Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Best I Could Give

So...we are "celebrating" the first Christmas without my sister, who died of liver failure this summer.

I really can't believe the words I just typed.  I am still so stupefied.

...man, that is REALLY a good word for grief!  Stupefied:  What happened?!  What happened?!  How can this have happened?!  How can this be real?!

Grief is trying to bring back order from the chaos that remains in the wake of the hurricane that was her life and death.  It is overwhelming and confusing and hard.  It is very, very hard.

While she was dying, I became oddly obsessed with her feet.  I don't know what it was about her feet.  Perhaps it was just that everyone wanted to be up by her face, and her feet were out of the way.  I could stay there and be close and not feel like I was hogging up the last moments of her.

I had this image in my mind of a lady at the feet of Jesus. (It was probably a Mary.) She was weeping. She knew His death was imminent, and she poured out her heart upon him.  She anointed his feet with her tears, wiping them with her draping, dark hair.

I knelt at Kerri's feet.  I let my tears roll.  I watched her skin absorb each one.  I let my hair down anyway.  I looked at her toes.  The chipping, yellow paint made me sad.

We had changed her attitude toward the potential of having to move into a nursing home with the promise of a pedicure.  She was supposed to go recuperate and prepare for a liver transplant.  I had put aside the horror of looking at nursing homes for my 45-year-old sister, and turned the horror into determination to make it THE BEST place possible.  She was most excited about the salon.

But now, here we were at her deathbed.  She would never go.  She would not recuperate.  She would not get a transplant.  She would not go to the salon, and I could not change this truth.  My tears fell more intensely.

Kerri had been less and less responsive over the last few days.  What had started out as minimal became non-existent.  "Kerri, can you squeeze my fingers?" Nothing.  "Kerri, can you wiggle your toes?" Nothing.  We struggled to accept the inevitable, as we watched her body struggle to breath, and I held her feet in my hands.

I held her feet in my hands, and then, I felt her point her toe.

She pointed her toe!

I thought it must be reflex, but I spoke back with a squeeze.  She pointed.  I squeezed. She pointed.  I squeezed.  And I knew this was not reflex.  This was communication.  This was MY big sister, comforting me in her death.  And this was me responding, "I love you" and "We are going to be okay."

I arranged one last pedicure.  My love came to me with purple polish from the gift shop, and he knelt for me...and he honored my sister...and he honored me...as he painted her toenails.  My throat tightened, but my heart swelled, and my tears fell more peacefully.

My sister loved high school.  She was pretty.  She was popular.  She was involved in everything.  Those were some of her best days.  I remember being dragged along to football games and band concerts and all kinds of places I'd rather not have gone.  It is interesting...her last moments were spent with some of those same people from the old days.

I can't imagine there has ever been a death experience anything like hers.  The room was full, and we were all talking...speaking, praying... messages of love, happy thoughts, encouragement, promises.  I was taken back to the old times, out on the football field.  As the home team was announced, the fans would form a tunnel and cheer the boys through as they ran onto the field.  I held that image in my mind, and I saw that WE were that tunnel.  Here we were, cheering and encouraging Kerri through from life into eternity.  A happy thought in the midst of our sorrow.

And that last breath.  We somehow knew, in rhythm, that this one was the last...so that we had the privilege to shout one last goodbye.  "Good-bye, sister.  Good-bye.  I love you!"

And the sorrow hit like a heavy weight on my chest. Yet, there was gratitude in the midst.  There is always gratitude in the midst of pain, for to those determined to hunt.  Even in Kerri's burial...gratitude...I had the privilege, once again, to honor her feet.

When we came to view her, I wondered...and I could not let her be buried with unanswered questions in my heart.  So, I opened the casket to look at her feet.  Had they changed her toes?  They had not.  However, we were disturbed that her feet were bare.  She would NOT have wanted her feet to be bare, and even though we knew it didn't really matter...it mattered.

