Saturday, January 29, 2011

1/12 of the way there!

 Hello everyone!  How are you all doing?  For anyone following along with this challenge, how was the first month?  That's right, the first month is over, can you believe it?

I think that January might be one of the harder months, just getting into the groove of the challenge, forming a new habit.  My January was full of ups and downs, and I know I didn't get to knit as much as I'd hoped, but I still managed to finish this month's goals.  As promised, I do have a picture of my completed pieces:

...4 beanies, 3 squares, and that green stuff on the needles at the top? Another square, just not quite finished.  I've used a few different yarns so far, my favorite is still Caron's Simply Soft.  I just love Simply Soft.  I find it easy to work with, truly soft (I don't have to bandage my fingers when I use it, unlike almost all other yarns), great colors, washes well, drapes well, is warm, and cost-effective.  Simply Soft has a lot of yards per skein so it goes a long way!  I also enjoyed working with Lily's Sugar 'n' Cream yarn.  I used it for a baby beanie and then the variegated pink square.  The drape and ease of the square pleasantly surprised me, so I'll probably find myself doing that again.  I also use this yarn for pattern dishcloths, so the difference a couple needle sizes makes in texture was rather interesting.  My unfinished green square is Impeccable.  I don't really like it, but it was 29cent clearance yarn, so I wanted to put it to good use.  I do have to bandage my fingers when working with it though, which is a pain.  My variegated preemie beanies are Bernats Baby Jaquards, which was alright to work with, although not as soft as I had initially thought.  Cute colors and lightweight though, which is a plus.  I may be buying more.

As we move into the month of February, I feel like I'm off to a good start, and hope to keep the momentum going.  I hope everyone else can too!  See you all next week!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Week 3!

Hello!  It's the end of week three.  Barely, like I just made it under the wire!  Maybe I should start updating on Fridays instead of waiting for Saturday.  I always seem to cut it a touch close when I wait...which is silly since I'm always done early!

Yep, done early!  Once again I've got a beanie all done.  Unfortunately my arm was still acting up this week so my square isn't quite complete.  I'll take some time tomorrow to finish that off.  Still that puts me at 3/3 for beanies and 2/3 for squares.  Doing pretty well so far!  I hope everyone who's decided to join me is doing well too!

Next week I'm going to post a picture will all the caps/squares I've done this month.  Almost 1/12 of the way there!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Week 2 - complete!

Alright, made it in the nick of time! 

Second week of the Challenge, how's everyone doing?  I've stayed on top of it again, with Week 2 going successfully~  It was a close thing though!

At the beginning of the week I lifted something in a funny way at work and tweaked something in my elbow, which meant I had to lay off the knitting for a few days.  It's feeling better now, but it does stress how important it is to rest occasionally when doing a repetitive motion, and to take care of yourself.  I didn't manage to get a picture this week, but I'll be sure to snap a pic next week! 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Week One - PASS!


Week one's challenge is complete, with still a couple more days to go!  I actually got both a beanie and a square done for this week, due to my enthusiasm for this project!  It helped that the retail peak season is over so hours are on a bit of a drought and I had more time to spend knitting.

Today I spent a few hours with a friend teaching her to knit.  I really enjoy both learning and sharing my knowledge with others, especially when combined with freshly baked brownies and good movies!  I also gave her a cardboard template for the squares and she might be contributing to my final donations!

Here's a picture of this week's completed pieces:

The beanie was made from Lily's Sugar'n'Cream yarn and the square from Caron Simply Soft. I found that the Sugar'n'Cream wasn't my favorite to work with, although it has a great variety of cute variegated yarns.

I hope I can see what other people make!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Alright!  It's now 2011 and officially time for my challenge to start!  I thought a post with more information about the Warm Up America project and specifics of the donations would be a good place to start.
The Warm Up America Project:  This is a foundation that collects baby beanies and afghan squares.  The baby beanies are self explanatory, so here I'm going to expand on the afghan squares.  The requirements for an afghan square are simple, it simply has to be a 7"x9" piece done in a simple stitch and this is a great way for beginners to get comfortable with a stitch.  My squares are usually just the garter stitch (knit stitch only).  The squares are stitched together and then donated to battered women's Shelters, the homeless and to hospitals.  A full size afghan takes 49 squares.

Afghan Squares:

Simple stitch patterns for Knitting:

Garter stitch (knit stitch only)
Stockinnette Stitch (Row 1: knit all.  Row 2: purl all.  repeat rows 1&2)
Seed Stitch (K1, P1.  repeat for all rows.)

Using sz. 7 needles (US) cast on 35 stitches.  Choose your stitch.  knit until the square length is 9".  Cast off.  Done!

Simple stitch patterns for Crochet:

Single crochet stitch
Double crochet

Using hook size G, chain your foundation (30 for single crochet, 27 for double crochet).  crochet until piece length measures 9"  Fasten off.  Done!

 Baby Beanies.

I'm not an advanced knitter, and am still very much a beginner when it comes to crochet, so I hope that anyone just starting out who stumbles on this blog can feel comfortable with taking up this challenge themselves.  For this reason I've chosen a couple simple, super easy and (most importantly) cute baby beanie patterns to highlight.  These beanies work up fast and it's so easy to get that one-a-week done! Today I'll post two patterns, one crochet and one knit, these will get you started! 
Many thanks to Teresa Richardson for posting this pattern!  I'm looking forward to making it!
This hat is actually much cuter than the picture, and is just adorable!  Thanks to Beverly Qualheim for this one!

And that ends my post!  Hopefully this is enough to get you all started, and once you stop you'll find out just how easy it is to make a difference!  Happy 2011 everyone!