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,, 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.