Thursday, December 20, 2012

Crochet Boots

 Excuse me for giving you the wrong information on the knitted boots. Please check out the blog post again. I've changed the information source on them.

Since I don't have time to do the knitted boots, I'm trying crocheted ones. These are the cutest ones I could find. Of course finding the pattern was the easy part since my crochet skills aren't as advanced as my knitting one and they aren't too good. When I was small my grandmothers use to teach me  and of course they read the pattern. This isn't a complex pattern and it is free and you will find it when you click on the link.

Most of my crocheting was crochet thread snowflakes, crocheting around flannel receiving blankets  and a few afghans. With age came tennis elbow so my crochet days ended. That's when I switched to knitting exclusively which does not bother my elbows nearly as much. Knitting also offered more of the styles I love.

But crochet is much much faster and fast is good right now. The down slide is crochet leaves holes for our winds to whistle through but then something is much better than nothing. Nothing is what our grand daughter has right now beyond socks to cover her feet.

This pattern says for 6 to 12 months but though I used the crochet hook size recommended and basically the size of yarn, my sole came out too small. Ri....p, Start over. I added to each side of the sole four more stitches. To figure things out, I ended up charting the stitches and it gave me the lay of the land I needed.

I've started up the side  but I'm sure I'm going to have to add a few more changes since our grand daughter has kanckles not ankles. In other words, they are very thick. And the ankle part seems to be a bit narrow for her.

Plus, I'm sure I added a few ooops changes despite crocheting one row on one boot and then switching and crocheting a row on the other boot. Though I looked up how to do a half crochet once more and a single crochet decrease I think my lack of short term memory got in the way and I think I did the decrease wrong. It is so hard to remember and normally I have to repeat repeat repeat but time has gotten in the way and I can't do more than a few rows at a time. The time on the Inernet lowering my crochet time which would be put in the repeat time necessary to put things into long term memory. But hey, both boots are the same so I'm not ripping it out.

I'll let you know how things progress.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Baby Boots

I found theses boots. They are wa...y too cute and so... warm looking. These are the classiest boots I've found and believe me, I've been searching and searching. I thought they would be perfect for our grand daughter since after all it was 1 degree Fahrenheit the other morning. Her poor little toesies in just socks has got to get cold when the wind whips the blanket up. And the wind is frequently blowing here.

So I bought the pattern from and made a plan to begin the booties when our oldest daughter came home for Thanksgiving. I figured she could help me unravel all the foreign language in the pattern. You know ssk, rst, and m1. Don't laugh. Yes, I've made sweaters, hats, mittens, socks and the like for years but I just keep using the same patterns over and over adding slight artistical changes but never venturing off into the world of really reading a pattern. 

But that is changing and in that spirit of bravery, I waited until our daughter arrived and she could read the pattern for me. LOL Alright, maybe I'm not brave but I read the simple pattern four times and was too baffled to begin. Mostly because of intimidation because I just couldn't wrap my head around 'the lay of the land'. I have this problem of wanting to see the whole scope of things and not wanting to just follow along blind step by step until woalah, things become clear in the end.

It's like when I visit a city and I need to know the basic layout of the area. The mountains are over here, and the lake is over there and that's east and that's west. Where as city folk follow this street to that street and over on to that one. But in my defense when I get lost, I know I've go to find a street and head toward the hills or go west and I'll eventually get to where I can start following streets again. It works great unless the city is flat and doesn't have many distinguishing features that can be seen from a distance. 

The lay of this pattern just had me all confused. So I reined in my runaway horses and calmed them plodding along step by slow painstaking step hoping the pattern would lead me to a successful ending.
But first I had to translate English to English. You may speak the same basic language over there in England but you've got bobbies and we've got policemen; and we've got hoods and you've got bonnets. Of course I didn't know there was a foreign language problem until my daughter pointed it out. It was part of my confusion since I couldn't figure out what a 2,5 mm knitting needles was. I just knew I didn't have one. Then she told me that England often uses commas where we would us a period. So the first thing I had to do was look up needle size conversions.

Toni assured me my yarn sizing was good and off I started. The sole looked huge but I kept going with the mind set of the pattern knows best.
And on the journey I learned all about ssk and k2tog and how they lay differently but are really the same thing, a decrease.
I learned that rst is a English term because my daughter, Toni, who works at Interweave Press had never heard of it. But this stitch is quite awesome because it makes the sides of the boots extra thick and warm. Something I'd guess would be especially needed in an English countryside where when it gets cold the moisture makes it seem even more bitter cold.
One degree F here the other morning doing chores was downright pleasant. The wind wasn't blowing, which makes a huge difference, and we are extremely dry with the drought sucking all the moisture from the land and air.