So, I gave her the best final gift I could give.  My special hand-knit socks.  I had made them FINE.  Small stitches (like zero's...) of Cascade Heritage Silk in K.C. Royal's blue (her favorite team).  They were precious...some of my best work.

And I had the privilege of putting them on her feet...a precious, piece of me to go with her to the grave.  She is not alone.  I am not alone.  WE are not alone.  We are united in our hearts, in our love, in the people who remain who knew her and love her and love me.  We are united in a Kingdom that is beyond this desolate, barren world, and we are united in a King who gives hope to the hopeless and healing to the broken...and I am grateful to give Kerri the best I could give, from my needles and from my heart, as I let go a piece of it.

With love, to my sister...



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Free Knitting Pattern: Cotton Dress

Materials

  • 5 US size 10 ½ double pointed needles
  • US size 10 ½ circular needles ( 24 inch)
  • 8 - 2 oz. rolls 100% cotton yarn (Shown in Peaches and Creme Pink Lemonade and Pink Lilacs)
  • Stitch markers, if desired.

Gauge

3 stitches and 4 rows per inch

Finished Measurements

14 inches wide; 24 inches long (before adding straps)

 

 

Dress Knitting Pattern

  1. Knit with two strands of yarn at once using double pointed needles. Cast on 70 stitches.
  2. Knit 22 rounds in stockinette stitch. Switch to circular needles.
  3. M1, k 35, m1, k to the end of the round.
  4. Knit 4 rounds.
  5. M1, k36, m1, k to end.
  6. Knit 4 rounds.
  7. M1, k37, m1, k to end.
  8. Knit 4 rounds.
  9. M1, k38, m1, k to end.
  10. Knit 4 rounds
  11. M1, k39, m1, k to end.
  12. Knit 4 rounds.
  13. M1, k40, m1, k to end.
  14. Knit 4 rounds,
  15. M1, k 41, m1, k to end.
  16. Knit 4 rounds.
  17. M1, k 42, m1, k to end.
  18. Knit 4 rounds.
  19. M1, k 43, m1, k to end.
  20. Knit 4 rounds.
  21. M1, k 44, m1, k to end.
  22. Knit 4 rounds.
  23. M1, k 45, m1, k to end.
  24. Knit 4 rounds.
  25. M1, k46, m1, k to end.
  26. Knit 4 rounds.
  27. M1, k47, m1, k to end.
  28. Knit 4 rounds. (96 stitches)
  29. Purl one round.
  30. Knit one round.
  31. Purl one round.
  32. Knit one round.
  33. Purl one round.
  34. Knit and bind off. Sew in loose ends.

 

Dress Straps Knitting Pattern

Using 2 double pointed needles, cast on 4 stitches. Knit 35 rows. Bind off (approximately ¼ inches long and 1 ¼ inches wide). Position straps to fit child and sew in place.

 

Knitting Pattern Abbreviations and Explanations


  • When knitting in the round, stockinette stitch is creating by simply knitting all stitches.
  • M1 = Make one stitch. Place the left hand needle under the horizontal bar between the 2 stitches (from front to back). Use the right hand needle to pick up the back side of the new stitch and knit.
  • Alternative top: The original top is knit in straight knit stitch,which gives it a curl-down effect. To create a border to match the bottom of the dress, alternate between knit and purl rows for 6 rounds: knit, purl, knit, purl, knit, purl. Then, continue using the knit stitch for 16 more rows. Begin increase at step 3. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Free Knitting Pattern - Lamb's Pride Bulky Hat and Scarf





Materials

2 skeins Lamb’s Pride Bulky (85% wool/15% mohair), shown in Blue Skyways M-230 (3 skeins total if making gloves)

