Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ready for Some "Aaaahhh!"?

I haven't made too many newborn photography props lately.  I don't know...there seems to be a trend towards recycled/upfashion type props.  I did get an order though for a few items and got them off to the photographer yesterday.  I can't wait for her pictures!

She commented on a grey bonnet and pant set, but that was custom dyed yarn and I wasn't planning to dye anymore.  I told her I had a little grey bonnet already done (small fib--it just needed the ties), and she liked it.

I can't believe I had this sitting in my drawer for soooo long, and all it needed were the ties!

The yarn has a nice texture to it, and pink and blue slubs.  I have no clue what the yarn is, I think it was a thrift store find.  This hat weighs in at 23gr.

She wanted a cream, gender neutral set like the grey one I did for Jenna Faye Photography.  The gray was cream Patons "Lace" that I dyed.  I sent her a photo of it, plus another no-name ball of fuzzier cream yarn.  She picked the fuzzier cream one.  As soon as I started knitting with it, I realized it wasn't really all that soft.  Once it was done, I turned the items inside out, and with small scissors, cut off all the halo on the inside.  Then I soaked it over night in hair conditioner.  Much softer now, but it's still not the softest thing I've made.  The set weighs in at 74gr.

She also wanted a brown mohair bonnet.  I did not have any brown mohair!  I tried blending a few yarns together, but it didn't have that "aaahhh" factor.  So I did one up in Patons "Divine".  I love this yarn.  I don't know why they discontinued it!
 Because of all the texture and already being bulky, I made it plain.  It weighs in at a whopping 19gr.  I could knit a lot of these with my Divine stash, LOL.

We were going out, and to a store just two doors down from Soper Creek of course I took advantaged and stopped in to look for finer brown mohair.  I found a basket of Nashua "Creative Focus Kid Mohair", and that was the only brown mohair in stock.  A little thicker than I would have liked, but very soft.
I had a few problems...getting the right stitch count, keeping track of what I was doing.  Ugh, ripping out mohair!  It did turn out a smidge small, but babies come in all sizes.  And it's stretchy.  It weighs 18gr. I let her have her choice of the two brown ones, and she chose this one.

So nice making quick baby items again!

Yarn In: 3975gr
Yarn Out: 134gr + 5463gr = 5597gr
Balance:  1622gr more used UP than brought in
Costs:  $ 204.82 /301 days = $0.68/day

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Have You Heard the One About a Knitter...

...who goes to the yarn store to get more green yarn for a project, considers getting the white yarn that seems to be running low, but opts just for the green yarn?

And then doesn't even touch that second ball....and gets worrisome close to the end of the white ball?

Yeah, that's the True Tracy Way!

And now that I'm doing the last bits in the white, I'm beginning to think I might just have enough.  But I bought a second ball (100g, $4.50, Loops & Threads "Woolike") anyway.  Because if I didn't, I would for certain run out with only a few yards remaining!

I also picked up a ball of decadent Nashua "Creative Focus Kid Mohair" in Rich Brown (50gr, $12.37) for an order.  I was hoping to use stash, but I had no brown mohair, and trying to blend a few browns to get something interesting wasn't working.  Apparently solid colour mohair has lost it's popularity?  I was lucky to find this in a basket on the floor of the yarn store.  It's so soft!  I would have loved to use Patons Lace, there's one in the sequences line that is dark brown, but Michaels' isn't carrying it anymore.  There is a yarn store that has some stock, but  I just can't seem to get there.

Yarn In: 3825gr + 150gr = 3975gr
Yarn Out:  5463gr
Balance:  1488gr more used UP than brought in
Costs:  $187.95 + 16.87 = $ 204.82 /300 days = $0.68/day

Friday, October 23, 2015


October 6 was my last post?  Ooops!  I've been working feverishly on the custom Christmas stockings.  And a crochet slouchy hat that I thought was all done until I tried it on.  I re-did it several times and I think I finally got it right this time.  And then another custom order that due to a miscommunication, the client thought would be ready right after Thanksgiving (Oct 12 here).

And two girls and myself got sick.

Trying to climb back to the surface today/this weekend.

