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Ideas from  Kas Winters, "The Mother of Family Ideas"


Looking into the Past:

A Family Photo Frame


This is a terrific way to display family photographs, especially if you have some old ones of previous generations of family members. I was looking for a good way to share some photos I had with other family members and ran across some mirrors that had very wide frames. These were 10" x 10" with a small mirror in the middle and a wide, flat, wooden frame. I scanned the photos from five generations, and assembled them on the computer so that I could print them out on photo quality paper. Then, I used a type of spray-mounting glue (a light, spray glue which allows items to be repositioned) to paste the printed photos in position on a piece of poster board. The next step was to take it to a copy shop and have them laminate the board and photos to protect them from damage. Finally, I trimmed the excess lamination off and cut out the center where the mirror is located and used a permanent spray glue on the back of the laminated pictures to hold them in place on the frame. I sent them to three family graduates who can now look into the mirror and see themselves surrounded by generations of family. You could do it with any mix of photos such as parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, extended family or even friends. Instead of a mirror in the middle, you could insert a large photo of one person. This was one of those projects that worked just the way I thought it should. If you try it for your family, let me know how it works for you. Kas


Make Fiesta Flowers

Place four sheets of brightly colored tissue paper on top of one another. Fold them in half lengthwise and accordion fold them. (see figures a & b.)

fiestaflowra.JPG (9530 bytes)

Cut the folded edge so that it opens. 

fiestaflwrb.JPG (34393 bytes)

Pinch together in the center and hold with a piece of wire or twist-tie. Open and separate the folds to make it look like a flower. Add wire stems and wrap them with floral tape.

Some Stitchin' Secrets

Knots to You

Ever get a bundle of knots when you try to separate 6 ply embroidery floss or 3 ply yarn? Tightly grab hold of the entire cut piece of yarn or floss and then separate a single piece (1 ply). Pull it straight out while holding tightly to the remaining pieces. If you want to stitch with 3 ply floss, put three individual pieces back together and thread them through the needle.

Avoid "Fuzz-in-Mouth" Syndrome

When working with yarn, do you ever get a mouth full of fuzz when trying to thread a needle? Cut a piece of paper about one inch long and tall enough so that it will fit through the eye of the needle. Fold it in half so that it is 1/2" long. Place the end of the yarn in the fold and thread the fold of the paper through the eye of the needle. No more fuzz!

The Knitting Scene

by Sally Ketchum

While socks and sweaters and bonnets and booties fly off knitters’ needles, knitting for the home is often overlook; and, according to yarn shops it’s becoming a craze. Simply going to the shops is inspiring; you can browse the gorgeous and varied yarns, scan pattern books for pillows and yarn art, and especially helpful, you can talk with the staffers and customers. New customers will often find someone knitting at a table, whether they are there to help or to get advice on double knitting or an intricate pattern. Most shops also offer space and time for knitting groups, along with a wealth of ideas for knitting for the home—for both décor (toss pillows and lamp shades) and also for practical use (dish clothes and kitchen linens).

Who knits? Seniors knit (afghans and pop art socks), youngsters knit (pot holders and quilt squares), Famous people knit. Pro athletes knit—Rosie Grier, former NFL star, knits, and many stage and film stars knit as they wait for their calls in their trailers and dressing rooms. Comedian Tracey Ullman is one example.

Ullman knits, and with a fellow original knitter from New Zealand, Mel Clark, has written a knitting book that includes amusing personal anecdotes and zany patterns. (“Knit 2 Together,” Stewart, Tabori, & Chang). Barbara Stevenson, a Lake Leelanau knitter and former owner of a Sutton’s Bay yarn shop, recommends a recent book, “Mason-Dixon Knitting” by Gardener & Shayne. Reviewers say this unusual book has it all: directions, patterns, tales, opinions, even jokes.

Stevenson also recommends, “Felted Knits” by Beverly Galeskas (Interweave Press) since the craze for felting has become so strong. “It’s very popular,” Stevenson says, “and it’s addictive.”  Felting begins with a yarn suitable for the process. When the item is done, it is washed in hot water, causing the yarns to shrink together resulting in a firm texture and artful texture.  Many knitters knit and felt bags to hold their own yarn, needles and projects as their first felted piece.  The process is particular useful for knitting for homes. Felting can produce rugs, bowls, place mats, blankets, and colorful containers of all sizes for home storage. Yarn shops usually supply both yarns and directions for felted projects. 


Besides knitting to felt, a Williamsburg woman hunts thrift shops for knitted sweaters to felt, those that are either pretty in color, design or in knit-in patterns like cables. Result?  A felted piece to cut up and use as fabric for indoor doormats, coasters, toys and other objects for the home. One reason to knit for the home is that the products for the home can be tailored to the home as desired. Today’s yarns may or may not come off sheep.  There are varieties of both domestic (Brown Sheep, for instance) and imported yarns from just about every country imaginable. Especially valued are yarns from England and Ireland (tweeds), Shetland Islands, Iceland, France, and Italy.  Serious knitters know just where to go for ribbons (special for knitting), for thick, waterproof Icelandic yarns for knitted art (And ski sweaters!), or rope-like cotton for kitchen items that wear exceedingly well.


The variety of “yarns” means great options for the home. Ullman, for instance, covers old tables with lacy knitted-with-linen tablecloths. She says, “it is knitted in the round with increases to the edge (of the table), then drops straight down the sides in a sea foam lace pattern.”  Competent knitters fine Ullman’s remark has enough information to knit the tablecloth—and, as they wish for their particular table.


 Where is knitting going? It’s going to the future (lighted needles to knit in the dark!) It’s going out to posh parties in evening bags, it’s on northern Michigan’s ski slopes in leg warmers, it’s going to the office in felted messenger bags (Ullman’s book), and more than ever, it’s staying home in rugged mats and lacey curtains, is mohair afghans and in silky designer pillows. Home is where the heart is. It’s also where the knitting is.



Sally Ketchum has knitted since she was six. She has mainly knit ski sweaters and fun socks for friends--recently a gray business sock with a sunny yellow foot, hidden cheer, for Mondays. Inspired by recent her interest in knitting for the home and felting, she will try it soon. Ketchum can be reached at or through The Record-Eagle.














Pattern Book

Also known as "Chicken Scratch"

by Luanne Torblaa

Put the FUN in Learning!

Mother Lode

The Ultimate Collection of Ideas for Keeping Kids Busy

Over 5,000 Ideas for Tots through Teens

By Kas Winters 

USD $20.00


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