Saturday, December 30, 2006

Latest FO's

These are the "business ends" of two baby slings that I just finished. I included both of them to show both sides of the fold. They are for "wearing" a baby. Information about how to make them can be found on-line at Videos on babywearing are available on the Mayawraps site. My DD found a sling to be a big help with the last baby although she didn't really discover them until the baby got too heavy to carry in the little carseat carrier. She liked the idea that she could keep the baby very close to her in stores so that people were not always grabbing at her and touching her during flu season. This time, she will probably be baby wearing around home from the very first. She already has her slings made from blue chambray. These ecru twill ones are for my DDIL.

A Knitter's Cat

It seems that every knitting or spinning blog I look at has at least one cat and an occasional dog. We are presently without pets except for The Christmas Cat. She is a relic of the very early 1960s, when styrofoam was a new and exciting artistic medium. If you are old enough, you probably remember Christmas trees made from styrofoam balls and toothpicks and sprayed with colored spray snow (aerosol cans were pretty cool back then, too). Those trees looked nice as a centerpiece on a table accompanied by the enormous brandy snifters filled with a liquid and mothballs which kept going up and down. This picture does not do real justice to the Cat. She is much more colorful in person--those eyes are iridescent! Furthermore, she is exceptionally well trained--she does not tangle my yarn, bat at my spindle, or get under the treadle of anything.

Friday, December 29, 2006


I haven't knitted too much in the last week, but I have enhanced my stash.

On needles--a pair of socks for my dh from Regia. I also have two Miss Dashwoods to make for dgds-to-be. I'm waiting for the yarn now.

Some fiber treasures I've recently acquired:

Corriedale Pencil Roving from Crown Mountain Farms. This is lovely to spindle with, although my skills are still not very good. You can see my attempts on the Little Si spindle.

Ruby River Mountain Colors Bearfoot for another pair of "spirit socks" for me for school.

Two beautiful skeins of Superwash Merino/Tencel sock yarn from
Susan's Spinning Bunny. Both of these colorways are much richer than they appear on camera, and they have almost a silk-like sheen. The colorways are "Roses for You," based on the colors of antique Gallica roses and "Anshan's Biscotti." The roses will be for my dd--they are her favorite flower.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Another Mason Dixon Kimono

Just finished a kimono for a second expected dgd. The yarn is Bernat Satin, which is a dream to knit with. I wanted something that was easy to launder and that looked very feminine.

It's Happened!

You know that moment when you realize you just sounded exactly like your mother? Well, I just realized that my stack of Christmas presents looks exactly like what my grandmother used to do. I must admit, though, that that is not really a bad thing. My family is not going to get together for Christmas until the 27th this year, so this morning, while the rest of the world unwrapped presents, I was wrapping mine or getting them out from their hiding places.

All through my childhood, my grandmother, who was a widow, shopped for Christmas all year long. She did not drive her car out of town, so whenever she was out to a larger town with friends, she would buy things for Christmas. Her gifts were most often of a practical nature--a pretty pair of socks, a nice pair of underwear, a pretty hankie, etc. She would bring them home and immediately wrap them in Christmas paper and put them on the bed in the guest bedroom--kept closed to save on heating and cooling. I often spent the day at her house, and I would always sneak in to take a look and guess what was in the packages. As a result of Grandma's shopping style, we all grew used to BIG piles of packages under the tree. Today I looked at the gifts for my grandchildren which I have been hiding away in the linen closet for some time and saw not one big nice present, but lots and lots of little packages. I remember the anticipation and the fun I had as a child opening each gift from Grandma. I think for her the Christmas Spirit lasted all year.

I will add celebrating Christmas to the list of things I learned from this remarkable woman who taught me embroidery and how to make my own paper dolls and how to feed chickens and how to love a grandchild.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Hodgepodge of Projects

I have had the feeling that I've not been making any progress on anything, but I do have some FOs. Clockwise from top: My Cascade Little Si spindle with singles spun from some black and white striped roving from the Sheep Shed Studio; Next, one of a pair of clogs--the other is waiting for more yarn--made for my dh from Paton's Classic Merino by the Fiber Trends pattern. Next, a garter stitch scarf from mystery yarn. This is actually a friend's crochet project. The yarn would just not crochet, so I knitted it quickly so she could give it to her niece for Christmas--10 stitches by 7 feet on size 15s. The white plastic pipe is wrapped with singles of BFL from Spunky Hats; I finally finished the socks from Online Socks Highland Colors. I love the yarn, and the socks are comfy. I used the charts from Sensational Knitted Socks, and I think these are the best gussets I've done so far; Finally, there is the skein of my first handspun yarn. It is brown and white from some very scratchy wool. It has thick and thin spots and some downright lumps, but it is MINE!

