Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011 - Happy New Year Coffee Sleeve Pattern

KH New Year’s Eve 2011
Sleeve for Large Coffee Drinks

Designed by Shandeh, for the Knitting Help Forum

Coffee Sleeve 2

Every year, I host a New Year's Eve Party in the Knitting Help Forum. We have a lot of fun, talking, knitting, and ringing in the New Year all over the US. This year, there will be prizes, and we will also be knitting this coffee sleeve together, as a memento of our event. :)

This is a large coffee sleeve, to keep our hands warm while we enjoy our favorite iced coffee drinks or milkshakes. Yum!

Of course, the sleeve can also be used for hot drinks. Freedom to the knitters!

Gauge: 18 stitches over 4” in stockinette stitch

Size 7 knitting needles
Worsted weight acrylic or wool yarn in 5 contrasting solid colors
Yarn needle for weaving in loose ends

The sample is knit in the following colors:
Main Color (MC) – Black
A – Pink
B – Yellow
C – White
D – Green

KFB: Knit into the front and the back of the same stitch, making two stitches out of one stitch.

Using main color (MC), cast on 34 stitches.

Row 1, 2, 3 & 4: K1, KFB, Knit to end of row.

Row 5: This will be the first row of the charted design (See below).
Knit 9 stitches, then attach color A, and follow chart for Row 5, reading right to left, knitting every stitch.

Row 6: Purl every stitch, following Row 6 of chart, reading left to right.

Row 7: Knit every stitch, following Row 7 of chart, reading right to left.
(you will add color B on this row)

Row 8: Purl every stitch, following Row 8 or chart, reading left to right.

Continue in this manner, reading knit rows from right to left, and purl rows from left to right, adding colors as needed, according to chart.

When you finish chart on Row 24, continue knitting with main color as follows:

Row 25 & 26: K1, KFB, Knit to end of row.
Row 27 & 28: Knit every stitch
Row 29: Bind Off very loosely, leaving long tail for seaming.

Adjust loose yarn ends at color changes, checking to make sure it looks good on the right side.
Weave in ends securely on back. Sew back seam closed, and weave in final loose ends.

Enjoy your comfy coffee sleeve!

KH 2011 Cup Cozy Chart

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Projects

We had some icy snowy weather in Charlotte, NC, so I was stuck at home for the holidays. So, I've been finishing up some more projects for Christmas. I guess it was a mixed blessing! Snow, and more time for knitting. Gotta love it. :)

I've made several knitted and crocheted cloths.
Christmas Cloths
Dishcloth - White with Blue Trim Double Crochet with Half Crochet Border Garter Cloth with Half Double Crochet Border Garter Stitch Cloth with Half Double Crochet Border Garter Stitch Washcloth Corner to Corner Dishcloth Back Loop Washcloth Done Double Crochet Dishcloth

I also knit a hat for my dad:
Patons Shetland Chunky Hat

And now, I'm making a matching scarf for him:
Scrunchable Scarf - Patons Shetland Chunky

I'm also pulling out some other projects I started a long time ago. Maybe I'll be able to finish some of them this week, while I'm stuck at home.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Two Completed Christmas Stockings

Christmas is only 10 days away, so I made myself finish up the two vintage Christmas stockings I've been working on. Today was the day, and they are both complete now! Woo Hoo!

Here's the green version of the "Old Time Santa" by Mary Maxim. My mother-in-law gave me the vintage kit, and I followed it from beginning to end. It involved a lot of knitting, which included two kinds of colorwork (stranded and intarsia). When the knitting was complete, I had to weave in all the ends (took forEVER!!), then I added the gold beads, a bell, green and red ribbon bows, and gold thread embroidery. The last step was adding the name with duplicate stitch, and seaming up the back.

Stocking Complete

Here's the back side of the green stocking:
Stocking Back

The other stocking I've been finishing up was the "Mr Claus" Santa Stocking (another vintage Mary Maxim kit from my mother-in-law). I added some extra decorations with duplicate stitch, and did some embroidery, beads, and bells.
Stocking Complete

Here's the back of that one:
Stocking Back

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Making Stuff for Christmas

So, now everyone can smell Christmas in the air. Which means, I'm busy making stuff for Christmas.

