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

Friday, June 30, 2006

A New Scarf Pattern

Here it is - the lengthwise knit scarf in worsted weight..

It's 150 stitches on a size 13 circular worked in garter stitch. The colors are changed every other row except for the cast-on, bind off & 5 rows of garter in black on each edge. I left long tails when I started a color and then tied it together with an equally long tail forming the fringe on the end where the colors were changed. On the other end, I cut a double length of the yarn and added a tassel to match. The result is a rather colorful scarf about 6' long (+ fringe) to go with the solid black knit cap. I may try this in crochet and fewer color changes because of the width of a double crochet row. I'm just not sure how a crocheted scarf will match up with a knit hat.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Blogger's photo uploading gizzy seems to be working again, so here's the hat and scarf I finished a few days ago and tried unsuccessfully to blog.

I took the vine pattern from the Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book - I have Alice Starmore's Fair Isle book here somewhere, but I think that it's hiding again. Last year, our K4 group started out making just hats and then decided that hat & scarf sets would be nice, but coming up with scarves that would match hats that were made from partial skeins (completely used up in the process) was a tad bit difficult. So this year, I'm trying to make sets as I go. Right now I'm working on a lengthwise worsted weight scarf with shades of blue & green and black borders to go with a plain black hat. I'm not quite sure how long it will turn out to be, but I cast on 150 stitches on a size 13 needle. I measured the two Homespun scarves in the last post today - the purple one is 8' and the beige & green one is 9'.. I think I got a little carried away, but we'll see if they're marketable at the Harvest Days in October where they'll hopefully raise money for more worsted weight, machine-washable yarn.

On Monday, a kind soul dropped a couple sacks of partial skeins off at the Senior Center for our group. There were 5 or 6 skeins of cotton yarn in red, white & green that I brought home to use in washcloths for our Cloths For Crisis project. With the 2006 hurricane season having started earlier this month and a forecast of more severe storms this year, we can use every set of hands to build up a supply of cloths that will be available to send immediately should a crisis such as Katrina or Rita hit. Last year we played catch-up as the Cloths For Katrina group formed after the hurricane. This year we want to be ready ahead of time. If you have the time to help, please click on the button over there in the sidebar and join us.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Scarf Of Many Colors

Ok, it's two scarves. These are made from the leftovers of the Homespun scarves I've been making for the K4 project. They're worked on size 15 needles on far too many stitches because they're each about 8' long. {g} It's one of those "I got started and I can't quit" projects.

The one on the left is asymmetrical starting with a lavender/pink mix and moving to dark purple, a blue/purple mix and a bit of green. The one on the right is more planned with green, beige, a blue/tan mix, a rust/cream mix and then back again. They're actually prettier than they photographed. I brought home another bag full of Homespun today from our K4 meeting to make more scarves.

I'm also working on scarves & hats in worsted weight acrylic. I turned in a brown and cream set today and I have a black scarf completed with the matching hat on the needles. Other than these projects, not too much is happening. I haven't touched the Adamas shawl in about a week as I was eager to see how these multi-colored scarves would turn out given that I had a limited number of colors & limited yardage to work with.

I'm moving along with the Summer Reading Challenge. Not counting the book I finished about 1 a.m. on the first of the month when the challenge started, I've read seven books so far. There were a couple others that I read a few chapters and decided that I wasn't enjoying them enough to continue. The nice part about getting books from the library is that I can put that kind aside and take them back without feeling guilty. {g} The books are another reason why Adamas hasn't been worked on much - I can knit the scarves & hats or crochet the rag-tag afghans while I'm reading, Adamas on the other hand takes complete and total concentration.

Friday, June 16, 2006


I'm finally making some progress on the Adamas lace shawl. Here it is in all it's glory at the end of the third repeat of the body chart - 50 rows completed.

And here it is with the lace slightly stretched so that the YOs open up and you can see the pattern a bit better. This one is definitely going to need blocking.

I think I'm finally getting the gist of the pattern so I can look at where I am in a row and recognize that it's either ok or I've made a mistake. You'll notice that I'm down to just 2 lifelines. A few days ago, there were 7 lifelines and I think you could have said that I was a bit paranoid after having to frog the first 13 rows about three times.

If you look closely, you'll see that there is a one stitch column running down through the center of each "flower" and it's leaves (or the small diamond with the heart-shaped pattern below it -- hmm, from this angle, it looks more like an arrow head, doesn't it?). By keeping track of those columns in much the same way as I keep track of the center rib of the feather in the Feather & Fan pattern, I can spot an error within just a few stitches.

You'll also notice in the first photo that the lace yarn is the same diameter as the #10 (Knit-cro-sheen) crochet thread that I'm using as life lines. I think I mentioned earlier that I did not expect the yarn to be that *THIN*!! But I'm slowly getting used to it and the nice points on the vintage Susan Bates nylon circular help.

On larger needles - #15 & #17 - I finished a garter stitch shawl and three Homespun scarves this last week for the K4 project. I'm working on another scarf from the leftovers of Homespun - this one is cast on lengthwise and I'm knitting a couple rows of one color and then a couple rows of another. I'll post a photo when it's done.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

One Word MeMe

From my friend Sallee (aka Nana Sadie Rose & Knitnana):

Please leave a one-word comment that you think best describes me — it can only be one word long. Then copy and paste this into your blog so that I may leave a word about you.

