Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Few F.O.'s by My Students

The snake is actually a finished object from last year's knitting club. It is by a 3rd grader who has continued this year. Her mother comes and helps us almost every week. She helped her daughter with this project only by encouraging her. The whole thing was knit by the child. I don't know about the sewing-up. Pretty impressive for an 8-year old. I'd say its about a meter long. There are increases all along the body. The head includes both increases and decreases.

This wristwarmer in classic girl colors was knitted by a newcomer to knitting club this year, a 4th grader. She is working on a second one. This child does NOT have second-of-the-pair syndrome.

The pieces that follow are also by a 4th grader in this year's club. He learned the knit stitch in one session. He next knit a neck warmer in the round on 16-inch circs. It would have been a hat, but I let him get the knitting twisted when joining. I felt terrible, but he said he liked it as a neck warmer. A polite child. He learned to cast on and off on the neck warmer. So this week he shows me the pieces in the 1st picture below. They match perfectly when stacked one on top of the other. The counts must be identical, but also the stitch gauge and row gauge. This is something I haven't achieved in my own knitting. He wasn't taught how to decrease. He bound off one stitch at the beginning of rows to get the slanted edge. Kinda mind-blowing, especially when I read about people being nervous to try a new technique like circular knitting or like how I am about colorwork. There's more. Look at the next picture.

Look carefully. Two yarns are coming out of the top. Yes indeed. Mosaic knitting or slip stitches or something. "I knitted two colors at once" he says simply. That's when I went for the camera. (I apologize for the fuzzy picture.) The red is a solid, the rest is the same variegated yarn as the two matching pieces. This is so cool.
Here's what's funny. The kids seem to think that anything that's been bound off is a Finished Object whether its function is known or not. Some of them put their heads together when the boy didn't know what the two matching pieces were yet. My favorite suggestion was to sew them together to make a cat saddle. They are just the right size.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Brehley's Grandma's Wrist Warmers

Most of you know that I work at an elementary school. Among our wonderful volunteers is Brehley's Grandma. (That's what we all call her.) She comes like clockwork every Wednesday morning and works with kids in the hall right outside the library where I am. She periodically brings the whole staff candy or baked goods. Last year she brought me great big, round, fat, delicious beets from her garden. I don't have classes on Wednesday morning so we shoot the breeze and tease each other a little bit. She's got diabetes and has to watch her health and her hands are always cold because of circulation problems. I sometimes hang onto them a little bit to try and warm them up. So when I traded for some 50/50 silk/cashmere I knew just what to do.
It's not the warmest or the softest yarn, but it's very smooth and non-irritating. Brehley's grandma did let me take pictures of her wearing the wrist warmers, but those photos did not turn out. Here's one done. The other one was completed and does match it. In fact it is the matchiest match I've made of any object ever even though I didn't count rows. I am pleased to report that she wore them all morning. But by lunch was ready to go home and wash them because a kid she was working with kept sneezing all over the place. The yarn label said dry clean, but I told her she could handwash them. Well, if that doesn't work out, I've got more luxury yarn in my stash.
What it is . . . Brehley's Grandma's Wristwarmers
Pattern: None
Yarn: Trilly (50/50 Cashmere/Silk)
Needles: Size 4 Clover Bamboo dpn's
Cast on: 36 stitches
Thumb: Gusset (inc. to 15)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Yay, I Have a Sock Bag!

Isn't it nice? It's the only purse I've actually made out of all those upholstery samples I got a few years ago. I did say "purse," not "sock bag." I am repurposing it. It was just a little bit too deep for a purse and so never quite worked out for me. The idea was to better accomodate my long wallet, but I went too far (as usual). It makes an excellent sock bag.

Let's see what's inside. Oh yes, vintage baby wool. To be specific, it is Art. E.277 Coats & Clarks Red Heart Baby Wool. Net Wt. 1 oz. 3 ply 100% Pure Virgin Wool "Tangleproof" Washable Colors Color 802 Baby Blue Dyelot 748. The quotes on "Tangleproof" aren't mine, though I would have added them anyway because I'm sure I could manage to defeat the tangling defenses Without even trying. Furthermore, I had some similar stuff and it DID felt. So, this may not really be washable. Sometimes "washable" means hand-wash only in luke warm yadda yadda yadda.

There is also a skein of angora. It is 80% Angora 20% Laine Merinos; Laines Fonty Tricotez l'Amour; Depuis 1880; Coeur d'Angora; 100% Francais; 25 g - =/- 108 m; Made in France. I like the "100% Francais" line. This is important people, especially if you are French! It's hairy stuff for sure. Its not as fine as the red angora with which I made bed socks a while back. The hairs are longer and seem a tad coarser. I love Angora. Kathy is to angora as Homer is to donuts. Er,Kathy is to angora as Kathy is to donuts if you must know the truth.

And here is the sock with the 2 yarns stranded together. It's making for a very soft, yet fairly firm fabric. It'll probably be too thick to wear with shoes. The most accurate shade of the green yarn is the picture with both yarns peeking out of the bag.

