101

When I moved to Fresno back in 2015, I learned about a charity knitting group called Knitted Knockers – and I immediately was captivated by the notion of knitters providing free, lightweight breast prostheses to women who had breast cancer surgery.

I started by knitting a few here and there (Izzie, as usual, in charge of quality control!,

and then when I moved to San Jose, it turns out that my new knitting group is my monthly Knitted Knockers group here in Silicon Valley. They are lovely group and I really enjoy getting together with them.

This year, as fall progressed, I realized that I had been knitting a lot of knockers over the months, and I set my self a goal – to knit at least 100 knockers. Well, last month, I made my goal – 101 knockers!

I’m also beginning to help with social media work for our mighty group. We tried to publicize Knitted Knockers for Breast Cancer Awareness Month by sending out press releases, but that is old school and not working. So, you can join our Facebook page, follow us on MeetUp and get alerts on our monthly meetings, or follow our brand new Instagram feed where we offer encouragement, inspiration, and knitterly beauties.

Here’s one taste of our Instagram feed:

https://www.instagram.com/knittedknockersofsv/

I’ve knit a few more knockers already, but I don’t count them until I turn them in (which will be next year), so here’s to some in the bank knockers!

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Adding to the Knit People

A couple of months ago I decided to approach the downtown library around the corner to teach knitting to teens. I had felt as though I needed to be sharing some skills back into the community, and fortunately for me, the teen center at the library said yes.

I created a four-session class for Beginning Knitting (based on Susan B. Anderson’s lovely book Kidz Knitting Workshop) with these three projects:

And today was the debut class. I was totally prepared for zero interest, but I had four teen knitters who all hung in there to learn the knit stitch and how to cast off to make a bracelet/scrunchy.  One knitter said as he learned the stitch, “this is so relaxing.” Awww. One librarian thought it was a great success because some of my students have trouble focusing on reading and math. This was different!

And see these two faces?

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Next week we make the bunny. So fun!

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Gift Knitting Through the Year

This year, I’ve decided not to put together a large-ish knitting list for Christmas – with many projects that need to have started in August if I was really going to accomplish them in time. Perhaps it is just a change of pace that I need, perhaps the fact that the people I love have received a whole bunch of knitted things from me, so that I am spending more time asking what they would like to receive, and tailoring things more.

Whatever the reason, I’ve spent a fair time this summer on knitted gifts for folks – and had fun doing it.

Marie’s Shell

I haven’t talked about this one for my cousin-like-a-sister – and luckily, this fit Marie well! It’s Morning Sky.


Unfortunately for me, I made one for myself that does not fit – it’s too big, and I’m working on losing a little weight, so it most definitely is a miss. I think I’m going to frog the whole thing and try either another shell or the same one on a size of different needle.

Jeff’s Retirement Socks

My good friend Jeff retired after almost 40 years in Christian ministry, and what else can a knitter give a guy like that except some amazing socks. He got the yarn and the pattern (Marpleridge by Kate Atherley) at his retirement party, and since he showed no inclination to knit them, I’ve done that for him:

Sheri’s Fingerless Mittens

There’s a new person on my knit worthy list – Sheri is my little cousin’s mother-in-law and a delightful, creative, strong woman. She keeps us entertained, and was totally there for the family in the middle of my cousin Dennis’ hard year with cancer.

For her birthday, she got to pick the accessory of her choice – and she chose fingerless mittens because she has a cold office. After giving her a few choices of patterns, she chose the ones that I had knit for my cousin – Beaded Fingerless Mitts from one of those “One Skein” books. Despite the name, I didn’t use beads on either pair. . Winter colors are her best choice, so I knit her a pair out of Madelinetosh’s Tosh Sock in the Tart colorway.  They’ve arrived and hopefully already being put to use!

Rachel’s Cowl

August birthdays always seem to sneak up on me. It was true for my brother while he was alive – August 1st, and apparently I still have trouble with Rachel’s on August 14th. But the good news for her is that I hadn’t knit for her in a while, so she requested a cowl because shawls are a pain to keep on.

The blue-greens are in her color wheelhouse, so I ordered up some Madelinetosh DK in the Translation color way, and knit a slightly larger Honey Cowl for her. If you knit this pattern, do check out the helix stripes modification, which hides the round changes nicely.  From a knitting point of view, this kinda felt like an endless knit, but the recipient loves it so it’s a knitting win!

