Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Charity Begins at Home

We've all heard this at one time or another. I heard it growing up, little did I know how much it was true.  But let's look at the different ways this applies to us.  Here is one way to apply knit and crochet to people in need.

1. What is charity?  If we consult a dictionary,  it will say something like an agency set up  to provide help and raise money for those in need. It's also the things given as help.   For our purposes,  charity is the time, talents, and money we contribute to those in need.  My cooking for homeless people is time and talent spent in charitable works.  Sometimes, though,  money is the best fit.

My local clothing bank needs men's socks in particular. The knitter in me says sure I can knit socks. Realistically speaking,  I don't have time to knit men's socks.   Not only are men's feet larger,  but the leg must be longer and they prefer dark colors that can be hard to see. Plus in a week's time, I can only do maybe a sock.   It's far more expedient to use the sock money to purchase a package of 3 to 12 pairs of socks in appropriate colors.  I have saved time and helped more people for the same outlay of money. 

Now if I know that every year they will need socks,  I can knit throughout the year and feel great about that.  I do this with blanket squares.   Check out my year of crochet stitches and year of knit stitches posts for ideas. 

Other charities to consider are Humane Society to help pets, environmental causes,

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Baby Showers

Babies seem to be cyclical in my life.  What handcrafted items do you like to give?  What fibers do you use?   What weight of yarn do you use?  With so many people utilizing gift registry,  it's sometimes difficult to figure out what to give that will meet expectations of both the expectant mother and the giver. 

What are the expectations?  As an experienced mother, my expectations are softness,  durability,  washability, fit, and looks good.  A new mother to be might be looking for the WOW factor before some other things. 

One gift that is a usually a hit is a bling blanket.   No I'm not suggesting that we add beads,  crystals, or anything like that.  Bling here means a special stitch pattern or a fabulous yarn. 

Yarn choice :  I stress washability.  All of us who have kids, been around kids, been a kid, know that illness is a thing that happens whether caused by germs or over eating.  I stress that wash after wash the thing must hold up and look great. No one wants a shabby looking blankie, onsie suit or anything else after a couple of washes.  The broomstick lace from Sept. 16 is a fabulous blanket stitch.

I also think that bibs make a great gift.  No matter which way you slice it, babies drool.  No one likes  a wet chest, especially in these days of no coats being worn in a car seat. However, new moms to be don't seem as enthused by these.  Perhaps I or they are missing something?  Bibs protect clothes from getting soaked.  Bibs can protect from babies learning to eat.  Those of us who have had strained veggies erupt all over know that bibs on both feedee and feeder can be great laundry savers.

Toys have the WOW factor but not necessarily the safety factor.  Besides who says that the theme mom has laid out for the new little one is what the kid will like.....  Safety is very important.  I advocate embroidered facial features as well as most other details.  Tight stitches to prevent stuffing from coming out is important.  See below for a knit and crochet version of my go to toy for babies.  It could be a bunny, a cat or a bear.  Depends on how you do the ears.

Knit toy                                                                    Crochet toy
Worsted weight yarn                                                Worsted weight yarn
Size US 5                                                                  Size F hook

Cast on 14 sts.  Knit 28 rows. Break yarn.                Ch 15.  Sc in 2nd ch from hook and each ch.
Cast on 14 sts.  Knit 28 rows.                                    Ch 1, sc in sc across.  Rep this row 13 times.
Work across 28 sts for 28 rows.                                 Break yarn and repeat.  These are legs.
Work across 28 sts for 4 rows in 1x1 rib.                  Crochet across 28 sts in sc for 15 rows.  Body
Work across 28 sts for 18 rows in stockinette.          Ch 2, * hdcfp, hdcbp.  Rep from * across.  Neck
Bunny                                                                         Rep neck row once more
Continuing in stockinette stitch, BO 4, K 6,              Ch 1, sc across.  Rep this row 10 times more.
BO 8, K 6, BO 4.  Break yarn.  Join to ear                Bunny Sl st across 4 sts, sc in next 6, sl st across
Knit ears in stockinette stitch for 4 more rows.         next 8, sc in next 6. * Ch 1, sc in next 6. Turn.
K2tog across.  Cut leaving 18" tail.  Join yarn to      Rep from * 4 times. Dec sc across.  Cut, leaving
other ear and rep.                                                       18" tail.  Join yarn to other ear and rep.

Cat                                                                              Cat
Continuing in stockinette stitch, BO 2, K8,               Sl st across 2 sts, sc in next 8, sl st across next 4,
BO 4, K 8, BO 2.  Break yarn.  Join to ear.               sc in next 8.  *Ch1, dec sc, sc to last 2 sts, dec sc.
*K2tog, k to last 2 sts, k2tog.  Rep * to 2 sts.            Rep from * to 2 sts.  Cut leaving 18" tail. Join to
Break yarn.  Join to other ear.  Rep.                           other ear.  Rep.

