Monday, May 31, 2010

Church World Services

Here's a very calm article from The New York Times. Sounds like Church World Services is a pawn in someone's game. Please keep all of their workers in your thoughts -- all of those who are over there just to help. And they have Afghans working for them too; concern for their safety must be very high at this time. This type of thing just illustrates why it's so hard to plan, and plan ahead, in a war zone. . .

Church World Service

Saturday, May 29, 2010

probably socks

For those who do not receive Yahoo updates about A4A activities (if not, why not? You'll always have the earliest info -- go to the A4A web site and sign up, right there at the top of the middle column), the next campaign probably -- not definitely, but probably -- will be asking for socks to fit sizes from children's age 7 years through adult women. Fine use of hot weather knitting time!! Worsted weight is fine -- (1) it's faster to knit and (2) the socks are warmer. Fiber requirements are minimum of 75% wool (or alpaca, or camel, or other animal fiber). I'm making a pair right now holding two strands of sock yarn together. It makes a nice bouncy fabric, and the colors are doing very cool things.

More later --


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More going-ons in the AFSC basement

The end of a drive is always a bit intense in the basement, which makes it all the more necessary to take breaks for photos, chocolate and, most important, oohing and aahing over your wonderful knitwear. Here is the last bunch of photos, all but the last one taken by Ann Rubin. Just to confuse you a bit more, you'll notice a few more Ann's involved in the action.

Here is Candace, who found the best method for successfully packing a record number of blankets into one box.

Judith is making sure that pairs of socks are attached, while Ann does a quick size check for hats (not really). Check out the other side of Judith's passion for knitting here .

More sock-sorting and sock-admiring by Judith and myself.

Carol is enjoying the brief satisfaction of a box all packed up and sealed for its long journey,

while Pam demonstrates her own taping method above. Basement packing is a workout.

Ann Rubin organized an impromptu raffle among fiber-obsessed volunteers, and Ann #2 was the winner of this gorgeous book by our collective idol Kaffe Fassett.

And suddenly, or so it seems, chaos gives way to order, every single item has been sorted and packed and taped shut and the boxes come out of the basement and into the light, escorted by Ann Rubin, Norma 0f AFSC, and Ann #3. I don't know why, but it is always a surprise to see the tangible evidence of so much work, accomplished first in so many individual homes, and then down in the basement. Remember, each of these many boxes is filled to the brim with warm wool items that are going to make a child a bit more comfortable this coming winter. Well done, everyone.
(edited to fix the link)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An introduction.....

Hi all--

My name is Nancy Markus and I live in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. I have been lurking on this blog for quite a while and decided to take the plunge and share some of my sweaters with you all. I had a wonderful time knitting these sweaters for this last campaign---18 sweaters in all since March 10th when I started. I teach middle school math part time and my students are used to seeing me carry needles and yarn---they get me through boring teacher meetings and plane trips. I have sent other sweaters this year and I just learned something that I want to share. DON'T PUT NAME TAGS IN THE SWEATERS. LOL The volunteers not only had to pack but they had to take out my name tags---ooops.

I really love to make sweaters with pictures and names, but I know that isn't allowed, so I am into stripes and yokes. My goal is to use up as much of each skein as possible. I'm wondering about sizes. How big is too big? How small is too small? Seven to fourteen year-olds are really quite different in size. Just wondering what others have done.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An update from the AFSC basement

I am happy to report that packages big and small have kept Ann and basement volunteers very busy these past weeks. Ann asked me to post those photos, which she took during rare breaks in the action, to give you a glimpse of what we have been up to.

Above is Susan showing up a gorgeous, cheerful vest.

Susan and crochet-master Annette checking out some of the many pullovers that have arrived.

Carol had delivered boxes of woolen goods from her knitting group in the vicinity of the wine country -- check-out the note!

Ann calls this one an action shot; taking a very short break from counting and packing sweaters, from left to right, myself, Emily, Elizabeth and Candace.

There is no shortage of great knitwear to show off before it is all folded and packed away.

Terrie stands at the table where we open envelopes and packages -- quite possibly everyone's favorite task of all.

And that wraps up our progress report for today. Thank you all for providing the knitwear that we get to fondle, admire and lovingly pack away!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fun Service Project


My name is Mary and I discovered A4A a while back and I think it's a great organization! I've been knitting off and on since high school, but the last couple of years I have really come back to it. My daughter who is 10 also enjoys knitting, so this winter an idea came to me for a fun service project. I taught my daughter's Girl Scout Troop how to knit and we started making squares for an afghan to send to A4A. My daughter and I were also able to learn about life in Afghanistan and share it with the Girl Scouts. With the help of the girls and several friends, we were able to knit 49 squares which we made into a beautiful afghan. It was so fun when the girls would show me their finished squares! They are so proud of their work : )

I'm so glad to have found this blog and I am amazed at the beautiful things being made for people across the globe : )

Have a great evening,


I'm New Here!

Hi, everyone. I'm Carol from MN. I have followed A4A for a long time, but haven't contributed other than sending wool yarn to a couple of knitters. I learned to knit about 40 years ago and never really went anywhere with it (scarves, a baby blanket). Now I've taken it up again and am hoping to build up my skill and confidence so I can some day make something cool like mittens or a sweater.

I am working on a baby blanket that will be for A4A. Don't know when, because I'm a slow knitter, plus I'll have to watch the drives and see when it will fit in. I am in awe of some of the gorgeous sweaters you all have made lately. Just beautiful!!

