Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Measure, Cut, Sharpen, Sand---and Knit!

Long after I'm gone, my house will probably still be giving up all the yarn needles, dpns, crochet hooks, and various other small needlework implements that have disappeared over time. It's hard to believe that I've brought many, many of these things into this house, yet, when I need something specific, I've never got the right thing. The ducts, the moldings, the window wells, the radiators, and those dark and dusty slits under the bookcases and dressers must all be full of small, pointed things.

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

A Pattern: Fun and Funky Eyeglass Cases

Eyeglass Case
Materials: One ounce of worsted weight yarn; four yards of fun fur in coordinating color.
Size G crochet hook.
Ch 25. Rows 1 and 2: Sc in each ch space.
Row 3: Sc in first 2 sc *ch 4, sc in next 4* rep to last two stitches, sc in last 2. ch 1, turn
Row 4: Sc in each sc across, pushing ch 4 loops to back of work and pulling stitches together at the base of each ch 4 loop. 24 stitches and 5 bobbles made.
Row 5: Sc in first 4 sc *ch 4, sc in next 4* to last four stitches, sc in last 4, ch 1, turn.
Row 6: repeat row 4.
Repeat rows 3-6 for pattern. See picture above for how the diagonal rows of little bumps should appear.
Repeat pattern for 6 inches (6 pattern repeats). Sc in each sc for two rows. Fold case in half and work a row of Sc down side and across bottom. Fasten off main color.
Attach fur to top of case and work two to four rows sc. Fasten off.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Updates: Gifted Projects, Books, and Whatever

We've had a number of birthdays recently. The MIL received the pink cone-yarn vest, and I was a little disappointed that the bottom button was pulling a bit. It could have used another inch around the hips, even though she is very small. But, the following day she called and said she'd worn it to church and loved it, and it was stretching a bit. She called the day after that to say she'd worn it out to lunch. So I'm calling it a successful gift item.

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

Crafty Gift Ideas!

I've got a very simple photo program I bought a few years ago for about $5.00, but it has some fun special effects that I used to make a few gifts. On the left is an enhanced photo of Alex, and on the right I used the "sketch" effect to make it into a pencil sketch. By isolating the head and then turning it into a sketch, it makes lovely little drawings of a pet or baby, etc. I did pictures of people's kids and put them into simple black frames from the dollar store. They really turned out nice! The only trick was getting the heads the same size in two or more pictures, so they look like a balanced set.
I also made honey butter last year, and I'll do it again this year. You just take half honey and whip it into slightly soft butter (one cup of each makes two gifts). You can put in a little cinnamon or some grated orange rind. This goes so well with corn bread or on french toast. I put it into small plastic containers and made little labels on the computer, with holly leaves, and a bow on top. Another thing I've done is make polenta mix, with rough ground corn and some herbs and dried onion, with a recipe tied to the lid of the jar, but this is not for everyone, obviously.
Of course, there are many similar things that people do to make low cost, but very nice, gifts. These are just a few of the things that have worked well for me, in case anyone needs a fresh idea that can be made up the night before one needs a gift.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

We had a great day, with four generations in attendance and too, too much to eat. One of my grandsons turned up in a sweater I knit quite some time ago, so I'm using this as an excuse to show them both off.
My life is good. I hope yours is, too!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Project: Doll Clothes--Trash and Treasure yarns

The little girl I got from the Giving Tree wanted some new clothes "for my mom's old Molly doll." I've never really seen one of those historic era dolls (I won't say the brand--you know the ones I mean), and couldn't find a pattern I really like, but I got the measurements and a basic sweater pattern and knit this little cable sweater and stocking hat. If I have time, I want to make a scarf or maybe a shawl. I hope the doll has some sort of lower garments, because I really don't want to tackle making dolly pants.
She seems like a nice child! I hope she isn't disappointed with something hand-made instead of what she's probably seen in the stores. I also made her a pair of big girl mittens.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Project: Hats and Mittens--Granny Square box

I'm using the vintage Bernat wool-blend yarns from the box of granny squares and remnants I bought at a rummage sale this summer to make family hats and mittens. There were 13 unused skeins of different colors jammed in the box along with the 35 completed squares. The skeins really have good yardage. I was prepared to finish off this hat in a contrasting color, but one skein made both the hat and mittens pictured--and I had four yards left.