A rst is when you go into the knit stitch below the one on your left needle and knit the two loops together. For us Americans, a rib stitch would be something like knit two and purl two. I'm now curious what that ribbing at the bottom of a sweater is called in England? Anyway, this stitch makes a wonderful thick layer when like in the pattern you do an England style rib stitch and purl, rib stitch and purl all around the sides of the boots. Then next row is knit one, purl one. And the following you switch back to the rst, p, rst, p.

And though I was following along completely on faith, blind to what the outcome would be, I should of paid attention to the little voice inside that kept saying, this isn't working, this isn't working.

After hours of reining in the horses and plodding along, I had to rip  the whole thing out. Our grand daughter is eight months and I was doing the 6-12 month size instructions and the boot when I tried it on our youngest on Sunday stretched two inches past her toes.

Obviously something was lost in translation.

Discouraged that the boots won't be for Christmas, I'm still not giving up. I'm just not making them for Christmas. I'm doing the 0-6 months size this next time. I should have measured our youngest's feet for there is a foot length chart on the pattern and so in part the sad outcome is partly my fault. I of course having built up a raft of frustration lately,  RIPPED out the whole boot when I should have stopped and measured the sole for a calculated readjustment for next time.

I credit this to why they say I'm a pretty good teacher. I know all the things not to do. In part I know my ADD is a factor in my always charging ahead but the good Lord gave me a gift. I'm 'more stubborn than a mule' as my father use to shout in frustration when I was young and I don't give up easily. I just know by now easy isn't my usual route but I'll get to the same destination as others, just not as fast and I've got to say I probably learn more than some with all my side trips.

I may not have a completed boot but I do have a understanding far greater than when I started. The second time going this far into the pattern will be far quicker because I understand the 'lay of the land' and I now know where to put stitch markers to help me lay things out more clearly.

Wish I could do the boots in a cream or a pale icy blue. Wouldn't that be pretty?  But alas, my daughter, mother of the youngon these boots are intended for doesn't do hand laundry and all I have is hot pink washable wool in my stash and no money for shopping. Cream at her house being insane anyway.

So all you wise and wonderful knitters, have you ever done an English rst before?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Great Hat For Using Up Small Amounts of Yarn

Our three year old decided we should walk to the corrals today. This is the hat she chose. She's on an extended visit. Not sure when she will decide to go home as she informed me in the bathtub last night that she was going to live here forever. This sweet little tyke was badly in need of some Pappa and Amma time after this last weekend to right her world again so she's staying as long as she needs.
This was a great hat for using up a little bit of this and a little bit of that homespun yarn.  Note the exchange of colors. The first zigzag of orange becomes the next main color and the red zigzag in that becomes the main color next. When I hit the decreases I simply went to solid colors not willing to think. Sometimes it is just fun to simply knit. I saw a picture of a scarf with much broader stripes and I thought what if I.... and I..... and presto chango I had a hat. The bright colors made this hat cheerful for a chilly day and the best part is I used up lots of little bits of yarn in many colors. Kind of like the theory behind a scrap quilt.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Notion Pouches

As I've been using my own personal project bags, like I sell on Etsy, I have been wanting something to put my extra knitting needles and notions in. I have a cosmetic bag that I began using but I keep opening it to see what is inside. You see I have no short term memory so I keep forgetting what I put in there. Out of sight out of mind. It's why I drop things in my hand if I don't keep playing with them. This brain can be a real pain. These two needs, a notion pouch and a peek a boo side led to the creation of these notion pouches.
So I headed to the fabric store with an idea and bought zippers and vinyl. 
Further complicating things was I wanted to create something that didn't have seams that my knitting needles would catch in.
With these ideals and a basic idea I began my pouch first by sewing on a zipper to the vinyl. I ripped that out and added fabric before the vinyl. Sew rip, sew rip, that was all I did for two days during the time I had to work on the project. 
In frustration I turned to the Internet but nothing was like what I had in mind. The tricky part being the seams which left me full of frustration. This owl pouch was eventually tossed, minus the zipper which I saved and used on another pouch. 
I used 7 inch and 9 inch zippers trying out different sized vinyl pieces and ...

different heights, too tall, too short and finally just right. emerged. Now I have all sizes of pouches with nothing really wrong with them except they weren't just right like the blue one. That means I'll have four pouches at an inexpensive price of $5.00 and the blue one which will be the standard will go for $10.00.  Give me until tomorrow and I'll have them up on Etsy. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Project Bags

 Yeah, a day for The Calico Bush shop. Not many of those have been available lately. My goal is for that to dramatically change so stop by the shop. I'm putting up items as fast as my fingers can fly across the keys. I've at least four more project bags to post in the next couple days alone. That's not mentioning the buttons and livestock bags I need to get up. 

