Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Aunt Tilly's baby blanket

When I visited my first grandchild as a baby, she was often wrapped in a very interesting blanket. It had been knit for my son-in-law by a family friend, whom they fondly referred to as Aunt Tilly. I spent the next few years searching for the pattern to this circular blanket.
I knew it was not Elizabeth Zimmermann's Pi Shawl because it was NOT knit in the round, but in rows. You may think that you would never knit a circular shawl in rows but there is a reason to at least consider this pattern. If the blanket is knit in rows, it can be entirely knit in garter stitch - no purling! Personally, I don't care for a blanket or afghan pattern that has a "wrong" side. Knitting a blanket in garter stitch takes care of that problem.
When the coming of the second grandchild was announced I went into overdrive trying to find Aunt Tilly's pattern but finally had to take the original blanket of my son-in-law's and stitch by stitch write down the instructions:

Aunt Tilly’s Vintage Round Baby Blanket
Size 7
5 skeins Plymouth Yarn Dream Baby DK (50 grams each)

Cast on 8 stitches

Row 1: *K1, Yo, *repeat to last st of row, k1 (15 stitches)
Row 2: Knit
Row 3: K1,*place marker yo, k2 *repeat to end
Row 4: Knit
Row 5: K1,*slip marker yo, knit stitches to marker* repeat to end        of row

Continue rows 4 and 5 until there are 43 sts between markers. End with a row 4 (dropping markers as you go on the last row)

Eyelet section:

Row 1: K1,*yo, k2tog *repeat across to last 1 st then: yo, k1

Rows 2 - 8 (Next 5 rows): Knit 

Row 7: K3, *yo, k1, yo, k2, k2tog, k2, *repeat to last 4 sts then: yo, k1, yo, k2

Row 8 Knit
Row 9: K2, K2tog, *yo k3, yo, k2tog, k1, k2tog * repeat to last 2 sts then: yo, k2
Row10: Knit

Row 11: K4, *yo, k3tog, yo, k5 * repeat to the last 6sts then: yo, k3 tog, yo, k3

Row 12 - 16 (next 5 rows): Knit
Row 17: K1, *yo, k2tog * repeat across row to last stitch, yo k1
Rows 18 - 20(next 3 rows): Knit
Row 21: K1, *yo, k2tog, *repeat across to end of row
Rows 22 – 26 (next 5 rows): Knit

Row 27: K3, *yo, k1, yo, k2, k2tog, k2 *repeat to the last st then: yo, k1,
Row 28: Knit
Row 29: K1, k2tog, *yo,k3,yo, k2tog, k1, k2tog * to last  6 sts then: yo, k3, yo, k2tog, k1
Row 30: Knit

Row 31: K3, yo, k3tog, yo, k5 to last 3 sts then: k
Rows 32 – 36 (next 5 rows): Knit
(Please note that rows 27- 36 are the same as 7- 16)

Row 37: K1, *yo, k2tog *to the end
Rows 38 – 40 (next 3 rows): Knit
Row 41: K1, *yo, k2tog* to the end
Rows 42 – 44 (next 3 rows): Knit
Row 45: K1, *yo, k2tog * to the end
Row 46 - 50 (next 5 rows): knit

Row 51: K3, *yo, k1, yo, k2, k2tog, k2 * repeat to the last 3 sts then: yo, k1, yo
Row 52: Knit
Row 53: K1, k2tog * yo, k3, yo, k2tog, k1, k2tog *to last 2 sts then: k
Row 54: Knit
Row 55: K3, *yo, k3tog, yo, k5 * to last 3 sts then: K
Rows 56 - 59 (next 5 rows): Knit
(Please note that rows 51 – 59 are the same as rows 27 – 36 and 7 – 16)

Row 60: K1, *yo, k2tog * to the end of row
Rows 61 – 63 (next 3 rows): Knit
Row 64: K1, *yo, k2tog * to the end of row
Rows 65 – 67 (next 3 rows): Knit
Row 68: K1, *yo, k2tog * to end of row
Rows 69 – 71 (next 3 rows): Knit
Row 72: K1, *yo, k2tog * to end of row
Rows 73 – 85: Knit

Bind off as follows:
*Cast off 2 sts, knit 5 into the next st, cast off 5  * repeat to end of row
Sew seam together.
I have made six of these blankets and will admit that at the ends of the "flower" eyelet section I often end with a number of stitches that are not stated on that particular row but they can be easily manipulated. I'm not sure why and would welcome some discussion!

