Two years ago, I tried knitting once again after numerous unsuccessful attempts through the past 85+ years. This time, I got it – due mainly to YouTube tutorials, free Ravelry patterns and circular knitting needles. I especially like the Magic Loop which is a circular needle with a long cable. One of the features that intrigued me from the beginning was the possibility of knitting mittens (or other small items) two-at-a-time. I’m not a consistent knitter and like the idea of having two items match. Also, I hate to finish an item and then make an exact duplicate of the same thing – boring.
I’ve been doing well knitting two-at-a-time on flat items but had problems when casting on for something in the round – like mittens. There are many YouTube tutorials but the procedure looks and is awkward to do and, in my case, didn‘t produce a neatly ribbed cuff. In searching for a solution, I found a tutorial which worked for me but which I can’t find again to link. It’s basically casting on one cuff, pushing the cuff down and pulling the loop of cable out so there are an equal number of stitches on each side. Knit 5 rows and removing the cuff to two double-pointed needles, keeping the stitches and yarn exactly the same as they were originally,
Then, cast on the second cuff and repeat as for first cuff, pushing the cuff down and pulling the loop of cable out so there are an equal number of stitches on each side. The stitches on the double-pointed needles are carefully returned to the circular needle and everything is set to go to knit two-at-a-time. I attach a marker to the right hand front edge of the piece nearest the points of the needles to identify it.
This pair of teenage-sized mittens have a nice, neatly ribbed cuffs.
I use a simple mitten pattern that I’ve used many times so I’m not struggling with a pattern. The main problem I’ve had is to forget to drop the working yarn when completing one mitten and picking up the yarn that belongs to the second mitten. This only happens when transferring in the center of the two mittens.
Also, I find it easier to put the stitches for the thumb on holders, complete the bodies of the mittens, and then go back and do the thumbs individually.
I knit a lot of mittens for the Lakota Children of Pine Ridge and it’s nice to be able to do them with this technique.
This recipe goes back to 1997 when I found it on the back of a cornstarch box. I adapted it to my family’s tastes and we all loved it.
3 medium potatoes, quartered 1 cup green beans 14.5 oz chicken broth, divided 2 Tblsp. cornstarch 1 Tblsp. fresh or 1 tsp. dried dill weed 1 Tblsp. oil 1 medium onion, sliced 1 cup shredded, cooked chicken breast Precook potatoes and green beans to fork tender. Reserve Stir together in a small bowl: ¼ cup of broth, cornstarch, dill until smooth. Set aside In large skillet: Heat oil, add onion, cook for 3 minutes. Add chicken and cook until heated through. Add remaining broth, potatoes and green beans to skillet. Simmer covered about 5 minutes or until heated through. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to skillet. Stirring constantly, bring to boil, boil 1 minute. Serve immediately.
DILLED CHICKEN MEDLEY
3 medium potatoes, quartered
1 cup green beans
14.5 oz chicken broth, divided
2 Tblsp. cornstarch
1 Tblsp. fresh or 1 tsp. dried dill weed
1 Tblsp. oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup shredded, cooked chicken breast
Precook potatoes and green beans to fork tender. Reserve
Stir together in a small bowl: ¼ cup of broth, cornstarch, dill until smooth. Set aside
In large skillet: Heat oil, add onion, cook for 3 minutes. Add chicken and cook until heated through.
Add remaining broth, potatoes and green beans to skillet. Simmer covered about 5 minutes or until heated through. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to skillet. Stirring constantly, bring to boil, boil 1 minute. Serve immediately.
Knitting for Charity – Amigo Blocks
My main interest in knitting is making things for charity, so I was pleased when I was contacted by a gentleman on Ravelry, suggesting I might like to make some squares for a charity he supports in Mexico. They collect 5-inch and 6-inch knitted and crocheted squares which are given to women in a migrant shelter in Mexico to form into afghans. The organization gets a small amount of money for each afghan and the women are in turn paid a small amount for their work in assembling the blankets. The afghans are donated to children in the school that is associated with the shelter. It seems that every woman I have known wants to do something useful and pretty and also earn a little “pin money”. That makes this project especially appealing to me. You can read details about the project here:
All squares are mailed to Dr. Brown in Connecticut who sees that they get to Mexico.
My daughter and I have 33 squares each to contribute. Mine are pictured above and below.
