Monday, February 6, 2017

critical....

involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc.;
What is it that happens to me? Just because I made it, I no longer have any sense of critique and just because I made it I think it’s beautiful? What’s that all about? Is it the same thing as with your own cooking? You like your dish better the way you make it and you think you’re the great chef! Or is it the same as you know your own grandkids are the cutest, most talented, smartest, most loveable??
I do admit, I had reservations about this olive garden/rosemary/camo hoodie. But as so often happens, I think it turned out awesome, no question! Now, if you don’t agree, please don’t burst my bubble – let me revel in my own illusions!
If I could just get my zipper orders working as well – I’ll soon have enough stock to start my own eBay zipper store with more on the way! LOL! The green zipper (cedar green with brass teeth, 22 inch) that I thought might work is too short, right colour though.
I have five  light blue zippers and not one is the right one. Blue jay and crayon blue are just as far off as the sky blue. I could install the silver-tooth sky blue – it’s a little short and too bright for my swordfish WCD but it’s the best choice colourwise – after all you’ll only really see the silver teeth when it’s zipped but may not look so great if left open. I have two more coming, a ballet blue and a comet blue both in 24 inch which is the correct length. Those tiny little squares of colour on the zipperstop website are not too accurate – the names don’t seem to help either! I’ve taken to cataloguing the orders because they come unmarked as to colour or length and sometimes the only way to figure the colour is to check your order and hope there are clues there. I have received some errors – too long and a white bottom on a crayon blue zipper – what’s that all about? But as each zipper is about two bucks, it’s obviously not worth returning – we’re talking cross-border shipping here and that’s why I have been ordering 4 or 5 when I really only want one – is that how a stash evolves?
You may have noticed that I edged the front of the navy/swordfish hoodie with the pale blue - I could have done it with navy and just used a navy zipper but I like the look of the contrast vertical line - call me crazy, call me vain, call me pathetic, but I think it makes me look taller and thinner!! Besides, that one's for Janet ;-) - remember when we used to say VBEG for very big evil grin - I think I like that better! But I digress. I did the same thing with the camo one - used the contrast for the dividing front line - I promise I'll post live-wearing photos later to prove it!
I mentioned earlier that I was invited to do the 29th  Monroe Area Knitting Seminar at the La-Z-Boy Center in Monroe, Michigan – that’s near Detroit, Michigan; Toledo, Ohio and Ann Arbor, Michigan, all within about 35 miles – be sure to check it out – July 21 and 22, 2017 - should be fun and I’ll be ready for hot, warm or cool weather! I wonder if Brooke Shields will be there? (she does those cute la-z-boy commercials and that was a joke, ok. ;-))
If that wasn’t enough excitement, I just heard from the Carolinas Guild – they are having their seminar May 5 and 6, 2017 in Raleigh, NC and they’ve picked me too! I’m so excited! Hope you can make it!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

camo...


Waiting for the zipper to come for Janet’s ‘Omega’ and I just sorta unconsciously or maybe it could be said involuntarily, started knitting again without a definite plan – that’s what I was telling myself anyway! I still had the sleeve chart in the knit contour, didn't need to bother with a swatch for gauge and I had this cone of ‘olive garden’ wool crepe deluxe that had been kicking around my knitting room for the past almost two years that I couldn’t quite decide what to do with. I had ordered it back when Janet wanted a new dress in a print and there must have been a sale or clear-out or something because I had 3 cones of variegated stuff that I usually avoid at all costs unless it’s for socks. One was the ‘watercolour’ (royal, navy, peacock), that I did her dress in (and later managed to eke out a TLR cardi for her as well
http://knitwords.blogspot.ca/2016/03/plan-b.html
 - I was sure it was colours she really likes and that I do not - I hate when I make something for someone else and it turns out spectacular and I must give it away! And, I admit, I do sometimes get carried away when placing a mail order - I think of the time waiting for it to arrive and if it's not what I really want, then I have to wait that long again for the second order to come so I might as well go all out and have a few choices in the first order, right? That's how I ended up with the olive garden (plum green, beigey-pink that she might like) and my third choice, 'tacoma' (quite dark, browns, black and a bit of green that I probably could like, just in case - of what, who knows?)
Back to the olive garden WCD, I did knit a couple of  small samples – one in stockinette and one in that Tuck Lace Rib and I couldn’t say yay or nay, it just was not speaking to me…
You might be asking, MAO, what do you have against variegated yarn? Well, it’s the patches or spots or weird diamondy things that happen in stockinette when you aren’t really wanting it to, especially in larger pieces and they won’t ever be the same, especially with different widths/number of stitches. When I made Janet’s dress, I’m sure that I just got lucky and the diamondy things appeared from the waist to just under the bust and looked nice when the dress was on.
I thought of the usual ways to avoid the spottiness, like sideways knitting and mixing in another yarn but again nothing was really appealing to me. While I was knitting Janet’s hoodie, it crossed my mind that I’d been noticing yoga wear hoodies with saddle shoulder sleeves in a print fabric, with solid body and that’s when I just started to knit the sleeve of Omega, figuring there might be enough shaping all over the sleeve to really change up the colour stacking and maybe offer something that would work for me without having to actually knit fairisle which would make the sleeves thicker than the rest of the garment and I didn’t want that. By the time I finished the second sleeve, I was hooked on this fabric – it sort of reminds me of a ‘camo’ print and if I do the body plain – the leftover ‘rosemary’ WCD looks nice with it and I just happen to have a zipper that may work too! Bonus!
Notice the flat hood at the bottom of the photo – it is basically a straight piece, same width all the way up with no increases or decreases and see how the fabric ends up with short, little stripy bits and no splotches or diamonds until the shortrows at the top, whereas the sleeves have both splotches and diamonds randomly throughout because the width of the knitting is constantly changing. When the sleeve is formed into a circle that won’t be so in-your-face noticeable as if it were on the front of the garment. Fingers crossed! I made the sleeves a little extra long in case I don't end up liking it and have to give it away..

