Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Simple Shawl

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Yes, I decided the Llama yarn would indeed become a simple garter stitch shawl with eyelet edges. There's not enough yardage for a real lace shawl and I didn't want a scarf or hat or mittens. I think this will work out nicely though. I have two skeins, about 500 yards. This should be enough for a decent sized shawl. I will just knit until it is big enough or until I run out. The shop where I bought this yarn had a sample made from one skein, too small for my taste, so I bought extra. I can't remember if they said theirs was knit on size 13 or size 15 needles. I'm using size 13. These fat needles feel strange in my hands after months of knitting preemie clothes on small needles, but I'm getting used to it.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Good Start

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We arrived a little late to the football game in Columbus to the sound of Needville's fight song, which could mean only one thing--a Bluejay touchdown. We were treated to a beautiful sky as the sun went down. You can see a little color above the scoreboard, but the real show was behind us.
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I captured it as best as I could, but as you know, it's always better in person. We heard the fight song a few more times and at the end of the game the score was Needville 33, Columbus 13. A good night for the Jays. The band gave a good performance too. They are waiting for new uniforms to arrive, so they just wore bluejeans and band t-shirts. A blessing really, because the temperature was close to 90 degrees even after the sun had set.

After the game, we headed for Georgetown to visit my son's girlfriend for her 18th birthday. Since we were so close, I couldn't pass up visiting The Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe. It's a really nice shop with lots of yarn to choose from. I didn't buy any yarn though, just a pair of circular needles in a size I've been needing for a while.

My knitting has slowed down since I sent in my donation to The Preemie Project. My hand needed a little rest. However, today I might cast on something new. I'm anxious to try out the Llama yarn I bought in Kansas. I don't have much to work with, so it will probably end up being a simple garter stitch shawl, knit on large needles to give it a lace effect. We'll see.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Go Bluejays!

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Tonight begins the first of many Friday nights we will spend watching the Needville Bluejays on the field. Football in Texas is a big deal and our little town is no exception. We have a new athletic director and hopes are high for the playoffs. Nothing new about that. They are high every year. I think the last athletic director was here three years before they gave him his notice. You really have to win to keep your job when it comes to football. That's just the way it is around here, maybe where you live too. As you can see, we have our season tickets all ready to go. And although I enjoy the games, the band is really what I'm interested in. My son is a member and plays the trumpet. This year he is leading the band as one of the two drum majors. Can't wait to see the show. It's a James Bond/spy theme which I think will be fun and entertaining. Good luck to the band and the team!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

How Many?

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I was able to knit 17 pairs of these little shoes in a week. Sounds like a lot, but the pattern is very easy and the booties really small. I found I could knit a pair or two each evening while watching TV. And, the good thing is that I didn't get tired of making them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Finished Object Revisited

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As I was sorting through the items I'm donating to The Preemie Project, I had a change of heart about this gown set. You may remember that it looked liked this. The first thing I had to correct were the booties. I remembered them being a little big, but when I looked at them again, I discovered they were HUGE. They were knit from the same pattern as the gown, but I would say they ended up being better suited for a 1-3 month old instead of a preemie. I substituted one of the many pair I've been knitting lately and added a bow to dress them up a little. I also changed all of the dark purple ribbon to a soft pink color. I like it much better. And since the bonnet was rather plain and maybe just a little large, I added an extra ribbon across the top. I think this will help gather up the edges all around and result in a better fit. Plus it just looks pretty. I really want the gown sets I make to be as special as possible in the hope that they will bring a small measure of comfort to the families who receive them. I'm happy with this one now.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Preemie Project Update

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Here are a few hats that will soon be on their way to The Preemie Project. I made the pumpkin hats, but my daughter made the others when she was here visiting. She already knew how to knit, but I showed her how to knit in the round on double points. She did a great job on these hats and I appreciate her contribution very much! As you may remember, she showed me how to crochet. If I would have had more time, I would have crocheted an edge on these blankets...
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...but blanket stitch is faster and nice as well. Most of my remnants were blue and coordinated nicely. This was an unplanned bonus as I was able to use all the little leftover pieces to make one small blanket. It's my favorite. I'm still knitting booties. I'm up to ten pairs and still have time to make a few more. Mail-in date is Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

More Stuff

The sewing machine works! And, I can sew a straight line...sort of. Here's one of the blankets for The Preemie Project (TPP).
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I had to get a little creative with the remnants I bought the other day to make the blanket the right size. I decided to add a blanket stitch to bring some color to the edge. Besides, it's a lot faster than crocheting. I ran out of floss, but will get some more today and finish it up.

This next blanket has a cotton print fabric on the front and cotton flannel on the back, also with a blanket stitch.
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I like this one. I think I will try this with some Halloween print fabric, because I haven't found Halloween prints on flannel or fleece. When making things for preemies, it's important to keep the fabrics soft and comfortable. I think this is a good solution.

