Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Swimsuit

I'm not sure how I feel about sewing swimsuits.  The suit I used to have (store bought) lasted a long time.  Last spring (2011) I bought a new one since the old one was worn out and I was cutting it up to make a pattern and I wasn't sure how that would work.  That store bought suit lasted only about six months!  The one I made at that time, with fabric from FabricLand, is still going strong, although I didn't wear it a whole lot.  Then I sewed two suits in October.  One has worn out!  It was fabric I bought at Value Village, so I guess I can't complain too much.  And it's too big now. 

Meg needed a new suit, since she's in the hot tub a lot and her old suits were hand me downs that were really worn out.  She wanted a tankini, and I used the same Kwik Sew pattern that I used for Lucy's suit (I don't think I've used it as intended yet).  Her measurements are all over the chart though.  I had to lengthen, widen some, narrow the shoulders....when it came time for adding elastic to the arm and necklines...I had no idea what to do.  I compared the original amount to the original pattern, and it used about 1 1/2" less elastic then the measurement.  That did not work.  I took elastic out.  I added elastic. I ripped and re-sewed.  Finally, it seemed okay.  I hope no one ever unpicks it and sees how I added in and cut out bits of the elastic!  LOL.

Another big issue I had...when I cut the front, I added two inches to the length...but I didn't mark it on the pattern.  When I cut the back...I forgot to add that extra....yeah.  I've done that before, and still haven't learned.  So, I ended up cutting a strip to make a ruffle.  The length wasn't bad before, but she did want it to cover her belly completely.

The fabric was from Spandex World, last summer.  I ordered two yards, and was very disappointed when it came and there was a white line between each yard.   But it was cheap, compared to what I can buy here (and they don't have the swim suit material "mill ends" bin anymore!).

Monday, June 25, 2012

I Hate This Yarn

I bought this yarn at Wal-Mart or Zeller' of those pre-bagged deals, but not "1lb Unknown Fiber".  These had labels...Promo-Fil?  Okay, a quick search on Ravelry and I did find it.  Made by the "Easy Knit" company.  LOL.   I did keep a label, but can't find it at the moment.  It's a cotton, rayon, acrylic blend.  It feels like crap.  Plastic.  Dry.  I suppose it's "soft" in a sense, but I would hate to wear something made of it.  OMG.  I was just looking at the projects on Ravelry with this yarn....and there's my "W" tank.  That I've never worn cause the yarn sucked and didn't dye right.  As I was working this blanket, it reminded me of that vest, but I thought I had used something different (and that perhaps it had been the dye that made it feel awful). 

So, it's just another crochet granny square blanket.  Not too big.  I still have quite a bit of the third ball left but I just didn't want to work on it anymore.  It weighs 236 gr.  I'm sure it's fine for a baby, it's not like it's stiff like cardboard...but it's about as snuggly as cardboard, LOL.  My opinion only, of course.

Looks pretty enough.

Yarn In:  13 866gr
Yarn Out:  236gr + 10 945= 11 181gr
Balance:  2685 gr more In than Out
Costs:  $300.21/182 days = $1.65/day

Friday, June 22, 2012

Productive Week

It's been a rather busy, and productive, week.  In some ways.  In other ways, I feel like I've gone backwards.  That striped top in the Panama?  All those little operator errors that were driving me crazy...I finally got the back off the machine and let it sit.  Mmmm.  Looked a little big!  A pre-wash measure showed that indeed, I got a different gauge than the pattern.  You know the saying, "To save time, take time to check your gauge"?  I'm not sure how my machine could be so different from other machines :(  The back is almost large enough to be the front...except that it's two inches too long below the armhole, and about two inches too long above the armhole.  I did wash it, as the yarn fluffs up, but haven't re-checked it.  I don't think it would have shrunk 2-3", if anything, it would be bigger.  So that project is on hold.

