4.01.2008

Inexplicable Knitter Behavior!



 
Well I had a really fun morning traipsing all over Wall and Philip with one extra stop on Highway 14 for the express purpose of inexplicable knitter behavior! I had tons of fun taking pictures of donuts, dinosaurs, statues, novelty yarn, and "the slammer". 

Why you might ask? Well, if you were a knitter you'd know. In the event you don't share this passion for needles and yarn I shall explain.

The Yarn Harlot charged knitters from all over the world to a scavenger hunt on this very day, April Fool's 2008! She listed many things to take pictures of in Toronto but also opened up the hunt to knitters from all over the world. Said knitters then posted all their pictures for the world to see just how inexplicable we can be.

So, in short, there were many many knitters all over the world having tons of fun on this April Fool's day following the direction of one very admired and hilarious Yarn Harlot!

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12.29.2007

The Christmas Knit

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  We were lucky to drive home and see family.  Unfortunately though, a snow storm hit Christmas day on our drive home.  A 4 hour and 45 minute drive turned into a 6 hour and 45 minute drive.   We had to drive about 50 mph across SD on icy roads.  When we arrived at my mother-in-law's house I felt so relieved to get out of our car and collapse on a couch.  
Our first stop, Brad's parent's house for his extended family's Christmas get together.  We enjoyed spending time with cousins while playing games like Catch Phrase and Pit and filling ourselves with wonderful holiday food!
Later in the evening, we stopped at my parent's home for our family Christmas.  I received some really fun knitting presents.    The yarn is eco-friendly and hand-dyed which made me even happier when I opened the package.  I love the idea of purchasing organic and eco-friendly yarns, however as a recent college grad I need to find creative ways to fit them into my student loan budget.  Anyway, so the yarn made a wonderful Christmas present, thanks sis!

Some gifts knitted for my family.
A bolero for Anika.  The pattern came from Debbie Bliss's Junior Knits, the pattern is Molly.  Yarn: Rio by yarns.brunswick, color Hemlock, cotton blend.
 
Half of a pair of socks for my very understanding mom.  Checkered pattern with a gusset heel made with Tofutsies sock yarn

And finally, a complete pair of socks for our Uncle Bud.  K2, P2 rib with a gusset heel.  Made with Regia sock yarn.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  

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12.06.2007

IT has happened to me (cue dark and stormy music).

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee writes about "IT" and "IT" has happened to me. As I sit here at work I can only think of how much better my time might be spent at home with some lovely green yarn and a circular needle which will transform itself into a beautiful sweater. I really don't care that working will make the moo-la to purchase more yarn and further contribute to the cycle of "IT", I just want to knit!

"IT" in a nutshell refers to getting in over one's head with knitting planned as Christmas (or other holiday) gifts for loved ones. Great intentions to begin and then "IT" rears its ugly head from your knitting stash and snidely remarks that Christmas is only a few short weeks away and you still have 3 projects to finish. 3 projects whose beginning exists only in your mind. Well, "IT" has happened to me, and I probably wouldn't have it any other way.

I think I need to take Babs' (from Chicken Run) advice and go into solitary confinement (or "on holiday" as she calls it), maybe I could get some knitting done there.

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9.04.2007

This is a day for...

New Beginnings! And it isn't even January 1st. I don't have much time so here is a run down of all the new beginnings.

1. I learned to knit correctly. Maybe you read in a previous post that I twist all my stitches when I knit because I taught myself incorrectly. While I have made many things I am proud of, I decided that I really should learn to knit the right way. So, with a quick demonstration from Teri and the help of the SNB Handbook I learned how to knit continental style. Now, I think I knit correctly, however I might still be confused. If you are reading this and can see that my stitches are still twisted let me know, so I can learn how to knit correctly.


2. My cousin Matt and his wife Holly just had a baby boy, Benjamin! What a wonderful new beginning. I guess he has pretty big feet, so I hope the booties will fit by the time he receives them. The hat was supposed to become a frog hat but I got lazy and left it solid green. I really enjoy making these booties because they are fast, easy, and a great way to relearn how to knit because they are just a garter stitch. Without further ado, here is a picture of Benjamin's gift.

3. Brad's sister moved into her first apartment in Madison WI so she can attend Vet school at the University. First apartments are always fun to celebrate with house warming gifts. I knit some simple face cloths and dish rags for her. Hopefully they will come in handy. I plan to get some hand made soap as well to include with the gift.












Knitting during the race.










