Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Prayer Shawls

Last month during a prayer shawl meeting at my church, we were discussing upcoming projects we were each going to be doing.  I mentioned my goal of doing the Advent scarves for gifts.  (It's much slower going than I anticipated for the record.  Still moving forward but slower.)  One of the women said how that sounded like a great idea and she would like to see something like that for the prayer shawls.  Understandably doing nothing but garter stitch or other very simple stitches can be a bit boring for the knitter or crocheter.  She also said that it would be a great idea because I could teach some new stitches at the same time, if I didn't mind.  Of course I don't mind.  This is a project near and dear to my heart and I let the idea germinate in my mind.

Last night during supper, I whipped out what had come up.  It was complete with references that more or less met with the patterns I chose.  We are testing it now.  I warned the ladies it may need tweaked a bit after I explained what my ideas were for the finished look.  The ladies present last night were very enthusiastic about the ideas I had.  Publication ideas were proposed.  That last part is far from possible right now.

The knitting is going quickly.  I want to be as far as the rest plus have the next section half done for the teaching for March.  There are some complex cables and smocking stitches coming our way as well as some really easy things that don't need explanation.

The reason this is near and dear to me is because of my Mom.  She died 6 years ago during Thanksgiving weekend from complications of dementia.  One of the things that we could do was pray together in addition to looking at country magazines.  Fashion magazines and tabloids never held interest for Mom.  Country and Reminisce from Reiman Publications did hold her interest.  (Reiman Publications may not be the owners of these anymore.  I don't know.)  Part of it was that it reminded her of her growing up years "when times were simpler".  Part of it was the bright, colorful photos.  But during her short time in the nursing home, she received a prayer shawl.  It was something she really loved.  It kept her warm in many ways, from the physical warmth to the prayers crocheted into it, to the warmth shown when someone talked to her and prayed with her.

It was then that I found the website for prayer shawls and our church was starting a group.  Being busy at that time with Mom, my own family getting ready to go off on their own ways as they grew up, and work, I didn't get to join at that time.  When life slowed down for me a bit, I joined.  One of the first big projects our group did was gifts for the military.  It was during the second big push of the Gulf war in Afghanistan and Iraq.  We had family serving over there from our church family.  Each one got a huge box with prayer shawls, stuffies, candies, toiletries, fun stuff.....  We sent prayer shawls and smaller lap afghans as well as the pocket squares.  We received some very nice thank yous for the efforts put forth.

So this is why I really feel a need to participate in this ministry.  The chance to give something tangible and pray with  people is amazing.

And now back to the knitting and crocheting that must get done.  I have a sock to finsh for Tuesday.  Another one to start for Tuesday.  A dishcloth for tomorrow.  And a large meal to cook for tonight's work crew.  I'm thinking something with pork chops.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas 2016

I'm starting my gift knitting early.  OK, very early.  However, I have an idea that I think will work wonderfully.  On ravelry there is an advent calendar scarf pattern for knitting.  Actually there are about 10 from different designers, but I'm doing the German site's series of 5.  I'm using Paton's Lace in natural, plum ice, turquoise with repeats of the plum and turquoise.  I'm not adding beads.  I will be doing a thin version.  The finished dimensions as written are 50 cm (20 inches.  I did the conversion.) by 200 cm (78 inches).  Since these will be fairly quick to knit in the thin versions and are broken down into 24 small bites, I hope to get them done by the end of January, February at the latest.

I also received high compliments on some granny square slippers I made for my sister's boyfriend.  Those will be repeated and expanded for the recipients.  A few adjustments to hook size and I will have dialed in a perfect size I hope.  I used this pattern with doubled Red Heart Super Saver yarn and an I hook.  I will go down a hook size.  These should wash and wear like iron, but still be soft and comfy on the foot.

The scarves posted on ravelry in the finished projects tab are breathtakingly beautiful.  I might adopt a similar idea for either an afghan along or a lace class series.  There are many lace patterns out there that really have a lot to teach and look fabulous.

I have also decided that lace cardigans for my granddaughters will happen next year.  I will make them over-sized for more wear-ability.  The lace will not be the very holey kind, more of eyelet outlines of some of their favorite animals.  I will post pictures of all progress once we get some sun.  I need to do this outside.  My lighting inside is poor for pictures but great for general seeing.

For now, I must get my laundry done after finally kicking the flu.  Holidays and illness are not fun when combined.  Add every Godzilla movie made and killer klowns from outer space and I had to get better for self preservation.  Yarn shopping in my stash will be fun.  I know I have something that will work.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

New calendars at long last!

Merry Christmas to you all!  We are three days and less out from the big day and I am interspersing my cleaning and tidying with gift wrapping and thinking about upcoming classes and workshops.  Finally I have things lined up just right.

My husband's gift to me this year was a shopping trip at a local yarn shop.  My daughter in law went with me.  I picked up a lot of lovely natural fibers.  My personal preference is for natural fibers, due to allergies to synthetics.  My daughter in law also got some nice things.  She has plans for accessories to keep her warm at work and to gift.  We also got some nice patterns for baby and small people wear.  Babies crop up now and again in life.  Plus I have 2 granddaughters who, in spite of living in a very warm state, enjoy their knit and crochet items.

I'm going to start to offer day classes at the Lebanon library.  Class will end just about the time kids get out of the middle school.  I'm hoping this works for some of you.  In an effort to help you see your schedule when booking classes, I'm changing the way I do my layout.  I'm posting calendars.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas!

Belatedly, happy thanksgiving to everyone.  I didn't get the chance to post my well wishes earlier, I was cooking and cleaning.  Well truthfully, my husband vacuumed for me (this was a major undertaking).  I was working out my timetable for the big meal and waiting to find out when everyone was actually going to arrive.  The meal was good.  Not all my sides made an appearance as scheduled.  That is OK.  I was thankful for the people who made it safely here.  I also thought about my sister who had to go to work after dinner with all the holiday shoppers.  Some of them are a little little crazy and a few are dangerous.

Some of my holiday preps were halted by the installation on new plumbing fixtures.  Definitely nice but differences in the old sizes to the new made our job longer than estimated.  Our family now has a shower head that will get the soap out of my hair.  A rainfall head is really nice, but I found that the soap didn't wash out of my thick hair as well as I wanted.  We also have a new goose neck kitchen faucet with on-board  sprayer and now a soap dispenser.  Nice to have but caught up in the preps for holidays, I didn't get the chance to fully appreciate the work.  I have now.

Another new thing in my life is that I quit my day job.  I won't be out completely but I won't be going in every day or so.  I can now concentrate on classes, teaching, designing and regaining classroom space.  Keep your eyes peeled for a new schedule.  I will be working on that this weekend as well as partying.  One family get together is this weekend.  This is the smaller of the 2.  We are ready.  I hope.....

Merry Christmas and I will keep you posted.

Classes do make great presents as well.

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.