Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Blogging Away

It's been a long, long time since I've blogged here. But, I've decided it's time to get back in the swing of things. I've joined Etsy Bloggers, a group of Etsy members who also blog, and part of our 'duties' is to show other members in our blogs. So, here's my first foray into that arena.

My first featured Etsy Blogger is Pumpkinhaus. She has some of the cutest little gnome hats that she creates. You'll find lots of cute little items there. She also has a blog that you can find here.

As for me, the Six Degrees Shop at Etsy is reopened. I have a few items up, and hope to have more over the next week or two. In the meantime, here are a couple of eyecandy types to keep you interested.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm on Fire!

I've found a new site on which to sell my 'stuff'. is a new site, still in its beta stage, where artist list artwork for sale. In some ways, it's much like Etsy, but in others, the feel is different. Artfire has a more artistic vibe (at least right now) whereas, to me, Etsy is more 'crafty'. At any rate, I decided it couldn't hurt to explore my options, and I will slowly begin listing a few items on Artfire. I encourage you to check the site out, as well as my shop, which is still a Six Degrees Arts enterprise. I encourage you to go and sign up. It's free, and so is selling, if you so choose. You can just follow the link:

Register on

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tis the Season for More Fiber!

More fiber and yarn is up at the shop! I hope to get some more diverse things up soon, and hopefully that will be reflected here as well. But, for now, here's something to feast your eyes upon.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's Not All About the Fiber

Believe it or not, Six Degrees really is more than just fiber, yarn, dyeing and knitting. I've been a bit obsessive about my fiber fix lately, and that's been the focus, but I am working expand into the true vision I set for myself.

In my Etsy shop, I've added a couple of items that aren't fiber related. This gets into my recycled/reclaimed area (read: pack rat). I have had these bits and pieces lying around for a bit and took time over the past week to get them ready.

These are small magnets I created using rescued wooden game pieces from one of The Things abandoned games. I think it was originally a checkers game.

As you can see, I also have a set of Coke bottletops from glass bottles. There are miscellaneous beer type bottletops waiting to be listed as well, and they'll show up in the shop in the next few days.

Plans are underway for even more, so keep looking to see what happens next at Six Degrees!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Build a Better Mousetrap...

and the world will beat a path to your door.

~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

There has been some talk on the Love to Dye board on Ravelry regarding powdered dyes and their unwillingness to stay in solution (not get all gritty and nasty when the liquid cools down). One of my friends, who just so happens to be a biochemist, gave a long, very involved reason as to why this happens, and if you're so inclined, you can read about it here.

Me, I like the science, but I'm more interested in bulding a better mousetrap. So, I set out to figure how to basically create a supersaturated dye liquid (or liquor). Me, my powder dyes, all my little recycled containers, and a pint of Everclear. Yeah, you read that right, Everclear grain alcohol. My initial idea was to get denatured alcohol, which is grain alcohol with an additive to make it undrinkable. I read the label while at the store, and quickly put it back on the shelf. It's not only undrinkable, it's unbreathable, unsafe, and plain unwise in my house.

I went to the liquor store and bought a pint of Everclear. Even had a nice little chat with the guy behind the counter about the whats and wherefores and what I anticipated doing.

My initial goal was to see if I could 'trick' the dye into staying in solution in the alcohol better than it would in water. That was quickly a bust. Not to mention I spent a lot of time cleaning up alcohol and yellow dye all over my kitchen. (Also, did you know you could make Everclear EXPLODE in your microwave? Me, neither)

So, I decided to try Plan B. If not a supersaturated, how about a super clean dye liquor, with no sediment? That requires time, and patience, and another trip to the liquor store, but it's in progress now, and I've even expanded to include pink dye, just to see what will happen.

But, I'll never make it as a research scientist.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Let's Go Shopping!

New items listed on the ETSY SHOP!


Some sample pics to get things going. AND, just a note, I'll be trying to be more faithful to the fiberness of this blog really soon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Namaste Yoga Mat Bag

Okay, here’s the truth. I’m somewhat conflicted about Noro Kureon yarn. I know a lot of yarnies and knitters believe it’s just totally wonderful. I agree the colors are really nice. It’s one of the few variegated yarns that I enjoy the way the colors work themselves out, and no two skeins, while still in the right color families, are just exactly alike. However, Noro Kureon is not a very consistent yarn with regard to thickness. If you’re working with US 8 needles, it’s very likely you’ll get to a stretch of yarn that’s very thick and difficult to work. I don’t mind that, per se, but I don’t want all my yarn to do that. Also, the yarn is full of trash, like sticks, stems, leaves, etc. I have to stop and clean it out before knitting it. So, I’m a bit conflicted. There are projects where I do agree the results can be stunning.

Anyway, I had a few skeins, some time and a need. I got to work. I created a yoga mat bag, because I needed one. I had 3 skeins of fairly similar colors (2 of one dye lot, 1 of another), so I had to be clever and economical in how I designed it, and I was frustrated with one of my sock projects where I used the wrong needles and made yoga socks for a Yeti.

