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

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hat Trick

I've been working on hats for our K4 group to sell at the annual Barn Days show here in Lake Orion. By selling some of the fancier hats, we earn money to buy more yarn for the group so we can knit more items for charity.

This is the fun fur hat I just finished - I just love it!

A view of the top which was knit in Rainbow Dreams Jetstream colorway. My "model's" ears are pulling it slightly out of shape, but it's worked with six decreases in every row so it's fairly flat.

This one is very similar to the earlier version in blue with variegated yarn for the nubs. I think it looks a little like red check gingham with the single color for the trim & nubs.

And this one is the latest play with the pattern - I worked the nubs on two stitches for 4 rows with a slip stitch in between and three rows of plain knit between the pattern rows. It's fun taking a basic pattern idea and seeing how far the variations can go.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Better & Better

We were driving past the garage sale in the village late this afternoon, so we stopped to see if they had put out any more yarn. They had and there was now a sign that said that the yarn was cheaper than I'd paid this morning. I grabbed everything (except two skeins of Diana which I knew from prior experience looked like a rag after washing even by hand). When I got to the person collecting money, I mentioned that they'd lowered the price and I'd paid $1 a skein this morning. At that point, she told me to just take what I had and the earlier $10 would cover everything!

So here we have one 3.5 oz skein of Red Heart Soft Spun pompadour, two 3 oz skeins of Columbia Minerva Windspun, three 1.25 oz skeins of Roly Sport and six 2.5 oz skeins of Caron Wintuck plus whatever is already on the needles. It wasn't a bad haul with the first batch, but this makes it even better!

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Garage Sale Goodies

A new garage sale started in the village today - actually an estate sale - and it had lots of goodies as the deceased had been a crafter.

Here's a photo of my loot -- I came home with two 5.6 oz skeins of Baby Coordinates in white, two 5 oz skeins of Wool Ease Sport in off white, & six skeins of 3.5 oz Vision by Schachenmayr in brown heather - all for $10!! Not bad as I know that the Coordinates goes for around $4 and the Wool Ease for the same or a bit more. The Vision is a discontinued yarn so I can't find it on line to see just how good a deal I got, but there's enough there for a sweater. I passed up a lot of other crafts like embroidery & stuffed animals as I know I wouldn't find the time to make them. Somewhere around here, I have two kits for making stuffed fabric chickens that never got put together so I've learned my lesson.

Then we headed south of town and stopped at the Dollar Store. They've started carrying a limited stock of Fun Fur & Fancy Fur for $1 a skein rather than the $4 or so that most stores charge. I picked up two skeins of each. I think that the Fancy Fur will go into hats for my grand-daughter and I'll mix the solid color Fun Fur with variegateds to make hats like the one in Gloria's pattern book. That should keep me busy for a while {g}..

On the kitchen front, we had chicken and homemade noodles last night. A couple weeks ago, DH found an electric pasta maker that mixes the ingredients into dough and then extrudes it through any of 9 dies to make all sorts of shapes. I've made homemade noodles for years using a recipe from my daughters' Great-grandmother, but this is the easiest it's ever been! It was cool enough yesterday and again today to make what's usually a winter dish. I just finished separating the chicken from the bones for today's batch and DH put the bones and skin back in the pressure cooker to continue making the broth. Given how we like pasta, I can see this machine getting a lot of use! Time to look for a sale on flour..

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Best Laid Plans Of Mice & Men

Thanks to Sallee who told me to try typing in my post title before I upload photos - it seems to have worked.

When we left the latest adventure, I was, ahem, bragging on how the socks were going to match and, as you can see from the above photo, things were going well... Except.....

OK, what happened here?? How did the color stripe pattern of the yarn change? I was going blissfully along, turning the heel without any problems when suddenly the yarn on the needle changed from pink to WHITE! Uff da! There isn't a band of white like that anywhere in the first sock even considering that it would show up as a bigger area on the short rows of the heel. As the title says, "The best laid plan of mice and men... oft go astray"

However, you will note that the heel is turned and in somewhat less than an hour. I was a little more sure of myself this time and considering that I started this sock only eight days ago on the 3rd, I'm surprised at how far it's progressed.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

No Second Sock Syndrome Here..

Blogger still will not allow me to put in a title, so I'm putting it in the first line.

My friend Sallee of KnitNana & Nana Sadie Rose Bags often tells me that I'm a perfectionist. I normally don't agree, but in this case, I think I was and that it worked out fine. Not only don't I have 2nd sock syndrome, they're going to match - even better than it looks here because if I turned the one I'm working on over, that little line of pink from the cast on is on the other side. So far, so good..

Here's another hat from the pattern I've been playing with from Gloria's book. This time, I wanted to see what it would look like if I staggered the nubs instead of lining them up as I did on the last hat plus added an extra row of main color knitting between the rows of nubs. I have an even different version on the needles now.

