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Category Archives: Knitting

I wrote earlier about knitting a blanket for the Welcome Blanket project and am happy to report that both my younger daughter and I have completed a blanket for immigrants.

My daughter is a talented and experienced knitter who made a gorgeous blanket which really says, “Welcome”.

She used the pattern from this link:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ondas

I made a very simple blanket which is garter stitch on half and a Fair Isle sampler on the other half.  I used this pattern:

http://www.anapsid.org/pdf/incdecblanket.pdf

I didn’t keep a close enough eye on the gauge for the Fair Isle portion, so the very last corner was not quite correct.  I asked my older daughter to crochet a large flower to sew  on the less-than-perfect corner and considered it a design element.

 

These two blankets are in the mail for distribution to needy immigrant families.  We were asked to include a note and this is what I sent.

“Welcome, neighbor

I’m 84 years old and live in Ohio, USA.  I was so happy to be able to knit this blanket for you in honor of all of my ancestors who came to America in the 1700-1800s from England, Holland, Ireland, Germany and Switzerland.  This is a picture of my great-grandfather whose family immigrated from England …



… and my grandmother whose family immigrated from Holland.



I welcome you and wish you peace, love, hope and joy in your new home.”

 


This is a great, easy pattern for 5 basic shawl shapes: Square, Circular, Triangular, Semi-Circular, and Heart-Shaped.  http://www.laylock.org/?s=5+basic+shawl+shapes

Each style begins with casting on three stitches and is worked to a full-sized shawl or stopped at any point for a smaller scarf, which I did. The pattern calls for garter stitch but can be made in any stitch or pattern you choose (be sure to knit 5 stitches on each end of each row to keep edges from curling). The size will depend on what yarn/needles are chosen.

I made a child’s size triangular scarf out of scraps of baby yarn (above) and an adult sized scarf with a vintage button added.

Note that the scarves are worked top-down and the beginning three stitches will form a part of the top of the scarf.

This is a fun project and a good way to use up small amounts of yarn.

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My daughter told me recently about a drive to collect 3200 blankets, 40×40 inches, to make a wall of blankets for refugees that would be equal in yardage to the 2000 miles of the proposed Mexican border wall.  The blankets will be donated to deserving refugee families of many nationalities.  The idea is that they are “welcome” blankets and each is to include a personal note from the donor about his/her family immigrant history.  Any kind or color of yarn can be used and they are also accepting crocheted blankets or quilts of the same size.  Check here for details:  https://www.welcomeblanket.org/

For my blanket, I chose off-white and blue-green worsted (#4) yarn used with #9 circular needles – piece is knit flat.  I am about 2/3  finished with the blanket and am using a pattern I’ve used before with good results:

http://www.anapsid.org/pdf/incdecblanket.pdf

The blanket starts with 5 stitches and is worked on the diagonal.  I did the first half in a random stripe pattern.

I’m doing the other half in sampler rows of various stitches.  See update below.

The color is actually closer to green than the pictures show.

I’m looking forward to completing the blanket and getting it in the mail along with the note about my proud immigrant background.

Update 6/24/17 – If you’re making the two halves of different stitches, as I did, be sure to check periodically to see if the two halves are matching as you go. 

My friend at Knit ‘n Kwilt is also participating by making a quilt.

http://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/40-x-40-welcome-blanket-project/

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My daughter recommended this pattern to me and I love it. I enjoy doing Fair Isle patterns and this one seems to go together especially well. It has become my favorite heart pattern, found on Ravelry.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/love-the-winter-hat

I tried the pattern first on a hat in grey and peach worsted (pictured at the top). This is destined for the Pine Ridge Lakota drive that is held every fall to provide winter wear for the school children.

The second hat is in the required yarn/colors of the Iowa Special Olympics. I hope this will help a little girl keep her ears warm while competing.

I’ve made up my own chart for making this heart pattern in different colors because I know I’ll be using it often in all kinds of hand-knit items.

