Thursday, December 30, 2010

Here is a vest I finished for the current campaign. Someone gave me a ball of the burgundy yarn to use for A for A. The rest is leftover stash that I put with it. I'm currently working on another vest out of the chunky alpaca that was donated to A for A a while back. Its a little tricky to work with because its so thick.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Holidays to A4A friends


Last of 2010

Happy holidays everyone!

I have 2 new FO's to wrap up my holiday knitting:

A basic, ribbed pair of socks, and

a classic yoke pullover to fit an 8-10 year-old child. I still have a skein and a half of that red wool left, just enough for a pair of mittens, I should think.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Projects coming!

Hello all: My Christmas knitting has also kept me from finishing a sweater and a vest I have to send...but I did manage to get these mittens done. They are made from Lion Brand Wool -- on sale for $2/skein at my local Ocean State Job Lot. I have more yarn from the same source...and I am still loving mittens. If I could only master socks...

And if I could only get to the post office...but watch for these coming soon.
Merry Christmas! and I will be spending my Christmas vacation making more stuff to warm our friends in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Here are those mittens that are ready to go

Here is the pair of mittens I just finished for this campaign.  They are knit from some yarn that I dyed with Kool-Aid. The yarn was given to me by a friend at church who can no longer knit.  It was good white wool yarn - nice yarn but the color wouldn't work for this purpose so I dyed it.  It is from the same batch as the socks I sent for the last campaign.  I hope to get another pair done to send with these.  Most of my time has gone to Christmas preparations lately.

From the Afghan Embassy to a4A Volunteers!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Our Packing Last Week for Afghan Youth

We took a few photos for you. Four of us enjoyed our afternoon opening packages and packing up boxes for the students in the schools run by Help the Afghan Children. We were not expecting a huge pile because we know most volunteers are busy with their own families and friends during the holiday season. Yet, the 4 of us kept a busy pace for 3.5 hours. Thank you so much for your wool gifts this month.

We're trying to hit 40 cartons before we ship off the collection. I estimate that we're at about 20 cartons and that we can reach 40 by end of Jan. Jan. and Feb. usually pick up, based on past years. I'll know more after the end of the year and keep everyone posted via our email list and website.

Diane (holding the box) came up from down south -- the Peninsula -- to help pack last week. We were so happy to see the real her! Mostly, Diane and I are in touch via email. Diane helps me answer the incoming emails to our project. We do have standard replies to most questions, and our website explains most everything, but we get one-off questions, and some people need extra explanations. Diane's assistance has been a life-saver this year. I LOVE being able to count on her.

Lydia (brown hair) came up from down south, too -- Santa Cruz. That's a trek. Both Lydia and her mom in Minnesota have been knitting a long time for a4A. Karen (in the middle) joined us from back east -- Berkeley/Oakland -- a BART ride over to SF. Karen is a frequent packer for a long time now. Aren't these volunteers and the sweaters gorgeous?

Lydia and Diane are holding up Diane's production of 3 sweaters, 13 vests, and 9 hats. I don't know how she did it, but must involve NetFlix. What's also very cool -- the yarn was a donation from someone in her area. The person had a stash, but no longer able to knit. She got in touch with Diane, who agreed to use all the wool to knit for kids in Afghanistan. The donor had a hard time letting go of her stash (who wouldn't?), but grateful when Diane showed up to make good use of the supply. I mention this in the hopes that others needing wool can match up with folks that want to see their excess wool put to good use.

So nice of these loyal volunteers to take time from their busy schedules -- especially December -- to pitch in and keep us rolling along. The time always goes fast in the Basement with such good company. Our own special time warp.

If you're reading this post and subscribed to this a4A blog (go take the cookies out of the oven), pop-in for a quickie last 2010 post to say hello. Short and sweet OK with us. Happy holidays to all!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Update on the Wool-Aid blanket knitting

Dear blogging friends, I thought I'd check in to let you know we're busy over in the Wool-Aid community, making Oddball blankets to contribute. Four stripe blankets are in process, each with a unique theme, plus squares are going toward additional blankets. We should be contributing quite a pile of warm cozy covers for this campaign. I'll post photos soon.