I got one stocking blocked last night, and there's an oops!  :(

I don't know if you can really see it in the above photo, which is perhaps a good sign.  It appears, while I was steaming/light pressing (with a cloth), I must have touched down the edge of the iron, creating an arc imprint between the top banner and the green circle, towards the middle of the stocking.

  Not far enough over though so that it'd be on the back.  It couldn't be all one row, so I could remove those stitches and graft in a new row!  I'm going to present it to the client and be honest, and offer to re-make the stocking if he finds it annoying.  He might think it helps to give it more of a vintage look.

 The other order I'm working on includes a dark brown pixie hat.  I've made it in mohair, and don't have any dark brown mohair, but I thought I could combine some yarns for a textured look.  I'm not feeling it though.

I think I might need to go shop for some dark brown mohair.  I know I could dye the yarn I've used before, but 1) don't think I have any dark brown dye 2) don't know how to combine the colours I have to make dark brown and 3) haven't tested the colourfastness on the yarn.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015


After fine tuning Bill King's "Gold Star" pattern to suit my liking (click on the label over on the right sidebar to see them), I found out about another one of his designs, called "One Piece Waterfall", in Machine Knitting Monthly, Nov 2012.  I picked up the issue, and a while ago, gave it a test run, using a slubby red cotton.  I don't think I blogged anything about it, although I remember it giving me some headaches and I think I re-started a couple times.  Even looking at the end result, I could see quite a few missed stitches around the eyelets.  Once I had it done, I was not so enthused.  I had planned to extend the arms, so when I got to the cast off/on for the sleeves, I used waste yarn.  But I hadn't cast off/cast on again, so once the sweater was off the machine, the armholes were actually closed up and I couldn't try it on.  Putting it over my shoulders...

It came down to my knees.  It was heavy!  There was red fuzz EVERYWHERE on my machine.  Other projects became more important and I put this jacket on the shelf--where I could still see it, hoping to re-examine it later.

Later finally came this month, when my mom decided she wanted a family photo shoot and red would be one of the colours.  Knowing it could be quite cool, I figured now was as good of time as any!  I cut through the armhole waste yarn to make armholes...

 Yikes!  Look how long it is!!  It hadn't been washed, but I doubted it would shrink enough to make it reasonable on me.
 I liked the back though!
 Subtle angles, compared to the Gold Star!
 The front "waterfall" pieces were just so long!!
Here you can see the dropped stitches at the holes made when doing the short rows.

Of course, I didn't remember if I had taken any notes.  Like, tension?  Pbssst!  Just cast on and see if you can knit the first row!  Eventually I went from T7 at the cast on to T9.  I checked around on Ravelry, and found that making the waterfall panels with only two rows for each set of short rows, would shorten the front.  That sort of works, as the number of stitches is what gives the actual length, but the number of rows is what gave it the width, which when worn, droops to become part of the length factor.  If I do this again, I think I might stick with the two rows for the top 2/3, but then switch to the 4 row for the bottom third.  But I couldn't yet figure out which end of the piece was the neck and which was the bottom LOL.  I think the neck edge was the left side of the bed.

It started out really smoothly this time.  Until I didn't read the instructions for the back wedge properly.  I got to the mid-point and when reading the next bit realized I had done the last bit wrong!  That was a LOT of short rowing to rip out (I had put only one group of needles into work for each two rows!).  And then the gremlins started to appear.  My yarn was now really tangled, even though I had tried to be gentle.  Had to cut the yarn.  Had a thin spot in the yarn.  Dropped stitches.  I really started to fear I wouldn't get it done!
 This has been washed, but you can see there is much less volume now at the front!

