Tuesday, December 23, 2008
For a while, I've been down to three #3 dpns, and have been using a #4 to make up a set. Moreover, the 3's are aluminum and just not very nice. I've gotten spoiled over the years, and my hands have also deteriorated quite a bit. Now, I want bamboo or wood needles. Luckily, there are a lot of blogs out there written by people who make their own needles from dowels, so I decided to give it a try.
I took my needle gauge down to Tru-Value Hardware and went through their bin of dowels. The 1/8" dowel corresponded to our US#3. I was also able to buy a dowel to make a set of #8's, and one to make some 10 1/2. The smallest dowel was 80 cents for a yard. The others were slightly more.
The 36" dowels yield four 7" sticks and one 8". I measured, marked each length with a black marker, and sawed through the dowel with an old bread knife. Then, using a little plastic pencil sharpener, I sharpened each end into a point. I only had one size of sandpaper (most other needle makers use two or three different grades), but it was a very fine grade. I rubbed the sticks between the folded paper, then scraped the points against the paper quite vigorously, to blunt them a bit.
Again, most other people rub the finished sticks with waxed paper, or use some sort of beeswax or other polish. I decided to give the needles a test run first, and they were as smooth and silky as could be. Perhaps the larger needles will need more finishing, but these work great! I can't believe all the money I've spent on dpns, when all I needed was an 80 cent dowel (this one is made of birch wood). I'm addicted! Of course, you can also make single point needles in any length desired, by sharpening only one end, and gluing a button or whatever to the other end.
Honestly, making these took about half an hour (not counting the trip to the store). And I'm not handy with tools.
Back to frantically finishing my Christmas projects. Hugs.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
This weekend it was about 9 degrees here, and snowing, so I was more than happy to be the babysitter while our kids went out to buy toys for their kids. Then they took us all out for pizza on the way home. Dominic was wearing the bobble hat featured a few posts back, and a woman at the next table asked me if I'd knit it, and asked where she could find the pattern. So, I got to discuss my two favorite things--knitting and grandchildren--while eating pizza.
I haven't finished anything too terribly interesting. My daughter bought my MIL a pair of pewter colored metallic gloves for Christmas, and I made a scarf that matches pretty well from one orphan skein of Patons Carmen. It's fuzzy and soft yarn, so I was able to stretch it by using big needles and making it somewhat narrow. See picture below, right.
I also made a cloche and mitten set with the afghan yarn, and added some jingle bells that were kicking around in my button box. It's a gift for a teen girl. See below, left.
One of the lacy scarves shown earlier went to my son-in-law's sister last month, before she left to study in France, and Ricardo decided that the farrow rib hat would be perfect for the co-worker whose name he got in the gift exchange at his part time job. And I didn't wait until Christmas to give daughter 1 the coin purse, as her old one tore along the side and she was about to buy one. (She loves the flower bouquet purse.) So the gift drawer is somewhat depleted.
It's time for reading around here, until the ice melts and makes it safe to walk again. I finished the Faith, Hope, and Charity trilogy by Len Deighton last week and started reading the Isabel Dalhousie mystery series by Alexander McCall Smith.
Hugs to all! Stay warm.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Here's the finished backpack/purse. I tried to stuff it with yarn to give it some shape, but it's truly enormous. It's a Linda Cyr design, published in Family Circle Easy Accessories.
I used all of the yarn I had. The black is Red Heart Super Saver, in a black with flecks of red and tan. The variegated is some sort of self striping yarn from the thrift shop bag, but it's quite harsh.
The bag is very soft and saggy, though, and the bottom is just too large. If I made it again, I'd make the bottom more rectangular and not a square, as it is here. I also don't like how the drawstring is formed---the straps are threaded through a channel made at the top, and tie under the flap. The I-cord is really too thick to make such a knot, which is huge under the flap.
The design had a pocket to give some strength to the button, but I don't have enough yarn to make a pocket. I will make a little square of black to sew under the button to give it some strength.