Friday, December 10, 2010

casting on

Because I don't have a blanket 5/8 of the way finished, and because surely we have weeks and weeks until Christmas, and because there are no work deadlines hanging over my head (yes, and would you like to buy a bridge?) I've just gone to my bin of Lopi to see what I have to make this wonderful pullover. The pattern was just made available today, and the three largest sizes are perfect for the current campaign. I did work on the blanket at the car repair place this morning, so don't feel I'm being totally neglectful when I consider this new project.

I have a few things to send in, but was hoping to find my camera first. I need one I can call, the way I do when I misplace my phone!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

a glimpse of the basement

For those who may be wondering, here is a glimpse of what awaited Ann and volunteers ( Chris on the far right above) during a recent packing shift in the basement these days. That afternoon, we were all so busy that I forgot to take photos of people and of the gorgeous wool garments we got to discover; but piles of boxes are good too, right?

As you can see, the space occupied by a4A packages and volunteers is crowded; also, there is no shelving or space to store garments for the long term. The basement belongs to the AFSC office of San Francisco which needs it to store a number of supplies for its multiple outreach activities, so space is at a premium and it is important to focus only on what needs to be packed for the current campaign. Before I got a chance to volunteer in the basement, I pictured something like a large food bank. As you can see, it is nothing like that.

When in doubt about the requirements of a given campaign for children and teen clothing -- which is often because my own chidren are grown -- I consult the size standards here . I usually add 1" in length (body and sleeves) for good measure.

As rewarding as it is to open packages and fill boxes and boxes of knitted items that are going to make a tangible difference in people's lives, it is always a disappointment to open the odd box full of garments that a4A simply won't be able to ship – because they won’t fit the 7-to-16-year-old age group that is the focus of this current campaign. I do not mean this to discourage anyone from contributing an item to this campaign or any future one. Just make sure that the lovely work you are lavishing time, talent and wool on will actually be of use for the group that has turned to a4A for help.

Off my soapbox now and back to my needles (yoke pullover, size 8-10, cherry-red, ready for some stripes!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Two Warm Things

I've posted pictures of these previously, and while I'd hoped to have more done I am getting these into the mail this week. Sweater on the left is plotulopi wool from Iceland and size adult S; vest on the right is various scrap wools and child's size 6. It looks bigger in real life than it does in the photo.

The sweater received second place in a local fair, but it's too thick for me to wear. I figure it will keep someone in Afghanistan nice and warm.

Monday, November 29, 2010

How many ways can we combine these colors?

Here are mittens and socks. A last minute hat is going in the package too, although it missed the photo shoot. Can we say: "Fall Color Sale"? The hat is a ragg-color combo of all the above.

The socks look skinny but they are very stretchy, thanks to the ribbing. They are double stranded sport weight yarn, very thick result.

My favorite item is the pair of striped mittens. The fair-isled worsted weight turned out to be very warm and cushy. The crocheted mittens sure went fast, but they are not so comfy. Oh well, live and learn. At least they are warm.

I really like working on a campaign where the only measurement I have to remember is what fits me!

Still have almost two balls of the orange left . . . ohhh . . . Need. Break. From. Orange.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mittens - Little Ones Too Small????

I'm doing mittens (again). I'm concerned that the smallest pair may be too small for this campaign. They're 5 inches from wrist to fingertip, 7.75 inches including the cuff, and 5.25 inches around the fingers, not including the thumb. I don't have any handy 7-year-olds to try them on. Any opinions?

Blue mohair vest

My latest project for the current drive just came off the needles. It isn't blocked yet but I am too antsy to wait to post about it.
I like to knit vests for a4A when I am not certain to have the time to invest in a full sweater. With each vest, I have tried to teach myself something new, or to practice a technique learned in class or on my own. I had tried steeking before, on a rectangle shawl and on a blanket knitted in the round then cut. This time I steeked a v-neck. Talk about feeling empowered! I am just about ready to steek anything in sight right now.

