Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Cupcake Hat

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I had a lot of fun making these hats! Hope you do too.

Pattern: Cupcake Hat by Becky Veverka
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft (worsted weight)
Needles: US 7 DPN

This pattern is written to fit a small child. Here's what I did to come up with three sizes that will fit babies for The Preemie Project:
For sizes 1-3 lbs(3-5lbs,6-8lbs)
CO 40(48,56)
Work ribbed cup color until 1 1/2"(1 1/2", 2")
Knit frosting color until 3 1/2"(4", 4 1/2") from cast on edge
Work decreases
I haven't decided if the 2" length of the cup color on the size 6-8 lb hat is right or if it would look better at 1 1/2".

It took a little time for me to figure out how to make what the pattern calls a nubble, because I was reading too much into the instructions and trying to make it harder than it is. Basically all you do to make a nubble is to cast on extra stitches by knitting into a stitch and placing the loop back onto the same needle (this is like the first cast on technique I learned when I started knitting), then bind off the required number of stitches. On the smallest hat I made a nubble from four stitches instead of five as instructed.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Thanks, Jean!

For those who read this blog on a regular basis, you know how much The Preemie Project means to me. It truly has become one of the joys of my life. So imagine how touched I was when I went to Jean's blog today and read about the contest she's running. Not only has she knit a hat and a pair of booties for the little babies, but she is going one step farther by encouraging others to do the same. Her kindness means so much to me. The contest rules are simple: knit a hat and a pair of booties, mail them to Laura, then leave Jean an email letting her know they are in the mail. Your name will then be entered for a chance to win. The prize: a beautiful seagrass basket, just perfect for knitting. So, if you've been thinking about helping out, now would be a good time. Remember, the hat and booties don't have to be fancy, just be sure to use very soft yarn that can be machine washed and dried (no wool please) and also refer to this guide for sizing (be sure to scroll down some to find the finished hat circumferences, which are a little smaller than the actual head sizes). You will find the address of where to mail your donation at the bottom of the same page. Here's a simple set I made the other day.
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It only took three hours to knit the whole set. See, I told you it was easy.

Pattern: Knitted Preemie Hat-double pointed needles
Needle size: US 5
Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby (Sport D.K.)
Notes: I cast on 56 stitches and knit until the hat measured 4" from the cast on edge, then began the decreases. This hat measures 11" in circumference, which will fit a 3-5 pound baby. For those not comfortable with knitting with double points, you might try this pattern.

Pattern: Michelle's Preemie-Newborn Booties (and a nice hat pattern too)
Needle size: US 5
Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby (Sport D.K.)
Notes: I cast on 25 stitches and followed the pattern as instructed. The sole of these booties measure approximately 2 3/4" in length, which will fit a 3-5 pound baby.

I hope this will help you get started. The Preemie Project needs hats and booties for all sizes of babies from 1 pound to 11 pounds, so any size you come up with will fit some baby. The trick is to make a pair of booties to match the hat size. I have figured out the needle size and the number of stitches to cast on for all weights of yarn for these two patterns. If you need some advice on sizing, I'll be glad to help out. Just leave a comment and an email address so I can get back to you or you can find my email address by clicking on the View My Complete Profile link located on the top right of this blog.

PS. If the set you make doesn't match in size, send it in anyway. It will still be used.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Yarn Shopping

Well, I haven't cast on the second Embossed Leaves Sock yet. Instead, I've been working on hats and booties for The Preemie Project. Soon I'll be setting up the sewing machine to make little blankets. Our donation deadline is coming up in a couple of weeks and I want to be sure to get a few more things completed by then. I also keep looking at this...
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It's some of the goodies I bought with the gift certificate my sister gave me for Christmas. The book is called Sarah Dallas Knitting. The yarn is for a couple of projects in the book--mittens and slippers. I'm very tempted to start these now. I also picked up this book...
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Knitters', Crocheters', Weavers' & Spinners' Travel Guide 2006
It lists literally thousands of yarn shops across the United States and includes information like addresses, phone numbers and websites--all organized by states. I've had fun just reading the names of the stores. Some names are really reaching to be cute. I thought about sharing a few that made me laugh, but that wouldn't be very nice. You'll just have to get a book and check it out for yourself. One thing I know, this book is coming with me on my next trip, because yarn is the best
souvenir. I'm sure you agree!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I Didn't Tell You...

