Sew a Felt Kindle Toy

Felt Kindle

I made a felt Kindle for an associate who is retiring from being in charge of all digital content for our library system.  I think we’re going to be lost without her, but now she has a Kindle she can safely throw at people who aggravate her.  Which hopefully won’t be necessary as she’s retiring.

I’m embarrassed at how it came out, but she appreciated the gesture.  I need to figure out a way to create words on my felt projects, because my embroidery is awful.  This looks like spiderweb writing from Charlotte’s Web.  It would have been awesome to be able to iron on text for the “screen.”  I will have to experiment.

Star Wars Day

May the Fourth be With YouP1070248

Quick Star Wars Day round-up.



Sock Monkey Hat knitting pattern

Sock Monkey Hat

Last year while participating in GISHWHES (the greatest internet scavenger hunt the world has ever known) it was pointed out to me that I lacked a basic tool, a sock monkey hat. (Yes, the event is that weird, you should participate this August!)  My grandmother used to make sock monkeys from actual work socks, I still have one.

So here it is:


I started with a pattern off Ravelry, which was already a tweak from another pattern.  I took out the red top and pom-pom.  It came out on the small side, which is fine, since my son will probably take it over this winter.  This knitter went back over the face with duplicate knitting, whatever that is, because she was afraid of intarsia.  We’re even I guess.  I just counted the stitches in the chart in both directions, and when I had to carry over the color, I just brought the yarn around the color I wasn’t using so it went along for the ride.  The hardest part was keeping track of stitches while distracted, you can see that I didn’t exactly match the pattern.  I sewed on eyes and nostrils with yarn when the hat was completed.

Chart © of LLCoopersock_monkey_knitting_chart_medium

  • size U.S. 8 needles, worsted weight yarn
  • Cast on 72 stitches
  • P1, k1 ribbing for one inch.
  • next row- purl 22, put in marker, start pattern (27sts) purl to end
  • knit a row, purl a row until it is 6 inches (and pattern looks good)
  • Decrease:
  • change to white
  • row 1- knit 2 together, knit 5, repeat until end of row
  • row 2- purl
  • row 3- knit 2 together, knit 4, repeat until end of row
  • row 4- purl
  • row 5- knit 2 together, knit 3, repeat until end of row
  • row 6- purl
  • row 7- knit 2 together, knit 2, repeat until end of row
  • row 8- purl
  • row 9- knit 2 together, knit 1, repeat until end of row
  • row 10- purl
  • row 11- knit 2 together, repeat until end of row
  • Finish- cut a long piece, pull tail through remaining stitches and sew the seam of the hat.


Here is LLCooper’s pattern for each ear:

  • Cast on 9 stitches using a long tail cast on.
  • Make sure to leave more of a tail than usual to attach the ears later.
  • Row 1: purl 1, make 1 by purling but not pulling the stitch off and purling into the back of the same stitch, purl 5, make 1 (same way), purl 1 (11 stitches)
  • row 2: knit across
  • row 3: purl across
  • row 4: knit 1, k2tog, knit 5, k2tog, knit 1 (9 stitches)
  • row 5: purl 1, p2tog, knit 3, p2tog, purl 1 (7 stitches)
  • row 6: knit 1, k2tog, knit 1, k2tog, knit 1 (5 stitches)
  • row 7: p2tog, purl 1, p2tog (3 stitches)

Now I need to look for a new knitting or sewing project, as I find if I have something I’m working on while watching TV, I’m less likely to eat.  Any requests?



Spine Poems

spine poems

In honor of poetry month, create a “found” poem by stacking books.  This is a great and easy display for a library, and a mind-stretching exercise for writers and other creative types.  Try to use spines that are easy to read from a distance, and don’t have the author’s name hogging too much space. There are some great examples at 100 Scope Notes and Pinterest.

spine poetry 2

Knitted Braided Ball

Gevlocten Bal- Braided Ball

knit braided ball

The pattern is on Ravelry.

