Tuesday, April 27, 2010

a red guernsey

Red Guernsey2

Here is my last contribution to the current drive: a child's guernsey pullover, my first effort at a guernsey but probably not my last. Knitting those textured stitches was a lot of fun. I used an old pattern that I found in Debbie Bliss's "How To Knit" book, but I made some changes because -- well, just because. Knitter's choice, as Meg Swansen and Elizabeth Zimmermann like to say in those knitting videotapes I love.

Friday, April 23, 2010

One vest ready and another almost done. The picture does not quite portray the colors, which are brighter than they look here. I added a zipper to this vest, which is hard to see in the photo. Its bulky weight and should keep a child warm!

I have ends to weave in and a few more rows on one sleeve, but this will make it in the box (with a pair of socks and a pair of mittens) for this campaign.

This was a real stash buster  - largely Patons Classic Merino and Cascade 220 but other things from my wool odds and ends container made it in as well.

I am off on a short trip but will be home in time to get it in the mail -- may even have time to add another pair of socks or mittens, but not sure about that.


Monday, April 19, 2010

all new, all the time

Hey, everybody -- Isn't MargoLynn's sweater gorgeous? I love every Noro yarn I've ever seen. . .

On another note, though, I have to stick my big official foot in here and address the issue of "lightly used" or "gently worn." There's been no change in A4A policy -- unless your garment looks absolutely, positively, 100% brand new, it's not acceptable. I know you want to send those things in a spirit of the purest generosity, but they're not appropriate. When you send them, you're paying postage for things that won't be sent to Afghanistan and giving the Basement crew headaches as they try to find another home for that stuff on top of trying to keep up with the deluge of new handknits and crocheted beauties.

So -- rules to live by. New only. If it looks new, it is new. If it's "only a teeny bit worn" it's not new.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

A very spring-y green vest

Here's my third vest for this Youth campaign, made with Elizabeth's spring-y green yarn. I used the Steppe pattern and adapted the armhole cuffs with a row of garter stitch rather than picking up stitches for a ribbed cuff. I think it came out very nicely!

Friday, April 16, 2010

a4A at the University of Alabama at Huntsville

afghans for Afghans has always been very grassroots, and plenty of energetic initiatives by volunteers have contributed to our momentum all these years. Recently, Amanda Banks -- student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville -- put together a booth to promote a4A at her school's community fair on social issues. I thought you would enjoy seeing a photo of Amanda's booth with her helpers.

I love how this came about ... after Nelda Rose bumps into a friend from 20 years ago at an airport -- where Nelda is knitting, naturally -- their mutual friend Professor Rose Norman contacts Nelda in DC to ask whether someone from a4A could be at her school's community fair. Nelda emails me, and, although we don't maintain a database, I searched for "Alabama" in my email files. Voila, up pops Amanda's name, and she happily agrees! We don't get a lot of packages from Alabama, but, but since the beginning, we have had a handful of very dedicated volunteers from Alabama (Birmingham and Fairhope, primarily, both fairly far from Huntsville, as I learned.) So, I was excited to think we would have a presence at this school event in Alabama.

Also interesting, Nelda traveled to Kabul last year as part of her work for the US Dept of Transportation. Nelda tells me that she saw firsthand that life is hard for the Afghans. Rose is chair of the English Department and events coordinator for the Women's Studies program.

Amanda says: "... was a wonderful experience. We had a ton of people stop by the booth, and they left with lots of information, and a few were inspired to take up hook or needles themselves. Everyone that walked by just loved the name as well. It will definitely be on the minds of the community for a while. A few news organizations were present, and one managed to film me explaining the organization to a group of girls."

In the photo, Amanda's friend Denise Cook is on left, and Amanda's mom, Lorri Riley, is on the right. Amanda says she wasn't able to get a photo of herself (I can relate to that).

Thanks, Amanda, for taking the time from your studies and representing a4A so well in your community! Good luck with your studies. Thanks to Nelda and Rose for being super-connectors.

(Photo credit: Rose)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hi all, I posted this question on Ravelry, but thought that someone here probably knows the answer to my question, so am posting it here, too.

I'm having a lot of trouble with the neckband for a raglan pullover. The pattern is from Ann Budd's "The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns." The sweater fit over my head after the bind-off, but before picking up the neckband stitches.

I followed the directions for picking up ("With smaller dpn, RS facing, and beg at center front, pick up and knit 1 st for every BO st and about 3 sts for every 4 rows along sloped edges around neck opening for a crewneck.") I worked k2, p2 ribbing for an inch, then bound off loosely. Way too small to go over my head.

