Friday, September 26, 2008

Eco hooking

There will be a cool workshop, an ongoing series, on how to crochet plastic grocery bags Oct. 16 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Hubbard Room at Russell Library, 123 Broad St., Middletown. You may have visited the library a couple months ago and saw these colorful eco-sensible creations on the first-floor display case. Library staff advise that crocheting knowledge is necessary. People should bring a large crochet needle (size G or H or over 9 mm). This program is for children over age 9 and all adults. Registration is required and limited to the first 25 people who sign up. To register, call the Information Desk at (860) 347-2520. The event is co-sponsored by the Rockfall Foundation, Russell Library, and the Middletown Resource Recycling Advisory Council.
The City of Middletown Public Works Department featured a pattern in a recent newspaper, courtesy of the Recycling Coordinator, for recyclers to crochet, reprinted here:
There is also a pattern conversion available for knitters.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Downy soft and sneeze-free

I actually had gone to the Wadsworth Mansion Open Air Market and Festival in late August and found out from one of the vendors that alpaca is non-allergenic. Since I am very allergic to wool, I was delighted. I touched a soft as rabbit fur purse in green and pink, and was told it was made with Misti Alpaca yarn, baby alpaca. I had to have it. I looked on line and found the Web site, then saw that it was sold in Meriden at The Yarn Garden.
During my visit there last Saturday, the owner had only one type of Misti yarn, baby alpaca, but in lace weight and brown. It was terrific, but I had my eye on a particular scarf that looks like it’s almost woven, in a Crayola box of colors, free from the Misti Web site. It is called “Le Petite Echarpe,” or “little scarf.”
(The pattern is at Misti_Alpaca_FREE_Le_Petite_Echarpe.pdf).
What I did find at the Garden is Classic Elite’s Inca Print in a rustic color, 100 percent alpaca and soft as down. The scarf pattern calls for a chunky yarn (size 11 needles), 1 hank, 109 yards. The Inca is the correct yardage but far from chunky, calling for a size 7 needle. And the scarf pictured is very short to my taste — 4 by 25 inches. So I bought four hanks of the Inca and plan on making it longer and just as thick by doubling the yarn.
I’ll report back as well on what my sneeze-o-meter registers as soon as I undertake the project.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Not your average dishcloths

I purchased three skeins of On Line Linie Clip 100 percent Egyptian cotton, which is mercerized — a process that give the yarn a shiny finish. I chose eggplant, royal blue and an emerald green. The pattern I used was from “101 Designer One-Skein Wonders,” edited by Judith Durant, following the not-your-average washcloths pattern. The project took just a few hours and yielded a lovely 7-square-inch purple washcloth that alternates four garter and stockinette stitch squares. The loop called for a crocheted chain, but I modified mine, using much smaller double-pointed needles (size 4) and knit an I-cord loop.
I purchased the yarn from a lovely little yarn shop at 194 Elm St., in Meriden (203-237-6446,, The Yarn Garden, which has absolutely every type and brand of yarn you can think of or desire. Next up? Royal blue. Only this time I’m feeling more adventureous and will use the patterns from the book “Knitting With Balls” by Michael Del Vecchio, which offers three types of “utility cloths,” shown in the photo being used to shine up motorcycle chrome (gasp!).

They’re more complicated and the cloths can be made in 8- to 12-inch squares.
You can bet one thing I won’t be doing with them is dusting.
Not if I’m knitting them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Sky is always Blue

I’m loving the Blue Sky.
As in Blue Sky Alpacas organic cotton, color: Tomato, kind of an orangy crimson.
The pattern is Tomato, designed by Wendy Bernard (
Seven inches knit so far!

What’s really interesting is that it is knit from the top down, with a deep square scoop neck, so soon I’ll be knitting in the round, tapering the bust and waist.
Soon I’ll be working on the simple band of herringbone that circles the bust, in Nut.

When I finish it, it’ll be crisp, cool fall; but one of those days, probably in early October, check out the lady with the handmade, short-sleeved sweater on Main.

The colors are, from top, cumin, tomato, thistle and pumpkin.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Knit One, Save One

“Knit One, Save One,” launched by the global humanitarian organization, Save the Children, and the Warm Up America Foundation, seeks to engage knitters and crocheters to take action for the 4 million babies who die each year within the first month of life in poor countries.
Save the Children’s Knit One, Save One initiative is asking knitters and crocheters by Dec. 318 to knit or crochet one baby cap; and to write a personal note to the President-elect asking him to lead the way to save millions of babies globally.
In November 2006, I knit four caps and mailed them to Warm Up America, and received a personal postcard in response, thanking me.
I think I’ll start tonight knitting up a few quick caps with all the warm wool and alpaca I have at home.
To see the story I wrote for the Middletown Press, “Knitters join national cause,” at
To download the action kit, or to learn other ways to support the initiative as a non-knitter, go to or call (800) 728-3843. To join the online community and share experience, visit
To find a local knitting or crocheting group or to learn tips, go to
Happy knitting!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The knitting bug

I peeked into our mailbox the other day and found a most wonderful surprise.
The fall Webs catalogue.
The Holy Grail of knitting.
Every page is filled with luscious yarns and gorgous sweaters, shawls and blankets knit up in dazzling colors.
I'm almost afraid to crack open the cover.
Afraid that I'll lust after each and every item - and even worse, buy yet more yarn, far too much yarn for one woman to ever knit in a lifetime.
Perhaps ...
... there's a way to knit 24 hours a day.
I've been bitten ....
... and it aches.
(Get your own at or 800-367-9327 - if you dare!)