Monday, January 30, 2017

confessions of a waste yarnaholic...

I know you’re going to think I’m totally weird. After all, I’ve been beating you up about not wasting waste yarn for years. I’ve been at hands-on workshops where people were spending more time re-winding waste yarn than they were actually getting any knitting done. I harassed you about it, I admit - it just seemed so unproductive, time-consuming and increased the probability of things going wrong.
I used to purchase a couple of cones of Bramwell fine 4 ply (100% acrylic in a nice T6-8 weight that works well for almost anything, great yardage, lasts a long time) per year to use specifically for waste yarn and of course, toss it! Because that’s what waste yarn was for – to waste! In fact, in one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, I was overheard by a member of the Bramwell family - when asked my opinion of that yarn in a workshop, I proudly stated it made great waste yarn – I still turn red thinking about that! No regrets though, it was my honest opinion! They didn’t call me the natural fibre princess for nothing!  
a bed of worms!
And, it still does – make great waste yarn, I mean, but I have succumbed to the necessity of re-using it. Oh, you can think badly of me, I don’t mind! But I have found a way to make it easy to re-use, without the necessity of re-winding it.

rehanging stitches from waste yarn
remove ravel cord to make worm
Make a worm: start off with the weaving cast-on for single bed knitting. Select every other needle, put the weaving brushes down, place one of those clippy things on the tail (it will look after the end, freeing up your hand), lay that end over the selected needles and then thread the other side up into the yarn feeder in the carriage. Knit several rows as you would for that cast-on. Gradually tighten the tension/stitch size so that the last 2-3 rows are at one number lower than the main tension for your project. This will make the stitches of your first row that you will be picking up pop out and be easier to manage. Now knit a row of disposable ravel cord. I have this cone of a hard-twist rayon yarn in white, that is quite strong and slippery. I knit a row of that and cut it off so I have about 6 inches at each end, for easy removal. Now begin the main yarn, whether it is a fixed edge cast-on or just working off the open stitches already there. Get your piece knit. After you rehang the piece and join it to something else or whatever, pull out the ravel cord to release your waste yarn worm.


holding worm up so it unravels
using worm for weaving cast-on
Use a worm: Set up for the weaving cast-on again as above. Now holding the ‘waste-yarn-worm’ in one hand, use the other hand to move the carriage across, and lift the worm with your other hand, holding it above the carriage so it doesn’t get caught up or tangled and it will unravel as it is needed. Adjust the tension, gradually tightening it so your last two (or so) rows are one number tighter than your main tension will be. When you almost run out of yarn from the worm, that’s the end of your waste yarn rows – don’t trim the tail. Now to re-use it, it’s quite easy to see which end was the weaving cast-on – take the other end because it will unravel freely and repeat the above. I have several worms, for full-width cast-ons, like the back of the garment and some smaller ones that can be half the front or a cuff – you want to make sure you have 8 to 10 rows of waste yarn, but more is better and when re-using them they are more versatile with a few more rows rather than less…
At the end of a piece, normally I would just knit the waste yarn because it unravels from the top but then you'd have to re-wind it - to make a worm, knit a row of ravel cord before the waste yarn and then the ravel cord can be pulled out, resulting in a new worm! ;-) I'm not trying to squirm out of this...

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

i was wrong...

again...I don’t plan to make a habit of it, even though the past few weeks may seem like it! What I’m talking about this time is, I was wrong thinking that the brass zipper wouldn’t look good in my brown linen 1RT GirlFriend Hoodie…I mentioned last week, when I was multitasking, that I hadn’t liked the way was the zipper was and I washed it after removing the nylon tooth zipper. Yesterday, re-evaluating the front edges of the hoodie after being laundered, I decided that I had installed a-too-short zipper. I pinned in the nylon 20-inch one (same length as the one I shortened) and put the hoodie on and it did the same thing as the old one, buckled out like I had major stomach issues. Yikes! Took that one out and pinned in the remaining brown 22-inch with brass teeth, put it on and it looked excellent! I sewed the zipper in properly , put it on again and it’s perfect. I wore it all afternoon/evening and it was still fine. I put it on again this morning, with a white tank underneath, hoping I could get a decent photo to show you. I went over to son Derek’s after lunch and asked him to take a photo – I have a goofy look on my face, like I must have been talking, but who cares? You can really see the garment well and what's more important? I was hoping that putting white underneath would show how thin/lightweight/see-through-ish the fabric turned out and it shows up very nicely. I held out the bottom so you could see how the A-line shape is – I really like this! I know you’re going to get right on making yours now!

