The Value of Unmaking

I started a dishcloth a couple of weeks ago. A couple of spots on it looked funky and I was half tempted to just pull the entire thing apart (knitters call this frogging--rip it, rip it) and start over. This is my default outlook. I hosed up and the world is going to implode, let's just chuck it and start over. Fortunately, I was able to stall this initial reaction by looking at this as an engineering problem. The results were not what I desired and I had no idea what I did to get to this point. I start to thinking, what can I do to try and avoid this next time. So, I started working backwards.

Simple Red Sauce

Simple veggie based red sauce. Goes well with straight pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine)

Strat Log

Ongoing project modifying a MexiStrat to play as I expect. Up to this this point I have:

Oatmeal Trial 1

  • Stove
  • Scale
  • 1.5 Quart Pan
  • Spoon 
  • Bowl

  • Steel Cut Oats - 60 g
  • Coconut Oil - 10 g
  • Water - 560 g
  • Sorghum Syrup - 30 g
  • Salt 

  1. Put the oil and oats into the pan and place over medium high heat.
  2. Stir continuously until the oats smell toasty and you hear them starting to pop.
  3. Add water and salt.
  4. Bring to a rolling boil.
  5. Lower heat to maintain the boil.
  6. Cook for 35 minutes.
  7. Pour into bowl and add sorghum.
  8. Let stand to cool

A little too thin, likely cut water to 450 g.
Letting it sit tightened up the slurry a bit.
Filling and tasty. 

Doin' the Dishes

Over the weekend I started thinking about what I could do to make shorter projects and stumbled across dishcloths.

Cotton or Linen (Yarn/String/Twine)

Knitting Needles

K - Knit
K2TOG - Knit 2 Together
ST(S) - Stich(es)
YO - Yarn Over

I made the pattern detailed here. But any combination of stitches should work. 
Pattern (on the bias)
  • Cast on 4 (used the knit-on method)
  • K 4
  • Increase until desired diagonal achieved (45-65 sts):
    • K 2
    • YO (increases each time by 1 st)
    • K to the end of row
  • Decrease until 4 sts remain.
    • K 1
    • K2TOG (decreases each time by 1 st)
    • YO (preserves pattern)
    • K2TOG (removes the added st from the YO)
    • K to end of row
Knitted this with butcher's twine. 
  • This was very difficult to work with and tended to split. 
  • Next time will try to loosen my tension a little and see if things flow more smoothly.
  • Like the texture of the twine on the finished product.
Dropped 1 stitch, will need to sew this back in.

Kintting Needles


  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Sandpaper
    • 60
    • 100
    • 150
    • 220
    • 600
    • 1500
  • Dowels (2 ~6"-12" x 1/8"-1/4")
Sharpen the end of the dowel until it is very pointy. Sand with the 60-grit sandpaper until the point is rounded and also knock the sharp shoulder off of the reverse end. Once everything is shaped (mostly pointy on one end and a gradual transition coming back about an inch or so on the dowel, bump up the grit up until the needle is smooth.


12 inch dowels are a little cumbersome to learn on. The smaller the needle, the finer the knit. The larger the needle the looser the knit. 

Next Steps:
Need to seal with beeswax or oil.

Portable Strop/Stitching Aid


  • Sandpaper
    • 60
    • 150
    • 220
  • Sanding Block
  • Razor Knife/Trim Knife
  • Brush


  • Wood block 2"x2"x1/2" or larger
  • Scrap Leather
  • Barge cement (or similar liquid contact cement)
  • Rubber mat (used Tandy Poundo Board)
  • Acetone (leather deglazer)
  • Polish compound (I use white diamond, but chrome oxide or iron oxide would also work, just make sure it is polishing, not cutting compound)

  1. Shape the wood block until it is comfortable. Leave one long/wide side flat.
  2. Clean the leather, poundo, and wood with the acetone.
  3. Brush cement onto the flat side of the wood and the grain side of the leather.
  4. Let dry until tacky.
  5. Press the cemented surfaces together.
  6. Brush cement onto the poundo and the other side of the wood.
  7. Let dry until tacky.
  8. Press cemented surfaces together.
  9. Charge the leather with polish compound, polish something, repeat until a good bit of compound has built up in the flesh side of the leather.
Other Ideas:
  • Single 2"x1" board split into portable cutting/polishing set in a roll up container.
  • Need fresh poundo.

Shot Bag

Shot Bag.

  Cutting pad
  Scratch Awl
  Stitching awl
  Wing Dividers
  Trim Knife
  Needles (2)
  Pliers (maybe)
  Binder clips (5)

  Leather 3.5" x 6.5" (2) upholstery/chrome tanned

  1. Mark the lenght/width using the scratch awl and L-square.
  2. Cut out leather.
  3. Lay good sides together and position the clips so they allow for stitching along one edge (preferably one of the longer sides). Chrome tanned is very stretchy so it might not want to line up. Use the trim knife to even everything. 
  4. Set the wing divider to 1/8th inch. 
  5. Scribe a line 1/8th inch from edge of the leather, use the wing dividers.
  6. Use the wing dividers to set the spacing
    1. Start at the edge and place one of the legs at the very edge and the other on the line just inscribed. 
    2. Continue down the working edge by placing the trailing point of the wing divider into last divot and bring the leading point down on the line. This makes uniform stitches (both size-wise and linearly)
    3. The last hole may end up not hitting the intersecting line. This is another benefit of using the wing-divider. As there are only 2 prongs, they rotate without impacting all the other holes. Tune the dividers into the work until they intersect the crossing line. 
  7. 2/3rds of the way down and begin stitching.  DO NOT START IN A CORNER. 
  8. Continue steps 5-7 around the piece until only the center 3rd on one side remains.
  9. Poke the remain holes and enlarge them with the scratch awl so they are cleary visible on the inside of the leather.
  10. Turn the piece right side out.
  11. Fill with BBs, funnel may help.
  12. Work the last few holes with the needle and thread (may want a curved needle for this.
  13. Pull tight.
Completely forgot to not start in a corner. This made my last corner very difficult to close and a definite weak point. Will likely restitch starting on the last 3rd on the longer side soon.
Needed my portable strop/stitch aid on this. Stitching started to even out toward the end, but still dificult as I was using the awl and holding the piece with one hand. 
Even though I could not see the divots from the dividers, I could feel them with light pressure from the awl. 
Saddle stitch tips. Start with the same side every time, pull the stitches taught every time. By pulling one side up and the other down ~45 degrees from the direction of the stitching it creates a nice ropey look to the stitches.

Removing Handwax from a CrockPot

  1. Set CrockPot to high. Melting took less than an hour.
  2. Place liner into separate pot.
  3. Stir wax to make sure everything is melted, if the resin has not completely integrated. There will be a liquid layer floating over a thicker stickier layer.
  4. Pour into lined pot.
  5. Use paper to absorb remaining wax, prior to turning off the CrockPot.
  6. Put the lined pot into the freezer. This allows the bag to pull free easier.
This mostly worked, there is still a thin layer  of gunk on the crockpot, going to grab some isopropyl and see if this dissolves the remains. Other possibles include kitchen oils as the wax/resin is oil soluble.