Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

Merry Christmas, world!

I turned on the computer tonight at Mom's house to learn two important things:

#1. Marion's baby arrived on December 21. Welcome, petit Mael!

#2. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has challenged her readers to reach the amount of $1 000 000 dollars (yes, one million) in donations to Medicins Sans Frontieres through "Tricoteuses Sans Frontieres"! Click on the button over there on the left for more information!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Warm Hat

If someone wants to wear a “slouchy” hat, here’s a pattern I made recently for a former student now living in New York City.

I cast on 84 stitches and knit in 1x1 ribbing for three inches, did one round of *k2tog yo* (repeat), then returned to the 1x1 ribbing for another three inches (purling the yo, keeping the knit stitch consistent). I folded the brim of the hat on the eyelet row and, picking up one stitch at a time from the caston, knit the caston row to the first row after the ribbing by doing a k2tog (one stitch from the row above the ribbing, one stitch from the caston). On the next row, I did k3 kfb around, increasing the circumference by 25%. At this point you can knit in stockinette, in seed stitch, in 2x2 ribbing (maybe spiraling the ribbing by doing a k3 at the beginning of every fourth or sixth round, a la Lorraine Major’s or Anne Norling’s Spiral Rib Hats), or my take on a fisherman’s rib: Place a marker at the beginning of the next round. Round 1: k2, (p1, k3) around, but end with k1 instead of k3 after the purl stitch. Round two: (K1, p3) around. Repeat these two rounds. When the section above the cuff is at least six inches deep, decrease on every other round, just as you would for a normal watch cap. (You may have to switch to dpns at some point.) If you want to get fancy, you could decrease in pattern. On the chocolate brown version I made in mistake rib, I did eight double decreases centered at one of the consistent knit stitches. On the final even round, I just knit around, then on the final round, I did k2tog around, tucking what should have been a purl stitch under one of the consistent knit stitches. When you’re done decreasing, cut the yarn leaving a six inch or so tail, sew through those last stitches and pull up snug. Sew through to the inside and weave in your ends.

The inspiration for this hat is the “Le Slouch” by Wendy Bernard ( The young man I knit this for didn’t want it quite as full. With the wide double cuff, he has a “ski band” to keep his ears warm on windy days and the slouchy part is there for appearance.

Now to get a picture before I give it to him!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday Knitting

The cats have still not learned to cast on.

I have several things which really need to get into the post for Marion and the baby. I'd like to finish the blanket, but school/work demands certainly do cut into knitting time!

Bill and Isabel were down visiting from Alaska. They were here in PA for Thanksgiving and the first week of deer season, then went down to Mandeville, LA, to visit Janel, Bryan, and Brayden. Bill was getting a lot of ribbing when Mandeville got four inches of snow this week! The next day, of course, the temperature was back into the fifties, so all the snow melted, but at least Brayden got to play in the snow with his pappy.

Exciting new development on the kidney front! Dr. Yang has decided to let me reduce then eliminate prednisone! (YAY) I have to get bloodwork every week for a while, but I'm hoping some of the weight will come off now.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Big Apple Fun!

I went on a bus trip to NYC on Saturday. I offered my services as a tour guide to Alisa and her friends, but they wanted to hang with Cindy (her mil), so I was "forced" to go yarn shopping! Alisa had my cellphone number, and I told her to call me if she changed her mind later in the afternoon.

Hopped on the subway near Times Square, then back off at 28th Street. My favorite yarn store, School Products is just around the corner from the subway stairs. Up to the third floor, where the owner was much friendlier than he has been in the past. I told him that I recommend School Products every time anyone asks for ideas for yarn shopping in Manhattan and that I had "pre-shopped" the online site. Yak yarn turned out to be not as soft as I'd thought it was going to be, so it stayed. I did, however, get some cashmere/merino, straight cashmere, and some mohair/nylon for a scarf for Mom.

