Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Day 12: Measuring, Wreaths and Heartbreak

Little Tape Measure

I love small things and tools for knitting. I think it came from my passion for the sewing room. A place (whether real or in the heart) where the only thing that goes on there is the art of the craft. Shelves stocked with goodies, fiber, fabric and tools of the trade and perhaps an easy chair to sit in and create. The most important thing to my way of thinking is a door that closes. How many times can you make your corner of the world a better place if you can just get away and BE???? That idea is transported with you when you carry your knitting around…………… every time you say, “Let me just finish this row.”

Because it is holiday time and the season for giving, I doubly love small things that are quickly created for giving, things that don’t cost a great deal of either time or money. One of those things is perfect to tuck into a stocking or into a small gift exchange for a fellow knitter or anyone that loves things with a handmade touch.

You will need a simple tape measure available at any fabric or craft store. Don’t purchase the super long ones but a regular tape measure, normally under $5.00. From your stash pick out a favorite yarn, something fairly fine gauge, it’s a great time to use something really luxe as this project doesn’t take much yardage. I used a mystery yarn from the depths of my stash, something fuzzy and neutral. I'm making more in a rainbow of bright colors, notably a hot pink for my best friend who crochets.


  • A small bit of yarn from your stash, fingering or lace weight
  • Double pointed needles in US size 1 or 2 (you won’t be working on them for very long, no fear of the dpn!)
  • Crochet hook
  • Vintage or pretty buttons no larger than one inch in size
  • Sewing thread to match yarn

You will be casting on enough stitches to yield one inch and a pinch. That is, an inch to cover the tape measure and a teensy bit larger than the tape in width. For me that was 8 stitches with a size 0 needle. You want to make a fairly firm knitted strip.

Knit in stockinette stitch until you have enough yarn to wrap around the outside of the tape measure and have about ¾ of an inch extra in length. It is impossible for me to give you an exact measurement because tape measures are different---- yours will tell you the exact size.

Bind off when you have enough length and weave in edges.

One one edge of the knitted strip, along the short edge, insert your crochet hook through the center of this edge and chain a piece long enough to go around the button you have chosen with a couple of extra links in the chain to secure the loop firmly. Weave in the yarn and with sewing thread in a matching color secure tightly and invisibly.

On a sewing machine (or with a fine hand backstitch) stitch along the edge of “inch number 1” and the knitted strip. Stitch slowly and barely catch the edge of the knitting. Note: there is usually a metal edge on the ends of the tape measure. Be very careful not to hit the metal with the sewing machine needle! You can definitely stitch this by hand, no worries.

Wrap the knitted strip around the tape measure (rolled firmly) and mark where the button should fit through the crochet loop closure. With hand sewing needle and thread, sew on the button very securely, going around the threads between the bottom of the button and the top of the knitted fabric several times making a nice shank for the button. Backstitch your thread and cut thread.

You have a cute little tape measure so far, but with a bit of very simple embellishment you can make it far more special.

Some embellishments:

  • Buttons
  • Purchased ribbon flowers
  • Silk ribbon embellishments
  • Crochet edge trim

I stitched vintage buttons around the strip and ran a very simple running stitch around the edge with silk ribbon. The finishing and embellishment are up to you.

I’m making several to tuck into the stockings of knitters, stitchers and quilters on my gift list. Useful, pretty and handmade--- what could be better? Well, except that you made it in no time and for very little money. Who wouldn’t love a little tape measure?


A Knitter’s Wreath

Because I celebrate Christmas with rather mad abandon, the holiday is all over my house. One of my very favorite things is my Creative Wreath, on the door of my sewing room. I got so many great comments about it last year when I made it that this year I’ve made similar wreaths for a few lucky friends.

I’ll make it extra special by tucking in a set of Addi Lace Turbo’s, a Little Tape Measure, a pattern for something fun to knit and the final touch will be a gift certificate tied on with a beautiful length of wired ribbon.

