Thursday, July 31, 2014

deadline for the older kids?

Now that we are done making baby things, I put all my little bits back in my stash and discovered that I had knitted enough to empty one shopping bag of sock yarn as well as quite a bit of worsted and sport.  So, does that justify buying more yarn? :-)  By the way, what is the deadline for the hats, mitts, and socks for the older kids?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

was only going to do one...

Initially I had planned to knit one hat for this campaign, then went back to my LYS for socks to match, then had to dye some yarn (orange) and finally went thru my stash. I ended up not dyeing enough of the orange for socks to match, and ran out of time so the green hat is also lonely. All the yarns are superwash merino, so warm and soft. I tied the matching sets together, socks first then with the hat so if folks in the basement feel they would be better off not attached, they can undo the hat and the socks will stay together.
Fun campaign! Now to see if there is any wool/mohair blend in my stash for mittens for older kids.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

There they go

Four more pairs! I did indeed finish the pair I'd hoped to (far left) but I also was delighted to find 3 pairs I'd knit for the last campaign and carefully stowed in "a safe place." Oops. The post office says they will be delivered on Thursday. I can't wait to hear the final tally.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Finally finished nine little baby hats in Wool of the Andes.  Not the softest so I soaked them in softener and they came out nice and soft. Got them off in the mail this morning and they say they should get there by Thursday.

Oh I can't believe I figured out how to send this! 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hats to Be Mailed Monday

Baby hats are the perfect use for leftover sock yarn, no?

In addition to the four hats shown here, a woman who is in my knitting group at church is also making a few things. I'm handing off my hats to her tomorrow, and she'll mail everything on Monday. I hope it all makes it to A4A by the deadline!

Friday, July 25, 2014

for the big kids

It's been so much fun knitting for the babies that I started to worry about the big kids. So last weekend I grabbed some Lopi (actually reclaimed from a failed sweater for an earlier A4A campaign) and made these. I followed the stitch and row counts for my basic mitten pattern, available on the A4A web site (Blogger does not want to link from my phone so I will add the link later when I get home) and they came out just the right size for many teenagers. 

In the mail today -- there is another pair I hope to finish, but I want to make sure these arrive before the deadline. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's Raining Socks!

Just finished up pair # 10 in my second push for the summer's Baby Shower.  The remnants in my sock yarn basket have decreased noticeably, which is always very satisfying.  Any even more satisfying is knowing that 10 more little babies will go home with warm socks for the winter.
All these socks are knitted with fingering weight wool.  You can see that, for some of them, I ran out of self-striping yarn and had to complete them with solids. Next stop for these socks is the Post Office.

The next few days will be very busy for me, but I hope to get another couple of pairs finished before the end of the month.  It's great to sit inside on a hot day, listening to an audiobook and knitting tiny socks.

Keep on knitting!

Some Small Hats

I am glad for the need of hats as usually those are the first categories filled when I donate to charities, and it helps me to have mindless items to work on during bible study class and so on.  These are not great photos but show my progress so far.  I am using 100% wool worsted, DK, and sport yarns by Patons or Brown Sheep, and sock yarns of 75-100% wool.  It's a great way to use up oddballs and remnants!

The center hat in the photo at left is out of sock yarn alone, and while I think it's cute and it did come out newborn size, that was pretty fiddly.  It also needs to be blocked.  The four around it are crocheted and slightly different sizes depending upon whether they are DK or worsted weight yarns.  They work up very quickly, especially now that I have the pattern memorized.

All of these, and about half of the ones in the picture below, need to have ends run in, I'll get that done and mail them all this weekend.

The hats below are a basic watchcap pattern, made with two or three strands of sock yarn, or one of sock yarn and one of a sport or DK solid colour yarn, or a single strand of worsted.  I use 56 or 64 stitches and they go pretty quickly.  Sizes range from about 11" to about 15".

The watchcaps are mostly folded in quarters to fit them into the photograph more easily.  I made them all with a deep ribbing that will hold the hats in place and can be folded down as the child grows and needs a bigger hat.  Most have the ribbing down and are about 7.5" long from top to edge.

