Monday, January 31, 2011

tick tick tick

That's the sound of a deadline getting closer and closer. . . I have just one fourth of the last quadrant of my blanket to finish. Then weave in ends (millions!), wash, sew up, and maybe wash again. And a new camera will make pictures happen, fianlly. Soon, very soon -- this week, I hope. And once I've done that, I have two pairs of mittens to finish. Quick -- I need a long ride in the car (with somebody else driving).

How about all of you? Are we going to amaze and astonish Ann and The Basement?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mittens on their way

I just packed up 5 pairs of mittens, all 100% wool. I enjoyed working with the varigated yarn - no extra ends to work in! I've started another pair - pretty sure I can get those done by the deadline.


soccer ball buttons?

Hi--Does anyone know whether or not soccer balls on sweater buttons would be offensive to the Afghans? Thanks.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Oddball Blankets from Wool-Aid

Here's a couple of blankets knit for this campaign by the Ravelry group, Wool-Aid. We have been really enjoying working together on these and several other group projects:


Packing This Week for "Help the Afghan Children" Schools at AFSC Basement

Volunteer packers Amy, Daisy, and Karen are holding their own creations in this photo --

We had 2 packing sessions this week for the youth campaign. Thanks to all who have sent in packages and those working on completing their gifts by February 14. Based on the experience of past campaigns, we're counting on the inflow increasing as we head to the due date. We may still be a little low on sweaters considering the stage of the campaign -- we have about 200 sweaters packed up right now.

Works of modern art! That's Teresa and Ann (not Afghan Ann) doing the honors.

Here are some of the gorgeous sweaters in the hands of Teresa, Ann (me with exquisite cables), Jill, and Jo. The lavender sweater looks a little short in the torso, but hard to be sure in the photo. I'll make a point of re-measuring on our next packing day. Can you imagine the kids wearing these first-class sweaters?

If you're new to this blog or haven't posted lately, please jump in with your introduction or 2011 greetings. Tell us where you're from, or something about your interests and what's new with you, or why you are knitting and crocheting for the people of Afghanistan, or as you wish -- something to humanize this computer screen in front of our faces. We love to see faces, too! From time to time I send the blog link to our relief agency partners in Afghanistan to get them excited about the winter wear that will be heading their way and so they can see the people behind the cartons of wool -- to bring us a little closer to those on the other side of the world.

On Its Merry Way

I'll be mailing this one early in the week.

Its pedigree: Patons Classic Wool, Lily Sugar 'n Cream 100% Wool, Panda Woolbale. Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, raglan pullover, size 30" chest (though I made the body about 2" longer than the pattern suggests). Size 7 needles throughout.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

a vest pattern

If you are already working on a sweater, just ignore this post. . . the most needed item right now is sweaters, so keep going!!

If, though, you're looking for one more thing to make in time for the February 14 due date, and know there's no chance of finishing a whole sweater, here's a vest pattern. It is long enough (Afghan kids tend to be tall and slim), and the neckline is completely in line with the requirements for modesty for girls and boys. Gauge is 4 stitches per inch (16 sts/10 cm), so it will be fast to knit. This gauge is perfect for the heftier worsteds I love, such as Peace Fleece, Maine wool, Beaverslide, Cascade's Ecological Wool, or various yarns categorized as heavy worsted or chunky. (If in doubt, knit a swatch. Really. It will save you time in the long run.) I don't have any variegated or patterned yarn in that gauge, so I plan to insert several wide stripes at the bottom, just to keep it a little more interesting. And I'm giving some thought to working neck and armhole bands in a contrasting color.

The smallest size in this pattern comes to 39 inches around. I recommend sticking with that size rather than one of the bigger sizes -- in fact, I'm thinking of taking out 4 stitches from the front and 4 stitches from the back to get a 37-inch chest measurement. I will keep the neck shaping exactly as written, though -- it's important to make sure the kid can get it on!

I wish I had a long car trip -- with somebody else driving -- coming up. . .

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Free Yarn!

12 - 50g skeins of white worsted wool. Anyone interested in dyeing and making a sweater for the current campaign contact me at

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Quick Check In

Just a short post to show the beginnings of an odd ball sweater I am rushing to finish for the current campaign.

I used Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns as a guide and the Patons Classic Wool and other wool odd balls I have in my odd ball bin. I'm almost to the point of stopping to make the sleeves, so I should finish with time to spare for the February 14 deadline.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wool blanket

Here is a basket weave wool blanket in a light beige. The color in the picture is much lighter than it really is. It will ship with the sweater.

Stripes for a boy.

