Category Archives: knitting

A Use for Yarn Scraps and a Small Quilt Finish

Yarn, like fabric, produces left overs after projects are finished. One of my friends has a great way to use them, making hats for the homeless.  The pattern makes a two layered, reversible hat. The first one is hers, then comes mine. The hat starts with a tube with closed ends.

1 stripe tube

You can see how it uses up bits of yarn.  Punch one end into the other to make a lining and fold up the brim; or change colors by punching the other end inside.

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Fun as well as warm.  Here’s mine minus the final decreases.

1 red rock tube

Mine isn’t so dramatic as my friend’s–I had quite a bit of left over red-rock yarn, but not enough for a big project. The yarn for the multi-colored stripe is really nice, so here is a close up of it–also more true to the actual colors.

1 red rock detail

I’d made a fancy shawl for my daughter of the multi-colored yarn a long time ago. It was spun from recycled silk. My hat isn’t finished because I want to buy double pointed (DP) needles to close the tube. Her instructions actually call only for 16-inch circular needles and knitting back and forth when starting stitches and ending decreases make it too small to fit the circular needles, then seaming the opening. I see no reason not to use DP needles and avoid seaming.

So this is my non-traditional entry for Scrap Happy.  Click here to get links to see what other folks are doing with scraps (probably fabric).

Meanwhile, on the quilting front. Back in spring I was participating in several of Elizabeth Barton’s classes on the Academy of Quilting. The first one was Modern Art for Quilters.  One assignment was to draw a grid. The sketch is here.

I made some value sketches too, then stitched it up in two color combinations. They were about 11 X 15 inches. At the time  was thinking ahead to the guild quilt show and the small quilt raffle. However, only one got finished in time.

1 colot study finished

Color Study #1

The delay was in deciding how to quilt it. I had always thought of the blue as background, so went with outlining blue pieces with blue thread. Then I faced it. I wish I still had the mallet I used to use when tailoring to flatten the corners and keep the top and bottom straight, but oh well . . .

Here is the  unfinished one.

1 color study 2

Color Study #2

I’m thinking about making a larger version of this second palette.

I’ll be linking with the Tuesday Colour Linky Party (link in sdebar).


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Sock Time

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was active in knitting for Mittens for Akkol.  During that time someone was destashing (with the understanding that yarn would be used for Akkol) and I bought some, cheap. But before I started knitting it up, my attention shifted more and more to quilting.

I’d think about it now and again, but the time wouldn’t be right. And then the time was right–knitting being a sedentary project. So out came the yarn.

1 sock yan

And alas, the left over yarn is the only photo you will see.  When I finished the first pair I decided not to take a photo till they were all finished; then when they were all finished the deadline to mail was too close to stop and photograph! So you will have to use your imagination.

Those in the mail, six weeks till Christmas, and the knitting bug still active, I set out to make two pair of socks for Christmas presents. These did get their picture taken.

1 socks

I suppose I should block them, but it seems to me that feet do a good job of that.

The local shops that have a large collection of sock yarn have closed, so to get a color I liked I decided to experiment with dk weight. It makes a thicker, stiffer sock; we’ll see what laundering does for it. I’ll get to test-wear it too as there was a lot left over.

1 mixed sock

Almost, but not quite, enough for a brown (portobello) pair. But the toe will be in the shoe, so blue (coveralls) will work. (Love the names and colors by Hazel Knits!)

By the time I finish the second sock, I will have overdosed on knitting and be ready for a return to quilting. I remember a T-shirt with the slogan, “If I quilt real fast is it aerobic exercise?”–inquiring minds want to know.


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Border Solution

I left off on this top after being disappointed that my choice for a border did not work.

NW Rail Fence Border Audition

Plan A had been to make the border from stash.  However, nothing that I already owned really worked. I finally gave in and went shopping (oh darn!). And I am happy with my choice.

Rail Fence with border

64 X 80 inches

Guild has been in need of twin sized quilts the last couple of months, so it was time to get this one on its way.  Someone else will be quilting/knotting and binding it, so I’ll not see the finish nor be able to show it here.

To visitors from Scrap Happy:  This is at least partly a scrap quilt. The middle color is from my scraps and the kit was made up from guild members’ left overs. Other readers might like to view Scrap Happy to see what folks are doing with all scraps.

Quilt history

Blocks made at 2016 Fall Retreat (no photo)

Blocks trimmed and arranged in preparation for 2017 retreat

Blocks assembled at 2017 retreat and border audition

And during the quilting silence, I’ve been knitting squares for blankets for orphans.


A friend of mine had volunteered more than he could get finished, and I had time, so  helped a bit. It would certainly be fun to be on the receiving end and be arranging squares from 400+ selection! The square was a perfect size for using up bits of left over yarn that had been seeking a project. You can see I have a few ends to weave in. Every craft has its dull moments.


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Sending Quilts to Texas?

Quilting and knitting friends, this is important information–know when, where, and how to donate!

Catbird Quilt Studio

The hurricane disaster in Texas may displace people from more than 100,000 homes for at least several weeks. They need housing, food, water, and some way to replace all the goods lost to water damage, or simply washed or blown away. Should you send replacement items? Should you send quilts?

