Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Girls' Knitting Club Winter Break Gathering

Here are some photos from our pre-winter break meeting with the Girls' Knitting Club. Presents were handed out to them from the Knit Sisters and presents were received from them by those of us who have spent the last several Wednesday afternoons teaching them to knit.

Goodie bags loaded into the sleigh.

The next several photos are of hands casting on and knitting. We weren't allowed to photograph the girls' faces.





We got presents too! A lovely mug, some spicy tea, a ginger cookie and candy canes!

I know I can speak for all of the Knit Sisters when I say this was a fun and rewarding project. Patty B. found some fun gloves to put in the girls' goodie bags. They were a tremendous hit. Also a big hit was the hot chocolate provided by Gail M., the notepads provided by Terry F., the Christmas socks provided by Penni S., and the yarn and needles provided by all of us.

One of the little girls was trying to knit wearing her new gloves. I don't know how successful she was, but she did not want to take off the gloves. Another girl spent a fair amount of time trying to figure the best future opportunity for her to have her hot chocolate. Would it be this weekend or would she save it for Christmas morning? Maybe we'll find out when we go back after the first of the year.

Mrs. Hudgins, the teacher in charge of the class, also learned to knit and worked side by side with the girls. When you are in a circle of knitters, everyone is equal. Patty pointed out to the girls that they were doing what thousands of women have done before them when they sit together and knit: knit and talk, knit and talk, knit and talk.

It was lovely!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Santa Clause is Knitting in Town

The Knit Sisters have been working diligently with the girls at Greenfield Middle School. Many of them are knitting up a storm now. Only a few are still having a tough time of it, but remain determined to conquer the skill of knitting. Karen shared that one of the girls told her that when she told her mom she was learning to knit, her mom said, "You're becoming a young woman now."

We are in the process of putting together gift bags to hand out to them next Wednesday that will include enough yarn for them to make a long scarf in the garter stitch. Here are about half of them ~


Santa Hats, or reasonable facsimile thereof. Mason grew out of his original Santa Hat. Tai says it now looks like an Elf's hat, so I'm building a new one for him and a hat for Michael. Tai, Aubrey, and Savanah all have hats from years gone by ~


Friday, November 26, 2010

Community Service? More Like Self-Service.

Knitting Dharma

The more expensive the yarn, the more likely the dog to eat it, pee on it, or unravel it in the yard. ~Linda Kay
Some of the Knit Sisters are involved in helping to teach some middle school girls how to knit. It is a challenge, but really a lot of fun. A big shout out to Karen, Gail, Yolanda, Patty, and Hillary, for helping with the hands on stuff, and for the several of you who donated money for needles.

I thought (a dangerous thing for me to do) that after the first lesson, there would be some attrition in the numbers -- that rather than the 15 girls we started out with, we'd end up with around 10. Why did I think this? Well, I thought that many of the young women would find it boring. We live in a fast paced world where everything is done in an abbreviated manner. We don't even write out entire words any more!

At the second session there were 17 girls. No worries, I'm thinking, because this session will really test their metal since we are actually going to be teaching them to cast on.

All I can say is that my projections were wrong. The next session had 20 girls wanting to take up needles and meet the challenge AND the teacher wanted to learn too! (She caught on very quickly, I might add.)

Anyway, some people who have found out what we are doing say, "What great community service, Linda!" Oh, yes, no end to my giving. This is more like self-service because any opportunity I can get to knit with others, I'll take it!

Karen called yesterday evening to say she had a 30% off coupon for an entire purchase at Michael's and that Michael's had Impeccable yarn (268 yards) on sale for $2.49 a skein. She wanted to know if I wanted to go with her to purchase yarn for the Girls Club. Oh, hell no. Not on the eve of Black Friday, not with my full belly, not with me having just unleashed the girls from the bra. I'll buy, if you fly.

Here's what Karen brought back ~


Sweet! When the girls get proficient at casting on and doing the knit stitch, they will choose (by lottery) their color of yarn, get a set of needles and start working on their first actual knitting project, a simple garter stitch scarf.

