Sunday, July 31, 2016

Hot Summer!

After an on-again, off-again winter, and a spring that never happened, summer finally came to Ontario in a BIG way.  This has been an exceptionally hot and dry and humid July.  Recently I had to go to Fabricland (our version of Joanne's, I guess) for thread and red satin cord (for that Santa stocking I posted last time).  I got the thread, forgot the cord, and walked out with 1.5m of fiery hot smocked polyester.

My idea was simple.  To recreate this dress.  Four years ago?! I love this dress still, and get lots of compliments.  I figured once I cut the length down, that portion will be enough for the top part.  I started with that--cutting the bottom length off.  Then I decided to use the free Sorbetto pattern by Colette. I printed it out, taped it together and got it cut out.  As I was laying it on my fabric, I thought...mmm...I chose the size for my 44" bust, but really, that's not 22"+22", it's more like 20" + 24", I wonder if the front piece is going to fit me! I measured the pattern piece, and with the pleat not folded in, the front piece measured 25" (I think).  I opted to not sew the pleat!  I also took a little wedge out of the front strap, shortening the armhole by about 1/2".  I cut it out, sewed it together and to the smocked portion of the fabric and tried it on.

For larger pictures, just click on one, and it should take you to the Blogger picture viewer.

It wasn't right.  Somehow, the front was not really long enough, and the smocked portion was too long, and since it was a smidge smaller than it should have been, it clung to my muffin top.  I pulled up the bottom to a better fit, and marked it.  I decided to make the darts a bit shorter and narrower to get a bit more length in the top portion, and use a narrower seam allowance. I also unpicked the first row of smocking--where I was joining the top and smocking--to reduce the gathering  and hope it blended in with the top better.  I think I also unpicked the first row that showed.  The fabric still gathers into the seam, but it's not as dramatic so it's still smoother under my bust.

The fit isn't perfect still.  Now there is a bit of gaping on the armholes, and it rides up a bit under my bust, but I just keep tugging it down.  I'm not going to get all fussy with it.  Maybe try a different bra next time.  It's longer and less full than the original inspiration, but that's okay.  The big issue is that it's polyester, and clings to me!! 

I did a rolled edge for the bottom of the skirt, and it was fun playing with the colours in the serger to get it just right.  It's done in orange and looks great.  I toyed with doing that around the neck and arms too, but felt it might look a little unfinished.  Instead, I took my scrap from cutting the top pieces, found the bias in a section that still had the bottom selvage, started making 1" lines from the widest portion.  My rotary cutter is dull, my scissors were pretty dull, so this process was aggravating!  Then I sewed all the pieces together, alternating shorter and longer pieces. 

Then, it was time to use my bias binding tool and iron.  Well.  It didn't take long to conclude that was a waste of time.  I ditched the iron and just started sewing the binding on, as per the Sorbetto instructions.  It actually went a lot better than I expected, though I wish it was a bit wider.  I was worried about not having enough of the binding, but it was amazing how much it made just from the left over piece!!  And, I was even able to plan out each edge so that the seams of the tape were at the start or shoulder seam spots, with having just a little bit of waste from doing so.

Now, all I need is a little cotton slip.  And time to make the next one, in blues.....with a different top design....

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Five Months Until Christmas

Yesterday I had a sweet lady pick up another Christmas stocking, to match the other four I made last summer.  It's for her daughter-in-law, the last of the adults to get one.  Hopefully they will want more for the kids! 
 If the picture is too large for your screen, you can click on it and look via the Picture Viewer.

I got started on this earlier this spring once my wrist was healed and was making good time.  But something was nagging me.  I still had the charts, though there were a few spots where I wasn't sure (I had erased one colour and gone over with another and I couldn't tell which was the "real" colour), and I didn't have much info for between the charts, or the heel/toe.  So I emailed Jason, the original client, and asked if it was possible to get one of his so I could make sure I had all the info.  He was happy to drop it off and immediately I knew I was in trouble.

It was knit at a smaller gauge!  Melissa's looked sloppy and loose all of a sudden.  So...early July...I ripped it back to the top of the Merry Christmas banner!  Ugh.  I then focused all my attention on it and got it done in record time.
 Here is the new one side by side with one from last summer. 
 The beards are slightly different because I wasn't following the chart too closely, LOL, and anyway, I think a little bit of uniqueness for each one is good.
Hi Santa!  Several times I started knitting your nose in white, only to realize it was supposed to be red.   I need to update the chart and make that clearer!

