Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

A Stitchy Spring

May 20, 2013

Memphis has enjoyed a real spring season this year (i.e. more than one week between damp/gray/winter and steamy/humid/summer) and I have been out and about with some knitting.

Earlier this year, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art contacted my knitting group asking for collaboration on their upcoming exhibition Angels and Tomboys: Girlhood in Nineteenth Century American Art. They requested that we yarnbomb the front of the museum and we were only too happy to oblige them!

All area knitters and crocheters were invited to join in. On an overcast and unusually chilly day in March we converged on the museum with our handiwork.

We covered the front entrance


and all the posts.

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We wrapped the benches



and any other random thing we could find.

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This gate gate was commissioned for a local estate, but the owners decided against using it and gave it to the museum. It was not spared.



Renee took care of the lion.

Knitbombed lion

My job was to fit one of the very tall bike racks with a new sweater. I started out with some big holes


got bored and switched to smaller eyelets with an icord laced through them,


and finished up with colorblocks and lots of stripes. Finally, we strung Kenon’s knitted hearts and draped them among the three bike racks.


We used zip ties to hold everything up. Thankfully, the museum staff had the job of taking it down!


Cranking Out Hats

February 9, 2011

I finished three more hats for a fundraiser sponsored by my knitting group. Here they are photographed against our latest snowfall which is coming down hard and accumulating fast.

A button tab hat in Cascade 220. Pattern is here.

Button flap hat

A man’s cap loosely based on this pattern with different decreases at the top. It needs to be an inch longer to cover ears properly. The yarn is mystery yarn I got in a swap.

man's cap

And finally this fun earflap “Califairisle” cap with pompons and zig zags.

earflap cap with pompoms

Hat production is booming because I can knit at work while the baby is napping. The sewing machine, however, is slowly petrifying and will probably need to be jump-started when I try to use it again. If this snow keeps up, that could be tomorrow!

Stumbling Into 2011

January 22, 2011

January is almost over and I haven’t said a thing since December. Let me tell you why.

I had barely recovered from the holidays when a job fell in my lap! A friend of a friend needed a nanny for her 9 month old son and I started two weeks ago. So I take care of the easiest baby ever for 25 – 35 hours a week and we’re having a great time. I do the feeding, bathing, dressing and changing like I did for Gwen all those years, but I DON’T do doctors, sleep deprivation or first-time parent anxiety.

This is a perfect first step back into the job market because it’s fun and not stressful at all. Being on a schedule has been a big adjustment however. It’s been complicated by two snow days and a horrible stomach virus which had me up all Wednesday night and involved some serious heaving that left me a full 6 pounds lighter. I cannot recommend this weight loss plan, but I’m on the mend and have worked my way up to eating a baked potato for dinner. Woo hoo!

My sewing machine probably has spider webs on it, but the knitting needles are clicking along steadily. I made another Travelling Fern lace scarf, this time in maroon, for the Opera Memphis auction. As I have mentioned before, the opera company’s performances at Gwen’s school always inspired her to sing along and helped her acquire quite a reputation as a vocalist. For this I will be forever grateful.

Yet another Travelling Fern lace scarf

And a few hats to raise funds for a friend of mine undergoing fertility treatments.

striped beanies

bunny hat

The bunny hat pattern is from the book Itty Bitty Hats, a treasure trove of adorable designs for babies and toddlers. Pink yarn is Berrocco Pure Merino DK bought for a song on

Life will be different now that I’m working, but naturally, my creative dance card is full. I am doing DSQ10, the Lovely Linen Bee, and will be entering the Modern Quilt Guild’s Project Modern Challenge #2. I’m putting two knitted scarves for holiday gifts on the list and today I promised an earflap hat to a 1-year-old girl.

I had better log off and get busy!

Handmade for the Holidays

December 25, 2010

Wow what a crazy holiday season! I had it totally under control until a few last-minute projects popped up. But the celebrating was done by noon today and I immediately settled in for a long (5-hour) winter’s nap.

No more keeping the handmade gifts under wraps! First, some ornaments for a swap with my knittaz in the Memphis Knit Mafia. They did not have to be knitted, so I made mine from glass balls and pages from a fabric catalog.

Handmade ornament for swap

This was not a fast project, so I cut and pasted in the evenings while watching White Christmas three nights in a row. As a result I have been continually humming the tune from “Sisters” and thinking about technicolor blue dresses and fluffy feather fans. The Hancock’s of Paducah catalog didn’t stand a chance as I cut up the Kaffe Fassett pages for the color and photos of a blue fabric collection for one monochromatic ornament. When the glass balls were all covered, I strung them up from the bathroom shower curtain and applied three coats of mod podge to make them shine.

Handmade ornaments ready for swapping

There was minimal knitting since I have been so busy finishing the Crosstown Quilt and running all over Hawaii. But I managed to crank out a soft Saroyan scarf/shawl for my cousin. It was completed on Tuesday, blocked on Wednesday and given on Friday night. The yarn is Berocco Palace. The first pic is the best representation of the true color.