In other knitting news, I've had these photos of Yolie in the sweaters she recently completed for awhile now, but I have no details on the yarn used or the patterns. The first sweater is made with a yummy angora type yarn in a lovely cranberry color. The pattern is a simple cardigan (simple for some, not for me). It looks great with Yolie's coloring.

red sweater
Yolie in Red Cardigan

The second sweater is made with some fancy-schmancy yarn and is a pattern Yolie got at Creative Pursuits. It might be one of the owner's original patterns. A nice wrap around, held together with a broach or pin.

Blue sweater
Yolie in Blue Wrap Sweater

Karen sent this photo of her daughter's dog, Buttons, which she was dogs-sitting, helping her out with her knitting. Buttons is so helpful, she may become a permanent fixture at Karen's since her daughter does have six other dogs at home.

Buttons Helping Meaner

This is a little bear I made from a pattern in Knitted Toy Tales (Laura Long), using Lang Tosca Light yarn. The next time, I think I'll just use a worsted weight yarn and go up a needle size. It turned out sort of cute, though. I gave it to my daughter, whose nickname as a baby was Sherry Bear.

Sherry's Bear

And, finally, a photo from a recent trip to a show put on by Hand Weavers of the Valley. Wow, what a display of color and amazing products. I wish I had time now to learn weaving and spinning. Soon, though. Very soon. At least the spinning part. Not so interested in the weaving... yet.

Handweavers of the Valley

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Karen (aka Meaner) has been prolific the past several months making sweaters and hoodies for her great-grandchildren. Here's another hoodie she made from the Bar Harbor Hoodie pattern from the September 2010 issue of Creative Knitting pattern she used for Conner on the previous entry. Karen got creative by adding some leaves to the front panel to jazz this up her oldest great-grandgirl.


Here's the one she made for Conner.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Reluctant Ripper

Knit Sister, Gail Munro, writes:

"I loved the colors of the pretty sweater for Aubrey - I really hate to redo a sweater, but sometimes we must. Only once though ;-). I made a gorgeous Debby Bliss sweater for summer. After checking gauge and still going down a needle size, I worked like mad to get it done. Yikes, it is at least 2 sizes too big. One that will have to be redone. No hurry now though, too many winter projects."


Mmmmm, no need to rip it, Gail. I know someone it might fit. :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If at first you don't succeed, maybe you should try something else.

Karen has been a knitting fool for her great-grandbabies. If you will recall my last entry, she made a sweater set for each of her two youngest GGC's. She has since made another sweater and hat set in this lovely blue:


Then she went on to make an adorable hoodie sweater for Conner:


The pattern for the hoodie sweater is called Bar Harbor Hoodie and can be found in the September 2010 issue of Creative Knitting.

With all that knitting Karen was doing, I managed to finish up a set of basic wash clothes. Go me!


Oh, I also made a sweater for Mason the Destroyer that looks cuter on than off. He can wear it through the upcoming holidaze:


About a year ago, I went to one of my favorite yarn shops and saw an adorable toddler sweater made up in a really scrumptious yarn. The yarn was kind of pricey, but it really, really was scrumptious so I decided I had to make the sweater for Aubrey. The pattern ("Blue Mood," an odd name for a child's sweater. Maybe it's named after the exhausted mother) called for "Baby" made by Tahki Yarns, but was made up using "BigBaby," by Muench. I decided to go with the Muench yarn because the feel of the yarn was what I was drawn to. I figured it was probably about the same weight as called for in the pattern, cause the shop owner is smart like that. Not so. I vastly underestimated the amount of yarn I would need for this project. The six balls I thought I would need, turned into ten balls of yarn, with an end cost for the project of close to $100.

Now, I'm not saying that Aubrey isn't worth $100, but that's a lot of cha-ching for a garment that she will grow out of in a year or, worse, lose at school within two weeks of giving it to her. Le sigh. I had to let go of my angst over the cost of the sweater because I'd already knitted up all the yarn I had when I discovered my error. No turning back now.

