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.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas

All the gifts are wrapped and ready for Christmas Day. Those for out of state delivery have been mailed, and those for giving here at home are ready for their spot under the tree.

Although our family is now spread out from coast to coast, and we can no longer be assured that everyone will be at the table Christmas Day, we hold each other in our hearts, as I hold all of you in my heart this Christmas season. Have a wonderful Christmas surrounded by joy and love.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Candy

Christmas is the time we bake and make all kinds of goodies for family and friends. Many of us are pressed for time, however, Well here is the easiest candy recipe you will find. A friend from my days as a Girl Scout leader gave it to me and it has been a holiday mainstay ever since.

Potato Fondant

Ingredients: 1 small Russet potato
3 cups confectioner's sugar. You may need more as much depends on the size of the potato.
1 tsp. vanilla

Peel, boil and mash potato. While it is still warm begin to add confectioners sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla. Wrap fondant in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to firm. Fondant should be firm enough it will hold it's shape when formed into balls. If it is too soft all is not lost. Just put some confectioner's sugar on your board and knead it into the fondant until you get a consistency that you like.

Now you can make little balls and roll in chopped nuts or coconut. You can use it to stuff dates. My family favorite was p-nut butter fondant. Working with half the fondant at a time, roll out your fondant to a sheet about 1/4 inch thick. To keep it from sticking cover your board and pin with confectioner's sugar.Cover the sheet with p-nut butter. Roll up like a jelly roll and cut into pieces. With any candy you make it is a good idea to let the pieces sit out on a clean towel to dry for about an hour.

It has been my experience that if you are giving this to neighbors or taking some to work it is a good idea to have the recipe typed up on a few cards because someone will want it. Enjoy.

Package Returned

Well, that is what one gets when one has smugly announced to the world their Christmas mailing has been done. Today one of the packages was returned. It apparently had been stomped on and the address label was gone. Sigh---. I repacked it in a new box. All the contents were there and intact. Then I readdressed it, and my husband will make yet another trip to the post office, not his favorite thing to do. I have never had this happen before and have no idea what went wrong. The recipients should still get it before Christmas. With the blizzard back east I wonder how much is getting through. Well, no problem. I know Santa can make it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Packages

The Christmas boxes are in the mail and on their way. Didn't think to take a picture of the pile of knit goodies that were sent, but almost everyone got a knitted gift.

I have such a large family I long ago established a routine I have followed through the years. I never stop knitting for Christmas. Everytime I see a pattern I know someone would like, or I am asked by someone if I can make a specific item or when I simply become aware of a fashion trend I know the young people will want, I make it. I have a plastic storage bin into which each item goes when finished. As Christmas approaches I sort everything, wrap and for those in other states pack and mail. I don't know if this system would work for others, but by preparing all year I am no longer rushing around at the last minute with that sinking feeling that someone has been overlooked.

Of course there is one draw back. Items left out where visiting family members can see them often end going home with someone.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fall Color Tour

Yesterday my husband insisted I go to the front door and take the "fall color tour". Many of you may live in one of those areas that becomes a mass of brilliant red and yellow each year as the leaves turn color in autumn.

Here is our example. Okay, so it lacks a bit in dramatic impact. but are the red and gold leaves in the East highlighted by a background of palm trees? I think not. And you can look at our autumn splendor wearing a T shirt. It is seventy three degrees outside.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7

As some of you may all ready know I am a survivor of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. For those history buffs among you, my personal account of the bombing is here in three parts. Scroll down to start at the beginning.

I referred to myself as a survivor, but don't really think of myself that way. I think of the survivors as all the sailors, marines and soldiers who rushed to their duty stations and tried so valiantly to fight back without the resources to do so. How does one shoot down an enemy plane with a hand gun? My father broke open a locker that contained machine guns, and the men with him set them up, but a machine gun is a poor weapon against an enemy plane overhead.

Let us hope that someday human beings will learn to settle their problems without war. The cost is too high.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Free and Almost Free

As we approach Christmas we are being deluged with ads on TV. It brought to mind the devices used by manufacturers of the past. There was a time when radio ads and the print media were all that was available to the makers of different products. So what to do? Well, many turned to free giveaways to convince the buyer to try the product.

Children were a prime target. All the major cereal makers had shows on the radio that came on just about the time you got home from school. It was a ritual with most of us. You came home, put up your stuff, got your "after school snack" and lay on the floor facing the radio, although, of course, there was nothing to see. You listened to the Lone Ranger, or Captain Midnight or Little Orphan Annie or whatever was on in your area. All the shows had some kind of promotion. For example: Those like Captain Midnight had membetship cards and decoder rings. Little Orphan Annie who was sponsored by Ovaltine had an Ovaltine mug with a picture of Annie on it. All these wonders were free. One only had to send in a label or boxtop from the product and 25 cents for shipping and handling.