Next up, a trip down to Greenwich Village. I had noticed a "Greenwich Avenue Festival" for May 10. It was quite nice and relaxed, and I got to talk to several hand-made jewelry vendors about amber. Dessert first: two macaroons from a little patisserie at one end of the street, then a sandwich and latte from "Le Petit Cafe" at the other end. While I was eating, Alisa called me wanting directions from Canal down to Ground Zero, so I told her how to get there and decided to meet her.

From there, we walked down to Battery Park, where Alisa, Brandon, Bida, and friends explored while I sat at KIPped near one of the Statue of Liberty people. After watching Bida trying to tempt a squirrel with a cheese cracker, we decided it was time to head uptown again to Times Square. They decided to eat "real New York pizza", while I went for "healthy" at a Pax Whole Foods store.

Long ride home, up "early" for breakfast with Mom and the Houtzes, then back to Saltillo... where I slept with the cats all afternoon!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Maryland Sheep and Wool Weekend


That's all I can say. Wow.

It's been two years since I went last. This year, I stayed in Frederick, Maryland, and got to the grounds around nine a.m.

The lower part of the field was already full. Yikes. (I've since found out that some people were there at SEVEN a.m. and already into the fairgrounds before I was even dressed.)

I ended up at the TOP of the hill. I did NOT take my spinning bag, so I didn't stay for the spin in at 6 p.m.

I did, however, meet a lot of people from Ravelry and DRU. I got a Rav button. I got two skeins of Socks That Rock yarn, three balls of green wool for A4A, and three bags of Bavarian almonds (two left at this point). Oh, almost forgot the "you found me" gift from a fellow Raveler. I see a nice shoulder shawl in my future!

Sunday was fun, even though I didn't go back to Howard County. Instead, I went to Barnesville where I was in a workshop with the people from Woolly Thoughts. Time to go home now to play with my yarn!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

And another semester ends...

My grades are actually already done. (I see you over there, falling down in shock!) It does help that we had to do mid-terms last week because of PSSA testing this week.

I'm starting Romeo and Juliet with the ninth graders. Everyone seems interested except, of course, the third period class. We may have to do some grammar chapters instead, but I hate to do that to the twelve guys who would like to do the play. Le sigh.

The critters are feisty as usual. For some reason or other, this is "Pick on Sissy" month. Even Bubba has been chasing her and biting her. Poor thing, she has to cuddle with me in the evening to be safe!

Knitting continues apace. Oh, my! Tara would now like ANOTHER blanket to match the first one since she has bunk beds. I think I'll let them buy the yarn for this one! I still haven't been inspired to knit the Tofutsi yarn into anything. I just had a horrible thought! It's made of shrimp shells -- what if one or more of the cats EATS them!!! Yikes!

Must go home now and knit something.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A New Year!

My wish for all for 2008 is happiness, prosperity, and, most of all, health. If you have good health, the happiness and prosperity pretty much take care of themselves.

And now two new EASY patterns! A beginning knitter could do either of these and get great results. All you have to know is cast on , bind off, knit and purl, and sewing together for the hat. Pompoms and fringe are optional.

The first one is a simple scarf. It's really just one "column" from the garter and rib baby blanket. Like that pattern, any yarn will work and you get a nice wavy edge where the rib sucks in more than the garter stitch.

Cast on desired number of stitches. Even is best and I did mine with fourteen stitches.

Knit (garter stitch) for sixteen rows.

Now for sixteen rows, do a k1p1 rib.

Keep alternating blocks like this for desired length of scaf and end with a garter block.

For an alternative, you could do the middle eighteen inches or so in the ribbing to make a seaman's scarf. The ribbing will "scrunch" better behind the recipient's neck.

For an easy matching hat, cast on about forty stitches and knit a rectangle to go around your head snugly.

Sew the beginning to the end and gather one end, adding a pompom if desired. You could also sew the end flat/square and put pompoms or tassels on the corners for a more "skater" look.