Knitting and the Crew car




Left Photo: Beatrix "helping" me take a picture of the dishcloths.
Right Photo: Face cloths in a sort of Rib Stitch and Seed Stitch

Yarn used in this post:
Lion Brand Microspun (Booties)
Green Wool Fingering weight yarn - not sure of the brand (Hat and Laces on Booties)
Knit Picks Cotlin - Island Coral and Almond colors (Face cloths)
Sugar and Cream - Celedon and Soft Teal (Dish rags)


Happy knitting!
Alison

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7.25.2007

Sock it to em'

My mom makes Project Linus blankets on a fairly regular basis. Consequently, many people give her yarn throughout the year for various reasons. She has more yarn than she can crochet in a decade or more maybe. I really like this little problem of hers because I can poke through and find more than enough yarn for projects of my own. On a recent search I found this really lovely green wool yarn. My sister found some a few months before, and I really did intend to give the rest of the green yarn to her so she could make a larger project. Well, if that yarn didn't just jump in my bag and hide amidst the rest of the yarn...hmm...or something like that anyway. So I have this yarn and I decide that I want to make a beautiful cabled scarf. I quickly realize that I don't have anywhere near enough yarn for the scarf. Soon the scarf becomes the cuff of a child's sock.

Since I didn't give the yarn to my sister I thought I should at least make a pair of socks for our niece with the stuff. So everything seems to be going well until I have to make something called a short row wrap. Huh...ok well I give it a shot. Didn't work, so I search through books to find very explicit directions. These make a little more sense. I feel pretty good about myself for learning a new technique, despite the fact that it looks like crap. Appearances really don't mean a thing at this point. Ok so onward with the directions which is where things got really confusing.

I need to wrap the wrapped stitches and a bunch of other gobblety gook.

When my oldest niece was a toddler we liked to ask her questions when she wasn't really paying attention. She would emit this dumbfounded "Huuh?" from her throat with one lip raised and an ear cocked to one side. I now understand this response completely.

After a good half hour of trying to figure out this step I decided to sleep on it. I had just been listening to a radio show about the benefits of sleep. Sleep apparently helps you learn new things that made absolutely no sense the night before. So I thought this might work. Off to bed.

I woke with renewed vigour to try this wrapping stitches thing. Sleep, phooey. Another try and almost being late for work suggested I spend my time doing more productive things like knitting hats. The lovely green yarn will make a very cute frog hat.

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7.17.2007

Excuses Excuses...

Yeah, yeah I know what they are like... (well you know what they are like, everyone has them and they all stink).  But seriously, I have been pretty busy lately.  No knitting even... well not really anyway.  But during my hiatus I realized that I should share some really cool family info. During the second weekend in June, I went to Philipsburg KS for my Great Grandma's 100th Birthday party!  While there I was reminded about my Great Grandma's hobby, crocheting.  Pretty cool huh?  She is 100 and still crocheting.  In fact, she makes all the new babies in the family a blanket!  Now brace yourself, here is the really cool part... My Great Grandma Is Blind!  
Yup.  Has been for the past, well I don't know, but as long as I have known her anyway.  I asked her what inspired her to keep crocheting.  She said that she was talking to a lady who is blind and uses a white cane who still knits!  She said, "If she can knit and she is blind then I better not give up just yet".  My Great Aunt puts coordinating colors in grocery bags for her and she just uses the yarn from those bags. 

So like I said, excuses, excuses... they stink.  I better get back to knitting so I can keep up with Great Grandma!

Great Grandma Tien and I

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5.17.2007

Need Has No Season - April/May

This month's post coincides with the baby blanket I am making for a cousin to be born in June. She will receive a Project Linus blanket. See previous post for a picture.

"Project Linus is a 100% volunteer non-profit organization with a two-fold mission:

First, it is our mission to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer "blanketeers."

Second, it is our mission to provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children." (from the Project Linus website http://www.projectlinus.org )

I know just how important a security blanket is to a little kid. As a child I depended on my security blanket when I had to call the hospital home for a little while. While there "George" (the blanket) and I became fast friends, "George" remains with me today despite my age and marital status. Surprisingly though, Project Linus has the greatest need for blankets for teenagers. One situation in which teens desperately needed the comfort and security of a blanket was in April of 1999 in Littleton Colorado when Columbine High school erupted in gunfire (Knitting for Peace, Christiansen p. 84). Project Linus responds to situations that need the healing powers of comfort and peace found in the threads of a blanket.

Well that is about all you need to know for becoming a "blanketeer". See the organization's website for local chapters. Also, watch your local newspapers/TV and listen to your radios for information about Make a Blanket Days usually the third Saturday of February.

Peace, Alison

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It's been a while...

