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, September 29, 2005


As I mentioned in the last post, I read a lot. We visit the local library at least every two weeks and often every week. I've calculated that I probably recoup my entire property tax bill in books that I read but didn't have to buy. Even paperbacks are in the $7 range these days (I remember buying them for less than 50ยข - does that date me or not? {g}), so I don't buy too many books except at garage sales and the Friends of the Library used book sale.

One nice thing about library books is that if they aren't enjoyable, I can put them aside and go on to another one without guilt - something I could never do when I was buying books - plus we have literally run out of room to store more books. The shelves in the "library" (actually the smallest bedroom & DH's computer room) are crammed full and there are stacks on the floor. Every horizontal surface in this room (my computer & craft room) is covered with books - ditto the family room, the living room, our bedroom and even the stairs. Suffice it to say that we are a family of readers!

Recently, I haven't had a lot of luck picking out good books and the majority have been going back to the library after a few chapters - or I discover that I've previously read the good ones. From a count of the books over in the sidebar it seems that I've read 72 of them since the beginning of the year, so no wonder it's sometimes hard to keep track. I came home with five more this morning - all political fiction as that seems to be what I've been in the mood for recently - and I'm hoping that I can get back on track to reading a couple books a week rather than my rather wimpy record over the past month. After all, I have a lot of knitting to finish. More on that subject later.....

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Because I like to read and I like to knit, I taught myself years ago to do them both at once. When I tell people that I do, I get a lot of questions, but the main one is "how do you hold your book and your needles at the same time?" Quite simply, I don't. I use a clothes pin like clip to hold the book open and prop it up on my knees. I started out using a regular wooden clip clothes pin - I even decorated them at one time. Then I discovered the so-called Italian plastic coated wire clips and that they held better and didn't tend to separate when I clipped too many pages together like the wooden ones.

The one on the right is one of the wire clips. The one on the left is a new type I discovered at the local hardware store this last spring (6 for $1) and it seems to work even better than the other two types and opens wider to hold more pages in place. I put the clip on the left pages, first clipping them to the cover of the book and then on a thick book just to already read pages and relying on the weight of the clip to hold the book open.

Once you get used to the motion, it's easy to hold both needles mid-stitch in the left hand, use the right hand to flip the page, open the clip and put it back on. I honestly don't even think about it while I'm doing it any more.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Black Silk Is Sexy

It really is - just the feel of it is so soft.. The finished shawl took one 200 gram skein. It's 46" across the top and 38" on the sides, large enough to fit over the shoulders and tie in front.

Now to get the pattern written up - that's always the difficult part {g}.. With my washcloths shipped off to the Cloths For Katrina project (we have over 250 members now and distributors in Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Texas, Oregon & Michigan) I've been knitting more for our K4 group on the theory that there will be a number of evacuees in the northern states who will need warm winter hats & scarves. I've finished these three hats since last Thursday and have two more done except for closing off the top opening and running in the yarn ends.

I started a bright purple scarf yesterday while playing bingo and that's getting close to being done. The new TV season is upon us, so there's more time in the evening to knit in front of the TV. Last night was NCIS, House & L&O-SVU, tonight is **LOST** - yippee! - and the original L&O. I bought yarn on Saturday for Megan's sweater, but need to work up a swatch for gauge and figure out how to turn a crocheted pullover into a knit one.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bad Blogger - Part 2

I'm not quite sure where this last week has gone, but with everything I was doing, I didn't get around to posting. Being a moderator on the Cloths For Katrina list kept me fairly busy (there are now over 250 members) and I was knitting on several projects. Hats #100 & #101 were still on the needles before I took this photo. This is some of the yarn that Heather was kind enough to send all the way from AZ to our K4 group. Thanks, Heather!!

They've since been finished off and #102 is almost done. I've also been working on a shawl in black silk and waiting for more yarn to finish a couple other patterns for Stephanie's shop. Tomorrow, I'm going to be shopping for some bright colored yarn to make a sweater for my grand-daughter. Her mom, my darling eldest daughter, sent a pattern for a crocheted pullover with drop shoulders and wide bands of variegated yarn around the chest and the tops of the sleeves. I think I'm going to translate it into knitting, but I want bright colors and, despite a outlandishly large stash, most of the colors I have are rather sedate.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Packed & Ready To Go

It took a little longer than I thought to get the washcloths for the Cloths For Katrina packed up and ready to go, but here they are - all 20 of them.

Nineteen of them are in natural or eggshell 100% cotton, but I found the pink one in a basket. It looks a little lonely there, but I hope it goes to a little girl who likes pink.

Tuesday, I joined Kitt & Sallee in monitoring the Katrina list, so I've been on the computer more since then than I've been knitting. It's wonderful to see the list grow so rapidly - we have 191 members since it started last Saturday, that's a wonderful outpouring of caring.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Knitting Because Of A Storm....

Kittn Kitt has organized Cloths For Katrina (there's a button over in the sidebar)to deliver hand-knit cotton washcloths & soap to those displaced into shelters by Hurricane Katrina. I already had a dozen cotton cloths knit (I made them for dishcloths, but they'll work just as well for purposes of bathing), I finished one more last night and am working on #14. I'm going to try for 18 or 20 by the time the post office opens on Tuesday. It seems like so little to do in the face of the overwhelming tragedy that has unfolded this last week, but perhaps the fact that someone cared enough to send something hand-knit will provide at least a little hope to those who have been left with nothing.

The pattern I'm using is super simple - using cotton worsted weight yarn (Sugar & Cream, etc) and size 10 needles, cast on 32 stitches. Knit every row (garter stitch) until the cloth is square, then bind off. Please dig out any skeins or cones in your stash, pick up your needles and join us.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Here Kitty, Kitty...

I wanted to test out the Recycled Sari Silk to see if it could be worked along with wool and hold up to the felting procedure, so I knit up a quick little catnip mouse. I used one strand of Sari Silk and one strand of a worsted weight dark wool from a sweater I recycled earlier this summer. I knit them together on size 10 double points working back & forth and then making I-cord for the tail. It took two trips through the washer tucked in the toe of an old sock for the mouse to felt, but the silk stood up to the challenge.

Once the mouse was dry, I rolled a couple handfuls of homegrown catnip into an old knee-high stocking and sewed it into the body.

The finished mouse and ....

The ultimate test! When I turned around to download the photos from the camera, both Tiger and the mouse disappeared. {g}

Acrylics Anon/a