Recently, my daughter told me that her sister-in-law is expecting. I have been planning on knitting Aunt Tilly's baby blanket whenever this announcement came and now I carefully weighed what would be the lesser of two evils: 1) Did I want to purl every other row? or 2) Did I want to sew one seam when the blanket is completed? And in the end I decided to do a quick seam - sorry EZ. 

With the finished blanket done, it will soon be finding its way back to England.  I hope Aunt Tilly would approve!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

American Girl knit slippers

I knit these slippers for my grandmother one Christmas and she loved them, I thought they were a great gift until my mom said she was afraid Gramma would slip in them. After that, although she asked for more, I never sent her any.....
Now I've developed a much smaller version for the popular 18" dolls, enjoy!

US size 5 needles
This uses only a small amount of yarn…
Cast on 16 stitches.
Row 1:Knit across
Row 2: Knit 4, Purl 1, Knit 6, Purl 1, Knit 4
Repeat these two rows 6 times more.
K 1, P 1 across row
Repeat 7 more rows
Sew together, add pompom

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A bowl filled with popcorn, yarn, and memories

My Dad worked in management for the railroad. His heart belonged to the Northern Pacific but eventually our stomachs were filled by the Burlington Northern along with a one way ticket around the Pacific Northwest.

I had just finished my first year at the U of M when we pulled up stakes and move from Missoula, Montana, a place that I love dearly. This remains one of the last hippy holdouts in America and probably the world. A very unique place in the mountains.

We had several great friends that we left behind, one of my favorite families lived two houses down from us. I babysat the kiddos so much that the youngest started calling me Momma. (I didn't babysit the kiddos for a few weeks until the little one got priorities straight in her little noodle) When we moved our family recieved a gift from this family, a large wooden bowl. It was intended for popcorn - evidently everyone in the neighborhood knew the large amount of popcorn that we consumed on a Sunday night when we'd gather around the TV for Gunsmoke, and Disneyland, two hours of quality viewing.

When we received the bowl it was painted bright kitchen yellow. Mom, ever creative and informed in the current trendy painting method, antiqued it avocado green! And avocado green it will forever be...
We all loved that bowl and I have ended up with it. Last week I was searching around for something to store yarn in this summer as I try to needle my way through Christmas knitting. I brought out the old wooden bowl and began filling it with yarn when I noticed Mom's fingerprints along the inside of the bowl.  Creativity is a messy process! It was yet another wonderful reminder of my mom.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

MBI Conference 2011

This week I'm spending time with my coworkers at a MBI Conference (Montana Behavior Intervention) in Bozeman, Montana. There are many changes in store for our district: new principal, new vice principal, the school joining the MBI group - meaning new guidelines for students and teachers. What an exciting and challenging time for all of us!
Our Fearless Leaders: Mike and Don
We arrived Sunday night beginning the conference bright and early Monday and continuing through Friday morning. Yesterday, after a full day of lecture, many in the group decided to take a short drive and hike to a local waterfall. It was the first full day of summer and very much needed.
Even on the 21st of June snow can easily be found in Montana!
Barb, Sharon, Stephanie (In back) Stephanie, Kim, Me, Don, Mike, Heather
The wildflowers were blooming:
Shooting stars
 Beautiful scenery:

 You're never to old for a good snowball fight!
Leave it to a bunch of teachers to break The Number One Rule on a Montana school playground:  
A great way to end the first day of summer!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The benefits of being a Gramma!

A couple of days ago I received  a letter by snail mail from Sadie Lou. Also enclosed was a book that she had written with the following dedication:

 The letter included the following drawing, Sadie knows her Grandma well!
 Today I received an email from the California Dreamin' Gurl:
"The pirate sweater thing is beginning to be a bit of a problem with Cameron - it must have been 85 degrees today and the second graders all went to the park for a field trip and he still wouldn't take it off!  Looking back at the photos from this year he has been wearing it more or less non-stop since October!  He told me it makes him feel secure and reminds him of Gramma.  I'm pretty sure we need an intervention."
The Pirate in his sweater "bowling" earlier this spring
It's great to be appreciated by those you love!

