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Another little project

Aren't these just the cutest little mittens? They are for our little grandson, Drew, who as my DH says, "lives in the tundra." (Michigan)

picture of mittens

Actually I did not knit these. My DH, Rob, did. He learned the basic knitting stitches from his grandmother when he was a child. He did not touch knitting needles again until one winter when we were living in MI and were snowed in for several days. He picked up a rather ambitious knitting project that I had started and took off with it. The rest, as they say, is history.

picture of book

He completed all the squares in this book, combined them to make the afghan, and has become a very accomplished knitter.

Here is a sweater he knit for our daughter Nora. He has knitted many other things for our family and for baby gifts. He is working on a project for me right now that I will post about in the future.

picture of sweater

Did you know that many men used to knit? It's true. Knitting was, in fact, an activity reserved for men. The book No Idle Hands includes many interesting facts about the history of knitting here in America.

picture of book

Firemen used to knit as they sat around the station waiting for the alarm to ring, especially during war time when socks, scarves, gloves, etc. were needed for the soldiers. Sailors also used to knit while they were out to sea. They would knit distinctive patterns into their sweaters which could be used to identify them if they came to an untimely end. (This always reminds me of Madame Defarge in A Tale of Two Cities, who encoded the names of those who were to be executed into the shrouds she knit.)

I'm not much of a knitter any more. I have enjoyed knitting dish cloths the last couple of years. I stick to this basic pattern that doesn't involve a lot of counting. It's relaxing in the evening to knit a few rows before bed or to knit while we are traveling in the car.

picture of dishcloth

Here's the pattern:

Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth
Designer: Unknown, modified by Rob.

Materials: Sugar and Cream yarn; Size 7 needles (US)
Cast on 4 stitches
Row 1: Knit 4
Row 2: Knit 2, yarn over, knit across the row.
Repeat Row 2 until you have 50 stitches on the needle.
Row 3: Knit 1, SSK, yarn over, k2tog, knit to the end of the row.
Repeat Row 3 until you have 4 stitches on the needle.

You can now either bind off or do a round of single crochet and make a little loop of chain stitches in one corner so you can hang the cloth to dry when you are finished using it.

Are any of you knitters? If so, what is your most ambitious project to date?


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8 Comments on “Another little project”

  1. #1 Ann
    on Jan 24th, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I have mostly stayed with afghans. Don’t have to worry about size like you would with something to be worn. Like Rob, I did start out with a knit squares afghan. I think made all of two before getting tired of sewing squares together.

    I have a “feather and fan” afghan pattern that I used for over 100 afghans. They make great wedding gifts. The only problem with this pattern is that it is done in four pieces, and I HATE sewing pieces together. I found another pattern that is done all in one with a shell motif. Never have kept count of how many of them that I’ve made.

    I’ve also made a lot of baby afghans that are large enough to also be used as lap robes. This pattern is also in one piece.

    I haven’t done much knitting in the last 10 years as the MS has made my hands too shaky to easily control the needles. I have one that is half done that was to be a wedding present. That bride and groom now have six kids, and the afghan is still only half done.

    One other note, I have always used circular needles (other than the ones with squares) which I prefer over the straight needles. The straight ones make great plant supports for house plants. 🙂

  2. #2 Barbara H.
    on Jan 24th, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Wow, I am impressed with Rob’s skill, especially with that sweater! I have never knitted, but I admire those who do. My grandmother used to crochet — she was always working on a project almost any time she was sitting still. I went into cross stitch, embroidery, etc., laid it aside for several years, and just got back into it last year. I’ve just recently taken up paper crafting (cards, bookmarks).

    I didn’t know men used to knit. I knew one man who made tailored suits for his wife.

    Sometimes I look longingly at knit and crochet patterns, but I have so many projects lined up to do as it is, I can’t see starting a new craft. Maybe someday!

