Monday, November 28, 2005

Christmas Hat

The Preemie Project needs over 100 Christmas/Winter themed hat and bootie sets for the next donation on 12/16 (mail by date is 12/9), so I've been busy knitting Santa Hats. I've used this pattern and this one. They are both really cute, but take a little longer to knit than a regular hat because you knit the top long enough to flop over. As I knitted these I began to realize that I would not be able to finish all the hats (not to mention the blankets) that I've committed myself to making in the next two weeks, so I came up with a Christmas hat that is faster to knit.

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Yarn: Bernat Soft Boucle' in white (contrasting color)
Caron Simply Soft worsted weight in red (main color)

Needles: US size 7 dpns

Gauge: 5 sts = 1"

Finished circumference 8" (10", 12")
To fit a baby: 1-3 lbs (3-5 lbs, 6-8 lbs)

Cast on 40 (48, 56) sts. in contrasting color. Divide stitches as evenly as possible on three needles. Join in the round. Knit until hat measures 1-1/2" (1-1/2", 1-1/2") from cast on edge. (The measurement for this part is approximate. I tried to knit the brim just long enough so it would roll, but not show where the new yarn is joined on the wrong side.)

Change to main color and knit until hat measures 3-1/2" (4", 4-1/2") from cast on edge. Begin decreases.

Decrease Rounds:
Rnd 1 *K6, k2tog; rep from * around
Rnd 2 K
Rnd 3 *K5, k2tog; rep from * around
Rnd 4 K
Rnd 5 *K4, k2tog; rep from * around
Rnd 6 K
Rnd 7 *K3, k2tog; rep from * around
Rnd 8 K
Rnd 9 *K2, k2tog; rep from * around
Rnd 10 K
Rnd 11 *K1, k2tog; rep from * around
Rnd 12 K
Rnd 13 K2tog around
Rnd 14 K

Cut yarn leaving an end for sewing top. Pull through remaining stitches and draw up tightly to secure. Fasten off. Make a pom-pom from contrasting color and attach to top. Weave in all ends.
Copyright 2005 by Tracy Batchelder
For charitable and personal use only.

Please consider making one of these hats for The Preemie Project. Even though I did my best to be accurate with the instructions, it is possible that I made a mistake as I am still working out all the details.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Brazos Bend

There was so much cooking and eating going on earlier this week that I didn't get a chance to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. Hope you had a good time. Yesterday while many of you were out fighting the shopping crowds, I was taking a walk in Brazos Bend State Park.
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This park is very close to our house, but we don't take advantage of that fact often enough. I guess we are too busy or the weather is so hot we don't feel like being outdoors. Yesterday the sky was overcast and the temperatures were in the 70's, so we headed out. While my husband fished from the pier, my son and I walked around the lake. There are alligators in this park. We saw a big 14 foot gator across the bank. I couldn't get a picture of him from where I was, but he was huge! Saw lots of buzzards too--about 50 or more circling overhead. It was a bit creepy. And the armadillos were everywhere. This one let me get really close to take his picture.
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There are lots of deer in this park too, but we didn't see any. Maybe next time.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Needville vs. Liberty Hill

Yesterday we were in Bryan, Texas to watch the Bluejays play football.
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During playoffs, the team roster is expanded to include players from the Junior Varsity squad. This gives them a taste of what it's like to be in a playoff situation. And, I think the large number of players on the team is supposed to intimidate the other side, but of course, they do they same thing. Look at all the uniforms lined up for the coin toss.
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I think the whole town drove the two hours to Bryan to support the team. Lots of blue shirts and lots of spirit. There is nothing like Bluejay pride! It was obvious that our fans outnumbered theirs.
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At half time the band performed a few requested favorites. They ended the show with an 'N' for Needville and the fight song--always a crowd pleaser.
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Both teams played with heart. It was a hard fought, close game.
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Liberty Hill led for most of the time, though Needville scored first. In the last quarter with less than five minutes on the clock, Needville had their chance. The Jays were behind by seven points. It was first down and only 5 yards to go for a touchdown. We were sure they could do it. They gave it everything they had, but were not successful. Later with a couple of minutes to go, Needville got the ball again on their 30 yard line. Another chance, but the opponents were tough and caused the Jays to fumble and somewhere in those last minutes also scored another touchdown. The final score was Liberty Hill 34, Needville 20.

