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Love to Knit and Sew

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Location: Amsterdam, New York, United States

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Packing is going well for my move back to Calif Oct 7th

Moving is so messy! But it is an opportunity to clean out the stash and share with the ladies at the Rez. With winter coming on, some extra yarn will be welcome, I'm sure.

My sewing machine and sewing supplies are packed and will be going on the plane with me. I am allowed to take 2 pieces of luggage checked in, so I am stuffing all my clothes around everything else! So far it's working pretty good! I'll just throw them in the dryer with a wet wash cloth when I get to my son's house and let the dryer steam the wrinkles out!

I'm taking along a Stash Shawl project that I started because of reading Ann's blog, Sheep Shots. It is knit from the top down and very easy to manage. With circs, I won't be poking my seat buddy! And worsted wt is easier for me to see at night. The yarn is gray and I'm making red stripes. It is for one of the elders on the Rez--but I can see myself making this one again! I'm really enjoying working on it.

Back to sorting and boxing books for the trip.

Keep knitting,

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I took a deep breath and cut the Toes Off!

I've been wanting to lengthen my Cranberry socks for sometime now, but the idea of unraveling those toes rather intimidated me. So I took some sharp scissors and CUT THE TOES OFF! THEN I unraveled the socks back to where I could easily pick up the stitches, knit another inch, and start decreasing for the toes again. Much easier than I thought--and I feel so proud of myself for being In Charge of My Knitting! If I hadn't learned so much from Elizabeth Zimmermann and her wonderful books, I can't imagine that I would have tried this! LOL But in her book, Knitting Without Tears, she tells how to knit circular sweater bodies and then cut a steek for a cardigan or for the sleeves. The scissors and I became good friends out of that experience! And now these socks are much the better for being the right length. I even added some reinforcement yarn to the toes during the knitting. Two birds with one stone, I figure!

Mitten sewing continues. I cut out 12 pairs of teen size mittens and I'm working on them now. The box will be mailed at the end of the week to the Rez. I did get the serger sent off to the Rez last Friday, so they should have it Monday or Tuesday. I feel good about sending it--it will get much more use there than here. As I said before, my Ergo3 does everything I need.

Well, back to those fleece mittens!
happy knitting and sewing!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Working on Mittens

I ordered some fleece from Malden Mills online and got 17 lbs of great fleece for mittens and hats, etc. for $45. They sell their remnants in bundles and they sure are a bargain. This time I got beige and rose, both really large pieces. Sometimes the pieces are smaller but always very usable. You don't have a choice of color, but the fleece is very good quality. I have twelve mittens cut out already and will cut out more tonight. I think the rose will be used for long sleeved shirts for the kids on the Rez. It is a lighter wt than the beige. I'll put some different trim on the collar, cuffs, etc. to give them some individuality and make them in sizes for the school kids.

I ordered the new carriage with wings for the Bond and tried it out. Works SO much better! But I've put the Bond away for now in favor of sewing all these mittens that need to get done before Oct. 1st. We will be making things for the Elders next month and I will probably make some shawls and shrugs for them on the Bond. With the new carriage, I can see that actually happening!

I was able to get the Kwik Sew Toddler book with patterns on eBay for cheap. The toddler patterns are designed to accomodate kids with diapers and have extra room in the crotch. I sure like these Kwik Sew books with all their sizes. They run very true to ready-to-wear sizing, too.

I'm thinking of giving my serger to the Rez. I find that I really don't use it much anymore because of space limitations--and I know that Julie would use it at the Main where the ladies do their quilting. So it would definitely have a good home! My sewing machine/embroidery machine does everything I need--and does it well. I think they have discontinued the Kenmore Elite Ergo3 19010--which is a shame, as it was an excellent value and it is a real work horse. Janome makes it and it has all the features that make sewing a pleasure. But there are always the Janome models to choose from and if I had to get another machine, I would shop for one of those. The Ergo3 looks to last for a very long time, however, so not much chance of that! LOL

I sent a big box to the Rez and included a lot of the sewing books that I don't use anymore. There were several serging books in there, so I need to email Julie and tell her to hang on to those for reference for when the serger arrives. Will try to send it to South Dakota soon.

Well, back to sewing mittens. Will post pictures later when I make some progress!

OTN: a BSJ for a family friend, socks for Piper and a new pair of socks for myself.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Well, we adjust as we need to!

The knitting looms didn't turn out to be a very good idea for me after all. I found them awkward and harder on my hands than regular knitting, so will send these off to the Rez. Someone there may enjoy them. They show pictures of teens knitting with them, so will send them to the Main. They have lots of craft projects for the kids. Will include some yarn to get them started.

I finished 35 of the cool ties for Ship Support and have another batch in progress. It is good that we only mail once a month as it give me time to get things done without feeling like I have to hurry.

Mary and I wound up sending to WIC 15 pairs of shorts for kids, 11 bright cool ties for them to work in the garden, 22 flannel receiving blankets and 20 baby washcloths. I also made 7 diaper bags. I have a larger diaper bag pattern that I will make for the next box. Takes a lot to get those babies from one place to the other!

I'm still waiting on the fleece I ordered to arrive. Will be making mittens for the kids for school. Also found a pattern for a baby bunting to sew. They show it with a zipper, but I am going to use velcro squares for closures. Much cheaper than zippers and don't break! Very secure, though. JoAnn's has velcro in big rolls and I will use one of their coupons to bring the price down. I get free shipping from them anyway--and no sales tax, so it makes a good deal for me. And it comes right to my door!

I did order the new Bond carriage with wings. I have it set up, but haven't tried it out yet. It does run across the bed much smoother than my old carriage, so that is encouraging! The wings are to pick up the yarn and prevent stitches from dropping off so easily. A problem that I was having with the old carriage.

I'm going to be using the Bond to make some hats for the kids and some rectangular shawls for the Elders this month. Easy stuff that I don't have to sweat over!

Time to get to bed. Rise early and start knitting!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Having Fun With Sewing

I've been keeping the sewing machine busy the past few days. I am making cool ties for The Hugs Project and for Ship Support. And I got some flannel at WalMart yesterday to make receiving blankets for the Rez. In fact, I've got them hemmed already this morning!

I will work on more cool ties today. I'm at the filling them with gel crystals stage, so getting very close to having to start some new ones. I'll count them all up when I get these finished and post them.

When I joined The Hugs Project


I learned from their files how to make an inexpensive hugs/cool tie turner out of PVC pipe and a dowel. It really works well and has allowed me to speed up making the cool ties a lot! I'm really glad I found them!

Got a wonderful box of fabric, cone thread and elastic from Mary Di Blasi today. This is the second box she has sent me to help me make things for the Rez. With a little help from my friends! Isn't that how the song goes! Amazing what a few people working together can achieve to help others live a little better.