I don't get many emails from this blog, but I did get one some months ago after I posted a pattern for "incredibly simple" fingerless gloves. The writer gently reminded me that a lot of people don't find working with dpns simple, and lots of knitters make lovely things without ever using dpns. Also, she pointed out that even sock knitters may not have a full set of dpns in larger sizes.

So, I spent quite a bit of time looking at some vintage knitting patterns and converting some of my mitten patterns to the two-needle method. I hadn't made two-needle mittens before, and find them quite enjoyable. Also, they have a nice finished shape, since they are flat when done, and keep the shape well. I was surprised at how well the seam turns out--almost invisible.

The mittens above are made on two needles, and I'll be posting the pattern in a few days, as soon as I finish the next pair, (which have a more interesting design).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Project: Backpack--Various Acrylic Yarns

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

This Week OTN

Just so you don't think I've been slacking off this week, I wanted to post the progress on my projects. On the left is an enormous bag, done on a square, heavy black-with-flecks base. It'll be a backpack type of bag, with a drawstring and a flap. The straps and flap will be black, probably. It's all acrylic. I've got some very nice synthetic yarn, but this was stuff that didn't seem nice enough to make any clothing from. It will be a strong bag, though, if it turns into something useable.

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

Day of Indecision

The grandkids treated us to breakfast yesterday at this little diner. Today, they all went to a train expo (we are a family of train enthusiasts), and I have a day alone. I want to get started on a sweater vest for Ricardo for Christmas, but am still undecided on what to use. Here are my choices: 1) Yesterday I decided to make something out of the blue cone yarn, but it's very bright, with flecks of many other colors, and it's sport weight. The plus side is that I have enough to make something all in one color; 2) The skeins from the granny square box all match and are the same weight, but the only color of any quantity is the yellow (3 skeins). I could make the back and ribs out of the yellow and fair isle or stripe the front. This was my original plan, but it's a fussy project; 3) I could opt for one of those smaller "westkit" type of vests, with the little points in front and buttons. I have a nice pattern from one of my old Golden Hands books with this pattern. The problem is that this must be all one color, and I'm not sure it would look good in bright blue, and I'm not sure the yellow would stretch. The pattern calls for 10 oz. of sport yarn, and the yellow is worsted, but I could make a smaller size; 4) I could use the bulky yarn I got from Barbara in the swap, although I'm using most of the taupe and black for a poncho, although I have have white and blue variegated enough. Again, I'd need to mix the colors. I also have some very similar yarn in a dusty rose that I could mix into a pattern without it looking too feminine. ARGGG. Nothing seems right.
This is a secret project, so I really hate to waste one good private day. I'm gonna stare at the blue cone awhile longer and then try to commit to something before noon.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Project: Goofy Little Knit Purse

Goofy Little Knit Purse-
Knit from tape/ribbon combination fiber, in two shiny colors. The yarn was a rather heavy worsted weight.
I got some very pretty fiber from Jami--about 15 yards of mauve and 60 yards of light blue. The fiber was in two parts: a soft shoelace-type of tape paired with a very filmy gold ribbon. To me, purses work better in crochet, since knitted fabric tends to be soft and drapey and really needs to be lined (which I'm not eager to do). But there wasn't enough to crochet even a small bag, so I went down to a size 4 needle and chose a dense knit and purl small basketweave pattern. I initially planned to use some mauve for the bottom (in garter stitch) and then use the rest for the button and handle, but there wasn't enough, so I made an I-cord with the rest of the mauve until it ran out, and used it for a little button loop and back decoration.
I crocheted a round ball to use as a button, since the I-cord made a thick button loop--too thick for most buttons.
It's just one long piece with a strip of 16 rows of garter in the middle, folded over to make a bag. I cast on 32 stitches.
On the back, I made little curls out of the ends of the I-cords and let them swing free. The cord is attached to the back of the purse at the top, letting the loop pop up when the purse is opened or unbuttoned. The handle is long enough to go over the body diagonally and hold a small quantity of things on the hip. The bag is six inches high by seven wide.
It's not really very practical, since it's brightly colored and quite small. But cute.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Project: Christmas Tree Doily--Thread

Since I'm working on a poncho and an afghan, I needed something small and light to carry in my purse. I'm not much of a doily person, but all that thread is just sitting there, waiting to be put to use, and I saw this little Christmas doily on the Annie's site and decided to give it a go. The pattern has little beads sewn on as ornaments, and I'm looking for something similar, but it looks okay just as it is. It was fun to make.
Happy election day! I hope everyone voted.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Project: Beret--Jami Yarns

This is a very nice little beret pattern from a book I bought a few years ago called The Pattern Companion: Knitting. The pattern cleverly starts with a band of worsted and small needles, then changes to large needles and any bulky novelty yarn you have on hand. Jami gave me a bag of her yarn scraps as part of our swap, and when I saw this soft, fuzzy partial skein of black and pinks, I knew it would match my pink scarf and mitts.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Pattern: Little Striped Ascot

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.