Bear                                                                            Bear
BO 4, K 6, BO 8, K 6, BO 4.  Break yarn. Join         Sl st 4 sts, sc in next 6, sl st across 4 sts, sc
to ear,  k1, k2tog, k2tog, k1. K back, keeping in        in next 6.  Ch 1, sc, dec sc, dec sc, sc.  Turn.
stockinette st.  k2tog, k2tog.  BO.  Break yarn          Sc across.  Dec sc, dec sc.  Fasten off, leaving 18
leaving 18" tail.  Join to other ear.  Rep ear.              inch tail.  Join to other ear and rep.

Arms                                                                         Arms

Rep legs and BO before join.  Fold in half               Rep legs.  Fold in half lengthwise.  Seam and sew
lengthwise.  Seam and sew across end.  Stuff.         across end.  Stuff.  Sew across open end.
Sew across open end.

Finishing for both knit and crochet animal

Fold at 1/4 and 3/4 mark vertically.  Legs will be folded in half lengthwise.  Ears will be folded in half lengthwise.  Using tails, sew across bottom of legs, up inseam of legs.  Stuff legs.  Sew up center of back, neck and head.  Stuff.  Sew ears.  Stuff.  Sew top of head closed. Fold the arms in half lengthwise.  Seam down the side and across the end.  Stuff.  Sew across open end. Sew to the body just below the neck ribbing. 

Embroider face and any other touches you might want.  Other embellishments include working the sections to look like clothes.

Saturday, September 29, 2018


Have you seen this shawl by Irina Poludnenko?   Something about this speaks to me.  It could be the colors.  So many colors. It could be the auto pilot knitting of so many mitered squares and stripes.

My knitting guild is doing this shawl as a project.  It calls for some really interesting amounts of yarn.  I chose to go stash diving.  I prefer autumn colors.  I have a lot of wool needlepoint yarns, a lot of partial balls of wool yarn.  It calls for 33 colors in varying amounts.  I may have to make up the difference in a deep chocolate and cream yarns.

I could see this taking almost a year to make if just one square was done each day and one strip was done each day.  It would not be overwhelming that way  But it would be the project that seems to never end.

I can't wait to start.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A Year of Stitches

Broomstick Lace.   It has a history of a couple of hundred years, possibly more.  It moves along quickly.  Traditionally done,  there are teardrops in rows and a ridge or two between those rows. Sounds simple. And it is.  There's a knit version and a crochet version.

Knit broomstick lace

1 size 35US needle
1 pair size 8US needle
Worsted weight yarn

This is going to be a 5 stitch repeat.

Cast on 25 sts, using smaller needle.
K 1 r using small needles.
R2:  using large needle,  k 1 row.
R3: * using small needle,  insert into first 5 sts, (k,  p,  k,  p,  k)  in those 5 sts then drop off the left needle. Rep from * across.
R4-5:  k  using small needle.
Two rows 2-5 for desired length. Bind off using smaller needle.

Crochet broomstick lace

1 size 35US knitting needle
1 size H (5mm)  crochet hook
Worsted weight yarn

This is going to be a 5 stitch repeat.

Ch 25.
R1: Sc in 2nd ch and each ch to the end. Do not turn. (24 sc)
R2:  put the loop on the knitting needle,  * insert hook in bl of next st,  put on needle.  Rep from * across. (25 loops)
R3: * insert hook into 5 loops,  work 5 SC in those loops before removing loops from needle.  Rep from * across.

Rep R2 and R3 for pattern until desired length is reached.

This stitch is great for blankets.  Sweaters would be fantastic done with finer yarns and a smaller "broomstick " (I suggest size US 13 to US 19) and  smaller needle or hook suitable for the yarn choice.

Share your attempts below in the comments.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


I sit in my son's living room listening to the weather channel.   Currently hurricane Florence is bearing down on southeastern US.   There's another heading for Hawaii.   There's a third one with the potential to crash into Texas. Before the ones on the East Coast cause issues for the US,  a multitude of Caribbean islands will feel the effects.

Stay safe.  Follow the protocols you have.  Things can be replaced.  Family, friends and pets can't.

Take food,  water,  clothes,  medicines,  etc with you. Board up windows and doors.   Do whatever you can to protect your home.  Then leave.

This is my prayer for all in the affected areas.  That you are safe and sound.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

In the News

Have you seen this???  This is an amazing work of love. Here is a link to the original story. Some people scoff at the lowly home knitting machine.  No, they are not for everything. They generally don't do some things great but they do other things great.   This shows that with enough time and patience monumental things are possible.

This woman has a lot more body confidence than most of us.   Would you wear it?   Would you make modifications?   I'd like to make it but acknowledge it would have to be lined or have a shirt and leggings worn with it for me. I'd also change the color.

Here's a group of stitches dedicated to the short term needs.  The group does things in the UK. Check out their charity choices.

Weather.  It's all around us everyday,  all day. There's a quip in quite a few locales about how if you don't like the weather at that time,  wait 5 minutes,  it'll change.  Here is a new term in weather, crochet.  I never knew. Did you? 

I like this one much better. Pictured is my weather report.  It's too stinkin' hot, so crochet and knit small things using cool fibers such as cotton and linen, or this Red Heart scrubby yarn. Most of my summer has been raining. Then mid August it went hot,  Hot,  HOT.