Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby

You know who you are!


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pulled It Off Without a Hitch

It was so easy to type that title and so difficult to actually do!

But first, some vintage crochet:

This all-wool afghan lived in my cedar chest for many years. Its clearly vintage colors go with nothing in my house. Never have, never will, but nevermind!

It's wool and scratchy, and smells (still) strongly of cedar, and did I mention that the colors don't go? (It matched a chair in my Growing Up Home--I'll leave that to your imagination!)

And look closely for a lesson in Dye Lots and why it's a good idea to check all the labels and buy enough and then buy an insurance skein or three.
Okay. Enough of the critique. My mother made this one before I was born. So there! It's on the back of the downstairs sofa and is just right for covering legs and feet when I'm feeling too cheap to turn up the heat.

And Pi is finished!

I cannot stop gazing at it in admiration.

Did I really do that?

To which I must say a resounding, "You sure did, Buccko!"

I am genuinely amazed at how it looks all blocked out on the pool table. And yes, I know that "bounce back" fibers will bounce back over time. And I truly wish that I had bitten the bullet and used wool, but the intended victim recipient, will be born to parents living in what is euphemistically referred to as "base housing" perhaps, where laundry facilities can be iffy.

And so, and thus, the need for both "bounce back" and "laundry hardy."

Here's a close-up of the lace.

And here's how it all came to pass:

I started in the center with a cast on of 9 stitches and followed the basic pithy directions for the Pi shawl in Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann with the geometric notion that every time the radius of a circle doubles, so does the circumference (translation: every time the distance from the middle to the edge [radius] gets twice as long, so does the outer edge [circumference]). Thus, once the center is established, every time the number of rounds doubles (3, 6, 12, 24, etc.) so must the number of stitches in the round.

EZ accomplished this by increase rounds of k1, yo to create lacy eyelets, and so did I, but k1, M1, or k1, backwards loop, or a kfb in every stitch would work just fine, too.

Once I had some working space, I added lace motifs that fit both the number of rounds I would be knitting before the next increase round and the number of stitches available (multiple of 3, 6, 9, 12, 4, 8 all would work at some point). This is where having a library of stitch dictionaries comes in very handy. I am the proud owner of several.

When I reached the point where the radius was almost 20" (and I was starting to panic over the amount of yarn that was remaining, or rather, not remaining--see previous post) I decided to begin the border (see previous post also for the angst this caused). I chose a lace edging that was knit lengthwise and had an appropriate number of rows --in this case 8, because I had 576 stitches on my needle and 576 is evenly divisible by 8.

(Okay, I started with a wider border with 12 rows, but if you've been following this saga, you know what happened next, and the time after that. Let's just pretend that I started with the border I finished with, okay?)

Bottom line.

What was left when I finally cast off by joining the last 5 stitches to the 5 cast on stitches (yeh, next time I'll mess around a little more and cast on provisionally and graft. Bite me!) was this little ball, smaller than a golf ball (and much lighter).

It's exactly 6 yards long. I could not have cut it closer if I tried! (And believe me, I tried!)

(Well, actually, I could have, but you would have heard me scream all the way to wherever it is you are reading this, including those of you in Israel, Romania, and Australia when I ran short.)

Parting shot. Can you read the scale?

3 grams!


Pattern: July from EZ's Knitter's Almanac: A shawl--allow me another digression as I comment that Elizabeth could not possibly have imagined the widespread knitting this particular pattern would get when she named it. Otherwise, she would have called it something like: The Most Spectacular Bit of Shawl Engineering Known To Knitterkind.

Needles: Size 7. Even though it is lace, I wanted it to be somewhat dense and not really "holey."

Yarn: Lion Brand Pound of Love (454 g put-up if anyone is counting-- I used 451 g) worsted weight acrylic

Lace Motifs: from a variety of sources


Friday, April 25, 2008

Fits and Starts

Pi is giving me fits.

No, wait, not Pi so much as the edging on Pi. I decided to knit the border and the cast off as one so as to retain as much stretch as possible.

