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

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

This & That

First of all, I've been messing around with my template (surprise!!) and I changed the font to Comic Sans MS which I find to be the most readable of the common fonts. Here's hoping that everyone else agrees. I'm also trying to discover why this template, which looks so good (IMHO) in Internet Explorer, gets trashed in other browsers like Opera, Foxfire and Netscape. I use Opera as an alternative and when I look at the page with it the tan background only shows up in the header and footer sections leaving the rest of the blog as black type on the dark brown background that is only supposed to be the outer edge. In addition, the various buttons for the rings are scattered all over the top of the page, the archive entries show only as round dots and the posts themselves are way at the bottom of the page. Opera has a "turn off the color" option that allows the page to be read in black & white, but it's still disturbing that the template isn't stable across various platforms.

Second, I finished baby afghan #11 for our K4 charity knitting project.

Third, a further project update: I just used the swift to wind two hanks of light weight worsted (it looks more like sport) that were dontated to the K4 project. One is a medium purple, the other a dark purple. I think they'll work for a rather bright baby afghan so will get that started for at least a row or two before I take Mom to bingo so I can take it along and accomplish something while I listen to the numbers I don't have on my cards being called. I started one the other night in a pale yellow worsted weight, but decided that it's too heavy for a baby afghan, so will take out the 4 completed rows and turn that yarn into hats once my 16" 10.5 needles are free. Right now they're busy with the second of DH's Fuzzy Feet, but I just turned the heel and am working toward the toes, so it will be done soon. The Clapotis is chugging along - I'm on the decrease section and dropped 4 more columns of stitches last night. I finished the first pattern repeat (14 rows) on Mom's lime green vest and started the second repeat. Pictures when I'm a little further along.

Fourth & finally, Callie, our tri-colored princess, is one of this week's contestants in the Purrfect Kitty contest Should you be so inclined, the voting buttons are in the left column toward the bottom. I think she's the most purrrfect kitty, but then I'm *very* prejudice.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Ollie, Ollie, Oxen Free

Come out, come out, wherever you are!! This has been my weekend for misplacing things. First of all, I wanted to start the lime green vest for Mom, but I couldn't find the pattern leaflet. You have to realize that this house is home to two pack-rats who have never heard the word "simplify" - there were only about 8 stacks of pattern magazines where the leaflet might be. The other dozen or so stacks weren't in consideration because I was sure that I'd seen it recently and those stacks hadn't been disturbed in months. After going through all the stacks without any luck, I decided to look my 24" size nine circular - I didn't find it, but I did find the pattern in Bin #3 under a stack of yarn skeins. The size 9 circular is still in the realm of the missing and I'm wracking my brain unsuccessfully trying to think of a forgotten project that might be using it. Then I picked up the Fuzzy Foot which is now past the heel turn and the gusset and heading toward the toe, only to find that I have pages 1 & 2 of the pattern, but not page 3. Thank goodness for the internet and computers because the pattern is safely filed in a Word document and I printed out page 3 again. And tonight, for the frosting on the cake, I picked up Clapotis #2, only to find that the pattern and the plastic sleeve I keep it in were also among the missing. I'm beginning to suspect gremlins. I printed out another copy and started on the decrease section (and I wonder why I keep running out of ink for my printer???)

On the brighter side, I did go to JoAnne's again on Saturday and bought some more beads and jewelry findings. Here are a couple of the new ones I made marking the lace pattern on the lime green vest.

And some smaller ones in green beads. These will fit on size 5 or smaller needles and the loop for the needle is made from the 2" eye-pins which limits the size. The larger markers use a 13mm earring.

Now to figure out where the blazes that #9 needle is hiding.. Ollie Ollie Oxen Free!!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Whoopee!! Stitch Markers.. I did it!!