Yes, a Camera!

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

More Books for Sale

Debbie Bliss, Classic Knits for Kids, 30 Traditional Aran and Guernsey Designs for 0-6 years. Softcover. Wonderful book. I made two designs from this book. Has several very cute hats, too. $7.50 + 2.50 shipping. Perfect condition. See payment instructions in previous post.

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

Starmore Book For Sale

The Celtic Collection: Twenty-Five Knitwear Designs for Men and Women. Hardcover. Mint condition (just a very small sticky spot on the back of the dust jacket where the price tag was removed). I got this book as a gift. The sweaters are gorgeous, but I'll never make any of them. You can google this book to see more about it at the bookstore sites.

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

No Camera!

I'm afraid I won't be posting for a while. My camera quit working yesterday. It's almost six years old, and the new ones are much better these days, but I can't afford to replace it right now. We're trying to scrape together money to pay our home insurance.

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

Project: Quickie Cloche

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

Project: "Dainty Mesh Vest" using cone yarn

After living through the '70s era, I never thought I'd be crocheting another vest. In fact, until I bought that big box of threads, I hadn't crocheted in decades. I don't usually like crocheted garments. Knitting just drapes so much better.

But when I saw this fussy little vest pattern I just knew it would be perfect for Ricardo's 83-year-old mother, who lives in knit pants and turtlenecks with sweaters of some sort over them.

It's a Melissa Leapman pattern from Crochet in Style. I've made a number of her designs, and just love her. Her instructions are so good--I made this exactly like the pattern and didn't change a thing, using the thin cone yarn and a #1 hook. It's thin and drapey and really adorable.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Make A Scarf Today!

I hope everyone reading this will run over to Barbara's blog, http://hookingbookie.blogspot.com, and see the great opportunities she's found for scarf makers to make a difference in the world. The project that sends red scarves to former foster children attending college is one near and dear to my heart. I worked with foster children for years, and often felt there must be something we can do to help these kids when they age out of the system. They are so alone. I once had a former client ask me for help finding her siblings. She'd entered the system when she was four, after her mother's murder. She knew she had siblings, but didn't know their names. She wasn't even sure of her mother's name. These kids are cast adrift with no family support, no shelter, little clothing--and virtually no emotional support. Those of us who have children know how much they need us, even after they reach young adulthood. These young people need that, too.

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

A Pattern: Pink Hodge-Podge Scarf

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

Project: Child's Helmet--Worsted Scraps

The good news is that we had a little birthday party for my grandson last weekend, and he loved the skull motif hat I made for him (see post below). He put it right on.
The bad news is that his six-year-old little brother felt really bad that I didn't make him a hat, too. He idolizes his older brother, but, of course, there's a lot of jealousy going on there as well, especially when it concerns attention from the grandparents. He was teary, and I felt just terrible.
Tomorrow he gets this helmet, made from a Sandy Scoville design. (Ricardo found me a styrofoam head on special for about $3!) I'm trying to decide whether or not to put tassles on the ends of the earflaps. Probably not. It's got a lot of different stitches and colors, but this is the best picture. Pretty cute. I hope it's not too girly looking.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Do Not Make This Scarf!

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

A Pattern: Gossamer Lace Scarf

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.


Row1: K

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

Project Frog

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

Project: Boy's Intarsia Skull Motif Hat

Cream Woolease hat with black skull motif. Worsted weight, size 7 dpns, convertable brim. This is just a vanilla hat, done mainly in stockinette, 80 stitches with an eight wedge decrease. Brim can be worn turned up or down.
My grandson's 11th birthday is Wednesday. I wanted something that said, "I'm a nice boy who appreciates a bit of a skull on my hat," so I only knit in one motif. I wanted to stay away from a statement like, "Fifth grade nihilist."
He's also getting a book of mazes.
This hat was made from yarn found in the thrift shop bag. The black was just a scrap of Paton's wool that I had leftover in my scrap bag. I used about one ounce of the cream. I think the skull has a friendly look to it. He already has black gloves to match and a black puffy jacket. It should make a great outfit.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sock Saga II