First, I started with a lovely old (from an ancient leaflet with a 10 cent price tag) edging that starts on 9 stitches.

About 43 repeats (of 96) it became clear that there was Not Enough Yarn Left on this ball. So I frogged carefully (possible as there was only one "live" stitch for every other row of edging).

At that point, I had to stop and re-group.

Checking the stash, I discovered two 100 g balls of Vanna's Choice in a color called, simply "pink." (It's a sort of dusty rose, not that insipid chewed bubble gum color that passes for "baby pink" in most ack.) Might make a nice edging. Certainly, there's enough. . . And thus, Dear Reader, I proceeded to knit some "set up" rows in the base yarn before switching to the pink.

But I don't really WANT a pink edge. I want a solid, creamy off-white baby shawl that will be suitable for seriously dressy occasions (think christening) if the parents so desire, and Not Gender Specific (despite being lacy, think Traditional Christening Attire).

So I tinked 1152 stitches (half in knit, half in purl) and dug into my many books of stitches.

And there, in Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embelishments, I found the perfect combination of narrow (start with 5 stitches), lacy, and garter stitch (to tame the curl).

Each 8-row repeat takes 3 minutes. There are 144 of them. And my scale and I have become close friends (knit a repeat or two, check the weight of the remaining yarn).

I may be certifiable by the time this is finished.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

And The Horse You Rode In On

Laura sent me this picture of her 8 pairs of completed Mittnz.

And a pony.

And the matching Hatz.

And that pony!

Overachievers R Us, anyone?


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It Might Be a Boy

First "photos" are in of the newest branch of the Tiny Prince's family tree. S/he's a wee bit shy, so we don't know for sure yet if she's a he or vice versa.

So I will continue to knit (moose) lace and know that I will have a spectacular entry for the fair at the very least. And a lovely gift if the vices don't versa. Or something. (And I have something in mind in case she turns out to be a he. It looks a lot like one of my guilty UFOs!)

Newest member of Overachievers R Us, Kathy F, sent this picture of her completed mitts and mittnz.

And her cat (lord, please let it be a cat), Steve. (That is a catly looking foot and nose, isn't it?)

I love the colors. And the variety.

They're going to keep a lot of hands warm this winter.

Yes, I voted. I was 191 in my precinct. At 3:30 this afternoon. And there are 1000+ registered voters in my precinct. I am so ashamed of the rest of them!

Labels: , ,

Monday, April 21, 2008


From the March 23 post:

Mittnz 2008 Roolz

LizzieK8 has very kindly made this buttin for this years' Mittnz Challenge for Cheyenne River Reservation.

The Roolz are simple:

1) Make. Knit, crochet, sew (yes, fleece counts!) and buy.

2) Document. Send me photos of the ones you hand make that I can post to this blog to inspire us all ( email to I see pictures from you of at least 8 pairs, you will be entered into the prize draw for one of 8 fabulous prizes.

3) Mail. Mittnz are to be mailed to Cheyenne River Reservation (CRYP P.O. Box 410, Eagle Butte, SD 57625) during the last week in September so that the Youth Project (the YP in the address) is blitzed with hand covers the first week in October when the weather starts its evil descent into winter.

Interpretation of the Roolz: Handcovers need to be warm. And since little kids tend to prefer brighter colors, the small ones should be less conservative than the big ones. They need to fit human hands! Any size. Any color. Mittens, gloves, wristers, fingerless, thumbless. Beyond that, let's not "overthink" this project. I will post photos.

[Edited here]Wait until you have completed the challenge (8 pairs). Include the ones you bought if you are so inclined. Send photos! They inspire us all.

I have already received 2 prizes (including a copy of Morehouse Farms Merino Knits which I would covet if I didn't already own it!). I will make up the difference between what is donated and a total of 8. This project is THAT IMPORTANT to me.

So, are you in? Little kids right here in the Good Ol' U S of A are cold!

Labels: ,

Sunday, April 20, 2008

If It's a Girl

No, no, NO, NO!!

At least not right now!

The Tiny Prince's mommy's brother and his newish wife are expecting an addition to their household.

