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Pinning Tip When Working On Ironing Board

Do you use your ironing board to press and pin fabric together in your sewing projects? Isn’t it irritating when those pins catch the soft cover of the ironing board? Check out my one-minute video for the remedy to this very pressing problem!

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Easy Loom Knit Wool Infinity Scarf

It’s been a long time, so this first week of 2019 I’m sharing a just-finished, easy-to-make loom knit, wool infinity scarf.

I’m not new to loom knitting, but wanted to challenge myself beyond a basic e wrapped hat, so I looked (for the first time) to Craftsy for an easy-to-make project. There I found a pattern for this double knit infinity scarf using a 38 peg oblong loom. That patterns are rated for level of difficulty made it easy for me to choose one I felt confident tackling. Even so, getting this cast on and into the groove of the four row pattern was tough at first; after that-cake!     

What a lovely wool lap blanket while working on it!

Icelandic cream colored wool used.

So here it is-ready to go out on a cold, windy day without any ends to flap around!

Though I’m happy with the outcome of this easy loom knit scarf, I plan to do another with a more colorful, multi yarn. And after that, back to Craftsy for more inspiring projects!

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Little Betty!


Even though my sewing machine is currently packed away while we await the finish of our new place, I’ve begun to seek out small denim items for fun embellishment projects in the near future. I know now is not too early to plan for a couple of 2017 local craft fairs.

toddler,overalls,denim, I spied these toddler overalls at a local thrift store recently and couldn’t resist…how sweet would these be embellished with bright cotton print around the cuffs? The past couple of craft fairs had me wishing that I had more pieces for children, and indeed, they’re a lot of fun to put together. Much of the children’s thrift store clothing that I see is in hardly worn condition, perfect for a makeover. And many people really seem to enjoy seeking out special items for the children in their lives. Buttons in lieu of studs, and bright cotton print in lieu of lace and what do we have? Little Betty!

child,toddler,denim vest,upcycled,embellished,bright colorsdenim,jacket,tween,patchwork,scrap fabric

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Suitcase Living

We’ve been back in Washington for about two weeks now, and what a blenderful it has been! Not exactly my favorite smoothie, either…

It did not take very long for the crummy old rented trailer to turn into the trailer debacle; we have now moved into my mother’s guest room. This has its good and frustrating points; I don’t know that I’ve ever felt the difference between visiting and living with someone so sharply. I also didn’t know that it was possible to value a mini fridge as much as I do right now.

Had to be selective about what to cram into the guest room….sewing machine or amp? Guitar or ironing board? Since I won’t be doing any sewing for awhile, I’ve been going through mom’s boxes of stuff and posting some of it for sale on eBay. What a trip down memory lane that’s been! That she has still, from the late 60s (I had no idea) a Mattel Liddle Kiddles Talking Townhouse100_3470

that apparently had belonged to my sister really surprised me, even though I know well and good that there’s little she throws away. Does anyone remember this Mattel toy? Sooooo groovy, with the elevator!

And then there are the vintage dresses 100_3422-2 that she has had closeted away for so long…I am going to be busy for weeks eBaying this stuff!

Real transition going on for Betty these days as well. We are now spread out over three states, and beginning to work on new material via Skype-it has been sad and exciting at the same time for all. All this followed closely on the heels of four songs recorded in August at Dogwater Studios over three memorable days! We hope to meet up in December to play a show-stay tuned!

So that’s my life at the moment…trying to maintain some creative flow and establish structure and routine while living out of my suitcase.


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Music On The Road

I5 Bridge Portland

I’ve decided to write about my relocation experience from Nevada back up to Washington, where I lived prior to Nevada. This move will involve an interim stint in a rented travel trailer while we build a small apartment over a garage to live in. I have no idea how I’ll carry on with music, sewing and other creative projects in said travel trailer, but I’m going to try!

I’m writing on the road from Roseburg, Oregon. Today began with tears as I left the gas station in Carson City; people I’ve come to love are in Nevada, and indeed, most of my reinvented identity-how do I know it will follow, and if not, where the heck might it go? In other times I’m not troubled by such thoughts, but putting this scenario in motion has dragged up emotions I wasn’t aware I had. On this trip up I’ll drop my car off, fly back to Reno, and do the actual move next week…

Driving with such a heavy heart called for music that would take me out of my troubled head, and I’d packed a bag (yeah, the real thing, no Bluetooth or whatever for old-school me!) of Zeppelin cds.


Yes. John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Bonham, wherever you all are, you should know about the enduring magic of your art.


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The Music That Carries Us Through

Lately my head has been a jumble of all the things that come into play when I’m in song writing mode. That means swirling bits of all of the millions of hours of music I’ve ever listened to…I don’t even want to estimate those hours-it probably IS in the millions… The drummer in my band, Rick, is a huge 311 fan and the other day mentioned in a post how their music has carried and supported him when he’s needed it. I was thinking about that-how music can be a lifeblood for some of us- while reading a Rolling Stone article about the current Spirit/Led Zeppelin copyright infringement case . The line between being influenced by a song you absolutely love, perhaps a song you’ve had in your head for years, and actually playing nearly the same thing is a blurry grey one sometimes. Where do those particularly phrased notes and riffs come from? When I occasionally succeed in nailing down an idea for a new song, I know it means that the swirling bits have settled down into something I can use.

