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New FOS; New projects

Yeah, I know that I really don’t need to start any new projects, but I can’t help myself.  Give me credit for completing some things.  I finally decided that Autumn Jewel is finished.Pulling out the wooden beads reminded me I had other beads.

by Carol Metzger
from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders

This is designed for Tahki Cotton Classic.  The Cotton Classic Lite would work just as well.  I used Sirdar’s Snuggly Baby Bamboo and love how softly it drapes.Now orange is not my color.  The reason this is orange is that Remi set me a challenge.  She gave me four skeins of yarn and set me off to design and play and make the basis for my summer classes.

I have an opinion.  (Make snarky comments.)  Summer knitting should be small, exploratory, instructive, and result in gifts for giving to others.  With that in mind, I have designed some baskets, some small purses, and then knit this necklace—-and I still have yarn.  I’ve used a bunch of slip stitch colorwork which is such an easy way to add extra color to a project, really firm st patterns which make lining a purse an option, zippers inserted effortlessly by hand (machine is optional) and beads.  The classes can be a one time event–summer is so busy that most folks can’t commit to a series of classes–and I will be encouraging folks to use cotton yarn.  After all, it is summer.

I’ll update these projects with class dates this week.

New project. 

Those who know me well know I am messy.  Dyeing is messy.  Thus the new project is named Winestains.

I have knitted and kept a humongous number of swatches over the years.  Just threw them in a box when I was finished with them.  Some were gauge swatches; most were to try a new technique or stitch pattern; some were just to explore a new yarn.  Lots of different colors–often a “why did I buy this?” color.

Idea!!!!! A crazy throw, similar to a crazy quilt.  But I knew it would be ugly and unconnected.  Rit Dye, shade wine.  I know it won’t last forever, but heck, this project has the potential to be a big flop.  I put the dyepot on the stove, sorted into animal and plant fibers and began.  Here are some of the swatches.

Some closeups.
The grey yarn in this swatch had too much acrylic to dye well, but the color works with the others.
If you dye green yarn with wine dye, you get brown. Sometimes the brown is nice; sometimes it is ugly.  Nice to know.
I’ll keep you posted on this.
One more small project–a mixed media postcard.  And yesterday I painted paper to use to make something.
You really need to come over and play with me.  I’m having fun.
More later–

The Importance of My Iron

I hate to iron.  When we married, we agreed that no matter how poor we were, Steve’s shirts would go to a laundry.  When the girls were born, I gave away any baby gifts that required ironing.  I don’t even iron my linen pants and jumpers.  So how important could an iron be to me?

Well, over a week ago I knocked my iron off my ironing board onto a wood floor and pieces went everywhere.  It wasn’t the first time I had dropped this iron, but it was the last.  I simply planned to buy a new iron.  No big deal.

The iron I broke was my first really nice one, a Rowenta Professional;  it would shoot mega steam to block my knitting pieces.  I had to have another really good one.  Prices had gone up.  I found the newest Rowenta made in Germany was $175 at my nearest store, but was only $116 on Amazon.  I ordered it.  It took over a week to come.

For over a week I had no iron.  I could not block knitting which I do several times in the process of making an item.  I also couldn’t block the crochet stuff I was making.  I could not sew a seam and iron it, so no quilting.  I couldn’t even continue the appliques on the Cabin on a Hill project because I need the iron to fuse them to the background fabric.  Lots of what I couldn’t do.

So what did I do?  First I made paper beads.

Then I used them to copy a necklace that I had seen on Vicki’s neck.  Now I have to figure how to fasten it securely.  Not my strong suit.

Then I read about machine cording.  Simply put, I used a bunch of strands of the yarns I’m using for my Autumn Jewel purse (which I couldn’t finish because I couldn’t sew the lining) and held them together while zigzagging them with a neat metallic thread.  I will double the result and make the shoulder strap from it.

I created summer halters for the dogs using leftover yarn and both knit and crochet.  I’m still learning dog anatomy and just how small Jake is and how voluptous Bella is.  After lots of work and testing on the walk where they really stretched out, I found the simplest possible halter on ravelry for free.  I’ll let you know how that works.

I drug out last year’s sweater based on Wendy Barnard’s Crisp Vest.

Before

The sleeves look fine for a 20 year old which I am not.  I pulled out the bind off and made them longer.  I used the small ball of leftover yarn and pulled out about 4 yards from the swatch I had knit.

