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Plying Yarn on a Drop Spindle - Andean Plying - Video Tutorial

Watch as I show you how to make a two-ply yarn from a single center-pull ball. Learn how to make an Andean bracelet, how to ply two an Andean bracelet into a two-strand center-pull ball, and how to spin that two-strand ball to ply.

Winding a Center Pull Ball of Yarn by Hand - Video Tutorial

In this video Megan LaCore of shows you how to hand-wind a center pull ball of yarn from a hank. Though this technique is shown with a handmade hank of yarn, any kind of yarn wrapped in any preparation can be wound into a center-pull ball with this method.

Cabled Cowl - Crochet pattern

Crochet Cabled Cowl
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Over Christmas break, my husband Mark and I were watching a TV show with my mom about knit and crochet cables. I enjoy elegant details in my work, and loved the thought of crochet cables. However, I wasn't a big fan of how they worked their cables, and ideas started running through my head on how to create my ideal crochet cable.

I pictured this design as a cowl, because by design cables act a bit like ribbing, and a tube of ribbed fabric makes an excellent neck covering, which is perfect for the rainy winter months in the San Francisco Bay Area. The tiny scalloped top edging can also be omitted for a more masculine look.

Hook size H
Gauge: 7 sts by 10 rows = 2 inches
Yarn: On Line Linie 208 Nature-Wool
Weight: Bulky / 12 ply (7-8 wpi)


Row 1: Ch 78, sl st into first st to join in the round, being careful not to twist sts.

Row 2: Turning foundation chain over, ch 1, then sc 77 into back loop of chain. Sl st into first st to join in the round.

Row 3: Ch 2, dc 77, sl st to join.

Row 4: Ch 2, dc 1, *(dc 4 into front of post, dc 2)* 12 times, dc 4 into front of post, sl st to join.

Row 5: Ch 2, dc 1, **(sk 2, dc 2 into front of post, cross in front of work and dc 2 into front of post of skipped sts, dc 2 into 2 following cabled post sts)**, sk 2, dc 2 into front of post, cross in front of work and dc 2 into front of post of skipped sts

Rows 6 - 8: Repeat row 4

Row 9: Repeat row 5

Row 10 - 12: Repeat row 4

Row 13: Repeat row 5

Row 14 - 15: Repeat row 4

Row 16: Repeat row 5

Row 17 - 18: Repeat row 4

Row 19: ch 1, sc 77

Row 20: Repeat row 16

Row 21: (Sl st, ch 3, sk st, sl st), repeat to end of row, slipping last st into first st. Pull tail straight up through final st.

Weave in ends. Block to shape.

Grumble - A Short Story

I can barely poke my toes to the edge of the covers without being attacked in the night by the little red monster. I grumble at his first swipe, which lands on my foot but does not break the barrier of blanket, and so does he. When, mostly asleep, I stretch the toes toward the edge and wiggle, the monster can no longer hold his excitement, and drives his pointy claws and teeth deeper into my flesh.

With a muffled and exaggerated "nooo" I kick a little, but my efforts to shoo away razors and daggars comes to no avail. If anything, the monster deepens his chase, diving into the covers for a bite of pink foot flesh.

"That's it!" I cry out, sitting straight up but barely awake. I reach down to my feet and grab a fistful of fur, dragging the little red monster up into my arms. "Come here," I say, tucking a ball of fur and flesh under the covers with me. "It's time for sleeping still." A muffled cry is followed by a low meow, and I stroke behind the ears of my kitten-in-a-cat's-body.

With a grumble, then a soft purr, Cheddar gives in, and snuggles up for nap. After all, monsters need rest too.

Carding, Spinning, and Plying Cotton on a Tahkli Spindle - Timelapse Video

In this timelapse video, you can see me carding cotton on 120 pt fine hand carders, creating cotton punis for spinning, then spinning and plying cotton yarn on a tahkli spindle.

Open University Creative Writing Course - Dec 30, 2009

I'm starting a self-study creative writing course today to help me refresh my writing skills while I have a little time over winter break. I am using a course found here at Open Learn, Open University UK. Feel free to follow along and to comment below if you have discussion points.

Today I'm working on sections 1 and 2, and here are the results of my activities:

Activity 1: Write what you know

Writing what you know means pulling snippets of your daily life and using those words in your writing. it means taking details from around you and making them create a realistic environment for your reader.

Activity 2: Listening activity

Activity 3: Building a believable world

From memory-

Two tall dressers with a chocolate-brown papered-on finish stand on either side of a honey-toned half dresser, topped with a clunky square TV. The California-king has a regal wrought-iron headboard that always pokes me in the back of the head while i'm trying to read, and the mattress is somehow always topped with my least-favorite comforter in the house. Twin nightstands are at the head of the bed, mine topped with library-borrowed craft books and often crafts themselves; Mark's with his alarm clock and the remains of yesterday's pocket contents that did not get transferred to today's pocket.

From observation-

The flat-paint finish of cheaply-maintained apartment walls is beginning to look more scuffed than clean around the edges, and the standard beige short-pile Berber carpet has a distinct walking path, plus a few spots from craft accidents, cats, or messes otherwise. Matrix promo cards, cat toys, and laundry litter the edges of the floor, and on the day before New Year's Eve, the calendar is still pinned up as November. If I change it right now, at least December will see one full day.

