Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stitches West

Here are two of the sweaters I dropped off at Stitches West this weekend. The checkered one is made with Elizabeth's gift yarn plus Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool. The sleeves look skinny in the photo but I tried it on and they are fine. I made the sleeves extra long, for hand coverage, which I personally enjoy.

Sorry I missed you, Laura, at Stitches. At 8:30 Friday morning, I got a text that my daughter's school (and three others it turns out) was being evacuated for a bomb threat. After confirming that a friend would take care of her until my husband could get a break from work, I still was too anxious to concentrate on class. Plus, I missed the first half hour of class getting everything my details worked out! Stitches' registrar, Mavis Smith, was so understanding regarding giving me a refund for my Friday classes. So I drove back to Stockton. At least I was there at Stitches all day and night on Thursday and had a great time.

How was the get together on Saturday?

The Whole Megillah,
This Week at the AFSC Basement

Gold-medal packers Lydia and Antje --

Ann and Barbara --

Kate and Candace recommend dates, the official snack food of Team afghans for Afghans --

a4A's official chocolate (when half-priced at Macy's) --

Teacher Laura from the Spring Valley Science School delivers her students' fantastic knit hats --

Meet Friends building manager Steve Leeds with Lydia, Teresa, and Mary --

Thrums to Afghanistan!

Mary, Annette, and Carol in the box avalanche on our special Saturday packing session --

Gung Hay Fat Choi!

Just wanted to let you know that our Campaign for Afghan Youth with Church World Service is proceeding very well now.

Friday, February 26, 2010

This sweater is on its way via priority mail -- Hopefully there are some kids who like bright. The blue and neon green and orange small stripes are left over Dale Falk - the red is some Treehouse merino that was in the stash. Not perfect but hopefully usable.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

In the mail

It was a narrow margin, but I did get the sweater done and in the mail! It turned out that a Priority Mail flat- rate box was cheaper than parcel post would have been, so I am glad I finished.

This sweater is mostly wool (Lion Brand, Cleckheaton, oddballs) but the deep rose is Moda Dea Wool-Silk (85% wool and 15% silk) that I got at a huge discount a couple years back. I'd been planning to use it, the pink-multi, and the lavender in a sweater, and thought that Lisa's pattern would work up quickly. I ended up using six strands together, so the sweater is very dense and warm. But it wasn't as fast as I thought it would be - I didn't count on the time needed to untangle multiple strands or the slowness of using really chunky needles. But I think it ended up being very child-friendly. So this, the vest, and the two pairs of mittens I have done (previously posted) are in the mail!

More mittens

The deadline snuck up on me, too. Everything was well in hand on Monday ... then I found a mistake 5 rows back and had to rip out and re-crochet (on the largest mitten, of course). I still had time to finish on Tuesday, until I realized I had lost my favorite yarn needle. I think my cat hid it. After hunting for a couple of hours, I gave up and used my backup. So I had to finish the last cuff during lunch on Wednesday. They all got in the mail this morning!

I finished two small pairs and one medium sized pair, pictured on my office chair. The good part of all this is that I could get someone to take my picture with the mittens.

The pattern is my half-double crochet variation on Bev's Marvelous Mittens. With Bev's permission, I'm posting the pattern here, as a comment.

Back from the post office

Hello all: the 1st really snuck up on me...I finished 2 pairs of mittens using Elizabeth's pattern (so easy and fast...thanks for sharing) and was stuggling to finish a medium sized sweater...that I dropped down to a vest...and now is not going to be finished in time. These were my Ravelypic projects, but, life happens. I'll have the vest for the next project. It is almost done.

No photos, because I didn't get that done either and really wanted them in the mail today. So, the mittens were a 2 strange fisherman wool...they are very warm...and this very large pair of orange solid and variagated yarn with hot pink, orange,, but alas, no photo.

I so enjoy doing this and seeing everyone's photos. Next time! Can't wait for the next campaign! Good luck to all the packers...I would be there if I could. Sally

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In the Mail

I guess my self striping yarn didn't work too well for this 'in the round' pattern. Looks better on the sleeves than on the body of the sweater. Oh well, live and learn. Maybe I'll use the rest for socks!


I wanted to post pictures here of the vests I made for this campaign. Also posted on ravelry; sorry for the repeat post. But someone here (sorry, I've forgotten who) gave me the idea of putting a mosaic knitting border on my vest. It was so much fun to do! The two patterns are the Steppe Ahead Sweater and Quick Knit Bulky vest "">

I'm a new knitter AND and new blogger from NM. Just so enjoy hearing what everyone is doing that I had to join in!
Here a pic of hat, mittens, and vest I'm sending. The mittens are my first pair thanks to the pattern shared on the A4A site. I was so excited that now I'm trying socks from the sock lessons! Now, if I can pick up those stitches on my first heel, I'll be ready for 1st foot! Thanks so much for those lessons and especially for the great pictures. Wish me luck!
Two hats, two pairs of mittens, and two pairs of socks (sounds like Noah's Ark) are headed to California today.

