Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A short update from the basement

Last Friday, fellow volunteers Annette, Antje and I met up with Ann R. in the AFSC basement for an exhilarating session of package-opening and blanket-sorting, or should I say blanket-admiring? One full month before deadline, there were already lots of packages to keep us busy, and many gorgeous handmade blankets. Check out these three very different ones -- not that it was easy narrowing it down to these three for the photo shoot. Great choice of colors, fibers... and check out the lace stitches on the blanket that I am holding on the left, and the hand-embroidery on the crocheted blanket held by Antje on the right.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Halfway on blanket

I am making progress on a stash reducing baby blanket. I found enough wool of similar weight in blues to purple that should be fine. It is done with double strand of worsted wool, so should be quite warm. The border is garter stitch with stripes of stockingnet and garter stitch in the body of the piece. At the moment it is 32" wide and 20" long -- so I figure I am half way done. I am phasing into the more purple portion.

It looks like the bag of that type of worsted wool yarn should also include enough green for several cozy pairs of mittens.

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's finished!

Thanks to Sue for her guidance through the 'get the picture from the camera to the blogsite'.

I have used up any dark colors in my collection.

Thanks to Elizabeth for sending me the Bartlett yarn. I've started the second afghan. It won't look as crazy as this one.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Blanket that Busted my Stash!

This basket-weave pattern was done with two skeins of yarn, one a constant green and the other a series of the blue and green oddballs from the stash -- and they're almost ALL GONE! Time to go yarn shopping with a clear conscience! (Michaels has Patons Classic Wool on sale today for $4)


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Help! Sue! Pearl! Are you there

Ok, I got cocky and I'm trying another intermediate pattern. But this set of instructions are confusing me. Any help? From the photo, it looks like a very warm blanket.
Row 3: ch 1, turn; sc in first sc, * skip next sc, work FPdc around sc one row BELOW next sc, working in FRONT of FPdc just made, work FPdc around sc one row BELOW skipped sc, sc in next sc; repeat from * across.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

And the Winner Is!!

Irishrose51 is the winner of the pumpkin (orange) yarn along with the brown.
Congratulations Mary!
I finished the blanket! I imagine a baby wrapped in it and wish it were soft colors instead of all the dark leftover bits.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Testing, testing!

Hi all:

I hope you don't mind, I'm just testing to make sure my sign-up worked this time and I can post now (had some issues before!). I just got the Knit Picks catalog in the mail today and it's been cold and cloudy and somewhat wet here in Colorado (they had lots of snow in the mountains already but I'm in Denver) and now I'm all inspired to knit again (having not worked on any knitting projects pretty much all summer!). I don't know if I'll get a blanket done in time (I am slooooooow) but the needles are coming back out - so glad to be back on this KAL! : D

Happy fall to everyone! : )

my green yarn: a new winner!!

OK, this time it's you, Cyndy!! Send me your address by emailing me at yarnystuff [at] gmail [dot] com -- using the correct symbols. It'll go out to you right away, because it's already been pining away in the box for 5 days.

Enjoy it! It'll be fast, and it's so thick and warm.


Yarn Give Away

Ok, I'm stealing Elizabeth's idea and giving away some yarn. If you are short on wool yarn but want to make a baby blanket then send me your email address. I will take names until tomorrow (Thursday) and hopefully announce the winner and ship on Friday.
Here's a photo of the pumpkin yarn (4 skeins) plus 2 skeins of one of the other three colors. What do you think will go best with pumpkin yarn? My hubby usually helps me combine colors since he has better taste than me but he teaching computer classes. Sue, Pearl, what would you choose?

Irene, this is your last chance!

Hi, everyone --

I still have not heard from Irene regarding the yarn I offered on Friday. She has until 7 p.m. Eastern time tonight to contact me at yarnystuff [at] gmail [dot] com. If I have not heard from her by then I'll be drawing another name from those who entered. This yarn needs to get on its way into blanket form!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The new baby pictures are so cute...

The new baby pictures on the a4A website are soooo cute... It re-energized me. See the photos of two of my afghans so far. One is made with DK yarn, and the other is made with the super bulky yarn. I am still have about three afghans in progress, so I will be busy for a while. I love it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sharing Stash; CURE Baby Pics

Thanks, Elizabeth, for sharing your yarn. Great idea to post your extra yarn here. If others have wool that they would like to de-stash and don't have time to knit or crochet for our current campaign -- feel free to use this a4A KAL/CAL in the same way as Elizabeth. Getting yarn into the hands of another who can use it in time is a wonderful contribution to the cause. Also fun to have something "new" to work into what one may have on hand. Maybe the winner of Elizabeth's drawing can post a photo of their finished blanket.