I'm glad I've got some time before Christmas to putz around with this a bit. I think I'll try to also put a square of plastic or cardboard in the bottom to keep it from sagging down.
It has possibilities, but it's just not there yet. Pretty, though.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I also finished almost the entire back of a sweater vest for the hubby. Unfortunately, it's way, way too large. As I was knitting it, I kept thinking it was too big. But you all know how that goes---one keeps on plugging away, hoping it isn't really too big/too small. Then I laid it down and put one of his sweatshirts on top, and realized it was indeed gigantic. So it's due to be frogged.
I didn't get much reading done this week, either. Instead, I was obsessed with watching the TV shows about the economy. Luckily, everyone in the family is still employed, but a few of them work for companies that are suffering economically. Winters up here are long and expensive. I hope none of you are having financial difficulties.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Goofy Little Knit Purse-
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
This delicate little ascot uses up some very small amounts of pretty yarns The yarns should be similar in weight, but need not be identical. I used a cream colored fingering weight wool and a black, somewhat slubby mohair blend, less than one ounce of each.
Materials: Leftover ball-ends of two light yarns (#2), or two sport weight yarns (#3). US#4 needles for lighter yarn, #5 for sport yarn.
One shank style vintage button. 6" of elastic cord.
Directions: CO 25 for light, 21 for heavier weight. (Or any odd number for wider or narrower scarf. This one is 5" wide.)
Pattern: In color A, Kl, P1, ending with K1. Row 2: Sl1, *P1, K1* to end.
Drop A and pick up B. Continue in pattern, carrying unused row up side to change color every two rows.
Note: The edge where the yarn is carried will be tighter and have a different appearance than the other edge. When you Sl1 at the beginning of the "return" row, this will equalize the tension and the appearance. That's why you must Sl1 on this row and not the other.
Work in stripes until scarf is about 32". BO in pattern after two rows of color A are completed. Steam lightly. Thread elastic through button and tie around scarf about 5" from the end. Trim end of elastic.
Here's the first picture taken with my new camera, which I swapped some books for today. (The camera is great--I just moved trying to find the right button, so I'm blurry. I actually look better blurry, anyway.)
My fellow blogger and I sat in a sunny window, had some tea, and did some knitting and a lot of chatting. As my MIL would say, "And a good time was had by all."
I've had such good luck with this yarn project. So many things came to me, including friends, yarns, and now, a camera. It's fun to be a giver, but much harder to be a good recipient of things. I sometimes wonder how many other wonderful things I've missed out on because I just wasn't looking in the right way.
Posting is on the way! Life is good.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Better Homes and Gardens, Lovable Gifts for Babies. Hardcover. Lots of very nice items. Knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery, cross stitch. Some great toy patterns. Mint condition, looks like new. $6.00, free shipping.
My grandchildren are all too big for these patterns now. I love both books.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Price: $10 + $3 for media mail cost.
Method of payment: You will send me $13 cash wrapped in a bit of paper, and I'll send you the book in a padded envelope. Or, you can come over and have a cup of tea and pick it up. Since you'll have my name and address, and, of course, my blog, I'd hardly risk running off with your cash. If you're interested, shoot me an email. (Only US buyers, please, or the mailing costs will be quite a bit higher.)
SOLD!! Wow, that was quick.
Monday, October 27, 2008
It's at the top of my Christmas gift list.
If I can borrow a camera, I'll be back sooner than that! I've got lots of projects in the making.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Matte and her family stopped over on Saturday and brought a marble cake. She has a miserable cold, and I made up this little hat for her while the boys and dads worked on a Wizard of Oz puzzle. I slapped on a black flower that's been kicking around here for ages, since her jacket is black. Everyone poked fun at my styro head. As they were driving away, waving at us from the car, I noticed that all were wearing grandma hats. It was a nice moment! My life is good. I hope yours is, too.
(This is just the simplest of beanies, done in double crochet with four rows of single on the bottom to form a little band of sorts.)
