Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Some Sewing

My sewing machine is feeling more loved. I actually unpacked it from 2 weeks of sitting in its rolling case after attending a quilting group. And I sewed some blocks for Home of the Brave quilt project -- 10 of them actually. These quilts are sent to comfort loved ones who have lost soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan. The blocks -- Cross X or Album -- are really easy to make. You can find instructions to make a block or two here.

I did do some knitting over the weekend as well. My Trekking XXL sock is coming along. I did find the beginning of the repeat for the yarn so my second sock will be very similar in colour striping to the first sock. Yeah!! I only knit about 1 1/2" of ribbing before realizing that the colour was repeating so not much time wasted!

I started another hat for the Dulaan Project. This is a mock earflap hat knit on 3.5mm needles using worsted weight 100% wool yarn. The earflaps are made by knitting short rows back and forth which results in flaps that are smaller than ones that would be knit and then added on to the hat. I chose a pattern from one of my Japanese Knitting Books to use in the plain part of the hat. I am really liking how it is turning out and it is not difficult to knit. Yeah!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

One Sock Down

I have completed one sock from the Trekking XXL yarn I received for my birthday. As you can imagine I haven't worked on much else. I started it on Sunday and finished yesterday (Thursday) so I figure 5 days to make one sock isn't too bad!! Onto the next one. I did notice in pictures of others socks made from Trekking that the two socks do not match. Being the perfectionist that I am ... I am hoping that this doesn't bother me too much. I just love the colours!

I did finish a preemie baby hat to go with the little dress I finished last week. I am debating whether I should make some booties to go with this outfit our just send it off as is. I am thinking the dress is a not long enough to cover the babies feet so booties may be in order. The only problem is I don't have a pattern to make booties that small ...

I am still looking through my Japanese knitting books and trying decide which patterns to try first. I have swatched 4 of them so far and just love the intricacy. I want to make a baby sweater for my friend Linda who is due at the beginning of June using a couple of the patterns. I am just waiting to finish my socks and a pair of booties (if I decide to make them) before heading into a new -- and challenging -- project.

Check out Stitches of Violet to see some of her progress with a pattern from a Japanese knitting book she purchased. Just beautiful!

Monday, March 19, 2007

I couldn't help myself and started knitting up the Trekking XXL sock yarn that I bought last weekend. I am liking how the colours are coming out and am doing a really simple pattern. I am using Marguerite's Basketweave sock pattern but only doing a simple rib (3 knit 1 purl) instead of the basketweave pattern. I figured the pattern would get lost in the all the colours of the yarn.
Onto the finished pile I put the baby sweater I had been working on (newborn size) and the preemie burial dress (1 - 2lb preemie). You can really see the difference between the two sizes in the picture. It is really hard to imagine a baby that small and tiny and perfect!
Newborn Baby Sweater
Yarn: James C. Brett Marble
Needles: Size 3.5mm
Pattern: Seamless Yoked Sweater by Carole Barenys
Preemie Burial Dress
Yarn: Lion Brand Baby Soft Twinkle Print
Needles: Size 3.5mm
Pattern: Sleeper Sack by Debbie
I plan on making hats for both the above outfits. Probably when I get tired of working on my socks!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Good and The Ugly

Good morning. I hope everyone is having a wonderful day! My weekend was awesome. My wonderful husband chauffeured me around all day in Seattle. I never (I mean maybe once a year) go to Seattle -- the big city -- because of all the one way streets, traffic and just plain unfimiliarity of the place is daunting to me. So for my birthday I asked to go to 4 different yarn shops in Seattle and also to the Japanese bookstore, Kinokuniya. The yarn shops I visited were Hilltop Yarns, Weaving Works -- where I bought the pink Cotton Fleece and Trekking XXL sock yarn -- So Much Yarn -- where I bought 5 skeins of teal coloured Silky Wool, and Stitches.
At the book store I bought two very cool Japanese stitch pattern books. And I couldn't help myself so I started playing around with some of the patterns in them. You need to remember that these books are written completely in Japanese so there is no hope of actually "reading" anything but thankfully all the patterns are charted. The trick is figuring out what the different symbols mean. Again this isn't too hard since the back of both books have pictures of how to knit some of the symbols, but not all. It is definitely challenging.

The next two pictures are from the Knitting Patterns Book 250

The next two pictures are from the Knitting Patterns Book 300

If you are at all interested in Japanese pattern books, Marguerite of Stitches of Violet has some wonderful entries (and pictures) on her blog of Japanese books she has purchased.

Fleegle's Blog also has some great pictures and ideas on Japanese knitting.