I have a sundress I bought last summer that had a flaw in it.  It was too big, and a maxi dress, and because of where the flaw was, it needed a complete re-fashioning.  My first vision didn't work, so it's been like cut and paste trying to get it to fit.  Not quite finished.  All that SHOULD be left to do is sew the straps on, but I like having a helper place them for me.  I have another sundress that is a maxi, and even in my highest heels is too long, so it needs a hem on the serger.  Well, I'm hesitating to do it, even though I know it SHOULD go fine....

I finished weaving in ends and washing the pink granny square blanket that I hated, and I did get that diagonal garter stitch sweater taken apart and a new version started.  Even though it's garter stitch, it feels really great to have that going on.

On June 10 I had a big family party, and my SIL had a silly little "argument" with our niece about her leaving her clothes laying around my house (she had been dressed up when she came, then went in the hot tub, then changed again....).   SIL put on her grey cardi/shrug/bolero sweater and we "Oooh-ed and Aaaww-ed" over it, her asking if I could make one, me pretending to check it out.  Yes, grey is a fabulous and versatile colour....We were doing it to annoy our niece, but I thought, I really could make her something.  More on that later!  LOL.  I'm waiting for pictures.  The first attempt didn't work (yarn shortage) but the end result was worth it.  So worth it that I made one for myself in a different yarn, and started another for another niece.  And there's plans for even more of them!

Earlier in this week, I realized that I didn't have any black shorts for an outdoor concert last night, and we've been having super hot weather.  I did have a black skirt, but it just wasn't "right".  So I had to go to Value Village where I found a great skort (my first!).  Only to find out, on the way to the concert (in the middle of a horrendous thunderstorm which ended up cancelling the concert), that the mark I thought was dust was actually a change in the texture of the fabric.  Argh.

While there, I did get some more yarn!  I don't understand how they bag up yarn.
One bag--two balls--of Lopi for $2.99, one bag of three balls of Patons Decor for $3.99, one bag of one ball Decor and one ball Classic Wool for $1.99 (someone must have thought wool from Iceland was worth more?), and one bag with two balls Classic Wool and one ball Impeccable, for $3.99.  So, according to the bag with Decor and Clasic Wool, the yarn should be $1/ball.  According to the Lopi, it's $1.50/ball.  According to the 3 ball bags, it's $1.33/ball.  And it's not like I'm comparing Red Heart to Classic Wool.  And why couldn't they just pack the Decor (4 balls of bright pink) in one bag, and the Classic Wool (3 balls of the jewels colours) in another bag?  And toss that Impeccable (a weird bright green) into it's own bag.  I'll use that for more charity hats.  The Decor will probably go to charity hats and scarves (but not mitts).  I think it's too bright to use in one item though, LOL.  The Classic Wool and Lopi will probably become felted slippers; I was thinking the other day I need to handknit a pair of the Fiber Trends clogs again; the machine knit ones are a good substitute, but don't last too long.  All this yarn was 30% off with my Summer Saving card.  I also bought a dress for re-fashioning.  Can't buy fabric for a dress for $6.66!

Yarn In:  1028gr + 12 838r = 13 866gr
Yarn Out:  10 945gr
Balance:  2921 gr more In than Out
Costs:  $10.25 + $289.96 = $300.21/179 days = $1.68/day

Friday, June 15, 2012

What's Coming Up

Just a little post to keep track of what's coming up in the projects, and I found a bag of yarn I bought at Value Village that I haven't counted for yet.  I've got a new swimsuit for Meg to show later, and a pink granny square blanket that still needs ends worked in.  I really hated the yarn, so I'm not in a rush.  I've got another granny square afghan happening as well.  I still haven't steamed out Omelet, or finished re-fashioning a sundress I started earlier this month.  But onwards!

