“I said ‘allo!’ but that’s close enough.”

So now that I finally gave my gift to my friend, I can show it off!  Here’s the worm from Labyrinth.  I made it with felt and doll eyes.  I didn’t have a pattern and didn’t think to create one to share, I apologize.  I used three colors, beige, red and blue.  The hardest part was trying to make a fluffy fringe.  This was regular sheet felt, and if you tug on it too hard it just pulls right off.  Teasing it with a needle works better.

If you look up felt sewing you will discover there are actually three crafts.  One craft sews together felt cloth to make objects like I did here, one craft takes raw wool and jabs it with a needle to create objects (I’m going to look into that more) and the last one knits with wool and then shrinks the objects down by “felting” them in the wash.


Here are a couple other things I made:

I painted wooden teapot ornaments, using white paint and markers.  I used sharpie markers for everything but the tie-dye one, where I used washable markers and then watered them down to run into each other.

I made comfort bunnies for two friends who are ill.  I used this pattern from Jo So and So.



Right now I’m knitting  a cowl to give to someone as part of a library lobby day.  I’m working on the second draft of a mystery novel, trying to straighten out the sequence of events and researching hurricanes.

“Cor!  If she kept on going that way, she’d have gone straight to the castle!”

October 30, 2016

img_7236Here’s my latest finished project, a knit hat.  I was going to link to the pattern, then realized it was from a magazine, Knit Today.  The magazine just ceased production this June, and I feel guilty now, because it is hard to maintain a knitting magazine when you can search Ravelry for thousands of free patterns, find still more on blogs like mine, and then have a pattern without paying a cent.  The problem with losing another source for designers to get paid is obvious- another place lost that vetted its projects.  Of the thousands of patterns out there,  how do I know which ones have major mistakes? I am relying on other hobbyists testing and commenting when something goes wrong.

So the pattern is Lace Beanie, page 43 of Knit Today May 2106 issue.




Sewing a Katara Costume

I created a costume without using a pattern.  This is akin to driving without a map in a foreign country, or performing a musical after seeing a movie.

It’s always best to have something to go by.  Either a pattern or a piece of clothing that you know fits your subject.  Since this was unique, I used measurements instead.  My original idea was that the dress would be slipped on over her head, but it became clear that img_6624it would be extremely difficult to do that.  So I went to plan “B” and made it a wrap-around dress with two overlapping panels, attaching at the waist with snaps.  I finished off the edges with a strip of white fabric.

The panel sides had a simple rolled  hem, and at the bottom I appliquéd a white piece ( A simple rectangle in the back, a wave in the front).img_6623img_6626

The next difficulty was I had made the shoulders too tight.  This is a problem I keep running into when improvising or changing patterns- sleeves and pant inseams need to be bigger than basic measurements to ensure motion and comfort.  IMG_6687If possible, find a pattern for the sleeves, even if it is for a completely different shirt, it will help you see how it is supposed to fit in.  I eventually used a sleeve pattern from a dress.

I 3-D printed her necklace (but you can purchase one from crafters). I made her arm-bands using this tutorial.  She wore leggings and a tank top underneath, and sandals.

We went to Dragoncon!  I had so many costumes I wanted to make, but I’m glad I at least finished this one.  My daughter wore it to the Aquarium night and pretended to water-bend.  .  She was so happy!


Sew a Sock Monkey Hat


One of the challenges on the G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. list this year was: “Make a sock monkey hat from orphaned socks.  So I rounded up a pile of likely victims and started sewing.  This…interesting hat was the result.  I used the sock ends for ears, opened up two socks for the front and back, and used a larger sock end with a extra triangle of fabric for the top.  I added the face using a piece of purple sock with another white sock and a part of a red sock for the lips.  I used embroidery floss for the nose and scraps for the eyes.

I’m not sure I could convince anyone to wear this.

P1120981 (1)


Sewing T-Shirt Quilt Project

I  love t-shirts.  They are wearable momentos , silent announcements of your personality and a way to share what you love.  They are also damn comfortable.

However, over the years I and my husband accumulated many shirts that for one reason or another, we didn’t want to wear anymore, but couldn’t bear to throw away.  Add in t-shirts that my children outgrew, and you have quite a pile.  So I’ve been meaning to make a t-shirt quilt for several years now.

T-shirt material is stretchy, thin, and tends to curl in on itself when cut into squares.  The way to get around that is to use fusable stabilizer, which you can get in sheets or bolts at a sewing store.