On the needles--another pair of plain stockinette socks for my "mindless" knitting moments; my Lacevember project, still unfinished; the other gray clog; and a baby sweater for the other expected dgd out of Pistachio Cotton Ease. I am also spindling at least 30 minutes a day, with mixed results.

What else have I been doing? I teach in a fairly small high school in the rural Texas Panhandle. A large portion of our student body is first or second generation from Mexico; almost all of our student body qualifies for lunch assistance, and we are heavily Title I. This year we decided to have all our students read a novel, The Great Gatsby, at the same time. We read and discussed the novel in English classes, and some of the other departments did related research projects. The choir learned some jazz numbers, and the theatre classes learned the Charleston. Last Friday, we had a luncheon in the school cafeteria. The staff prepared a buffet of hors d'oeuvre-type foods and a fancy dessert. We bought plastic wine glasses and had iced tea and white grape juice fountains. The cafeteria was decorated in white and silver and pastel blue. For some of our students, a buffet was an entirely new experience. After the meal we all watched the Robert Redford movie in the school auditorium. We are very pleased with student response to the project.

Friday, December 08, 2006

My First Spinning

These are my first singles. This is my first singles. Which one is correct? Anyway this is my horribly uneven first attempt at spinning. Now I just need to ply it. I think I used about 2 oz. of roving that came in the spinning kit from Bellwether. The spinning was spread over 20-30 minute sessions on several evenings. I have two more bits of roving in the kit, and I just got a package from Sheep Shed Studio that I am saving for later. I guess that means I have a fiber stash now as well as a yarn stash. I also have a stash of some Tropical Punch Kool Aid to dye with.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Technological Progress

I have been diligently trying to learn to spin with a hand spindle, and I am amazingly making some progress. My dh is becoming interested in the process. Yesterday, he saw on the internet a photograph made in Afghanistan of some women who are participating in a cottage industry project. One was spinning on a spindle and the other one was "knitting or something." If he can find the link again, I will post it.

Thinking about technology old and new has inspired me to tell you about the experiences with bathroom updates in our teachers' restroom. Our women's bathroom consists of a long narrow room about 5 x 10, with the vanity/lavatory at the far end on the left and the door to a tiny separate room for the toilet on the right. We generally do not enter the outer room unless we are sure no one else is in there because it gets crowded at the far end. The way we know the room is empty is if the light and fan (on the same switch) are off. We have just had some updates. The first update was a paper towel dispenser that rolls out a paper towel when you wave at it. Cool! The latest improvement was a retrofit of the toilet with one of those automatic flushing photoelectric valves. The first day, the valve flushed 3 times per customer--about 20 seconds after someone sat down, at the proper time, and just about the time you got to the sink to wash your hands. That afternoon, I spoke with maintenance, and they adjusted the "sensitivity"--they seemed to find this amusing. Then the really weird things started happening! I have no problem--everything is working fine when I go in there. The teacher next door has to push the button to flush manually because it will not work for her. The teacher in the next room is still getting the "bidet effect." And, the next teacher down the hall is not only getting the occasional "bidet effect," but paper towels that dispense when she walks past the dispenser. We don't know whether complain to maintenance or hold an exorcism!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I did it!

I finally made something that actually looks like yarn on my new spindle. Admittedly, it is only a single, and there are only about 5 yards on it so far--that may be a generous estimate--but it is coming!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Baby Sweater

The 5 hour baby sweater and a little cap done in the preemie size from the pattern on The yarn is Cotton Ease that I picked up from a discontinued bargain bin. I loved knitting with it! Supposedly, Lion Brand was going to release this yarn again in November, but I haven't seen any in the stores, and their web site did not show it a couple of days ago. One skein was enough for the sweater and cap with some left over. The color is Strawberry Cream.