And, lots of appreciation to Elizabeth for being our moderator here -- one of the many ways Elizabeth has been involved in this project (and other community knitting projects) over the years.

-- Ann,

PS: Hope you all saw the 2 new baby photos from CURE. I mentioned in our last email to our main list, but I know emails can be easily missed, so here's the link ... the babies look fresh out of the oven, don't they ...

CURE Hospital Newborns with Their New Blankets!

and the winner is. . .

I drew the names Saturday, as promised, but it was a hectic weekend -- all fun, but hectic -- and I'm just now getting back to the computer. My superbulky Bartlett will be going to Irene. Irene, please email your address to me, at, and I'll get it right out to you.

For those who did not win, I will be putting together another box of yarn a little later, probably this week, so stay tuned. . .


Sunday, September 20, 2009

2 More

Both blankets are made from my "Loaves & Fishes" matter how many blankets I knit from it, the quantity seems to stay the same! =)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

free yarn

Hi--I can't make comments, so this will have to be a post. I think I'm first on this wonderful offer of yarn! I have a question: Will you be paying for shipping?


Free to a good home!

I have 8 skeins (640 yards, 32 oz) of this yarn, but in the color called Spruce Heather, a lovely dark green. I will send them to someone who likes working with super-bulky yarn and can finish a blanket in time for the late-October shipment. This yarn is about the same gauge as the super-bulky alpaca that's been donated recently. It's not as soft, but it's a little more "airy" and should be fast and easy to work up.
If you would like to have this yarn, just leave a comment (do NOT include your address). I'll collect names until Saturday morning (I'm Eastern time; that gives everyone 48 hours). If just one person wants it, that makes my life easy. If more than one person writes, I'll put the names in a hat and pick one. Don't post anonymously, because I'll need to be able to email you to get your mailing address.

Yarn will go out Saturday or Monday morning. It's nice stuff (I love Bartlett) -- just something it's become clear I am never going to use.

--Elizabeth D

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Daisy and a couple photos from recent history; Meet more of us

Daisy wasn't in the photo of packing yesterday, but she was with us. Thought I would post this photo of Daisy (on left) working with us on a shipping-out day earlier this year. I think this was taken in May when we shipped our huge collection of 73 cartons to CURE Hospital for sending overseas. On the right is Elizabeth, who often helps on her lunch hour as she works nearby.

Looking through my photos, I am prompted to add this photo with Marilyn (left), Kate (center), and Carol (right). Marilyn and Carol travel by ferry from the north to get to SF to help us pack. Kate travels by subway (under the water) from the east.

We took the above photo because we loved how the hot colors and border charged up the brown yarn. Modern Art. Laura's peeking out from behind. On the file cabinet ... we've taped photos of our friend Paul and his Power Blankets. Yeah, we're sexists!

-- Ann,

Packing Crew at American Friends Service Committee Collection Center Yesterday, in S.F.

Annette, Deborah, and Jo showing off some of the first blankets we opened for this campaign. Daisy was also helping, but had to leave before we got the camera out. Annette contributed a few of her wonderful crocheted baby blankets -- she has a great sense of mixing color (including variegateds and solids) and adding border accents. I don't know why we did not take a photo of Annette with one of her creations. Next time!

I love our local packing volunteers -- taking time from their own busy schedules, always enthusiastic about every package that arrives, willing to pitch in doing whatever needs to be done (breaking down boxes for recycling!), making the best of our cozy space, dealing with the very urban downtown scene on our block. Such good company.

-- Ann,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Reminder on Timing

Please keep in mind that we do not know if the afghans for Afghans project will be sending blankets in May. Best to only work as far out as our current guidelines/needs. We need to be very clear about this and don't want to mislead anyone.

We just have too many variables (shipping costs/budgets, overseas partners, security, collection center space, my time, etc) to manage -- in what is still a war zone -- and cannot plan that far ahead or promise that we can get your gifts to Afghanistan in the future.

We hope many of you can participate in our current campaign for baby blankets for CURE: Our due date will probably be late October.