Friday, October 24, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Make a scarf--make a connection. Be a mentor, if you can (and get your husbands and significant others to connect with a young man who needs someone). Only 5% of former foster children graduate from college, but a much higher number end up in the criminal justice system. It's to our advantage as much as theirs to do something.
Hugs to all.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Pink Hodge-Podge Scarf
Materials: Eight to ten different yarns in the same color family. Mine range from a very pale pink to a burgundy. At least two must be worsted weight, and one of these is used for the "binder" yarn. The others should be a range of weights from thin to bulky, and at least one should be a boucle or have other textural interest. I used yarns containing acrylic, wool, alpaca, mohair, nylon, cotton, and lurex. One was a fun-fur type, with slubs, and two had metallic threads.
US#10 circular needle, 36" or longer.
Note: This scarf has absolutely no finishing or weaving in ends, as the fringe is created during the knitting process.
Instructions: With "binder" worsted (here, I used a rose colored worsted), CO 220 st. Knit two rows. Cut yarn, leaving an 8" tail. Attach novelty yarn, leaving an 8" tail.
Work rows of one yarn for each row, in garter stitch, knotting new yarn leaving tail for fringe. Work one row of worsted between each novelty yarn for stability. Every inch, work two rows of worsted instead of one row, so the novelty yarns will not create a "right" side and a "wrong" side on the scarf. Each row takes about 4-5 yards of fiber. Use each yarn as many times as you wish. Here, I used the burgundy only twice, so the darker color would not overpower the lighter colors.
Continue working rows in garter stitch until scarf is as wide as you desire. Note that the fabric will stretch sideways, making the final scarf wider than it looks on the needles. My scarf is 7" wide and six feet long.
Finish with two rows of the base yarn, then BO LOOSELY in garter stitch.
Your scarf is done! Trim the fringe a little to make it fairly even, leaving it a little long and ragged.
I took the various yarns and filled in any empty spots with fringe, as the double worsted rows left some empty spaces.
Despite using some bulky yarns and some very thin yarns, the scarf turns out uniform and straight.
Thanks to Denise for giving me this idea for using up my pink yarns.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I was watching Masterpiece Theater. I wanted a mindless project to work on. I had just untangled and wound a mass of some thin, slubby dark blue fiber of some sort. So, not really thinking it through, I decided to try one of those ruffle scarves. Since this was thin yarn (which I usually really prefer to work with), I ended up with a starting chain of 200. Remember that old game where you put a penny on a square, then double it and double it again, and eventually you have all the money in the world, before you get to the end of the board? THIS WAS JUST LIKE THAT. Before I finished rd 5 I had almost 2000 stitches. It just went on and on. Stitch, stitch, stitch...... It was mind-numbing. The most tedious thing I've ever done. With slubs, and quite a small hook! It took forever. Just finished it today. It really should be a little wider, but I'm just not that nuts. I hate it.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Lace Scarf, recycled yarn from frogged project
This scarf is so light and airy that it almost floats off the chair. It's 10" wide by 4 feet long, and took only 250 yards of yarn.
Materials: 250 yds of thin yarn (grade 2), US6 needles for a fuzzy mohair blend, as used here. If you use a tighter yarn, you may want to use US4 or 5.
Instructions: CO 44 stitches, K three rows. Begin pattern.
Row 2: K first two, P across to last 2 st., K 2.
Row 3: *K2, YO, P1, P3tog, P1, YO*, k2.
Row 4: K2, P across to last 2 st., K2.
Repeat for desired length, or until yarn is almost gone, then K three rows. BO.
Note: There are two things with this pattern that are a little tricky. First, you will use two different methods to YO, since one YO is done before a P stitch and one before a K stitch. Next, in order to achieve the P3tog with ease, you cannot use a needle much smaller than a US4 or 5, and you should push the three stitches together on the left needle before working them. After a few pattern repeats, it should all become automatic.
This is a truly lovely scarf--silky and crushable. I hope some of you try to make it.
Stitch detail of "little shell rib" pattern.
My scarf is featured this week at One Pretty Thing, along with many other wonderful crafts. Thanks, Rachel.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Every one of the bags of yarn I bought contained at least one UFO, some still on the needles. I can relate.