Here are my daughter’s squares:
In addition to making good use of small amounts of yarn and being a good item to carry in a purse for spare moments in the doctor’s office or waiting in the car, I like to use the squares to learn new stitches. It takes a little experimenting to see how many stitches you need to cast on for your needles, yarn and gauge, but it’s enjoyable and rewarding. Below is a recent square that I made from a pattern on knitpurlstitches.com. It’s called “Seersucker” and I knit it with #5 bulky yarn.
This is a nice way to try out new stitches or color combinations.
In the fall of 2017, I found a pattern on Ravelry that has become my favorite for a baby or toddler sweater. The free pattern is here: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-sophisticate-2. I bought an additional pattern for children’s sizes and there is also a pattern for purchase for adult sizes.
It’s just a nice, practical, comfortable-looking sweater with a shawl collar. I have only been knitting for two years and often run into sections of patterns that are difficult, but this one was manageable from start to finish.
I made one sweater in the three-month size in a pretty seafoam color and added a matching hat, pictured above.
I also made three toddler (2-3 years) sweaters in dark blue …
…a tan and brown with a checkerboard panel …
…and a red one with fuzzy white trim. On this one, the white, fluffy yarn was so difficult to work with that I just used it as trim and didn’t make the large collar.
On a pattern like this with a lot of increases, I type out a chart like the one below that will tell me how many stitches will be in each section and a total for the end of the row. In this case, when the increases are finished on row 7 there will be 6 stitches on the right and left sides of the sweater, 14 stitches each for sleeves and 26 stitches for the back – total of 66 stitches. In this case, there are 32 rows with the correct number of stitches. Taking the time to type up this reference and have it with me as I’m knitting saves me from making errors and cuts down on frustration.
ALTERNATING 8 AND 10 INC – ODD ROWS
EVEN ROWS PURL
R1 2 8 20 8 2 40 STS
R3 3 10 22 10 3 48 STS
R5 5 12 24 12 5 58 STS
R7 6 14 26 14 6 66 STS
This is a really nice pattern, enjoyable to knit, and makes good, warm sweaters for the Pine Ridge children.
Tuesday was a bitterly cold day here in southwest Ohio, the second of two heavy snowfalls imminent, and I was craving macaroni and cheese. I normally make a reduced-fat version (https://lillianscupboard.wordpress.com/2008/02/29/shannons-macaroni-and-cheese/) but on a day like this, I wanted all of the cheese I could get. I came up with this version which my daughters and I really enjoyed.
1-½ cups dry macaroni, cooked in boiling, salted water al dente, drained Preheat oven to 350 degrees F In the bottom of a microwave-safe baking dish, place the cream cheese and microwave for 45 seconds, until cheese is very soft. Stir in the grated cheddar, milk, salt, dry mustard and black pepper. Add cooked, drained macaroni and stir to blend. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top. Bake @ 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
Lillian’s Macaroni and Cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
1-1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup milk
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dry mustard
A few grindings of black pepper
½ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1-½ cups dry macaroni, cooked in boiling, salted water al dente, drained
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In the bottom of a microwave-safe baking dish, place the cream cheese and microwave for 45 seconds, until cheese is very soft. Stir in the grated cheddar, milk, salt, dry mustard and black pepper.
Add cooked, drained macaroni and stir to blend. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Bake @ 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
The macaroni was served with chicken breast which had been sprinkled with olive oil and herbs, and baked a covered pan at the same time as the macaroni casserole. We also had some steamed broccoli and carrots. Delicious snowy-day meal.
From the day I started knitting two years ago, Ravelry.com has been an important source of information, patterns and guidance. The one Ravelry benefit I did not use was logging my projects for my present and future reference. I liked reading other people’s project notes but it sounded like too much trouble when I was already struggling with knitting something usable.
Now, that I make 5-10 “usable” items a week, depending on size and how complicated they are, I thought it might be worthwhile to start logging my new projects on January 1, 2018, and started with a very easy baby bib and washcloth pattern – free on Ravelry.
I used this free pattern to make a bib in yellow and in a blue/pink blend, cotton yarn (pictured above).
The charity where I send my baby items mentioned particularly liking to receive washcloths so I used another free pattern to make one to match the blue/pink yarn.
Both of these are quick, easy items to knit and would make a nice shower or baby gift.
I have several more projects in various stages that are logged into my account. If I’m careful to note all of the details, it will be an invaluable source of information for me. Another good reason to be a Raveler.