Yes, I got up my nerve and made some beaded stitch markers!! How I got to this was an adventure in itself. This morning after coffee with Mom, I came home to DH asking if I wanted to investigate the porch sale we saw in the village on the way home from Kroger's last night. (We didn't stop then because we had just picked up a bake-it-at-home pizza and Mom had her oven on pre-heat.) So off we went and the first thing that DH spotted was a cast iron door stop in the shape of a black cat. Mom's cat, Sadie is black, and while the doorstop was obviously a short hair cat, unlike Sadie, we both agreed that Mom would probably like it so $1 exchanged hands and off we went to Mom's. She was pleasantly surprised and we all agreed that the cat needed a green bead for an eye in place of the simple hole that was there. Hmmm.. JoAnne's is having a 40% off sale on jewelry findings & beads and it's right across the parking lot from Meijer's where asparagus is still on sale for 99ยข a pound. A plan was forming and off the three of us went. We found a package of mixed beads in greens & golds that looked promising and I picked up a package of wires with little heads on one end and one of small rings. Back at Mom's, after a couple other uninteresting stops (we did get another 3#s of asparagus), the smallest green bead was a perfect fit for the cat's eye and a little Elmer's glue held it in place with the hole running top to bottom and looking like a slit pupil.. Perfect!

I brought the rest of the package of beads home and after much hemming & hawing, enlisted DH's help and here are the results:

The white beads are more opalescent than they show in the photo - another case of the flash washing out the color. Anyway, I used them this evening on the Fuzzy Feet and on the latest pair of booties and I love them. I'm seriously thinking about going back tomorrow while the sale is still on and stocking up on some more supplies. I should mention that yesterday, I stopped at the fancy bead store in Oxford, 3 miles up the road, and had absolutely no luck in finding either rings or the wires with the stops on one end. I asked for help and the woman had no idea what I was talking about and didn't seem interested in either understanding what I needed or offering suggestions. So finding what I needed and at 40% off today was a real high.

On the actual knitting front, I gave Mom the red vest from the Knit Red KAL and she loves it. It fits her perfectly and she was going through her closet picking out outfits that it would go with. She mentioned a few weeks ago that she really liked the lime green micro-fiber yarn that I've been using for the baby booties and while I couldn't find that type today, the Red Heart Kids has a worsted weight that's almost the exact color though without the sheen. I picked up two 5 ounce skeins and will make her a vest, probably the Jiffy vest from Leisure Arts with the leaf lace panel in the front (if I can find where I put the pattern!).

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Goodies in the Mail

A box arrived today from Heather with a full hank and a already wound "cake" of the most beautiful dark grey / brown worsted weight wool that she sent so I can replace DH's Smurf toed Fuzzy Feet. (Thanks, Heather!) This is the first time I've been faced with a hank in years, but it gave me the opportunity to finally try out the antique swift that Mom & Dad found in the attic of the farm house where I grew up. The house was built in the mid 1800's and when they moved in back in 1941, there was a shoulder high spinning wheel (no spindle hardware, unfortunately), a yarn skeiner with a hand carved toothed gear to measure 40 turns of the cross bars, and this other thing with cross bars top & bottom, resting on a upright dowel in a stand so it spins and adjustable dowels between the bars. After wandering around the web for a bit a couple years ago after we moved it from the farm to the new house, I discovered that it was probably a yarn swift designed to hold a hank of yarn while it was being wound into a ball. Here it is after I cleaned it up some tonight with Murphy's Oil Soap.

And here it is with the hank on it. I wasn't sure how the yarn would fit, so I slanted the outer dowels out as far as they would go. The swift has to be over 100 years old and it looks to be hand made out of oak.

It worked great. Despite being on a bit of a tilt because of the angle of the main dowel as it goes into the stand, it turned easily and I was able to wind the skein into a ball in no time. The Fuzzy Feet are now cast on and I'm working on the cuff. This is the first I've worked with wool that wasn't Red Heart and I'm amazed at how thick & soft it is.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Busy Day

Today was pretty busy. In addition to some shopping and taking Mom to bingo, I managed to finish up quite a few projects.

First off, the Feather & Fan vest for the Knit Red KAL:

This was made out of Bernat worsted weight acrylic and took about 3/4ths of an 8 ounce skein on size 8 & 11 needles. It's small on me, so it should fit Mom just fine.

Next up, the results of flying needles while watching NCIS & House this evening - all these are for charity via our K4 group. The pale pink baby afghan is out of two skeins of Bernat Lollipop, 75 double crochet with a size K hook. The rainbow hat is from Red Heart Mexicali worsted weight, 64 stitches on a size 10.5 circular needle, finished with a straight 3 needle bind-off and the two corners tacked together. The booties are from the yarn Heather sent a few weeks ago. I've been knitting them right along with the other projects and sewed these up tonight - notice anything strange??