 I always liked this t-shirt (I think I have another one that's similar too).  Yes, it's horizontal stripes, but the varying thicknesses and fabulous placement of the dark stripes keeps the eyes moving.  I don't feel fat when I wear this, at all.  It's also a lightweight t-shirt (though not as light as some I'm seeing now!), and stretchy.  However, when I put it on recently, I caught a glimpse in the mirror that the upper back was all baggy!  So, I got to work to using up all those cones of Yeoman Panama that I've gotten.  I chose "Linen Mix", a short sleeve cardi from Knitwords (#45, I think, Summer 2008).  I'm not going to do it as a cardi though.
 Seven different colours!  Note that this is still on the machine, so you're looking at the "wrong" (purl) side.  I'm carrying the white up the left side, and the beige up the right side.  The beige is the only colour that is repeated within the colour sequence (other than the two rows of white between each colour).  I picked beige because I thought the extra beige would tone it down, but I'm worried about how much I have.  I'm paranoid I'm going to run out of white.  Although there's no blocks of white, doing two rows between each colour means I'll probably use more of it than the other colours.  What I have left on the cone doesn't look like much--but then again, two rows don't take much either.  I had a rough time getting going on this (after trying a different project on this machine that didn't work either), but now I'm up to the neck shaping of the back.  Stopped for lunch.
 I made this sweater pre-blog, I think just before I got pregnant with Meg.  It's a yarn called "Mexican Wave DK", and I used a blue version in a crocheted sweater recently.  The body of the sweater is knit in garter stitch on the diagonal.  The back is a rectangle, and the front has a V neck.  The sleeves were done in stockinette because I was tired of the extra time for garter stitch and I worried about running out of yarn.  Once I had it done, I thought it was a smidge too snug for what I wanted.  I knit garter stitch panels and sewed them up the side (maybe I did this before the sleeves).  I made them a bit shorter than the front and back for extra detail.  I loved the way the colours seem to glow against the black, and I always got compliments when I wore it.  After Meg was born though, it just seemed too sloppy.  I've always thought about ripping it out and re-knitting it, and I think the time is now.  It'll be a good "sit in the park" project.  I think I might even be able to keep the sleeves intact...
And the recent acquisition from Value Village.  They had all the knitting and sewing items 1/2 off, so this bag cost me only $2.  There's some pink chunky (the colours are a little washed out in the sun), Bernat Mosaic (an acrylic version of Noro), and brown and green worsted.  The Mosaic is 134gr, which means there's a knot in there somewhere, LOL.  It'll be enough for another potato chip scarf, and the total weight is 264gr.

Total In:  264gr + 12 574gr = 12 838gr
Total Out:  10 945gr
Balance:  1893gr more In than Out
Costs:  $287.71 + $2.25 = $289.96/172 days = $1.69/day

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Butterick 4018

I've been wearing the same dress for band concerts for a long time.  I bought the dress when I was at my old weight, and I knew it was too big, but it was stretchy, layered, etc, and didn't look too big.  Then I gained weight and the dress was the "right" size.  Now I'm back down to the old weight (almost; 2lbs more....but really, I need to go another 12 pounds at least) but I'm a little tired of the dress.  So, I thought I'd make a simple dress.
(I'm so tired of trying to get photos in the right spot!  Both the photos say they're in the center, but neither appear to be while I'm working, and I can't move them!)

This is Butterick 4018, I'm guessing it's out of print, and I don't want to link to eBay or somewhere like that.  It's a "Fast and Easy" pattern, particularly if you don't need adjustments...but who doesn't?  I started out with taking my measurements.  I don't know what was up, but my measurements seemed to be exactly the same as last year.  Then, the next day I tried again, and my bust was 2" smaller.  My other measurements don't seem to have changed much, but I know I am thinner! 
I made the pattern adjustments based on the first measurements and then  made a muslin out of a grey knit bedsheet.  Not a great look, LOL.  Blah.  Sort of like something the Duggar kids would wear, except that it was grey knit instead of blue denim.  Anyway, I knew it would make a good nightgown at least.  I did have to shrink my FBA quite a bit, but something was going on under the arms.  I thought maybe I should trim the armhole down to where the pattern would normally be, but wasn't sure what that would do to the sleeves.  I realized I needed a bit more material actually between the neck and the armhole.  However, I also decided to start with the next size down for the shoulders, and in the end, you  can see the wrinkles right above my bust--it still needs a bit more width there.  Or, is it length?  I shortened it up there because I usually get a fold of fabric above the bust, but these look more like tugging lines. 