And new items are still being made. Today, I'm going to attempt to creating a notion bag with a see through front and a zipper. Something I've been in need of myself. 

And Dawn, I can't get that double knitting out of my mind. I'm watching U-tube video late at night to see how it's done and figuring what Scandinavian pattern to try converting to a double knit pattern so I can create a warm winter hat.  Sorry, squirrel moment there. My mind wondered. Probably because last night was one of those nights I was watching double knit u-tubes.

The bulk of the day was taken up with grand kids and chores. Cute as they are, I did text my daughter toward the end of the day and said. "I'm done, she's yours." Our youngest, who is seven months old, acts like a premadonna some days and is a demanding handful. She wanted fed upteen times yesterday. The other three kids, aren't bad at all to watch but they do come in a package of four. Sometimes I get to sneak one or two out by themselves. Boy is that a treat.
Today is a luxury I'm going to fully enjoy. Have you noticed that the project bags you are seeing in this blog, which by the way I just put up in my shop this morning, have a theme? It's funny but when I go shopping, which fabrics stores are far and few between around here, (but JoAnn's is coming 40 miles away. I can hardly wait yeah!!!) (woops, another squirrel moment there.) I invariably always come out of the store with fabric in the same theme or basic color. I can't figure out why. One of the mysteries of the fabric world.
One time it was all fabrics with a brown theme, another time is was all blues. This time it ended up being pine cones. I could really go bonkers over natural theme fabrics. Don't see a great many of them though. That tells me something. Maybe we are a narrower audience.
Luckily, I'm a bit eclectic. I can appreciate and enjoy a large variety of artistry. It doesn't mean I want to take it all home. So in selection of fabrics for project bags, I try and carry a broad style of fabrics with a bit of class. One thing I don't carry is cutesy. Others are doing it and it is not my thing anyway so I stay away from those fabrics. What I'm trying to say is, if you don't see what you like, check back. Project bags are dependent on the stores selections and your style my just be what I happen to find on my shopping trips.
Lately, I have been in heaven sewing. One night I couldn't stop until three in the morning. I LOVE pine cones and the fabric just kept calling to me, "Don't quit now. See how pretty I'm turning out?" Think I'm crazy? Well, I'm here to inform you I lost it years ago and I'm having so much fun I'm not going to every be sane again.
Oh yeah, and by the way, this fabric comes in a large and a small  bag size.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Reversible Knitting

It's all your fault Dawn. You mentioned reversible knitting and I couldn't help but wonder. You had to know that would happen. My overly curious brain fires off questions about everything. So what did I do, look of course. But first the ladies room was calling so I took some reading material with me, a KNITS magazine that had gotten wet in the laundry room. I thought this was a good moment to glance through it and rip out the pages I wanted and toss the rest.
 Low and behold, there was an article about reversible knitting. It had to be a sign. But disappointment followed when I learned that there was just a lot of talk and no pattern. Talk is cheap and does nothing to still my cravings. What I need is a pattern. Particularly to this hat. It is WA>>>>Y cool. 

And so in my feverish state I left the thrown room and went toodling off around on the Internet looking for reversible knits, double knits and any other words I could think of that might describe the method. I came up with a few scarf patterns that didn't interest me and one beautiful Norwegian type sweater without a pattern but nothing like this awesome hat.

I'm begging you. Where is the patterns? I'll buy a book if it has lots of great designs. No, I'm not an afghan kind of gal. I prefer quilts or this one would trip my trigger but alas I didn't find a pattern for it either.

 I want Scandinavian sweaters and cool hats done in reversible knits. Does this book exist? If so, help. My brain is on overdrive thinking how wonderful thick warm hats done in this method would be against our biting winter winds.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Candy Corn Halloween Costume

Our oldest grand daughter wants to be a candy corn for Halloween. Now that one threw me for a loop since it was so... different that the witches, fairies, princesses and such that most little girls want to be. When she stuck to the idea for over a month, I figured she was serious. After a while the idea really grew on me. I realized she wanted to be something creative and different. 