I decided that I didn't like the way that the top of the blue hat pooched up when I worked the decreases every other row, so on this one, I decreased every row which produced a flat top. That's another one of my semi-messy pompoms - it was almost a disaster as something went wrong when I tied it (still trying to figure out exactly what) and when I cut the side away from the tie, I suddenly had about 150 short pieces of yarn in my lap with no tie around them. Thanks to help from my DH, I managed to salvage the mess.

And, as always, more washcloths for Cloths For Crisis I have one more complete except for running in the yarn ends and two more on the needles - one in my knitting bag and the other here on the desk for when I'm web surfing.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Nameless Post

For some reason, Blogger isn't letting me enter a title up there, so this shall be known as "The Nameless Post".. I have a few FOs to show off, all made for the K4 project at the Senior Center.

First another rag-tag afghan. I know, you're probably getting tired of looking at a seemingly endless series of these, but I still have a lot of yarn scraps to use up. {g} This is another fairly good sized one, but one organization is requesting smaller ones, 30"x36" for wheelchair users, so after the one that I started the night I finished this one is complete, I'll try for some of that size.

It's almost hat season again and given summer's heat, I only work on afghans down in the lower level family room where it's cooler. That makes it perfect for hats & more washcloths as projects. This one is an adaption of a pattern for a child's hat that Gloria, one of my knitting students, brought in. It's knit in the round on size 10½s in worsted weight. The original pattern called for smaller yarn, smaller needles & more stitches, but this version is faster, a bit thicker and looks as good. You'll notice 1) the very neat pompom on top that Gloria made for me & 2) my favorite hat model.

This is an adaption of another pattern in Gloria's book, again on 10½ needles and worsted weight instead of 8s & sport weight. I think a tam in this soft peach yarn will look darling on little girl whether she's blond or brunette.

A view of the top - pompom by me, you'll notice that it's not nearly as neat as Gloria's version! - showing one of the main adaptions I made to the pattern. The original had all the decreases as K2 tog every other row which forms a spiral on the top. Instead, I did a two stitch center decrease every 4th row which made the hat a bit of an octagon and carried the decrease lines straight in from the eyelet edge to the center of the hat. On the increase section between the ribbing & eyelet and the upper eyelet, I increase 1 stitch on either side of every 8th stitch every 4th row.

I have one other hat of the first style completed - no photo as Gloria took it with her to make a pompom - in white & bright red and one on the needles in white with cranberry ridges and a blue & cranberry variegated for the nubbins.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Week Already??

It's Thursday again and time for Booking Through Thursday. This week's question:

"What, in your opinion, is the (mythical) Great American Novel? At least to date. A “classic,” or a current one–either would be fine. Mark Twain? J.D. Salinger? F. Scott Fitzgerald? Stephen King? Laura Ingalls Wilder?

It doesn’t have to be your favorite book, mind you. “Citizen Kane” may be the “best” film, and I concede its merits, but it’s not my favorite. You don’t have to love something to know that it’s good."

My vote goes to James Michener's Hawaii - I think it's a classic and it's a book I've enjoyed enough to read at least three times starting with final exam week my senior year of high school. I'm in the northern Metro Detroit area of Michigan, not too far from where the corn fields start.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

One Down & One To Go

There it is... My very first sock out of sock yarn. Finished only a little over a year after I started it. Ok, I was hung up on the short row heel for too long, but it does fit a little better than it shows in the photo - I just didn't pull it far enough on in my excitement.

Another shot showing how the altered increasing - after the original every other row, three times, I increased 4 stitches every 3rd row instead of every other - fits my foot better. Those photos are back in the April 22nd 2006 post and the update where I once again reworked the toe is December 20th, so you can see how long this has taken me.

Ok, the statistics - Sassy Stripes sock yarn, size 3 double point needles, knit toe up starting with an 10 stitch provisional cast on. After 5 rows, I picked up the 8 stitches on the other side & 2 stitches on either side of the little rectangle. I increased up to 52 stitches as I have a narrow foot. The short row heel was worked on 26 stitches when the instep reached my ankle. I wrapped the short rows the way that most instructions say to, but instead of knitting the wrap together with the wrapped stitch, I picked it up on the next row, twisted it onto the left needle and knit it together with the next wrapped stitch. I think I tried out at least 5 or 6 methods before I thought this one up in the middle of the night {g}. The ribbing for the leg starts a couple rows past the heel and is K2,P1 (I decreased 1 stitch at the center back before starting the ribbing to get the right number of stitches.) Anyway, it's done and I may frame it instead of wearing it! I may change my mind down the road, but at this point I don't think that knitting socks is going to ever be one of my favorite past times.

But just so you don't think I'm going to fall victim to the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome, here's the start of the other half of the pair after the first round of increases.


Acrylics Anon/a