It’s tempting, isn’t it? A quilt is a tangible item to show your concern, to offer both comfort and warmth. I’ve already seen a number of requests for quilts for Texans. I’ve also seen one of those requests in a Facebook group called a fraud, and deleted after the group moderator couldn’t affirm its legitimacy.

In the past I’ve made quilts to give post-disaster. But unless a disaster is local, I won’t do it again. Why not? Very simply, if a community is facing the scale of tragedy that Houston and other Texas cities are facing, figuring out how…

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Socks, well A Sock

Seems the first half of the blog name is almost misleading because I’ve been  ‘kwilting’ so much more than knitting. But I do still knit. Most of my knitting is done when I gather with others to knit, twice most weeks.

Coffee bean sockOne finished. Now to cast on the second before the next knit group.

The pattern is Pick-a-Pattern Worsted Weight Socks (that I adapted for fingering yarn) from the book Dear All The Mamas, available through Ravelry. It is a basic sock pattern with four variations for the decorative stitch. I chose the coffee bean stitch.

I missed gifting them in time for this winter–but they will be finished by next winter.

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Forest Path Stole re-beginnings

If all knitting is a combination of knit stitches and purl stitches, I should be able to knit any pattern, right? I started Faina Letoutchaia’s Forest Path Stole a year ago and got confused by the entrelac. I found instructions online and mastered entrelac by making a couple scarves.

Pink entrelac scarf

Entrelac looks like this

I was still stymied by the p5tog (for my non-knitter friends, that means make FIVE stitches into one stitch, getting one thread through five loops, and you thought just getting the thread through one loop without a hook was a challenge…).

Lily of the Valley stitch

p5tog looks like this

I practiced for a while then put it aside.  I just got it out again, prepared to spend big bucks for ebony needles which one friend said did the trick. However, I had previously bought Addi lace needles, but not yet tried them. I felt obligated to at least try them before using this wonderful reason–um, excuse–to buy ebony. And alas, they worked.

It also may have helped that I reread the instructions.  The previous row where the five stitches are made from one stitch was to be worked in the back loop. I had missed that detail and done it the routine way in the front loop.  Between the two, the needles and the correction, I am ready to move beyond practice soon. The left side of the sample is closer to what it should look like than the right, but a little more practice should have my knitting in shape.

To see others that have been finished you can search on Ravelry (link to right) or click here for a Flickr site. (Well I am having trouble making the link work, but use the link then search “forest path stole” and you will get there.) The target photo shows the three lace patterns in great detail.


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A knitting focused weekend

Yep, I finished the pair that was demanding attention last week!  They turned out to be 6 3/4 inch instead of 7 1/2.  I noticed my gauge changed significantly between the flat swatch and knitting in the round and modified the plan accordingly.


Socks made alternating two left-over yarns

Do you see the variation in the feet?  The yarn ball had a knot, and not only had the company skipped colors in the self striping pattern, they also reversed the direction.  Oh well, I don’t think it is too obvious and it is inside most shoes.

This weekend I have been knitting for the sock drive for Mittens for Akkol (a Yahoo group and also a Ravelry group). As I understand the goal, it is for a pair of socks for each child in the two orphanages they knit for, Akkol and Urupinka, and the total comes to around 500 pair.  We have till December, but they get off to a good start with a virtual slumber party/knitting weekend. The emails have been most creative and bring back memories of Girl Scout Camps in days gone by.

My goal WAS a pair of large sized thin socks.  It has been modified to one sock of the pair!  Who knew how much more knitting was involved in size 12 than the 10 1/2 I am used to making for me!

Here is progress so far.


Almost ready to knit the foot part.

I did think to buy three skeins of this yarn to be sure to have enough for the large size; then I realized if I bought 2 more I could make two pair and maybe have less left over yarn to use up. So I called the store and they are holding two for me.

Are you a knitter? Search for the group on either Yahoo or Ravelry and see what we are up to. Maybe you could join the project!

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Fading Charms quilt–and other projects–in medias res

I have the center of my Fading Charms quilt together, and am about to audition it for background fabric.  I have modified the Fading Charms  quilt to become a crib sized quilt made from pieces approximately 1 1/4 inches approximately square.

Quilt center made with small scrappy squares

Quilt Center

For three years I got boxes of samples of fabric available from Keepsake in NH. I always felt they should be used for something.  Plan A had been to use them as leaders and enders and make four-patch blocks that could become cornerstones when sashing a scrappy quilt. But then I saw the Fading Charm tutorial and decided to make it without having to cut.  Because the pieces are not exact, I threw out what few perfectionist tendencies I still have.  Nor did I count how many pieces I have. If there are not enough, I’ll figure something out then. I might even cut some.

Hindsight. It would have been better to make a smaller center and a six-deep border, then the four…

I am debating between sunshine yellow and lime green “the new neutral” for the background. Dark looks good, but this is for a child; white looks good, but this could end up being washed in a river–it will go to Sunshine (see link to the side).

And I am deep into sock making.  I have to keep several pair going in various stages so that one is always ready to take to knitting group meetings.  The bottleneck is turning the heel. I like to do that step when I am not also trying to carry on a conversation.

