Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Warm Feet

I used to make Fiber Trend's felted clog pattern quite a bit, but last year started making the felted clogs on my bulky knitting machine.  Those were nice and quick, but only a single layer, done in stockinette stitch.  Even done in two colour fair isle, the soles are not as thick as the FT clogs, which are done in garter stitch (much denser than stockinette) and have two layers.  They're also done with a bulkier yarn (or, two strands of Patons Classic Wool).  I finally put holes in my last pair of the MK clogs, and decided it was time to HK a Fiber Trend's pair!
 These were made entirely of Patons Classic Wool this time (sometimes I use Lopi), and weigh 240gr and are the lady's medium. If you make them, keep in mind that the soles use up more wool than the body part.
They took me a little longer than I was expecting, because I haven't made them in awhile and I just don't seem to get "sit and knit in the quiet" time anymore!  However, I got started right away for another pair, either for the gift box, or maybe for my "store".  What do you call an online store?

Yarn In:  14 828gr
Yarn Out:  12 961+ 240gr = 13 201 gr
Balance:  1627gr more In than Out
Costs:  317.59/276 days = $1.15/day

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Have a New Website!

I've mentioned here before about starting a business, selling my projects.  I've now created a website to showcase/sell my finished items (and maybe patterns).  It's a work in progress, but check it out.  The link should be over there in my links, or try this:

Thanks for all your support, and know that I am still devoted to this blog and am not stopping!  I've seen a lot of blogs through the years that start out as a personal web blog, but gradually become just a designer's showplace/market as the writer becomes "famous".  No longer do we hear about the project design process, the struggles, the "a ha!" moments, or other parts of their life.  I love to write, I love to write about my creative process, and I hope to be here for a long time!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sew Organized

While browsing the sewing patterns early this summer, at Value Village, I came across one by Simpliclity for a variety of organizers.  I thought this would be great for our truck.  The girls sit on either side in the back, and Hugh either sits between them (if both parents are going), or he sits in the front.  When it's just the girls in the back seat, they tend to take over, and use the seat for "storage", so that the next time Hugh gets in the back, they have to quickly re-locate everything.  They have large pockets on the back of the front seats, but it's just one pocket.
I searched through the stash and came up with this combo--the seersucker with gold metallic is the last bit of fabric left from a ring sling made in 2006, and the brown cord is from around then too.  I used purchased bias tape.  And lots of it.  I think I used a little more than the pattern requested, even though I eliminated the CD slots.  However, the packages I bought didn't list yardage.
When I got the large yarn donation in the winter, it came with fabric and quite a bit of interfacing.  Plus, I had bought some really stiff interfacing to sew fabric boxes (but never got to), so except for the trim, this all came from stash.  I did have to piece some of the interfacing for one of the backing pieces, and some pockets have sewn in, instead of iron on.
Sewing this was a love-hate thing.  I loved that I was making something useful, out of stash fabric.  I hated some of the steps.  You start with basting the back fabric, the interfacing, the batting, and the front fabric.  I had a hard time keeping the layers together and even.  I'd end up with way too much lower fabric left at the top.  Tried easing it in.  Trimmed some.  It just did not go well.  I think this might contribute to the curving inwards it does when hanging in the truck.  I think next time I would do a few lines on the back fabric to quilt the batting and interfacing, then sew the pockets on just the front, then quilt along some of the sewn lines to adhere it to the back.

This was my first time doing detail with bias trim.  I've used it for armholes, etc, but that was to be invisible.  I wasn't too happy with many of my corners, and top stitching, and where the start/end placements were on the first pocket in particular.  I  also don't like the contrast of the print fabric with so much solid bias tape.  I'd be really tempted to reduce the amount of tape by making the pockets with traditions "right sides together, turn outside out, topstitch". 
In the picture above, you can see that I forgot to sew a vertical line from the flap to the bottom, to divide the open pocket from the flap pocket.  Really, I don't think so much detail was needed.
The water bottle pocket (top right) is a little too shallow for most water bottles.  I thought about lowering it and making it taller, but realized you need to be able to get into the pocket below it.  So, for the bottom pocket, I moved the stitching line that divides it over to the left a little, so the water bottles would fit down there instead.  Much better spot.

You were supposed to use webbing and buckles and little loops of bias tape for the top hanging loop.  I didn't like the look of the black or white webbing, so I used just the bias tape and no buckles.  I take the headrests out and slip these over.  For the bottom, there were to be little loops on the bottom, and a long shoelace threaded around the seat.  I don't know if it's our seats or what, but that would have been too low.  I did loops on the side, and pieces of ribbon instead.

