Free Patterns

Welcome. if you are here looking for free patterns you will find them listed in a menu on the right of this page. You may have to scroll down. Click on what interests you. A page will come up with the pattern. Click on "File" in the upper left hand corner. Then click on "download original". If you like what you see click on "save a copy " in the floating toolbar at the bottom of the page. I hope the pattern makes up for these extra steps. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

WWII Home Front

During WWII those of us at home had our trials, minor though they were. Gas was rationed during the war. Sugar was also rationed, but you could get more if you were canning. Tires were a big problem as rubber was needed for the tires of military vehicles. A bald tire with an inner tube patched over and over was a badge of honor. Meat was not always available. However, if you were a regular customer at your local market, when the butcher got a delivery of something good he would put back something. When you came in he took you to one side and let you know he had a nice roast or chops for you. Other things were rationed as well, and every family had a ration book.

Not only were women knitting for the war effort as I touched on in another post, but everyone was encouraged to have a "Victory Garden." The idea was it would enable you to feed your family well without taking from the enormous supply of goods needed by our troops. Everyone was encouraged to buy War Bonds. At our school we could buy saving stamps. they cost a quarter and you glued them in a book, and when the book was full you could turn it in for a $25.00 War Bond. There were scrap drives when everyone turned in things that could be recycled and used for the war effort. The tin foil that lined the inside of a pack of cigarettes was on the list, and I remember empty toothpaste tubes were also. I haven't a clue why.

Since then we as a nation have grown up. We've lost our innocence, but at the time we were filled with the fervor of the righteous and full of idealism, and pride, worked towards a common goal, the end of the war.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Dreaded Swatch

We've found the perfect yarn, the needles are ready, and all we want to do is start on that pattern we love so much. Lurking in the back of our minds,however, is that nagging thought, "To swatch or not to swatch." We know we should, but it takes so long and is tedious. We decide to be good and make that swatch. Doesn't come to gauge. We try again, casting on and knitting with a smaller needle. Still not gauge. There is an easier way.

Start with a needle one or two sizes smaller than the needle called for. Cast on the required number of stitches. On the second row use YO, K 2 tog to make a number of holes equal to the size needle you are currently using. That is if you are knitting with a size 4, you will have 4 holes. Knit the required number of inches. Change to the next size needle and repeat. Don't forget the holes. Go on in this way until you are using a needle one or two sizes bigger than those called for. Bind off. Lay your swatch down to relax overnight. You may even wish to wash it. Then start measuring. You have all your information right there. Number of stitches, number of rows and needle size.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Knitting for the Troops

Despite what one may think about the war, I am sure we all want to support our young men and women in the service. There are several organizations sending donated items to our soldiers overseas. I am currently knitting helmet liners for Packages from Home. The liners are sent to Afghanistan where the winters are very cold. If knitting wool helmet liners is not your thing there are many other suggestions on their website including purchased items for which the soldiers have asked. It seems in the rural villages and mountains of Afghanistan there is no place to buy the most basic items such as soap. I like Packages from Home, but there are many such groups from which to choose if you wish to help. You will find their link at the left under Charity Links.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sophie's Cozies

Danni Holland is a member of Ravelry and has a four year old daughter, Sophie. Sophie became aware of sick children in the hospital and wanted to do something to help. She and her mom decided to make and donate small blankets the children could cuddle and hang on to when the hospital got scary. Danni posted the information on a Ravelry forum and asked if others wished to help. The response has been tremendous. Now Sophie has a website for all those who are not Ravelry members but wish to contribute a bit of their time to make a blanket for Sohie's Cozies. The link to the website is on the left of this page under Charity Links. Take a look.

Peanut Men

Before TV, electronic gadgets, computers and video games, kids made up their own games and with the help of an adult who could come up with string, bits of wood or whatever was needed, often made their own toys.

