Where I write about knitting, crocheting and lace, and, on occasion general comments on other topics

A 65th Wedding Anniversary Celebration

Written by: Lindy

July 27, 2009

On Saturday, my husband’s parents, Irv & Wauneta celebrated their 65th Wedding Anniversary. Yes, I said 65th. This is a remarkable milestone even with an increasingly aging population.
Irv & Wauneta's Wedding Picture

We held an open house for them at our house and had more than 35 guests attend. It was a joyous day filled with conversation, food, and laughter. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this occasion. My in-laws have a knack for collecting friends, so we had old friends attending that have known them since they were kids growing up in Hastings, Nebraska and new friends who have come to know and love them since they moved here to Omaha, Nebraska. We also had many family members come share the day with us. What blessings friends and family are!

Irv & Wauneta April 2008
Irv is now 89 and Wauneta is 85. They are still both very active and enjoy life to the fullest. They are my role models for how to age gracefully and I can only hope to follow their lead.

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Combinations of Knit & Purl – Simplicity or Complexity?

Written by: Lindy

July 19, 2009

The other day while waiting for my MIL at the beauty shop, I took out my baby blanket and sat knitting in the waiting area. One of the stylists came up to me and asked me what I was knitting. So I showed her. Then she said, “I could never knit anything like that – it’s too complex.” I replied that this pattern was actually very easy – it was just a three different combinations of knit and purl stitches, and I showed her the graph of the pattern square. She then told me that she had once knitted a sweater for her granddaughter that had a color pattern of a frog. So, I told her that if she had done that type of color knitting, this textured pattern would be easy for her to do. She replied that “maybe, she could do it – BUT she didn’t think she’d ever be able to master anything like cables”. So in spite of my gentle encouragement, I’m not certain this knitter will try to knit something with a variety of textures – which is too bad, because she will miss out on some wonderful knitting projects.

Have you ever limited your knitting by such thinking? I know I did many years ago – but after discovering Elizabeth Zimmerman’s approach to “unventing” things, my perspective has changed greatly. I’d like to encourage all my readers to think about this. There is a lot of freedom in being able to take a printed pattern and view it not as something that has to be followed exactly, but more as a place to start something uniquely yours. BTW – if you have never read Elizabeth Zimmerman’s books – you are missing an absolutely fun and enlightening experience!

As I spend time knitting my baby blanket, I find myself marveling at how those two basic stitches – the Knit Stitch and the Purl Stitch – can be combined in endless ways to make up fascinating textures. Consider the sheer simplicity of these two stitches. They are just opposites of each other. Yet these two stitches are knitting up nicely into teddy bear squares surrounded by seed stitch borders. And this project is rather simple. Then consider an Aran sweater pattern as an example of a far more complex combination of textured patterns – but again, the textures are made by the way one combines the basic knit and purl stitches and applies techniques such as cabling. Thus, knitting is both simple and complex and filled with unlimited possibilities of variation and combinations. No wonder we knitters love to knit!

Ravelry – a community for knitters and crocheters

Written by: Lindy

July 16, 2009

Are you on Ravelry? If so, you know about this marvelous site on the web for interacting with other knitters/crocheters with like interests. If you haven’t heard of it or looked it over – I recommend you check it out: www. Ravelry.com. In order to get the full benefit of the site, you need to join and it takes a while to get your Ravelry ID, but it is worth the wait. There are groups to join, forums to participate in, and your own area for listing projects, keeping track of your stash, inventorying your books and much more. There are also places to locate patterns – with the ability to purchase if you want or you can contribute a pattern to the site. And of course, there are many other knitters and crocheters who participate on the site and are willing to help with questions and solving technical problems. Warning: you can find yourself spending a lot of time on this site!

P.S. My Ravelry ID is “LindyBeir” if you want to find me there.

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First Row of Teddy Bear Squares Done!

Written by: Lindy

July 15, 2009

\"First Row of Teddy Bear Squares\"
I have completed the first row of Teddy Bear pattern squares on my baby blanket. This project is knitting up nicely and I am happy with my adaptation of the original pattern. I think the choice of the cotton Peaches & Cream yarn was also a good one. Just read a thread on Ravely about yarns for babies and one knitter commented on how the Peaches and Cream yarn gets softer with each wash – exactly what I wanted: a soft, washable baby blanket.

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Choosing Patterns – What to Use for My Baby Items?

Written by: Lindy

July 12, 2009

I have decided to go with a 100% cotton worsted weight yarn for my baby projects. The trick now is to find patterns that I like that work with my yarn choice.

