Block Baby Blanket 2010-02

I started knitting away without really knowing what I wanted to do.  Before I knew it, I was using left over soft baby yarn and creating a blanket.  I am a little less than midway through it, but wanted to post the pattern anyway.  People keep asking me who I am knitting it for.  My response, “By the time I’m finished, someone will be pregnant.”

I am using Patons Beehive Baby Yarn in 11421 Natural Girl colors.  It has tones of pink, blue, beige and white.  There is a double seed stitch border, with alternating squares in stockinette and seed stitch.

6 stitches and 8 rows = 1 inch in stockinette

Size 4 circular knitting needle at least 16 inches long.  Using stich markers every ten stitches will help keep track of the changes.

Cast on 170 stitches (@36 inches wide)

Row 1: K2P2, continue to end.

Row 2: K2P2, continue to end

Row 3: P2K2, continue to end

Row 4: P2K2, continue to end

Continue for 12 rows total

Row 13: K2P2 (4 times) K2, *K1P1 (5 times), K10, continue from * to last 10 stitches, K2P2 (4 times) K2

Row 14: P2K2 (4 times) P2, *P1K1 (5 times), P10, continue from * to last 10 stitches, P2K2 (4 times)

Row 15: P2K2 (4 times) P2, *K1P1 (5 times), K10, continue from * to last 10 stitches, P2K2 (4 times) P2

Row 16: K2P2 (4 times) K2, *P1K1 (5 times), P10, continue from * to last 10 stitches, K2P2 (4 times)K2

Repeat Rows 13-16

Row 21: K2P2 (4 times) K2, *K10, K1P1 (5 times), continue from * to last 10 stitches, K2P2 (4 times) K2

Row 22: P2K2 (4 times) P2, *P20, P1K1 (5 times), continue from * to last 10 stitches, P2K2 (4 times)

Row 23: P2K2 (4 times) P2, *K10, K1P1 (5 times), continue from * to last 10 stitches, P2K2 (4 times) P2

Row 24: K2P2 (4 times) K2, *P10, P1K1 (5 times), continue from * to last 10 stitches, K2P2 (4 times)K2

Repeat Rows 21-24 through Row 30.

Rows 31-40: Repeat Rows 13-17

continue in this manner until you’ve knit the desired length of blanket.

Ending: Repeat Rows 1-4 for a total of 12 rows.  Bind Off.

Listening to Books

A while ago I was at the library, wandering around, when I discovered these little playaway books on preloaded mp3 players.  First of all, I am one of the few people out there who do not have an ipod or an mp3 player or even a smart phone.  I found these little devices that have one book recorded on it, and that you can borrow for three weeks at a time (longer if you are a chronic renewer like me).  I listen to them at work, at the gym, and while knitting.  So far I’ve listened to Marley & Me, Songs of the Hunchback Whale, Blue Diary, and Water for Elephants.  I started The Time Traveler’s Wife but it bored me.  I couldn’t stand the speaker for Beach Road.  I’m currently listening to The Wednesday Wars, which is directed at children, but is written (spoken) well and is a perfect cutesy book to have at work.  My next one will be The Joy Luck Club. 

I’ve read most of these before with my absolute favorite being Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  The narration is split between the 90 or 93-year-old Jacob Jankowski and his 23-year-old memory.  He described both his life at a nursing home, his aging body and loneliness at a point when his children are too old to take care of him.  Across the street, the circus is setting up and a fellow resident begins to claim that he used to carry water for elephants.  Jacob becomes angry at this, saying Mr. McGuinty is a lyer.  A nurse, Rosemary, takes pity on him and begins to treat him like a human being instead of another body. 

We listen to him tell about being 23, days away from taking his final exams in Veterinarian School at Cornell University when his parents are killed in a car accident.  This occurs during the Great Depression.  Jacob finds out that the bank is foreclosing on his parents’ home and goes to take the finals.  He walks out of the room without answering a single question.  Fate takes him to the railroad tracks where he jumps into a car only to find out that he’s on a circus train. 

The rest is an adventure.  Jacob discovers circus life and the meaning of love for both the beautiful Marlena and the surprising elephant Rosie.  This is an absolute must read- or listen.  There is even a movie in the works, which is planned to come out in 2011.

Songs of the Humpback Whale was also a fantastic experience.  Listening to it was even better because there are five narrators in five voices.  I believe that this brings it to life far more than actually reading it could- and Jodi Picoult is a great writer.  This is a journey of self discovery by five very different people who are connected by life and events that are beyond their control.  A mother, father, daughter, uncle and lover all reflect on the actions that take them to a quaint apple orchard in Massachusetts.  While listening, you salivate at the description of the crunching apples, shiver when the cool northeastern winds blow, and feel the characters as if they are standing next to you.

Happy Listening!

Interweave Knits

I received my first issue of Interweave Knits magazine.  I, the knitting maniac, have no subscriptions to any knitting magazines and have not even bought a single one at a store.  I’ve clipped patterns out of my Mom’s old ones, but have never sat down and read through one.  Yesterday I spent time at the kitchen table flipping through the pages.  I’m almost stunned at seeing full-page, colorful ads for yarn and knits and shops.  Turquoise, plums, and mandarin shades pop out of the pages until you begin to salivate.  I just want to reach in and pet the sweaters and blankets.  My absolute favorite ad is the model for Addi needles.  Standing in the back of a warehouse is a tall, man donning a goti, a leather jacket and jeans knitting what appears to be a long, white scarf.  I know men knit and I wish more did.  There were some interesting articles including one about Nancy Bush who is known by many sock knitters.  In the end, with a super sweet voice, I asked my husband if I could stretch our tight budget to include a year’s subscription to the magazine.

