Show-n-Tell, Knit Lantern Blanket

Are you a several-projects-at-a-time or a one-project-til-its-finished person?

I’m in the “several-projects” camp, and usually enjoy having choices, but working on this Lantern Blanket became my sole project from Fall until Spring. Shout out to my friend Ina who shared this pattern by @ Woolture by Sia Nv Estate. I think Ina knits blankets as quickly as I bake a tray of cookies because she has finished many blankets. Hon, this will be the only (and I mean ONLY) full size afghan I work on for a very long time. It took a ton of concentration, mistakes unraveled, rows re-done, and language not suitable for this G-rated blog. But, I did it! I finished this blanket before summer. One big goal accomplished. Whew!

Yarn info: Sueno Worsted HiKoo, 80% Merino Superwash, 20% Viscose from Bamboo, color Manatee

Source: Where else? Wool & Grace

Yarn Picks the Person Infinity Scarf

When deciding which knitting project to work on, sometimes I start with the pattern and sometimes I start with the yarn. When I found this chunky, variegated, green, wool yarn, I knew immediately who it was meant for. Using an easy rib pattern, I knit this infinity scarf as a holiday gift for my niece’s fiancé, Cherie. Looking forward the day when this pandemic is over and we can attend and celebrate the postponed wedding of she and Aline!

Want to know how talented Cherie, the stage manager for Hadestown, is? Click here to see all of her professional pursuits?

Happy holidays, hon!

 

Sweater Weather

Loopy Mango Long-Sleeved, Cropped Cardigan and Pullover modeled by my daughters.

Last year, when I wanted to knit sweaters again, I got into patterns and chunky wool by Loopy Mango. I knit two perfect-for-Spring Loopy Mango Puffed Sleeve Tops: one in bright yellow and one in gray. I recently finished knitting two more sweaters. The forest green and gray, long-sleeved, cropped sweaters are perfect for sweater weather. My daughters modeled the chunky sweaters, gifts for two nieces, before they were wrapped. I’m so happy with how the sweaters turned out! The patterns were fun to work on, so I may knit more once I check out wool and colors at my favorite yarn shop, Wool & Grace.

Happy creating and giving gifts, hon!

Make Do and Mend, Hand Knit Market Bags Lined with Pretty Prints

“Make Do and Mend,” a philosophy of repairing and reusing clothes and material, originated in the UK during WWII. Though I often see alternate possibilities for household items and fabric (My family says I’m a pack rat. I call it being creative!), during quarantine the whole family was making do and mending. So, it’s no surprise that when I wanted to line my hand knit market bags (pattern below), I dug into our bag of bags and found the perfect liners:  pretty printed cotton shopping bags.

Steps to create liners out of cotton shopping bags:

  • Wash and iron bags.
  • Cut off handles.
  • Insert into knit bags and pin to fit.
  • Fold over and iron top seams.
  • Pin liners inside knit bags.
  • Sew.

During WWII, the British Ministry of Information released a pamphlet titled “Make Do and Mend.” It provided tips on how to be both frugal and stylish in times of harsh rationing. Readers were advised to create pretty “decorative patches” to cover holes in warn garments, unpick old sweaters to reknit into new styles, turn men’s clothes into women’s, as well as darn, alter, and protect against the “moth menace.”                                                    Green America

Pattern for Double Handled Market Bag from Plymouth Yarn.

DOUBLE HANDLED MARKET BAG

Yarn: 2 (3) 100g skeins of yarn

Gauge: 4.5 sts=1″ over st st on size 7 needles.

Needles: 16″ circular size 7. 24″ circular size 13.

Finished Size: Approx. 16 (20)” long. Bag will stretch.

BOTTOM: With size 7 circular needles, loosely cast 25 sts. Working back and forth in garter st, knit 46 rows or until square. Bind off loosely, leaving last st on needle. Do not cut yarn. Continuing with the circular needle, pick up and knit 96 its all around the base (24 sts per side). Place marker and join. Knit 1 round.

SIDES: Change to larger circular needle and begin pattern:

Round 1: Knit.

Round 2: *(Yo, k2tog); repeat from* around.

Round 3: Purl.

Repeat rounds 1-3 9 (11) more times until there are 10 (12) sets of “eyelet holes” up the side. End with round 3.

Next round: Change back to the smaller circular needle.

Round 1: Knit.

Round 2: Purl. Repeat these 2 rounds until there are 7 (8) ridges: 14 (16) rounds total. End with a purl round.

STRAPS: On next round: BO 14 sts, K10, BO 14 sts, K10, BO 14 sts, K10, BO 14 sts, K10. Working back and forth on these last 10 sts only–knit every row until total length of strap is 11 (14)”, ending with a WS row. Pick up the 10 sts from the opposite side (1st set of knit sts) and holding and right sides together, work the 3 needle bind off–attaching the 2 sets of sts.

Reattach yarn to second set of 10 sts with WS facing. Knit every row until total length of strap is 11 (14)”, ending with WS row. Pick up the 10 sts from the opposite side (3rd set of knit sts) and holding the right sides together, work the 3 needle bind-off-attaching the 2 sets of sts.

