Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I love top-down sweaters, I think. I definitely love net bags

I was just reminded why I like to knit top-down sweaters. I finished the brown one I have been slowly working on for the past 6 months. It was made in pieces, from the bottom up. It's great except for a few small things like ...the sleeves hang down to my finger tips and the cuffs are not tight at all (which would compensate for the long sleeves, maybe, by holding the end of the sleeve to my wrist). So, now I have to decide whether to leave the cuffs loose and just frog the sleeves to where I can eliminate a couple to three inches, or just frog the sleeves completely and see if I can get the cuff to fit (maybe even making it circular instead of flat).

At any rate that sweater will have to be set aside for a few months. One of my sons is turning in his mission papers next week and if his list of things to bring on his two-year church mission is anything like those of his older brothers, he will need two long sleeve, single color, v-neck sweaters. Since clothing stores here in Massachusetts have already taken such things off the shelves in preparation for warmer weather (here's hoping that weather makes an appearance soon), I plan to knit them for him (just like his older brothers).

Naturally I don't want to make it easy on myself and do exactly the same sweater patterns as before (actually I can't, as I would have to tweak those since he is a size or two smaller than the other boys were). So yesterday I pulled out my patterns, bought some yarn, and began.

Of course I want top-down. Need you ask, after my opening rant? And of course the one pattern I really wanted to make for him is bottom up, with separate front and back sections. Thank goodness for Barbara Walker's Knitting From the Top and a wonderful daughter who gifted me that book several years ago. With the initial try-on, it looks like this sweater is going to work and fit him.

Maybe a picture later.

I have not been idle on the netting scene though. People have been asking me for a simple net bag and so my mind got busy and I came up with a net bag that is just diamond mesh netting along with increases and decreases. This one used size 10 crochet thread and a 1/4" mesh stick.

The shaping of the bag is done after all the netting is completed. It could make a small gift bag. In my case, I'm using it to hold my crochet thread snoods.

I have finished a shopping-bag-size one, in addition to one with two handles as opposed to the tied handle above. If you're interested in the instructions for this rectangular bag with tied handle, click here and go to the bottom of the page to order an e-pattern.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Water Bottle Bag for use with a Walker

I had fun today. I delivered a net water bottle bag to a friend who is currently using a walker and wheelchair while recovering from foot surgery.

I had to be a bit creative in netting this particular water bottle bag. The problem was that there was no place on her walker to hang a water bottle bag using one of the net handles I made before. All of those handles worked on the idea that there would be a hook, peg, knob, or something on which to hang the bottle in its bag.

The walker had none of the above-mentioned items. It only had metal bars that were permanently attached to each other.

To solve the problem I decided to start the bag at the bottom using 12 loops over a 1" mesh stick.

Once the bag was deep enough I made one long strip of netting, 33 rows worth of plain diamond mesh netting over a 1/2" mesh stick using half the loops.

Once that strip of netting was finished I went back and did the same thing to the other half of the loops.

Once the bag was made and the bottle placed inside, all my friend had to do was tie the long strips of netting around one of the metal bars on the walker and her water bottle could travel wherever she went.

She also found that if she were in her wheelchair, she could tie the netting strips together to form a handle that could then be placed over one of the handles at the back of the wheelchair.

The past few weeks have been very busy, but I was gifted with an hour each day to do crafts while I substituted for a co-worker out on medical leave. Of course it was at 6 in the morning while my daughter was attending early morning seminary, but, thanks to that daily hour during the month of March, I have almost finished the wonderful brown sweater I started last fall. The early morning gift is now gone as I am out of the Facilities Management office and back to cleaning the meetinghouse during that time.

I love the cable stitch on the front and sleeve. The cables were the reason I asked a friend for the pattern.

Just after I lost my early morning craft time I was able to block the sweater and sew the front and back to the sleeves. I needed to do that before I could finish the band. The pattern told me how to make the band but neglected to say how many inches to make it. I needed to measure from the bottom of one front; across the top of one sleeve, the back, and the other sleeve; and finallly down to the bottom of the other front. I figured it out, and the band is almost done. Maybe this week-end I will be able to finish the sweater.

I was also able to finish a pair of baby socks found in Cat Brodhi's book New Pathways for Sock Knitters. Now to decide which grandchild they will fit. Probably one of the grandsons. I know, to be fair I should make a pair for each of them. Then the granddaughters will want a pair also ... some people wonder how I get so many projects started.