I've also been learning to use the round knitting looms. With the arthritis in my hands, it gives me a change of pace from regular knitting and I can still make hats! JoAnn's had a 40% code online so I sent for the set of 4 Knifty Knitter Looms. Different sizes, different hats!

Back to the sewing machine for me now!

Sunday, August 06, 2006


It has finally cooled down the last few days--how wonderful! So much easier to knit and sew when the temps are more moderate!

I'm still working on my Socks for Soldiers--20 min a day. I'll get those biggies finished one of these days!

I did some sewing this past week. I made 3 more pairs of boxer shorts for Patrick. He really likes them.

I cut out more shorts for the kids on the Rez and will be sewing on them today.

That's about it for today!

Thursday, August 03, 2006


The Socks for Soldiers are growing right along. I have 9 inches done on BOTH socks now. I'm knitting them in white and they will be dyed black when finished.

I've had some inquiries about the Magic Loop Method and thought a few pictures might be helpful. I will upload a number of photos now and when I get to the heel, toe, etc. will post more. Till then I'm doing my 20 minutes a day and they are getting bigger!

When you turn your work around, the front needle will be hanging down to your right. Push the needle back through the stitches (home position) and you are ready to knit again.

The work has been turned around and there is one loop hanging to the left. Pull the back needle out to form a loop and you are ready to knit again.

And here is what that looks like.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Hot, Hot Weather!

Oh, this hot weather is really getting to me! So hot, in fact, that I am taking a break from my knitting and have started to sew instead! I've been making shorts for the kids at the Rez--did a test run on the shorts with Cora and she loves them!

It is a cute pattern from the Kwik-Sew booklet Sewing For Children. Amazon has it for $18.95. It has a master pattern with all the sizes for ages 4-12. You just trace off the size you want. I got my copy a couple of years ago and I figure that it paid for itself in short time! Patterns are so expensive now. There are patterns for pants, shorts, T-shirts, skirts, dresses, jackets, sleepwear. All of them easy to sew and the sizes run very true. No affiliation, etc. I just really like this pattern.


They also have the Kwik Sew booklet Sewing for Toddlers and I will probably get that soon. I figured the school kids needed these shorts now though--they are the ones who get out there in their organic garden on the Rez.

When the weather cools down a bit, I will be back to knitting mittens for the Rez. Our mailing date for the Blitz is Oct. 1st, so I do have a little time for those. I have been knitting for 20 min. a day on my Soldiers Socks--usually in the morning when it is still cool enough to handle the wool without sweating! But that's about all I can manage right now! Fortunately, summer is short here--though August can really be miserable at times! Ah, well. I think about our young men and women in the military overseas and know they are even hotter. I'd better get busy and sew some cool ties for Ship Support for them.

Keep happy!

Sunday, July 23, 2006


I'm knitting my Socks For Soldiers in white sport weight now and making great progress! I watched Tom Cruise in "The Last Samurai" tonight and got lots of inches done. I'm doing them Magic Loop method, each sock on its own circ so I don't have to mess with tangled yarn! I put each sock and its yarn in a gallon ziplock bag and put those in a project bag that I can just pick up and take anytime. I really like the sport weight yarn and it is working up beautifully. I will try to post photos later.

I will be knitting a pair of Leisure Socks for the soldiers group, too. Our group received a marvelous donation of hand dyed yarn from Claudia--I'm waiting for my yarn to arrive in the mail. I will be knitting it concurrently with the other pair of Soldier socks. Can't wait to see the color that Kim sends me.

In the meantime, I working at finishing up Piper's boot socks--she will need them for riding her new pony. I also have my pair of Socks That Rock on the home stretch. Both heels are turned and I'm knitting the foot section now.

When I get tired of so much sock knitting and need a bit of a break, I switch over to the Bond Knitting Machine. I'm making preemie blankies and they go pretty fast.

I also have a pattern for making mittens on the Bond. Sometimes the arthritis in my hands gets the best of me, so having the Bond to play with means I can keep productive! The mittens for the Rez need to be mailed by Oct. 1st so if I figure out this mitten pattern, I could get quite a few made by then. Just hope it is as easy as it proclaims itself to be! It is from Kangamoo Knits dot com. You can select patterns by level of difficulty, which is great. No affiliation--I just like the patterns I've tried out so far--and they have a long list of freebies, too.

About the only sewing I've done is the shorts for Cora--well, I did make her a little sheet with her name embroidered on it. It is too hot for her to have a blanket on her, but she likes to have something pulled up on her when she goes to sleep. So the sheet made her happy! Especially having her very own name on it!

Keep cool and stay happy!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Photo of My Cranberry Socks

A kind reader requested a photo of my Cranberry Socks, so here it is. It is a simple pattern. Just lots of ribbing, carried down the front of the sock until I got tired of it! LOL Then finished it in stocking stitch. Isn't it great to be able to be in charge of your knitting! So many other things in life are beyond our control, but knitting is ONE thing that I can manage pretty well!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Variety of Knitting Projects

With all this hot summer weather, small projects are the thing to knit! I have been making mittens for the Rez, tiny tube socks for preemies for K4C, and finishing up a pair of socks for myself for next winter. I'm waiting on a yarn order to arrive with white yarn to make SocksForSoldiers. Kim will dye them black for me. All these projects should keep me busy till the cooler weather arrives--and then I can REALLY start to knit! Ah, we knitters are truly addicted to our craft!

I will post some pics later this week of the finished ones.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I've been wanting to have an easy slipper pattern to make for the Rez and for Ship Support. I found Aunt Alm's slipper on the web, but as you know, I really like to knit things in the round. So I've been adapting it.

Here is a photo of what it looks like at the moment:

One of the things I like about this pattern is that you start out with the largest amount of stitches, make the garter stitch sole, then start the decreases for shaping the toe. So each row gets smaller and smaller. I like that! I'm using bulky wool for these on size 10 1/2 needles, so they are going quickly.

I decided that knitting black socks for soldiers is not for me. I tried, but I JUST CAN'T SEE THAT BLACK YARN! So I dropped out of that group and will combine the black sock yarn with other colorful sock yarn and make mittens for the Rez. It makes a nice tweed effect and I have lots of remnant balls of sock yarn. Makes great wool mittens for the kids, lots of color and wool to keep their fingers warm. Superwash wool so no problems with washing them. I can also combine the black yarn with sport wt. or worsted wt to make slippers. Just as long as I have some lighter colors so I can see where I am knitting! Old eyes just ain't what they used to be!

