Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Socks 101 - Redux

Yesterday Mom and I went shopping (I'm off work this week....*YAY*), and I found some actual, honest-to-goodness sock yarn! I found only two skeins at Michaels (and bought 'em both). Our last stop of the day was at Hobby Lobby, where I found lots of yummy yarn ON SALE. Since I'm still a beginner, I didn't buy a ton of yarn, but bought enough to keep me out of mischief for awhile. *G*
So, since I now have real sock yarn to work with, I've frogged the infinitely unwearable purple sock I was knitting from baby yarn and have started one from the sock yarn. It's going very well, and I'm really happy with the way it looks and feels.
I've also found a new scarf pattern I want to make....but I CAN'T start anything new until I finish up a few things I've already started.....right?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Socks 101 Continued

I'm making progress! I took this photo just after I'd finished the ribbing.

I SHOULD be asleep...thank goodness I'm on leave this week and don't have to get up early. I was really enjoying seeing my sock take shape and just couldn't put it down. It now has a HEEL! *LOL* If I wasn't so tired I'm afraid of making a big mistake, I'd stay up until I at least finish one sock, but I really must get some sleep. I wonder if there's a 12-step program for sock-knitting addiction.

Now I'm anxious to get some actual sock yarn instead of trying to work with the acrylic (which is all I could find at Wal-Mart). Mom and I are going shopping for awhile tomorrow, so I'm hopeful I can find more suitable yarn. I've ordered some online, but that will take awhile to be delivered.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Socks 101

Last night, I'd finished knitting Meggie's sweater, but didn't want to sew on the buttons. (Yes, I hate to thread needles...*LOL*) Instead, I picked up my "Socks 101" instructions and began working on my very first pair of knitted socks.
I don't have any sock yarn, and they didn't have any at Wal-Mart when I stopped there on my way to work yesterday morning. The nice lady who worked in the sewing/yarn/crafts section said that they only non-acrylic yarn they carry is the cotton dishcloth yarn. *SIGH*
I ordered some sock yarn from JoAnn.com, but that won't be here for 5 - 10 business days, and I'm too impatient to wait. So I decided to knit a practice pair from baby yarn. I love the color, but I'm sure the acrylic is going to be really uncomfortable to wear.
Oh, well....I'm LEARNING, so this will be fine to learn with. :-)

Meggie's Sweater

My 15-year-old miniature dachshund, Meggie, loves sweaters. Because her fur is fine and she's so close to the ground, she's always enjoyed wearing sweaters outside and t-shirts inside.

Because of her little short legs and her broad chest, it's always been difficult to find sweaters to fit her. And, as the years have progressed and arthritis has taken hold, it's becoming more difficult to pull sweaters over her head and get her little feet through the sleeves.

I went Google-ing for a pattern (a SIMPLE pattern, since I'm a beginner) for a knitted doggie sweater that I wouldn't have to pull over Meggie's head. Lo and behold, I found a perfect sweater for her at this site: http://labpugglechifreepatterns.blogspot.com/2007/10/nursing-button-ribbed-and-mock-ribbed.html

Since I'm still learning to knit, it took me a little while to get it finished, but I'm VERY pleased with the outcome! I have a few other projects to finish up before I can start another sweater, but am anxious to get another one cast onto my needles!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hat and Mittens

This is the hat and mittens set I knitted for myself from leftover yarn from my very first knitting project, the scarf I started in December 2007 and finished in January 2008. I knitted the hat and mittens in February 2009.
I'm making progress on Meggie's doggie sweater. I can hardly wait to see how it looks on her!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sue's Easy Knit Dishcloth

This cloth isn't quite as simple as the "idiot" cloth, but it works up pretty quickly and has a lovely texture. It's another free pattern you can find by searching for "Sue's Easy Knit Dishcloth".

I'm still amazed at how many talented people are designing patterns and giving them away for free! Bless their little hearts.

Okay, I'll try to find something other than dishcloths to post for awhile. *LOL*

Basic "Idiot" Dishcloth

I've seen patterns for this dishcloth all over the internet as "Granny's Favorite" or "Basic Dishcloth" or "Idiot Dishcloth". I just love knitting this one in front of the television, because you really only have to pay attention on the first few stitches of each row. Then it's just plain knit until the end of the row.

Perfect for those times when you need something fairly mindless to work on.

Hummingbird Dishcloth

This "hummingbird in flight" is the only dishcloth that didn't live up to my expectations. It was a lot of work and just isn't very pretty. I don't think I'll make another one of these.

Butterfly Dishcloth

One of the great things about knitting dishcloths is that it's almost instant gratification. This butterfly works up really quickly. I've now made two of them, and I can knit one in the time it takes to watch a movie.

I like knitting dishcloths, too, because they're very portable. It's easy to work on one in the dentist's waiting room.

Kitty Dishcloth

I've been practicing my knitting lately by making cotton dishcloths as gifts for friends at work. One friend is a cat lover, so I found a pattern on the internet for this kitty dishcloth.