Connor's used 76gr and Melissa's used 74gr.  I think Connor's had one more row in the red top edge.  I couldn't get any of them to match the original cast on exactly.

Yarn In: 1586gr
Yarn Out:  4519gr + 80gr = 4599gr
Balance:  3013gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $74.87/197 days = $0.36/day

Friday, July 15, 2016


I needed new dishcloths.  I don't know what happened, but the pretty ones I crocheted up this spring (or maybe it was last spring actually), they got moldy and stained :( That never happens with my knitted ones!  I grabbed a bin that had what I thought was some ends of cones of cotton yarns, but it had only a green and a white, I think size 10 Handicrafter Cotton.  I wanted to do the circular one I usually do, on the LK150, and thought it would be cool to plate it (plait).  That's putting one colour in feeder 1 and one in feeder 2, so the knit side shows one colour and the purl side shows the other.  They do both show on both sides, but one is much more prominent.

I struggled with tension.  I struggled with just getting the carriage to move.  I dusted, I lubed, I upped the tension.  And after doing six wedges it was not going to be a circle like it should.  I decided on a couple more wedges.  Then I realized I had cast on twice as many stitches as needed.  Ooops.  Picture on Instagram!

Started up again, and it went a lot better, even though at this point, all I changed was the number of stitches.  I should have listened to my machine earlier on!  I did a second one, reversing the yarns in the feeder.  Then I opted for a rectangular one in tuck but it gave me headaches too, so half way thru I changed it to single strand.

Then I decided to move to the standard gauge and try single strand and some punch cards.  A few issues, but I just wanted dishcloths, so I just did what ever necessary to get the yarn used up.  Ended up with more green than white.  Whatever.  A few are nice enough for when company comes.
This one was supposed to be a slipped stitch pattern, with the card locked on row 1.  It didn't work.  It worked when the card wasn't locked, but of course, made a different design.

I weighed them with the waste yarn because it was truly waste yarn this time.

This was another one, I think card 3 (Singer), that was to have the card locked on row 1 to create vertical columns of tucking.  I use card 3 a lot, it's so versatile.  I liked the vertical look to it, but again, it didn't work.  The card was not rotating, it was definitely locked.  So I don't know what the issue was.

Yarn In: 1586gr
Yarn Out: 159gr + 4360gr = 4519gr
Balance:  2933gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $74.87/197 days = $0.38/day

Friday, July 08, 2016

Quick Knit?

I've talked before about listening to your yarn and your project.  Knowing when to keep going and when to throw in the towel.  It's not easy to decide sometimes.

I waited so long to get a ribber for my bulky SK155 knitting machine.  I imagined knitting up lots of projects with my hand knitting yarns in my stash.  Going through all my KnitWords and other machine knitting magazines though, I could find only ONE pattern that really used the ribber to it's full potential.  Most used it just for the ribbing edges.  And there were no patterns for knitting circularly.  I know I can adapt hand knitting patterns, but I just don't want to sometimes.

I tried a yarn for that one pattern, and it didn't meet gauge close enough to even consider and due to the unusual construction, it would take a bit of paper work to figure it out.  So I shelved it, and thought perhaps a baby pattern would be a good place to start.  I found one in Machine Knitting Monthly that used a very similar weight yarn to one I had.  I didn't even swatch.  I just plunged in.

And started scratching my head.  The pattern is written with so many "Repeat from * as for sweater" (I was doing the cardigan) and "Follow chart for your size" but there were so many charts for the different pieces of the sweater and cardigan, different sizes had different many abbreviations.  The cast on was different than anything I've done before so I ditched it and then found out the pattern uses the ribber for only FOUR rows of ribbing.  The texture in the sweater was done by converting stitches.

I decided I wasn't going to convert all those stitches (especially ones on the edges), and opted to keep the ribber in use.  However, every TWO rows, I had to transfer stitches back and forth between beds.  And keep track of shaping, button holes, etc.   I got the back done (with a few holes), and both fronts.  It was NOT fun. I got busy with other things while I pondered how badly I wanted the texture on the sleeves.  Maybe they could be just stockinette.