You'll see the socks from the sock class at the bottom, blending in to the weathered wood of the picnic table -- they're folded funny, so look a little misshapen, but in real life they're quite nice.

All from stash, and unintentionally heavy on the blues. Now I have time to finish up the vest, sweater, and another pair of mittens that didn't quite make it and hold onto them for the next opportunity.

Remember, we never know what the next campaign will be, or whether another youth campaign or blanket campaign will come around again at all, but I'm just going to be optimistic and forge on ahead with no guarantee.


Monday, February 22, 2010

another crochet sweater

I made another iteration on my crochet raglan, same pattern as the last one but with a different assortment of colors. It will go in the mail today along with a pair of mittens I ran off between sweaters. Doing my best to help fill those cartons!

update: The pattern is freely available on my blog here:

If you try it, let me know how it goes so I can make it better!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bunny (+ Noro) Mittems

I envy the people with so much knitting time! Here is the latest item I have finished - a pair of

mittens. The base is Tahki Bunny, I had just one ball and tried fingerless mitts to see how I like them. I think my hands are too small to enjoy them as most of my fingers are still on the cold steering wheel. So I unpicked the bind-off, took out the ribbing, and finished each one with some leftover Kochoran (I think, maybe it was Transitions) from another A4A item, and finished the thumbs as well. These are SO soft!

I have one of the superchunky sweaters OTN, using multiple strands of yarn to reach gauge. Very slow going but I hope to get a bunch done on Sunday and get these in the mail along with the other mittens and vest already finished. I am on the yoke of the sweater - wish me luck!

Brown stripes

Striped raglan pullover

Ten days ago, I gathered a few wools from the stash, mostly browns but a few greens too and even two shades of purple, to see what I could do with them. I had more of the rust color wool so I chose it for the collar and ribbing, and I followed my own top-down raglan pattern from the a4A website, for a size 10 pullover. Apart from some hair-raising moments when I didn't know if I had enough of one color to have matching stripes on both sleeves, this was a piece-of-cake project and a good stash-buster too.

Three pairs of worsted weight socks in the mail today. The teal socks (knit toe up) are my Ravelempics knitting. The larger will fit a 14 year old, the smaller will fit a 7 year old. You might recognize the red ones (knit cuff down) as being from the same Lion Wool scarlet as Shirley's sweater.

Red Sweater Finished

Here's my wool sweater for a4A finished at last! I used the Touch of Style pattern that was posted on the web site. I read somewhere that the pattern was a little short, so I added 2 inches to the bottom as suggested. It's modeled by my 11 year old neighbor, and her 11 year old friend. Lindsay is small for her age, because she has been fighting leukemia for the past few years. The sweater is too big for her, maybe a little too small for Christine, who is as tall as her 13 year-old brother, so I'm guessing around a ten-year old would be about right. This will be mailed out on Monday. I owe a BIG thanks to LongmontKathy for trading me the last 2 skeins I needed to finish this project. I thought I had 6 skeins of Lion Brand wool scarlet yarn, but when I took a closer look, 2 of them were dark pink. Need to get my eyes checked I guess! I think the length came out long enough. What do you think? Shirley

In the Mail!

Just sent off this Bulky Sweater and matching hat (along with the striped vest and hat completed last week).

Friday, February 19, 2010

New to the Blog

Hi - I have been knitting for 30 years or so, and a few years ago discovered Afghans for Afghans. I've contributed to multiple campaigns, and most recently sent a In-Vest for Peace vest and a pair of mittens as part of the Ravelympics. I love to knit with bulky yarn so that projects go quickly, and I love working with color, but I don't have a lot of free time so I don't get to knit nearly as much as I want to! There's so much still I can learn, so I love to see what other people are making. I also crochet but somehow knitting is more satisfying.

I live in Western Massachusetts, not far from Webs, so I get most of my yarn from there or from local farmer's markets in the summer.

I look forward to participating in the blog and continuing to knit for A4A.


A casual get-together at Stitches West

While my contribution to the current drive lies blocking, I'll seize the moment to announce a casual get-together of a4A knitters at Stitches West next week. Two of us, Candace and I, will grab a table near one of the concession stands inside the market, on Saturday, at noon. There should be a sign on the table and we'll be proudly wearing our a4A InVest for Peace buttons. Nothing formal, just a place to knit or eat and chat. If you can join us, please do so! We all need a break from yarn-market madness.

