Thursday, June 30, 2005

African Knits and New Needles

The hats and scarves are on their way to Kelli and will soon be on their way to an orphanage in Mozambique. Here they are, just before being stuffed into a box for shipping. This is what I managed to get knitted in 2 weeks of spare time, see how fast the chunky yarn and garter stitch work up?

You know, I think it's almost magical the way the internet has made it possible for ordinary people to get together and do something extraordinary, like helping some kids on the other side of the planet. Wow.

See what I found in my mailbox today? My replacement needles for the one that broke while knitting little 2-stitch cables. Brittany no longer makes the victorian style walnut needles, so they sent me a pair of their art deco style birch needles instead. I think they're wonderful! They feel very good in the hands and the simple elegance of the turning is quite lovely. I'm sure to enjoy these needles very much. I have to say, I am most pleased with the Brittany Needle company, they make a quality product and they made good on their guarantee cheerfully and without question. Makes me want to go out and buy more of their needles! (hubby groans and wonders where I'm gonna put even more needles)

Sunday, June 26, 2005

EZ Knitted Scarf and Hat

These scarves and hats are so quick and easy to knit I'm tempted to call it an un-pattern. Simple garter stitch rectangles become warm and toasty accessories perfect for charity projects.

Knitted flat with 2 strands of Lion Brand Homespun on size 15 US/10 mm needles, you can play around with leftover yarn to make interesting stripes and color combinations. 2 skeins required to make a set, any size.

Sizes: Small (2 years), Medium (8 years) and Large (teen to adult). Pattern written for small size with changes for medium and large sizes in parenthesis where appropriate.

Gauge: 9 stitches and 16 rows = 4 inches/10 cm in garter stitch (knit every row) using size 15 US/10 mm needles of any style. Also required: large-eyed tapestry needle.

Scarf: Using 2 strands of yarn, cast on 12 (12, 15) stitches.
Knit in garter stitch for 126 (144, 160) rows. That's 63 (72, 80) ribs.
Bind off. Weave in ends.

Note: To recreate my striping pattern, change the color of one of the strands of yarn every 18 (18, 20) rows or 9 (9,10) ribs.

Hat: Using 2 strands of yarn, cast on 30 (36, 40) stitches.
Knit in garter stitch 24 (28, 32) rows or 12 (14, 16) ribs.
Final row: Knit 15 (18, 20) stitches and stop, leaving the stitches on the needles. Cut the yarn, leaving a 24" tail for seaming. Fold the hat right sides together and using a large tapestry needle weave the front and back stitches together using kitchener stitch. Turn hat right-side-out and continue seam along side of hat using mattress stitch. Weave in ends.

Note: To recreate my striping pattern, change the color of one of the strands of yarn every 6 (6, 8) rows or 3 (3, 4) ribs.

Bonus: Toddler Thumbless Mitts
Using 2 strands of yarn, cast on 12 stitches.
Knit in garter stitch for 20 rows, or 10 ribs.
Row 21: *K2tog, knit 2, K2tog* twice; 8 stitches.
Row 22: Knit
Row 23: *K2tog* across row; 4 stitches.
Row 24: Knit
Cut yarn leaving 14" tail for seaming. Using large tapestry needle, draw yarn through 4 remaining stitches and pull up tightly. Fold sides of mitt together, wrong sides together, and seam using matress stitch. Weave in ends.

Note: I played around with stripe patterns with the mitts using the leftover bits of yarn. I started with dark colors and ended with light colors, but didn't do the same thing twice.

This photo shows the small size set, appropriate for a toddler of 2 years. The colors I used for this set: #368 Montana Sky (darker blue), #391 Blue Sky (light blue) and #300 Hepplewhite (white).

Stripe pattern:
A: 2 strands dark blue.
B: 1 strand dark blue, 1 strand light blue
C: 2 strands light blue
D: 1 strand light blue, 1 strand white

This photo shows the large set, appropriate for a teen or adult. The colors I used for this set: #368 Montana Sky (dark blue), #391 Blue Sky (light blue), #369 Florida Keys Green (dark green) and # 389 Spring Green (light green).

Stripe pattern:
A: 1 strand dark blue, 1 strand light blue
B: 1 strand light blue, 1 strand light green
C: 1 strand light green, 1 strand dark green
D: 1 strand dark green, 1 strand dark blue

The red colorway uses # 375 Candy Apple (dark red), # 370 Coral Gables (light red), and # 300 Hepplewhite (white).

A: 2 strands dark red
B: 1 strand dark red, 1 strand light red
C: 2 strands light red
D: 1 strand light red, 1 strand white

The green colorway uses #369 Florida Keys Green (dark green), # 389 Spring Green (light green) and #300 Hepplewhite (white).

A: 2 strands dark green
B: 1 strand dark green, 1 strand light green
C: 2 strands light green
D: 1 strand light green, 1 strand white

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Crocheted Hat with Brim

This is an easy hat to crochet. This hat is sized for a child, but can be made larger for an adult by adding a few rounds to the 'rnd 8 to 15' section.

Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun #375 Candy Apple and #370 Coral Gables or color(s) of your choice. One skein is enough to make this hat, pulling yarn from the inside and outside of the skein at the same time.