The project started as a stash-busting vest. I had two skeins of a variegated, mostly light blue mohair; I combined them with two skeins of fingering-weight wool, one medium-blue, one a very light blue-ish green. I alternated these two shades every twelve rounds, which yielded the wide stripes on the vest. Double-stranding had two advantages: it "stretched" the yardage so that I could knit at a larger gauge and make a whole vest out of the mohair, and, more important, since mohair almost always contains a small percentage of acrylic, it enabled me to boost the wool content considerably to ensure warmth and stick to the a4A guidelines. A third bonus: the wool softened the mohair significantly.

Blanket mania

No pictures yet, but I'm almost halfway done my blanket. I'm knitting 4 big blocks, and if you saw just the first two, you'd shake your collective head and think "Oh, she's really lost it this time." The part that's going to pull it together and make it look good comes next. Pictures will come once it no longer looks like a great big mistake.

It's a good time of year for garter stitch, that's for sure. Very meditative and soothing after days that are getting progressively crazier. I'm making mine 48 by 48 inches (slightly inside the maximum dimensions of 50 by 50 inches) so it can keep a bigger kid warm.

Refresher: the dimensions requested for blankets for this campaign are as follows:

minimum: 40 by 45 inches (102 by 114 cm)
maximum: 50 by 50 inches (127 by 127 cm)

It would be wonderful to send everyone a full-sized blanket, but they're just too big. This way, more kids get a blanket.

What's everybody working on?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Little Nothing Special

I finished this very bulky, small Steppe Vest (about a size 8, I think) a couple of days ago and now am ready to pack it, the mitered square blanket, and a pair of green wool socks into a box and ship them off.

The pattern I used can be found here . (Scroll down for the vest option.)

I used 3 colors of Brown Sheep chunky and some Valley Yarns ditto, held together with a strand of Lion sock yarn (I'm not sure they still make it).

Quick to knit and should be nice and warm.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Favorite afghan square

I'm making afghan squares right now, and I want to share my favorite because it is easily adaptable to group projects. I'm digitally handicapped, so you'll have to use your imagination to picture this, but its pretty easy. This is good way to use up all those little balls of yarn, and still have a coherant whole blanket, and it works well for groups where not everyone is exactly on the same page with gauge.

For the current size requirements, you'll need about 500 grams of worsted weight yarn in a main color, and a basket full of odds and ends. I use up the little odd balls of sock yarn by doubling them, paying no attention to how I match them up...for this part, variety is a good thing. Size 7 or 8 needles.

Cast on 30-4o stitches with your "odd ball yarn", and knit in garter stitch until the number of garter ridges equals the number of cast on stitches; this will produce a square. (As one ball of yarn is exhausted, add in another) Break the yarn and change to your main color yarn, continuing on in garter stitch until the strip is the length you would like your square to be. Bind off, and without breaking the yarn, pick up stitches along the long side of the strip. If you pick up one stitch in each "garter ditch", the number of picked up stitches on the needle should equal the total number of ridges in the part just worked. Knit in garter stitch until the number of main color ridges along the long side of the strip is equal to the number of main color ridges along the top. Bind off.

This works well for a group project because the initial squares can vary in size and color, but the main color pulls them together. I love projects that will use all those little walnut sized ball of sock yarn. When I'm all done, I usually use more sock yarn to knit or crochet a one or two row border along the edges.

This is my first post to this blog, but I've been at this project for 5 years and I'm happy to be a part of the blog!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blankie Finished!

I finished a 39"x50" blanket last night, using up some stash (I think I have enough for at least one more of these). I'll ship it off with a pair of plain vanilla crew socks (the same green wool that I used as the MC on the blankie) and a striped vest that is a current WIP.