Here's how the sweater looked using the "Blue Mood" pattern as written. Cute as a button, est-ce que n'est pas ainsi?


Well, it looked like crap on Aubrey. It was way too wide on her slim little body and way too short. On a toddler, I'm sure it would have been adorable, but not on a tall, slim budding beauty, so I ripped it apart and started over, making major changes to the pattern. Here's the second try:


I made it smaller around, tapered in the shoulders, added length to the body of the sweater and the sleeves (to make up for the tapered shoulders). Also, because I don't like to do seams if I don't have to, I made the body of the sweater in one piece, picked up stitches around the arm holes and knit the sleeves in the round. I also ditched the crocheted border and simply knit in a garter stitch border into the body as I went.

Hopefully, it will look better on her than the first attempt because I'm not taking it apart again. It is what it is.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Christmas in July

Every self-respecting knitter knows that it's time to start those Christmas gifts you want to give, even though it is 100 plus degrees outside. Time to knit scarves, socks, sweaters, mittens, hats, and (if you're into that kind of thing) Christmas ornaments.

Meaner (aka, Karen) has been busy knitting for her great-grandbabies, Abigail and Stephen (aka, Canonball, Chunky Monkey, or Paddy). Here are two precious tam and sweater sets for these lucky kids.

The pattern is from Lion Brand's humongous free pattern catalog. Karen used a Red Heart Eco-Ways recycled blend yarn in a yummy melon color. This size is for 0-6 months and took just over one skein for the sweater.

I'm not sure of the name of the pattern used, but Karen calls it "Conner's Bad Word Prayer Pattern" for all the times she had to start the feather and fan pattern over again before she got it right. I don't know why Conner (her other great-grandboy) got his name in the mix, but knowing Conner and his precocious nature, I'm sure he tried to lend Karen a hand at some point, resulting in bad words and prayers.

This adorable cardigan and tam set is knit using Vanna's Choice yarn in the really handsome barley color. I love this yarn. I've used it myself on several projects. The cardigan is from a Debby Bliss book of baby patterns. The tam is the same pattern Meaner used for Abigail's tam, but without the feather and fan going through it. Karen is handy as a pocket on a shirt when it comes to adjusting patterns for her use.

In the next blog entry, I hope to post some photos of a couple of sweaters Yolie is finishing up. She sent me photos, but they haven't been blocked and need buttons, so I'm going to wait on the finished product. Trust me, they are beautiful!

More to be revealed! Keep on knitting.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Orphan Trudgers

Taking a concept I got from the ABC's of Creative Pursuits, I decided to use remnants of sock yarn to make my grandson, Mason (aka Mayhem) a pair of socks. They are not at all practical since Mason eshews footwear of any kind whenever possible to go barefoot through the world, but they are, as my son would say, hella cute.

The "orphan" part of the name comes from the use of sock yarn remnants; the "trudgers" part of the name comes from my other blog, Trudger, meaning to walk with purpose.

The pattern is your basic sock pattern. I knit both socks at the same time on two size three cable needles, using the short row method for the heel. It's the first time I've used that method, and it was a bit tricky doing both socks at the same time, but it is doable. I like the way the heels look using the short row method and will probably use it again and, hopefully, get better at it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Not a Knitter's Project

When we last wrote, we reported on a project by Terry Foley. Remember? Here's the photo we posted ~

To fully appreciate this post, you have to know a little about Terry. Terry doesn't knit. At least, that's what she claims. She also doesn't cook, even though many of us have been the beneficiary of her famous butter cookies at Christmas, her wonderful roasted vegetables, and other culinary delights. She doesn't cook.

She also doesn't exercise, even though she has hauled my not insubstantial ass out of bed and to the Bakersfield College football stadium to climb stairs and walk the track.