I decided not to use cotton yarn on this. I have read through some finished projects on Ravelry, and overwhelmingly, those that used cotton complained about the stretching and ‘growing’ that accompanies cotton. Not an uncommon issue and is a tradeoff for being able to throw the thing in the washer/dryer. Making mine out of Kureon insures a requirement of hand washing and lying flat to dry. I also knew I had to deal with the idea of the yarn giving, so I decided to make it work for me, as opposed to against me. I used a vertical lace trellis from Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns (pg. 191) and actually made the bag SMALLER than necessary. Yes, you read that correctly. The bag is NOT made to the size of the mat. It’s made smaller, and the lattice allows for the stretch both horizontally and vertically. This also allows me to use almost half the amount of yarn for my bag as other bags require.

You’ll see.

Namaste Yoga Mat Bag

250 yards of worsted weight yarn (I used 2.5 skeins of Noro Kureon)

Size US 10.5 dpns or circular needles
Size US 7 dpns or circular needles
Tapestry needle.

Lace trellis pattern:
Row 1 – knit all
Row 2 – K3, *YO, K2tog*, repeat from * to end
Row 3 – Knit all
Row 4 – K2, *SSK, YO*, repeat from * to 1 remaining stitch, K last stitch.

To Begin

With size US 10.5, cast on 61 stitches (If you’re altering the pattern, the lace trellis requires an odd number of stitches)

Bag Body

Rows 1 – 5 – Knit all.

Row 6 – Begin 1st row of lace trellis pattern (which is also a knit row)
Row 7 and on – complete lace trellis pattern

You will continue with the 4 row lace trellis pattern until the work stretches easily (with little effort) the required width of your mat. My mat is 25” wide. For me, I needed 27 repeats of the pattern at an unstretched length of 20” (stockinette and lattice).

Knit 3 rows (in stockinette stitch) until last stitch of the 3rd round. K2tog (with 1st stitch of the round), and move to the right needle.

Next row, begin with a YO, *K7, K2 tog, YO* repeat from * until last 6 stitches. K6 to end

Knit 3 rows.

Complete Row 2 from Lattice Pattern – (K3, *YO, K2tog* repeat from * to end).

Knit 1 round.

Bind off purl wise loosely.

Bottom of bag

This will be a series of decreases, much like those used on the top of a skull cap knit in the round. The smaller needles give you a more dense fabric to withstand more weight and pressure.

Change to US #7 needles.

On the opposite side of the cast on edge, pick up 61 stitches. [Note: I actually had to make a personal adjustment here, and pick up 63, and K2tog at 30 and 60 stitches on the first round]

Round 1 – Knit all

Round 2 – Knit all

Round 3 – K 6, K2tog until 5 stitches remain. K5 to end.

Round 4 – Knit all

Round 5 – K 5, K2tog until 5 stitches remain, K5 to end

Round 6 – Knit all

Round 7 – K4, K2tog until 5 stitches remain, K5 to end

Round 8 – Knit all

Round 9 – K2tog around

Round 10 – Knit all

Cut yarn and pull tail through loops. Pull secure and weave loose ends.

I cord

I cord specifically isn’t necessary, but it’s what I used. If you need a good tutorial, here's one with pictures. However, you can use a braided cord, finger knitting or purchased ribbon. Whatever you use, you need about 25” of it. Thread it thorough the YO holes in the stockinette band at the top of the bag.

Carry Strap

This is probably the most complicated part of the bag, due to the method of attachment. Just go with it, and it does work.

Use US #10.5 needles.

Pick up 4 stitches at the CO edge at the bottom also along the stockinette rib that runs up the side. This will be in garter stitch to give some texture. Knit 4. Turn. Knit 4. Turn. Pick up 1 stitch from the stockinette and place on left needle. K2tog with 1st live stitch. (You are securing the strap while knitting the 3rd row). Do this with the 3 remaining live stitches on the left needle, picking up stitches from the stockinette, and K2tog.

Turn work, and knit across.

Turn work and do another row of PU stockinette stitch, K2tog to end.

That makes 3 rows that were attached to the stockinette rib. From this point, knit in straight garter (knit all rows) until strap, unstretched, just reaches the rows of stockinette at the top of the bag. Given the size of the needles and the garter stitch, there is a lot of give in the strap, and requires no extra knitting. Here’s another area where I had gauge and yarn work for me.

Carefully turn strap under, taking care not to twist strap. Pick up 1 stockinette stitch, slide onto left needle and K2tog. Repeat this process with the 3 remaining live stitches on the left needle. Turn work and knit across. Repeat the PU 1, K2tog row. Turn and knit across. Last row is a PU1, K2tog row. After this, break yarn and thread tail through the loops, carefully pulling taunt. Weave loose ends.

This pattern is the property of Jenni P McD and all rights are reserved. It is provided free for your personal, not commercial use. If you wish to post or use this pattern, please contact me for permission. Thank you. This pattern is also listed on Ravelry for your convenience.