It's quite toasty.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Purple-licious Plus

I wanted to share with the KAL/CAL blog that several of us knitters in the Ravelry Wool-Aid group are teaming up to make oddball blankets for this campaign. There are six knitters from Hawaii to Vermont teaming up on this one, which will be a purple/red/blue colorway. We've got another one going in Fall Harvest colors! I find I have enthusiasm for a stripe or two on a blanket (that's my work in the photo) and then I'm happy to see what someone else will do.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

mitten knitting

The wish list for the current campaign includes mittens. Mittens are fun, fast, and easy, and make a world of difference in a long, cold winter. We know people often are apprehensive about making them, because of that thumb thing. Over at our blog, Two Left Feet, my friend Pat and I have posted an extremely detailed tutorial, with pictures, on how to make a mitten. There's an introduction, followed by 4 parts. We broke it down by parts (1) so it would be easy to look up the part you need and (2) because otherwise it would have been horrifyingly long. When we say detailed, we mean it.

Potential mitten knitters, go take a look: the introduction is here, and parts 1 through 4 follow that. (Of course, when you're reading a blog, the most recent post comes first, so you'll have to go to the intro and then scroll up.)

Please note: if you're already knitting socks, blankets, or sweaters -- don't stop!! This is just a little added attraction for those who have been waiting for it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Since Ann Asked

Making a blankie of mitered squares is Easy Peasy. Decide how big you want your squares. I chose 5" and 10".

Then, trust the gauge on the ball band and use that size needle (in this case, about 5 st/in and size 8).

Cast on 2 X the number of stitches you need (50 on the small squares (25 X 2) and 100 on the big ones). Mark the center of the row.

RS: Knit to 2 stitches before the marker, k 2 tog, slip m, k 2 tog, knit to the end
WS: knit across.

When 4 stitches remain, k 2 tog, remove marker, k 2 tog. On next row (WS) k 2 tog and fasten off.

One square made.

You'll pick up stitches along an edge to make the next square, casting on at either the beginning or the end of the row for the other half of the miter. Just keep picking up new squares as you finish each. These are pretty when planned, and (I think) almost prettier when totally unplanned.

The best part? No seaming. And if you weave in the ends as you go, when you finish the last square, you're done!

You can also make a GIGANTIC mitered square for a baby blankie (for a 40" square at 5 stitches per inch, start with 400 stitches, place the marker between stitch 200 and 201). You start with lots of stitches, but every other row is shorter than the one before.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Copying Elizabeth

Well, only sort of.

One of my favorite blankies to knit is very loosely based on Cottage Creations' Rambling Rows Afghan. I say "loosely based" because, even though I've made several of these actually following the pattern, I've also made several that could best be described as Mitered Square Scrapghans.

I've done everything from one giagantic mitered square using odds and ends of acrylic, to the "scumbled" multi color multi-size square onethat I made for my older grandson.

When the latest Youth Challenge came up, I was ready with a nice selection of odds and ends of wool. (This washtub is my gauge--when it's full, there's enough for a laprobe or bigger afghan.)

There's Brown Sheep and Patons and some vintage Sugar 'n Cream (yes, Lily used to make a 100% wool yarn!) and I found that I had enough of the "evergreen" to use as a main color with all the others being accents.

I used size 8 needles for this worsted weight yarn and cast on in multiples of 20 stitches on a side, so that the smaller squares start with 40 stitches and the large ones with 80.

Here's where I am so far--about 30" square when I finish knitting the current large square. I think I will add squares on 2 more sides and then do a garter stitch band around the whole thing to get it to 45" square.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

blanket revision

I decided I wanted my blanket to be all Peace Fleece (I'll use the Bartlett for something else). Peace Fleece red was too red, so I put in a medium blue, changing things completely:

I wish  you could see the gray in real life -- it's full of flecks of gold, magenta, and other things (color is Zarya Fog, if you're interested). The blue at the 5 o'clock position is actually a little greener than it appears in the photo. I'm done messing with colors now; gauge swatch next, to make sure this thing comes out the right size.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The blanket begins

As promised, here are the colors I've picked for a blanket, inspired by the idea I shared yesterday:

The red on the left is actually a rich cranberry color, quite a bit deeper than what you see here. The yarn that appears gray is, in reality,an interesting tweedy yarn with flecks of many colors. The others are pretty close to accurate. All but the red are Peace Fleece (the red is Bartlett), and all are from stash.

