Monday, May 28, 2012

Hi, I'd like to introduce myself. I am a Labor and Delivery nurse in Manhattan and I live in New Jersey.  I've  spent most of my career working with women and children.  I have been following this blog for some time but I have never posted before.   In my spare time I love to spin, and I work mostly with wool and alpaca.  In 2008,  my son was deployed to Afghanistan and he talked about the bitter cold and the need for warm clothing for the children, so aforA seemed like a perfect match for me.  I have been happily knitting for the cause ever since.  I've been blown away by the beauty and the creativity of some of the items created by the contributors to this blog.  You inspire me!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Charming mittens or no?

The charm of Noro Kureyon is the unpredictable color changes but do you think these mittens will find a home if I send them in? The blue tips are actually from a different skein. I have knitting fans at home who would take these if you think the green/grey and green/gold combos kind of break the unity that one might expect with mittens.
Mitten pattern from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns using a size 4.25 for a tighter gauge.

I've also got a hat to send

(Cairn, Whimsical Little Knits 1)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I posted these pictures on the A4A group on ravelry already, but thought I'd add them here.  I've completed 5 hats, most of which fit my rather large adult sized head, so it should fit most people.  :)  I was able to use up some old skeins, which was great.  I like this new campaign because of the smaller items (though I do have a sweater completed and am waiting for the next campaign that requires sweaters).  Not the greatest pictures, but they do look better in person than on pictures.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

crocheted mittens, again

We got several notes yesterday that people could not access the mitten pattern I'd linked previously. Apparently that was just a glitch; although I could not get through yesterday, it comes up this morning with no trouble. Find it here.

That is the only pattern that I know for sure produces wonderful results, because I have not tested (or asked a friend to test) any of the others. However, when I thought that pattern was gone, I did a Ravelry search and picked a few other patterns that looked good. In case you want to test them (and, if they're wonderful, please report back), here they are:

These are from Drops/Garnstudio; every one of their knitting patterns that I've used has been well written, so I think this should be a good one. They are made in a heavier yarn (Aran weight); you could work a regular closed cuff rather than using buttons.

This pattern calls for chunky worsted. I have no idea whether or not it will work, but I like the way they look and hope she has remembered correctly! I plan to try these, despite my rudimentary crochet skills. (Only one review on Ravelry, but the crocheter finished them in one day and had no complaints.)

This pattern is from Coats & Clark. And they know crochet! I know I don't have to remind you not to use the acrylic yarn called for, but I'm doing it anyway. Wool, please!! Or other animal fiber.

Another one from Drops/Garnstudio, in a different weight yarn (sport weight).

Finally, this one, in worsted weight. No reviews on Ravelry, but they look nice, so let's try.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mittens ready

I finished a pair of mittens but will wait to send them until the socks that are on the needles are ready as well.  I used the vintage classic mitten pattern from a leaflet that belonged to my mother but made the cuffs longer.  I used double strands of some Imagination sock yarn ( alpaca/wool mix) and stash sage wool for the cuffs and found some new sage heather wool for the main part of the mittens.  They are for 8-10 year old kids.  I love this pattern - they can be worn on either hand and I know  really do work for kids as my own kids and grandkids have worn mittens made from this pattern for years.

Friday, May 11, 2012

finish the heel

You have finished with the little cup that cradles the back of the heel. Now it is time to pick up stitches along the edges of the heel flap and rejoin to start, once again, knitting in the round.

Finish the heel flap having just worked a knit row. Now you are going to make a 90-degree turn and pick up stitches along the edge of the heel flap, working from the heel stitches toward the instep stitches, currently being held on that strand of yarn. Pick up a new stitch for every V along the edge; you should have 9 or 10. For an illustration, go here and scroll down to the heading "Pick up stitches for gusset." Follow that post for the rest of the heel turn, referring to the first number in each set for stitch counts. When you are back to 36 stitches on your needles, knit round and round until you can count 36 rows from the yarn you inserted to hold the instep stitches.