My grandfather was the CEO of a coffee company. The company had a fleet of delivery trucks that came into the plant through a big door that opened on to the street. Just inside that door was a large metal trash can full of roasted peanuts in the shell. Everyone that came into the plant helped themselves to peanuts. Even casual passers by on the street would step inside and get a handful of peanuts. Every now and then my grandfather would fill a brown paper bag with these peanuts and bring them home. Of course, if there were peanuts in the house there had to be peanut men. He made peanut men by pushing a small wire through the shells of the peanuts, stringing them together like stick men. .Because they were strung on wire, the peanut men could be posed in different positions. They were also almost indestructible. As circus acrobats they could fly through the air and take long falls to the floor without breaking. As super heroes they could fight the bad guys without getting hurt. They could even float, at least for a little while. Eventually, however, a peanut man would get a long break in one of his shells. Well, when that happened there was just one thing to do, smash him and eat the peanuts.

My grandfather also made walnut boats for us. He would take half a walnut shell and put a drop of wax from a candle in the bottom of the shell. While the wax was still soft he stuck the end of a used matchstick into it. That made the mast for a sail. The sail was cut out of paper and glued to the mast. In the bathtub blowing gently on the sail would make the walnut boat sail across the tub.

After it rained the gutter in front of our house would have a torrent of water running rapidly down the street to the storm drain. That is when walnut boats were the most fun. You were supposed to start your boat at the top of the gutter. It would race down the street, bobbing and twirling in the rapidly moving water. Of course, you had to run along side and catch it before it went down the drain, and you lost your boat. When you pulled your boat from the water you took it back to the starting point and let it race down again and again and again. Eventually the boat was lost or was filled with water and sank or you were so wet your mother made you come inside to get dry and warm.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Knitting Tips

Too hot to knit wool helmet liners. How about a knitting tip or two I learned the hard way.
Problem:A couple of years ago you knit a lovely sweater which has now been snagged and has a hole. You haven't a clue where to get matching yarn to fix it.
Tip: When you make a sweater wind off a long length of the yarn and weave it into a side seam. If needed it will be the same age as the sweater and match perfectly.
Problem:You have had to rip out several rows and now must put the stitches back on a needle. However, each stitch you pick up causes the stitches next to it to get tighter until you begin to have dropped stitches.
Tip:Use a smaller size needle to pick up the stitches. If you knit them with a 6, pick them up with a 4. Go back to a 6 when you begin knitting again.
Problem:You have had to join yarn in the middler of a piece. Without a seam to hide the ends, what do you do?
Tip:Thread a darning needle with an end and work it through the stitches on the wrong side. Split each stitch as you go through it. Go up from the join about 2 inches then turn and go down for about 1 and 1/2 inch making a "fishhook". Do the same with the other end but work in the opposite direction from the first. This cannot be seen from the right side and will not come loose.
Problem:We all hate to swatch. We all also tend to use a lot of the same yarns over and over. We are alway going to remember the gauge but seldom do.
Tip: Keep a notebook. List the yarns you use most often, needle size, gauge and any other pertinent information. As for those swatches, start an afghan.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Learning to Knit

I was knitting a helmet liner for our troops in Afghanistan when it struck me my life as a knitter had come full circle. During WWII there was a drive by the Red Cross to get volunteers to knit for our troops. Even before our entry into the war we were asked to knit for the refugees in Europe. I was in grammar school but even at that tender age it was thought we could all contribute. One day a Red Cross lady came to our class and told us about the plight of refugees. We were asked to bring a skein of yarn and needles, I don't remember what size, to class where we would be taught to knit. On the appointed day there were several ladies there to help as the secrets of knitting a garter stitch square were explained. The Red Cross ladies would sew them together to make blankets. We learned to cast on and then were told to cast on so many stitches and knit so many rows and bind off. It was hard work, especially for the poor ladies who spent their time picking up dropped stitches, giving hands on instruction and soothing ruffled feelings. After several knitting sessions we each completed several squares, and the Red Cross ladies took them, thanking us for our contribution to the war effort Years later I realized there had never been any mention of gauge, and I thought of the hours of effort and the frustration of all those ladies trying to sew those mismatched squares together. I bet more than one muttered a few words inappropriate for use by Red Cross ladies.