Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I haven't disappeared.

It's been a while since I have written a blog post. Well, that's not exactly true-it's been a while since I published a post. I have several drafts of posts in this folder that I started to write but never finished. Some things are difficult to write about.

My mother passed away.

I had been living with her and caring for her while she fought cancer the last few years. Now that the battle is over, our lives are changing. Moving, selling the house, sorting out her belongings-all the usual things are keeping us very busy just now.

So, I haven't disappeared. I'm just dealing with one of the more difficult things in life.

Friday, July 25, 2008


World Wide Knit In Public Day 2008There hasn't been much knitting going on around here the last couple of months. The best knitting time comes when the mind is occupied but the hands are free, and lately my hands have been quite busy at other tasks.

I did manage to make it to our local WWKIP '08 event on Saturday June 14 with my Ravelry group. We did a great deal of chatting while knitting, as usual. We sat on the benches in the courtyard, shaded by the trees, listening to the splashing water and every now and then feeling a bit of the mist blown by the wind off the fountain. It was truly lovely.

Monday, May 26, 2008

We interrupt this knitblog for a bit of humor.

I get such a kick out of these little quizzes. When I see one that catches my eye I simply must click over to see what my results will be. Today I saw the Muppet Quiz on someones blog. I remember the Muppet Show, and I just had to try it out.

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgeable, you are the perfect sidekick.

You're always willing to lend a helping hand.

In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.

"15 seconds to showtime!"

Of course, while you're there at the Blogthings website, you have to try out some of their other quizzes too. Hey, cookies! Everyone loves cookies, let's see which cookie I am, shall we?

You Are a Chocolate Chip Cookie

Traditional and conservative, most people find you comforting.

You're friendly and easy to get to know. This makes you very popular - without even trying!

Oh, here's an interesting one, let's see what my fridge says about me!

What Your Fridge Says About You

You tend to be a very hedonistic, greedy person. You have trouble saying no to what you want.

You are not careful with your money. In fact, you rarely think about how much you are spending.

You are a very adventurous person. You love to try new things, and you get bored very easily.

You are responsible, together, and mature. You act like an adult, even when you don't feel like it.

You are likely to be married - and very busy.

ROFL! Now, I would have said that my fridge looks like it belongs to a large family with healthy eating habits (lots of veg) who enjoy variety (different ethnic condiments). Continuing with the topic of food, I gotta know-what spice am I?

You Are Ginger

Like ginger, you are a total shape shifter.

You can be sweet, spicy, mellow, or overpowering.

You are both soothing and unique. You are popular... yet you are often overlooked.

OK, one more for the road.

Your Pirate Name Is...
Lord Fanny La Bouche

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In the merry, merry month of May...

These are the little baby hats and socks I've been working on for the afghans for Afghans May 19 campaign for newborns. As you can see, I still have one matching sock to finish. If I get it finished tonight, I can ship these Priority tomorrow. If not, I will send them in for the next campaign. Probably the latter.

The hats are my Infant Earflap Hats without the earflaps and the socks are Sherie's Simply Sweet Socks. I was playing around with stripes and contrast heels with the brown-and-pink and brown-and-blue color schemes. They were fun to knit, but lately I've been either too tired to knit or simply haven't been in the mood.

Not in the mood? How can that be possible?

Last week my 5-year-old was hit by a car, not 20 feet from our front door, right before our eyes. He is fine, only minor bumps and scrapes, but it scared us all very badly. Hubby, myself and several neighbors standing in the street watched the young woman carelessly and needlessly reverse her car into him, sitting stationary there on his bike. If we hadn't all been shouting at her and gesturing madly, she wouldn't have stopped with the boy and his bike merely wedged under her bumper.

This week I am researching law and ordinance. Apparently the street on which I live is private property, and the authorities on the scene told me they do not enforce traffic laws on private property.

Words cannot describe how I feel about this.