Gray-yellow multi swatch

Gray-yellow multi swatch

The gray-yellow yarn is mystery yarn–no label. I’ll have to test whether it is wool or not. The gold-green-lavender  for the toe-up sock is made from corn.

toe-up sock start--yarn is made from corn

Toe-up sock start

One sock pair finished

Toe-up sock finished

This finished toe-up black-brown pair took three tries. I did a swatch, followed directions, and realized they were turning out way too big. So I started over, but I didn’t shrink them enough, and had to start over yet again. Getting my money’s worth out of my yarn again. It feels good to have them finished; plus they are cotton, and the season is right.

Socks from a combination of yarns

Socks from left over yarns

This pair of socks has been demanding my attention. Last started, and probably next finished.  I finally got a yarn scale so that I could estimate how much yarn I have left over, and I have these three that go together rather well. The red to the left is back up in case I run out of the other two, but I don’t think I will.

Self patterning yarns make one want to do one more color, one more, one more…and since it is so long since I had used this ball of bright yarn, it is as if it were the first time. Plus there is the question of how it will look in combination to push me on. I plan to do the heel in the dark blue multi, then do the second sock  up to the same point, and then evaluate how much yarn is left and plan from there.

Then there is my “thinking” project for home and alone: a scarf in reversible Fair Isle center with seed stitch sides. It is made with nice alpaca yarn. Soft, soft, soft.

Scarf, side A

Side A

Scarf, side B

Side B

I think it is good that I have an infinite tolerance for unfinished projects.

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Socks finished

Just in time, I have two pair of socks finished for Mittens for Akkol

Brown socks and brown-pink multi socks

"thin" socks

They are plain, but they will be warm, and warm is necessary because where they are going has 9 months of winter and 40 below temperatures.  The brown ones are a color by request, all wool with some reinforcing nylon at toe and heel; the multicolored ones are a 75% wool 25% synthetic blend, an extra pair in case there are new grads from when we got the list.

The group, Mittens for Akkol , creates for two orphanages in Kazakhstan. At this time of year, the sixteen-year-olds “graduate”; i. e., they are considered old enough to be on their own.  The group provides hat, scarf, mittens, sweater, thick socks and thin socks for each “grad.” Thin socks (socks made from one or two strands of regular sock yarn, to be worn with shoes) did not seem to be a favorite item among the knitters, so I volunteered for two pair–not to be a martyr, but because I like to make socks and enjoy knitting for the sake of knitting.  Since I enjoy the process, it doesn’t matter much whether I am making one item or several.

Besides a cheer that they are completed in time to mail a day early, I am cheering that I finally did the Kitchener stitch correctly.  (Note to non-knitters: it creates an invisible join when done correctly.)The only time I had gotten it right was the first time in class when I learned it. Ever after, it looked like a seam. I didn’t worry too much because it is at the toe, in the shoe, but still…I took a review class and, yes, I was doing the stitches correctly. But it was still coming out a seam.

Someone in the online group pointed to this YouTube video where I finally saw my error.  Although I had the sequence correct, I wasn’t keeping the yarn to the right of the needles. So now, when I get the tension correct, it will be truly invisible.

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Scarf time

Autumn prompts me to get out unfinished scarves. First this pink one:

entrelac scarf

entrelac experiment

The bright pink yarn was left over from a Code Pink project, but seemed appropriate for a child scarf. I set it aside.  Then I found a pattern for a lace shawl (I can handle lace) that also was structured by entrelac (new to me).  I’ll post the name of the lace shawl when I get working on it.

It was clear I needed to learn, so I googled entrelac and found instructions and started. It really didn’t make sense till I had done several rows–it was just a lot of one line directions, and I had trouble keeping my place. Suddenly I saw the pattern of it all and could almost knit without directions.  Occasionally if I am attending more to talking than knitting I forget which end to attach the new knitting to and have to unknit a rectangle, but it is also an easy pattern to unknit.   All this to say if entrelac overwhelms you, keep at it.

So I had it all figured out–why waste it. Back to the scarf goal for the yarn…no reason not to make an entrelac scarf, so I did. It is actually finished now–I just forgot to take the photo with the fringe.

And the gray scarf:

gray scarf

I had heard of the knitting group at Sisters of the Road and one week headed out.  Only I left in such a hurry I forgot my knitting. So I was invited to look through donated yarns. I found this nubby lace weight yarn–unlabeled, so it is a mystery fiber, but I think it may be synthetic because it didn’t hold its blocked shape. I needed something to do while talking so opted for a stitch I’d used previously: yarn over, knit two together forever (except at the end of a row where the last stitch is knit-one).

I will certainly never purchase nubby lace yarn!  Keeping the tension loose enough for stitches to slip like they need to was a challenge.  And it is less than perfect–but I am not a perfectionist, and once worn somewhat gathered, its flaws will hide.

The scarves are in the Sisters of the Road auction; the remains of both yarns are in the knitting group stash, well were.  The pink was claimed immediately.  The gray yarn ball doesn’t look like any has been used, so there is enough for another scarf.


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