5 US size 10 ½ double pointed needles

Stitch markers, if desired


Gauge

4 ½ stitches per inch; 4 rows per inch




Knit Hat Pattern

Cast on 68 stitches. Knit 30 rounds in single rib stitch. Continue knitting in single rib. Begin decreasing:
  • K7, k2tog, k6, k2tog, k7, skspk2tog, k6 skspk2tog, k7, k2tog, k6, k2tog, k7, skspk2tog, k6, skspk2tog (60 stitches)
  • *K6, k2tog, k5, k2tog* (52 stitches)
  • *K5, k2tog, k4, k2tog* (44 stitches)
  • *K4, k3tog, k3, k2tog* (36 stitches)
  • *K3, k2tog, k2, k2tog* (28 stitches)
  • *K2, k2tog, k1, k3tog* (20 stitches)
  • *K1, k2tog, k2tog* (12 stitches)
  • K2tog, knitting between needles as necessary (3 stitches)
  • K2tog until 1 stitch remains


Cut yarn and draw through the loop to secure. Sew in loose ends.


* * These signs are used to designate areas to be repeated. Repeat the stitches from * to * until the end of the round.


Scarf Knitting Pattern

Cast on 16 stitches. Complete scarf in single rib stitch. Knit for 63 inches (about 250 rows) or desired length. Bind off and sew in loose ends.


Knitting Pattern Abbreviations and Explanations

Single rib stitch: Keep the pattern in k1, p1. As you begin decreasing, you may have two knit stitches together at times to keep the pattern consistent.


SKSPK2tog: Slip the first stitch, as if to knit, onto the right hand needle. Slip the second stitch, as if to purl, onto the right hand needle. Stick the left hand needle into the front of the stitches and knit the two stitches together. This keeps the knit stitch in front to maintain the appearance of the single rib pattern.

K2tog: Knit two stitches together at one time.




Friday, November 18, 2016

Simple Little Knit Cloth: Free Knitting Pattern



I love using these small knit washcloths!  They fit right in the palm of my hand.  The cloths work great as coasters, since they absorb condensation from iced drinks.  They also make cute gift sets when tied up in a bundle.


Materials
100% cotton yarn
US size 2 needles





Small Washcloth Knitting Pattern
  1. Cast on 30 stitches.
  2. Knit in garter stitch for 6 rows.
  3. Begin knitting in stockinette stitch: Knit one row, Purl one row with a 4 stitch border on each edge (K4, purl until 4 remain, K4).
  4. Continue knitting in stockinette stitch for a total of 35 rows.
  5. Knit 6 rows in garter stitch.
  6. Bind off.

Explanations

  • Garter stitch: knit every row
  • Stockinette stitch: knit one row, purl the next, repeat
  • K = knit, P = purl 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sweetly Simple Knit Prayer Blanket


When I first found out about Sophia's conception, I knew the pregnancy was going to require a serious prayer battle. Karla, who had a history of miscarriage, was already spotting. My heart ached. I'd had four miscarriages myself, and I didn't want Karla to have to go through another one.

I knew this baby was worth the battle, but I had no idea how hard we would have to fight. When precious Sophia was finally born, her doctors discovered she had a serious heart malformation (tetralogy of fallot). She had to have open-heart surgery as a newborn, and she faced two more in her lifetime.

As she and her parents spent many weeks in the hospital, I prayed over them daily. One night, it dawned on me that I HAD to knit Sophia a blanket, and I HAD to have it done by the time she came home. I went to the knitting store and found the softest, prettiest yarn and an intensely soft backing material.
It was an overly expensive blanket...my alabaster box...and I prayed over Sophia with every stitch. It comforted me to be doing something for her. Now that blanket has become a source of comfort to this very precious baby girl. The experience bound my heart to Sophia and her family! I still feel as though I walked through that anxious time with Karla.

I was so fulfilled that I decided to make more prayer blankets. I modified the pattern a few times and have finally settled on two versions. I use the first when I want a blanket done quickly. I use the second when I need an easy project for some extended back and forth knitting.
I hope you get as much satisfaction from it as I do. Enjoy!  