My plan is to knit a blanket 48 inches (122 cm) square, in 4 pieces. Each of the 4 pieces will measure 24 inches (~60 cm) square. Two will consist of four 6-inch (15 cm) stripes; the other two will have six 4-inch (10 cm) stripes. Garter stitch. Watch this space. . .

Monday, October 18, 2010

the easiest blanket

Here's the easiest knit blanket idea ever. Obviously, you'll want to recalculate the stitch count to get this campaign's desired blanket size, but look how you can blend a whole bunch of odd skeins together to get something really attractive. And garter stitch has a wonderfully meditative quality -- you never need to stop to think of what you do next, it lies flat, and the blanket comes out extra-thick.

Reminder: the requested size for blankets for this campaign is minimum 40 by 45 inches (1 meter by 1.14 meter), maximum 50 by 50 inches (1.27 m square). At a standard worsted gauge of 5 sts/inch (20 sts/10 cm), that's 200 to 250 stitches across. Yes, you'll need a circular needle!

The same web site that posted the pattern has a number of color suggestions in another post, so if you don't trust yourself, take a look at those. But -- you can trust yourself. Trade with friends to get a good mix if your own stash doesn't excite you.

Remember: all wool -- or other animal fiber -- is best. If you can't do that, no less than 75%, please. Bear in mind that some kids may end up sleeping near an open fire, and 100% animal fiber is safest by far.

This idea appeals to me in its great simplicity. I'll post my colors tomorrow.

Edited to add:

You could also, if that blanket worked as a single piece is going to be too heavy, or too daunting, work 4 rectangles, following this idea, and then sew them together. You could even join with friends, each knitting one chunk, to make a single blanket that way (be very careful to make sure you're all knitting at the same gauge!). 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ear Cozy Hat

Elizabeth sent me this Bartlett yarn many months ago, and I'm hoping to use as much as I can for the new youth campaign. This is the Fiber Trends Ear Cozy hat pattern, with Romeo the bear modeling. Details on my Ravelry project page (Cheerup).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Plotulopi Sweater

I knew this sweater would find a campaign! It is a small adult size, knit of Icelandic plotulopi which is unspun roving. It is very light and VERY warm, too warm for me to be comfortable. The pattern is a traditional pattern that I followed pretty much exactly so I would learn how to make this type of sweater. There are NO seams, just a bit of grafting at the underarm. I entered the sweater in a local fair earlier this month and it took fourth place. I didn't see what the other entries were like but I am OK with fourth. Now it will go to keep some child warm and I hope he or she likes it.

pullover pattern needed

Last spring I knit some heavy pullovers.  Lost the pattern, but have Brown Sheep Burly Spun super bulky for more.  Want knit from bottom up in larger sizes for this campaign - about size 14-16.  Have been unable to far to find one online.

Now that temperatures are falling it'll be nice to switch from sox to sweaters. :-)

If you can help, please email me at

Thanks and happy knitting.

new campaign!

For those of you who still haven't signed up for announcements, please go here to read about the brand new campaign!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

mittens on the way

I mailed in three pairs of mittens today:

The red and black pair were made holding one strand of red and one strand of black sport weight wool together. They are thick and tough and warm. The ragg mittens are from a commercial ragg wool yarn -- a little thinner than I'd like, but they are 100% wool, so will still be warm. As you can see, I like starting off with a contrasting stripe. I do that in case the mittens end up in the same household or classroom; this way kids can make sure they have both halves of their own pair. I started doing it when I was using up a whole lot of navy blue yarn, and realized that one plain navy blue mitten looks a whole lot like every other navy blue mitten. . . now I do it all the time, even if I'm just making one pair, because I like the way it looks.