Last week I took a few of these out and gave them a closer look. While we watched the dire financial news and the debates, Ricardo and I have been unraveling them and looking at the fiber to see what's there. One--a baby sweater--was almost done, but there was no more yarn to match. I finished the sleeves and button bands off with white, and it turned out pretty good. It's for the shelter. The object on the right is unidentifiable. It's very loosely knit with two strands of a nice colorway, but I can see why it's abandoned. Whatever it was meant to be, it's totally shapeless and very stretchy. There's a lot of fiber there, though. Full of possibilities.
The next post will show something I'm making from another abandoned project. It looked to be the start of a sweater, but, again, was knit on very large needles. It wasn't until I began to pull at the yarn that I realized it was doubled, and was made of a very nice, thin yarn that looks to be a mohair blend of some type. It's pink, which explains why I hadn't looked at it before now.
I think people get seduced by those patterns that are so popular out there on the yarn company websites--those that promise a four-hour afghan or a six-hour sweater, and use multiple strands of yarn and big needles. I don't see the allure of that type of knitting. Yes, you get instant gratification, I suppose. But, to me, knitting isn't a speed contest. I don't even own any needles larger than a 10 (which I rarely use). I can imagine those who started these projects looking down at their work to realize it was not looking good, sticking it in a bag, and never going back to it. It's a chore to frog something made with multiple strands, as you all well know. We had to sit with cable needles and gently push and pull on the mohair to loosen it, then wind it on two balls. Yuck. But I did get one nice gift out of it. Stay tuned for the pattern.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
So, I'm sitting there, with my quality yarn, settling in for a long day of sock-ing. I finished the ribbing (something I never enjoy), and got into the body of the sock. The yarn was one of those patterned types, with many colors, patterns and stripes that emerge. Thus, I had decided just to knit straight, with no lacy stuff. I was sitting off to the side, listening with half an ear, when three little stitches slipped off the end of one of the back needles. No biggie. This happens all the time. But then I tried to pick up the stitches. The yarn began to split. I tried again, rubbing it with my finger to make it a little more cohesive. It got worse. In fact, I've never seen yarn like this. It more or less exploded under my finger, into a fuzzy ball. I made a little grunt, causing people to look over at me. I tried to cram the little loops back onto the needle, but they were about four times larger than the other loops. I knit around, thinking they could be knitted up and settle themselves down. They didn't. Instead, the spot with the three stitches was stretched out, and very thin. As I knit on, it looked like a big hole in the sock. I decided to rip it back. When I did, that section of the yarn was very thin, so I cut out about six inches, and knotted it. Then I realized the colorway would be off. And trying to thread the loops back on the needle would be a problem. A BIG, fuzzy problem. So I gave up.
There I was, with two days looming, and nothing to knit. Ricardo was meeting me for lunch at the hotel, but I knew he'd never find another small project to bring along (not to mention the right size needles). So I told him to bring me a ball of white fingering weight baby yarn I'd put aside on the dresser, not knowing exactly what I was going to do with it.
I was in sock mode, and had the right needles, so I decided to make some thin trouser socks to wear with my loafers. But, I didn't want to make them so plain, and really didn't have the time or place to work out an interesting pattern. I improvised a little eyelet design--only one row in four was a pattern row--with a diagonal line cutting through it. It's pulling a little to the right, but maybe it'll straighten out when it's on a foot. Just turned the heel.
I don't know if I'll ever try to use the rest of the sock yarn. I think it's possessed.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I'd post the pattern, but I don't know how one puts up a chart for stranded knitting. If anyone can talk me through it, or wants the pattern, let me know.
Monday, September 15, 2008
My maternal grandparents, shown on the right in the 1940s, were born in the 1880s, so it's quite remarkable that four of their daughters are still living. They are all around 90 now, and still living independently, all but one widowed. Ricardo also has a mother and an aunt living on their own. So last week we hit the road and visited two of our family elders, went to a number of buffet restaurants, looked at a lot of family needlework, moved some junk out of some basements, and listened to a lot of stories. I acquired a bunch of afghan hooks, so now I'm eager to try some Tunisian crochet. It's good to be home, though, and back to computer access and my own bed.