After

I did not have to use the skein I recently bought at Charlotte Yarn, so I returned it and bought TWO skeins of Blue Heron rayon from the trunk show.  Seemed fair to me.

Then I started a vest project using a crochet pattern from The Happy Hooker.  It uses a chunky yarn.  I hate crocheted garments make from chunky yarn.  But it was in the stash. I’m using my typical top down techniques with the crochet—a new thing for me and it seems to be working.

I actually think I kind of like this chunky yarn garment.  I eat a lot of words.

Thank goodness the new iron arrived.

More later–

Creative Quandaries

The rationalization:  I am ADD so it is constructive for me to have lots of projects underway at one time.  Then I can bounce from project to project as my attention wanes or a decision looms.  It seems to be working so I am owning it.

Sewing: Jake’s harness.  No pattern so I am winging it.  Dogs are shaped funny.  Dogs don’t like to do “try ons.”  Next:  Cut top off and make a new neckline.  Maybe a strap in a slot to make it more flexible.

Knitting: Bit by Bit summer jacket.  Sleeves weren’t working for me so I took them off.  I’ll put a different one on but I don’t know which yet.  Next:  Add a 3 inch border which also decreases the circumference at the side seams and at the normal vertical dart places on the front and back.  Stitch?

New Multiyarn Purse in Pink and Green:  Really a sweet look, but will it be boring as is?  Next:  Try a light blue, a greenish taupe, and a green Provence yarn and see what works.

Steve’s socks:  I’ve knit a few rows.  5 or 6.  But don’t they look great in the Knit Bag Jan Smiley gave me?  It is cute and very functional.  I knit with it on my wrist at Evan’s soccer games.  I’ll post details when I find the card that came with it.  The designer has an etsy site and it will be a great place to buy gifts.

Quilting: The Cabin on the Hill.  Find the right background.  All of the golds was too busy; one gold was a bit flat.  Trying pale green, blue and pink batiks.  Softer effect, but contrast may be too great.  Dragonfly beads show well on the light batik.  Gold is more dynamic and looks better on  the wall.  Next:  Fiddle some more.  Try a blend.  Maybe batiks just a bit darker.  Greens?

Crochet: Lace shawlette.  Love the yarn and the stitch pattern.  Am new to the shaping so am winging it.  I’ve made some errors in the increasing, but I learned from them.  The yarn is all cotton in a charcoal—bought it in Copenhagen years ago and knitter it into a shawl that I never wore.  Saw a shawlette in the new Knitscene (“Starboard Cape” by Courtney Kelley) which tacked the cape together under the arms and made a sleeve of sorts.  I may try this with this one, but with a longer piece to allow a bigger underarm room.    It’s going to require some short rows to make that work.  Never done short rows before in crochet.  Just like me to make the first ones in a lace pattern.  Next:  figure out how to do that.

Swatches in fine cotton: Playing ********

Interrupted for a bulletin.

I’m also watching an old Firefly while I write.  “Jaynesville”  River is wearing an adorable white lace crocheted vest.  Just sayin.

Swatches in fine cotton:  Playing with fine cotton.  Trying to determine open but stable st patterns for a vest.  Can’t be too open or I will catch it on things and rip it.  I don’t watch where I am going.  Also still learning what needle will give me the drape I want without looking to loose.  It would help a lot if I could remember to code or write down the hook I use with the swatches.

Crazy Lace: The humongus swatch I was knitting is finished.  I finished by doing a bit of Crochet Crazy Lace on it.  Next:  Block it and see what it looks like.

Embroidery:  White linen-cotton blend napkins.  I’ve done florals, cutwork, traditional stuff, but now—one just for me.

More later–

bits and pieces

So many projects.  So many techniques.  I move from knit to crochet to quilting to Zentangles to embroidery and embellishments.  Why am I not crazy?

Because of the One Great Commonality:  They all are done in bits and pieces.

Now with patchwork quilting, this is obvious.  Embroidery and embellishments are add-ons, so they easily fit this hypothesis.  Zentangles?  This is a meditative doodling technique where you randomly section off a square and then fill in each with a pattern.  Sort of patchwork with a pen.

Crochet?  For me, it’s usually freeform.  Make a bunch of pieces; arrange them in the shape you need; join them; fill in the holes with more pieces.  It’s a building process, and it is similar to quilting.  You can also embellish it, even with embroidery.

