Your greatness is not what you have, it's what you give.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

All sweaters, all the day long

We had a sunny, breezy day on the deck yesterday. It was so sunny in fact, that I had to put the drapes up to keep it comfortable enough to knit. My deck has magical powers that put everyone to sleep after only a few minutes of relaxing. And no one, I repeat, NO ONE MOWED THEIR LAWNS!!! It was a very peaceful afternoon of knitting.
 Kathleen started off "Show and Tell" with her finished Cabin Fever favorite. She made it with a sturdy acrylic and has enough left for a hat and possibly mittens too.
 Another group fave is the hoodie from the knitting book "60 Quick Baby Knits". You can't see it from this angle but Kathleen used the Kitchener Stitch to finish the top of the hood. You can find a video demonstration here. The original pattern calls for a three needle bind off but we've been trying it using kitchener and it gives a neater, seamless finish. Kathleen, you did a great job of finishing!
 And rounding off her gifts to the inventory is a cute baby watch cap. It will match some previous donations of sweaters made with the same yarn.
 Liz progressed down to the sleeves on her sweet hoodie. You can see the sleeves being separated on stitch holders there. The body will be finished and then she'll go back to knit the sleeves on circular needles.
 Speaking of Liz, do you remember about 2 weeks ago I showed you the hoodie I said she knitted? Well, forgive me for the "senior moment" but I mistakenly credited Liz when I should have said Kathleen. So now I feel better!
 What do you do when you spend WEEKS knitting a darling pink hearts baby afghan for a friend's daughter's baby shower and the grandma-to-be announces casually that the mama-to-be HATES PINK?!!! Well, Maureen dove into her stash of UFO's and luckily surfaced with an almost finished darling baby sweater! Whew! That was a close call! We all agreed that our hand crafted gifts should be used, loved, and appreciated for the time, talent, and effort that goes into them. We would hate to see a lovingly crafted gift buried on a shelf somewhere.
 Even though Beth's eyes are weary from the bright green stripes on her Wynkyn cardi, we all love how it looks. She started to panic because the yarn ball seemed to be running out quicker than the length of the sweater was growing. Her solution was to put the bottom hem on hold and knit the sleeves first, then finish the bottom. Much better solution than mine...I just knit faster and pray I don't run out before it's finished! LOL!
 Another sweater Beth is making is the pullover free pattern from Ravelry call "Flax". It has a range of sizes from newborn to adult and did I mention? IT'S FREE!
 The shoulder design is very unique. You can see here the shoulder is defined in garter stitch to separate it from the stockinette body.
 Lastly, I have finished the sleeves and half the body of my Mitered Baby Jacket. The needle is on one half of the body and the other half has the stitches on holder threads. Hopefully this will be done by next week (that all depends on how much knitting time I have this week).
I hope you will have plenty of time to keep your needles clicking!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sweaters Galore!

The afternoon session convened on the deck for the first time this season. We enjoyed peaceful tunes and cheerful bird chirps until the next door neighbor decided it would be a good time to mow his lawn. We afternoon Chicks have a running joke that every time we meet on the deck for two hours of peaceful knitting, someone in the neighborhood cranks up a mower and disturbs the tranquility of the moment.

Barbara is wrapping up a set of golf club covers for herself. She's sure to find her bag of clubs easily with that bright, iridescent pink sticking out of the top! Liz started a baby hoodie with a soft pink and I added few rows to a baby cardigan called Sunnyside.
I'm using a Periwinkle Sheep sock weight yarn in the colorway Raggle Taggle Gypsy.
This cardigan is knitted from the top down, seamlessly, my favorite kind of sweater knitting. The cables highlight the button bands and the raglan lines of the sleeves.
Another project I have on needles is called Phazelia's Mitered Baby Jacket, because I can't have only one project going at a time! This pattern is one of those sweaters that looks nothing like a sweater until you start picking up stitches and folding it like origami. Believe it or not, I'm almost at the shoulder line.
Maureen finished the baby gift she was making for a friend and it turned out beautifully after blocking.
      Then she started a Cabin Fever top down cardigan using the excess yarn left from the blanket. 
Beth finished blocking her Brickless shawl. It blocked out very long to make a wonderful, warm wrap. We'll put this in the hold pile for a future donation.
She also added a cute little pair of socks to our inventory. Those self-striping yarns are the best for adding interest with little effort.
And now Beth is working on another sweet Wynkyn cardigan with another self-striping yarn. The ribbing on the bottom hem is almost finished and then she'll be on to the sleeves.
Carole's baby hat is shaping up nicely. The scalloped edge will look darling on a chubby baby.
At the beginning of our evening Dorah's baby pullover was this far along.
By evening's end she had already put the sleeve stitches on holders and was well on her way down the body of the sweater.
With the warmer weather expected we should be able to knit outside more often. It's a good thing we're knitting little baby clothes. It wouldn't be much fun to have a heavy afghan laying across the lap when the temperatures rise. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The butcher, the baker, the Candle Maker! And some knitting too!