More pairs in various stages ranging from just started to not quite finished. . . another small package will go next week.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You can teach an old knitter new tricks

This old knitter spent the summer knitting a shawl and feeling a bit out of sorts because the a4A summer campaign focused on socks, which I had always kind of meant to try but... I kept knitting other things instead, things for other people, but if felt strange to let this exciting campaign pass me by.

Until the end of August, when a knitting kindred spirit managed to read my mind and issued a (gentle) challenge. I decided it was time to see if I could still learn a new trick, and voila. Thanks to Charlene Schurch's excellent book "Sensational Knitted Socks", I managed to knit these 2 pair for the on-going sock collection. I may even cast on for a third one, before I forget my brand new skills.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


One quick word on mittens -- they should be sizes to fit kids anywhere from age 7 to about 16. In other words, knit some adult sizes, too, and forego the infants and toddlers. At least this time.

I've been knitting mittens for the last month, kind of thinking of sending them to a group in Maine but hoping that there'd be a way to get them to Afghanistan, so I was holding off. And it worked! I will still knit mittens for Maine, enough to match the number of pairs I send to Afghanistan. But -- to get them to Maine, I just head over to the post office, hand the nice ladies a small sum of money, and they're there in 2 or 3 days. Getting them to Afghanistan is a whole lot trickier, and I can't do it any day I feel like it -- so this is a great opportunity.

Pictures before I send them. I've heard the sun should be out by Friday. . .

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Keep knitting socks -- and mittens too!

First off, if you're reading this blog, it's clear that you're interested in A4A's campaigns. You should most definitely sign up to receive Ann's announcements via Yahoo -- you will not get any other mail as a result, and you'll know immediately about new campaigns and other reports. You might even win some yarn from a friendly vendor -- but in keeping with this blog's policy, I can't tell you about that here. So go to the afghans for Afghans web site and sign up at the top of the second column.

Here's some news in the meantime, though, quoted from Ann Rubin's most recent announcement:

Another 300 pairs of our wool socks were distributed to girls at a
school in Kabul. Our same Afghan hero -- who previously distributed
our socks to a shelter for women and kids -- was terrific again in
making this happen so quickly. We hope to get permission to post some
of the photos on our website. In the meantime, we know you want to
hear that the girls got their socks. We've got another set of 310
socks waiting in Kabul for distribution. We'll keep you posted as

Thank you for sending in your exquisite wool socks!

We'll keep accepting socks for the next several weeks as we await

confirmation of the next campaign, which is likely to include socks.
We're not worried about having too many socks, and we will get them to

Here are the guidelines for the socks campaign --

General guidelines and mail address are here --

Ann says that mittens to fit kids aged 7 to 13 would also be welcome. Wool, of course -- and by "mittens" we mean the kind that are closed at the top and cover the fingertips. Warmth is paramount here. 
No set due date yet, as the next campaign, in the works, will likely also have room for socks and mittens. So keep knitting, and send your socks and mittens in often -- they've been getting there fairly quickly, and winter is coming! Average temperatures in Kabul in the winter range from around 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 Celsius) to a high of about 40 (8 Celsius). Let's do what we can to keep those kids a little more comfortable.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Should I be casting on more socks??

Now that the end of September has come and gone,  do we have any word on whether socks are still wanted??

Saturday, September 25, 2010

another pair ready to go

Here is a pair knit in worsted weight wool.  I took a class to learn how to dye wool and used the resulting yarn to knit these.  They go on my feet - as you can see - so should fit an older kid or a woman with feet that are sort of medium sized.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

These children's socks are going in the mail today.

I used 2 strands of an alpaca and wool variegated
sock yarn and one of an all wool worsted to make these.  The sock yarn was left over from an earlier
A4A pair I made.  They look a little different in shape  because of how they were laid out - but I think they are just alike.

Another pair...... on their way.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

On Their Way

This pair of socks was sent on its way today. I might have time to make another pair before the end of the month.