It is hard to imagine the eagerness with which we waited for our free gift, The anticipation was almost overwhelming. Every day parents all over the country were being badgered by a child waiting for that decoder ring or other prize. "Is it here yet? Is it here yet?"

Then the big day. You got home from school, and your Mom handed you a package with your name on it. You immediately rushed to your room, tore open the box and there it was, an official looking membership card and joy of joys, your decoder ring. After listening to the program that afternoon you carerfully took down the "secret message". You went to a private place, because, of course, it was secret , and non members could not know what the message was., For those of you who have seen Christmas Story that is exactly how it was. The secret message was a plug for the product or a simple admonition on some moral issue like "Captain Midnight's friends never tell a lie."

Grown ups were not left out of this bonanza. Those that made dish or laundry soap, and it was soap, not detergent, often included something like a free dish towel in the box. You could send away for a piece of Fiesta Ware or a free, framed print to hang on your wall, to name a few.

As a child I had my membershio card and decoder ring, an Orphan Annie Ovaltine mug, a wonderful circus you cut out of heavy paper and put together with tabs and slots offered by Rice Krispies and a flashlight. The flash light was a tube made of heavy, textured cardboard and painted blue. It had a bulb at the front covered by a piece of glass and a circle of cardboard at the other end. No switch. To turn it on you simply pushed on the cardboard covering the back end which pushed the battery up where it came in contact with the bulb and like magic, a beam of light. I can not tell you how many hours I spent in the yard after dark using my flashlight or how often I read by flashlight at night when I was supposed to be sleeping. I don't remember who offered this gem, but I remember it with great fondness.

It may be hard to understand in today's world the excitement that one of these promotional gifts produced in the child fortunate enough to get one. It was more than a toy. It was a ticket to a world of imagination where you could be a super hero, a circus performer, or anything you could dream.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Making Toys from Household Items

I was a child of the Great Depression. We had purchased toys but we made or had made for us toys that were simply put together from things around the home. It didn't have as much to do with saving money as it did with the culture of the time. We were not so far removed from our pioneer ancestry and doing for oneself was ingrained in us.

The pound loaf of Kraft cheese used to come in a wood box. A couple of empty cheese boxes could be turned into a two story doll house. A little glue held the two boxes together , one atop the other. You then cut and folded heavy paper accordian fashion to make stairs from one floor to another. Cardboard cut into the right size made walls separating each box into two or three rooms. Empty wood spools could be turned into furniture. I cord was made on a spool knitter, coiled and sewn to make a rug. You were only limited by your imagination.

Food was canned in tin cans, not aluminum which crushes so easily. With two empty cans you had a toy. You punched two holes in the top of each can. The holes were opposite each other. You cut two pieces of clothes line each about 4 feet long, ran one piece through the holes in each can and tied the ends in a knot. Each can now had a loop of rope attached to it. Then you could stand with one foot on each can and holding on to the rope walk on your newly made stilts.

Cigar boxes were a big prize. When enpty they could hold all your secret treasures.

A large button made a great toy. You cut a piece of heavy string about two yards long. Size would depend on the size of the child. Put the ends through the two button holes and tie them in a knot. Now you have two loops each eighteen inches long and a large button hanging in the middle. You start twirling the button winding up the string until the string is tightly wound. Then you pull both loops at once. The string unwinds and rewinds spinning the button and making a very satisfactory whirring noise.

Girls were encouraged to do those things that supposedly taught the skills one would need when keeping house. We made doll clothes, baked using toy baking sets and had tea parties. Boys were encouraged to use hammer and nails, and one of the toys every boy made, and I hated, was a rubber band gun. All you needed was a piece of wood onto which you affixed a spring clothes pin, and a rubber band. You put one end of the rubber band on the end of the wood "barrel" of your gun , stretched it tight and put the other end into the clothes pin. Then you pressed on the clothes pin, it opened, and the rubber band went flying. Girls were always being chased by any boy in the neighborhood with a rubber band gun.

I don't suppose you could make any one of these toys now. Of course the wood boxes are no more, but I suspect even clothes line, clothes pins and button boxes are rare in todays homes. However, if you can make a button whizzer for a young child in your family, I bet they will think you're a genius.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Pattern

I finally finished Beth, a doll about 12 inches tall. She comes with a wardrobe of panties, skirt, top, pants, playsuit and hairtie.

