Thursday, July 31, 2008


I knit this sweater for Ricardo's birthday in 1985 or '86. It's made of Germantown Knitting Worsted, from a pattern published in Woman's Day (I lost the pattern long ago). Unfortunately, Ricardo was growing a bit in the middle, and always felt a little self-conscious about the sweater not being quite baggy enough in that area. So, after about four or five wearings, it was forgotten by us both in the cedar chest for more than 20 years.

A few posts ago, I was lamenting about not being able to make my son-in-law a sweater for his 45th birthday. I unearthed this sweater, and it looks good as new! Isn't that amazing? Tomorrow I'm taking it for dry cleaning. The SIL is very thin, but likes his sweaters loose. It should be perfect. He'll love having something of Ricardo's, made by me. Hopefully, grandson #1 might like to wear it as well before too long.

They are also celebrating their wedding anniversary this weekend, so I'm bringing three round cloths and a spice cake to the party.

Life is good!

Hugs to all.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Little Used Yarn Vacation

My daughter--who doesn't know about this blog--stopped over and dropped off several balls of cotton. She recently stenciled her kitchen in blue and white, and wanted me to make her a new set of cloths.

The pattern she chose is Sew-Funky's lovely Windmill Cloth. I'm also making one of the smaller Starfish cloths from this site from the leftover yarn. Sew-Funky really designs the most wonderful round cloths!

I hope to have them done by this weekend, so I can get back to my projects. See you then.


Monday, July 28, 2008

A Pattern: Little Brass Ring Purse

I had one lone six-inch diameter brass ring and wasn't sure what to do with it. This little purse uses the bottom of the ring as a frame for a little tote, and the top of the ring as the handle. I made it to hang on the handlebars of a teen-aged girl's bike, so she could carry her cellphone and a few dollars when she took bike rides. Her keys easily clip to the handle.

Materials: Brass ring, any worsted weight yarn except cotton (it must stretch over the ring tightly), size G Hook, large-eye yarn needle, velcro or magnetic snap fastener, any embellishments of your choice.

The bag is made up of two crocheted semi-circles, as shown at left. The semi-circles must be as near to the diameter of the ring as possible (here, six inches across)


Chain 3, work 3 sc in 2nd ch from end.

Row 1: 2 sc in each stitch, turn. (6 st.)

Row 2: 2 sc in each stitch, turn. (12 st.)

Row 3: *sc in next 3 st., 2 sc in next stitch* three times (inc. of 3), turn

Row 4: *sc in next 4 st., 2 sc in next stitch* three times (inc. of 3), turn

Row 5: *sc in next 5 st., 2 sc in next stitch* three times, turn

Continue in this manner, increasing three stitches evenly in each row (you should have a fabric that looks like three pie wedges)

When piece is the desired size (mine is 12 rows), make another identical piece.

Next, holding wrong sides together, chain pieces together around the rounded edge, leaving top open. Insert ring and check fit. The join should look tidy and finished.

Remove ring and, as shown below, work three rows of sc around top of purse, decreasing one stitch at each end of each side (4 st dec in each row). Break off yarn, leaving a 20" tail.

As shown in the last picture below, inset ring into purse, thread tail onto a yarn needle, and work a running stitch just inside the ring, making a tunnel for the ring and keeping it secure in the purse. If you stitch into the hole of each stitch in turn, the stitching should be almost invisible.

I embellished this with vintage buttons my mother collected during the '30s and '40s. You can sew on a crocheted flower, or do some embroidery, or just make the semi-circles in multicolors.

Finish with a magnetic snap or a velcro fastener.

Another view of the finished purse. The purse can easily be carried around the wrist, and holds a cellphone, some money, a comb, and other small items.