I've been quilting voraciously, so that's mostly what I write about at my blog. You can visit there if you want. Otherwise, I hope to become a better knitter with practice so I can share some stuff with Afghanistan!
Carol E.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

dear basement

please do send this to Afghanistan.This is an updated version of the sweater i made in 2006 and posted on my blog in 2007. The yoke is made from Noro Silk Garden Bulky, which is 45% silk, 45% mohair, 10% wool. Clara Parkes in her book The Knitter's Book of Yarn writes this about silk, "A warm fiber, silk has similar hygroscopic properties to wool. it can absorb and release moisture and feel warm against the skin, even when wet."

I have included a few patterning rows in the yoke with the main colour: Knit Picks Wool o/t Andes Bulky to increase warmth in that area. I could not, however, come up with a pattern that neatly fit in 135 stitches; which is divisible by 3 and 5, but an uneven number of times.

Suggestions for the future welcome!

This one's for Ann

Ann keeps asking for people in the pictures. I know she means holding up the items, but at my knitting group tonight they insisted I try on the pullover I was showing them. The colours are not correct (see previous post where they are more accurate) as it was taken with a phone camera. Yes, I am petite enough to model a child's sweater! The others in my group thought I should keep it, but I'll get too warm in this much wool.

Two sweaters

Here are the last two sweaters I have finished - this box will be FULL. The one at the top, underneath, is in Brushstrokes Megawool which required US#19 needles. I did a modification of the Chunky Yarn Sweater that has been posted to this blog. The other is the sweater I made of Noro Tubu, an in-progress photo was posted weeks ago and I've been forgetting to show the final item. I have exactly as much yarn remaining as I used for this, and had thought of sending two matched sweaters for this campaign, but was sidetracked by the other yarn and so will send the match to a future campaign.

The socks will probably not make this campaign - I'm just at the gusset of the second. If I could stay home today and just knit they would be done, with luck, but of course I have to go to work! They will be the start of a box for the next youth campaign. I'll mail everything after my knitting group tonight as someone wants to see my mittens.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Here's the shipment I put in the mail on Saturday. Most of these have already appeared here on the blog -- what's new in this photo are the little brown socks, knitted by Diana, and the purple pair by me!

Sweater Sent!

I finished a sweater and shipped it out this afternoon.  I followed the neck down raglan sweater pattern posted here.  It worked great and I really like this sweater!  Thank you, whoever posted the pattern.  I enclosed two hats with it, wish I had finished more as I needed the medium size shipping box and could have put so much more in that darn box!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

More mittens

I'm also on the road, currently at my sister's house. Taxes and travel have cut into my crocheting time this round, but I did get three pairs of mittens done: same style as I made for the last round. They went into the mail on Saturday. I even remembered a yarn label: 100% wool.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Things Finished at my Grandmother's

I've been meaning to post these since getting back earlier this week. Sorry the photo is a bit blurry. The socks are wool, the basic toe-up pattern from using heavy worsted and US#5 needles. They went very quickly; one was done mostly on the trip down.

The mittens are from an oddball of sock yarn using a free pattern from Patons for their Kroy sock yarn. If I do it again I would make the wrists longer. I like long wrists on mittens, and I had yarn left over from the ball, so it could happen. I followed the pattern closely since the next size up requires two balls and I had just the one.
At the top is my current item: socks from a ball of Patons Classic Wool, again the toe-up pattern. I think I need to throw these into a dyepot when they are done, since they are pale blue and pastels are verboten, but at 49 cents for the ball, it was worth trying. I may not get them into this campaign as I haven't had as much knitting time as I would like this week, we shall see what I can accomplish this weekend. I do still have some sweaters (one may end up a vest) OTN for finishing work, since they are too big to carry around, and I want to focus on getting those done today if possible.

Friday, May 7, 2010

one week left

Hi, everybody -- next Friday, May 14, is the day by which everything must have arrived in The Basement. I'm guessing there's going to be a whole lot of mailing going on on Monday. I can't wait to see pictures -- everything looks so great!!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Contribution is in the Mail!

Thought I'd share a picture of what I sent to a4A today. I love seeing what everyone has made.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Child's Vest for Latest Campaign

Just finished this wool vest for the campaign ending May 14. Sorry for the off-center picture; my camera stinks.

I'm happy with how it turned out. I'll get it in the mail tomorrow.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Many Mittens

Mittens are to me what socks are to some other people: Small and easy to carry around and do anywhere. So I have four pairs finished. The photo below shows three made of Tahki Bunny which is a wool-angora mixture and very soft. I did the one on the right first, weighed the yarn, and had exactly as much left as the mittens weighed. Then I found the brown, and decided to play mix-and-match. All of the mittens are fraternal twins, with striping patterns reversed, and the pair in the middle has thumbs of different colours. I probably should have unpinned them for the photo so you could see this more clearly.

The fourth pair of mittens (oddball wool) is identical twins. I thought I might overdye them but striping the solid and the multi made the yellow a very minor element and I don't think I shall. The vest may look familiar as it's the same yarn I used for a crocheted vest the last round. I thought I had enough for sleeves - but no. So it's a Steepes Vest. Since the yarn was thinnish I added a strand of blue in the ribbing and warm brown in the body. The other is a pullover of Lopi Lite and Kureyon; I wanted to try the entrelac yoke. The colours are great but not something I'll wear.