Our Mother's Day barbeque was especially sweet this year. I am grateful that my son and my mother are here to celebrate with me, and I can't ask for anything more.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nap Time

bootie-socks awaiting seams, with sarongI've been knitting for a good long while. My fingers know what to do and I don't have to think about the mechanics of it, the knitting just flows along without my active attention. While watching TV, as a passenger in the car, while waiting just about anywhere, the knitting just seems to happen-almost by itself.

First thing in the morning, last thing at night, it's knitting. Those extreme ends of the day offer some of the purest peace and quiet for just a few more rows. Waiting for that pot of water to boil? Opportunity to knit. Picking up hubbo from work? I can knit in the dark. I keep a sock in my pocket, you know, ready for those moments.

Occasionally life gets very busy and a day or two will go by without knitting, or there will be other creative projects that occupy my time and efforts, but not this time. This month my caregiver role has gotten to be quite heavy. I sleep in 2-hour shifts. The sleep deprivation has turned my short-term memory into swiss cheese. I forget to eat.

I am too tired to knit.

Yes, hard to believe, but true. There is indeed a state of fatigue where you can sit with simple knitting in your hands and be utterly unable to make a stitch (shortly followed by upright-snoring, of course, but you get the idea).

So, I'm sending the child off to the neighbor's so that I can power-nap. I'll catch up with you all later, when I can knit again.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Spring Knitting

I have some more projects to show you today.

I usually find there's just enough yarn left over after making a baby sweater to make a hat and socks or booties to match, so it seems unnatural to have a sweater all by itself. I'm catching up on these accessories.

On the right is a pair of booties to go with the Lemon Drop Cardigan. This is another free pattern by Carole Barenys, find it at Knitting On The Net and at Carole's Website where she also has a .pdf file. I think this bootie just might stay on. I can't wait to try a pair on my neighbor's newborn when she arrives. Can you imagine how the woman would feel, giving birth and then her neighbor wants to come over and play dress up with her baby all the time! ROFL

Garter stitch baby hat and socksHere is a set of hat and socks to go with the Colorful Baby Top I made last month. I posted this photo and information about the yarn I used in my project database at Ravelry! and almost immediately I started getting messages asking about the pattern.

Pattern? I didn't use a pattern. I improvised them based on my experiences knitting baby hats and socks. They were easy to make and I'm so pleased with the way they turned out (so cute!).

So, I am writing up the pattern. I will be talking about pattern variations and sources of creative inspiration too. I'm writing it for beginners, because they have a lot of wonderful creative ability, they just don't know it yet.

Oh, if you haven't signed up to join Ravelry! yet, please go over there right now and do so. You don't know what you're missing. Ravelry is all about searchable databases. The first time you search for a pattern over there...you will thank me.

Here is an unusual small handbag I couldn't resist trying. The pattern is called 'My Ex' and it's a riot! The author held a contest and this was my entry. I have to say, after seeing the other entries, my version isn't bizarre enough to win the prize. You can see them here, under the category "My Ex is Full of Knit Contest Submissions".

My finished bag is about 6" tall and 4" in diameter. I used Shepherd Classic Wool for the face and Patons Classic Wool Merino for the hair, then I ran it twice through the washing machine to get the smoothly felted look on the face. Embellishments are from my personal jewelry collection. Yes, that's really my jewelry and no, it doesn't look like the sort of stuff I'd wear. Not lately, anyway.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

The kids are done bouncing off the walls and are passed out with candy comas napping, the ham is quietly baking and I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to knit.

Hope your family is having a pleasant holiday!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Colorful Baby Top

Collage of photos of my Colorful Baby TopEarlier this month I picked up a copy of Itty-Bitty Nursery. It's full of lovely things, but I just had to try out the Cozy Boatneck Sweater pattern. The colors are so much fun, and I happen to have a supply of suitable wools on hand left over from the other colorful items I've been knitting lately. Here you can see the results of my efforts.

I find it so inspiring that I feel I simply must make baby hats and socks to go with it. I can play with different parts of the design and color combinations on a small scale that way.