Yup, I seem to have an extra.. I was sure that I had knit six of the variegated ones, but right now I can only find five of them. I was getting pretty worried until I realized that I still have a full skein of that yarn. WHEW...

That leaves the Clapotis which is getting quite near the decrease section and the adult sized rag-tag afghan as the only active projects on the needles at the moment. But I have yarn for more hats, more booties (including the missing one) and at least one more baby afghan. Decisions, decisions! What am I going to start before bed-time? Stay tuned for further developments ...

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Monday, March 21, 2005

Happy Birthday, Becky!!

Today is my DED's* birthday.. Just about now on the clock, I was holding her for the very first time. Happy Birthday, Sweetie - I love you lots & lots..

On the knitting front, I finished the front of the red vest.

It's still a little scrunched up in the photo because the back yoke is on a 10" needle, but the close-up especially shows the lace pattern. The lace will stretch out more when the vest is worn. I was worrying that it might be too big for Mom (who is very tiny), but unstretched, it only measures about 31" so it should be ok.

On another topic, I'm wearing my 1st Sock KAL socks this evening and they're quite comfortable. Another time I think I would add a few rows to the length to give my toes more twiddling room, but otherwise they're warm and look pretty good. I know I said that I didn't think that I'd become a sock addict, but I may make another pair or two once I get some of those PIPs I listed last week completed. I have another hat in black & rainbow (Mexicali) variegated on the needles along with more booties and there are a couple more inches finished on the pink baby afghan. The Clapotis has two more stitches to drop before I start the decrease rows. All in all, with the exception of the fair isle vest & the cable yoke cardigan, both of which are still tucked safely in yarn bin #3, all projects are progressing though not as quickly as if I worked on only one at a time. However, variety is the spice of life and with all these projects on going, I sure have variety to spare.

*p.s. DED stands for Darling Eldest Daughter..

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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Vest Update

I just divided for the front & back yokes of the red Feather & Fan vest. I've made vests like this before where the armhole edging is knit in garter while working the yokes and found that after wearing one a couple times that the stitches under the arm pulled apart and laddered down for an inch or so. To combat that, I cross the underarm stitches as I'm dividing. The last stitch of the back becomes the first stitch of the front so they can't pull apart. Here's a photo where I've attempted (Windows Paint program is not the best graphic tool) to highlight which stitch goes where.

The stitch marked in yellow is the last stitch of the back yoke which now moves to the needle to be knit with the front yoke. The stitch marked in black is the first stitch of the front yoke which moves to the back. The resulting X keeps the underarm tight. This photo shows the stitches without the addition of my questionable drawing abilities:

Besides working on the red vest, I crocheted on the pale pink baby afghan, finished off a cap in the rainbow yarn with black ribbing that I started yesterday and made a second one.


Friday, March 18, 2005

A Red Vest For The Knit Red KAL

I've been working today on the vest for the Knit Red KAL and have 8 repeats of the lace pattern completed. I think I'll need three or four more before I divide for the armholes. The pattern is Feather & Fan - very much like the lace I used for the fancy baby blanket, but that one has every other row purled.

Working with the flash, it's difficult to see the stitch pattern so I played around in IrfanView and tried to make the stitches show up a little better. I wouldn't mind having yarn this color!

In other news, we went to the first garage sale of the season in the midst of a snow storm. Yup, another couple inches came down last night and this morning as a long narrow band of snow went right over top of us again. It's quit for now, but later tonight there is more on the way with the possibility of sleet & freezing rain. Spring is supposed to be right around the corner, but you sure couldn't prove it by looking out a window here. Anyway, the garage sale had lots of antiques - even a large spinning wheel like the one we found in the attic out at the farm. Only this one had the spindle parts that Mom's is missing. The wheel comes up to a little above my shoulder - I'd estimate a little under 5' from the floor to the top of the wheel. They also had an old rather primitive yarn skeiner - all too expensive for my pocketbook, but fun to see. I was keeping an eye out for wool sweaters that could be dis-assembled for knitting slippers or felted bags, but nothing like that was offered. It won't be too long though before there's more than one garage sale per week and I can do some serious hunting for yarn on the hoof.

