Knitting Doll on Duty

??????????Ever used one of these? I haven’t, but have known of them for some time. At first I thought they were usually female, but apparently I’m wrong. My mom picked up this specimen at church when one of the older ladies was moving and doing some ridding out. The base says he’s from Czechoslovakia, but he looks more like a British solider to me. Only soldiers don’t wear top hats. And why is he winking? Does he know something I don’t? Probably does. He’s much older than me, and like I said, I don’t even know how to work with him. But if anybody ever comes to steal my yarn, they’ll have one battle-hardened little sentry to deal with. Heads up, he’s about to shoot off one of those carpet tacks!

(P.S. Sorry for neglecting this blog for so long. It happens when you’re working on an afghan. I probably won’t post every week ever again, so should I shoot for every two weeks?)

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Top Five Reasons to Give Hand-Knitted Gifts

Knit Gifts Post

1. Where would you rather be on Black Friday: At the mall fighting over the last of the hot whatevers, or on your couch knitting and watching Miracle on 34th street?

2. With just a little thinking outside the box, that hard-to-buy-for friend or relative can be easy to knit for.

3. Hand-knitted gifts are always appreciated.

4. Hand-knitted gifts are better for the environment than store-bought gifts. You can’t give too many on account of how much time they take to make, and people almost never throw them away.

5. Hand-knitted gifts are fun to make. Designing patterns, altering patterns, making things, and making them your own – this is what I was born to do! Once all the gifts are open and the surprise factor is over, I can start sharing some patterns here again.

(One word of warning though: Hand-knitting gifts can lead to what Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama called “Too much glitter, too much fluff, too much making too much stuff!” Especially when you start in September and make gifts for all the extended family too. It was fun once, but next year I think I’ll scale back to just making a few items instead of an elfin factory full.)

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Charlie Chaplin’s Dirty Chores Rag

The place: Rock Valley College, Fall 2009

The Movie:Modern Times

The Mistake: I forgot my knitting needles and dishcloth patterns

Since I can’t watch a movie without knitting anymore, I ran to the craft store for knitting needles and yarn. I still didn’t have a pattern, so I cast on 34 stitches and worked in seed stitch (knit 1, purl 1) until the piece measured about 10 inches in length. The result was a tight-knit rag that could handle just about any chore without falling apart.

Top 10 Places to Knit a Dishcloth:

1. At a ballgame

In my case, it was a game at Miller Park. I showed up in a Cubs shirt carrying a Bears bag with no intention of following the score. Ah, how fortunate not to be good fistfight material.

2. At a family renunion

Nothing is more soothing when everyone is talking at once.

3. At a Greek restaurant while (ugh) waiting for food

If anybody spills anything later on, viola!

4. At any kind of church or office potluck/get-together

No, it’s not rude or “anti-social”. In Great-Grandmother’s day, it was considered perfectly normal to keep one’s hands busy while gabbing, socializing, gossiping, and unionizing. Now, it just makes a good conversation starter.

5. On a sixteen-hour bus ride to and from Mississippi

I’d use plastic needles for this one. You’ll probably be falling asleep on them.

6. On the plane

Once again, plastic needles are best. (Touchy ol’ TSA)

7. During slow periods at work

In my case, it was a tutoring job when I had no “tutees”, no homework, and no copies to make for the teacher across the hall. (Did that ever happen?)

8. In traffic jams

It works too well. You’ll be having so much fun knitting, you won’t even notice when the traffic starts moving  again.

9. At a historical re-enactment

Such as Civil War Days, Old Settler’s Days, etc. This is where I learned!

10. In the bodyshop waiting room

Must. Keep. Sane.

(This represents one improperly done strut job on a rainy Sunday morning.)

What are your favorite, least favorite, and most creative places to knit? Please comment below; I’d love to hear your stories!

 

 

 

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Knit Gifts: The Lucky Tree Scarf

Several years ago, I made this scarf for my dad for Christmas.

In this photo, the oak leaf shadows make a lucky clover pattern on it.

It’s adapted from an age-old pattern  called the “English Snuggle-fit Scarf.” Don’t think the English will mind where you make it as long as oak trees grow there 😉

Using size 8 needles, cast on 22-24 stitches. Knit 7″ of garter stitch (knit every row)

The following was taken from the original pattern:

“Now begin to make the double band or “tube” through which you slip the end of your scarf. (X), Knit one, leave on the needle, knit one and place on a holder. (X) Repeat between the  (X)’s across the rows until you have 14 [11 or 12 in my adaption] stitches on the needle and 14 stitches on the holder. Working with the stitches on the needle, knit one, purl one, even for  10 rows [I use 13]. Leave these stitches on a spare needle. Now pick up the stitches from the holder and knit one, purl one, even for 10 rows.

Now you will join these two bands of knitting in the following way. Hold the two needles together, each with 14 stitches. Knit one from the first needle, one from the second, until all the stitches [22-24 in my adaption] are on one needle.”

Beginning to make the “tube”

Next, knit until the rest of the scarf (the part after the tube) measures 20-25 inches in length.

Bind off.

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Pound Puppy U or “Big Chief on Campus”

Pound Puppy Letter Sweater

Some of you may recall last year when I designed a Pound Puppies cheerleader outfit for one of my favorite old toys. This football season, I thought it would be fun to make a matching letter sweater for the guy dogs. Here, Blackie (above) and Chief (below) sport the Maize ‘n Blue in support of my dad’s favorite college team, the Michigan Wolverines.

