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!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Foxy Baby

Life is slowly settling down around here. My husband's surgery went smoothly and now he's in the long recovery phase.  This past Sunday, I said goodbye to all my precious grandkids as they headed off to their new home in North Carolina.  It was so difficult to watch them drive away as they had all been staying with me for the past three weeks. We shared lots of laughs and even though it was crazy at times, I loved every minute. I'm sure they'll enjoy their new state, even though it breaks my heart to have them all so far away.

With the quiet, I now have time to catch up on things that have been on the back burner. I designed this pattern several months ago and am just now getting around to posting it.  It's funny how things, work out, but no sooner did I finish charting it up, than I received a request for it! One of my friends on Ravelry, xstitch or Vicki, was looking for a fox bib for her sweet grandson. She even offered to test knit it for me! She's just an amazing knitter.  I often tell her that when I grow up, I want to be just like her! I feel so honored that she wanted to help me!
I went through three different drafts for this one.  The first one looked too much like a cat to suit me and the second one looked like Wil E. Coyote!  You know, foxes are pretty tricky to do!  In any event, Vicki and I settled on this one, and I hope that you'll like it too.
The patterns are both in the sidebar, or you can just click here for the bib and here for the cloth.
I saved the best picture for last!  Here's a picture of Vicki's adorable grandson modeling his new bib!
I love it!  A huge thank you to Vicki (and to her daughter) for allowing me to share this picture with you.  If you'd enjoy seeing more of Vicki's knitting, here's a link to her Ravelry project page:  xstitch She has the most gorgeous shawls and she's even had a pattern named after her!  Xstitch A pretty (and free) cowl pattern with, what else?, cross stitches!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Pumpkin Jack

Did you notice that as you grow older, the time goes by much more quickly?  Here it is my birthday again and I'm amazed (but not delighted) at how fast time has flown by.  As long time readers of my blog will know, I always try to post a new pattern on my birthday as my gift to all of you!
I'm calling this one "Pumpkin Jack".  My oldest grandson, Jack, has this same little smirk when he's happy.  I usually try to stick to animals, but I couldn't resist doing a seasonal pattern.
I knit both of them in the original Peaches & Creme in Sunburst and Gold. Both of the patterns are in the sidebar or you can click here for the pdf of the bib and here for the cloth.

So far, my birthday is shaping up to be just great. My husband fell down our attic stairs and tore his quad tendon (the main one that attaches to the knee) and is scheduled for surgery this Tuesday. You might remember that he had the same injury three years ago to the other knee.  That time, his recovery went from September to April. I guess that means we'll be looking at May before he's back to normal. If that wasn't bad enough, my 90 year old mother was taken to the hospital via ambulance with chest pains the other day; and then, all of my grandkids are moving to North Carolina next month. This is breaking my heart as they'll be so far away. As it is, I can jump in my car and see them in an hour, but now, if I jump, it will be a two day car ride!  Not so convenient. Sigh. Oh well, life goes on and I'm sure we'll all get through it, although I may end up in a corner talking to myself and clutching my knitting needles!
I sincerely hope that you're all enjoying your Fall. The leaves are changing here in New England and it's just beautiful everywhere you go.  I also hope that you like my pumpkins. One good thing about them, they don't need carving!!

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!