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

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Will we ever finish?

Some of us Chicks are working on seemingly never-ending projects. Elaine's baby blanket looks lovely but it's one of those items which never seems to grow any larger. Then BAM! One day it's finished.
 Barbara started the Present Cowl today. She is using a pretty tonal yarn that reminds me of dark berries.
 Maureen finished her watchcap which she started before tax season started.
 Now she's working on a baby sweater. I like her choice of color. Not your typical "baby pink or blue".
 Beth started a hat which is covered in cables. None of us believe her when she says it's easy! LOL!
 And another never-ending Minty Bricks still on Carole's needles.
 Speaking of never-ending...I started this scarf/cowl last June but became so bored with it I had to put it in time-out for awhile. Today I finally came to join a new color so maybe I will have renewed interest and will be able to continue on it. It's called Tubularity from Martina Behm and you can purchase the pattern on Ravelry.
 Just to make myself feel like I accomplished something I made a watchcap yesterday. Well, I started it Sunday night and wrapped it up Monday night. It's a pretty quick knit when I put my mind to it.
 And another baby bonnet simply fell off my needles last week! I love this little pattern and the designer has made corrections to the errors in the original pattern.
 Check out those ties! I found a video on Youtube that showed how to make twisted cords using your electric hand mixer. With lots of help from Ron (it's really a four handed job) I turned out a pretty neat looking twisted cord.
 I think we all have knitted at least one garment which once it was finished we looked at it and said,
"Why did I make this? It looks awful on me!" This beautiful sweater was one that Beth made, didn't like once it was completed, and never wore it. Rather than keep it in her closet she decided to donate it to the Chicks where it will be put to good use. She did a lovely job.
Then we got to talking about how we don't like to make garments for ourselves because after all the expense and work, we don't like the results. That's why I stick to scarves and shawls for me. I'll stick to making sweaters for children that I can give away to someone who really needs it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Our Annual Field Trip to WEBS

Last Saturday Carole, Elaine, and I made the trip to Northampton, Massachusetts to our motherland, WEBS (America's Yarn Store is what they call themselves). We had a lovely 1 hour and 15 minute drive on a beautifully sunny day.
 The front showroom was filled with beautiful yarns and tools and sample knits. And then we made our way back to....
 THE WAREHOUSE! It's row after row of shelves filled with heavenly fibers! We were overcome by the fumes of yarn everywhere! And if you buy $60 worth you get another certain percentage off so how could you not take advantage?!?!
 I came home with these lovelies that are an alpaca and merino blend. My plan is to knit a chevron stitch scarf alternating two rows of each color. By the time I get to it I will probably change my mind a dozen times.
 My other purchase was this 100% Baby Alpaca that must have been spun by the angels themselves! Talk about soft! They will become this shawl called Everyday Shawl. I just have to finish the skillion and one other projects on needles first.
 I did manage to finish this little bonnet called Bonnet Camponesa. There is a video showing the technique of knitting it, however, it's all spoken in Portuguese! I followed along watching with the sound off. 
 It was a very entertaining knit but I'll warn you there are mistakes in the written English version of the pattern. But if you watch the video you will be able to figure out the corrections yourself. I've written to the designer but haven't heard back from her yet.
 Another FO I made over the last week was the Cushy Cowl using my friend Karin's DK yarn of merino and silk in the color Ominous. It's really a deep teal but it didn't photograph very well.
 Barbara finished the hat she was knitting last week....
 and the scarf too. Now there's a nice set!
 Elaine added many inches to the baby blanket. She explained that she intended to make a sweater but it turned out so wide she decided to make it a blanket instead. When I asked her if she "got gauge" we all laughed hysterically!!!
 We started off the evening group with cheesecake. The afternoon ladies got some too. I can't have that stuff sitting around the house or I'll eat it all so it was nice to have someone to share it with. And look who's back to the land of the living! It's Maureen! (Third in from the left) 
Tax season must be over!
 Dorah switched back to making this a scarf instead of a cowl so she has a few more weeks of knitting to go.
 Beth put the finishing stitches on a pair of man's mittens.
 Then we all tried to figure out why the pattern designer made such pointy tops. Actually, once they are worn they look more normal.
 Maureen is almost finished with the hat she started before her hiatus.
 And Carole is working on her never-ending Minty Bricks. It's a lovely, easily memorized pattern but it feels like it will take forever!
Well, my projects are not going to knit themselves so I better get it in gear and knit. 
See you next week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Knots! I hate knots!