 

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I like to work in color when knitting and early on found a good, free slip-stitch pattern that forms a brick design.  The pattern was originally written for a dish cloth but was easy to convert into a soft, sweet baby blanket .

More recently, I used the same pattern for a scarf for the Arkansas group of Special Olympics.  They specify the use of Red Heart yarn in colors of red, grey, black and white and I designed a scarf using these colors and incorporating the brick pattern.

This group asks for scarves and headbands and I included two headbands with Fair Isle patterns.

The free slip-stitch pattern is available at Ravelry.com

Knit Freedom offers a good class on slip-stitch/mosaic knitting for a fee:  http://knitfreedom.com/classes/double-knitting

 

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I enjoy going to thrift shops and looking for vintage collectibles and china, and since I’ve been knitting have found some good bargains in yarn.  Since 90% of my knitting is for charity, I appreciate finding some nice yarn at a good price.  I was thrilled to find a large plastic bag filled with 17 unopened skeins of Caron Premium yarn in off-white for only $10.00.

I envisioned soft, fluffy baby blankets for my Lakota Indian group and was disappointed when I made a trial swatch to find that the yarn was thick and rather stiff when knitted.  So much for fluffy baby blankets and I made a dishcloth, a table mat and a floor mat.  The yarn worked OK for these projects but I had a lot of yarn and didn’t want to make any more cloths or mats.  Then, I thought it might make a good, strong market bag to carry all the fresh corn and melons I buy at the farmer’s market every summer.  My daughter had a nice pattern for a seamless tote bag that is knit in one piece from the bottom up.  The pattern called for 4mm (#6 US) needles and cotton or DK (baby/sport) yarn.  I used #6 needles with my thick, sturdy yarn and following the pattern for the bag portion exactly, made a very thick, sturdy market bag.  I changed the pattern a bit for the handle which my daughter had made and found to be stretchy.  I made two long I-cords, doubled them and stitched to the center front and center back of the bag to form a shopping bag shape.

 

The design pattern is easy and the project is a good one to work on while watching TV or visiting with friends.

Using the thinner yarn would have produced a bag 13 inches wide x 14 inches deep.  My bag turned out to be 18 inches wide x 17 inches long.

Here is the link for the tote bag:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/seamless-tote-bag

 

…and here is a You Tube tutorial on how to make an I-cord.  This is another project that is mindless and good for knitting when there might be distractions.  I used the same needle and yarn size to make the I-cord as I used for the bag.

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When I started knitting about a year and a half ago, I didn’t care about doing anything fancy – I just wanted to knit scarves, hats, mittens and … socks.  The scarves, hats and mittens were relatively easy to learn, but, oh boy, the socks.  I tried making a pair early on in my knitting experience and gave up after knitting a pair that was basically not wearable.  I waited awhile and tried again and yet a third time without good results.  At this point, I gave all of my sock/fingering yarn to my daughter who keeps me in gorgeous socks and figured I must have a mental block that kept me from doing what so many knitters consider an easy project.

Last week, I decided to give socks another try when I noticed a pattern on Ravelry called Easy Peasy Socks (“designed with the first-time sock knitter in mind”) by Stacey Trock.  The pattern calls for yarn and needles that would produce a gauge of 6 stitches/inch and I used #3 needles and baby/sports weight yarn to make mine.  I use only circular Magic Loop needles (circular with a long cable) and I was actually able to follow the pattern and make a pair of socks!  Stacey issues a warning:  “This pattern is annotated with lots of helpful hints & notes … it’s sorta like a transcript of what a sock class with me is like.”  And it’s how I felt as I followed along – it was like a class with a very student-friendly teacher.

My big problem has always been the heel flap and gusset, and I was able to do this reasonably well.

I’m now in the process of adapting the pattern so that I can make it with a longer leg length, longer ribbing and in a fingering/sock yarn.  I want to devise a formula that will allow me to make this very nice and “easy-peasy” sock in any size I want and using any needles or yarn that I choose.  More on that later.

Here is Stacey’s free pattern:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/easy-peasy-socks-for-first-timers

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