Scarf for my cousin

Scarf detail

About a week ago, I was searching for some stitch markers and found some yarn I had bought to make my sister a hat. Not just any hat, but a replica of the Ralph Lauren hat worn by the US athletes in the 2010 Winter Games. Last winter, these hats retailed for about $70, sold out before the Olympics started and then sold for up to $500 each on ebay for months afterwards. In March, I found a pattern for it on Ravelry, promised one to my sister, bought the yarn and promptly forgot about it. So I cast on in a hurry and did the stranded color work for the first time. It was not a fast knit, but I love the finished product. This hat is pretty big. If I made it again I would leave out some of the rows of white below and above the moose/reindeer.

Olympic hat

Even with all of this going on, I accepted two opportunities to make a little money. After all, the credit card bill with the Hawaii trip on it was coming! I picked up a quilt from a friend on Wednesday, bound it for her on Thursday and returned it Friday. Fortunately, my sister was in town and helped me get it done. I love binding quilts, so getting paid to do it is especially fun.

We also hosted a canine visitor for a week while her people were at Disney World. Annabelle is a good girl and a pleasure to have around. Her presence forces me to take those walks I should be taking anyway. While she was here, she snagged a half-eaten turkey sandwich off a counter while I was answering the door. Made me think I was crazy because I couldn’t find the sandwich and didn’t remember finishing it! The game was up when Larry spotted some telltale pickles on the floor.

We made a date to meet my friend Nancy and her wild-man dog Jethro at Memphis’s new dog park. This was my first visit to the park and now I know that it is THE place to go for free entertainment. That’s Annabelle on the left and Jethro mugging for the camera.

Annabelle and Jethro at the dog park

There are still two small gifts to finish and give. After that I’ll be working on two commissions (pillows and a shoulder bag), participating in a linen quilt block swap, and signing up for the next Doll Quilt Swap.

What will YOU be making in the new year?

Random FO’s from Last Fall

March 19, 2010

The fall was a muddled time for us and I totally neglected to blog some things that were actually finished.

Thrifted skirt Bag for church auction

The kids at church had an art auction to fund their mission trips, so I made them a purse out of a thrifted skirt and pair of pants. The pattern is (very) loosely based on this one. I would never wear such a wild skirt but it looks great as a bag. It was missing something, so I added some covered buttons that made all the difference.

I didn’t stay long enough to find out who won it. But later, a friend told me that her SIL (also a very good friend) was sporting it at their family’s Thanksgiving dinner. I am glad it has a good home with someone I like.

Hat for Caleb

Next up is this hat for Caleb, server at Republic Coffee and a favorite of the Knit Mafia girls when we met in their back room last winter. He kept us in coffee, waffles, mac n cheese and cheese grits so we tagged him as ours. He loved the hat and later reported that it was a chick magnet because so many women commented on it. Later, Sam the Barista got a scarf and a hat is in progress for Jack, one of the cooks. He is so good that the mac n cheese is called “Jack n cheese” in certain circles.

The hat was a quick knit using the classic Turn A Square pattern by Jared Flood. The yarn is Cascade 220 Heathers in green and Noro Kureyon color #272.

Backpack for toddler cousin

And finally, this adorable toddler backpack for a small cousin in Texas. I found the pattern on the Indietutes Blog and cut it out of an old pair of striped shorts. Fusible interfacing on the inside gives it a little structure.

For the initial, I used an outline from a site with free coloring pages for kids. I fused some funky fabric, cut it out and satin stitched around the perimeter of the letter.

At first I wasn’t going to include the initial so that K’s baby brother could use the backpack later. But I remembered what K’s mother has told me about him and concluded that the backpack probably won’t last that long. Baby brother will get his very own monogrammed backpack when he graduates to toddlerhood.

Knitting Machine

February 4, 2010

Traveling Fern Scarf

No, I haven’t acquired a knitting machine – I’ve become one!

Making the same thing over and over has never appealed to me, but this scarf is an exception. I found the free Traveling Fern Lace Scarf pattern by Sherry Xie on Ravelry and made a pink one as a holiday gift for my sister. I had doubts about tackling a whole scarf in lace weight yarn on #3 needles. But the finished product was so pretty that I ordered skeins to make three more!

The next one off the needles was this one in cream. I knit like a maniac and finished it in about two weeks. Hopefully someone will pay a lot for it when it is auctioned off in a benefit for Opera Memphis’s educational programs. The opera company performed at Gwen’s school when she was only three. She loved it and began to sing along, earning a reputation as a diva. These folks made my baby happy so this is payback.

Opera scarf

While the opera scarf was blocking, I cast on another just like it. This scarf-in-progress will be the first thing I have ever knit for myself. About time, don’t you think? Then later this year I will make a fourth in yet another color as a Christmas gift for someone who shall remain nameless.

In the meantime I am planning some children’s mittens to send to Afghanistan. And then I will learn to knit socks. I have resolved to do this every year without follow through, but this time I mean it!

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