Monday, January 18, 2010

Sock Knitting & Tasha Update

I don't think I've mentioned it here on my blog, but anyone who knows me through the e-mail lists I'm on knows what a sock-a-holic I am! :o) I can't help it - I just have to knit socks! Until about July or August 2008, I wasn't even slightly interested. I don't know what changed, but one day I just decided to give it a go and before long I had made myself a pair of socks! :o) They fit rather well, but I've learned a few things since then - for example, I didn't knit the legs long enough before starting the short-row heel, I should have done mini gussets because they pull across the instep and I should have used a tighter gauge. I still wear my first socks because, like I said, they fit well and there's nothing quite like the feeling of your own hand-knit socks on your feet! AAAAHHHH!!! :o) Here's a pic of them:

I know they're not identical (more like fraternal) twins, but as far as I'm concerned they're still a pair and they have the same colors in them, so I wear them! Besides, if anyone gets close enough to my feet to notice, well, then they're just too close! LOL :o)

Anyway, I'm mentioning all this sock knitting now for 2 reasons:

1 - As a member of Socks For Soldiers (SFS), I'm having a Blast knitting socks for the troops! If you're interested and would like to know a little more about this Very Worthy cause, click the link in the sidebar on the right. We could use Lots more sock knitters because there are Lots of soldier feet that would Love a pair of hand-knit socks! :o)

2 - This year I plan to make a dozen pair of socks as Christmas gifts for my immediate family and by saying this "publicly" maybe I can keep myself honest and actually get it done! To help me get these socks made, I joined (yet another) list where we all Knit-A-Long on the same pattern every 2 months. I figure that I could probably make one pair a month and if I make each pattern twice, I'll have all 12 pair done in time for gift giving in December! :o) The link for this group is in the right sidebar also! :o)

Okay, now for a Tasha update: I can hardly believe it's been more than 2 months since I first brought her home from the Humane Society! My baby girl is already 6 months old and is she ever a little rascal!! LOL Yes, she's still as sweet as can be, but she's definitely developing (and attempting to assert) her own little personality! I'm beginning to wonder how many more times I have to scoot her off the dining table before she gets the hint that she's not allowed there! LOL Should I decide to have a snack while watching TV, she has taken to sitting on the arm of the couch right next to me and "inspecting" what I'm eating - as if to say, "Tasha can has some too, Yes?!!" LOL She also likes to hide around a corner and "attack" me as I pass by. And Heaven forbid that my sheet should hang to the floor - she'll get behind it and pounce on my feet as I walk around the bed! :o) She also likes to play "chase the kitty" where she'll see me coming and start running away to get me to come after her - which I do because it gives us both some exercise! She likes to be held upside down in my arms (as if I'm holding a human infant) so that she can hang her head upside down over my elbow and look around! :o) Oh yeah, there's one more thing:

She really doesn't like to be disturbed when she's napping! Look at the evil eye she gave me today when I snapped this pic! LOL I could almost hear her say, "Okay, you disturb Princess Natasha when she naps and she pesters you when you sleep tonight!" Of course, she does that every night anyway! LOL :o) She likes to jump up onto my bed and proceed to walk up my body until she's literally right in my face and then wait until I open my eyes. As soon as one eye starts to open, she begins to meow as if she wants or needs something (yeah, she needs to pester me!) and then she turns around, putting her butt in my face, and walks back down my body and jumps off the bed. :o) Of course, after the first 2 or 3 times she did this I learned that she doesn't really want or need anything - she just wants to wake me up because she's awake! :o) If I don't get out of bed (and I won't!), she'll jump back up on the bed and curl up next to me and take a nap - usually in the "V-space" behind my bent legs because I'm almost always on my right side due to left leg problems.

Oh, and we've found that she LOVES to play with rubber bands - the big, wide ones! She'll pick them up, throw them around and generally amuse herself with them for hours! Who needs to buy all those cat toys when the kitty has so much fun with rubber bands?!! :o)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So Much can happen in a year and a half!

(Warning! VERY Long post.)

I can hardly believe it's been so long since my last post to this blog! A year and a half, to be exact! WOW! SOOO Much has happened since I posted the mitten pattern that I hardly know where to begin, but I'll try to give a synopsis of what's happened between then and now.