There are some issues though.  One is that the organizer hangs away from the seat back a little.  The lower pocket, in particular, hangs forward--even with nothing in it!.  It makes it even more difficult for Hugh to get into the middle seat.  As well, the sides of the organizer curl inwards a little.  At first, I thought we'd be able to take these in and out (like when we get to Grandma's and they want to take all their little stuff in the house), so being able to roll or fold it would be handy.  But that's not happening, and I wish the backs were of a more rigid material.

While things might be more organized for the girls, Hugh doesn't get anywhere to put stuff, and these actually narrow the space for getting in/out.  And Rob thinks the fabric is dull.  I wanted it to be "mature" and blend in in case he takes co-workers places.  Not sure if I'd ever make these again...SO many little bits of fabric, cutting, sewing....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bill King Bolero #4

...and it probably won't be my last!

After the brown one for me, I wanted to experiment with improving the fit, particularly under the arms.  I wanted a bit more width across the chest (but not the back), and a bit more length in the center front.  The challenge is that the width and length are closely linked with this type of knitting (short rows).  Some sections make your rows be the garment width, and some sections make your rows be the garment length.  Confused yet?  LOL.  You can't just add/subtract stitches for the width, as that would affect the length...and once you're done the sleeve, there's no where to add/subtract stitches (although I was thinking one night.....)

 This is a 4 wedge jacket, however, it helps to think of it as 8 sections. 
The straight bit at the top with the red is the cast on.  I cast on 16 groups of stitches, and knit 8 rows without increasing, then I start increasing, one stitch, every other row. 

1)  Going clockwise from the sleeve, the portion between the sleeve and the first line of holes is the bit on your shoulder (draw, right now, a diagonal line on yourself from your armpit to your collarbone.  This wedge is the part above that line).  Stitches control underarm to shoulder seam length; rows control underarm to center front width.
2)  The next section, from those holes to 1/2 way along that straight edge on the lower right slant, is the part over your chest from that diagonal line you drew, to straight across from your armpit.  Stitches control underarm to center front width; rows control length from clavicle to halfway down front.
3)  The next section is the upper part of the lower front.  The diagonal line of holes pointing to about 5:00 go from your armpit to the front center corner.  Stitches control width, rows control length.
4)  The next section, from that second row of holes to almost straight down in the picture, is the side "seam" running straight down from your arm pit.  Stitches control length (from waist to hem); rows control width from centre front to side "seam".
5)  The rest of that lower straight edge, up to the holes, is the lower back, across to the center back seam  Stitches control length over the lower back; rows control the lower width.
6 and 7)  from those holes at about 7:00, to the next set of holes is the center back seam (you'll actually end it before getting right to the corner.  Stitches control width; rows control length
8) the last set of holes goes from the armpit, diagonally up the back to the base of the neck.  The section between the holes and the sleeve are the upper back shoulder.  Stitches control length from underarm to shoulder, rows control width from center back to upper arm.

Thankfully, what all this means, is that it actually IS easy to add width and length to the center front!  More on that later.

I know I've recommended steaming before seaming for this jacket, but of course, I couldn't wait.  Strangely though, this time I seamed one half of the sleeve to itself (not pictured).  It was an itty bitty little sleeve!  If you're having trouble imagining how this all goes together, take your cast on edge, and your cast off edge, and sew the sides that are next to each other, resulting in a deformed hexagon.  The cast on and off edges are the sleeve cuffs.  You could start/end with ribbing.  I'd be tempted though to start/end with waste yarn, then sew the seam, then do ribbing, then join it to the edge.  This way you'd get a matching ribbed cast on all across your sleeve.
 I got both sleeves seamed, and laid my two pieces out to visualize the rest.  Fold them so that the other edge of the cast on/off meet up.  Lay it out so you can see the shoulder seam at the top.
Mmmm.  Notice anything odd in my picture?  I had a naggling little thought as I was sewing up the sleeve of the second piece.  Look at the top diagonal lines.  I altered the one on the left, during wedge 1 and 2.  I altered the one on the right during wedge 1 and 2.  But where is the change?  Ohhhhh....although the pattern says you don't have to reverse any shaping to make the second side...that's only because there is NO shaping.  If you do any shaping, you need to change when you do it!  (Except for the sleeve increases/ do the increases during the first 70 rows, and the decreases during the last 66 rows.  Or, turn your row counter back to 000 before starting the four rows after putting the last group into work).

I took apart the seam, and re-knit the second half, straight from the work--I didn't re-wind the yarn.  This time I did the adjustment (more on that later) during the 7th and 8th wedges.