Knitters can also do freeform work, but my bits and pieces is more than that.

When I make a sweater, I build it.  I think of the parts as I work.  One neckline, one back, one -two fronts, etc.  And any of these parts can be more than one piece; think color blocking.

So, my latest project shouldn’t surprise me, but it did.

I want to make some very openwork,  let a breeze blow through vests.  These are for those of us who really want to cover our arms in the summer.  However, those of us who really want to cover our arms do not need anything to help us be warmer—not in the sunny South.

I started by looking for someone else’s pattern.  I found a modular shrug by Iris Schreier in  her Lacy Little Knits.  Now I know ladies with big “girls” do not look good in shrugs.  I also know that a bunch of triangles (as in this pattern) will not fit a curvy body.  Still, I started the pattern.  When I don’t really know what to do, I just do something and hope I don’t hurt myself.

I knit the back triangle of the pattern.  I looked at it.  It looked familiar.  I fiddled and folded and realized it looked like a sleeve.  A sleeve that falls in a point.

A fluttery point.  If I put it across my shoulder, the pointy end draped down my arm and covered the wobbly bits.  The straight section of the triangle that was knit to build height looked like an underarm seam.  Hmmmmmmmmmm.

I knit another one.

Then I knit a rectangle to join them and named it “Back.”  I just guessed at a size.  If it is too wide, I’ll gather it.  Summer vests need to be roomy to let in the cool air.  I basted them together and tried it on.

Then I drew.  I needed to discover what shapes would be necessary to make the other parts of the vest.  I didn’t bind off anything.  Just cut the yarn 6 inches long and added waste yarn to hold the stitches.  Makes it easier to add on (or take out) to continue.

I like V necks and the “sleeve” has some sloped sides to accommodate, so I lay out a triangle for the bodice.  I proceeded confidently even though I had no idea what I was doing.  Sometimes confidence is rewarded.  I measured gauge and computed how many sts I needed.  Five rows in, I knew I was wrong, so I pulled out and cast on a larger number.  I did the increases every four rows because that usually works, and it did.  When it was long enough, I stopped knitting.

Basted it to the shoulder and sleeve and tried it on.  This is crucial.  You have to temporarily assemble and try on in order to really know what you have.  Measurements lie.

I know I need some extra inches in the underarm so I continued the back with a cast on of 6 sts at the end of the next two rows.  I chose 6 because of gauge and trying not to screw up the st pattern.  If it isn’t enough, I’ll know when I try it on before  I start the fronts.  I’ll just add more there.

I’m a little worried about the pointy sleeves.  I can use a ribbon and cinch them up for a frill effect.

This is it so far.  How will I finish the back? Fronts? Sleeves? etc.

No idea, but I’ll let you know when I do.  And you thought designing was hard.

More later–

Update on some explorations

Funky Artyarn Spinning

Coffee cup cozy

Put a button on the ugly cozy.  Couched some of the blue stuff on my practice embroidery piece.  Used Perle cotton and made two couch sts at each point.  Used the embroidery hoop as a guide for the placement.  Good idea for leftover yarn you love.

EmbroideryI may have Unvented this stitch.  I’ve seen Bullion st flowers, but here I forgot what I was doing and made Buttonhole st petals.  I like this mistake.  I just took a big st and then filled it in with Buttonhole st like you do when you make a buttonloop.  I’ll take some pics of the process and post later.

I’m still embellishing the wet felt silk scarf.  I sewed seed beads in a leaf shape and embroidered the center vein.  Above right is a buttonhole spiral just improvised.  To the left is an outline of something??  Note the different colored threads.The big thing is done in two colors of perle cotton.  I did some lazy daisy st in the blue and then just started running st and then just ran the sts in a spiral.  It looked plain and unfocused, so I tried to fix it with the lovely chartreuse.  I couched each side of the chain and then ran sts between the running sts.  Better, but not great.

The patch of burgundy at the bottom shows some running sts in a green sewing thread.  I wanted to secure those fibers.  Would have been better had I used thicker thread or even beads.  Of course, that can still be done.I love these ferny, feather stitches.  Using the green yarn made me think of fiddlehead ferns.  I’m enjoying this activity as much as I enjoyed the felting class.  Wonder what else I’ll sew on this thing.  I think I have some feathers somewhere in just these colors.