IMG_2278Designing the Quilt

Apparently there are two schools of thought about t-shirt quilts.  One group design blocks, attaching the neatly cut squares of precisely sized t-shirt cut-outs into larger blocks using other fabric, then strip the blocks together using a symmetrical design, sometimes with borders, dividers or symbolic motifs.  These are actual quilters. Then there’s the “hey, I’ve got some t-shirts here, let’s sew them together into a big thing!” crowd.  The problem with the latter (ok, ONE problem) is that it is hard to determine how big your quilt will end up, and whether it will be even on all sides.  Do you just want to hang it up on the wall, or actually use it as a blanket?  If it’s just a display and sewing’s not your thing, consider putting your shirts over thin cardboard squares, pinning them smooth, then connecting them together to cover your wall.  If you’re determined to plow through to a finished, usable work of art, pick up a book on quilting so you can learn about batting, backing fabric,  layout and fixing common problems.  I’ve been cutting out squares and stabilizing them as I go along, and then I thought about design.  Yeah.  Wrong order.  So I’m going with the “willy nilly” style, but probably putting in a border around the outside.

I’ll keep you updated with my progress.  If a t-shirt quilt is too intimidating (or you only have a few shirts you want to use), check out this t-shirt scarf by Rachel Hobson on Make.

October 26, 2015

Mario costume

I made my son a Mario costume for Halloween.  It was both easy to make and comfortable for him, which is great.  It consists of a red, long-sleeved shirt and overalls.  I sewed the hat and fake buttons, and I was done!  He can wear the overalls again and again, which is great. Then he said he didn’t want to be regular Mario, he wanted to be Mario with powers.  His idea was to have three or four costumes and change into them- ice powers, fire powers, flying powers.  I was flattered that he thought I could just whip up some tear-away costumes for him, but unsure how to break it to him that I wouldn’t do it.  Then I had an idea- make him the power-ups and let him pretend.

felt Mario power ups

I made a star, green mushroom and red mushroom out of felt.  He put them in the pockets of his overalls and can pull them out to play being Mario.  (On a side note, why do these things have eyes?  Are they aware?  Are they eaten when they are used to give powers?  Is Mario really evil, rampaging through places, killing creatures and grabbing treasure?)

Making the star was straight-forward.  Just cut out two star shapes and sew them together, putting in stuffing before finishing.  Add black felt eyes. To make the mushrooms, start with a strip of white felt.  Sew it into a loop.  Make a running stitch along the bottom of the loop and draw on it to pull it closed, then sew the bottom shut.  To make the top, cut out a circle of colored felt that is twice as large as the stem loop.  Sew five white circles on the large circle.  Make a running stitch along the edge of the circle and pull on it to make the cap shape (but do not try to draw it all the way shut as you did with the stem.  Stuff both the stem and the cap and sew them together. Add black felt eyes.

Here’s the link to the pattern for the hat from Instructables. I used some leftover cloth I had, but it would work better in felt, which would stretch to fit.


August 1, 2015

nausicaa helmet nausicaahelmetside

Working on the Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds costume for my daughter.  I made the helmet out of sheets of felt and some old plastic sunglass lenses.

Reading MonsterOne tried and true marketing technique for promotion is having a mascot.  Tony the Tiger, the Philly Phanatic, Ronald McDonald, and so on.  Libraries…. put their own spin on it.  (Buddy the Beaver, for example).  Some libraries dress up people in costumes related to book characters such as the Wimpy Kid or Clifford, but many libraries have a stuffed animal representing their library.  Our neighboring library has a giant Sulley (from Monsters Inc) who goes on tours of local businesses.  My enthusiastic library system youth services coordinator suggested our library should get on the bandwagon.  I suggested using our high school mascot (a sheep), but she said we should not ride on the school’s tail.  So, I decided to make my own- the reading monster.

This is a work in progress- I want to give him horns and permanent underwear.  I plan on dressing him up in a superhero suit this year, and then he can have costumes for different events and themes.


I cut it out of a large old t-shirt I had (I’m working on a t-shirt quilt, yes, I’ve been working on that quilt for many years now, don’t judge!) I made a freehand design on newspaper, then had to cut down the limbs a bit, as I was not going for an octopus look.  As well as stuffing it with poly-fill, I put a bag of beans in the base, to make it sit more steadily.

What will I do with it once I’m done, besides dress it up?  Hmm.  Send it on adventures, put it in “commercials”, stage tawdry scenes a` la the shelf elf, host a stuffed-animal party, and display it around the library.

May 16, 2015


Here’s a bluebird I made from the book Big Little Felt Fun by Jeanette Lim. I’m really 20695204getting into sewing with felt.  I think I’ll start making some of my own patterns.  Any requests?

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?



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