I also received my spindle in the mail today. It came in a kit with some wool and an instruction book. The book, however, left me with some unanswered questions, so I'm going to check out some instructions on the net as well.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Another Bassinet!

The bassinet for the second dgc, expected in February. The color is an icy blue, to go in an all-pastel nursery. The inside is white quilted cotton--I don't know why it looks pinkish in the photo. We do not know the gender of this child--at least not yet. When we deliver this bassinet, I will take my steamer and further steam the pleats. Notice the little pocket on the inside to store an extra pacifier. The bassinet itself is the one that the baby's father used. The names of all the family infants that have used it are written on the bottom.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

We are celebrating Thanksgiving tonight with our daughter and son and their families. Wednesday night is the best time we can get together because of my son's new job schedule. It will be a time of celebration and thanksgiving for all the blessings God has given us this year and in the past. It is also a time of remembering those who are no longer here to celebrate with us.

May God bless each and every one this Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Sock and NASCAR

Last summer about the same time I began knitting again, I picked up a novel at the grocery store--St. Dale by Sharyn McCrumb. From past experience with her Southern-folklore=based novels of suspense, I expected a thoughtful mystery set in an Appalachian background. What a surprise! The plot of the novel is about a Dale Earnhardt memorial bus tour of several racetracks. McCrumb chose to use as her model Chaucer's Canterbury Tales although she does not write in rhyming couplets, thank heavens! What the novel is about, however, is the need for heroes in any era. It is an investigation of what makes a popular cultural hero, whether that hero is Thomas Becket, Elvis, Princess Diana, or Dale Earnhardt. As a result of reading this book, I decided to watch a NASCAR race on television and discovered that not only was it interesting as a cultural phenomenon, but it was also fun! I slipped from sociology to being something of a fan. I knew I was lost when I had the following conversation in a Hancock's flannel department:

Other customer to her companion: I've been looking all over for some NASCAR flannel, and I can't find any in town.

Me (volunteering info to a stranger): I just saw some at Joann's.

Customer: Did they have any Jimmie Johnson?

Me: I don't think so; all I saw had just NASCAR or 3s or 24s--no 48s.

I have since discovered that race time is good knitting time. I finished my sock during the Busch race last night. This afternoon the cup season will end at Homestead, so I will have to make socks during movies until Daytona.

No, that is not Kevin Harvick in the picture--that is my dgs. The Chevy dealer in his town had this car and a #3 car on display last week, and they took pictures for Meemaw. The fat foot, alas, is mine.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Finished Object and Found Object

After reading the Yarn Harlot's posts about the speed at which servant children in Victorian times could knit a stocking, I was feeling particularly guilty about UFOs, so I finished one. Here is the Mason-Dixon baby kimono for an expected dgd. We don't know her name--it's a secret for big sister to announce when she arrives--but it starts with an M, so I put her initial on her sweater. The yarn is Cottontots Very Berry. Note: I used my size 6 Balene II circulars for this sweater. I used them on the jumper I knitted for big sister last summer and loved the shape of the points. I discovered about 4 inches into the kimono that the yarn and needles just didn't go together. It almost hurt to knit. I didn't want to change needles, however, because I was afraid it would show, so I managed to finish with them. I have since tried Cottontots on some other needles, and it works fine. It was just a bad combination.

I also made a purchase--a darning egg. I am hoping it will be helpful in working on socks. I tried ebay, but the shipping costs were going to up the price. I found this one at Prairie Peddler Antiques in Clovis, NM. Their prices are usually quite reasonable; and when I walked in and said, "I need a darning egg," the owner produced six. She wanted to know what I was going to darn, and I told her that I was knitting socks. I am not sure she believed me until I pulled a sock and circulars out of my knitting bag. I wish I had my grandmother's egg, but I have not seen it since I was a little girl.

Knitting in Public

I HAVE actually been faithfully knitting since my last post. I've been struggling with a lace project for Lacevember, almost finished a Mason-Dixon baby kimono (ribbons will go on today), worked diligently off-and-on (Is that an oxymoron?) on my BBS, and almost finished a sock in the new Online Highland Colors. Oh, and I also knitted my first MD hexagonal bobbled dishcloth.