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

A Clapotis Update

I've been working on my #2 Clapotis off and on over the last couple weeks. It's going a bit slower than #1 as I've been taking more time for the charity knitting, but it is coming along. I'm just getting ready to drop the 9th stitch and I love the drape that I'm getting with the size 10.5 needles. This one is going to be a *LOT* bigger. The first skein of yarn is almost gone and when I had to join the second skein on #1, I was at the point of starting the decreases - or 4 more dropped stitches along.

At the K4 meeting today, Diana - who has started her own Clapotis - gifted me with 30 "bone" rings to use as stitch markers. They do slide along more easily than the elastic bands I was using and seem to work just great. Thanks, Diana!!

Here is a close of the dropped stitches - you'll notice that the spread of the bars is about twice that of the ones knit on size 8 needles and that where it isn't stretched out for show & tell, the ripples close up nicely.

Right now, it measures about 28" on the narrow side and 55" on the long side with another 32 rows or more left before the decreases start. I noticed on #1 that the decrease end is more pointy than the increase end. I'm not sure why that should be as for the increases, it's one stitch increased at the end of each row and for the decreases, it's one stitch decreased at the end of each row. Logic says that the ends should turn out identical, but they're not. I'm not the only one noticing this as it's been mentioned on the KAL. When I get to the decreases, I'm going to take a long hard look at what happened with #1 and see if I can figure out a way of making the two ends match.

In other non-Clapotis news, I worked on the pale pink crocheted baby afghan, finished off another bootie and have a rainbow colored hat with black ribbing all ready to finish. Our K4 group had a request from the local FISH organization for more winter hats, especially for men, so Virginia was going to drop off a dozen caps and six scarves today or tomorrow. Oh, and you'll notice over in the side bar that there are buttons to two rings that I just joined. The Knitting Bloggers is huge with over 600 members. If you want to spend an enjoyable evening sometime, just keep hitting the Random button on the main site and you can travel the world. Thrifty Knits is a brand new ring, dedicated to finding sources for reasonably priced yarn.

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Hmmmmmmmmm... A Quick Aside

On CSI-New York last night, a woman was stabbed to death with a knitting needle. Did anyone else notice that the blanket that the owner of the needle told the detective that she had *knit* for her dog appeared to be *crocheted*? It was almost as bad as the Northern quilted tp commercial that had the quilters working with knitting needles instead of sewing needles. I think that TV and ad agencies are in dire need of needlework consultants.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Quiet Days Abound

Yes, another quiet day without much to share. I'm still knitting booties & crocheting baby afghans. I spent some time last night paging through my back copies of Knitters Magazine and found some patterns that I really like for sweaters and vests with lots of cables. Most of the yarns used in the patterns are what I term "fancy" - i.e. *expensive* - so I'll need to look for alternatives. (If the blog title Cheap Knitter hadn't already been taken, it would have be a good fit for me {g}) For a few years, including the issues I'm looking through, Knitters used wraps per inch to indicated the weight of the yarns. It's probably more accurate than DK, worsted, sport & etc, but I needed some sort of guideline to get an rough idea of the weight of yarn before I started pulling out my stash and swatching. I found it here at Yarn Forward Tension (Gauge) Guide

I finished the ribbing for the Feather & Fan vest I'm making for the Knit Red KAL and started to change the points on my Needle Master cord from the 8's to the 11's for the lace design. Then I ran into problems.

You'll notice the vast difference between the size of the points. There is no way that the ribbing stitches worked on the size 8 points are going to stretch onto the size 11 point so I can start working the next row. I've used these needles a lot, but previously the size change may not have been so great or I had an extra cord available so that I could knit off the smaller points onto a different set. This time, however, I have three other projects on the needles - the top down cranberry cabled yoke, the fair isle vest & the Clapotis - so that wasn't going to work. I do have a size 7 stand-alone circular from years ago, so I moved the stitches onto that and then knit them off onto the N-M and the size 11 points. All's well that ends well. I have the first lace repeats completed and will post another picture when I'm enough repeats along that the pattern will show up.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Another Quiet Day On The Homefront

