Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Doll Bunting

Measuring the dollThis is the toddler's new baby doll, one of those inexpensive ones you find in discount stores. It didn't come with much clothing, so I was asked to make something to 'keep baby warm'.

So, I sat down to knit a simple bunting.

As you can see, when the doll is in a sitting position, the legs spread quite wide. This is a problem. If the bunting is made in the same way a real baby garment is, it would be too narrow to fit around the legs while seated. If the garment is made wide enough for the legs, then it is much too bulky in the torso. Some shaping is required to make it fit properly.

Doll with buntingI decided that I would make a prototype to test shaping and ease. If it turned out well then everyone would be happy. If it didn't go so well, then that would be ok too, it's just a test: a learning experience.

I chose garter stitch because it's easy and quick to work and the proportion of rows to stitches helps simplify the math. I decided to use raglan sleeves because they are easy to knit and to fit.

This doll's measurements:
Approximately 9 inches tall (23 cm.)
5-1/4 inches around belly (14 cm.)
10 inches around widest part of legs in seated position (25 cm.)
2-1/2 inches to fit loosely around thickest part of arm/hand (6.5cm)

Here's what I did:


Cast on 14 stitches, knit 18 rows or 9 ribs of garter stitch, cut yarn about 6 inches long and use a yarn needle to pull the yarn end through the stitches on the knitting needle- this works as a stitch holder. Make second sleeve to match. Set aside.


Cast on 10 inches worth of stitches. I used King Cole brand Smarty Double Knitting yarn, which has a gauge of 22 stitches to 4 inches/10 cm. on US 5 needles (4mm). So, I cast on 56 stitches because I wanted an even number of stitches to divide front and back.

I knit straight garter stitch for a length that I thought would cover the legs from foot to knee, 24 rows or 12 ribs*. I then started decreasing at the sides to bring the width down to a good size to fit around the belly with some ease, 6 inches/15cm. I did it this way:

Row 25: Knit 12 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 24 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit remaining 12 stitches- 52 stitches.
Row 26: Knit all stitches.
Row 27: Knit 11 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 22 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit remaining 11 stitches- 48 stitches.
Row 28: Knit all stitches.
Row 29: Knit 10 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 20 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit remaining 10 stitches- 44 stitches.
Row 30: Knit all stitches.
Row 31: Knit 9 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 18 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit remaining 9 stitches- 40 stitches.
Row 32: Knit all stitches.
Row 33: Knit 8 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 16 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit remaining 8 stitches- 36 stitches.
Row 34: Knit all stitches.
Row 35: Knit 7 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 14 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit remaining 7 stitches- 32 stitches.
Row 36: Knit all stitches.

I then knit straight garter stitch for 10 more rows or 5 ribs to cover the area between the hip and armpit area where the sleeve opening begins.

Adding in the sleeves

Row 47: Knit the first 8 stitches, then take one sleeve and carefully put the sleeve stitches onto the left needle and pull out the stitch holder yarn, leaving the 6-inch tail hanging on the right edge of the sleeve. Smooth it out of the way of the work. Now, this is going to be awkward, trying to fit the sleeve stitches in between existing body stitches- just take it slowly and don't worry if things get a little loose, it can be fixed when you sew the underarm seam. Knit the 14 stitches of the sleeve and then knit the 16 stitches of the back. Again, carefully put the stitches from the second sleeve onto the left needle and remove stitch holder yarn. Knit stitches from second sleeve, then knit remaining 8 stitches. 60 stitches on the needle, sitting rather awkwardly, being pushed and pulled in different directions. This tightness will ease up with each row you knit after this.
Row 48: Knit all the stitches.

Raglan Decreasing

Row 49: Knit 6 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 10 sleeve stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 12 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 10 sleeve stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit remaining 6 stitches- 52 stitches.
Row 50: Knit all stitches.
Row 51: Knit 5 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 8 sleeve stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 10 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 8 sleeve stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit remaining 5 stitches- 44 stitches.
Row 52: Knit all stitches.
Row 53: Knit 4 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 6 sleeve stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 8 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 6 sleeve stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit remaining 4 stitches- 36 stitches.
Row 54: Knit all stitches.
Row 55: Knit 3 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 4 sleeve stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 6 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 4 sleeve stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit remaining 3 stitches- 28 stitches.
Row 56: Knit all stitches.
Row 57: Knit 2 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 2 sleeve stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 4 stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit 2 sleeve stitches, K2tog, K2tog, knit remaining 2 stitches- 20 stitches.
Row 58: Knit all stitches.

Knit 8 rows or 4 ribs of garter stitch for collar. Bind off.

