Friday, March 31, 2006

Lesson Learned

When it comes to knitting hats for The Preemie Project, I rarely use patterns that require seaming. No reason, really. I just like that when I'm finished knitting, I'm finished with the hat. But, I wondered if I was missing out on some great patterns. I was! Here are a couple.

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Both the hat and the booties are knitted flat and seamed.

Hat Pattern: Denny's Heather Hat (there's a sweater pattern too!)
I used sport weight yarn (Red Heart Soft Baby) and US 5 needles. Next time I may make it a little bit shorter. This hat will fit a 3-5 lb baby.

Booties Pattern: Easy and Quick Booties
For these, I also used sport weight yarn and US 5 needles. I'm adding this pattern to my favorites list! Finally, another pattern for booties that works up quick, easy and cute. I don't know why it took me so long to try it.

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Pattern: Denny's Broken Rib Hat
This is the hat that I tried to knit in the round and ended up with the Preemie Spiral Hat. This time I knitted it flat, but changed the yarn (sport weight), the needle size (US 5) and the number of stitches cast on (55sts) to get a hat that will fit a 3-5 lb baby. I decided not to turn the cuff, so I knitted the ribbing for only 1".

From now on, I'm not going to let a little seam keep me from trying a new pattern. These hats are so small that it doesn't take much time for the sewing and the seams aren't even noticeable.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New Pattern

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Yarn: DK weight or Sport weight baby yarn
Needles: US 5 dpns
Size: 1-3 lbs (3-5 lbs, 6-8 lbs)

Cast on 48 (56, 64) sts.
Divide stitches on three needles. Join in the round, being careful not to twist.
Work 1x1 ribbing for 1".
Increase one stitch at the end of the last round of ribbing. 49 (57, 65) sts.

Spiral Pattern:
This pattern is formed by working K2, P2 continually from round to round until hat measures 3 1/2" (4", 4 1/2") from cast on edge. Just in case you need to see it written out, here are the details...

Rnd 1 - *K2, p2, repeat from * to last stitch, k1.
Rnd 2 - K1, *p2, k2, repeat from * to end of round.
Rnd 3 - *P2, k2, repeat from * to last stitch, p1.
Rnd 4 - P1, *k2, p2, repeat from * to end of round.
Work these rounds until hat measures 3 1/2" (4", 4 1/2") from cast on edge.

Rnd 1 - K2tog around until last stitch, k1.
Rnd 2 - K around
Repeat these 2 rounds twice more (6 rounds total).

Cut yarn 6" long and pull through remaining stitches.
Pull tail to the inside and weave in all ends.
If desired, add pom-pom or other topper.

Additional Notes:

The yarn used for the hat pictured is DK weight Little Lehigh by Kraemer Yarns (45% cotton, 55% acrylic). It is made from the 3-5 lb size instructions. I have not tested the other two sizes yet.

I did not try to figure out how to continue the spiral pattern through the decreases, but it would give the hat a nicer look and shape. Feel free to experiment with this.

This pattern is for charity and personal use only. My hat will be donated to The Preemie Project.

Monday, March 27, 2006

This Is Texas

We were in Palacios, Texas on Saturday to watch Needville High School perform their play for the UIL One Act Play Competition. Palacios is a small town on Matagorda Bay about an 1 1/2 hours from my house. The Texas Hill Country is famous for it's fields of wildflowers this time of year. Though this is not the Hill County, we were able to find a few flowers in bloom.
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The bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas and one of my favorites.
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By the way, Needville's performance of The Night Thoreau Spent In Jail was awesome! Of course, I could be biased since my son is in the play, but the judge agreed too and advanced it to the next competition. Congratulations to the cast and crew!
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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Two Green Hats, A Pair of Booties and A Nice Surprise

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The Preemie Project is expanding. Not only we will be supporting our original hospital in Iowa, but we will also start supporting two hospitals in Michigan. Jan is the coordinator of the Michigan Chapter. She and other Michigan volunteers have been knitting and crocheting up a storm to get plenty of hats and booties made in time for the first official donation in April. All national volunteers have been asked to help out too, so these two hats and the others I've made recently will be sent to Michigan.

It's been a while since I made the hat on the left. It's called Lots of Eyelets Preemie Hat. I followed the pattern as written except I made it a little longer. It will fit a 3-5 pound baby.

The other hat was an attempt to convert this pattern, which is knit flat, into one that is knit in the round. I believe I came up with something totally different. Just to be sure, I'm going to knit the pattern as written. If the one I made is different, I'll write up the instructions and publish them here later. So check back next week, if you're interested. This hat will also fit a 3-5 pound baby.

Both of these hats and the booties were made with my new favorite yarn, Little Lehigh by Kraemer Yarns (45% Cotton, 55% Acrylic).

