Thursday, March 30, 2006

Pretty in pink

Hope you all like my new colors. Little by little, I'm getting the hang of this blog thing. Unfortunately it is taking time away from knitting!

But... I did finish the chenille afghan tonight. It's almost a perfect square: 64 inches by 65 inches. I don't think I'd make another one of these, though it sure is warm. Still, the heavy yarn really strained my poor little wrists.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Junior knitter

"In through the front door, once around the back,
Peek through the window, and off jumps Jack!"

Aubren Kubicki, daughter of my good friend and quasi-sister Kristi Misiewicz Kubicki, learned this tranditional rhyme as I taught her how to knit while visiting last weekend (had to call Mom, who was at a Brewer's spring training game, to remember it). Aubren was a natural, picking it up quickly and soon getting the rhythm (as long as I was throwing the yarn). She really liked counting her rows and seeing what she was creating. Her Nana (husband Brian's mother), an avid knitter, will be so proud!

I had a nice visit with a bunch of Misiewiczs while in South Bend: Kevin, Kathy, Kory, Kelley and her daughter Sade, and the rest of Kristi's family: Brian and sons Silas (my godson) and Ealin.

Keep up your knitting, Aubren! We'll teach your Mommy next.

Friday, March 24, 2006

On my needles

1. The dark green sage purse (90% done)
2. The #$%^ afghan (98% done)

On deck:
Watercolors booties to match baby sweater and hat
Felted or regular mittens (good project to take with me to White Privilege Conference at ND)
Stitch & Bitch yoga mat carrier

Yarn in the mail

Yesterday I received some Galway in the mail that I ordered from Ebay. Ebay is great for someone like me, who doesn't have a car. I've been doing lots of Ebay shopping lately, as I've decided to add to my "Heidi" book collection, which previously consisted of a couple antique books my mom passed on to me and a few I bought overseas, including one in the Cyrlic alphabet from Serbia. After spending a whole afternoon browsing an antique mall in Saugatuck, Michigan a few weeks ago while on my "writing weekend," I decided to add to my collection. After perusing shelves and shelves of musty old books, I thought, "There must be a better way," then had an "Aha" moment and realized "Ebay!" And, of course, I found hundreds of cool "Heidi" books listed there. So I've been busy adding some new and antique editions to my collection. (You'd be amazed how many different version of this book there are!)

So every couple days I get a book or two, plus one book seller also had an awesome vintage fur jacket with mink collar that I couldn't resis for $10+shipping. And then I ordered this Galway, a heather green, #738. It was advertised as 7+ skeins and cost $30 w/shipping. I was surprised when I opened the package and saw that not only was it 10+ skeings, but the seller had started knitting something (a sweater maybe?) and must have given up. She sent the half-used skein and her failed project. So I'll unravel it and knit it into something nice and felted. Not sure yet. Or maybe I should try a real wool sweater? My first?

I also hit Joann's last Sunday when Ed and I had a neighbor's car for the day. I needed an extra skein of Pattons Allure in Emerald to add to the dark sage green felted purse that is close to done. While there, I also bought some really pretty Sensations Majesty, a pretty pink/purple (MSD-18) ribbon yarn with silver metallic flecks to math the purple Galway (#13) in my stash. It should make a pretty purse.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Knitters for peace

So I didn't get any knitting done yesterday, because instead I went to the peace rally and march here in Chicago, commemorating the third anninversary of the war in Iraq. Seven thousand of us marched down the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue) shouting, "This is what democracy looks like!" That's me on the right, above, with one of my best friends, Karen, who unfortunately is not a knitter.

But I think it makes sense that knitters should also care about peace. Knitting is, after all, a very peaceful, even meditative, activity that seems to be antithetical to violence. And apparently I'm not the only knitter who thinks so. There have been some Knitters for Peace groups around the country, and Cafe Press offers a "Knitters for Fleece ... err ... Peace" T-shirt with a sheep who's got a sign that says, "I eat Bushes for dinner!"

In previous generations women at home knit socks and other items for soldiers fighting abroad. There are some projects doing that for soldiers in Iraq as well. But we also can knit for peace. My mom brought her knitting to the School of the Americas protest a few years ago. There's a lot of down time at protests, so it's good to have a small project to bring along. Just don't wave those sharp needles in front of any police officers in SWAT gear.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The %$#@ afghan!

