Monday, October 31, 2005

Looking Back

This week I'm knitting socks. I haven't knit a pair of socks since before I started this blog, so I thought I would show you a picture of the first pair I ever knitted.
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No, I don't have three feet. It just took three socks to get one decent pair. I had been knitting for a year and it was my first attempt at using double point needles. I bought a set of Boye aluminum double points and some yarn I found in the clearance bin. I wasn't sure I could figure it out, so I wasn't willing to spend much money on the project. I'm funny like that. The first attempt with double points was a disaster. I couldn't figure out how to handle all the needles and the yarn was very slippery on the aluminum. If you are a beginner with double points, please invest in a wooden or bamboo set, it's much easier to learn on. I set everything aside for a month, then tried it again. One of the hardest things was getting started. Finally, I figured out how to get everything joined in the round. And as you know, once you knit a few rounds the fabric holds the needles in place with no more flopping. I wish I had known about this site. It has excellent free video instruction for knitting a pair of socks. Anyway, things went smoother from that point on except for a dropped stitch or two, a few holes and a sock that ended up being too small. But, it looked like a sock and I was encouraged. So, I did it again, two more times and ended up with a decent pair for my "first" attempt. More later.

Hey Bluejay fans, Needville clinched a spot in the playoffs with Friday night's win over Stafford, 28-25! Thanks Sweeny for defeating Wharton!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Simple Shaw Finished

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Everything about this shawl is simple. A good choice for a beginner or for anyone who just wants to knit without thinking too much about it. It's quick too as long as you don't let other projects take up your knitting time like I did.

To make one, find a yarn you really like.
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I bought this in Kansas on our summer vacation. I found it at one of the best yarn shops I've ever been too. Next, pick a big size needle to give you a very loose gauge. I used size US 13. Cast on three stitches and knit being sure to increase every other row by making a yarn over after the first knit stitch and before the last knit stitch. This creates an eyelet edge. Continue in this way until the shawl is as big as you want. I went until I had 150 stitches on the needle. On the last row, K1, *yo, k2tog; rep until last stitch, K1. Bind off loosely. Block lightly making sure to open up the eyelet holes along the edges.

Nothing fancy. Just a very soft, light weight and surprisingly warm shawl. I think I'll be using this one a lot to keep warm while I'm at the computer checking out all the latest in blogland.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Knitting Needles

Have you looked at your collection of knitting needles lately? There are so many different types and styles out there and the great thing is that it doesn't really matter what kind you use. You could be knitting with pencils and no one would be able to tell by the end result of the garment. Since needles are really a matter of preference, they might say something about the person using them. I think mine do. Donna of Random Knits is asking us to share our needle stash, so here's mine.
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Can you tell I like things simple and natural? Brittany birch needles are my favorite. I have a set of 10" straights from size US3 to US10.5 and a set of 14" straights from US4 to US17. Most of my dpns are Brittany also, ranging from US2 to US13, but I have a set of Lantern Moon size US1 and Skacel size US0. When it comes to circulars, my favorite is Addi Natura. These are bamboo needles with the same flexible cable as Addi Turbos. I may be one of the few that would choose the bamboo over the turbo. The clicking sound of metal gets on my nerves a little. So, what are you knitting with?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Donation Day

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A few more items for The Preemie Project. No, I didn't make all of these this weekend. I worked on the hats a little at a time over the last month. Finished up the sets with some booties last week and worked on the bear (from The Knitted Teddy Bear) this weekend. This is the hat pattern I use when I want to make a hat quick. And this is the pattern for most of the booties I make. It takes me about 1.5 - 2 hours to make a hat and 1 hour for the booties. I don't consider myself to be a fast knitter, just a persistent one. Now to box it all up and get it to the post office. What will I work on next? I think I should finish the shawl I started a while back and maybe even knit a pair of socks. We'll see how long I can stay away from making baby things...not long I'm sure...I enjoy it too much.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

UIL Marching Contest

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This is my last year as a band parent. My last year to attend UIL Marching Contest. I will experience a lot of these "lasts" this year because my youngest is a senior. Today all the band's hard work came under the scrutiny of three judges in one performance. It was an important day.

