Friday, July 18, 2014

Feeling sad for the world tonight.  Knitting helps, knowing I may be helping to keep some babies alive.  I hope that all of you are finding comfort in your needles and yarn.  Sending love.....

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Take a guess at how many wool baby socks so far ...

First, please look below at Chris' sock monkeys wearing you-know-what. Then, back up here. Thank you.

On Tuesday, when we opened packages and packed at our AFSC Collection Center, we counted the wool baby socks received so far:
540 pairs.

Now we know there will be at least 540 warmer Afghan babies this winter and hundreds of appreciative mothers. Great job, everyone! We ran out of time before we could count the baby hats, so we'll just have to live with not knowing for now.

Here's what the 540 pairs of baby socks look like:

Now, meet some of the elves who sorted and inspected the wool baby socks and hats, as well as the wonderful wool socks, mittens, and hats for 7 years to adult ... Nancy joined us from Michigan while here for a vacation and wedding. How generous of her to share her free time. She knows her wool, of course.

Even after many years of volunteering to open your packages, Terrie never tires of seeing more knits and thinking about the caring that goes into making every garment. Then, Terrie rushes home to get to her own needles. This happens to all of us in the Basement.

Sue and Carol also sorted and packed with us on Tuesday. Thanks, always and forever, to our devoted local gang.

Baby Socks- with Sock Monkeys

Hello to all.  I'm new to the blog, but not to a4A.  Since I'm a rabid sock knitter, I always have lots of leftover balls of sock yarn.  What better way to put them to use than to knit baby socks?  Yesterday I put 16 pairs of tiny socks in the mail.
Here they are all planted in my yard before going to the Post Office.
You can find the pattern for these socks at
Since the Baby Shower campaign deadline's been extended, I hope to get a few more pairs finished in the next week or so. 
Happy knitting!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hurray! 10 more days!

The deadline for the current campaign has just been extended; it is now July 31. So if there's anything you put down because you didn't think it would be possible to finish it -- here's your chance! (I have a couple things in that category.)

The intention is not to drive us all crazy -- it's just that Ann doesn't extend the deadline unless/until she knows it's possible. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Hats and Mittens, with Cat

The cat insisted on taking part in the picture taking! The last step before packing is removing cat hair. This batch of hats are done with crochet ribbing.  The one in front is the third attempt and I'm happy with that one.  The other two required getting creative to close the hole at the top.  The inner diameters are 12" (blue mixture), 14.5" (green and brown mixture) and 15" (solid green).  All are very stretchy.  If anyone is interested, I can describe how I did these.

The hats below are done with half-double crochet stitches, spirally out from the center.  The one in front is done "in back loops only", which adds stretch in both directions, surprisingly.  I was using up yarn left over from making mittens and supplementing with coordinating solids (Patons Classic worsted weight).  Inner diameters are 12", 11", and 12".  Hmm, a little larger would be good.

I stopped making mittens and switched to hats when Ann told us we needed more hats. The smaller set of mittens are outside the guidelines of this campaign. They're a good size for 3-5 year olds. Would these be useful? The larger pair is child-sized.

Newborn baby hats

Hi All,

I have been having a great time knitting these little baby hats.  The free pattern can be found at:

These hats knit up very quickly using worsted weight yarn on size 8 double-ponted needles (I used size 7 since I knit loosely).  So far I have made 7 of them and hope to make a several more before the deadline.

It's so great knitting for a4A again.  A number of years ago I made several sweaters and hats for a4A, but my very demanding job got in the way of my time and energy.  I am now retired and hope to resume more knitting for our Afghan friends in between projects for my two new grandchildren.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

ribbed baby hat

As promised, here is a hat from the pattern I recommended yesterday, in pictures:

On the left, the finished hat. On the right, with the brim folded up. Unstretched, the circumference is 7.5 inches (19 cm); it stretches to 15 inches (38 cm). I cast this on yesterday using some no-longer-labeled 6-ply sock yarn I had lying around; the hat took well under 50 grams. I wonder what else I can find. . .

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

just one more thing. . .

