Wednesday, December 30, 2009

yarn for this campaign

Yesterday, with wind chills in the low teens (Fahrenheit), I ventured out to the table on the porch where the light is good for taking photos that represent color well. Only to discover that I can't download photos onto our laptop -- and the big computer is hanging out with the repair people right now. So I'll try to do this in words instead.

I have four small batches of yarn to offer to use for this campaign. Each will make at least 2 pairs of mittens or socks; one batch is slightly larger. I have SO much wool, and would love to have help getting it to the kids of Afghanistan. The batches are small because that minimizes the pressure on you if you take one of them.

I do ask that if you request one of these bundles you complete your project(s) for the current youth campaign. It is absolutely fine to mix this yarn with yarn you already own; it's equally fine to use only this yarn. Your choice! No charge for the yarn, and I pay shipping. You do not have to live in the U.S.

Write to me at If there's a specific bundle you'd really like to have or a specific bundle you really do NOT want, let me know. If you're not fussy and would be happy to receive any one of them, let me know that, too. Please include your complete mailing address -- no one but me will see it, and I won't use it for anything but mailing yarn if you are one of the lucky winners. It is Wednesday night now; on Sunday, I'll pick the winners, and post your names (first names only) here on this blog. Here are the descriptions of these small packages -- I've linked each yarn, except the Lopi, to the site where you can inspect a color card. (If the computer gets back before Sunday, I'll post the photos here.)

(1) Bartlett yarn, my favorite yarn for thick socks and mittens. When I lived in Maine -- where it does, indeed, get very cold -- I loved my socks made from this yarn and so did anyone else who was lucky enough to get a pair. This bundle includes 2 full skeins of a color called bracken (kind of an olive drab heather), 1 nearly complete skein of a warm brown with blue-ish flecks, almost a full skein of a bright brick red, and a small amount (under 1 ounce) of oatmeal-colored yarn. Great for socks, and they work up fast!

(2) Brown Sheep Nature Spun worsted. This yarn is actually thinner than most worsteds, but thicker than sport weight. I often use two strands together for mittens. This is an odd color assortment (because that's what I have); would work well for intelligently planned stripes or to go with yarn you already have. One ball each of Irish Shamrock, Purple Splendor, and Butterfly Blue; plus one 50-g skein of another brand that feels about the same thickness, in maroon. This yarn is much better for mittens than for socks.

(3) Lopi. A single-ply, bulky yarn that is much better for mittens than for socks. Some people find it scratchy, but it compensates for that by being very, very warm. Two skeins scarlet, one skein bright gold (oddly, my town's high school colors). You should get two pairs of mittens out of this yarn, and they work up fast!

(4) Lamb's Pride worsted. 4 complete skeins spruce; 1 complete skein silver sliver. Hmmm -- seems Spruce has been discontinued; you can see it here. This adds up to 950 yards -- enough for a small sweater, or enough to combine with other Lamb's Pride in navy blue or another compatible color and make a bigger sweater.

I'll wait for that flood of email messages. . .

--Elizabeth D

looking for a very easy to crochet vest pattern

I have been donating crocheted blankets and hats and need a pattern for a vest. Hopefully, after I master a vest I can try a sweater!! Thank you to all of you in advance for helping me with this project, Cheryl

Monday, December 21, 2009

Donated yarn offer for 1 person

Hi a4A KAL bloggers,
I was contacted by someone on the US east coast who has 14 skeins of wool to give to someone knitting or crocheting for Afghanistan. Each skein is 3.5 or 4 oz each. I think worsted weight or something close. Various colors. If you are out of yarn and pressed financially to have wool to knit for our new youth campaign, please email me directly at afghans4Afghans at aol dot com. I will pick one person to receive the yarn, and the donor will kindly mail directly to you. Please include your full name and mail address when replying. Partial to east coast people to keep the postage down for the donor. You need to complete the use of this yarn by our March due date for youth. The yarn should be used for sweaters, vests, mittens, or socks -- the items with the most priority. You may want to blend with oddballs on hand. I won't say anything more about the yarn here, so your receipt of this donated yarn will be confidential. [I hope to take care of this in the next couple days, but I realize people aren't hanging out here with the holidays upon us.]
Thanks, Ann

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Meet Inga, our web guru in Munich!