I had to admire her individuality and wonder if she was our budding artist? But I haven't had long to mull over that thought as I've had to wrap my head around how to create the costume. Hm... something that is cute and won't let our grand daughter, who's being tested for learning disabilities (they run rampid in our family), feel more ostracized for. That's why the idea of a cardboard candy cane that slung over her shoulders was thrown out.

For inspiration I hit the good ole Internet and sat down with our grand daughter to see what she liked and disliked. "Yes, dear grand daughter ,the white Go Go boots and long white gloves are great but sorry, the are out of budget." So this is what I came up with. A little off from my original idea since the skirt pattern was more confusing than Seattle's I-5 in a down pour at rush hour. I've been there.

With patterns running up to twenty some dollars, I settled for a cheap one but did it have to be so completely confusing. I sew better than I knit. having made everything from underwear to coats, but multiple skirt styles being explained at the same time, this is for A, B, C, E. While this part is for C, E, F, and this part is for.... and before I'd gotten through the first section my head was swimming in confusion. When I looked at the outside of the pattern I thought it was created in a simple manner I'd done before. Nope, why do simple when complicated would do seemed to be their theme. Bu

But before this, not having read anything but the back of the pattern, I tried to guess how much fabric I needed of the two colors orange and yellow. None of the pattern's styles called for two colors so it was no help.

With the fabric store a three hour drive away, I sat down to cut the skirt out and discovered I hadn't bought enough yellow fabric to follow the cutting instructions. That's when I read and re-read and re-read the instructions trying to figure out what in the world I was suppose to do with the pattern pieces. I finally threw up my hands and used four of the pattern pieces and went my own way. I put the skirt together from memory of past skirts I'd made. It worked and that's all that counts.

Skirt complete I moved on to sewing felt candy cane pieces on to an inexpensive sweatshirt. Using that same felt fabric, I glued together smaller candy corn peices and attached them to pipe cleaners to be wound around a black head band so that they stuck up like antennaes. 
The candy cane costume complete, I moved on to finish the three -year-olds fairy costume. Her mom and I found the sparklies for it in the Christmas isle of Hobby Lobby of course three hours away. We live in the Toolies out here, miles from anything. The ribbon for the waist band was created by sewing two ribbons together. Did you know every color under the sun is in fashion for Christmas decorations? Okay, squirrel but now I'm curious, what colors do you use? Okay, that was way off the subject but but that's how my brain works, flitting here and there like a squirrel.

Of course this fairy costume has been created after weeks of asking her what she wanted to be and her giving me a different answer. Finally it dawned on me, she didn't care as long as it had wings. She confirmed that with, " I just want to fly Grandma."  The costume has a few unique touches, after all I made it and the grand daughter wearing it is much like me.

I'll show you pictures and we'll talk again, if I survive Wednesday. It's my usual day to babysit while our daughter works. The three year old, the six month old, and I have story time in the morning at the library. Then lunch for our skimpy eater and the chow hound plus hopefully a nap for our six month old or she will be CRANKY. 

Then a dash to the school with the two youngest to dress the two older girls for a party at 2:00. The real challenge being I have to somehow figure out how to hold the hand of the three year old and carry the six month old while holding two costumes on hangers plus food treats for the two different classrooms. I'm not an octopus as I frequently tell the children when they all want something at once. So please wonderful wise readers of this blog. How am I going to pull this one off? Anyone volunteering to come with me?  

The day will have just begun as after school is a Halloween party at the library while the three year old has ballet lessons. Then their mom and I will do supper and who all is going trick or treating I'm not sure. Hopefully this chronically fatigued women will still be standing and not look like something the cat drug in when my hubby comes home and needs fed.  He doesn't get home until the kid's bedtime.  I'll let you know how it went on Thursday.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What a Bone Head!

 Idiot at work here. Think I'm kidding. What would you call someone who was making socks toe up two at a time and used the book knitting one sock toe up instead? Yup, that is the book I had with me at the time and thinking two authors probably had somewhat the same take on the subject, I didn't stop. I kept going. I knitted the whole two gussets on two at a time toe up socks. I was wrong. Gussets done and ready to do the heel flap, the realization of my BIG boo boo stared me in the face as, home once more, I compared the two books.

Too bad, so sad but I'm not taking all those knitted rows out. It would be fifty some rows when you combine two socks for I increased from 30 stitches to 52 stitches with a 2 stitch increase ever other row.  I'm going to figure a way out of this problem if I have to do one sock flap at a time and then put back on the circular needle. That's later though, I'm spinning right now. 