Someone requested me to mention that he said “Of course” to my subscription request.  Now I just have to remember to send them money.  I do accept donation$ to help support my yarn addiction.

Felted Heating Pad 2010-01

We all have aches and pains and what a great way to soothe them than with a heating pad.  To create your own knitted or felted heating pad, begin with natural fiber.  Acrylics are likely to melt with heat.  If you are not sure how the material will react to heat, make a swatch and apply a hot pan to it.  If it melts/scorches, don’t use it.  If felting, use 100% wool.  Other materials will not felt as well.

For the heating pad above, choose three colors of 100% wool yarn.  I used Galway from Gabriella’s knit shop.  Gauge does not really matter because of the shrinkage, but the gauge in this case was 5 stitches x 4 rows = 1 inch with size 7 needles. 

Cast on 50 stitches.

With colors A,B,C

Row 1:  K2A, K1B, K2A, continue to end

Row 2: P1A, P1B, P1C, P1A, continue to end

Row 3: K1A, K3C, K1A, continue to end

Row 4: P1A, P3C, P1A, continue to end

Row 5: K1A, K1B, K1C, K1A, continue to end

Row 6: P2A, P1B, P2A, continue to end

Work these six rows until it measures about 14×9 inches.

Work another panel as you did above.

Sew these two with right sides together leaving a small section 2-3 inch section open.

Turn so that right side is facing out.

Throw it in a pillowcase rubberbanded closed or zippered shut.  Place in washer machine to felt.  To felt, put washer machine on lowest water setting with highest heat setting and use a pair of jeans or tennis balls to help with agitation.  Put  longest cycle and check regularly.  Finished project should be about 11×7 inches, unless otherwise desired.  If necessary, let machine cycle again- do not let it go into rinse cycle.  Take felted project out, rinse manually, and allow to completely dry.  (See my entry on felting https://knitwerks.com/2010/02/20/felting/.

Fill with buckwheat husks (better at maintaining heat), rice, or beans.  Sew up the small hole and toss in microwave.  Relax.

Felting

Before - Felting
After - Felting

Materials: 100% wool, pillow case, rubber band, top loading washer machine, hot water   

  • First pick out a 100% wool yarn.  Make sure it is not superwash.  You can check the label.  It should say whether it is feltable.  If you are not sure, make a swatch to felt beforehand to double-check.
  • Create a swatch to test how much it will shrink.  

(It is a great way to determine how big to make your item, but I’m lazy and never do this).  

  • Put your project into a pillow case and close with a rubber band.  This will protect your washer machine from the fuzzies that come off. 
  • Set the washer machine to the lowest water setting and set to highest temperature and longest possible cycle. 
  • Some instructions tell you to add detergent.  I find that there is enough residue in the washer that no more detergent is necessary.
  • Place project in pillow case into washer machine.  (Fuzz comes off the project during the cycle and can damage your machine if not placed in protective case.) Check project often.  I usually check after twenty minutes and then every ten minutes there after.  Do not let the washer enter the rinse cycle.  If project is ‘felted’ enough, restart agitation cycle again and keep checking!  You’ll be surprised how quickly those slippers can turn into doll’s clothes!
  • When your project is the right size, take it out of the washer and rinse the detergent residue off. 
  • Place somewhere to dry.  If you want a specific shape (like a big square purse) wrap a box or something related to the shape in a plastic bag and place in your item.  As it dries, your project will hold that shape.
  • Enjoy

Misti Alpaca Socks

Misti Alpaca Socks

The Sunday after Christmas, a few members of my family and I went into Manhattan to see a few sites and of course- to visit a knit shop!  After seeing Rockefeller Center and FAO Schwartz, we headed down to 79th Street to visit Knitty City.  The shop was cute.  It was a long narrow without a lot of space, as all places in Manhattan are short on space, but there were still comfortable niches to hang out in.  My mother bought me a skein of Misti Alpaca hand painted sock yarn.  I had plans of designing a shawl from it and it would be the best thing ever.  I started and frogged repeatedly until I finally relented and went to the website.  I knitted a pair of socks off their basic pattern, and they are the most comfortable socks I have ever worn.  The last few days have been so cold in the new office, I’ve now taken to wearing these.  They truly are better than slippers.

Knit Therapy

There is a reason that I latched onto knitting so long ago.  Knitting and crocheting are great for stress relief and depression.  The repetitive motion is soothing.  It is like watching tv with white noise.  The mind blanks out.  The world, its stresses, the rambling unending thoughts dissipate.  It’s an escape- even if temporary.  It’s also great because you are creating something and can find fulfillment in that.  It is also cheaper than therapy, unless of course you love really expensive yarn.  Think productive meditation!

I also knit in the car to keep my eyes off the road while my hubby is driving.  I think it helps our marriage in many ways- especially to keep me from backseat driving.  Well, most of the time it does.  It’s a portable hobby and still becoming more trendy.  It is even easier to learn in the age of YouTube and the internet.  Anything you’ve ever wanted to know is at your fingertips.