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Thanks to April W. who created another version of written directions for Levi’s Blanket for those who are skittish about the charts.  It’s been a year since she sent these to me, but I’m glad to finally have a moment to share!

April created this overview and these written directions.

Enjoy!

While life has taken me away from blogging in the past few years, I am still an avid knitter and  Raveler.

It’s been exciting to see so many people tackle Levi’s Blanket!  I never managed to get the written-out charts completed, but several wonderful knitters have.  For those who find the original charts I created a bit too daunting, here, at long last, are written directions.

Levi’s Blanket – Written Directions by Mary W

Thanks to Mary W. for translating and providing the directions to be shared!  Mary has graciously agreed to be contacted with questions about her directions.  She is hlbronwyn at hotmail.

**UPDATE**

I understand that there are some issues with these written directions.  Please be aware that I did not create them and I have not had a chance to test-knit.  If someone has corrections, I would be happy to update this post with the corrected directions.  I’ve also just posted a second set of written directions from April W. here.

Happy knitting,

Lindsay

Blankie 911

(Please note: this is a how-to post on how to repair a knitted garment, and as such it is VERY photo-heavy.  You’ve been warned!)

Did you have a woobie when you were little?  My sisters and I all had various levels of attachment to our security objects, which we referred to as “woobie” after seeing Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom.  My sis Adorable, in particular, was incredibly attached to her blanket and had trouble sleeping without it.

This weekend a little girl brought me her woobie for repairs.  A friend of a friend referred her mom to me, and on Sunday morning the exchange went down.  I’d seen a photo of the hole in the blanket, and although I’d never done any professional repair work before, the family was desperate,  so I was happy to take my best shot.  Apparently the mom had called around to several local yarn shops and none of them offered repairs.  This little girl looked to be about 3 or 4 years old and loved her blanket but apparently liked to bite it in times of stress.  Even worse, she was terrified of being away from her blanket and was extremely eager to know how long the repair would take.

At first glance, I could tell that the blanket needed more than one repair.  There was a large unraveled section (the mom described it as “ramen noodles” where a thread was broken:

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Unfortunately, there were also a few other spots where the yarn was fraying and two patches along the edging that were coming loose.  The first challenge, finding a yarn to match, was easy.  The little girl exclaimed “pink!” and the mom reassured me that a repair was far more important than an exact yarn match.  I guessed at 3 to 7 days and about 6 hours and sent them on their way.

That cute little face stuck with me though, and almost as soon as they were gone I headed to Joann’s Fabrics for the essentials (a new crochet hook and a ball of size 10 crochet cotton):

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I think the pinks are a decent match — not perfect or even invisible, but not glaringly bad, right?

Once The Baron headed off to his monthly pinball tournament, Zoey settled in for a nap and I got down to work.  Here is what I did . . .

First, I sectioned off the hole.  On the bottom edge the hole was pretty close to the border, so I knew it was not going to get much bigger down on that end.  On the top though, there was nothing to stop the “run” from zipping all the way up the blanket.  To prevent this, I put in a “lifeline” by passing a needle threaded with waste yarn through a line of stitches a few rows up from the start of the hole like so:

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Once the top of the hole was secured, I started picking up and re-working stitches from the bottom up, using my crochet hook.  I examined each strand to make sure it was still intact until I found the broken strand.  Once I got to the break, I put the re-knitted stitches on a cable needle to hold them.  A stitch holder or piece of waste yarn would have worked too, I just happened to have the cable needle at hand.

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In the above photo, you can see that I took the broken strands of yarn and taped them — this was partly to help me see them, partly to keep them from unraveling any more, and partly to make it easy to keep them away from my hook as I was working.  I suggest trying this, especially with a slippery yarn — as long as you’re not working with a fleecy single, it should be just fine.

Next, I worked the unraveled stitches from the top down with the crochet hook until I reached the broken yarn. Again, I placed my work on a cable needle because that’s what I had nearby:

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You’ll have to excuse the hideous yellow tint of the above photos — I was far more focused on the process then the picture quality!