We have many volunteers and agency partners who make this project happen. We'd like you to meet Inga Hege, who, along with Marcy Lyon and me, works on our website. And, here's the kicker .. Inga lives in Munich, Germany! What a reminder that the Internet is a modern miracle! Working with Inga has been such a pleasure for the past couple of years. She is always a professional in her assistance and when we hit extra challenges, she manages to pursue the technical solutions. Marcy and I have come to depend greatly on Inga -- a totally online collaboration. Very cool. And, we didn't even have to learn Deutsch! We just wanted to publicly thank Inga here, and since her photo is so appropriate to the season, we're posting to the blog. Post your greetings to Inga in the comments section here when you get a chance. Might embarrass her, but she can handle it ...
(Next, I must bug Marcy for an updated photo ... Marcy has been on our web team since the very beginning. We launched our website on December 11, 2001. Eight years ago.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Knit Vest in the Round Pattern

Bloo, this pattern has good chest and armhole coverage --
Striped Vest for Kids

Please make in the larger size 8.

Thanks, Ann

Looking for Vest Pattern (knit in the round)

Does anyone have a favourite online pattern for a pullover vest, knit in the round, in sizes suitable for the upcoming campaign, using a worsted/heavy worsted yarn? I've been looking online a bit but haven't found anything that really takes my fancy, so I thought I would poll the collected wisdom of the KAL/CAL.


PS Just finished a first pair of mitts for this campaign this morning! (well... except for one thumb. :).

Friday, December 11, 2009

question about socks??

All the socks I've made so far for the a4A projects have been of knitted worsted weight, thick and warm, but rather "stiff" in texture compared to the ordinary knitted sock made with small needles and sock-weight yarn. Is it practical to make the lighter-weight socks for Afghanistan? Is it better to have thick and warm, especially since shoes get removed indoors? Any opinions or suggestions? I'm eager to get started, especially with two days' travel time to knit in over the holidays!

Dye question plus a tip!

I want overdye some baby blue merino I got on sale. It is too pastel for a4A guidelines. I assume I should do it after the sweater is finished. But what kind of dye do you all recommend, and where can I buy it? Rit isn't very colorfast; I want something better. Thanks for some suggestions!

Also: a tip I saw for making button loops: Ponytail holders! They are strong, colorful, stretchy, and you can adjust their size with needle and thread when sewing them to the buttonband. Whaddya think?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

it's a go!

Yes, indeed, word has just come down that the next campaign is to be another youth campaign, for children aged 7-14. We've been asked to send fewer blankets, as they take up too much space. From Ann's announcement, "The emphasis will be on wool sweaters, vests, mittens, and socks for girls and boys, 7-14 years. We need to go easy on blankets and hats." The deadline will be sometime in March, so this is a nice leisurely project that can wait until after holiday madness subsides.

I've been finishing up things that got put aside when they weren't done in time for previous deadlines. I just finished a pair of mittens last night (no picture yet; they're still wet). And I have another single mitten waiting for a mate, then a sock that's almost finished and wants a buddy.

In the next couple of days I will put together some small packages of 3 or 4 skeins of worsted yarn to give away on this blog, each box containing enough for 2 pairs of socks (that also makes 3 pairs of mittens, or 1 pair of socks or 1 pair of mittens, or stripes in a sweater or a vest). This time I'll post pictures. Again, random drawing, no charge for shipping.

Watch this space. . .


Friday, December 4, 2009

December's 6-inch square

Because it's December and most of us have little time/ability to concentrate, here's another 6-inch square. I know we'll hear specifics about the new campaign very soon, but right now I'm much better off doing things that are small and easy! This one is just enough more interesting than garter stitch to keep you awake. I'm sure the stitch has a name, but I don't know it.

Square #4 (December)

multiple of 2 sts, 4 rows

Block directions:

Rows 1 and 2: *k1, p1* across
Rows 3 and 4: knit

Cast on 30 stitches.
Knit 4 rows (2 ridges).
Keeping first 2 and last 2 stitches in garter stitch (I find it helpful to place a marker to remind me that those 2 stitches are outside the pattern), work in pattern stitch for your magic number of rows– i.e., the number of rows you determined in block 1 would give you a 6-inch block. For me, that’s 42 rows – I will knit 42 rows of pattern stitch for every block I make, in each stitch pattern. For you, it may be 38 or 44; just do what works for you.
Knit 4 rows (2 ridges).
Bind off.

Giant Warschrag for Afghanistan

Thought you would get a kick out of seeing a giant Mason-Dixon warshrag as a baby blanket for Afghanistan, knit by Urban Domestic Goddess.

Resourceful use of oddballs, fun technique that produces a colorful fabric with good density, and beautiful blogger philosophy -- love it!

And, a4A loves Kay and Ann, too. They've been good friends of this project since early on, so long ago. You can take a look through the Mason-Dixon archives or their first book to see the history we have together.