This is kind of an experiment. For years I have heard the discussions about knitting toys in the round as opposed to knitting them flat and seaming. One of the reasons knitters give for not making toys is having to do all that sewing. However, it has been my experience that patterns knit flat sell much better than patterns knit in the round. For Beth I wrote the pattern in two versions, Beth 1 in the round and Beth 2 knit flat. I am curious to see which gets the most interest.

For those who want to take a better look Beth is listed as a download on Ravelry or at my Etsy shop. (You will find the links in the menu to your right.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Time For a Change

After starting this blog I always wanted to have a design that didn't crowd the text so much. Found some new templates and decided to go for it. I think this color scheme is easier to read as well, a big point with those of us that are getting older. All the old stuff is here just in a little different format.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Tutorial

Just thought I would point out I have listed a new tutorial. It explains how to do fur stitch. This is a great way to make doll wigs, animal fur, fur collars on doll clothes, and more. Loops can be made any size and will not pull out even in the hands of the most determined child. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More Socks

I have written several times about socks. I have been making them for years in the traditional manner with heel flap, gusset and closing the toe with the kitchner stitch. No new fangled techniques for me. Recently, however, I have been asked to make socks for charity. I was sure there must be a way to do this that took less time and used less yarn than my old tried and true method. I began to look into the toe up version with the short row heel. I made a sock using this method and immediately fell in love. No wraps, no holes, hooray! How easy and how quick. For those that have been making socks using the toe up technique this is nothing new, and you are probably wondering what the big deal is. For me, however, it was a revelation.

At the top of this post is that first sock. (No one sock syndrome. I almost have the second sock finished.) Here is a picture of the heel.

As you can see, no holes or bulkiness. You will find a video on how to do this here Here is a picture of the toe. You can find the directions for the cast on and toe here There are several methods explained, but I used easy toe.
For the sock that is pictured I used Lion Brand Woolease and size 6 needles. I knit very tight so that made a nice thick, warm sock. When knitting for charity I always use a yarn that is machine washable as one never knows how devoted the wearer is to hand washing.

I hope this encourages those of you who have not tried this to give it a try. And oh, the short row heel is the same in both directions so can be used with a cuff down pattern as well.

Monday, October 11, 2010


It has been awhile since I posted anything. My intentions were good, but I got distracted I have been making socks for a Buddhist Monastery. Really, I am not kidding. There is a Zen Monastery in the Catskills in New York. The monks receive a stipend sufficient to cover their personal needs, but it is hard to find commercially made wool socks. They all wear sandals as they must remove their shoes when entering the sanctuary so warm, comfortable socks are a big deal. Since I have no idea of the size of anyone's feet, I am making tube socks. I use a fine gauge sock loom. While you can make ribbing on a loom I prefer to pick up the cast on stitches and knit the ribbing with DP's after the sock is off the loom. I find using a loom much faster then using DP's and far easier on my hands.

Then, of course, there is Christmas coming up. Every year for the last few years I have sworn I would not make a bunch of stuff for Christmas. Well, I am sure the reader knows how that goes. You see a pattern and know someone on your list would love it, and you are off and running. Haven't made anything for myself in years, and I am not the only one. Why is that? We are always knitting for family and friends while that pattern we loved and planned to make for ourselves sits ignored and the yarn we bought to make it is now a beautiful sweater in our daughter's wardrobe.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Miss Marks

I was introduced to crafts by my third grade teacher, Miss Marks. A sign of the times, I went all the way through school and never had a woman teacher that was married. They were all spinster ladies who seemingly dedicated every waking moment to their students, Miss Marks was typical. A bit past middle age, dark hair cut into a bob, with the faint shadow of hair on her upper lip as so often happens to post menapausal women. Her well corseted body was always covered by a black dress, of which she seemed to have an endless supply, and, of course, sensible shoes.

Miss Marks had a project for every phase of our learning. When we studied the American Indian, she brought in frame looms as well as raffia and reed for baskets. One had their choice of weaving or basket making. Which ever we chose Miss Marks was prepared to teach us how. I ended doing both and have retained that knowledge to this day.

For Father's Day Miss Marks brought in pieces of wood about 1/4 inch thick, dowels, nails and glue. She also brought in the necessary tools, coping saws, hammers and sandpaper. Miss Marks told us we were going to make a hat stand for our father. Another sign of the times. In those days no man left his home without wearing a hat. We all went outside and sat on the paved walk that ran in front of the classroom. We cut and hammered and spent a part of several days working on our hat stand. The one thing Miss Marks did not provide was paint. She had been a teacher for many years and was too wise to turn a bunch of third graders loose with a can of paint.

