Saturday, May 23, 2009

they're not knit, but...

the NO DEADLINE KNITTING resolution has reared its ugly head. and because of that happy notion, i have done my teacher gifts for the year. i am shocking myself with my level of preparedness. there are 2.5 weeks before school is over, and i am DONE!

i want to share my $ saving project. it involves a few steps i have been working on for a while:

1. saving all of that paper that comes home from school printed on one side, that you read and throw away. i've done that since september.

2. using credit card "miles" to "purchase" gift cards. our credit card points redemption website has $50 border's cards, and $10 starbucks cards. and, other than paying out the points (which we rack up no matter what!), all those cards are free! i would have spent over $250 on the cards i am giving away if i had bought them at retail.

3. finding a cute website and persuading my kids to write thank you notes

so while i recognize that this info may be useless to you at this time of year, maybe it will inspire you for next year.

so, number 1.
i have long been resentful (oh, yeah, look at me) of the sheer quantity of one-sided paper that arrives from school. i read it, i threw it away. so i decided to save it this year. i QUICKLY developed a large pile of scratch paper. it's been great. i print patterns on it, i print lists on it, kids use it for paper airplanes. i have decided to use it for teacher gifts, and to make simple personalized note pads from these vast mountains of scratch paper. here's how:

start saving paper ;-). what will you do with this 1st grade homework list after the week is over? make a snappy notepad, of course! and big giant costco cheerios boxes? something needs to support that snappy notepad...

cut the paper in half, and cut the cereal box to 5.5" x 8.5":

get together with the kids, and come up with a cute poem that uses the teacher's name, and format it in word. print those half pages out.

clip everything together with binder clips, and glue the top edge with rubber cement. i find it works best to sort of shove the rubber cement down into the paper edges.

clip the top of that note pad and wait for about 1/2 hour, until the rubber cement dries, slap on another coat, let that dry, peel off the top page (it's a bit messy, in my case) and call it done!

all right, that takes care of a little something extra-personal for the teachers, but what about the school nurses? office staff? RSP? OT?

number 2:

no cost gift cards! there is no way to take an interesting picture of $50 borders cards (teachers, nurses) or $10 starbucks cards (everyone else) but suffice to say that i make excellent use of my visa for EVERYTHING (including my phone bill), racking up points for this very occasion.

number 3:

check out this cute website. you can download a pdf that allows you to print this sweet envelope on whatever paper you have around (i used 8.5x11" photo paper). adorable notepaper sheets are included, along with instructions (duh):

get those kids to write a thoughtful note, use simple glue-on picture corners to affix the gift card to the envelope, and you're all set!

so there's a touch of homeyness and personalization for the teachers, who deserve the most effort, and a bit of that also for EVERYONE else who has helped us this year. it's been a hard one, and they deserve a ton of thanks.

there you go! back to knitting...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

searchin' for a rainbow

and i found one in these crazy hobo bags.

i have to say i have become addicted to this bag. the first one was an attempt at a sort of sophisticated, subtle, stripey thing:

the next one i hinted at in my last post, as it dawned on me as i dutifully knit stripes on the last one that i had some noro to use up and this could be even more fun.
i call this one sunrise, sunset bag.
here it is in its full noro glory, felted, and either lying on the table in or hanging by the door of my favorite lys abuelita's.

it was so much fun to watch those colors evolve -- the addictive chemical ingredient of noro -- that it occurred to me that i could do even more, so...

i have done a third one as well. i was supposed to be writing up the pattern for the class i will be teaching on sunday, 5/17 (woo hoo!), but i couldn't stop myself from exploring the possibilities with this easy/fun pattern. look, prefelted:

see how much yarn i had left over when i finished it? that's it, in between the handles. i was sweatin' it. out of 6 skeins of kureyon.
here it is, finished, in all of its sloppy, floppy, hobo, hippie glory:

there's no perspective, so what you can't tell is that it is the perfect shoulder bag size, roomy but you're not going to be pulling floor lamps out of it a la mary poppins.

i call this one the "i wish i still had the purple and teal paisley shirt that would totally have gone with this" bag. for every big giant square on the first two that i did, on this one i did four little ones. which makes it look like a hippie quiltie hobo bag for sure! love love love it! i actually bought a zipper for this one and may line it with a worn out pair (many exist) of my little boy's pants. (angela/alittlebird's idea)

i have experimented with the handles each time. i hate to commit to one, but i think the last one, which does not involve any crocheting, and makes a good-looking, sturdy handle, will be my handle of choice.

meaning that, for the class, i actually probably won't have an entire sample to show them.

that is, unless the discontinued noro i got online cheap shows up promptly via the comfortably reliable UPS, and i go ahead and make another one for the class. what? you think i need hobo bag rehab? what if i told you thinking about hobo bag construction was keeping my head from exploding?

i knew you'd understand ;-)

but has UPS' ups and downs delayed my creative knitting insane startitis? no. look what the new "wish i had the paisley shirt" bag holds:

see this? and this? and this?

no, i can't help it if they conspired to make me do this:

another look:

there is a leaf stitch in the nancy bush book. it forms a triangular scarf that increases 2 stitches every other row. you tell me why it shouldn't occur to one to substitute that for the boring stockinette in the weekend cardi? hmmmm? because, you say, one knows nothing about lace, and there's no pattern for the half-diamonds along the front, the part of the sweater everyone will be looking at? that one may have to rip out and reunvent those triangles four or five times? why should that stop one? it's over 100 st. per row by the time you get to the second screwed up triangle?? hey -- the cardi increases at each raglan edge 2 stitches every other row! it's a natural!

and the yarn is fantastic -- not heavy and clunky like kitchen cotton -- it actually drapes and has a sense of itself.

now if i can only finish this thing before the noro gets here, i'll be good to go. cloning is my only other option.