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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wrapping scarves make great fruit carriers!

My boys sure do love them some grapefruit. We buy it by the boxful and devour it all throughout winter and early spring to steer clear of colds and other nasty winter bugs. Since it's the one thing we always have lots of, we often share the wealth when going over a friend's house or repaying some debt of neighborly gratitude. Here's how to make a great little hobo bag from a wrapping scarf for carrying your fruit.

Bagging up about 9-10 regular sized grapefruits will require a Medium sized wrap.

Spread out the wrap and fold in half so that the wrong side is showing.

Take one corner of the wrap and tie a single knot about a third of the length of the side. When making the single knot, try wrapping the fabric around your hand to make a neat knot.

Repeat on the other side. Make sure both sides are even and that the knots are nice and snug.

Open the wrap by separating the corners that aren't tied.

Give the whole thing a little fliperoo and fold the knotted ends into the center of the wrap.

Lift up your newly formed bag by the free corners and give her a little shake down. Gently punch your fist into the bottom of the bag to form the pocket.

Tie the loose ends in a tight square knot. The bag looks deceivingly small. But look at how much grapefruit goodness fits inside!

So much nicer than a yucky plastic bag. Now off to my wonderful neighbor Ann's who gave me a tub of the most wonderful kimchi a couple weeks ago. Happy wrapping to you and remember that wrapping with fabric is not only good for the earth, it's easy peasy grapefruit squeezy!

This and other bag making how-tos in The Wrapping Scarf Revolution.
Till next time, happy wrapping! xo Patricia

Friday, April 23, 2010

Great Knits for Summer

As I gazed out the window today, ok, as I sat at my desk daydreaming about my next great knit project, I realized that whatever the season, there is a knit project that’s perfect—the perfect sweater. As summer approaches, the temperature’s beginning to climb in Arkansas, but even here in our normally hot and humid climate, the summer evenings can make you reach for a wrap or sweater to ward off the breeze. But even more than that, we have to be fashionable. Right, girls?

In the search for my next knit sweater, I’ve discovered a couple of essential leaflets for your library. If you haven’t gotten them yet, you’ll want to take a look!

Wardrobe Favorites, designed by Lisa J. Ellis, features 6 wardrobe must-haves, and two of them are perfectly designed for this season. I would say “very cute”.

Timeless Styles, by Cynthia Guggemos, is just that…original knit fashions that remain stylish year after year. Knitted with a light weight yarn, the stems and leaves vest pattern is my fav. I can see this as a casual addition to slacks (as shown) or paired with evening attire. Very functional and beautiful!

The diamonds crop top is another winner. The great diamond design really sets this top off, and the whole design is worked in one piece to the underarm.

Check out these pattern books. I think you will love the results! I can’t wait to get stitching!

P.S. Wanted to share a photo of a co-worker in a recently completed spring sweater. Isn’t it lovely! I adore the color! Laticia is new to knitting garments, and I think she did a fantastic job! Let’s give her a hand!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Ban on Plastic Bags

Wendy Carlson for The New York Times

I knew I loved DC! What great news to hear that our nation's capitol has started charging a 5 cent tax on disposable plastic bags. The new law which went into effect on January 1st, not only dramatically reduced the amount of plastic bags being used, it generated $150,000 in one month to help clean up the Anacostia River. This is great news!

Back in 2002, Ireland placed a 15 cent tax on their plastic bags and dropped their usage by 90%. When I was living in Korea in the late 90s, we purchased pricey mandatory garbage bags, forcing us to be careful what we threw away. These garbage bags were also translucent and if you happened to throw out some recyclables in your regular garbage, forget about it. People in your apartment building would give you nasty looks for weeks. Seinfeld style.

It's taking the US a long time to get the message, but this taxing thing works! Especially when so many people are already on the verge of giving up plastic bags. Now the whole nation just needs to follow suit. At a time when most cities and states are experiencing budget crisis, THIS is the time!

Very important to remember is how resistant people can be to change. Many District residents were furiously up in arms when they first faced the tax in January. This Washington Informer article from January makes it very clear how angry many people were at the time.

I so admire our neighboring town of Westport, CT, for banning plastic bags in March of last year, becoming the first town in Connecticut to do so. In the year that has passed, not a single additional town in CT has followed suit although Westport reports no problems with the ban and a reduction of about a million bags so far. Wilton is said to be considering a similar law.

The New York Times reported that the ordinance had passed 26 to 5 despite opposition by representatives from the chemical industry and the supermarket chains. “Westport is well known for being progressive, and in the forefront of social issues,” said Gordon Joseloff, a first selectman, noting that it was one of the first communities to pass a resolution opposing the Vietnam War. (NYT)

In Korea, groceries were carried in wrapping scarves for centuries. Check out how to make big hobo bags (first pic) in the The Wrapping Scarf Revolution.

Bravo DC and Westport! What a great display of leadership.
Till next time, happy wrapping! xo Patricia

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I’m Late, I’m Late, for a Very Important Date!

Well, I missed Doug’s shower last Friday and as Martha reported, it was a special one. Two baby girls…wow!

I always like to make gifts for babies and this was no exception. I decided to make knitted wash clothes and because Doug is concerned about the future of our planet (and he’ll now have two more important reasons) I searched out 100% organic cotton yarn. The trick was to find one that was soft enough and the right weight. I did finally find a soft medium weight but let me tell you, colors were limited. Typically, organic yarn is only found in a range of earthy colors so I chose a nice creamy tan and a twist of off-white and grey. No girly pinks in this bunch!

The patterns are from Baby Washcloths to Knit by Melissa Burnham. There are 9 really cute designs in the leaflet. I chose the baby bottle and baby buggy. The motif is created with purl stitches on a field of knit stitches and they’re so quick and easy to make.

I was pleased with the end result and was happy to deliver them to the father-to-be this afternoon. I hope the girls enjoy them for many bath times to come!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Celebration Day!

Today we celebrated something very special. A co-worker, Doug (from Crochet Soiree), was given a baby shower. In just a few short weeks, he will become the father of two baby girls…that’s right two. Oh, it is so sweet and very pink I might add. I love, love, love baby showers. For years, when baby showers were given, I always wrapped the gifts in receiving blankets. I would tie the packages with ribbon, string or whatever I could find. In fact, sometimes I would even tape the blankets around them. I thought it was a practical thing and pretty cute, too!

Well, not any more! Seriously, when The Wrapping Scarf Revolution by Patricia Lee was printed I was delighted to see that what I had been using all these years, had a name…bojagi. I learned there was art to making the package pretty by using a series of special knots. This is derived from an ancient Korean inspired art of wrapping gifts or any totable with a fabric square. So I proceeded to teach myself the art of wrapping and knot tying. Look - - - - - how cute are these!!

In these eco-friendly times, I’m glad that I can make a contribution. Give it a try—you’ll love the results. Use your own fabrics or buy ready made Bobo wraps. It is really fun!

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