Friday, February 15, 2019

geek alert...

technical ingredients follow, this is not just reading entertainment!
Having printed out a page of the Side Steps pattern – I thought it might be prudent to note any changes I made because you never know – I could forget what I did by the time I may get around to trying again? Who knows? But did I read it? no! of course not! I always think I know what I’m doing! The machine was set up for double bed work and as I put my hand on the carriage, I felt so good because it dawned on me, I was actually going to be knitting single bed, except for the 5 stitches at the hem side that would be the longstitch facing there. Those could be added next, but I wanted a plain row of stockinette for the initial row. Almost as though you were watching, I quickly changed to the knit arm as if I intended to do that all along and cast-on – I need two sections here, one for the sleeve stitches and the rest for the side seam. Duh! how about some weight, particularly as I would be using the double bed. I quit and wrote yesterday’s story – see what I mean? any excuse!
Fresh this morning, here I am at the machine even before my workout (I can do that anytime). Just to refresh your memory (and mine but I can use you as the excuse!) the one-row-tuck is set up so every other row is plain and that’s when we want the longstitch to do the work on the rib bed so there are clean stitches opposite, no tucks on the main bed, that would interfere with making neat stitches on every other row on the rib bed, right? Right!
Cast on each section separately, using the single bed ribber comb method,
here’s how I did it: Bring out the needles you want, every other needle only. If using the knit carriage, obviously you don’t have the ribber up. If the ribber arm is on, you need to have the ribber engaged. With waste yarn, T10 (as loose as you can get), knit one row. Move the carriage out of the way (drop the rib bed to make it easier), take the ribber comb, with the wire out and insert it from below, same way as always, poking the fingers between the sinker loops. When it is successfully in there, with the sinker loops on your side of the prongs, tip the bottom of the comb back so the prongs come forward, allowing you to insert the wire, without catching the needles or sinker posts. Drop the comb. It falls below everything. Bring all needles to work, set stitch size to main tension, and knit 10-12 rows.
What I did this time: using the half width comb for the side seam portion (#75-0-10 ns) first, and then the small comb for the sleeve section (#11-60 ns) but leave everything between/behind the beds (add a row of ravel cord on each section to make it easier when rehanging later). With the carriage at the left, T8, stockinette, knit 1 row. Change to rib arm (read/program your row here) and add 5 sts at left on ribber for the facing, end needle on ribber (less than my usual seven because that’s what E Fisher did). Fingers crossed – that’s what swatches are for! Set to tuck (you added weights, didn’t you?) and knit row. The rib needles have a loop on them, which is enough to cast them on - don't worry, no one is going to see them anyway and we don't want a difficult, complicated join between the Back and Front! This row was the tuck row. Back at the right side, now, set the ribber to knit those facing stitches only on every other row which in this case is 0-1, same as in Rectangles.
Everything is knitting beautifully, shaping/increasing at right edge for the shoulder slope and life is good! UH-oh, the shortrowed dart/gore is coming up – probably a good time to take a break and get that workout in! ;)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

cross knitting...

the action or practise of mixing elements of two separate patterns to create a new design.
I’ve thought about this and thought about it some more and to be honest with you, I’ve let any excuse get in my way of jumping in.
Side Steps

I’m merging two of my previous designs. Side Steps, a sideways- knit cardigan with shortrowed gores that add an A-line shape to the body - the Back and Fronts are knit, shoulders joined and then the sleeve is picked up from open stitches and knit down to the cuff. Why? Because it already has the basic shape I want for that Eileen Fisher knockoff. Easy to turn it into a pullover – just keep knitting across the front instead of leaving an opening that would make it a cardigan.
Then the other pattern is Rectangles from Serial Stuff 4. Why? It’s done with Wool Crepe Deluxe which is the yarn I’m going to use here and it had automatic longstitch facings (that I want to use for the new neckline and hemline) and, bonus, a one-row-tuck stitch pattern that will combat the possible biasing of the loose-tension sideways knit (I have 500g of this Norwegian Slate WCD that am certain with the loose tension will be enough to get this knit without too much running-out-of-yarn stress).
So, you probably figured me out already – I’m going to attempt this without reswatching! Just use the same tensions and numbers as Rectangles and put them into the same basic shape as Side Steps. It’s all there, just getting to it seems the issue. I did Rectangles with DAK for the tuck patterning source but if you recall my DAK laptop computer bit the dust a while back and even though I have a very long cable that will reach across the room to my old desktop, which also has DAK7 on it – that machine has been making weird noises and I think it’s on it last legs. Today, I bit the bullet and just drew the 12X20 stitch pattern onto a mylar – took me at least 10 minutes from printing out the template from my DAK8 laptop (which I’ve never been able to get to work with my SL4 thingy that went from DAK7 to the knitting machine). My other option would be to install DAK7 on the current working laptop, but I’d need a life – another excuse!
This may not work but I’ll have had the joy of sharing it with you! More diversion! :)