Front Bands

Pick up 33 stitches along right front, knit 2 rows garter stitch, bind off. Repeat on left front.

*At this point I tried on the garment and discovered that I hadn't made it quite long enough, so I picked up stitches along the bottom edge and knitted another 10 rows or 5 ribs to make it long enough. I decreased on the 5th, 7th and 9th rows to make a curved bottom. It would be better to knit 34 rows to begin the work and pick up 38 stitches for the front bands.

Sewing up

Remember those 6 inch tails from the sleeves? that's what I used to sew the sleeve seams. It may need a little finessing and reinforcing to avoid having a hole in the armpit, so do that first before using matress stitch to sew the sleeve seam.

Lay the bunting on a flat surface with the front facing you and smooth it, overlapping the front bands in the center. Pin in place if needed and sew the bottom together using either a simple whip stitch or kitchener stitch. Stitch center fronts together about 2 inches up from the bottom. Sew 3 or 4 snaps to front bands to hold it together.

Broken bamboo needleAfter I had finished the bunting, the toddler got hold of my needles again. There just seems to be something fascinating to that child about knitting needles. They are drumsticks usually, but this time the fascination was with splintering and breaking.

Friday, December 16, 2005

More Switch Marker Swap Arrivals

More stitch markers have arrived in the mail during the last week. I came home after a long day, feeling tired, to discover these little delights in my mail box. It really gave me a lift!

Here is the 3rd set of stitch markers I've received for the Switch Marker Swap and they're from Audrey. These markers are petite little darlings and the presentation is lovely. So lovely, in fact, that I don't want to remove them from the card! I'll leave them there for a while until I'm ready to use them.

This is the 4th set, from Jannett. What a luscious shade of blue! They feel wonderful in the hand and will move smoothly in my knitting.

Thank you, Swap Buddies, for your wonderful work!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Free Yarn Arrives

My free ball of yarn from Bernat has arrived! The color, Mr. Brown, is perfect for making a teddy bear or other animal. I'm looking forward to playing around with this yarn, it promises to be a lot of fun!

Have you requested your free ball of yarn yet? If you haven't, then you'd better do it quickly-the offer is only good through December 31st. Order yours here.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

More Markers

I've received my second set of markers for the Switch Marker Swap. These come from Wendy and I think they're a hoot! I especially love the one with pink hair, hehe, I actually remember women wearing their hair that way when I was a child. We're all a bunch of doll lovers around here, and these stitch markers are very much like little dolls.

Thank you, Wendy, for giving me such a smile!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Recipe for Yams

This is what became of Yamzilla. Traditionally, my family has always served candied yams at Thanksgiving. Sickly sweet and high in calorie, I wanted to update our recipe to make something a bit more healthful but still satisfy the craving for familiar flavors. This is what I came up with. Even my mother (who is resistant to change in our food traditions) liked it and has asked that we do it this way from now on. Here's my recipe:

Yams with Marshmallows

1-1/2 lbs. yams or sweet potatoes
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 package miniature marshmallows

Peel yams and cut up into chunks. Place in a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to boiling, reduce heat and simmer until yams are tender. Drain and mash with potato masher. Stir in butter and spices. Spread yam mixture in a large shallow casserole or 9x13-inch pan. Top with marshmallows and bake in a 350 degree oven until the marshmallows melt and begin to brown. Serves a crowd of 12-16 people.

To reduce calories further, you may omit the marshmallows and serve as you would mashed potatoes.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you have all had a Happy Thanksgiving.

I have been feeling thankful for many things, some of which I will share with you here. I feel thankful for my freedom, prosperity and good fortune in general, which are not the result of my own actions and are not earned by me nor deserved by me to any greater degree than anyone else. I am thankful to have the things necessary for survival; a roof over my head, clothing, food and medical care. I am thankful for the things I have beyond the necessities; the luxury that allows me to have the time and the means to, among other things, knit just about whatever I wish for the simple pleasure of it. I am particularly thankful, however, for my loved ones, for being able to spend another cherished year with them.

I had a most pleasant Thanksgiving meal with my family, though not uneventful. In the process of preparing that meal I had a small mishap with a carving knife and cut my finger. It was a small enough injury that I was able to bandage it up and join everyone for supper before heading off to the urgent care clinic for a bit of Dermabond and a tetanus shot. I returned in time for pumpkin pie.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to do any knitting or other handwork until it has healed. I'm afraid I won't be able to get the second sleeve of my nephew's sweater knitted in time to be shipped to Canada for Christmas. I will ship the other gifts right away, and then send the sweater along later.