How about you – what are your plans (or not) for holiday gift knitting?

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Finding (and Making) Knitting People

Long-time readers of Revknits know that I change jobs about every couple of years. Sometimes I move along with that, and about a year ago I moved to San Jose from Fresno.

Each time I move, I have a whole host of new providers to find – hairdresser, doctors, auto mechanic, etc. The priority of who I find first changes each time. With this last move, I decided to reconnect with my former primary physician, even though she’s about 50 miles away (I’m not sick and needing to see her often), but I had to find a gastroenterologist quickly. On the other hand, i just found an optometrist and dentist.

And of course, finding my knitting people is very important. Having been introduced to Knitted Knockers in Fresno, I was thrilled to find a local Santa Clara group, and went early on to a monthly gathering. They are very welcoming, but it has been a challenge to attend consistently with my schedule. I’ve only made it about every 3 months, but again, they are lovely. Other groups also seem to meet monthly, except for a group charges a fee to attend (??).

This past Saturday I was tired from seeing a show the night before, but pushed myself to go, and I finally feel like I belong. They know my name, we’re now friended on Ravelry, we’ve traded knitting patterns and I shared my latest knitting disaster, after which a knitter, who had gotten intimidated by my Ravelry projects, looked at me and said, “That is so good to hear.” Yep, we are the knitting sister and brotherhood sharing our challenges and our successes.

So I guess I’m going to help the group do some publicity for Knitted Knockers in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Belonging also means helping the group!

I’m also setting up a meeting at a local library to see if I can set up a class to teach teens to knit. I think it would be really fun! My current thought is to use Susan B. Anderson’s book Kids’ Knitting Workshop – it is really clear and has great beginner projects.

Because sometimes it’s not about finding knitting people, it’s about making more of them!

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Staycation and Mini Clear out

Here at Casa del Revknits, I’ve been looking forward to a vacation time, and had planned to go to Southern California for some of this week to see some friends. Then I looked at the weather forecast, and all of the days I was thinking of going were going to be well above 100 degrees.

Having just endured lived three summers in Fresno, it did not seem like a vacation to go into Fresno-like summer weather, so instead I embraced the staycation. And it has been a lovely few days in San Jose, with the weather in the mid-80’s.

As I settled into my new plan, I realized that now that I know I’m staying for a whole year, it was time to unpack the rest of my stuff, like a bit of jewelry. You see, I hadn’t hung all my pictures and mirrors and paintings, and then I remembered I had a table lamp (a cast-off from a friend 15 years ago) that had bitten the dust, and there were just lot’s of piles of little things everywhere.

Long-time readers of the blog may remember The Great Clear Out from a few years ago, in which I hired a friend who is a home/office professional organizer to help me with my “inheritance” of all my families stuff. This is very small in comparison, so I’m calling it the Mini Clear Out – because it is mostly getting rid of dysfunctional items (see Table Lamp) and clearing out clutter. Then I realized I needed a new sofa pillow and a new couch cover too. So much better for not very much $!

This project didn’t take that long – maybe 3 hours total, but I am so happy with the results and feel of my apartment.

I did get in a day at Santa Cruz (about 35 minutes away by car) and totally enjoyed a beautiful walk along the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean. It is almost as good as a massage in terms of de-stressing.


And wildflowers were blooming close to the coast’s edge:

After eating a bag lunch, I made a 1-mile trip to visit a delightful new-to-me yarn store called The Swift Stitch. I got to chat with the owner, and delighted in my of their yarns. I bought a beautiful Indigofly dyed skein to match a Hedgehog fibers skein I received as a gift (the new yarn on the right – called Poseidon, while the other is named Damp).

In addition there was a line I’ve not tried before called Candy Skein – a 3-ply fingering weight with a beautiful twist:

I’ll definitely visit again – there’s a cute French cafe next door to try.

Today is a transitional day – because tomorrow I preach, lead worship and teach a class, but fortunately, the sermon is pretty much done at 12 noon, and I just need to review my teaching notes for my class.

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A Lot of Fun

It’s summer, and my knitting mojo has waned a bit since I knit my cousin her summer top. I’ve knit a bunch of knitted knockers, but that’s just placeholder knitting.

I’ve not been especially into knitted toys because I haven’t had a lot of children in my life, plus, well, knitted toys are what I make for my cats.

