Knitting for Friends...and Family
My second knitting life came forty-some years after my first. I had not knitted anything since the 1970s, when I learned to knit at the Morningside Knit Shop in Brookside. I don't remember how I learned...I just remember sitting on their couch with a bunch of older women (that makes me smile now) as I struggled to make a scarf and mittens. I recently found those items in one of my memory boxes. I must say, they were well done--and yarn has come a long way since that stiff, scratchy stuff we used to use. But back to the more recent past...
What prompted me to start knitting again was the pregnancy of my niece, Stephanie, with her first child in 2015. I knitted a baby blanket for her. Sorry to say, I don't have photos of her or her baby using the blanket. But I DO have several of her sister, Allie, using the blanket while in the waiting room of Menorah Hospital. She and her parents were visiting Kansas City while Mom was having some surgery. They were going to take the blanket back to New Jersey to send to Stephanie in Israel.
Stephanie's (and Shaked's) Baby Blanket (May 2015)
Allie's Wedding Afghan...the First Attempt (Spring-Summer 2016)
Since I had made a baby blanket for her sister, I decided to make a wedding afghan for Allie and Etaiy. I wanted to use a stitch pattern I had found in a dishcloth. I tried and tried and tried--and consulted with my knitting mentors, Ruth and Norma--but that stitch defeated all of us. It just would NOT be expanded into something as large as an afghan. The stitch count went all wonkers when we tried. By the time I decided it just wasn't going to work, I had already made half of the afghan. I was going to keep it, but Mom said she liked it, so she is now the proud owner of a beautiful--but not quite right--half-afghan.
Allie's Wedding Afghan (Take Two) (July 2016)
Undeterred, I found another design that was easier to handle. It didn't take all that long to create something new in the same yarn with a subtle diamond pattern. The most fun part of this project was folding the afghan into a rolling suitcase and bringing it along to Washington, DC. I still remember rolling it along the bumpy sidewalk on the way to Etaiy and Allie's apartment the day before the wedding and revealing it. Such fun!
Hats for the Women's March (January 2017)
Once I began knitting, it was a no-brainer to knit pussy hats for the Women's March. I made about twenty of them.
The Welcome Blanket Project (July 2017)
The U.S. has been in turmoil over immigration. The current administration is adamant that foreigners are not welcome in this country, and they change any policy they can in order to further close the borders. The same folks behind the Women's March initiated the Welcome Blanket Project to mobilize knitters to create welcome blankets. They were displayed for a time, and then they were given to immigrants as a token of our wish that they not only thrive in their new home, but they feel welcomed as well. I chose Lion Brand Homespun for a yummy texture and made up the stripes as I went along, but I was not thrilled with how my blanket came out--and my camera did no favors with the colors. I hope someone felt the love anyway.
Allie's Second Afghan (October 2017)
Allie and Etaiy were so crazy about the afghan that I had made for their wedding that they fought over who got to use it. They asked me to make another one to keep the peace. Allie chose the colors (three shades of gray) in my preferred yarn (Big Twist from JoAnn Fabric--which I think has now been discontinued). I decided on a popcorn stitch--which is SO fun to do--and the width of the stripes and got to work. The border is a simple garter stitch.
Mary Ellen's Afghan (March 2018)
Mary Ellen is my best friend. She wanted to replace a blanket in the master bedroom to match the bedspread, and I wanted to make her something she would love. After some consultation and trial and error, we landed on this beautiful denim-colored yarn. My camera is terrible with blue and purple, so it looks gray in the photos, but really, it's blue. It's also reversible.
Shelby's Afghan (October 2018)
When I offered to make an afghan for my niece Shelby, I made a small swatch to show what it would look like with the yarn I had used for Allie's afghan. She wanted those exact colors for her newly refurbished living room, so it was back to square one...I combined the yarn I had used for Allie's afghan and the stitch I had used for Mary Ellen's.
Mara's Afghan (December 2018)
For my sister's birthday, I made her...an afghan! It actually was a departure from the norm, because for years I had made her a nightgown as a birthday present. I chose colors to match her living room carpet. In a wild flight of fancy, I wove some contrasting color stripes into the knitting. :) The next year, I made her another nightgown.
Socks for Mom and Friends (March-June 2019)
I thought I'd try my hand at socks. The thought lasted about four months. My first attempts with a top-down pattern looked awful but fit pretty well. When I found a toe-up pattern, I had much better luck. The final product looked much more like a sock, whether on or off the foot. Recipients were Mom, friend Kelly, and cousins Marcia and Marlene. I kept one pair for myself.
Norma's Afghan (June 2019)
My cousin Norma had been a prolific knitter for years. After years of dealing with arthritis in her hands, she had to give up the hobby she loved. She gave me a huge amount of yarn and supplies to donate to ScrapsKC, as well as some for myself. All she asked in return was that I finish an afghan she had started. I was happy to do it for her.
Marcia's Afghan (March-August 2019)
I offered to make an afghan for my cousin Marcia, who lives in cold, cold Wisconsin. She loves blue and purple, so I chose this wonderful Puzzle yarn for her. I didn't use a pattern...just made it up as I went along. Then I made a hat to go with the afghan...and by that time I was into weaving, so I wove her a scarf from the same yarn.
Arielle's Afghan (July 2019-January 2020)
A queen-size afghan for my friend Arielle...in sea and sky colors. I found the perfect yarn at ScrapsKC. Unfortunately, it was just that...a scrap of yarn just big enough to make a swatch. It took a ridiculously long time to find just the right yarn that was soft and fluffy, in just the right shades that now seemed mandatory. After a lengthy search, we agreed on Premier's Puzzle yarn. It was wonderful to work with. I used a simple 12-row diamond pattern that I found on Youtube. It looks a lot more complicated than it is. However, I did have to be careful to keep track of which row I was knitting. I loved it and she loved it. Happy birthday, Arielle!
Miscellaneous Projects & Gifts
Lots of other stuff...