Post-scriptum for Tory who posted earlier about attending Stitches too: I don't know if you saw my comment to your post, but I'll also be there on Thursday and Friday. We can get in touch through Ravelry (PM me at Scarletknitter) or you can contact me through my blog . I am sorry to respond this publicly but unfortunately Blogspot isn't letting us contact posters privately so...

Three Vests for the Campaign

I've been busy knitting vests for the current campaign this winter. I used Ann Budd's Handy Book of Patterns as a guide for all my vests. I love this book. It gives you basic guidelines for construction with different gauges and its up to you to make decisions on the details - cardigan, v-neck, etc. If you haven't seen it, check it out

Mailed yesterday . . .

Hi all -- thought I'd chime in with my addition to the latest campaign. I only got the parcel into the post office yesterday so, hopefully, it'll make it to San Francisco in time! The socks and mitts were finished a while ago and set aside. The vest was just finished before being mailed. Easy pattern, though my gauge was off: -- Knit Kid's Vest by Coats & Clark. You can find it at
Watching all your projects appear on the blog has been very inspiring -- keep up the good work, everyone!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Laissez les bons temps rouler ...

Marianne of Baton Rouge tucked in Mardi Gras beads with her knits, so we had a sweater parade in the AFSC Basement ... thanks to you ... the Knitting Krewe ...

Pam partying with wool socks ...

Mary has been sending boxes of her spectacular snowflake knits for many years. We have no idea how she manages to be so productive, but Carole and Jo and all of us are happy that her magic fingers are devoted to the kids in Afghanistan ...

We packed today with Pam, Ann, Jo, Deborah, and me (Ann, too). We're packing again on Friday. We've got space for 50 or so cartons on this shipment. Not sure yet if we can make that goal. My guess is we are 1/3 of the way there with about 10 days to go. Glad you're part of our parade.

Video: Pete Fountain

Monday, February 15, 2010

Kid-Tested Sweaters

These 2 adorable photos were sent to me directly, so I asked for permission to post here so more people could enjoy. Photo on top is of Ann Hailey and her friend from the Unitarian Church in Davenport, Iowa. Ann says her friend picked the colors and design, and so the sweater is from both of them. (Pretend those are not camo pants, if you wish.) A couple years ago we met Ann during her vacation to San Francisco when she joined us for packing in the AFSC Basement.

Photo below, Beth Daniels' daughter Taite models for us. Beth mentioned that she is a PA friend of Elizabeth's (our moderator) and that Elizabeth inspired her to knit for a4A. Why am I not shocked at this news? Glad to see that the snow has melted, and the leaves are falling again. (What do I know about seasons ...)

We packed last Friday, and the inflow of packages is starting to pick up after a slow start to the year. We'll be packing again this week. Thank you to all who have contributed and those who are in process for our March 1 due date.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Final Pair

A final pair of socks is ready to send. They look like one is larger than the other; however, the blockers are two different sizes. The socks are an adult medium.

I'll mail three pairs of socks on Tuesday.

Striped Vest

Hello! I sent along some hats for the last Youth campaign but this is my first post. I'm a teacher living in New Hampshire and I've been knitting since my early teens. My grandmother was a 'chronic knitter' and donated dozens of pairs of mittens to her church fair every Christmas.

I just finished the striped vest and made a hat out of the leftover yarn. Now I'm knitting the Child's Bulky Turtleneck using brilliantly colored alpaca and wool yarn from Blue Sky.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Question re Laura's turtleneck pattern

I am working here: " To complete the upper body:
M1 on either side of each seam st (8 increases) every 2 rounds 12 times.
Work even until 56 rounds [8 inches] are completed."

Where do you start counting the 56 rounds or 8 inches -- from the neck? from some other point?


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Third sweater for Youth Campaign

This sweater is heading on its way for the current Youth Campaign - this one is knitted with size 10 instructions - and is my third one this time. It is done in Patons Classic Wool.

My previous 2 were posted earlier in this blog.

Stitches West

Hi all,

Anyone going to Stitches West? I will be there Thursday and Friday and would enjoy meeting some of you!

And hooray--I finished a long sleeved pullover with Elizabeth's gift yarn, and a vest that was a UFO. I will post a photo if possible before Stitches, where I plan to drop them off.

Love seeing all the new pictures of socks and sweaters!