A very quiet day compared to yesterday when it felt like I was running all day. I started another baby afghan in a soft pale pink this morning and took it along to bingo. Knit another pair of booties out the variegated yarn and cast on yet another pair. The last two nights I worked on the Clapotis while watching tv and it's coming along. I'm glad that I picked up the second skein of the Rosy Forecast as on the bigger needles, it does seem to be taking more yarn, but the drape is much nicer - not that stiff feel of the first one in Jetstream. DH has been wearing his hybrid Fuzzy Feet - non-felted acrylic toes and all and has been saying that he'd like a pair that was completely felted. I ran across this site on How To Recycle A Sweater and as soon as garage sales start up again, I'll keep an eye out for a wool sweater or two that I can recycle and get the yarn to make him a pair.

I see that there's a new KAL - the Pure & Simple Neck Down that's tempting. I love neck down patterns because it's easier to add a sleeve working in that direction than it is to knit the sleeves and then incorporate them into the sweater - you have those three or four rows where it's a fight to compress the sleeve stitches into the 10% or so of the stitches that are for the underarm. Working neck down, I do the sleeves first and then pick up the underarm stitches to go on with the body. My favorite pattern is from an old (1970s) Mon Tricot for a circular yoke ski sweater. I think I must have made over a dozen sweaters using this pattern and either playing with the colors in the yoke or designing my own patterns. Here is one of the versions - I made this color combination first for DYD (Darling Youngest Daughter) and I liked it so much that I made one for myself. She lives in California, so there's no risk of embarrassing her by showing up in the same sweater that she's wearing {g}.

Here is the same yoke pattern in a different colorway.

And, finally, the same sweater pattern with a yoke of my own design.

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Sunday, March 13, 2005

Surprising Sunday

The title for today was supposed to be Serene Sunday, and it was a fairly serene day, but this evening, Surprising became a better description - and it had nothing to do with knitting. As I've mentioned a couple times, I have a genealogy website at RootsWeb which started out as a place to post my family tree and a "few" extra data files for Middlesex Co., CT, where many of my family lines originated or passed through on their way to somewhere else. Suffice it to say that the site sort of got away from me and with the help of some good friends in far flung places who transcribe data for it, the site now has over 2400 data files and over 900,000 visitors in the last four years. This afternoon, I received an email from someone who was looking for information on a family from the town where I attended school. After exchanging several emails, it turned out that this gentleman was helping my cousin research his family. Now, Johnny was always my favorite cousin, but we've been out of touch for years as I moved away from that area. I'm hoping that this will mean that we can go back to the friendship we had as kids & teens. The wonders of the web!

On the knitting front, I finished a second baby afghan in purples, a child's hat in pink bulky yarn and started a second one, and am close to completing another pair of booties in the variegated yarn. No pictures today because the afghan looks just like the previous one, ditto with the booties and the hat is pretty dull.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Silly Saturday

Strange & silly things happen when Friday night morphs into Saturday morning, the clock is reaching toward 2 and the sandman is nowhere in sight.

First of all I wound up at Purrrrfect Kitty, a contest for the purrrfect feline companion and I entered my threesome.

Then I wound up at Elouai Doll Makers where you can create your own doll and I came up with:

I think that's supposed to be grey hair and while mine is still a little more ash blonde than grey, the day is coming. The outfit, minus the scarf, looks like it might have come out of my closet - jeans, Rebocks, denim jacket - all that's missing is a oversized t-shirt under the jacket. I tried to find the selection that would let me select a slightly less Twiggy style physique, but thin is in for the doll, if not for me. Add a few inches in your mind's eye when you look at it {g}.

On the knitting front, I've finished knitting another pair of booties in the bright turquoise and have about 3" of ribbing completed on the Knit Red KAL feather & fan vest. The Needle Master cord that was trying it's best to twist into an infinity symbol yesterday, with just a few rows of ribbing completed, is now semi-straight and behaving itself. I haven't touched the Clapotis since Monday, but will get back to it soon. So the list of projects on the needles consists of: (* = for charity)
  1. Clapotis in Rosy Forecast
  2. Knit Red KAL vest
  3. Baby afghan #9* (another purple & lilac one)
  4. Fair Isle vest of my own design in cream & jetstream that has been neglected for about a year now
  5. Top down cabled yoke cardigan in cranberry Love Knit that I need to decide if I have enough yarn to complete. Love Knit isn't available anymore, so I'm dreading getting to the bottom ribbing and finding out that I'm short.