I'm also wondering if the empire waist is in the right spot.  It curves downwards at the sides, and I don't think that's flattering, and some of the gathers towards the sides were a little pouffy.  However, it does sit right below my bust nicely.  Perhaps too many gathers?

I'm not thrilled to see how my belly looks in the photos.  It's a thick knit fabric, and I think I could have used a bit more width, and a better undergarment!

I had to make quite a bit of adjustment for the back.  There is a center back seam for a zipper, which I didn't use, but I kept the seam so I could adjust it easier.  At the back neck, I had to take it in quite a bit, and also the lower back.  Since there's no photo of the back of the dress on the envelope, it's hard to know where exactly that waist seam should fall.  I don't mind it where it is, but it seems odd to be empire in the front but not the back.

I added a bit of black lace trim around the neck, and severely underestimated the time it would take to sew that on!

I'm not sure I'd sew this again.  I don't like how the front empire seam points downwards.  I didn't know how to add more width across the abdomen but keep the empire waist the same...

Oh well, it's not like I'll be wearing it much, or like I don't have other patterns to choose from.  Best part though, I bought the fabric at Value Village for $7.99 and there is still lots left!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fuzzy Blue Blankie

I was excited by how quickly I crocheted the yellow granny square baby blanket, so I dug into my bins and came up with Patons "Be Mine" (Discontinued).  This is the softest, dreamiest yarn you can imagine.  A combination of a subtle eyelash/faux fur and a velvety chenille.  I caught every kid snuggling with it on the couch while I worked on it. 

I would have liked to use up all the yarn I had, but it gets to a point where one ball doesn't go very far, so I stopped at the end of a round, with only a few feet left of that ball!  I'm not sure what I'll do with the rest; it might make a nice baby sweater--I'll have to weigh what's left.

Yarn In:  12 574gr
Yarn Out:  231gr + 10 714gr= 10 945gr
Yarn Balance:  1629 gr more In than Out
Costs:  $287.71/168 days = $1.71/day

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Beaded Bleeding Heart Scarf

This is actually the tuck lace scarf from Machine Knitting Fun, the small version using 16-0-15 stitches, T8, and the same yarn as the purple scarf.  I meant to weigh it as the ball felt a little light, but forgot.  It's plenty long though.
Each of the foam squares is about 2 ft long.
I knit the 6 rows in hold, then one row, then put the beads on the 3 tucked stitches, then knit the second plain row.  This centered the bead over the tucks.  At first, I knit the two plain rows and put the bed on, which made it sit on the really long stitch that forms the open back-to-back triangles.  That was nice too, but it was more obvious.  Either way is fine.  I didn't know how many beads I had, or how many rows this would take, so I just did the first 6 or so repeats, then knitted until I seemed to be low on yarn.
Then I started the beading again.  As it was, I probably had enough beads to do the whole thing!  Next time, I might divide the beads equally before starting.  I also didn't want to have happen what happened with the purple one--started beading the second end and realized I still had lots of yarn left.  I didn't want to run out of yarn before doing the same number of beaded rows either.  This time though, the beads are really subtle, so I said "oh well, one end has more beads than the other" rather than rip it back and re-knit some without the beads.  It's such a fast knit though that I really should have knit the whole yarn (doing the second end beadless), then rip back to match the number of beaded rows I had at the start, and re-knit them with the beads.

I opted to block it so the sides formed scallops.  The blocking wires really helped with this!  In fact, I don't think it would have looked right if it had been blocked with straight sides, unless you did more plain stitches on the edges.