I used a skein and a half of Lion Wool (Cadet Blue) and knit a longer leg for more coverage.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

July's Socks

I finally got these socks finished - will drop them in the mail as soon as possible.  Nice to think of someone a world away wearing and enjoying these nice warm socks.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

On Their Way

These thick Nature Spun 100% wool socks were mailed out Monday afternoon. Another pair should be in the mail next week. I didn't block them, I just like to use the stretchers to take pictures with.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

For Campaign Updates and Info

We will be sending an update email notice to our list shortly. Best way to hear about due dates, reports back, stash drawings, and other details and news on the afghans for Afghans program. Please subscribe to our email list if you haven't done so already -- join link is located near top of home page.
Thanks, Ann

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

End date?

Are socks still being accepted? If so, is there a deadline for getting them to the Basement, or will there be some notice in advance of a deadline?


Saturday, August 28, 2010

One last pair

I had been hoping to get two pairs done before the end of the month, but work has been crazy and I've had too much going on to get very far on the second pair. So I will mail this pair and be done for a while. Good timing - I have holiday and birthday gifts to finish!

You may notice that these look very similar to a pair I've sent before with the heels and toes and tops reversed. This pair was made with the other half of the yarn from the previous pair, two colours of Full o' Sheep yarn in Peony and Aquamarine. Bright, but still conservative in style. Just a basic toe-up pair in about ladies' size 6.5, give or take stretchiness. I tend to make socks that fit my feet and these have a bit of space in the toe.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One more pair . . .

These will go in the mail either this afternoon or tomorrow. I figure I'll cast on another pair, just in case we have another chance soon.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Sunny Socks On Their Way

Tada! Thank you all for the encouragement. I completed these socks by the current deadline. They are in the mail.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Meanwhile, down in the AFSC basement...

This sock-knitting-virgin has been feeling a bit at a loss these past few weeks. What to do, what to do? But I reminded myself that one thing I could easily do was to come to the basement to help open packages full of *your* fabulous handknit socks. And last Friday, I did just that, along with Ann and volunteers Daisy, Antje and Annette.

A good amount of packages had piled up and was waiting to be opened. Daisy and I did this for a while while Annette made sure that pairs of socks stayed together securely, and Antje (above) sorted the socks into youth and women's sizes. We also took the time to admire various stitch patterns and color combinations.

Our shift was so relaxed that I actually got to stop and smile for Ann's camera. Off-camera, Daisy (pictured below) and Ann got a few boxes packed full of socks, all taped and ready to go. All in all a very satisfying and productive afternoon, which demonstrated to me again and again that I just need to learn to knit socks!

Lucky Seven

I decided to stop and mail the socks I have, so that I don't miss whatever is the last mailing date. You've seen a few of these in earlier posts, but here is the whole set that I am sending.

The red ones in the bottom lefthand corner don't have as long a top as I had hoped, but I used up all the yarn I had. I realized when I was finishing the second one that I had mis-calculated the foot length, if I had gotten it right (read: shorter) then I would have had more for the leg.

The blue-and-pink ones in the bottom righthand corner left enough yarn to possibly make another pair, but I'll leave that to a future campaign.

The top five pairs are all a single yarn except the pink ones with the bit of teal striping at the top. So most of the pairs had only two yarn ends per sock to work in! I tried to do mostly adult sizes, they run from women's 6 to about women's 9, I think. My feet are size 6 so that's an easy size for me to accomplish. All are 100% wool except for the red-striped ones which are sock yarn, therefore there is a bit of nylon in those.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Being a pretty new sock knitter, I am hoping for some tips... My socks keep ending up with "holes" or loose stitches at the edges/sides of the heel. Any advice? I'm using the pattern from the sock classes posted. Thanks so much for that and the very complete instructions!

Brenda, Albuquerque

Still Knitting

May I share with you the progress on the socks which I had hoped to finish by the end of July? I'm feeling the need for a cheering section. Here's progress with sock weight yarn on #0 needles. Hopefully I will finish them in time for the current campaign. Bye, I better return to my knitting while the kids are still asleep!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Teal socks on the way

This is my final contribution for this summer 2010 drive - a teal sock sized for a woman sized about 7-8 (my size, actually). It's Lion Wool with a ribbed band of Peace Fleece. A basic sock, and a warm one.