The designs would be appropriate for charity items for afghans for Afghans too, and you know how much I love making useful stuff for charity.

Colorful Top rontColorful Top backThe photo at left shows the front of the sweater and the photo at right shows the back. Don't you just love the asymmetrical coloring of the sleeves and the patches?

Yarns are all worsted wools: Patons Classic Wool Merino, Cascade 220 and Plymouth Galway.

I have to admit that I had some trouble with the pattern toward the end. I misread the stripe patterns for the sleeves and had to rip and reknit them. I think it would have been easier for me to follow a chart instead of textual directions. Otherwise, it was a pleasurable and quick knit, as a garter stitch project usually is.

You can download a free sample pattern (Flower Pacifier Clip) from the book in .pdf format here, from the author's website.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Lemon Drop Cardigan

Seamless yoked cardigan in progressI've seen quite a few free patterns for baby sweaters that are very popular on the internet and I've always meant to give them a try, but hadn't gotten around to any of them yet.

Seamless yoked cardigan in yellowUntil now.

This is the Seamless Yoked Cardigan by Carole Barenys, and you can find the pattern at Knitting On The Net or at Carole's website, where she also has a .pdf file available. I've used Lion Brand Baby Soft yarn in Lemon Drop. Isn't that a delightful name for a color? And it's such a nice one, soft without being too pale.

This is a nice little sweater pattern, with one exception-it doesn't tell you how long to make the sleeves. I referred to the Craft Yarn Council's Standards & Guidelines for Crochet And Knitting to figure it out. I followed the instructions for the smaller size, and gave it 6" sleeves.

Add this to the gift stash!

Friday, March 07, 2008


artsquaresHere is a collection of dishcloths I've been working on for Larissa's art project. You can read about it here. Using natural undyed worsted-weight cotton yarn, I've made some of my favorites in a 6-inch size.

If you look closely, you'll notice that one of them is bigger than the rest; you can calculate your gauge all you like, but sometimes the item doesn't come out the size you intend. This isn't a problem when it comes to dishcloths, however, they are always useful no matter what size they turn out to be.

The patterns I used for these, starting upper left:

4-Corners Dishcloth; NYD'05 Dishcloth; Simple Weave Dishcloth from Leisure Arts #3122, Nifty Knit Dishcloths; eLoomanator’s Diagonal Dishcloth (available only on Ravelry! at the moment).

The due date for sending in these cloths is March 20, so I will be mailing these tomorrow to be sure they arrive on time.

Update: Here is Larissa's post. She received a total of 132 cloths. How very cool. See them all here (mine are numbers 78 through 81).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Busy February

It has been a really busy month. With little time to post lately, I have a backlog of finished projects to share. Better get to it then!

blue bsjgreen baby setOn the left is the blue Baby Surprise Jacket I've been working on, all finished with buttons and even a matching hat. This goes into my gift stash-that's my collection of finished items made for the fun of it and not for a particular person. Very handy for those last-minute shower invitations.

On the right is my finished February sweater set. One 140-gram ball of Lion Baby Soft made the sweater, bonnet and socks. How convenient is that?

Both of these sweater patterns are by Elizabeth Zimmermann.

baby hats and socks for charitybunnies and carrots hatHere is the group of wool baby hats and socks I'm donating to afghans for Afghans this month (photo, left). They are going out in the mail today. It was a lot of fun playing with color combinations and making something useful at the same time. So much more satisfying than swatches, don't you think? See my previous post here for pattern info.

On the right is another wool hat, this one for my youngest. Who can resist those dangling carrots? This pattern is in the book Knit Hats! which I found at my local library.

child's set of washclothsFinally, here's a group of child-sized washcloths. Once again I used Abigail's 4-Corners dishcloth pattern, altered to make a smaller sized cloth. Following the general procedure in the pattern, I cast on 12 stitches and short-row decreased down to 3 stitches for each quadrant.

