Saturday, November 14, 2015

Class scheduling

Classes will resume after Christmas.  Sorry for the long delay.  There have been major changes in my day job and my home life that have stopped me dead for a bit.

A schedule will be made available between American Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Classes make great gifts.

A discovery was made of a new yarn store.  (Thanks Lynne)  Artisanal Yarns in Williamstown, PA.   Links are here.

Call the shop to get the hours or arrange a shopping trip. Prices are excellent.  Fibers are mostly natural from what I have seen.

The yarns are really interesting.  I picked up 17 skeins of jewel tones plus 6 skeins of a light beige/grey and a light beige/pink (3 each) to make a dream bird.  It is silkybcashmere with 200 yds  per skein.  I also got 5 skeins of a beautiful sky blue for a Christmas present, also silkybcashmere.

Sadly I have not had a lot of time or energy to do much knitting or crocheting for me or anyone else.  I might have to make that a bigger priority.  It does have major benefits for me psychologically.  It does for others as well from all the studies done.  The benefits can be found here and here.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Squares and what to do with them

In preparation for a recent class, I thought about first granny squares and secondly, all squares. Granny squares.  Afghan squares.  Mitered squares.  Dishcloth squares.

Then I thought about joining them.  JAYGo and Slip Stitch are my two favorite ways.  (JAYGo is Join As You Go). 

But I really wanted to explore what can be done with them much more.  So I went hunting in all my resources.  Google is really helpful as is the WAYBACK machine website, in addition to my books and own thoughts.  There was a website years ago that listed things to do with 99 squares and also 101 squares.  Here is a chestful of ideas to do with squares taken from all over the place and in no particular order.
  1. one large square for an afghan
  2. two medium sized squares for a pillow
  3. a small one for a coaster
  4. an eyeglass case
  5. two medium sized ones for a bath mat or other small rug (if on smooth floors, put non slip sheeting under it.  I don't want to hear anyone fell)
  6. an ottoman cover
  7. a scarf
  8. a cowl
  9. a hat
  10. a wrap
  11. cover for a stool
  12. seat mat
  13. rear view mirror charms
  14. earrings
  15. wooden chair back cushion
  16. folded and sewn into stuffed animals
  17. wash cloth or dishcloth, done in cotton of course
  18. baby hat
  19. purses of all types
  20. gift bags
  21. dog sweaters, both my dogs appreciate this idea, the beagle less so than the Dalmatian.
  22. cat mats
  23. an applique
  24. small gloves
  25. clock face
  26. cardigan
  27. pullover
  28. vest
  29. coat
  30. curtains
  31. Christmas tree skirt
  32. Christmas stocking
  33. a skirt
  34. a pair of pants (I kid you not. I saw this on a man riding in a subway car on the Internet.  Chances are you saw it too.)
  35. hand towel, done in cotton of course
  36. car seat covers
  37. a beach bag 
  38. bookmark
  39. potholder
  40. hot pad
  41. pincushion
  42. doll clothes
  43. needle or hook bag, could also be used for bingo supplies or other gaming pieces
  44. gym bag
  45. a heating pad or hot water bottle cover, yes these are still used
  46. an ice bag cover, just as you don't want burnt from the hot things, you don't want frost bite from this
  47. block toy for a baby
  48. poncho
  49. slippers
  50. soap saver
  51. two plus a zipper can be a coin purse
  52. an apron
  53. a headboard for your bed, can be padded or not as suits you
  54. place mats
  55. done in thread and stiffened, napkin rings
  56. tissue box cover
  57. table runner
  58. dollhouse accessories
  59. a sampler afghan, baby sized up to bedspread sized (done with either all basic granny squares in a multitude of colors or a few colors and a multitude of patterns)
  60. headbands
  61. wristbands
  62. sock cuffs
  63. car visor covers 
With this list of more than 5 dozen ideas, you can pick and choose what to make first.  Have fun with this.  If you choose to make a sampler of any of these, there are many many more granny square patterns out there.  Plug into Ravelry's pattern search, granny squares and get a taste. Google granny squares and have a full buffet of square patterns.