Number one on my list is a stocking I've promised to knit for a family member. My mother-in-law gave me all her knitting stuff, because her arthritis will not permit her doing it anymore. I'm using a vintage Mary Maxim #9042 kit she gave me to knit the "Green Santa Stocking".

Here's how it looked after a couple days of knitting. I think I spent the first day just getting everything organized, so I would be able to knit it without getting up over and over again.
Green Santa Stocking

Now, after 6 days, it's looking great!
Green Santa Stocking Almost Done

My mother has asked me to make some dishcloths as a gift for a friend. So, I grabbed some cotton yarn from my stash (Lily Sugar 'n Cream in the color "Potpourri Ombre"), and got started. I'm crocheting the first one, using a free pattern on the Lion Brand website. It's called "Almond Back Loop Washcloth". Easy to make, and it goes fast.
Almond Back Loop Washcloth

I'm also knitting a corner to corner dishcloth, so it will go fast too. More photos soon!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Knitter's Night Before Christmas

(based on a friend's post in the Knitting Help Forum)

'Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
Was unfinished knitting not under the tree.
The stockings weren't hung by the chimney with care
'cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there!

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
but I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep; he was no help at all,
And the sweater for him was six inches too small.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my needles to see what was the matter.
Away to the window, I flew like a flash,
Tripped over my yarn and fell down with a crash.

The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how much I still had to go.
Out on my lawn, I heard such a noise,
I thought it would wake both dad and the boys.

And though I was tired, my brain a bit thick,
I knew in a moment, it must be Saint Nick.
But what I heard then left me perplexed-ed,
For not a name I heard was what I expected

"Move, Ashford; move, Lopi; move, Addi and Clover.

Move, Reynolds; move, Starmore; move, KnitPicks--move over!
Patons, don't circle round; just stand there in line!

Pay attention you sheep and you'll work out just fine!
I know this is hard as it's just your first year
But I'd hate to go back to 8 tiny reindeer."

I peered over the sill; what I saw was amazing,
Eight woolly sheep on my lawn all a'grazing!
And then, in a twinkle, I heard at the door
'Ol Santa's big feet marching on the porch floor.

I rose from my knees, and got back on my feet,
And as I turned round, Saint Nick, I did meet!
He was dressed all in wool, from his head to his toe
And his clothes were handknit from above to below.

A bright Fair-isle sweater he wore on his back,
and his toys were all stuffed in an Aran knit sack.
His cap was a wonder of bobbles and lace,
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.

The scarf round his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
The back of his mittens bore an intricate cable,
And suddenly on one I spied a small label.

SC was duplicate stitched on the cuff,
and I asked "Saint Nick, did you knit all this stuff?"
He proudly replied "Ho-ho-ho, yes I did, I learned how to knit when I was a kid."

He was chubby and plump, a quite well-dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself, for I'd thought up a plan.
I flashed him a grin and jumped in the air,
And the next thing he knew, he was tied to a chair.

He spoke not a word, but looked in his lap
Where I'd placed knitting needles and yarn for a cap.
He soon began stitching, first one cap then two;
For the first time, I thought that I'd really get through!

He put heels on the stockings, and toes in some socks,
While I relaxed, drinking some Scotch on the rocks!!
So quickly like magic, his needles they flew,
That he was all finished by quarter to two.

He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder, he peered back at me.
I heard him exclaim as he sailed past the moon,
"Next year start your knitting sometime around June!"

Monday, December 6, 2010

Concentrating on Finishing Projects

I've been a good knitter lately, finishing up LOTS of stuff! Yay me! :)

So, how did the fire get lit under me to finish up my projects? A change of scenery! Recently, my hubby's kids came to visit for a couple days, so I had to move some things around to make room for them. This cleared out some junk from the living room, and I've been able to sit with my hubby every night to talk and watch tv together. Nice! I've brought ONE project at a time into the living room, and have been surprised to see the projects finish themselves up very quickly.

