Sunday, April 23, 2006


I admit it, I am obsessed with basically no-brainer knitting. Once I started this left over sock yarn blanket I have become totally dedicated to making these bias squares and sewing them into the blanket. As you can see, the bias stripes formed by the self striping yarn create an optical illusion effect. I love it, as does the daughter for whom it is intended.

You can see that I have learned a bit in making and assembling the squares. I learned that one needs to create stripes if the leftover yarn is not self striping. Therefore, I have used two sock yarns in some squares to achieve a striped effect.
I have also learned that my patience is not as great as I thought it was. That is, I had intended this to be a long term project (read--over several years). But I have become obsessed. I am running out of sock yarn and I want to stand on the street corner, soliciting left over sock yarn so that I can finish the blanket this spring. I can't possibly generate enough left over sock yarn by knitting dozens of socks within the next two months!!! Hmm, maybe I could post an ad at the LYS!!!

Meanwhile, I have been teaching a class on making the Flower Basket Shawl. I hope to take photos at our last class in two weeks, so that I can post the beautiful shawls that have been made.

I haven't been knitting on any other projects mainly because I have been busy with school assignments. I am doing my student teaching at a local elementary school, in the school library. I spend lots of time reading books to kids and preparing for a big research project that will begin this week with the 5th graders. They will be researching famous people from the Civil War.

In addition, my dishwasher has refused to empty water. Since I don't have time to stay at home to wait for a repair person, I need to start doing dishes by hand. I know, this is not a big deal in terms of the world as a whole, but it does cut into knitting time!!

On a happier note, my 14 year old daughter is preparing for the coming of age ceremony at our church next week. We purchased a cute spagetti-strapped pink dress with a "tutu" underneath. When I was young, we called those "tutus" stick-out slips and my mother would starch them. Now, it is just gathered netting with no name; christened "tutus" by my daughter. She thinks this is a new style! Ha! What does she know??

How did she possibly get so old?? She is finishing her freshman year in high school and will be at home for only three more years before going off to college. Oh my, I don't know if I am prepared to be an empty-nester. My nest has been full for 30 years--my oldest is 29 years old now. I don't know what it will be like to have only my husband and myself at home. How lonely it will feel. Meanwhile, we are enjoying and getting the most out of every minute with the 14 year old. Because we each have had our older children leave our nests, we have come to cherish all moments with this daughter--even the hormone driven teenage "moments"--because we know that her life with us is so limited.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Knitting v. Gardening

Trouble in Blogland! I have spent more than 2 hours trying to post this blog!!! It was supposed to have more photos about knitting, etc., etc. Everytime I tried to upload it to post--nothing. The computer froze and crashed!! Here's the part of the blog that I saved. More later this week.

They say that young men's fancies turn to love in spring time, don't they? To what do knitters' fancies turn??? Do we abandon our needles in favor of gardening and long walks in the sweet breezes? Do we abandon our LYS in favor of the LGS (local garden shop)?
I love to wander our neighborhood and look at the yard of those who, obviously, have more time to devote to their gardens than do I. The gardens in these photos are from the gardens of two close-by neighbors. One has the challenge of a steep rocky hillside, which they have filled with scilla and daffodils for the springtime. I long to have a carpet of scilla in my yard as well, but--alas--mine haven't spread as quickly as these have. I would love to sit outside and knit in the midst of these blue carpets.
In fact, I love spring and summer for knitting in the fresh air. I think we should start a movement of knitting in gardens!! Take your yarn and sticks, plop a chair or blanket in the midst of a beautiful garden, and add to the beauty by knitting!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Jealousy and full-body-sock blanket

Before I get into how jealousy led to the FULL BODY SOCK , indulge my thrill at spring, which comes late here in the upper Midwest. Most daffodils and narcissuses are not yet in bloom; however I have some in a sheltered rock garden, and they have been blooming this week!!
In bloom in all the neighboring wooded areas are carpets of scilla. These small blue flowers are ephemerals. By the time the tulips are out, all trace of these scilla will be gone, leaves and all.

Now, to jealousy and the full body sock! Jennifer, of the Major Knitter blog asked readers to send her left over sock yarn. You know, those bits of balls that aren't big enough to really do something with. Well, she posted lots and lots of wonderful photos of the little balls of sock yarn that she received. I was jealous. I wanted leftover balls of sock yarn too. But what, I wondered, would one do with all those little balls of yarn? Well, it turns out that Jennifer, the generous and kind-hearted soul, knits little- little rectangles with what look like toothpicks. She glues these to note cards, sells the notecards, and uses the money for charity. She's a wonderful person.

Well, I didn't know her plans at the time. I stewed and stewed about what I could possibly do with those bits of sock yarn for MYSELF. Then it came to me--little bias squares!! I determined that 5" squares would be a good size; nearly all left over sock yarn is enough to make 5" squares.

Note that this is a LONG TERM project. I plan to make a 5" bias square of left over sock yarn as soon as I finish a pair of socks. I use size 1 or 2 needles. I cast on one stitch, increase one stitch at the beginning of each row until I have 24 garter rides. Then, I begin to decrease one stitch at the beginning of each row until I have only one stitch left. Pull yarn through loop.

Then, I must IMMEDIATELY sew the square to the assembled pieces. No waiting until I have the correct color contrast, etc. This is a spontaneous project.

Thus far, I have made about 16 squares from the leftovers in my stash. I must have made at least 50 pairs of socks over the past few years. Where did all the leftover yarn go??? Who knows, but here is what I have found and made thus far. The squares look a little "out of square". But, when they have neighbors, they will push into shape. Years from now, when I block the baby, all will be fine.

You can see that the self striping yarn is striking on the bias. Because not all of my socks have been made out of self striping yarn, I found that I needed to combine some of my left over skeins to make a triangle that will form a "center" with the tips of other squares.

Eventually, I hope to have a blanket that is 60" (12 squares) by 40" (8 squares). That is 96 squares!!!! Gee, I better start churning out socks to get my leftover yarn.

I plan to give this as a blanket to my 14 year old when she goes off to college. A reminder of seeing me knit and knit. (This is my yarn heathen daughter, who will positively NOT wear ANYTHING I make.)

Here are the RULES FOR THE FULL BODY SOCK blanket:

1. You can only use leftover sock yarn; no fair purchasing new yarn for artistic effect.
2. Use of other people's leftover sock yarn is ok.
3. You can use up your leftover sock yarn stash at the beginning, but afterwards, you can make squares only after you finish a pair of socks.
4. You MUST sew the square into the blanket as soon as you finish it. No fair hoarding squares for artistic effect.
5. Make squares on the bias. As big as your leftovers will permit. You may combine different leftover sock yarn.
6. Send me photos of your Full Body Sock blanket in progress!!

NORWEGiAN SINGERS. Last week two lovely Norwegian girls stayed with us for two nights. They are 14 years old and belong to a cathedral choir in Norway. My daughter sings with a regional youth choir and the two choirs got together for rehearsals and a concert. The Norwegian girls wore their national costumes, each different. Our girls wore a burgundy long concert dress. We loved the visit and hope that someday our girls can also go to Europe or Norway to sing.