The socks were not very successful. It really shows the problem with using mystery yarn. I have no idea what the fiber content is, and the finished sock just stretches and stretches, but doesn't return to shape. Probably has a lot of cotton, or whatever.
I like the pattern--eyelets which I continued down into a V on the instep, so that I could wear them with loafers but still have some substance to the sock body. Right now, I don't want to make the second sock, as this one is too loose (even though I used #1 needles and only 54 stitches). I hate to waste two days of knitting time. Oh, well. Guess it was a learning experience. Not everything can be socks.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sock Saga

Even though I'm more or less retired from my profession, I decided to cram in a bunch of classes so that I could keep my certification. Two long days of workshops, which would result in 15 credits. I dug out my nice pants and a little jacket and decided to treat myself to a ball of "real" sock yarn from my old stash (which I"m not delving into this year), packed up my #1 dpns, styled my hair, and had Ricardo take me to the downtown Hyatt, where the classes were being offered.

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

Six Months Over--And I'm Buried in Fiber

A week ago I came to the six month mark on my yarn budget (I also have not bought an item of clothing in the past six months, or any new books or DVDs, but that's another blog). The verdict--I have too much yarn, yet again. In fact, I've never had such a huge stash. You'd think this would be freeing, that I would be able to experiment and goof around with the stuff and not worry I'd ruin anything. But instead, I worry that if I use up something, later I'll find that it's just the color I need in some other project. I do this even though I have enough yarn and enough projects written out to take me well into the next year. The huge bag of baby yarns was definitely a mistake, and has been stashed in a closet. I've made a number of hats from this, but it really doesn't interest me very much, especially the pompador stuff with the sparkly bits. If I'd known how much yarn was floating around out there, I would have saved my $2.50 or whatever.

This week I finished another little purse with the thread, and also the boot socks, which I'm wearing on my cold feet right now! Since I've never used a sock pattern, I'm trying to read through some other patterns to see how detailed they are. There seems to be so much to explain. I guess I should just assume people know how to make socks, or how to find out the basics somewhere else. Right now I have two pairs of my grandmother's slipper socks and two pairs of my own socks to somehow pattern up for you.

On our trip around the state I was given several afghan hooks and two very old books on afghan stitches by a relative who found them in a pile of junk and knew I was interested in such things. I loved reading about the history of this technique, especially how it is often called "railroad crochet" in some parts of the world, after the women who worked on the railroad and often used this technique in their needlework and passed it on to the other workers. Very cool story. Unfortunately, I've spent all week playing around with the stitches and hooks, and am doing a very sorry job of making anything nice. I finally learned how to avoid the curling problems, but now get holes in my work, and often pick up the wrong strand of yarn. It's very frustrating, as I'd already charted out a good paisley design I wanted to embroider on the finished fabric.
I think I'll play around with it a little more before I give up, but it's certainly not as easy as it looks.
The sleeves on my boy's ski sweater are taking some time, as I ran out of red and am trying to substitute something. I think I'll just put a solid brown band on the bottom of each sleeve, and then color the ribbing.
Another grandson's birthday is in two weeks, and I'm making up a hat with a skull pattern on it.
Thus ends the project notes for the week. I hope you all have a good weekend with your families. Hugs.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Project: Knit Coffee Cozy--Box-O-Yarn stash

I'm such a copycat. It seems like everyone is making covers for take-out coffee, so I had to try one of my own. Mine is ribbed 2x2 and has a flat panel in the middle with JOE on the front and three hearts on the back, with little rolled edges. Kinda cute, although my friend said, "Who's Joe?" I said, "Coffee. You know, a cuppa Joe?" She said, "Really?" I guess it's an age thing.

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

This Week OTN, and Progress Notes

I've been gone for a week and wanted to post some knitting news, but so much has happened in the past few days, with terrible storms and now the economic meltdown, that I just want to express my sympathy first for all those who have lost their homes or their savings, their jobs, or anything else. I sure hope everyone out there is doing okay today.

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

A Pattern: Guy's Knit Washcloth

I tried many, many times to take a good picture of this cloth, but I just couldn't get a good shot of the texture pattern. I wanted to make a cloth for a young male relative's first apartment, and it turned out well. It's a diagonal check pattern, completely reversible, with no border and a slip-stitch edge. Fun to do, with a loop for hanging, since it's my experience that guy's don't know how to drape.