And I have yarn for, but have not yet started:
  1. More baby booties* (Thanks, Heather!)
  2. At least two more rag-tag adult sized afghans*
  3. More hats*

I think I need a couple more pairs of arms to do I want to get done!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Fabulous Finishing Friday

Arrggg.. a long, long post just disappeared!.. Friday is suddenly looking a little less fabulous!! I'm going to compose this one in EditPad and paste it in so I have a backup just in case Blogger burps again.

Anyway, I did finish quite a bit today, so that part of the title is correct. The socks for the 1st Sock KAL are finished, finally. I don't know if I'll ever become a sock addict. It's not that I didn't have fun knitting them, but I found myself putting off the grafting of the toe for days and days. I finally forced myself to sit down in front of the computer and pull up the directions for the chimney toe grafting. I found that it's not as easy as the pictures make it look as on the site they used a contrasting yarn for the graft and it was easy to see where the last stitch and the next stitch were. Using the same color yarn as the sock was more confusing and I think I missed a few loops or grafted to a stitch below the one I should have used. I tacked those stray loops down on the inside with the yarn ends (3 of them - both ends of the grafting yarn plus the yarn tail from the sock). Here are the finished socks plus a close up of the toe grafts.

I also sewed up the latest two pair of baby booties from the yarn that Heather sent. I've found that the best way to have the seams look neat is to use the mattress stitch on the back seam then turn the bootie inside out and overcast the cast-on stitches of the sole from the inside.

The purple & lilac baby afghan is complete and as I have enough of both yarns for a second one, I started it this evening.

Finally, I joined the Knit Red KAL hosted by Sallee at Knitana The goal is to knit anything you want as long as it's RED symbolizing the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute's Red Dress Campaign to publicize the fact that heart disease is a woman's issue too. This afternoon I cast on stitches for a sleeveless vest in the brightest red yarn I could find in my stash, a Bernat worsted weight. The vest is a lacy feather & fan pattern, originally designed to be knit as a front & a back and then sewn together at the sides and shoulders, but I'm going to work it on circular needles up to the armholes and use a 3 needle bind-off for the shoulders. The armholes have garter stitch edging that's knit along with the body, so I should only have to run in a few yarn ends to finish it.

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Thursday, March 10, 2005

Tremendous Thursday

Can you tell that I've been having a pretty good week since I got over the Monday Moaning? K4 gang met this afternoon and although only two of us showed up, Virginia and I had a good time. The booties elicited a lot of "awwww"s and I finished the green pair and started a pair in the variegated which I finished up this evening. Still have to sew them up to be completely finished, but will try to get to that tomorrow. Continued working on the Baby Rag-Tag #8 - this one is purple & lilac. I have enough yarn to make a second one that's just the same - I wonder how much teenagers like purple? Virginia called Lighthouse in Pontiac about the new shelter they're opening for homeless mothers of newborns and they seemed quite excited at the idea that we've been making baby blankets for the littlest residents when the shelter opens. The baby booties will go there too and hopefully help to wrap these new babies in blessings & love.

I forgot to take photos of the three baby afghans I took in today - there's a picture of the first one half done in an earlier posting and the other two were green and white with touches of green & yellow variegated. Lacking any real photo content until I get the new booties sewn up and the afghan finished, I'll leave you with photos of a sweater I made for my DGS (Darling GrandSon) a year or so ago. The original pattern was in Knitters Magazine, but I changed it around to have raglan sleeves instead of drop shoulders and really improvised on the button on pattern panels. The sweater itself is completely plain except for the buttons on the front that match with the buttonholes in each of the pattern panels. By changing the panel, the whole look of the sweater can be changed.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Wonderful Wednesday

As long as I'm on a "weekday" series of titles, I thought I'd go with the flow. Today was pretty wonderful. First of all, the mail person brought an unexpected package and when I opened it, I found these earrings:

They're quilt block patterns done in the Ukrainian Easter egg style on ostrich egg shells by Nan of the Enchanted Hen and they were sent to me by my DED (that's Darling Eldest Daughter).. Aren't they neat?? I love the fact that they're quilting designs - Evening Star and a Cross and Square pattern blended together.

