Thursday, April 26

Bless Me Blogger

Bless me Blogger, for I have sinned. It has been 53 days since my last post. I vacationed. I finished objects. I joined two new knitting groups. I gave my first crocheted gift.

But forgive me, dear blog, for I can explain . . .

After a nice long vacation, I wanted to blog with my pictures.

Editing 863 (yup) pictures takes time. Before I knew it a month passed and I still haven’t posted here. But with all these new things going on, doing our taxes, etc, I decided to make the time and finally get some of our trip down. Because it suits me, I pre-dated the entries. I know it sounds weird. It just pleases my internal calendar. So go back a few days to March 16. Think of it as time travel.

Wednesday, April 25

Group : Take II

Since the Mayer Center is only twice a month, I started looking for another daytime charity group. The Kiwanis Wallas Rec Center on Frederick Road in Ellicott City was just what I was looking for. They meet two days a month also - on the alternate Wednesdays from my other group. Perfect!

Their stash is huge. Four two-sided cabinets,
six feet tall and crammed with every imaginable color. These ladies turn out a lot of knitted goods, let me tell you. On the day I was there, They turned in about 20 blankets, their biggest project. There were also numerous hat/scarf/mitten sets, baby sweaters and hats for hospital nurseries. Several blankets had gauge problems with mixed yarns, and when I offered to help organize, the ringleader laughed it off.

Honey, we're all about product here. This is charity work.

Seems she just can't keep up with the supply and demand. Women go through large lots of yarn as fast as she can bring it in and return odd balls and partial balls. These are tossed in where they will fit. People use several small balls for hats and scarves for shelters. Besides, it would take time away from knitting. I acquiesced.

Their current biggest charity is lap blankets for wheelchairs at the Veterans Home. They have a great pattern that starts with four stitches at a corner and knits with diagonal increases on both sides. When you are halfway through your chosen yarn, you start to decrease This forms a square. The YO increase even gives it a pretty edge. It's simple and eliminates waste. One lady had several lovely blankets made in this pattern made from ribbon. They were beautiful, luxurious and flexible. There was some discussion of how the gentleman in wheelchairs liked the blankets like this because they stayed in place better. Pop Pop had one at Riverview. I never knew who knit it or where it came from, but it was always there. When he passed, I asked if I could have it. I liked the idea of "replacing it" for somebody else's Pop Pop.

I found a woven cotton yarn from Spain. 5 grey, 2 red and 2 mauve. I took all nine balls, no leftovers from me.

Friday, April 13

Group Therapy

I took the pink vacation cap over to the The Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource and Image Center here in Columbia. They liked my design, saying the ladies often complain the hats are too tight at the top. One of the women I met there a few weeks ago said she like exotic hats. She was wearing a green eyelash hat at the time resembling a Koosh Ball .

Knitting groups are cool. I already look forward to every Thursday night at K1P2. Before vacation, I decided to step up my efforts with charity knitting. So. Twice a month, I now knit with the ladies at the Center. It is a homey place associated with Howard Co General Hospital & Johns Hopkins. There is a humongous cancer resource library and salon for free consultations and product purchase/guidance for everything body image. Operators from some of the top salons in the area donate their time and talents there. We meet in the front room which is set up like a comfy living room. Many of the knitters are clients of the center, but the group is open to the community. There is someone to guide new knitters, donated yarn and needles and a few designated charities although you can knit what you like for whichever you like.

I picked up some baby yarn from them and made my first preemie hat for the hospital. Whew! Sooooo many stitches for such a little thing. 2 x 2 rib takes a long time. I finished it in two weeks though (me?) and am quite proud of it. I used the pattern provided by the center, but I would look for better resources if I make another. It was knit on straight needles and sewed. The crown had just a few decreases and was . . . odd looking. I got to use some of my ebay needles - size 4 (thanks Dad). That’s the smallest I’ve used so far. They felt strange in my hands at first, as did the cheap yarn, but after a few rows I trusted myself to not break them and we got along fine. The thought of keeping some little wailer from loosing body heat seems right after all the babies I worked with in Labor and Deliver and theNursery.

I decided to knit Koosh Ball lady (gotta find out her name) a new hat since hers had definitely seen better days. I found a site with a free pattern, No Hair Day from Headhuggers. and some unidentified donated yarn from my stash. Their site has lots of caps to knit and crochet geared/sized for folks without hair. I swear Koosh Ball lady's hat was made from that pattern. I went with another variegated yarn because her green one is made with several greens, yellow and cream. The pattern calls for 1 ball of yarn for a small. Since she is not a large person I went with that. Wrong! Luckily, a picture on the site showed a variation with a yarn crown, so that’s how I finished it off. The lavender yarn is very soft and should feel comfortable against her head. If she likes it, I'll make her another with two balls so it can be furry all over.

I hope she’s there the day I take it in.

Monday, April 9

Knitting on the Road

Knitting in the car works for me. Don’t worry; I’m not driving at the time. We love to take driving vacations, and often there are long stretches of highway with absolutely nothing to look at. This is when knitting has been a godsend for me. I used to fall asleep a lot, leaving my husband to fend for himself when it came to looking for the next highway. Of course navigation has always been one of his strong points, but I like to follow along and note places of interest.

I polished off two (count ‘em 1-2!) projects in the car. I had started a scarf for my niece in my crochet class back in February. I had mostly put is aside and had about 14 – 18 inches done. I really needed to get cracking for her Birthday on Easter. Working in the car, I finished a scarf about 4 inches wide and 6 feet long. I made it like that to double and wrap around, slipping the end through the loop. Pre-teens love to play around with fashion so I left her options. Since I had never done it, I asked for some help and added the fringe at K1P2 one night. I’m glad I took their advice to hold off on cutting the fringe – Jessica wanted it just the way it was. I wish I’d gotten a picture of her in it but I plum forgot to.

Next was a pink chemo cap. At Stitches East last year I made a miniature hat knit top-down. I also saw an adult pattern called Karlchen and experimented with my own top down version. It has a nipple at the top (tee hee) and four peaks to let some air circulate or keep the crown off sensitive scalps. I put in a little eyelet while I was working my increases. It adds a bit of a feminine touch. I still had a good bit of the yellow left, so I designed a little fairisle pattern too. I wish now I had thought to do a Mickey Mouse head for my Disney vacation, but working out the simple design was tough enough. I had to guess on the look with hand drawn long-box graph paper. I kept it veeeery simple.

That makes four chemo caps so far for me. For John.