Friday, June 09, 2006

More Samplers

All I'm knitting at the moment are more of the K4 scarves in Homespun. The one I finished this afternoon in the Granite colorway is pretty so maybe I'll get a photo of it later. The skein I'm working from for the one currently on the needles is a mix of purple and black (or so dark a purple that makes no difference) and the resulting fabric looks like velvet. But in the meantime, here are some more samplers.

This first one is by Mary Dewit Dansers, worked in 1824. I especially like the large alphabet in Eyelet stitch and the graceful cursive letters of the alphabet just above it. For some reason, the fruit in the basket on the left side was let unfinished in the original, so it's unfinished in the reproduction.

The Sarah Johnson sampler from 1814 is a bit more formal. The twining roses in the top border remind me of the Seven Sisters rose that was blooming across the front of the house last summer. (We moved it last fall to my mother's back yard where it will have more room to roam and it seems to have survived it's second move in 4 years quite well.) I also like the willow tree to the right of the house, the dogs and the Greek key side borders on this design.

The Ruth Clouds sampler is in a book with - I believe - 6 or 7 others. I've finished several of them. This one was originally stitched in 1790 when Ruth was 11 years old. The thread used for some letters on the original had faded to almost the same shade as the background fabric, so the D, F, & H in the top line do not show up very well and the lower case l through o are hard to discern in this photo.

The Almira Eaton sampler was one of the first ones I worked. It's from a kit that I bought in a Northville, MI, antique shop many years ago. Here again, the original sampler threads had faded so that many letters blend into the background.

The more I look at these samplers, the more I get the urge to pull out my patterns and stitch a few more. However, I'm finding that they are difficult sizes to find frames for - I've been measuring frames at garage sales and have yet to find one that will match any of the samplers I have completed. I think I may have to take up a bit of woodworking if I ever want to get these on the walls.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Sampling of Samplers

Knitting is rather dull lately. The Adamas is progressing slowly - very slowly - and otherwise all I've been working on are garter stitch shawls for the K4 group. The colors of the Homespun yarns are pretty, but let's face it - a garter stitch scarf is pretty dull to both work & view, so I'll relieve you of the responsibility to even attempt to oooh & ahhh over even one.

Instead, I'll dive back into the dim dark past and pull out some of the antique reproduction samplers I worked on years ago. I pulled these out over the weekend so I could get measurements and maybe find some frames to match at garage sales. As long as I had them out, I thought I'd take some pictures. I know that I should have pressed them first as they've been tucked away in a drawer and the folds are apparent, but I was in a hurry. So with no further ado, may I present the one I affectionately call "The Bedsheet Sampler". The design area is 24" x 21" and working it felt like I was wrestling with a bedsheet. Still, I think it's one of my favorites.

It's "signed" by Lucy Ann Redd, b. 1797 and is covered with family names & initials including Temple & Taylor. One verse to the middle right reads "If I am right thy grace impart - Stil (sic) in the right to stay - If I am wrong oh! teach my heart - To find that better way." The word "Stil" is misspelled, "impart" goes through the right border & "my heart" is raised above it's line to fit in. I think touches like those are the reasons that I find the reproduction samplers so much fun.

The Lizzie Chirnside sampler, worked in May 1833, is much more simple. It's 11" x 10" and worked with a limited number of colors on linen toweling. My Grand-aunt had many yards of linen with the red stripes on either side designed for making dishtowels & I've been using it (with the stripes cut off) for samplers that fit with it's more rustic look.

At this point, Blogger seems reluctant to let me upload anymore photographs, so I'll continue this at a later date.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

It's Garage Sale Time

Is it ever! The past three weeks have been filled with sales, many of them subdivision sales where you can walk from one garage to the next (getting much needed exercise to make up for the time spent in front of the computer or knitting). I walk, my sweet baboo brings the car along, pays for my finds (and his) and carries the heavy things. Did I ever mention that I have the most wonderful husband in the world??? This is a man who, when I came out of Hancock Fabrics in Paducha, KY, with a small bag of purchases told me to go back in and "do it right!"

Anyway, back to garage sales... Last week I found an Ott Light - yes, one of those true daylight types that lists on the Ott site for $79.95 for $1..!! And it works! I was using it the other night to see the stitches on the needles for the Adamas which continues to drive me to drink. (See team-mate #5 a couple posts back) This week (not stitching related) we found a treasure trove of cookbooks, the expensive kind, for 10¢ each.. I also found a $24.95 (the original plastic wrap & price tag were still on it) crossword themed lap-top desk for Mom for $1.50, complete with a crossword puzzle book & dictionary.

Because we were running around the sales later than expected on Thursday, I was late to our K4 meeting and in the rush forgot to take photos of the scarves I knit from donated Homespun before I turned them in. Suffice it to say, they were pretty. I brought home six more skeins of Homespun and I have two more finished and one on the needles. I'll try to get a picture of these before next Thursday.

One of the reasons that I've been spending more time on the scarves than the shawl is that the Summer Reading Challenge has started. I don't think I can really claim the Amanda Quick romance that's listed for June 1st (the start of the challenge) because I finished it around 12:49 a.m. But I've finished one of Tony Hillerman's Joe Leaphorn / Jim Chee mysteries and am deep in a second one with two more in the pile of library books. At one of the garage sales, we ran into three bookshelves of science fiction hard-bounds, many of them looking as though they'd never been opened. I bought an Elizabeth Moon space opera and DH found about six Terry Pratchett's that he had been wanting. I probably won't read much more than I usually do, but my challenge is to make sure that I record the books I finish over there in the sidebar (it's a fair ways down, so you'll have to scroll a bit). I've been very negligent in doing that so far this year. I aim to improve!

Acrylics Anon/a