I guess I've been too distracted in my craft room, seeing all the things I should be working on. In the living room, I just knit or crochet, without thinking about anything else. Woo Hoo! I think I'll keep that spot on the sofa open from now on. :)

Take a look at all I've gotten done in the past few weeks:

I started a Drop-Stitch Scarf in June of this year, using some pretty Lion Landscapes yarn I had in my stash. (I cast on 12 stitches, with size 13 needles). I originally started it as a sample for my knitting students, but fell in love with it as I was knitting it. Now that it's finished, I am planning on using it as a Christmas gift for someone. I have enough yarn left to make another one, so I'll get on that after the holidays are over.
Drop-Stitch Scarf

This Ann Norling Snowflake Stocking is for display at Yarnhouse Knits (a yarn shop in Charlotte). SO glad I finished that one up before the holidays were completely over. Now, I just have to get my butt over there to deliver it! Ha!
Snowflake Stocking

Yesterday, I finished a knitted birthday gift for the choir director at my church. He has asked to be surprised, so I can't post a photo here. I will say that it was knit with wool yarn! He knows that already, because I had to ask him if he was allergic to wool.

The mother of one of my piano students recently asked me to knit a silver headband for her baby girl. I had some Lang Lanalux leftover from knitting the Snowflake Stocking, so I used it to knit a quick band. Now, I want to make a little flower to dress it up a little.
Silver Headband

Another of my piano students asked me to knit an ipod cozy for her, using "hot pink" yarn. I found some yarn in just the right shade (Red Heart Super Saver "Pretty in Pink"), and cast on 7 stitches with size 7 needles. After making it long enough for the front and back, I added a little flap in garter stitch, and made a loop for a button. I used a pink pony bead as a button. Quick and easy. The photo doesn't really show how cute it is. Maybe I'll take another when she puts her ipod in it.
iPod Cozy

I was on a roll, knitting requests by my piano students, so I got to work on another one. This was a completely different kind of project. My student had a hand-woven purse that she loved to use, but the strap was very weak, and broke after just a short time. So, she asked me to make another strap for her. I read the label inside: "100% Alpaca - Made in Peru". After looking closely at the construction of the purse, I realized that the only alpaca on the entire purse was the tiny tassels at the bottom of it. The rest was woven out of simple cotton yarn. So much for honesty from the Peruvians!

So, I set to work on finding a matching yarn to make a good strap. After checking at several craft stores and yarn shops, I was about to give up. Then, I was shopping for groceries at Walmart one day, and found a perfect match in the yarn department. Good old "Peaches & Creme" cotton in Black and Ecru. Ha!

Next, I had to decide how to use the yarns to make a good strap. I finally settled on making i-cord. But, I wanted it to use both colors. I decided to just switch colors every other row. Voila! I was making striped i-cord! :)
Handle for Woven Purse

It looks GREAT with the purse, and I think it captures the essence of the purse design well. I hope my student agrees with me.
New Handle for Woven Purse

With all that work behind me, now I can get to work on some other things I want to finish before Christmas. I'm making two scarves and a blanket for the Bernat Blog right now, as presents for three of my family members. Not sure when they will be published on that blog, so just keep checking back!

I'm also making a Christmas stocking, three blankets, a jacket, a hat, some curtains, a wrap, a bag, a shrug, and some socks for a friend. In addition to those projects, I'm finishing up 4 large Oddball Charity Blankets, 3 Oddball Baby Blankets, and 8 Oddball Shawls. They have been pushed aside for so long, because I have overcommitted myself to other projects. Time to make myself sit down and get them completed.

Maybe I should just bring one of the unfinished blankets to the living room? ;)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.....

I think I can hear sleigh bells! And a great big "Ho Ho Ho!" :)

Christmas will be here before we know it, so I'm trying to get a few projects finished in time.

