Sunday, January 31, 2010

AFSC Basement During Baby Blanket Campaign for CURE Hospital

Always want to periodically post some AFSC Basement photos for you. These are from the baby blanket campaign (the Nov. 23 due date) for CURE Hospital in Kabul. I thought I took more photos, but apparently not. Good thing that Laura had her camera, too. Once we get going with opening, sorting, packing ... we forget to stop and take photos ... we need to think of new ways to pose with knitwear this year! Doug joined us twice to help tape, label, and carry, and we happily gave up the chance to burn extra weight-lifting calories of the holidays. The photos include Carol, Jo, Antje, Keiko, and Teresa, five of our devoted local gang. Keiko runs our knit/crochet group in Berkeley. Teresa is our KAL blog admin, and she's holding mod Elizabeth's modern art. Love to the AFSC staff for continuing to receive our packages on a daily basis. Thanks again to all the volunteers who sent in beautiful wool blankets for the babies -- first-class gifts to welcome these new children and their mothers to the world.

And, on the subject of photos ... why not pose in your own photos when you post here? Claim your talent.

2 sweaters

Two have been sent and one is in progress - hopefully I can finish it - one is in Patons Classic Wool and the other Mission Falls 1824 Wool - both knit from the top down - these are size 8 - and directions were in an old booklet I have called "Leisure Arts Complete Book of Raglan Sweaters" - Leaflet 2996

from Sherry in Massachusetts

Second Sweater

This one has been on my needles since earlier in the month.

I decided that if I could be knitting monogamous, I could finish it this weekend, and I did.

Second sleeve took all of my down time (5 hours of "24") and car time, but I finished it! I'll be washing and blocking it, then it will go in the mail.

Basic top-down raglan (Rich Designs pattern), 100% wool (Patons Impressions Hand-dyed Wool). about 800 yards, size 4 & 6 needles. It's about 33" around.

I may be able to finish another vest before the March deadline, but no promises.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Crochet Vest pattern

Because several persons asked, I have worked out a recipe for my Crochet Vest from a Blanket. This is not a pattern because I just measured what I did and didn't check gauge or anything. So you simply work to the inches stated at whatever gauge you have.

Chain about 40", which goes over the shoulder as long as you want. You might want to add a couple stitches for the over-the-shoulder part. If you want the vest to be longer, crochet more.

Work even for 6". On the next row, work 18" and STOP. Work even on these stitches for 5.5", making sure to end at the neck. Cut the yarn and reattach it 6" later, then work even on the remaining stitches for the same number of rows, so that you end up on the edge. The front will be about 16" wide, so you have a 16" piece, a 6" blank, and an 18" piece. If you made the beginning chain longer than 40", add evenly to the 16" and 18" pieces.

NEXT ROW, to join on the other side of the neck: Work even on all stitches, chain the same number of stitches you skipped for the neck, and work even on the back. Now work even on these stitches for 6".

End off. Fold in half (the neck hole should be unevenly set, so you have a higher back and lower front) and sew the sides for about 12". Work a couple rows sc around the arms and neck, and around the bottom if you like. Done!

Please let me know if you have any questions or problems.


Here are seven pairs of mittens for the current campaign -- I was going to wait until the end of February and send one big box, but if things are slow in the basement, I can contribute these now!

sock class to start Monday

Hello, everybody --

We have a couple days left in January, then the short month of February, and then, sometime in March, our deadline for getting garments to San Francisco. If you're knitting sweaters and vests, do not stop! There are never enough of those.

If you only have time for a small project, or want to add a small project, or have been afraid to try socks, though, here's your chance. On Monday, February 1, I will post the first installment of a step-by-step pattern for worsted weight socks. I'm telling you now so you can get out the yarn you want to use, your needles, and anything else you'll need.

You will need: 100 g worsted weight yarn, plus small amounts of contrasting colors if you'd like to do stripes or a contrast cuff and toe. Choose smaller needles than you'd use if you were knitting a hat or sweater -- socks need to be knit tightly so they wear better. So, if you'd use a size 7 (4.5 mm) when using this yarn for a sweater, go down to a 6 (4 mm) or a 5 (3.75 mm). I prefer double-pointed needles; use 2 circular needles or a long one for magic loop if that's your preference. Pattern will be worked in the round, so straight needles are not an option.