Monday, January 23, 2017

i was in denial...

rehung!
I didn't really look closely at the second front - I was on a roll, knitting pieces like no one’s business, hand stitching the cuffs and bands, joining pieces and admiring my progress! Right down to the end, collar and hood are on, all pieces seamed, ends darned in and then, funny, it seemed that one front was longer than the other. Maybe I was too enthusiastic when I pressed it? In my haste to get this done and be able to order the zipper (yes, even though I do have 2 light blue options, I’m not completely happy with either even if the length is right) - I made the chained edging for the shorter side and completely ignoring the fact that the other front edge appears to be a good 5 cm/2 inches longer. (On that last blogpost photo, I bodged the pieces and hid the longer front under the cast-on edge of the hood – who was I kidding? like you knew?) I even attempted to hang that side on the same needles, hoping to 'ease' in the excess but had to abort! It just wasn’t going to work. So, still with the utmost confidence, I figured I'd wash it and that would fix the obvious problem - I must have stretched it in my original pressing when it came off the machine.
good to go!
Nope, that didn't work! Facing the fact that I must have followed the Back instructions instead of the Front, I now, very calmly with no swears, began picking out the seam between the sleeve/shoulder, hoping against all odds that I could salvage this operation...OMG! It worked. With the undoing of that single seam, I was able to unravel the left front back down to the start of the underarm  - I know how many stitches and what row I should be on -  a piece of cake!
 Fake it till you make it!

Monday, January 16, 2017

multitasking....

 I’m breaking in my new hiking boots, copying all my old cds onto my new-for-Christmas iPod, knitting little/big sister Janet a hoodie and laundering/fixing some knitted things. New hiking boots because Janet and I are heading to New Zealand with a stopover in Australia on a hiking trip from Christchurch to Queensland on the South Island - leaving mid-February, returning mid-March and it's her birthday while we're gone so I figured the hoodie would be an appropriate gift. Wearing the hiking boots around the house for a few days before heading out is a good way to break them in, no matter what you’re doing. I am making my Omega (from Serial Stuff #4) hoodie for Janet instead of the GFH for a couple of reasons - she remembered seeing me wearing my dill/black hoodie when we went to Europe two years ago, and wanted one like it. Omega is quite a bit fancier, not only the yarn being Wool Crepe Deluxe, but it is kind of a cross between a raglan and a saddle-shouldered sleeve, more fitted and dressier than your average cotton hoodie. It is thinner and fits under a coat or jacket nicely. Also for packing, a hoodie out of wool crepe deluxe packs smaller than the same thing out of the thicker cotton that I originally used for the GFH. She really liked the idea of two colours and we settled on swordfish blue and midnight tweed - I know she is going to end up wearing it with her French navy dress at some point and at least it will match colourwise! ;-)
Holey-ness is in the laundry along with my brown linen GFH - I wore it a couple of times and love it but the #3 molded plastic zipper (that I had shortened) started to pouch out at the bottom??? Why? I have no idea but I got my second order of zippers and decided to switch out that one for the thinner # 3 nylon coil one.
I un-picked the zipper and threw the garment in the laundry (along with Holey-ness – no point in washing just one) just because - maybe I had inadvertently stretched it out while installing the zipper (?) and washing it would reset the stitches...I'll post again on how it turns out later but that brings me to the Omega I'm working on right now. I have it almost all knit, just need to finish putting it together and I've decided that I want to sew the zipper in with the sewing machine – I find that so much easier and quicker than hand stitching, so I’m using the stabilizing technique for the front edges from MFH/GFH instead of the stockinette bands from the original Omega which required hand-stitching the zip
oh, and I threw in the stuff about the ipod just to make it seem like I'm much more tech-savvy than I really am! ;-)

Monday, January 9, 2017

taking measures....

Have you ever had an idea to do something but you keep putting it off and mentally saying, okay, next time…well, every time I need to measure something quickly, I spend a huge amount of time searching for a tape measure. Now, I probably have at least two tape measures in every room of my house, if I knew where they were at any given moment but those things, I swear, have legs and run and hide every time I want one. And then you take the time to roll it up and put it in a new safe place for next time…and I kept thinking, there’s got to be a way to have a tape measure placed permanently, like you know, in the fabric store where they have them built in to the table top…and it finally dawned on me – on the front edge of my desk! I had briefly entertained putting it on the front of my LK150 table but if you were knitting,
the fabric would be in the way. I toyed with the idea of using a yard stick but mine has imperial on one side and metric on the other so that was out. I wanted to have both centimetres and inches - I think in centimetres for knitting anyway but I always like to have the inch conversion there too so after I found it this time, I took a cm/inch tape measure and glue gunned it to the front of my desk! You can’t miss it – no more searching and wasting time! And it seems like you have another hand - I can hold up my swatch, stretch it and figure out how many stiches I`ll need for the front bands on this new `holey-ness`…