So, about this whole blog thing. I heard from someone when I started a blog that many blogs don't make it past the first month. It's like taking home a new puppy. So cute and fun when you get them, even the nasty parts seem cute. (Believe me I know what I am talking about. Today the cutest puppy visited me at the library. She piddled on the floor, note the cute term for pee, and it didn't even bother me. Had my old, big, male dog done the same thing on the floor it would not have been cute at all. Good thing my library has hard floors.) Anyway, so I got this blog and it was so cute and fun in the beginning that I posted daily I think. That turned into weekly blogs, which turned into once month, and now dontcha ya know I missed an entire month and a half! So no promises on the blog but keep checking back once in a while, this old dog might just have learned a new trick about blogs.

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3.21.2007

Need Has No Season - March

Knit anything for peace today. What does it mean to knit for peace? The answer will vary with every knitter you ask. For me, knitting for peace involves thinking of the recipient of my knitting. I find myself praying for little lives just forming and for warmth, comfort, and peace of mind. While I knit, cross legged on my futon, I dream that the stitches on these needles will open a pathway to peace in any form. I recognize that knitting in itself won't stop wars or end the violence humans direct to other humans. I do hope that "with each stitch that peace is possible, that human intelligence and compassion can triumph over fear and greed, that terror and war can give way to discussion and peace" (Knitting for Peace Manifesto). You don't have to knit for a specific organization or person but pray for peace or meditate on peace while you knit today.

If you would really like to knit for an organization that promotes peace there are a number of resources to help you out. Here are a few...

- Lion Brand Yarn Charity Connection

- Knitting for Peace by Betty Christiansen, suggests various projects to create which will bring peace to people around the world. (You can check this out from the library I bet :D!)

- Look on the bottom of the Knitting For Peace Manifesto web page, the author suggests a number of options to knit for peace.

- Don't forget about your own "backyard". Is there an elderly neighbor who would really appreciate a knitted item? What about a young parent who needs clothing for their infant?


While you knit this month, knit for peace.
Alison

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3.18.2007

Little Jester Hat



In February I wrote about the Care Wear Organization and how they meet the needs for preemies. Here is the hat I made. It didn't require much yarn or time. This was a great project for a quiet afternoon and any knitter can make this great gift.

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2.07.2007

Need Has No Season - February

Apparently our dear old friend Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow this year! Whoo-hoo, an early spring is headed our way! Wait, I just watched "An Inconvenient Truth" and this might not be such a good thing. In any case, I know that there a still a few chilly days left, and who hasn't heard of a spring snowstorm?

Well, with a few wintery days left this winter what can we do to spread a little warmth? Little is the key word in that sentence. The smallest of us all, preemies, benefit from the warmth of a cozy hat. These tiny hats aren't much bigger than your hand and are a great way to begin charity knitting. Care Wear began in 1991 as a group of volunteers who gave handmade (knit, sewn, or crocheted) baby items to hospitals to be given free to infants, children, and their parents. These handmade items provide comfort to the parents, warmth to their child, and a memento as the infant grows. Care Wear accepts more than just preemie items as they recognize the needs for full term infants and children.

Their website is a great information resource for anyone interested in helping with this project. You can find patterns for knitted, crocheted, and sewn items as well as local hospitals and organizations that will accept your handmade gift. Please visit the Care Wear website for more information.

Things to remember when knitting for hospitals:
- Preemie hats must be made of very soft yarn and washable in hot water with harsh detergents, and disinfectants
- Place finished items in sealable plastic bags to keep them clean and free from odors.
- Do not add potpurri or other scents to the finished items because the hospital will need to wash and sterilize them anyway. So save your lovely scents for another gift.
- Items knit for preemies must be free of cigarette smoke odors.
- Check with your hospital liason (found on the website) to know if they accept items with pompoms or other decorations. If decorations are allowed attach them securely.

Jester Hat Pattern for Preemies

Materials:

  • 3-ply sport weight yarn
  • Double pointed needles in sizes #3 and #5

Directions:

  • With larger needles, starting with a single loop, which counts as a knit st, double cast on 60 sts on three needles (20-20-20) in (K1, P1) rib pattern.
  • Being careful not to twist sts, join by knitting the single loop with the tail end of the yarn.
  • Return this st to the left hand needle.
  • Tug on the tail to snug up the join; this eliminates a bump at the joining.
  • Change to smaller needles and work in rib pattern as established for 20 rounds.
  • Change to larger needles and work in stockinet st (knit all rounds) for 20 rounds.
  • K30 and put on one needle.
  • See * and directions for finishing.