My parents were divorced so I gave my hat stand to my grandfather. Years later I had occassion to go in his closet, and there was my hat stand on the shelf holding one of his business hats. Still being used after thirty years.

Miss Marks was evidently a feminist as there was no distinction made between what was a girl's project or a boy's. Everyone participated in project after project, each related to whatever we were studying at the time.

Sometimes one has a teacher they will never forget. Miss Marks was mine. She taught us all the subjects as set out by the school district and made it fun. She also taught us skills we would not have otherwise had, but more than that, she taught us to do our best.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cabbage Patch Craze

In 1982 Xavier Roberts came out with the Cabbage Patch Doll. He and family members had been selling the dolls at shows and other venues for some time calling them "Little People" In the first year Cabbage Patch was on the market it sold 20 million dolls. They were so popular there was a lot of copyright infringement. I was back in the South during that period and found women were buying one doll, carefully taking it apart, and using the pieces for a pattern, were making dozens of dolls for sale at local flea markets. Roberts brought legal action against all those about which he knew and won each case. However, he finally just gave up and sold out to Mattel.

When I first saw the dolls I was taken with the technique used to shape the features. I bought some fabric called Doll Face, manufactured just for soft sculture, and began to work out a doll of my own. I came up with five models, one of which is pictured in this post. I had been doing doll shows for some time , but was stunned at the reaction when I first introduced these new dolls. Women could not get enough of them. They are large dolls. Although the clothes the models wear were made by me, the doll owner could purchase ready made clothes in sizes 6 months to 1 year, and they would fit. Which is just what many did, taking their doll to the department store and trying on clothes for the wardrobe.

I have since tried soft sculpture with my knit dolls. While the effect is not quite the same, it does enhance the average doll. One can do as little or as much as they like, of course. With that in mind I have started a section with links to my tutorials. The one on soft sculpture is the first posted.

The Cabbage Patch craze eventually ran it's course. I have no doubt they will end in doll museums if they haven't already.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Finished my first Amigurumi

Awhile back I ran across a blog, By Hook By Hand which I enjoy. The owner, Beth, is an accomplished doll maker and has put her patterns on the blog as free downloads. While not a fan of Amigurumi, I fell in love with the little puppies and decided to try one. I downloaded the pattern and scrounched through my stash to find an appropriate color. I finished the little darling today. I found the pattern easy to follow, and the only problen I had was getting my arthritic fingers to hold the tiny legs while crocheting. I plan to make seversl more, add a big bow, and give them as Christmas gifts, each holding a gift card in it's mouth.

Here is s picture of my puppy. Since I ended using such light yarn I thought I would add a bit of color by knitting a bandana for him. He is watching over my computer.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

High School Fads and Follies

I am afraid I am as guilty as most "old folks" of making negative comments on the dress of kids in high school. However, something brought my own high school fashions to mind the other day. Plaid and pleated skirt, bobbie socks and the sloppy Joe sweater. For those who were not around in the late forties, a sloppy Joe sweater was a must for every girl's wardrobe. You went to the shops and found the biggest sweater you could find. I remember I barely weighed one hundred pounds, and my sloppy Joe was a size 42. The sleeves were too long so had to be pushed up but wouldn't stay up as the cuff was too big so you put a rubber band around the cuff. Then you folded the cuff up to cover the rubber band after which your sleeve would stay put. The things hung down almost to our knees and were completely shapeless which may have been the point in a society of girls embarrassed by the changes in their bodies and any attention those changes caused.

Everyone wore saddle shoes and white bobbie socks. In my school one wouldn't be caught dead in clean saddle shoes. They were supposed to be grunchy, every spot a memory. My dad, a marine, decided one day to polish all the shoes in the house. I was not home at the time, but later I saw my lovely, dirty saddle shoes now immaculate and shiny. Disaster! How was I to even go to school the following day. To tell you the truth I don't remember how this turned out, but I am sure my mother would not have thought clean shoes sufficient reason to miss school..

Every girl wore makeup. Generally just lipstick and the redder the better, and powder. The hairdo of the day was the pompadour. You achieved those neat rolls at each side of your head with rats. Really, that's what they were called. Found in every five and dime they were made of some soft substance and covererd with a netting material to hold it together. You put one on one side of your head and pinned it at each end with bobby pins. Then you rolled and tucked the hair around and under the rat. Same thing on the other side. It was amazing how all this stayed in place. Even a fast game of volleyball in gym class could not muss your hair.

