Friday, May 30, 2008

Great Yarns: I'm baaaaaaaack!

I had the BEST time up at Lynette's shop in Frederick, Colorado. Knitter's Nest is truly a haven for knit-a-holics and a hot-bed of fiber fanatics!

The turn-out, on this beautiful Spring-like Friday evening was great (at least a dozen wonderful ladies and even a few young un's knittin' away too!). They seemed to like Great Yarns and the designs ... and some of them homeschool!

Dh took the littles and we made an afternoon of it ... them to play at the park, read and eat McD's "sundaes" and mom to knit and talk about knitting for more than 2-1/2 hours! What more could I want?

Mary, one of the group from the In the Spirit of Design retreat came down -- her friend Melissa was to come too, but her date with the "Sock Monkey" won out! Maybe next time I'm in Colorado, huh Melissa????

But you do need to check out Lynette's shop ... it's a cozy nest of beautiful yarns, tools, and books (including a lending library!) and a fabulous place to spend a Friday evening! So, if you're ever in Frederick, CO (less than 30 minutes from Denver) ... do stop and shop at Knitter's Nest -- you'll love it!

THANKS to all the KN regulars for the warm welcome and the hospitality.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Great Yarns: I'm on the road again

A little knitting shop about 30 minutes from Denver is going to host me and on Friday, May 30! Yippee, I get another chance to talk "shop" with other knitting enthusiasts, maybe sell a few books and knit for a few uninterrupted hours .... what more could I ask for?
Knitter's Nest
(in Clark Plaza)334 Fifth StreetFrederick, Colorado

(303) 833-5062

Baby Knitting: Easiest Ever Gift!

A very good friend is being induced this morning with her 5th baby -- this always happens as her babies always need a little noodge to greet the new day. But, when that baby does arrive I have the perfect new baby gift.

I wanted to make this 5th baby something special -- often the more babies someone has the less the new babies get. I remembered a pattern that I'd designed for my first "book", Glory of America Knits. I called it "Raggy Maggy" as it looks like a traditional rag doll ... with a bit of a twist.

So, here is a tutorial for making your own "Raggy Maggy" or teething doll:

First, as far as materials needed: #3 US knitting needles, worsted weight cotton yarn (the doll pictured here was knitted with Coats & Clarks Aunt Lydia Denim in ecru), 5 elastic hairbands (large) with no metal (you can see them in the picture, I found set of different brights from Conair).

Gauge: this is not ultra-critical but I got a gauge of 5st x 7rs. You want a tight-ish feel to the fabric. The final rectangle will measure about 13 x 20.

CO 100 sts and work 4 rows garter. Then, keeping first and last 2 sts in garter, do a stockinette center for approx. 12 inches. Finish with 4 more rows of all garter (on last round, reduce 10 sts evenly across so you'll be binding off 90 sts).
Now, for creating this little doll:

Here is the finished rectangle -- approx. 13 inches by 20 inches. Notice how it is on the table on it's short side which will be the "hem" edge (the CO edge is on the right, BO edge is on the left).

[NOTE: I used Conair's "large, no metal hair bands - a pack of 32 cost $2]

Fold the rectangle in half, with the RS out and the hems lined up. From the remaining yarn, wrap a TIGHT, two-inch ball for the head.

Place the "head" in the center of the top fold and wrap a hair-band of desired color (we know this baby is a girl so that's why I used deep pink -- you could use ANY color). You can move the fabric around a bit to get a smooth "face" while tucking the folds around the sides.

For the limbs -- do the left leg first by measuring 6" from the hem up the left side and half the hem (6-1/2"), grab this section and wrap a band around leg portion tightly. Grab the remaining 4 inches and make the arm. Repeat for the right side. Play with these wrappings a bit until you have Raggy Maggy just as you'd like her.

This makes a GREAT teething doll -- easy to grasp, cotton that softens as it washes, and easy-care: just take off the bands, remove the head and wash the rectangle and re-make. The cotton soaks up the burbles and droolings of a baby and looks just as good the 300th day as on the first day.

CAUTION: occasionally check the hair bands for any signs of fraying -- replace immediately!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Baby Knitting: Thinking outside the box

One of the MANY things I like about designing hand-knits is that I can think outside the box, go beyond the traditional, and create new traditions.

Here's a great example: a few years ago a friend came to me and asked me to design something for a couple who were having their first baby. I showed her something things I'd made in the past ... a baby blanket with a lamb on it, the christening set, etc. But nothing seemed to be just right.
Then ... my then-6 yod came running in with a stuffed cow I'd knit for her a few years earlier.

Well Jessie just fell in love with Sassie Cassie the cow and wondered if I could do a "cow theme" as the young couple and their new baby would be moving back to the family farm ... a dairy farm!

Here's what I came up with:
A cozy, cow binky (note the white "picket" fence surrounding the field) and a stuffed cow The blanket (which actually was very straight, but the camera angle makes it look a bit catywampus!) has a calico fabric sewn to the back so that the baby didn't get tangled in the intarsia cow.
This was a pretty untraditional baby gift .. but Jessie and the new mom LOVED the set.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Heirloom Knitting: Christening Set for the Well-Dressed Baby!

As most of you who read this blog know, I LOVE knitting. I love that I can create something from a natural material, something that wasn't there before. I love that I can design an item around a theme and make it all work together because it's MY design! I love that I can make something that's a fad or something that will stand the test of time. I love knitting and I love designing knitting.

When my youngest son's arrival was expected, I knew I wanted to make this baby something special as he was something special -- I was over 40 and in a foreign country and I was expecting my 5th child. Yes, he was going to be something special and he needed something that would set his birth apart from his siblings'.

Bam-bam was due in late November in Austria -- so a cozy Christening Gown seemed the perfect "special" baby item. I poured my love and prayers for a healthy baby into the design and knitting of this set -- that's why I used a heart-lace theme throughout the bonnet, sweater, socks and blanket. The blanket has a cross on it when spread out on the floor.

I used the same yarn but different size needles -- so the bonnet and jacket were knitted on 5s, the socks on 3s and the blanket on 11s. This gave me the loft I needed for a fluffy blanket while giving the delicacy I needed for the socks. The wool is a natural, DK weight wool from Austria.

Here's the back so you can see the heart motif on the bonnet and the back of the sweater.

This is truly an heirloom set and one I'm so proud of I even made a doll to fit the outfit. This doll will wear the outfit until I have either more children or till grandchildren start needing Christening outfits!

Don't you just love knitting?