I really like this yarn.  It's light and airy and the colours were very saturated, with just a little bit of difference in shade between the fibers of the two plies.

I've tried many times to upload the picture of the scarf in my bleeding heart plant, but it won't load.  My SIL says bleeding hearts are one of her favourite  flowers and they grow wild and crazy in Alberta where she used to live.  The yarn is the exact colour.  I had a hard time giving this one away, but not as hard of time as what she's going through :)

Yarn In:  12 574gr
Yarn Out:  10 664+ 50gr = 10 714gr
Balance:  1860 gr more In than Out
Costs:  $287.71/164 days = $1.75/day

Friday, June 01, 2012

Beading on the Knitting Machine

I've seen many patterns for beaded items made on the various knitting machines.  I had sort of passed them over, since I knew that beading while handknitting involves pre-stringing all the beads and I had no idea what would be involved with machine knitting and beading.  I had seen sketches of beads going over the heads of stitches, but just how does one do that?

When I went to the seminar, beading was one of the topics.  Eileen Montgomery has written many patterns for beaded items, so she was the perfect instructor!  And oh my, it is easy.  Really, you are basically slipping the bead over the head of the stitch.  But how?

She uses a 0.6mm crochet hook, and usually 4mm cube beads.  Michaels' sells 4mm cubes beads by Toho, but there weren't very many colours.   She usually uses a different brand, sold at a beadstore.  I'm scared to go into the bead store that is located way too close to my house.  I got some clear cubes by Toho, and a bag of assorted colours, round beads that looked like the holes were big enough for the 1mm hook, which was the smallest I could get.  I used blue beads from the assorted pack on the pale blue scarf for my sister in law.  I had no problem with the crochet hook and beads; the hard part was deciding how to fit the beads into the pattern.

I wanted to do more with beads, and thought the purple scarf I was doing at the club meeting would be a good option, since there were purple beads in the assorted pack.  However, I had two issues.  I thought there was just one shade of purple bead, but there turned out to be two different ones in the pack.  That's okay.  The other problem was that the yarn was quite a bit thicker, and I had difficulty getting it pulled through some of the beads.  At the beading, I just put those ones aside and tried a different bead.  But then I was running low on the purple beads by the time I got to the end.

I had just read a tip by a MKer who used dental flossers designed for people with braces, instead of a crochet hook.  I haven't seen them, but it sounded like a short length of floss, and a plastic tip.  He placed several beads at a time on it, then bent the tip into a hook shape.  For a tutorial on this, check out THIS blog.  I'm going to take a look for these flossers the next time I'm in the store.  Previously when I had tried HK beading, I had used floss to make a loop that pulled the yarn through the bead.   I wondered if I could do something like that.  I grabbed a bit of beading wire that Lucy had abandoned since it was kinked and tangled, and cut off about 8 inches.  I bent it in half.

  I slipped one end through the stitch on the needle, up to the bend, and slipped the stitch off.  Then I slid the bead over the two ends of the wire,

 and pulled the ends of the wire so the stitch (in the bend of the wire), is pulled through the bead.

 I pulled it through far enough to get enough of a loop to slip back on the needle.

 Some of the beads took a bit of muscle, but worked REALLY well. 

One good thing about this is that the yarn is contained by the wire, so textured yarns, or loosely plied yarns, are no trouble, like they were with trying to hook it all on an itsy bitsy crochet hook.  You can probably also use smaller holed beads, but not too small  :)  Expect to see more beaded items here!

If you don't have beading wire, you can try a twist tie, fishing line, or probably even dental floss.  The beading wire was stiff enough to poke through the stitch on the needle, but you could lift the stitch off with a transfer tool.  Lucy has these neat J shaped, doubled wire "needles" for using in the bead spinner.  You could snip open the top of the J  (not the scoop part) and use it too.  In fact, I think I'll pick up a pack the next time I'm at Michaels....