Progress Notes: Notions

Sometimes I feel like I'm in one of those reality shows where they give chefs a box of ingredients and leave them to make something delicious and original. The more things I get, the more of a challenge it becomes. It's exhausting.
It's becoming clear I've got to learn what to toss and what to keep.
A few weeks ago I discovered a new thrift shop run by the Lutheran Home. They use all their donated yarn, but had quite a bit of sewing stuff. (I don't enjoy sewing and gave it up years ago.) I did buy a bag of zippers, though. Now I've got the added challenge of trying to knit and crochet things that match my zippers. Talk about bizarre. That plastic bag in the photo is holding a ton of loose common pins, which are poking out everywhere. The pains of creativity!
In the bag were also two single purse handles---one round brass ring and one blue plastic oblong thing. I was about to throw them back into my own box of donations when I had a brainstorm about the brass ring. The little purse I made using the ring is above.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Pattern: Dancing Stripes Washcloth

Dancing Stripes Washcloth

Materials: Less than one ounce Main Color (MC) and less than one-half ounce Contrast Color (CC)

cotton worsted (Peaches 'n Creme here)

Needle size #7.

This slip-stitch pattern didn't photograph well, but it is a very textured honeycomb type of stitch (see detail below). This is a good way to use up a small ball of leftover cotton. I used a very small amount of the blue, and just knit the pattern until I ran out. If you have enough, it looks good to stripe the borders as well, knitting two rows in each color. This is a good way to use up small amounts and still not have many loose ends when you finish, as the yarn is never cut. However, it is a challenging pattern and it is not recommended that you put down the work until each eight-row sequence is complete.

CO 35 for small cloth, 41 for large cloth
Note: All stitches are slipped as if to purl. All right side rows are slipped with the yarn to the back and all wrong side rows are slipped with the yarn in front.
Border: K across for four rows.
Pattern rows:
1--MC, K9, *sl 2 as if to P, keeping yarn to back, k4* repeat across, end with sl2, K2, K4 (border)
2--MC, K4 (border) , holding yarn in front, sl 1, P1, *sl 2 (holding yarn in front), P 1, K 2, P 1* repeat, ending K1, K4.
3--CC, K4, K2 *yarn in back sl 2, skip 1 st, K the next stitch but do not drop from needle, K the skipped st and drop both, skip 1 st, K in back loop of next st but do not drop, K skipped st and drop both, repeat from * ending K1, K4
4--CC, holding yarn in front, sl 1 as if to P, P to last five stitches, K1, K4.
5--MC, K4, K2, *yarn in back sl 2, K 4, repeat from * ending sl2, K5, K4.
6--MC, yarn in front, sl1, *P1, K2, P1, sl 2, repeat from* ending K1, P1, K4.
7--CC, K4, K1, *skip 1 st, K the next st but do not drop, K skipped st and drop both, skip 1 st, K in back loop of next st, K skipped st and drop both, sl 2 (yarn in back), repeat from * ending K2, K4.
8--CC, repeat row 4.
For small cloth, repeat these eight rows six times; for large cloth repeat seven times.
Border: MC, K across for five rows, bind off.
This is a complicated pattern. I hope I've transcribed it correctly. Just remember that four stitches on each end must be K for the border, with the pattern in between. Colors are changed every two rows.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This Week on the Needles and Hooks

I finished two of the little scarves below for summer birthdays and a teddy bear from worsted scraps for the Mama Bear project, and finally put zippers in the coin purses (pattern to follow soon--it's a complex one). Now I can finally put Christmas into high gear and start adding to my bottom drawer where I put finished gifts. I'm fiddling around with a billed newsboy type of cap for one of the grandfellows. I've never made a billed cap and really should look at patterns, as I've ripped it out more times than I can count.

I'm very reluctant to look at any patterns since I started this blog, as there are just so many ways to make a hat or scarf or mittens, and I want to make sure anything I post here comes totally out of my head. One you see how someone else solves a problem, it's hard not to incorporate it into your own work in some way or another. I'm not a fancy needleworker, and I'm sure anything I do has been done in almost the same way by someone out there. I've heard that others have been accused of copying ideas and patterns, and want to make sure that doesn't happen to me.

But the little purses and the Nun's socks are making me proud, and I hope to get the patterns up soon.