Not much else today--back to knitting--

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I surfed over to see what Smiley's Yarn had on sale--well, I guess you know THAT was a mistake! Lots and lots of wool and wool blend yarns! Just in time for the Mitten Challenge! I decided to try the bulky yarns and see about making teen size mittens. So I bought mostly neutral colors and will liven them up with some broad stripes of color from my stash. I think I will use size 8 needles and try for a firm fabric. That may help keep that cold wind from crisping up their fingers! And the bulky yarn should work up very quickly.

I plan to use some of it for bed socks for The Ships Project, too. Maybe some hats, as well. They need those for evacuating the wounded soldiers to areas to be treated. Those helicopters and big planes hold a lot of carry on beds for transfer. The trip is quick, but cold. The hats and socks help stabilize the body temp of the wounded soldiers while being transported. And give them a little comfort as they make the journey back home to us. Of course, I will be doing those Magic Loop style, too. So comfortable for my hands to knit that way.

My son, Michael, called from California to tell me he has a new job--a very GOOD PAYING JOB! He has been struggling with a lot of things going on in his life, so I was very glad to hear the good news! A mom always wants the best for her kids!

My latest project--other than knitting and sewing--is saving for a car. Since I left my car in California when I moved to NY, I've had to depend on Rachael to get me places. And she has been great about it--but there's nothing like being able to get in the car and head for the store on your own! It will take me a while to save up for the car, but that's okay. I just need a transportation car--and I don't want to go into debt for it. Why give them interest on a loan when I really rather have my money to spend on YARN!!!!! But I have fun looking in the classifieds at car ads now!

Well, back to knitting mittens!


We are having a Mitten Challenge for the Rez and this is the pattern that I came up with--fast, easy and uses the Magic Loop Method. I'll be posting photos later. My friend, Ann, of Sheep Shots fame(http://sheepshots.blogspot.com/) added some additional info for DPNS.


REMINDER: the Afterthought Thumb makes a thumb that just sticks out on the side. Kids can put them on either hand and they will fit. If you want to block them with a little steam to keep them on one side or the other, you certainly can. But I figured that the first time the kids went out and played in the snow, their hands would shape the mittens just fine!

Esther Paris of Providence, RI area worked out that you could easily move the thumb to the opposite side by putting the Afterthought Thumb at stitches 10-16. You may want to do the same, especially if you are knitting them for adults. Esther also came up with an easy counting system for the mittens: 20 rows for the cuff, 20 rows for the base, 20 rows post thumb and then the shaping. Then, the thumb is 20 rows too. Easy way not to have to measure all the time! Thanks, Esther! You made my little pattern even BETTER!

Magic Loop method
Size 5 or 6 circ needles. DPNS for thumb.
Worsted yarn or two strands of sock yarn, mostly wool for warmth.
Can use larger needles and bulky yarn for bigger mittens.

When I cast on for Mindless Mittens, I usually knit two rows of K2, P2
before I pull out the loop.
I use the tail of the cast on yarn later to sew those few stitches up.
But when I have those two rows of K2, P2 done, I count to 16 sts and pull
out the loop there. That leaves 16 sts on each needle. I
make sure the ribbing is not twisted (that's the reason I knit those two
rows in the first place!) and then place the 16 sts with the working yarn hanging down on the BACK, and the 16 sts that need to be knitted to join the stitches in a tube on the FRONT needle.
Pull the BACK needle gently until a loop forms on the right and knit across the 16 sts on the front needle. Your yarn will now be on your left.
Turn your work around and hold it in your left hand. You will have 16 sts and
a long cable/needle hanging on the FRONT now.

Push that front cable back through the sts until those 16 sts are on the needle.
When there are 16 sts on the FRONT needle and 16 sts on the BACK needle and you are holding them in your left hand, this is called HOME position.

Then you pull the back needle out to form the loop on the right and knit the front sts again.

Cast on 32 sts.
Divide sts. 16 and 16 for magic loop.
Knit ribbing for 3 inches.
Knit in stockinette stitch for 3 inches.
With a contrasting thread, knit 7 sts, put these same sts
back on the left needle and knit across with main color yarn. For the afterthought thumb.

Continue knitting around for another 3 inches.
Decrease as if to make a toe to finish top.
Row 1. K 1, SSK, knit to within the last 3 sts, K 2 tog.
Return to home position, REPEAT.
You have decreased two sts on each needle of mitten.
Row 2. Knit a complete round

Continue decreasing this way till 8 sts remain on each needle.
Graft with Kitchener stitch to close top.

Thumb: Pick out contrasting yarn and place sts on dpns. Pick up extra sts in corners to avoid holes. K 2 tog at corners to tighten.
Knit around till thumb measures about 2 to 2 1/2 inches, then cut yarn
and thread through all sts twice and pull tight.

It really is easy to do. Try it with some worsted wt. yarn and big needles
to make it easier to learn. Knitting those first two rows of ribbing really
helps to prevent twisting when you start to knit in the round and it only
takes a few sts when you are sewing in the ends to tighten it up.

Hope this helps. I've come to love this way to make socks and mittens! No
DPNS to get lost!

Ann's alternative explanation of above:
Anami has offered us a way to do these mittens using circular needles
(sorry, Anami, it's dpn's all the way for me. I'm an old-fashioned knitter)
When using circular needles, you can use the Magic Loop method (Bev Galakas
developed this one) with one very long needle. You pull a loop of the
cord out through the knitting to get it out of your way.
Or you can use the 2 circular method (this is why you "split" the
stitches--half on each needle). Cat Bohrdi (again sp?--why can't designers
have names like Smith and Jones?) publicized this method.
Essentially, you are making a tube, by whatever method makes you happy. *I*
will be trying this one using a set of 4 double points..
Cast on 32. Join. Rib until you can't stand it any more or for 3
inches--whichever is LONGER (we want a nice deep cuff). Switch to
stockinette (knit every round) for another 3".
This mitten uses an "afterthought" thumb--i.e. no gusset. Take another piece
of yarn (about 18" in the same weight, but a contrasting color and knit 7
stitches. Slip these stitches BACK onto the left needle, go back to your
regular yarn and knit them again. (This is where you will add the thumb
later, an afterthought.)
Knit 3 more inches in rounds of plain stockinette.
You now have a 9" tube with a funny little stripe. The first 3" is in
ribbing, the last 6 is plain.
"Make a toe" means (this is how I interpret it) you are going to finish off
the top like you would the toe of a sock.Here's how:
Split the stitches onto 2 needles (if, like me, you are using dpns). On each
needle, k 1, decrease (ssk), knit to last 3 stitches, decrease (k 2
tog--this will form matching "pairs" of decreases), k1. Repeat on other
needle. Knit one round even (no decrease).
Repeat these 2 rounds until 16 total stitches (8 on each needle) remain.
Close up the top by grafting (Kitchener stitch--you can google this and get
pictures and videos) or (another way) draw up the stitches and fasten off
like you would the top of a hat.
Now, go back to your little stripe. Pick the contrasting stitches out one by
one and put them onto your double points. You're going to have 7 stitches
and 6 stitches (13 total) or 7 stitches and 8 stitches (15 total--I forget
which way that works) and you'll want to pick up at least one stitch at each
end to fill any holes that form (you'll see how and why as you do this. This
is a blind faith and trust thing).
Knit the "tube" that you are forming until it's about 1.25" (I'm
guesstimating based on my own thumb to hand-length ratio), knit 2 together
around. Draw up, fasten off.
Make a matching one.
Make another one.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


You know how you try something--and then later think, "I'll never do that again" Well, I did the two socks on one circ a while back, toughed it out and learned how to do it--and decided it was more trouble than it was worth. I was right.

