washer with some tennis balls and really hot water. It that doesn’t work I’m packing up the whole shebang and carrying it down to the local rinse and run. I’ve got a couple of other things to felt as well so maybe I’ll just make it a little outing this weekend with lots of KIP.

Amanda made the cruel mistake of mentioning that Webs has a sale going on Cascade 220. (just kidding Amanda; ya know I love ya!) Hum….so many felting ideas! Where to begin? Which colors to choose? Which projects to buy for? Eek!

Slash has been a great help in the garden lately.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


Thank you all for giving me some advise on my nonfelting bag. Part of the problem may in fact be that I have a front loading washer. I don't think that it gets as much agitation as a regular washer nor can I control the water level. I can't open the thing to check on it and there is no window so I can't tell whats going on in there! I've had to give my lovely knitted objects up to the fates that it will all come out in the wash. ;) But this time its sure acting out. I'm going to give it another go with some of your suggestions.

I ran across this cute picture while surfing the web for interesting knitting tidbits. Its from a pet sitting website in Massachusetts.

knitting girl with dog

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

felting wierdness

The odd thing about this bag is that I can't see to get it to felt. It is the same Lopi yarn that I've used for the other felted bags that I've made so I can't figure out what is different.

I've tried it in the wash with jeans, I've tried it with towels. I've put it through twice and it still doesn't seem to want to felt. Anyone have any ideas?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


What a fantastic sock pal I have!
These lovelies arrived in the mail.

There are dozens of beautiful little baby cables on these socks. They're the perfect color for me too! And can you believe it, she used the same Sock it to me! Elann yarn that I used for my secret sock pal. Thank you Toni!