I suppose everything started as it usually does. A run-through of the show on the home field before loading the buses to head to Victoria two hours away. Needville's band marches 120 which is large for a AAA school. It takes three yellow school buses and an equipment truck to transport all the students and gear. Before the band even got out of town, the truck loaded with the instruments broke down. My husband and I were already on the road and kept getting updates from our son over the phone. "We're trying to locate some trucks and trailers to haul the instruments." Then, "We're on the road. The instruments will come later, so our performance may be delayed." And the last phone call, "We're almost there. They say we will perform at our regular time. We have to head straight to the warm up room as soon as we get there."

I know the kids, the directors and everyone involved were feeling rushed and stressed. I was nervous for them. But when they took the field, they looked sharp.
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Normally I watch the band perform as a whole, but today my eyes were on my son. I watched as he directed the band and hardly noticed anything else. He was awesome! The band left the field after the performance and we went to wait with them for the judges' scores. No one in the band was smiling. Did they mess up or something? I wasn't really paying attention. Then, I realize they are just nervous. It's hard to smile when you're nervous.

Finally the band director delivers the news...straight ones. An unanimous superior rating!
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Congratulations Bluejay Band!
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Friday's football game: Needville 36, Palacios 9. Could this be a play-off year? Two games left.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Back to Knitting

I started knitting a small hat for The Preemie Project a few days ago. I was trying for size 1-3 lbs, but when I realized it would be smaller, I decided to make it part of a bereavement set (Micro Bunting).

So tiny. It will fit a baby less than 1 lb.
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Lined with soft blue flannel for a special touch.
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Simple hat and socks (Easy Socks) to match.
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May God bring peace and comfort to the family that receives this gift.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Pink is for Girls

Three hours of cutting...
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gives you this.
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Four hours of sewing...
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gives you this.
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Fifteen small blankets and one large blanket. All for The Preemie Project.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Blue is for Boys

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From ten yards of fabric I got six small (20"x22") blankets and two large (30"x30") blankets. I also used a package of purchased receiving blankets to make three more large ones. I found them for a good price at Tuesday Morning and originally planned to crochet an edge on them. But, I changed my mind when I started thinking of how much time that would take. I like to make blankets, but I don't want to spend a lot of time doing it.

I make my blankets the quick and easy way. First pre-wash and dry your fabric, then iron so you can measure accurately. Decide how large you want the blanket to be and cut two pieces of fabric one inch larger than the finished size. For example, if you want a 30"x 30" blanket, cut each piece of fabric 31" x 31". I've invested in a cutting mat, rotary cutter and acrylic ruler to make this step easier, but it is not necessary. Next place the two pieces of cut fabric together with right sides together. Match the edges and smooth the fabric. If you are using coordinating fabrics and you cut each piece seperately, this is where you find out how good you were at measuring and cutting. Match as closely as possible, remembering a small discrepancy won't make much difference because of the 1/2" seam allowance. I then use a rotary cutter and a template I made from a piece of cardboard to round the corners (easier for sewing). You can pin the fabric together if you want, but I find that flannel does not slip on itself, so I skip that step. Now, sew around the edges using a 1/2" for the seam allowance. Do not sew all the way around. Leave a small opening. Clip the rounded corners so the seam will lay flat when turned. Then turn the blanket right side out through the opening. Using an iron, press seams flat. Topstitch all around close to the edge. That's it. If you decide not to topstitch, be sure to sew the opening closed.

I hope that makes sense. It takes almost as long to write about it as it does to do it. Back to the sewing machine.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Knitting on hold...

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sewing in progress! Time to transform this stack of soft flannel into blankets for The Preemie Project. Most of this fabric was purchased at Wal-Mart for $1 a yard. I love the price and the quality of the fabric is good. Probably not as good as more expensive flannels, but in my opinion there's not enough difference to pay more. I'll probably be at the cutting table and sewing machine for a couple of days. Still hoping to knit a little in the evenings. So much to much fun doing it!

Bluejays back on track: Needville 20, Sweeny 14.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Time Flies

How can it be Friday already? This week was a busy one with an event to attend every evening. I've been knitting every day, but didn't accomplish as much as usual. I finished another gown set though...this one for a baby boy 1-3 lbs.
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Seems like I get stuck on one type of item at a time. This will probably be the last gown set for this month. The Preemie Project mail in date for our upcoming donation is October 24. Just a little over a week left to get everything in order. Next week I will concentrate on sewing blankets. Those usually work up fast, so I hope there will also be time to make a few more hat sets and maybe another bear.