I am knitting BIG BLACK SOCKS for soldiers and decided maybe I should try the two socks on one circ again. Maybe this time it would go better. Maybe I would like it this time. So I got them transferred over onto one 40" needle and started knitting. First few rows were okay, and then the tangles started again. That's what drove me batty the last time! But I'm smarter this time--I know I don't have to suffer anymore! I just put them back on their own needles and got back to knitting. Will they be the exact length? Well, close enough! I mean the things have to be 12 inches before you start the heel! So I will measure each sock as accurately as I can and then do the heels. Works for me! And I am much more likely to finish them!

Speaking of heels: I've never done a short row heel before and was reading Ann's blog SheepShots. In it she recommended this short row heel, so I plan to give it a try.


I am starting to knit socks for Children in Common and the little socks will be a good chance to learn to make those short row heels. This pattern seems like something I could actually do.

We soon will be having a Mitten Challenge for Native American Support. I enjoyed last year's challenge and as a group we got a lot of mittens to the Rez to keep those little hands warm. This year we will be working on the Mitten Challenge a bit longer--get more of those mittens made before school starts. Mittens and socks are good knitting projects during the warmer weather--small and easy to tote around.

I am making a little progress on the Grandmother's Fan quilt. I am sewing the fan wedges now. The 1/4 inch foot on my sewing machine does such a nice job. I thought about sewing them together by hand, but discovered it is just not my style. Decided that I would hand sew the curved parts, though, for accuracy. So I will be adapting the methods to make me happy--as usual! Hey, that's what all this is about! Enjoying what we do!

Till next time--

Friday, May 12, 2006


My black yarn came and I started knitting my BIG BLACK SOCKS. I belong to SockForSoldiers@yahoogroups.com It is a great group and we are making black hand knit socks that military personnel can wear on duty--and know that we love them. I don't think anyone likes the idea of war, but our young people are out there and need to know we care about them. The socks have to be knitted out of machine washable and machine dryable yarns--come over and join the group with us. It is a great bunch of gals and guys knitting away on all that black yarn!

I have about 2 inches done on the cuff of the first sock and have started the st stitch leg part. It has to be 12 to 14 inches long before I can start the heel--so I have quite a bit of knitting to do! But I'm happy to be doing it!

The spring colored yarn for Piper's and Cora's socks came finally. It got sidetracked and damaged the first time out, but the supplier tracked it down and sent a new package to me express mail. Really great service! I got this yarn from www.doublediamondknits.com The yarn is called Confetti and is very pretty--the girls are going to like them. When I need a break from the BIG BLACK SOCKS these little pretty ones will be great!

I'm also knitting a pair for myself with Socks that Rock and enjoying that yarn, too. All these yarns are superwash--is there any other kind? (G) Well, not in my knitting basket!

Speaking of knitting basket, I've been thinking about getting a knitting basket of some kind to sit by my chair, something that would help organize and keep things where I am more likely to find them! Any suggestions?

Hope you are having as much fun knitting as I am!

Sewing and quilting are sitting in the background. I did treat myself to Jinny Beyer's book Quiltmaking by Hand. Lots of good info and ideas there. She talks about piecing by hand and how to organize it so you can take it with you. I think I may try her method and see if I like it. I used to do Lap Quilting years ago and enjoyed that. Maybe I can combine the hand piecing and machine assembly in some way that I'll like. But when I quilt for kids, I definitely will be machine quilting a good part of the quilt so it will survive the hugs and loves! I want my quilts to be used and loved!

My birthday is coming up on June 6th and I have been wanting to get some embroidery thread for my Kenmore Ergo3. I ordered 112 spools, all different colors from an eBay dealer--they arrived today and are absolutely beautiful! I also ordered the Clothsetter from Sears for my machine--just couldn't afford to get everything all at once! Now I will be able to decorate little bibs and shirts for the babies at the Rez--and make Piper and Cora special little shirts, too.

I mean, hey! A gal has to get what she wants for her birthday, right? Otherwise your sons will give you screwdrivers and wrenches--------

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Catching Cora

What a quick little imp she is! Cora came into my room yesterday while I was winding the skein of Socks That Rock! I got the colorway "Fire on the Mountain. And in less than two seconds she had it all in a tangle! All those lovely colors just had to be touched! Sigh. So now I am fighting my way through the tangles so I can roll it up into a center pull ball. I'm making progress and will work on it again tonight. STR is a superwash merino, expensive, but very beautiful. This will be my first pair of socks made with STR and I'm looking forward to starting them.

I have also ordered some spring colored self-patterning yarns and will make some socks for Cora and for Piper.

I joined two new Yahoo groups recently: SockForSoldiers, to make black socks for men and women in the armed services and The Ships Project, to make slippers. They wear the slippers in their bunks at night. I can use any colors for those. In the cold weather, I will make beanie hats for them as well. The nice thing about the hats and slippers is that I can use the worsted yarns that work up faster. The black sock yarn is thin and I will only be able to work on it during the daytime when I can see the stitches better.

Just sent off a package of baby sweaters, hats and booties with Cheryl--she mailed them to the Rez with some of her things. Have another BSJ on the needles of course.

Mostly mending for Patrick. If I could get my nose out of my sock knitting, I might get some quilting done!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

New Inspiration on the way

I had some money put aside and ordered a Leisure Arts booklet 60 Easy to knit squares. I read about it on one of my lists--the patterns make 12 inch squares which will be great for afghans. Apparently they run true to size--and I won't have to mess with math! I want to make afghans for Piper and Cora--great snuggle blankies for 6 yr olds and 4 yr olds. And a good portable project. I have lots of left over yarns in bright colors which will be perfect. And all the different patterns will keep it from being boring--about the time I finish a square it will be time to pick a new pattern!

