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Sunday, December 14, 2014

My Knitting Themed Knick Knacks

I love to Knit.  I spent at least a few hours everyday knitting.  When time allows, I love to sew too.  I love everything about knitting, the yarn, the tools, the patterns, the endless choices of things to create.  I also love being surrounded by things that remind me of knitting.

Here's a few of my favorite knitting related knick knacks
Hallmark ornament

Memento from a trip to Lancaster, Pa

TBC 1997 #25651
TBC 1997 #36501-1















The Quilting Bee by Goebel 1999


Yarn Shop with Knitting Classes
Boyds Bears #392104
#392104 Open


Sunday, December 7, 2014

My Fall 2014 Sewing Class

Before Thanksgiving, I finished teaching Learn to Use your Sewing Machine for the second time at my local community school.  The first time was in the Fall of 2013.  Here's the link to the results from the first class.  Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching this class and working with the students towards completing their projects.

This class had 12 individuals enrolled.  8 beginners and 4 students who enrolled for a second time.  The beginner's each made a tote bag and the repeat students made pillows and learned to install a zipper.  Having 2 groups going at the same time was a little challenging but it all worked out.  Also, this time, I had my youngest students, 2 young woman aged 12 and 13.  They were very eager to learn to sew.  Here's their finished tote bags


In order to complete this project, we started with learning to wind a bobbin and thread their machines.  Then learning to sew a straight stitch and pressing open the seams.  These tote bags are lined.

My advanced students made pillows with a zipper closing.  Several of them made more than one.







The class was 5 two hour sessions and we spent the last week trying out making buttonholes and learning to use the machine to sew a blind hem.

My next class is Winter of 2015.  This time, I'm splitting the group into 2 separate classes, a beginner and an intermediate.  My intermediate class will consist of students that have already completed the beginner class.  I'm picking out 2 patterns for them to choose from.  One clothing piece and one household piece.  They'll learn to layout the pattern pieces, read the instructions as they sew their project, make a casing for elastic, and sew a hem.  My beginner class will be limited to 8 this time.  I've found that more than that is just too much of a challenge.  Especially in the first two weeks.

I use I Can't Believe I'm Sewing by Leisure Arts as the book for my beginners.  Their practice project is the coaster on pages 14-17.

 


So where is your sewing machine?  When was the last time that you used it?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Yarn in Bourton on the Water


Visiting Bourton on the Water in the Cotswolds last spring was one of the highlights of my trip to England.  It is a lovely town.  Before I left on my trip, I researched local yarn shops and Bourton Basket was on my list.  It is a great shop. 
I spent time browsing through the shop and left with this scissors in a case with my initial embroidered on the front.  A nice memory to add to my knitters tool kit.

I bought a fingerless glove kit too.  These are a gift so I'm not going to share the finished item but the yarn is Merino and Fuzzy Wuzzy in a lovely purple.  One of the recipients favorite colors.
Bourton on the Water has the lovely benches along the canal.  This picture inspires me to find a bench and spend some time knitting outside when the weather is good.

Then there's the miniature village.  Here's one of my favorite houses.
The Cotswolds are a great place to visit and I wouldn't mind spending more time there.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Knitting Mittens for children

Three patterns, four mittens and I think that I've finally made a mitten that will fit a five year old.  I have been envisioning supplying mittens to children in kindergarten ever since I first read the The Mitten Tree .  I finally have the luxury of time since I retired from full time job.



Here's my attempts:

Mitten Number 1 is the Toddler size from the Snowy Day sets by Leisure Arts that I used to knit the hat I wrote about in this blog post.  So, How old is a toddler?  I usually think of 2-3 years of age.  This one looks to wide to me for a 2-3 year old.  I followed the pattern using U.S. size 6 and U.S. size 8 needles and Plymouth Encore Yarn worsted .  The pattern says that the finished measurement is a 5 1/2 inch palm circumference and a 6 inch length.  Mine came out 5 3/4 inch circumference and 6 inches in length.




Mitten Number 2 is from Easy-Knit Mittens .  A good pattern book, it has patterns in all sizes and gauges.  This one is knit using the pattern for 5-7 year olds.  The pattern calls for U.S. size 5 and U.S. size 7 needles.  This one I knit in Vanna's choice worsted weight yarn by Lion Brand.  I didn't like the instructions for the top so I changed it to be similar to the instructions I use for sock toes.  Here's how I finished the top.

