Monday, October 24, 2011

Cuteness Alert

Here is the hat I told you about in my last post. Isn't the pattern adorable?! I can't wait to start on another hat, and I already know it will be another pattern by Susan B. Anderson...the hard part will be deciding which pattern! The toddler-sized hats will be on their way to the Bristol Meyers Squibb Children's Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (say that three times fast!).

Meital just got back from mailing off those two gray hats to the Humble Stitch Project. She really is such a big help to me with all the mailing of packages. I like how she and I feel like partners in this project.

You may remember that a while back I sent off five pairs of baby and toddler socks to Hannah's Socks in Ohio. Today I got the most wonderful, personal note from Hannah's father, Vic Turner (follow the link to read about Hannah, her family, and her wonderful efforts on behalf of others). It made my day to know the socks had reached them and that they like them!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mad Hatter

Yep, finished up two more hats this month and started another, an adorable toddler-sized Camp Hoodie Swatch Hat (that's a Ravelry link; if you're not on Ravelry, go directly to designer Susan B. Anderson's Spud & Chloe blog) that I might just finish before the end of the month, too! I made both of the hats shown above from one 100 gram skein of yarn, and even had a little left over (but not much). They will soon be on their way to the Humble Stitch Project, which, as it says on their website, is "a community effort to show kindness to our homeless neighbors" in South Florida.

After those two dark gray hats, it's a lot of fun to work up the little Camp Hoodie Swatch Hat in pastel colors. I hope to make at least one additional baby/toddler/child's hat before the end of the month, and send those off to a children's hospital in New Jersey. Ravelry has been such a great place for learning of organizations and communities that need and want knitted items!

Other news includes the fact that after more than a week off, both girls have returned to their regular routines of army and junior high, and that of course means I am back to waking up at about 6, knitting for a bit and chatting with Liat before she leaves, waking up Meital and getting her lunch ready, then taking a walk around the neighborhood with Avi after Meital has set off for school. We all really enjoyed our time off, with plenty of baking, shopping, basketball, reading, and just hanging out. I hope you're having a good month, too.

Monday, October 17, 2011

One Cap, Hold the Bill

Yesterday I told you about the Cabled Chapeau I was making for Meital. As I mentioned, the hat works up very quickly, and I finished it yesterday evening. But Meital decided she'd rather have a regular watch cap, and didn't want the bill added to the hat after all. It's a cute, easy pattern knit in the round (those cables are a lot easier than they look). Now, of course, Liat wants the same hat but definitely with the bill. Not a problem, but I think I'll get a few other things done first.

Really, hats are the perfect project: fast, useful, they can be knit in the round with no sewing up, so many options and variations are possible, and you only need to make one!

In other news, we spent much of the day working. Lots of little projects on our desk right now; I really appreciate the variety. We have civil engineering, finances, a soccer stadium, and history - isn't that great? I would hate to do the same thing all the time. And, of course, every couple of days at least there will be - my favorite - basketball! Good stuff.

Other good stuff: Meital is learning some new jazz songs for the piano, and it's such a pleasure to listen to her practice. And Liat is baking some heavenly chocolate and halvah cookies that have the whole house smelling divine.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Special Olympics

Today has been a good day. The scarf you see above was sent off (thanks to Meital) to the offices of Special Olympics Alabama. Have you heard about the Special Olympics USA Scarf Project? It's a fairly new idea, now in its fourth year. You can learn a lot more about this wonderful project by clicking the link.

With so many states (though not all) participating in the project, why did I choose Alabama? I have been very fortunate to meet some wonderful people from Alabama in the past year. Two of those people are not only lovely human beings, they are professional athletes. I wanted to send my scarf to a Special Olympian in honor of those two young men.

