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??