Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Few Things To Share

There has been a wonderful response to the Preemie Project Contest! I think you are going to be surprised to hear how many hats, booties and blanket squares have been donated. The number has really jumped since the last post. Check back on Thursday for the totals and winners. It will probably be later in the afternoon of that day before I post anything.

The last several days have been busy with celebrations. On Thursday Matt turned 18 and on Friday evening he graduated from high school. There is so much I could say about Matt and his acheivements, but I'll just simply say that I'm very proud of him! Robyn and James were able to be here from Arkansas. It was great to have the whole family together again. We had a wonderful but short visit. On Saturday morning we left the house at 4:00 a.m. to drive to Lafayette, Louisiana for my nephew's high school graduation which started at 9:00 a.m. We made it in time. Stayed after the graduation for a nice lunch and then returned home again the same day. Needless to say, we were all a little tired.

Things are slowing down now. Robyn and James left yesterday. We are catching up on our sleep. Knitting has resumed. I think I went almost a week without knitting a stitch--highly unusual. Enough so that John even commented on it. What I needed to get back into the swing of things was an instant gratification project, so yesterday I made the felted bowl from the book Oneskein which I have on loan from a friend. I used the unspun wool yarn (White Buffalo) that I bought on my spring break trip to Salt Lake City. I love the results.

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This yarn felted so nicely, that I want to pick up some more on my next trip to Salt Lake City...just around the corner.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


There is still time to enter the Preemie Project Contest for a chance to win yarn. It only takes a few hours to knit a hat/bootie set or three 6"x6" blanket squares. You have several days before the drawings on June 1, 2006. That's plenty of time. Click the link above to find out how to enter.

A big thank you to everyone who has already entered. So far 31 hat/bootie sets and 60 blanket squares have been donated for the little babies! Wow! I appreciate all of you for helping. These hats, booties and blankets will be such an encouragement to the parents of the little ones at a time when they really need it. It's amazing how a small act of kindness like this can mean so much. Knowing this is reward enough, but to say thank you in a more tangible way, Gerlinde has generously donated beautiful yarn (and lots of it) for three lucky winners. Good luck to everyone.


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Michigan Drawing

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Iowa Drawing

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Blanket Squares Drawing

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

There's Something New In My Knitting Basket

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It's official. I'm spoiled. I now own a pair of Brittany Black Walnut knitting needles (size 6.5mm), thanks to my husband. I've always admired these hard-to-find needles and wished for a pair, though I was never willing to pay the price for the ones I would see on ebay. John gave these to me as an anniversary gift, even though we had agreed we would not buy gifts this year, just go out for a nice dinner. After 22 years, I should have known better. He says they're not really a gift, just a tool. Of course, being the practical one, I stuck to our agreement and only gave him a card. Pitiful! The very least I can do now is to knit him some socks...out of Trekking (XXL)..and he can Trek Along With Me too.

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(R-L) Color #115 and Color #113

Friday, May 19, 2006

Lace Washcloth

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This small lace project was quick to knit and challenged me to learn a few new techniques. Very satisfying.

Pattern: Old Shale Washcloth from Fiber Trends Bathing Beauties
Yarn: Rowan 4 ply cotton (100% cotton)
Needles: US 4 dpns and 16" circular. Plus size F crochet hook for the cast on.
Time to Finish: One afternoon and evening
New-to-me Techniques:

Emily Ocker's Cast On

I didn't find the instructions included with the pattern to be very helpful for this cast on, but this tutorial was. This type of cast on allows you to start a piece of circular knitting in the middle. It's pretty neat the way it works and after a little fiddling around I figured it out.

Picot Cast Off

This time the pattern instructions were all I needed to learn this technique. One thing I didn't plan on was how long it would take me to cast off 144 stitches. This cast off is very time consuming. I didn't time it, but I'm sure it was over an hour before all stitches were off the needles. It's worth the effort though.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Knit and Hike

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I'm all signed up. How about you? Trek Along With Me is the first non-charity knit-along I've joined. The idea of knitting socks (from Trekking XXL) and then taking pictures of them on hiking trails really appeals to me. I love to hike and I've been fortunate to visit several beautiful places in the last couple of years. Some of my favorite hikes have been at Yellowstone National Park, Big Bend National Park, Palo Duro Canyon, Garden of the Gods, Rocky Mountain National Park and Mirror Lake. We visited the Grand Canyon too, though what we did was really more of a walk than a hike, but that counts too.

