Charity Project Monday, Hats, Knitting, Knitting for Kids in Need, Scarves

Infant Hats and Christmas Gifts

In between working on the Christmas gifts that I am working on, that are a bit more complex, and require more attention I have also had some infant hats going at the same time. I have plenty of baby yarn left over from other projects that I am wanting to get used up for a good cause, so I have been using the balls I have sitting over here for infant hats. I currently have 10 infant hats complete. I am looking into charities that get the hats to hospitals and birthing centers in the high poverty areas here in the US. One that I know of – Bundles of Joy, is a group that donates their time and hats to infants born in the Pine Ridge Reservation OB Ward. The reservation is located in South Dakota.

The fact that there are areas within the US where unemployment is over 75%, and whole communities live without electricity, indoor plumbing, sewage systems, and telephones. Seeing infants born into this system where the infant mortality rate is around 5 times the national average is heart breaking. That is why I like using the talent I have been given, in knitting to give back to those who are much less fortunate than I am.

Some may ask, why I do it, when these infants will grow up and are roughly 4 times more likely to commit suicide as a teenager, or join a gang, and if they grow into adulthood 3/4 if not more of them will be unemployed for their entire adult lives, and be alcoholics, and if the alcohol doesn’t get them, another health condition related to the alcohol or poor diet will. While this argument is very valid, My answer is yes, that is all true, but there is also that small fraction of a population that will make a better life for themselves. Do you want to deprive those the opportunity to be able to contribute, or make a difference by letting them die as infants do to not being kept warm? That is why I knit for the infants, and I would love to see each of the infants born into poverty receive a handmade blanket and hat, knowing full well that few of them will be able to rise above the generational poverty.

As for the Christmas gifts I am working on, I am making progress on both the falling leaves wrap and the six strand braided cable scarf. The scarf is knitting up faster than the wrap because it is not as intricate of a pattern, so I am able to work on it while watching YouTube videos, or shows on hulu, or working on other things on the computer. The falling leaves wrap requires more focused concentration, and I can only have music playing while working on it. Both of these will be done before Christmas.

Knitting, Personal Project Tuesday, Projects for Myself

Seed Stitch Poncho

Saturday was a busy knitting day for me. I had pushed through and finished the Seed Stitch (British Moss Stitch) Poncho that I have been working on for a couple of months now. For this project I used Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool Yarn in Oak Tweed. I have to admit I had my doubts about how it was going to turn out, and if it was going to work the way I wanted it to, but in the end it turned out perfectly and beautifully. I knit it in two pieces and then hand linked the two pieces together.

I made this poncho for myself, and it will be nice to have once the weather starts really cooling off, and I want something a bit nicer than a jacket or coat, but that will still keep me warm. Especially with the weather we have around here, it is generally overcast, gray, and wet a lot of the time once the rainy season starts (usually in September or October and lasts until May or June). The fact that the Fishermen’s Wool retains its natural Lanolin, that helps repel and shed the rain. I love that is a mix of two of the different natural colors in the Fishermen’s Wool line.

003Figuring out how to link it was the biggest challenge. I had done a little research during the knitting process, so I just went for it, and I love how it turned out. I was also a bit concerned that the neck hole would be too small, but was happy to find out that it is just the perfect size. This is a lesson in just going for something, trying something new, and not being afraid to try, because it will likely turnout just fine. I know I am overly critical of my own work, as are most people about their own work.

I will also be washing it. This kind of a project doesn’t really need to be blocked, since it fits well, and the pattern was free handed and something that I had come up with specifically for this project. I just want to get any chemical’s that the yarn may have been treated with or added to make it easier to knit with. I also like the idea of getting some of the sheepy smell (I like the sheep smell, but it can be overwhelming at times) out before I wear it. I use a lanolin enriched wool wash for all the wool garments I knit, and then lay them flat to air dry.

