Knitting time

I couldn’t stand it any longer.  After a two month break from playing with yarn I just had to pick up the needles again.  I’ve been occupied with Ravelry again versus my blog.  Here’s my latest project (almost finished!)…

I’ve been thinking about giving this cowl as a gift.

And I’ve been drooling over so many other patterns for my next knit project!

Don’t worry…tomorrow is June 1st and in a few short hours the cooking-through challenge category will be revealed… 🤔

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Create my Own or Follow Along?

Crochet Alongs (CAL) and Knit Alongs (KAL) are all the rage these days (along with all those ‘Temperature Blankets’ which seems like everyone is doing!).  With the world wide web and the ability to reach people everywhere, the connections to others with the same interests as you have become so easy.

Since I learned to crochet and knit I’ve become more aware of everything that is to be found on the web.  So many patterns (FREE!) and groups of people who have the same interests have drawn me to various sites with great enthusiasm.

Although my intentions were well meaning last year I just couldn’t keep up with two afghan CALs which I found online.  I even began one of them and started making some of the pieces for the afghan but it wasn’t long before life just took over and I stopped following along (I have those crocheted pieces somewhere among my yarn items!).  This month I’ve found a few which interest me and one that will begin next month which I would like to create.  I’m not buying any yarn for the project; just using what I have hidden in my rather large stash.  I don’t know how well I will be able to keep up with this project because it is making squares which must be joined together at the end.  I’m finding that doesn’t work so well for me.  I began making large granny squares a few years ago and still haven’t completed them for the afghan which I wanted to create.  Putting together granny squares for an afghan just seems overwhelming for me.  I love those crocheted and knitted one piece seamless projects which can be used once I get them off the hooks and needles.  Do you find that you enjoy those as well?

I started to think about creating my own ‘Chaotic Crochet Along’ for others to follow here on my site.  I want to do something different then what most others are doing.  Something easy and not too overwhelming but fun!  I recently started a Pentagon-shaped throw which is fun.  It is one piece which means that when it is completed I can use it immediately!  If I was a full time stay at home woman I probably would get those granny square projects completed but that isn’t the case for me.  I work full time (in a city 35 miles from home) and only get to enjoy my knitting and crocheting in the evenings/weekends and days off work.

Crochet certainly uses up more yarn than knitting does so it is a great stash-buster for you.  Would you enjoy something like that?  I know that so many other websites and groups have CALs and KALs so it’s a tough market to get into these days! (lol)

Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts below.

Thanks for stopping in and reading my rants!

Blue Jay Cowl of Winter

It seems like ‘Seed Stitch’ gets a lot of attention for knitting cowls and many other items.

It is a beautiful stitch but I wanted to create something a little different than all the other patterns I seem to find.

And I wanted to create another warm and cozy cowl for myself.

After looking through a Knit Stitch Book I found the Rice Stitch.  It is a simple yet beautiful stitch for knitting.

I chose Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn in the Blue Jay color for this project and the Blue Jay Cowl of Winter was born!

The Rice Stitch is simple to follow:

CO a multiple of 2 stitches plus one|(CO=cast on)

Row 1 (Right side): P1,*k1 tbl, p1; rep from * to end|(P=Purl); (k1 tbl=Knit 1 through the back loop); (rep=repeat)

Row 1 (Wrong side): Knit

Rep rows 1 and 2 for Rice Stitch

To work it for circular knitting you just switch row 2 to Purl Stitches rather than Knit Stitches.

In doing this I created the following pattern for my Blue Jay Cowl of Winter:

I cast on 120 stitches to a 10 mm (29″) circular needle.  The reason I cast on an even number is when I began knitting Row 1 I actually Purled the first two stitches together for a tighter join.  In doing this I reduced the stitches down to 119 which is the odd number needed for the Rice Stitch pattern.  If you don’t want to do this, just cast on 119 (or whatever amount you want as long as it is a multiple of 2 stitches plus one which to me says “odd number”) 🙂

Then I continued with Row 1 as follows: *k1 tbl, p1; rep * to end

Row 2: Purl all stitches

Continue with knitting as follows:

Row 1: P1,*k1 tbl, p1; rep from * to end

Row 2: Purl all stitches

As the rice stitch pattern continues you will see beautiful bumps on the front of your work like this:

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If you look at the back you will see beautiful rows of knit stitches like this:

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I continued until I had 8 bumps per vertical row and decided that the width was good for me.

I then did Row 1 again and followed that by binding off in a purl-2-together decrease bind off  which is done by purling 2 together and then taking the stitch on the right needle and placing it over on the left needle and continuing that same method to the end.

When completed my cowl measures approximately 5 1/2″ in width which includes the co and bo edges.  I used 1 1/2 skeins of my super bulky yarn.

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I am able to wrap it around my neck twice for a warm, cozy but not too-tight, fit.