This is a great “on-the-road” pattern, or a way to get rid of leftover yarn.  I used the basic worsted weight acrylic yarn (Red Heart) that I’d had sitting around from other projects.  It’s best if all the yarn you use is the same thickness, otherwise, use whatever you have. All you have to do is make six strips in stockinette stitch.  They naturally curl into tubes.

knitted strips

On my first attempt, I made the loops too large.  This ball can be salvaged by stuffing the middle.  The pattern gives an equation using pi to determine the length of the strips, and I ignored it.  The second time, I made the strips seven inches long, and that was just right for my yarn (12 stitches on size U.S. 3 needles).  The hardest part of this project is placing the last two strips- make absolutely sure you’ve got it right before sewing them together.

braided ball mistakebraided ball good and bad

You could make this into a cat toy by putting a jingle-ball or catnip (or both) in the middle.  It’s also a nice baby or toddler toy.

Gauge Matters in Knitting



I made two sets of baby booties for two different babies.  It is a perfect illustration of why gauge is important.  When you are following knitting patterns, the yarn and needle size can complete change (or screw up) your project.  It took me so long to realize that!  Yarn is yarn, right?  Wrong.

So here I used the same yarn, the same exact pattern, with only one adjustment, I used larger needles.  Booty number one is done with U.S. size 1, and booty number two is done with U.S. size 3.  So takeaway point here is that you shouldn’t substitute anything in a pattern without adjusting for this difference.

These are done flat (I really struggle with knitting in the round) and then seamed.  Here’s the pattern from Ravelry.  The one problem I had with the pattern was understanding that the increase stitches were included in the count, once I figured that out, it was much easier!


My Creative Friends


Today is AMOK, the Annual Melee of Kindness.  Go forth and perform random acts of kindness.  Even if all you do today is avoid being mean, you will make the world a better place.

This made me start thinking about my creative friends.  I hope they won’t mind me mentioning them (I don’t think any of them are in witness protection).9220483454_324bde1580_z

I’ve already mentioned Aprilsongstress, who does amazing red work embroidery.

Then there’s Sandra Quigley of Quigley’s cakes.  Her superhero wedding cake (which has gotten a lot of attention on my blog) was one of her first!

10274154_798282253549763_3371614770224901029_nMy friend Scott is an artist and does amazing murals and comic book art.

Wayne’s latest creative endeavor is to invent his own table-top roleplaying game, including a new rules system, called Modern Tomes.

Julie is a playwright and her plays have been performed locally, and last year she won Excellence in Writing for her play “Luc” by the Theater Association of NY State.

Kathleen is a multiple award-winning journalist who is becoming a historical novelist.

Missy is a member of my online writing group, Carpe Libris, and has sold many stories.  She has mastered flash fiction and is a regular contributor to Daily Science Fiction.

Some friends need to send me their creations for me to showcase here, like Jay’s woodworking or Carl’s Jedi costume.  I haven’t read any writing from Laura, Manna, Asha or Elizabeth.

I realized as I was writing this that some friends will read my blog and think, I’m not on here, I must not be creative.  Robyn, I’m looking at you.  Yes, you are creative, I’ve seen you working on stained glass projects, ceramics and painting projects…. Anyway, everyone is creative somehow.  Lillian put together an amazing Pi day party and is a creative cook.  Crystal jumps into her characters while gaming and brings them to life. Christie is not only a talented cake artist, but she also embodies the spirit of AMOK and practices random acts of kindness all year. Thank you all for being my friends, for being loving, kind people who improve the world by living in it.

What I’m Working On

griffin smallWriting Progress

I’ve set aside my Librarian Craft project to focus on my second draft of a fantasy novel called “Other People’s Magic”.  It was a tangled mess, as I had somehow shuffled four chapters.  With the help of my writer’s group, I’m deciding what to keep, what to get rid of, and what to change.  Feedback is really helpful, as I was allowing my character to wander around encountering magical things instead of having an urgent goal.  I’m cranking up the tension while trying to keep the playfulness and sense of wonder.

The hardest part of writing is not getting distracted by the internet, housework, reading, tv, children, husband, friends, family, work….ok, mostly the internet.

seekingclaritycover2 small


My ebook, Seeking Clarity, is now available to purchase at Smashwords, Barnes and Noble,  Kobo, and more.  Lucy meets Jack, a burnt-out dream-seller hiding from the world, and together they must stop the King of Dreams from putting the world into permanent sleep.  The key to the puzzle is Clarity, but who is she and how will she shape the future Jack and Lucy are hurtling toward?