Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Part 4 and 5 of the Mr. Ghan Afghan Crochet-Along

Can you believe it I am on time and all caught up and eagerly awaiting the pattern for Week #6. I am really building up my crochet skills. Week #4 is called "Change" for the loose coins men carry in their pockets and may put on the dresser at night while Week #5 depicts "Chicken Scratches" albeit they are much neater than the scratches my chickens left behind or my hand writing which has frequently been mistaken for chicken scratches as well. So without further ado, here are the photos. The "Country Blue" keeps taking on different shades depending on the light that is available while photographing the tiles.
Continue to crochet or knit, Merrily. 
 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Afghans - Part 2 and 3


The second and third rectangles are completed. Waiting for tomorrow's issuance of the fourth one. The third one, Quivers, had me baffled and it took three tries before the little gray cells engaged and then it was a breeze.  So here are the photos. The quivers pic isn't the best, but that's what happens when it's too snowy and dreary outside and the lighting on the inside isn't the best. All in all I'm very satisfied and grateful to Melinda for her design and graciousness in offering it free to those of us who signed up in the beginning. But now that I know her designs and instructions, I wouldn't be at all adverse to paying for any of her patterns. 
 Arrows

Quivers

Keep on crocheting. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Afghans

I have developed arthritis in my right hand knuckle right below the index finger. Unfortunately, my body seems to be on a down hill trip since I turned 75 in May of 2015. I found, however, that the knuckle can tolerate crocheting; so crocheting it is for now.  Ravelry has a number of crochet communities and by searching I found Melinda Miller Designs. And thus the project Mr. Ghan. Crochet has not been my thing since the 5th Grade when I was forced to crochet a pillow insert with No. 10 crochet cotton. Me thinks a pot holder would have been much better for a first crochet project. My mother wasn't much help either since she was a knitter. Finally her girlfriend took pity on me and helped me cheat a bit. I know the basics: single, half double, double, and triple crochet and was able to make simple Granny squares and the ubiquitous shell baby blanket. But otherwise I side stepped anything crochet. So now I've decided that maybe I should put that prejudice aside and learn a few tricks. Melinda's Afghan crochet-along gave me that little kick in the derriere I needed. I even bought Red Heart yarn since I can't imagine hand washing a blanket made with all wool. Each Friday will bring a new rectangle. The first one is done, with just a little hand holding from my youngest daughter and I am proud of it. Didn't know you could do such fancy things with the simple double crochet stitch. The photos aren't the best. They were taken inside where it is almost as dark and dreary as it is outside.

Instead of saying "Knit on, merrily", I suppose it'll have to be "Crochet on, merrily."  

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The evolution of a scarf

I haven't been knitting much lace in the last year because of the tremors I had developed and it was difficult to knit intricate patterns.  It was just too bothersome to get the needle through the correct stitch. But I mentioned this problem to my doctor and he had a miracle cure: a very low dose of a Beta blocker. Low and behold, the shaking stopped. It's amazing what little inconvenient things can crop up once you've hit 75. Luckily all my ailments are mechanical; no heart, blood pressure, kidney, etc. problems, just plain old arthritis and those darn "essential tremors." They really ought to be renamed "non-essential" since one really doesn't need them.

I am a sucker for Knit-Alongs. So this year, I decided to knit Unikatissima's Advent Calendar.  I had two yarns from which to choose, a lace-weight Alpaca and a light fingering hand-spun Shetland/Alpaca. Here are my swatches:
 This is the lace-weight Alpaca
Shetland/Alpaca

Since it was a particularly cool day, I chose the Shetland/Alpaca mix. Besides, there are few occasions in my life style where I would benefit from a delicate and elegant shawl.

Day 1 looked like this:
Day 2:
Day 10:

Day 12:
This is the insert in the middle of the scarf to lengthen it to your liking. The nice thing about Susann's patterns is that they are adaptable and one can make them wider, narrower, or knit them with a cotton yarn to make a table runner. I am seriously thinking about knitting her 2014 Advent Calendar as a table runner.

Since it is still December 13, I am now sitting down and knitting the 18 rows, a manageable daily portion.

Knit on, merrily.

Friday, October 9, 2015

And another sweater!

I can't believe it, but I have entered the stage of knitting sweaters willingly. I've always knit them for charity, but rarely for myself.  Well that had to change. 

So here is my second winter pullover. Barbara Walker's book on knitting from the top down mysteriously reappeared from the netherworld of my knitting book library. I have no idea when I bought the book, but it has been several years ago. I must have looked at it, saw that it was nothing but text and, therefore, put it aside quickly. This German likes her charts. Give me a chart and I am ready to go. On the other hand give me text, and I'll avoid it like the plague.