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Last Summer at RMNP

I was told I could start knitting anytime, so I cast on a pair of socks yesterday. I'm using color #133. I won this yarn from Margene in her birthday contest. It's the first time I've used Trekking and I'm liking it so far. I'm hoping these socks will make their debut next month when I tag along with John on a business trip to Salt Lake City. I'm sure we can squeeze in a trail or two, especially if it leads to a trout stream or lake.

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The Stealthy Fisherman (RMNP)

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Reward at the End of the Trail (RMNP)

Of course, I'd like to hit the trail with the socks on my feet instead of on the needles, so I better get knitting.

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Trekking #133

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother's Day Weekend

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This weekend the family was together in Arkansas for the graduation of daughter, Robyn, and son-in-law, James. Don't they look happy! They should. They've worked hard for this day. Both received their master's degrees from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. Many changes are ahead for these two, including a move back to Texas. I'm really excited about that part. Other plans are still in the works. Job searches are in progress. Best of luck guys. Love you lots!

Well you know when I travel, I always try to visit the local yarn shop. This trip was no exception. Searcy has one shop. It's brand new and has only been open for a few months. It's called The Knitter's Cottage. Their selection is limited, but what they have is very nice. I bought some worsted weight yarn by Nashua Handknits, 75% Wool, 25% Alpaca. I love the feel of this yarn--very soft. I may use it for a scarf, but I'm not sure yet.

Received some knitting/yarn related presents on Mother's Day. Robyn is crocheting a granny square throw for me in shades of purple. She wasn't quite finished with it, so she gave me a swatch to take home. The squares she is making are much bigger than this. It will only take six squares for the whole throw. I love it!

Matt gave me The Opinionated Knitter. I've almost bought this book before, but talked myself out of it, like I do so often. Lately though I have been wanting to try the Baby Surprise Jacket. Mariella has inspired me. You need to visit her blog and see all the variations she's come up with. Be sure to scroll down and check out earlier posts. Here are a few that aren't on her front page.

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There were non-knitting gifts too, but the best gift of all was being with my children on Mother's Day. It is a blessing to be a mother.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3 (NJKV)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Full Disclosure

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They're finished! So here are the details:

Pattern: Sock Therapy from THE SOCK CALENDER Socks for All Seasons

Yarn: Two balls of Crazy Cotton (Same kind of yarn you could win in The Preemie Project Contest)

Needles: US 2 DPNS

These socks call for eyelets just below the rolled cuff in order to added a ribbon tie. I omitted this for two reasons--ribbon ties on socks are not my style and it wouldn't have gone well with the yarn I used.

What I Learned:
When you want to match stripes, plan it out before you knit the first sock. What I did was knit the first sock and then try to match the stipe pattern. I pulled almost half the yarn from the center of the second ball of yarn without reaching the correct stripe sequence. I settled for mismatched stripes instead. Later as I was knitting the foot, I realized I could have matched the stripe sequence, if I would have unwound the yarn from the outside of the ball instead. See how the stipes are mirror images? I assumed the factory would have wound the balls the same, but I guess not.

I need to pay better attention when knitting the second sock! This is often when I make most of my mistakes. This time I somehow forgot to rearrange the stitches when it was time to knit the toe. The stitches on N1 and N3 did not equal the stitches on N2. Of course, I didn't catch it until I was almost finished. Did I rip it out and fix it? No, I just worked a couple of decreases on the bottom of the toe to even everything out and went on from there. It's a minor mistake that will never be seen and in this case doesn't affect fit or comfort. I can live with it.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Blanket Squares

I bought this book for half price the other day at Hobby Lobby. It will be perfect for knitting blanket squares for The Preemie Project, especially since the patterns are written for 6"x6" squares using DK yarn. If you want to join in this effort, check out the details on The Preemie Project Contest.

Yesterday I found out about another community blanket. Go read about Papa's Quilt and knit an 8"x8" green square. I made this one last night.