Free Knitting Patterns - Baby Blanket:

Bulky Yarn Baby Blanket Pattern

Materials
US size 15, 29 inch circulars (The circulars can hold more stitches.)

6 skeins of yarn in gauge (I used Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn. It is made in the USA.)
1 yard of fleece (or other soft and heavy) fabric
 Gauge
2 stitches and 2.75 rows = 1 knitted square inch*

Measurement
Finished Knitting Size (before sewing)= 35 inch x 35 inch

Knitting Instructions
  1. Cast on 70 stitches.
  2. Knit in SS for 96 rows.
  3. Bind off on the right (knit) side.
  4. Sew in all loose ends.

Sewing Instructions
  1. Measure a 35 inch square of fabric and cut.
  2. Pin fabric and knitting with right sides together. Sew a 1/4 to 1/2 inch from edge around all four sides of the blanket (turning corners). Leave a small opening for pulling material right side out.
  3. Turn material right side out. Sew opening by hand.
  4. Sew a 1/2 inch border, pushing inside material edging to the side to create a "puffy" edge.

Worsted Weight Baby Blanket Pattern



Materials

US size 8, 29 inch circular needles
5 skeins of yarn in gauge (I used Lion Brand Vanna's Choice, but I am considering trying Impeccable, a Canadian brand.)
1 yard of fleece (or other soft and heavy) fabric

Gauge
4 stitches and 6 rows = 1 knitted square inch*


Measurement
Finished Knitting Size (before sewing)= 35 inch x 35 inch



Knitting Pattern
  1. Cast on 140 stitches.
  2. Knit in SS for 210 rows.
  3. Bind off on the right (knit) side.
  4. Sew in all loose ends.

Sewing Instructions
  1. Measure a 35 inch square of fabric and cut.
  2. Pin fabric and knitting with right sides together. Sew a 1/4 to 1/2 inch from edge around all four sides of the blanket (turning corners). Leave a small opening for pulling material right side out.
  3. Turn material right side out. Sew opening by hand.
  4. Sew a 1/2 inch border, pushing inside material edging to the side to create a "puffy" edge.

Knitting Pattern Abbreviations/Explanations
SS = Stockinette Stitch, *knit one row and purl the next* repeat from * to * until desired number of rows are completed.

*NOTE: Gauge and sizes do not have to be exact. Simply measure and cut fabric to match the size of your blanket.          

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bath Mitt and Soap Sack

Free Knitting Pattern in Scalloped Pattern


Perfect to hold your soap and hang in the shower, this scrubbie is also designed to fit on your hand. It makes a very versatile gift!






Materials

US Size 7 needles
Cotton Yarn, such as Lily Sugar and Cream



Scalloped Pattern:
P2, *s1, k2, psso*, p2.
K2, *p1, yo, p1*, k2.
P2, *k3, p2*, p2
K2, *p3, k2,* k2









Knitting Pattern
  1. Cast on 52 stitches.
  2. Repeat scalloped pattern 11 times.
  3. Knit 10 rows SS.
  4. Bind off.
  5. Make a loose crochet chain about 35 stitches (or a 10 inch i-cord). Add tassles to the ends of the tie. Weave the tie into the open spaces of the top scalloped pattern.





Abbreviations/Explanations
  1. * * - Repeat from * to * until the last two stitches.
  2. s - slip stitch knitwise (See video instruction.)
  3. psso - pass slipped stitch over (video)
  4. yo - yarn over (video)






Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Free Knitting Pattern - Checkers Board

Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver brand, or similar gauge
(Gauge on package is 17 sts and 23 rows to 4 inches with size 8 needles.)

Checkers Board Knitting Pattern:
1. Using mc, cast on 50 stitches.
2. K7 mc, k6cc, *k6 mc, k6 cc,* repeat once, k6 mc, k7 cc.
3. P7 cc, p6 mc, *p6 cc, p6 mc,* repeat once, p6 cc, p7 mc.
4. Repeat rows 2 and 3 three times.
5. Switch color positions. Knit in cc over mc and in mc over cc. Knit in SS for 4 rows.
6. Switch colors every 5th row six more times. (You will have 8 rows of squares.)
7. Bind off in blue.