Boys had their own fashion dictates. One year all the "in" guys wore corduroys to school. However, they had to be unwashed. They wore them until they were so stiff they stood up by themselves, and for some reason we girls thought that cool. Another fad taken up by the boys were the reversible coats. Somebody came to school wearing a tan, reversible coat, corduroy on one side and the other was a canvas like material that was waterproof. Everyone had to have one. The thing was, all this clean, blank fabric was too big a temptation. Soon everyone with a coat was having it signed by their friends on the smooth waterproof side. Of course, knowing what their parents would say, they always wore it with the corduroy side showing when at home.

I have just touched on a few things that come readily to mind, but the next time you laugh at an old picture of your Mom, remember your own high school days.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Christmas Knitting

As hot as it is it is hard to think of Christmas, but it will get here and for those that like to give handmade gifts now is the time to start. I thought I would list a few of the things my family likes and perhaps help someone come up with an idea.

Slippers are always a favorite. I ended tweaking several patterns and came up with this one They are fast and easy and can be a great stash buster. The mittens in the picture are crocheted and perhaps the easiest mittens I have made. They are made in one piece. No going back and picking up thumb stitches and no hole at the base of the thumb. (My nemesis) Both patterns are also good for charity knitting.
The slipper pattern can be found here. The mittens can be found here
In the free pattern menu to your left are a couple of patterns I have made over and over at the request of family members. The reversible beanie is a favorite of my sons and the flip flop socks are a favorite of all the younger women in the family who seem to wear flip flops winter and summer.

For other free patterns and some great ideas I recommend Knitting Pattern Central. The link is under Favorite Sites. For those that crochet there is also a Crochet Pattern Central.

The one who receives your lovely handmade gift will probably never know the thought, time and effort that went into making it, but everytime their hands are warmed by the mittens you made or a scarf you made keeps out a cold winter wind, they will understand the love that went into every stitch.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Charity Knitting

I know for all those in the country sweltering under unusual heat and humidity that it is hard to think of knitting cold weather gear. However, winter will be on us soon and there are many in this country who need warm clothing. There are many groups that take handmade knits for those in need. Bev's Country Cottage has an extensive list with contact information. I have started mittens for the Indians of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. This tribe is very poor and hats, scarves, baby items, mittens are all appreciated. I also knit for the homeless and you can get information from the Salvation Army on where and what is needed.

I have a policy of not donating to those groups that are very particular about pattern, yarn and color. My personal feeling is as long as the item is well made the rest should not matter. It will fit someone who will love it.

I haver a feeling I am preaching to the choir here. I am sure that many of you have your own favorite charity to which you contribute. Just thought I would drop a reminder.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Some years ago I formed a group that knitted for charity. One of the ways we stayed in touch was through a newsletter I published each month. I got into the habit of coming up with a knitting limerick for each issue . I know, limericks are the lowest form of poetry, but I thought this one might bring a smile to someone's face as it concerns a problem all knitters have, the family member, usually the husband, who comes in and interrupts you while knitting. Here it is.

Don't bother me sweet 'cause I'm counting
Please, just take a seat 'cause I'm counting
Whatever your fate
It will just have to wait
'Til this row I complete 'cause I'm counting.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Over the years as my family got larger I seem to be knitting more and more socks. I like making socks so have not found this a problem. Recently I have been getting requests for flip flop socks from all the younger family members. Since we live in California with another branch in Florida, flip flops are worn winter and summer by many in the family. I've been getting requests for the pattern from people who have seen a family member wearing their socks. So here it is. Good for yoga classes, to show off your pedicure and, of course, to keep your feet warm in flip flops. You will find the pattern listed under "Free Patterns".

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Free Pattern Links

I am currently changing the links to the free patterns. They will be stored in Google Documents and will be accessible by clicking on the name in the menu as before. However, when I am done just the pattern in PDF format will come up. You can then print it or download it. If you download a pattern it will show up in the Adobe Reader you are accustomed to. Save it and print it at your leisure. I should be done with the changes in a couple of days. More free patterns are coming so keep checking back.


Well, once I got going I got done sooner than anticipated. All the patterns currently listed have links to a PDF of that pattern.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Things I Miss

Something came up the other day that brought to mind how much has changed during my lifetime. Some of the changes have been for the better, of course, but along the way we have lost some things I remember with fondness and I miss.

I miss summer band concerts in the park. If you lived near a military facility there was always a band. The highschool band was always available as well, and some communities had a community band made up of local residents. The members of the bands wore uniforms and played show tunes, a few popular songs of the period and Sousa marches. As the sun went down taking the heat of the day with it, you sat on a blanket on the grass, eating an icecream purchased from a vendor parked nearby while the stirring sounds of a march had you tapping your toe.