I love the one second from the right in the top row.  It is a 100% merino wool handdyed yarn that was sent to someone in the KnitTalk list annual gift swap, and she made a fit and said it was horrible and she didn't want it.  I stepped in and said I would take it and send something to her in exchange.  I think she cut the hank when she opened the package and didn't want to admit it, but most of the hank is fine and it was a treat to knit.  I used it multi-strand because I didn't want to do another hat in a single strand of sock yarn!

You can see some of the yarn used in the crocheted and knitted hats also.  I expect I will have a few more done before I get the package into the mail.  Hopefully they will be useful to the mothers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

George Washington Carver and a4A

Earlier today I happened to read a quote by George Washington Carver: "It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success."  As I sit in my air-conditioned house this hot and humid afternoon, knitting socks for the a4A Baby Shower, it's good to be reminded how much our service to the people of Afghanistan really does matter. 

Hoping to have at least 10 more pairs of baby socks in the mail by the end of the week.  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Feeling sad for the world tonight.  Knitting helps, knowing I may be helping to keep some babies alive.  I hope that all of you are finding comfort in your needles and yarn.  Sending love.....

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Take a guess at how many wool baby socks so far ...

First, please look below at Chris' sock monkeys wearing you-know-what. Then, back up here. Thank you.

On Tuesday, when we opened packages and packed at our AFSC Collection Center, we counted the wool baby socks received so far:
540 pairs.

Now we know there will be at least 540 warmer Afghan babies this winter and hundreds of appreciative mothers. Great job, everyone! We ran out of time before we could count the baby hats, so we'll just have to live with not knowing for now.

Here's what the 540 pairs of baby socks look like:

Now, meet some of the elves who sorted and inspected the wool baby socks and hats, as well as the wonderful wool socks, mittens, and hats for 7 years to adult ... Nancy joined us from Michigan while here for a vacation and wedding. How generous of her to share her free time. She knows her wool, of course.

Even after many years of volunteering to open your packages, Terrie never tires of seeing more knits and thinking about the caring that goes into making every garment. Then, Terrie rushes home to get to her own needles. This happens to all of us in the Basement.

Sue and Carol also sorted and packed with us on Tuesday. Thanks, always and forever, to our devoted local gang.

Baby Socks- with Sock Monkeys

Hello to all.  I'm new to the blog, but not to a4A.  Since I'm a rabid sock knitter, I always have lots of leftover balls of sock yarn.  What better way to put them to use than to knit baby socks?  Yesterday I put 16 pairs of tiny socks in the mail.
Here they are all planted in my yard before going to the Post Office.
You can find the pattern for these socks at
Since the Baby Shower campaign deadline's been extended, I hope to get a few more pairs finished in the next week or so. 
Happy knitting!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hurray! 10 more days!

The deadline for the current campaign has just been extended; it is now July 31. So if there's anything you put down because you didn't think it would be possible to finish it -- here's your chance! (I have a couple things in that category.)

The intention is not to drive us all crazy -- it's just that Ann doesn't extend the deadline unless/until she knows it's possible. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Hats and Mittens, with Cat

The cat insisted on taking part in the picture taking! The last step before packing is removing cat hair. This batch of hats are done with crochet ribbing.  The one in front is the third attempt and I'm happy with that one.  The other two required getting creative to close the hole at the top.  The inner diameters are 12" (blue mixture), 14.5" (green and brown mixture) and 15" (solid green).  All are very stretchy.  If anyone is interested, I can describe how I did these.

The hats below are done with half-double crochet stitches, spirally out from the center.  The one in front is done "in back loops only", which adds stretch in both directions, surprisingly.  I was using up yarn left over from making mittens and supplementing with coordinating solids (Patons Classic worsted weight).  Inner diameters are 12", 11", and 12".  Hmm, a little larger would be good.