I got the body off, and went to do the sleeves.  I couldn't get the piece to stretch to put the entire sleeve onto the mainbed, so I did each sleeve in two halves.   Of course, re-hanging the second side of the sleeve meant you're dealing with upside down stitches and they don't line up exactly.  The texture of the yarn hide it though.  I don't know how it would look in a smooth yarn.  And then I realized I could probably have done it in the round (or U shaped) if I had used the ribber bed too (although that wouldn't change the one side of the sleeve being picked up from the half-stitches instead of full stitches...hard to explain, but if you've ever picked up knitting from the bottom/cast on to knit downwards, you'd know).
 I like how there is a sort of panel that runs across the bottom.
 The sleeve eyelets formed by doing six rows (as per the instructions).  The eyelets end where the armhole is supposed to be cast off/on; where I picked up to knit a longer sleeve.  I was worried about that, but it looks fine.
 I decreased every tenth row on the bottom seam of the sleeves, but not the top seam, and did 60 rows.
I would have liked it to go more over my chest, so maybe the four rows for each group should be the top section.  I would have to look closer.  This is such a better length!
It actually looks a bit longer in the back than the original.  Partially because the original was still really rolled up as it hadn't been washed or blocked.

The unwashed piece left over from the original has a gauge of 29sts and 37 rows, measured in the 3x1 mock rib.  The empty needle spaces are more distinct, and this gauge does mean that my jacket was larger than Bill King intended.  The pattern gauge was 31st x 40 rows, so not a huge difference, but it could be enough to really change it.  The washed, finished garment has a gauge of 26st x 37 rows.  That would indicate that the finished garment should be bigger than the original unwashed garment, but what it seems is that the stitches bloomed and filled into the spaces left by the needles out of work.  This also explains why the back length is a bit longer than before, as that section has it's length determined by the stitch gauge.

Although this was not a "one day knit" as the pattern claims (maybe it could be, if you drink enough coffee and don't have to work and raise a family), I will certainly knit it again.  I like that it has much more shape and interest than the Gold Star jacket, and there is no seaming up of the two halves.  I really need a black cardigan.  Black.  Ugh.  Well, at least there's no transferring stitches and no seaming :)

Yarn In: 3825gr
Yarn Out:  448gr + 5015gr  = 5463gr
Balance:  1638gr more used UP than brought in
Costs:  $187.95 /279 days = $0.67/day

Monday, October 05, 2015


I've let it be known before that I rarely knit "trendy" items...but as a professional knitter now, sometimes I get asked to. In August I got a request for a pair of slippers.  Pretty simple, she even supplied me with a photo of what style she wanted (for her husband).  It's the old standard slipper pattern that anyone who has been to a church bazaar at Christmas time has seen.  The pattern I located is called "Aunt Maggie's Slippers".

At first, she picked out a colour scheme, but then she found a Bernat boucle yarn online that she liked, but I couldn't find it in the store.  She wanted a blue and grey slipper, with some wool content.  I ended up with LionBrand "Homespun" and "WoolSpun".  I think I used 5.5mm or 6mm.  I didn't want to flatten the Homespun too much with too small of needle, but they still needed to be knit dense for warmth and longevity.

 The slippers used 124gr, not a lot, I think because of the Homespun not being a very heavy yarn.
Had to add my tag!  I also crocheted around the opening, but if you slip the first stitch of the row to make a chain edge, that would be nice too.  I also didn't do the lines of knit stitches that sort of delineate the sole.

Yarn In: 3825gr
Yarn Out:  124gr + 4891gr = 5015gr
Balance:  1190gr more used UP than brought in
Costs:  $42.87 + $145.08 = $187.95 /278 days = $0.68/day

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Yarn In Update

I made a yarn shopping trip earlier in September, after receiving a sudden flurry of inquiries and orders.  And, I decided that  the pink I had bought for the Christmas stockings was too pale.  I hate writing Yarn In  posts.  The calculator.  The honesty.  The reality of a growing stash....

Two balls   Loops & Thread "Charisma" for a wolf hoodie.  Total, 200g
One ball Bernat "Super Value" pink for the stockings 197gr (needed only a small amount, like maybe 40gr!)
One ball Woolspun in grey for slippers, 100gr
One ball turquoise  LionBrand "Homespun" for the slippers (170gr)
One ball Red Heart Soft in green for the stocking, as a back up, 141gr

Total yarn in:  808gr.  Ugh!  LOL.  I much prefer when I can use up my stash.
I can't find the itemized receipt, buy the other little receipt says $42.87

Yarn In: 808gr + 3017gr = 3825gr
Yarn Out:  4891gr
Balance:  1066gr more used UP than brought in
Costs:  $42.87 + $145.08 = $187.95 /274 days = $0.69/day