Tuesday, April 24, 2018

the sound of silence...

Have you ever had the yarn break on you when you’re knitting across the row? Sometimes there is a weak spot and it will break and of course, you don’t see it happening or notice until it’s too late. Usually everything ends up on the floor or at least half of it. I have my machine positioned so the back of the table is just out a little from the wall about a foot – easy enough to reach in behind to change yarn or whatever needs to be done back there but close enough so if the yarn breaks, the auto-tension snaps back and hits the wall with a big ‘thwack!’ and it alerts me to quit immediately – the important thing is to stop before you get to the end of the row because more than half of the work will be dropped but if you were able to stop in time and the last side is saved from dropping, it will be much easier to salvage and rehang the work - if it’s single bed work! Double bed, give up and go drink!
The afghan is done! I did take the pieces over to Derek's just so I could be sure the colours were right - not that I was going to do anything about it if they weren't! It looks great, feels great, he likes it!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

you'll never guess...

I’m making an afghan! And yes, it is for a very special person – my son Derek. I helped him last year to renovate his living room. It’s quite modern and sleek looking. He has this grey leather sofa bed that doesn’t exactly say comfy, cozy, and I thought he could use an afghan to soften it up. He has always liked alpaca and I have a bunch of left over cones of Forsell’s Naturell in shades from black, through grey, beige and ivory with peach thrown in as an accent – he already has a couple of pillows in cream and peach-ish shades. My original idea was to do a sort of log-cabin quilt motif using tuck stitches and had made a swatch where I rehung each piece/next colour the opposite way, so the knit side/purl side added texture. When he saw it, he liked the colours and textures but thought it would look too folk-art for his desired aesthetic! I said I would work on the design. Dodged a bullet there as it was extremely labour intensive!  
To be honest, I started this back late last fall and was hoping to get it done as a Christmas present, but it was easy to put off. Now, getting back home without a real to-do list, I figured I’d tackle this now and get it done (remember my new year resolution about procrastination?).
I did make several swatches before but somehow lost the paper that I recorded the info on so, although washed and pre-shrunk, they are somewhat invalid but I was experimenting with tuck patterns that would give me texture, extra width and bulk up this thin yarn, so I had a row of plain with maybe 3 tuck rows – now it all made sense – if I double the length of that 4 stitch X 4 row pattern, there will be lots of texture and 2 rows of stockinette that I like the look of and I can use that as my division between colour changes. My pattern is set up so it begins and ends with one row of stockinette – I am turning the work between colour changes so the clean row of stockinette at the end allows for a plain row to use the garter bar to pick it off easily. After the turn, I am using the next row to fix in the tails on either end by ewrapping them so I don’t have to go back and darn in later, just trim them. And, I don't have to be continually re-reading the pattern - it is working continuously!
Oh yeah, I also weighed my cone before and after knitting the 180 sts width by 56 rows so I know I need 20g for each stripe.
 Seven shades, seven stripes. Cast off. Hang the side selvedge and repeat. This is definitely long enough – I’ll make at least one more panel the same and attach it the opposite way…

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

have pillow, will travel...

You know how one of the best things about doing a road trip is being able to take your favourite pillow with you. In the past, even though I do it, I’ve always been somewhat embarrassed to be seen carrying that pillow into a hotel. I just returned from the Spring Fling in Peru, Indiana, put on by Charlene Shafer and the Knit Knack Shop. The drive home was through pretty wicked snow/blizzard conditions, but I made it safely. We had a fun time at the seminar and Charlene gave me the perfect gift – a beautiful Vera Bradley bag just the right size for my pillow – I’ll never feel awkward again!
Everyone loved Ozark and Pocket Change, my two newest projects. Charlene and her family put on a major event – there was something for everyone and it was so much fun renewing knitting acquaintances and meeting new ones. I had a blast and I hope they invite me back!
A shout-out to Barbara P, we’re all thinking of you, fingers crossed for a speedy recovery!
P.S. Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of my first blogpost – who knew I had so much to say! Hope you've had as much fun reading as I've had saying!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

finishing touches...

You might grimace at this, but it works for me! installing the pockets can be a bit of a pain – do you hand stitch? with yarn or sewing thread? who’s to know? Based on my previous experiences, I used the sewing machine and just top stitch them in place! 
Now, you do need to have a fairly good match on the sewing thread. Taking the swatch pocket to the store is a must but you can’t trust the lighting, so I always get two options and then judge at home. I stitched on the swatch to check and felt confident in my selection. Pinned the pockets where I thought I wanted them, sort of in the centre of the half front, over the double stripe, and then put it on. Wasn’t quite right. I found moving them almost to the side seam looked better. I really like how it breaks up the lines and adds to the detail. Took all of 10 minutes to stitch them in place, using a relatively long, straight stitch, following along the inside of the chain stitch edging.
I made the belt, knit tubular, and hand made loops at each side seam at waist level to hold it in place. This may be abandoned at some point, but I had to try it. I like the whole thing, especially the sleeves – that little bit of bell shaping feels nice, kind of feminine, and I like the way it snugs up to the elbow. The way the fronts overlap just right and fall nicely without opening wide as I wear it, makes the belt is rather unnecessary and I prefer the line of the whole garment without the belt. The weight of the longstitch facings is perfect!