Now the fun begins.  Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of what happened next but the idea is pretty simple.  In this particular hole, just a single strand of yarn was broken.  The broken strand is seen, above, secured by tape folded over on itself.  To fix the hole, my task was to replace the broken strand and join the two open sections of stockinette by grafting the two sections together.

Luckily, I’ve been on a sock knitting kick lately (Monkey Socks, to be exact) so I have my kitchner stitch down cold.  I highly recommend the Knitty kitchner tutorial if you are confused.

Starting a few stitches to the right of the hole, using two strands of the crochet cotton, I followed the path of the broken yarn until the point where it broke.  Then I began to join the two open seams with kitchner stitch until the hole was closed (3 stitches across) and then continued weaving the new yarn over the old for another few stitches.  I was close enough to the edge of the blanket that I just wove the end into the edging, tied it off and hid the ends within the rolled-over edge.

Here is the pre-weaving photo:

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And here is what it looked like when I was done weaving in ends, fussing with the stitch tension and after a gentle blocking:

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To head off any future problems, I looked over the rest of the blanket, fixed another hole that was forming and some edges that were starting to unravel, and reinforced two spots where the yarn was starting to really fray.  Here is one of the repaired edges:

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Here is one of the repaired fraying spots:

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And here is the second hole — I fixed it in much the same way I fixed the first — I also reinforced a fraying thread right above the hole.

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Overall I am pleased with my work.  Although it could have been a lot “prettier” if I’d had time to search for a better yarn match, I think that the durability of the crochet cotton will be helpful in this particular case.

Of course I was happy to “guarantee” my work for several years — I am getting well paid for my time and I think that a good knit repair should last for years.  If for some reason it doesn’t, I want to be the one to fix it :)

I really enjoyed this little project — the look on that little girl’s face when she handed over her most precious posession to me, well, it was a big responsibility.  I hope I was able to come through for her!

The Motions

It sometimes surprises me how my blogging has ebbed and flowed — at times it has been a daily obsession and then there are times — like the recent past for example — when it’s felt more like a chore.  What do I really have to say?  I am simply reciting lists of projects and progress and it all seems pretty boring, not something anyone would really like to read.

Then I remind myself that sometimes just going through the motions is ok, is necessary even.  I know there will be times in the future when I will be desperate to write, desperate to share, and it is for those times that I try and force myself to go through the motions now.

So . . . here goes:

- Tonight the Literati Knitters are going to Stitch & Pitch at the Dodger game.  I loathe baseball but have been trying to organize a field trip for our group for a while now.  I am quite excited that this first outing actually seems to have come together.  Also . . . gift bags.  Need I say more?

- A few weeks ago I joined my friend Mrs. Jones in a full on dying extravaganza.  It was educational, very fun, and I can see how playing with dyes could become a MAJOR addiction.

Some highlights (all photo credit to Mrs. Jones of course):

Here is a good representation of some of the blues we got.  I dyed a pale yellow skein of a laceweight yarn that I bought thinking of a wedding shawl (what was I thinking?  I loathe yellow . . .) and also overdyed a blue and green skein of Knit Picks Shimmer in the colorway Turquoise Splendor, also a possibility for a wedding shawl, but discarded when I began to feel it looked too “tie-dyed.”


Here are a few early skeins drying in the sun.  I loved the three red and black skeins pictured here — they all came from the same pot, which was especially cool I thought:

And finally,  our fave pink yarn, still in the pot:


- In other exciting project news, I finished the sweater, bear and socks (good luck birthing socks for Mom) for Baby G.  Please join me in thinking good thoughts for him and his parents, who are expecting his arrival any day now.   The sweater and bear really deserve their own finished-project posts, but here are the green Monkey socks:

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I can’t help myself, I just love love LOVE the richness of this green color.  Yummy.  The yarn is Knit Picks Essential (now Stroll) in the Ivy colorway.  Since the one giant ball produced both socks, I was able to avoid the odd color change that I had to deal with on my last Monkey sock adventure (please see photos of purple Monkeys from my last post).  Also, I am starting to worry about my inability to ever post photos of blocked socks . . . I guess I just don’t see the point since feet are such great blockers :)

- I am working on some custom coasters, a request from a co-worker that I like enough to knit for.  I’m using the new Knit Picks yarn, Comfy Bulky — a blend of acrylic (yuck!) and cotton that so far is not too horrible to work with — to make a set of coasters.  I’m double knitting with three colors and so far the experiment is working out just fine.  Hopefully I will post pattern and photos when I’m done.