Okay, shortly after my last post, one of my older brothers found out he had pancreatic cancer. He was very optimistic about the whole thing, but this is a cancer that never loses the battle. In the meantime, my next-younger brother and his wife of 17 years decided to get a divorce - that's a Very Long story that I won't bore you with! Suffice it to say that they just couldn't live with each other any longer without constantly fighting and my brother didn't want to continue on that way. Then (almost exactly a year ago, now), my brother with the cancer passed away. He lived in upstate New York and was wanting to come here to Florida for Thanksgiving - he never got here. My parents were devastated and that was compounded by the fact that they weren't well enough to make it to NY for his funeral. While all this is going on, Mom starts having respiratory problems and has to be rushed to the hospital every six or eight weeks - you could almost set your calendar by it.

Now we come to the beginning of 2009 and Mom & Dad's 63rd Wedding Anniversary. All my surviving brothers, my sister (and spouses where applicable), some nieces, nephews and a great-nephew or two were all here and we had a Wonderful time. My sister and more than a few others expressed concern that Mom may not be around by this Christmas because of all the trips to the hospital. In the next few months she was in and out a few more times and she finally figured out on her own what was causing it all when she read the cautionary statement on one of her medications. YUP - you guessed it - it all started when she began taking this med and as soon as she stopped it, she started getting better! She hasn't been in the hospital since June!!

On July 2nd, Dad went to his cardiologist for a routine pacemaker check-up and the Dr. put him in the hospital to find out why Dad's pulse was so high - the pacemaker is designed to keep his pulse from going as high as it did. As it turned out, Dad had stopped taking one of the medications that helped with this because he felt it was interfering with his sleep. He finally came home around 8 pm on July 21st and passed away from congestive heart failure approximately 8:10 am on July 22nd. While he was in the hospital, we learned that the trustee of the fund set up by my uncle (Mom's brother who died 5 years ago) finally got things under his control. Mom had been fighting him since her brother died because he didn't explain things to her like he should have and she got suspicious. In a nutshell, Mom hired a lawyer that apparently didn't know what she was doing and all she succeeded in accomplishing was a 5-year delay in Mom benefitting from the fund. It couldn't have come at a better time, because the cost of Dad's funeral was more than $12,000 and we just didn't have that kind of money - but the trust fund did and paid it in full!

Now here we are, finally getting some Much-needed home repairs, upgrades and appliances - all thanks to the trust fund. It's slow going because we have to wait until the "Project Foreman" (for lack of a better term) can get all the paperwork, permits and workers lined up for each job. We got the bathroom remodeled the way Mom wanted (and Needed!) it and just recently got the Central Heat & Air installed - it sure is Nice! :o) The new stove and refrigerator will be delivered and installed on Thursday, but we still don't know when the new water heater will arrive - hope it's soon because our current one is dying a slow, painful death! We've been told that the vinyl flooring for the kitchen would be done sometime this week, so we're waiting to hear on that - and the whole-house carpeting (deep tan/light brown color throughout) should begin soon thereafter. Oh yeah, and we've been painting all the rooms (slowly, but surely) because one can only look at the same color on the walls for just so many years before one gets Extremely tired of them! LOL :o) As for me, my room will still be blue - just a lighter color. I'm going from a "sorta aqua-ish Robin's Egg" blue to a Very Light smoky blue. If you can imagine a fog grey and add a bit of light blue, then you'll have an idea of the color my room will be. :o)

This brings me to a Very Happy (even Joyous!) announcement! I have a New Baby! YUP - a little baby girl! Her name is Natasha (we call her Tasha) and she's the cutest, sweetest, Most Lovable and Loving little Calico kitty in the world! Nope, I'm not biased at all! LOL :o) See for yourself:

This is my "Sweet Baby Kitty Girl" Tasha! I went to the Jacksonville Humane Society and adopted her last Wednesday afternoon. She's 14 weeks old now and she's brought a Ton of JOY to Mom (and me!) ever since she first came into the house! Of course, she's as curious as any kitten her age would be, but she doesn't "get into" things and tear them up. She seems to instinctively know that she can poke around and make this house her own, but she'll get in trouble if she gets too rambunctious! She also understands the meaning of a stern, "NO!" and will stop whatever she's doing and find something else to amuse herself with. She loves Mom to pieces and seems to realize that Mom isn't well, but that Mom is also the Head of the Household. When it comes to who she has bonded with as the "surrogate parent" (so to speak), that would be me. She follows me Everywhere and seems to need to be able to see me every waking moment! LOL She Loves to sprawl out on my bed and sleep for hours at a time, not caring whether or not I want to take a nap! If I do want to nap, I have to close my bedroom door or she won't leave me alone and will want to play! I must say, though, that she will sleep through the night - most of the time! :o)