Post some pictures of your projects.  I'd love to see what you made.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Updates and Classes

Hi all,

So much has happened in life.  Here is the brief run down of things not pertaining to knitting and crocheting.  

  • In mid-June, my new day job boss arrived as the old one left. 
  • In mid-May, one of my sisters in law was diagnosed with a rare and very aggressive form of breast cancer.  
  • In mid-July, our church had its festival.  I co chair the whole thing.   My co chair and I work to be the face of the festival as needed, solve problems and hand out prizes.
  • In mid-July, I went to 2 baby showers.  Each one got a hand made gift.  Pictures will be below.
  • Two days after the festival my sister in law passed away.  I would like to think she waited for the family that is involved in this venture to be free, but I know better.
  • Yesterday we had a new addition to the family a few weeks early.  Miss Emma Catherine was born.
The only thing I can think of in those 10 weeks of time that had anything to do with knitting and crocheting were the times I sat in waiting rooms and meetings and worked on class samples.

Now onto class information.  Here is the schedule as I see it.

For crochet classes here is what is left of the schedule I posted in April:

Beginner Crochet 1                         August 3
Crochet Ornament Class                 August 4
Beginner Crochet 2                         August 17
Crochet Sweater (Back)                 August 18
Beginner Crochet 1                         August 31
Crochet Sweater [Front(s)]        September 1
Granny Square 2                       September 14
Crochet Sweater (Sleeves)         September 15
Solomon’s Knot                          September 28
Crochet Sweater Joining/finishing      September 29

For knit classes here is what is left of the schedule I posted in April:
Beginner Knit 1                                 August 6
Knit Ornaments                                August 7
Knit Beginner 2                                 August 20
Knit Sweater (Back)                         August 21
Beginner Knit 1                            September 3
Knit Sweater (Fronts)                 September 4
Cables 1                                      September 17
Knit Sweater (Sleeves)              September 18
Entrelac 1 (Basic)                             October 1
Knit Sweater (Joining/finishing)    October 2
For kids classes here is what I had planned:  
Kid Weaving                                                   August 8
Kid Knit 2                                                      August 22
Kid Crochet 3                                        September 19

Remember the kids classes will be held at the Lebanon Library on Saturday mornings.  Adult classes will be either in my home or your home (one student or a group that knows each other) or the Lebanon Library.  Email me and I will send a syllabus that has directions to the class location unless something else is arranged.  Payment is made at class.

Warm Up America will be starting every other Sunday afternoon on August 30.  I think there are still afghan blocks at Michaels to be joined.  However, with everything that has been going on, I have not kept up with that as I had wanted.  I need more hours in my day sometimes or less things to do.  I keep hoping for more hours personally.  If there are no blocks at Michaels to join, feel free to drop more off either at Michaels or my home.  I will have a collection box that is water proof on my porch.  I will check and make a post about Michaels.

Please note that for the sweater classes, you can use a pattern you want to learn or I will have an easy one that is fairly quick to complete and in a basic style.  I know that we all have busy schedules.  We will be discussing different types of sweaters and how things are shaped and why as well as getting started with each part at the classes.

And now for the promised pictures.

Baby shower 1 was the Saturday before the festival.  Mother to be received a sweater.  Yes you can faintly see blue bunnies in the yoke.  Yes I added black beads for the eyes and brown beads for the noses.  No I don't think this is an issue.  Newborns don't typically eat their clothes.  This is sized for a newborn to 3 month size, depending on the baby of course.  

Baby shower 2 was the day after the festival ended due to the hostess' work schedule being changed.  Yes I made it.  Yes the gift was finished.  The finishing took place as I waited for one of the last people to take things from the festival, our flea market clean up guy.  Mother to be received a dress.  Yes I hung it from the rear view mirror for the photo.  It is sized 3 - 6 month again depending on the baby.  There was also a blanket but in all the commotion, it was misplaced.  My daughter in law found it over the weekend.  Thanks honey.  Now all I have to do is wrap it and deliver it.