I talked with Piper (in Calif, picture with her kitty) and she told me about her knitting. She learned to knit in school this year (first grade)--it is a Waldorf-based education system at her school. They teach addition and subtraction using knitting. I sent Piper the book "Kids Knitting" at Christmas and she has already knit a scarf. She said that she can cast on and cast off all by herself now--learned it from the book--and is knitting a purse in knitting class at school. I am so delighted with her learning to knit! We are close anyway, and this is just one more delight to share with her. I'm going to go through my yarns and put together a package with lots of pretty colors for her to work with. Piper says she wants to learn to crochet, too. Guess I'll have to look for Learn to Crochet book for her next!

Cora is too active to sit long enough to try to knit, but she likes dolly clothes and blankets that GranMommy makes for her!

On the Needles:
A BSJ in process--about half way done.

A pair of socks using left over yarns (Magic Loop one at a time.) Gave up doing two at a time as the tangles drove me crazy! I finally figured out how to solve the problems, but decided it wasn't worth the bother. I knit for PLEASURE--and that was no fun! I found that I like the 40 inch Addis for Magic Loop, so now have two size 2's and two size 1's for my socks. I doubt if I will need to go much smaller than that, at least for now. The 2's seem to do about right for most of the yarns I have right now.

Cut out some more 5 inch squares, but haven't spent time sewing lately. Too busy playing with the knitting!

A Look at some BSJ's

Finally managed to get some pics of the latest baby sweaters. They are on their way to the Rez now.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Olympic Cat--Fat Boy

I have really been enjoying the Olympic games--and my knitting has been enjoyable, too. I am making a cuddly cat for Cora from the book Knit a Square & Make a Toy. What a terrific book--it has 24 soft toys to make and all of them are easy. Cora loves to look at the book and she finally picked the cat because it has a striped tail like her dad's Maine Coon cat. She is in Florida visiting her great grandmother and will be back next Saturday, so I've got to keep knitting! The finished cat will be about 17 inches tall.

Well, this turned out to be a longer project for me, but I did get it finished for Cora's birthday!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

5 hour sweater completed

I finished my first-ever 5 hour baby sweater and it turned out nicely. Certainly took me more than 5 hours to knit, but it was fun to do. I will probably make this pattern again sometime, but I have to admit the The Baby Surprise Jacket is really my favorite. Lots of peaceful knitting and not much fussing about what to do next.

I have a pair of worsted weight socks in the works. Not particularly thrilled with them--they started out as a two-needle pattern, but I couldn't stand the back and forth stuff, so switched to a long circ and adapted the pattern so I could knit it in the round. Will put in an afterthought heel and really make it simple!

Will probably start a job search soon. That will cut down on knitting and sewing time, but will give me the money to shop for new goodies! Yay!! And there is always lunch time to get a few stitches done.

I have several BSJ's finished, but need to take pictures to share. I rearranged my camera set up and haven't put it back together with the computer.

I just found out that soy milk is better for diabetics to use--good for osteoporosis, too. Paul is going to send my soy milk maker to me (left it in Calif -:() Hope it will get here sometime next week. I flavor mine with vanilla and Splenda and it tastes great--cheap to make, too. The stuff in the store is expensive. The soymilk maker is easy to use and quick. SoyaJoy is the name of mine.

I may even try making some tofu--fresh tofu tastes great.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Beginning of a New Year!

Here it is--2006 and I'm knee deep in knitting projects! Started another Baby Surprise Jacket--in yellow this time. Have hats and scarves on the needles, too. And I want to try making an Evolved Sweater on the Bond. It is a simple t-shirt sweater and would go quickly on the Bond if I can figure it out.

Need to be able to get to the sewing machine before I can start anything!

Onward with the knitting so I can clear a path to the sewing machine!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Almost Christmas

It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost here--sort of sneaked up on me! Good thing I got the long distance gifts sent early in the month. My DGD Piper (6 yrs) is learning to knit in her Waldorf school, so I sent her the book "Kids Knitting" which tells how to make your own knitting needles, shows how to knit, has projects, etc. Really good book for kids--or any beginning knitting--basic info nicely illustrated. DGD Cora (4 yrs) is getting a new hat and scarf set for the cold NY weather. Whenever she sees me knitting, she wants to know if it is for her! This time it was!

The rest of Christmas will be very simple for the family here. Scarf, hat, afghan--it has been very cold, so my choices have been to try to keep us warm!

My Christmas Wish is for a phone call from California to hear from Piper and her family. That would warm my heart! My Christmas gift to myself was ordering some new circular needles. I really like the Inox Express needles. Good prices and they knit very well.

I am almost finished with a pair of socks for myself. I try to knit an inch a day on them. I'm doing them on circular needles, Magic Loop style. I worked on them for a while with DPNS but was using Brittany 5 inch and had trouble with stitches dropping off--real hassle! Switched to circs and no more problems. These are just "around the house" socks for me, and I'm using up scrap yarn. I've been making afterthought heels and like them very much, but thought I would try a regular flap heel to see if I like it better. So one sock will have an afterthought heel and one will have a flap heel. It is the gusset which gives me problems. Eventually I get the gussets right, but picking up those stitches so they look nice is not my favorite thing to do. The afterthought heel is a real no-brainer and turns out great every time. So will undoubtably be using that most of the time! I like easy! And I like handmade socks on my feet! I have lots of sock yarn in my stash, picked up at sales, etc. over time. So I'm using what I have and playing with colors. Lots of color for the tops and leftover yarns for the foot section. I am getting to where I like the plain colors better than the self-striping yarns--shows the different stitches better--the self-striping yarn sort of all looks the same after a while. But I have it, it is wool and pretty colors, and they will keep my feet warm just fine!

Knitting Machine:
I've been making hats and scarves for the Rez and will ship them off soon. Lots of bright colors for the kids.

Not doing too much with the quilt lately--mostly knitting, but will get back to it after Christmas.

Hope your holiday is a happy one!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Knitting frustrations

Maybe it is the coming holidays--or maybe it is just that I am bored with the projects I have started. But so far I have taken apart a small sweater that I started--didn't like the color. Variegated greens--not my favorite anyway.

Started a sweater for myself--seamless from the bottom up--SO SLOW TO MAKE PROGRESS!! And dark blue, so I can only knit on it during the daylight hours.

So I have light colored knit squares for night knitting--those at least are going well. I have a pair of socks almost finished--into the foot--nice mindless knitting. Guess that is what I need right now. Will start another pair when these are done--cold winter weather makes those kind of projects good to work on! And I have lots of pretty sock yarns!

Guess that is the key--pick those pretty yarns! Will post some pics when the socks are finished. Hope your knitting is going better than mine!

My sewing project is going okay--the quilt is growing and the colors are bright and cheery. I'm sure sleeping under those pretty colors will keep me even warmer! I will have enough leftovers to make Cora a quilt, too. She is interested seeing it go together. I think I will applique some animals and birds on her quilt, just for fun.