I guess that is what happens when you grab and go in a hurry or grab and go and go and go. Five trips out of town, two of them ten hour trips in a week and a half and I had my socks with me but the wrong book the whole time.

I'll learn. The hard or wrong way of course for that is my M.O. Some say it makes me a good teacher. A sympathetic one anyway. I can definitely tell you that I've done worse most of the time. What a bone head. LOL Does it stop me, NEVER. I just take a break and then put my head down and keep moving. The destination has to be out there somewhere. LOL 

But I needed a bit of a break before I figured out how to get out of this mess so I've been spinning to calm my frazzled nerves. Not just the socks are jangling them. 
Out came the luxurious clouds of Blue-Leicester wool. It is what a gal at Interweave Press recommended for beginners. The wool is quite different than the typical Leicester wool. This wool has the long, long staple length but is buttery with a wonderful creamy sheen.

I have some wonderful camel down which I LOVE, LOVE but inch long fibers wasn't what I needed during a stress filled time of year so I'm so... glad I tucked away over a pound of this easy, relaxing wool to treadle my cares away.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wish Projects

With teaching my grand daughter to do Tunisian crochet, I couldn't help but wonder. You know my mind doesn't hold still for even a moment. I got to wondering about how easy a sweater would be to create from this dense style of crochet. A baby sweater for our youngest grand daughter would be an awesome project. I'm not normally a crocheter as I contain my efforts to lace, and embellishment with crochet.  It's because I'm prejudice. I don't like holey things. I want warmth against our cold Wyoming winds. Now the bottom of a knitted sweater is pretty nice to add crochet to and around baby blankets because the flannel provides the warmth but I'm not a summer sweater kind of gal so for me crochet is out. 
Then my mind took hold of a thought. What could I do to encourage my grand daughter to keep crochet up as a past time? At least until I can teach her to knit that is?  I realized the answer was that she needs to see something to inspires her. So off I went in search of just such a sweater made from Tunisian crochet. This sweater by Carla JC at For Baby Creations was just what I had imagined, okay, almost. I hadn't imagined the bottom lacy feature or the cool strip that divides the yoke from the body of the sweater but the general concept was what was in mind.
Unfortunately, this pattern isn't available but, I'm tempted to try and create my own with the help of an expert, our daughter, Toni. It may not look just like this but what I make never does end up just like the pattern anyway.
I wonder Toni is up for such an adventure? First though, I need to find a Tunisian crochet hook and some yarn for the project. Knit Picks doesn't have any so where do I look?
Then again maybe I'll knit this hat first. It would look so... cute on our oldest grand daughter. And this hat even has a free pattern on Ravelry by The Yarn Owl called Nine Dwindling Cables. We...ll maybe not. This hat looks like lots of thinking and I'm already working on learning two at a time socks and from the toe up. Yeah, I'll copy the pattern and tuck it away for now.
Now this one, I'm going to start when I get home. No beauty but it looks serviceable like me. It would make a good livestock chore cap, warm on the ears being double thick, and a visor to keep the snow from falling on my glasses obscuring my view.
Yup, this looks like a nice simple straight forward relaxing project. I'll dive in to something more complicated after I finish my socks.
How many projects do you have going at the same time? You can't have just one. It's like Lays potato chips.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What was I thinking?