Here it, all seamed, and the front edge has a blocking wire through it (I already did the lower edge).  Because I made it wider, it extends past the center back seam.
 Same thing for the other front half.
 Ain't she pretty, all 102gr of her!

 Although the bottom edge will steam flat, the center front (in which rows are the length), will still roll inwards.  I'm seriously thinking of seaming the next one inside out, so the roll will show on the public side.   Rolling inwards makes the sweater look a little smaller than it is.  A short ribbed band could be picked up, I suppose, giving you the option of buttons.  But keep it as a single band, not a foldover band, to match the lightness of the sweater.
And now, for how I adjusted it!  At first, I played around with a swatch, getting the feel for it.  I knew I wanted less depth from the under arm to the shoulder---fewer rows making those first 5 or so holes going up from the underarm--but also more width---more rows making the holes near the collarbone/clavicle.  At first I thought I still needed the number of rows to add up to what it originally would be so the shoulder seam would sew right and the center front would still have the same length).  This affected how I did the math.  I did the first 4 groups with knitting only 2 rows for each group.  Then I did 10 groups with the regular 4 rows for each group, then I did 10 groups with 6 rows each (this makes the larger holes near my clavicle).  It's what you do (number of rows) in that first wedge that affects the width.  I ended up with more rows in this wedge then for the back, but I just eased them in as I seamed.  I think I could have done even more groups with only 2 rows (making it shorter from the underarm to the shoulder).  If you do more groups of 2 rows than groups of the 6 rows section, you can end up with the center front being even shorter than the original pattern.  You can compensate for this by making more groups of 6 rows at the lower front corner.  Do not also do the groups of 2 rows, or else the side will be too short.  You can do this over both sides of the row of holes, or just on the upper side, depending on how much extra length you want.

I hope this helps you play with the design some more.  All these mods were made to fit a large bust on a short person, but you could also do the same thing on the back pieces to allow for a rounded back.  Or on the bottom wedges on the front to allow for a belly.  My next idea is to not increase up to 24 groups on the sleeve, but once done the sleeve, cast the remainder on before starting the first wedge.  On the return side, I'd cast those off.  Then I'd have a little seam to sew under the arm, but a closer fitting sleeve.  You can also do some plain rows in between wedge 2 and 3 (and the corresponding back sections) to add length without width.  You'd also have a short seam at the sides.

Get going, and try your own custom fit Bill King Bolero!

Yarn In:  14 828gr
Yarn Out:  12 859 + 102gr = 12 961gr
Balance:  1867gr more In than Out
Costs:  $317.59/262 days = $1.21/day

Monday, September 10, 2012

Short and Sweet

This post, not me.  LOL.

I got to Freecycle some yarn this weekend, 76gr of Bernat Sparkle in baby pink.  Almost as much yarn as that green shawl, and I didn't have to knit a stitch.

Finished another crocheted square baby blanket.  I like using the 10mm hook, even if I'm still annoyed I paid about $2 too much for it.  This blanket weighed in at 312gr.

Do you notice the extra 4.1mega pixels with my new camera?

Yarn In:  14 828gr
Yarn Out:  12 417gr + 76gr + 312gr = 12 859gr
Balance: 1969gr more In than Out
Costs:  $317.59/260 days =  $1.22/day

Imagine if I had been making all those crocheted baby blankets with yarn from my stash, instead of yarn I was given last winter?  (I did do a couple with stash yarn, but really should do more!). This is it for the Sears "Giselle" yarn, so stay tuned for whatever comes next.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Short Row Shawls

The term "short row shawl" can be interpreted in several ways.  One, is making four wedges that all together form a triangle (I think it's four...).  Short rows can also be used to create a circle, or half circle shawl.  In this case, however, short rows are a bit different.  They really ARE short!

One technique is to use groups of needles, usually 3 or 4, separated by one or two needles out of work.  Start at the right edge of the bed, and put all but the two groups closest to the carriage into hold.  Go back and forth over these two groups for 6 rows.  Put the next group to the left into work, and knit to the left.  Pull the group over on the right into hold, so now you have two groups again.  Knit 5 rows, ending with the carriage on the right.  Continue across the needlebed, pushing the left group into work, knit across, pull the right group into hold, and knit 5 rows.

When you get to the last two groups on the left, you have two choices.  One is to knit on the two groups, and then start returning back to the right.  You'll have to do one extra row to get the carriage over to the left before putting the right group back into work.  The other option is to put the last group on the left into work, knit to the left, and put the right group into hold, so you're working on just the left most group of stitches, for how many rows you want.  This will create a scallop along the edge.

