Kitties Knitting for Good Projects Uncategorized

Why I Knit for Afghanistan

A couple of weeks ago this article was published in the New York Times, about internal refugee camps within Afghanistan, and how children, including a young infant, died in the cold.  It’s enough to break any person’s heart to think about. The follow-up article tells the story about hapzarard efforts to respond to these people, while not perfect, at least people are making the effort.

Ten years on from the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, it’s hard to realize that for most people in Afghanistan, things are either the same or worse.  I don’t have any real solutions to the whole war and the sides there, given the complexiities of the balance of powers, the so-called American partners, Pakistan, etc.  These are frankly beyond my time and understanding.

Therefore, I knit.  Over the years, I’ve probably knit over 100 items for Afghans for Afghans.  There’ve been a couple of blankets, lot’s of sweaters, and a few hats thrown in.  The ones I’ve documented are included in my Ravelry A4A project page.  I knit because at least I can assure some children and youth (and a few adults) that someone in America cares enough to provide them something I would be proud to have anyone in my family wear.  At least I can do something for the poor and the ones who are in need, even though there’s no New York Times article being written about their particular situation.

So far, for the Afghans for Afghans campaign that is coming to a close, I’ve completed less this time (starting a new job cut into the knitting time), but tried out some new things.  First up, a bunch of pretty standard toe-up socks:

Regia a4a socks

And then I decided to do a standard sweater a la Ann Budd, but with a shawl collar in a pullover:

shawl collar pullover a4a-4
shawl collar pullover a4a-1
And Brandy did her usual inspection of the knitwear:
shawl collar pullover a4a-3

With the leftovers, I also did a vest with simple two rows of striping:
striped a4a vest1b
And Brandy did another “inspection”!
striped a4a vest1a

And now I’m taking those leftovers, along with a skein of worsted wool in taupe, and doing a steeked vest with stripes.
Here’s the vest done with the knitting complete:

Striped Steeked Vest for a4a1c
and with the steeks crocheted (I used Eunny Jang’s quick and dirty tutorial for doing them)
Striped Steeked Vest for a4a1a
and with the steeks cut:
Striped Steeked Vest for a4a1e
Since then I’ve sewn the shoulders, and now I’m blocking everything before doing the armholes and ribbing.

Knitting for Good Projects

Sock Life

I finished the basic youth socks for Afghans for Afghans, thanks to another long meeting on Saturday. They definitely need a dye job – this color is very boring:

a4a youth socks

And I decided that I needed another sock for me to work on. I had some lovely yarn choices, and finally decided on using the Creative superwash merino from A Verb for Keeping Warm – a lovely colorway called Fresh Water. And then I looked through my toe-up sock books, and selected Sheri’s Posies Socks (from Socks from the Toe Up). I’m not usually a lacey sock girl, but I needed a change.

I think the pattern is lovely, and I downsized the sock a bit by casting on four stitches fewer than for the medium size. Even that was too big, so I tinked back to the toe and reduced by four more stitches, and this is a about a right – lace stretches more in my opinion.

Then I noticed that my hands had blue dye on them? WTF? So I emailed the lovely Kristine (who apparently is a night-owl like me), and got back a reply that this is an indigo-based dye, so this is the usual issue. Ah, now I get it. (Apparently there is usually a slip of paper included with purchase to explain this). On with the knitting.

I’ve had to adjust the pattern for the reduced number of stitches, but fortunately that is not a problem with this lace pattern, and so far, I’m enjoying the not-too-complicated lace and the lovely yarn:


There’s also a considerable amount of spinning happening – more on that soon!

Knitting for Good Projects Spinning


I’m trying out my beautiful new Asciano Spindle – and she’s a real beauty.
asciano spindle.JPG

The fiber is some beautiful targhee wool top from Abstract Fiber and I’ve whizzed through 1/3 of it already.  This time, I’m not winding it off separately, but putting the cop onto a straw – and it worked!

I’m still working on a basic sock for Afghans for Afghans – they are continuing the youth campaign until early May, and socks and sweaters are the thing they usually have less of.

a4a Youth Sock

Knitting for Good Projects ravelympics

more knitting than I’m used to seeing

On Monday, I went to “the basement” to help pack for Afghans for Afghans. It was quite an experience. First, imagine cartloads of boxes coming in with packages of knitting. Those have to be cut open, and a first-level sort completed (hats, mittens, socks, sweaters, etc, into different boxes). Annette is an old hand at this:

Ann unpacks socks

Then, after the first level sort, each group is reviewed by a knitter or crocheter who can look at the garment in more detail to figure out if it will work (most do, and the percentage is up for every campaign). This beautiful vest was a clear winner to Else:

We had someone visiting the Bay Area from the East Coast who took some time out of her trip to help us – a big hand for Edie! As a bonus, she got to try on the vest that most of us were drooling over and probably would have left with had not the other volunteers been present.