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Pattern: St. Ives from 200 Knitted Blocks
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease (Pistachio)
Needles: US 7
Size: 8" square
Comments: It's easy to adjust the size of the squares in this book by using different needles and yarn. Strangely though, I had to knit an extra repeat of the 10 row pattern to reach the 8" length.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Friday, May 05, 2006

For The Preemie Project

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These 30"x30" blankets are on their way to The Preemie Project. I would love to knit a blanket once in a while, but it takes more time so I usually sew them instead. I was able to cut out and sew all of these in one day. Often the donations of large sized blankets fall short because of the amount of time it takes to knit or crochet one. That's why The Preemie Project is now accepting donations of 6"x6" knitted or crocheted squares. One of our volunteers will sew them together into large sized blankets. Each blanket will consist of 36 squares. I love this idea and think even I can manage to make a few squares. If you decide to help with this effort, don't forget to enter the Preemie Project Contest that's being held this month.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Have you started a hat and a pair of booties for the Preemie Project Contest yet? Looking for patterns? Here are a few basic patterns that I think are good:

Michelle's Preemie-Newborn Booties and Hat
Knitted Preemie Hat--double pointed needles
Basic Knit Hat
Easy and Quick Knit Preemie Baby Booties

You can find many more patterns (knit and crochet) at Bev's Country Cottage. Have fun!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Preemie Project Contest

It's time for a contest! Everyone that reads this blog knows how much I care about The Preemie Project, so it's no surprise to learn that to enter all you need to do is make something for the little babies.

Gerlinde, one of The Preemie Project volunteers, has generously donated all of the prizes for this contest. Since she doesn't have a blog, I have agreed to host it for her. This contest consists of three drawings. Think of it as three contests being held at the same time. You may enter one drawing, two drawings or all three. It's up to you. Anyone can participate, so I hope you will enter and spread the word.

You have one month to sign up for your chance(s) to win. Three winners will be randomly selected on June 1, 2006. There will be one winner chosen from those who contribute hat/booties to Michigan, one from those who contribute hat/booties to Iowa and one winner from those who contribute 6"x6" squares for blankets. Before I explain the specifics, I want to show you the prizes.

If you contribute to Michigan, you could win...
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ten skeins (50 g each) of Lana Grossa Basics Stop Print,
50% vicose, 50% microfiber.

If you contribute to Iowa, you could win...
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ten skeins (50 g each) of Junghans-Wolle Cotton-Plus,
100% cotton

If you contribute blanket squares, you could win...
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ten skeins (50 g each) of Schachenmayr Crazy Cotton,
100% cotton.

Now the specifics...

How to enter the Michigan and Iowa drawings:
Knit, crochet or sew one hat and one pair of booties. Mail it to the Michigan Chapter or the Iowa Chapter of The Preemie Project. You can find the addresses here. Send me an email at preemieprojectcontest(AT)gmail(DOT)com letting me know it's in the mail and how many sets you are donating. For each set you donate, your name will be entered once. Also indicate whether you are donating to Michigan or Iowa or both so I can enter your name in the correct drawing(s).

*Use yarn or fabric that is very soft and can be machine washed and dryed. Do not use wool, as some babies are allergic. All sizes of hats and booties from 1-11 lbs are needed (see measurement guide). Ideally, the size of the hat and the booties should be the same, but is not necessary to enter this contest.*

How to enter the Blanket Square drawing:
Knit or crochet three 6"x6" blanket squares. These squares will be mailed to a volunteer who will sew them together to make blankets for The Preemie Project. I will give you the mailing address when you email me at preemieprojectcontest(AT)gmail(DOT)com. Also I will enter your name once for every three squares you make. So if you make six squares, your name will be entered twice.

*Use yarn that is very soft and can be machine washed and dryed. Do not use wool, as some babies are allergic. Either worsted weight or baby yarn is fine. Color really doesn't matter, but pastels, whites or brights will work best.*

I hope I have explained everything so that it makes sense. If you have questions, leave them in the comments or use the email address for this contest. Please know that your donation to The Preemie Project is very much appreciated and this contest is just a way to say thank you.