I used a combination of ombred and solid colored worsted-weight cotton yarn for these. I picked an ombred yarn to set the color scheme then chose solids accordingly. I just love the stripey goodness!

I know I've done this before. Am I becoming predictable?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Baby Things

My new neighbor is expecting a baby girl next month, so I'm working on a gift. She is strictly a wash-and-wear person, so I investigated which inexpensive yarns are available at my local chain stores. It's been a long time since I last did any serious shopping for cheap baby yarn and what I found was rather different than the old stand-bys I'd expected.

Most of the things I found were yarns that are soft and drapey (I call them limp). I don't like these yarns, they don't have body and the finished garment looks sloppy. I tried to find good old baby pompadour, but even that has changed; it's thicker and squeakier, no longer that reasonable substitute for wool. In the end I chose to settle for Lion Brand Baby Soft. The colors are nice and the texture is close to what I expected, although I fear it may pill after a few washings. We shall see.

My neighbor is not fond of pink. In fact, she expressed her irritation at her husband for doing a bit of shopping on his own, where he chose several items in pink, the hated color. I tucked that bit of information away and held it close while shopping.

That's why I have chosen to use this lovely pistachio color for my gifts. I've finished a February Sweater (by Elizabeth Zimmermann) and am now working on a bonnet to match. I used US size 3 needles and the sweater turned out a good size. That is, it will fit a typical newborn with the cuffs turned back and will stretch to fit for a few months. It will also fit a larger-than-average newborn as well. It would be a shame for the baby to be born too big to wear that sweater that took a week to make, don't you think?

I also picked up a bit of fabric and some notions to match that green. That's a yard of flannel to make a receiving blanket and a yard of terrycloth to make a hooded towel; some buttons, thread and grosgrain ribbon for finishing. A quick trip through the serger and you have some items she will definitely use, even if she isn't impressed with the handknits.

Oh yes, sometimes the recipient is less than thrilled with the dorky, home-made stuff. In this case, I know she will love them because she misses her late grandmother who used to make all those wonderful things for the babies in the family. It will be a delightful surprise when I deliver the goods and she discovers that I am one of the crafty people who actually knows how to knit!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Woolies For Winter

Long striped scarfI have finished knitting the scarf I was working on, and am about half done weaving in the ends (see photo, left). You can read about the details here. That's the part that gets put off regularly around here, the seaming and weaving in of ends. Who knows when it will actually be ready to wear?

The same goes for this little Baby Surprise Jacket knitted in Patons Classic Wool Merino in a solid and a marled denim blue color (see photo, right). It's waiting for seams and buttons. I am debating whether to add a collar or a simple I-cord edge. It needs that touch of the darker solid color around the neck to make it look complete.

I have managed to accumulate a tidy little pile of things to donate to afghans for Afghans this month. They were seamless and didn't have nearly so many ends to weave in, so they got finished in short order.

Baby folk art hats and matching socksIn the photo at left: 3 baby Folk Art hats that I've already blogged about here, and 3 pair of solid colored socks (to go with the Folk Art Hats). I used the free Blossom Knitwear pattern for these.

Striped hat with matching socksIn the photo at right: A striped hat that I made following the free Scrap-Happy Celebration Hat pattern, but altered it to make it baby-sized. Also a pair of striped socks to match the hat, applying the same method of striping from the hat pattern to the Blossom socks mentioned above. I'll have to play around with more color combinations with this pattern.

I understand that the sets of hats and socks will be separated for shipment to Afghanistan, and that it doesn't matter if the items match or not, but I like to make matching sets. If I were making these for a local charity, a friend or for a neighbor I would make a matched set. That's just the way I roll.

basic ribbed socks in purpleOne more project to share today:

These purple socks are finally done. I started them back in November and suffered second sock syndrome for a while. I had thought I might try using some wooly nylon reinforcement in the heels and toes, but couldn't find a suitable color. As it turns out, the Socka is a little thicker than the Regia and feels more durable. We'll see what happens after I wear them for a while.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Folk Art Hats

Folk art hatsYup, I'm knitting more of those baby hats and socks for afghans for Afghans.