For the turquoise shawl, you start with 2 needles in work, two out, 2 needles in work.  I think.  If you look here you can see some pictures.  As you work across, and get to one side, you also put two more groups of needles into work, and you have to e wrap over them.  This creates the increasing triangle shape.  When you get to the width you want, work without increasing; and then you decrease to get the other angle.  That's where I had trouble, remembering how to do those decreases. 

There's also no law that says you have to do the same number of rows over each group as you go across.  Check out this shawl.  I started at one edge with only 3 rows between groups for about 5 groups, then 5 rows for 5 groups, then 7 rows for 5 groups, etc, and the scallop was made by doing several more rows than the group before. 

Other scarves include a red one and black one based on a Diana Sullivan pattern and the original white one posted higher in this post.  I hope to add some photos in the future, to show more detail about the edges.

This is a great technique that has endless variations.  Leaving two needles out of work between groups produces longer floats between the groups.  Doing more rows on each group makes the holes between groups bigger.  This is one time though that you don't want to knit too loose, or the yarn will loose it's shape and visually will not look as good.  I hope to get back to that brown and blue one, but I've decided that it won't be a shawl again....I'm going to do the same technique with some other yarn as I don't see myself using a blue and beige shawl, despite loving the colours together--it won't go with anything else in my closet!

Friday, September 07, 2012

Green Eggs

Now, with most eggs, you can't just leave them laying around.  Nope, not recommended.  However, for this one, thankfully that was okay.  According to Ravelry, I started this mid-April 2011.  It went quite quickly at first, but well...the combination of the fine yarn...the endless repeats of the main chart....losing the pattern repeatedly....making the chart the background on my laptop so I wouldn't "lose" it and then having the laptop break....I finally finished in mid-May 2012.  And finally blocked it early September 2012.  Right before my husband dropped my beloved camera onto the concrete step.  Sigh.  So these pictures were taken with my older camera.  It's rather challenging to take pictures of a green shawl in a primarily green backyard!

 I used a cone of machine knitting yarn.  The stamp inside the cone says PC 40 -8801W (or could be -6901W) and also PE 50% CM 50%.  I never bothered with a flame test, with a 50/50 content who knows what will happen.  There was some shrinkage and fluffing when I steamed it.
 I was only going to steam out the points since I didn't want it any larger, but I went ahead and did the whole thing. 
It's huge.  On my shoulders, it comes down past my wrists.
 And weighs nothing.  94grams.  Over a year spent; a noticeable dent in the size of the cone, and less than 100grams. Which I don't get to count towards my stash busting since I started it last year before I started keeping track.
The points have relaxed quite a bit since I steamed in on the long weekend.That's alright.  The points don't keep the sun off you, or keep you warm.

And oh yeah, the pattern is Omelet, from  The longest one egg has ever been cooking.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Sun and Sea and Sand

Way back in the spring, when I was on the short row scarve/shawl kick, I knit up a skein of yarn I had bought at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters Fair a few years ago.  It was a greyish pink, with bits of grey/blue-black.  The tag said "Isis" and 100% rayon.  However, when I washed it, the colour all washed out!  It was left with a slight pink tint, with faint blue bits.

 I finally decided it was time to re-dye it.  I threw it in with the load of laundry I was doing, and it seemed even paler.  I had some Rit dyes, but no colours I liked.  I have some Procion MX dyes, but only 3 colours.  One of those was turquoise, and I love turquoise.  I mixed it up and set it up to dye ombre, starting with the tip being in the dye and gradually lowering it into the dye bath, 5 minutes at a time.
 I didn't see a huge difference between the dark tip and the light points, but when you place the shoulder points on the lower tip, you can see the difference.
 I was hoping for a darker colour, but I forgot how much the shawl weighed, and only measured out enough dye for 50gr.  The dye bath seemed pretty intense, so I threw in a few dishcloths that needed freshening up (dye will not magically erase stains though--I see this thinking on re-fashioning blogs all the time.  It might blend the stain a bit, but it's still there!).
When I was knitting this, I couldn't remember exactly how to do the increases/decreases.  One of the long sides is different from the other because of this.  I tried to even it out when I blocked it, but it is still noticeable.

Ack, look at how frizzy my hair is!  The shawl looks great with this dress, though my other dress is more of a teal colour :(  But it'll also look nice with solid coloured clothes.
We went to the West Bowmanville beach last night, and were totally shocked at how cold it was this time.  So calm, but freezing.  Is summer over?  It was only a couple days ago we were easily swimming in Lake Ontario, further east!

Yarn In:  14 828gr
Yarn Out:  12 317 + 100gr =  12 417gr
Balance:  2411gr more In than Out
Cost:  $317.59/251 days = $1.27/day