Then I learned that Franklin Habit and WEBS Yarn Store has teamed up to make a kit to knit his cartoon character, Dolores Van Hoofen, a very badly behaved sheep. So much fun!

I pre-ordered the kit, and it arrived on time. It even came with hilarious sun-glasses!

Now, there’s always a risk that when you are the first to knit some new pattern, that you will discover issues in it. Alas, such was the case with this project. I have it on very good authority that the WEBS tech editor dropped a bunch of the directions; and my own experience was that a few of us knitting to the first issued pattern could clearly tell that no one had test-knitted this version of the pattern. This is when it’s nice to have knitting partners: a few of us gathered into the Franklin Habit Ravelry group and helped each other out as far as we could get (which was not all the pieces). Franklin was contacted, and was more than apologetic about the problems (not of his making, imo), and great improvements have been made.

See?

Dolores has proved that she earns her reputation – she plopped herself into Izzie’s favorite chair yesterday morning to sun herself, and Izzie was not at all happy!

The plus of knitting this toy is that there will be outfits. Yes, just like your Barbie, Dolores is having her very own knitted-couture outfits designed by the knitterati. Amazing! Amy Herzog is having the first go with a Rhinebeck-inspired sweater set, complete with a parasol.

Franklin Habit is starting a KAL on August 1 – so head on over to WEBS and pick up a kit, you won’t regret it!

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Ups and Downs with Gauge

The knitting at Casa del Revknits has been proceeding, but with a family member who has been declining in health, and passed away last week, my brain and energy has been other places.  The positive has been a new baby in the family, Luis Cole (pronounced Louis, at least for me), who has been a bright star in a shadowy time.

Along the way, there have been ups and downs with my knitting.

The Sweater

I had found this lovely yarn called Coast that I reviewed here. I decided to make a lacy cardigan that my cousin Allison could wear after she had her baby – and it was a monstrous knit. I had to knit it extra long because of the gauge I was shooting for after washing, and then it was a large overlap. I thought it would never end.

It looked like this after I knit it:

And then I popped into the washer and dryer. And it felted. Felted. FELTED.

It was midget-sized. Apparently the wool and cotton duked it out in the washing, and the wool won. It was devastating.

I pulled and pulled, and yanked and yanked, and it finally got the point of being a small-sized sweater.

I’ve given Allison the sweater with the proviso that she doesn’t ever have to wear it as it came out in an unexpected way.

The one good thing, is that this happened to me and not her. I would have been sad if I had had the yarn work for me, and then she shrank it to midget sized.

Baby Sweater

The other sweater came out closer to gauge. It is a baby sweater for the new baby:

It is a bit wide for the length, and it turns out this baby is longer and thinner (like his dad), so I will keep that in mind for future sweaters.

One more sweater

I’ve completed one more sweater, and this one was a case of the gauge after blocking is what to trust. The garment is arriving at its intended recipient’s house today, so it’s safe to post here. The sweater is Morning Sky by Heidi Kirrmaier. This is a lovely top, knit from the bottom-up, and has just enough going on to keep your interest.

I knit what I thought would be the right size, having made a small modification to add more stitches for the armhole opening that seemed too tight for middle-age-and-up arms. And I spread it out, measured, and had another omg-gauge-sucks moment when I realized it was about 2 inches smaller in the bust than I had intended. Marie, my cousin and intended recipient had mentioned she’s wearing looser garments since she retired last year, so that was pretty important.

I held my breath and went to the swatch, which had come out exactly at intended post-washing gauge, so I put the sweater into the washer on cold, and then lay flat to dry instead of putting it into the dryer. Now, that was simply a choice, because the Hempathy yarn has no animal fibers in it to felt.

The result – everything came out nicely from the wash:

That was convenient! USPS tells me that the package arrived about a 1/2 hour ago, hopefully I’ll hear soon if it fits as I intended.

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MIA, the Knitter’s Edition

It happens to knitters. We lose precious knitted items. It sucks.

I lost a hat that was part of a scarf and hat set when I went to Ireland about a decade ago. It was knit long enough ago that I don’t really have a good photo of it because it was pre-Ravelry. Fortunately, I remembered exactly which Irish pub in Dublin I left it in, called them up and they said they had found it. So I sent along a 20 Euro bill to the pub for them to send it to me. But it never cam back.

If I hadn’t had the scarf and really enjoyed the pairing, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But every time I look at the scarf, I think about that dang hat!