The last couple of weeks, however, have been difficult at work with afterschool meetings and an out-of-town workshop. At least the workshop offered me the opportunity to knit in public for a little while. I'm NOT rude enough to knit during the workshop, and it was hands-on anyway, but I did knit on my sock before and during breaks. The lack of finished projects is beginning to bug me.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Socktoberfest 2006 Socks

I finished my socks for Socktoberfest. They are a basic sock pattern, but they are my first pair knitted on Magic Loop. I knitted top down, with heel stitch heels and German round toes. The yarn is Patons Kroy, Winter Eclipse colorway.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Knitted Jumper

I knitted this jumper from TLC Wiggle last summer for my dgd. It is now cold enough to wear it. The pattern was in the Family Circle knitting magazine, I think. It nice to have someone who is so enthusiastic about my knitting!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mini Cosleeper Cover

My dd is going to be using a mini cosleeper that attaches to the parents' bed for the new baby girl who is on the way. The full-size cosleepers come with a cover, but the minis are a fabric that is supposed to be surface washable. We decided it needed a cover that was totally washable to protect against accidents. I studied the design of the covers from internet pictures, and my daughter found a reversible quilted fabric that coordinates with her bedroom and still looks girly. It is short so that all the nifty storage pockets and compartments can be available.
I added one more elasticized pocket at mom's request to hold an extra pacifier or two for a middle-of-the-night emergency. The long flap in the front will come up over the side if it is raised to use as a regular bassinet; otherwise, it will be sandwiched between the parents' bed and the cosleeper. I wanted to make big fluffy bows on the tie-ons, but I stuck with the recommended 7-inches of ribbon that are supposed to be safe, Of course, I also prewashed the fabric, giving the quilted roses a lovely antique quality. The fabric came from Joann's, and I used Wrights quilt binding and double-fold wide bias tape.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Short Report

Socks for Soldiers--slow but steady progress on first sock
Socktoberfest 2006--Almost to toe on first sock.
Mason/Dixon baby kimono--Need more yarn for second front, will pick it up on Sunday from dd's house.
Branching Out--finished skein, only to discover scarf was very short. It seems Silky Tweed, which I was using, has fewer yards per skein than Silky Wool. Fortunately, the retailer has more of the same dyelot, so I'm waiting for it to come in.
Organization--bought a worm binder with a rather attractive polar bear on the outside at Academy. I also got extra bags for the inside. I have sorted all my circular needles and labeled each bag with the American and metric size. There are also a few extra bags for my knitting tools.

I am laundering my special "spirit socks" for school tomorrow. Some of the boys on the team always want to know if I am wearing them. One of them even insisted that I not wear them on the Friday that we didn't have a game--he didn't want to waste them. Considering that some of these students had reputations for being difficult to handle in the past, this pair of socks may be the best investment I have ever made in a knitting project!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Definition of a "Good" Long Weekend

--Spending quiet times with DH--always a pleasure, even after 28+ years.
--Long visits with both grown children and their spouses and/or children.
--DD and DDIL are both pregnant and doing well. One morning spent going through stored baby items with DD while DGD played all around us
--Rain (In the Texas Panhandle it's always a source for celebration. Falling asleep to the sound of rain on the roof is a particular blessing.)
--I finally learned how to follow a lace chart. Admittedly, it is for Branching Out, a fairly simple pattern. Part of the problem I had been having was seeing the distinctions between K and SSK and K2tog. I went over those with a red pen--English teachers always have one of those handy--and it helped. I also put my chart on a magnetic stand that was not made for that purpose. It is a portable stand for Magnetic Poetry. I even used words from Shakespeare to hold the pattern up and sticky notes to keep my place. DD, a technical writer, referred to my setup as "multitasking."
--turning my first heel and doing the gusset on Magic Loop
--a new paperback romance by Judith McNaught to read in a bubble bath.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Poncho blocked and fringed

The poncho fits fine after the blocking. Here is the finished item. I know it is a very simple pattern, but it's just what I need for my purposes.

I have also been working off and on on Branching Out in a gray-blue Silky Wool. I have had to frog a couple of times, but I've been careful to put in frequent lifelines, so I've rescued most of my work. It's row seven of the pattern that keeps getting to me. I've been working from the written directions, not from the chart. I need to remedy that, since part of my purpose in doing this project is to learn to knit from a chart. Here's a picture of my progress to date.

No one would be able to guess that my favorite color is blue. . . .