Here she is again "in repose", showing her belly! If you look very closely, you can see where she was shaved for her "operation". She has also had all her shots, a bath and dip to be sure there's no fleas and she has a microchip so that if she's ever lost, she can be returned to us! :o) Not bad for a $50 investment, in my opinion. In most cases just the shots would cost more than twice that - not to mention the microchip and everything. Anyway, all I'm concerned with is that she has brought a Whole Lot of JOY to my Mom and that's worth Much more than any amount of money any day! :o) I think we're going to be a Very Happy family for quite a while, don't you!? LOL :o)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Panda Man's Paw Warmers


I know that most folks in the Northern Hemisphere aren't thinking about Winter now that Spring is here and Summer is rapidly approaching, but this would be a good time to start making some small items to set aside for next Winter!

Then there are those who will soon be starting their Winter, so this pattern will be posted right on time for them!

Either way, this is a very warm and easy mitten that I designed about two years ago. Because they're mostly garter stitch, they work up rather quickly also and we all like quick, easy and mindless knitting, don't we? Of course we do! :o)

These can be made in many sizes simply by changing the yarn and needles to get different gauges - without changing the pattern at all! I LOVE patterns like that and I thoroughly enjoy creating them, too! :o) And so, without further ado, I give you my Paw Warmers pattern! :o)

PANDA MAN'S PAW WARMERS
Copyright © 2006 by James G. Davis

Materials: 2-3 ozs sport, DK or worsted weight yarn; needles required for gauge; 2 stitch markers; stitch holder or waste yarn; tapestry needle for sewing.

Edited on 5/6/2008 to add:
Note on Needles: I used straight needles for these mittens, but if you want to do them on dpn's, just cast on 2 less sts and work the cuff adding the 2 sts on the last cuff rnd. After that, just remember to purl all odd-numbered rounds (starting with rnd 17) and it should work out just fine! :o)
End of edit.

NOTES:
* Size is determined by Gauge - use whatever size needles and yarn you require to obtain gauge for desired mitten size.
* Odd numbered rows (1, 5, 17, etc) are Wrong Side of mitten
* Beginning with Row 17, ALL Wrong Side (odd numbered) rows will be: K across.
* M1 (Make 1): make backward e-loop on RH needle and pull it snug (not tight)

Gauge ................ Approx. Mitten Size
6 sts = 1" ................ 4 - 6 year old
5.5 sts = 1" ............. 7 - 10 year old
5 sts = 1" ................ 11 - 13 year old
4.5 sts = 1" ............. teenager
4 sts = 1" ................ large teen - med adult

Cast On 34 sts using long-tail cast on

Rows 1 - 16: Work K2, P2 ribbing (34 sts)
Rows 17 - 25: K across (you will have 5 ridges on Right Side of mitten)
Row 26: K16, place marker, M1, K2, M1, place marker, K16 (36 sts)
Rows 28, 30, 32, 34, 36: K16, sl marker, M1, K to next marker, M1, sl marker, K16 (after Row 36 you will have 14 sts between markers)
Row 38: K16, remove marker, place next 14 sts on stitch holder or waste yarn, remove next marker, CO 2 sts on RH needle, K16 (34 sts)
Rows 39 - 63: K across (you will have 13 ridges above thumb opening on Right Side of mitten)
Row 64: K2, K2tog, (K7, K2tog) 3 times, K3 (30 sts)
Row 66: K2, K2tog, (K6, K2tog) 3 times, K2 (26 sts)
Row 68: K1, K2tog, (K5, K2tog) 3 times, K2 (22 sts)
Row 70: K1, K2tog, (K4, K2tog) 3 times, K1 (18 sts)
Row 72: K2tog, (K3, K2tog) 3 times, K1 (14 sts)
Row 74: K2tog across. (7 sts) Leaving long strand for sewing (about 18"), cut yarn and weave through remaining sts with tapestry needle and pull snugly.