I gave you the illusion that I was only making one pair of toe up socks but no... my story began with this book of Toni's. It's on an extended vacation from her house to mine . With this book I began two socks made from home-spun alpaca yarn on two sets of double point needles from the toe up.
You  probably know how that is working out. I've perfected the dumb founded look. The one where I panic because I've gotten so engrossed, merrily knitting along, that I've forgotten how many rows I've done increases on so I can knit a matching sock. This is despite of course the fact that I'm only suppose to be knitting a few rows and then switching to the other sock to knit a few rows. Hence, two socks on two sets of double point needles.
It's not my fault, completely that is for I was given a brain that repels numbers. I'm serious. They simply won't adhere. It makes me such a space cadet that when I do math problems, I have to write down every step. Because you can guarantee that at some point I'll forget what I've done and where I need to go and I'll either have to review or if I didn't write all the steps down, start all over again. Do math in my head. Are you kiding. Drove my poor kids nuts when I home-schooled them for they had to write down all the steps so I could help them with their math..
Of course they had learning disabilities of their own we had to find avenues around. It's contagious you know, spread by heredity on the mother's side. That's what the public school is telling our daughter as they begin testing our granddaughter. They are probably right for one of my daughters has the same numbers problem. I guess that means I can say it's all MY mother's fault. That blame game can go on and on.
So does the two socks knitted one and then the other have the same number of stitches on the same rows, hmmm, probably not, but they are both the same length measured with a ruler. Course one sock could have a couple tighter rows and need a third one to compensate. Who knows? I'm not counting super careful for I'll only have to do it again, and again, and again.
At least with the knitting two socks at the same time this is pretty hard to do. Of course you can forget to do increases on one side or the other. Yup, I ripped out rows a few times because of that. But over all things are going smoothly when I realize I'm going to have to create a heel and gusset and then...
up pops an advertizement on my e-mail for 40 % off sale on their books at Knit Picks. I just had to look. I HAD to -  40 % percent off was calling my name and who doesn't love a good sale?  Oh, sorry, I just said nanner, nanner, nanner didn't I?  I didn't share. My mother would have slapped me or use the wooden spoon on my behind.
Please forgive me. I checked. Yup, it's still on until the twenty something or other. Hurry and check it out for I do remember it was the early twenty something or was it the later? I told you. Numbers will not adhere to this brain. What's a girl to do?
Go check out if I need another book of course. I DO! There is a top down sweater book. I've just got to try that. Sweaters carry there own set of worries for me but we'll talk about them later when I've finished these socks.
So anyway, the two at a time book arrives and like a kid, I couldn't wait to try it so I tossed aside the alpaca socks like a hot potatoe and pulled out two skeins of yak/bamboo yarn I'd stashed away for just such a day. Did I mention I have ADD?
Then I knitted those to the heel and disappointment of disappointments, I now have four socks that need heels. Oh the complications we ensue if we do not pursue one path instead of two. On the bright side I learn in a hurry really well the heel up method. But which one?  Out came the Sock Toe Up book.
It had three choises. After all I am in persuit of learning new things. Just which heel shall I try?   


The gusset heel looks like something that would wrap nicely around. Might be just the sock for our oldest who has narrow heels and can't keep slip on shoes on her feet because of it. Also I've never done it before.  Hmmmm...
Or I could do a slip stitch heel. That's the kind I usually do so it isn't anything new.

Or there is this short heel thing-a-ma-jig. There is something suspicious about it. I looked through two books and it is hardly ever chosen. What's wrong with it? Anybody know?

You are just going to have to check back to see what I've decided.  I can't get that 40% sale out of my mind to make a decision. 

I do know there is no 00 needle socks in my future. Dawn, what ever posessed you? LOL

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Toe-Up Socks

You are seeing it correctly. I'm knitting two socks at the same time. When I called to tell my oldest daughter, I thought my buttons would pop off with pride. (Let's hope 'Pride doesn't go before the fall.")  I knew she better than anyone else would appreciate this accomplishment. She who speaks knitting and crochet fluently knows her mother has neither in her repertoire.
So imagine my amazement when this book spoke to me in English no less. Not that it was perfectly clear at first. Kind of like reading the King James Version of the Bible. You've got to read it a while to get the flow of the language to understand. So that is just what I did. Before going to sleep every night for three nights, I read the instructions before falling asleep. Maybe that was the ticket. Some of you may recall those learn a new language while you sleep tapes. Could be I was having rehearsals in my sleep but what ever it was, it worked.
When I sat down to begin knitting two socks at one time toe up, I did it. Okay, I did it correctly on the fifth try of ripping out ten rows or more but none the less I didn't have to call our daughter and ask how to.... I'm sure she was holding on to her hat in shock.
Lest you think I'm a complete beginner, I'm not a complete stranger to knitting socks. I added it up and I've made seven pairs. One for our son, one for our middle child, and two for our oldest daughter. She showed the most appreciation wearing hers often so she got two pairs. And last I made a pair for my husband who is a member of Goldilocks Club and said his were "Too thick" and he never wore them. Hasn't he ever heard of boot socks? His loss for they are now mine.
The other two pairs I made for me and they were thinner but didn't fit quite like I wanted. The whole process was a bit frustrating since because of my ADD and complete lack of short term memory, I had a hard time keeping track of what I did with which sock since they were knitting one at a time. Keep notes you say. I tried but I kept forgetting. Even having two going on separate double pointed needles didn't work super as I tried to knit on one sock and then the other keeping them progressing relatively the same pace and would begin day dreaming getting far ahead on one and not the other. 
Interruptions and lack of wondering mind control impeded my progress as I rip ripped repeatedly and then forgot how many rows I'd ripped. I know, I'm a hopeless case.  You can see how frustration for a time got the better of me until....
Well, at last I thought I had found a perfect solution until I opened the first few pages. Then I discovered it was written in Greek, or at least it appeared to me for though a number of times I studied its pages and stared at my needles and 40 inches of cable, I couldn't make any sence of it. Entirely not the books fault for you must learn to walk before you can run. So it was set aside to the Some Day pile to be picked up on occasion and frustration once more renewed.  
Then last year I determined that I would begin learning to read a pattern. I had my oldest daughter give me lessons on stitches and what symbols meant on her visits home. Just a few here and there for I have no short term memory and without that it is very hard to create long term memory. This meant some were for repeated amazement. I can be so easily entertained. And some were put to action repeatedly where they were able to imprint upon my long term memory.
I was able to do a few simple hats and scarves from more complex patterns. Ones my daughter would call very easy peazy, then came   spring and it's accompaning chores which monopolized my time.
Then I spied this book on sale.  How perfect could this be? Two socks knitted at once and you didn't have to know exactly how much yarn to start with. Something very important since I have no idea how much yardage is in my homespun yarns. How awesome, I could knit away and decide just how tall to make the socks depending on how fast the yarn disappeared.
It has been a perfect marriage. The cast on that my daughter says baffles many, I caught on fairly quickly. I only had to try it 8 times. Sh.... I'm a slow learner. Don't deflate my ego. I kept forgetting what I had just done until I formed a visual pattern because of repetition.