Seed stitched yoked cardi

The little sweater I test knit turned out great! Other than the error when forming the yoke, the pattern knit without a hitch. This is a sweet little pattern that I will knit again for that special shower gift!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dear Emptyknitster,

I received a note from Lucinda after posting my review on the book 60 Quick Baby Knits:

 Lucinda writes...

it's funny how I should come across your blog today. I am a novice knitter and am working on the seed stitch yolk cardi. Boy am I having trouble! I found the correction for the pattern for the yolk but I still don't understand how they get from 93 cast on stitches to 133. I'm not understanding k28 from holder.???? Can you help? 

Dear Lucinda,

The seed stitch yoke cardi on the cover is the very reason that I bought the book! I love one piece sweaters and the little yolk on this sweater is adorable. 

The correction I found on the internet is: 

PAGE 92: Next row (RS) K 18 (20, 23) sts, sl next 8 sts to holder for right underarm, k 28 (32, 38) sts from holder for right sleeve, k 41 (47, 51) sts for back, sl next 8 sts to holder for left underarm, k 28 (32, 38) sts from holder for left sleeve, k 18 (20, 23) sts - 133 (151, 173) sts. 

This does appear to be correct which makes me think that it is the process of getting the sleeve stitches back on the needle that is unclear to you. I attempted to take some photos that will show you the stitch placement forming the yoke of the sweater:  

I assume that you have completed both sleeves and have placed 8 stitches on a stitch holder (or string) and have 28 stitches on another holder - these are going to form the yoke above the sleeve:

Pick up and knit 18 stitches of the body (right side facing you) and then place the next 8 stitches of the body on a stitch holder (or string):
 Then pick up a sleeve and knit the 28 stitches from the sleeve continuing the row of the body:
You will then knit the 41 stitches that form the back of the sweater:

Place the next 8 stitches of the body onto stitch holders and knit the next 28 stitches of the remaining sleeve onto the body. Knit the final 18 stitches of the front.
18 right side front
28 sleeve
41 body
28 sleeve
18 left side body
133 total stitches
Now you are ready to begin on page 92, line 8:
Beg with a purl row, cont in St st for 5(9, 13) rows. Work in garter st for 4 rows, then work in seed st for 6 rows.

You will graft the 8 (16 total) underarm stitches when you have finished knitting the sweater.

Lucinda, I hope that this gets you through your difficulty. I will be finishing this little sweater, and will post any other bumps in the road that I may see along the way!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A quick book review

When 60 Quick Knits, published by Cascade Yarns, arrived at my LYS the books flew out the door. We love to knit baby items and the charity knitters saw some real potential in the book. Personally, I'm always looking for a quick baby knit to give as a shower gift for coworkers and their new arrivals.  Then at our weekly gatherings I began to hear an under current about how this pattern was confusing or how another knitter had to "fudge" just a little to make it come together. I hadn't knit anything from the book but when my knitting friend Janet asked me to give a particular pattern a try I nodded and worked on it over the weekend so that I could give her a thumbs up or down.
In the end, the sweater worked out but I did see two problems with this individual pattern:

1. On page 22 inc row 2, the pattern tells you what to do for that row but does not go one to tell you that you then need to knit the next row. (It does on the other rows of instructions and so may be a little confusing for a novice knitter.

2. If you look at the photo vs. the instructions and drawing on page 22 the front opening is reverse 

I have also heard that there are problems with the Sweet Pea Cardigan, Criss-Cross Booties, Seed Stitch Yoke Cardi, and Pirate Hat. These problems can be worked through by experienced knitters but would cause real frustration for a novice knitter.

Sorry Cascade, but I'm giving this book a two thumbs down to my friend Janet. I hope that the second edition has some edits because I do love the look of the patterns and your yarn is the best.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's the beginning of salad season

Hubby and I enjoyed this salad last night served with marinated chicken breasts.  I made several changes because we live out in the country and I can't just drop everything and run to the store to pick up things we're out of. Also, because there are only two of us at home, I wanted a smaller amount. 

