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

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fuzzy Thinking

I've been trying to come down with a cold the last few days - at least that's the excuse I'm giving for my fuzzy thinking patterns recently. I finished the toddler sweater this evening despite the fact that I made a major goof when I divided the body for the front & back. I didn't stop to count the stitches that I was leaving for the other side and had about 20 stitches more on the first yoke & sleeves than I did on the second set. I punted by increasing along the next to the last row of the 2nd yoke. If you look, you can see the extra stitches on this side sort of tucked under. I think it will be ok when it's worn and in that it was only an experiment in provisional casting on, I wasn't going to take it all out back to the body in the round. If I make this pattern again, I'm going to 1) be more careful about marking the half way point around the body & 2) recalculate the stitches using 10½ needles. Working this long on size 8's was hard on my hands.

Here's a look at the shoulders with the 3-needle bind-off eliminating the need to sew the shoulders.

And the underarm where the provisional cast-on was picked up to work the opposite side of the yoke & sleeves. Because picking up from a provisional cast-on leaves you with one less stitch than you had on the first side, I picked up stitches from the gaps between the sleeves & the body, two on each underarm and then knit them together in the next row to close the gap and make up the extra stitches.

Another almost finished project is the first blue sock. Last seen, I had just turned the heel. After a couple rows of plain knit, I started the cuff in an easy lace pattern. I had thought to top it with ribbing, but when I worked a few rows, I decided that I didn't like it and the lace was fairly stretchy on it's own, so I frogged back and continued to work in the lace pattern.

Here's the heel - a toe up flap version that was fairly easy - Thanks, Sallee!

I'm almost to the halfway point of the skein, so I'm going to have to bind-off fairly soon and start the second sock.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A New Translation

A member of our K4 knitting group (Hi, Marian!!) asked me earlier this fall if I could figure out a way of making this sweater without having to seam the front & back halves together. I've been working on it for a week or so and this is how far I've progressed.

I knit the front & back of the body in the round and when I reached the underarm I used a provisional cast-on from a crocheted chain (that's Knit-Cro-Sheen which has the advantage of not splitting when picking up stitches). When I reach the front shoulder in a few more rows, I'll bind off for the neck and then leave the shoulder stitches on holders while I go back and release the sleeve stitches from the chain. At that point, I can knit up the back yoke & sleeves and when I reach the shoulders do a 3-needle bind-off. If everything works the way I'm hoping, it will be finished except for running in yarn ends.

I did have one small problem that I didn't go back to fix. I'm working the sweater on size 6 & 8 needles rather than the 5 & 7s that the pattern calls for because that's what I had handy. However, I'm so used to working on size 10½s that when it came time to switch to straight needles and pick up the sleeve stitches from the crocheted chains, I grabbed a 10½. If you look closely at the circled area of the following photo you can see a row of larger stitches.

In other news, DH's new pair of Fuzzy Feet are finished and felted. The addition of the strand of sport-weight orlon didn't affect the felting process at all. On the blue sock, I had started working a lace cuff and then after about 4" had switched to a rib. After looking at it for a while, I decided that I didn't like the rib with the lace so last night I frogged back to the lace section and will continue with that without ribbing. I'll post photos soon.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Third Blog-versary

I let the first two slip by unnoticed, but yesterday I realized that today, Jan 6th, 2008, is the third anniversary of my very first blog post back in 2005. Therefore, I thought that I'd take a few minutes to sum up what I've been up to during those three years.

As you probably know if you've been reading this blog for long, most of my knitting & crocheting is done on charity projects in conjunction with our K4 (Krazy Kool Knitters & Krocheters) at the local Senior Center. To date, I've made 446 hats, 318 scarves, 29 afghans, 14 baby afghans, 22 garter stitch shawls, 10 shawls with lace edgings, 49 washcloths, 10 pairs of booties, 2 pairs of mittens & 2 shrugs - all of which have gone to various charities in this area.

Personal knitting is still happening, but not in those quantities. I've made my DH three pair of Fuzzy Feet and have another pair on the needles right now and yarn ordered for a pair that I hope will incorporate some recycled silk into the toes & heels in hopes that they won't wear out as quickly. For each of my two grand-kids, I've made two sweaters plus a hat & mitten set each. Two of my projects for the new year are new sweaters for each of them. Back in 2005, I participated in a lot of KALs - you'll find the complete list over there in the side-bar along with the list of patterns that I spent August & part of September designing & knitting items for The Wool Peddler. You can follow the link both here and there to purchase the patterns that are marked with *s. In 2006, I managed to knit the Wool Peddler & Highland Triangle Shawls from Folk Shawls, a second pair of fingerless gloves & three Barbie dresses for my Grand-daughter. In 2007, all I made for myself was a pair of Sassy Stripes socks on size 3 needles, proving to myself that I could work a short row heel. During all this knitting & crocheting, I managed to read 290 books over the course of the three years - please don't ask me what my house looks like..

What's ahead in 2008? Of course, we never can tell what the future will bring but I plan on continuing to knit and crochet for charity while making a few more things for myself & family. We're still planning to move over to Mom's house as soon as the kitchen is finished and we can figure out how to fit all our furniture in with the antiques that Mom collected. Other that that, there are just the projects I have on the needles now that I want to finish - the blue socks, DH's Fuzzy Feet & a toddler sweater that I'm trying to "translate" from a pattern with two pieces that need to be sewn together to one that's seamless. I have a stash of fingering weight yarn from Knitpicks that may turn either into socks or into a fair isle vest if I ever get around to designing it. I suspect, Good Lord willing & the creek don't rise, that I'll spend this coming year the way I've spent the last three - doing my best to give back to the community via charity work, reading lots of books (and recouping my property taxes via the books I get from the library and don't have to buy), spoiling our cats and avoiding as much housework as I can {g}..

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

This is what greeted us New Year's Morning...

That's a yard stick stuck into the snow on the deck about 18" from the sliding door and, yes, that's the 14" mark that's almost covered by the snow! It looks like a winter wonderland out there, but I don't think I'm going to go traipsing around outside any time soon because my boots are only 12" tall {g}..

We spent New Year's Eve with friends and then stayed the night rather than risking the roads with all the cars that didn't have Designated Drivers. It was a wonderful time with lots of friendship, conversation & food including champagne & Olde Lang Syne at midnight.

So here we are, the first day of 2008. Hopefully it will be a better year than 2007 which along with 2003 have to count as the worst years of my life what with losing my parents.

I'm looking forward to more charity knitting after a short break while I'm going to knit a few things for me and my family. The Grand-kids have requested new sweaters and I have the measurement I need to get started. I started a new pair of Fuzzy Feet for DH, but I think before I go much farther, I'm going to knit a swatch with the one strand of wool & one of acrylic that I'm using to see if it will felt as well as the wool & recycled silk mouse I made for the cats. I'm hoping that it will felt & that the acrylic will help the slippers wear better. I'm working on the leg of the blue sock #1 using a simple lace pattern before I switch to ribbing so the finished sock won't fall down. The next week or so will be spent picking out appliances for the new kitchen at the other house. The counter tops are in but I forgot to take the camera over so no new photos - will try to remedy that during this next few days.

For everyone who reads this, I hope this next year brings you Health, Happiness & enough Money to keep the wolf from the door. {{{{HUGS}}}}

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Acrylics Anon/a