To Make the Wreath, Gather:

  • 1 18” artificial wreath (or larger if you like)
  • Vintage aluminum knitting needles in bright colors
  • Bits of an old quilt
  • Small yarn balls
  • Vintage patterns
  • Old tape measure
  • Small rulers
  • Packages of antique seam binding, thread, yarn bands, etc.
  • 1 spool of Wired ribbon
  • A few blossoms of a silk flower/poinsettia
  • Silk greenery (I purchased a few stems of silk poinsettias with some glitter and cut them apart yielding blossoms and some greenery for each wreath)
  • Small knitted ornaments (I used some from “Knitters Almanac” by Elizabeth Zimmermann)
  • Fine gauge florist wire

Fluff the wreath a bit so it looks a bit more natural. Add larger pieces first and fill in with your smaller pieces, wiring in things as you go. Tuck the knitting needles in last and wire at the top and bottom so they will be secure.


My niece is 19 and has suffered her first heartbreak in love. Do you remember yours? They hurt so dipdog much the pain of them is easily remembered by almost all of us. It really does make it sadder still that it happened during the holiday season, she had to take down her first 'alone' Christmas tree for pete's sake! My dear niece had graduated high school and decided to take a year to decide what she wanted to do with her life before she had to use her student loan for school. In my day we called it “finding yourself” and the truth of it is you never did. How in the world can you find yourself in a year, much less decide what you want to do with your life? I’m decidedly older than 19 and it took a long time to get it together. Heck, I think I still am! When you were young you thought that you'd be perfect and wonderful by the time you were 25. Now with some well aged wisdom the certainty is that you never stop growing and becoming wonderful is just flat hard work! My sweet naive girl met and fell hard for a boy who, shall we say, is a Bad Boy. A card carrying ne’er do well (although very cute) 20 year old with a bad attitude and a then concealed past with a world of problems. Like many young girls there was no way she was going to listen to her parents, her grandmother or even her auntie--- she knew better and this love was going to save the world. Needless to say she had a lot to learn and we all watched and waited knowing that there was an incredible amount of pain yet to come. She left her hometown and moved with this young man about 6 hours away, got her own apartment that took about every dime she made as a receptionist at a glitzy day spa. The young man moved in with breathtaking speed and her spoken too quickly statements about him living in the second bedroom fell on deaf ears. A short 3 months later my sweet niece has been picked up by her Dad and they’re moving her back home with her still fresh Christmas tree sitting out by the curb as a testimony to love gone wrong. The boy broke her heart and his bad past and broken relationships took their toll on him, with her life being his ugly collateral damage.

It’s been hard to watch even though I do know one thing for sure. I know that the soul and spirit of a woman is tough as nails and that no matter the heartbreak she will rise up from her pain and be better. Wiser, and even happy someday to have a much finer relationship down the road.

I know her pain because when I was 17 I graduated from high school as a junior and followed my own bad boy to college. My Dad offered to send me to any college I wanted, and of course I knew better. I didn’t know then what I know now of course, and for those that loved me, their pain at the time was probably like my own now. I wasn’t smart enough to pick up and move on however. I married my young man when I was a freshman in college and my oldest daughter (The Thin One) was four days old when I graduated with honors. I was for the most part miserable with my choices and even when my son arrived (an unexpected visit from the Stork) our marriage was doomed long before the start. It all fell apart and the heartbreak was like nothing I could have expected. For as much pain as my niece is in right now, I feel like at least she wisely averted a much larger nightmare.

Life is funny……….. no matter our heartbreaks we continue on. And during the holidays we stop to celebrate life. We are every bit of the pain that has made us and each breath of the wonder of tomorrow.


Join me tomorrow for a truly wonderful interview with Kelley Petkun from KnitPicks!

1 comment:

KnittinChick said...

I LOVE the little gift for so many types of crafty people. Since I come from a family of quilters and sewing types, this is something that they would love. Time to make up a few to have on hand as well.