Tag Archives: yarn

Scarves, Friends, New Things Every Day

You know I like to knit if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, but I’ll repeat it – I like to knit. I learned the skill as a little girl and I have made many, many items in the almost 50 years since then. Sweaters, afghans, hats, gloves, mittens, toys, dishcloths, and — scarves. Lots of scarves.

I like making scarves. They are useful and allow for experimentation in patterns and colors. They go quickly and so I can try lots of ideas without making a big commitment of time and materials. And if I don’t want something complicated to work on but just need something to keep my hands occupied, a scarf is the answer.

Scarves. I like to try different color combinations and I love using yarn dyed in a sequence of colors.

Scarves. I like to try different color combinations and I love using yarn dyed in a sequence of colors.

I’ve been making even more scarves since I met Susan Huxley, a fiber artist, designer, editor, and teacher living in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. How I met Susan, I don’t remember now, but it was a lucky day for me. Susan can do anything with needles – sewing, crochet, or knitting – and she is a well of creativity. She is generous with her time and her knowledge, and a lot of fun to know.

Several years ago, she founded Chase the Chill, an organization that distributes free scarves in her city, on one day in November. They are hung all over town and anyone can take one or many of them – no charge. It’s a beautiful sight to see them on fences, trees, light poles, and even wrapping about the necks of the statues of several saints in front of a church. In no time they are all gone. People put them on right at the moment they select a scarf, or they choose several to give as gifts. The idea has spread and now there are Chase the Chill events in several cities.

I’ve made a lot of scarves for this event. It gives me a chance to try all kinds of new yarns and I like the idea that my knitting is useful to someone I don’t know and won’t meet.

The current group of scarves I have on hand.

The current group of scarves I have on hand.

Now, Susan has started a new project – the Year of Scarves. Long story short, it’s a scarf pattern a day, some for knitting, some for crochet. Each one is free for the first day it’s up, and after that, available at a small price. And today she has featured a pattern I made up! It’s called “Scarfghetti”. When you see it, you will understand the name.

Take a look at the blog and see what you think. I think that if you are interested in knitting or crocheting, you may want to sign up for notifications about the patterns. It’s the kind of thing that’s addictive.

Thank you, Susan. I appreciate your faith in my work.

Susan Huxley
Chase the Chill
Year of Scarves

It’s Just Beautiful

This past Friday, August 16, we visited our son in Pittsburgh. We had a variety of activities planned for the one day we would be in town, including taking him our old kitchen table and four chairs for his new apartment. But – I also had another purpose – I wanted to view the Knit the Bridge yarn installation on the Andy Warhol Bridge.

I won’t go into too much detail about the overall project – you can read about it on their blog here. It’s enough for this post to say that many, many people knitted or crocheted items to a specific size, and then they were attached to the bridge, along with special panels made for the towers. Panels were made by a single person, a couple of people, a larger group, or even by many anonymous people working on a stitch here and there at some more public projects. Small sections were pieced together. Knitters and crocheters are both represented.

A large volunteer force was the backbone of the event with professional help for installation as needed. It took a lot of planning and preparing for the sight that greeted our family. And a nice thing – the panels will live on – when the installation comes down (in early September) they will be washed and given to charity.

We spent quite a bit of time at the bridge. As a knitter myself, I wanted to pay tribute to each panel by viewing it individually where I could (the ones that were installed along the walkways) and see the ones from a distance I couldn’t get close to (the ones on the outside railings). I took pictures of the panels I liked most, but there wasn’t one that didn’t appeal to me.

Some pieces were obviously planned out in advance – others looked more impromptu or spontaneous. Every panel did not contain perfect work – knitters and crocheters of all skill levels were welcome. Some panels looked like abstract art and some were very traditional patterns. And don’t overlook the railings – they are all covered by knitted or crocheted black covers, once again in all kinds of patterns and styles.

We walked along slowly, enjoying the overall impressions we got from the works and also examining the work techniques. I saw several pieces I wish I had been able to ask the maker for a pattern or explanation – plenty of things I’d like to try myself!

It was a beautiful sunny day and the work showed itself off to its best advantage. The entire installation was just beautiful. I am very happy I was able to see it.

Here’s how I organized the pictures – they are in the order I took them as we walked across the bridge.