I read three good books this week--Sea Glass, by Anita Shreve, An Unfinished Marriage, by Joan Anderson (nonfiction), and the Yarn Harlot's new book (which is very short, but made me laugh numerous times--you'll all love it, I'm sure).

Hugs! I hope you like the scarf.

A Pattern: One-Row Lace Summer Scarf

I made this little scarf out of two stands of bedspread cotton, but you can use any sport weight cotton, such as Grace or Cool Crochet.

It's done in a modified Feather Fagot stitch. I turned the purl stitches into knit stitches, because the stiffness of the cotton caused me to drop stitches occasionally, which in a one-row pattern can be problematic with no safety net of straight K or P rows. This pattern makes a very lacy rib-looking fabric.


One-Row Lace Summer Scarf

CO 27 stitches on #5 or #6 needles (I used a circular needle, to give more control of the lace)

Rows 1-3: K across

Row 4: *K1, yo, K2tog* repeat to end.

Repeat row 4 until scarf is as long as desired. The scarf pictured is 40", and makes a small, ascot type of scarf.

Last three rows: K across

Finishing: The ascot type of scarf shown is gathered with a thread about 2 inches from the ends, then I wrapped the thread around the scarf and secured it. I have also made this scarf longer, and tied a knot in each end. You can also use fringe, if that is your preference, but the fringe should be quite long. Of course, it's nice just plain with no finishing at all.

This is fun to make! I hope you try it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Progress Notes: Succumbing to Temptation

So I saw this little classified ad:

"One Box-o-Yarn! Smoke free, all different colors and types of yarn. Some full skeins, some scraps, all 100% useful! Everything is neatly wound, into skeins or balls, no huge mess of 37 different yarns all mushed together."

and sent Ricardo off to a neighboring town to check it out for me, knowing I have little money left in the fund, but not being able to resist. Wouldn't you have done the same?

It's fun, this treasure hunting for all that stray yarn floating around in the world, just waiting for someone to come along and make something out of it. The anticipation is most of it--wondering if the next box will hold some lovely cashmere or alpaca---or even cotton.

I shop mostly online for everything, since I had to give up driving a few years ago. The yarn shopping was getting obsessive, even though I rarely bought anything. I'd spend hours trying to make up an order, trying to take advantage of the free shipping. First, I'd see something great on sale, but then I'd try to find something else to make up an order, looking at patterns for different yarns, trying to think of ideas of what to make. Then I'd see the final shopping cart and get sticker shock and abandon the whole idea. And I always wanted things from two different vendors, and really couldn't justify two orders. I spent hours not buying anything. It was window shopping at its worst, and a terrible waste of time.

I sat for an hour today, crocheting a baby sweater, trying to guess what Ricardo would come home with. Yes, he bought the box. No, it didn't contain anything too spectacular. But it was a lot of fun going through, nonetheless. First, it was very tangled, despite what the ad promised. I worked on the tangles while we watched "Foyle's War," then spread everything out. Second-hand yarn reveals so much about history. There was a lovely skein of "Beehive Baby Yarn," which was 100% virgin wool. Today, it's all acrylic. And the box held about seven or eight full or partial balls of rug yarn, which the one remaining ballband stated was a cotton and rayon blend. Today, I believe that, too, is all synthetic. There were also many full or partial skeins of worsted weight yarns in some really nice colors, some grey wool roving type of thick yarn, and one ball of red sportweight, of unknown fibre.

I have no idea what to do with the rug yarn. Any ideas out there? I'm eager to try this yarn for something.


Finally, many thanks and best wishes to people who have left me such wonderful compliments on the things I"m making. I'm very flattered. I'm certainly no artist. It's just that I've been making things for decades, I guess, and have all the basics conquered, so it's easy to use those basics to create new things. I'm sure many of you do the same.