I miss the free fudgcicle stick. I don't eat fudgccicles anymore, but I miss the idea that with each fudgcicle you purchased was the chance to get a free one. Fudgcicles were an icecream bar on a stick. Some of the sticks had printed on them that they were worth one free fudgcicle. As you finished your icecream full of hope you looked at the stick and maybe even had your fingers crossed. Many my age have a fond memory of the moment they saw the brown imprint on the fudgcicle stick that made them a winner.

I miss lunch counters. Every department store used to have a lunch counter. Some of the more upscale stores had tea rooms or small restaurants, but Woolworth's , Kresses and stores of that ilk had lunch counters. The menu was limited and usually included tuna salad sandwich, grilled cheese and bacon, lettuce and tomato among other sandwiches. Chili was generally on the menu as well as cake, pie and cookies that looked like they had spent the better part of that year under the glass dome covering the display. These counters were the fast food of the day and gave young women an entry level job as well as providing supplemental income for married women.

I miss soda fountains. There was a time when every drug store had a soda fountain. Icecream sundaes in those special fluted glasses, covered with topping, nuts, and real whipped cream. Malts so thick you had to use a spoon, icecream sodas, root beer floats, who could resist. Even the soft drinks did not come out of a can but were made in your glass with the syrup and fizzy water. Kids hung out after school at the soda fountain, the girls together looking over the boys, the boys together looking over the girls. Then once fortified with some gooey creations it was time for the long walk home. The girls leaving together, of course,

I miss the cooler full of soda that always sat outside the Mom and Pop grocery or the service station. It was always full of an assortment of soda in bottles along with the ice keeping the soda cool. On the front of the cooler was an opener to pry off the bottle cap. It worked on the honor system. It was just assumed that if you took a soda you would step inside and pay for it. What ever happened to that concept.

These are a few of the things I miss. While some have been replaced with something similar as the lunch counter has been replaced by the fast food outlet, the atmosphere is different. The experience of rushing in, getting a burger, and eating in your car is not the same as a leisurely break at a counter with your fellow man.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Pattern

Despite a very sore finger I managed to finally get a new pattern ready for listing. Best Friends is a doll you can make up in the face color of your choice. A toddler 10 inches tall when finished. If you would like to take a look and read a detailed description you will find the pattern here

Now I can get back to knitting for Christmas. We just got the news that a granddaughter and her husband had their second child. That makes fifteen great-grandchildren for my husband and me, but whose counting, right?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Time, Time, Time

Where does the time go? With designing, trying to get some things done for Christmas and family stuff, I never seem to have enough time.

I was eighty years old in May. One finds as one gets older that there are household tasks one can no longer do. Anything that requires a ladder is definitely out as is anything that requires one gets down on the ground. Down is easy. It is getting back up that is a problem. As my gift my family decided to come over and do those things we couldn't and were fretting about. The best gift ever. When they left every surface was scrubbed, vacuumed or polished. Every curtain taken down, washed and rehung. Windows washed, shelves and knick knacks cleaned. While all this was going on inside, some of these gallant workers were trimming hedges and trees, removing old ratty plants and replacing them with new. They even brought the food with them. It was a joy to see my family working together , laughing and teasing each other.

I did manage to work up a free pattern for you, however. It is a dragon hand puppet. You will find the pattern listed in the Free Pattern Menu. Enjoy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sayings From My Mother

When I was a child my mother had an admonition for every situation and an explanation for every event. The problem is that most were not true. I don't know from where they came, but here are a few of the pearls of wisdom bestowed upon me time and time again as I grew up.

1: Don't drink out of the garden hose. There are spiders in there. (Well, this one may have been partially true)
2: When it is raining it is because the angels are crying because some children were bad. (Try walking around all day with this hanging over your head.)
3: Don't put your knive gangplank fashion from the table to your plate. Germs will walk up into your plate. (Come on, Mom. Really?)
4: When eating watermelon, don't swallow the seeds. Vines will grow out of your nose. (I bought this, and watermelon was a constant source of worry.)
5: In the same vein, don't swallow your gum. Your ribs will stick together.
6: The best helping hand is at the end of your own arm. (A gem of good advice. Way to go, Mom.)
7: Last, my all time faborite. Don't pick your belly button. You'll come untied and fly around the room like a balloon. (Not a pretty picture.)

If your Mom had a gem or two she laid on you, please share them with us.