 Tunisian Couscous Salad

   3 medium red bell peppers (I used one green pepper)
   10 ounces instant couscous (about 1 1/2 cups) (I used 1 cup)
   1/4 cup olive oil
   1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
   1 teaspoon ground cumin
   Pinch of cayenne pepper
   Freshly ground black pepper
  1 pound ripe beefsteak tomatoes—peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 -inch dice
  1 large seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (I used a zucchini)
  1/2 cup Moroccan or other small, oil-cured black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped (I used 1 can  olives)
  2 scallions, white and tender green, minced (I used 8 green onions)
  1 large garlic clove, minced
  2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

   1. Roast the bell peppers over a gas flame or under a broiler, turning, until charred all over. Transfer the peppers to a paper bag and let steam for 10 minutes. Remove the skin, cores, seeds, and ribs and cut the peppers into 1/2-inch dice. (Instead of doing this, I chopped the peppers and placed them in the couscous while it "cooked")
   2. In a saucepan, bring 2 1/4 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the couscous and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and let stand until tender, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, and cayenne and season with salt and pepper.
   3. Fluff the couscous with a fork. Add the roasted peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, scallions and garlic. Pour the dressing over the couscous and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Just before serving, stir in the parsley.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My "at home knitting retreat" is ending

The sun is shining this morning, and tomorrow  hubby will be home. I need to do a little work outside and "spiffy up" the house so it looks like I've done something besides knit, eat what I want, watch what I want, and sleep while he was away!

I did get another Christmas sweater done:
Pattern: Children's Henley Top Down Pullover, by Knitting Pure and Simple
Yarn: Cascade 220 Heather
Colorway: Walnut Heather
Amount: 4 skeins (NOT the 5 called for in the pattern)
Needle size: US 7,  5

I have knit several patterns by this company and really like them, they are easy to follow and I have found no errors.

I'm giving this a four sweater seal of approval! (Two more to be knit before Christmas.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Keeping up with the fashion trends...

In the knitting world the buzz has been the lovely Princess Kate and her shawl...
What a wonderfully modern Princess, picking up those last minute items for the Prince's dinner!  

People have been trying to come up with a shawl pattern that will replicate the one HRH has on. I think this is close. Not cashmere - are you kidding, not for this Montana girl anyway.  The shawl is in a different color - I wanted to be able to wear it with anything. I’d never knit with the natural marl colorway but do love the natural, earthy color. This would be absolutely the best project for a car trip or a conference knit, even the pleats are easy once the pattern is set in the first row. This combines two of my favorite things, knitting and shopping!
 Pattern: The Milk Run Shawl, by Cat Wong
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool
Colorway: Natural Marl
Amount: 4 skeins
Needle size: US 7

Hubby has been at Melita Island for the annual work session. I've been home, warm, dry, and knitting. (We know who got the better deal, don't we gals?) When he gets home I'll have him take a modeled photo.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The first day of summer vacation

Rule number one: Don't get out of bed until 7:00 am. I was up at 5:30 this morning with a cup of coffee, my knitting, holding a cat, and watching The Knit Girllls. Oh my...
Rule number two: First thing in the morning - exercise. I'm sitting on the couch blogging after two hours of knitting, drinking coffee and watching old episodes of The Knit Girls. Hmmmm, exercise can and will happen - later.

Rule number three: Don't stress.  No judging ANYTHING! 8:00 am:  I realize that, Wow, udontcallmeles is my VBF Jo, and I'm lala incarnate ("you don't call me les" and  lala are the hosts on The Knit Girllls). Udontcallmeles loves intricate patterns, fitting the sweaters to individual bodies, and adding cables or whatever where ever she wants. She loves to have several projects going at one time. Udontcallmeles has a stash that never ends.  Lala (my twin) must have socks that are "matchy matchy" - the colorway on stripy yarns must line up.  She has a very small stash, She buys yarn, knits it up THEN buys more yarn! She is monogamous with her knitting, one project at a time! And just loves to knit (purling not so much)

Rule number four:  Don't over analyze.  Go with the flow.  As I read rule number three I realized I've mixed up some of Lala and udontcallmeles' characteristics. Yes, I  definitely put some of Lala's characteristics with Jo and assigned others belonging to Udontcallmeles to myself.  Perhaps because I watch their podcast and have my own knitting buddy, The Knit Girllls will allow me to have free reign deciding their individual personality attributes. The Knit Girllls probably wouldn't like that OR would they think it's fine? Should I write The Knit Girllls and ask them what they think? Should I delete rule number three?

Rule number five: Eat healthy. ...........

RULE NUMBER SIX: NO RULES!! I'm doing what I dang well please this summer!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Just a quick photo of the happy little mother to be!