As far a knitting goes, I've been working on booties. I found this pattern. It is quick and easy. So far, I've knit four pairs. Here's a picture of three sizes.
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The pattern is written for four sizes, but I think I'll stick to these three. The fourth size would be too big I think. The goal of TPP is to present each baby with a hat, a pair of booties and a blanket. It is not required for each volunteer to make a set, but I'm feeling like I need to fill in the gap since I donated a lot of hats, but no shoes to match. There's one more week before the mail-in date, so I'll just keep going. I wonder how many I can get done?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Bears and Blankets

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Well, I couldn't stop at just one bear. I had to try out these two little guys. They are made from the Beginner's Bear pattern in The Knitted Teddy Bear. Both are basically the same except that one is garter stitch and one is stockinette. What is so clever about this pattern is that the ears, head and body are all one piece. It starts out as a flat rectangle shape which you seam into a tube, add stuffing and tie lengths of yarn in just the right places to shape the ears, head and muzzle. Because there are fewer pieces to knit and seam, these bears go together a lot faster. That makes them perfect for The Preemie Project (TPP).

Speaking of TPP, our first donation is coming up soon, so I've been working hard to get a few receiving blankets made before the 8/24 mail-in date. You can see two of them in the picture. It's my first attempt at crocheting, so don't look too close. But, I think they turned out nice and I liked doing it. My daughter showed me the basic crochet stitches when she was here for a visit and that helped a lot. This week I plan to make some more blankets. Some may even involve a sewing machine. Not my specialty, but maybe I can figure it out. Now where is the book that tells me how to thread the machine?

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Knitted Teddy Bear

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This bear had thirteen pieces to put together. I should have taken a picture of all of them, but here are two of the head pieces being sewn together. I used matching embroidery floss for most of the seaming which was done with a backstitch as the pattern suggested. It took a little time to put it all together, but I really like the way it turned out.
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Meet Oliver from The Knitted Teddy Bear by Sandra Polley. He is made with Caron Simply Soft on size US3 needles. All that's left to do is add a couple of buttons to his jacket. If you are thinking of knitting a bear, I would highly recommend this book. It is well written and with about eighteen patterns to choose from, you are sure to find one you want to make.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Summer's Over

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It's very quiet at home today. My husband is at work. My son started the first day of his senior year of high school. And, my daughter and her husband said good-bye a couple of hours ago after being here for a four day visit. We all had a great time together. There was knitting (the girls), computer games (the boys), Aquire and lots of food. It was fun! Wish we lived closer and were able to see each other more often. Summer break is over though and it's time to get into the school routine. But first, I think I'll knit a bear (from the book The Knitted Teddy Bear by Sandra Polley).

Monday, August 08, 2005

Preemie Booties

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This is now my favorite preemie bootie pattern. I used baby fingering yarn and size 3 needles to get the size I wanted. Even though fingering yarn is tiny, I didn't find it hard to work with and I like the delicate look of the finished fabric. These shoes go with the gown and hat pictured in my previous post.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Knitting Goal

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I've almost reached my goal for charity week. All that's left to knit are the booties. I'm considering a pair of socks instead. If all goes as planned, I'll cast on something later today. I like this gown a lot. Click here for the pattern. It's less fussy, which is more my style. But since it is plain, I knew I wanted to knit an extra special hat to go with it. The Angel Lace Baby Cap was just what I was looking for. Here is a close up so you can see the detail of the angel lace:
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I'm glad the pattern is written for two needles as well as dpns. I prefer knitting hats in the round, but I was having a lot of trouble starting this one on dpns. It was because it is knit from the top down which means you only start out with six stitches. On the very first round, every other stitch is a yarn over. It was very awkward trying to keep the stitches on the needles and no matter what I did, the guage was just too loose. After several attempts, I gave up and went to two needles and everything went smoothly from that point on. Of course when the knitting was finished, I still had the seaming to go. But, it didn't take that long and it turned out well.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


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These are the blankets that I knit on my vacation. I used this pattern for the blue one. With two strands of baby yarn (blue and white) held together, I knit the increase side until it was as big as I wanted, then began the decreases. This basic blanket is very versatile and can be knit with any yarn.

The multi-colored blanket is from the garter stripe pattern here. I got the idea for the lining from the book Knits from the Heart by Kristin Spurkland. It adds an interesting touch and hides the less attractive wrong side. And since I knit this blanket in a fairly loose guage, it gives it more substance. Better for warmth and less chance of tiny hands and feet catching on the stitches. It takes a little extra effort but is not hard to do. Just cut your washed and preshrunk fabric one inch larger all around than the size you need. Then fold and iron fabric edges under 1/2" all the way around. If you have a serger, you could serge the edges instead. Pin fabric to the wrong side and hand stitch in place. That's it.

Yesterday, when I was out shopping for a lining fabric, I found some nice flannel remnants. My plan is to sew up some receiving blankets and add a crochet trim to them. But, first I have to learn to crochet. Oh well, minor detail. At the very least, I can edge them in a blanket stitch. Or, I might use some of the fabric to line knitted blankets. As usual, all of these projects are for The Preemie Project.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Charity Week

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The gown set is finished. The pattern is here. Be warned though. I had trouble with the instructions. I originally wanted to knit the pointed lace pattern, but couldn't make it work with the number of stitches. The problem could be me. The author of the pattern welcomes email for help, but since I didn't have easy access to the internet on my vacation, I used the baby fan lace instead and changed things when I had problems.

Have you heard? August 1st-7th has been designated International Charity Crafts Week. This is a good time to concentrate all your knitting, crocheting and sewing efforts on projects for your favorite charity. I'll be knitting for
The Preemie Project (no surprise here). My goal is to knit another gown set. One that's less frilly. More suitable for a boy.