Thursday, September 29, 2005

Swap Arrival

See what I got in the mail today?

My swap buddy from the Gimme Some Needles Exchange sent me a goodie box. I opened it to find not one but two pairs of knitting needles and a book-a wonderful book full of fairisle designs. What a wonderful gift! I think she's been peeking in my closet and found that box full of scraps of graph paper that I've been collecting over the years of examples of fairisle patterns. Now I can look up ideas for fairisle projects in this book instead of my assorted bits of dog-eared shred.

Thank you, Swap Buddy, I love this gift!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Block Update

I've made enough blocks for a small afghan. This photo shows the blocks arranged on the floor in the order I will be using for the finished blanket. I followed the pattern in Family Circle Easy Crochet Fall/Winter 2005 (number 34, Kathy Eng's oversized wrap) for the blocks, changing it just enough to make rectangular blocks 7 inches by 9 inches instead of the 5 1/4 inch squares given in the instructions. I used all Red Heart Super Saver yarn for rugged washability. I have started sewing it up, saving a little bit of work for the gals over at Knitzilla.

I've also shipped the goodies for my swap buddy for the Gimme Some Needles Exchange. I had a lot of fun putting that package together hehe. What I can't believe is that I forgot to take a photo of the goodies to share with you all. I will have to get one from my swap buddy after she receives her nifties.

Needles for my buddyHere is the photo from my swap buddy, Knitting Nurse. I chose Brittany needles for her because they are wonderful to work with and because they have that wasp-waisted shape in the turning that you can embellish with beads. I picked out some fun yarn to play with that isn't her usual sock knitting yarn. I found some beads to match the yarn and made some stitch markers and embellishments for the needles. Voila!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

What, no knitting?

Well, technically, no. I'm sewing up a knitting project, not actually knitting it, and I'm doing some crocheting. I will have a proper knitting post very soon though.

Here are a few blocks for the Afghanalong. I dug through my stash of yarn and since it is September was inspired to use these autumn shades. These blocks have been crocheted, but I will be knitting some as well. It's a great opportunity to test out new stitches and textures for future projects while helping out a good cause. If you have already donated to the Red Cross (or others) but still feel like you need to do something more, then why don't you make some blocks, or a whole afghan, and mail it to Knitzilla or your favorite charity? You'll be glad you did.

See the stitch markers that came in the mail yesterday? The second set I've received for September comes from Tennessee. In light blue and dark purple, they have a modern feeling about them. Aren't they gorgeous?

Thank you, Swap Buddy, for such a beautiful and generous set of markers!

I can't wait to use all these wonderful stitch markers! They deserve to be seen, so you know I'll be knitting in public more often just to show them off LOL!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Knitzilla AfghanalongWe interrupt this shawl for an announcement. Knitzilla is having an afghanalong for hurricane Katrina survivors. They're collecting squares, strips and completed afghans to be distributed to folks on the gulf coast. Check it out.

Markers and a Shawl

Here is the first set of stitch markers I have received for the month of September for the Stitch Marker Swap.

All the way from Massachusetts come these beautiful blue little gems. Each one is made with a glass bead of a slightly different shape so you can keep track of which stitch repeat you're working on, with a bonus contrasting light blue marker for the beginning of rows.

Thank you, Swap Buddy, I just love blue, and I love these markers!

I had purchased 6 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun in color #312 Edwardian (charcoal gray) several months ago with a prayer shawl in mind. I knew I wanted to make a simple rectangular shawl, large enough to cover the head if needed. I just needed to choose a stitch pattern for it. I knit swatches and played around with it but wasn't happy with it at all, so I put it away for a while.

shell stitch swatch I have been craving a little crochet lately, and I got the idea to try crocheting the shawl instead. So I played around with swatches and found a stitch texture that I like for this project. A simple shell stitch, shown here in a swatch using Red Heart Super Saver yarn and a size H crochet hook so that you can see it well, it's made as follows:

(sc=single crochet, dc=double crochet)
Chain a multiple of 4, plus 2 chains.
Row 1: Sc in the 2nd chain from hook, *skip one chain, make 3 dc in the next chain (one cluster made), skip one chain, sc in next chain* repeat to end. Chain 2, turn.
Row 2: Dc in the first sc (chain 2 plus 1 dc=2dc made), sc in the center stitch of the first cluster, *make 3 dc in the next sc, sc in the center stitch of the next cluster* repeat across row ending with 2 dc in the last sc. Chain 1, turn.
Row 3: (chain 1=1 sc made) *make 3 dc in the next sc, sc in the center stitch of the next cluster* repeat to end of row. Chain 2, turn.
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until desired length.

shawl, one skein Here is the progress so far on my shawl. I started with chain 78 using a size K crochet hook with a single strand of the Homespun. I've finished one skein of yarn, and the piece measures 30" wide and about 13" long. By the time I've used up all 6 skeins it should be a good, proper length for a shawl of this type.

