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.