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Tag Archives: Knitting

 

I found a really cute, free, easy pattern on Ravelry.com for a baby sweater and used it to make 3 different versions for the Children of Pine Ridge.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/presto-chango

The pattern is very clever in making a simple sweater with narrow sides and then adding a detachable panel. Buttons are sewn on the sweater portion and buttonholes are knitted into the panel. The first attempt was a 6-9 months baby sweater in a pretty “creamsicle” color, using the lace panel shown in the pattern. I’m not very good at knitting lace but this one turned out pretty well.

It’s very easy to make up another panel with a different design. I used a really nice cable bunny pattern to make this panel.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bunny-cable-square

The second sweater was made with denim and light blue yarn for a 6-9 months boy size. In this case, I used snaps for the closure and just added a couple of buttons to the top of the panel for decoration.

The third pattern was an adaptation of a favorite baby sweater in which I made the sides narrow to accommodate the panel and used the bunny cable again along with nice buttons. This is for a 12-18 month child and has short sleeves for the spring/summer season.

This was an easy and fun pattern to use and adapt. A sweater along with several spare panels would make a nice gift.

 


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.


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:

http://www.srbrown.info/afghans/

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.

http://www.knitpurlstitches.com/2016/09/seersucker.html

This is a nice way to try out new stitches or color combinations.

 

 

 


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).

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mapledr61/grandmothers-favorite-baby-bib/edit

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.

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mapledr61/baby-washcloth/edit

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.

https://www.ravelry.com/

 


My daughters are both very skilled at putting together theme gifts for me and for each other. They pick out something that is interesting or sentimental and pack a container with items to match the theme. They each gave me a theme box for Christmas.

My older daughter filled a beautiful Christmas box with items to commemorate one of our favorite Christmas stories, The Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. This is a memoir of Truman Capote’s Christmas when he was seven years old and living with an elderly aunt. They were “best friends” and spent the year saving pennies so they could make fruitcakes to send to people they liked (such as President Roosevelt) and to buy something for each other as Christmas gifts.

My box was filled with pecans which the boy and his aunt gathered from freefalls in the woods, a bottle of bourbon such as they bought from a local bootlegger, and a fruitcake. There was also a box of chocolate covered cherries, the kind that Buddy, the boy, longed to give to his aunt but could never afford, along with a slingshot which they did make and give to each other one year.

There was also a beautiful, delicate cup with a bird decoration similar to what the aunt used and a bag of “AM Coffee – amen” to remember a coffee-naming contest they entered.

My daughter made up a small 4×6 shadow box containing miniature versions of the gifts Buddy really wanted to give his aunt: a radio, a pearl-handled jack-knife and chocolate covered cherries, along with the gift she hoped to get for him one day – a bike. Also, shown are the actual gifts they could manage: a slingshot and a kite.

This a wonderful book and the TV version is available on YouTube.  Be sure to watch the old one with Geraldine Page – a treasure.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQGEUCLqg0U

My younger daughter knows I’m sentimental about the WW II days and also interested in the women’s movement, so she combined these interests in a big box covered with reprints of old WW II posters.

Her gifts included a pair of slippers handmade from a 1942 knitting pattern, a book, Lipstick Brigade, The Untold True Story of Washington’s World War II Government  Girls …

…a 1942 issue of Life magazine with an article on knitting, an interest we share…

…a framed picture of modern women of all types and abilities speaking up for their rights …

…and Rosie the Riveter on a pin with a modern slogan.

These gifts are so much fun to open and I appreciate the extra time, thought and effort it takes to assemble them.  I’m already looking forward to the next one.


I made the slippers pictured above (one of each pictured) for my two daughters last year and liked the pattern so much, I made many, many slippers in various sizes throughout the year for the children of Pine Ridge in South Dakota. This is the basic pattern:

http://www.needlebeetle.com/free/aadb.html

This pattern is very easy to adapt to other sizes using your preferred yarn/needles by changing the size of the sole of the slipper. The length of the slipper leg can also be changed.

In the past month, I’ve made 5 different sizes for children …

I even made a pair of moccasins for my American Girl-type doll which my daughter had dressed for Thanksgiving…

This is an easy pattern and easily adapted using your stitches per inch gauge and the measurement of the foot. I also made a change to make the toe less pointy and impish. In my design, when doing the decreases in the foot, I stop 4 stitches before the center marker, knit two together, knit two, move marker, knit two and SSK (slip/slip/knit). This makes a rounded toe.

Depending on your busy schedule, there may still be time to knit up a pair of slippers before Christmas.


This is a really cute, free pattern I used last Christmas with less than a year’s experience in knitting. I had no problems and thought they turned out well – something a little different from the usual holiday decorations.  Here is the link:  https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/jolly-old-elves

I used two difference sizes of yarn and needles to get two different sizes from the same pattern.

The larger elf (about 8 inches tall) was made with #4 worsted yarn and #5 circular needles.


The smaller elf (about 6 inches tall) was made with DK or sport weight yarn #3 and #3 circular needles.

I gave one to each of my daughters along with a gift card for a special Christmas morning gift.