Last winter (early 2014) I decided that I needed to conquer this short-coming of mine. I had a five-ball bag of Regia Hand-dye Effect sock yarn which I picked up for very little at Little Knits  and thus this sweater was born. It did end up in a corner for a good year, before I decided maybe I needed to continue with it since I wasn't going to knit socks with the yarn. About midway through, a skein of hand-dyed grass green sock yarn made it's appearance by peaking out of a pile of yarn. And thus the green stripes were born. I call it yarn doodling instead of doodling on paper during those long ago boring staff meetings in which I tried to emulate the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.

(I assume by now you have figured out that I am not the most organized person. I used to blame it on the cat, but, alas, he is no longer around. Sammy used to carry off yarn to his own special hiding place.)

The pullover is a dream to wear. It is light weight, warm and fits well.  I may just have to use Barbara Walker's instructions again, provided I remember where I put the book.

I added two things to the instructions. A series of short-rows right after I joined the front and back together to compensate for my slightly rounded back. I also added a few stitches on both sides of the front to accommodate my ample bosom. And finally, I finished with picot edgings around the neck, hem and sleeves.




 
 Knit on! Merrily.
 

Monday, September 28, 2015

I've been busy preparing for winter. It's going to get cold around here, the snow is going to pile up and the heating bill can only be kept down by wearing warm sweaters. When I first came to the United States all those many years ago, every house I entered was overheated in my opinion. But gradually the thermometer in my house went up and air conditioning was installed and turned on the moment summer temperatures appeared. Now I am back to what it was like years ago: the air conditioning was not turned on this summer and the winter heat is set at 62 degrees F. Thus the need for warm woolly things. And I was a lucky woman. My not so local yarn store (not much is local around here) had a "clean up the store" sale. If you bought three bags of yarn, the purchase was 50% off. This meant, of course, that I could buy yarn after which I had lusted for a long time. Bunny yarn or more formally called Angora yarn. Yippee. I was able to get my hands on a bunch of Knitting Fever Angora (70% Angora, 25% Merino and 5% Nylon). It is soft, light weight and warm. It is just right for the milder Fall weather and when deep winter comes along, a Tee underneath will keep this old woman warm.

I chose Heidi Kirrmaier's Simple Summer Tweed Top Down V-neck as the basic pattern with changes needed for my ample bosom. As usual I added stitches once the depth of the arm was knitted. The other problem I have to deal with is my somewhat rounded back. Normal patterns always make the back appear a little shorter than the front. The idea came to me to add some short rows in the back which worked out beautifully. I started the short rows right after I had joined the body at the underarms. So now I have a "drapey", sloppily comfortable sweater. 
 




Now if I could just straighten up that posture of mine.

Knit on! Merrily.

Friday, August 28, 2015

More Socks

Some more of the socks I've knit in the past year-and-a-half.

These were knit with a strand of Cascade 220 Fingering and a strand of Regia Creativ. The Regia yarn was a sock blank died by Regia. It's the yarn I love to hate. Sock blanks aren't my favorite to begin with, but these were dyed at a diagonal with one color at either end of the blank and the second color in the middle, which actually knits up to half the sock in one color and the foot in the second color. Weird! But at a sale price of about $2 per100 grams, I just couldn't pass up the bargain. When mixed with the  Cascade it doesn't look too bad.

The pattern is the basic sock pattern I have known since "Hector was a Pup." The leg is a simple cuff of k2, p2 and the rest of the leg k3, p1. The foot is knit with a flap heel (my favorite) and the toes are knit with the following formula: No. of stitches on one of the four double point needles less 2 stitches. If each of the four needles holds 14 stitches, the formula is as follows: 14-2+12. Dividing the 12 stitches by 2 = 6. Decrease 4 stitches every other row six times, then decrease the same no. of stitches every row until 2 stitches remain on each needle. Break off yarn, pull yarn through the remaining 8 stitches, tighten and pull end of yarn to the wrong side and sew in. If the stitches on the needle are an uneven no., e.g. 15 stitches, decrease 7 times x every other row and  6 times every row. Simple and no Kitchener stitch.

The second pair, a pair of knee socks,  is also knit with 2 strands of yarn; one strand of light worsted JoJoland Baritone (a leftover from a sweater I knit for a girl at the Akkol orphanage) and 1 strand Knitpicks Stroll Heathers and Twists sock yarn. I inserted a 2x2 left leaning cable with 1 purl stitch on each side of the cable and 6 stitches stockinette in between the cables. The cables are my own design; I think the overall sock pattern was someone else's idea but darn if I remember where I saw it.

As always "Knit on!", merrily.