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Love to Knit and Sew

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Location: Amsterdam, New York, United States

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.