I am still knitting on the BBS for Socks for Soldiers, and I have a pair of Kroy socks on needles for myself from the Winter Eclipse colorway. After knitting with finer weights of sock yarn, I am not particularly enjoying these, but I like the color, and I think they will go with the poncho and some other items in my wardrobe.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Progress Report

In between grading papers, I have been working diligently on a Big Black Sock for Socks for Soldiers. I am putting in an hour a day, but ribbing goes slowly. This is also my first attempt at Magic Loop. It seems to be going well, but the black yarn is an eyestrain. Thank heavens for my Ott lite!

I also whipped out the Bernat Satin MD Baby Kimono. The yarn was wonderful to work with--it was soooo smooth and soft, and I like the way the colors blended together instead of looking spotted like many variegated baby yarns. However, I thought the end product was a little heavy for our climate here. This was definitely a "girly" colorway, so I'm passing the kimono--knitted, but "undecorated"--along to my dear SIL. She is going to personalize it for an expected DGD. The bulkier weight will be just right for her needs. I sent her a list of all the different ways I had seen this kimono finished on the Mason Dixon KAL.

I also just wet blocked the poncho that I knitted for myself out of Wool of the Andes. I tried it on before blocking, and it resembled . . . .

One time when I was a preteen and before the days of pantyhose, a friend's parents invited me to go with them to a musical production at a nearby university. I wanted to be very dressed up, so I wore my new wool skirt--the gray pleated one mentioned in a former post--and my best twinset. I also "borrowed" my mother's new girdle. This was the one she hadn't yet worn because she hadn't broken it in by stretching it over the back of a chair as she usually did. Understand that this was a girdle, NOT a panty girdle. For those of you who are young, it was basically a rubberized tube that went from waist to mid-thigh with metal garters on the bottom to clip on to stockings. I wore the girdle to the event. What I had not considered was that without stockings, the girdle would begin rolling into a tight sausage roll that would end up around my upper hips every time I moved the wrong way. I made it to the first intermission, went to the rest room with my friend, and adjusted the problem. During the second act the same thing happened. This was particularly disconcerting because this was a theater in the round production and we had front row seats. By the second intermission, I gave up, and we managed to stuff the offending garment into one of our purses. Unfortunately, my friend's little sister found out what we were doing and blabbed the story to her mother, who giggled about it with her husband all the way home.

Anyway, that is exactly what this poncho was like. If I wiggled a little finger--couldn't wiggle an elbow because they were clamped to my sides--the stockinette began rolling up and up. It did, however, relax nicely when wet, so I have hopes. I will still need to fringe it when it dries.

After my frustration with Hedera, I decided I needed to try a simpler lace project, so I've begun Branching Out. I'm hoping to learn to follow a chart, but my first two motifs have been done by following the written instructions. I am using some blue-gray Silky Wool. It's not as hard as I thought it would be, but I am running lifelines at the end of each motif in case I have to frog, and I have used one already.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Big Projects on Hold

Right now things are so hectic in my life that I've postponed the lace socks in favor of just knitting basic ones. I'm also carrying quickie projects with me for security, I guess. Here is my first one--a Mason-Dixon Ball Band dishcloth. I stocked up on Sugar & Cream on sale at Ben Franklin's the other day, so I'm good to go for several more of these.

I also have been eyeing the Mason-Dixon baby kimono. In fact, I have some "nice" cotton on order for one, but I picked up some Bernat Satin acrylic at Jo-Ann's yesterday in baby colors and started one of those. I'm definitely in a "knitting as therapy" mode right now. Besides, acrylic is nice and washable for a baby and all those little "disasters."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Poncho and Socks

Well, I finished knitting the poncho. The shape is not quite right, but I'm hoping blocking will give it some "shoulders" and get rid of the straitjacket effect it has right now. I haven't yet cut the fringe. The color is very pretty--that is "my" color. I would have been through scooner, but I watched the NASCAR race from Richmond Saturday night. I'm not even particularly a race fan, but I got interested and kept knitting, not seeing a mistake for several rows--not sure how far back I had to tink, but it took me 79 laps to do it!

I started Knitty Hedera last night. I had been without socks on needles for a week! I'm using KnitPicks Essentials Tweed in a lovely plum color. The yarn is so soft and feels really nice to knit even though I always find the top ribbing fiddly and slow-going. I think one reason is that I always feel the need to knit more tightly on that part of the sock. I hope I will be able to convert this DP pattern to circulars successfully.

