Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pretty Self Striping Yarn

Here's another view of the new scarf and yarn AND the knitters! The striping was very subtle and did not follow the same repeat. It's WONDERFUL! I'll have to request a picture of the finished scarf and remember to post it.

Starting Mom's New Scarf

I don't remember the name of this new chunky yarn, but oh, did it ever feel good in the hands while knitting! In fact, I started the scarf for Mom to set all the pattern for her, and ended up knitting the first twelve inches of her scarf! The good thing is that Mom and I have very similar gauge so you can't tell when I left off and she resumed.

Trip to Knitty Gritty Yarn Shop in Richland, WA

Jeff was our personal driver and took me and Mom to Knitty Gritty to inspect newly arrived yarns. Oh, it was fun! Joy also came to touch the different fibers. I bought navy wool sock yarn for a doll sweater and Mom bought yarn for a new scarf for herself.

Family is the BEST

We've eaten our fill and are enjoying one another's company. Here is a group of the late partyers.............the rest of the family left to prepare for another work day on Thursday.

Eating Veggie Pizza in Pasco, Washington

Jeff and I rented a car in Portland, Oregon and drove to Pasco on Tuesday. It's great to be here visiting Mom and getting to see so many other relatives. On Ash Wednesday, February 25th, Mom planned a fun gathering. So much laughing and talking and eating! Sara, our niece, sat with me and relearned how to crochet. She is already an expert, such a quick learner and she has such an even rhythm to her work.

Sending Postcards from Portland, Oregon

There is a Portland, Texas near Corpus Christi. However, we're still in Portland, Oregon on February 23rd and after a chilly walk to Knit Purl in Portland, Joy (my custom Sasha girl) and I wrote postcards and began a new infant sweater in Bernat Baby Jacquards, in color Lemon Pie.

Knit Purl Yarn Shop in Portland, Oregaon

Joy, my custom Sasha doll, and I walked to Knit Purl to inspect sock yarn suitable for her a new sweater. It was 47 degrees and this girl is definitely NOT used to cold weather! Note that she isn't wearing shoes since in Corpus Christi, one only needs sandals to be wearing appropriate footwear.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Still in Portland, Oregon

There's a Portland in Texas too! However, Hubby and I are still hanging in cold county while he finishes the conference. This afternoon, we'll take the train back to the airport, rent a car, and drive along the beautiful Columbia Basin Gorge. Our destination is Pasco, WA to visit Mom and all the family. Can't wait!
As always, I'm knitting. This is definitely yarn country! Wineries are everywhere too! What a perfect combination.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Easter is April 12th

Started our little grandson's Easter sweater and will finish it while traveling tomorrow. It takes all day to get from South Texas to Oregon! Lots of sitting on planes and waiting in the airport. While knitting, I don't care about what time it is and if there are delays.

Knitting Vacation

Hubby and I leave tomorrow morning for Oregon where he will present at a conference and I will knit and knit and knit! Have lots of UFOs and will bring several with me. Finished my fingerless mitts so I can knit with warm hands!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Scout Cooperates

One project is done and just in time as Baby grandson at four months of age can spit, blow raspberries, and trill his rrrs. His front chest is WET a lot!

Scout, our old faithful companion, models with a bribe of a cookie.

Gotta Be a Brain Style!

In the classroom, teachers are so aware of the many different learning styles of students. Well, we all have our own style and mine, according to my husband of 36 years, is "the ultimate multi-tasker" style of learning and doing. It makes sense that I have so many projects started at once.

Does it matter that I have at least 20 knitting projects in progress at a given time? Not to me! It just means that when I decide to finish those that are "almost done", I'm able to finish five in a couple of hours!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Toddler Cow Sweater

As long as I was in the mood to knit and spoil a special little infant, I quickly knit up a fun sweater using bernat worsted cotton yarn that has been stored in my stash. This is planned to be worn after things are no longer put into the mouth, or will simply need to have the bell removed. I love the three dimension accents that the designer suggested: the tail, ear, and bell.

Small Aran for Little Grandson

Our first grandchild, a darling boy, will have too many sweater ensembles that he may not wear each one very much. Still, my passion for knitting includes him as a regular recipient to my finished projects.

This Aran is a size two but our little grandson is tall so...........maybe he will wear it by Christmas. It was such fun knitting, and such a quick project. I used Kroy's wool sock yarn in muslin color.

Love of the Aran Style

As a high school sophomore and newly arrived in the state of Iowa, the aran style of sweaters called me very strongly. Iowa winters provided many opportunities to wear the heavily cabled wool cardigans. Plus, Mom believed in buying the finest Irish fisherman wool from the local yarn shop. This cardigan was knit by me in my sophomore year, was given as a gift to a family member, but then was returned to me about ten years ago. The sweater does not look like it's 42 years old!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Casting-on Close Up

Here's a close-up view of casting on and not difficult at all. When the students are ready to knit something other than a scarf or toy, I encourage them to use this method of casting on. It is so neat and professional looking. One of my second grade students prefers the top view, the double cast-on. It's amazing how quick this little knitter is!