Switch Markers I've MadeHere is a photo of the stitch markers I have made for the Switch Marker Swap. This is not a secret swap, so I am posting the photo right now. They have all been safely shipped out and are on their way to my swap buddies all over the country.

I didn't make them all at once, I worked on them as I had the free time over a period of 6-8 weeks. As a result, they are not all the same, they are each a unique creation. I like doing it this way; with a bit of time in between each set, I can be inspired in different ways and by different sources for each one.

I do hope my swap buddies enjoy the markers I've made for them!

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Giant yam with a quarterI simply could not resist showing you the yam I bought at the grocery store this week. It is positively the largest one I've ever seen. It's 1-1/2 lbs, 10 inches long and 6 inches in diameter with an 18-inch circumference, almost as large as my toddler's head. I can use this thing to model hats for little ones until I make Yams with Marshmallows out of it for Thanksgiving dinner. We affectionately call it Yamzilla.

Bag of persimmonsWe were invited to a neighbor's house to pick persimmons and came home with a grocery bag full of them. We left some stem attached to help them finish ripening where needed. Aren't they pretty? I want some yarn in that color hehe.

We're going to try out some recipes for baked goods and jams made with the persimmons; this is the first time we've had enough of the fruits to do so. I'll report on our adventures.

First Switch MarkersMy first package came for the Switch Marker Swap. Aren't they adorable? What a cool way to keep them together, using a keychain! I love it!

Thank you, Moze, for a great set of stitch markers!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Marker Mania

I promised to post photos of the markers I made for the Stitch Marker Swap after the end of the swap, so here they are. I took photos of them as I finished each batch.

August MarkersThe first set was for August and the theme color was pinks. Bubble gum pinks, peachy pinks, pink with green and blue. Each has a different silver charm at the bottom so that you can tell them apart in your knitting.

September MarkersThe second set was for September and the theme was water. Aqua blues with the same silver charms to tell them apart.

I had a little bit more spare time that month and was able to package these prettily on handmade cards. I used different shades of aqua, blue and purple cardstock and used a wavy-edged pair of paper scissors to make it resemble water.

October MarkersThe third set was for October and the theme color was purple. I have a special fondness for purple and I really enjoyed making these, just because I was working with my favorite color.

It was a lot of fun making stitch markers for this swap, and each set that I got in return was unique, different from what I made and very inspirational for future projects.

Cabled Baby HatHere is the hat that I started at the hockey game. I made it to match the Manoir Coat. You know, that one that's been giving me fits. I have indeed set that coat aside for now. Maybe later I will be able to resew that collar with new inspiration, but not today.

Instead, I'm adding rows to the blue striped cardigan. I really would like to finish it in time for the holidays since it is meant to be a gift for my nephew. I've finished the body and have started the first sleeve. It's beginning to look like it might be a bit big for him, but I haven't checked the measurements to be sure yet. Far better that it be a bit too big than a bit too small!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Knitting In Public

Knitting at the hockey gameKnitting in public is not new to me. I knit whenever I get the chance and keep a small project tucked into my purse or diaper bag just in case I have the opportunity to work a few rows. People can see me knitting all over town. I have to admit, however, that knitting at a hockey game is a first for me.

Knitting at a hockey game is not the same as knitting at a baseball game. It's noisier and the fans are, shall we say, more boisterous. There is also the very real danger of getting hit in the head with a puck that requires one to pay attention to the game at all times. So, if you're a skilled knitter and are practiced at knitting without looking at it, by all means do give knitting at a hockey game a try.

In the photo is the beginnings of a baby hat at last night's game, Bakersfield Condors vs. San Diego Gulls. That's the goalie for the Gulls peeking through. The game went into overtime, final score 5-4 Gulls.

For those who wonder why in the world I would be talking about hockey in the first place: I'm married to a Canadian. 'Nuff said.

Friday, November 04, 2005

A Quilt and Wackiness

xmas puff quiltThis is one of my mother's projects that has been sitting in a box for a few years. She has asked me to help her to finally get it finished, hopefully in time for the holiday season. It is a puff quilt made from a large assortment of holiday novelty fabrics. We've arranged the blocks in a pleasingly random pattern and started sewing them together. I took a photo of the arrangement so that we can put things to rights again whenever the toddler kicks them out of order. Gosh, I just love my digital camera!

wacky jester hatI was in a mood for some whimsy and amused myself for a couple of evenings by knitting this little jester's hat. It's ok kids, I've gotten it out of my system, there won't be any more of this wackiness posing as holiday gifts this year. Really, I promise.