- Now that all the pressing baby gifts are done, I’m back to that betwixt and between state where I don’t really have any meaty projects on the needles or in the hopper.  I am tempted to start a lace piece, something really big and juicy, but I just can’t quite seem to find anything that sings to me.  I keep coming back to Madli’s Shawl, but I have neither the issue of Knits nor the new book (Knitted Lace of Estonia) where the pattern appears.  Even the library doesn’t have the book . . . so that leaves me stuck since I’m trying to hold off on spending for the moment.  What I do have on the needles are some socks for a friend’s 4 year old daughter, the beginnings of a baby blanket for baby M,  expected in January of 2010, and a project to plan for baby O, expected in November 2009.

- And then, of course, there is my own new “baby” Zoey.  Could she be any cuter?  For reals, having a pup is so much more wonderful than I could have imagined.  I love watching her pounce on The Baron each morning and seeing how happy they make each other.  She is also incredibly sweet, greeting me at the end of each day with the most plaintive, elated little squeals and whines of delight.  We are taking her to obedience classes and she’s learning to be a good girl, but we are sorely remiss in teaching her not to lick people’s faces, ears, noses, mouths . . . it is just so precious that I can’t bear to break her of the habit.  She is not quite seven months old and weighs just over seven pounds, so she’s still easy to pick up in one hand for a cuddle.  Each new day with her is more fun than the last.  I will not be torturing her with handknits quite yet — but I do want to make her a sweater for the chilly winter mornings ahead — she is quite sensitive to the cold.  I am holding myself back from being a total freakshow and posting a zillion photos of her, but here are just two of my latest faves:

Little Zoey hiding her nose in the covers:

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Posing for the camera:

Zoey posing

And of course, my very fave . . . SNOUT!

Zoey's Snout

- Finally, a word about Levi’s Baby Blanket . . . I am so excited to see that a few people are actually knitting it!  I wish I had the time to translate the charts into written instructions, but unfortunately at the moment I have neither the time nor the energy.   I will do anything else I can do to help and encourage knitters who are tackling the blanket — please PM me via Ravelry if I don’t get back to you right away via my blog e-mails.

There now, that wasn’t so bad.  Happy knitting, and to anyone who has slogged with me down this far, thank you for reading :)

Still Slow Going

Things have been pretty hectic the last month or so . . . plenty of not-so-good stuff, but there have been bright spots.

Since my last knitting project update, there has been some (albeit limited) progress:

- Sheep Yoke Baby Cardigan:

I have to knit about 6 rows on the button band and embroider in the black hooves and noses on the sheep.  However, I haven’t touched this sweater in about a month and the baby will be here in just a few weeks.  Finishing is a goal for this weekend.

- Druid Mittens:

When last I wrote, I thought I’d figured out a workable gauge (cuff on 2.5 mm, body of mitten on 2.25) but . . . since then I’ve knit almost to the tip of one mitten, only to realize that it is still way too short (like 2 inches too short).  The pattern doesn’t let me repeat it without some funky fiddling, which I don’t really care to do, so the mittens are “resting” at the moment.  Since I have so much yarn, I’m considering ripping and re-knitting with the yarn doubled.  I WILL CONQUOR THESE MITTENS!!!

