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, April 30, 2014

Changing Things Up!

You might remember that I did a blog post awhile ago showcasing a pretty cowl pattern that my pal, Tracy, designed. Well, she's been at it again and I agreed to test knit her new pattern as well, called Step Up. I had been wanting a long cowl that I could loop around my neck, and this was perfect.
I used some Malabrigo Silky Merino that I had lurking in my stash. I enjoyed knitting the cowl so much that I decided to take the stitch pattern and make some matching mitts out of the leftover yarn.
I used 40 stitches for the cast on and U.S. Size 6 needles. They came out a perfect size for my large hands!

If this wasn't enough, I began to think that this pattern would also make some neat socks. Mickey told me that I HAD to make him some new socks as his toes were sticking out of the pair that he was wearing! He told me that they "were kinda uncomfortable!". Gee, ya think?  I was planning on skipping out on sock knitting for awhile after I knit so many samples. Still, who can refuse a sweet eight year old?
I asked him what color he wanted and he told me he was "sorta" into orange! This is a special colorway that Jenny dyed just for me. She named it "Micah" after my grandson. I don't know if he was more thrilled with having a new pair of socks or having a color named for him! (I have to get him to stay still long enough to snap a picture with him actually wearing them!)

I think it's fun to take a pattern and change it up a bit. I also did the same thing with a couple of the baby hats that I knit for the hospital. I loved knitting the Honey Badger sock pattern and I thought it would also make a nice hat!
Perfect for springtime! When you knit this pattern from the bottom up, the little "bars" are under the eyelets. These hats only use 60 stitches and knit up really quickly.

I came across another hat that a fellow Raveler had knit out of the Cupcake Mittlets pattern. Sossidge was kind enough to post her hat and share her modifications. She used a dk weight for hers, but I used my usual worsted weight (Plymouth Yarn's Jeannee). She had a cast on of 80 stitches, while I only used 60!
The flower is knitted using a great tutorial called Knitted Flower Tutorial . I always have trouble trying to crochet a flower that looks decent, so this was a great find for me! Really easy with great results!

Now, are you ready to hear some disturbing news that I received from the hospital about my little hats? Apparently they were such huge hit, they started disappearing before they could be delivered to the new moms. I can't imagine what kind of person would take them, especially since they supposedly work in a caring environment. I wonder if they tell their recipients, "here's a hat I stole for you!".  In any event, there's now a new distribution system in place to protect them! Unbelievable!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Sampler of Socks

If you don't like knitting socks, then you're not going to like this post.  As I've mentioned numerous times before, I'm a huge fan of Jenny Porter and her amazing dyed yarns.  What's even better is that Jenny and I have developed a friendship.  I'm sure the fact that I have a bin full of her yarns has nothing to do with it. (Well, maybe a little.)  In any event, Jenny is going to have a booth at the upcoming Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival which is going to be held on May 3 & 4.  Jenny was looking for someone to help her out with a few samples for her booth and I volunteered.  At first, I suggested sock samples that would also fit her granddaughter, but Jenny decided that she wanted to keep the samples just for the booth.  This made sense, so we decided, in that case, that she'd only need one sock to showcase a particular yarn.  One sock in a kid's size?  How great is that!  I also decided to use free sock patterns.

Sock #1:  Balin, 75% corriedale/ 25% nylon; Pattern:  Blueberry Waffles by Sandy Turner
Sock #2:  The Blues, 100% merino; Pattern:  Basic Cabled Socks by Brainylady
Sock #3:  Fruit Punch, 75% merino/ 25% nylon; Pattern:  Honey Badger by Irishgirlieknits
Sock #4:  Donkey Kong, 75% BFL/ 25% nylon; Pattern:  Jack Thermal by Sharon Bird
Sock #5:  Geode, 50% merino/ 50% silk; Pattern:  Farfalle Socks by Orinda5
Sock #6:  Timberline, 80% BFL/20% nylon; Pattern:  Colonel Mustard Socks by Erin L. Black
Sock #7:  Orange You Sweet, 75% BFL/25% nylon; Pattern:  Bowties are Cool by Mandie Harrington
Sock #8:  Cancun, 80% merino/ 10% nylon, 10% cashmere; Pattern:  Lacy Mock Cable Socks by Scarlettknits
Sock #9:  Fairy Dust, 80% merino/ 10% nylon; Pattern:  Swirling Confetti Socks by Jean Gifford
Sock #10:  Cray Cray, 75% merino/ 20% nylon/ 5% stellina; Pattern:  Socks for Mary Janes by Staci Perry
Sock #11:  Galaxy, 80% BFL/20% nylon; Pattern:  Thuja by Bobbie Ziegler
Sock #12:  Gettysburg Remembrance; 75% BFL / 25% nylon; Pattern:  Boxcar Willie Socks by Anne Podlesak
For all of the socks, I used a cast on of 48 stitches and I did a round toe.  They were so much fun to knit and it gave me a chance to try out some patterns that I wanted to knit.  As you can see, they're all easy patterns, but the goal was to showcase the yarns.

