The Next Scamp Letter

September 19, 2014

Dear Scamp,

Have you seen my knitting? I can’t find it.

Love,

Mom

Dear Mom,

What are you talking about?

Love,

Scamp

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Dear Scamp,

Any ideas where I might find my knitting?

Love,

Mom

Dear Mom,

I don’t know. And if I knew, I wouldn’t tell. I’m not the only cat here. I’ll be sleeping in my hidey-hole, please don’t bother to wake me if you need me;-). You could check with Maeve and Squib.

Love,

Scamp

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Dear Scamp,

You are the kitten that runs off with my knitting most. I wish I knew where it might be. Unless I left it at my brother’s house when I went to shoot the bow and arrow.

Love,

Mom

It’s been a busy week of school and work and learning archery and shopping and helping my little learn some archery. I think I’ll work on the doll dress I can find and check my brother’s for the knitting bag tomorrow. Otherwise, I have to check all the good hiding spots. Needless to say, I haven’t made any progress on the sock. And I still have to locate my knitting….I hope it’s not in a Scamp Hidey-Hole, unlikely though that seems. I don’t know how she fits in there. Wish me luck.

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Ask any knitter, they dread frogging a project. They hate it, and if you help them frog it, they won’t be quite so polite when telling you where to take your frogging suggestion or assistance. But, once in a while you come upon a piece you knit so poorly, or that has no purpose whatsoever, other than the practice it was, and you find the knot and untie it.

Then you start to pull the yarn out of its nicely (and sometimes not-so-nicely) stitched pattern. As you pull, you begin to make plans for this yarn. Sometimes you pull because it will work better as X or Y. When I first began knitting, on the knifty knitter eons ago, I created a doll blanket with left-over yarn. It was pretty and it was nice, but I do not arrange my dolls or sock monkeys in sleeping positions. They like to be much more playful. My nieces are living in Florida and don’t have much occasion to use said doll blanket in my home, so, I looked at a doll dress I planned to knit, hoped there was enough yarn and began to frog it. This one was easy to unravel, and the doll dress came out beautifully.

ImageThe First Doll Dress I Knit With Re-purposed Yarn

Next, I found a navy blue and mauve color I like. I began to knit the second dress with this stash. Only, as I near the bottom of the skirt, I’m beginning to realize there may be enough mauve pink to finish the skirt, but not enough to finish the arms. Originally, I thought I’d just have to suck it up and and knit the arms and cowl neck in the blue alone. However, I was sorting through a yarn basket I keep on a shelf the other day, and I came across what was meant to be perhaps a doll leg or arm in the mauve pink color I’m using.

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The Second Doll Dress I’m Knitting with Partially Re-purposed Yanr

Happily, I sat down and untied the knot. Once I got through the knots and the stitches pulled to close, I began frogging, knowing I would likely have enough yarn to knit the arms of this dress. I hope to squeeze out enough yarn to finish the cowl neck, but if I don’t; that part won’t look half bad in just blue. I considered buying another skein, but this color has proven hard to find of late, and I don’t have anything else planned for this color pink. Plus, I might just have a little more stashed in the basket, who knows?

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Scamp Is Always Happy To Help Me Re-purpose Yarn

For once, I’m frogging for happy reasons, instead of a noticeable mistake on a sock three rows ago!

Progress Is Slow

January 30, 2014

My apologies for not posting last week.

This past week, I had hoped to make good progress on my socks as well as on the doll dresses. I began to make good progress on my doll dress, then two things happened, I found the dark pink yarn I had planned to use, and I got sick. I’m not good at being sick when I realize it, I’m even worse when I haven’t realized it yet. So, as I’m looking at my friends, feeling sorry that they’re sick, but glad its not me…I’m forgetting to sign checks and take photos before I unravel the yarn, among other things.

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Back to the projects, I knit up three small pieces of the dress with a pale pink I had purchased over the weekend. The dress is is a total of six pieces, the skirt being the largest. When I found the original pink I planned to use, I drug James into the choice and he confirmed, the original pink went with the navy blue color better. So, I ripped out the second bodice back I’d been working on, grateful I had not picked up stitches and started the skirt. However, I now had to re-knit all three bodice pieces and still pick up the skirt and knit the sleeves. I had pre-school two days this week, and you don’t get much time to knit in there, except on break. Knitting needles and preschoolers just don’t mix unless you are storytelling or demonstrating, carefully.