My list of future projects keeps growing. Several of the organizations I want to support are in need of hats, so that's what I'll be making next. But first, I'm making a cap for Meital, a cute design called the Cabled Chapeau. Hats work up so quickly; I started it last night and now it's afternoon and I am nearly done with the main part of the hat. I've never made a hat with a bill before, so it should be interesting! I took the bill out of an Ohio State Buckeyes baseball cap someone once gave us that none of us particularly wanted to wear (no offense to any Ohioans out there), and once the covering is knitted I'll sew it up inside so it matches the hat.

And Liat's been grumbling about a sweater, so I also need to get started on that. Are you busy, too?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

That's Corporal Bunnydoodles to You!

Isn't that always the way? When I wasn't looking, Liat went from this, to:

Yes, my sweet little firstborn is now a corporal in the I.D.F. She got her stripes last week in a small ceremony at her unit (yet another army ceremony we weren't allowed to attend, sigh). If you stay in the army long enough and don't mess up, you'll become a corporal eventually. Liat tells me she'll be getting new stripes in just under a year, right before she finishes her service.

I hope by then I will have recovered from the trauma of sewing on those blasted stripes on four sets of sleeves!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Alpaca Yarn, Made in Israel

Last Tuesday Avi and I drove south into the Negev Desert, bound for the town of Mitzpe Ramon. Since we were there anyway, and planning to stay for a couple of hours, I suggested we might finally visit the Alpaca Farm. And so we did.

I had heard of the place before (obviously) but our previous stops in Mitzpe Ramon had all been brief ones; we had just used it as a place to grab a bite to eat, refuel the car, and head on to the popular vacation spot in the southernmost tip of Israel, the city of Eilat.

In the photo above you can see the road leading to the gate of the farm. It was so quiet and peaceful out there, and the people were lovely.

We didn't take a tour, but I did get to visit the rather informal shop there, and this little bundle of yarn came home with me. The young woman who helped us didn't have much information about the yarn (though she did have a card with some facts on it). What I can tell you is that this yarn came from the alpacas on this farm (they were imported from South America a number of years ago) and was processed and spun on the farm. It is the natural color of the animal(s) from which it came. It's very soft, and I'm looking forward to knitting it up. It weighs 67 grams (I believe that's about 2.4 ounces) and I think I may try making a hat with it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Caps for Colorado

These two small hats were knitted in James C. Brett Marble Chunky yarn, which is 100% acrylic (i.e. machine washable and dryable) and is the softest yarn in my stash. I used up most of what was leftover from the two skeins I bought in California two years ago. I'm actually pretty amazed at how much I was able to create from those two skeins: a pair of legwarmers, a scarf, and now these two hats.

I worked on the second hat most of the day Saturday, including during the visit of some friends for lunch and the afternoon. One of my friends seemed to think that sending only two hats was hardly a worthwhile contribution. I'll admit, her words shook my confidence a bit and made what I was doing seem a bit, well... paltry.

But I soon remembered that each contribution helps and is valued and appreciated. If, through my efforts, two small heads are kept warm, that is something of which I can be proud. These hats are on their way to Kaps for Kendall in Colorado.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Not a Hat

Although the organization's name is Warm Hats, Warm Hearts, they accept donations of all kinds, so this child's sweater (the pattern is from Knitting Pure & Simple) is now on its way to the beautiful state of Vermont. I love the KP&S patterns because they are really a blank canvas, and half the fun is deciding how to make this sweater different from the last one. I hope this one will keep someone warm and cozy this winter. The tag at the neck has size information and washing instructions.

I have to admit, though...I still love to make toys for kids more than any other item.

Meanwhile, I finished up something for another worthwhile cause yesterday and will tell you about that next time. I've also started a scarf for Special Olympics Alabama. That is an interesting project because not only do you need to make a scarf to their size specifications, you must also use the yarn they specify. It's rather freeing, in a way, because sometimes having too many choices just slows me down.

I also started a pair of socks for Liat today. I should have had them ready for her birthday (which is in August) but at least they're in progress now.

So there's lots going on here at Bag of Chocolates, which is just the way I like it.