The fans love their Jays though and after the game began to chant "We are proud of you!"...and we are. Congratulations on a great year.
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Friday, November 18, 2005

A Special Touch

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Yesterday I found time to sew a few blankets for The Preemie Project. I love my new machine! One of the things I love is the decorative stitching choices. These are the two satin stitches I've tried so far. Adding a special touch to blankets is now easy and fun.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Monday, November 14, 2005

State Playoffs

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It's playoff time for the Needville Bluejays! Saturday's game was against Halletsville and was played in Victoria, Texas. It's been a long time since the Jays made it this far. Everyone in town is proud of their accomplishment. I liked the way these girls showed their school spirit.
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I was cheering for the team as much as anyone, but I was also there to cheer on the band. The half time show was changed up some to feature the flag corps in a routine that required an unusual costume--hot pink body bags.
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It was really cute and the little girl next to me was laughing through the whole thing. I had to leave the game after the half time show in order to make it home in time for a dinner date. When I left, Needville was winning by 3 points. The game could have gone either way. Both teams seemed evenly matched. So, I was really excited when my son called to tell me Needville had won, 24-14. Good job Jays! Next Saturday Needville will face Liberty Hill who won their first playoff game, 62-7. I don't like the sound of that.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Christmas Comes Early

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It's not even December, but I've already opened my Christmas present from my husband. It's just what I wanted! Of course I had to test it out right away, so I made this little flannel bear for The Preemie Project. What a wonderful machine. So quiet and smooth. A big change from my old clackety one. I really wondered if the old one was going to make it through that last round of blanket making. Now I'm all set. Thanks, John and Merry Christmas to you too.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Tiny Bunting

This tiny bunting (for a baby less than 1 pound) is based on this pattern. I knit it with size 5 needles and Caron Simply Soft Baby Sport.
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Instead of garter stitch, I used stockinette with a garter stitch border.
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I lined it with a piece of flannel, left over from blanket making, sewing it on by hand to avoid flattening the stitches.
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The whole process took about 3 hours. Two hours to knit and one hour to add the lining. I'm hoping to make several of these for The Preemie Project. The flower embellishments on the front are purely decorative.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cute Hat

I finished the first sock last Friday and it fits! I decided to take a break from tiny needles and itty bitty stitches and indulge in a little instant gratification.
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This cute hat was designed by Debbie, a Preemie Project volunteer. It's knit flat and then seamed together on the side. A great pattern for beginners. I love the shape! The Preemie Project will be donating holiday themed hat sets next month, so I will be working on these in between other things. I also just learned there will be a donation of bereavement items on December 1st. Time to start knitting for the babies again. I won't neglect the sock though. I cast on the second one yesterday and have about 3 inches knitted so far.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

On A Whim

Yesterday morning I read on Judy's blog about a fiber festival in Boerne, Texas. I happen to mention it to my husband and he said, "Let's go!". At first I was hesitant. It's at least a three hour drive one way and I was sure it would be a small event, maybe not worth the effort. But, we didn't have any plans for the day, so we decided a drive out to the Hill Country would be fun whether the festival was good or not. It turned out that there were only about a dozen vendors. But one of them was Brooks Farms!
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It was worth the trip just to finally see and touch the yarn that I've heard so many rave about. I bought enough for a shawl and a mitten/hat set.

Wyatt Wheels was there too. Every spinning wheel is individually made by Bill Wyatt and is a work of art. He told us he flunked wood shop in high school. I found that hard to believe! If only his teacher could see what he's making now. My favorite wheel was the Pegasus made from mesquite.

We had fun visiting with the the ladies from Louisiana. They call themselves Les Trois Ami. They are all three spinners and raise their own sheep. One of the farms has a website. You can tell they love what they do. We bought a hand crafted knostepinde from their booth. This one is small and delicate looking, made from cherry. I'll use it for winding up small bits of left over yarn. It was handcrafted by Terry Selser, the husband of one of the three.

There were animals and music too. Visit my husband's blog for his perspective and more pictures. We acted on a whim and I'm glad we did. I would have never found these treasures otherwise.
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The Bluejays lost their last district football game to West Columbia, 21-7. Playoff game next Saturday.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Look At This

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Here it is. The sock I've been knitting this week. It's Evelyn A. Clark's Go With The Flow Socks. I'm using the recommended yarn, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Solids and the recommended needles, size US1. Of course, I didn't check the gauge ahead of time. It seems pretty close, but the row gauge is off some. It takes fewer rows to get the length so I've just been knitting to the stated length instead of the number of rows called for. That was fine until I came to the heel flap, then I realized I would need to knit all the rows so I could pick up the right number of stitches later. So, the heel flap may be too long and I don't know how that will effect the fit. There was probably a way to work it out, but I don't have enough experience knitting socks to tackle that one yet. So, the doubts are going through my mind with every stitch...Will it fit? Will I have enough yarn? Why didn't I make the leg shorter?...But, isn't that the way it is with all new patterns? It's still a fun sock to knit and in the end I think it will all work out. Here's a close up of the cuff and the lace pattern (which will show up better when worn).
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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Looking Back Part II

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After knitting my first "pair" of socks, I discovered Magic Stripes yarn from Lion Brand. It is a blend of superwash wool (75%) and nylon (25%). It is inexpensive, only about $6 a skein and can be found at craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby. One skein is enough for a pair of socks. I used a basic pattern something like this one and let the yarn do all the work. These socks are holding up well and no special care is needed--machine wash and dry with all your other laundry. I like this yarn and was excited to find some on clearance the other day. I bought three skeins for only $12! So now you know, I'm not a yarn snob. However, I am using a premium yarn for the socks I'm knitting now. More later.