See you Monday!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

lucky/unlucky numbers?

Does anyone know if any numbers in Afghani or Muslim culture have good or bad connotations? For example, the Japanese consider 4 to be unlucky, and I've known some people to freak out regarding 666. I need to put buttons on my next project and thought maybe I should ask around before making the buttonholes. Thanks.

Vest #4

I used the last bit of the green lambswool for this sweater vest and hat. (I know that hats were not requested for this campaign, but I had just enough wool remaining and it was hard to resist.)

Now, I am trying to use all of the rust wool for another vest, my last for this campaign.

Crochet Vest from a Blanket

At left are two things I have finished. The mittens were not quite done for the last youth campaign so I was going to keep them, but now that there is another campaign they are ready to go. They are Morehouse Merino hand-dyed and very nice and warm; I have another pair in a different colourway.
The vest started out as a baby blanket for the CURE Hospital that was not done for the last collection. I realized that if I folded the bit I had over the shoulders it was the start of a vest. It is worked side-to-side. I did the front and back, skipping stitches in between for the neck opening, then joined the two parts for the other side. Very steady crocheting, not much brain work reqired. The neck edging is better in real life than it photographed! I just added a couple rows of single crochet to give it a finished look. The body is coned wool and the edging is an oddball leftover bit, I think angora-wool.
I am thinking of holding several strands together to try the super-bulky sweater pattern. I also have some oddballs of Tahki Bunny that I will use for mittens as they work up fast. Three balls make about two pairs for a larger child; I am a small woman so if the items fit me, they are good! The vest goes down to about my hipbone.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Crocheters attempting 'Sporty Sweater'

The torso on this sweater is a bit short. Add 2" to back and front (before decreasing for neckline shaping). This extra length will allow for better coverage.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Laura's Turtleneck for Kids Pattern

To further entice you to click on the pattern link posted by Laura below, I am adding the website photo of Laura's Turtleneck for Kids here --

For leftover wools in dk or sportweight

In the spirit of sharing easy, fast pullover patterns for this drive, here is the pattern I came up with a few years ago for a previous a4A drive. I came up with this as a good way to use partial skeins of dk or sportweight wools. This raglan is knitted in one piece, from the neck down; you start by knitting back and forth, then cast on extra stitches for the front and join, knitting in the round from there. One tip I forgot to mention in the pattern: if you decide to knit stripes, make sure to start new stripes on one of the back sleeve "seams", where the color changes will be more discreet than smack in the front which is where each round begins. It really won't matter at all and look much, much better.

My colorful socks and striped vest

These bright socks were partly knit at a memorial service for long time friend Adrienne, a woman of spirit and commitment, who loves handwork and bright colors. I honor her lifetime of work for peace and justice by donating these socks.

I was inspired by Judy's Jan. 7 vest to try the "Morehouse Striped Vest for Children" pattern, in the largest size, using up several aran weight yarns in my stash. It was a quick knit on circs. I made it longer by one set of stripes in the body and another on the chest, for tummy coverage. It should nicely fit an 8-10 year old.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Out of my comfort zone!

I’m a diehard blanket crocheter. However, after Church World Service asked a4A not to send so many blankets, I decided to try something else. After disastrous attempts at a vest and socks, the challenge was on.

Pictured is my very first sweater! The pattern is Sporty Sweater from The yarn, which is slightly tweedy with bits of red, blue and green, was donated to a4A through a LYS. I added colored ribbing to brighten it up.

I was so encouraged by the finished sweater, I have another one on the hook.

Friday, January 22, 2010

First vest with gift yarn!

I made this vest with some of the yarn from Elizabeth's giveaway. The pattern is from 25 Gorgeous Sweaters for the Brand New Knitter, by Catherine Ham. I changed the color scheme, put on 5 buttons instead of 4, and added the pony beads. It was a fun project and relatively quick. The brown yarn is Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool from my own stash, and the four accent colors came from Elizabeth. The buttons were in my stash.

I am halfway done with a ragg-style pullover (doubled yarns) with the rest of this wool. Thanks again for the beautiful, soft yarn!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wool Yarns Substitutes for Homespun Yarn

Hi - I've been asked to try out a girl's sweater pattern that calls for Lions Brand Homespun Yarn. For A of A, I need to make it in a wool or 75%+ wool yarn (or similar natural yarn).

