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Friday, 7 March 2008
Baby knitting
Topic: quick projects

So, as a little person has appeared in my life, I am quite entranced with Baby Knitting. Autumn Sky Krisniski is my first grandchild, and making her new things to wear will be one of the pleasures I allow myself.

 I learned to design patterns just after my fourth child was born. Those easy sweaters were on all my kids within a year, but my focus was mainly sweaters for years. Now I am finding all the other things that keep babies warm and comfortable quite charming to knit.

 Such as Baby Leggings on baby Autumn's little 1 week old legs above. 

 To go along with the leggings, this sweet young thing is wearing only cloth diapers, and her mom is using Wool Soakers to keep them on, and provide a dampness barrier:

These baby pants have been TERRIFIC fun to design and knit, as the top is completely done with short rows. I started with some web resources, and some printed patterns from WW1 and have tweaked the fit to allow for a full set of two (or three) diapers, while keeping the legs firm enough to prevent "overflow". Autumn is wearing her fourth pair right now, as she grew out of the newborn size in 2 weeks.

 The patterns are both available for sale here.

Posted by countrywool at 6:59 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008 7:00 AM EST
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Tuesday, 20 November 2007
Miss Gertrude Wright's Shoulderette
Topic: quick projects

Sometimes, the simple knitted projects are the ones that give the most pleasure. This shrug walked into my shop two weeks ago and I fell in love. The simple 6 row lace pattern and practical wearing style sold me.

 It came from a handed-down pattern, courtesy of one one of my customers and her lab technician, that left out some details. So, I took it upon myself to add them in, and an alternate wearing variation.

Here's a picture of a similar one from the front:

 The pattern will be hosted, eventually, on the Knitlist Holiday Pattern Gift List.  For now, you can get it here.

 I am not a fine lace knitter, but I LOVE it knit BIG:


Posted by countrywool at 7:48 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007 7:40 PM EST
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Friday, 7 September 2007
Sock marathon knitting....
Topic: quick projects



It's that time of year again. Three consecutive cool mornings had me reaching for socks and wool clogs. Granted, they were cotton socks, but I KNOW what lies ahead. 

I had this irresistible urge to own new charcoal handknit socks. I auditioned a few yarns, but Cascade 220 won hands down for its softness and spring. Since the heels in this stuff do wear out, I added silk/wool fingering yarn to the heels, where I generally wear thin and open a few holes by year two. I wear wool clogs all winter, so the thicker yarn works well and is warmer on snowy mornings.

So, now I'm good for 3 years, at least, with this pair. 

 I have this thing about nylon in socks. I hate wearing socks made with nylon reinforced yarn as they cause my feet to sweat. But nylon DOES help sock yarns wear longer.  I also don't enjoy wearing yarns that have been superwash treated, as they simply aren't as warm as the untreated ones. (This is actually a bonus for wearing wool indoors in our heated environments!) So, I have scoured the yarn world for a sock reinforcing yarn to add to untreated natural fiber yarns for my socks. The answer (and there are two):

  • 100% adult mohair spun LACE WEIGHT thin. This is only available as handspun as far as I have been able to find.
  • 50silk/50wool laceweight yarn. YES! This I have been able to find and now am stocking in a few colors for those as driven as I am about this issue.

So, I add this stuff to heels and enjoy many years of wear before I have to repair them.

I thought I was done for a while, but THEN, on a yarn browsing trip with Marie and Char, I happened across  Ultra Alpaca Light and fell in love with the stuff. "SOCKS!" they screamed at me. And I listened. The heather colors are gorgeous, the yarn is inexpensive, and here, at last, is a sport weight version of a good no-nylon sock yarn. Alpaca is WAY warmer than wool, and the combo seems perfect. (I own 100% alpaca socks and adore them, but they are on the thick side like the Cascade 220 socks, and although I adore their silky texture and warmth, they do stretch out from lack of elasticity.)

So, I got in touch with my suppliers and made the plunge. Into the shop yesterday arrived a HUGE box with the first 7 colors. On my needles, the first sock is almost done:

I will post a better picture when they are both finished, but I couldn't resist showing the gorgeous purple heather color next to fall oranges and greens. I am totally enjoying myself with this yarn. I am knitting on US #2's and #3's and getting 6 sts=1". I would love a finely knit sweater in this yarn. My head is full of plans!



Posted by countrywool at 9:15 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 12 December 2006
...and the countdown begins
Topic: quick projects

I have been doing a phenomenal amount of teaching this past month. Coupled with that, 2 of our 4 parents are now ensconced in nursing homes, and another needs in-home surveillance, so we visit often. Time for blogging, and even knitting!, is hard to come by. In spite of that, I diligently started off with my holiday projects last month.

