Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ribbon Edged Preemie Blanket

Ribbon Edged Preemie Baby Blanket

Finished Size: 12” x 12” (20” x 20”)
Yarn: Fingering Weight (Worsted Weight)
Needles: 3.25mm (4.5mm)
Gauge: Not important but approximately 30sts/inch (20sts/inch)

K = knit
P = purl
k2tog = knit two stitches together
tbl = through the back of the loop
yo = yarn over

Lace Shells:
Row 1: K1, yo, *k5, slip the 2nd, 3rd, 4rth and 5th stitches over the first stitch, yo; Repeat from * to last stitch, k1
Row 2: P1, *(p1, yo, k1tbl) in the next stitch, p1; Repeat from * to end
Row 3: K2, k1tbl, *k3, k1tbl; Repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k2
Row 4: Knit
Row 5: K1, *yo, k2tog; Repeat from * to end
Row 6: Knit
Row 7: K1, *yo, k2tog; Repeat from * to end
Row 8: Knit
Row 9: K17, k2tog, k18, k2tog, k17, k2tog, k18, k2tog, knit to end

Garter Stripes:
Row 1 (wrong side): (K3, P2); Repeat to last 3 sts, k3
Row 2: Knit

Cast on 117 stitches.
Work Lace Shells pattern.
Should have 93 stitches after all rows worked.

Work rows 1 and 2 of Garter Stripes pattern until blanket measures 11” (18”) ending with Row 2. Or however long you want your blanket to be. The lace edging is approximately 1” (1 ½”) wide.
Place all stitches on a holder or cast off (see finishing section to choose which you prefer).

Cast on 117 stitches.
Work Lace Shells pattern. Should have 93 stitches after all rows worked.
Leave these stitches on the needle or cast off (see finishing section to choose which you prefer).

To join the Lace Shells section to the blanket you can use the 3 needle bind off, kitchener stitch or sew the two cast off edges together.
Weave in ends.
Thread ribbon through the two sets of eyelet holes on each end of the blanket.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Orphanage in Africa

I have to confess that I haven't been doing much charity work lately. And I haven't been good at keeping up this blog. Probably lots of other stuff too, but you don't want to hear all my whining LOL! I can't say I will get any better at either of them but I keep telling myself even one item is a huge blessing to one person (or a family) that wouldn't have been possible before I donated it.

What I really want to tell you about is my sister. She and her family are staying in South Africa for 4 months while her husband works at a medical clinic. My sister has been helping at an orphanage near her house twice a week since they've been there. It is an amazing place and the pictures she posts on her blog - From Canada to Sundumbili - are really great. She is helping with the kids but also trying to drum up donations for Ikhaya LikaBaba Orphanage She writes on her blog that it is a real uphill battle since the need in South Africa is so great and the number of businesses that can afford to donate supplies and money are so small. If you would be interested in mailing baby and toddler clothes, baby items, health care items the address to send the items to is on the Ikhaya LikaBaba website. You can also make monetary donations from their website as well. I sent one package and it took about 2 1/2 weeks to get there. I am planning to sew up a few more blankets and pick up some more outfits from the discount stores to mail in the coming weeks.

Have you read the book "The Shack"?? If not, I highly recommend reading it! It is an amazing story and really touched my life. It has given me a different perspective on life in a few areas and made me realize I need to be a bit less "structured" and "controlling". I think that is one of the reasons I haven't been making quite so many charity items lately. I new I really needed a bit of a break but the "guilt" kept getting in the way of the break time. I know not everyone agrees but I think I need to make some things for me and my family as well as for others. I kept having that nagging thought that I don't "need" anything and there are so many who do need things that I couldn't make anything for me. I found myself being overwhelmed by the needs of the world and wanting to fix everything - which is completely impossible on my own. I hate seeing people suffer and, if I could, I would make it all better (like everyone else would) but I can't. So I need to chill out and relax a bit. I really am enjoying spinning and knitting and sewing more since I've relaxed a bit --- though some of my friends would say "not enough"!

So what have I been doing since the last blog posting. More spinning ....

Green/Teal yarn is two ply handspun 100% merino. Probably about a sport weight yarn and I have no idea what to do with it. I have 315 yards of it but it is really bright. I could just save it to squish every now and again.

This grey/blue/tan yarn is 50% merino and 50% silk three ply using the navajo plying method. It's a bit heavier than the green but still a sport weight. I started to make socks with it but not sure that's what I really want to make. You can see what the fiber looks like before spinning in the background. It's called "sea mist".