Some yarns resist being felted either because they are synthetic fibers, or it's superwash, or they contain a natural fiber such as cotton or silk which just won't felt. I'm working on a baby blanket for which I'm using Berroco Comfort Chunky, a nylon and acrylic washable yarn and very "unfeltable"! So when it came time to add a new ball of yarn I had to search Youtube for an alternate method of joining so I wouldn't have a huge knot in the middle of my knitting. I came across a braiding method in which one strand of yarn from the old ball of yarn is split into two sections and the strand from the new ball of yarn is left whole. They are clipped together at one end and braided together for a few inches until it holds. Thank goodness I had Elaine to hold one end so I could work the braid. 
 It makes a very sturdy join and as you can see it is almost invisible. The thickness is the same as the original strand of yarn and when the garment is fully knitted I can snip off those ends.
 Carole is making progress on her Minty Bricks and...
 her Hitchhiker scarf is coming along nicely too.
My Minty Bricks is showing signs of growing but not quickly enough to satisfy me so.... 
 I looked through my stitch books until I found one I liked and started this baby blanket. The stitch is reversible and when I have completed the blanket I'll put the pattern up for free on Ravelry.
Speaking of patterns, I finished my pattern for the Lindan Cowls and it is for sale on Ravelry.
You get the instructions for two different cowls for the price of one! And the pattern is customizable for size. It can be made as deep or as shallow as you like.
Before I go, let me show you Cinzia, Elaine, and I when we delivered our goodies to the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless in Albany, NY. That's Clarice Nichols, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator with us. 
Thank you Chicks for again making a successful delivery for those in need.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Easter Bonnets and Delivery Time

My friends in Pennsylvania became grandparents for the third time and I wanted to make something for the new baby and his two big sisters. Why not make matching hats for the princesses and a nearly matching one for the little prince?! 
 The hat was my favorite go-to ribbed watchman's cap but the girls' hat was adorned with a crocheted flower.
 And here are those three precious babies!
 I was told Maddie liked her hat so much that she wore it all Easter day in 80 degree temps. I'm so happy they fit!
 This week Cinzia, Elaine, and I will be delivering our goodies to the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless in Albany. We made 92 items (111 if you count pairs, which is more knitting!). That's four big bags to deliver.
 This afternoon Barbara and Elaine continued working on their scarf and blanket, respectively.
 Elaine needed an easy basic recipe to follow mindlessly. Even so, it is a lovely blanket stitch.
 After a while Barbara decided to put the scarf aside and start a matching hat.
 I've been working on designing a pattern for two cowls. This one I started this afternoon.
 By this evening I had a good three inches knitted already. And when I get the directions written out I'll be posting it for sale on Ravelry.
This is the first one I made using a DK weight baby alpaca and silk yarn that is as soft as a cloud. I wanted to make cowls as a thank you gift for a couple I'll be visiting in June. They are avid skiers and so this stitch reminded me of a slalom run. This is the gentlman's cowl and...
this is the version for his wife. This yarn is also a baby alpaca blend but a lighter weight. Her version is an open lacy pattern. Both patterns will be sold in one offering. I'll let you know when they are available.
This evening Beth showed us a cowl she made for herself...or maybe her daughter. I think it's for whoever grabs it first! LOL! 
She is currently working on a pair of mittens for our inventory and is worried she'll run out of yarn before they are done. So the first mitten is on hold near the fingertips so if she doesn't have enough for complete both mittens, the tops can be knitted in a complimentary color. I told her to knit faster. That way she'll finish before she runs out of yarn! LOL!
And last but certainly not least, Dorah's scarf/cowl is almost done.
I had some time to fit a Hitchhiker scarf in between donation knitting and finished blocking it over the weekend. The yarn is from the New England Sheep and Wool Festival I attended two years ago. Every time I tried to make something with it, it would not look right. When I finally stumbled upon the Hitchhiker pattern the yarn decided to cooperate and I love the results. 
See? You have to listen to your yarns. They know what they want to become!