Baby shower 3 I won't make.  It will be this weekend and I have nothing started, nothing planned, no enthusiasm to go.  This is a happy time and I don't want to be a downer.  I will think of something unique and give it when the baby is born.  Yes I will post a picture.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summer Knitting and crocheting, aka Getting Ready for the Holidays

Summer knitting and crocheting

Once the flip flops and beach apparel have been created, it’s still too hot to knit or crochet large items.   It's also probably too hot to think too hard for patterns.  Quick and simple to complete projects are great.  Now is the time to think of what you might want to gift to co workers for the upcoming holidays.  Now is the time to think of what you might want to craft for your decorations.

I offer the following ideas.  All are small and won’t make you much hotter.
1.       Decorations for a specific holiday or year round appeal.
          a.      Crochet wreaths
          b.      Snowflakes
          c.      Holly leaves, knit or crochet
          d.      Nativity figures
          e.      Mini mittens, hats, sweaters, socks
          f.       Ice skates
               g.      Easter Eggs
          h.      Butterflies
          I.       Acorns
          j.        Pinecones
          k.       Autumn leaves
          l.        flowers
2.       Amigurumi Christmas animals and people
3.       Hats mittens, cowls, mitts, socks
4.       mug rugs, mug hugs (keeps a  hot cup hot longer or cold drinks cold longer, depending.  The rug will also keep the sweat from running down to stain the tables or the heat from leaving a mark.)

All of the above ideas are available in knit or crochet ideas.  Patterns are available all over the internet.  Search for the item, either knit or crochet and free pattern.  You will be amazed at what you find.

I wrote this before the summer was much of a thought.  Summer was a hope at the end of the winter that never seemed to want to end.  At I type this update, today's high temperature was 80.  Yesterday it didn't make it above 74.  This is the end of June.  For the past 30 years or so, it gets HOT, as in 90+, and is very dry at this time of year.  So far we have had a very wet late spring and early summer.  I'm not minding the larger projects yet.  But be assured, these ideas will be needed soon.  I think.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Babies Part 2

After realizing that I had issues following the directions for the baby surprise jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann, I ripped it out. The directions have a resting row every other row.  I didn't see that part and did all the action every row.  Had I continued with the way I was going, I would have ended up with a very short wide sweater that would fit no one or some poor baby who had a really oddly shaped body.  So into the frog pond I jumped.  Rip it, Rip it, Rip it.

Over the years I have learned to not be precious about my work.  It is only sticks and string or a stick and string, depending.  When I create clothing or household items, I fully expect them to be destroyed over time.  Well, the household items at least.  I try to take care of the clothes so they last, but I don't go overboard.  I still go barefoot, or sock foot in winter.  This tends to wear out the soles but at my age (I'm old enough to not want to change) I can decide to wear shoes in the house or not.  I can decide whether or not to let my dog and cat sleep on an afghan I created.  But back to the baby conundrum.

I found a baby sweater 20 years ago called the 5 hour baby sweater on the fiber gypsy website.  See 5 hour baby sweater here.  This has been my go to when brain cells fail to find something else or I run short on time.  I have done it very plain for boys, very lacy for girls, as written for both genders in a variety of colors both solids and variegateds and even a couple of tonals.  Right now, I'm working it without the eyelets at the neckline in an acrylic (I do short stints with cotton gloves as I have a sensitivity to synthetic fibers) in the color carousel print with blue bunnies at the neck and the waist.  Carousel print is a rainbow with white that is barely there colors.  It's the kind of pastel that makes you wonder at times if there is actually color there.  My mother would have loved it.  The blue is a sky blue color.  The bunnies are being done fair isle and are my own design.  

The baby sweater has matching bonnet, booties, and a hood variant.  Links to these are on the page for the sweater directions.  

For my nephew's baby girl, I'm not really sure what I will do.  Possibly she will get a bsj now that I know what I did wrong.  I have highlighted the book to show that this resting row is there.  