You know, it's a lot of fun playing around with color and pattern combinations, and a baby hat makes a great test swatch. This batch of hats are based on the free pattern Folk Art For Your Head, which is an adult sized hat. I've made changes, of course.

Basically, I followed my pattern for Infant Earflap Hats for the shape of it. I prefer a fold-up cuff to the rolled brim of the Folk Art hat because it allows the hat to grow with the baby. It's also warmer.

I had to fudge the stripe pattern to make it fit onto a smaller hat. Here's the row counts for what I did:

Color 1- k1p1 rib 10 rounds, k 2 rounds.
Color 2- k 8 rounds.
Color 3- k 1 round, p 1 round.
Color 4 and 5- *c4 k2, c5 k2* across, 4 rounds.
Color 6- k 1 round, p 2 rounds.
Color 7- k 5 rounds.
Color 2- k 7 rounds, at the same time begin decreasing on alternate rounds (starting with *k6, k2tog* across) on 5th round.
Color 1- Continue decreases and complete hat with this color.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Year in Review

What did I do this last year? Why, lots of stuff of course. Most of it is on my weblog, so I can review it when I like. Here's a tally of it all:

Handbag made from placematCrib sized quilt top in pinkI sewed 1 handbag and 1 crib sized quilt top.

Yes, I know I didn't blog about the quilting. I was too busy, and had packed it away before I resumed my blogging. I made a bunch of quilt blocks too, but didn't get them sewed together.

The pink quilt top I have pulled back out, hoping to finish, and am able to photograph it, so there you go.

Tea cozy for large teapotI knitted 2 tea cozies. Tea cozy for small teapotI never thought I'd make a tea cozy, but that was before I had children and interruptions that left my pot full of cold tea.

I value my rare moments of peace with a cup of tea, although most often I'm not drinking proper tea. As Poirot would say, it's a tisane.

Pile of dishcloths3 brightly-colored washcloths26 dishcloths, scrubbies and bath mitts. Can you imagine such a thing? If you had suggested to me last January that I would make a couple dozen dishcloths this year, I would have laughed.

I found a pattern I really enjoyed knitting and ended up making lots of these for gifts. Who knew?

Blue socks for my motherpair of small grey socks8 pair of socks. That's 5 pair of adult socks and 3 pair of child's socks.

I discovered that both my mother and my youngest son greatly admire handknit socks and can't wait for me to knit them another pair.

Sorry, guys, I am going to finish my purple socks first.

And speaking of socks,

7 sets of baby hats and socks for charityAfghan squares for Oliver7 pair of baby socks and 7 baby hats for charity. These went to afghans for Afghans.

17 afghan squares for charity. These went to Oliver's Blanket project, hoping he will be able to get some much-needed new equipment.

Bulky hat for 12-18 month girl.5 hats for holiday gifts. 4 adult sized and 1 toddler sized, for family living in colder climates.

Trying out different patterns, some I loved, some not so much. The fit varies a lot from designer to designer.

I prefer to make my hats snug-fitting so they don't blow away in gusty winter winds.

Bug MittensBaby doll wearing knitted outfitI knit One pair of mittens in wool for the boy to wear when we go to the mountains to visit the snow. Who can resist a pair of buggy mitts?

1 doll's outfit. A sweater and leggings in a premie baby size just fits the doll my mother made years ago to teach the children how to hold new baby siblings.

Seed Stitch Coat-FinishedRed Stephane cardiganLast, but not least, the sweaters.

3 little sweaters for babies and children. A seed stitch coat for my cousin's 1-year-old. An aran style cardigan for the 4-year-old.

A simple Baby Surprise Jacket with a matching Baby Beret for a future baby shower.

That's the list of finished projects for the year. I wonder what the coming year will bring?