Then I picked up a tip that said the number of neckband stitches should be approximately equal to the number of stitches that were cast on for the back of the sweater. I had cast on 180 stitches for the sweater (in the round), so theoretically, I should need 90 stitches for the neckband. I picked up 112. Still too small. The problem seems to be at the point where the neckband stitches were picked up.

Should I be picking up even more (!) stitches? Or should I be using the same size (or larger) needle to pick up the stitches that I used for the body of the sweater, and then switching to the smaller size to work the ribbing? Does anyone have (hopefully foolproof ;-) ) suggestions? I would like the third time to work!

Thanks for all opinions and suggestions.

WIP for Afghanistan

This is a photo of a vest-or-sweater-to-be. Some well-aged Noro Tubu from the stash that I remember getting because of the bright colours, but which never grew up into anything. Some people have asked why I use Noro for items for charity, and the answer is that if I am not going to make anything else from it, why shouldn't someone enjoy it? I get the pleasure of knitting or crocheting with it, and someone gets use out of the final item. I never trust that I'd get a good price on eBay from some of the yarns so why not use them for charity?

This does look a bit unusual because there's a story. It was yesterday's boring-concall knitting project. I thought I'd use US#13 and US#15 needles, but forgot to take the latter with me. So after I did the ribbing I continued just to have something to do - and found I liked the fabric with the US#13 much better. However, the ribbing was much too big and I didn't like it. Since I was nearly at the end of the ball, I just started from the other end, so I am un-knitting yesterday's work (yes, LOTS of concall time!) with a US#11 for the ribbing, and then I'll switch back to the US#13 for the body. I thought it looked fun enough to share the photo.

This is the Steppe Sweater pattern, using the smaller numbers because of the bigger gauge, except that for length I'll probably use the larger number of rows on the body. I am almost done with the three pairs of mittens in Tahki Bunny but I'd left those in the car in my knitting bag or I would have switched to a mitten after the ribbing. I'm glad serendipity worked here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I think i remember a discussion about the weight of socks but i need a reminder. I have some donated lopi in my stash and I have time to knit a pair to stick in my package. They would be pretty thick of course but extra dense and sturdy. Is there such a thing as socks that are too heavy?


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Three vests

My name is Debb, I'm from Western Pennsylvania, and I've been knitting for afghans-for-Afghans for several years, but this is my first time to share a photo. These three vests will be going into the mail later this week. They are all 100% wool from my stash. The center vest pattern is from Knit One Below by Elise Duvekot with the vee-neck raised and some extra length added. The fair-isle vest was knit in the round with steeks for the armholes and neckline, using a chart from Fair Isle Simplified for the colorwork. The gray vest has a border pattern worked in purl stitches on stockinet.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Crocheted Vests

Here are 2 crocheted vests I made using vertically-worked dc (double-crochet) stitches to achieve a flexible, soft yet warm garment. The boxy, wide armholes allow for good underarm room - important especially since crochet can be a mite 'tough'. I particularly love the double-breasted front for its warmth, and since the buttonholes are really just the spaces in-between the vertical dc's, the vest can be adjusted upon wearing to custom-fit one's particular girth. The solid wood toggle buttons were a real triumph - shocked by retail prices (approx. $1 each where I live), I managed to find a small wholesale manufacturer right here in Brooklyn that sells all kinds of decorative solid-wood buttons for about one-fifth of retail. Given that each vest needs (at least) 5 buttons, buying wholesale was a no-brainer.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Afghanistan exhibit @ LOC

This past Saturday I went to the Library of Congress and saw that they have an exhibit called "Voices from Afghanistan." I was with a friend who had pooped out by that time, but convinced him to find a bench and read for a few minutes while I made a quick tour through. If you are in the area, I recommend it (as well as several other exhibits at the LOC) and you can get some information about it here: www.loc.gov/today/pr/2010/10-018.html

I am going to DFW Fiber Fest this coming weekend and will probably take mittens with me to knit, the rest of the Tahki Bunny trio, as they are small and portable. I've been focusing for the last month on items for the charity collection there, which is for a local children's shelter. Luckily they want different items (hats and scarves) than A4A collects so I don't have to worry about mixing up the donations. I might take an odd skein of yarn to make socks if I finish the mittens before I get home, and I found a bag of yarn that decided it wants to be a top-down crocheted sweater in the style one of the teachers is teaching this year. What a coincidence! I'd bought the yarn to make something for me and it never came together, now it can keep a child warm.

So no FO photos now, possibly some next week.