I finished the knitting mouse pattern Three generations of mice are represented from grandmother to teenager. Pattern is available at KnitPicks as a download. Tell me what you think.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Perils of Childhood in the 30s

With all the discussion recently about childhood vaccinations, I started thinking about how it was when I was a child. No vaccinations, of course, other than smallpox. Having what were called childhood diseases was a rite of passage. Oh, we did have one form of immunization. Your friend came over to play and went home early because she didn't feel well. A few days later you came down with the measles or mumps or whatever was going around at the time. Your Mom called the school and informed them you were sick, and would be out a few days. The school nurse then came to your house and checked you out confirming you had the measels or whatever it was this time. She left your caregiver instructions on your care, and on her way out posted a large quarantine sign next to your front door. Of course, everyone coming and going had been through this routine in their own childhood so were immune. I don't think much attention was paid to those signs except perhaps by curious neighbors who now knew what was going on in your house.

You were sick for a few days during which you got special little treats. Then a few more days to fully recover, and voila! You were now immune to whatever it was. Parents were not even upset with the family who let their sick child come over. The general feeling was to let your child get "it" then it was over and one less thing to cause concern. No one, not even the family physician, knew at the time that these diseases could have serious side effects sometimes leaving the child with life long problems.

Every child did get the small pox vaccination. You went to your local Health Department on the day the shots were being given, stood in a line, got up to the nurse and stuck out your arm. Pretty much like the flu shots of today. You got a slight swelling at the site of the shot and were left with a little round scar. Every person of my generation and several generations to follow can show you exactly where they got their smallpox vaccination. Our daughter who was born in 1962 was a member of the last generation to get a smallpox vaccination. The disease had been eradicated.

Injury was not uncommon. We did not have TV so spent our time outside running around and playing. This was during the depression so few families had the money to rush a child to the doctor for simple cuts and scrapes. Oh. a broken bone warranted a trip to the emergency room as well as an injury causing massive bleeding. Other than that, every family had a large bottle of iodine on the bathroom shelf. This was the standard for all cuts and scrapes. Vaseline or even butter was put on burns. No antibiotic ointments to prevent infection and certainly no tetnus shot. Those things are great, and I wouldn't want to give them up, but it is amazing the curative powers of a funny face when your mother draws it on your cut with iodine.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Patterns Online

Well, the patterns are now on Knit Picks. You can find the hand puppets pictured here. The patterns can be downloaded from the site and are very reasonable. Let me know what you think. Working on knitting mice at the moment. Lots of fun and they too will be available soon.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Project

Just wanted to let you all know I will soon have patterns for download on Knit Picks, the on line yarn shop. I have been reworking a couple of patterns in Knit Picks yarns for them and am currently designing a new pattern for knitting mice. I will let you know when the patterns are available. Just wanted to let you know why I haven't been posting any stories recently. Here is a picture of one of the patterns that will be available soon.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Family Knitting

One of our granddaughters is married and living in Florida. Now while one usually thinks of Florida as hot and humid, this year they have had some very cold weather so this granddaughter bought herself a pair of mittens. They are open at the palm to allow the fingers to be free if wanted. She informed me that while buying them she thought, "My grandma could make these." A call to arms! I just finished the mittens, and next week they are on their way to Florida. I resisted the temptation to embellish them with a pretty heart on the back as she is now twenty one. Here are the finished mitts.

I tried several internet patterns but thought them too bulky where the cap went over the fingers and joined the mitten. Came up with this design. It is an old one but available for free on the net. You can find the pattern here
The pattern only comes in one size, woman's. However, making the cap for the fingers is a simple technique, and one should be able to convert any mitten pattern of any size.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Pie for FaFa

This is not a story about an historical event or even about knitting. It is a story about two people that loved and nurtured their grandchildren leaving them with lovely memories that guided them through life.

When I was about seven, my mother, my sister, and I went to live with our grandparents. All the grandchildren called our grandmother YiYi and our grandfather FaFa. Now of all the people I knew, FaFa was my favorite. He would take us for walks, and when my sister and I would hide in doorways and jump out at him, he always pretended to be scared. During the week he would pretend there was a story about us in the newspaper and read it to us, and on Sunday he would read us the funny papers. When he read books to us, he would always stop at the most exciting place, and no matter how much we begged we had to wait until the next evening to find out what happened.

YiYi was a quiet, little woman. She cooked and cleaned and made a nice home for us all. Her biggest claim to fame was her pie. Everyone that ate one said it was the best they had ever tasted. Every time YiYi made pie I wanted to help, but each time she said I was too little. Then one day my mother came home from shopping with a baking set for me. It had a little pie tin, little cake and muffin tins and a real wood rolling pin with red handles. Best of all YiYi said next time she made pie I could make one too.