Plastic Bag Yarn Christmas Tree - Recycled Holiday Decorations

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate at an eco-holiday craft workshop for San Jose's Our City Forest. I brought along several project ideas for decorating without purchasing anything new, and my plastic bag yarn Christmas tree was a big hit!

Cardstock or thin cardboard
Hot glue gun & glue
Plastic Bag Yarn
Decoration for top

To begin, find a piece of thin cardboard or cardstock. Cereal boxes work well, old poster board from a past school project is perfect for larger trees, or anything flexible yet firm that you can roll up into a cone shape will work. I'm using a piece of used bristol paper from a scrapped drawing assignment last semester.

Find the center point of your edge, and roll the edges of the paper in on themselves. You'll have to cut the bottom to be flat, so don't worry if it's not evened out.

Once you're happy with the shape of your cone, hot glue the edges of the outside down all the way around. Let the glue cool, then trim the bottom of your cone so it sits flat.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Starting at the top, glue the end of your plastic yarn into the hole at the tip of the cone. Laying down a line of glue all the way around the cone tip, wrap the plastic yarn carefully into the glue. Once you get all the way around, continue wrapping the yarn down the cone in a spiral fashion, keeping the yarn tight to the round above it. Add more glue as necessary.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Continue wrapping and gluing plastic bag yarn all the way down the cone. When you get near the bottom and the last layer looks even across, trim excess yarn and cardstock.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Now it's time to decorate our tree. Over an area that will collect excess glitter or hot glue, such as a box or a large piece of paper, apply a dot of hot glue on the plastic yarn tree. Low temperature hot glue works best here, but if you just have a high temperature glue gun, be careful that the hot glue doesn't move around on your tree much.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Holding the tree over the box or paper, and while the glue dot is still hot, cover the hot glue in glitter. Allow glue to cool completely, then shake off excess glitter. Wait for each hot-glue-and-glitter ornament to be completely cool before applying the next one.

If necessary, dust excess glitter off plastic bag yarn with a soft dry paint brush.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Finally, decorate the top of your tree. I used two circles punched from a recycled foil-lined envelope, which I glued back-to-back and finished with a confetti star glued to each side. I cut a tiny slit on both sides of the cone tip, added a little hot glue, and stuck my star medallion to the top.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's the tree on my craft table at Our City Forest's Eco-Holiday Craft workshop. You can see people making recycled ornaments in the background. Everything was a big hit!

Here's to great decorations, creating less waste, and a happy holiday to you and yours. Cheers! <3

Yoga Cat - Dizzy

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

New Yoga Position: Downward-Facing Diz

Making T-Shirt Yarn - Recycled Craft Supplies

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

The holidays are here, and it's time to spread the good cheer. Why not make an effort this year to reuse and recycle as many of your gifts as possible?

Today I'll be showing you how to make t shirt yarn, which is great for creating custom yarns, from slim to bulky weight, that can be made into any number of great home decor or fashion gifts.

First, collect t shirts. Specifically, you want a tube knit shirt with no side seams for the best results. Harvest shirts from your give-away pile, your friends' or family's cast-offs or closets (after asking, of course!), or from thrift stores. If you opt for the last option, this is a case where bigger is better. Hit up the men's sections first, heading straight to the xxxl's if possible. Bigger shirts will get you more yardage for the same amount of money.

Wash and dry all shirts when you get them home. Next, we dissect.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Begin by cutting off the hemmed portion of the t shirt as close to the stitching as possible. From there, cut a spiral strip from the bottom edge of the t shirt all the way up to either the armpit area of the t shirt or to the printed design, whichever comes first.

The thickness of your strip will determine the thickness of your yarn, but be careful not to cut down to less than a quarter of an inch strip or you won't be able to stretch your strips into yarn.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's one 3xl shirt, cut into 1 continuous strip, before stretching.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Begin stretching the strips between both hands by pulling the strip lengthwise. This works with the properties of a knit stitch to curl the cut ends of the fabric in on the strip, creating a rounded piece of fabric that is easy to work with and looks smooth. Continue pulling the strip until the entire length of the fabric has been stretched.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's the same 3xl t shirt after being cut and stretched, waiting to be rolled into a ball.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's my original pile of t shirts after being cut, stretched, and wound into balls. As you can see, I've already started crocheting them into a Christmas-colored rag rug. The rag rug was raffled off at the Our City Forest Eco-Holiday Craft Fair, and now has a happy new home!

Enjoy your new yarn, and enjoy making a green impact on our world!

Teaching Alissa to Spin Cotton Yarn

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

On Thanksgiving I finally got a chance to crack into my cotton spinning kit that I ordered from The Woolery. I brought it to my in-laws' place and after dinner my step-niece Alissa and I played with the kit together. I taught her how to brush a rolag with my new 120 pt carders, and then we started to practice spinning.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's the carders after Mark assembled them for me. I just cut a flap in the box to accommodate the handles for now, until I can find a more permanent storage solution. Below the cards is my handy dandy cotton spinning kit, complete with tahkli spindle. I like the weight and balance of it. It spins like crazy.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

In no time, Alissa was spinning on her own. She got the principles down really quickly, and I think if she had the opportunity to practice she'd get pretty good at it.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's the payoff: somewhere around 3 yards of her very own handspun cotton yarn! Cotton isn't easy either, so I've gotta hand it to this kid. She picked it up quick, and she seemed to enjoy it the whole time. I know I had fun helping her learn!

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