Thumb
With Right Side of mitten facing, move the 14 sts from holder or waste yarn to needle and attach yarn.
Row 1 (Right Side): K1, M1, K across to last st, M1, K1 (16 sts)
Rows 2- 14: K across (you will have 7 ridges on Right Side of thumb)
Row 15: (K2, K2tog) across (12 sts)
Row 16: K across
Row 17: K2tog across (6 sts) Leaving long strand for sewing (about 8 - 10"), cut yarn and weave through remaining sts with tapestry needle and pull snugly.

Sew thumb seam and base of thumb as needed. Sew side seam.

Make another mitten to match. :o)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Long Time, No Post

Hi There! No, I haven't disappeared nor have I been assimilated by the BORG (thankfully!) - just been busy knitting for charity and spinning my own yarn!! Yes, since my last post I've learned to spin on spindles and my Ashford Kiwi spinning wheel! I Love It! :o) There's still a Lot I need to learn, but the more I do it the better I get! If you're a spinner, check out the Paradise Fibers link on the right (just under my profile) for some great deals on wool! Even if you don't spin, they have some great deals on yarns and supplies, too! :o)

Okay, so what's new? Well, I finally quit resisting and gave in! No, not to the Borg - to Ravelry! I'm patiently awaiting my invite, but there are over 5,000 people ahead of me, so I don't expect it to come any time soon! :o)

Here's a slightly radical (!?!) idea I had: try making a dishcloth with nylon plastic canvas yarn instead of cotton! {ducking as you all throw your sharpest needles at me!} Seriously, though - just give it a try! I made one about 8½ months ago and it's still going like a champ! It's a lot lighter in weight than one made with worsted cotton and scrubs like a trooper, too! Don't get me wrong, I still love my cotton dishcloths, but the one made with nylon yarn scrubs pots and pans Much better and easier without scratching them! Can't beat that! :o)

Well, I guess that's all for now. I would like to say that I'll be more diligent and regular with my posting, but I can't guarantee it. :o) I will say that I'll try to post more often with updates on what I'm creating - whether it's spinning, knitting, crocheting or designing. Oh, and speaking of designing, I have 2 baby sweater patterns that I need to get finished up so I can get them posted here. I'm thinking they'll be very affordably priced at $3 each! :o)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket in Stockinette Stitch

After testing my notes by making another of these wonderful little sweaters, I found that a few things needed some editing. I wanted to be sure everything was as accurate as possible so that nobody would have any trouble following along! :o) Now that I'm sure these Notes are correct, I feel more confident in sharing them with all of you! I hope you Enjoy making this and PLEASE consider making one for a charity of your choice! :o)

Specifics of sweater shown in photo:
Finished Chest Measurement - 19½" (buttoned)
Length - 11½" from shoulder seam to bottom of waistband
Gauge - 5 sts & 6½ rows per inch
Yarn used - Worsted Weight; about 5 ozs (143 g), 282 yds (258 m)

These NOTES are posted here with permission of Meg Swansen of School House Press, holder of the Copyright of the Original pattern by Elizabeth Zimmermann.


ELIZABETH ZIMMERMANN'S BABY SURPRISE JACKET
Original Pattern Copyright © 1968 by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Stockinette Version NOTES Copyright © 2007 by James G. Davis


Materials: Original BSJ pattern available from Schoolhouse Press; any yarn and needles* you require for desired size; 2 split-ring markers (or coilless safety pins); 2 large stitch holders or waste yarn.

*I normally use either 24" or 32" circular needles

The beauty of the original pattern is that you can use any size needles and yarn to adjust the desired/needed finished size without making ANY changes to the pattern. This should work for the stockinette version also.

Stitches I used:

Knit Row Double Decrease (kdd):
knit to within one st of marker, slip next 2 sts together knitwise, knit next st, pass the 2 slipped sts over last st made

Purl Row Double Decrease (pdd): purl to within one st of marker, slip next 2 sts together purlwise through back loops, purl next st, pass the 2 slipped sts over last st made

Make 1 Left-leaning (M1L): make e-loop on Right Hand needle in such a way that the Front strand leans to the left

Make 1 Right-leaning (M1R): make e-loop on Right Hand needle in such a way that the Front strand leans to the right

Notes on Stitches used:
Since the decreases will be on the back part of the sleeve, you can make your double decreases any way you like. I worked them as described because I wanted to keep the center stitch on the top - and I like the effect! :o)

When working into the M1L on the following row (whether knit or purl), you will need to work into the back of the stitch so that it will twist properly and avoid any "hole" that will spoil the continuity of the stockinette stitch.

