It seems that I located the biggest Post-It note in the world on which to write this to-do list. Please notice the first word for each item on the list. My English teacher would describe these as verbs. Some call them action words. The emphasis is on action – All are things that require active engagement by the doers. I am expecting at least four of those folks to help me check off the items on this list.
I haven’t blogged this past week because I’ve been very busy with Christmas preparations. That includes Christmas knitting. I finished up the arm warmers for daughter – no picture here, I don’t want to spoil the surprise. The half-finished sock you see is intended for my son-in-law. Hey, I’ve got at least four more days to finish this one and knit another. It’s still possible to finish them by Christmas morning.
Here’s my wish for you at holiday time: May you enjoy celebrating with loved ones, or at least in proximity to loved ones. And may your celebrations bring peace and love to warm your heart.
This time of year I frequently find myself diving into my yarn stash. The goal is to USE it, and to use it in projects that are comfortable for the knitter to make on hot summer days and nights. Today I have three items that fit in this category.
First up is this quirky little hat.
Earlier this year my daughter gave me the small, beat-up hat you see on the right side of this photo. She had inherited it from another mom. Our baby really liked wearing it, but now it was too small and full of holes. I dove into my stash and found plenty of yarns that almost matched, color-for-color, the hues of the original hat. De-coding the pattern was quite simple, since it was a classic shape and used only stockinette with a few purl rounds. The only challenge was working the decreases at the top, to reproduce the “stem.”
During my stash dive I discovered several sock yarn skeins, some of which have enough yardage for a pair of socks. This deep blue yarn was left over from a sweater I made for myself a few years ago.
The sock pattern comes from a book by one of my favorite knitting writers, Clara Parkes. The Knitter’s Book of Socks is quite good. It includes twenty sock patterns, each by a different designer. She also writes about the characteristics of different yarn fibers, and how these might match up with the qualities required by socks: elasticity, strength and absorption. I highly recommend this book for knitters who like making socks.
This pattern is Firefly, by Jennifer Hagan. The two by two cables are all right-leaning. She has them spaced out along the leg of the sock in such a way that they are easy to make.
My last stash buster started out as a pass-along yarn. Knitting friend Kathy gave me several skeins of Peruvian sock weight yarn in a so-so shade of blue. The blend includes alpaca and wool, but also 50% acrylic. In my stash I found a pale blue tweedy sock yarn bought on sale that had not inspired me. But by knitting them held together, these two yarns worked harmoniously. There was just enough for the skirt of a toddler dress.
When the pale blue ran out, I continued on up the bodice with the alpaca blend held double. The yoke includes a small pattern using strands of Cascade 220.
The dress design is mine, but the stranded design comes from a traditional Faroese Kettunøsin pattern. They are little dog heads.
While I sit here indoors, out my window it is raining heavily. This downpour is quite welcome, since it is the first rain since May. Gardening is out for the day, but knitting, quilting, writing and painting will keep me busy until dark.
Do I have what I need? Let’s see. The project requires about 1/4 yard of fabric each for the outer shell and lining as well as a zipper. This one is about ten inches long.
I also required the better part of a cup of coffee to get started.
The gold cotton damask on the left is left over from a bedspread I made about 15 years ago. This scrap has been used in an experiment with Dye-Na-Flow fabric paint. I applied the paint to the back side of the fabric, to see if the color would seep through the woven vines but not through the shiny gold parts. It sort of did that. Now I have a use for it.
I also have this scrap, printed with shiny gold dillweed stems. I’ll use it for the bottom section of the bag.
Instructions for this project come courtesy of Anna Graham, at Noodle-head. com. You can get the details here:
The message came in over the week-end, with a tone of some urgency. It seems that the baby toddler girl had outgrown her hats, and the carefully saved wool hat of #1 grandchild was no where to be found. With the onset of cold weather, there was no time to waste in meeting the need.