What do you do for new babies of your acquaintance?  Do you have favorites or go to patterns that fit the bill most of the time?  Share the name of the pattern and book or website.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Babies, Babies and more Babies

It seems like everyone is having babies or just had a baby.  I love to knit and crochet for babies.  Why??  Simple.  Babies don't complain if you dress them up in silly hats or outfits.  Babies don't hold definite opinions about colors.  They are small people therefore their clothes are small and quick to finish.  Everyone OOOhs and AAAhs over anything made for a baby.  

How do I know babies don't complain?  I have not ever seen a baby fuss (unless it's the 15th outfit you put on him or her in the span of 2 hours) about what they are wearing.  People usually smile and talk in pleasant voices when dressing a baby in something made especially for them.  This makes the baby feel loved and secure and they are happy.  Now I won't speak for the kid at age 17 when you whip out the baby pictures at a family gathering and play the remember when game.  

So all this to say a friend is going to become a grandma soon and a nephew will be having his first child with his wife right after.  Another friend recently had her first grandson arrive.  We have had a rash of first birthdays in the family also.  So I guess you could say babies have been on my mind recently.  

I thought about what I wanted to do for each of these new people coming into the world.  Then I looked at my time lines.  Hmmmm....  The church festival is in 3 1/2 weeks.  Baby shower 1 is the weekend before.  Baby shower 2 is the weekend after.  There is set up for the festival.  There is a new boss at work to get settled in.  A layette is out of the question.  A blanket is also out.  I still have one that didn't get finished for one of the year olds.  What is quick???  So good old ravelry to the rescue.  I plugged in just what I had in my library to narrow my choices.  I looked through the pages upon pages of choices.  I disregarded things on really fine yarn.  My final choice?  A baby surprise jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann.  Worsted weight yarns on medium sized needles should go quickly.  I found some baby prints yarn in worsted weight acrylic.  New moms usually don't want to take time to hand wash wool these days.  I'm set.  I can do garter stitch in my sleep practically.  

I had thought I would like to do the new zoo ring stack toy from Crochet World was on my radar for my nephew.  But then I remembered how long the jungle one took that I did.  I'm better off with the BSJ from Elizabeth.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Dilemma for all of us with actual weather

At first glance of this post's title, it seems I'm picking on certain geographic areas.  I'm not really.  I fully acknowledge that there are some areas of the world where the weather doesn't make a huge change between seasons in temperature.  Other areas make great changes from high noon to midnight.  This is a  gentle nudge in my daughter's in law way as well as The Knitmore Girls, Gigi, Jasmin and Genevieve.  All these lovely ladies come from southern or south central CA  where the weather is a balmy 55 - 60 in the winter and 90 or so in the summer with cooling breezes from the Pacific Ocean or so I understand.

This is for the areas where there are definite cold and definite warm to hot times of the year.  Where I live, the temperatures fluctuate from lows in the winter at more or less 25*F to highs in recent years during summer at 100*F more or less.  I know there are areas where the hot temps routinely go into the 130*F range.  Death Valley in California comes to mind.  I know there are areas where the cold temps routinely go down to -80*F.  Central Alaska comes to mind in this instance as well as Siberia and some of the central Asian countries in the mountains among others.

Now for the dilemma I have.  I knit for myself mainly with wool for winter.  I do cottons and linen for myself for summer knits.  As we all know, when storing your knit or your crocheted items, they need to be clean.  Otherwise we run the risk of our fluttery "friends" coming to call and having a munch or worse some furry little beasties.  When we pull out our clothes in the autumn, we may find instead of winter woolies, Swiss cheese.  If you knit and crochet with synthetic fibers have no fears, the moths won't eat them, but you still need to make sure you store clean things.  The mice won't be as discerning.

Now the big question is to block or not to block.  When I sent in my swatches to be assessed for the Craft Yarn Council's Correspondence Certified Instructor's Program, I blocked all of my swatches.  Most were perfect but a few needed a bit of oomph to get to the correct finished size.  Those that needed a little help shrank back to the original size in shipping.  I'm not sure if it was the temperature changes or the jostling or what.  Either way, do I want to do blocking now or when I pull them out of storage?

What do you do???  Do you block before storing or not?  I'm leaning to not unless I can be persuaded otherwise.  So let me know your reasons either way.