I'd appreciate your suggestions for this yarn substitution.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I finished a sweater vest tonight, size 32" (about an 8?).

The main color is a real vintage yarn, Lily Sugar and Cream 100% wool in a color called Hot Green. The contrast is Elann Peruvian Highland Wool in Daffodil.

Pattern is from a magazine I picked up at the grocery store: Fons & Porter Love of Knitting (Summer 2009).

The pattern calls for an all-over stranded design. I eliminated all but the one band, thinking that this would look clean longer.

I have another sweater OTN and hope to have both in the mail by the end of the month.

Monday, January 18, 2010

yarn giveaway winners

The winners of my yarn giveaway are Christie from Georgia and Kate from Virginia. Thanks to everyone who emailed me. I hope I will get to see the finished results of these two bundles of yarn! Happy knitting everybody!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In the Mail

Three vests and a pair of mittens will be on their way to the collection center after the MLK holiday. My original goal for this campaign was one or two vests, but I had more time to knit than I first thought. The mittens were knit in December.

Hopefully, I can finish at least one more vest before the March deadline.

Crocheted Mittens

I'm doing a variation on "Bev's Marvelous Mittens", which is the first crochet mitten pattern listed on the a4A page. Instead of doing single crochet for the body and slip stitches to shaping, I'm doing half double crochet for the body and single crochet for the shaping. (And fewer rows, of course.) The red and blue pair are finished. The pink and blue pair still need to be stitched up. These mittens fit me and are a bit large. Next, I'm figuring out a smaller size, using a nice sizing chart I found (plus finishing the larger ones).


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Yarn giveaway reminder!

Hi everyone--

I have had only one request for a portion of the bulky weight 100% merino yarn I am giving away for a4A projects, so I thought I should repeat the announcement. See the post from January 13th for a complete description.

Honeycomb mittens for youth campaign

I forgot how easy and fast mittens go, it's been a long time since I knit any (not much need for them in North Carolina). This pattern is by Jean Newsted, found in Homespun Handknit: Caps, Socks, Mittens, & Gloves. I used dark gray Reynolds Danskyarn I've had forever, and Shelridge Farm assorted colors from a kit I never finished. I knit the small women's size, to fit a larger child. I'll be mailing them to S.F. today.

Friday, January 15, 2010

sock sizes

I'm working on socks, as a break from mittens, and it occurred to me that there may be knitters who haven't made socks in worsted weight, or haven't made them for an abstract foot. . . and sometimes it's hard to figure out what's too big or too small when you don't have an actual human right there with you. Of course, you can borrow a representative human of appropriate size and measure its feet.

If that's not an option, there are several charts of sock sizes out there on the web. My favorite is the Sock Size Research Project put together by Mary Moran, who is listmom of the Socknitters group on Yahoo and a former yarn store owner. Everyone was invited to submit their own measurements and those of friends and family, so each size lists a variety of measurements. You can see the range for yourself, and figure out what's reasonable (all measurements are in inches, so non-U.S. readers will have to do some math). Here's the link:

Sock Size Research Project

That link takes you to the women's page; there are links to click at the bottom for children and men -- and, if we get to knit for babies again, there's a link for them too.

For kids aged 7 to 14, any foot length (this is measuring from back of heel to tip of toe) from about 6.5 inches to 10 inches will be useful.Remember that many 14-year-olds have "adult" sized feet, so don't neglect the larger sizes!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Free Yarn Give-Away

Hello all,

I just received one of Elizabeth D.'s free yarn bundles and I have been so pleased and busy with it that I want to pay forward. I think there is something about receiving a gift like this that makes one want to try harder to make a beautiful thing with it--at least that is what is happening with me. I can't wait to finish the vest I'm making and post a picture.

So, here is what I have to offer: 100% merino chunky superwash by Fibranatura, made in Turkey. It is very soft. I made two packages based on nice color combinations:

One package is 700 yards containing approximately equal amounts of bubble gum pink, light yellow, and light blue, with an additional 100 yards of a coordinating Lion Brand Landscapes multicolor that would make a nice trim. 800 yards total, enough to make two vests or one sweater in a chest size 32", according to my yarn yardage chart. I don't think it's too pastel, but if you do, you could stripe it with a darker blue or dye it.