I'm using the KP circular needles for the first time. I really like them because the tips are more pointed--this is my first pair on size 1's--and the metal part of the needle is a little longer, giving my hands more to hold on to than my small size Addis. I do not hold my needles correctly--learned to knit as a 9-year-old from another 9-year-old--so my grip is a little different. All in all, I'm very pleased with both the needles and the yarn. Tonight I get to start on pattern! Yippee!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Changing my Mind

The CHAP child's Aran sweater that I mentioned earlier did not work out as I hoped. The fabric was stiff and uncomfortable when I knitted, and that was just the ribbing with bobbles. Over the week, I read the Yarn Harlot's book, Knitting Rules, and decided that there is no point in putting in that kind of work on yarn I hate. I am going to ebay all this yarn and buy nicer yarn for the heirloom sweaters.

Meanwhile, I knitted and felted a pair of the Fiber Trends felted clogs for myself. I made them from Too Teal Patons Classic Merino, and they felted in only 20 minutes in my front-load washer. I am looking forward to wearing them when they dry.

I am in the process of losing weight, and none of my "school clothes" fit. This is a good thing. In the fall and winter I wear mostly sweaters and slacks or skirts because our rooms are heated, but the hallways aren't. Most days here are relatively mild unless we are having a blizzard, so I can make it from the car to the school without a coat if I wear a sweater. I hate driving in a coat!
Now many of my sweaters are too big, even for the "oversize" look. I have hunted down a few on ebay because I don't want to spend a lot of money on sweaters that I hope will soon be too big also. I decided that a poncho would be a quick project that would also "shrink" with me. I'm knitting the Very Harlot Poncho from her blog in KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Arctic Pool. I can wear it over some cotton turtlenecks. The only problem is that it is such easy knitting that I keep knitting right past the YO's because I'm not paying attention. I've tinked more on this poncho than on my last 3 pairs of socks put together!

As soon as I can get my hands on some solid black sock yarn (thank heavens for Ott lites), I have a committment to knit a pair of socks for Socks for Soldiers. I somehow feel I need to do this. My grandmother knitted for WWI, my mother for WWII, so I feel that this will be some sort of connection with women and history that I can't quite articulate. I remember finding my mother's sock knitting needles when I was a child--I can't seem to find them now--and she explained what she used them for. Ironically, she never taught me to knit or knitted again herself although she was talented with a crochet needle and a sewing machine.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Another pair finished!

Some day the excitment of finishing another pair of socks will wane, but right now it's still fun! I finished a pair of basic socks in a gray and black Regia varigated this weekend. I tried to learn some new skills (3rd pair) by doing an eye of partridge heel and a German round toe. I like the way the toe looks, but I haven't worn the socks yet, so that will be the big test. I am now in the position of not having socks on needles: however, I am halfway through with the second clog of the Fiber Trends pattern. I've never felted before--at least not intentionally--so I'm interested in seeing how this comes out. After that, back to the sock yarn.

I am off to another week of school. Today I am trying something new in the way of an assignment on Beowulf. We'll see how the students do with it. It is hard sometimes to think of really interesting approaches to the very early periods of British Literature without getting downright silly, and I have done that a few times. I'm trying to figure out how felted shoes would work into a discussion of the medieval period. I'll have to do some research on that.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Dress for Anticipated Grandniece

Wow! That title makes me feel old!

I finished the dress this afternoon. It is adapted from "Katie," a Wendy Schoen design for Petit Poche. It's a wonderful pattern to do interesting things with. A couple of years ago, I did a similar outfit for my granddaughter with a blue bunny rabbit jacket and a blue toile Peter Rabbit dress honoring the 100th anniversary of Peter Rabbit. The dress itself is absolutely plain, with long raglan sleeves. The embroidery, based on traditional redwork, is all outline stitch and lazy daisies. I used a Moda Marbles cotton for the jacket, but I departed from traditional heirloom sewing and used Imperial Broadcloth for the dress. The poly/cotton blend won't wrinkle as badly with car seat buckles. Although it doesn't show well in the picture, the color is Rice, a beautiful candlelight ivory.