- Baby Booties:

So the whole idea of making up my own pattern has sort of fallen by the wayside in favor of all the projects I keep accumulating.  I did manage to do an eyelet variation on Saartje’s Booties: instead of the straps, I worked a row of yo, k2tog and yo, ssk, then just threaded a ribbon through the booties.  Fast and dirty (took me under two hours to do both) but they sure did turn out well I think:

- Ice Queen:

Somehow I managed to finish, block and gift, all without getting a photo.  I loved the project though — a quick, easy smoke ring with a single ball of yarn.  The beading was really fun too, and came out beautifully.  I would absolutely knit this pattern again.

There is other big news too . . . I know, I know, way to bury the lead . . . but finally, after so much trouble, I’ve managed to climb aboard the Monkey Sock bandwagon.  Using Knit Picks Essential (soon to be Stroll) I was able to knit a decent pair of socks.  Since I started the socks without a foot in mind (long story, I needed an portable, emergency knitting project) I found a foot to fit the socks after they were half-knit:

This particular foot belongs to Miss V, one corner of my four-person knitting circle.  I think the socks ended up fitting pretty well:

Now that I’ve knitted socks for one member of the group, I’m going to knit up a pair for the other two ladies.  Fun :)

Of course, as soon as the first pair of Monkeys were done, I immediately cast on another pair, this one in the Essential Kettle Dyed colorway Eggplant.  The socks are a gift for Adorable, whose birthday is today.  Here is my progress as of this moment:

I have just one more repeat and the toes to finish — lucky for me, she has tiny little feet.

A truer picture of the beautiful deep purple of the socks:

As you can see, there is a slight color change at the top of the gusset where I changed skeins.  I don’t love it, especially since the yarns were both from the same dye lot, but hey, they are handmade socks made from kettle dyed yarn.  I am also hoping that the difference will be more subtle when the socks are worn, and that a good washing will help blend the colors a bit.

And what’s next up?

I would like to make some birthing socks to go with the Sheep Baby Sweater — if I start a pair of Monkeys now, can I get them to the mom-to-be before her due date in late July?  I think so . . . I hope so . . . I would also like to make a small stuffed animal for the baby, to go with the sweater and socks.  It’s a lot of knitting and not a lot of time!

It’s been unforgivably long since I’ve posted . . . I think once I got Levi’s Blanket launched into the world I sort of slowed down on the knitting.  How slow?  Well . . . Ice Queen is blocking as we speak, that’s how slow.  My next post will be knitting-photo-heavy, I  promise, but in the meantime, I have another, better excuse for setting aside (only temporarily though!) my knitting:

The Baron and I are growing our little family.  Meet Zoey:

Zoey's Closeup 4-12-09

She was left at the pound and then taken in by a rescue, which is where we found her.  She’s part Dachshund, part Chihuahua, almost as rascally as The Baron . . . she’s now 17 weeks old, gives the sweetest little puppy kisses and loves her humans almost as much as we love her.

Need more cuteness?  Here’s my favorite photo of our little girl:

Zoey in Flight 4-12-09

Cookin’ with Gas

Last night’s knitting group was wildly successful.  I finished all the chart work for my Ice Queen and even started thinking about working the picot edging before I pooped out.  All of us were nursing ourselves back from crummy days with a little knitting fix.  After a few hours knitting, we all were much happier . . . and the caramel brownie did not hurt either!

I got myself all tangled up in the instructions for the picot edging, but I am not panicking — I think I was just too tired last night and I’m going to spend a little research time on Knitty before I get myself into a total snit.  I am excited about a project started on Saturday and finished within the week, so I’m going to try and get a bit more done today and tomorrow.  I would love to put this thing in the mail soon!  I have to admit, I would also love to make one for myself too.

How to keep my knitting mojo going?  More audiobooks!  I’ve been bouncing around between more serious stuff and “beach reading” like Phillipa Gregory and John Grisham.  But I’m having trouble finding good suggestions for serious stuff.  At the moment my main complaint is about book reviews.  I’ve sniffed through NY Times book reviews for the past few years and found some treasures.  But today, when I was looking for other credible sources for book reviews . . . nada.  How could this be?  Does no one read anymore?  Is it possible that the NY Times is the only publication that deals in literature?

Come on blog buddies . . . what am I missing?

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