New Library Opened

Yeah! We finally have a public library in our neighborhood! Prior to its opening, we had to drive nine miles to the nearest public library. The best part is that during the school year, it is opened on Sunday afternoons and has a marvelous section in knitting, crocheting, and cooking. I check out cooking books rarely, crochet books never, but thoroughly enjoy the knitting books!

Just for fun, I wanted to find out if there is a name for my preferred method of casting on stitches. I'm self-taught, knit mostly by myself or with second grade students, and have been using this style of cast on almost exclusively for the past 48 years. I teach the children a basic style that my Aunt Myrtle taught me when I was making the thumbs of mittens. Otherwise, I use something called "double cast-on --thumb method." Here's the book that showed my method perfectly!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Finally a Sweater!

While many fourth graders are playing hopscotch and dolls, I was dreaming about knitting my first sweater! Since I and all of my siblings wore uniforms to school, and since the uniform included a blazer and hat, the sweater project could only be for my father. Pop would receive the first sweater I ever knitted. I could hardly wait to start!

School was five miles from our home and we kids rode the bus daily. A wonderful yarn shop was midway between our house and St. James Catholic School in Savannah, Georgia. Mom phoned the yarn shop to advise I was coming and Pop would pick me up on his way home from work.

As I entered the yarn shop, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the colors and fibers that called out to me. I didn't know where to look first or how to begin choosing a pattern or yarn for Pop. The lovely lady who had spoken with Mom on the phone came to rescue me. We decided that a navy wool cardigan with collar would be a classic style for my father. Even if it took me a long time to complete, it would still be a current style and could be worn for years.

The lovely yarn lady helped me with the pattern and yarn selection, and then came the big question. "How big is your father." I told her that "he is really big." As a slim 10 year old, all fathers seemed really big in my eyes. We decided a size 44 would work just fine. (Pop was a size 40 chest but no matter, he wore that sweater as a coat until the day he went to heaven.)

That night I cast on to begin the back. I knit and knit............went to school, practiced the piano, did kid things, did my homework, and knit and knit. It took me nearly a year to finish the sweater. I was 11 years old, so thrilled to have finally knit a sweater, and could not wait to begin the next one!

Afghan Project

Since I was often knitting, making up stitches, and was becoming a serious knitter, Mom offered to buy the yarn for me to knit an afghan for our family room. I was probably ten and in fourth grade. Mom did not knit but she understood how to interpret the pattern and could help with the directions. I can't remember the colors of the afghan, but do remember yarn overs and how pretty they looked. I was a fussy knitter, would rip out anything uneven or what looked to be a mistake, and eventually figured out how to correct things like dropped stitches, without having to rip. I also remember faking it when the directions said to assemble the afghan strips in a certain way. To this day, I still use my "faking it" way!

The afghan was completed and I was ready for my next project. I really wanted to knit a sweater like I had dreamed of doing when I was in second grade. I asked Mom if she would buy me yarn for a sweater. Of course she said "yes."

Knitting Mittens on Double Pointed Needles

My family did indeed move back to the states, and also made a road trip to Norway, Michigan to visit my Mom's older sister. I remember being nine years old and totally fascinated by Aunt Myrtle, who was ten years older than my Mom. Aunt Myrtle could do EVERYTHING and so quickly too! She was cutting home made noodles, checking on home made dinner rolls in the oven, and talking to me at the same time. She asked if I would help her knit mittens for her grandchildren. What a question!

Until Aunt Myrtle asked the mitten question, I knew of no one personally who could knit. Up until this point, I had been knitting and purling and ripping and re-knitting without any project in mind. I was still thrilled with the mere process of two pointed sticks cleverly turning out rows of color. I was totally thrilled when Aunt Myrtle showed me how to knit using four double pointed needles. The pattern was stored in her memory and when I was ready for the next step, I would go ask my Aunt Myrtle. I knit and siblings and cousins would watch TV and I too would join them but my hands never stopped! During our visit, I knit so many pairs of mittens that my Aunt GAVE me her double pointed needles! To this day, I still knit mittens her way; I still use her gift of double pointed aluminum needles.

How My Knitting Began!

As a second grader, my family of seven kids and two parents were living in Puerto Rico, and found out after four years of pure heavenly weather at Ramey AFB, that Pop would be relocated to Savannah, Georgia, very soon. None of us even owned a sweater, we school kids wore flip flops to school; we wore "real shoes" to Mass once a week!

I announced to Mom that I would learn to knit and make everyone sweaters so that once we were in "cold country", we would be toasty warm. My Mom, a non-knitter and such a good sport, located a neighbor lady who could show me what to do with sticks and string. I went to her house once after school, only once, didn't speak a word since we spoke different languages, and became totally and completely hooked with the process of moving two needles through hands and yarn. At that time, I didn't care about the product, I was just so thrilled with the therapeutic process of using my hands to manipulate the needles and watch the rows of knitting appear. I was in love with the craft, would knit, rip out, and reknit the same yarn. It was wonderful!