I know I need to graduate to other patterns in this book. I'm not really following any one afraid I'll be overwhelmed by too many instructions so I'm half making things up by using a smaller needle and different number of stitches, more of course. I'm doing plain stitching on top and knit two, purl two ribbing on the bottom but hey, I figure the next socks can be a bit more out there. Out there exploring what ssk is and psso. Yes,  I've read the translations but dude, what language they talking in?

Maybe I just need to read them every night for a week and let my mind sleep on it. Who knows, it might be a whole heaping smarter than me.

Then again, think there is a U-tube out there on stitch translations?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chevron Pattern Friendship Bracelet

 I have almost completed one Chevron friendship bracelet and it isn't hard to do, I've just discovered it just isn't my thing so there it sits. After tying a zillions knots I found myself wanting more. Not more of this project but something more than a small ornamental bracelet. It is probably the extreme practical side of me. I've little spare time and I'd rather spend it knitting, sewing, or spinning. Hats, socks, and sweaters suit my tastes better. But this is definitely economical. Just five colors of embroidery floss and you can make several bracelets. Now that is cheap, cheap.
Though making these bracelets weren't my thing. I can still see where learning these different knot patterns would be useful in a self-sufficient future. Not using embroidery floss of course but I can imagine making headstalls, belts, reins, bag straps and other things out of more substantial fibers.

And my brain has been wondering about learning a round braid to make candle wicking so this project isn't done, just done for now.The candlewicking I'm going to have to try. I've made candles from store wax, bee's wax, and even tallow but not the wicking. I think a nice round braid would do nicely. But then again this Chevron would work with a bigger candle or in lamps. Mm.... my brains a humming now but the doing will have to wait as the weather grows colder and I've hats, socks, and sweaters to make. 

You, not like me, may be a bit more fanciful and could see yourself making friendship bracelets as you rest in the evenings so this is what I did. I cut 60 inches of five colors and folded them in half, looping the top and clipping it under the clamp on a clip board. I then spread my colors out from darkest to lightest in the center. You will have a strand of the same color on the right and left. I held them down with masking tape at the bottom. The clip board worked but they have a really nice commercial set up similar to this but missing the masking tape and still it holds the thread apart. If I had enjoyed this, I would have purchased it. 

I watched a U-tube off the Internet to learn this Chevron pattern  and I'll have to find a few print off of this and other patters to tuck away for future projects such as belts and such.

But back to the project. String the outer thread on your left with a large darning needle. You can do it with your fingers but the needle speeds up the process. The needle strung with the outside thread color on the left goes under the second color on the left from the outside. The needle passing outward and you do this two times and pull the knot tightat the top most edge. Then you proceed to the next thread toward the inside and go until the center.

Then you do the same thing on the right, except you face the needle in the opposite direction. Always face your needle outward. Then when you reach the middle you tie the two outer threads together. They will we be the same shade. Remember, you have to go under The same thread twice.

