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

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Community Counts

For the past nine months (almost sounds like I've been having a baby!) I've gotten more involved in my immediate community through our Krazy Kool Knitters & Krocheters (K4) project at the Senior Center. I'll probably never meet the people who ultimately receive the hats, scarves, shawls, & lap-robes that I've been making, but it gives me a good feeling to be doing the work knowing that the items will be put to good use.

I've also come to realize that the community of bloggers on the web means a great deal to me. There's a list of blogs over in the sidebar that I visit fairly frequently. Even with the ones where I've never left a comment, I find that there's almost a "coffee klatch" feeling when the site opens and I get a chance to catch up on the latest projects and life in general. Maybe it's because we're all knitters and/or crocheters, but each of the blogs is a friendly place to hang out for a few minutes a day. Knitting bloggers may be scattered across the country and even the world, but we have a connection.

On the knitting front, I've been busy working on hats for the K4 project. While today is cool - only 72 degrees at the moment - south east Michigan has been having a heat wave along with much of the rest of the country and a hat, unlike an afghan, isn't overwhelming to have on my lap. I've finished eight hats since last Thursday - nothing very photogenic so I'll relieve you of having to look at another picture that would look very much the same as previous ones. With the drop in temperatures, I'm going to go back to working on the second shrug in hopes of finishing it.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Mystery

I think I've been RAOK'ed! I'm not sure how or why, but today's mail brought a fat quarter of a beautiful double pink cotton from Garland, Texas. Now, I may be putting my foot in my mouth here, but I'm not aware of knowing anyone in Garland and I can't read the rest of the return address through the UPC coding sticker that's over the label.

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I tried peeling the sticker off, but I think it would destroy the address label. Anyway, the fabric is from the Charleston 1850-1865 collection and exactly the type of print that I use in my quilts. So, whoever my anonymous benefactor is, THANK YOU!!! I'm not sure how you got my address or why you were so kind as to send the fabric, but I truly appreciate it.

Today being Thursday, it was meeting day for our K4 group and we had all seven of the current members there. We had another yarn donation and Virginia had found a couple more plastic bins for storage so our yarn collection is neater and easier to find. I came home with a large bag of partial skeins that I'll use first to make more hats and then turn the leftovers into rag-tag afghans. I finished knitting one hat while I was there and started another one. It's so much fun to get together and talk while working. When we started out, the plan was to meet on the first & third Thursdays of the month, but it didn't take us long to change the schedule to every Thursday. Sometimes there are only one or two of us, other times like today everyone is there - either way it's a super enjoyable way to spend the afternoon and I'm grateful for the friends I've made.

UPDATE -- Mystery solved!! The fabric is from my daughter who bought it for me on EBAY. No wonder it's such a perfect match for my quilting tastes! {g} Thanks, Becky - Pioggia is right, I've very lucky to have a daughter like you. Love you lots!!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Biting The Bullet

Ok, I was wrong, it didn't take me days to get up the nerve (ambition?) to seam the sleeves of the shrug. I did it this morning while having coffee over to Mom's. The seaming went quite well. I can't say the same of trying to take photos of the completed garment. The front view that I managed in the bathroom mirror features my Cathy "Love is the answer..... Isn't it?" t-shirt more than the shrug.

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I tried to get another photo over my shoulder of the back of the shrug, but because I was aiming the camera blindly, I managed to produce about four pictures of my ear instead while missing all but one shot of the back that turned out too blurry to use. A verbal description will have to suffice. The shrug is worked on size 7 & size 15 needles. With the size 7 needles, I cast on 60 stitches using the long-tail method for the cuff and the first row is K1, *YO, K2TOG, repeat from * to last two stitches, YO, K1. Rows 2 through 5 are stockinette. Row 6: K2TOG, P2TOG across decreasing to 30 stitches. Rows 7-22, work K1, P1 rib, decreasing another stitch on the first row if there aren't an even number of stitches. Row 23: Switch to size 15 needles and increase 1 stitch in every stitch across. Continue in garter stitch for approximately 42" of garter stitch. (I made this one shorter so hopefully it will go to a rather small woman at the nursing home.) Switch back to size 7 needles, decreasing back to 30 stitches for 15 rows. Increase back to 60 and making sure that the right side of the stockinette stitch is on the same side as the first wrist, work 4 rows, work a row of 1 stitch, YO, 2 stitches together, across winding up with YO, 1 stitch. Then bind off so that the purl side of the bind off is on the right side of the wrist. Sew the sleeves up for about 12" from the wrist edge. The stitches at the wrist form a ruffle.

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My version with a total length between cuffs of 39" took 8 ounces of worsted weight yarn. Lengthening the sleeves would require breaking into a second skein. The sleeves are full and the body is adequately wide allowing for a turn back like a shawl collar, so perhaps the body could be made narrower by 6 stitches or so to get the extra sleeve length out of an 8 ounce skein. I'm going to try that on the next one.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tom, Dick & Harry....