Press onward--Christmas is on the way!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Too Many Cats

My son has a Maine Coon Cat, all 28 lbs. White with a ring tail and quite the character. One cat is interesting, especially when he is intelligent and somewhat teachable. I mean he is a CAT after all with a mind of his own!

But we now have three OTHER cats in the house for the rest of the winter. Rachael's mom is house sitting for the winter and her cats are going to be here until spring. And of course they all love my room. I ENCOURAGE them to go elsewhere--and hope they learn over time to find a different place to hang out!

I have always loved animals and appreciated their companionship, but four cats in an apartment is kitty overload! Dogs are less destructive, especially with yarn, but then there is no room for a dog here either. Probably a good thing or the house would REALLY be impossible! I'm sure I will learn to cope with them for the duration, but I have to admit I will be glad for the winter to leave and the extra cats as well.

I'm working on a hat for the Rez. Black chunky wool garter stitch band with a light purple yarn added to the top. Should be thick and warm. Also have a raglan sweater going from the top down. First one of this type I've done. Liked it at first, but now I'm having a hard time figuring out whether the size will be right. I've always knit from the bottom up before and could judge easily. All in what you get used to, so I will finish this one and see. May go back to EZ's seamless sweaters for the next one.

Sewing quilt blocks for my queen size comforter--a few each day. Just random patchwork, but the colors are cheery and nice. With the colder weather I'll be glad to get the extra blanket on the bed. I'll have lots of left overs for baby quilts for the Rez, too. Those are small and fast.

Looking forward to getting a flat shelf board for my Bond knitting machine to be set up on. It has to be absolutely flat--the rough board I "borrowed" from my son's lumber stash just didn't work! (Hey, guys have a different kind of stash!) Also have to get a pair of snow boots--we have a long cold winter ahead here in NY, too.

Will post pictures of the hat when it is finished. Also the green socks. They turned out a little too long. I've thought about shortening them, but so far have just ignored the thought! I have another pair on the needles in a Mexican colorway and they can just be the right length! Knit and learn!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Setting Up My USM Knitting Machine

Today I got busy and started setting up my USM knitting machine. It is such a quick way to make Christmas gifts, especially hats and scarves for everyone. As I worked on the project, I discovered that the table I purchased is too thick to allow me to easily clamp the machine down. So I have had to get a board to first clamp the board onto, now I need to get some C-clamps to clamp the board to the table. A little extra work, but in one way, a good step, as I can take the machine off the table without disassembling it. Just unclamp the board, take board, machine and all off, and lean it against a wall near by. Use it again? Put the board back on the table, use the C-clamps again and away I go. Fast, easy and it makes access to my sewing machine easier, too.

So tomorrow is C-clamp day. My son is supposed to get some for me. I had a set of C-clamps, but they may still be in California in a box there! Just wait! I'll buy these and the others will show up! Definitely have to have them or the weight of the knitting will pull the machine off the table.

You can see that my work space is very limited--but it holds all that is important!

Happy knitting and hug the people you love!

Easy Mitten Pattern and Yarn Sources and Books

If you are inspired to start knitting some mittens for charity (and I hope you are with the cold weather ahead of us!), here is my favorite site for free patterns:


In the section for Winter Items there is this easy mitten pattern, just right for beginners.


Use wool or part wool yarn if you have it as it is much warmer for the person who wears the mittens. But use whatever you have to begin with--cold hands are no fun for those out in the winter weather and in need. The knit stitch has an insulating factor due to the way it is formed.

To learn how to do an afterthought thumb, which lets you knit round and round and then do the thumb on dpns last, you can go here:

At www.woolworks.org
Catherine Wingate talks about how to do an afterthought heel:

"To make this heel, knit to where the heel will begin, knit X amount of stitches (X being the number of intended heel stitches) on waste yarn, put those X stitches back on the left needle, and reknit them with the sock yarn. After completing the sock, take out the waste yarn and put the resulting loops on facing needles (one needle will have one more loop than the other!) and "make a heel." Generally the heel is similar to a toe and, in many socks, the heel and toe are shaped identically, both being shaped by double-decreasing. "

For the afterthought thumb, you only need to do this for 7 sts. then knit round and round until until it is time to make the mitten top. Then you will take out the waste yarn and knit the thumb on dpns. It goes very quickly!

The pattern that I personally use is Elizabeth Zimmermann's 36 Stitch Mittens in Knitting Without Tears. This was one of my first knitting books and one that I still refer to today.


My favorite place to buy inexpensive yarn is:


For about $30 you can buy enough yarn to keep you busy for a very long time! No affiliation with them--just a place I have found to be dependable and affordable. The yarn does not not have wrappers on the skeins and is Red Heart or Caron or something like that. They choose the colors. Nice colors and easy to work with. Because they are mill ends, there is an occasional knot in the skein, but at that price, I just cut it out and carry on.

Of course, whenever I get into a thrift store, I check out their bins. I have found some nice wool yarns in places like that and tuck it away for winter knitting.

In the summer, check the garage sales.

If you belong to a FreeCycle group in your area, post and ask if anyone has yarn they could donate to you for making charity items. People sometimes have bags of yarn languishing in closets or garages that they are happy to give to you. A woman just gave me 12 skeins of yarn she no longer wanted. Lots of hats and scarves and mittens!


Knitting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti. If you can only afford one book right now, this is probably a good choice , especially for beginners. All the info that a beginner or intermediate knitter needs in one place. Casting on, increasing, decreasing, tips. Very well written and easy to follow. Has projects to do which teach you the basics. I especially like the black and white line drawings and illustrations as they are clear and simple and do the job well.

Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann. One of the best bargains in knitting books you can buy. Good reference book with lots of patterns. Add this book as soon as you can and you will be happily knitting for years!

The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns Ann Budd. Basic designs in a wide variety of sizes. Mittens, sweaters, hats, socks. Lets you knit for family and friends and community with easy size variations.

Knitter's Handbook by Montse Stanley. Put out by Reader's Digest, I chose this one for clarity. I couldn't afford the big Vogue book (still can't), but have been very happy with this book as a basic reference. When you begin knitting, you do need some reference books to help you. Check your library to see which ones YOU prefer. Then save your money till you can get the one you like. It will save you hours of grief and anguish at 2 AM when you run into a problem and you can't call a friend!

I think I got most of these books at Amazon.com--my favorite place to indulge my knitting obsession and books at the same time! Wish I had stock in the company! Sometimes it is WAY too convenient to shop there! But I am sure these books are available in a variety of other places as well, so look locally, too. Local yarn shops often carry good selection of basic books.