Needle Exchange Questionnaire

Gimme Some Needles Exchange websiteHere are my answers to the Gimme Some Needles Exchange questionnaire.

1. What do you like to knit or crochet? (socks, sweaters, etc.)

I like to knit and crochet almost anything.

My current WIPS(works in progress) include a baby afghan, 4 baby/toddler sweaters, socks, a womens vest and a shawl. This years finished projects include many hats, scarves and mitts, handbags, dishcloths, baby sweaters and toys.

It would seem that I prefer to make small projects that don't take very long to finish.

2. What fibers do you like?

I really like to work with natural fibers like wool, silk and cotton. I am a practical person, however, and usually choose to work with easy care fibers that can be machine washed. I love the feel of superwash wool, but cotton is a better choice for the warm climate where I live.

3. What type of needles do you use most often?

I use straight needles most of the time for those small projects and garter stitch. When I knit a sweater, I prefer to use circular needles whenever possible to eliminate seams.

I frequently use aluminum needles. They are practical and fairly toddler proof, and in this warm climate having needles that are cool to the touch can be quite pleasant. I also use wooden needles, they feel very nice while using them, but the toddler has a real fascination with them and has broken some of my finer sock needles.

As for circular needles, I love Addi Turbos, doesn't everyone?

4. Do you like to knit in the round?

Yes, I do. I particularly enjoy fairisle in the round.

5. Do you use a magic loop method or any other we should know about? Are you interested in learning a new method?

I don't use magic loop yet, but it sounds like a fun thing to try :)

7. Do you have a favorite place that you shop online? (,,

I don't have a favorite, each shop has its own personality and inventory. I have shopped at Elann, GotYarn, Webs and Yarn Forward. There are so many that I haven't discovered yet!

8. Do you want to be surprised? Then erase all your answers above and write surprise me!!!

Of course I'll be surprised, but my swap buddy will want to know a little about me so she (or he) can choose.

Other things you might like to know about me:

I love crafty hand-made things best of all. I love all kinds of colors and textures. (Hmmm, I wouldn't be knitting and crocheting if I didn't, now, would I?)

Other people describe me as laid-back, flexible and easy-to-please.

My most recent needle purchases:

1. A pair of 9" size 6US/4.25mm Clover Takumi bamboo straights for finishing my afghan squares after my old Baleens broke.

2. A pair of 9" size 13US/9mm Clover Takumi bamboo straights for a Fancy Fur scarf.

I really like these needles. I find them very comfortable to knit with for long periods of time. Their light weight and short length make them less fatiguing.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Knitting Again

The weather has cooled substantially this week. I'm feeling like knitting again, yay!

Mitered afghan with sashingI've finished the sashings on the mitered baby afghan. It now measures about 36 inches square and is ready for an outer border. I am still deciding how I want to work the border, but I'm leaning toward a simple one of solid blue. I think it should be a bit wider than the sashing strips for a balanced look. I will do some swatches to try out some variations of color and width. Then I will decide how to attach it, log cabin style using 14" straight needles or one continuous frame using a long circular needle or two.

Toddler Owner's Manual I was browsing around over at Borders this weekend. I originally went there to find some magazines and ended up wandering the aisles of books as well. The toddler was with me and so we spent a good period of time in the childrens section exploring the things that interested his little boy sensibilities, mostly books with attached wheels that allowed him to play with them as if they were cars. I found this little gem of a book, the Toddler Owner's Manual, laying out-of-place on a shelf of little stuffed toys. It's filled with a lot of helpful hints for the 'reprogramming of your toddler unit'. This is a cool book, even if you have previous experience with the 1-4 year old crowd, and is filled with humor. I highly recommend it.

Fancy Fur yarn beforeMicheals was having a sale so we paid them a visit as well. Stash enhancement is always a good thing :)

I saw a sample scarf knitted in Lion Brand Fancy Fur hanging above the yarn display there. What a cool texture that yarn has, just the thing for my niece. The yarn band has a pattern for a one-skein scarf, but the scarf in the photo didn't look as large as the store sample did. After consulting with fellow shoppers, who agreed that the sample looked more generous, I bought 2 balls in the 'Flaming Fuchsia' colorway.

Fancy Fur scarf afterI started a little swatch using 8 stitches on size 13US/9mm needles as indicated in the pattern on the yarn band. I didn't like the narrow width of the piece and I didn't like the way the stockinette stitch curled, making it even narrower. I want this scarf to be a practical garment that will actually keep the girl warm in the winter, so I made it up as I went along.

Fancy Fur Scarf

Using those size 13 needles, cast on 16 stitches.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Knit
Continue knitting in garter stitch until you're about to run out of yarn from the first ball and attach the second ball. Continue knitting until you have about a yard/meter of yarn left . Bind off. Weave in ends.

Finished size about 6 inches wide and 34 inches long. The scarf stretches lengthwise when worn and is quite comfortable in width and length for cold weather.