Monday, February 4, 2019

nail polish hack...

I’ve been meaning to share this with you for some time – my eyesight is getting poor, I know, but there are things that just shouldn’t be.  You know how they put raised emblem symbols on those electronic cables, but they are the background colour so if the light is poor or you don’t have your special reading glasses on you can’t see it? Well, I really noticed it on my printer USB cable and on my digital camera. The camera especially – it’s black and the little end that goes into the camera is very difficult to see which side is up. It finally dawned on me, instead of struggling and possible damaging the end, to mark the top side with something so it would be readily distinguishable, even without glasses. I put a swipe of nail polish on the top side, matching with the way it’s supposed to be inserted and my life is so much easier! I did it to all things that plug in!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

knit things i've noticed lately...

Following the urging of a friend, I started watching Outlander on Netflix – not sure it’s really for me - it is about a woman who gets transported back to the 18th century - but they do have some unusual, knitted accessories – wristlets, shrugs, neck things…just saying…
Oh yeah, and those mostly awful, cabled, aran-look cardigans that Amy wears on Big Bang...
Have you noticed the revival/resurgence (???) of an updated, drop-shoulder pullover? I’m seeing this a lot on live TV. The body seems to be a large square block with these little, snug-fitting sleeves attached at the lower bicep area. Some stylists are telling you to tuck a portion of the lower front into the waist of your jeans to take the width out of the hemline and ‘add’ a bit of shape to yourself…not sure if this is really works for me either but my sister Janet has a version.
It is an Eileen Fisher design, made in a fine wool, was on sale and she really likes it. I thought the colour was good for her but the style, not so much. It was sloppy over the shoulders, neck, through the bust/underarm and, the hemline was all-over wonky without being tucked! I think she liked it because she thought the sleeves fit - she's quite short and most everything is too long. What interested me was that it was sideways knit, in stockinette, and the hem and neckline had my automatic longstitch facings! I took some measurements and sure enough, the body is a 24-inch square and the sleeve is 13 inches long - I'm thinking about it!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

unfinished business...

I feel bad – just realized I didn’t tell you how I finished Becca or even that I did! I know you weren’t holding your breath but here goes. My original plan was for a shawl collar in a shiny black rayon yarn. I did make several swatches – tried the collar from Uptown in circular even, but the yarn just wasn’t right. Although it was about the same thickness – yards per pound-wise, because it is 100% rayon, in spite of tension adjustments, it knit up thicker and stiffer than the Wool Crepe Deluxe in the garment and looked dark brown against the true jet black. Went back to my closet for further research and was rather surprised to find that I had no short, vee-neck, buttoned cardigans with a vertical knit band! They were all horizontal bands, both single bed and double bed variations that were made the width of the bed and attached on the machine. Here’s a link to one of them, my TLR cardi:
Tumbleweed, KW#53
That realization made it slightly easier to whip up a vertical Full Needle Rib band like on Tumbleweed, with a slightly tighter stitch size – T5/5 (compensating for the thinner yarn) worked great and solved my problem. Got the band nicely done, attached and then got hung up on buttons…but I’ll have them on for my trip to Tennessee in March. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

before and after....