RockSummer of 77

These thoughts brought to mind my now practically ancient music scrapbook. Really this is just an ugly old blue binder that I filled with notebook paper and taped clippings from favorite bands into back in the mid 70s. I’d like to share some of it here and in future posts. But back to music as such a force in our lives…I know it is why I likely began clipping, jotting down song lyrics and listening to the first of those millions of hours of music as a young person, and apparently why I’ve been unable to toss the old binder.

Boz Scaggs collage Boz Scaggs always did it for me, and my copy of Silk Degrees is just about worn through!

DB collageSo many very personal memories attached to early Bowie. I still remember listening to Rebel Rebel from the cassette player in the truck of a boy my parents didn’t want me seeing. I’ve always experienced David Bowie as alternately defiant and lovely.

PicMonkey Collage BOCOh, Blue Oyster, how I love you still. This has to be one of the records that made me want to make heavy guitar sounds (Dad said no, so this didn’t happen for another 35 years). Awesome, incredible band. The song Dominance And Submission on the record I have pictured here, Secret Treaties, is cool sounding still, with a great riff and jaw dropping outro solo. Buck Dharma is one of my heroes indeed!

So here I am, about to post this and then go listen to a rough track of a new Betty song and try to figure out the rest of my parts. The missing bits are probably already swirling around in my head.

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Studded Guitar Gig Bag

studs,guitar gig bag
Studded Gig Bag

I had a little time this afternoon to do a quick and easy mod to a plain guitar gig bag. Most gig bags have an outer pocket for accessories, and that single layer is easy to go through when attaching studs. I happened to have a few of these unusual star studs and couldn’t resist putting one on along with the pyramid studs, arranged in triangular fashion. This bag will be a small donation for a local fundraiser this weekend, Marianarchy from Betty Looking forward to playing some new songs at this show!

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She Has Funny Hats

beret,upcycled,diy hat

Most of the time I seem to have too much on my plate to commit to a major creation, so I lean toward simple ones that can be completed in a single sitting. Alas, this same situation applies to the songs I come up with, but I feel happier completing something rather than nothing, and I suspect that this is true for many. I also lean toward reuse, and simple hats certainly qualify here.

The three hats pictured are super easy creations that are fun to do and can be put together in under an hour. Below is a stretchy beret style hat that consists of six pie shaped panels cut from an old sweatshirt. These were sewn together to make a circle, which was then gathered and pinned onto the band, which is simply two old socks less the feet. Stitch these two pieces together, and you’ve got a new hat!

Upcycled sweatshirt and socks into beret style hat

The retro brown-orange hat with green band was put together in the same way, both fabrics from stretchy knit ts and tanks. Doubling the band fabric gives it stability and a more finished look.

beret,upcycled,diy hat
Upcycled t shirts made into beret

The last hat has a little bit of a backstory to it…

A few years ago my band was planning a casual photo shoot, and naturally the topic of what to wear came up. We decided on black and white, with some sort of hat. I thought I might like to wear a pillbox style hat, but found vintage ones to be more than I wanted to spend just for this occasion. After band practice one day, I was lamenting this situation to Carolyn and she said that I would probably just make one out of an oatmeal box…it’s exactly what I did!

Pillbox inspired hat made from oatmeal box
Pillbox inspired hat made from oatmeal box

With a glue gun I attached an old linen napkin, lace, braid and faux pearls. It was a bit heavy, not perfect, and indeed had to be pinned to my hair for the photos but for that purpose was just the ticket-and so much fun!

Wearing my oatmeal box pillbox hat for the Betty Rocker photo shoot
Wearing my oatmeal box pillbox hat for the Betty Rocker photo shoot

Betty Rocker
Betty Rocker

If time ever permits I’d love to try my hand at a more serious endeavor. Do you have a favorite funny hat of your own?





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Single Afternoon Loom Knit Slipper Socks

loom knit slipper socks

You can make these comfy, cozy slipper socks in a single afternoon! The really great thing about this easy knitting project is that it’s calming, gives you a chance to catch up on your favorite listening and results in a great handmade gift for a friend!

Even if you’re unfamiliar with loom knitting, you can do this. I would recommend first viewing this video, which will show you in a few minutes the basic e wrap stitch, which is used on the slipper sock from ankle to toe.

Supplies you’ll need:

Supplies for loom knit slipper socks
Supplies for loom knit slipper socks

The loom is a small 24 peg that can be used for baby hats and scarves as well. Have to do a shout out about the knitting counter; I could not do this project without it.