Kathleen finished a lovely baby blanket in time for this week's photos. She used an acrylic, washable, worsted weight yarn and held two strands together which made for quick knitting on a large needle. The basket weave-like pattern is reversible. We can't tell which is supposed to be the right side. Who cares?! They both look great!
 She managed to slip in another two pairs of mittens too.
 Liz made a sweet hoodie using the same pattern that Barbara used last week. It's a simple top-down pattern that starts at the hood section and finishes off with a picot bottom edge for a sweet, feminine touch.
 And here is Liz's other FO... a baby sac. This is the one I showed you last week when I mentioned that none of us could figure out which was the right side. Liz made an executive decision and picked the prettiest side out.
 And just for good measure she also put the finishing touches on the baby hat by adding a knitted flower and leaves. See? Sometimes it pays to be a hoarder! Liz needed green yarn for leaves and I had just enough squirreled away in a bag with leftovers.
 Now Liz has started another sweater and ....
 so has Kathleen. By next week we'll have much more to show you.
 Only Carole and Maureen were able to make the evening session. Dorah had a previous date with "The Boss" Bruce Springsteen and Beth had book club. I heard Bruce put on quite a good show.
 This week Carole is making the hat to match last week's sweater.
 And Maureen decided that 5 rows of hearts is quite large enough for her blanket. On to the garter border next week.
 I had just enough Liberty Wool yarn left to make a slouchy baby hat to match the pullover I knitted. If I finish tomorrow's chores early enough I might make a trip over to the store for buttons. I'm picturing bright coral colored buttons. I know I shouldn't get my heart set on them though. I seldom see in the stores what I imagine in my head. Maybe that's a good thing! LOL!
 For Mother's Day this year my son made arrangements for me to join our friends, Sue and Amy (mother and daughter) for a surprise date. He told me we were going to Saratoga Springs, home of the Saratoga Race Track, for a nice brunch and then to wear something which had sleeves which could be rolled up. Huh? He wouldn't tell me anything else and the suspense was killing me!
 After a wonderful and leisurely meal we walked along Broadway and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Since it's not racing season yet we could take our time and not have to fight the crowds.
 After our stroll, we drove south on Route 50 to Ballston Spa to The Candle Collective where our kids treated us to an afternoon of candle making. I had such a good time! You can tell by the goofy grin on my face. I was having such a good time I couldn't wipe that silly smile off my face all afternoon. We each made 3 candles in colors and shapes of our own choosing.
 The process is to cut chunks of colored wax and place it, or just dump it depending on your technique, into the chosen molds. When it is filled to your liking, the mold is filled with hot liquid wax which is scented with a perfume of your choice. There's my first one, a peach scented square with various colored chunks all of the peach, red, and pink family.
 And here we are after 2 hours of candle making with our array of candles displayed before us.
I think we made some pretty good looking candles, if I say so myself!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sweaters, sweaters, sweaters!

Barbara put the finishing touches on the sweet little hoodie I showed you last week. She used a Plymouth Encore yarn that is self-striping. We talked about how to get the stripes to match up on the sleeves. There is a ton of waste yarn sometimes because you have to pull the skein until you reach the right spot in the color run. This one turned out just right.
 Liz worked on a baby sac. The last few rows will accommodate a cord so the sac can be opened at the bottom for diaper changing.
 Cinzia started the second of a pair of baby booties. Now she has to go home and look for the first one. She laughed telling us about how she was showing a friend what she had knitted recently and now she can't find the original bootie. It will turn up, don't worry!
 Kathleen finished the simple baby pullover using Plymouth Encore. We all love this pattern that Carole showed us, so I'm sure you'll be seeing various versions of it for the next few weeks.
 Kathleen's go-to pattern for an easy, portable knit is her favorite mitten pattern. She knits up a pair in no time at all.
 Beth displayed her finished Wynkyn cardigan. She used a self-patterning sock yarn which never fails to amuse. All that fancy color work and all you do is knit!
 Dorah's cardigan just needed a tie at the neck so....
 Carole and I volunteered to make some twist ties. It took us three tries to get two to match in size and twist! Finally!
 Now a cute baby will have a proper closing sweater!
I've got a sock weight yarn cardigan and another pullover on needles but they are not quite ready for their close-ups. And I've added a few more inches to the Ten Stitch Blanket but really, how many times does one have to look at that?!!! I'll wait until it's finished and blocked to show you that again. I need to get back to the sleeves on a pullover for a friend's new baby. Almost done. I'll show you next week. Keep those needles clicking!