This little darling will be going into the box of charity knitting.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Pumpkin Patch

We've made our annual trek to the pumpkin patch. Many photos were taken and many pumpkins and gourds were petted and purchased. The toddler had great fun even though he was too small to partake of many of the entertainments on the premises. Hugging 'punkees' was his favorite sport, and he hugged a great many of them. He continues to hug the specimens we brought home with us as often as we will allow him to.

I continue to work on the Manoir Coat as time allows. I'm currently sewing the collar on to the body of the sweater. It isn't going so well, and I can't help but feel that there must be a better way to make this garment than the one they chose to use in this book. I think curiosity will drive me to research and experiment and come up with some better solution. In the mean time, I struggle to make this one work out correctly. If it doesn't start looking better soon, I may have to put it aside for a while out of frustration. I don't want to do that if I can avoid it, because it will then become one of those projects that sits there on the shelf making me feel guilty for not finishing it. Bah.

Tomorrow will be our neighborhood Halloween party for the children. It promises to be a lot of fun for the kids. A daytime party makes for excellent photo opportunities, so don't forget the camera!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Marker Swap is Complete

Here's the final set of markers for the Stitch Marker Swap. If you've been trying to keep count, you'll be scratching your head in confusion about now because this seems to be the 4th set I've received this month, when you know I only signed up for 3 partners. Well, one of these 4 is meant to be the 3rd set for last month, which hadn't arrived on time. It's all good, no worries.

This beautiful set comes from Michigan. The silver butterfly charms are perfectly set off by amethyst beads. These feel almost slinky in the hand and will drape beautifully, sliding smoothly through my knitting as I work. They look and feel like a dream!

Thank you, Swap Buddy, for a set of markers that are truly a sensual pleasure!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Another Baby Sweater

My latest knitting project is a cabled baby sweater, again from the Bouton d'Or layette and junior book #13. I'm testing the pattern for the Manoir Coat in worsted weight yarn from the dollar store.

I'm enjoying knitting this sweater. I think I'd like to make a similar cardigan for myself. I have some beehive chunky in my stash waiting for a project, and this may be the right one.

This is the third set of stitch markers for October in the Stitch Marker Swap. They come to me from North Hollywood, just a couple hours away.

Aren't they just the coolest markers? I love those stars! They'll keep an eye on things, won't they? I also love the sea green color of the small beads. This photo doesn't do them justice, I'm afraid.

Thank you, Swap Buddy, for such an adorable set of markers! I'll have great fun using them!

Here is a finished object, the hurricane relief afghan I've been working on. It's crocheted, sewn together, ends woven in and has the border done. It measures 44 x 57 inches and is quite comfy for tv watching or for a child to curl up under. I'll be boxing it up and sending it off to Knitzilla for distribution.

I hope it brings some home-made comfort to a family on the gulf coast. I know so many people need a bit of that right now.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Baby Things and Markers

yellow baby pants and hatI finished the yellow baby pants the other day. There is just one last detail to finish-choosing the buttons for the little suspenders. You know how that can be, searching for just the right button and not finding it. I will have to check a few more shops.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon knitting a little hat to go with the pants, using the pattern for the Maupas Bonnet, #33 in the Bouton d'Or layette book #13. (I omitted the stripes and flower decoration)

All of the garments I have made from this book were knitted from the newborn size, and all of them seem to actually be larger. I would estimate the size to be closer to a 6-12 months size when compared to off-the-rack clothing. This is nice if the baby you are knitting for turns out to be a bit bigger than average. This is also not so bad for smaller babies, since they will grow into the clothes in a short amount of time. It's just a bit disappointing if you were hoping to use these garments for a coming-home outfit.

purple stitch markersThe second set of Stitch Markers for this month comes from New York. They're purple hehehe! My favorite color dontcha know.

See how beautiful they are? No two exactly alike, yet one look tells you that they are all part of a set. See the charm that looks like a ball of yarn with needles sticking through it? That's another one of my favorite things.

These little darlings are just crying out to be used with some silk yarn, don't you think?

Thank you, Swap Buddy, for these wonderful jewel-like stitch markers!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Baby Pants and Mail

yellow baby pants in process I've started working on that pair of baby pants I mentioned in my previous post. I'm using the Margaux Pants pattern in Bouton d'Or Layette #13, the same book I worked from for the jacket. I want the pants and jacket to go together; that is I want them to be the same size with the same garment ease and body shape so that they really do go together. So I am working from the same pattern book to make sure this happens.

I recalculated the number of stitches and rows for my different yarn and gauge, Dreambaby DK and 23x33=4"/10cm on #4US/3.5mm needles. The photo shows one ball knitted and the beginning of the second ball begun, pants about 75% complete. Isn't that a bright, happy yellow?