Checkers Board Borders
1. With wrong side facing, pick up 49 stitches across top of work.
2. P 1 row.
3. K 5 rows.
4. Bind off.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 at the bottom of the work.
6. With wrong side facing, pick up 48 stitches on the side of work, (including 4 per edge at top and bottom borders). P 1 row. K 5 rows. Bind off.









Checkers Board Backing:
1. Cast on 50 stitches.
2. Knit in SS for 76 rows.
3. Bind off.












Finishing:
  1. Tuck in loose ends. Sew backing to the board.
  2. Find some draughts (or buttons) and play! (I used recycled game pieces for mine.)



 
Abbreviations:
k: knit
p: purl
ss: stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl the next, repeat)
mc: main color

cc: contrast color

Monday, September 19, 2016

Free Knitting Pattern: Newborn Hat

Knit Flat with Seam



I had a lovely ball of Cascade Superwash yarn just sitting in a basket with no purpose.  Fortunately, I found this lovely pattern for a newborn sweater.  Written by Kelly Brooker, the Puerperium Cardigan pattern is available for free on ravelry.

Of course, once I had completed the sweater, I realized my little guy would need a matching hat.  So, I wrote this simple pattern to be completed on straight needles (or knit flat with circulars…my favorite!).

Happy Newborn Knitting!


Materials

Yarn: 1 skein Cascade 220 Superwash Sport wool yarn (or yarn with same gauge)

Needles:  1 pair US size 5, 1 pair US size 3

Stitch Markers
Gauge: 22 sts/4 in. – SS


Newborn Hat Knitting Pattern
  1. CO 68 sts., using size 3 needles.
  2. K garter stitch 6 rows.
  3. Change to size 5 needles.  K SS until work measures 4 in., starting with a purl row.

    Begin Decrease
    :
  4. *K6, k2tog, PM, K7, k2tog, PM.* Repeat * to * across row. (Obviously, no marker needed on the last set.)
  5. P2tog, *P to marker, slip marker, p2tog.* Repeat * to * across row.
  6. *K to 2 before marker, k2tog.* Repeat * to * across row to last 2 sts., k2tog.
  7. Repeat rows 5 and 6 until 12 sts. remain.
  8. P2tog across, removing markers.
  9. K2tog across.
  10. Loop yarn through the last 3 sts to bind off.
Finishing

  1. Sew up sides.
  2. Tuck in ends.
Abbreviations/Explanations


SS: Stockinette Stitch – K one row, purl the next.  Repeat.

CO: Cast on

Garter Stitch: Knit every row.

K2tog: Knit two stitches together to decrease by one stitch.

PM: Place Marker

P2tog: Purl two stitches together to decrease by one stitch.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Free Knitting Pattern - Adult Gloves

Materials

1-2 skeins Lamb’s Pride Bulky yarn (85% wool/15% mohair), shown in Blue Skyways M-230 (3 skeins total if making the hat and scarf)
5 US size 10 ½ double pointed needles
1-3 stitch holders

Stitch Markers, if desired

Gauge

4 ½ stitches per inch; 4 rows per inch

 

Glove Knitting Pattern

(Make two alike.)
Cast on 20 stitches. Divide stitches between four needles. Knit in the rib stitch for 10 rounds.

