K1b

As an experienced knitter, it is fun to try new things.  A while back, Warren from Marin Fiber Arts showed a cool new scarf that he was knitting.  To be honest, it went right over my head.  I’m like that.  Later, on the WEBS podcast, Kathy and Pixie starting a knit-a-long using the pattern, the Inside-Outside Scarf, the Knit One Below (I almost wrote Knit One Blow – I think that’s a Lamaze technique) pattern on the XRX site.  Here’s the link. And this page will lead you to the suggestions/helps on the WEBS site.  My scarf turned out well, using some stash, coincidentally from MFA.  See?

InsideOutsideScarf1b

I like the reverse side of the fabric as well:

InsideOutsideScarf1c
I’d heard about the book Knit One Below: One Stitch, Many Fabrics, and finally when I had an Amazon coupon for some free bucks, I broke down and bought the book, because I realized that the technique would be perfect for a vest that I’ve been wanting to make for my Mom, who is short and round, and this technique uses vertical lines in a pleasing way.

The book is fabulous.  I wish all books were as thorough in explaining the techniques, giving detailed photos, charts, graphics, and general how-to.  I’ve heard that it took her 10 years to put the book together, and it shows.  I can’t wait to find more things to knit from it, and it seems like a great stash-busting technique.

I’m pretty happy with the look, although this is a time consuming technique, since one knits two rows for every one.  Here’s where I am today:

reversible vest 1a

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Blessings of the Blankets

Yesterday we blessed 13 blankets made by members friends and co-workers of Sausalito Presbyterian Church, as well as the many delightful and wonderful customers of Bluebird.  Sophie, the owner of Bluebird, was there (with her lovely husband Jason), and Judy, who singlehandedly put together at least 5 of the blankets (nothing like having a real crocheter, not to mention a fab knitter, in your midst to get the job done).   Alison of the knit-stitch put together this lovely display at the front of our worship space:

a4ablessing1

The needles are from her grandmother’s set.   Sophie announced in worship that a customer was inspired by the project to get her child’s school to put together their own blanket, so the seeds of the project are already spreading.  Here’s the blessing that the congregation was led in yesterday:

Blessing of the Blankets

Blessed be the hands that have touched life:
Hands that bring forth new life in lands far away,
Hands of mothers who nurture new life in hard places with warm hearts,
Blessed be the works of your hands.

Blessed be the hands that have touched life:
Hands that teach young ones how to read and add,
Hands that create a thirst for knowledge and minds for learning
Blessed be the works of your hands.

Blessed be the hands that have touched life:
Hands that generously give of their time and talents to those that they do not know
Hands that seek peace in a time of war,
Blessed be the works of your hands.

Blessed be the hands that have touched life:
Hands that stitch by stitch link humanity together across the continents
Hands that create beautiful garments of warmth for cold nights
Blessed be the works of your hands.
This we pray in the name of the Creating God.  Amen.

a4ablessing4

a4ablessing6

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Open Hearted

This week, blankets have been completed:

a4a blankets spc

This is actualy only about half of them.  I think we have 13 completed, and some orphan squares that will be put into another one.  Amazing knitters and crocheters contributed, and finishers Marty, Judy, Sue, Les and Ann all made this possible.  And Sophie, who contributed the yarn.   We’re having two recogntions, one at the church tomorrow, and the other at Bluebird on April 2nd — details here (rav link).  More photos coming when me and the camera and all the blankets are together.

The scarf is done, and is blocking.  Here it is in pre-blocking state.

Spindrift 1f.jpg

I’ve left the bright spot in it at the moment, but I’ll figure out what I want to do later on.  Any thoughts?  Put them in the comments.

Finally, my friend Sandy is not doing well.  She spent a couple of days in the ICU, and feels generally awful. Chemo is agreeing with her less than most folks, and being in the hospital has made her sicker.  Prayers please, she wants to be able to get up and walk tomorrow.  I’ve knit this hat for mer, which will go in the mail on Monday morning:

Cap for Sandy 1a

Oh, and I took a pretty good photo of some flowers this week (good  for me, that is.)

Tulips2

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Knot to Dye For

Lovely self-striping and varigated yarns are one of the great new things in the yarn world.  But sometimes the quality control on these yarns isn’t good.  For all that I loved knitting with Mirasol Hacho, I was completely irritated that one skeig of it had two very different dye lots — the dye itself wasn’t great.  So I knit a pair of mittens and gave them to charity.  At least with Mirasol, you are helping a group of people who need it.

I bought some Mini Mocho by Crystal Palace in a lovely Harvest Rainbow colorway.  I knit a swatch which looked good:

Spindrift swatch

See how pretty?

I started knitting the scarf. Within the first two inches, there was a knot — a knot where the colors were different. Apparently this is a known problem. In my case, it wasn’t too bad. Shortly after, I ran into this patch:

Spindrift1e

Yep, a kinda acid-green color.  Odd to have in a Harvest rainbow colorway, but I figured I wait to see.  Well, it turns out that this is a color not repeated anywhere in the rest of the two skeins. See — it’s nowhere else.

Spindrift 1c

Fortunately, I have plenty of yarn, so I’ll be able to complete my project.  But it’s clear that their quality control sucks is not what it should be, and this is a relatively well-known company that is managed in the Bay Area, although the yarn itself is imported.

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“…if I die, you get my stash.”

We’re in the throes of putting together the many blankets from all these squares.  This is the latest group of squares from Bluebird:
BluebirdSquares

and we ended up with many, many blankets. Here are three of them:

3a4aBlankets

And because of all the squares, we’ve called in for reinforcements — Ann, Sue, and Les – thank you for bailing us out! On Friday, I dropped by a couple of blankets to Les for making up and finishing, and as she opened the door, she tells me, “I just told my husband that if I die, you get my stash.” Wowza, now there’s place of honor in a knitter’s heart.

