I love my local animal shelter! Rescue Village in Geauga County, Ohio, has the most dedicated staff I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I know I’ve blogged about this before, but it’s really fun to knit blankets for their cats. Thick blankets help to keep the kitties cushioned from the hard bottom of their cages. I love that the shelter sends the blankets home with the cats when they get adopted so they have something familiar to have in their new surroundings.
Despite my friends’ and relatives’ attempts to give me cats, a toy stuffed animal had to suffice for the photo shoot.
I used the Double Density stitch pattern from my Gimme Shelter Cat Blankets pattern. I used two skeins of the fun Cascade Big Wheel yarn and enjoyed the stripes the yarn creates all on its own. It can be machine washed and dried, which is a necessary attribute for the shelter. The Double Density stitch pattern, worked on #9 needles (two sizes down from the ball band), gives the little blanket wonderful thickness. I’ve seen cats at the shelter happily dig their claws into these blankets and blissfully knead away. Then they curl up for a nap while they wait for a human to come play with them.
You can download the free pattern here and make blankets for your local shelter, too!
Now that it’s like this outside…
I’m getting a lot of use out of my Page Turner Throw!
The throw, made Quince & Co.’s gorgeous Lark, is holding up really well.
I love snuggling up in this as a plan my next few projects. One that I can tell you about involves kitties….lots and lots of kitties at the local shelter. They need blankets, too. Stay tuned!
I’ve been snuggling up under my Page Turner Throw as the evenings turn cool. I think (and I admit I’m totally biased, here) it has the perfect combination of qualities – the worsted wool gives it warmth and a bit of heft, while the pattern lends a soft appearance.
This version of the pattern can be found in the Knit Picks Independent Designer Patterns. It’s made of Wool of the Andes Worsted, which comes in 100 colors!
The throw is framed by icord, which reflects the cabling between the Calla lily motif.
I want to thank Knit Picks for including another of my patterns as part of their Independent Designer Partnership program!
Knit Picks IDP Page Turner Throw
Wool of the Andes Worsted
My newest patterns explore texture.
Featuring twisted stitches and winding cables, Emmalina provides plenty of variety to keep the knitting interesting. The pattern uses sport weight yarn, shown here in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Baby.
Knitters will appreciate little details like cables that grow out of the ribbing, and the flower design formed by the crown’s clever decreases.
Emmalina Hat – $3.99
Snuggling up in a hand-knit throw is one of the best things about winter. How do you like to use a throw? Maybe to wrap around your shoulders as you fumble for that first cup of coffee in the morning? Maybe as a lap robe while watching TV or posting something funny online? Me, I love books and use my Page Turner Throw to complete my favorite nesting spot where I cozy up to read. When winter wears out its welcome, the pretty calla lily motif is there to remind me that spring is not so far off.
The finished piece measures approximately 44″ x 54″, just right for warming a lap or pulling around the shoulders. The throw is worked across the width and finished with an attached I-cord border. The pattern calls for worsted weight, shown here in Quince & Co.‘s gorgeous Lark.
Page Turner Throw – $4.99
Do you love Knit Picks? Both Emmalina and Page Turner Throw are availble throught the Knit Picks Independent Designers Program, using Knit Picks yarns, of course! I’ll be blogging about these versions of the patterns in a future post, but in the meantime you can find them here
Photos by Colleen Rosenthal and John Kieger
Girasole. One of my favorite patterns to make – ever. It’s really quite easy to knit – it only looks complicated. Mine is the blanket size, about 67″ across.
I used Cascade Pastazafor this project. It’s pretty hefty stuff, with 50% llama and 50% wool, but that’s just right for a large lacey blanket. If you’re considering using Pastaza, be forewarned – mine bled when I soaked it. You’ll want to use vinegar in your soak to set the dye.
Thanks, Jared, for another fantastic pattern!
Last time you saw Girasole, it had just been started.
My, how it has grown!
If I had to write another one of those “What Does Summer Mean To You” essays for grade school, I’d now say baseball and knitting blankets.
I know, the last thing on most knitters’ list of summer projects is a big heavy blanket. (And trust me, Pastaza makes for a heavy blanket). But happily, we’re under the Pacific Ocean’s influence, which gives us cool evenings.
As a matter of fact, my poor neighbors planned a fantastic Fourth of July party one year. They knocked themselves out getting their yard ready for dinner and dancing outside under the stars. Dinner was catered. The band was the best you could hire… We knew we were in trouble when we all donned overcoats and sweaters at 6:00 in the evening, just for the drive over. By 8:00, everyone, bundled up as we were, was shivering and heading for home. I felt so bad for our hosts! You just never know about California.