Christmas Stockings
My mother-in-law used to knit a lot when she was younger. But now that her arthritis has made her life very difficult, she has given all of her knitting stuff to me. What a blessing! Included in the large bag she gave me is enough to knit 5 large vintage Mary Maxim Christmas Stockings.

This kit has everything needed to knit two stockings. One in the Wreath design, and one in the Snowflake design:
Mary Maxim Christmas Stocking Kit

This one has enough left to make the "Old Time Santa" stocking. (The green one on the bottom.) My mother-in-law has asked me to knit this stocking for her to use as a gift this year. I'm casting it on this week!
Old Time Santa Stockings

She was able to finish all the knitting on two stockings already. "Mr & Mrs Santa"
Mr & Mrs Santa Stockings

She asked me to finish these up, to make one for her great-granddaughter, and one for me. I've chosen Mrs. Santa, of course, because she has knitting needles in her hair! I think I'll add some other knitting images with duplicate stitch, to make it more festive.

The Mr Santa stocking was my project this past week. I searched online for Christmas charts, so I could embroider some fun designs on the blank spots of the stocking. I think it turned out very nice! Now, all I have left to do is seam up the back.
Santa Stocking Embellished

Now, I'm ready to get going on the "Old Time Santa".

I'm also finishing up a stocking that will be displayed at Yarnhouse Knits in the NoDa district of Charlotte. It's a very basic design by Ann Norling, called "Snowflake Stocking".

Monday, November 1, 2010

Relaxing at My Annual Fiber Festival

What a wonderful treat to go to the mountains again! As usual, I went to SAFF, in the beautiful NC mountains. This was my 6th trip to SAFF, and it was as wonderful as ever.

My sister went with me this time, and we shared a hotel room for a couple nights, so we could go all 3 days. WONDERFUL! I really enjoyed our trip. We got along most of the time, except for one argument when I was trying to go to sleep. I mean, we are sisters, after all. You didn't expect us to have a perfect relationship, did you? Ha!

SAFF was filled with fiber animals, yarn, roving, spinning wheels, knitting and crochet books and supplies, etc. I didn't take a camera this time, so no photos. I was able to take my time, walking through every single vendor's booth. How perfect was that?!

There was one yarn that captured the admiration of every single person that looked at it. I was in love as well. My sister bought a skein of it for me, and now I am fondling that skein every day. It's called "Charlotte" - a new yarn by Carriage House Woolens. SO SOFT!! It's a fingering weight yarn, so there is a LOT of yardage in the skein. I plan on making a pretty lace scarf or shawl. Haven't chosen the right pattern yet.
Charlotte - Rose Bush

There is no way to capture the beauty of that skein with my cell phone camera. Maybe I'll take another photo when I get a new camera for Christmas this year. The yarn is just a gorgeous color - reminds me of my MawMaw's rose bushes when I was young. So, I'm calling it "Rose Bush". There is no list of color names available on the internet for this yarn.

Before we went to SAFF, I decided to knit a quick steering wheel cover, to dress my car up for autumn in the mountains. I used the free knitting pattern I designed several years ago. http://spinningsandy.blogspot.com/2006/03/furry-fuzzy-steering-wheel-cover.html

Furry Wheel for Fall

When I finished the wheel cover, I had some of the funky wool yarn leftover, so I knit a headband.
Fall Headband

I LOVE the sweatshirt I got at SAFF this year. I'm wearing it in the photo above. It says, "If I'm sittin', I'm knittin'" SO TRUE!

On our second night at SAFF, I chose to sit in the hotel lobby to knit for a while. At first, I was busy working on a wool sweater for the Bernat Blog. After working on that for a while, I pulled out a brand new project that I am making for display at Yarnhouse Knits in the NoDa district of Charlotte. It's a Christmas stocking, using Ann Norling's Snowflake Stocking pattern. The yarns for the project are Louisa Harding "Kashmir Aran" in burgundy (#30), and Lang Yarns "Lanalux" in white (#0023).
Christmas Stocking Started

I think the stocking is going to be so lovely. The yarn is soft and excellent to knit with. I got a good start on it so far, so it won't be long until it's hanging in the yarn shop for everyone to see. :)

Now, I am home from the fiber festival, and have some wonderful purchases.