Jake got a haircut

Jake didn't like getting a haircut, and . . .

he doesn't want his picture taken.

What have you been exploring?  It is spring–well, almost; time to try a new thing.

Yoke Sweater Sleeves

The top down yoke sweater, my first ever yoke sweater, is almost finished.  Nothing like going from 80 degree weather to 17 degree and having no coat to give you the push you need to finish knitting a sweater.  Yes, I plan to wear it home.

What have I learned?

First, that Amy Herzog was right.  My body type can wear this style.

Yokes are fun because you can do some fancy stuff there and then keep it simple and non-chunky around your my chunky body.

The armcye.  Well, that’s the place I am still experimenting.  I took my basic design from a general plain pattern.  I knit one size for the back based on my shoulder measurements and a size larger for the front.  The yoke was short rowed for the front in order to cover the girls like I wanted while keeping the shoulder seams equal.  This means the front of the armscye is a bit longer than the back.

Well tailored jackets do not create fronts and backs the same as do most knit patterns.  That is because—I’m preaching here—fronts and backs are the same size only on prepubescent children.

I am doing top down sleeves starting with picking up around the armscye and short rowing for a cap, etc.

I think this first sleeve used too many short rows.  After all the cap part of this sleeve is very small because much of the over shoulder onto the arm is done by the yoke.  Also picked up a few more stitches on the front than the back.  It seems to buckled a bit, just a bit, there.  Remember that I’m making these judgments about an unblocked sweater.

Looking at it again, I think that the short rows should start wider than I did.  I just used the same ratio I always use and that was the error.  I think!

Second sleeve will differ from the first in to correct these things.  No!  I will not frog the first sleeve.  I’ll wear it and remember what I learned.

Do you keep a knitting journal?  You know, with pictures of your projects, the data about needles and yarn and gauge.  If you do, good on ya.  We all should.  Another thing you should add to this journal is a reflection on what you learned from the project, what you wish you had done differently, what you will try next time.  You think you will remember and you won’t.

You could add that to your ravelry notes.  Then the rest of us could learn from you.

More later—

Home in a week.

Jane Goes Walkabout

I know I promised to update on some knit projects, but first — big news.  Steve’s job is taking us to Australia for a couple of months.  Sudden?  Oh, yeah!  He found out yesterday and he leaves probably Thurs of next week.  I follow ASAP.  Only downer–Jake can’t go; he has to stay with Meghan.  At least he will have Evan and the big dog, Thor.

I have seached for yarn shops and knit groups.  Isn’t that always the first step?  We will be in Brisbane, big city with beaches and lots of stuff to see.  I am stunned–just stunned.

Now the knitting—Ah, yes, a bathroom shot.  This is my Seven Circle in Silk Garden Sock by Noro.  Used a size 4 needle.  Easy, easy knit and really a cute way to keep the neck warm.  Or at least the chest.  I did make it a bit bigger than called for because I hate things against my throat.  I do recommend this if you have a bunch of gifts to knit.

The Seduce project that has been 5 or 6 things–

it is finally a vest.  I know this is a strange view, but at least it is in focus, unlike . . .

I still love this yarn.  Talk about strong.  First I knit a vest, then a cardigan, then began a yoke sweater and now this—all with the same yarn and it still looks great.  I love the closure I came up with.  I hate buttons.

Did a chemo hat for a friend of Erica’s.  I used Panda Silk doubled on a size 4 needle.  It felt great.  What is it about doubled yarn that I love so much?  I should experiment more because everything I have knit doubled so far has had a lovely hand.  Lace weight doubled is really drapey.

Anyway, I did put an easily detachable pumpkin greenery on top and Erica called to tell me Roger wore it to chemo with an orange shirt and cracked up the entire place with his Great Pumpkin interpretation.  Glad to bring some joy in his life.

New pattern sent to Knitcircus and some other secret knitting that I can’t show.

I have finally finished the first part of the Daybreak Shawl Adaptation and can begin the ruffle and trim.  The size is perfect and I can write the pattern shape based on the second side.  See, I knit the first side, went to school on what I didn’t like, rewrote for the second side and liked it.  Once it is on my body, no one will know they are not alike.  Sometimes it pays to lower your standards.

What do you take for a 15 hour plan ride?

More later–

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