Ok, I confess, I don't know anyone named Richard, or Dick for short, but my DH is a Tom and I've spent the weekend with Harry - Harry Potter that is.. The library called shortly after it opened Saturday morning to let me know that my requested copy was ready to be picked up. The only problem was that it was *pouring* rain so we had to wait for a break in the weather to make the trip there and run other errands. Our luck almost held, but coming out of the grocery store it was once again coming down in buckets. Our area received 5.5" of rain in about 5 hours. I just finished The Half-Blood Prince a few minutes ago and it was a good read. I see that a lot of other bloggers also spent the weekend visiting Hogwarts {g}.

I was able to get a fair amount of knitting done while I was reading. I finished the hat I started last Tuesday during bingo and the shrug, also for the K4 project, is done except for sewing the sleeve seams. I wish I could have found a way to knit the sleeves in the round, but the 60 stitches would not fit onto the shortest size 15 circular needle that I have, so I knit it on straight needles and am now faced with that horror of horrors, actually seaming it. I suspect that it may take a few days to work up my courage to face that unpleasant task. I'll post photos when I have it done. I've started another hat and I still have the rag-tag afghan to work on, but the heat and humidity have made it uncomfortable to have it on my lap now that it's about 2/3rds done. I need to find another smaller project - perhaps another felted bag - to work on. I appreciate all the nice comments on the yellow raglan sweater for Matthew.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Just When You Think It's Big Enough....

When I finished the BIG BAD BAG I took a look at it and decided that I could probably fit two or three projects in it at once.. How wrong I was! What does it take to fill the BBB to overflowing? Try a rag-tag afghan and the many balls of yarn that will go into making it. The bag is stuffed to the point that I have to watch to see that some of the balls of yarn don't fall out when I'm carrying it.

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I'm seriously considering making an even larger bag..

The current rag-tag afghan is using up the small amounts of pastels & cream/white yarns that were left over from making hats and other items for the K4 charity project. It's probably a little over half finished now.

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It took a bit of doing to get the above photo. As usual when I spread out anything knit or quilted to photograph, my favorite camera hound gets right in the middle of the picture.

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I finished running the ends in on the sweater that I'm making my grandson. As requested, I included the same fair isle pattern I tried out on the yellow hat a few weeks back. I think it may be a little big on him at first, but at age 6 he's only about a foot shorter than I am, so having more length in the sleeves and body should mean that he can wear it longer even if it's oversized now. I like the way that the cabled neck band and the cables I added to the pattern along the raglan seams came out. Next project will be a new sweater for his little sister.

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Friday, July 08, 2005

Rag-Tag Rainbow

I finished the latest Rag-Tag afghan last night. It has a black border on the right end now that it didn't have when this photo was taken.

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Our K4 meeting was yesterday and - as usual - was enjoyable. We sorted through the bins in which we store the finished items and they're stuffed. There's one bin of baby items but we need to find more baby yarn fairly soon to keep working on sweaters, caps & afghans. Pat makes beautiful sweater & cap sets but she needs at least 6 ounces of matching yarn for a set. I took some of the odds and ends from other projects and made these Rag-Tag style baby afghans.

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The nice part about the Rag-Tag style is that any length of yarn over a yard or so can be incorporated so they're perfect for the left-overs from other projects.

We also have a bin full of hats and scarves that will be going to FISH and other charitable organizations in the area as soon as the weather starts turning chilly. And the third bin is stuffed with lap robes, small afghans & shawls for local nursing homes or for the homebound seniors served by the Center.

Our group has been fortunate in receiving donations of yarn that makes it possible for us to create all these items that will be donated in turn, but if anyone out here there has yarn that they'd like to clear out of their stash, we're always in need of washable yarn - preferably smooth acrylics - in any weight. Bulky yarn will be turned into hats and scarves, worsted into hats, scarves, afghans, shawls & shrugs, while sport & baby yarn will become baby items. The place to send donations is the Lake Orion Senior Center, 21 East Church St., Lake Orion, MI, 48362. We're even willing to frog half finished items that you don't want to to think about anymore and put the yarn to good use. {g}

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Bad Blogger..

That's what I feel like in that I haven't posted since last Tuesday morning. But there really isn't that much going on around the old homestead. I went to our K4 meeting on Thursday during which I finshed up a second baby afghan and started another one that I'm still working on. I have about 5" of the body of the yellow raglan done and I'm seriously contemplating frogging the Tivoli t-top and making it smaller.

Lacking any photos of real current progress, I'll leave you with some hats that I made for the grandchildren last year..

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Acrylics Anon/a