It's an honor to knit for Afghans for Afghans. I look forward to the next drive.


go blue!

One last pair for the current campaign:

I used, again, two strands of compatible sock yarn held together -- the ends of the balls are next to the socks. (I put the tomato there to trick the camera into getting the colors right.) The dark one was a very old Opal, navy blues and dark greens, dating back to somewhere around 1999. The lighter one was a Meilenweit tweed in blues, greens, and a little bit of yellow. I'm very happy with the the way this pair turned out.

Off to California today! It's been so exciting to read Ann's posts and see how many socks are making their way to her in time. Don't forget to post here!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

More socks on the way

The one on the far right has been finished and both pair are boxed and ready to go to the post office in the morning.  Judy

Friday, July 30, 2010

500 pairs of socks heading to Afghanistan!

This week we sent off 150 socks to a women's network of advocates and activists. The third set of 350 pairs is headed to shelter/safe houses for women and children. Through our email list, we'll tell you more precisely how the socks are distributed when that happens. We have to leave some of this to the judgement of our reliable colleagues in Kabul who identify the need and orchestrate the logistics under the particular conditions at the time.

We're packing up the socks as they arrive at our AFSC Collection Center in San Francisco. We're happy to include yours! Thank you for rallying.

From left to right in the photos, say hello to our devoted Basement packers Annette, Judith, and Emily. I am guessing that we may be the only place in the US now where we can wear wool socks in summertime and be comfortable. We wear long pants, too. Stay cool, friends.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

one more pair

Just mailed this pair:

It was cloudy when I took this picture and I couldn't get the color right; the main color should be a much richer brown -- very sheepy. These will keep someone very warm!! And this Maine wool lasts forever, which is an added bonus. Not to mention that making big fat socks on 40 stitches practically counts as instant gratification in sock terms. These should fit a woman's foot somewhere around a US size 8 or 8.5.

I'm just finishing the toe on sock#1 of another, slightly larger pair. I have a soccer mom weekend ahead of me, with long intervals between games, so I just might finish sock #2 in time. I can't wait to see what everyone else has managed to knit during what's been, at least here, a really hot stretch of summer.


P.S. Ann would love it if people would sign their real names to their posts. . .

Monday, July 26, 2010

false sense of security

I have one pair of socks ready to go and was waiting until I finished just one more pair to send them, hoping to send two pairs rather than one. I suddenly realized, though, that July ends on Saturday. So I asked Ann about the deadline, and she tells me that although there's no specific end date yet, it "won't be much longer." So I will send the finished pair, to make sure they get into one of those boxes, and then try extra hard to knit 1.5 largish socks this week.

In other words -- don't wait to ship!!

Picture tomorrow before they go in the mail (I'm over here on the East side of the U.S., and the post office is about to close).


To the Post Office

Here are four pairs of socks that will soon begin their journey!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Knee Socks

One pair of knee socks are on their way! They are made of 100% merino wool, sport weight. I used needles one size smaller than called for so they are very dense and warm. The pattern is from Morehouse Farm. Very easy, top down, short row heel. I guess we're lucky the current campaign is for socks and not blankets - it's in the 90's even here in Vermont!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bon voyage to 100 Socks!

Yesterday, Annette helped me with the final packing on these 100 pairs of socks for women. These cheerful socks are on their way to Kabul. Hoping the socks bring good cheer and warmth to the women in the winter. Once we know the socks have been received, we'll tell you more about the women's group. We hope to send a second batch of socks to another women's group and also batches to two schools. We'll see how the month proceeds -- how many socks come in and how much we can send out during the window of opportunity. Thank you to all the sock-knitters! You all are very skilled and generous. Superb quality.

For those who don't knit socks, thanks for understanding. We hope to have future campaigns for other types of garments, both knit and crochet, as in the past. Depends on dependable shipping arrangements and distribution, as you know. Very difficult in a war-torn country. We'll keep you posted.