My oldest daughter's teacher's wife had a baby boy towards the end of school.  She didn't really like the teacher (though because of his high standards she really had to push herself--she's quite capable but has been coasting along for a few years, getting away with minimal work for decent marks.  Because of this I think she's going to be much better prepared for high school next fall!), and we hadn't really planned to get him a year end gift, but she thought something for his baby would be a good idea and not make her look ....ungrateful?  I thought maybe I could finish up this sweater.  But when I looked at the pattern again, and the machine...I just knew I couldn't finish.

I opted for the "All in One" pattern.  I've made it before. I used the gauge I had gotten on the first sweater attempt and got going.  The nice thing about this pattern is that the way it's done, the lower part is all one piece so striping yarns end up matching at the opening.  The two thing most people don't like is the seaming across the chest (I kitchener stitched and you can't see it at all--casted on and off with waste yarn instead of e wraps), and the width/shortness of the sleeves.

 I tried a couple things to finish off the sleeves.  I wasn't thrilled with any of them, although my final attempt was okay.  This one seemed really long and narrow in the body, and very short and wide sleeves.  I suspect my gauge ratio was just not a good one for this pattern.  I steamed the sleeves to pull them longer.  The bottom is 2x2 ribbing.

I knew I had to finish off the neck somehow.  I picked up around the neck, and down to almost the first button hole.  Then I did short rows, taking up the length of the straight section.  I think I started with knitting three stitches more (at the top of the button band), twice on each side, then doing one more stitch each row, each side since it wasn't growing fast enough.  Then a row or two over all stitches to finish it off.  Amazingly, it worked on the very first attempt, though I highly doubt I can ever recreate it!!
The buttons are from my button bin.  They were on a very old looking card and luckily weren't "too red".

The shoes are a hybrid of and  I had made the Stardust ones before, and didn't like how the back is folded over to make the casing.  The other pattern, I didn't like the pattern pieces but liked how she did the heel.  I did heavy iron on interfacing for the back piece (one side only) because I thought that would make them easier to get on, but wasn't necessary.  And medium weight on the toe portions.  I don't think I did any on the sole, they're just two layers of thick twill.  I did use the serger, but next time, I would stitch the toe and heels on with the sewing machine and then go around the whole piece with the serger.  I didnt' want any fraying on the inside to catch on toes.  I had a hard time finding boy fabrics in my stash.  At least, boy fabrics that went with this sweater and make it look like a set.  I even tried a couple different attempts at doing a hat, but time was running out.  That's why the pictures are a little dull--I took them after we came home from Lucy's grade 8 grad ceremony LOL.

My kids have grown up on this blog.  It'll be 10 years this August.  I didn't have too many pictures of Lucy and Hugh in the early months though, and my computer just froze up so I won't try to find one. But here she is on grad night:

So pretty!

Yarn In: 1586gr
Yarn Out: 160gr +  4470gr = 4360gr
Balance:  2774gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $74.87/190 days = $0.39/day

Monday, July 04, 2016

Slippers are Still Needed in the Summer!

I've had a good 18 month span with my slippers that my mom gave me, so it's been probably two years since I've knit slippers.  But it was time.

The tops looked fine, though a bit matted.
But the bottoms?

So, I got out my bags of felting wool and selected some.  I ended up with "Sean's Sheep" Armitage and Lopi.  I had originally thought they'd need more yarn and I'd have to turn to scraps for the cuff or "bumper".  I ended up not doing the bumper and I finished the soles with barely anything to spare.

I posted the before picture on Instagram, early June, if you want to see. :)

It's the same FiberTrends felted clog pattern I make all the time.  I made the largest of the lady's sizes, but my needles are only 8mm.  At least....that's what I think I did.  I've already put away the pattern.  Maybe I made the medium size.  Whateves.  After a month of wearing them, they weigh in at 229gr, but I know there was a lot of fuzz during the felting, so I'm going to be generous and say 240gr.

Yarn In: 1586gr
Yarn Out:  240gr + 4230gr = 4470gr
Balance:  2884gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $74.87/186 days = $0.40/day