Updated patterns!

I'm in the process of updating my old patterns, particularly the bibs, to include charts. I'm rewriting some of the directions to make the patterns even easier and including alternative methods for beginning the bibs and for making the ties. Look for these patterns in the sidebar to see which ones have been added. It's a slow process, but eventually, they'll all be there!

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Sweet Surprise

I have had the worst week.  Monday, I had to put my precious cat to sleep.  He wasn't feeling very well, but I didn't realize quite how ill he really was.  I wasn't prepared for the diagnosis the vet delivered, nor was I prepared to say goodbye to him so abruptly.  It was obvious that he would never be well and  I just couldn't bear to have him in any pain.  We had named him "Wyatt Earp" because as a kitten he was brave, courageous and bold!  Such a sweet cat and I miss him terribly.

I also had to spend time battling with the moderators of a group on Ravelry who decided to use one of my patterns without asking for my permission to reprint it.  Normally, if someone asks, I'm happy to work with them. The copyright on all my patterns states they can't "reproduce the actual pattern, or post it, or distribute it, without my express permission".  Just because a pattern is free, doesn't mean that I give up my rights to it.  As you all know, I never charge for my patterns and, obviously, I don't mind sharing, just look how many patterns I have!!  What irritates me is that they should have known better and they clearly decided to take advantage of my good nature!

Just to top things off nicely, I've been having terrible knee pain and the doctor thinks I might have torn "something".  He's sending me to an orthopedic surgeon for a definitive diagnosis, but this news didn't do much to improve my disposition!

In any event, I was really down in the dumps, when I got the sweetest email from a reader, who sent me some pictures of her recent project.
Charlotte, who is 15 years old, told me that she had knit these squares, but wasn't sure what to do with them.  Her mom helped her out by providing a pillow in need of a cover, so she sewed the squares together and covered it.  Didn't it come out great?  I haven't seen any pillows made from my patterns, so I was delighted to see these.

Charlotte tells me that she used a skein of Red Heart acrylic for the squares, so I'm sure they'll hold up nicely.

It's always fun to see other knitter's projects, but I especially enjoy seeing young knitters' creations.  It bodes well for the future of our craft!  Thank you Charlotte for the lovely email and for letting me share your project and pictures with everyone!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Who me? A snob?

I learned to knit from my grandmother when I was six years old. She taught me using some old, pink plastic needles that were slightly bowed in the middle.  I still have that set of  U.S. Size 8 needles and they're one of my most prized possessions. I used a lot of Red Heart acrylic in those days, since I hadn't discovered the joys of using natural fibers.  However, every once and while, a project will pop up that calls for some acrylic yarn and I go back to that stiff, plastic stuff that's torture for me to use. I wouldn't exactly say that I've become a yarn snob, but I do wrinkle my nose at the notion of using acrylic. In any event, awhile back, I was surfing around Ravelry searching for the perfect infinity cowl.  I wanted one that could be doubled, had a neat texture, and was knit back and forth with a few stitches, rather than a huge circle with tons of stitches. I finally hit on the right pattern, it had all of my requirements and I loved the sample that was done in gorgeous shades of blue.  Imagine my surprise then, when I saw that the yarn was 100% acrylic. Not only that, but it was bulky! Blues Infinity Scarf is a free pattern that's knit with James C. Brett's Marble Chunky. I know that I could have used other yarn, but I loved the look of this one so much, I decided to give it a go and I'm happy that I did.
The yarn was actually quite nice to knit with and it has a "woolly" feel to it.  You only need one ball as it's very large with 341 yards.

Here are the modifications I made. I did a provisional cast on of 27 stitches using U.S. Size 10 needles. There are only two rows to the pattern and one of them is a knit row. I began and ended with the second pattern row so I could graft the ends together easily. For the second pattern row, I began and ended with knit 3. In other words, instead of "p1, k1", I did "k3, (p1, k2) x7, p1, k3". This produced a nice garter stitch edge on both sides.  The length of  54" that the pattern calls for, was perfect for doubling.
I will say that I found it a little boring to knit, so I kept it in my car and only worked on it when we were travelling.  It does knit up rather quickly with the bulky yarn and large needles. I knit half of it on our trip up to Maine and the second half on the way home!

As luck, or fate, would have it, my husband came back home from one of his walks around the block, and announced that our local sewing shop was having a yarn sale. First, I didn't even know that the shop carried yarn. I mistakenly believed that all they did were alterations and repairs. I had no idea that they had any sewing or knitting inventory at all!  I immediately got in the car and drove downtown, not expecting to find much!  As it turns out, she had several really nice lines of yarn, including the Marble Chunky!  Not only that, but the sale was for 30% off as they aren't going to continue the retail part of their shop.  How could I resist that? I picked up a couple more balls as I'm fairly certain my sisters will want to take my scarf as soon as they see it.  I thought it would be good to be prepared!