Here are the details of this set:

Yarn Caron Cuddle Soft (fingering weight)

Needles US 3


Preemie Baby Kimono
Knitted Newborn Hat (Remember the one I made before? Love how changing the yarn and needles gives it a more delicate look.)
Easy Socks (Knit in the round with no eyelet row or ribbon this time.)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Rainy Day

Today it's raining, so no natural light for pictures. That's okay though, because we need rain. I plan to spend the day washing clothes and knitting. The knitting part will be fun; the washing, a necessary chore. I finished another gown set.
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This one will fit a 1-3 lb baby. It's very feminine with it's lace skirt. The next one I make will be for a boy.

Spring Purple Burial Gown
Lacy Hat
Easy Socks

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Baby Sport

Needles: US 3 for all items

Things I Changed:

*I added an eyelet row to the neckline of the gown to make it adjustable. Next time I may add an opening in the back of the bodice for easier dressing.

*I knit the hat in the round by changing the purls to knits. It
resulted in a hat that is more texture than lace. Still nice.
If you follow the directions and knit it on straight needles, you
will get a nice lace pattern.

*Also worked the socks in the round. This is the same pattern I
used before. I like these little tube socks with the eyelet row
and ribbon.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

My Weekend

It's been a beautiful weekend over here! Finally temperatures are cool enough to turn off the air conditioner (too bad that won't last). All of you from cooler climes would have been laughing at us at Friday night's football game. The temperature was about 60 degrees and we were freezing...all bundled up in blankets and buying out all the hot chocolate in the concession stand. It felt colder than it was though, because the wind was blowing hard right in our face. And it was damp too. You can laugh, it's okay. This was an important game for Needville. It was their first district game (this one counts) and things were rough from the start. A humiliating loss: Needville 6, Wharton 46. Oh well, the band looked good in their new uniforms.
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This picture is from Saturday's band competition in Edna (my son is one of the drum majors). The Bluejays performed their show called Spy vs Spy. It's a good show and the crowd enjoyed it. The judges liked it too. Needville left the competition with a 1 rating, a trophey for outstanding color guard, and a trophey for 1st place band in the 3A division. UIL band competition is in two weeks. That's the one that really counts for the band.
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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Teeny Tiny

I'm back home now. Had a good time in San Antonio. While my husband attended his scheduled meetings, I was free to do whatever I wanted, so you know what I did...I knitted. Made a few things for The Preemie Project including this tiny gown set for a baby weighing less than one pound.
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The gown measures just a little over 7" from the neck to the hem and the bodice is only 3 1/2" across the front. It was hard to know how big to make the hat. The one I made will fit on a regular size lemon. It is 4" in circumference, but can be stretched to 5". The tube socks are flat now so they look a little big in comparison. When worn I think they will fit a foot as small as 1". It is difficult to imagine a baby this tiny. It makes me sad if I think about it too much. It is my prayer that this gift will somehow bring comfort to the family that receives it.

I used three different patterns for this set. In each case I used Caron Cuddle Soft Yarn (a fingering weight I think) and size US 3 needles. Instead of the lace pattern on the gown, I substituted stockinette stitch. The hat and socks were knit in the round on dpns. Here are the links: Gown, Hat (you will find it on the pattern called Micro Bunting), and Socks (called Easy Socks). I shortened the length of the socks by knitting the ribbing for 3/4" and the bottom of the sock for 1 1/2".

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

City Life

Arrived in San Antonio late yesterday afternoon. We're staying here, a beautiful old hotel that some say is haunted. I've not run into any ghosts...yet. Having to get used to the sights and sounds of the city.
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Nothing but large buildings for our view and the sound of loud city buses constantly in the background.

Over the weekend, I knit these...
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which when sewn together became this cute teddy.
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From the book The Knitted Teddy Bear. To be donated to The Preemie Project.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Good Morning

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Hope you are having a good day. This sunrise began our morning on the last day of our stay at Feathered Horse Ranch. We were up early, stowing things away and hitching up the trailer. Our stay here was a good one, despite the circumstances.

The last hat to show you is called, Lace Baby Beenie. I followed the pattern as directed and ended up with a hat for a 9-11 lb baby. Sounds big for The Preemie Project, but not every baby in the NICU is a preemie. We need a few large sizes too, so this one will be okay.
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And, for anyone keeping track of Needville High School football...Needville 28, Huffman-Hargrave 23. It was a good game! Next week starts district competition. That's when it really counts.

Ps. I'll be out of town for a few days. Will post if I'm able.