Here’s what I got:
1 pound of beautiful, lavender wool roving from Windy Acres Farm. Can’t wait to spin it!
8 ounces of simple, brown Romney roving, and 1 pound of nice superwash merino/tencel top from Miss Babs
5 knitting magazines, one knitting for babies book, and one weaving for knitters book
A very long bead necklace, with sparkly black beads - perfect to wear for music gigs
2 bars of handmade soap from Heaven Sent (I buy from her every year)
Some yummy handcream and spray
A comfy purple sweatshirt that says, “When I’m Sittin, I’m Knittin”
A SAFF t-shirt
A gorgeous, heavenly-soft skein of Carriage House Woolens “Charlotte” yarn, from Yarnsmiths
2 skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride worsted
A bunch of sale-priced circular knitting needles, to share with my charity knitting friends.
A sweet little ceramic lamb

I didn’t buy as much yarn as usual, but I did get bitten by the spinning bug again! Time to dust off the wheel…

Monday, October 18, 2010

Falling in Love with Crochet

Here's the last Christmas stocking I made for a customer. (Finally took a photo of this one.)
Christmas Stocking 4 Complete

I've also been busy learning to crochet, using Bernat's Mystery Blanket CAL. Nice to finally get comfortable with the craft again. I couldn't crochet for the longest time, because of my arthritis. I just had so much pain from the twisting, that I didn't think I would ever be able to crochet again.

Over the past 7 years, I have concentrated on knitting instead....learning a lot, and feeling very proud of my knitted creations. During these years, I've collected several knitting magazines, books, and patterns. I've also spent hours gazing online at interesting designs with yarn. Occasionally, I have found some GORGEOUS creations that don't involve knitting - just crochet. It has been frustrating, since I didn't think I could crochet anymore.

In the midst of this frustration, I have watched others crochet, and noticed that some people were using a different kind of hook - an ergonomic hook! So, I decided to buy a few. As usual, I used coupons at Hobby Lobby and AC Moore for my purchase. Pretty soon, I had a decent collection of ergonomic hooks, including a nice Provo Craft set with interchangeable hooks.

Up until now, I've only done very basic crochet stitches, and haven't really understood how to read a crochet pattern very well. So, I decided to join in on the Bernat Mystery Blanket CAL, and give it a try. I figured that I would learn more about crochet, and would hopefully get one step closer to being able to make some of those pretty crochet designs I've seen on the internet.

Now, after 4 weeks into the CAL, I can honestly say that I've learned a LOT! I'm comfortable reading a crochet pattern now, and have learned how to hold the ergonomic hook effectively. I have to constantly remind myself to KEEP IT SLOW while I'm working, so I don't overdo it. I am tempted to let the hook fly, and crochet quickly.....but I know I will pay the price with pain....so I make myself go slowly and carefully.

Here are the granny squares I've made in the CAL:
Granny Squares

I've made other squares of different designs as well, but you'll have to watch the Bernat Blog to see photos of them.

Now that I've learned how to crochet safely (without pain), I am taking another look at those pretty crochet designs I want to make. I know that I still need some more practice, so I think I'll do some easy and intermediate level crochet designs to give me that experience.

I think I've fallen in love with crochet. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Getting Ready for the Holidays

I finally finished knitting the vintage Christmas stocking for a client. I didn't take a photo, because it looks exactly like the 3 others I made for her last year. Here I am, with the stockings I knit last year, along with the original she gave me as a guide. The free pattern is here: Personalised Christmas Stocking from 1945
Stockings - My Handknitting is Complete

Now, I'm trying to finish up another project for a different customer before the year ends. I'm making a yellow and black blanket, using Hobby Lobby "I Love This Yarn" in yellow, black, and white, and some Bernat Super Value in True Grey. I found a Paton's pattern that is working well with these colors. The pattern is called "Fresh Stripes". The customer is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
Yellow and Black Blanket

