Tag Archives: charity knitting

Back to Hats and Books

I followed up on Maribeth’s comment in the last post and ordered The Complete Surprise.

While I waited for it to arrive I turned the failed baby sweater into a hat.

And I finished reading Marc Lamont Hill’s Nobody, an important introductory survey of systemic harm done to black people. Hill covers mostly the criminal justice system but also includes the lead in Flint,MI, water. (Longer review here).

The knitting book finally arrived.

I think I learned the problem. I’d placed markers before the three stitches to be decreased, causing one side to decrease the sleeve and the other side the body. The marker needed to go in the middle stitch, which would decrease more evenly. When I have used up more yarn scraps, I’ll buy the right size yarn and try again. It actually sounds like worsted would work, just making a sweater for a bigger baby, as I had hoped.

Meanwhile, the book starts with a scarf that uses all the same stitches as the baby surprise jacket. Why not play?

Even with markers placed correctly, it took a while to find the right spot for decreases and increases. I really hate counting stitches, so I worked on “reading” my knitting, just counting as a quick double check. I got pretty accurate on the decreases, not so trustworthy on the increases. I may have to make another scarf because it is easier to count 18 stitches than 130 or so.



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Another Hat and a Little Lite Reading

Are you tired of hats yet? They are so mindless that they are good to work on while listening to podcasts, my new obsession. Unlike many of my friends, I cannot listen while piecing or machine quilting, so sewing is on pause. Lots of time before the new Stretching Art is due. The woman being honored by the T quilts has died, so a push to finish for her to see it is gone, and the anniversary it commemorates is September. Leaves me free to dawdle.

So, the hat.

Here it is open. And I got the reversible cuffs right. I had to frog the first one though because I had waited too long to start it.

And here are the two options.

And I still have oodles of leftover yarn.

ETA: To get back to the Scrap Happy blogs, visit Tall Tales from Chiconia.

For lite reading I turned to mysteries. I’d read many Comissario Brunetti mysteries in the past, but decided to read them in order. So reread the first.


It had been long enough that I had forgotten all details except one, which made it an interesting read. I’ll have to wait for the second to be available.

My library is reopening slowly. Holds are now being processed with pick up by appointment. However, at the start of shut down, all due dates were pushed to July 15, so books on hold are not moving as quickly as usual.

No danger of running out of books though. I still have that stack I own that keep being put off so I can read those with due dates.

Due dates will be less of an issue in the future. The library has moved to a no fine system! The will automatically renew books up to 10 times–that so as not to disadvantage readers without internet access. Books with holds are, of course, an exception.


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Another Hat

My spacing is improving with this third attempt.

I aimed for two equal halves. The white yarn was bulkier than the rock red, and I didn’t compensate enough, so the white doesn’t tuck as neatly as it could.

I also got more of a peak at the finish. I should have stopped decreasing sooner. I was experimenting with using double point needles instead of discontinuing knitting in the round and stitching the resulting gap.

The dark side looks closer to the expected shape. It looks a little small, so I tried it on. And it fits me well with no turn up.

The stripes look better this way too. I would have liked it better with wide at top and narrow at edge of the cuff. I still haven’t caught on to designing upside down as well as alternating cuffs.

I’m starting another to try to work that out. Meanwhile this will keep someone’s ears warm.

Previous attempt here.


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Way back I was working on hats for the homeless (here). I set one aside when sock yarn arrived in the mail.

I had only the decrease rows left. It has gotten warm out and so there was no rush, but today I pulled it out and finished it. The oops is in the spacing.

The blue and white stripes were supposed to be one look and the silk the other. If I don’t tell maybe I can pretend it was designed to have one fancy side and one plain.

Ya think?

Most of my time has been spent reading Almanac of the Dead, all 763 pages.

It is a very complex novel. The first time I read it, around 20 years ago, I got lost among the characters as it moved among them. There are at least 5 groups of main characters and many minors. This time I jotted down name and page of first appearance for each. Between that and maybe having learned more about how to read novels over the years, I had no trouble seeing how the groups related as the plot progressed. Fifty pages to go.

ETA a link to my Goodreads review showing my brief reflections on the whole.


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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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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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Charity project week

I have been knitting charity socks, taking my good old time.  One pair is adult size, made the traditional way. And the other is for size 3-6 months made to practice a new method, Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters.

baby socks, 3.75 inchesI took a class on the toe up sock and am combining instructions from the class with instructions in the book.  One of the main features is the moveable gusset.In the pair pictured, it is on the top.   I am working on a second pair where the gusset is on the sole.

I am experimenting with her size charts–can make any size with any size yarn.

In addition to a chance to practice and have the sock be useful, I am  using up ends that are left over after making a pair for myself.  By making toe -up I can just stop when I run out.

The shop owner has just called the charity projects in. Someone is traveling and can deliver them.  There are several destinations: orphanages in countries where it is very cold and local Christmas collections.

In addition to socks, I worked on a quilt top for my quilt  guild.  They handed out packets of fabric that had been donated and gave size limits.  They will be finished by the women who meet during the work day and given to the women’s shelter. Tonight was the night to bring them in.  There were eleven finished. Some people got quite fancy. Mine was very ordinary.

My kit contained the four-patch blocks already assembled and the two colors of fabric.
40-x 50I guess I was lucky ; other people didn’t seem to have gotten as much fabric. It is a good thing as I’d not have had colors to coordinate with these.

Another guild has done a similar thing, so I have another packet of fabric…haven’t started on that one yet.  And I don’t know where that one will end up.  Maybe this weekend…

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