Gauge: 7 stitches and 10 rows = 4 inches/ 10 cm in single crochet using size N/9mm hook.

sc = single crochet
st = stitch
sts = stitches
rnd = round
slst = slip stitch
*...* = repeat instructions between asterisks as directed

Work in rounds in a spiral, using a stitch marker to keep track of beginning of rounds.
With doubled strand of yarn, chain 2.
Rnd 1: Sc 8 sts in the first loop; 8 sts.
Rnd 2: Make 2 sc in each st; 16 sts.
Rnd 3: *Make 1 sc in first st, 2 sc in next st* repeat to end of rnd; 24 sts.
Rnd 4: *Make 1 sc in each of first 2 sts, 2 sc in next st* repeat to end of rnd; 32 sts.
Rnd 5 and 6: Make 1 sc in each st.
Rnd 7: *Make 1 sc in each of first 3 sts, 2 sc in next st* repeat to end of rnd; 40 sts.
Rnd 8 thru 15: Make 1 sc in each st.
Rnd 16: *Make 1 sc in first st, 2 sc in next st* repeat to end of rnd; 60 sts.
Rnd 17: *Make 1 sc in each of first 4 sts, 2 sc in next st* repeat to end of rnd; 72 sts.
Rnd 18: Make 1 sc in each st. Slst to beginning of rnd. Cut yarn and weave in ends.

Note: I used 1 strand of Candy Apple and 1 strand of Coral Gables to crochet this hat, changing to 2 strands of Candy Apple for the last round.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Knitting for a Cause

I am trying to rest. Really I am. I just can't seem to sleep with my sinuses living an independent life as they seem to be doing. What is a girl to do while waiting for the sinus remedy to kick in? Knit, of course! But it has to be easy and not take much concentration.

This is my chosen project, scarves and hats for Kelli to take to Mozambique with her.

I've chosen my yarn. It must be in bright colors for children to enjoy. It must be soft and warm and easy to care for. It also must be bulky for fast knitting. Lion Brand Homespun, my fave for kids. I've started a simple garter stitch scarf.

That's 2 strands of Homespun on size 15 US/10 mm needles. I plan to both knit and crochet items to send to Kelli, and since I'm making them up as I go along I will also post the patterns I use to make them. Yes, by golly, crochet content! So stay tuned.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Yarn Gifties

My posts seem a bit short and terse lately. I do apologize for that, I have the latest virus that's going around making people miserable. Yes, I am a sickie, and complicated thought seems beyond me at the moment.

I want you to see the yarn that my BackTack buddy sent to me. Isn't it just the coolest?

It's so soft and nice! A combination of chenille with a woolie halo in just the perfect shade of charcoal gray to go with my winter coat. How did you know?

Thank you so very much, this will make great winter accessories, a beret perhaps. I will have to play a bit to see. That's always the fun part, don't you think?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Mail from Australia

There was a package from Australia in my mailbox today from my BackTack buddy! See what she sent me? Isn't it purty? I can't wait to dig right in and get to work!

Thank you, BackTack Buddy, I have a lot of country colors in my sewing stash to go with this!

Bags on the Brain

Everywhere I go I seem to find interesting bags. Are they truly this popular or is it just me, bags-on-the-brain or somesuch? Here is a group I found at my local Beverly's (that's a fabric/crafts/floral supply store).

While orange usually is not my favorite color, aren't these bags inspiring? I think they're just deliciously tropical in tangerine. I bought the pattern, of course, it's Simplicity 9949. I think it'll make a great project bag, travel bag, diaper bag, etc.

The weather has been quite warm, downright hot the last couple of days. I'm afraid I may have killed my fushia by not watering it twice a day in this heat as I should. I forgot to water the plants on Sunday. The rest of our little patio garden is doing just fine, though. Most of the plants are heat-lovers like tomatoes and citrus and didn't suffer from the lack of watering over the weekend because they are in larger pots that hold the moisture better.

See my little gardener, he thinks the hose belongs to him and will not reliquish it to anyone. We have quite a little battle when it's time to come inside, he enjoys playing with the water so much. The 'terrible' part of being two is beginning *sigh*.

I've set in the sleeves for the Marennes jacket and decided it needs a bit of blocking before I finish the seams. I must find the iron and board before I can finish it. We have too many boxes left to unpack still. Until then, I will probably work on afghan squares until I get bored, then move on to little hats and scarves for AfricanKelli's upcoming trip to Mozambique.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Patio Flowers and Bustier Bags

I've been enjoying the fine weather this week and the flowers on the patio. Having a pot of colorful annuals or two on the patio has become a tradition for me. It really perks me up to see them out there, especially when it's hot and uncomfortable-it reminds me that the heat has its purpose too.

I have been aquainting myself with the local shops around my new home and have found some interesting and unusual things. I just had to share this amusing item that I found in a little shop that specialized in handbags.

I'm sure that there will be a flurry of activity to try to recreate it. I am planning a more, um, sedate bag for my BackTack buddy to use as a knitting bag, although I'm sure that a bustier-bag would make a great tote for projects too.

The Marennes jacket in Hobby is nearly finished, just the sewing up to be done. I will post a photo when it's complete.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Hobby Layette Saga

After finding my needles and happily swatching and beginning my new project, it came to a screeching halt once again.

*sigh* Another lesson learned: When knitting little 2-stitch cables, don't use small wooden needles, use metal instead.

These were Brittany size 4 US/3.5mm needles.

I grabbed my trusty aluminums and continued, and here you see some real progress.

What is that? Well, it's the Marennes Jacket from Bouton d'Or Layette #13. I'm knitting the 0-3 months size using Hobby Kids Color from Stahl.

No, I'm not making any adjustments for the difference in gauge. Pattern gauge is 24 stitches and 32 rows=4"/10cm, and my swatch gauge is 23 stitches and 30 rows using size 4 US/3.5mm needles. I say close enough. It will knit just the tiniest bit larger, which is ok with me.