In knitting news, I couldn't resist trying to make something with the microfiber yarns that Heather sent and here are the results:

The pattern is from the Summer 99 Family Circle Easy Knitting magazine (pattern #34 to be exact). I worked them on a size 7 needle instead of the 5 that the pattern suggested, worked in all garter on the foot instead of reverse stockinette, and made the ribbed cuff longer so that it would fold over. Ok, I confess, I can't resist improvising with a pattern. I also have a pair started in the lime green yarn.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Terrific Tuesday!!

There was a big surprise waiting for me when I took Mom to the Senior Center today for bingo. I walked in the door and Judy, the volunteer receptionist, greeted me with the news that the box of yarn from Heather at A Chance To Knit had arrived. I opened it to find not only the microspun baby yarn she said she was sending, but also a large selection of needles - nine pairs of 14" straights, five sets of 7" double points, and eight circular needles 29 & 31" lengths, plus a dozen pattern books for baby items to adult sweaters.

Just look at these colors! As you can see, Tiger approves. {g}

Heather, thank you so much for your donation to our K4 (Krazy Kool Knitters & Krocheters) gang. We'll be putting the yarn to good use knitting & crocheting items for local charities and now we won't have to worry about not having the needles we need for a project. I've already spotted a couple baby afghans in the Leisure Art book that I'd like to try.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Monday Moaning

This day was spent on non-fun tasks - mainly sorting through two sets of records to get ready to do our taxes and to take Mom's to the accountant who does hers. I'd have rather been knitting, crocheting, quilting, even cooking would have been preferable. I think everything is ready for Mom's tax guy and I'll start putting our return together as soon as I've had a day or two to recuperate. I made a start on the recuperation process this evening by fixing an Indian curry for dinner.

Thank you for the extremely kind comments made about my quilts. I've had a couple email requests for more photos and seeing that no knitting or crocheting has been accomplished today.....

Thousand Pyramid -- Ok, there aren't a thousand pyramids in this version, but there are still quite a few. This is a full sized quilt - 100" square - for our waterbed. It was one of the first ones I made and pre-dates my stash of reproduction fabrics. It is not a "charm" quilt because I used fabrics more than once. As you can see, Tiger thinks it's just fine as it is. He holds this opinion about most, if not all, of my quilts and insists on testing them out in every stage of their creation.

Nine-Patch set on point -- This one continues my on-going fascination with 9-patch blocks. I'd have to double check, but I don't think that I used any of the dark colors in more than one block. The lights had to be reused as the selection of reproduction lights (the shirting type fabrics) is limited. As for size, this quilt is an extra large lap robe and would probably work quite well on a twin bed or even as a topper on a double bed.

Hexagon Teabox -- I saw the original of this pattern while attending a quilt show held at the Somerset Place mall probably 15 years ago. It was a full sized quilt hanging in the booth of an antique dealer. I fell in love at first glance and as soon as I got home, I started cutting pieces for it. Every hexagon is a different fabric and the light triangles are unbleached muslin. At the time, I was a member of the Quaint Quilters group that met in Waterford and I took the top along to work on during meetings. I think that at least ten other members made their own versions. It was fun to see them all together because while I worked in reproduction fabrics as did a couple other members, some used bright calicos and others did theirs in a single fabric.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Quiet Day - Short Post

No knitting today, but quite a bit of crocheting. I finished one baby afghan and started another and have it about 2/3rds completed. Still need to graft the toes of my socks and find the rest of the yarn hiding in the crawl space. I'm up to 96 skeins & 460 ounces listed in the database. Rather than leave this post without any photos, I'm going to include a few more of my quilts. These are all large lap robe size rather than full bed size.

Nine-Patch Medallion -- The squares in the 9-patch blocks are 1" and the setting squares are 3". It's a copy of an antique quilt in one of the Better Homes & Gardens quilting books.

