Monday, December 12, 2011

Shhh, don't tell!

Hi Drews and Others:
Some of you may have heard that I've been knitting fingerless mitts for both E & Deb.  Oh, I'm sure Nancy has because of all the snivelling that I've done about it.

First there was the Jared Flood debacle - the whiz-kid knitting designer who can't write instructions worth a damn.  That book is now wasted money.  Maybe I can sell it on Ravelry.

Speaking of which, that's where I did find a lovely pattern, well written, and FREE.  Nalu by Leila Raabe.  I think you might have to be a Ravelry member to use that link.  So I knit a really nice pair for Deb...


and sent them on.  Of course, I forgot to take a picture of them after they were finished.
You'd think the second pair would be easier.  Nothing could be simpler than to make them a bit smaller for E's hands, and just do what I did before, right?  Nope.  For some reason, I kept having to frog the second one, over and over, like SIX times.  Finally, I worked through whatever mistake I was making, finished them both up, wove in all ends and is a half-inch shorter than the other.
E's mitts, washed (and Intrepid Elliot).
I think I forgot some rows.  But there is no way I am going back in there.  Blocking better take care of it.  I feel like such an amateur knitter.  Oh well.

E's mitts, blocked.  Well enough.
You may also have heard that I was in Missoula and there I got sight of the rare Dawson bird, nesting with its young:

 And that's all for now, except a preview of my next project:

 Trivia question for Nancy: does any of that yarn look familiar?
 Love & Hugs from Mary.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Double Knit mittens on One Needle, mostly

Hi Mary,  I have been looking over my posts and this is the most popular post I ever made.  I removed the directions on the original post but have decided to put them back up.  This is my adaption of the mittens described by Beverly Royce many years ago.  I took a class at Minnesota Knitters' Days that was taught by Sidna Farley of Denver CO and we made gloves using this method.   It is amazingly easy.

GAUGE Gauge 4 st/inch using size 5 needles over Stockinette. If your gauge is different multiply the size around your palm by your Sts. per inch to get the number you cast on. Always increase cast on to a number divisible by four.
(I rib with size 4 needles and cast on with size 6 needles)
Note: This is for a 7 inch palm. Change for larger or smaller palms by adding or subtracting 4 st at a time.
CAST ON CO 28 stitches: 14 st each onto two size 6 needles. Hold two needles together with purl side out. Pick stitches off onto one small (size 2 or 3 for ease) needle starting; first st. from front needle, second st from back needle, third st from front needle. Continue until all stitches are on one needle.
RIB Start rib onto size 4 needle. (Note, always slip Purlwise). First row, *S1, P1, S1, K1* across, end K1. Start next row *S1, P1, S1, K1* across, end K1. ** Make ribbing for at least 3 inches. Open and check occasionally to make sure you haven't knit the front to the back. **Two rows equal one round.
PALM Change to sz. 5 needles and start palm in Stockinette. In both first and second rows increase 2 st. Make both increases at first and last stitch of row. M1,*K1,S1*across,M1 (4 increases per 1 round). Stockinette is S1*K1, S1* across (pulling first slip st tight) ending K1. Knit for 2 to 2-1/4" (note, measure yourself! These measurements fit ME) End on a full round only.
LEFT MITTEN - THUMB Then inset Left thumb sts. Work next row to the last 6 (K1,S1) pairs. Knit these last st. with contrasting yarn then slip them back onto the left hand needle and continue in main color for 5-1/2" from cuff (or till last joint of longest finger) whichever is longer. Remember to end on a complete round.
 RIGHT MITTEN - THUMB Then inset Right thumb sts. Work next row completely, turn and on first 6 (k1,s1) pairs knit onto contrasting yarn. Put st back onto left needle and continue in main color until 5-1/2 from cuff (or till last joint of longest finger) whichever is longer. Remember to end on a complete round. Pull single needle and put front and back stitches onto 4 needles keeping the side edges the same. (8 st on each needle)
Round 1: (On 4 needles) K1, (S1, K1, PSSO), K10, K2tog, K1. Starting with third needle K1, (S1, K1, PSSO), K10, K2tog, K1. Four decreases made. Round 2 &3: Knit plain. Round 4: Decrease: K1, (S1, K1, PSSO), K8, K2tog, K1. Starting with third needle K1, (S1, K1, PSSO), K8, K2tog, K1. Four decreases made. Round 5: Knit plain. *** Round 6: Decrease: K1, (S1, K1, PSSO), K6, K2tog, K1. Starting with third needle K1, (S1, K1, PSSO), K6, K2tog, K1. Four decreases made. Round 7: Knit plain Repeat decreasing on even rounds until 4 st left on each needle (16 Sts.). End with a plain round. Pull yarn through all 16 Sts and tighten. Pull through a second time and weave in end of yarn. 
*** Try on while decreasing and add a second plain row between decreasing rounds if you need more length.
FINISHING THUMBS Pull contrasting thumb stitches and catch onto one small needle adding one st on odd side to match pairs. Using sz 5 needles start with s1 *k1, s1* around for 2-1/4". Pull needle and try on. Lengthen as needed. When it is the right length for your thumb pull yarn through all stitches and pull tight. Sew around twice and weave in the end. Repeat on other mitten. Sew up holes around thumb gusset as needed.
This version of Beverly Royces' double knitting mittens is © by Nancy Drew. One copy for your own use is permitted.  


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jeni's purple quilt

It sure brightens up a cloudy day.  Snow due tomorrow.
Hi again,  This is Jeni's purple quilt.  I finished it today and got some pictures before she packs it away for the trip to Canada.
Abbie testing Jeni's purple quilt with only about a foot of binding left.
 Abbie was a big help with the quilt when she wasn't digging into it to nap...
The whole quilt being held up by Jim and me.  Photo by Jeni.
Here is a detail showing the blocks.  Each block has a diagonal seam and when you place them together they make an alternate diamond shape which makes the simple quilt look more detailed.  Notice the vines and leaves in the quilting.  I loved the way Lois did it.  
A detail of the lower left corner.  
That's all for now.  

