July 31, 2009

Knitting Needles Knitting Bag

Knitting Needles Knitting Bag
Knitting Needles Knitting Bag
One of the things I've knitted that I've kept for myself is this cute knitting bag. It was fun to knit, it's even more fun to carry around to be admired, and the pattern is free at Knitting Daily.com. All you have to do is register on their site and they have so many wonderful things available, why wouldn't you?

I made my bag out of Bernat Softee Chunky in Nature's Way #40012. I think this yarn is so pretty, this is the piece I chose to use for my masthead photo.

One thing I did change was the handles. They show flat garter stitch handles; I decided to make round I-Cord handles. I did get some fabric to sew in a lining, but just haven't done it. One of these days ...

Close Up of Knitting Needles Knitting Bag

And I finished knitting the Speed Stix afghan last night. I decided to single crochet around the edge, which isn't called for, but I think it gives stability and helps straighten out the tendency for the stockinette to curl. I'll be adding the fringe next.

July 29, 2009

Knit Cotton Dishcloths

I love to knit cotton dishcloths. In fact, that's what got me started knitting again a few years ago. I was flipping TV channels and came upon "Knitty Gritty" and they were knitting bar cloths. It made me absolutely yearn to knit something so I ran to the store and grabbed some needles and cotton yarn.

There is a very cool website of free patterns for all kinds of clever hand-knit dishcloths/washcloths at Knitting Pattern Central.com. In fact, they have patterns for many things available -- if you haven't seen it, you should check it out.

I've made a bunch of these cute dishcloths for gifts. The apple, knit in red, is a great teacher gift and the pear in green is adorable. I've made the cowboy hat for my sister who loves all things western. My other sister, who has been to Paris, got the Eiffel Tower. The duckie and teddy bear are wonderful little washcloths as part of a baby gift. I've given the dragonfly to my mom and the butterfly to my mother-in-law for Mother's Day. I've made the bunny and used some fuzzy white yarn for a pom-pom tail at Easter.

Dischcloth on the knitting machine
Dishcloth on the knitting machine
Just recently, I've started knitting a square on my knitting machine (27 needles, 35 rows), then crocheting around it; first single crochet, then double crochet, then another row of single crochet. They are so fast and easy and look beautiful -- love the variegated yarns. I've been able to get 2 dishcloths from each skein.

I've made a bunch that I use myself. They really are functional and work well in the kitchen, wash nicely and wear like iron. These two I am giving as a hostess gift next weekend.

Cotton Dishcloths

I was trying to come up with a way to present these dishcloths to our hostess without just using a gift bag and thought this was fun ... tied up together with a ribbon to look like a bouquet.

Bouquet of Dishcloths
Bouquet of dishcloths

Wilma Flintstone Knits

Size 50 Needles and yarn for afghan
I bought these size 50 knitting needles last year (commonly called Speed Stix) and hadn't done a thing with them. Need a wedding gift for a young couple and want to make them an afghan so I've been buying the One Pound skeins of Caron in their colors (the brown is Espresso and the beige is Lace) with my coupons at Michaels and Jo-Ann's.

Cast on plus first 4 rows

Just got out the yarn and big needles today and started. What a hoot! I feel like Wilma Flintstone with the oversized needles. I keep picturing the cartoon intro where the server at the drive-in movie puts the big slab of ribs on Fred's window and tips the car over.

Halfway through the 13th row

It is awkward at first and the cast on row is tight so knitting the first row is difficult. Each stitch is 1" so I cast on 40 stitches for a 40" wide afghan. I am doing straight stockinette stitch and after about 45 minutes, I was halfway through the 13th row. I timed myself and it takes just over 5 minutes to knit 2 rows.

I love the brown and beige together -- makes me think of marble cake and my stomach is growling. Looks like this is going to be fun and easy. Probably the most time intensive part of the whole thing will be the fringing at the end.

Close up of afghan on big needles

July 28, 2009

The Yorkshire Terrors

Miles, the Sock Thief
Miles the sock thief
Our two Yorkies pretty much run the house. 3-year-old Miles is a sock thief. Whenever anyone stays with us, we have to remind them to keep their bedroom door closed. Miles is talented when it comes to finding socks and taking off with them.

We have found him down inside a clothes hamper that he jumped into from the bed. We have also found him inside a laundry basket full of clean clothes, digging for just the right sock to steal.

He likes to take the socks outside through the doggie door and show them to the neighbors.

Louie, who is 2 years old, has the sweetest temperament of any dog we have ever had. He loves to cuddle and snuggle, will crawl right up in your lap, lay his head on your shoulder and go to sleep like a baby.

He loves, loves, loves Pork Chomps brand Mini Twist chew bones. Although you can't really see the bone, here he is chewing on one. The expression on his face makes me think of one of those smarmy old actors that would say things like, "Hello, my little chickadee." Doesn't he look like he's winking?