With one of the balls, I knit this cozy shawl for myself. The colors look slightly washed out in this photo, but they're wonderful fall colors!
This is the TVG (High Speed Knitting) pattern by Susan Ashcroft.  It's designed for any weight of yarn.  She has some wonderful patterns and they're all very well written and test knitted.
Again, this only used one ball of yarn with the U.S. Size 10 needles, and I still had some leftover!

This post wouldn't be complete without a huge thank you to my beautiful niece, Eliza, for helping me out with the modeling. She came to visit us for a few days. I jokingly told her I was going to tell all of you that the pictures were of me! LOL!  Oh to be young and thin!! I just wish that I had my other shawl blocked so she could have modeled that as well.  I guess she'll just have to come back for another visit!! Thanks Eliza!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Whale of a Blog

Don't get used to seeing a brand new pattern every time you come and visit me! LOL!! This is just luck that the last three posts all have had patterns.  This new one is brought to you because of a very nice email that I received asking me if I had a pattern for a whale.  I didn't, but then I remembered that I had started one a year or so ago.  For some unknown reason, I abandoned it.  Thanks to Sheila, I decided to revive it.
I thought it would be another good summertime project.
I purposely kept it to the same dimensions as the Baby Starfish and the Baby Seahorse so if you wanted to make a set, they'd all go together.
I've now added charts to the Baby Seahorse pattern and I've updated the Baby Starfish Cloth and added charts to both that one and the bib. My goal is to eventually add charts to all the old patterns. In any event, I want to thank Sheila for prodding me and, more importantly, for test knitting the bib! That's a luxury I don't get to enjoy very often!

Here's the pdf for A Whale of a Bib and here's the pdf for A Whale of a Cloth.  Links are also in the sidebar.

I hope you have a "whale" of a good time knitting them!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Berry Time!

As you all know by now, I knit hats for the babies at my local hospital. They give me the "head" count for the upcoming month and I go to work!  I don't like to keep knitting the same thing over and over, so I change up the designs depending on the season.  In the summertime, I like to knit lacy hats for the girls, but I also do some with a berry theme.  My all time favorite is this little strawberry hat.
It's pretty easy to knit and I think it comes out so sweet.  I've tweaked it a bit here and there over the years,  It's a compilation of three different free patterns.  Because I "borrowed" the instructions, I can't really claim it as my pattern, but I can share how I put it all together, in case you'd like to make one for a berry sweet baby!

First, you need to gather these three patterns.  Honey Badger for the body of the hat.  Berry Baby Hat for the leaves and Knitted Flower Tutorial for the little white blossom.

I used Plymouth Yarns Jeannee in the worsted weight and U.S. Size 6  16" circular needle for the body and either double pointed needles for the crown or a larger circular needle for magic loop.

Cast on 63 stitches. (Note:  Knit the first row without joining it in the round. It's so much easier to knit this one row and then close up the stitch when you weave in the ends.)  Knit nine rounds.  Knit the next round through the back loops.  This gives you a twisted round that will hold the rolled brim in place. Knit one round. Begin the pattern as follows:

Rounds 1 - 3:  knit
Round 4:  *yo, slip 1, k2, pass the slip st. over the 2 knit sts., k6*, repeat to end of round.
Rounds 5 - 9:  knit.
Round 10: * k4, yo, slip 1, k2, pass the slip st. over the 2 knit sts., k2*, repeat to end of round.

Work rounds 1 - 10 a total of four times. 24 rows total.  Note: On the last round 10, increase one stitch to 64 stitches.

Switch now to the Baby Berry Hat pattern and follow the instructions for making the leaves.  When you're finished, knit the I-cord for only 1 1/2".  This will give the hat a little stem. I will tell you that I read somewhere that the leaves looked a little better if you did the decreases using the "old-fashioned" method of slipping one stitch, knitting one stitch and then passing the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch or a psso.  I don't know if that's true or not, but that's the way that I do my decreases, rather than the knit 2 tog. I think it probably just makes the leaves swirl in the opposite direction. You can do them however you want!

Blossom.  I used a thinner yarn for the blossom.  Tahki Cotton Classic Lite and I knit it with U.S. Size 3 needles.  The Knitted Flower Tutorial (in my opinion) makes the nicest flowers.  For these, you follow her instructions except that you only need to cast on 41 stitches.  Knit one row and purl one row.  Then you cast off 7 stitches for each blossom, instead of 9.  This makes a smaller and very neat little flower.  To finish it off, make a french knot in the center. (Hey, french knots are easy!  The trick to making them is to remember not to go back down the same hole.  Also, if you want a bigger or a thicker knot, use a double strand of yarn.  Don't just wrap the yarn multiple times around the needle or it will be floppy.) Attach the blossom to one side of the stem.