Friday, March 30, 2018

the moment of truth...

All put together, just need to figure out the collar and which colour pockets to use…I did cut a fabric collar (sorry for the black fabric – it obviously doesn’t photo with great detail but hopefully you get the idea), pinned it in place, made a few adjustments and a snip here and there on the sample piece. I drew it out on my knit contour mylar - then remembered to turn it around and draw it the way I would knit it, from the hem at the back toward the neckline!
Pinned the knitted piece in place around the neckline, tried it on (makes a difference!). Decided I wanted it a tad wider, and a bit longer on the back part. I also added about 8 rows of shortrowing to curve the bottom as it looked shorter across the back of the shoulders. Made the second version and it looks good – Here’s me impressed! I thought I'd have to make it at least three times to get it right and, was prepared to!

Now to knit a belt - 'Wendy' wore hers open in the front with the belt just tied across the back - I'm going to try that and the belt will be knit tubular in the café colour that I've decided on for the pockets.
Just a bit of final finishing and I’m almost ready to show it off – Knit Knack Shop’s Spring Fling, in Peru, Indiana (April 13, 14) here I come! Hope to see you there!
P.S. hoping it is Spring by then!
P.S.S. I'll post a real life modelling of it at a later date!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

size does matter...

Outside patch pocket? can be quick and easy or you could put some effort into it. Here’s my effort version. This one can be a bit bigger than the inside patch pocket from ‘Pocket Change’  http://knitwords.blogspot.ca/2018/03/do-i-take-chance.html
Here, we only have to worry about the top of the pocket bagging out so I’m going with 14 cm X 15 cm (5.5  in X 6 in) and because it’s just sewn on top of the garment front, things are a lot more forgiving. 

A long while back, I told you about a breakthrough I had with a chained edging on a patch pocket http://knitwords.blogspot.ca/2011/03/fourth-times-charm.html and I tried it again with fairisle http://knitwords.blogspot.ca/2013/08/perfect-pockets.html - now I’m attempting to take it a step further. Note about waste yarn – don’t use crap – make sure it’s a good firm yarn that’s at least the same thickness as your main yarn or you’ll be digging for those stitches forever! I used Bonita 4 ply cabled cotton that is slightly heavier than the 4 ply wool I’m using for the main yarn and knit the waste yarn tighter – go with T6 – it will make the main yarn stitches pop up better.
That chain is going to go around the entire patch if I’ve figured this right. Based on my gauge, for the chain, I will need 38 sts for the width and (60 rows divided by 2) 30 sts for each side. Because I want it on all four sides, I need 30 + 38 + 30 + 38. To be able to keep track of this, I place the actual pocket  on #19-0-19 ns. Add 30 to the left, 30 to the right for each of the sides and then another 38 either at the left or the right of that. Left #49 – 0 – 87 Right. Main yarn double stranded, chain across, going fairly loosely for part that is sides of pocket – you need to build in some room for the drop and then more snug for the width parts. Main yarn single strand, main tension +2, knit 1 row. Break yarn. Remove 30 sts at left on WY. Remove 34 sts at right on waste (this will be the to edge). Remove another 30 sts at right on waste, leaving 19-0-19 sts in work for pocket. RC000. CAR. Main yarn, main tension, K1R. At right, pick up stitch from chain closest and hang on #20, Pick up #19, move to #20 and take both back to #19. Make sure #20 is out of work. K1R. This puts chain stitch on knit side of pocket edge. Repeat on left, hanging new chain st on side opposite carriage, continuing up to RC060. Each side should be finished now. Take 19-0-19 off on waste. Hang final piece of chain. Rehang pocket. Manually knit loose row over both sets of stitches and chain off.  

Saturday, March 24, 2018


After making the two different pockets, I decided I did like the ‘willow’ colour on the Left but maybe with the stripe proportions of the Right Front. I hate unravelling and I wanted to save the top portion to look at again and compare but don’t need to save the yarn to re-use. The stripes do make it easier to know just where you are. I wanted to take it back to just below where I joined in the ‘café’ brown colour – you may have noticed the width of my stripes at this point were somewhat based on the underarm shaping – I wanted to be able to shortrow it all in one go…

Back to the taking apart. I knew I had 10 more rows of the olive here than on the other pieces before starting the café and just to be sure, I counted them using long pins to mark each 10 rows to find the 70th row of olive. I then snipped the thread of the first row of café at the centre side, knowing I had the tail of that row on the other side. Pulling a little at a time from the tail side, snipping as you need and pulling back on the puckers to get the new end, draw  out the entire row. Note, I had steamed/pressed this well, so the stitches aren’t going anywhere.
Now there are 10 rows of olive left. I unravel 8 rows so there are 2 to play with. Take it to the machine and rehang the main bed stitches, picking up the row below – it’s easier than trying to poke the tool into the actual loops of the last row. Then, pull out that unhung row. Add some claw weights and put the fabric between the beds. Bring up the rib bed and position it to the one notch lower than fully engaged to allow some room to manoeuvre. Hang the longstitch band working gently and one stitch at a time. There is one row left to unravel – pull it out, ensure there are no split stitches from the rehang, ready to proceed with new plan!