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The High Country Knitwear Newsletter

Only a small percentage of young people coming out of the foster care system make it to college, but for the large number of those who do, the Orphan Foundation of America provides scholarship assistance, mentoring, and, on Valentine’s Day, packages in which they try to include, from Red Scarf volunteers, a scarf that will be as warm and cherished as a hug.


Scarves should be at least 7 inches wide and 5 feet long, and they don’t really have to be red.  But my first one, done in two evenings, is.  It’s at left--thick and warm in one strand of handpainted Brown Sheep Burly Spun (1 ½ hanks, and great leftovers!), in the colorway Strawberry Patch 050--reds, burgundy, gold, and blue—that I combined with a strand of  Cascade’s Di.ve mohair Kiss Ombre mohair/wool/nylon colorway 23063 (2 balls) in the same colors, worked together in 1 x 1 ribbing (17 stitches wide) on #13s, and had enough left over to make a Not-a-Scarf for myself.  The fabric is shown in close-up in the button, which connects to the Project website for further information, including the mailing address and dates, and a possible pattern from Lily Chin. 

OFA can accept scarves only in January.  It doesn’t have space to put them until it’s packing the gift boxes.  It encourages volunteers to enclose washing instructions and hopes you’ll attach an encouraging note, and a fast food, telephone, or other gift card in a modest amount.

None of this needs to be costly, nor is this very time consuming, so I hope you’ll pitch in with your skills and your stash, and encourage your friends and fellow knitters to do so, as well.  Yes, I went a little overboard, in hopes of a picture that might persuade you to do this, and in memory of my late father, who was orphaned at 10, dropped out of school at 14, and returned, in his late 20s, to study for his doctorate, with no intervening formal education.

From time to time, I will let you know about some of the many charitable organizations that hope you will knit for them.  Help is needed all year, and needs range from blankets, scarves, hats, and mittens to tiny hats for newborns.


From Jenny M, of San Jose, California, comes this picture of her  beautifully worked storm hood.  She writes, “Thank you for a great pattern!  I have just finished the Storm Hood, which will be a Christmas present for my sister in Winter Park CO.  You'll see  that I changed one of the motifs to include a paw print motif, as she is a major dog lover.  She and her huge dogs often go cross-country skiing together, so I  thought this would be a well-used gift.  She is also allergic to wool, so I made this in a sport-weight alpaca (Frog Tree Alpaca Sport), in the hopes that it would not give her a rash!”


For your favorite musher or dog walker, I’ve charted paw prints, using Chewbacca’s paws as models..  You can use the one on the left to march  around the band.  The one on the right is oriented as Jenny used it: straight up.  Now she’s on to some lamb mittens from the multi-size mitten pattern.

And from Barbara B, of the wild and wooly canyons of Manhattan, who has knit for years but has just made her first pair of socks, the following:

I have been having the most fun with Socks 101 and 102.  It is absolutely amazing to see the ungainly thing shape up into something that actually fits the human foot. Your lessons have given me a clearer idea of how it all happens, so it now seems less a miracle and more a tribute to the ingenuity of those brilliant forbears who first figured out how to turn heels and make gussets.

I didn't have any appropriate washable wool on hand but I did have several flavors of sockweight.  I used the ugliest of the lot for the test pair -- self-striping Regia in a slightly depressing combination of brown, tan, blue, pink and burgundy.  Re-jiggered the gauge for #1 and #2 needles,* which was simple enough, and lengthened the foot part to match my own feet.  Oh, and did just a ribbed edge with the remainder in stockinette since I don't much enjoy ribbing.  Following your directions was a cinch and the result, while not especially refined, is quite wearable….  Too bad the Dutch heel, which worked out nicely with the stripes, won't show. I do intend to make a pair of authentic big thick Feeley specials to go inside my snow boots, which are never narrow enough and always need one or more pairs of heavy socks inside to keep them from pulling off in the slush. 

So thank you for the great tutorials.  I think I'm going to be hooked on socks….

*True confession: I love working with those skinny little bamboo needles, five at a time.  They  inspire awe, if not fear, on the subway -- that lady's got sharp sticks and she knows how to use them!   

Knit on,

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