And then -- the toe!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

turn the heel

Oh, no -- I've left you hanging far too long. Now that you've knit 36 rounds on the leg of your sock, it's time to work the heel. Place the next 18 stitches on a single needle; these will be your heel stitches. Place the other 18 stitches on a piece of yarn (use a crochet hook or a sewing-up needle to pull the yarn through the stitches and then remove the needle) so they can stay out of the way while you work the heel flap:

You will now work back and forth on 18 stitches, as follows:

Row 1: slip first stich as if to purl, bring yarn to back [this is the only time you need to move the yarn; for the rest of the slipped stitches it stays behind your work], k1, *slip 1 as if to purl, k1,* all the way across. You will end with a knit stitch; if you find your last stitch should be slipped, you have goofed. Go back and try again.

Row 2: slip first stitch as if to purl; purl across until there is 1 stitch left. Bring yarn to back and knit that stitch.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have worked a total of 18 rows on the heel flap. Work row 1 one more time. You are now ready to begin a purl row on the heel flap.

Turn heel:

Row 1: slip first stitch as if to purl; p 10, p2 tog, p1.
Turn your work (that's right, in the middle of the row)
Row 2: slip first stitch as if to knit, k 5, k2 tog, k1. Turn work.
Row 3: slip first stitch as if to purl, purl over until you have 1 stitch before the gap formed by the previous p2 tog. Purl the stitch before the gap together with the stitch after the gap, purl 1. Turn work.
Row 4: slip first stitch as if to knit, knit over  until you have 1 stitch before the gap formed by the previous k2 tog. Knit the stitch before the gap together with the stitch after the gap k 1. Turn work.

Continue in this way this way until all stitches have been worked, all the way across. You should end having just worked a knit row, ending on the last stitch on the needle.

Next installment (and I won't make you wait so long): pick up stitches and knit the gusset.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

knitting socks for kids

Usually I knit adult sizes, because I know the bigger kids get fewer things. But this time I thought, just for fun, I'd make a smaller sock. Then someone asked me for a pattern for kids' socks, so I figured I'd just post here as I go. (If you need help with the basics, just click the link over there on the right for Elizabeth's Sock Class.)

Choose worsted weight yarn. Use needles a size or two smaller than you would use to make a sweater or hat; socks take a beating, and if they're more tightly knit, they last longer - and they're more comfortable to walk on.

Cast on 36 stitches and join into a circle. I use the twisted German cast-on because it is tough and stretchy; there are many YouTube videos to show you, if you want to try it. Whichever cast-on method you choose, make sure it will stretch easily over the ankle and heel when the kid is putting the socks on, and that it does not cut into the calf once it's on.

You have several options for the leg -- k2p2 rib, k1p1 rib, rib for 2 inches (please do at least that much ribbing) then switch to stockinette. . . you can add stripes, or knit the socks in a color block style where you do the leg, foot, and toe in different colors - as you wish. Make it pretty and fun or do the whole thing in navy blue -- there is room for every color option. The only thing that's not open to interpretation is that they must be strong and warm.

For this sock, I cast on with red, worked 8 rows of k1p1 ribbing, then switched to k3p1 ribbing when I changed to blue.

 Don't worry about the uneven stitches where I put the sock down for a while -- when I wash this, everything will even out.

Work the leg until you have done 36 rows, counting from the cast-on edge. I'll tell you how to do the heel tomorrow.

a mitten pattern for crocheters

I am so excited that we're getting a chance to warm the heads, hands, and feet of "our" kids in Afghanistan. A couple of months ago I found this free crochet pattern for mittens, and I thought it looked pretty good. I am still at the point in crocheting where flat things seems much more doable, so I sent it to an expert crocheter I know (hi, Marcie!). By the very next day she had made a mitten and declared that the pattern is, indeed, as good as it looked. Worsted weight, several sizes - here you go!

You can find the mitten pattern here.
(link repaired February 24, 2013)

The smallest size is for preschoolers, so not acceptable for this campaign, but the others are just right. (Oh -- and don't add the star. Too reminiscent of the American flag, and if the kid ran across the wrong person, that could cause trouble. I am deeply grateful to live here, don't get me wrong, but I have no wish to put any kid in danger.)