A good weekend to all, and hugs! I'm off to eat grilled cheese and tomato soup prepared by my husband. Food cooked by someone else always tastes great.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Pattern: Crochet Dogwood Dishcloth

Dogwood Blossom Dishcloth

Materials: Worsted weight cotton, about 1 oz. ombre and less than 1/2 oz. in a coordinating solid color, for flower panels (here, I used Daisy Ombre Peaches 'n Creme and solid yellow Sugar 'n Cream) This would look great in blue ombre and solid blue.

Size G crochet hook

Chain 36, sc stitch in second chain from hook and each chain across--35 sc stitches.

Rows 1-6: SC across

Change color to solid yarn, chain 3, turn

Dogwood Panel (rows 7-10)

Row 7: Work 4 dc (with turning chain, makes 5 dc), *chain 4, skip next 2 stitches, stitch in next 9 stitches* two times, ending with chain 4, skip 2 stitches, dc in last 5 stitches, chain 3, turn.

Row 8: dc in first two stitches (making 3 dc), *chain 3, stitch in 4-ch space, chain 3, skip two stitches, dc in next 5* two times, chain 3, stitch in 4-ch space, chain 3, skip two stitches, dc in last three spaces, chain 3, turn.

Row 9: dc in first two stitches, work 2 dc in 3-ch space, ch 2, work 2 dc in 3-ch space, 5 dc, work 2 dc in 3-ch space, ch 2, work 2 dc in 3-ch space, repeat in pattern to last 3-ch space, work 3 dc in last 3 dc, chain 1, turn.

Row 10: Sc across, change color, ch 1, turn.

Work 14 rows in ombre, change color, ch 3, turn.

Repeat Flower panel for 4 rows, change color.

Work 6 rows in ombre in sc. End. Weave in ends.

Note: This makes a tidy edged cloth, with no need for a border of sc.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Progress Notes: Thread and Kitchen Cotton

I don't remember when I learned to knit, or crochet, or sew. My mother was a seamstress, who worked out of our small apartment. My grandmother was a tiny, fierce woman who didn't speak much English and was always knitting.
I was an adult before I realized that they were both real artists.
Grandma never looked at any sort of pattern, but closely scrutinized any knitwear that came her way, always eager to pick up a new stitch. Unlike me, despite knitting for her own nine kids and many, many grandchildren, she never made anything that wasn't embellished with dense patterns. Every mitten was a work of art. And my mother, despite sewing for others for hours, usually decorated our clothes with appliques, piping, and the like.
Grandma came to stay with me when my daughter was born, and she herself was 82. I was just finishing up a Christmas stocking. I still remember her enthusiasm for something new to knit. We sat together and knit huge stockings for the relatives. I also introduced her to granny squares during that visit, and she launched into making little vests for all the kids.
I know I'll never have her skill at needlework, but lately I've developed an obsession with flowers, due to the profusion of tiny balls of colored thread and cotton in my used yarn stash. Like grandma, I was a texture knitter. Color designs weren't really my forte. But one of the benefits I've gained from this little experiment is a newly found love of color.
The picture above shows two of my projects, both in very preliminary stages. I've been crocheting tiny flowers out of thread, and jamming them onto surfaces to make a dense covering (here, a coin purse in progress, with two loose flowers waiting to be sewn on).
The other item is a design for a dishcoth made up of rows of tulips.

I've barely made a dent in my stash, despite being one-third of the way through my year of used yarns. To date, I've completed five baby hats, three pairs of booties, a baby sweater, two pairs of fingerless gloves, two adult hats (one with matching mittens), two headscarfs, one decorative little cotton scarf, two pairs of pocketbook slippers, three dishcloths, two pairs of socks, a purse, a thermos cozy, and a tea pot cozy. Most are for gifts, and the baby things are for charity.

In progress are an afghan made up of triangles in blues and browns, for my eldest grandson, several coin purses, a tote bag, and an eyeglass case, all for Christmas presents.

Some I used patterns, and some I designed myself. I will be posting pictures and patterns for my own designs as I get them written up. Since I'd never written down a pattern before I started this blog I'm finding this quite difficult.

Thanks for reading, and hugs to all.