Fast forward to last week, and I managed to misplace a shawl. Not just any shawl, the one I made out of the leftover stash bits, which I blogged about. The shawl that I wore every couple of days this winter. The shawl around which I crafted a sermon on the lessons of knitting and applied them to ministry. This shawl:

It’s been gone more than a week now, and I’ve tried to not make a big deal about this. I’ve searched here at the church, but it hasn’t appeared in any normal locations. The one location off-site was a taqueria that is down the street, but it wasn’t open on the weekend when I could check, and today I realized that it has shut down completely.

Keeping perspective: this is a first-world problem. It’s not the need for the item to keep me warm – I have plenty of shawls.

But within the shawl were memories of other projects that I have given away, and this shawl was keeping them alive. It makes me sad that I might never see it again.

So, knitters, have you had an item go MIA?

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Number 3

As I’ve mentioned, I’m in the middle of knitting 3 sweaters – and it looks like they will all be small-gauge ones. The Sara Lace Cardigan 2.0 was at a sport-weight gauge in fingering yarn. The current one, the Fancy Cardigan, is the same deal, with lot’s of face (what was I thinking? the recipient needs a summer-weight loose sweater). And now I’ve decided on the third sweater pattern and yarn (in consultation with the intended recipient), and at least for this one, it should be a faster knit with a DK weight yarn at a worsted/aran gauge. The pattern is Savanna by Sheilie Anderson:

Savannah

It’s a lovely simple clean-lines pattern. The intended yarn was pricey – it would cost over $140 just to knit a short-sleeve sweater, which is not the budget I had in mind. Fortunately, WEBS is having their anniversary sale, and I was able to snag some Hempathy at a good price, so all is well.


The yarn came in about 3 days, and since I am still working on the second sweater, I may swatch, but that’ll be it until this second one is done.

Last Saturday was the National LYS day, and I decided to go to a store that I had visited once before and really enjoyed, A Yarn Less Raveled. I wore my new sweater:

This was a field trip, and it was a lot of fun. Mindy has a great store and staff! Because my yarn stash overfloweth, I didn’t buy any yarn, but I did get some goodies:


I had been eyeing the knitter’s Pride pin blocks for a while, so I got a set of them, and also the Alterknit Stitch Dictionary – the color knitting boom right now makes this a great addition to my stitch dictionary library, and I already used one of the sheep patterns on a charity hat:

So fun! I’m also doing other hats in my leftover stash, and will soon have a bag to either give to my friend for the hospital, or take myself!

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FO: Sara Lace Cardigan 2.0

I’m officially 1/4 of the way  through knitting 4 different sweaters in the planning mode. Today I can celebrate the completion of the second Sara Lace Cardigan that I knit for myself.

The yarn (well, one skein), started out life as part of a kit that Rosemary Hill and A Verb for Keeping Warm sold at their 2015 Stitches West booth. I needed another skein of the yarn – Even Tinier Annapurna, which I bought this year at stitches.

It was immediately obvious that I had an issue with the different color lots. They were quite different, and as the sweater progressed  it became obvious that there is a real tone-on-tone striping effect:

I decided that I would keep going and to the best of my ability match up the stripes, and decide what to do with the bands and edges once the body of the sweater was complete and I knew how much yarn I had left. At that initial point, it was a real possibility that I’d need to incorporate a completely different color way into the sweater.

Then I realized as I finished the body of the sweater that instead of 3/4 or full-length sleeves, this sweater could be short-sleeved for warmer weather. The light-weight nature of the yarn and the color made this a lovely idea, and it turned out that there was plenty of yarn to finish the sweater.

I chose the darker of the dye lots to use for the bottom edging and bands, which turned out well:

Since the front bands don’t have buttons or button holes, I wanted to make sure that the edge doesn’t get wavy and loose – I think that’s a fatal messy look on many cardigans. Here’s my trick when you don’t need stretch on that edge: k1, *k1, pass 2nd stitch on rt needle over the 1st stitch, k2tog, pass 2nd stitch on rt needle over the 1st stitch*

This tightens up the edge and makes a clean line of “v’s” all the way around. For this sweater, I used this on the diagonal line all the way to the shoulders, for the back (where I need the full stretch of the neckline ribbing) I did the conventional bind-off, and then switched back to the method for the diagonal down the other side. Voila! It’s a magic way to get a professional finish with the stretch where you want it.

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