That's my grandma Meesa in the picture. I learned to knit from her, and still use most of her basic patterns when I make things. She died at 97, still knitting almost daily.
I started a pair of hiking socks on my trip. Here's one, and the other is still on the needles. When I put the pattern up in a few days I hope to have a picture where you can actually see the pattern. It's scattered knots, making a diamond pattern. Very fun and satisfying to knit. I used DK weight wool-blend yarn from my cone, and #3 needles. I'm making them for myself, as I only have one heavy pair of socks to wear with my boots. Heavy socks are fun to knit, as they go quickly.
One of my coin purses was featured on Lime and Violet's Daily Chum and also at the Daily DYI site. I feel like a real designer.
Hugs to everyone!
Monday, September 8, 2008
I used Sugar 'n Cream--about 1.5 oz.
Pattern: Guy's Washcloth
Materials: Size 7 straight needles, worsted weight cotton, size G crochet hook for loop.
Slip all st as if to purl.
CO 37 st for smaller cloth, 42 for larger cloth.
Row !: Sl 1, *P1, K4* repeat to last st. K 1.
Row 2: Sl 1, *P3, K2* repeat to last st. K1.
Row 3: Sl 1, *P3, K2* repeat to last st. K1.
Row 4: Sl 1, *P1, K4* repeat to last st. K1.
Row 5: Sl 1, *K1, P4* repeat to last st. K1.
Row 6: Sl 1, *K3, P2* repeat to last st. K1.
Row 7: Sl1, *K3, P2* repeat to last st. K1.
Row 8: Sl 1, *K1, P4* repeat to last st. K1.
Rep these 8 rows 7 times for small cloth, 8 times for larger cloth.
BO, leaving long tail. Insert crochet hook into loop, ch 12, secure to first stitch.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
The internet sure has changed needlework and crafts. Needlework magazines now feature lots of articles about knitters, the community, the environment, etc. We have a real community now thanks to all the blogs and websites that get so much information out there. And we have all these personalities, too. It's so much fun to go into the bookstore and see people we know, on the shelves, such as Stephanie McPhee, the Stitch and Bitch and Mason-Dixon ladies, to name just a few. I sure wish this had all been around years ago, when I was younger. It's so much fun.
Off topic: Speaking of age, though, I get steamed with all the jokes about McCain's age. I'm a big Obama supporter, but it irritates me when people think being older is a liability. I'd like to think I've picked up a few pearls (and purls!) of wisdom over the years. Something has to compensate for all the aches and pains.
I hope you all had a great weekend. Hugs and best wishes.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Sooooo, I gathered all the wool bits I had and decided it would be enough to make a ski sweater for one of the kids. No stranded knitting here, though. I had to use a slip stitch pattern to make the brown stretch. It was that or stripes. And I did use some yellow Woolease. But, it's quite nice, isn't it?
No, it won't be machine washable. And, it's for a six year old. Not the most practical, I know. I'd better put a label in it that says, "Don't machine wash" or something similar. I'm hoping the colorful fabric won't show dirt and stains too much. I think this is one sweater that grandma will be taking home to launder.
The front and back are done. Now--for the sleeves and neckband. I'm writing down the pattern this time, as I go along, having learned the hard way that my old brain just doesn't remember what I did if I wait too long. This will be my first sweater pattern. Yay.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
We've got a family wedding coming up, so I edged a few pillow cases as a gift (shown on a pillow). Most people nowadays like more than two pillows on a bed, and I always pick up a few white cases when I see them on sale, and keep them in my gift drawer, so I was able to make these without any extra expense.
I like a fairly narrow edge on pillow cases. I sew them to the seam where the hem ends, because I've tried many different techniques and stitches, and find that the bigger edgings, or those put on the edge of the pillow, tend to get all scrunched up and messy. This is a 10 stitch pattern I got from a woman I babysat for when I was in hgh school, so it's probably in the public domain by now (45+ years ago). I have it in my fingers, but I wrote it out on a slip of paper at the time, and called it "Rose's Towel Edging." I have no idea if it really has a name or where it came from.