Terry is a contrare. If she were an Iroquois she would walk backwards, like the character in "Little Big Man." Whatever she says she doesn't do, she might do, but she doesn't want anyone relying on her cooking, her knitting, or her exercise, so she claims she doesn't do those things. There are other things she doesn't do, except when she does them and does them so well that people are often left in awe (like speeches and writing and legal crap).

Terry is a natural giver. She likes to "make stuff" for other people. Her cookies, for instance. She doesn't eat them, but she loves to make them for others. I blame much of my own tonnage on her cookies.

Anyway, Terry's project was borne of her desire to do something nice for someone else, even though she doesn't knit. She came to my house many evenings to not knit with me. She worked and worked on her project, enlisting me occasionally to fix a problem or give advice.

She had a vision in mind. I didn't think it would work out. I thought the colors were all wrong, the concept loopy, but as she kept not knitting and acquiring the material to complete the project, I started to nod my head and think, "this just might be cool."

The project took a long time because not knitting is a laborious process with a lot of pissing and moaning along the way. And, it requires that you do other things you don't do, like not crocheting and not hand-sewing a lining onto a knitted item.

By this time, I'm really enthusiastic about the project and think to myself, "Self, Terry's friend will be getting a heirloom. I hope she appreciates that she is the beneficiary of a rare item made by a not knitter."

Here is the finished product: Terry's lovely baby blanket, knitted in a basket weave pattern, lined with a very soft valour pink material with monkey design, all in the colors the mother to be wanted.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cropped Cardie

I knitted this little cropped cardie for Erica. The pattern is in the spring 2010 issue of Knitter's Magazine. I had to adapt quite a bit for the gauge. If I do this pattern again -- and I probably will -- I will definitely do it in contrasting yarns so fun changes in stitches can be seen.

My daughter, Sherry, the non-knitting knitting observer, likes to take photos of her foot in various locations. Her foot even has its own fan page on facebook, called Footnotes. After I sent the link to this post to Sherry, she sent this photo back to me ~

And, more to be revealed with this project by Terry Foley. I love seeing a project evolve.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Magic at Mid-Morning

These are the kinds of things that kids get to play on at parks today. Even at 62 and way too big for small entrances, they seem to call to me to be climbed on -- almost a magical draw. I don't know who I was lamenting to about the playground equipment of yesteryear, but In My Day (imagine air quotes around those words), we had rickety old merry-go-rounds, even ricketier teeter-totters (you don't see those anymore), swings and rings, and monkey bars. I think playgrounds in the '50s were a rite of passage. They were real character builders if you survived the equipment and the bullies. If you went to the park, you were going to come home injured, even if it was only blisters on your hands from the monkey bars.

Yolanda brought her grandson, Nick, to Knitting in the Park. I think he spent a fair amount of time in the magical tower before becoming bored with it. Nick was pretty low key today. Usually, he's a font of entertainment. As my mother would have said, "he's a caution!" I've always taken that to mean a combination of mischief and fun. Being a caution is a badge of honor. Boring people are never cautions.

Maybe he was just overwhelmed by the abundance of women with sharp instruments, because he was definitely off his game.

Here's Karen working on yet another cardigan from some lovely multi-colored, nubby, yarn. She said the yarn reminded her of the Bible story of Joseph and his coat of many colors.

Terry working on a soft and yummy baby blanket for a friend's little girl due in August. It's in a basket weave pattern and she's going to line it with a soft velour type material. A photo of the finished product will definitely be posted when she's done. I'm posting this here as proof that T does, despite her protestations, knit.

This photo tells it all as to Sherry's thoughts on knitting: It's all Greek to her! She just joins us for the joy of sitting outdoors on a perfectly beautiful day.

Savanah dropped by also, but I didn't get a photo of her. Next time!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Serenity of the River

A few of us managed to drag our knitting, chairs and other accoutrements necessary to women and visiting, to the river side. Sue took a few more photos of hands at work, as well as a few that depicts the mood of the day. She has a great eye for the beauty of simplicity.

Mean's bag and hands.

Meaner's bag and hands.

The serenity of the river.