Thursday, May 27, 2010

Embroidery Makes a Comeback!

So, for a while, my embroidery machine has been very quiet. But lately, it has been humming along, making a variety of things. I have been wanting to do some Red Work on my Tea Towels. Here are some examples. I really like the ones that are floral, as these on the left.

I also found some really terrific motifs of Spring. In addition, I fouind a really terrific one of-- believe it or not-- Rosey the Riveter!

Take a look!

So, after that, I worked on some really nice butterflies, as you can see.

And finally, I was working on some "Soup" recipe motifs. They were a lot of fun to work on!

So, that's it for now! See you next time!


Baby Sweaters and Hats

Hi Everyone!
In this entry, I'd like to show some baby sweaters that I have made.

I have used a variety of yarns. The lesser expensive ones include the Bernat Baby Jacquards (100% acrylic), like the Easter Egg color variations shown here. I also have used Knitcol Trends, which is 100% Lana Merino Virgin wool Superwash, and is more on the expensive side. It is lovely, but you also need to think about whether the child will be able to have a wool product on their skin. Both wash well. Also, both are self patterning, which means that those beautiful patterns come from the yarn itself and not by changing colors every so many stitches.

Let me make an observation about baby sweaters. They are, first of all, relatively small, and therefore not as intimidating as setting your cap to make a large adult sweater, which can be scarry and sometimes frustrating, coming out of the starting gate of sweater-making. You can learn about how to construct any size sweater by starting small, and if there are no "little ones" in your life at the moment, you can always donate them to a great cause. My personal favorite, Kent County Hospital's Blue Denim Ministries, is run by my friend and the Episcopal Archdeacon in Rhode Island, Robin Higbie for at-risk babies and their parents. They will gladly take any baby hats, sweaters and blankets that you want to send their way. Any other clothing donation center will be glad to take your sweaters, and it's a great feeling to know that, as you learn, you are helping others. Here, by the way are some more pretty hats that went to Blue Denim Ministries!

Second, it doesn't take an outrageous amount of yarn to make a baby size sweater, so go for it! At most, you are looking at 3 or 4 small skeins of yarn, and it's a great time to try some of those fabulous yarns that you have been holding on to. Third, and this is also great if you are planning to donate your finished project to a good cause, ask your knitting buddies if they would like to share in the fun by going through their stash and either knitting along with you or donating some yarn to the cause. Working together is fun, helps to share the task and gets more to those who need it a lot quicker. And in the end, you have also added to your community store of knowledge.

In our Tuesday night knitting group, Knit Happens, we are always interested in charities that we can apply our talents to. Sue, our fearless leader, is willing to consider any idea that will help others. We have made baby hats, ladies scarves, booties-- you name it and it's been done. My sister, Judith, spends a considerable amount of time making adult size sweaters and they are then donated to a local shelter. The director there commented how wondeful that is because often there are not that sort of donations for adults and they are very, very well appreciated! My Tuesday morning Knitting Ministry Group at the Cathedral of Saint John ( is always working on something for babies, adults, the Navy Project, the Army Project-- well, you get the idea!
Have a great day!


This will be a quick posting because I mentioned two posts ago that I would say something about mittens. I tried making a set for my daughter for Christmas, and I had some fun doing that, although my technique needs improving!

I am using "Magic Loop" for the construction. It can be done with one or two circular needles, and it's important that you use a 40 inch cord. In this case, I am using one circular needle. I like this method because it avoids the use of DPNs (Double pointed needles). You can find a number of wonderful intructional videos on YouTube if you want to learn this method of circular knitting. I like the Knitting Diva, myself.

I highly recommend it! If you are a new knitter, you will catch on very quickly. If you are a seasoned DPN knitter, it will be a bit more of a challenge, but you can do it, and I think you'll very quickly pack away all those DPNs, never to see the light of day again!

I think for me, the learning curve in mitten construction is the thumb gussett, which I admit I struggled with getting just right. I plan to parctice more, though, so in the future, I'll post what I continue to learn.
The important thing is not to give up because the work seems intimidating-- it's only yarn!! At least, that's what I keep telling myself! LOL! Have fun with it, and keep on learning new things!

Getting Back to Business!

Well, I haven't writtin in quite a while! The winter was busy and hectic, so blogging wasn't necessarily at the top pf the list. I have a few entries to make up for! Fortunately, I took lots of pictures of what I have been doing!

I am going to start by showing pictures of the process of making the felted bags that I showed in the last entry, as people have asked to see just how it's done.

I am showing yarn that is, by far, one of the best to use for felting. It is Lion Brand felting wool. It comes in a wide array of colors. I am showing one set that I put together for my own knitting bag. Remember to use two strands when you knit, as this lends strength, durability and a better felting for your end product.

I like to use circular needles, so you'll find that, unless there's a really (REALLY!) good reason, I'll be using my Addies for all projects.
This project works up very quickly and is an easy knit, as it is all done in stockinette stitching-- just changing of colors needs tending to.

In the end, the hardest part about felting is that, once you have all the knitting done, whether it's a simple stockinette stitch or a more complicated dinner bag or even a jacket (sometimes called "Boiled Wool" in the old classification) or a hat, when you have to consign it to the clothes washer and lots of hot water and detergent, panic reigns supreme! I remember sweaters that went from a lovely fit to ones that were ready for Malibu Barbie when they were put into the wash by mistake, so I get this fear. But, believe me, after you have done this once, you will, without hesitation be felting all kinds of projects and making the most lovely hats, purses, jackets and all other sorts of things. Yes, even mittens can be felted! And the good news about a felted hat, jacket or mittens in New England is that they are completely water resistant and keep the warmth in, no matter how cold it gets.
Next entry will look at some really neat baby knitting!
Have a great day,