But I digress…
My husband loves watching baseball, and I love to keep him company and pretend I love watching baseball too. A big project like the Girasole blanket is just right for long innings. And it’s warmth is welcome by the time the cool evenings come around. Its repetitive nature offers enough serenity to counteract errors, foul balls and disconcerting calls by umpires.
As with my Mitered Square Afghan , the goal is to complete the blanket by the end of the World Series.
Toward the end of November I found myself home in California (finally!) long enough to take two classes from Jared Flood, also known in the knitting community as Brooklyn Tweed. Besides Thanksgiving, Jared was one of the reasons I came back from Ohio at all. (Don’t tell him that – he’ll think I’m stalking him or something.) Jared was hosted by the fabulous Santa Barbara yarn and tea shop called Loop & Leaf.
The first class I took included colorwork instruction using the Beaumont Tam/Beanie as the project. This is a lovely stranded pattern from Jared’s book Made in Brooklyn. Using Classic Elite’s Fresco, it has a slightly fuzzy look thanks to the yarn’s bit-of-angora mix. All I can say is that I feel like “AudKnits, Home of the Wonky Stitches” every time I knit stranded patterns. Including my own. I have to have faith that blocking will work its usual magic on my tam. Despite this photo’s depiction, the hat pattern is gorgeous – you can check it out in the book or among the projects on Ravelry.
The second class was based on Jared’s pattern Girasole. Described as “A traditional lace shawl”, the pattern is stunning and can be made up as a blanket, rather than a shawl, by using worsted yarn. I’m trying it in Cascade Pastaza. Jared explained that the llama content in Pastaza will make this a heavy blanket. (Sounds just right for Ohio winters.) I’m making it in a rust color I never would have chosen except for a certain friend who (correctly) chastised me for being so predictable in always going for greens and blues. So there.
The coolest technique I learned in the Girasole class was the circular center cast on for Girasole. That and the various ways to put a lifeline into the work.
This thing is going to be huge when it grows up! It looks square now just because it hasn’t graduated to circular needles yet. Do you think I should aim for the next World Series as a completion date? Knitting blankets while my husband watches baseball seems to be a tradition now.
196 mitered squares and 26 balls of Boku later, and the Make It Mitered Afghan is finally done!
All I can say is, I’m really glad I wove in all those ends as I went along. Let’s see, 196 squares times 2 ends each, plus 2 ends each ball of yarn, plus a couple for the crochet edge and we’re talking about somewhere in the neighborhood of 450 ends. That’s enough to make a grown woman cry. All that weaving went much faster once my friend taught me how to knit the ends in. (Check out my Tips & Techniques page for a YouTube link for this).
Ok, I’m making this project sound all tedious, but it really wasn’t. I loved working on it, especially while my husband watched baseball. (You may remember, it was going to be the Major League Afghan, now it’ll have to be the Super Bowl Blankie). I took my time – about a year. That way, I picked it up when I felt like it. By about oh, square 53 or so, I had the pattern down, so it was relaxing.
The crochet edge provided yet another learning experience. I ripped it out a couple of times before discovering that the hook needed to be a couple of sizes smaller that the knitting needles (US7) I used.
Jimmy D immediately laid claim to the afghan. “Mine. Just try taking it away from me. Remember what I did to the vet? You could be next, lady.”
Ah, the Vicious Attack Cat mellows out…
Many thanks to hubbie Steve for his help with the photos. If you want to make this project, the pattern is from Creative Knitting, November 2007.
I’m on the home stretch of my Make It Mitered Afghan (from Creative Knitting, November 2007). This is the project I like to work on while keeping my husband company during baseball season. I serenely knit while he yells at the television.
If this picture makes the project look interminable, that’s because it is. I started it in December 2007. I’m pretty sure I’ll have it done by the end of the World Series, possibly even the one this year.
Progress is slow, just like baseball. I’m starting to add the crochet edge. I tried to avoid doing this, since my crochet skills are about as good as my lunar landing skills. But the afghan really benefits from an edge, even a squirrely one.
If you decide to make this afghan, my best advice is to weave in the ends as you go. Each square produces two tails. That’s a LOT of weaving in! For me, the tails went much faster after my knitting buddy Sally taught me how to knit in the tails as went. There’s a nice YouTube video of this technique here.
Truthfully, I’ve enjoyed the heck out of this project. I love the Plymouth Boku yarn colors. It’s easy to learn how to make the squares, so it’s perfect for mindless knitting. I can even pretend to listen when my husband tries to explain double plays and change-ups. And he pretends to listen while I talk about central double decreases.