Here's something else I'm making. It's going to be a baby blanket for Sophie. I was thinking full size twin bed blanket, but this knitting is hard on my wrists because of the weight of the project. But we shall see. I've got enough yarn and Seiding said she'd contribute some brights, which I lack. It seems to be a little better now that it's big enough to rest on my lap and still have my hands up at knitting level. I do hold them up at almost the level of the solar plexus. Maybe I shouldn't do that. I want to be able to knit for the long haul--for the rest of my life. I don't need no stinkin' carpal tunnel syndrome.

This started out as a log cabin square as you can see above. I kept on going though and am now working in the round, as you can see below.

A few words to would-be snowtographers: Maybe the snow won't stick to your knitting if you bring your objects down to the outside temperature first. Eh?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Righting a Wrong

I am sorry to Seiding and to Jennyz. They are the loyal readers. Thank you Jenny and Sue for your support. If there is anybody else out there, I'm sorry I dissed you, too. Maybe eating crow is what has given me this incredibly sore throat.

In knitting knews, er, nitting news, er, other news, I have been working on a few things. The Manly sweater for Niko has been worked on (pictured 3 posts ago). The length above the color band is now about 6 inches, but still a long way to go before the raglans reach the neck. I continue to worry about the v-neck not turning out. Now I think it starts too low. It's about time for a try-on. I need to go see Steve tomorrow to give him some duck eggs. Perhaps Niko will be there. If it is too deep, I can either rip back A LOT, or figure out some way to fill the space in. I wouldn't hesitate to do that normally because it's an interesting challenge and a design possibility. But Niko picked the pattern out and I want to remain true to his vision.

A while back I bought a lot of Sugar N' Creme yarn on sale with the thought of making a bunch of Mason-Dixon log cabin projects. I finally couldn't leave it alone. I began a log cabin patch. I almost stopped at the dishcloth stage, but I kept going. When it was about 10 x 13 I switched to circular knitting because I was plenty sick of binding off and picking up. Now I have to purl every other row if I want garter stitch, but it's less fiddly than binding off and picking up. However, I'm not doing straight garter. I'm varying it. Raise your hand if you knew I couldn't follow that pattern for very long. It's also less trouble figuring out which colors go together. In the round each color only touches 2 other colors. The colors I have don't really go anyhow, and this way it isn't as obvious. I only hope that I've got the right increase ratio correct so that it will lay flat. I'm thinking it's going to be a baby blanket for Sophie. I never sewed her a quilt out of her receiving blankets for her big girl bed like I did for her sister.

This knitting is hard on the tendons and junk in my wrists and hands. As for needle, I'm using one of those old, all nylon babies. The weight of the cotton won't break it, but on the other hand, it could be more flexible. I don't know if that has anything to do with the twinging. (twin jing) I'm about out of needle now and need to add another. So far I'm not quite making it in trying to wrap my mind around this idea of using 2 circular needles. All the stitches are going to end up on the one in your right hand anyway, yes?

Third, I've begun a pair of slipper socks. They are pale green angora stranded with vintage baby blue fingering yarn. I'm just past the toe on the first one. I'm going to try the cable pattern on the slipper socks in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. If I don't like that, I may go plain. Except now that I looked it up, the pattern has moved from the above book to One Skein.

I haven't taken pictures of the knitting I've mentioned today, so here is an OFO (Old Finished Object. It's just your basic 7 by 9 patch out of acrylic. The stitch pattern is from one of the Harmony Guides. I knit sporadically for ladies who make afghans and baby blankets for women's shelters. I just hand in the blocks whenever I have any. I enjoy turning these out when I need a sense of accomplishment. They're a quick fix and a great way to experiment with stitch patterns. If you'd like to contribute any blocks, let me know. Crocheting is fine, too. Unfortunately, the most prolific knitter of the group just passed away.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Their Kittinessesses

Some time ago Seiding clamored for kitty pictures. Allow me to make introductions. Everybody, this is Teddy, Teddy Weil. Teddy is my cat. Teddy, this is everybody. Teddy is a hard-working, hard sleeping cat. Here he is hard at work, sleeping hard. Please excuse him because he didn't have the energy to properly curl his tail or tuck his ass in. Give him 3 or more hours and the rest of his body will have followed his ass down that unpillowed abyss on the left. I will have failed to get that picture, because I, too, have work to do.

In this picture Teddy is just daring me to even try to wear those plaid capri pants. What? They look cute with the right top!

I am not the only lady in the house. OK, I am not the lady in the house. The lady is Musette. (Her moustaches gave me to know she was French.)
Oh, how delicate! How dainty! How lovely! (One day I'll get a decent picture of her pretty green eyes.) How gentle! Never does she settle down next to you without a tender little pat on the arm. How sweet!
Wait. Is that a touch, just a tiny little . . . stick, of claw? Aw, hey, she didn't mean to do that. Claws is heavy responsibilities sometimes. Claws is hard to put away. Claws is a little fun. Claws is really fun. Claws does need stretching, you know.