I used to use this different pattern for the flower, Knitted Flower Pattern, which was also cute.  It does make a "bulkier" flower and it is a little fiddly, but it does work.

If you know how to crochet, you can even make one of your own creations!  

I hope you have fun knitting this little cap. As I said, it may be my all time favorite!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Grammy's Bib and Cloth

This pattern has been a long time coming.  I started working on it almost three years ago, but kept putting it aside as life intervened.  My grandchildren are lucky to have two sets of grandparents (at least I think they're lucky!).  My daughter-in-law's parents live on the West Coast and we live on the East Coast.  We don't get together very often, but on the occasion of the birth of our mutual granddaughter, we were able to reconnect.  Kathy, who is affectionately called "Grammy", was working on a beautiful lavender baby blanket for Ruthie. She explained how the pattern had been handed down in her mother-in-law's family.  I thought it was a beautiful pattern and Kathy graciously shared it with me.  There wasn't any need for me to knit a blanket, but I thought it would make a cute bib.
This is a deceptively easy pattern to knit.  You slip stitches and then pick them up on the next row.   The stitches form a very pretty trellis pattern.  While the pattern may be easy to knit, I realized that describing how to execute the stitch was not as easy, so I've included some close up pictures so you can see exactly how to  do it.  (It was tricky to try to hold knitting needles and a camera, but I don't think you'll have any trouble figuring it out!)
Barbara Walker has a variation of this pattern in her blue book, but this is the pattern that's been handed down in my granddaughter's family.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if someday she took up knitting and passed it on to her own grandchild.  

I've also included instructions for knitting a cloth.  I didn't do separate files as you can just print the pages you need to make either the bib or the cloth.
You can easily use variegated colors as well as solids.  Be careful though in choosing your yarn.  I discovered that the design does get somewhat lost in heavily variegated yarns.  Here's an example of one I knit when I was testing the pattern:
It is a little difficult to see the design.  However, in the lilac bib, it shows up much better.
At least I think it does!  The pattern is in the sidebar.  I put it in both the bibs and the cloths.  Click  here for the pdf file.

There is one other little secret detail that I'd like to point out, if you didn't spot it yourself.  Notice how the the very top of the pattern, when combined with the seed stitch, forms little hearts?  I love that detail.  A bib with love included!
I hope you'll enjoy knitting this.  As you can tell, it's a very special pattern for my family and I hope it will be for yours as well.  Thank you Grammy for sharing!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bibs, please?

My mom was invited to yet another baby shower and whenever babies are involved, she calls me to help her out with a gift.  This time, she specifically asked if I had any bibs.  Usually, I would have more than I know what to do with, since I never knit the ones I show here for anyone in particular, however, I decided to just give them to my neighbor for her two little girls.  The new parents won't know the sex of their baby until it's born, so mom thought bibs would be a good choice.  As for the designs and colors, she left that up to me and I decided on a rainbow!
 I was not looking forward to knitting that many bibs in one setting, but I actually had fun revisiting some of my old patterns.
 My hands were a little sore.  Knitting with cotton really tires them out, but I didn't have much choice as my mom always waits until the last minute.  She's done that her whole life and, over the years, we've used every trick we could think of to get her moving faster, but nothing ever worked.
 It turns out that the new mom really has a thing for rainbows.  From the time she was a little girl, she always loved them.  I didn't know that, but I'm so happy that I decided to do them.
I also found out that the theme of the shower was birds.  Wasn't it also lucky that I had chosen to knit one?
I guess some things are just meant to be!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Summer Treat

Hey, remember me?  I'm sorry I've been absent for so long.  I was contemplating discontinuing the blog permanently, but I've had a change of heart and so here I am!  My hope is that there are still a few followers around!  In an attempt to get back in every one's good graces, I'm posting a new pattern that I designed with my husband in mind.  There are very few people who love ice cream more than he does!  It stems, I believe, from when he was growing up and his family owned a milk exchange. They would buy milk from the local farmers and then they'd bottle it and deliver it.  In the summer, they'd operate an ice cream stand.  All of the ice cream was made by his family and drew crowds from all around. To this day, people who grew up enjoying their products, still talk about the ice cream.  My husband's favorite flavor was wintergreen and I guess it was popular with everyone else too. If I had a nickel for every time someone said that they loved that wintergreen, I'd be rich!

In any event, I hope you'll enjoy this simple cloth and will knit one or two up in your favorite flavors!
My granddaughter, Ruthie, loves strawberry ice cream.
The pdf files for the patterns are in the sidebar or you can just click here for the cloth and here for the bib.

My favorite?  Well, I love brownies.  Given a choice between a brownie and ice cream, I'll take the brownie every time!

 Have a happy and safe summer!