I look upon all new babies as an Opportunity To Knit since their tiny garments are so tiny and cute. And fast, let's not forget fast!)

And since we are in Fair Knitting Mode as well, I decided to (finally) attempt a Pi Shawl.

Baby-To-Be's Mom-To-Be is Continental (I don't know how she knits, or even if she knits, sillies! She's from the Continent.) and so I am looking on this as an Opportunity To Knit Tiny Things With a Flair (not that the Tiny Prince's things don't have flair, it's just, you know).

Break out the Pinguoin and Moda Dea and Anna!


But this Pi, thing, had given me all sorts of creative outlets.

And fits!

I have had a Pound of Love in a nice creamy color. Baby blankies need to be washable and puke proof.

I want a blankie that's lacy (okay, moose lacy, but nevertheless. . .) and about 40 inches across. Sixteen ounces. Should be plenty. Right?

But it has come down to some heavy duty geometry (Pie are round and such) and ratios and, well, capital M Math!

I have been weighingthe remaining yarn every couple rounds.

And with the center finished and just the edging to go, I have 3.15 ounces and I need 2.7.

Yes, indeed, I am going to make it with a couple yards to spare!

Here's the pattern for the outermost lacy ring. Fern stitch, it's called.

On 576 stitches, it's 48 repeats around. A knitter can get intimately acquainted with a lace pattern in 48 repeats!

I'll be selecting a border lace from one of my stitch dictionaries and knitting the border on.

Then to attempt blocking worsted weight acrylic lace.

I think I may have to be satisfied with flat.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

More Political Stuff

The Younger kid moved into his own place almost a year ago. He votes at a different polling place now, but his political ads still come here.

A day has not gone by in the last two weeks without us receiving at least 2 postcard-type ads. His are all one candidate; the Other Half's and mine have been the other.



Caturday Musings

It being Caturday and all, I had some quality time with Sparky the Bob-Tailed Wonder Cat, Formerly Kitten.

We went to see the vet this morning for a little blood work. Results are due Monday, but I think she's doing better.

Oh, you didn't know? Belly fur again (still). Steroids, antibiotics, and some new medicine for thyroid issues that are developing (we won't di$cu$$ the bill). Better is good.

Cultural Icons: Clearly, I am behind the times. I do not watch Project Runway, Survivor, or American Idol. But just in case you are wondering if Idol Gives Back is for real, I can tell you that at least from my standpoint, it certainly is!

Our Backpack Buddies, a program that gets food to kids in our area for the weekends, got one of those grants! So, yeh, they're real! If you contributed, thank you very much!

Election 2008, Primary Edition: This will be my 37th year voting (you can do the math). The 26th Amendment was ratified in 1971. So, yeh, I had to wait to be 21 and the following year, kids 4 years younger gained the right. Born too soon yet again. But I digress.

Tuesday is (finally) Primary Election Day here in Pennsylvania.

Call me undecided.

I have voted in more elections than I can count (including a school bond vote on the Saturday before Christmas--and don't think the opponents of the funding bill didn't think that one out). I cannot remember ever missing my opportunity to make myself heard! I read the Voters Guides; I pay attention to the issues.

So yes, it is very strange for me to get to 3 days before an election and still be undecided.

Here's the thing. Thirty-Seven Long Years and to finally have an opportunity to vote for a woman for the highest office in the land. Finally. Did I mention that it's been 37 years?

But then, we've (nearly) survived 8 years of Same Old, Same Old. Folks, we need a Change (capital C Change!) which leans me in another direction.

So, it's like this. I suspect I will get to the polls on Tuesday ( around 3:30, after work) and will stand there, finger poised, coin to flip firmly in my fist. No matter which way my finger drifts, it will be a historic moment.

May the dieties that protect us guide all of our fingers!


Friday, April 18, 2008

Not Exactly Eye Candy Friday

The next day:


Thursday, April 17, 2008

There was a little excitement in the 'hood this afternoon!

I heard a lot of sirens and then looked out the window to see that what had started as a beautiful, clear, Blue Sky Day had turned gray and ugly!