The criteria was pretty simple. Earflaps were desired and a cord to tie the hat under the chin. Consulting my stash I found an almost full ball of Cascade 220 Superwash in a pale yellow color. I had purchased this yarn two years ago when I first learned of the baby’s expected arrival. I was excited to try out some stranded patterns using this yarn and various bits and bobs left over from other projects.
First I consulted my knitting stitch dictionary (750 Knitting Stitches – The Ultimate Knitting Bible.) For this project I needed a pattern with a fairly short repeat. I also needed a motif that would fit on the ear flaps.
These two will do nicely. Cosmea will work for the earflaps and Aubrieta can circle the body of the hat. I also liked that the pattern repeat was six stitches. With my gauge of 5.5 stitches, a multiple of six will help me achieve the 18 inch diameter I needed. Here is my chart for the earflap and body, and my calculation for the cast on. I came up with a total of 96 stitches, which is divisible by six.
Ear Flaps done.
After casting on, I completed a modified version of Aubrieta, stopping when the hat body was 4 and 3/4 inches tall from cast on. Next I consulted the pattern I had used ten years ago for grandchild #1’s hat to figure out the crown decrease rate. I added a few rows of dots in the first three rounds of decrease, then completed the rest of the decrease in the solid yellow yarn.
This was a fun and quick project to make from one’s stash. I was pleased that I could use up some yarn scraps of a beautiful Malibrigo yarn that was left over from my blue ribbon vest.
UPDATE: Hat was received, and put into use quickly. Not only does it cover the ears, it covers the cheeks as well. It’s so big that it will still fit her next winter.
Knitters: What is the big cliff-hanger that every knitter faces? No, not the one about whether it will fit, or if you will finish on time. I’m talking the night-mare proportion, no-turning back, hold-your-breath issue. (Clue: I had 4 yards to spare.)
My latest stash-busting knitting project is the Peace and Love Gloves, from the colorStyle book by Pam Allen and Ann Budd published by Interweave. That book is 10-years old, so I don’t know if you can still buy it. The pattern is by Veronik Avery who has many patterns on Ravelry. Here’s the link.
This is my second go-round to knit these gloves. I lost the first pair in Milwaukee last spring. But lucky me – I had another ball of the grey Knit-picks Stroll and almost two balls of the 100% alpaca white finger weight yarn.
The pattern claimed that I would need two balls of the main color, but ha, I didn’t believe it. After all, I had already knit this pattern, using only one ball with a little bit left over. Well friends, that bit made all the difference today. It was used to knit the two thumbs.
Okay. I am now ready for winter weather. Dish it up, Mother Nature.
The wind howled all night and by 8 am this morning, the temperatures were in the lower 30s. I’m told that this is today’s high. The temperature is still dropping and the wind continues to blow. It’s a good thing that I have plenty of fiber objects and other creative endeavors on hand. No need to change out of my comfy yoga pants.
During an overly-optimistic moment several years ago I had purchased a water color set. I dug it out of a drawer and retrieved several tubes of paint. It took some muttering and a dull yarn needle to pierce some of the foil seals, but eventually I had small quantities of paint laid down onto a cheap plastic palette.
First the tags. Lindsey called these a warm-up exercise. After a few hours I had completed six or so gift tags. Here are some of my favorites:
Next came the cards. I worked the first of the series, stopping when I realized that the afternoon had flown the coop, it was 5 pm and time to cook dinner.
Taking a break from painting, I moved on to knitting. At this point, all of the holiday gifts that I wanted to make were finished and ready to be wrapped. (Mmm maybe I will attach some of those gift tags!) I suddenly remembered that daughter had requested a pair of mittens for her son. She specifically wanted stranded knitting, so the mittens would be extra warm. I found the perfect pattern on Ravelry. It will only require a few adjustments, including the insertion of a thumb gusset for better fit.
Here is my progress so far.
With the weather so brutal outside, there is a chance I can finish these mittens and another watercolor card before the sun comes up tomorrow.