Weave in all ends.

Abbreviations: K=knit, p=purl, st(s)=stitch(es), RS=right side, WS=wrong side, yo=yarn over, k2tog=knit 2 sts together, BO=bind off, st st=stockinette stitch

Knit Halter Top

Knit Halter Top

While looking through one of my knitting books, Knitting Pretty by Kris Percival, I came across this quick and easy halter top.  I decided to start right away, but needed yarn that was lightweight and washable. Here’s when–ummm–collecting and keeping odd balls of yarn comes in handy!

I combined a skein of blue and a skein of cream to create heathered fabric. When the blue was running low, I knit a stripe and then finished the top with cream. The pattern calls for an open back, but I wanted somewhat of a bottom in the back. After one failed attempt to knit in rib stitch the whole way around (it was too loose), I added two angled back panels that join with a button. Since the daughter I knit this for is quarantining in CA, I may re-work the back when she returns, removing the button and adding ties instead.

Hon, do you think about these would make cute gifts for my many nieces?

Happy knitting!

Knitting Pretty’s description of the piece–

This cool cotton halter is perfect for those days when it’s just too hot for a T-shirt. Since you will be working with a double strand of yarn in two different colors, the halter knits up quickly and is a unique creation.

Knit Halter Top

Materials:

  • 4 skeins (50 grams each) cotton/acrylic blend worsted weight yarn
  • 1 size 9 circular needle, 24 inches long
  • 1 pair size 7 needles (straight or circular)
  • tape measure
  • scissors
  • yarn needle
  • gauge aid (optional)

Pattern:

  1. Working with a double strand of yarn, make a stockinette stitch swatch with size 9 needles, and check gauge. If it’s not 3 1/2 stitches per inch across, change needle size to match it.
  2. Cast 54 (60) stitches onto the size 9 circular needle. Work in knit 2, purl 2 ribbon until the piece measures 2 (3) inches.
  3. Knit in stockinette stitch for 2 inches. Your entire piece should measuure 4 (5) inches. You will now begin to decrease.
  4. Row 1:  Knit 1, knit 2 together, knit until 3 stitches remain on your needle, slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over, knit last stitch. Row 2:  Purl. Repeat these two rows 19 times until 16 (20) stitches remain on needles. You will decrease 2 stitches every time you repeat row 1.
  5. Bind off.
  6. Make the 4 halter ties by using size 7 needles to pick up 3 stitches per tie from the edges if the halter. Knit each tie in garter stitch, using a single strand of yarn, until it is 11 inches long (I made the straps 15 inches.)
  7. Weave in and trim loose ends.

Angled back panels.

Pattern photo from book.

Halter top shown in book.

To Add Angled Back Panels: I picked up 2o stitches on each side towards and knit in stockinette stitch, decreasing on every right side until I reached the middle of the back and bound off.

Show and Tell, Loopy Mango Puff Sleeve Top

Hannah wearing Loopy Mango’s Puff Sleeve Top.

 

Hon, there must be a knitting or needlepoint project in the house at all times! Make that several projects. I just finished knitting two of Loopy Mango’s “Mohair Puff Sleeve Tops,” but instead of LM’s mohair I used their Merino No. 5. Hannah gets the gray and Morgan gets the yellow. Once Darcy picks a color, I’ll knit one for her, too.

I’m almost finished knitting two of Loopy Mango’s chunky sweaters (future post), have finished weaving in ends on an infinity scarf, and am finishing up a knit market bag and needlepoint pillow. See, many projects?

Upon hearing about the gifts reserved for future birthdays and holidays, a friend asked how they’re being stored. Good question! The answer? In a bin of aromatic cedar blocks!

Thanks to  Wool & Grace for curbside pickup during quarantine. I actually squealed when they answered the phone!

Hannah wearing my version of Loopy Mango’s Cropped Sweater.

Dining Room as Sweatshop! Mask Makers, Part 2

 

SEW Busy!

I’ve been meaning to post a mask pattern, but have been busy…you guessed it…sewing. I also decided to tie dye a donated sheet (shout out to Leslie!) and cut it up for masks. While searching in my attic for more fabric, I came across clothes whose styles are out-of-date, but whose fabric could be turned into something else. Hmmm….

Creating masks for essential workers, we’re constantly tweaking our patterns depending on workers needs (comfort being the most important factor). The first pattern we used as part of  The Mask Maker for NJ Workers was put out by Atlantic Health System along with a helpful video. (see below) We worked on another pleated pattern, and are now creating cinched masks with straps that adjust with toggles.

Do you need masks? My daughter, aka my sewing partner, put together a flier with info for people who want to purchase them. We’ve been sewing lightweight, comfy, breathable, washable masks in both pleated and cinched models. In addition to the fabrics on the flier, we now have more choices.  Please email me at bmoreenergy@gmail.com for info.