Friday, September 01, 2006


I finally have more than one project on needles. I had just been working on socks while I recuperated from gall bladder surgery. After my first week back at work, I came home this afternoon and started two other projects. One of them is a mystery dishcloth/washcloth KAL from LoneStarState Knitters. The second is the CHAP Child's Aran Sweater KAL. I had some quality acrylic ecru yarn in my stash, so I'm knitting the sweater from that. However, I need to make two of these for cousins. Is there such a thing as second sweater syndrome? Should I perhaps knit back-back, front-front, 4 sleeves, instead of finishing one sweater and then going for a second?

Of course, there are still socks. I have almost finished the gusset decreases on the second sock of a pair of Regia socks for myself. I wore the socks in school colors today and showed them to team members. I'm not sure how impressed they were, but they didn't question my school spirit.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Yarn/Needle Order is Here!

When I began sock knitting 2 1/2 pairs ago, I had no small needles. I bought some Addi 3 circulars at the only place within many miles that approximates being an LYS. I have since added a set of Addi 2s. After reading posts on forums, I decided to add sizes in the Knitpicks needles. They came yesterday. Now I have 1s and 0s, and I have some 32" needles to try magic loop as well. (I know that's shorter than recommended, but several people had written that they were using that length.) I also have been petting yarn--the Essentials tweed in Plum and Flint.

When I was in upper elementary school in about 1960 or so, grey wool stitched down box-pleated skirts were the style. My mother was an excellent seamstress, and we found some grey wool that was absolutely gorgeous. It was the grey flannel that everyone had, but there were occasional tiny flecks of all different colors. I had some twinsets in some of those different colors, and the skirt became my favorite garment. I walked home for lunch one day, and my Uncle Glenn, one of my favorite people, was here visiting. On my way back to school, I was attacked by a large dog, who came running out of an open garage and grabbed my skirt in his teeth. I used the classic female response--I hit him with my purse and ran like crazy. Fortunately, he did not chase me. My beautiful skirt, however, was ripped all the way down a side pleat. I was heartbroken. My mother got me in a new outfit, and Uncle Glenn drove me back to school. I mourned the loss of my skirt all afternoon. After school, however, I discovered that Mother had not only taken care of things with the dog's owner, but she had also used a scrap of the wool to remove and replace an entire box pleat, hiding the seam inside the inner pleat crease. Thanks to her hard work and a generous hem, I was able to wear the skirt the next year as well. The Flint sock yarn reminds me of that skirt. I know I'll think about that day and my mother's love whenever I wear those socks.

Now if I could only stay home and knit it today!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wannabe a Project

These two pictures are of an antique baby bib from the late 1940s. The thread seems to be a silk or rayon; it drapes beautifully and is somewhat shiny. The bib is the small kind that you use to keep babies from drooling on their Sunday best. I would like to make a couple of these for some expected grandbabies, but I don't know where to find this kind of thread or exactly what stitches are used. I'm sure there must be experts out there somewhere.

I also have done a reverse redwork Sunbonnet Sue on the back of a quilting cotton jacket dress for an expected grandniece. The design is adapted from an online quilting pattern from Ladies in Red.

My second pair of socks is finished! They are knitted in the Lumberjack colorway from Lion Brand Magic Stripes. I used #3s on them, too. However, this yarn was much heavier and stiffer to work with than my first pair. I was a little worried until I soaked them in Eucalan and blocked them. Now they are nice and soft, but thicker than the first pair of socks. Since I will be wearing these with athletic shoes on Fridays, they should be just right. The tiny bit of yarn you see in the upper corner is a ball of Regia. I have cast on for another pair of socks (How addictive is this?) using #2s this time.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I Wore Them!

I wore my first pair of socks with my tennies on a trip to a nearby town all day. They were really comfy. However, they did seem to stretch a little bit. I would have liked them better if they had remained a little snugger. I am going to knit the next pair using the same stitch count, but use #2 needles instead of #3. Perhaps that will have the desired effect of making the fabric not quite so stretchy.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

My First Socks

These are my first socks, a basic sock pattern knitted on circular #3 Addis from Austermann Step yarn. They fit like a dream! I had never had the courage to try socks because I have very short fingers, and I was apprehensive about trying the dp needles. Then I read Debbie Macomber's novel, "A Good Yarn."

I have already started a second pair in the school colors of the school where I teach. I will wear them on pep rally days. High School football is a big event in Texas.