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...I was knitting a sock. It's the Embossed Leaves Socks designed by Mona Schmidt from the Winter issue of Interweave Knits. I like knitting socks, but I never feel a great need to concentrate all my energy on finishing them on any kind of time schedule. So, sometimes I will finish a pair in a reasonable amount of time and sometimes it takes me months. With this one I've been taking my time, knitting a few rounds whenever I feel like it. However, yesterday I had the urge to knit on them all day. It's amazing how fast it goes when you do that. This is a great pattern and yarn (Koigu) and I'll share all the details later when I finish the second sock, which could be next week or next month...you just never know.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Keeping It Simple

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I've had a bad cold this week and feel kind of lousy, but not so bad that I can't knit. Keeping it simple is the best way to go when you don't feel well, so I've been making hats and booties for The Preemie Project--trying to use up some Bernat Cotton Tots yarn I've had in my stash for awhile. I love the blue in this hat. It's called blue berry. It makes me happy just to look at it. A nice change from the all white knitting earlier.

The weather has been a little cooler, so I've been wearing my felted clogs a lot. They are breaking in nicely and I'm enjoying them even more than I thought I would. Last night I was looking for something in the pantry and knocked an unopened bottle of Tabasco Sauce off the shelf. I experienced a sinking feeling as I saw the bottle falling and knowing that it would land on the hard tile floor near my feet...my clog clad feet! The bottle survived, but the plastic lid broke and sauce squirted out onto the wall and my pant leg. Somehow the clogs were spared from all but one drop which I wiped off quickly before it had time to absorb into the fabric. That was lucky! Now the pants...that's a different story.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Pretty Picture

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While looking through my photos, I came across this picture I took last summer in Estes Park, Colorado. It reminded me to thank God for the rain he sent to us last night and brought to mind this scripture from Revelation 4:11.
You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.

Just wanted to share.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Saga of the Clogs

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The challenge: to felt the clog on the left to match the one on the right, but first the saga...

Two summers ago, while on a vacation in Colorado Springs, I purchased yarn and a pattern (Fiber Trends) for these clogs. I was a relatively new knitter then, so I let the store owner figure the amount of yarn I would need for the project. She had made these clogs before and even had a sample on display in the store. I trusted she knew the amount of yarn I would need.

Last spring I finally got around to knitting them and guess what? I found out I didn't have enough of the dark color to make both clogs. Oh well, I would just order more and it wouldn't really matter if it was the same dye lot because I could hide a mismatched color on the inside of the double sole if I needed to. First I decided to felt the one clog, just to make sure it was worth the effort and expense. It felted beautifully.

Finding the yarn (Cascade Pastaza) in the right color was more of a challenge than I thought it would be. Finally ordered some though and was happy to discover on it's arrival that the color was a close match. However, the yarn sat in the stash until just a couple of weeks ago.

Now, almost a year later the second clog is knitted and ready to be felted, which brings me back to the challenge. Will I be able to shrink it to the same size as the first one? I took notes on the length of washing time from earlier, but that probably won't help much since I've bought a new washing machine since then.

Well, I don't know why I had any doubts...
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This one took longer to felt for some reason (the new machine maybe?) and didn't felt as evenly at first, but I think it's a good match in the end.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Good Things

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One of the good things about being a volunteer for The Preemie Project is that you can knit, crochet or sew the baby items that you like best. It is not a requirement that you make a pair of booties to match each hat you donate. Laura takes all the single hat and booties that are donated and pairs them to make a set. Occasionally however, the colors she has don't go together very well, so she will ask volunteers to make hats and booties in white. Several of us volunteered to do this and I was assigned to make three hats and seven pairs of booties in a size to fit 3-5 pound babies. I used my favorite hat pattern. I love to change it up a little by knitting a few purl rows or a band of seed stitch. The possiblities for creativity are endless with this hat. For booties, I'm hooked on this pattern. These are simple and fast to knit. I can make a complete pair in one hour. Nothing tedious or fussy with this pattern and you can vary it depending on your mood. On some I knitted an eight row ribbed cuff. On others I knitted the ribbing for four rows and then knitted four rows of stockinette stitch to give them a rolled top.

Another good thing about The Preemie Project is knowing that the items I've spent time making are being donated as promised. I've donated my knitting to other charities before and have never heard a word back from them. But, there is good communication in this group and I never have to wonder. Laura gives us regular reports and even lets us know when she receives our box of goodies. It's a good work and I'm proud to be a part of it.