The other package is 500 yards of the same wool, half of which is bright teal and the other half is bright "Barbie pink." There is an additional 100 yards of a coordinating multicolor of Sensations Angel Hair from Jo-Ann Fabrics. This package is very intense in color! 600 yards total, which is enough for two vests or one sweater in a size 30" chest.

I will take names and street addresses on my personal email: aquatory at yahoo dot com until Sunday night, and then I will draw two names at random and mail the packages on Monday. Please let me know if you do or do not have a preference regarding which package you want. Just like Elizabeth, I can't wait to see what someone else comes up with for the current a 4 A youth campaign!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vest #2

Vest #2 came off of the needles last night. I plan to make one more for the campaign.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vest for A4A

Here is my latest effort for A4A -- I found some bulky, 100% wool yarn (Lion Brand Alpine) that worked up nicely. I found it matched pattern gauge for me using a #9 circular.

I will pack it up along with a pair of socks and send it along.

Colorful Vest for the New Campaign

I saw that the latest Afghans for Afghans request has come out, and it’s freezing here in the Northeast–I am finding comfort in my woolies and I can only imagine how much more the kids in Afghanistan need warm things.
I had some Lamb’s Pride Bulky left over from a felted bag, so I cast on and finished a vest in just three days--I couldn't stop, the knitting was so rhythmic in the round and so fast with the fuzzy Lamb's Pride Bulky. This should be a warm and cozy vest for an older child. I am giving it a little block and then will send it off.
It’s a hodgepodge of colors, but it will keep a child warm.
I’m happy to have gone through a few skeins of my Lamb’s Pride Bulky too–just two skeins of chocolate left.
Great pattern too.
Check out more details on my Ravelry page

Monday, January 4, 2010

Everybody's a winner!

Six people replied to my offer of yarn to use for the current A4A campaign. You're right, there were only four bundles listed in my giveaway. But it seems mean to leave out just two people. . . so I am rummaging for extra yarn to send to them. Do not worry -- I am not running out of good stuff, and if anyone can spare some, it's me. (Robin and Marcie, both of you will be getting something -- I'm just not sure yet what it will be! Watch this space.)

The Lamb's Pride goes to Diane; the Naturespun worsted goes to Tory; the Lopi goes to Bloo; and the Bartlett goes to Kathy. In the mail tomorrow. Can't wait to see (or, for those of you without cameras, hear) what the yarn becomes.

Thanks, everybody!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Youth Campaign Vest

A vest knit using the option at the end of the Steppe Sweater pattern. I knit the vest on size 10 needles, using two strands of worsted weight wool.  I hope to make at least two more of the vests before the March deadline.

Encouraged by Elizabeth

I am posting a picture of my barely -begun sweater for the current challenge.

Several of my friends are participating in a 10 Shawls in 2010 event this year and since shawls aren't so much in my frame of things (I just don't have the lifestyle to enjoy them), I decided that a 10 Sweaters event was more my style.

I've gone through my stash and found some wonderful wool yarns that are just aging with no chance of being knit up for me or mine, and so, I've decided that A4A will be the recipient of the first of the ten.

The yarn is Patons Impressions hand-dyed wool in a shades of green kettle-dyed looking singles. The pattern is a basic top-down (translate: seamless) turtleneck pullover. The yarn is very soft and while not "outerwear" weight, should be warm. I am aiming for a size 12.

I'll be posting my progress on my blog, and will put a final photo here before I mail.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Challenge

Is anyone else attempting a vest for the first time? I'm excited to try and would like to hear from others who are stepping off into this (potential) abyss! Though I've been crocheting for lo, these many years, I've generally been a very 'geometric' type -- prodigious, but geometric. Since what is needed now is not blankets, it's time to step outside the comfort zone....which I am going to do with the In-Vest for Peace vest -- the pattern reads friendly enough! One question: can anyone see anything horrendous about possibly sewing up/crocheting up the front to make it a pullover? Has anyone done this or am I crossing into horrible faux-pas land? Glad to be here with ya'll!