The funny thing is that later in the day I picked up a bunch of white, animal fiber yarn from Patty, who I “met” on Ravelry and lives a couple of miles away. The yarn is from her mother’s stash, quite lovely, and will be able to be dyed for use in Afghans for Afghans projects. Stash ecology lives on…

The wonderful things is all the connections and discoveries that are being made with this project. Allison has made almost an entire blanket on her own. See the delight on her face?

Allison Knitting

Although she only knows the knit stitch, she learned to do stripes on her own. I really need to teach her how to purl though!

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Yet more squares

Church folks are kicking up the square counts, that’s for sure.

These are some from the Sausalito Presbyterian Church and their friends:

SPC Squares

That pile of cream, brown and green? Those are knitted by Alison, who has her grandmother’s knitting needle set, and she only knows the knit stitch at the moment, but she is already doing stripes. I need to teach her to purl fast!

And I got a bunch this morning from Sleepy Hollow Presbyterian:

SHPCsquares

Some great knitters and crocheters in that crowd! Almost one whole blanket’s worth in a couple of weeks.

and there are more to pick-up at Bluebird, I’m sure. That’ll happen Thursday.

I’m making progress on the blanket that I’m putting together. We decided last Thursday to single crochet all around the edges of each square, then single crochet them together, and finally add a half-double-crochet as an edge around the whole blanket. I’m in the middle of putting together strips:

redorangeblanket

And of course, the feline inspection was a part of the photo-op. Izzie is not camera-shy!

and have woven in the ends and blocked another (I didn’t put this one together). Here, Brandy gives her best impression of Lana Turner):

orangegreenblanket

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Making Connections

The squares are coming in, and we’re trying to stay ahead of the game in putting them together.  This is not a hard task, but it requires persistence.  Four of us gathered at Marty’s for some learning and joining:

SPC folks work on blankets

We first reviewed the progress from last week, and as you can tell, Marty is most pleased with the progress that she made on her blanket:

Marty Smiles at blanket

But there are more blankets. Marty Rouse is doing at least one on her own with her fab crochet skills, and we plotted out a couple of blankets here:

Onemoreblanket

and here:

a4abluegreenblanket

And there’s at least one more.

In separate news, the knitting of Sandy’s shawl is over, and I’m happy with it!

Julia's Shawl 1d

Julia's Shawl 1c

Hoping to mail this on Monday!

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Prayers Through My Stitches

My family has known the Parker family since way before I was born.  My mom and their dad, Ben, went to the same school in southern Cal back in the 1930s — they were even classmates, although they didn’t know each other at the time, Ben being the BMOC, and my mom not.  The Parkers have three daughters, and two of them are almost the same age as my brother and I.

Sandy, the middle child, was the same age as my brother Randy. As our families used to live across the street from each other, Sandy and Randy went off to kindergarten together for their first day of school back in the 1950’s.

My friend Sandy was a Godsend last year when my brother, Randy, died unexpectedly. Sandy brought a wonderful dessert – her Raspberry specialty that should be on grocery shelves across the United States – to our family and friends gathering, and told fun and cute stories from their shared experiences so long ago. Sandy is the best.

So, it was very hard news when I heard that Sandy has been diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer.  Sandy, like me, doesn’t have kids and isn’t married, so these things can be all that much harder.  Fortunately for her, Sandy’s sisters live close enough to be of help.

Sandy and I had talked for a long time about her coming up to visit me — it’s only a one-hour flight away – but we always say that we’re going to do this at Christmas when we see each other, and then we never do.  I’m still hoping that there is a way for Sandy to visit at some point. Obviously, right now she can’t, and because this is Lent, it’s not in the cards for me to visit her right now.

But this is where the solace of knitting helps.  Providentially (I am a Calvinist, after all), I heard about Sandy’s diagnosis on the eve of Stitches West.  At first I thought about making a chemo cap, but then I realized that I wanted to make something bigger and more substantial.  But it can’t be really heavy, since she lives between LA and San Diego.

Hence, the Julia’s Shawl by Alison Hyde, in Primero by Brooks Farm:

Julia's Shawl 1b

Sandy was supposed to start chemotherapy on Monday, but now it has been delayed because of some complications.  She’s in the hospital to get things worked out to start on the next part of her journey.  The shawl is getting closer — about 17 inches long — I’d like it to be 20 inches, so I’m going to try to power through tonight and tomorrow to get it blocked out in time to send by the end of the week.  My prayers are there, right in the stitches.

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Squares and More Squares

The partnership between Sausalito Presbyterian Church and Bluebird Yarn and Fiber for Afghans for Afghans is resulting in this:

SPC sq3

Here’s a bit more to see:

SPC Sq2

resulting in this:

SPQ SQ4
This is just the set that I got on Sunday at church. We already have two baby blankets being pieced together, a third will be done by one member alone who is a speedy crocheter, and so, it will be a blanket fest! I don’t dare predict how many we’ll have, but I’m glad we set this Sunday, March 15th, as a deadline for squares!

Comments that I’m getting from members:

  • “This is such a nice connection that we are making.”
  • “I didn’t think that we’d get anywhere with this, but look at what is happening.”
  • “Two folks at my work are also making some squares for us.”
  • “I love to knit because I have to lay down so much, and this is so soothing, and I’m doing something for someone else.”
  • “I’ll go by Bluebird today to get more yarn.”
  • “Is that different colors of yarn (No, it’s heathered)”
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