Jenny has an Etsy shop here, so you can check out her yarns for yourself.  She also has a group on Ravelry. We're going to do a shawl KAL beginning at the first of July, so you should definitely come and join in the fun!  If you're lucky enough to get to the Wool Festival, be sure to stop by her booth and say hello to my pet samples.  Tell Jenny I sent you!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Springtime Bonnets

At last, the weather is actually starting to feel like Spring.  I haven't seen any buds on the trees, but the huge pile of snow in my backyard is almost gone.  At one point, it was almost six feet high! With the change of seasons, I turn my attention to knitting some springtime hats for our local hospital.  I know I've posted pictures before of some of them, but I thought I'd share my latest crop with you.
I thought these would be perfect for the little boys, but they'd also work for a girl.  Since I never know how many of each gender are arriving in a month, I try to make hats that would be suitable for both sexes.
I had a hard time finding a pattern with small, yet easy, bunny ears, so I came up with my own.  I don't like trying to sew a bunch of fiddly things.  This hat is really simple and easy.  My kind of project and perfect for when I'm trying to make a bunch.  Here it is in a blue version:
You may have seen another version that I posted on Ravelry.  This time I used another hat pattern and combined it with mine.
See how the rows look like little bunnies?  I love them.  The pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry and is called Marching Bunnies . It calls for chunky yarn, but you can adapt the stitch pattern fairly easily.  Of course, I think the hat would look cute just knit in a plain color too.

I also knit the chick hat in blue.
The only fiddly thing on this is the beak and it isn't bad.  Only a couple of stitches!

I've actually written up the patterns for both the chick and bunny hats.  I call the bunny hat "Hop, Hop" because that's what my little granddaughter calls bunnies whenever she sees one.  The bird is called "Cheeping Chick" after my youngest grandson.  He loves baby chicks and even has a blog by that name where he posts pictures and funny comments about chicks.

The bunny hat has the chart for the knitted bunny faces, but not the pattern for the marching bunnies.  As I said before, that was taken from another pattern.  If you want to make that version, then you'll have to buy her pattern.  The pdf for the bunny is here. The pdf for the baby chick is here.  I've also posted them in the sidebar under Miscellaneous patterns.

I almost forgot to tell you that the yarn I used is Plymouth's Jeannee Worsted.  This is a great cotton/acrylic yarn.  It can be machine washed and dried and looks great.  All of the hats I've posted here have been prewashed.  The yarn gets slightly softer and there's barely any shrinkage.  I love the cotton hats for the babies.  The hats are sized for a newborn.  The chick hat can easily be made larger by adding stitches in increments of eight, but the bunny hat would require a little more calculating if you're using the chart.  If you're knitting a plain hat, then you can also upsize it like the chick.

You can knit them for your own personal use or for charity, but not commercial purposes.  I hope you like them. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No Fooling!

Today just happens to be the anniversary of my blog. I sure can pick the dates, can't I?  April Fool's Day. I started it six years ago on a whim and at the gentle prodding of my good pal, Kathy.  She had a blog that I just loved and I remember her telling me how much fun it would be to start one and how I could post my patterns.  I have to admit that I was more than a little skeptical.  Would anyone want to read it?  Would anyone like the patterns?  Now, here I am six years later. My statcounter shows that since I've started the blog, I've had 1,796,114 visits.  (that's not a typo, one million seven hundred thousand!!)  Not only that, but I actually have some followers!  547 of you.  I still have trouble wrapping my head around that especially since I don't feel that I'm very good at blogging.  My posts are far and few between.  I suspect that many of you are just here for the free patterns, since I hardly ever hear from anyone.  Every time I post a new pattern, I'm always anxious to hear how you like it, but sadly (for me), I'm left wondering without much feedback.  That is, of course, until I start seeing the projects popping up on Ravelry.  So I know that some of you do like them and that makes me happy! As I've said, I just do them for fun and I'm happy to share.

So, speaking of sharing, I've decided that in honor of my anniversary, I'm going to post the patterns that were originally published in the 2011 Dishcloth Calendar.  The rights were returned to me quite awhile ago and I've been debating what to do with them.  I could offer them for sale (Gasp!) but I've decided to just post them.  I've dusted them off and updated them a little and I've included a chart which the original publication didn't have.

First up is Belle, one of my favorites:

The pdf files are in the sidebar for all the patterns, or you can click here for the Belle bib and here for the Belle cloth.

Then there's Eleanor: 

The pdf for the bib is here or click here for the cloth.

Finally, here's Pete:

The pdf for the bib is here and you can click here for the cloth.

I can't believe that I designed all of these four years ago!  My friend, Denise, was such a huge help to me as she did most of the test knitting.  Here's one of her pictures:
Don't you just love that purple cow?

I hope you enjoy the patterns and thank you for sticking with me!  No fooling!