Pleated Mask Pattern from Atlantic Health System
You can make two sizes: Adult or Child
  1. Cut fabric 9.5″ by 6.5″ for an adult or 7.5″ by 5″ for a child. Be sure any fabric design is placed horizontally.
  2. Put right sides of fabric together
  3. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner and stop. Sew the elastic with the edge out into the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this.
  4. Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner and sew a few stitches forward and back.
  5. Sew across that top of the mask to the next corner. Again, put an elastic with the edge out.
  6. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.
  7. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5” to 2” open. Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out.
  8. Pin three tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are the same direction
  9. Sew around the edge of the mask twice.

Related Post:  Dining Room as Sweatshop! Mask Makers, Part 1

Dining Room as Sweatshop! Mask Makers, Part 1

Ever since quarantine started and a need for masks became apparent, one of my daughters (shout out to Hannah) and I have spent weekends sewing. With two sewing machines, piles of fabric, elastic, notions, and scraps littering the floor, our dining room has been turned into a sweatshop! We’re working with a group called The Mask Makers for NJ Workers, and we’ve been sewing and donating to local medical workers, restaurants and businesses.

This has been a huge learning experience because, hon, sewing straight lines was the extent of our sewing machine knowledge! Hannah and I have broken many needles, ripped out dozens of seams, made tons of mistake, and required boxes of Bandaids. We’ve spent a lot of time cursing the thread which seems to have a mind of its own.

At first, the group agreed to sew masks with elastic that goes around ears. Then, we switched to four, adjustable straps. And now, we’re working on a cinched version with straps that adjust with toggles. All in the name of comfort. But, since Hannah and I aren’t seamstresses, every time we switch to a new pattern, we need a whole day to get it right. Some days everything hums along nicely, and some days it doesn’t!

Once Hannah started posting our finished products on social media, we received requests to purchase. We bought separate fabric and notions, and only use our own machine (as opposed to the borrowed one) for any sales. Click here to learn about the masks we’re selling. They’re lightweight, breathable, comfy, and washable.

I joined several mask maker Facebook groups, but there’s a proliferation of posts like, “Woohoo, just completed 1,ooo masks!” or “Yay me, I’ve reached my goal of 500 masks!” Those posts put our efforts to shame, so I’m unfollowing them asap because Hannah and I can’t compete and, well, we don’t have to.  She works full-time, and I’m working on my long-term writing goals. Last week, one of The Max Challenge trainers said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I love this quote! Just thinking about the energy and emotion I waste feeling bad comparing myself to others, especially when it comes to my writing journey, is enough to make me weep.

Who knows how long this situation will last, and who knows what it will look like when it’s done?! In the meantime, we’ll continue stitching–ripping out–pleating–pricking fingers–ironing–burning fabric–sewing–dropping pins–and donating and, overall, enjoying the process!

Want to know what patterns we’re using? Check it out in Part 2.

Cold Weather Cowls, Squishy Soft Infinity Scarves

IMG_1797
Eli wearing her infinity scarf.

Holiday gifts for two of my beautiful nieces? Check!

Yay to knitting two more infinity scarves and finishing them in time to give as holiday gifts! I made both using the pattern below, but I made Gavi’s taller. When I’m done needlepointing a canvas that will become a pillow, I might knit another scarf…or a hat…or a sweater…or those cool, fingerless gloves…

So many fun projects to consider!

IMG_1759
Eli’s scarf.

Gavi’s scarf.

 

 

 

 

 

Squishy Soft Cowl

Yarn: about 120 yards

Needle: 18″ to 24″ circular, sized to work with yarn

Finished Size: approximately 30 inches in circumference and 6 inches tall

Directions:

  1. Using a long tail cast on, cast on 87 stitches.
  2. Join for working in the round, being careful not to twist your work.
  3. *K4, P4, K4, P4.* Continue in pattern until about 3 yards remain.
  4. Bind off in Purl.

Source: Jill June at Studio June Yarn, studiojuneyarn@sbcglobal.net

Squishy Oversized Knit Cardigan

Color: “Bells of Ireland”

Juniper Moon Farm, “Bud” is a chunky weight, 100% Organic Peruvian Cotton yarn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my daughters commented that she liked a friend’s squishy, oversized knit cardigan. What came out of my mouth? “I can make that.” Umm–I hadn’t knit a sweater since college! But there I was, searching online for a similar looking sweater when the actual pattern for the “Downtown Cardigan” by designer Stephanie Lau was featured on loveknitting.

The pattern is too many pages to share in a post, so if you’re interested check it out on loveknitting. ($3 to download) I adjusted the pattern to reduce the sleeve length and width, but the sleeves are still too long and a bit too oversized. If I knit this again, I’ll adjust then even more. Other than that, the pattern was easy to follow and the parts easy to sew together. Lau has a bunch of interesting looking projects.

Since my daughter moved to LA, I thought cotton would be better than wool. At my favorite yarn shop, Wool and Grace, it was hard to decide which color of Juniper Moon Farm’s 100% organic Peruvian cotton to choose from. Bells of Ireland won out!

Happy knitting, hon!

Morgan wearing her new sweater.