Mariner's Compass -- My first quilt with "Garden Maze" sashing. Each block is done in a different set of fabrics except for the gold stars in the centers. I added those as an after thought, so they're pieced from four points but then appliqued on. The photo isn't the best as the quilt is laying on top of about 20 other quilts and I didn't get it smoothed out enough - it does not have large puckers in real life.

Hexagon Medallion -- This is one of my favorites! I use this photo as the background on this computer and never get tired of looking at the fabrics or the colors. Every hexagon is a different fabric, no two alike, making it a "charm quilt". The center section is a copy of an antique quilt in a Ladies' Circle Quilts. That quilt was folded over the door of a cupboard so I couldn't see the whole thing to match the fabrics beyond the center, but I think I was able to keep the antique feel fairly well.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Sunshine On My Shoulders

The snow is still with us and still about half way to my knees, but the sun has been shining the past two days which helps. It's cold out there - only 8 above last night, but the next couple days should be above freezing. The only cloud on the horizon is snow showers forecast starting tomorrow night and every day through next Thursday.

Our K4 meeting was yesterday. I took in a knit baby blanket I'd made a couple years ago for something to do with my hands. I think originally I'd planned it for a gift but then made the lacy Feather & Fan pattern instead, so now this one will go to warm a baby I'll never meet but who will need it.

Because of the socks, the Llama Along hat and the second Clapotis, I didn't get all that much done last week for the group. I finished the crocheted baby afghan that I'd been working on while I was at the Sr. Center. It didn't change much from the photo I already posted other than to get bigger. I started another one in greens last night.

I'm almost to the 4th column of dropped stitches on Clapotis #2

Working on the 10.5 needles, the stitches are more fluid. Here's a close up with a ruler for scale:

And a comparison between the first one which was knit on size 8 needles and this one.

I think that the larger needles with the same number of increases is going to make the Clapotis almost a foot wider and probably quite a bit longer, but I don't think that it will be any bulkier when scrunched up for a scarf.

I started an inventory of my stash and have been through three bins and two large boxes so far (and there's still a lot to go).. So far I've entered 81 skeins and a bit over 400 ounces into the database. All but about half a dozen are worsted weight, but I know that some of the baby & sport weight yarns are in their own boxes somewhere in the crawl space. Time to go exploring!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


It's snowing AGAIN - big flakes coming down like crazy and radar shows a narrow band of snow slanting from northwest to southeast right over top of this area and moving slowly to the southeast. That means that despite a lack of winter storm warnings, it looks like we're going to get pounded.

That's the view of the backyard out the sliding doors. I shot it through the window because if I open the door, I'm going to have a foot or so of snow falling into the kitchen. March is certainly coming in like a lion in this neck of the woods. The only bright point in all this is that the birds are flocking to the feeders and last night at dusk we had five male and three female cardinals all in sight at one time. This is the first year that we've seen more than a pair at the feeders and they did provide a bright spot in anotherwise dreary day.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Snowed In - Almost

This time around the weather forecasters were not making their usual mountain out of a molehill - we got socked good by the storm.. There was at least 5 to 6 inches of new snow on the ground when I got up this morning and more accumulated during the day.

We did get out as far as the main road and to the store to pick up orange juice for Mom, but I had to walk in from the pavement to her house because of the amount of snow on her street which hadn't been packed down yet by other cars. I stayed about half an hour for a cup of coffee, shoveled her walk & porch and then walked back out to meet DH who came to pick me up at the corner. When I left, I could no longer see the tracks I made coming in.

I finished up the Llama Along hat last night. I was a little disappointed in how the earflaps cupped rather than laying flat against my head. Another time, I think I would start the flaps with more cast on stitches and so as to not increase so drastically in the first few rows. For the finishing touch, I worked one round of regular single crochet around the bottom and then did a row of reverse single crochet which gives it a corded edge.

On other fronts, the Bernat Coordinates yarn has been de-Moki-ized and is now rolled into two neat balls. There was one tangle in the middle that was so stubborn that I finally gave up and cut it out, hence the two balls instead of one. I'm past the gusset on the second sock and heading toward the toe decreases and about 20 rows from starting to drop stitches on Clapotis #2. With three hours of good TV to watch tonight, I'm hoping to finish the sock and start dropping stitches.

Acrylics Anon/a