 

Back:

Cast on 21 stitches

Work 2 rows knit 1, purl 1 ribbing

Knit row 3

Row 4: purl 1 row in a contrasting color

Row 5 and 6: Work in stockinette stitch

Row 7: Knit 1, knit 2 together, knit to last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1 (19 stitches)

Rows 8-10: Work in stockinette stitch

Row 11: knit 1, knit 2 together, knit to last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1 (17 stitches)

Row 13: knit 1, knit 2 together, knit to last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1 (15 stitches)

Row 15: Knit 3, cast off 11, knit 3

Work 5 rows with each side, starting with a purl row

Cast off

Chief was my first Pound Puppy, so I don’t remember how he got that black eye. Should I blame it on my sister?

Right Side:

Cast on 7 stitches

Work 2 rows knit 1, purl 1 ribbing

Knit 1 row

Row 4: Purl with a contrasting color

Row 5: Knit

Row 6: Purl

Row 7: Knit 1, knit 2 together, knit 4 (6 stitches)

Row 8: Purl

Row 9: Knit 1, knit 2 together twice, knit 1 (4 stitches)

Rows 10-14: work in stockinette stitch, starting with a purl row

Row 15: Cast off. Mark this side with a pin.

Left Side:

Cast on 7 stitches

Work 2 rows knit 1, purl 1 ribbing

Knit 1 row

Row 4: Purl with a contrasting color

Row 5: Knit

Row 6: Purl

Row 7: Knit 4, knit 2 together, knit 1 (6 stitches)

Row 8: Purl

Row 9: Knit 1, knit 2 together twice, knit 1 (4 stitches)

Rows 10-14: work in stockinette stitch, starting with a purl row

Row 15: Cast off

Sleeves:

Cast on 20 stitches

Work 2 rows knit 1, purl 1 ribbing

Knit next row in a contrasting color

Purl 1 row

Cast off

Finishing:

Weave in all ends. Sew side seams up 1” from the bottom. Sew shoulder seams. Sew in sleeves, pinning them in first so they end up right-side- out. Sew sleeve seams. Sew a felt letter on the back and 3 snaps on the front.

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A Perfect Fit: The Sweater Fix

This week, I decided to alter one of my own sweaters instead of knitting one for Bengalina.

I found this lovely pink summer sweater for $3 at a second-hand shop. It was a great deal and a perfect fit, but the neckline was stretched out from repeated wear.

Fortunately, floppy necklines are easy enough to fix. I went to a craft store and bought some thread elastic, which is usually in the bead aisle next to the jewelry making tools. My mom lent me a needle with a large eye, and I wove the elastic the elastic through the tiny stitches at the top of the neckline. It took about an hour.

Sorry this picture didn’t turn out better. My camera doesn’t handle close-ups any too well.

See the difference? I also ended up cutting out the tags and the flimsy, built-in cami so I could wear many colors under the sweater. This process works with hats too, or so I’m told.

Have you ever used your knitting prowess to repair or alter a store-bought garment?

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Bathing Suit Fail

I was hoping to have a bathing suit ready for Benalina in time for the last swim of the summer, but it just didn’t turn out.

It’s too small in the front

and baggy in the back

I think I was impatient and increased and decreased too much too fast. Maybe I’ll have it done in time for the first swim of next summer?

Now to a project that did turn out pretty well: the improved tank top.

(I don’t have a pattern for the skirt. My grandma crocheted it a long time ago for my Pound Puppies.)

I thought the first tank top I made was a little baggy in the front, so I made some changes to the pattern:

Tiger-Teddy Tank Top

(Worked on size 8 needles with worsted-weight cotton yarn)

Front:                                                                                                                                 

Cast on 40 stitches

Work 2 rows knit 1 purl 1 ribbing

Next row: Knit 1, knit 2 together, knit until last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1

Work 6 rows stockinette stitch, starting with a purl row

Row 7: Purl 1, purl 2 together, purl to last 3 stitches, purl  2 together, purl 1

Row 8: Knit 1, knit 2 together, knit 2 together, knit to last 5 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 2 together, knit 1

Row 9: Repeat row 7

Row 10: Knit 1, knit 2 together twice, knit to last 7 stitches, knit 2 together twice, knit 1

Row 11: Purl 1, purl 2 together twice, purl to last 5 stitches, purl 2 together twice, purl 1

Row 12: Knit

Row 13: Purl

Row 14: Knit 1, knit 2 together, knit to last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1

Row 15: Purl

Row 16: Knit

Row 17: Purl

Row 18: Knit 5, cast off 10, knit 5

With left (attached) five stitches, work 6 rows stockinette stitch, starting with a purl row

Bind off

Re-attach yarn to right five stitches and work 6 rows stockinette stitch, starting with a purl row

Bind off

Right side:

                Cast on 18 stitches

                Work 2 rows knit 1, purl 1 ribbing

                Work 17 rows stockinette stitch

                Row 18: Cast off 13, purl 5

                Work 6 rows stockinette stitch with remaining 5 stitches, starting with a knit row

                Bind off

Left side:

                Cast on 18 stitches

                Work 2 rows knit 1, purl 1 ribbing

                Work 17 rows stockinette stitches

                Row 18: Purl 5, cast off 13

Re-attach yarn to remaining five stitches and work 6 rows stockinette stitch, starting with a knit row

Bind off

Finishing:

  1. 1.       Sew side seams 2 ½ inches up from the bottom.
  2. 2.       Sew shoulder seams.
  3. 3.       Weave in all ends.
  4. 4.       Sew on 3 snaps for closure.

 

 

Better, no?

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