Knitting, Knitting Essentials, Tips, Wool

Washing My Wool

Today, I spent the day washing the woolen accessories I have knit up. Today is the official first day of fall, and it certainly feels like fall. I decided to spend the day washing, and letting my woolen wears air dry. Many of which I have yet to wash since I made them. Over the past year I have learned why you should wash your woolen accessories. When they are new, and never been washed before they still have all the chemicals and waxes in them that they were produced with. Washing them gets the chemicals and waxes out. Chemicals are used to treat the wool for various reasons. Waxes are used especially on wool’s that are used for machine knitting so that the wool knits up, and holds up better when being used on a machine. The waxes help the wool’s slide through the carriage and over the needles so much easier. Some of the yarns I had used at my previous jobs were so full of waxes that within 20 minutes my hands were sticky from the waxes. We washed everything at the studio, which was where I really learned about how to wash wool. Through that experience I learned that once the garment has been washed, and much of the chemicals, and all the waxes and stuff are washed out, the garments are so much softer. I have found that with my own knit goods, once they have been washed the first time they are so much softer.

After the first time I wash my wool, I only wash them when they absolutely need it. Wools don’t need to be washed very often after the first time, and when they do, they need a very delicate hand wash, or the gentlest setting on an HE Washer that does not have an agitator. Agitation = one of the worst things you could do to wool. You will also want to use a wool wash when washing woolen items. I would recommend either Eucalan Wrapture which is made with Jasmine Oil and enriched with Natural Lanolin, though any of the Eucalan line of no rinse delicate washes would be fine (I am just familiar with the Wrapture line). I like the smell of the Jasmine oil, which is also a natural antiseptic (helping to get the chemicals and any germs and such out that you wouldn’t want on your skin) The Lanolin in the Wrapture wash also helps with adding some water resistance to your woolen items. I have also used The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo, this is what we used at the studio with the garments that we made.

I always lay my washed woolen items flat on old bath and beach towels on a hard surface like the floor. It usually takes them several hours to dry. I sometimes even will use two or three towels underneath each item so that there is more layers for the moisture to go.

I figured today would be a good day to wash my woolen wear, because it actually is feeling like fall, yet is warm enough to open out the house to get fresh air in, and help my garments dry. It is also to help air out the Wet Sheep smell. It honestly smells like a wet sheep in the living room, so I am hoping it gets aired out by tonight. Having the Wet Sheep smell with having washed wool is a given. I don’t mind the smell so much, but I don’t think the other people I live with want to come home to the smell of wet sheep. This time of year is perfect for opening up the house anyway. It is overcast and cooler, but not pouring down rain.

0066688450071_500X500
Eucalan Wrapture
the-laundress-wool-and-cashmere-shampoo-med
The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo
Knitting, Knitting Projects, Personal Project Tuesday, Projects for Myself, Whats on My Needles

Working on Christmas Gifts

I have begun working on Christmas gifts. I figure if I start now, I will have a better chance of getting the gifts done before Christmas than being right up until the last minute and even then maybe not even having them done. I would be super happy to have all my knit gifts done by Thanksgiving, which is in November here in the States.

I have one part of my friend’s Christmas gift done, and I got started on my mom’s last night after making another trip to Joann’s since they are having a coupon event going on. They have 50% off 1 regular priced item coupons out. I was able to get the two skeins of yarn I needed to make my mom’s gift for the regular price of 1 skein, which was pretty awesome. I got two skeins of Patons Lace yarn in Mystic Teal, it is a really pretty color. I am using this pattern for the wrap that I am knitting up with the lace yarn I bought.

For the time being, since I still have a personal project that I am working on, as well as Christmas Gifts, my charity knitting projects are taking a back burner until I get these projects finished.

Knitting, Pattern Friday

Knit Flat Finger-less Gloves!

Hey Everyone!

in the past few days I have been working really hard to get some finger-less gloves finished, using one of the skeins of yarn I had purchased at the craft store in my most recent craft store shopping trip/haul. Once I got the pair for the gift done, I had yarn left over, so I decided to see if I had enough to get another pair knit up for myself. I had just enough to make two full pairs of finger-less gloves.

