Garment Tag-Line Contest

Dear Knitters,

We believe we have very nice tag-lines (well, more like tag-paragraphs) on the products page for our bag and flower patterns:

Noni bags are bags to be worn, not just carried. They are, like jewelry or any adornment, extensions of our personalities. Let your creativity guide you as much as these patterns do toward making your own unique statement. Add interesting combinations of flowers to your bags, go on color adventures, but most of all, enjoy the process.

Noni flowers are exceptional, not just for their beauty, but for their ease of construction. The perfect portable project, they are wonderful as adornments for bags, the cuffs of your socks, the straps of your flip flops, the tops of gift boxes, hair thingies, lapels of coats, suits, jean jackets, and just about anything else that screams out for beauty. Give both the flowers and the patterns as gifts. Flowers flowers everywhere, all year around!

In the last two seasons, we’ve also released a number of beautiful garment patterns. And, we need your help! So, what better thing to do than to have a contest?

Post your tag-line (or paragraph) suggestions in the comments to this entry. Be sure to sign your comments in some form. We will announce the winner on Monday, April 6th. The winner will receive the full Spring ’09 collection, compliments of Noni!

I can’t wait to see what ya’ll are gonna to come up with!

Happy Stripes for the Perfect Fit Laptop Sleeve: My recipe for stripes

I Advocate Experimentation With Color Through Striping

It’s pretty obvious I’m fond of stripes.  And I like to experiment, putting together colors I don’t expect, sometimes don’t even expect to like next to each other.  Stripes are one way I challenge my own comfort and in the process discover things about color (and perhaps my own tastes) that surprise me.  For example,  if you put an unexpected color in a stripe pattern it will draw attention to itself, sometimes in a not so good way.  So, use the color again.  It makes all the colors pop a little more if you’ve hit on the right combination.

For the guy bag below, the dark brown and pale willow color are stark contrasts, but by bringing the two colors together and then reusing them again and again, together and apart, they made the other colors sing.  In my laptop bag below (the girly colorway on the pattern cover), I think it’s the Kumquat and Goldleaf in combination with all those reds and pinks that makes the bag.  And I used not to care for yellow. . . until I started bringing it in to my stripe patterns.

Here might be another rule to play around with: put next to each other two colors you don’t like very much.  See what happens. Try this with balls of yarn at your LYS.  Stand back and squint.

A test knitter of mine came up with another trick to test color combinations:  wrap colors around a book or piece of cardboard to simulate stripes and put next to the stripes you have already worked.  Stand back. . . this is one way to try out color patterns without committing to all that knitting.

I often try out a color for a few stitches to see if I like it.  If not, out it comes.  That’s the bottom line:  if you don’t like it, frog.

Send pictures of your laptop bags and fun stripe patterns to me and I’ll add them to a blog entry gallery.

As promised, for those who want to duplicate my stripes on the laptop bags, here are the colors I used and the rows I worked below.

Men’s Laptop stripes

Green & Brown Striped Laptop Sleeve

Green & Brown Striped Laptop Sleeve

Here are the colors I used:

1. Galway 757 (G757)
Bark heather
2. Galway 754 (G754)
Heather green
3. Galway 130 (G130)
Peat Moss
4. Galway 59 (G59)
Dark Moss
5. Riverstone 55 (R55)
6. Riverstone 64 (R64)
Island Moss
7. Riverstone 18 (R18)

Here are the colors and rows I worked (I refer to all colors by number):  CO in R18 & work 3 rounds.
5 G757, 3 G130, 4 G754, 1 R18, 3 R55, 3 R64, 2 G757, 1 R64, 3 G754, 2 G59, 1 R18, 1 R55, 2 G757, 3 G59, 3 R64, 2 G754, 3 R55, 2 R18, 4 G130, 3 G59, 3 G757, 2 G130, 1 R18, 2 G59, 3 R64, 3 R55, 2 754, 3 G130, 2 R64, 1 R18, 3 G59, 2 G757, 3 G130, 2 G754, 1 R55, 3 R64, 2 G757, 3 needle BO in G757.  If your laptop is taller, simply start at the beginning of the stripe series and repeat.  The stripe series is so long that it will not even look as though you are repeating.

Women’s Laptop stripes

Even non-matching stripes can look great.

Even non-matching stripes can look great.

Here are the colors I used:

1. Galway 174 (G174)
2. Galway 173 (G173)
3. Galway 177 (G177)
4. Galway 148 (G148)

5. Galway 125 (G125)

6. Riverstone 23 (R23)
7. Riverstone 11 (R11)
8. Riverstone 12 (R12)
9. Riverstone 33 (R33)
10. Riverstone 61 (R61)
11. Riverstone 63 (R63)

Here are the colors and rows I worked  (I refer to the Galway colors by number and the Riverstone colors by name):  CO in R red and work 4 rounds.
3 G125, 2 G177, 5 G174, 3 G148, 3 R Strawberry, 2 G173, 1 R Valentine, 2 R Kumquat, 3 R Goldleaf, 5 R Red, 3 G174, 3 G177, 4 R Rouge, 2 R Goldleaf, 1 R Kumquat, 5 G173, 2 G148, 7 R Red, 3 R Rouge, 2 G177, 5 G125, 3 R Strawberry, 5 G174, 1 R Red, 3-needle BO in R Red.  If your laptop requires more height, simply start at the beginning of the stripe series and repeat (or jump in anywhere and repeat).  This will give you the support of a stripe pattern but will look almost as though the pattern does not repeat.