Since I have been knitting for 46 years (yes, 46 YEARS), I have accumulated a stash of patterns equal to or greater than my current yarn stash. So – if I could find where I stored all of them, I might be able to find a pattern for my baby items without purchasing anything. (Large emphasis on the IF I could find them). Another option is to search for a pattern on the web – there are a lot of free patterns available. But I have also reached the point as a knitter than I am more likely to modify any pattern than to use it as it is written. Now days published patterns are a jumping off point – I always begin to see how I might use the patterning or the shaping or color palette in a new way.

So – as I begin my projects for baby items, I will be using a couple of patterns as my guide, but making changes as I go. I have decided to go with the “Dumb Baby Sweater” pattern in Maggie Righetti’s book: Knitting in Plain English. (One of my favorite reference books). This neat little pattern gives instructions for a raglan sleeve sweater with buttonholes and a seed stitch border. Now I will be modifying things here, because the yarn I want to use has a slightly different gauge. I will use the measurements for the sweater, but convert the number of stitches for my gauge.

For the baby blanket, I am using a pattern I found on the web as inspiration – but again, I am modifying the pattern. This lovely pattern calls for double-strands of a worsted weight superwash wool. I didn’t care for the colors available in this yarn, and had already decided I wanted to use a 100% cotton yarn for my projects. The yarn I chose is Peaches & Cream yarn in a teal blue. It is a worsted weight yarn – but when I double-stranded it for my swatch, my gauge was 2.5 Stitches per inch and the pattern gauge is 3.75 stitches per inch. (Meaning that if I knit this pattern with my yarn double-stranded it would be a larger size than the pattern). I didn’t really care for the way the pattern looked in the double-stranded yarn either. So – I knit a second gauge swatch using a single strand of yarn and I liked it much better. Thus, I am modifying the pattern according to my single-stranded gauge swatch.

Here’s the link to Barbara Breiter’s pattern:
http://www.knittingonthenet.com/patterns/babyafbear.htm.

I have a favorite pattern for baby socks that I will use and another for a simple baby hat. I find that baby bonnets are just not practical and cute little hats are much better.

I am wondering how many of you reading this: have reached the point where a published pattern is a guideline or an inspiration?

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New Projects, New Dilemmas

Written by: Lindy

July 11, 2009

My son and daughter in law are expecting their first baby the end of January. This delightful news has caused the knitter in me to begin formulating a number of knitting projects – all baby items, of course! I started the search for baby blanket patterns – finding several I like, now to decide which to use. I am planning to knit a matching sweater, cap & booties as well.

Then there is the matter of yarns for my baby projects.—I am vascillating between cotton & cotton blends and washable wool or wool blends. I haven’t completely ruled out using an acrylic baby yarn, but I really want to find something that is more long-wearing and high quality. As a long-time knitter, I’ve come to appreciate cotton and wool yarns. But now, we also have new yarns made of bamboo and corn and a myriad of other “new” fibers. Whatever the choice – baby items must be machine washable to be practical and usable for any new mother.

And then, there is the matter of colors. I think color is always an issue when a knitter begins to contemplate knitting for a baby. Do you go with the traditional baby blue and baby pink? Do you go with a cute mix of pastels? Or do you go with primary colors? – which seems to be the latest trend in baby wear if you look at the various knitting magazines and yarn catalogs. Oh my! Lots of decisions to be made here.

Now, most knitters approach a project by selecting a pattern. I have two possibilities for my baby blanket. I will be using very basic patterns for the sweater, cap & booties. I want to use the same yarn for all the items and want to find coordinating colors. I plan to select a yarn or yarns I like and want to use for these projects and then work with the patterns — So off to window shop online for yarns…

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Updating Blog & Website

Written by: Lindy

Just finished importing my previous blog posts from Blogger.  As part of my updating my website, I decided to switch to using WordPress via my hosting site, rather than have my readers go to the Blogger site to read my blog.  WordPress provides me with more functions and features to better manage my blog.

I hope you like the new look for the blog and the updates to the website.  The website will always be a work in progress — much like my knitting projects.  Just spent quite a bit of time choosing a new color scheme and I am still figuring out how to modify my blog to match, so look for the color scheme to change.

One of the ongoing maintenance items for any website is the task of keeping links current.  Links, particularly to individual knitting websites and blogs, seem to change frequently.  It is always sad to discover that a site that I really liked and recommended on my website is no longer available.  I found that I had several “dead” links when I went to check them.  In some cases, I was able to find the updated link — in others, there is nothing to link to anymore.

The latter is the case with the Knit.with.us site.  This site was really very nice when it was up and running.  However, the owners of this site are no longer focusing on knitting and have moved into a completely different direction.  Thus — no more Knit.with.us.  I wish the owners well in their new endeavors — I will miss the content they offered.

If anyone reading this has suggestions for knitting related blogs that I can include in my links, please comment to this post and include the link.  Thanks!

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