Alas, I also didn’t get much time in the third grade classes I was in. They’re more self-sufficient, but they still need the hands-on care. In addition, I had middle school on Friday, which went well for a change. Each class managed to stay quiet, even the class that announced they were the bad class. Most of the classes utilized me for editing their stories which they were writing. It was rewarding, and fascinating reading, seeing what methods of overcoming obstacles they employed in their stories, as well as the myriad of ways they plotted their characters deaths. I like J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series, so I found their murder stories quite interesting, most of them good. I did have the prep period, in which I knit part of my sock, as well as during one of the hours that thought their work was done instead of editing or reviewing it one more time, which I greatly encouraged that day.It was a fun day, and I think I did make an inch and a half progress on my sock. The foot part looked nearly half done when I left that day, which puts me at three-quarters done.

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I planned to make more progress on the sock this weekend, but I began feeling sick Saturday morning and found this was different from my normal colds/flu bugs, but vicious in its own right. I had headaches and a bloody nose, and missed any planned activities. Then I wore myself out by shoveling my driveway. When I finally got energy later that night, I drove to the store for chicken soup and ended up making homemade chicken soup. I had bursts of energy and utilized them, but still sounded like crap the rest of the weekend. As I said, I’m not good at being sick, so I’ll stop complaining here. Nothing else got done this weekend, except ironing quilt pieces which will be cut another day.

In the meantime, I’ve made a little more progress on the bodice back of the dress, but I’m only almost half way through the first piece and almost can’t wait until I pick up and knit the skirt. I think its because it means I’m getting done. As for the sock, I’ll get back to it soon, since I’m finally starting to feel better.
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I will return to the socks I’ve been discussing in a week or two. Let me share a story. I like to write. In my spare time, while I was employed steadily, I wrote stories about characters for my nieces, Jessica and Elizabeth.. I named the characters Sunny and Moonbeam and made them to look like my nieces. They have had some fun adventures in these stories, including meeting dragons I have sewn for my nieces. The dragons are Stella, the Brave, and Capice, the Understanding. In one of these stories, it seems I promised to make my nieces doll clothes for Sunny and Moonbeam. I must tread carefully here, as I may have promised them sewn doll clothes.

So, what is sewing doing in a knitting blog? No more than it has to be. I like to sew from time to time. I have discovered I do not care for sewing doll clothes. All those short, small seams drive me half crazy. But it couldn’t be too bad to knit Sunny and Moonbeam a dress, could it? So, I googled free knit doll dress patterns, or some such order of those words. I found some pretty patterns, and I printed a few off. I don’t think I’ve printed off the one my boyfriend thought was too old-ladyish. If I did, I’m saving it for after the prettier dresses. But it was a pretty dress. 

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Alas, I settled on a pretty looking dress with a cowl neckline, then I began to unravel a doll blanket I’d knitted on the Knifty Knitter ™ Loom years ago, that I have not used since my nieces were moved to Florida. I chose a purple and gray combination because I think its pretty, and my youngest niece likes purple. I hope the color combos aren’t too old-ladyish, but second and third graders seemed to like it when I was knitting in class, so I think I’m okay.

I read the pattern after I printed it off. It wasn’t written traditionally, but it was in steps. I figured I could work with it. The bodice front was a little confusing, but worked out in the end. The bodice back, well the first one I knit went well. I did what it said and it worked out. The second one, with checking, was confusing, and written exactly the same as the first except that the cast off stitches happen one row lower on a purl row instead of a knit row. Apparently, this is supposed to give you the sides. I’m not sure if it did or not. I still don’t know which one I knit first or second or which was supposed to be left or right. I got confused, and had to rework this twice, before I simply laid it against the bodice with its counterpart and knit to match.  If this was not being done due to a promise I was reminded of, I would not have continued with this pattern.

I would either have tried another, or given up and hand-sewed the doll clothes. I still may hand-sew some doll clothes, but I wish to finish some other projects first. Once the bodice pieces were finished and joined, I began to pick up stitches to add the skirt on. I realized at this point, that the pattern designer must prefer flat needles. When I’m making a round piece, I much prefer double-pointed needles. I adjusted the pattern for such, making it easier as I just had to knit, and slip in ribs at even intervals and remember where to increase. I used tally marks to track my rows, as is my habit.

The skirt went easier than the bodice for certain, but it is a larger piece. I began with 52 stitches, and increased in 13 stitch increments to 91 stitches during the last few rows. Even for only six rows, 91 stitches, with a 2 purl rib or not, can feel like it takes forever. But it did get finished.

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I then went on to knit the sleeves and cowl later, which I will address in next week’s blog and then will return to the foot of the sock I am knitting. I hope to be at the toe or finished with it soon so I may begin the second sock.