So that was the very good -- now the ugly. I started a preemie baby gown last week since there seems to be so many requests for these lately (very sad). I started with Debbie's Sleeper Sack pattern for the top and then decided to make the bottom a skirt rather than a bag. After putting the sleeve stitches onto holders, I worked 1 inch in stockinette and then did k2tog, yo across to make eyelette holes. After that I increased in each stitch to make the skirt a little more full. From the book Knitting Stitches by Mary Webb I chose a pretty flower pattern to do the skirt in. Now for the ugly ... I wanted to add a ruffle on the bottom but didn't really know how so I just increased in each stitch and then knit for another 3/4 inch or so. That didn't work as you can see from the picture. I think I will just rip the ruffle part out and cast off. Will have to work on the "ruffle" stuff on another project.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Where do you find comfort?

I can not believe that another week has passed me by. Each time I post to this blog I tell myself that I will not wait a whole week to post again. And what has happened ... it's been another week!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3,4

The above verse from 2 Corinthians was the verse of the day for March 8th. I can relate to this verse and this is one reason that I make so many items for charity ... my hope is that in the same way God comforted me through the loss of my 5 1/2 month old daughter, I would also be able to, in some small way, comfort other women and families going through a tragedy in their lives. Whether it is a loss of a child, loss of a job, poverty, single parent, and the list could go on and on. Some believe that if you have a personal relationship with Jesus that "comfort" means no trouble. This is completely untrue. I believe that God uses the tragedies in our lives to grow us and mold us into the person He wants us to be. And like the above verse states, allows us to use the trials we have gone through to relate to other people going through similar circumstances. God does not cause these troubles, but through our own bad choices or others' bad choices we suffer.

I did go on a women's retreat last weekend and had a good time. Retreats are not really my thing as I would much rather stay home (in my own comfort zone with my own "stuff"). I did get to know a couple of the women there much better and really did enjoy myself. I had stated in my last post that I wanted to finish the baby sweater and maybe a hat at the retreat ... well, as you can probably guess, that didn't happen .... guess I was having too much fun!

There was also a request from Amy who is in a hospital in Idaho on bed rest due to complications in her pregnancy for burial items and any newborn items. The hospital is in desperate need of these so this will be my next project. To work on at least one or two more burial items. Here are a couple of patterns to get you started if you want to make something.

And the quilt design that I posted a few weeks ago is coming along ... slowly but surely. I have most of the 3 1/2" half square triangles sewn but not all trimmed to size. And I have started on the blocks. I figure if I do all 16 blocks at once I will have a better chance of finishing the quilt top. I know myself ... If I finish 2 or 3 blocks and can see what the resulting quilt will look like, I will have less motivation to finish. Wish me luck :-)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Basket Weave Blanket

Yarn: Sport weight yarn (I used Bernat Softee Baby)
Needles: 4 mm (US6)
Finished Size: Approximately 14" x 14"
To make this blanket larger cast on more stitches in multiples of 4.

CO = Cast On
sts = Stitches
K = Knit
P = Purl
YF = Yarn Forward
YB = Yarn Back
Sl2 = slip 2 stitches purlwise

CO 94 stitches
Knit 6 rows in garter stitch (knit every row)
Start Pattern
Row 1: K7, *yf, sl2, yb, k2; repeat from * till 5 sts remain, K5
Row 2: K4, Purl till 4 sts remain, K4
Row 3: K5, *yf, sl2, yb, k2; repeat from * to last 7 sts, yf, sl2, yb, k5
Row 4: K4, Purl till 4 sts remain, K4

Repeat the above rows until blanket is desired length minus about an inch.

Knit 6 rows in garter stitch (Knit each row)
Bind Off and weave in ends.

Not Another ...

... Snow Day. Are you kidding me? I think we are up to 9 days to make up at the end of the year. At this rate our kids will be going to school til the middle of July. I have to admit though, that I love seeing the snow. It makes the yard look so pretty by covering up all the weeds and junk with a pure white layer of fluffy stuff! And the kids really enjoyed (probably their last) romping in the snow with their friends.

I sewed the seams on the boys burial outfit this morning and also took a picture.
Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby
Needles: 3.5mm and 3.75mm (US 4 and 5)
Pattern: Boys Burial Outfit by me

The blanket is also done in Bernat Softee Baby and size 4mm (US6) needles. It is about 14" square. I will post the pattern in a bit.

The seamless top down sweater is coming along nicely. I have put the sleeve stitches on holders and am now working on the body. Here's a picture of what I have finished so far.
Yarn: James C. Brett Marble in Denim
Needles: 3.5mm (US4)
Pattern: Seamless Yoked Sweater by Carole Barenys that used to be free on the internet. The 5 hour baby sweater is a similar pattern.
Size: Newborn

I hope to have it completed (and maybe a hat) at the retreat I am going to this weekend. Yippee --- no cooking or cleaning for me just lots of worshiping God, making new friends and catching up with old friends.