I wish I'd taken a picture after I blocked it, because it really looked much better after it was blocked. It turned out to be a cute gift, and was really easy to make. No tricky stitches, just knit and purl according to the pattern. It was fun to make something other than scarves. :-)

Crocheting With Grocery Bags

Dad's Aunt Orpha (98 years old and going strong) has been crocheting items using plastic grocery bags for some time now. I've seen hats she's crocheted, and last December she sent me some neat little coasters she'd made. Our local newspaper even wrote an article about her craftiness a year or so ago. She's really something.

When she sent me the coasters it prodded me to wonder how she prepared the bags in order to get a ball of plastic to crochet. So, a-Googling I went and found that there are actually two schools of thought on how to do it: 1) by cutting the bags spirally in a long continuous strip, and 2) by cutting the bags straight across, forming loops that you then connect together in a chain. Because it seemed quicker (and required less ability to cut in a continuous line while keeping the width of the strip pretty even....*LOL*) I chose the loop method.After I had a ball of "plarn" (plastic yarn) larger than a softball, but smaller than a volleyball (probably 40 bags or so), I started crocheting with a plastic "Q" hook, using a patttern I'd Googled for the tote bag pictured here. It's about 2 feet long and 1 foot wide. The handle is crocheted using a slightly smaller hook to make it nice and sturdy. The day after I finished it, I was talking with Mom on the phone and told her it was all done. She said, "What's it look like?" I answered, "It looks like a tote bag crocheted from grocery bags." *LOL*

Gorgeous? No, not particularly. Functional? Absolutely. It's sturdy, and I'm sure it's going to be a very handy item. I think I'll wind up crocheting several to use while camping. They're roomy, lightweight, and would be very easy to crush down into your purse to take along on shopping trips.

My next grocery bag project is a granny-square rug for the floor of my tent. It's nearly finished; I'll post a photo when it's done.

My Very First Knitted Project - December 2007

My daughter has lived in Australia for the past 5-1/2 years. In December 2007 she and her friend came home for a visit. During the visit, her friend learned that I have crocheted off and on for many years. She said that she didn't crochet, but has been a knitter for a long time.

So, I taught her to crochet a granny square, and she started me out on a knitted scarf. She taught me to cast on, knit, and bind off.

Unfortunately, by the time I'd finished the scarf in January and was ready to bind off, she and my daughter were already back in Australia and I'd forgotten her instructions!

So, I did what I usually do when I need an answer to a question....I GOOGLED! *L* I was amazed to find that there were TONS of instructions and lots of free patterns. And so, here is Meggie inspecting my finished scarf. I still wear this scarf every time the temperature gets cool enough to justify it. I recently knitted myself a hat and mitten set to match it. I'll post a picture of that later.

Meggie's Ottoman Cover

Meggie is my miniature dachshund; she'll be 15 years old on April 1, 2009. (Yes, she was an April Fool puppy! *LOL*) My bed (which she considers to be HER bed) is much too high for her to jump up onto without a little help. So, several years ago I placed an old ottoman next to my bed.

The ottoman had a leatherette cover; this didn't present a problem at first. However, as time took a toll on Meggie's mobility, she began to slip a little on the smooth leatherette. So, I crocheted a granny square large enough to cover the top of the ottoman and just crocheted an open weave to fit down over the sides to hold it in place.

It solves the problem of the slippery surface and is easily removed to throw into the washer as needed. Meg is pleased. :-)

My World, and Welcome To It

And so it begins....a blog devoted to my needlecraft. When you learn what a novice I am, you'll find it funny that I'm blogging about my knitting! *LOL*

I've been an "off and on" crocheter for 20 years, but only began knitting in December 2007. My daughter and her friend came to visit for Christmas. Her friend is a knitter and had never done any crochet. We agreed to swap a few skills; I taught her to crochet a granny square, and she taught me how to cast on, knit, and bind off. She then started me knitting a scarf.

By the time I was finished with the scarf and ready to bind off, my daughter and her friend had long since gone home and I'd completely forgotten what to do! I went to my first resource for most questions I face: Google. Luckily I found many, many online resources that taught me not only how to bind off, but how to purl!

Since that first scarf (which I still wear every time the temperature drops enough to justify it), I've knitted several scarves for friends, a hat and mitten set for myself (which matches that first scarf), and have lately been knitting dishcloths as gifts for friends.

I like doing the dishcloths because it's nearly instant gratification. I can finish one in the time it takes me to watch a movie on TV. Not only do I have a neat little gift for someone, but it gives me justification for sitting in the recliner for a couple of hours. "Well, yes, I DID lay in the recliner most of the afternoon, but look what I MADE." *LOL*

I'll get a few photos posted here of some things I've finished and keep tabs on things I've started and want to start. For instance, I've started a sweater for my mini-dachsie, but had to put it aside to finish up a few birthday gifts. I hope to get back to the sweater very soon.

So this is my world....not terribly exciting, but very comfortable. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and make yourself at home.