Last week I received a nice surprise in the mail from Jean.
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Soon after this picture was taken, I filled this basket with my current knitting projects and some pretty yarn I have in mind for future projects. I love it!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Year One

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The calendar says it's Spring and so does the weather here in Needville. If that's not the case where you live, it will be soon. Hang in there. The beginning of Spring has a special significance here at Wool Windings, because it means that this blog is now one year old. It's been a fun year and some good things have happened as a result of starting this blog. One good thing is that I learned about The Preemie Project and became a volunteer. If you are a regular visitor here, you know that knitting for the little babies is one of the joys of my life. Another good thing is that blogging has helped me develop my computer skills to the point that I am now able to work as a teacher for the Free Home Bible Study program. Before I started this blog, I didn't even know how to turn the computer on. Now I am using the computer to share the gospel with people all over the world. What a difference a year makes! And last but not least, I have developed some good friendships through this blog. This is a blessing I didn't expect. Thanks for taking the time to comment and encourage me through this first year.

Scatter seeds of kindness everywhere you go;
Scatter bits of courtesy
watch them grow and grow.
Gather buds of friendship;
Keep them till full-blown;
You will find more happiness
than you have ever known.

- Amy R Raabe

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day

If you're looking for leprechauns today and are in the Salt Lake City area, try here.
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This is a great place to get a milkshake, but don't expect to drink it through a straw. You'll need a spoon. It's very thick--the consistency of soft serve ice cream. I really wonder if they add any milk to it all? And, they're huge! Bring an appetite or a friend to share it with.

We're back in Texas now. Got off the plane yesterday to be greeted by temperatures in the 80's and that familiar feeling of humidity. Time to pack away the sweaters, hats and mittens and bring out the shorts.

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On our last day in SLC, I visited two more yarn shops. The first was Black Sheep Wool Co. where I found the greatest yarn for making hats for The Preemie Project. It's called Little Lehigh (Kraemer Yarns) and is a DK weight--45% cotton, 55% acrylic. It was a new yarn to this store and new to me. I also bought a cute gray wool sheep to add to my collection. It's made by Anne Carroll of Park City.

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The next stop was Unraveled Sheep in Sandy. I bought some Jamison's Shetland Wool there. They had a large selection of colors to choose from. I don't think any of the shops in Houston carry this. So if I get hooked on it, I'll order some more from here. They said they would be glad to help with color selection over the phone. I think this is better than choosing the colors from a computer monitor. I plan to use the blue and off white I bought for a color stranded hat.

I received excellent help in both shops and give both a big thumbs up!

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This is the knitting I did while on vacation (for The Preemie Project). The hats are all variations of this pattern. I tried this slipper pattern for the first time. It's okay, but this pattern for booties still cannot be beat. The variegated set and the off white set are both made from Caron Simply Soft. I found that the variegated yarn is not as soft as the solid colors. I don't know why that is. The green set is made from the Little Lehigh yarn. I can't emphasize how much I love this yarn! I would even make something for myself from it. It's a joy to knit with and is very soft and light weight.

A couple of final shots of my family and the mountains of Utah. This one is of me and my husband, John. We are both wearing scarves I knitted (a little hard to see).
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Here is my son, Matt, wearing a hat knitted by my daughter, Robyn. She will be glad to hear he wore it the whole time we were there.
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Yesterday's Adventure

Today will be a lazy day for me. The boys have gone on a guided fishing trip down the Green River and I'm left on my own. It will be a good day to do a little knitting and catch up on some blog reading. Yesterday we spent the day exploring the mountains. The morning started with sunshine and just a few clouds, but soon gave way to gray skies and snow. It was still a lovely day and we saw many beautiful sights.

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We came down from the mountain and had lunch in Sandy at Crown Burgers. It was our first time to eat here. They serve pastrami on their burgers! I guess it's no different than adding bacon to a burger. It was good pastrami, but I ended up taking it off. I like my burgers plain, I guess. I also tried fry sauce for the first time. It's similar to Thousand Island dressing without the pickles. Pretty good.

Since we were in Sandy, we stopped by a yarn shop I knew was there.

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This shop also sells antiques. They carry a small selection of interesting yarns. A unique little shop. I bought some unspun yarn that should be great for felting. I've never seen this before and at only $11 dollars for a huge cake, it was a great buy.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the countryside by car, ending up in Park City where we walked around the downtown area and stopped in some of the shops. All we bought was some coffee to warm us up. It snowed the whole time we were there.

As we headed back to Salt Lake City, John has us looking for moose. We finally spotted one, but it was far away. The only way we knew it was a moose and not a rock was that we could tell it had legs. I guess this counts as seeing a moose in the wild, but next time I hope to see one closer.