Happy knitting and keep those needles busy!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

2 socks 2 circs and tangling yarn

I think I wrote before that I stopped using the 2 sock 2 circ method because I got so frustrated with the yarn tangling. Well, I have finally mastered that--thanks to Queen Kahuna! I bought the book Crazy Toes and Heels some time back, but haven't spent a lot of time with it.


I want to learn how to do the toe up method and she shows it very clearly, so got it out--and found the answer to the tangled yarn! So simple and easy--and it works! So I am happily knitting my last pair of challenge mittens on 2 circs with NO TANGLING YARN NOW!!!! I am doing stripes on this pair, so it will make it easy to keep them matching. No counting--just change colors whenever I need to. I plan to make some with small motifs later, so this will be a helpful method for that as well.

I highly recommend this book--no affiliation, just a visual learner who has gotten a lot of help from the book. It is well worth the money she is asking for it. Now I'm actually looking forward to learning the toe up method and will make a bunch of warm wool socks for myself for the winter to practice on until I get comfortable with it. I have some lovely sport weight wool yarn and will reinforce the heels and toes with left over fingering yarn from other sock projects. That will give them a little more durability--and most of the fingering yarn is multi-colored so it will brighten up the solid colors, too! I am planning to make these socks longer than I usually do--probably up over the calf--need the warmth. I also have some worsted weight wool--that I may make into some bed socks--can you tell that I hate to have cold feet????

I have my sewing table and sewing machine set up--and will be able to set up my USM knitting machine. I want to use it to make some everyday sweaters--fast easy and washable! Fast to knit, but it takes a while to sew them together. Good tv/movie activity, I've found. I'm getting better at it.

Cora has already asked for another sweater--she loves the Baby Surprise Jacket I made for her, so will whip something out on the Bond. Plan to do one for Piper as well. I have some intarsia patterns that I want to play with for them. Kids are so much fun to knit for!

Hope your week is a happy one.

Friday, October 21, 2005

My Sewing Table is Finally Here!

Hooray! I finally was able to get a table for my sewing machine! I found one at WalMart that will work very well for me--and it is long enough to set up my Bond Knitting machine as well. That is going to make some fun activities for me now that I can get it set up. Sewing, quilting, and knitting on the USM. I want to use the USM to make myself some everyday sweaters. Much faster than handknitting, have lots of washable yarn for easy care--and the cold weather IS coming!

So that is my plan for tonight when I get it upstairs--work things around till I get my machine set up.

Pat should be home soon! Then he can bring it upstairs for me and I can start to work!

Number 7 on the Needles! Photo of all seven

Finished Mittens #6 and have cast on for #7 pair in bright royal blue wool. I found some bright red yarn to make some stripes in these and will probably do small stripes. Have thought about making candy cane stripes that travel diagonally. Just read about doing that, but may save the pattern for a scarf instead until I really work out how to do it. Once the pattern is established, it is just a matter of moving the color over a couple of sts. every 2nd row. The directions I found use 6 stitch stripes that travel, but I'm sure that can be adjusted if you want a narrower stripe. It would be fun to play with--and kids would love it!

I'm going today to get a sewing table for my room. I've looked for a while for a second-hand table but haven't found anything that suits. So will get one of those banquet tables about 6 ft. long to use. Can use the surface to cut material out on, anyway. It is a challenge organizing everything in just one room, but so far it is working out pretty well. As I get some of the storage solutions worked out, it will be even better. Thank goodness for clear plastic storage boxes and WalMart!

Have been watching the progress of Hurricane Wilma toward Florida. Another gigantic storm that can do catastrophic damage to areas already hit by so many others. And we have until Nov. 30th before hurricane season ends! With all they have gone through this year, I think I would really consider moving if I lived in those areas! The risk to lives has been so great--and the physical damage has been terrible. I suspect a number of people are seriously considering such a move. Every area has its disadvantages, but those hurricanes have been so powerful and beyond the response of most people. It certainly has made people aware of the need to have emergency supplies on hand. Not just talk about doing it, but actually put things into food storage, supplies, etc. I know I am planning to get extra medicines for myself to keep in a 72 hour kit for such an emergency. I'll need to get a backpack to put it all in again. Had one all set up in Calif. but will have to re-do it now. Which is fine, because with the colder weather here in NY, I will need to add some different things to it.

Time to work on my medical transcription course studies: this is turning into a very interesting area for me. Getting back into a study pattern has been a challenge, of course! Sort of "grit your teeth and do it!" But I'm always glad when I get to it and get involved. Isn't that the way it always is? We have this reluctance to get started and then find our enthusiasm building as we participate fully. Part of the lessons we learn as we go through life!

Enjoy your knitting and your families!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Mitten pair number six

I should be able to finish this sixth pair of mittens tonight. I'm really into the home stretch of this mitten challenge! and having a great time with it! I have one pair that I am going to really miss and will have to knit another pair for myself--I made a larger pair in red wool. My hands were bothering me before I went to bed (I have arthritis) so I slipped those wool mittens on and went to sleep. Woke up in the morning with my hands feeling great! Relaxed and warm and no pain! So that is a definite project for me in the making. These I will send off, though, as they are just right for a teenager to appreciate and enjoy--and I know those winds are blowing on the Rez. I can wait to make myself another pair.

I think after I finish these mittens that I will start making some socks and slippers. I have some great sport weight wool and can reinforce the heels and toes with regular sock yarn for longer wear. And some extra color! lots of little leftovers from other projects. Maybe put three strands of fingering yarn together to do the heels and toes. I really would like to learn to make socks from the toes up, just to learn the technique. So maybe this is the time to play with that. I hear a lot of people say they like that because they can better judge the sock length and not run out of yarn on the top. sounds good, but so far I haven't been able to wrap my mind around the concept! But I have the Crazy Toes and Heels book which shows in detail how to do it, so will follow that and see how I do. Lots of pictures and will take my time and should be okay. Will let you know how successful I am!

When I first got started doing 2 socks on 2 circs I got frustrated with the tangled yarn. Finally went to the magic loop system, which I like very much better. I cast on for both socks at the same time. Knit the cuff on one, then knit the cuff on the other. Knit to the heel on one, then knit to the heel on the other. Put in the sts for the afterthought heel for one, put in the sts for the afterthought heel for the other. And so on. I continue to alternate knitting between socks and when I finish, I have a pair of socks ready to wear--and no frustrations! I think every one has to find their own best way to make socks--this is the one that seems to work for me. I used dpns for years and still enjoy them from time to time, especially for very small things like the thumbs of mittens. But for my socks, I really like the magic loop and the ease it gives me to finish a pair of socks. It took me a lot of practice to become comfortable with the magic loop method too, but now that I use it so much, I'm glad that I spent the time learning it. And since I like to make things in pairs, I'm glad that I have the longer pairs of circs to work with. Now I'm starting to order some of the 36 inch and 40 inch circs for sweaters! Guess you can see where this is going! I'm going to have some fun making myself some pretty sweaters--have already started looking at my Spun Outs and EZ books!