Alternate Mitten Top

When instructions call for decreasing for the top using 32 stitches

Row 1- K1, ssk, K10, K2tog, K1 (16 stitches or half) then repeat for other half
Row 2-Knit
Row 3-K1, ssk, K8, K2tog, K1 (first half) then repeat for second half
Row 4- Knit
Row 5-K1, ssk, K6, K2tog, K1 (first half) then repeat for second half
Row 6-Knit
Row 7-K1, ssk, K4, K2tog, K1 (first half) repeat for second half
Row 8-K1, ssk, K2, k2tog, K1 (first Half) repeat for second half
Using kitchner stitch to finish off the final stitches


The pattern says that the finished measurements are 6 1/4 inch palm circumference and 7 inch length.  Mine came out at 6 3/4 inch circumference and a 7 inch length.  Definitely closer to fitting a 7 year old not a 5 year old.  Also, this yarn knit to a different gauge than the Plymouth Encore.



Mitten Number 3  is the start of the child size mitten from Snowy Sets.  I did the ribbed cuff in size 6 as the pattern calls for but used size 7 for the hand.  This is also a Vanna's Choice yarn.  As you can see I chose not to finish this one.  I should know better than to use self striping yarn for a project like this.  The colors just don't work.  I did, however, learn that I definitely need to use size 7 needles to get the width that the pattern calls for.  So I left it and moved on to Mitten number 4.



And Finally Mitten Number 4 is the correct size that I was trying to achieve.  It is the pattern for the child size in Snowy day sets using U.S. size 5 and U.S. size 7 needles instead of the size 6 and size 8 that the pattern calls for and Plymouth Encore Yarn worsted .  I knit my mittens using double pointed needles however, the book also includes instructions for 2 needle mittens if you rather knit them flat and then seam them. The finished measurements match the pattern at 6 1/4 inches by 7 inches




On Monday, I took these mittens to my current school and asked a few kindergarteners to try them on.  Mitten Number 4 is the one that is the correct length and width.  I'll be sticking with Plymouth Encore Yarn worsted for these mittens from now on.  It is my favorite wool/acrylic blend.  Lots of colors, good stitch definition, and machine washable and dry with a good texture.

So now I'm off to knit the second mitten for each of these and then I'll send them out into the world to keep some little hands warm this winter.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Original Dishcloth Dress

The original dress style dishcloth is now called Going Dancing.  I continue to knit these and have made quite a few of this style through the years.  The pattern is now in the Knit a Dress Dishcloth Book by Leisure Arts but I knit the very first one in 1998.  I've always loved the feather and fan stitch.  After knitting a baby blanket using feather and fan, I couldn't shake the idea that it looked like a skirt.  I began experimenting with worsted weight cotton yarn and before I knew it, I had decreased my way to a waist.  Figuring out the bodice took a little longer and finally the shoulders, neckline and of course, the hanger.

I've designed many other dress style dishcloths since this first one using a variety of stitch patterns for the skirts but I always come back to this original style.  Since my latest color infatuation is gray, I decided to knit the dress dishcloth in gray and white.  Added to the new potholders that I made, it's a great hostess gift for the upcoming holiday season.

And to make it extra special, I'll be looking at the kitchen items on Mod Cloth.  They have a unique variety of items. (Mod Cloth items are affiliate links).

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Weaving Potholders

Before I learned to knit and sew, I learned to weave potholders on my red metal potholder loom.  My original loom is more than 50 years old and I still use it often.  Recently, though, I discovered Harrisville Designs 10" Potholder (PRO Size) Loom Kit .
Harrisville Designs 10 inch Potholder Loom Kit
  The loops that are available in designer colors are made for their larger loom and so I used some of my birthday gift card to purchase a new large loom.  The potholders are considerably larger than the traditional potholders.
The available colors are great.  I'm currently loving the silvery gray.  With so much stainless steel in everyone's kitchen appliances, it seems the perfect accent color for kitchen items.

I'm currently adding one of these potholders to a set of a rectangular dishcloth and a dishcloth dress.  These are terrific hostess gifts that definitely speak to my love of all things handmade.

The dress in the above set is actually Mrs. Claus Kitchen Helper.  It's available again this year with part of the proceeds going towards the purchase of a sheep through Heifer International.  Here's the link to the pattern.





Thursday, October 2, 2014

Knitting Winter Hats

Several months ago my friend Jen posted a picture on the Leisure Arts Blog of the Red Berries Hat that she knit from the Leisure Arts Book Snowy Day Sets to Knit.


 I immediately downloaded the ebook.  Summer came and went and last weekend, I took a good look at the patterns in the book.  I have several favorites marked.  What really surprised me was that the patterns are written in Toddler and Child sizes along with the adult sizes.  All the photos that I originally looked at were adults.  There's also mittens to match the hats.  Again, Toddler and Child size too.  To complete a great find, the patterns are written in 2 versions, 2 needle with a seam and 4 needle in the round.

I had a little more than one skein left from my Sideways cardigan, so I decided to use the Lion Brand Baby Wool that was left to make a toddler size hat.

I chose the Winter Sunshine Set.  It is a simple hat with slip stitch detail that gives it a special touch.

I'm going to be using this book a lot this season.  What a great way to make some winter children's sets for Winter.

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