Hello, my little chickadee!
Hello, my little chickadee!
Handsome Miles
Handsome Miles

Louie looks like he's wearing this hibiscus flower
Louie looks like he's wearing the hibiscus
Miles meets baby Louie
Miles meets baby Louie. Louie says, "Hi!"
Baby Louie asleep on the couch
Baby Louie asleep on the couch

Sampler Afghan - Square One

Sampler Afghan Squares Booklet

I found a very nice booklet at Jo-Ann's titled "60 Easy-To-Knit Pattern Stitches Combine to Create Sampler Afghans," by Leisure Arts. Of course, there are 60 beautiful afghan squares to knit that you sew together to create an afghan. Each complete piece is about 12" square and they suggest putting 20 squares together to create an afghan approximately 48" x 60".

Imitation Lattice Afghan Square

I had some leftover yarn from one of the Weekend Retreat Cardis to start with and have made the first square -- #21 Imitation Lattice. The design is pretty and lush.

I think I'll do additional squares in either two or three colors for the entire afghan, maybe adding a chocolate brown and/or a cream color with the sage green. Or I could just use up all my scraps and make it a patchwork style in various colors. I'm gonna have to think about this.

This little guy, a gecko about 2" long, was inside the house near the back door this morning. He's so tiny, he probably just came through a crack around the door. Glad I saw him before the Yorkies did. I once saw them terrorizing a gecko and when I shrieked, Louie picked it up and ran through the doggie door with it in his mouth. Ewww, ewwww, ewwwww!

Baby Gecko

July 25, 2009

Funny Things Kids Say - Jaws

We recently saw a commercial for Shark Week and had to laugh, remembering this ...

When our granddaughter was around 4 years old, we were watching TV and a trailer for the original "Jaws" movie came on. It came to the part (about 1:50 on the video clip) where the girl is swimming alone at night and the shark grabs her and drags her around while she screams bloody murder.

I froze and looked at the kid, thinking, "Oh no, this is going to scare the daylights out of her." She was intently watching the screen and all of a sudden the girl goes under for the last time and it's dead quiet.

I was holding my breath, wondering if she'd start crying or what she'd say. She looked at me and said in a very nonchalant manner, "Well, that didn't take long." It didn't even faze her!

July 24, 2009

On the Needles - Weekend Retreat Cardi

Weekend Retreat Cardi in Progress
Weekend Retreat Cardi in Progress
One of my favorite new patterns is the Lion Brand Weekend Retreat Cardi (it is free on their website and I've included the link at the bottom of the page). I have made one for a friend and another for my daughter and am now working on one for myself.

I have added some length to mine beyond what the pattern calls for and am ready to start the ribbing on the bottom edge. My yarn is Red Heart Super Saver Black Fleck #4302, which is black with spots of color woven throughout.

In Caron Simply Soft Off White
In Caron Simply Soft Off White #8702
Although the pattern doesn't call for it, I put a buttonhole and a single 1" button at the top of the front band on my friend's and a buttonhole with a barrel button centered on the bodice for my daughter's. My daughter had purchased a new summer sundress and requested a cardi that matched the green embroidery on the bodice.  She has already ordered another one in a different color.  ;<)

In Caron Acrylic Soft Sage over the cute sundress
In Caron Acrylic Soft Sage #580 over the cute sundress
This is a very easy pattern and I have worked on it as a passenger in the car during a long drive.

It seems I am usually knitting for others and rarely make anything for myself so I am really looking forward to wearing this.


July 23, 2009

Knit Naked

Lace Rib Panel on the Knitting Machine
Lace Rib Panel on my Knitting Machine
While I love to hand-knit, a few years ago my husband got me a knitting machine for Christmas. So far, it has been great for large panels of stockinette stitch but I decided recently to learn a new stitch. I wanted to make a prayer shawl for a friend and settled on the Lace Rib Stitch.

Everything was going very smoothly -- I had the stitch down and probably had 100 rows finished. Now let me set the stage. I have my machine set up on my kitchen counter, which is bar stool height rather than table height. I prefer to stand while I run the carriage back and forth. Then I sit when I'm working the stitches, which puts me at eye level with the needles.

I had on a terry cloth swimsuit cover up that I wear around the house as a robe. As I ran the carriage across the needles, it crunched to a stop. Oh yes, I had caught the front of my robe in the needles! Because I was leaning over the knitting machine, it was impossible to unhook the robe from the needles while in it. So I had to wriggle out of the robe, pulling it over my head. (Here is the TMI part -- send the children out of the room.) I was completely naked underneath the robe so I am standing in my kitchen, pulling it off over my head while attached to the knitting machine.

Had to run to the bedroom, put on another robe, then go take that thing apart and save the knitting I had done. Fortunately, after laughing, crying and a few 4-letter words, I was able to get back on track and resume knitting.

When I told my mom about this, she said the knitting machine company should probably put a warning on the product that suggests you not wear loose clothing or just knit naked!

The prayer shawl is beautiful. I single crocheted, then double crocheted around it for edge stability. Will gift it to my friend on August 1st. There was a lot of praying done during the making of this prayer shawl!

Completed Lace Rib Prayer Shawl

July 22, 2009

Getting Started

Blog post #1 ... My daughter has encouraged me to start a blog, mainly to keep track of my knitting projects. I have a love of knitting, cooking, reading and family (including my Yorkies). Since I have to start somewhere, today is the day!