I stopped making mittens and switched to hats when Ann told us we needed more hats. The smaller set of mittens are outside the guidelines of this campaign. They're a good size for 3-5 year olds. Would these be useful? The larger pair is child-sized.

Newborn baby hats

Hi All,

I have been having a great time knitting these little baby hats.  The free pattern can be found at:

These hats knit up very quickly using worsted weight yarn on size 8 double-ponted needles (I used size 7 since I knit loosely).  So far I have made 7 of them and hope to make a several more before the deadline.

It's so great knitting for a4A again.  A number of years ago I made several sweaters and hats for a4A, but my very demanding job got in the way of my time and energy.  I am now retired and hope to resume more knitting for our Afghan friends in between projects for my two new grandchildren.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

ribbed baby hat

As promised, here is a hat from the pattern I recommended yesterday, in pictures:

On the left, the finished hat. On the right, with the brim folded up. Unstretched, the circumference is 7.5 inches (19 cm); it stretches to 15 inches (38 cm). I cast this on yesterday using some no-longer-labeled 6-ply sock yarn I had lying around; the hat took well under 50 grams. I wonder what else I can find. . .

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

just one more thing. . .

I knit a lot for the NICU (for non-US readers, that is the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at a local hospital, making hats for full-term babies who need special care. The hat the nurses love is this one. I have made at least 15 of these, some in solid colors and others in self-striping yarns. All look great.

You can see many pictures on the Ravelry page, here. Oddly, I don't seem to have pictures of any of mine. I just cast one on; I'll be sure to document it when it's done.

Because it is knit entirely in k2 p2 rib, it stretches or pulls up to fit almost everybody. This is a great feature when you're knitting for an unknown child. The drawback is that it takes a little longer than the quick stockinette caps -- but it is so perfect for this Baby Shower campaign.

I have always used DK weight yarn with this pattern; I think it would also work for worsted that is no thicker than Cascade 220, because the 2 x 2 rib pulls up quite a bit.  (For a thicker worsted, knock the stitch count back and adjust the number of rows.) The first set of instructions is to knit flat and seam up; scroll down for the instructions to knit it in the round (always my preference).

Edited to add: make only the largest size, for full-term babies.

updates, and some requests

I am delighted to announce that I have just two balls of yarn left to mail away (so if you want one, speak up -- send your address to yarnystuffATgmailDOTcom). This was given to me a while ago by local yarn shop Stash specifically for A4A, and I am so pleased that it's finally found the right campaign.

I have been talking to Ann recently (via email) and there are two things I'd like to pass along. First -- if you have things ready to send now, it is so much easier for the volunteers to pack when things come in gradually instead of all at once at the last minute. I was able to mail some things yesterday using regular first class (small packages, because these socks don't weigh much), and it is considerably less expensive than Priority mail. The post office estimates it will take 3 days rather than 2 to get all the way across the country to California, and when you mail early that is not an issue.

Also, a lot of the baby hats that are coming in are kind of big. The guidelines do say up to 1 year of age -- but remember, the hats are being given to women who have just given birth. So a "larger" newborn size would be ideal -- that can be used now, and for some time to come. Hats that measure 18 inches around are just too big, even though in theory they do meet the "up to 1 year" criterion. Besides -- littler hats go faster! Circumferences of about 13 to 16 inches are terrific; a little larger -- and I do mean a little -- would also be OK.

It is going to be about a million degrees here in southeastern Pennsylvania today, and the humidity is already over 70%. I think I will lurk indoors in air conditioning and cast on a baby hat -- nothing to sit on my lap and make me even warmer.

Hope everyone is having a great summer with lots of knitting and no destructive weather events.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Hi.  I have a question about size for the baby campaign.  I've started making hats.  Most are new-born size.  I noticed, however, that the guidelines say we can make hats up to 1 yr. of age.  So I made a hat that is supposed to be 6 mo to 1 yr.  The circumference is 18".  Seems large to me, but I have trouble estimating baby heads.  I followed the gauge directions carefully.  Do you think this is too big to send?