I knit a lot for the NICU (for non-US readers, that is the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at a local hospital, making hats for full-term babies who need special care. The hat the nurses love is this one. I have made at least 15 of these, some in solid colors and others in self-striping yarns. All look great.

You can see many pictures on the Ravelry page, here. Oddly, I don't seem to have pictures of any of mine. I just cast one on; I'll be sure to document it when it's done.

Because it is knit entirely in k2 p2 rib, it stretches or pulls up to fit almost everybody. This is a great feature when you're knitting for an unknown child. The drawback is that it takes a little longer than the quick stockinette caps -- but it is so perfect for this Baby Shower campaign.

I have always used DK weight yarn with this pattern; I think it would also work for worsted that is no thicker than Cascade 220, because the 2 x 2 rib pulls up quite a bit.  (For a thicker worsted, knock the stitch count back and adjust the number of rows.) The first set of instructions is to knit flat and seam up; scroll down for the instructions to knit it in the round (always my preference).

Edited to add: make only the largest size, for full-term babies.

updates, and some requests

I am delighted to announce that I have just two balls of yarn left to mail away (so if you want one, speak up -- send your address to yarnystuffATgmailDOTcom). This was given to me a while ago by local yarn shop Stash specifically for A4A, and I am so pleased that it's finally found the right campaign.

I have been talking to Ann recently (via email) and there are two things I'd like to pass along. First -- if you have things ready to send now, it is so much easier for the volunteers to pack when things come in gradually instead of all at once at the last minute. I was able to mail some things yesterday using regular first class (small packages, because these socks don't weigh much), and it is considerably less expensive than Priority mail. The post office estimates it will take 3 days rather than 2 to get all the way across the country to California, and when you mail early that is not an issue.

Also, a lot of the baby hats that are coming in are kind of big. The guidelines do say up to 1 year of age -- but remember, the hats are being given to women who have just given birth. So a "larger" newborn size would be ideal -- that can be used now, and for some time to come. Hats that measure 18 inches around are just too big, even though in theory they do meet the "up to 1 year" criterion. Besides -- littler hats go faster! Circumferences of about 13 to 16 inches are terrific; a little larger -- and I do mean a little -- would also be OK.

It is going to be about a million degrees here in southeastern Pennsylvania today, and the humidity is already over 70%. I think I will lurk indoors in air conditioning and cast on a baby hat -- nothing to sit on my lap and make me even warmer.

Hope everyone is having a great summer with lots of knitting and no destructive weather events.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Hi.  I have a question about size for the baby campaign.  I've started making hats.  Most are new-born size.  I noticed, however, that the guidelines say we can make hats up to 1 yr. of age.  So I made a hat that is supposed to be 6 mo to 1 yr.  The circumference is 18".  Seems large to me, but I have trouble estimating baby heads.  I followed the gauge directions carefully.  Do you think this is too big to send?

Monday, June 30, 2014

a new deadline, and some yarn

Reposting because nothing happened the first time:

We now have until July 21 -- that is 3 weeks from today. So there is time to make one or two more things! In honor of the new extended due date, I am offering these 5 balls of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine -- 50% wool, 20% alpaca, and 30% nylon, 433 yds (400 m) in 100 g. That means each ball has enough for an adult-sized pair of socks, or mittens (you could hold double and still make an adult pair of mittens), or a whole lot of baby socks and hats. I realize the colors are not exciting, but this yarn is lovely to the touch.

I will send one ball to each of 5 lucky winners. Send me your name and MAILING ADDRESS (it is surprising how many people forget that) and I will put one in the mail -- tomorrow if you write soon, the day after if you write late in the day.

Send that information to this address: yarnystuffATgmailDOTcom (Please note that there is a letter y in the middle of that address.)

I am making this offer to readers of this blog first; if I don't hear from 5 of you by tomorrow evening, I will open it to members of the Fans of afghans for Afghans group over at Ravelry.

Mailing tomorrow

Although my vacation didn't result in quite as many knitted things for the kids as I had hoped, there were a few. These will go in the mail tomorrow:

Four baby things and one pair of mittens for a bigger person. I will try to do a couple more things for the older kids before the new extended deadline.