Elizabeth -
Thanks for the great sock tutorial, I enjoyed knitting them!  Mine came out sized for a small adult but I think they will keep some teenage boy very warm.  I did not block them, they will be worn hard and didn't really need a bath...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Youth Socks

First pair of socks for the youth campaign

This mishmash will result in a second pair. 

Fans of Afghans for Afghans on Ravelry

Renee introduced herself earlier, and referred to the A4A group on Ravelry. A bunch of you probably aren't familiar with Ravelry, so I thought I'd tell you a few things. It is HUGE -- literally hundreds of thousands of members. When I joined, the waiting list was months long; now you apply and become a member the same day. You can, for instance, look to see what others have done with their skein of Famous Designer Limited Edition sock yarn (don't search that -- I made it up :) ) or what yarns people have used for a pattern you have in mind. Or you can join any of hundreds of groups for techniques, causes, or areas you're interested in. The A4A group is called Fans of Afghans for Afghans. Compared to this blog, it's kind of the same but different (my sister's favorite phrase when we were kids) -- in other words, it's complementary. You can belong to both and not feel like you're reading the same stuff twice. Of course, you don't have to go to Ravelry at all! I just thought I'd let you know what it's about, in case it's new to you and might be of interest.

Need some yarn to finish this afA sweater

I'm working on a sweater for a4A. I thought I had 6 skeins of red (scarlet) yarn Lion Brand 100% wool to make this sweater. (I bought it when Hobby Lobby cleared out all their Lion's Brand wool.)

But two skeins I though were red were really dark pink.
Does anyone out there have any Lion Brand scarlet?
I will trade 2 skeins of any other 100% wool I have in my stash either Lion Brand or Pattons (you pick color) for 1 skein of the scarlet red I need.


sock class, part 4: one done, one almost there

I'll finish sock #2 tonight. Anybody else? I'm loving seeing sock pictures. . .

Here's what it looked like on Saturday on my front porch -- that picnic table is where I usually take my pictures:

The table is clear now, but the white glare from all that snow kind of interfered with my photos -- don't know why the tops of the socks are so dark in this one, but the stripes on the foot show the colors exactly right if you click on the photo to make it bigger:

I add the stripes just to make them a little more interesting; they serve no functional purpose. Then, when I turn the sock inside out to weave out the edges -- the horror! Looks like I've been knitting a Portuguese man-of-war:

Note that I've left a fairly long end each time I switch colors, to make it easy to weave them in. You need enough to weave in so that it's never, ever going to work its way out. With this nice sticky yarn, that's not a problem. But whatever wool you're using, at the very minimum, leave yourself 4 inches to work with.

Don't worry if your ribbed section looks really skinny next to your foot -- you want the rib to hug the kid's leg, for better fit and a more comfortable sock. When the ribbing is stretched out, it looks more like a "normal" sock.

I will finish sock #2 tonight. Then I'll wash them -- I always wash them before I give them away, for a number of reasons. (1) This yarn has been around for a while, and who knows what dust it may have picked up? (2) My sock knitting tends to travel with me -- in the summer to folk festivals and other dusty, muddy locations; in the winter to piano lessons and falling out of the car in parking lots. . . it's just best if I wash things! and (3) to make sure all ends stay woven in and nothing falls apart. In other words -- to make sure it's something I'm happy to give as a gift. Washing them also tends to smooth out any inconsistencies in your stitches and make them look more polished.

My washing machine has a cycle labeled "handwash" -- it's just an ordinary top-loader. Wash on that cycle, or on gentle, cold wash, cold rinse. Of course, you can wash by hand, too, if you're more comfortable doing it that way. (Roll them up in a towel and blot them dry if you wash by hand -- never, ever wring the water out.) Many people like shampoo, or dish detergent (Dawn is recommended more often than anything else); I prefer Dr. Bronner's lavender soap. Do NOT put them in the dryer! Just pat them flat and let them dry, either on top of a towel or hung over a rack.

Next time: pretty clean socks, all ready to go. On the other side of yet another massive (for here -- nobody even buys snow tires around here, because we just don't get this kind of weather) snowstorm.

socks done!

Hi all,
My name is Renee, and I'm the co-moderator of the Fans for Afghans for Afghans group on Ravelry. You can find me there as revknits.

I was between projects (waiting for the Olympics to start for my Ravelympics projects for a4a), so I jumped in and knit these socks with Elizabeth's pattern - so nice to include in my first package out to the basement this week!


My second sweater!

It’s a ‘wiggle’ sweater from Coats and Clark. I added ribbing to the sleeves and extra ribbing around the neck to better keep out the cold. The yarn is Emu Superwash.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

2 Sweaters

Worsted weight yarn with the pullover pattern from Knitting Pure & Simple.