  3. #3 Kathy Sorensen
    on Jan 25th, 2009 at 7:38 am

    It had slipped my antique mind that Rob also knits! This is the first time I’ve seen his work, though. The sweater is gorgeous. Yes, I knit too! All the time. As a matter of fact, I have forwarded many of Rob’s blogs to my knitting friends and they are great for discussion when we meet … which is twice a week right now. On Tuesdays we meet at Barnes and Noble all morning. And on Thursdays we meet at a McDonalds for breakfast, then knit all morning again. Right now I am working on “crazy socks” for my 10 year old granddaughter. “Crazy” only means that I am using sock yarn scraps (fingering weight) from other socks that I have made and just grab and knit … I do not plan placement of colors, stripes, varigated, solids, etc. And no sock will match. I will make three initially; give those to her; and then begin making more that she can pass around to her friends so that they can all wear “crazy mismatched socks” to school. She thinks it’s a great idea. I know sets of 3 mismatched ones are being sold in specialty stores right now for the kids. But they aren’t handmade with love by grandma! I knit a lot for charity … sweaters, hats, mittens … I make many gifts for my family. Currently learned about “thrummed mittens” and working on my first ever pair of those. The thrums are clumps of unspun wool worked into the mittens at regular intervals to make a pretty pattern … these thrums eventually felt themselves down on the inside and provide unbelievable warmth. Here is Wisconsin we need that.
    I also collect knitting books and have “No Idle Hands” on my shelf. Have you read “A History of Hand Knitting” by Rutt? He is an Episcopalian priest/minister. Very interesting. I think Rob would enjoy it.
    So nice to know that you are both knitters! The most I can get out of my husband is to wind some skeins into rather tight little balls now and then.

  4. #4 Tawnja
    on Jan 26th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I learned to knit in grade school as part of our curriculum. I have knitted sweaters for adults and children as well as scarves, hats, gloves, etc. When I was a single teacher, I used to try to knit a sweater every Christmas break. I also like to crochet and cross-stitch. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to do these things at the moment. Maybe when the kids are bigger . . . I would love to pass on these “lost arts” to my daughter – and my son if I can get him interested.
    I am very impressed by the sweater Rob knitted. I try to stick to easy, quick-to-finish patterns. Otherwise the projects would never get done.

  5. #5 Carrie
    on Jan 26th, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Yes, I knit! and I too had forgotten that Mr. Loach knits. That sweater for Nora is gorgeous!!!! Wow! I’m so impressed. My brain is already not “up to” that kind of knitting. In another twenty years, I hope I’ll still be able to knit at all! (Just kidding) I am working on a sweater for my husband right now, but it has so many problems I’m ready to throw it in the nearest snowbank! But I won’t–he knows about the sweater, so I have to finish it. :o) Most of my projects are hats and mittens these days, as well as the occasional washcloth.

  6. #6 Deb
    on Jan 26th, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    I loved seeing Rob’s projects…the sweater is unbelievable! I’m working on an Irish Hiking Scarf for my daughter (the link is on my sidebar under projects), dishcloths, and dabbling in doing a mitered square blanket. I’m hoping to get some scarf knitting done this week during our snow days. I’ver never tried mittens or socks…just easy things.

  7. #7 Elizabeth
    on Jan 27th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    These look beautiful. My grandfather used to knit as a soldier during WWII. He made all my uncle’s baby clothes and sent them home to my grandmother.

  8. #8 Vikki
    on Sep 24th, 2009 at 8:37 am

    My grandmother taught me to knit, crochet, embroydery, fabric paint and sew when I was a kid.

    My first knit project was a black scarf that I kept putting down and picking up. Man, was it a mess. My tension was all over the place and I kept splitting the yarn, so it kept growing in size. Never did finish it. Next came slippers made from left over yarns my grandmother had collected.

    In high school, ponchos were very popular, so I came up with several patterns on my own (I hadn’t learned to read knit or crochet patterns yet). When I was expecting my first child, I took a knitting class to learn to read the pattern for the baby blanket I wanted to make. Since learning to read patterns, I’ve made sweaters, finger puppets, Christmas stockings, mittens, scarves and more baby blankets and afghans than I could count.

    I’ve knit and crocheted lots of things, but my favorite is still baby blankets. I have 2 granddaughters who just turned 3 and last Christmas I found the softest, fuzziest yarn out there and crocheted them winter scarves with matching hats that tied under the chin and had curls hanging down in the back. (They live in Wisconsin, so they would get lots of use). I couldn’t find a pattern I liked, so I modified them from several different patterns.

    I hardest thing I ever made was a shawl with inset pansies around the border. The pattern was from a magazine where people submit their own patterns and the instructions were less than accurate to say the least. I must have started and ripped out that thing a hundred times before I even came close to getting it to work. It turned out beautiful, but I can wrap it around me a couple of times…

    I’ve been working on creating my own patterns of blankets and borders and am thinking of making them into some kind of a makeshift book and trying to sell them on eBay. Don’t know if I’ll ever get to that point. Tendonitis in my hands now prevents me from working with the crochet threads, but the yarns I can still handle.

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