My Favorite Bulky

img_20161123_165941003One thing I set out to do a year ago is talk about tools I use and why I like them. This time of year the bulky machine commands ample space in between my living room and kitchen. It’s a wonderful machine and I was fortunate to locate a ribber attachment for it about a year after purchasing.  I have had others with nice bells and whistles, but frankly, this Silver Reed is, well, SIMPLE-Easy to use, reliable and very, very forgiving.

It’s not exactly all Siver Reed …The Ribber is an Empisal SR-120

img_20161123_170125719The machine is known as the Kantan Bulky, 120 needles.

Also known as the Singer BULKY 8. As it is an 8mm gauge machine. The BULKY 8 came in 2 versions, 120 and 140 needle beds.

I haven’t found much else on these. I believe there is an intarsia carriage, a garter bar, and a really nice travel case, but I have yet to locate them.  It came with great tools, however you need to experiment with the techniques, as the manuals are very basic.img_20161123_170317472

I’ve owned The Ultimate Sweater Machine, which is also an 8mm. The needles are the same which is great!! I also had variants of Toyota/Elna/Singer BULKY 9mm machines, but for me I love the simplicity of my SK-120. I always know what’s going on with this machine. The parts are uncomplicated. No chaotic punch pattern settings, internal gears or springs to wreck your day and make you pull your hair out!!  I liked the capability of those machines, but at the end of the day, I just want Simple.😉

The sponge bar….unlike all the others. It’s a 3/16 u-channel. Original had foam. I replace the foam with fabric folded in half, held in place with fabric covered rope trim….not sure what it’s called. This is really the only drawback!!




Postage due

Postage due …not a phrase used today unless standing at a kiosk reading a screen outside the locked post office lobby in your town.


Once upon a time my father had a robust stamp collection. Though I am never sure where treasures like this appeared from or when, he seemed to have somehow gained this unique knowledge of what I consider …entrancing hobbies.
Though I never knew dad to step foot inside a library, and there was no internet, we often found him in his little workshop in the basement, at his 2nd hand drafting table, peering  through the fluorescent magnifying lamp.
Didn’t matter if it was a rifle being restored, a Kennedy half dollar being polished, or a tiny little stamp from belgium, I never asked how my dad learned these skills…he was just Super Smart. Must have been that Christian Brother School?
Looking at my own hobbies I often find myself picking up something that, only in reflection emotionally ties me to my parents- so far away.  I can remember the most trivial details of my mother’s China, my dad’s wood planes, and my Granda’s fly rod with cloth case, the vivid small details, smell of sawdust, the sound of a spoon swirling sugar in the brown glass ARCOROC tea cups…is just a mystery.
I knit, but not because I like to create, but maybe because I think the skills I learned watching  my young parents, keeps them young and close in my heart. I’ve never mastered stamp collecting, I don’t like guns, i’m good with tools and building “tools” (spinning, wool combs, knitting machine accessories)  other items from available materials.  I never miss out on quality China in thrift stores. I knit many different techniques, until I’ve learned it, then learn a new one.  I do go to the library and learn much of the skills from reading the same old books my dad must have himself bought in a thrift store garage sale or borrowed from a friend.
I enjoy the challenges of process, not product. I like to discover how things are made and relish in recreating processes from our history that go unappreciated in today’s world. Though I don’t make clothes or pictures frames or even dinner most nights, I could teach a person how to do these things with great efficiency and quality. Because I spent so many moments watching my parents enjoy their life in the best way they knew. I was fascinated with their interests. Still am. That is my “postage due”.


Passap 1000/167

Picture for the passap knits group to see
Frustrating attempt at 1000/167* didn’t turn out as advertised. Top pic is latest trial…tried enlarge position x 2. Different result but still not matching the pattern pic on page 38. Will attempt next using tech 169. Thanks Linda!





Reclaimed Recycled Repurposed… What’s the correct word?

What’s the right word to use? Recycled…yes it is, Reused…yes it is, Reclaimed…yes it is, Repurposed….yes it is.

Of each, “reclaimed repurposed” is probably most accurate, but doesn’t fit the label so well.  Each of the words has its own appeal and it’s own appropriate usage. But I really would like to know is there a “most correct” word to describe the yarn that was harvested from a used garment, cleaned, respun, and incorporated into the primary material of a new design?

If I could get reader opinions that would be great!


* Dolls And Daydreams – Doll And Softie PDF Sewing Patterns: Fabric Label Tutorial: Made from Things…

QR code generator App works great! This one takes the person to the URL for this blog.  So many other uses exist for this! More to come🎉




IMG_20151202_221053944It was a simple solution. That’s what drove me to the idea.  For many years I have noticed I love to choose challenging from scratch, gardening, knitting….I’m just not satisfied with steady state, “run of the mill” work. So I challenge myself with Veganism, subsistence gardening, building my own spinning wheels and raw wool combs, super crazy reverse Knit cables from a Japanese knitting Cable book, or the other extreme, historic Shetland shawls, Estonian lace (Thank you Nancy Bush) and you guessed it cobweb lace, as seen in Skaska designs.  (I’m also challenged to write short sentences….still working on that!!)  This unfortunate fascination, however often means I sacrifice one project for another, or once I learn a new technique, I’m ready for a new challenge.

But I hate the idea of investing money in a project before I know if I will like it!!! Or if i will finish it.

Simple economics on this one. If I were going to spend the time to learn to knit lace with cobweb yarn, how much would the yarn cost and would I really use it?

So, to the thrift shop I went. Found an extra small, 100% cashmere, short sleeve, Knit top that had been horribly tiedyed camo blue.  $1.99 later I was at home, hand washing, drying and unzipping the chained-linker stitches holding the collar, sleeves, and front and back together.

Vioila, I successfully disassembled the sweater. Pulled the cast off rows apart and begun winding the tiny cashmere thread onto the ball winder. It was fascinating.

My children and husband just looked at me funny.  They left me alone. I was happy and content just watching the shades of blue, randomly placed, Knitted back up into a small triangular lace pattern (thank you Piecework and Nancy Bush) I was learning, on size 1 needles.2015-12-03_11-08-19

And so began the addiction. Luxury fibers, in greater quantity, for a fraction of the cost.  Yes there are some drawbacks….extra time, 2nds stigma, but if treated properly, and blended with other fibers, they now become unique, soft, & repurposed – lovely yarn always available….no waiting.

Tonight’s Picture at top, is cobweb cashmere/angora blend… repurposed from a donor sweater.