But no, wait! Those aren't rain clouds on the horizon!

See that little patch of orange in the middle of the photo left? That's flames! Big honkin' flames! about a block or so away from Casa Sheepie!

Seems the neighbors heard an "explosion" in the garage, and next thing they knew, well, the house and the car in the driveway were engulfed.

I'm pretty sure that someone will say, "kids playing with matches," but I doubt that it will be the Fire Marshal.

Stay tuned.

Mariella joins the Overchievers R Us club with her 18 pairs of wristers. Normally, that wouldn't be "enough" for membership, but these follow on the heels of 8 pairs of Mittnz.

Patterns on her blog, I believe (or coming soon) for the sideways wristers.

Join the club! Send your photos!

Labels: ,

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Some More Mittnz

Lizzie has completed her 8 pairs!

And just to show that there are all sorts of handwarmers needed and wanted, she sent me this photo of mitts and muffatees. (There's a recipe for them on her blog!)

Jean is the absolute first member of the Overachievers R Us Club for 2008.

Lookie at all those wonderful Mittnz and thumbless baby mitts. Yes, they count! You know that they do.

Someone pointed out that babies are swaddled up real good and warm in the winter, which is true. But toddlers, not so much. And it is so much easier to get a squirmy toddler's hand in a mitt than a Mittn with a thumb!

Jean's friend, Gail, is knitting for the reservation, too!

Here's proof.

I love that this pair is sort of Fraternal. And warm!

I especially love that this pair is warm.

Are you inspired yet? Grab the button and promo the Challenge on your blog and other places, then grab your string and sticks and make a pair or eight.

Think how good you will feel when the North wind howls just remembering that eight kids have warm hands, all because of you!


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Some Mittnz Answers and Pictures

Vivian in CA sent me pictures of the three pairs of Mittnz she has already completed.

The green variegated pair are knit sideways. If you are interested in this construction method (lots of folks knit them last year), you can find the pattern link in the sidebar here. Knitting Nonni has several variations on the sideways theme, including mitts.

Look around at the pictures for inspiration. Then come back for some answers.

Ann, any guidelines, rules ('scuse me, I mean roolz), etc re fiber content of these hand socks? You name it, I can do it, but I figured I'd get the best match if there's a preference of wool vs acrylic vs blend. . .Elizabeth D.

Elizabeth, thank you for asking. Clearly, wool and other animal fibers are warmest. Most of the residents of the reservation don't have access to their own washers and dryers (some of them even heat their water on the stove) and use Laundromat facilities. If the Mittnz are not machine wash and dry, please label them "hand wash, lay flat to dry" or whatever laundry instructions are appropriate. Short answer: Use whatever fiber you have on hand, label if necessary to avoid disasters on the other end.

And on an aside: Your use of the term "hand socks" wondered me (yes, that's Pennsylvania Dutch creeping in). The German word for "glove" is Handschue, literally, "hand shoe. "

I'm curious - on the gifted mittens, did you create the side/hand seam the same way as instructed for the thumb seam on these mittens? I've been wanting to try this pattern too, so thanks for blazing the trail first. debbie/in/nas

Debbie, I chained the thumb, per the instructions, but whip-stitched the side seam. Confession: I wanted to try crocheting that seam, too, but I wasn't sure I had enough yarn. I really wanted to finish that pair with one 50 g. ball just to prove that I could.

Anonymous has left a new comment:

Have you made mittens on your Bond Knitting machine? I generally use dp needles for mittens, since I really do not like to sew up seams.
I wonder if the machine knit mittens are any faster.

No. I have made slippers ( a variation on Aunt Alm's Dorm Boots --see October 17, 2004 entry for details) and I know that there are mitten patterns (or at least one) floating around "out there," though a quick Google search didn't turn up the one I was looking for.

In my experience, the Bond is a great time-saver for vast expanses of stocckinette (think blankets and sweaters), but for the smaller, more fiddly things, the time spent manipulating stitches and seaming balances the time saved. In Other Words: I haven't and probably won't.

(Besides, the Bond was stowed in its box when I expanded the stash shelving.)


