Five of us gathered in the “Bride’s Lounge” for our first monthly “Knit & Knosh” meeting (Elizabeth, Gail, Wendy, and Leslie). We had a chance to look over Leslie’s collection of (mostly) kids’ knits samples, discussed the range of projects we might pursue individually or as a group and the materials required by the various projects. Casting-on was the technique of the evening: we shared experience and reviewed long-tail cast-on and German twisted cable cast-on (also called Old Norwegian cast-on – Leslie’s new favorite for ribbing and edges) technques.  For the absent-minded, there are links to video instruction for these cast-on techniques here. Who knew there were so many ways to start a project?

Having seen Leslie’s examples of the Swedish Sweet Baby Cap, two little caps were started on the spot! Worked in the round on circular needles, this pattern will require learning

  • tbl – knitting through the back loop (of a stitch)
  • M1 – increasing either by ladder-lift or yarn over, then knitting through the back loop to twist the st (and eliminate holes)
  • slip 2, k1, psso – a double decrease

If you want to make this cap with us, start it according to the direction above (click on the name of the cap to go to the pattern) and bring it to the next meeting with the garter border completed (remember, you’ll be working in the round, only looking at the right side of the knitting. To garter knit this way, you’ll have to alternate rows: 1 row of knit stitches, next row purl stitches).

There was also some interest in learning to make socks. We agreed to try the quick baby sock pattern provided by the Afghans for Afghans project. If you want to make these with us, try to do the cuff ribbing on a set of double point needles ahead of time (check the pattern) – we’ll be learning to turn heels when we meet next.

Again, here’s our schedule for the next few months:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008 2008, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008, 7:30-9:00 p.m.

We’re on the map!

As a result of our contribution to the Afghans for Afghans collection for Kabul’s CURE Hospital for Children, we’ve made it onto the project’s volunteer map. Look for our banner here.

Many of us are looking forward to our first “Knit & Knosh” this week. If you have time, check the Afghans for Afghans website, which describes items still needed for this project: baby hat, socks, and blankets are especially needed, and links to simple patterns and guidelines for materials are all provided. If you have any skill with double point needles, try the baby sock pattern they’ve provided, which calls for scraps of worsted wool (not acrylic) and size 7 double point needles. Not a sock knitter yet? Bring a set of size 7 double point needles to the meeting on Wednesday for a lesson with Leslie or Elizabeth! We’ll have you knitting sock-lets in no time.

Looking for more patterns? Visual encouragement? Check the Afghans for Afghans Knit-and-Crochet-along (KAL) site, which has more than enough patterns and examples to keep our fingers flying. (Like the sweet colorwork earflap cap? You’ll find the pattern here, and a description of the cap in this image at the KAL site.)

Afghans for Afghans is a great group with a long history among knitters and crocheters here and abroad, and R.S. needlesmiths have begun to create a place in this special community.

Calling all R.S. knitters and crocheters! In addition to our informal get-togethers during Confirmation Academy Sunday mornings, the R.S. Tikkun Knitters will be gathering for “Knit and Knosh” evening meetings once a month until the summer.  Bring along your current projects, materials to start new ones or share, finished items to donate, or questions and ideas.  Beginners are always welcome – we always have basic materials to learn with.  Bring along a friend or two as well, Jewish or not, R.S. member or not … we are an “equal-opportunity” needlework and tikkun community!

Our planned schedule:
Wednesday, February 20, 2008, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008 2008, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008, 7:30-9:00 p.m.

We’ll spend our time together in the 2nd Floor Parents Lounge (next to Rabbi Wice’s study) until we outgrow the space, kvelling (or kvetching?), sharing stories, recipes, patterns and ideas.

We look forward to having you join us!

For your planning, Leslie will also be available to answer knitting questions on these Wednesdays as well as the following Sunday mornings:

February 10th & 24th, March 9th, April 6th & 27th, May 4th & 18th

The R.S. Tikkun Knitters are making slow and steady progress. In addtition to the hats Nathalie and Leslie made for the CURE Hospital in Kabul Afghanistan, a second batch of knitted items have been delivered to a collection for the remarkable Women Against Abuse organization in Philadelphia. The donation included a pair of soft Lion Brand “suede” scarves dropped into the basket, a hat and scarf made by Muriel K., a number of hats and infant booties made by Leslie.

We are very pleased to have been able to contribute in this small way to the comfort of our neighbors during these winter months.

Coming soon:

News of a monthly evening “Knit and Knosh” gathering of knitters at Rodeph Shalom. Stay tuned!