To end the day, we were treated to a beautiful sunset over the valley.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Spring Break Vacation

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The new hat and mittens are seeing some action here in Salt Lake City, Utah. Look at that snow! This is a treat for us Texans, though I'm sure everyone around here is ready for some real Spring weather. John took this picture at our hotel as we were leaving for church. It snowed hard like this all morning. When we came out of church there were several inches of snow covering everything. It was beautiful, so fresh and clean. After lunch and a little shopping, we took a drive out toward Park City and through the Provo Canyon. We saw some beautiful scenery. Every once in a while we would stop and take a picture.

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"Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." Isaiah 1:18

Friday, March 10, 2006

One More

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Gown Set

I decided to try another tiny gown for a boy. According to the measurement guide that The Preemie Project uses, I think it will fit a baby that weighs close to one pound. This gown is a little larger than the buntings I made the other day. The biggest difference is in the width of the skirt. It measures 7 1/2" when opened flat. The length of the bodice may be slightly longer too, but not much. I think the width of the bodice is similar to the buntings. The addition of the sleeves gives it a look I like. Sizing is the hard part when making these little gowns, but I know it will fit some precious baby and hopefully bring a blessing to a grieving family.

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The Back

Pattern: Extra Small Preemie Gown by Lenore English
Yarn: Caron Cuddle Soft (fingering weight)
Needles: US 3
Finished Measurements: 8" from top of neck to hem, 7 1/2" wide when opened flat, 2 1/2" across the front of the bodice just above the ribbing

Used smaller weight yarn and smaller needles.

Worked rows 1-4 of the Dot Stitch Pattern until 7" from the neckline instead of 9".

Worked 4 rows for the sleeves instead of 12 that is suggested, then followed instructions for the decreases and garter stitch border.

This pattern does not include an eyelet row under the bodice. But when it was finished, I decided it would be a good idea to have the ability to adjust the width in this area, so I improvised and wove a ribbon through the stitches. You might want to add an eyelet row instead.

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Close-up of the Improvised Eyelet Row

Used the same yarn and needle size and this pattern (Itty-Bitty Hat), but cast on 48 stitches.


Used the same yarn and needle size and this pattern (Easy Socks). Worked the ribbing for 3/4", added the eyelet row, worked stockinette stitch for 1 1/2" from cast on edge, and then decreased and finished as instructed. I knitted these in the round on dpns, but the pattern is written for straight needles.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Forgot Something

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I forgot to say that if you choose to knit the Itty-Bitty Bunting in stockinette stitch, be sure to work the first four rows in garter stitch or seed stitch so the bottom will not curl. I've gone back and added this instruction to the pattern.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Itty-Bitty Bunting


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The Preemie Project has requested very tiny gowns and buntings for babies less than one pound. One of our volunteers, Sara, used this pattern (Tiny Micro Preemie Gown/Bunting), casting on half the number of stitches and working the skirt in stockinette stitch instead of the lace pattern. The nurses described this gown as "the perfect fit" and said it would be good for either a girl or boy. I would have thought this style would be too feminine for a boy, but I decided to trust the judgement of the nurses and give it a try. I opted to close the bottom, making it a bunting instead of a gown. I like this better for a boy. Also, it was easy to change the look by varying the stitch pattern. I came up with three versions, but there are more possibilities just waiting to be knitted.

The three versions I came up with for these buntings from left to right are:
#1-skirt and bodice both worked in stockinette stitch.
#2-skirt and bodice both worked in garter stitch.
#3-skirt worked in seed stitch, bodice worked in stockinette stitch.

You will notice that the back is not sewn together, but is instead closed with ribbons. This makes it easy to dress the baby and is a necessary feature on clothing for babies this tiny.
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Itty-Bitty Bunting
Inspired by Tiny Micro Preemie Gown/Bunting designed Mary Glynn of Heavenly Angels in Need
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Baby Sport
Needles: US5
Finished Size: 9" from neck to cast on edge, 5 1/2" wide when opened flat
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For Skirt
Cast on 25 sts.
Work 4 rows in your choice of stitch pattern (stockinette, garter or seed). *If you want the gown to be worked in stockinette stitch, these first four rows should be worked in garter stitch or seed stitch to prevent curling. Change to stockinette stitch after the eyelet row.*
Work eyelet row: *K2tog, yo, rep from * to last stitch, k1.
Continue working in chosen stitch pattern until 7" from cast on edge.
Work eyelet row (same as above).
For Bodice
Work 3 rows in your choice of stitch pattern (stockinette, garter or seed).
K6, cast on 10, k13, cast on 10, k6.
Work 3 rows, continuing in chosen stitch pattern.
K1, p1 across row.
K1, p1 across row.
K2tog across to last stitch, k1.
BO all stitches purlwise.
Weave in ends.
Do not sew the back closed, instead weave ribbon through eyelet holes and tie in the back to close.
If you wish to make this a gown instead of a bunting, do not cinch bottom closed and decrease the length of the skirt by 1" or more.