Thursday, April 10, 2008

First Pair

Bev H sent me this photo of her first (of many) pair of Mittnz.

So this is the first photo submitted for your inspiration.

Let's see some more!

Send 'em to and I'll post 'em here!


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Three Little Kittens

they lost their Mittnz!

Boo Hoo! So Sheepie had to make 'em some new 'uns!

I started out with my collection of Free On the 'Net mitten patterns and, like potato chips (or tiny sunhats), I couldn't stop at just one!

The yarn was a bargain--Lion Brand Landscapes (50/50 wool and ack) that is very loosely spun comes in wonderful colors, and knits up soft and lofty. I got it at Ollie's. You can probably find your own at a Big Lots or other close-out place.

All of the patterns call for at least double strands of worsted weight or a single strand of bulky yarn. I chose to use size 10.5s on all three pairs and got a nice fabric. Your Mileage May Vary. Use what gives you a result you like. None of the pairs has a distinct "left" or "right" mitten. (In other words, "make another" is the last line of each pattern--or should be.)

First up, Warm Woolies Thick Mitts which I have heard has an mistake in it. Confession: either I didn't notice, or it's been corrected. I own two printed versions of this pattern. The one linked above is live, the other isn't.

This is a basic mitten that starts with a ribbed cuff and builds the gusset using increases on each side of a central wedge. The thumb is finished, then the hand.

These were quick to knit and come in Child Small, Medium, and Large. I made the Medium.

With minor modifications to the length, these Mittnz would fit an adult.

Knit flat and seamed.

Gifted, by Kate Gilbert, is an engineering marvel. Follow the pattern blindly if you choose this one, because, if you are like me, getting your mind wrapped around What Is Going On will be a challenge until you finish the first one!

Okay, the best part? The shaping, and then the finishing on the thumb and the fact that (at least for me) there was No Hole At the Start Of the Thumb! These are also knit flat and seamed.

Try this one!

The pattern comes in a wide range of sizes from Child Small to Man. I made the Child Medium. Because of the shaping, it's shorter and wider than Warm Woolies, but you could make the cuff longer (I followed the pattern to the letter). I used just one 50 gram ball of the yarn (55 yards) and had just about a yard left over.

Last, but certainly not least, Joan Hamer's Boat Oar Mittens.

Knit in a tube with an afterthought thumb, these start with a smaller (size 9) needle for the cuffs. Joan suggests 3 strands of yarn (my Landscapes subbed in nicely) and size 11 for the hand. (I used my 10.5. It was struggle enough to locate the size 9s for the cuff.)

Boat Oars are a One Size Fits Most (Adults) and they are a comfortable fit for my hands. I think that a creative knitter could easily adapt them to a smaller size.

I'm not overly fond of afterthoughts (pockets, heels, or thumbs) but these were relatively painless (being only 8 stitches around).

So, which one is my favorite? What day is it?

I suspect that I will be going back to all three at least once more during this Mittnz Challenge.

And so, Gentle Reader, I bid you Good Night. Sleep tight and have mittn dreams.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A New Set-Point

Okay, cheating a bit here, but I am below 500 balls of yarn for the first time since last September.

Wish that my body weight was dropping as fast as the yarn weight ::sigh::


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Giant Leap of Faith

I found another cute hat on the 'net here, (look around, there are a lot of cute patterns--free!) and though I couldn't actually see the whole thing, I had suitable yarn (Reynolds Saucy Sport in a sort of sagey celery green) so I decided to take a stab at it and, well. . .

Results are on the left. I think it "works."

The garter stitch bands are embellished with little loopy knots formed by multiple yarn overs (or is that yarns over?). (I refuse to call them "bows," this being a little manly hat. )

And why, you might wonder, do I continue making hats, now that the weather is warming up and clearly, spring has sprung south of here (where the Tiny Prince lives)?

Check this out for reasons to put a hat (and long sleeves) on baby in the summer!

Of course, you don't want to give the kid heat stroke, but serious sunscreen is not recommended for infants, thus, a hat is in order.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Previous | Next | Random