I waited and waited. Every day I asked, “Are you going to make pie today, YiYi?” Every day she said, “Not today”. I began to think she had forgotten all about her promise. Then one morning she said, “Get your baking set, Yvonne. I am going to make pie today.” I ran to get my rolling pin and pie tin. YiYi explained they had to be washed first and I had to wash my hands. “My pie is going to be for FaFa”, I announced as I scrubbed. YiYi just smiled, and pinned a towel around my waist for an apron.

I watched as she made the pie crust. When she was done she gave me a little piece of the dough for my pie. I watched as she rolled out a big piece of dough. Roll, roll, and suddenly the dough had become an even, perfectly round circle. With one move it was in the pie pan. “Well, that certainly looks easy,” I thought, and I began to roll out my piece of dough. I rolled and rolled, but no matter how I tried it wasn’t even, and it certainly wasn’t round. Finally, just when I thought it looked about done, disaster! When I tried to put it in the pan it broke. YiYi told me not to worry, just scrunch it up and roll it out again. I wadded up all the dough, and I rolled and rolled, and then, very carefully, I tried to put it in the pie pan, and it broke again. I was getting very angry with that stupid piece of dough. I was about to give up, when on the umpteenth try; the crust went in the pan nice as can be. Success! I was a little worried, however. My crust didn’t look like YiYi’s. Hers was even, smooth and very white. My crust was lumpy, kind of stretchy and decidedly gray. Still,YiYi didn’t say anything so I supposed it was all right. We put in the apples dusted with cinnamon and sugar, then pats of butter. I got another little piece of dough for the top crust. Again, I tried and tried to make a nice smooth, round crust, but to no avail. That pie making business was not as easy as I had thought. When the pies were ready, YiYi put them in the oven. Soon the smell of apples and cinnamon filled the house. It seemed like a long time, but finally YiYi said the pies were done. She put them on a rack to cool. I kept going to the kitchen to admire the little pie I had made for FaFa. I thought it looked beautiful. Well, maybe it was a little crooked, but it wasn’t gray at all but a pretty golden brown. Steam came from the little hole in the top, and it smelled wonderful. I could hardly wait to surprise FaFa.

All through dinner I waited impatiently for everyone to finish. When it was time for dessert, YiYi bought out the little pie and put it in front of FaFa. “Ernest, (that was FaFa’s real name) Yvonne made this pie just for you”, she said. FaFa looked surprised. “You made this? Well, lets see if you are as good a pie maker as your grandmother”, and he took a bite. He chewed. He wrinkled his forehead. He said, ”mmmm” in kind of a questioning way. I was suddenly kind of scared. What if FaFa didn‘t like my pie? What if he thought it was the worst pie he ever had ever tasted? I leaned forward, holding my breath. He took another bite. He chewed some more. He nodded his head. He said, “mmmmm” again, and I waited and waited. After what seemed like a very long time, he looked up. “Effie“, he said, (Effie was my grandmother‘s real name) “you’d better watch out. Yvonne is going to be as good a pie maker as you are”. I took a deep breath and settled back in my chair with a grin, and I knew that I had the best grandfather in the whole world.

And oh, I did turn out to be a pretty good pie maker too.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas Past

In 1942 the McCall pattern company came out with a mannequin doll. It came in a box with two patterns scaled down to doll size. In 1942 it was thought that every woman would, when married, be sewing for her family, and McCall wanted to be sure it was their patterns being used. Even so, it was a wonderful gift for those like myself who loved any kind of needlework.

I got my McCalls set on Christmas day of 1942 and immediately began planning all the good things I would make. My grandmother gave me some needles and thread, and after a shopping trip came home with a number of remnants from our local fabric store. I cut, I sewed, I fitted, I sewed some more. Soon I had the best dressed doll in town, but where was this every growing wardrobe to be stored? My grandfather came up with a cigar box. Oh, not your usual cigar box but a presentation box. It was beautiful, made of some kind of dark wood and lined with cedar. It stood on four little legs. It had a tiny gold hasp on the front so it could be latched

One day my grandmother asked why I didn't knit a sweater for my doll. She gave me some yarn and needles. With her help I began to knit. I am not sure how much I learned about knitting during this project, but I learned a lot about ripping out. Finally the sweater was done. If I remember correctly it rather overpoweed my doll as the yarn was too heavy. However, it fit, well at least I could get it on her. I ended making several caps, scarves, and a vest for my well dressed mannequin.

I did not take up knitting in earnest until years later, but the lessons learned so many years ago stayed with me.