Begin increase, using m1 option 1:
  1. M1, k10, m1, k10 (22 stitches)
  2. M1, k11, m1, k11 (24 stitches)
  3. Knit two straight rounds.
  4. M1, k12, m1, k12 (26 stitches)
  5. M1, k13, m1, k13 (28 stitches)
  6. Knit two straight rounds.
  7. M1, k14, m1, k14 (30 stitches)
  8. M1, k15, m1, k15 (32 stitches)
  9. Knit two rounds straight
  10. M1, k16, m1, k16 (34 stitches)
  11. M1, k17, m1, k13 (36 stitches)


Separate last 4 stitches of the last needle and the first 4 stitches of the first needle for the thumb. Join remaining stitches together. Knit 5 rounds. Shift all stitches onto 2 needles (or stitch holders). Separate evenly as if for the palm and top of the hand. Begin fingers, using m1 option 2 :

Pointer Finger Knitting Instructions

Work with stitches closest to thumb opening. Place 4 stitches from the front needle and 3 stitches from the back needle onto 2 separate working needles. Use third needle to knit. K4, M1, K3 (8 stitches). Knit 12 more rounds in pattern.
Cast off by either removing stitches from the needle and lacing yarn through the middle of each stitch.

Middle Finger Knitting Pattern

Place 3 stitches from the front needle and 4 stitches from the back needle onto 2 separate working needles. Pick up one stitch in the side of the pointer finger (to close the gap). Knit remaining stitches in pattern (8 stitches). Knit 12 more rounds. Cast off as directed above.

Ring Finger Knitting Pattern

Place 4 stitches from the front needle and 3 stitches from the back needle onto 2 separate working needles. K4, m1, k3 (8 stitches). Knit 12 more rounds in pattern. Cast off as directed above.

Pinky Knitting Pattern

Use remaining stitches. Pick up 1 stitch from the side of the ring finger, k3, k4 (8 stitches). Knit 8 more rounds. Cast off as directed above.

Thumb Knitting Pattern

Place stitches from the stitch holder onto 2 separate working needles. Pick up 2 stitches from the side of the glove, knit around in pattern (10 stitches). Knit 9 more rounds. Cast off as directed above.

Finishing

Sew in all loose ends. Sew together the opening between the middle and ring fingers.

Abbreviations and Explanations for Knitting Gloves

K: Though k generally refers to knit, in this pattern it represents both knit and purl stitches. Knit the knit stitches. Purl the purl stitches.
M1: Make one. This pattern uses two methods for increasing.

  • Option 1: Place the left hand needle under the horizontal bar between the 2 stitches (from front to back). Use the right hand needle to pick up the back side of the new stitch and knit. Option 1 is used on the hand of the glove.
  • Option 2: Increase into the stitch on the back needle. Knit as normal, but do not drop the stitch. Instead, knit the back of the stitch, as well. Then, drop the stitch as usual. There should be two new stitches on the right needle instead of one. Option 2 is used on the fingers of the glove.

Free Knitting Pattern - Leg Warmers


I designed and knit these leg warmers with a vintage yarn. Be sure to choose a yarn and needle size that matches gauge. DK weight on US 5-7 needles or Sport Weight on US 3-5 needles should work.

Guage: 6 stitches and 10 rows per inch
Yarn: One skein each of three colors.
Abbreviations/Explanations
M1: Make one stitch.
SS: Stockinette Stitch (*knit one row, purl the next,* repeat).
Rib: Knit one stitch. Purl one stitch. Repeat across the row. (Purl one, knit one across the back of the work.)

Leg Warmers Knitting Pattern (make two)
  1. CO 56 stitches.
  2. K in rib for 14 rows.
  3. Next row: Knit 14, m1,k28, m1, k14.
  4. Knit 11 rows in SS (starting wi th a purl row, since you just knit a row).
  5. K14, m1, k29, m1, k15.
  6. Continue increasing every 12th row, following the succession below:
    K15, m1, k30, m1, k15.
    K15, m1, k31, m1, k16.
    K16, m1, k32, m1, k16.
    K16, m1, k33, m1, k17
    K17, m1, k34, m1, k17
    K17, m1, k35, m1, k18
    K18, m1, k36, m1, k18
    K18, m1, k37, m1, k19
  7. Knit 14 rows in rib.
  8. Bind off.
  9. Sew sides together.