The brown/teal/blue yarn still on the spool is roving purchased from FatCatKnits on etsy and is called Eureka Springs - 100% merino and nice and soft. It's spinning up beautifully. I also purchased some other merino roving that is dyed with natural plant material and I want to do one ply of that with 2 plys of this Eureka Springs. Love experimenting with colour so looking forward to how that will turn out. I don't have the natural dyed roving yet (maybe today) and it's purchased from NatchWoolie on Etsy as well.

This dark brown yarn is spun from 50% sheep wool and 50% alpaca. I thought it would be much softer than it is, but it will be super great for the sweater I'm making. I purchased 2lbs of it to spin and have spun about 1lb of it already. It is 2 ply and about worsted weight. I tried 3plying it but didn't like how it felt so I went with the 2ply yarn. The sweater I'm making from it is called Gaelic Mist by Lisa Lloyd in her book A Fine Fleece. Wonderful book with so many neat patterns. She lists requirements for handspun yarn and also suggests a commercially available yarn to use as well. I can see myself making more patterns from her book.

And I finished my first handspun/handknit socks. This is the cable twist sock pattern from Hello Yarn. The pattern is very easy and the socks turned out lovely with a bit of shine in the yarn from the bamboo. I'm really happy with them and they feel good to wear.

I also went on a quilt retreat with my mom. It was so much fun to spend time with my mom doing something that we both enjoy a lot. I finally finished my queen size quilt and it is not proudly displayed on my bed. That's the biggest quilt I've ever made and it really wasn't hard to quilt it on my table top Bernina. I also made a small wall hanging from some of the Japanese fabric I purchased from Japan last June. I will post pictures next time (and hopefully it won't be a month from now).

And I'm working on knitting a baby blanket. It's a really great stitch pattern and I'll post that next time as well.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Getting Better

... at spinning that is. I finished knitting my first handspun yarn (the blue and grey plied stuff from the last post) into a pillow for our family room. I was short a tiny bit so I spun a bit more so I could finish the pillow.

My second try at spinning was to spin up this 100% wool yarn that I bought from The Weaving Works in Seattle called Mojave. It was such a pretty red with orange, gold, and purple bits throughout. It is so soft that you can't even tell it is wool. At least compared to the first stuff I spun, which you couldn't use next to your skin. Very rough stuff, but easy to spin since it sticks together so well.

This is turning into Aibhlinn and is about 1/2 way finished. I can sure tell that I got better at spinning since the first ball was quite thick (probably bulky weight) and now this next ball has very thin areas that could be fingering weight and definitely sport weight. I started with 8oz of fiber and ended up with 378 yards of yarn.

A few weeks ago I went to St. Distaff's day in Lake Stevens, WA. There were lots of spinners there and vendors too. I bought two 4oz "hunks" (what do you call it anyway?) of roving that was hand dyed by Emma of DragonFibers.

The first is 100% BFL called Potluck. Very, very soft and squishy and the colours that I love. Teal, blue, green, and a bit of gold/yellow. My daughter wanted to keep it all braided up and use it as a scarf LOL!

The second is 60 merino 30 bamboo and 10 nylon and is specifically for socks. And ooohhhh so squishy, soft, and SLIPPERY - yikes! It was a challenge to spin, that's for sure!

After spinning 8oz of roving and only getting 378 yards I was thinking there was no way I was going to get enough yardage to make socks out of only 4oz. I ended up with two pretty full bobbins and I had a ray of hope that I would have enough.

Forging on, I plied the two bobbins together and at the end of it all ended up with 362 yards of sport weight (for the most part) yarn. Enough for a pair of socks.

Now I am wondering if the yarn is strong enough for socks. Looking at the singles, they looked like they had lots of twist - I tried to add extra because I knew the yarn needs to be sturdy for socks. After plying the singles seem to loose all their twist and the resulting yarn is fluffy. Logic says this is because you ply in the opposite direction to spinning the single, but I'm really not sure. Anyway, I'm chalking this all up to learning experience and will make Cable Twist Socks from the yarn and see how they wear.

I had some yarn left of one of the bobbins so I attempted to Navajo ply the rest of this yarn. That is definitely a challenge. But I loved how the yarn came out. It was plied much tighter than the 2 ply I did and would have made a much better yarn for the socks. The only problem is you use up more yarn because it ends up being 3ply rather than 2ply.

As you can see there is no knitting pictures, no charity pictures, nothing other than spinning! I'M ADDCITED!!! It really is fun and enjoyable!