A group of us -- Annette, Deborah, Jo, Daisy -- did open packages at our AFSC Collection Center today. We're already starting to receive some baby blankets for this campaign. Thank you so much! I think the incoming package flow stated to pick up this week. The blankets we have received to date are beautiful-- in their variety of colors, patterns, yarns -- and very well-made. Ends woven in and trimmed mostly (did someone say we offer finishing services? squash that rumor!). Strange how 30" x 40" blankets look small to the eyes after handling much bigger blankets in the past and then we remember how small a newborn is. These blankets will likely be used on the hospital beds and for swaddling.

Thanks, Ann,

6-inch squares project

In the continuing, apparently futile, attempt to take control over my stash, I'm starting yet another project. Each month, I'll pick a stitch pattern and knit 4 6-inch squares from that pattern. Sometimes they'll all be the same color; sometimes I'll mix and match to use up little bits of yarn. This first square weighs just 15 g, or 1/2 ounce, so it won't make a big dent in the stash, but visible progress is valuable. I thought some of you might like to knit along with me, so I'm going to post each month's pattern here. No picture yet of September's square (although I'm on my third) because it is raining cats and dogs and correspondingly dim over here. But I will post a photo soon.

I'm using "standard" worsted -- like Cascade 220, Paton's Classic Wool, or Galway -- this time around, at a gauge of 5 stitches per inch. Because each square is just 6 inches wide, and I'm keeping 2 on each side in garter stitch, that leaves only 26 or 27 stitches to work with. So the patterns will be, for the most part, simple textured patterns. By knitting 4 each month, I'll have enough squares by the end of May for a blanket that measures 30 by 42 inches, just right for an A4A campaign.

The squares will be there ready and waiting for the next time CURE Hospital needs baby blankets. Of course, we have no idea what A4A will need next May, or even from one campaign to the next, but baby blankets do seem to be a recurring theme, and are likely to come up again in the rotation in the next year or two.

If you want to use thicker or thinner yarn, you can either adjust the stitch count or just make larger or smaller squares. (If a crocheter wants to start a similar block-of-the month endeavor, go right ahead. I am not good enough at your sport to do that one.)

Here are guidelines and this month's pattern:

Andalusian stitch
a multiple of 2 stitches plus 1 extra

Row 1 (RS): knit
Row 2: *p1, k1* repeat between stars until last stitch, p1
Row 3: knit
Row 4: purl

Cast on 31 stitches.
Work 4 rows (2 ridges) in garter stitch.
Keeping first and last 2 stitches in garter (i.e., always knit these stitches) -- you might want to use markers to remind yourself -- work in pattern until you need just 2 ridges (4 rows) of garter stitch to complete your 6-inch block, Bind off.

Now measure. If your block is perfect --you're done. If it's 6.5 inches or 5.5 inches, RIP IT OUT AND FIX IT!! This one will be the template for all the others, so you want it to be right.

Now, count how many rows you worked (garter ridges along the edge times 2). You will make every other block the same number of rows, making it oh so easy to sew them together.

These blocks are fast and easy, and satisfy the urge to cast on for a new project. I look forward to watching my stack get taller and taller.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Colorful Garter Stitch Blanket

This blanket is based on the "Moderne Baby Blanket" by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne. It's a good stash buster but it's best if all the yarn is the same brand or at least the same exact weight. It doesn't work as well if a yarn is heavier or finer than the yarn right next to it. Most of the yarn in this blanket was donated to me to use for charity. Some of the yarns were too light in color so I overdyed them. I haven't washed and blocked it yet, which I plan to do before mailing it in. This blanket was an easy, mindless TV-knitting project because it's all garter stitch. Also, very colorful.

Jean in Maine

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

OOps Picture download

It took me two tries to download pics.

My Afghan Rug Blanket

I finished a blanket this week from the donated bulky yarn that A for A is distributing. I added a few other yarns to it. This blanket design sort of happened as I knit it. It kind of reminds me of a rug design. The bulky yarn knit up fast on a size 13 needle I have not posted before and I'm not sure if the image will come through.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Here is my blanket, almost ready to go! The short edges (not in photo) are a "party mix" of stash, but the main part is this fun superwash chunky I got in 2008 at Stitches. More importantly, I have completely knitted through my stash, which has been my goal since Stitches.

Whoo hoo! Time to replenish . . . Where do I even begin?