Here is the stripey sweater - about a child's size 12. It will go out tomorrow.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Apologies, But it's Hats

I know you don't want lots of hats, but as a beginning knitter, it's the best I can produce for now. I am in the process of making a vest. I hope I get it done in time for the Feb 14 deadline, but I can't promise. So for now I'm sending in these two hats, my first official donation to A4A!
Carol E.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

red wool, warm hands

On January 1st, I cast on for a pair of mittens with the red wool left over from the yoke sweater I had knitted for the ongoing youth drive. Since the yarn was only dk weight, I coupled it with some ancient mohair from my stash in a very close shade of red.

Elizabeth D, your pattern could just as well be tattooed on my brain by now! I enjoyed my experiment in stranding two different yarns so much that I immediately cast on for more mittens in that same red wool, this time stranded with an orange fingering-weight wool for a tweedy effect.


In both cases the addition of the new yarn made the wool feel softer as well as warmer. I have to keep this stranding trick in mind as it is perfect for those orphan skeins of lightweight yarn. One skein of fingering weight wool (this was Brown Sheep Naturespun) was more than enough for two pairs.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Campaign end date is February 14

Ann just posted that the current campaign will be ending on February 14. That means there's still time to make something, or finish something -- or both!! To inspire you, I am offering 7 skeins of Lamb's Pride Worsted in the color Red Baron, a beautiful, vivid scarlet red. I wanted to use it myself, but it's been sitting here staring at me reproachfully for several years now, and it is time to give it a chance to reach its full sweatery potential. Seven skeins comes to 1330 yards (1216 meters), enough for a pullover to fit a 34- to 38-inch chest (86 to 96 cm), which falls at the larger end of this campaign's size range.

If you would like to have this yarn, and are pretty sure you can finish the sweater and mail it in time to arrive at The Basement by February 14, please send me a note -- including your mailing address -- at I will review replies Wednesday morning, pick a winner, and mail yarn out on Thursday. U.S. and Canada only, this time, because time is short.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Here is the vest I recently finished out of the Blue Sky Bulky Alpaca/Wool that had been donated to A for A. It was a challenge to work with. I knit it on a 17 needle and used the vest guidelines from Ann Budd's "The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns". For those of you unfamiliar with this book, it is great to use for A for A patterns. She has information for designing your own garments with multiple gauges and sizes. Her heaviest yarn was 3 stitches to the inch though, and this yarn was 2 stitches to the inch, so I had to make a few adjustments!

Monday, January 3, 2011

On their way tomorrow

These things go in the mail tomorrow:

Mittens, from left to right: Peace Fleece, made by my sister; Lamb's Pride, by me (they are gray, not white -- late afternoon sun); Lamb's Pride, by Pat, Knitpicks Shamrock, by me. And blue socks from Pat.

Three of the four panels of my blanket are knitted; can I do 576 more square inches of garter stitch this week?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Let me introduce myself . . .

I'm Holly, I live in Palo Alto CA, and I've been knitting for a4A for several years - even packed boxes in the basement once. I started out as a novice knitter but have "perfected" the basic top down sock by sending off at least a dozen pairs to warm Afghani feet. I've been lurking on this blog for a long time, but joined so I could post this sweater I dropped off last week (yep, that's me) which is from a super easy pattern I highly recommend. (It's the Torino Bulky Circular Pullover - free at It's bulky yarn on #10s, too warm for California! Now, what to start on next . . .

Happy New Year

Almost finished in 2010

I finished the socks except for running in the ends. They are a basic toe-up (from, my favourite) pattern in Red Heart's Heart and Sole, worked double. They work out to about a child's size 3-4 to adult 6, and have long legs because I just kept working until the yarn ran out. The leg is ribbed the whole way to help it stay up and fit all different widths of legs.
The vest is a UFO I found while unpacking some old boxes. It's an alpaca blend, very soft and warm. I love the colours but I remember the yarn was remaindered and so I wasn't sure there is enough to make me a vest that won't be skintight. So I'll finish and send it off for a child.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Socks with Mosaic border

Didn't the slip-stitch pattern brighten up this pair of simple navy socks? It was a pattern of necessity as I knew I was running low on the blue, and wanted to knit something a bit more interesting that basic stripes. These are about 9 inches.

Here's a blanket in process. This is my knit-while-watching-a-movie project, and it looks like it'll be big enough for the Afghans for Afghans winter youth campaign:


The yarn is a single-ply fair trade from Nepal bought on sale through the group SERRV. It's a bit rough but the swatch softened and fluffed up nicely.