The yarn I used was Patons Classic Wool Worsted yarn in Natural Mix. It comes in a 100 g/ 3.5 oz skein which contains approximately 192 m / 210 yds of 100% wool yarn to work with.

The pattern I used, was one I had come up with. I cast on 35 stitches, knit off the first row then I knit 8 rows of 1×1 ribbing before switching to stockinette stitch. I had also put cables in mine. I used the cast on edge as the bottom (or the highest part of my arm) and the cast off edge as the top (landing at my knuckles). I then did 30 rows of stockinette before finishing with 8 more rows of 1×1 ribbing.

For the Cables, on the right glove I started it in the left side of the front (so it was closer to the end of the knit row). How I did that was I knit over 17+4 then did the two purl stitches and knit six stitches, purled two more stitches and knit the last four. For the left glove I knit over 4 stitches, purled 2, knit 6, purled 2, knit 4+17. I did my cabling on the 5th row (of six in the pattern). for the right glove I held the stitches to the back when cabling, and for the right glove I held the stitches to the front.

Knitting, Personal Project Tuesday, Scarves, Wraps/shawls, Yarn

Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is about 3.5 months away, which means that it is time to start thinking about the Christmas gifts I will be knitting for people. One of which will take me a while to work on. I am starting my friends Christmas gift. I picked up the yarn today at the craft store, and her gift will be simple enough for me to knit up. Right now my local Joann Fabric and Craft Superstore is starting a round of coupons, most of which are good next week (which will be nice so I can finish getting the yarn I need for Christmas gifts), as well as having sales on their fall decorations so going yarn, craft and decoration shopping is hard for me to say no to, even if it is more or less window shopping. I picked up a couple little wooden pumpkin decorations since they were half off so I got both for the price of one, then one of the yarns I bought was on sale, and the other yarn I bought I was able to use the 40% off one full price item coupon for, which was a good buy on my favorite brand of yarn. I did not pay full price for anything today at Joann. I was super happy about that. 

I am also working on finishing the poncho I started awhile back. I am working on the second piece of it. It has been slow going the last few weeks with having so much going on. I am really wanting to get it done before the weather really starts turning. I want to make use of it this fall and winter. 

The poncho I am working on, as well as my friend’s Christmas gift are being made of 100% wool. I used to not like working with, and wearing wool. I used to think it was too hard to care for, wash and such. Then I decided to give it a try, and I fell in love with using it for personal projects. After working at a knitting studio for 5.5 months where we worked with a lot of cashmere and cashmere blends I learned about washing techniques as well as wool was and shampoos. I have also taken to storing my knit wears in plastic buckets with lids, and putting cedar blocks in with my wool garments. Wool has gone from being my least favorite fiber to work with to being my favorite for using for myself. I am excited for fall and winter to get here so I can pull out all the hats and scarves I have knit up, and be able to wear them again. 

 

Charity Project Monday, Hats, Knitting, Knitting for Kids in Need, Knitting Projects, Yarn

Shifting Short Term Focus

Hey Everyone! 

Over the next few months for my charity projects, I will be working on hats for kids and infants in need. They are small and don’t take much time to knit up. 

I have come to the conclusion that Hats would be a good choice to work on as I have balls of baby yarn in my craft area that I would like to get used up before I move on to other projects needing larger quantities of yarn. That coupled with the fact that it is already September which means I am already starting to think about Christmas gifts I want to get knit up, in time for the holiday, in addition to finishing up a personal project for myself. 

I love making projects for kids in need, I am just taking some time to focus my priorities elsewhere for a bit, as the last couple of years I have been knitting hats and sweaters like crazy. I am taking a step back to breathe, doing some projects for myself, family and friends then come back with renewed energy to knitting for kids in need. My focus is currently on projects of a personal nature for myself and friends I am not completely going without knitting something for the kids.