The mail carrier brought a package for me yesterday. These are the first Stitch Markers for October! They come from my swap buddy in Portland, Oregon.

These little darlings are just perfect for the season in the warm shades of autumn leaves. Transparent amber with little touches of brown and green go beautifully with the projects I'm working on this fall.

See how they look with the yellow baby pants? They will be especially handy while knitting the cap and booties!

Thank you, Swap Buddy, for reminding me what it looks like in Portland at this time of year with the maple, oak and alder leaves turning gold amidst the deep green of the douglas fir. These are beautiful stitch markers!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Jar Cover to Knit

This is a simple project, perfect for recycling yarn and food packaging. It's a knitterly way to dress up a simple vase or pencil cup. Try this pattern or use leftover swatches or orphan afghan squares to make a cover.

The sample was knitted using a small amount of leftover Red Heart Super Saver yarn and US size 8 needles (5mm) and was fitted over a Ball 12 ounce Quilted Crystal jelly jar. Any worsted weight yarn will do. Try jars from jam or jelly, pickles, olives etc. or containers from frozen fruit juice concentrate. Just about any small cylindrical package will work, including tin cans.

Cast on 30 stitches.
Work 6 rows of garter stitch (knit every row).
Rows 7-10: *Knit 3, purl 3*; repeat from * to * across the row.
Rows 11-14: *Purl 3, knit 3*; repeat from * to * across the row.
Continue working this checkerboard pattern 4 more times; 46 rows completed.
Work 6 rows of garter stitch and bind off.
You will have a somewhat square piece of knitting. Exact size is not important, it will stretch and is very forgiving. Sew the sides together to make a tube with garter stitch at the top and bottom.

Slip finished cover over your chosen container and fold top down to form a cuff to make it fit.


Fall Weather and a Finished Jacket

The weather has cooled enough to make working hard out-of-doors downright comfy, so I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to catch up on yard work. Much digging and laying of irrigation lines during the day, a little time for sewing up of projects in the evening.

In the photo at left are a soft stuffed spider and a polyester flower cluster chosen by my toddler to decorate the coffee table for the season. The vase is made from a jelly jar covered with a knitted sleeve and is heavy enough to keep from tipping while holding the lightweight poly flowers.

I've finished the Marennes baby jacket from Bouton d'Or layette book #13. I'm pleased with the finished sweater. The multiple colors of the Hobby Kids Color yarn don't distract too much from the little rows of cables. I will be making other pieces to go with the jacket in bright yellow DreamBaby D.K. starting with some little pants.

My markers for the third round of the Stitch Marker Swap are finished and on their way to my swap buddies. At the end of the month I will post photos of all the markers I've made for this swap so everyone can see. I love going to everyone's website to see what they've received, it gives me such ideas seeing what other people are doing!

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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Blocks, Markers and Free Yarn

Knitted Baby BlocksThere is more thinking about knitting going on around here than actual knitting. I have only a few knitted baby blocks to show for my efforts. I'm glad I stuffed them with fiberfill and not beans because the toddler decided that throwing them at our heads was an entertaining way to try to get adult attention. Watching television in our house has become a potentially hazardous activity. Such is life with a 2-year-old *sigh*.

I've finished this month's stitch markers and sent them off through the post to my unsuspecting swap buddies. Muahhahahaha. In order to play fair and keep things secret I'll post the photo after the 3rd round is done.

Sign up for your free ball of yarn here. Yes, I said free yarn! Bernat is giving away a free ball of Disco yarn, limit one per household. It's a bulky weight eyelash yarn, and you know how much fun that will be to play with. Go on, get yours now.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Break from Knitting

I haven't really been feeling like knitting lately. I have 2 projects sitting in their baskets by my easy chair just waiting for me to take them up. They are both so close to being complete that you'd think that would motivate me to work on them. Alas, no, I'm afraid that summer weather has taken its toll and soured me on knitting for the moment. I'm still keen to work with other types of fiber, however.

This is a little piece of crazy quilting I made today. It's about 3-1/2 inches square, small enough to make it very quick to finish. So small, in fact, that I didn't bother to dig out the sewing machine or try to find the ironing board. It was a relaxing little hand sewing project that I worked on while supervising the toddler.

What possessed me to work on a miniature hand-pieced crazy quilt block you may ask? Why, to fill the empty 'window' in the cover of my new journal, of course!

I could put a photo of one of my needlework projects in that window, but the idea just doesn't sit right with me. I just can't pass up the opportunity (or is it excuse?) to make a new little piece to fit into the opening perfectly.

I guess I'm a die-hard fiber artist after all.