Have No Fear! Striped Set-The-Table Placemats

I confess that when I thought to do this, I wondered a moment later if I was out of my mind.  Intarsia and stripes?  Sounds scary.  But forward I launched.  I am so fond of stripes!

And lo it was so much easier than I thought. . . and maybe easier than using a solid color for the placemat background.  Here’s why:  when using a solid for the placemat background, you’ll need bobbins.  But if you are striping, you just pull about a yard to 2 yard length of whatever color you are working in and use that.  Looks TERRIBLE, I have to say:

And you should have seen the mess on the floor when I had to rip out.  Positively heart-stopping.  BUT not so bad as it looked is the point I’m trying to make.  The trick to good intarsia is the way you wrap the fibers with each other when you change colors.  ALWAYS wrap and make sure your tension is even.  Working stripes doesn’t increase the number of strands of yarn you have in play at any point.  You just have shorter lengths of yarn.  THAT makes it easier to un-snarl your work.

Look at what a mess is on the back.

Look at what a mess is on the back.

Here you can see the back of the placemat right before felting.  DON'T weave in your ends!

Here you can see the back of the placemat right before felting. DON'T weave in your ends!

Don’t worry about weaving in all those ends!  Don’t even be tempted, because those woven in ends can change the gauge at which the placemat felts.  This creates problems, as you can imagine.  Just wait until after the placemat is felted and cut off the ends.

Front of placemat before felting.

Front of placemat before felting.

I put my placemat in a lingerie bag, as usual, and waited for it to start to feel stiff in the water.  I worked this mat in Shepherd’s Wool so it started to felt quickly.  And pulled in at the center A LOT.  I checked often, pulling the mat into rectangle every time I pulled it out of the water (about every three minutes).

Placemat during felting:  it pulled in at the center quite a bit. . . but not to worry!

Placemat during felting: it pulled in at the center quite a bit. . . but not to worry!

You might be tempted to take it out just before it’s ready.  Resist the temptation and dump back in.  Keep pulling the center out to rectangle.  You will probably notice that the sides of the placemat ruffle just a bit.  All of the mats I have felted have done so (four and counting).  As an antidote to the flaring, I folded the mat in half and held just the ruffly sides down in the water.  Worked like a charm.  Look at the spectacular results below!  If you don’t have a top loader as I do, you can do some of this work with easing:  lay the mat flat and smooth it with your fingers, moving the excess fabric into the center even as you flatten the fabric.  Leave flat until the mat is completely dry.

A little pulling into shape and it's DONE!

A little pulling into shape and it's DONE!

And here is my little Soma sitting at the table after setting his place (without parental oversight and micromanagement, I might add) with quite a proud little look on his face.


Send in your pictures of your little wee ones at their own mats or in the process of setting the table.  We’d love to set up a gallery of your set the table placemats and table setters!  Also, please tell us your placemat stories and experiences–we’d love to hear them.  Or post your questions about the Mats below and I’ll track and answer.  Happy Knitting. . . and Felting!

Before and After Pictures: Workshop at Gabriella’s Yarn Shop in Naples Florida

It’s taken me too long to write about my wonderful visit to Gabriella’s Yarn shop in Naples, Florida.  I was there toward the end of February teaching a Pick A Nonibag, Any Nonibag class.  In this workshop, participants choose to make any of my designs.  The bulk if not all of the bag knitting was done before the class and folks bring damp bags in on the first morning.

We spend the majority of the time working on turning the bags from ordinary to extraordinary, from schlumpy in some cases to pretty darn spectacular. We work on creating structure for the bags using stiffener, designing embellishments, choosing the best flowers for the bags, beading, adding handles, lining bags, putting in magnetic snaps or other closures, such as zippers.

I tend to forget about the camera and focus on the people in the class and their projects.  This, I have discovered has its pros and cons.  I work on people’s bags myself, do a lot of hands on demonstration, help people with new techniques. . . this is all very good.  And energizing for us all.  But what I missed this time (and in the past) was taking before and after pictures.  This is a pity, because what is not captured, then, is just how much progress everyone makes during the 12 or so hours we are together.

Next time, I’ll Take The Before & After pictures!  .  .  . I resolve to do better, and next time I am teaching a workshop I will make it a practice do take a BEFORE picture of the bag, lumps and all,  just like they do at the gym when you go in for personal training.  And then, at the end of the class, I’ll take an AFTER picture as sweet evidence of how much work was done, and how beautiful the bags turned out.

Adding structure to the tulip tote

Adding structure to the tulip tote

A medium carpet bag with beaded hydrangeas

A medium carpet bag with beaded hydrangeas

A small cherry blossom bag in process.

A small cherry blossom bag in process with branches and flowers pinned in place.

Beading a Camellia Flower using the sprinkle, pin, sew on approach

Beading a Camellia Flower using the sprinkle, pin, sew on approach

Before and after pictures next time, I promise. . .

Now,  About Gabriella’s Yarn Shop

Gabriella’s is a cozy, new shop in a warehouse-ish part of Naples (off Old Rt 41).  Notable contents:  Jade Saphire yarns, including cashmere (yummy!), lots of great sweater samples hanging on the wall, lot of Noni, great felting yarns, and Addi Click needles.  If you’re down in Florida, stop in.  Gabriella is great and there’s always some delectable wine on the menu if you are there late knitting (her husband is a wine distributor, so she’s got serious connetions!).  The store is already slated to expand, so maybe when you stop in it will be a little too big to call cozy.  I can’t wait to visit again.