– Numbers 30-46 (the last digits of the photo number) are crossing the bridge from downtown Pittsburgh, going north. I took some pictures looking forward and some looking back at the city.

– Numbers 48-52 are of the towers and views of the outside panels, first on the east side and then the west.

– Numbers 55-67 are crossing the bridge going south, back to downtown. Some photos are looking toward the city and some looking back at the north shore.

More Dishcloths

Here are a few more entries from the Summer Dishcloth Extravaganza that’s been going on all season at my house.

I got some variegated yarns and have been trying them out in various color combinations, still using slip stitch patterns with a plain yarn. It makes interesting patterns as the colors travel through the pattern.

Then I have one here done in plain yarns, and another made up of leftover lengths plus some variegated. All kinds of effects – it adds a little zip to dishwashing to pull out a cloth that’s got some personality, I think.

Reporting for Duty

More knitted dishcloths. My summer knitting projects are going along just great!

I love these dishcloths. And, I can vouch for their usefulness and longevity – I got rid of all my store-bought ones about a year ago and switched to handmade. They have held up wonderfully, hold a boatload of suds, and go through the washer/dryer and come out as good as new.

So, who needs a dishcloth?

And, just to let you know, I have ordered some yarn for my fall/winter work – I make scarves for a charity giveaway a friend runs…

Get Clean

In the summer, I knit lighter things, and dishcloths made of cotton yarn suit me very well.

Our Future is Sudsy

Here are some dishcloths I made recently.

I’ve been knitting since I was 8 years old. I’ve made all kinds of things over the years. But right now, summertime, I am working on dishcloths. Here are the latest ones. Knitting does not seem to bother my hand, for which I’m thankful, as I love to knit. I have a pleasant routine in which I sit down in front of the TV at night and knit. It’s not uncommon that I lose the thread of the show and instead wander into my own thoughts.

As I said, I’ve been knitting for many years, and yet I see a mistake in one of these dishcloths – the purple and white one. A little purple stitch pushed into the white column…I guess my thoughts may have wandered too much – and I only noticed the mistake when I took the pictures. Well, the dishcloth will work just as well, won’t it?

Almost a Year Later, Now Look At It

Last May, I yarn-bombed my mailbox. If you aren’t familiar with yarn-bombing, it’s a public art movement in which almost anything can acquire a knitted or crocheted cover – door handles, sculptures, bike racks, tree limbs – mailboxes.

I knit a lot and had a good amount of acrylic yarn left over from various afghan projects – I use this kind of yarn for them because it is washable and does not shrink. The idea hit me to do a project for my mailbox, so I just started in and created a nice little sweater for the post.

As I said, I put it on the post last May. It’s been out there in the weather since then – surviving hurricanes, snow, the very bright sun, dirt – whatever came our way. I’ve been noticing it looks a bit shabby recently, so I decided it was time to retire it. I took it off this morning.

When you look at the pictures you can see that being outside for a year will really make a difference to your appearance! But – the sturdy acrylic yarn has not weakened or deteriorated at all – it’s just as strong as it was when it went outside.

I also photographed the knitted piece front and back, and you can see the effect the sun in particular had on the colors. But it gave me an idea when I did this – I could turn the piece inside out, because I think it has a nice look to it, and put it back on the mailbox. I also think I’ll turn it upside down. What do you think?

First, though, I’m going to give it a trip through the washer. A sort of spa day as a reward for enduring so well.

Nice Clean Dishes

Here’s a break from collage and clay. I knit a lot, and I’ve been doing so for the last 40+ years. I’ve made all kinds of items – sweaters, scarves, mittens, hats, afghans, slippers, toys — and dishcloths.

I make them during the summer. Small, quick, and light. I use a slipped stitch technique that lets me create two-color patterns without carrying yarn along the back. The slipped stitches also cause the fabric created to draw up nicely and make a thicker cloth.

The patterns were all free on the web – lots of different looks are available all over the internet. I just searched around for ones that looked attractive and enjoyable to knit.

Here’s a few pictures of cloths I’ve made. I don’t photo them all. These were all given away a couple of summers ago, I think.

I got rid of all my store-bought cloths and now just use the ones I made. If you have a chance to get hand-knitted or crocheted cloths, maybe at a craft fair or a farmers’ market, grab them. Your dishes will be happier, maybe, and you’ll enjoy using the nice substantial cloth that holds the soapsuds so well.