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‘3 Ridges & 2 Valleys Over’ Knit Dishcloth

I’m truly in my element when I’m at home; away from other people and the chaos in the world.

I’m currently on my Thanksgiving Break from work and in the peace and quite which I am able to obtain in the solitude of my home I have created my first knit pattern.

It is a quick-knit item which is simplistic and yet it is unique and useful.

I have created the ‘3 Ridges & 2 Valleys Over’ Knit Dishcloth.

I used nearly one skein of Lily Sugar ‘n Cream 2 oz. 100% cotton yarn in the Red White & Blue color with 5 mm knitting needles.

It includes an I-cord edge and the Decrease Bind Off (which is a stretchy bind off).

As you knit this dishcloth you will notice that it will take several rows before the I-cord edge reveals itself and you will be pleasantly surprised as its beauty.

To begin, you may cast on any odd number of stitches (I cast on 53 stitches because I make my dishcloths larger than normal due to the shrinkage which will occur after the first time I wash and dry them in my dryer).  I use the Knit Cast On method, but you may use any method you enjoy.

Rows 1 through 6: Knit all stitches to the last 3 stitches; sl3 wyif (slip 3 with the yarn in front)

Row 7: Knit 3; Purl to last 3 stitches; sl3 wyif

Rows 8 through 14: Knit all stitches to the last 3 stitches; sl3 wyif

Continue Knitting Pattern by repeating Rows 7 through 14 until desired length is obtained.

To Bind Off in the Decrease Bind Off method you will do the following:

K2tog tbl (Knit 2 together through the back loop), slip that stitch back to the left needle and continue to the end of the row.   Cut your yarn and weave in the ends.

If you are crunched for time for a homemade gift, you will find that you can create several of these in a short time period.

Happy dish washing!

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Squshy Blanket update

In July I posted about a Garter Stitch Blanket which I had begun; in this post.

I’ve been knitting feverishly away at this since that time and I’m nearly finished with it.

It is so warm and squshy and I absolutely love this blanket!  It is rather wide (approx. 4 feet) and nearly 5 feet in length.  I’m aiming for around 6 feet so that I can completely immerse myself in it on the sofa!! 😉

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A Cool Knitted/Crocheted-Creation Idea

I recently read this on the LionBrand website about a Temperature Blanket.

The idea is not new to me; I’ve read about this concept before, regarding a scarf, and I know someone who is currently making a blanket using the concept too.

I really think that it is a cool idea for a blanket and I just created a temperature chart which I could use for where I live in Pennsylvania:

<0*

1*-32*

33*-50*

51*-74*

75*-85*

86*-99*

100*+

Too bad I didn’t start this project on January 1st because due to the varied weather we’ve been having this calendar-year I’d have quite a colorful blanket.  Our temperatures have been on a crazy roller coaster and our summer is extremely hot and humid which is quite unusual for our area (I think this Winter may be very cold and snowy too).  There is no set time to begin such a project so I may begin it on the first day of Winter 2016 (December 21) and continue until the final day of Autumn 2017 (December 20) so that I create a seasonal-year blanket versus documenting a calendar-year.  And even if I am unable to knit/crochet each day I would document the temperatures which we have at our home (either choose the high or low for each day or choose to put colors in for both the high and low for that day; I would choose one of those to keep consistent throughout the project) and then I could add to the blanket when I have time.

As I ponder this idea and try to determine the colors to use I think I will choose much of what is found in a rainbow.

Here are my current choices on colors-

<0* [gray]

1*-32* [purple]

33*-50* [blue]

51*-74* [green]

75*-85* [yellow]

86*-99* [orange]

100*+ [red]

I can’t guarantee that I will even get to begin this project any time soon but a girl can daydream; can’t she??

 What are your ideas?

Enjoying Summer

I’ve been busy just relaxing this summer and haven’t been writing or even taking many photos.  Staying in the air-conditioning is the perfect rx for this time of the year and I am looking forward to Autumn with all its colors and cooler temps.  Our garden is keeping us busy with a bounty of food and beautiful sunflowers for the birds to eat.

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I’ve also been baking goodies and knitting.  I have a shawl on knitting needles which I work on from time to time and I’ve begun a blaze-orange knitted hat for my husband (finished one for myself) and yesterday I just had to begin knitting a simplistic but beautiful blanket using the garter stitch and i-cord edge and it is going to be a yarn-eater so that I can reduce my rather large yarn stash.

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I found this very popular “Garter Squish” blanket pattern on Ravelry.com and here is the information I have composed so far, which will explain it to you:

Name: “Delorable” Garter Squshy

I chose this name because I think this is going to be both ‘delicious’ and ‘adorable.’😉

After days of viewing all of the beautiful ones that other Ravelers have made (and constantly thinking about this project-even while working!), I just had to stop working on my other knitted items to at least get this started. I have so very much yarn (majority is acrylic) and I want to reduce my stash. Everyone says that this project will do just that and it is a simplistic but beautiful project with the garter stitch (some days I just want something simple to knit). I can’t wait for this to be complete! Will add photos as I go along on this and hope to have it complete by the time ‘old man winter’ sets in here in the Mid-Atlantic (sounds like it may be another cold and snowy winter for us!).