I'm also doing some more charity knitting:

A wool sweater, using Bernat "Felting" yarn
(photos soon on the Bernat Blog)

I've also started another Oddball Charity Blanket for a Mexican orphanage. Right now, we have 11 knitters signed up to work on that. We will each take turns knitting a 5 inch section, keeping the blanket on the knitting needles while it travels from knitter to knitter. Here's my section, ready to hit the road.
First Section Complete

And, I'm working on other projects, of course. Too many to mention here. :P

A couple weeks ago, I took two of my knitting students to a local alpaca farm, so they could see where nice yarn comes from.
Melissa and Abby at Alpaca Farm

When we pulled up at the farm, they were SO excited!
When we walked closer to the animals, their footsteps got slower
and S L O W E R ...........

"What's that smell?" they whined.
:) Now, they REALLY know where yarn comes from. (tee-hee)

They soon got used to the smell, though. And enjoyed petting the animals.
Melissa and Abby with Alpaca

Abby and Melissa with Horse

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall Blanket Knit-Along (KAL)

Some of you have already heard of the Bernat Mystery Afghan Crochet-Along (CAL) going on on the Bernat Blog. http://bernat.com/CAL2010intro/

Well, I'm participating in the CAL, making a smaller baby blanket, so that I can learn how to crochet better. I've been reading posts in Ravelry discussions, where some people have said that they would like a Knit-Along (KAL) as well, because they don't know how to crochet.

So, I've started an "unofficial" Bernat KAL, so the knitters will have something to do until Bernat makes a "real" Bernat KAL next year. (tee-hee)

I've chosen a beautiful afghan for us to make: The Bernat Super Value Harvest Blanket.
Bernat's Harvest Blanket

The KAL has just started, so it's not too late to join us! The main location for our KAL is in our Ravelry group: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/bernat-kal---harvest-blanket

If you are not a member of Ravelry, just post your comments and photos here. The blanket is designated as an "Easy" pattern, and will make a beautiful addition to your home decor. It uses 7 skeins of Bernat Super Value yarn in the following colors: Taupe Heather, Rustic Heather, Steel Blue Heather, Moss Heather, Plum Heather, Teal Heather, and Redwood Heather.

Of course, you can use any worsted weight you want, in whatever color combination you prefer. I've chosen Bernat Super Value for mine. Using 40% Off coupons at AC Moore, I bought one skein a day last week. :) I just got started knitting Panel 1 this week!
Finally Cast On

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Latest Accomplishments and Delays

Still knitting for the Bernat yarn company! I'm really loving that gig. Every month, I choose a project and yarn, and they send me all I need to get it made. Then, I take lots of photos and write about the project on their website. The best part is that I get to keep everything I knit! Can't beat that. :D

Last month, I made some sweet dolls for charity. I donated them to a local support center for abused children called Treehouse Children's Advocacy Center. You can read about my project on the Bernat Blog here: http://bernatyarns.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/love-these-dolls-for-charity/

Buddy Toys Done

My mom has been watching my knitting projects as I talk about them on Facebook. And she keeps saying, "Oooo....I want one of those!" So, I'm trying to make a few things for her birthday.

Here's a market bag I've started for her:
Market Bag for Mom - Lace Section

And I've started work on two projects for customers.

A yellow & black afghan:
Slow Progress

And a Christmas stocking:
Children Section Done

I'm still at work on a "Oiseau" wrap for display at Yarnhouse Knits also. It is VERY slow work, with detailed stitching on every single row. Not a single row of "rest" in the entire project. I'm not sure WHEN that wrap will be completed.
Oiseau - Slow Work

At least I did finish ONE other project. Red slipper socks for my oldest son, just in time to celebrate his 25th birthday. :)
Slipper Socks for Josh

I think I might need another pair of hands to finish knitting all these projects!

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
I'm a forum moderator and blogger for Spinrite Yarns (www.yarnspirations.com), and I spend WAY too much time there. :D You can also find me on the Knitting Help Forum occasionally