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Irish Hiking Scarf

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This one's been finished for some time, but I've been slow to post it. John wore it last night and gave it a thumbs up. Here are the details:

Pattern: Irish Hiking Scarf (Love those free patterns!)
Started: December 17, 2005
Finished: December 31, 2005
Yarn: Jo Sharp Silkroad Tweed (4 balls) 85% Wool, 10% Silk, 5% Cashmere
Needles: US size 8 and a cable needle

I considered making the cables without a cable needle, but found that I like using one. It doesn't seem to slow me down and doesn't get in my way. I find it to be a useful tool (I'm probably in the minority here).

This yarn knit up nicely for this scarf. I used all four balls (104 yds per ball) to get a scarf that measures approximately 60" in length.

This would be a good pattern for someone just learning to knit cables. It is simple and easy to memorize and by the time you finish the scarf you'll be an old pro at it.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Fast Cap

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My mother-in-law loved to knit. Mostly she knit for others--for her husband, for her thirteen children and for charity. Once she told me about a ski cap she used to make. She called them fast caps. In the 1950's she would knit these hats and sell them to the ski shops in Stowe, Vermont, not too far from where she lived. After she died, I came across a pattern for this hat. It was typed (most likely on a manual typewriter), brown with age and taped on the creases that long ago began to give way. In her handwriting on the front were the words "Fast Cap", and in the margin was a small drawing of the hat. I made a photocopy of it to have for myself and the other day I decided to try to knit one. I followed the typewritten directions for the most part, but soon realized that the hat I was making was not like the drawing. I think my mother-in-law may have used this pattern just as a guide to create a hat with fewer cable repeats and maybe that's why she called them fast caps. I'm not sure. The hat I made is sized to fit a child. I'm fairly certain she knit her's for adults. I did not knit the ear flaps (as I'm sure she did) because it was not possible to place them symetrically on a hat with five cables, although that's what the pattern called for. Instead I picked up the stitches around the bottom and knitted a ribbed cuff. It was fun to make this hat and to think of my mother-in-law knitting from the same pattern all those years ago. Next time I make it, I will knit it to more closely match the drawing.
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Thursday, January 05, 2006

I Saw A Hummingbird Today

And a butterfly.
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And peppers growing in the garden.
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And flowers everywhere.
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I thought it was supposed to be winter?

Pictures of finished objects coming soon.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Little Bag

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Want something quick and fun to make? Try this little bag. It takes only a few hours to knit and less time than that to felt. The longest part of the whole project is waiting for it to air dry and even that was just overnight. I used the jewelry bag pattern on page 91 of the book Felted Knits by Beverly Galeskas. This is a great book with a large variety of projects and detailed instructions on how to shrink your knitting. The yarn used for this bag is Noro Kureyon (100% wool), knit on US 10 needles. The finished size after felting is 6" x 5 1/4". A piece of leather is run through the eyelet holes and embellished with a couple of charms that can double as stitch markers for a knitter. This bag will be a gift for my neighbor. I'm not sure exactly how she will use it, but I can see her filling it with her embroidery scissors, needles and notions for her next stitching project.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A New Year

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It's a good day! The first day of the week and the first day of a new year. A good time to reflect on the year just passed and plan for the year to come. Looking back, I realize I fell short of several goals. I can do better. However, I did accomplish some of what I had hoped to. Last year it was on my heart to find a way to help those in need; to find a way to serve others. Little did I know last January that I would be able to serve others through my knitting. But, last spring I read about The Preemie Project and decided to become a volunteer. Working for the little babies has been a blessing in my life. I know it is a way I can serve others for many years to come.

This year, I have a strong desire to share the Bible with others in a way I haven't done before. I have taught Sunday school classes (3 year olds) for about 15 years. I have truly enjoyed sharing the Bible with this age group. And yes, they really are old enough to learn of God's love. But, now I would like to help adults learn more about the Bible. To start with, I'm going to work with the Free Home Bible Study ministry. I'm excited to see what God has in store for me with this work.

I would also like to become more faithful in my Bible reading and to read the whole Bible in 2006. It's easier to do than you might think. There are many reading schedules available and Bibles set up just for that purpose. I'm reading from the One Year Bible which is divided into 365 daily readings. Each day there is a portion of the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. This way works best for me. Last year I tried reading from a chronological set up, but got bogged down somewhere in Leviticus or Numbers. I'm not going to do that again this year.

I have knitting goals too. I want to try some Fair-Isle knitting and try to figure out spinning with a drop spindle. I definitely will continue to knit for The Preemie Project. The needles are empty and open to all kinds of possibilities!

Who can say what 2006 will bring? Joy? Sorrow? I'm glad I don't know. There are sure to be big changes in my life this year with my youngest graduating and heading for college. I will try to take each day as it comes. As Jesus said, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." Matthew 6:34

Happy New Year!