Plain Jane Knits Up A Storm

A few musings about my needlecraft hobbies - knitting, crocheting, quilting, & cross-stitch along with my other love, genealogy. While growing up, I used to HATE the term "Plain Jane", but when it comes to knitting & crocheting, I've realized that I really *am* a Plain Jane in that I don't use fancy yarns.

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Location: Northern Detroit Metro area, Michigan, United States

Thursday, January 06, 2005

A Little Background Music

I learned how to knit when I was 8 years old thanks to a neighbor in her early teens who had been taught by a cousin. It's frightening to stop and think that was over half a century ago as I am now on the cusp of Senior Citizen-hood. Over the years, I've lost track of how many sweaters, vests, hats, mittens, scarves & afghans I've made. Suffice it to say that, despite the fact that I probably only have 1/5th of them in my possession, the rest having been gifted to family & friends, I could probably bundle up enough to survive the next ice age.

Crocheting was something I taught myself at age 19 using a 'learn-to-crochet' series of Barbie doll clothes in a McCall's Needlework. They were the perfect present for my 10 year old sister-in-law at the time. I still do a lot of crocheting, especially recently as I'm turning a variety of donated yarn scraps into what I call Rag-Tag afghans - 110 stitches in double crochet, knitting worsted and a size K hook, when one color yarn runs out, I tie on the next and keep going. It's a wonderful way of using up dibs and dabs along with some larger balls of leftover yarn and ending up with a colorful lap robe for charity. This is a picture of the first one I finished for our charity knitting group at the Sr. Center. I finished two more before Christmas (along with a couple dozen knit hats and 10 knit scarves) that were given to people in need at the local soup kitchen. One afghan was raffled off at the Sr. Center to provide funds for more yarn so our group can keep making items. The furry critter in the photo is our eldest cat, Moki - aka Monster.

Probably the best thing I ever taught myself is to knit and crochet without watching. This lets me read and keep on stitching. Now if there was some way to stitch while I'm at the keyboard, I'd really have it made.

I started quilting in 1982 and have finished 52 quilts ranging in size from crib to king (100" square for our waterbed). I do all my piecing and quilting by hand having a very acrimonious relationship with sewing machines - mine has had a broken needle for about 7 years now which I may or may not get around to replacing one of these days. The quilt shown here, just after I finished stretching and pinning it, is quilted and on the bed. It is as close a copy as I could manage of an antique hexagon quilt shown in a Lady's Circle Patchwork Quilting issue from the early 90s.

Most of my quilts, unless they're for other family members, are antique reproductions. It took me about 5 years to collect the fabrics used in this Birds In Flight quilt which was shown in a Better Homes & Garden quilting book.

Counted cross-stitch, usually on 28 count linen (I have a very *good* lighted magnifier) is something else I enjoy, but haven't done too much lately. I'll add a few pictures of the reproduction samples I've made at a later date.


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