Thanksgiving 2011

Dear Mary,   We missed you and Brian and Chris and Deb at Thanksgiving.  The two Mike's came up on Friday and we talked a little and played Hand and Foot.  The Mike's watched.  Then on Saturday they came over to make peanut brittle with cayenne pepper in it!
Thanksgiving 2011
 Here is a mystery person posing with a 'stuffy' and some brittle.
I promised not to post this...heh.
Discussing how to best display the brittle.
The Mikes also brought two pies.  The apple one is gone but we were too full to eat up the pecan that night.   We had to save it until Saturday.  So I got a picture of it.
 I didn't get a picture of Jon's apple and cherry pie until 'someone' had taken a piece.  It was yummy too!  Please don't stop making them for us Jon.
Apple and Cherry pie with decoration.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Farm Potpourri

Hi there Mary and Jeni,
Odds and ends of pictures from the farm this fall
Deer through the screen porch (at the pond)
This deer and her friends are why the rocks were all tumbled into the pond instead of decorating the edge.
Jim sent me a picture of his harvest.
He sent me a picture of the bread he made also but the program he emailed it with made it teensy tiny.  I decided it was too small to show here.  (About an inch high)
A red bellied woodpecker in our crab apple tree, with an American Goldfinch.
Another view
And one more.
Red bellied Woodpeckers are rare in North Dakota, but they are being seen more often.  Below are two photo's of my current quilting project.  It looks longer and narrower in this photo because it was spread out on the floor at Faye's Henhouse.  It is 90" x 106"which is about a medium sized queen.  It is being quilted as I type.  Lois K. at Faye's says she has it pinned on already.  :-D
Jeni's quilt, the colors are not perfect, but close.
Detail of quilt.  This is Quiltville's Strip Twist pattern.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Grapes at the farm

Dear Mary and Jeni,
South view
 It was a really good year for grapes at the farm.
East view
 These are my Kay Gray grapes.   The vine is almost 20 years old.
Another east view.
 This year they were just covered with grapes.
North view.
 But I wasn't there long enough to make my world famous green grape and lemon jelly.
From the outside, looking North.
 Just long enough to record them in photo's.
From the outside looking West
Jim says they were all gone in just a few days.   I am sure the birds, raccoons and squirrels loved them.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall leaves and Spring Bulbs

Hi Mary and Jeni,
I took this picture of Monica's tree out my bedroom window.   It is just beautiful this year.
Leaves on Monica's Maple Tree.
I ordered a few (only 300) crocus bulbs from Brent and Becky's Bulbs.   Love that place!  It is where I ordered my tulips at the farm.   I missed the tulips this year because I was here with the parents.
crocus chrys. 'Advance"
crocus tomm. 'Ruby Giant"
Jon came over at my request on Sunday and we planted the 200 crocus tomm. 'Ruby Giant' and 100 crocus chrys.  'Advance'.   About 200 went in the front lawn and 100 in the back.   Hope the squirrels don't eat them all up.

Is it Spring yet?


Monday, September 19, 2011

The River Rat TOGA in Lake City MN - 2011

Hi Mary and Jeni,   Here are some beautiful sewing machines from the TOGA.  I am sure you are interested!
A beautiful Eldridge.
A 185 with a new walnut base from Cindy and a new handcrank.
The 2-1/2" strip exchange
Treadle Annie's applique quilt of a Jones handcrank.
Jones CS Handcrank with yellow rose decals.
John with his aluminium 101 open and showing oil wick system.
A beautiful German Handcrank, maker to be determined later.
My Singer 128, cleaned, oiled and making a good stitch now.
Lots of 'meching' going on here.
Early Saturday morning before the crowd. (Cindy in the Kitchen)
My what a pretty sewing machine you have my dear.
Words fail me.  It was a lot of fun and many many things were learned.   Toga's are too much fun to be legal.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Getting Ready for the Toga block exchange

Hi guys,  
I have been working on some blocks for the TOGA block exchange.  Since it is the 10th Anniversary of the River Rat Toga there are a lot of people coming.  I had to make more than 20 blocks.  I finished 26 and this shows 21 of them.
21 of the 26 leaves I made.
The following are close up photos of leaves made from the fabric I bought at the Linden Tree.
I added orange and a yellow/orange/green batik to this leaf.
I had a lot of fun finding 'fall' fabrics for my leaves.   Batiks seem to be the best although there is one fabric that is plain quilters cotton.  One of the places I found fabric was right around the corner from Mom and Dad's place.  It is called the Linden Tree.   Jeni and I went there first last spring.  E hangs out there whenever she comes over.  It has some really fine batiks.  I love this pinky orange floral.  I bought it and the unbleached muslin I used for the backing there.  Oh and I also bought a few other fabrics.   Heh.   They seem to match my taste in fabric quite well.
I put more of the yellow/green/orange in this leaf.
Oh, and for those of you who have never been to a TOGA, it is a Treadle On Gathering and Academy for those of us who collect, and use, vintage sewing machines.   My latest baby is a #30 Pfaff that I found just a few blocks up from the Linden Tree at an estate sale.   The cutest cabinet and the top is a bookshelf!  Never seen one like that before.   Walnut that needs a little restoration but very nice.   Here is a pic.
My 'new' Pfaff #30 by it's cabinet.  The bottom drawer was being glued
when I took this pic.  The top right is a bookshelf instead of a drawer!
Mostly the pinky orange floral in this one.
So, can you find those three leaves in the top photo?

Love you,