 For now, braiding is going to sit while I work on the toe up method of making socks. Are you a friendship bracelet kind of gal or guy?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Thinking Of Christmas

 Christmas -- its' around the corner. Don't believe me, try making all your Christmas presents. You'll change your mind. Time is what you need and I'm going to get started right away.  I can foresee that money will be tight this winter and so my brain is a whirling on projects I can do with what I already have or the supplies can be bought at a minimal cost. 

One thing I have quite a bit of and haven't used for quite some time is embroidery floss. With four little girls, I thought friendship bracelets would make a good addition to round out another gift.

This is the first time I've made Friendship Bracelets so this is not a pro teaching but a if I can do it, you can do it kind of thing. I chose for my first one, a chevron pattern. It is in the easy class. As you can see, I'm still working on this one, my second attempt at this same pattern. The first project I didn't complete as it was rather ugly and was meant to be my experimental attempt. It was a test to see if I would be able to do this or would it just become a tangled mess. I learned a great deal.
 The U-Tubes and tutorial I glanced at confused me. I did like the idea of a clipboard over a pillow. So that is where I started.

I have horrible short term memory and though the basic patterns were of course sound, the methods to to do so weren't controlled enough to work for me. Things have to be extremely organized to keep my brain from becoming entangled along with the thread because I can't remember what I just did. In fact, if I hold something in my hand, I will forget it's there and drop it if I don't keep moving it around with my fingers to remind my memory it's still there.    

I want to share with you what I worked out. Don't tell me you can't until I finish showing just how easy this can be done because I have simplified a simple pattern.

I found that a clipboard made the project very portable and easy to slip into a bag. The clamp at the top helps to hole the threads taunt. In-expensive masking tape worked great to hold each thread at the bottom plus making them easy to move. The problem was my clipboard's composition kept clogging the tape, shortening its use time.

Having some wide masking tape did the trick when I placed it around the bottom of the board. The narrow masking tape didn't become clogged and it released easily.

The first chevron band was from threads of the following colors: black, yellow, pink, green, and a blue. It wasn't as pleasing as this one of graduating shades. Off white to darker and darker shades of peach. 

With the five graduating in darkness threads, cut each 65 inches in length I folded them in half. Slip knot the folded end to bring all the now 10 threads together. This is the end you put under the clipboard clamp.  The length of each thread is now 32 1/2 inches long.

Divide the threads with a set of dark to light on each side. With the darkest on the outside and lighter and lighter shades as you go in toward the center.

Join me as I work on Christmas projects. Feel free to join me in making your own projects.

In the next  post I'll show you the knots.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Larger Project Bag

You've asked for it and it's here, a larger project bag 6 deep, by 12 1/2 tall by  8 1/4 wide. It's perfect for small sweaters, vests or two small projects.  Several more bags are started. I can't wait to see what they look like when done.  Keep an eye out for them next week on Etsy.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New Fall Project Bag Fabrics

 THINK FALL. Oh how I long for it's cool temperatures and sweatshirts. Yes, I love, love, love, love, them. I've inherited it. My dad loves sweatshirts and sweatshirt weather too. It's my favorite thing to have it not too cold and not too hot so I can spend hours outside comfortably. Something our area doesn't know much about.

We occasionally get a short fall, though without the profusion of beautiful colored leaves because well, we haven't got hardly any trees, an essential ingredient to fall beauty. And spring, well in our country it springs from winter to summer with hardly an interim.

As for winter, I don't like extremely cold weather but I can at least put more clothes on and turn up the heat.

Hot ole summer, well it is shear torture for me. I suffer with Addison's disease that HATES the heat and rivers pour off me as my body protests leaving me miserable and dehydrated despite medication.

With such a particular companion, I can't help but wish for Fall. I know it is a sin to wish time away but how can one help it when summer leaves me weak and miserable? I'd move way up north if it weren't for my beloved garden. Yup, the only good thing about summer.
But I was talking about Fall. I went into this fabric store while I was off with my hubby helping him with his demonstration at a Blacksmith Artist convention. The fabrics and cool air conditioning transported me off and for a little while I was in heaven enjoying Fall, at least through fabrics.

So if Fall is on your mind too, let me know if one of these fabrics tweaks your fancy and I'll whip up a project bag out of it just for you and I'll reserve it for you on my Etsy site so you can purchase it with a credit card or Pay Pal account.

In the first picture, the top fabric on the left has a beautiful gold thread that weaves around the leaves and will be the outside of the bag with the fabric on the right, the lining.

In the second picture, the green fabric on the bottom is the outside and the lighter fabric the liner for the sock size project bag.