One of my daughters is involved with an Adopt-A-Family-For-Christmas project and asked if the Neighborhood Knitters could/would help. Ida and I answered the call and have been plugging along...she is making hats and I made mittens for the 3 children in the family. The mittens are pictured above. 

After all these years of knitting, I have mittens down pretty pat. I use my Easy Mitten pattern, and just change the yarn and shorten the lengths knitted to make sizes smaller/larger. I took this opportunity to investigate Wee Hand sizes, and ended up rewriting the pattern to include 9 sizes. It is for sale at Countrywool

I am also working on headbands with my handspun angora/wool leftover yarn lengths:

I've made 3 this week. There is always someone who needs something for their head once the weather gets cold, and these are fun to hand out. I keep a few ready to gift away all winter.

 When the last is finished, and there are no more handspun scraps to use up, I will start on the Pointless Gloves project. I hope to make 5 pairs by Christmas. THEN, I am hoping to make two neck shawlets for my Mom and her roommate at the nursing home out of Royal (sigh) Cashmere. 

Pictures will come so stay tuned!

Posted by countrywool at 7:36 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2006 7:37 AM EST
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Thursday, 16 November 2006
Christmas Knitting
Topic: quick projects

 This year's holiday theme is the Winter of The Hand. I do slippers every year and I feel rebellious this time.  As we approach "crunch" knitting time with the arrival of the Thanksgiving Bird, I am finishing up projects on the needles so I can cast on for Christmas presents the day after.

So what ARE these?

Handfast Mittens. One full pair of mittens PLUS a two-handed one, for holding hands while walking together.  Lover's Mittens. Glittens They have many names.

 I make these for special couples, and there's one on my list this year. Knit at 3 sts=1" in a doubled yarn, they are done in a flash.

HANDFAST MITTEN KITS available here.

Posted by countrywool at 11:38 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 16 November 2006 11:39 AM EST
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Thursday, 26 October 2006
Reindeer Socks...Peace Fleece Socks...Dutch Socks
Topic: quick projects

So, all this teaching and pattern writing and retreat organization makes for a POOR blogger. This is for Marie who has pleaded with me to get with it!

Organizing for the SOCK KNITTING WEEKEND at Countrywool, I finally got all the hard edges knocked off the REINDEER SOCKS pattern:











Written in my favorite style with a short row heel and a wedge toe, these is my default sock pattern.  I like working with 12" circular needles when I use multiple colors. There is less tangling with points, etc. And, the 12" needle diameter forces some stretch into the stranding, which allows for a good finish.

But, I have been challenged by the AVID sock knitters in my knitting circle to branch out, so... then, I went on to work out the particulars of a Dutch heel for these socks. This is a big step for me, for I avoid heel-flap heels like the plague. I added in some well-fitting ribbing and a fun star-toe that makes for a FAST finish for DUTCH SOCKS. My daughter has a pair of these in bright gold that she wears in her Birkenstocks on the Marist campus:













Lastly, for the toe-up and Magic Loop crowd, here are PEACE FLEECE SOCKS, worked from the toe with a Figure 8 Cast On, a Peasant (afterthought) Heel and a Sewn-Off Bind Off, on one LONG circular needle:

Too cute, and I had a blast creating them all. A nice thing for the gift-knitting crowd: these last two are worked on bulky worsted yarns: PEACE FLEECE and LAMB"S PRIDE WORSTED.

Want to come and try them all at a knitting weekend? Check out the RIP VAN WINKLE WINTER SOCK KNITTING RETREAT, scheduled snow or shine, for February 2007.

Posted by countrywool at 9:16 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 26 October 2006 9:17 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 1 November 2005
New bag in town
Topic: quick projects

Betsi HAD to have a bag. She has been shopping for 2 weeks and could not find what she wanted. So I knit and ripped and reknit and reripped until I got the shape she wanted. "A canoe shape, mom, for all my stuff, so it won't fall out but it forms an "O" on my shoulder when I wear it".

Betsi's Slouch Pouch takes one skein of Burleyspun and #15 straight needles, with #11 double points used for the handle. One continuous knit with 6 stitches worth of grafting (or sewing). I have never increased or decreased like I had to for this bag! What a knit. 3 hours and I was done.

Did she want it felted? No. But that was the FIRST thought in my mind. (What did I know?)

The pattern and yarn pack is available here.

Posted by countrywool at 9:11 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 1 November 2005 9:13 AM EST
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