Happy knitting!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Comment Verification added to stop spammers

I started getting spam comments from some money schemes, so added Comment Verification to prevent this. Regular comments shouldn't be a problems. Sorry for the extra step, but I can't stand those Trolls! This should keep the content to knitting, at least!

Thanks, Ann, for the idea--didn't even know I could add this and block those guys!

The BSJ and a personal knitting journal

I am knitting another Baby Surprise Jacket for the Rez and it is coming along very nicely. The pattern is in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop and is also available in a leaflet/SpunOut--both available from


I really enjoy knitting this little sweater as it is done all in one piece and then folded to make the sweater--quite clever! Just two shoulder seams to put together! The size can be adjusted from newborn to toddler very easily--and there is also an Adult Surprise Sweater SpunOut available too. I think I will try that one, perhaps this winter with the cold winds blowing to inspire me to keep knitting!

There is also a Yahoo group call Knit Baby Surprise that offers lots of help and tips as you knit your first one--very friendly and supportive.

I finished my challenge hats but still have a couple more pair of challenge mittens to do. Need to mail them by Dec 1st to make the challenge, but will be done long before that. Want to send ASAP to help those kids stay warm on the way to school.

I worked today reorganizing my yarn and needles. Found a large leather purse that I no longer use as a purse and it holds ALL my needles. I already had them sorted by size and labeled in ziplock bags, so it was just a matter of filing them in order in the purse. The purse fits into a dresser drawer nicely (away from Cora's little exploring hands!) and I always know where it is! Feels good to know where things are and what colors I have available in my stash! For my yarn, I packed it into two soft-sided travel packs with wheels: one large one and one medium size one. They are full! But easy to get to and check out what I need. I already had my knitting books on shelves under my night stands. Keeping everything organized in my bedroom is a challenge after having a whole house to myself, but I have all the essentials and have pared down the clutter. Which is good for my mind AND I don't have to take care of so much STUFF!

I still don't have a sewing table for my embroidery machine--hope to get that next month. Then I can sew little receiving blankets for the new moms on the Rez. But for now, I'm loving my knitting projects!

Tomorrow I have an appt. with a new rheumatologist in Schenectady--Patrick is going to drive me to the appt. so he can ask questions about Dermatomyositis. I'm glad he wants to go as it will help him understand what I am dealing with and why all these appts. are so necessary. I've really been doing pretty good--just get that awful fatigue and muscle aches, but the meds tend to control that and a nap helps me start over again in the afternoon! I rest when I have to, but keep going as much as possible!

I'm enjoying living here with my family very much. And I have arranged for a ride to my church, not this Sunday, but next. There are many women in Relief Society who love to do charity work and I'm looking forward to meeting them and getting involved with some of their activities, too. I ALSO plan to ask for some hats and mittens for the Rez if any are interested!

Many years ago, I ran across a 5 x 8 sturdy little notebook with wire binding. I labeled it KNITTING and started keeping important info in it that I wanted to keep track of--and it has proved to be so valuable over the years! I have my favorite mitten, scarf, booties, slippers patterns in there--anything that I use often. I keep family measurements in there (in pencil!) And just today I added a list of yarn/needle/size changes for the BSJ.

BABY SURPRISE JACKET Yarn/needles/size

fingering/us 2 or 3/newborn

sport/US 4 or 5/ 6 mos

DK/ 7's/ 9 mos

WW/ 8's/ about 1 year

Chunky/1o or 10.5/ toddler

So now when I want to make a new BSJ I can just look through my stash, select colors and needles, get my pattern out and get to my knitting!

If you don't already keep a personal knitting notebook, I encourage you to try it--it has kept me from losing some of my favorite charity patterns over the years--as well as organizing my info in an easy to keep low-tech way. My notebook stays in my knitting bag at all times--along with chatelaine with scissors, yarn needles, markers of various sizes, etc. It is a great little tool to work with!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Photo of the Green Mittens

I promised a photo of the Green Mittens--I really like how they turned out! So with a little luck, this one will come through ok! I've already done a red wool pair and have started a lavender pair to work on today. I think this lavender pair will be for me as I will need a pair for when the snowy weather gets here! Didn't really need warm mittens in California, but cold NY winters are a different matter! I have several shades of purple/lavender, so the kids will be getting some, too. I know a little girl would love to have a pair--maybe I will find a chart and do a design on hers. That would be fun!

I also took a pair of socks that I am making for my son, Mike, in California for Christmas and changed them over to a single circ for each sock. I was doing 2 socks 2 circs and got so frustrated with the yarn tangling. So I will do Magic Loop on each sock to get them finished up. They are a nice sage green (one of Mike's favorite colors) and are a basket weave design. Patrick, the son I live with here in NY, doesn't like wool socks at all--he will let me knit him hats, etc--just no socks! I'm glad that Mike likes them! Kids can be so different!

I have almost finished with the Baby Surprise Sweater for my granddaughter, Cora. She is 4 yrs old and I'm having to lengthen those sleeves. Not too much more to go and I can post a picture of that sweater, too.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Two Thumbs Up!

I just have the thumbs to knit on a pair of green mittens for CRR and they will be finished. I am using worsted wt wool, 32 sts, knit in the round with an afterthought thumb. They go really quickly. I'm putting in an identifying stripe of color so the kids can tell which ones are theirs. And I'm using two strands of fingering yarn for the stripes--found out that equals 1 strand of worsted--and it works well--I like using the self-striping yarn for this--makes for a bright cheery stripe that is very different.

The "recipe" for size I decided on is 2 1/2 inches ribbing, 2 1 /2 inches to thumb sts, knit 7 sts of contrasting thread, put back on left hand needle and continue knitting. 2 1/2 inches for palm then make a toe for the top till 8 sts are left on each needle. Kitchener off these sts and weave in the ends. Pick up the thumb sts, 5 on each needle, knit 2 1/2 inches, knit 2 tog for 2 rows and use weaving needle to draw yarn through sts tightly to finish. This makes a mitten that should fit a 4-6 year old child. I'm doing the mittens using the Magic Loop method on size 5 needles, 24 inches, one at a time to prevent tangling yarn. Could do the 2 on 2 circs but get too frustrated with the yarn! Then I do the thumbs on dpns as that is the easiest for such a small amount of sts.

I learned to do this afterthought thumb from Knitting without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann many years ago and just love it. I use her afterthought heel to make simple socks, too. I love making knitting easy and fun--and EZ always does that! I want to get the new book that is out "The Opinionated Knitter", but have to save my money for a bit. But I know it will be well worth the wait!

Will add a picture of the mittens later when they are finished.