* Please note: Until this hat is put on a precious little head, it's just a bland rectangle!

Finishing:

  • With yarn end you're knitting with, measure back and forth across 30 sts on needle four times.
  • Add about 6” and cut yarn.
  • Graft the hat opening shut using the Kitchener Stitch. If you bound off the hat opening, close it using the Mattress Stitch.

(Optional) Securely attach a pom-pom, bell, star, etc. to the “ears” or “horns” in a spiffy color.

You just made a hat! You're so smart and charitable!

Ok, and to part, here is something to think about for March 21 (click on the link).

Until then, Peace

Alison

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1.11.2007

Strength in Numbers

Tonight I went to my very first knitting/crocheting group. Since the group meets in a very small town (pop. 800) we didn't think that we could get away with calling the group "Stitch N Bitch" without problems. So, for lack of a better term, right now we are just the knitting/crocheting group. Anyway, the groupies range in age from 10 years old to about 50 (no need to get specific here). With the exception of myself and a friend Diane everyone else is a "just learning" or beginning knitter. One of the "just learning" knitters took off knitting like a pro and is know knitting in the front and back of a stitch! So, in conclusion, find a group to knit/crochet with, you will find strength in numbers!

Here are some groups for you to join...
Virtual Stitch N Bitch Group
Stitch N Bitch Directory

Another way to find a group, go to your favorite coffee shop and ask if their shop is taken over once a week by some men/ladies with sticks, hooks, and string! Also, ask around at your place of worship, work, neighborhood, etc., if there isn't a group near you then start one! Groups like this are a great way to foster community, which we all need.

Happy Knitting,
Alison

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1.06.2007

Need has no season

Ahh...so we are all coming down from our Christmas highs, gift exchanges have ended, we've eaten our holiday candy, and we are still wondering where Christmas went in the hustle and bustle of the last weeks in December. During the Christmas season, many people don't purchase gifts just for themselves or family and friends, many people give to other organizations like Heifer International, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, Humane Societies, their church, synagogue, or temple, and to countless other organizations. On the sign for the Salvation Army Bell Ringers, the sign says, "Need Has No Season". So, let's make giving a year round effort. I will post each month about different things you can do to help others locally and internationally that will some how relate to knitting.

Warm Up America!

"Warm Up America! (WUA!) is an organization made up of volunteers who create handmade afghan blankets, clothing and accessories to help those in need. These items provide warmth and comfort to people who have lost their homes, fled abusive relations, or are being cared for in hospices, shelters, hospitals, and nursing homes." (WUA!)

Here is an easy project you can do if you are learning how to knit or you are teaching someone new to knitting. They will feel great about learning something that will benefit others. Knit (or crochet) 7 x 9 inch rectangles in various pattern stitches. Then you can make them into a blanket or you can send them on to WUA!.

Materials:
Worsted Weight Acrylic Yarn
Size 7 needles (or size necessary to obtain gauge)

Gauge: 5 sts = 1 inch

Finished Size: (helpful hint: cut a piece of cardboard to 7 x 9 inches to make measuring easier)
7 x 9 inches

Garter Stitch
Cast On 35 sts.
Knit every row until the piece measures 9 inches.
Bind off all sts.

Stockinette Stitch
Cast on 35 sts.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until the piece measures 9 inches.
Bind off all sts.

Seed Stitch
Cast on 35 sts.
Row 1: K1, P1, K1, continue alternating sts across the row.
Row 2: P1, K1, P1, continue alternating sts across the row.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until the piece measures 9 inches.
Bind off all sts.

There are more stitch patterns here, or you can get creative and make up your own patterns, just make sure that the finished piece measures 7 x 9 inches.

Happy Knitting

Alison


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1.02.2007

"Knit Your Bit"

I claimed my knitter's niche in 2005 when I took a class called "Women and World War II". At this time, my ears continuously listened for words like "knit", "purl", "garter", "stockinette", etc. so when I noticed the character Mrs. Miniver knitting in a bomb shelter and two sisters talking about k2 p2 ribbing, I knew that there was more to that than just a word on a page or camera shot in a movie. During this time, many people knitted; children, wounded soldiers, women young and old. So when did this begin? I would imagine that needles have always clicked whether or not a war rages. But, at some point women felt the call to "Knit Your Bit" and passed that on to younger generations. I could write a long and detailed history of Wartime Knitting here, but that might be a bit too much for the moment. So instead, if you would like to find out more on your own check out these interesting knitting resources.

Knitting for Victory - WWII
American Red Cross WWII Knitting
Posters, Photos, and Ads from the WWII Homefront
Knitting Images

Alison

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