I got to have my photo taken with my sweater:

Renee with Sweater.jpg

After the 2nd sort, that box of items is labeled so we don’t go through this stuff a 3rd time:

Sorted mittens.jpg

And then comes the packing. In full disclosure, I want to let you know that I managed to do a good job on sorting, but I was a lousy packer – partly, it was that we had a few too many of the sweaters done in the extra bulky yarn, but I quickly diverted myself back to sorting, and taking photos. These two gals were loading mittens into one of the cartons:

How many Mittens?.jpg

and they did a lot better than I did.

Stuffing the box.jpg

And the enormity of the items hit me later. All the knitting, crocheting, time mailing beautiful, stunning and warm garments — and those who have been doing this for 8 years — like wow!

Knitting for Good Projects ravelympics Spinning

I’m a medalist!

Ok, a Ravelympics medalist, but I’m delighted that I’ve got my awards. One of them is for the sweater, and the other is for a scarf I knit out of my handspun:



Ravelympics scarf super-gRavelympics charity curling

Knitting for Good Projects ravelympics


Yes, we are at the end:

A4A Ravelympics Sweater1p.jpg

(Teleology is the theological study of end times. But you knew that, right?)

Knitting for Good Projects ravelympics

Onto the ends

The sweater knitting is done. I’m pretty happy with it:

A4A Ravelympics Sweater1m.JPG
And I think the on-the-fly color design worked out pretty well.

A4A Ravelympics Sweater1n.JPG

Now I have the vest to finish, but my Ravelympics mojo is waning. Will I finish? I confess, I want to spin and knit my handspun. That might win out.

Kitties Knitting Events Knitting for Good Projects Spinning


I’m getting there on the sweater – the sleeves are done, joined to the body, and I’ve finished (i.e. designed on the fly and knit) the first color pattern for the yoke, done the first decreases, and beginning on the second color pattern (to match the sleeve).

I’m pretty happy with it:
A4A Ravelympics Sweater1k.JPG

and so is Izzie:
A4A Ravelympics Sweater1i.JPG

The goal is to finish the knitting today, and do the blocking today and tomorrow.

Yesterday, I went to the intermediate spindling class, it was awesome, and I’ll more after Stitches West. Just too much happening this week!

Knitting Events Knitting for Good Projects ravelympics Spinning Uncategorized

Ok, let’s get focused

The Ravelympics is fun, but I think I probably am stretching my limits given time constraints. The stranded sweater is not getting all the attention that I wish for it. I finished the lower body, but I’m still on the sleeves:

A4A Ravelympics Sweater1f.JPG

Part of the delay on the sleeves was working out the detail for the cuffs. I finally came up with this, after an emergency run to the yarn store for the heathered gold:

A4A Ravelympics Sweater1g.JPG

This is what you get when you don’t plan out the sweater or follow a pattern.

But the other issue is that I started to ply the Falkland fiber – and once I started, I wanted to finish the plying ball; more accurately, I needed to get it all done before Sunday, when I’m taking an intermediate spindling class. The class is with WonderMike (the guy who does the great Fiber Beat podcast), and I own only one spindle. People assure me that the one spindle thing will not last long, now I see why, it’s like owning only one pair of knitting needles.

Back to the fiber: I am really happy with the beautiful colors. This is what it looks like pre-setting the twist. Lovely, isn’t it?


This is about 2 oz of the 4 oz that I have spun, so I’m quite glad that there will be enough lace yarn for a real project. As I plied, I saw all kinds of funkiness in it, and I’m just letting it go, because I’m learning, and whatever I make out of it will be lovely because of the color and softness.

This has meant that the stranded vest with the steeks has gotten very little love. I’m hoping it gets done (because it is supposed to go to Afghanistan), but we’ll see. Next week I have a bunch of meetings, and Stitches West. Yeah, looking tough, isn’t it? Oh well!

Knitting Events Knitting for Good Projects ravelympics

Ravelympics Update

I cast on, and I am plowing through the stockinette. Isadora apparently approves:

A4A Ravelympics Sweater1e.JPG

My idea is to do a colored stranded set of patterns for the yoke, like this, this and this. We shall see what I come up with. I might need to pull out the food dyes if I don’t have a color I need. This new idea (cooking up a color) is so fun!