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Itty-Bitty Hat
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Baby Sport
Needles: US 5 dpns
Finished size: 6"circumference to fit a baby less than l pound
Cast on 30 sts.
Join in the round.
Choose one of the following and work until 3/4": 1x1 rib, seed stitch or rolled brim (knit every stitch).
Then knit all rounds until 2 3/4" from cast on edge.
*K2 tog, repeat from * (15 sts)
*K2 tog, repeat from * to last stitch, k1. (7 sts)
Cut yarn and pull through remaining stitches and secure end.
Weave in ends.
Add ribbon loop topper, if desired.


I was very surprised at how narrow this bunting is. I actually double checked with Sara to make sure I had cast on the correct number of stitches.

I do not think it is necessary to make booties to complete this set because the baby's feet will be enclosed.

I would like to publicly thank Mary Glynn for designing so many wonderful patterns for premature infants. I find myself using her patterns over and over, because they are well written and work up beautifully. She deserves all design credit for the bodice of this bunting. It would have been an exact copy of the pattern she wrote that inspired this one, except that I accidently left off one knit row. I liked it this way, so I left it like that. Through this blog, I recently corresponded with Mary Glynn. She is a wonderful person with the heart of a servant and a great love for the little babies and families she helps through her group, Heavenly Angels in Need. I am blessed to have met her.
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ADDED 8/29/06: Though I had been told this narrow version of this gown was deemed a "perfect fit", I have just recently found out that the nurses now say it is too narrow. So, if you make this gown, please use more stitches in the body.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Texas Square

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This square is on it way to Christine for a blanket she will make for her brother Jef and his wife. It will be joined together with other knitted 8" x 8" squares in many shades of blue, all kinds of yarn and various stitch patterns. No doubt some of the squares will be intricate in design while others will be simple. Some will be knitted by experienced hands and some will be first attempts by beginners. Together this hodgepodge of designs will become a blanket of comfort--a way to say that we know that what you are experiencing is exceedingly difficult and we care. One thing I know for sure, this blanket will be beautiful! How can it not be with all the love behind it!

Pattern: Knitted Texas Cloth
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease
Needles: US 5
Thoughts: I chose this square for Jef's blanket because it represents my home, a place of comfort to me.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Matching Hat

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You know how some people look good in hats? Well, I don't think I'm one of them. I'll wear a hat when I'm forced too--when I'm on a hike and I need protection from the sun or when it's cold and I care more about keeping warm than how I look. I can always count on my husband to make a comment about my hat. He has a favorite saying that was a joke in his family, though I've never understood the humor in it. I think it's one of those "you had to be there" things. I used to think he was trying to tell me in a round about way that I shouldn't wear hats, but now I know it's just something he says and he really means nothing by it. So this time when he says, "Nice hat, make it yourself?", I can truthfully reply, "Yes, as a matter of fact I did."

Pattern: Something I devised on my own, inspired by several sources.
Started: 2/27/06
Finished: 2/28/06
Yarn: Noro Cash Iroha (slightly more than one skein of the green)
Needles: US 3
What I Did:
CO 104 sts. and worked the same twisted rib pattern I used for my mittens from the book, Sarah Dallas Knitting. I worked this ribbing flat for 1", then joined in the round and worked stockinette stitch until hat measured 6" from CO edge. For the decreases I started with K6, K2 tog and worked my way down in the usual way, knitting even on every other round until there were 7 sts. remaining. For the topper I knitted a bobble as described in Ann Budd's book, The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.
Thoughts: I like that this hat is small in size and close fitting. It folds up nicely and fits perfectly in my coat pocket.
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Oops! I should probably fix that little piece of yarn showing through from the underside.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Some Days are Lucky

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Lucky. That's how I felt when I opened my email on Saturday to learn I had won Margene's birthday contest. She put everything in the mail that day and look what arrived on Monday. There is sock yarn by Trekking and Opal and some Alpaca Cloud from Knit Picks. The great thing about these yarns is that I have never tried any of them before, but have always wanted to. Other goodies include a sheep shaped Post-it pad, yummy candy and a cuticle bar that was made by Margene's sister. And don't forget the Chibi. It's the one that comes with three sizes of straight needles. I never owned one of these until now. Margene, are you sure it's your birthday? It feels more like mine.

Click here for this week's birthday contest question. You might be the lucky winner this time.