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

OTN and Hooks This Week--And More

I told people not to give me yarn this year for my birthday, because I'm so into this project and didn't want to be drawn away from my little world of scraps and leftovers. I did receive some good knitting stuff, though. I got both Fall issues of KnitSimple and Vogue Knitting--and both are great this year. On the way home from my daughter's we stopped at a diner for coffee and we sat in a booth and spent a long time looking through the magazines. VK had a very nice article on Jess and Casey of ravelry.com (the knitting universe sure lucked out when those two came on the scene). VK also has a wonderful section on Canadian knitters and designers, and a super pattern for a hooded cabled sweater-jacket I'm dying to make, plus some cool mittens. And KS features plus-size patterns this month, and a lot of bags and other accessories.

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

How Could I Resist? Rummage Sale Yarn

The box contains 35 completed granny squares. 13 unused skeins of yarn. And a crochet hook. Here's a woman who woke up one day and said, "There's no way I"m gonna make another 40 squares." The yarn is one that must have been discontinued years ago. It's Bernat Knitting Worsted, 65% wool, 35% nylon. I paid .75.
Unfortunately, there's no way I'm gonna make another 40 granny squares, either. But the yarn is worth it. It's machine washable, mainly wool, and all the colors are complimentary--two browns, yellow, rust, orange, and burgundy.
Maybe I can make a tote or something with the squares. If anyone has any good ideas, I'm open to suggestions.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Pattern: Metallic Coin Purse in Crochet Thread

This is the cousin to the coin purse I did a few weeks ago, although this one only has one flower, instead of the 100+ required for the other. It's a one or two evening project.
Materials: Metallic Knit Cro-Sheen. I used the entire 100 yard ball for this purse. If you want to add a flap and button instead of a zipper, you'll need another ball.
Steel crochet hook, size 3.
4" zipper, or velcro strip.
Sewing needle and thread.
Bottom: Ch 39. Sc in each ch loop to end (38 st), do not turn. Work 3 st. in starting ch and work up the other side of starting chain. Work 3 sc st in top of ch. (44 sc st.). Join with sl stitch at end of round.
Round 2: Sc in back loop of each stitch.
Body of Bag: Work sc in each st until bag is 3" high. If bag curls, dampen and stretch with your fingers inside bag and let dry.
Flower ("double rose") Ch 7, join with sl st to form a ring
Round 1: Work 12 sc in ring, join with sl st.
Round 2: Ch 6 *skip 1 sc, 1 dc in next st, ch 3* repeat 4 times more, sl st in 3rd st of ch-6.
Round 3: Working in each ch-3 space, make 1 sc, 2 dc, 2 tr, 2 dc, 1 sc, in each space.
Round 4: Ch 7, *1 dc around bar of next "spoke" dc two rows below, ch 5* repeat four times, ending with sl st in 2nd ch of ch-7.
Round 5: Working in each ch-5 space, work 1 sc, 3 dc, 2 tr, 3 dc, 1 sc in each space.
To Finish Purse: Position flower on purse with one petal pointing straight up. Sew around entire edge of outside petals with needle and thread, leaving innner flower free. Sew zipper to inner sides of top opening, tucking any extra down side of purse. I used nylon filament thread.
Optional tiny flower zipper pull: Ch 5, join with sl st to form ring. Ch 4, sl st in ring, repeat five times to make six little loops. Ch for 1.5 in. Knot or sew end of ch to zipper head.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Progress Notes: Boy's Wool Ski Sweater

Wow. I was sorting my brown yarns for the afghan, and noticed the woolmark on this humungous skein of brown worsted (6 oz.!). I have no idea what bag this yarn rode in on. It's ancient, and I must have just assumed it was acrylic.

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

SWAP!! and Progress Notes

One of my wonderful readers (and, now, a friend), Barbara, offered me a swap. She had some Bernat Bulky yarn she wanted to get out of her stash, and I have a LOT of knitting books, so we exchanged boxes last week. As it turned out, we were both having birthdays. I really had no idea how much of this yarn she actually had, but when Ricardo opened the box, he said, "You'd better send her another book."
Her box contained 19 skeins of yarn, plus two adorable dishcloths and an UFO she had started with the yarn. There are 10 skeins of taupe, and several of black, white, and variegated. I feel guilty, as I really came out ahead of this deal.
I also donated some knitted items to a charity last week, and the woman there asked me if I was a knitter. She then asked me to haul away a small bag of yarns stored in their garage, left over from a prayer shawl project they had done. Really, I tried to discourage her--I told her she could make smaller items with these odd balls--but she wasn't interested. No one had to twist my arm, as you can imagine. The best thing was several partial skeins of Patons Lacette, which will make good trim, and some slubby eyelash stuff, which will go into purses somehow.
Finally, some variety! I was getting sorely tired of my huge stash of worsted weight and thread. Yes, there are many projects planned with ALL my yarn, but I've been dying to pick out a pattern and just MAKE something easy, without a lot of experimentation. And I wanted something for trims and embellishments.