Game Plan:

  • Organize/group my yarns by color family
  • Knit with two strands help together
  • Use a yarn from each color family which is an ombre/gradient along side of a solid in that same color family
  • Use Russian Join method for attaching yarns to each other
  • The width of each color segment will be determined by the yarn as I go along in this project. I think with various widths of color segments the blanket will look much better than having each segment the same width. We shall see what pattern emerges from the yarn!:)

Specs:

  • CO 146 with the Knitted Cast On Method; began 07/30/2016

Observations:

  • Though I am knitting with 100% acrylic yarns, which can be rough and unforgiving, I’ve noticed that the blanket seems to be softer and squshy due to the thickness of two strands being knitted together versus a single strand. Many of the yarns which I have, and want to use up, are older acrylics which are quite rough and seem to only be good enough for blankets or bags. I believe this is just the perfect project for those types of yarns which keep laying around in stashes all around the globe and are begging to be used. Before disposing of them, please consider this project.

Color Order:

  • Grays-07/30/2016
  • Blues-07/30/2016
  • (I will continue to update this section as I add each color family to the blanket)

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As you can see from this closer image, the i-cord edge is just adorable, isn’t it?!

My Hook and Needle Story

My Mother was a creator and lover of all things pertaining to sewing and needle crafts; especially creating clothing for herself and her family and crocheting many blankets/afghans.  For as far back as I can remember, in my childhood home, there were crochet hooks, yarn, lots of material, notions and other odds and ends which she salvaged (she always kept buttons and zippers from everything and salvaged other material items to become something else.  “Use it up.”).  It was a very passionate hobby for my Mother.

As a child, I enjoyed playing outside and being with friends (no computers or electronics).  I did not have much interest in sewing, crochet or other needle crafts, although I had learned to sew, cross-stitch and latch hook at some point in my youth.  I never picked up those gorgeous colorful crochet hooks which my Mother used like magic wands.  I often watched her crochet and I was fascinated by what she created.  As I got older, I sewed more (and eventually she gave me one of her vintage Singer sewing machines) but that became the extent of my needlework endeavors.

After my Mother passed away there was so much yarn which she never got the opportunity to use.  And her many crochet hooks and knitting needles were sitting idle.  She would never again get to use them and I just couldn’t give them to anyone else.

A friend of mine, a young first-time Mother herself, had learned to crochet at some point before her pregnancy.  She created so many beautiful things for her baby and herself and I fell in love with crochet, again.  A spark ignited in me, finally!  I needed to learn those arts which I missed out on learning before.

One Autumn, at my Mother’s birthday, I decided to finally take that yarn and those crochet hooks and learn.  It was something I really wanted to learn and I wanted to do it in memory and honor of my Mother.  Learning at her birthday was perfect and I felt that she was helping me to make those stitches from Heaven.  She had wanted me to learn once, but it just didn’t happen.  Now it finally was coming to fruition.  Those crochet hooks were once again creating and I know that my Mother was proud of me using them.  I have continued to crochet and enjoy creating.

The following year after learning to crochet, at my Mother’s birthday once again, I decided to pick up her knitting needles and yarn and began to learn to knit.  It was something that I really wanted to learn since all of those knit items I was seeing were so attractive to me.  I really enjoy knitting as well.  As I gathered her knitting needles, I saw that she had begun to knit something although I don’t know what she was planning to create.  I still  have that unfinished item on the needles and hope to turn it into something someday.  I don’t recall my Mother knitting when I lived with my parents so I think it was something new which she was currently learning at the time of her death.  I haven’t found any completed knitted items, yet, in my parent’s home.

My Mother’s huge stash of yarn ended up in my home and I still have much of it and it is being used for crocheted and knit items.  Every time she and I would go shopping someplace, especially to a craft store, she just had to buy yarn, sewing material or other notions.

I am so very thankful that I have learned these two priceless needle crafts.  I enjoy creating with yarn, hooks and needles just as my Mother did.  Now I do understand my Mother’s crazy obsession for yarn and it is catchy!  I always look at yarn whenever I go to a store. 🙂

I have created many items for myself and others.  Among them I’ve made baby items, blankets, scarves, hats, cowls, amigurumi, shawls, doilies and dish cloths.  There’s so much more which I want to create (thanks to Ravelry.com and the internet with millions of free patterns and tips (oh, and YouTube videos to help too)!).  I now wish I would’ve learned when my Mother was living so that we could’ve shared that too.  But I am still thankful that I have learned and it has taught me that it is never too late to learn something that you’ve wanted to do.