Wednesday, January 28, 2009

In the land of Bare Feet

My son Frankie gave me a copy of a sock knitting book after I showed him all the socks people on the internet have made. Almost all of them tell a tale of how they initially thought it was unnecessary, a package of ready-made socks only costs a few dollars. But their stories go on to tell of how gratifying handmade socks are to complete and how superior they are to wear.

Having never worked with doublepointed needles before, I started practicing. I found a very helpful blog, Techknitting, with information about using dpn's, although the writer suggests using five needles and I have two hands.

My needles are a size 5, bigger than the patterns in the book call for, and the yarn is just scrap, not a good choice for socks. The pattern starts from the toe and works up, and most of the other patterns in the book start from the leg and work down, which might be easier. But the knitting is relaxing, I haven't lost my temper, I'd like to get accustomed to working with dpn's. Which all seems kind of silly here, where it's 77 degrees!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Stack of Waffles, Pile of Blocks

There may be a lot of cleaning in my future, with ten dishcloths knitted and ready! There's one Grandmother's Favorite, two Broken Rib stitch, two Checkerboards, and five Waffle stitch cloths.
My son Frankie wants a quilt made of squares, no sashing, no borders. 672 squares. I've been cutting and stitching the squares together into forty-two 16-patch blocks, and only have 30 more squares to cut out. Before I try quilting it by machine, though, there will be trials practiced on small samples.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Long Ago First Knit

About twenty years ago, I sent away for a Knit-O-Graf pattern catalog I saw in a magazine ad, then ordered the pattern for the Cowboy sweater. This was the way it was done Before the Internet.

I wanted to knit the sweater for my son Nick, and it was a real learning experience for a beginner. I attached pearl snaps instead of buttons. The seams should have been flat and woven together. But Nick liked it.

Nowadays, Knit-O-Graf patterns are considered "vintage".

Then I attempted my second sweater for my older son Frankie, the pattern came in a 1988 Red Heart pamphlet, and it was called Aran Classic. He wore it once.

Here it is in purple on the left, and off-white on the right.

It was also a learning experience, because I learned to try.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Discovering Dishcloths, a week of firsts

Having a bad cold kept me from getting much done this week, but I found dishcloths all over the web and fell for their humble simplicity. I'd never knitted with cotton before, so even though there's a large collection of knitting needles in the house, I bought bamboo needles for the first time. I liked choosing which Sugar & Cream colors to bring home from the local Jo-Ann's.

The checkerboard pattern dishcloth was finished while watching late-night tv last night, all that's left to do is weave the tail across the border. But for a project, it's quick enough for instant gratification. I expect to knit more of these, trying different stitches.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Storm at Sea

This red, white and blue Storm at Sea in the magazine picture was the quilt pattern that mesmerized me years ago when I first saw it in an old quilting magazine. It looked like it had motion and I wanted to make one.
This was before I'd ever heard of the rotary cutter, so I followed the instructions and made cardboard templates for all the shapes needed and traced them on the fabric and cut them out with scissors! It was a great day when I brought home my first rotary cutter for my third quilt top!

I machine-quilted the blocks and hand-quilted the border and binding. Hand-quilting is a joy, and the time and attention is well worth it.

The date stitched onto the backing says 1991. The center squares in the green blocks used to be black floral!

It's always a pleasant surprise when I go through my stash and come across an oddly shaped scrap of fabric left over from it, still crisp and unfaded.

I still have the magazine, it's from 1979 - look at the price on it: $1.75!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hello 2 Thousand 9!

As a way to stay on track this year, starting this blog should keep me disciplined and determined. I want to accomplish many good things. This is a photo of the first smocking I did, way back in 1991, for my niece Salina. It was fun and turned out beautiful and I should have made a dozen!

I'm making a second one, the sleeves still have to be added. The colors are the same as in the original.