A few words about yarn. I doubled the lighter weight green yarn used on the cuffs. It more closely follows the medium bulk of the heel and foot. For the toe I went to a lighter yarn and a single strand. The toe, of course, is cinched up and makes the decrease easier with less bulk. All the yarn shown here is washable wool blend, lovely soft. You can use whatever you like, but I find the 100% acrylics not quite so soft a feel.

Onward to the cuff…

Slipper Sock cuff

E wrap a single row, referring to above referenced video if you need. For the next 12 rows, you’ll alternate knit and purl stitches in each row. k,p,k,p,k,p etc. If you’ve not done this on a loom, you’ll work to the right with working yarn in front. The first peg to the right of the anchor will be knit. For the knit stitch the hook reaches under the wrapped loop, and grabs the working yarn from above, gets pulled down and knit off. The next stitch is purled, and the process is reversed. The hook will go behind the loop from the top, reaching down to grab the working yarn. Knit and purl alternately for 12 rows. Leaving a tail five inches or so, cut the cuff working yarn and double knot to ankle/foot yarn.

Slipper sock cuff 12 rows
Slipper sock cuff 12 rows

I would be so lost without my little knitting counter friend!

The ankle is simple and quick…just e wrap knit 5 rows. This usually takes me two or three songs to do.

Inside view of slipper sock ankle
Inside view of slipper sock ankle

The next thing to do is mark the 13th peg. I’ve used a green wire tie here, and this works fine. Now is the time to leave a yarn tail, cut the cuff yarn, and double knot the heel yarn. For the heel, you’ll only be working pegs 1-12, and will e wrap back and forth between them for 4 rows. Always start on adjacent peg, and do knit the last peg.

First part of slipper sock heel
First part of slipper sock heel

To decrease heel and reattach to loom, you’ll leave your (13th peg) marker on and, beginning at the 12th peg, pull that loop onto the adjacent (11th) peg. Go to peg one, wrap (peg 11 as well, even though it will have three loops on it) and work the row, treating the bottom two loops on peg 11 as a single loop. Then go to peg 1, moving it to adjacent peg 2 and following the above instruction until there are three empty pegs per side.

Decrease heel
Decrease heel

To reattach your knitting to the loom, with your hook take a top edge loop of yarn closest to peg that’s holding the ankle knitting and put on that peg (it will eliminate holes). Same thing for remaining six empty pegs. This part can be a bit of a challenge, but take your time to “see” the best way to spread out the heel knitting over the pegs and it will be fine. Also, if there are any holes in the heel/ankle/foot area, those long tails from changing yarn make stitching the hole shut an easy matter.

Once you’ve got your knitting reattached, cut a long tail and switch back to yarn that was used for the ankle. Double knot, and e wrap all round the loom. You’ll now remove that marker from peg 13, and notice that your number one peg is now on peg 4. There will be three loops on a couple of the pegs, treat the bottom two as if they were a single loop.

From here until the toe, knit as many rows as desired. On a medium bulky yarn, I find 22 rows equates to about a womens 7.5. As you approach the end of the foot, make certain the knitting is not too tight. The toe will consist of three additional rows.

When you reach the toe, cut a tail several inches long and tie on the yarn you’ll use for this. Best to use a yarn about half the thickness of the foot yarn. Double knot, and move every other peg onto the adjacent peg to the right. Then “weave” the working yarn in front of the pegs with loops and behind the empties. Not too tight. Then knit the double loops over. Pulling one peg over at a time is easier than both at once.

Decrease toe
Decrease toe

Do the next two rows the very same way, remembering to keep yarn loose for ease.

Leave a tail about one and a half times the loom diameter and thread onto your flexible yarn needle. Go through all loops, and once again through first loop. At this point you can remove knitting from loom and turn inside out to close (drawstring) as well as weave in all tails and stitch any holes that may exist. If you’ve not used this drawstring method, here’s an excellent lesson in doing so .

Inside out at finish, ready for weaving in tails
Inside out at finish, ready for weaving in tails

The second sock goes much quicker with the insight from the first one. A bow sewn on the cuff from yarn that’s been braided or spool knit would really make for a special handmade gift. Or enjoy them on your own feet!

Finished wool slipper socks!
Finished wool slipper socks!


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Retro Craft Tools Spool Knitter

Last week I took a look at a favorite vintage crafting tool, The Hazel loom

This week I am taking a look at another tool I like using in conjunction with small knitting and sewing projects. It is a spool knitter, also called a French knitter. The cute one I have pictured above isn’t vintage at all, but they’ve been around for a long time and are a quite flexible, and useful form of knitting. With a tiny knitter like this, the cable that comes out of the tube goes quickly. I found a great tutorial using this same tiny version that I have .

The silk handle on this small fabric bag was easily fashioned:

Small bag silk handle from spool knitter

A longer handle made from the same yarn the bag was knit from:

Small knit bag with spool knit handle

Like the flower loom, I like having this in my toolbox for its compact size.

I’d enjoy seeing and hearing about your own spool knit projects!