01 August 2013

Charity Knitting for July 2013

So much for my intention to write the blog more regularly!  I have two reasons:  One, I have been involved in a summer Shakespeare in the Park production of "The Winter's Tale" which has taken up almost all my time not working.  Nightly rehearsals on weeknights and all day Saturday, plus Sunday during hell tech week.  But it has been a lot of fun, the people are great to work with (and on some levels less crazy than theatre people often are) and we're into the second weekend of performance so it's fairly smooth.  Of course, weather does interesting things to the production, but unlike most "in the park" productions we have an indoor alternative and even rehearse a "rain transition" in case we have to change mid-show due to a change in weather.

I did make it known that I knit, and do so during rehearsals and performances (since I am the Stage Manager and therefore am backstage - or more accurately, since we have no backstage, back-of-audience) as a way of keeping focused.  It works well enough for me.  I do have to maintain plain work, for the most part, or anything my hands can autopilot.  So with two organizations sending out calls for items to be delivered in July, I was able to create the following items.  For Afghans for Afghans, three wool sweaters:
The pink one (which has appeared on the blog before) is Bernat Felting Roving in the easy-peasy Steppe Sweater pattern, about 26" around; the one at right is a multicoloured wool called "Icelandic" which I knit in a basic Icelandic-sweater-style pattern and came out about 31" around (and actually had been knit sometime in the past and was all-but-finished in the stash); and the one on the left (32" around) I made with yarn from my trip to Argentina a few years ago. 
The organizer of A4A, Ann, went to Buenos Aires a year later and I told her where I had gotten yarn.  At the time, I thought I would use this green for a sweater for them, and originally intended to use it as trim with a multi, but that yarn wasn't cooperative.  Then I had a hurtful experience when I sent these sweaters in 2011:
I ran out of yarn with the one at top left so sent it as a cap-sleeved vest (they accepted vests for that campaign) and I was told it was going to be thrown away because the volunteers didn't think it qualified!  I was also told the one at the top right had sleeves too short (I tried it on and they reached my wrist) so it would be thrown away also - and it was alpaca!  After that, I decided they were nasty ungrateful and unkind people and there was no reason to waste my knitting time with them.

That is when I joined the Mittens for Akkol knitters, who are warm and friendly and a very fine group.  I've been happy to knit for them for the last couple of years.

But the green yarn nagged at me, so when I heard about the girls sweater campaign this summer I thought I would overcome my bad feelings and send sweaters.  Besides, I had that pink one going and then found the other, which I think had been intended for a previous M4A campaign and not gotten done in time.  The three together just fit into a Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate box, which turned out to be cheaper to send than even surface mail!  So off they went.

And the Steppe Sweater pattern, being mostly plain knitting in the round until the armholes, is perfect for autopilot knitting during rehearsals.  Things got a little fiddly because I realized I didn't have enough for a whole sweater, so I added the multi - Patons Kroy Sock in Spring Fields, five strands held together.  I think it gives a nice, bright touch that some girl should enjoy:
I ended up knitting the sleeves from two ends of the green yarn after it became clear I didn't have enough to make both sleeves all green, so the green ended at the same place on the sleeve, and then finishing with the multi.
At the same time, when it was really hot or when I needed something small (the downside of knitting sweaters of a piece, which is great because finishing is minimal, is that they get big and HOT to carry around and knit) I made caps for PatPat's Hats, which gives hats to oncology hospitals and other places to distribute to children (and some adults) who have lost their hair to cancer treatments.  I forget how I found out about them but they are in Connecticut and hats are easy to make!
Earlier this summer they sent out a call for hats kids could wear at Camp Rising Sun, which is a free camp for children who have been diagnosed with cancer, which has been providing kids with camping experiences for thirty years.  These hats needed to be cotton or thin yarns, because it is summer, so I focused on those.  I had just gotten some frozen yoghurt pops and thought it would be fun to mail the hats in that box, so my goal was to make enough to fill the box:
Most are cotton, a few are not, such as these three of Bernat Baby Jacquards (and I still have some of that ball left, but I didn't want to make too many alike) and the two of an oddball of Fiesta yarn that I thought an older boy might like because of the colours:
Although it is easier for me to autopilot knitting, crocheting is faster and a nice change of pace, so two of the caps (one of the "pink lemonade" ones and one in Brown Sheep Cotton Fine) are crocheted:
I got seven hats out of six balls of Sugar 'n' Cream that I had in my stash waiting for a use.  I wanted them to be as different as possible from each other, even the ones where I used a similar pattern, and I think I came up with a nice variety:

I made three in ribbing patterns to stretch over different sizes of heads.  It makes a difference when a child has no hair, or a little hair, and different types of hair.  All striped, because plain hats are dull: 

These are my three favourites of the bunch.  Two are in a short-rows pattern from KnitPicks that I often use when making hats, and the third is just a plain hat with stripes.  It was the last hat I made, and I was integrating the yarns I had left.
So with all the charity knitting done, am I working on something for myself?  No, all the projects I have queued for me require concentration (at least to begin) and the next weekend of performances is beginning, so I am doing another Steppe Sweater for Mittens for Akkol (getting a jump on next spring!) until the weekend, when I will have time to set up a new project.  I did finish two shawls for myself earlier this summer, but they will have to wait for another post to be reported.

1 comment:

Alison said...

Wow. And wow. Look at all that!

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