The theory here was to work 4 stockinette rows for every 6 garter rows. Therefore, in order to keep the proper angles needed, you will work 3 decrease (or increase) rows, then a "plain" purl row (except as indicated) - up to the "extension" part. When the extension is complete you will finish in Garter stitch as for the Original pattern.

Cast on number of sts required using long-tail cast-on and mark sts as stated with split-ring markers (place markers Around sts indicated).

Start by working decrease rows:

Knit Row 1 (Right Side) making kdd as described at each of the 2 markers
Purl Row 2 (Wrong Side) making pdd as described at each of the 2 markers
Knit Row 3 same as Row 1
Purl Row 4 without making decreases

Repeat these 4 Rows (making sleeve fullness increases on Row 7) until you have decreased to number of sts stated in pattern (you will have just finished a knit row), then work 1 more "plain" purl row. You now have 30 rows.

Now begin working increases:

Row 31: *Knit to marked st, M1R, k1, M1L, Repeat from * once, knit to end
Row 32: *Purl to marked st, M1L, p1, M1R, Repeat from * once, purl to end
Row 33: same as Row 31
Row 34: purl across without making increases

Repeat last 4 rows (making back fullness increases on Row 37) until you have increased to number of sts stated in pattern (you will have just finished a knit row), then Bind Off for neck edges at beginning of next 2 rows while also continuing increases. Again, you've just finished a knit row. You now have 49 rows.

Work 5 more rows as follows:
Work 1 "plain" purl row, *work 1 Knit row increasing at marked sts, work 1 "plain" purl row, repeat from * once. Make sure you have number of sts stated in pattern. Do Not Cut Yarn!! Leave it "dangling"! :o) You now have 54 rows.

With Right Side facing and starting at beginning of row, place sts up to (but NOT including) marked st onto holder or waste yarn. With new yarn, knit marked st and all sts across to and including next marked st and remove markers. Place remaining sts on holder or waste yarn. You've just worked Row 1 of the "extension" (or lengthening) of the BSJ. Continuing in Stockinette stitch, work 13 more rows ending with a purl row and cut yarn. You now have 14 rows of extension.

(Quick Note: I like to use waste yarn and just knit the sts directly from it when I need to, rather than transferring them to a spare needle then knitting them. However, feel free to work the next part however you wish!)

With Right Side facing, return to "dangling" yarn and knit across sts on holder or waste yarn. Pick up 10 sts from side of extension just made (3 sts for every 4 rows), placing marker around Last st picked up. Knit across extension sts and pick up 10 sts along other side of extension, placing marker around First st picked up. Knit remaining sts from holder or waste yarn. Make sure you have number of sts stated in pattern!! :o)

Next Row (Wrong Side): Knit across.

Finish in Garter stitch according to Original pattern, working increases at markers on Right Side rows ONLY and making buttonholes where indicated. Bind Off as pattern states.

For Sleeve Cuffs:
With Right Side facing, pick up sts along cuff edge (from end of row to the "point" made by the decreases) and work in Garter st until you have a total of 3 or 4 ridges on the Right Side (Including the ridge created by the long-tail cast on) and Bind Off in purl on the Right Side. Repeat for other sleeve cuff.

Sew up sleeve/shoulder seam as shown in Original pattern.

Collars:


For Crew Neck (quickest and easiest):
With Right Side facing, pick up sts around entire neck edge and work in Garter stitch (decreasing in "corners" as needed to keep work flat) until you have 3 or 4 ridges on the Right Side. Bind Off in purl on the Right Side.

For Shirt Collar (I LOVE this one!):
(NOTE: Keep in mind that this collar will be folded over, therefore the Right Side of the BSJ is the Wrong Side of the collar!)

With Wrong Side of BSJ facing and starting from 2nd ridge (after stockinette), pick up sts around neck edge ending at 2nd ridge on other side of neck.

Row 1 (Wrong Side of collar): Knit across
Row 2 (Right Side of collar): k1, M1, knit across to last st, M1, k1

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until you have 2 or 3 ridges on Right Side of collar. On next Right Side row, work as for Row 2, increasing 5 or 6 sts evenly spaced across back of neck area only. Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until collar is desired length. Bind Off in purl on the Right Side.