Nathalie and I have been busy making small hats for the latest Afghans for Afghans campaign. Our little caps for newborns will join hundreds to be sent on their way to the CURE Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. Nathalie made three sweet striped hats from a single skein of Paton’s Classic Wool. I’ve been using bits and pieces from my collection; this is a Snail Hat made of soft, soft merino, from a women’s cooperative in Uruguay (available at handpaintedyarn.com).

What’s next? We could continue to work on these little caps (a skein of wool makes a couple of simple ribbed hats). Or, we could try something new. If you are interested in trying booties, there’s a group collecting wool booties (knit or crochet) for Native Americans who live at the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota. If you think it’s been cold here in Philadelphia, it’s just as cold out there. And there are many small pairs of feet needing to be warmed. You can find more information about the Native American Support campaign here. They are collecting woolen slippers, socks, tights, shoes, boots, booties, and afghan squares (9″). We can work together and send along a box of booties as a group, or work independently. I have made these little boots to send along, and plan to make others. I’ll also send along the remaining afghan squares Amy G. collected last year for Katrina relief blankets.

Here’s a list of patterns for very simple knitted infant booties:

For more ideas, concerns, or information, contact Leslie (leave a comment below, or email her here: tikkunknits (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Our First Project

Calling R.S. knitters and crocheters!

The RS TikkunKnitters announced the Afghans for Afghans Campaign for Newborns as a possible first project during the Religious School service this morning.

We welcome Nathalie S., Gloris D., Abbe H., Susan K., Donna G. and Elizabeth G. to our ranks, and look forward to working together to knit and crochet newborn hats, socks and blankets for the CURE Hospital in Kabul. More information about the project can be found on the AfA website (click here).

The AfA project for newborns needs the following:

  • knit baby hats (head circumference of 10″ – 15″; caps need to cover ears; ear flaps and under-chin ties are acceptable; hats need some stretch for comfort over forehead)
  • knit baby socks (foot length of 2.5″ – 3.5″; proper socks with heels; no booties or slippers, please; for knitters only)
  • crochet or knit baby blankets (minimum 40″ x 30″; they’d love if crocheters could focus on blankets, as crochet goes faster and is thicker generally; think dense, not lacy stitches)

Remember friends: the AfA Campaigns needs garments and blankets made from 100% wool, not acrylic or blends. Whatever pattern you choose to use, be sure to substitute wool for acrylic. If you have questions, contact us at the email below.

Since the AfA project does not provide patterns, we have provided links here to some of them online for R.S. participants. Many of us only know how to knit with straight needles, but others can knit with sets of (4-5) double-pointed needles, or circular needles, which are called for by many patterns (especially sock and hat patterns for little ones). Here is a link to an online tutorial on using double-point needles, if you want to try them (click here). Leslie is often available for lessons at R.S. on Sunday mornings, but contact her at the email below to be sure you get a lesson.

Just click on the following links to find simple patterns for

  • infant hats (here, here, here or here)
    • patterns for basic 2-needle hats here (these download to your computer) – one plain, one ribbed (at right)
    • a simple pattern for a garter stitch hat and blanket here (picture below)
    • simple patterns for hats made on ordinary, straight knitting needles (here or here)
    • plenty of other patterns are available here, here, and here.
  • infant socks
    • patterns for knitters who like ordinary, straight needles are here or here, and a simple tube pattern here
    • if you can knit in the round on sets of shorter, double-pointed needles, try these patterns (here, here, here, here, or here, here)
    • and there are plenty more patterns to check out here or here
  • baby blankets: almost anything will do if it’s the right size and made out of wool. But if you want some ideas, have a look here, and also try the collection of patterns listed here (scroll down to the section on blankets).

When you finish your contributions, just leave them in the R.S. Tikkun Knitters hamper in the 2nd floor lounge at R. S. Metropolitan (across from Rabbi Maderer’s office).

Have questions or concerns? Feel free to contact Leslie at: tikkunknits (dot) yahoo (dot) com.

The RS TikkunKnitters are up and running. We have a banner and collection of Peace Fleece yarns and needles to start us off.

Our hamper of ongoing projects made its first appearance in the Teller Auditorium during Mitzvah Mania Day today, and is now comfortably residing in its home in the second floor lounge. A class of 7-8 year olds from the religious school helped to wind hanks of Peace Fleece Baghdad Blue yarn for the adults to knit with – the yarn swift and skein winder were an special hit with the boys!