Mostly, I am getting tired of PINK. From my shopping around for used yarns, I've found that in these parts, the most popular yarn is pink acrylic worsted weight. All kinds of pink--baby yarns in mainly pink, worsted in shell pink, hot pink, salmon pink, rose pink, dusty pink, heather pink, pink pink--pink, pink and more pink. And I have a cone of a nice wool blend, sportweight--in pink. And I have four big balls of thread--in pink. Sheesh. Who would have thought? Curiously, I have almost no black and little red. (I don't think I ever bought pink yarn in my life.)
I'm making an afghan using all the blues and browns, which is really coming along nicely, although the thought of sewing it all together is somewhat daunting. And soon I will be posting a slipper sock pattern (in pink!), and another purse.

So, a big thank you to Barbara. I hope you like the knitting books. My oldest grandson--he of the skateboards, bandanas, and shirts with skulls everywhere (ICK)--has asked me to make him some kind of poncho/serape thingy, although his mother keeps saying, "Don't make him that." LOL I told her, hey, it worked for Clint Eastwood. I think he's gonna find one of those under the Christmas tree this year--something bulky in black and taupe. I'm also making balaclava helmets for the men for when the snow flies again. Wish they wore more pink.
I'm a book person, and people have been giving them to me as gifts for years. I still have some really great stuff up for grabs. A Louisa Harding book, a Debbie Bliss Kids, some large-size pattern books, and lots and lots of knt and crochet toy patterns. I need some cotton. Just, please, no pink.
Hugs to all.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wonder What I Can Make With That Bow?

Growing older isn't so bad when you've got grandchildren and pistaschio cake at the party.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Project: Thread Pillow Edging

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

A Pattern: Crochet Flower Bouquet Coin Purse

Here's the pattern for my daughter's coin purse.

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.

This Week OTN, and Some Good Books

I should be working on all my unfinished projects, but couldn't resist playing around with the Latvian weaving charts. Here is a picture of some socks I started with the sport-weight cone yarn. Don't ask me what I'm going to do when I get to the heel, because I just don't know. I don't want to wimp out and stop the pattern at the heel. It depends on how ambitious I feel when I get there, I guess.
Last week I read a very interesting book--Threading Time: A Cultural History of Threadwork, by Dolores Bausum. The first chapters are particularly good, tracing the importance and significance of textiles from the creation story, through the spinning and weaving traditions, down to the present time, with particular significance to the role of women in making the "fabric of society."
I also worked my way through a stack of McCall's Needlework issues from the '50s that a relative found in her basement. This magazine really has no parallel in present-day knitting magazines. I sure wish this was still being published, along with Mon Tricot. I used to buy both regularly, and still have a lot of copies.
All this reading material has made me think a lot about why we knit, and what we knit. Like so many of you, I make things for other people more than for myself. Threading Time brought home to me how almost holy it is to create clothing for the family--how it's a labor of love and significance. McCall's Needlework seemed to understand what most of us want---many patterns for children, men, the home. I'm getting frustrated with knitting magazines that have multiple patterns for teeny-tiny cardigans and maybe a pair of socks or some lace. Lovely things, but not things most of us are willing to pay $7 an issue for. Doesn't it seem like the world is getting more and more narcisisstic, just when we need to be the opposite?
I don't want to get on a soapbox here, but there's got to be a reason why we enjoy making dishcoths so much. A mundane, simple thing that can be so beautiful and fulfilling.
I also am continuing to read through Anita Shreve's books, and just finished A December Wedding and have two of her others waiting in the wings. I also read Joy Fielding's book "The First Time," about an estranged couple who decide to make a new commitment to their marriage when the woman finds out she is dying of ALS. A tear jerker. LOL
My efforts at creating patterns from things my grandmother taught me to knit and crochet are continuing, and I hope to finally have some of them up in a few days. I don't want those things to die with me!
Hugs to all.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Project: "Box-O-Yarn"--Latvian Hat

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.