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Tallis Catastrophe, Roman Blinds, and Blanket Boy

Hetta with Tallis sketchI started work on the tallis. First printing out my sketch and tracing it in pencil, then outlining it in gutta. Then I made a very, very stupid mistake and washed it before setting the gutta… All my outlines washed off, except, of course, the pencil which I can’t get out, because I didn’t use my water based pencil, but a graphite one instead… Don’t ask me where my brain was… I will use the excuse of a nursing toddler going through molars and a growth spurt and keeping me up at night. So the tallis is a bust, and I’ll have to start over. Good thing I buy the silk in bulk.

So in my frustration, I put it aside for a bit and went to work on a home improvement project I’ve been wanting to do for ages.  Hetta picked out the fabric (with a little influence from mom) … I convinced her that the pink sequined butterfly satin would be too flimsy for a roman blind and possibly not go so well with the blue sky and clouds painted on the walls.Roman blinds closedI used this tutorial, and with a few minor changes, am very, very happy with it. Thank you for the excellent tutorial. I used washers instead of the brass rings, those darned things would have cost me almost $20 at $6 for 15 of them at JoAnne, and since I’d already spent more than I’d anticipated on the fabric… I bought 100 washers for $6 at Lowes and used those instead. They work just fine.  The girls were so excited, that they wanted to help every step of the way, and even cleaned their room a bit.

Roman Blinds open I steamed the folds so they would lay flat when pulled up. The tutorial says they will eventually do this, if you fiddle with them every time you pull them up until the fabric “remembers” on its own… Well, I figured I’d help it along a bit, cause who has time for all that fiddling? Ya think the girls’ll do it? Ya, me either.

I have plans to do some in my bedroom too. I am also going to make some for my kitchen with a map of the world on it. How convenient will that be for the upcoming school year? A pull down map of the world in my kitchen… of course we’ll see how that fits into my hectic schedule. So far, I have a sketch done in illustrator, thanks to a free vector download of the world map.

But tomorrow and Friday are earmarked for tallis work if I can fit it in. My awesome, amazing, and thoughtful husband plans on playing hooky from work to take the kids to the “ocean beach” (as they like to call it) on Friday.

Oh, and signing off with this: My littlest has become very attached to his blanket. He takes it everywhere he goes. So far we have managed to convince him to leave it in the car when we go to the beach. I must admit, as an old blankey devotee myself, that I find this very endearing.

Ari and Blankey

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10 Steps to Make Your Own Perfect Needle Holders

Needle holder

Needle Holder

The perfect sock needle holder has already been invented by the owner of my lys. You can find them here: at and they range in price from $12 to $18.  I own one and love it. It makes a satisfying swishy sword in sheath kind of sound when you put the top on. And what knitter doesn’t love the sword in sheath  sound?

double pointed needles

double pointed needles

The thing is…  I have a lot of knitting needles. And by a lot, I mean that in dpns alone I could knit for the entire US army and still have spare needles… ok so I exaggerate (slightly).  (And I think Stephanie Pearl McPhee has me beat by about 1 thousand).

Up until now I have kept all my needles in ziploc baggies. One (2 gallon size) for circular, one (same) for dpns. It works, sort of.  I’ve always wished I could have a needle holder for every set of dpns, and a few extra for WIPs.  But, did I mention I have a lot of needles?

Every time I want to do a project, I dump the bag out, take out my handy needle gauge and search for  a matching set. I have one needle holder that is perfect for storing needles and keeping your work on the needles too.

DIY Needle Holder

DIY Needle Holder

So I decided to make my own needle case, fashioned after the one above. They are a different shape due to the materials used, but they are virtually free. Most of what you need you should (as a knitter and crafter) already have at home.

This way I can have a holder for every work in progress and spares to keep my needles in. It helps me sort them out in my bag too. I made them out of old cereal boxes, so they are recycled and eco friendly too!

Here’s how you can make your own:



You will need:

  • an empty cereal box (preferably one that the kids didn’t smoosh into the butter dish).
  • a metal ruler and some old scrap to cut on, or a cutting mat
  • a bone folder (I like the one by Martha Stewart available at most craft stores) If you don’t have a bone folder a size US#10 or bigger bamboo knitting needle will do, you’ll want one with a dull point.
  • a marker (optional)
  • a pencil
  • a glue gun
  • brown tape (optional)
  • you will also find a triangle or a quilter’s guide useful for making sure everything is square (I forgot to put that in the picture).
  • oh, and of course, the needles you are making the case for.


measuring needles

1. Measure your needles. Mine measured 7″. The directions here are for that size. I have included measurements for smaller and larger needle sizes below.

Cut cereal box.

2. Cut a rectangle from your cereal box that is 9 1/2″ by 3″. Be sure to cut from the body of the box, where there are no folds.

score and fold

3. Using your ruler and bone folder, score on the printed side of the box 2 ” from one end, and 1/2″ in from each side.

cut this part away4. Cut away the corner created by these two folds.

glued bottom

5. Fold the two sides in and glue the bottom flap down to these two sides being careful not to get glue on the back part, you want your needles to be able to slide all the way down. Hot glue is great, cause it dries almost instantly, but do be careful not to burn your fingers. It sucks to knit with burnt finger tips… ask me how I know! You can wrap some brown tape around it and glue it down for a more finished look but this is totally unnecessary. It just appeals to my perfectionist aesthetic.

triangle cuts

6. On the other end, you will want to make a beveled edge of sorts. Cut away a triangle. You can just eyeball this.

beveled edge

7. Score using your cut as a guide and glue the flap closed onto the little triangle created by the fold.


8. Now for the top. Cut another rectangle from your cereal box, this one will be 2 5/8″ by 2 1/8″.


9. Score this (again on the printed side) 1/4″ in from each of the long sides and 2 1/8″ in from each of the short sides. Cut away the shaded area. Fold it and glue down, again being careful to glue only the flaps. After I made a few of these, I found it was easier to fold down and glue if I cut at a slight angle.


10. Your top should slide on easily but be snug. It should make a satisfying (cardboard) sword in sheath kind of sound.

write your info down

I wrote the needle info down on the tops of my stitch holder. This “pattern” will fit most 6″ and 7″ long dpns. It also has enough room to be used with work on the needles.

Now my messy needles look like this!

needle holders

ok, ok, so really they look more like this:


For 5″ needles: Large rectangle will be 6 1/2″ by 3″ , score 1 1/4″ from bottom, and 1/2″ from each side. Top will be 2 5/8″ by 3 1/8″ score 1/4″ from each long side, and 1 1/2″ from each end.

For 9″ needles: You will make two ends, because a standard cereal box isn’t long enough. Cut a large rectangle will be 9 1/2″ by 3″,  1/2″ from each side.  Make a top and a bottom, each will be 5 1/16″ by 2 5/8″, score 1/4″ from each long side, and 2 1/2″ from each end.  Glue the “bottom” on securely, you don’t want this to slide.

Now you too can have one of these for every set of dpns you own!


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