This is the afghan I started around Christmastime for my father-in-law, who is going through radiation and chemo for esophageal cancer. I raided my stash and decided to use this Lions Brand Thick & Quick Chenille in Khaki because I thought it would be warm and snuggly. I had bought seven skeins when our Joann Fabrics was being closed before turning into a Joann's superstore (Aside: that new store is so huge I can get lost in it!). So I got the yarn for less than $5 a skein but then read that a lot of knitters don't like working with it. I guess it's more crochet-friendly. But this afghan looks pretty nice; but it's taking forever. I can't remember how many stitches I cast on, but I'm using Size 10 needles and it's almost 52 inches wide. I can only knit a few rows a night because the weight makes my arms and wrists hurt. I'm coming down the home stretch, though. Just one more skein to go!

The Uzbek project

So, after making Grace's hat, mittens and scarf set, I thought, "Wouldn't it be nice to make a set for each of the four little Uzbeki girls from the immigrant/refugee family we've been working with the past six months?" Great idea, but a little overly ambitious. I spent most of my Christmas vacation knitting little mittens, hats, and scarves in four shades of pink and with various fun yarn accents (Lion Brand Fun Fur and Fancy Fur) for Ruiza, Farida, Albina and Songul. I had hoped to do one for the Nasiba (the mom) and grandma, too, but ended up just giving them scarves. Finally, I knit a goofy hat for Sarvar (the dad). Remind me to start in summer next time I plan to do this much Christmas knitting!

Grace's hat, mittens, scarf

Grace is my friend Jenny's 5-year-old daughter. She is also my husband's goddaughter. I got this great idea to knit her a scarf, mitten and hat set. I used my mom's mitten pattern, which took awhile to get the hang of but now I love it. I didn't measure well so the thumbs don't match up perfectly. I knit the matching scarf with some fun-fur yarn (can't remember which), then got the ingenius idea to make a hat with the fun fur as trim and pom pom. Adorable, if I do say so myself. And, using Wool-ease for the solid and on-sale fun fur, the whole set probably only cost about $5. A great gift for little girls.

My first felt!

This is my first foray into felting. (Love that alliteration.) My mom gave it to me as a homemade kit, complete with Galway and accent yarn (not sure what it was) and pattern (Fiber Trends Fabulous Felt Totes). I think it was a Valentine's Day 2005 gift. I knit in the winter but didn't finish until summer, because I had to get more Galway to finish it. So I ordered extra and made another two purses, since I had leftover accent yarn. I felted them at my parent's lake house in Wisconsin, because I don't have a top-loading washer to felt in. This way, my mom also could help me with my first felting. They turned out great, though I would have like more of the accent yarn sticking out. My friend Jenny was with me at my parents' when I felted them, so I gave her one for her birthday in October. I've been carrying mine all winter. Turns out the purple perfectly matches my favorite hat from Ireland. Note to self: Use Galway #132 to make matching felted mittens.

Molly's Layette

As you can see, I've been doing a lot of baby knitting lately. While my husband and I were going through our own infertility struggles, it seems everyone around us was getting pregnant! I knit this whole layette set for my co-worker Tom, whose wife was pregnant with their first girl after five boys! So I thought little Molly Rose would need some girly clothes. I used some plain white acrylic yarn and knit my favorite top-down baby sweater (pattern came from the website of Arcadia Knitting yarn shop here in Chicago, but it's no longer posted on the site), a basic roll-brim baby hat, and booties from Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation. The blanket pattern was also from the Internet, but I didn't really care for it and haven't saved it. Tom is a crocheter himself (don't know when he finds time for that!) so he really appreciated the work on this set. Molly wore the sweater home from the hospital in November.

Alex's blankie

When my co-worker, Michelle, adopted two children from Russia, I knew I had to knit them something. I used up some of my stash of Patons Allure and made each of them a really soft blankie. This is Alex's (he's 4) and it's out of a khaki green called "Emerald." Two-year-old Kristina's was made out of the light blue color. I think I used six or so skeins each. I didn't record the size of the blankies before I gave them to Michelle at a shower last fall, but they were good sized for kids. Alex and Kristina joined the Merten family in October and are doing great.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Patty's purse

This is a felted purse I made for my sister-in-law, Patricia, for Christmas 2005. I think I used this fuscia Cascade wool (Color #132) that I bought on Ebay. The pattern is "Dragonfly Trim Felted Bag" from Crystal Palace Yarns, but I didn't use Dragonfly trim. Instead, to fit my sister-in-law's fun personality, I sewed black boa feathers around the top. I also made the handle shorter than in the pattern. This whole purse is about 6 inches square. If I make it again (and I will, at least for myself), I would add a snap for closure or one of those magnetic enclosures you can bury in the felting.

Birth of my blog

Today I admitted for the first time that I am addicted to reading knitting blogs. So I guess it's time to start one of my own.