Last year, I mentioned an old garment several times…Uptown from Knitwords # 24
I had tried it on last February. It inspired me and got me out of my knitting funk but when I put it on again later in the spring, I thought, ‘oh the shoulder pads are too much’, and I put it away again.
Before Christmas, my knitting friend talked about it because her fashion consultant told her that long, floor-length dusters were very much in current fashion and she thought she might give it a try. I coached her on changing the shape slightly, suggesting she maybe take the shoulder/sleeve sizing of Tumbleweed from #53 (2010, fitted, set-in sleeve) to update Uptown.
When I was debating the neckline and collar for Becca (the black lace cardi), I took my Uptown out again to gauge how that collar/front bands might work but decided it would be too heavy and overpower the more delicate lace. I took a really good look at it again and realized the collar/bands were ingeniously knit from the centre back down so to take it apart and shorten the armhole from the shoulder would be entirely doable.

In the ‘before’ photo – notice how the sleeves are too long and sloppy looking and the coat hem is virtually touching the floor, and it looks too big in the shoulders, like I'm wearing someone else's coat. What I did – took off the collar/front bands, removed the sleeves and undid the shoulders. Found my original lace pattern. Took apart the shoulders and unravelled the Back to the back neckline and then removed another 10 rows, to shorten  the armscye, redid the back neck and shaped the shoulder, following the schematic for Tumbleweed. Took me four tries to find the exact row to match up the lace patterning. Removed the same number of rows off each of the Fronts, reshaped the shoulder to same as the Back and rejoined the shoulders.
For the Sleeves, I debated unravelling them right back to the cuff and rehanging. That way I wouldn’t have to find the exact row, but I had trouble finding the ends to undo the cuff so ripped back to about 4 inches up from the cuff so it would open up wide enough and rehung it. Felt like a rockstar when I got the exact row on the first try! Reknit the sleeve using the same yarn of course – I knew the kinks in the cotton would even out with ironing and a laundering would take care of any little extra glitches. I used the same stitch size/tension for the reknit because technically the Bonita cotton is mercerised and does not shrink. Not really true but it worked – even with the first pressing, I could not spot the row where I reknit from. The re-made
sleeve is the same length as the old one from the underarm to the cuff, but it is quite a bit narrower at the underarm, taking it in about one inch on each edge, resulting in a more fitted sleeve cap. Got the second sleeve completed with the same ease, reinforcing my legend-in-my-own-mind status!

Got it all put back together without even taking the buttons off! Notice on the 'after' photo, the sleeves are the correct length and the overall length of the whole garment is more to my liking, showing off my new Fluevog saddle shoes perfectly!
After fessing up about my paranoia of over-stocked shelves, I go and take something apart and alter it – what the heck is that all about?
Why did I do it? Because I could!

Monday, January 7, 2019

better off not knowing...

I thought I was doing good lately. With yarn consumption, that is. And then, for some strange reason, I decided it would be a good thing to take an inventory of my yarn stock, so I could have an actual tally of usage. I’ve never done this before. It’s not like it’s hidden away in a closet or anything. It’s in my living room, on shelves that were my store fixtures from when I had a retail store back in the early 90s. You may have noticed them in the background of the occasional photo. There are 3 units, each 4 feet wide, each with 5 shelves. The shelves are deep enough to put two cones deep and nine wide, but I’ve never actually tallied it up. All I need to do is look and I can see at a glance what I have. And over the past few years, I do have three to four full shelves devoted to Legos and grandkid stuff.
And I only counted full, unused cones – didn’t record part cones unless they were the same dyelot as a full cone.
29 Forsell 4 ply pure new wool, 500g each, 15 colours.
5.5 Rutland Tweed, 500g, 4 colours
4 Suva, 500g, 2 colours
10 WCD, 500-750g, 10 colours
2 Silk Bourette, 450g, 1 colour
3 DK Forsell Wool, 500g, 2 colours
10 Cottontale8, 500g, 7 colours
15 Bonita, 500g, 6 colours
4 Yeoman Panama, 450g, 3 colours
2 yeoman Cigno, 300g, 2 colours
3 Silk City Mini Dina, 500g, 3 colours
8 Yeoman Cannele, 4 colours
2 Yeoman Brittany, 350g, 1 colour
1.5 Yeoman Indigo Denim, 1 colour
That’s like a hundred! OMGG! talk about added pressure!