This is the first time I've edged a pillow case in anything but white or ecru. The bridal registry showed a comforter set in browns and golds, so I used some Knit Cro-Sheen from the thread bag, in a burnished gold tone. I feel like such a wild woman. Next, I may try sky diving!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Materials: #5 cotton crochet cotton in white, or two strands of thinner cotton; small amounts of cotton thread of any color or weight for flowers (or use all one color, such as all violet or all yellow and orange)
#0 steel crochet hook.
4" plastic zipper, tapestry needle.
Ch 31. SC in each loop of starting chain. (30 stitches). Second round: SC two times in first loop of starting chain, and, without turning, work a row of SC along other side, working 2 sc in opposite end of starting ch. (64 sc). Third round: Sl in first stitch, continue in the round, working sc in the back stitch. Fourth round: continue to build up sides of purse, working in the round but in both loops of each stitch, until purse is as big as you desire. My finished purse is 5" by 2 1/2". Fabric should be very tight and firm.
The edges may begin to curl. Don't worry.
When basic purse is complete, turn it inside out and wet thoroughly. Blot in towel. Use your fingers to stretch it out flat. Leaving it open, as pictured here, leave to dry for three or four days. All the curling will be gone, and it will be flat and smooth.
Use that time to make flowers out of any colors you desire. I used every color I had except greens, tans, and black. The purse shown has eight or nine colors. OR-- embroider flowers on fabric using lazy daisy stitch (much quicker and easier).
Flowers: You will need 35-50 flowers for one side, and double that to encrust both sides with flowers. Each flower takes about five minutes to make.
Leaving an 8" tail, chain 4. Slip st to form ring. Round 1: ch 4, sl s in ring, six times. Round two: insert hook in first loop to left of sl s, work 6 sc in loop; move directly to next loop. When all loops are finished, sl s in center of ring between last two loops, cut thread leaving an 8" tail, move both tails to center of circle on same side. (See picture for finished flower)
Finishing: Using tapestry needle, thread both tail pieces through needle and, using holes in fabric, sew each flower securely to purse, bringing tails to the outside and securing under flower. Ends will not show, as flowers are very close together. A small dot of color will appear inside purse. Flowers should be just a few holes apart. Hold hand inside purse to make sure you are not sewing through both sides of purse! When entire side of purse is covered, run your hand over flowers to look for empty spots and add flowers as needed.
Sew zipper to open edge of purse, using white thread (I used nylon thread). It should be invisible. Cut six 12" lengths of thread in different colors, thread through hole in zipper. Holding thread tightly, make a knot at end of zipper pull. Separate thread into three sections and braid tightly. Knot end of braid tightly. Cut off, leaving 1" tassel.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Here's my snow globe, wearing a hat I just finished from the same family of yarn I used for the library book bag below.
I found a wonderful book at the library by Joyce Williams, titled Latvian Dreams: Knitting From Weaving Charts. The book contains charts for more than a hundred traditional Latvian weaving patterns, and a number of beautiful, incredibly elaborate sweaters made by the author.
Latvian knitting is usually done at a much smaller scale, and I plan to do it properly some day, but I couldn't resist trying out a pattern in worsted weight yarn on this hat. Again, the colors are not true in the picture, as what looks like white is really a tan color, and the red is sort of a rust color.
I just used my usual 84 stitch hat pattern, with a rolled edge. The pattern was a 12 stitch repeat, so I continued that into the decreases with seven pie shapes of 12 stitches each, decreasing down, to make the crown.
Next, an attempt at matching mittens.
I'm smitten with these charts. I can see lots of projects, both in knit and crochet, in my future. Wouldn't they make great pillows? Or a tiny purse? The book has elaborate borders, too, and charts that can be used in combination. Prepare to be bored with all things Latvian in the months to come.