Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Reno for Spots in Dots

‘Spots in Dots’ from No 50 - loved the stitch pattern, loved the trim, loved the yarn... You may have noticed I don’t often make pullovers. The reason - they make me feel chubby, so, if I do make one, it’s usually something that is for outerwear and a little oversized.
After the photo shoots are over and I decide who gets to keep what, I really wanted ‘Spots in Dots’, but it was a little snug in the bust and I knew I wouldn’t wear it like that, so, I figured for a challenge, I’d cardiganize it.
Now, a very open lace fabric and cut & sew doesn’t usually make for the easiest thing to do. And, I’d have to come up with a band to cover the cut & sew edge, work in some buttonholes and make it all wide enough to compensate for the cut edges and to add a little extra width in case I did want to button it. I promised the gals at Peru, IN at the Spring Fling in April, that I tell about it here, so now you’ll have the rest of the story...
- find centre of front and run contrasting basting thread by hand to mark it.
- using matching thread and the 3 stitch zigzag at a narrow width with  sewing machine, stitch on column of stitches on either side of basting line and then on next column, either side, so there are 2 rows of zigzags on either side of centre line.
- very sharp scissors, carefully cut directly along basting line. (see swatch - click on it to enlarge - I know you probably still can’t see it very well because my sewing thread was such a good match, but you can see the basting thread and trust me the stitching is there!)
- make button band...see below and attach to left side of front...
- make buttonhole band.... and attach to right side...
- find suitable buttons... or should that have been back at the beginning....

Cut & Sew band - hold garment up to needle bed to determine number of sts, stretching slightly and add 1 stitch each end for seaming ends of band.
Knit a stockinette strip as follows: on same number of needles as length of band, on MB, cast on WY, knit several rows, 1 row ravel cord. MC, T7, K5R. Remove on WY or garter bar.
Button band - (66-0-66 n’s is what I used.) Cast on with WY, 1 row ravel cord. RC000. MC, T8, K1R. Tighten by 1 dot, K7R, to T5... at RC008. T10, K1R. T5., K1R. Plus 1 dot, K1R, knit to RC017. Hang hem. T8, K1R.
Hang stockinette strip on same n's, purl side facing you.
T7, K5R. RTR. K1R. Remove on garter bar - you have an envelope now, to stuff the edge into!
Hang cut & sewed edge, right side facing on same n's, leaving end n's empty.
Turn and hang band, putting right sides together, open sts in hooks. Close latches and pull open stitches through closed edge.
Pick up stitches from strip. Remove WY. Manually knit 1 row loosely and chain off.
Buttonholes, same as used on ‘Purple Purls’, No 52.

Have to say, this was pretty easy, looks great - I can hardly wait to wear it....and I can use this application on another garment I’m planning - maybe something ribber-ish for Sue J to wear in September at Inspiration 2010 - see!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

gossip, gossip, gossip...

The rumours are flying, speculation abounds - some say it's written in stone, they heard it from the horse’s mouth and all that crap!

Normally I don’t pay any attention to gossip and hearsay but again I have to say something.

I don’t want to lay blame on anyone and I’m not mentioning any names but... I’m upset by the misinterpretations that are going on out there.

It has been said that the demise of KNITWORDS is due to the poor ‘Canadian’ economy - I never said that. It is not the Canadians’ fault.

It has been reported ‘With the downturn in the economy, too many businesses stopped their advertising. Not enough ads, means not enough money coming in to continue to afford publishing KnitWords.’ I never said that. My advertisers were very loyal, they were there to the end and I thank them all, again - it was maybe the non-advertisers...

My subscribers and supporters have been wonderful and again I thank them - maybe it was the non-subscribers...

My designers and contributors, loyal and supportive, much appreciated - if I didn't pay top scale, at least I did pay what I said I would and could.

Everyone wants to cry and lament after the fact when, if they said what they had to say when they should have said it and supported good things when they are available, those good things would remain. Get off the internet, quit your bitching and crying, go and actually knit something, stop giving things away for free - what the heck is all that free UTube stuff about?? Stop copying and sharing. Support the remaining good people or you’ll have nothing...

The truth - I stopped the magazine because I simply could no longer afford, both emotionally and economically, to subsidize a magazine for an ever-decreasing audience...

sorry about the rant, but I feel better... there I go, just like a real Canadian, apologizing again...
thanks again...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

If you’re crying, press 3 and leave a message...

The past few days have been very hard. Your responses have overwhelmed me and I feel like I have to say something. First of all, I’m okay - this is not due to illness or accident or anything like that.
I’ve never been a crybaby. I don’t think I’m a whiner. I haven’t given any excuses and I won’t now, other than to say, it is true and KNITWORDS is over.

I thought I would share some of the messages I’ve received by email...

'I am so sad. I hated your letter. There isn't a magazine out there ANYTHING like Knitwords, and I will miss it terribly....’

‘So sorry to hear that Knitwords is no more. I do not need any credit for paid issues, I am sure we all have gotten enough of your blood, sweat and tears over the years. Your patterns were always wonderful and written beautifully. I will miss your editorials and watching your cute grandchildren grow up.'

‘Thank you for your consideration. This is not the first time this has happened to me. The embroidery company that went defunct, which was purchased by another company. The other company, which was suppose to take care of fulfilling the subscription, never did.’

‘Say it isn't so. However I can understand as I am sure in this economy, publishing such a specialized magazine just "ain't what it used to be". I am sooo sorry, but I have to say you have been an inspiration to so many. I feel as though I have been with you all these years and feel privileged to have gotten to know you. Good luck on whatever road to plan to travel now-- I am sure you will be a success. Take care-- I do hope you stay in touch with the knitting community.’

‘Have just received a letter about the end of Knitwords and wanted to tell you how sorry I am that such a great magazine has to come to an end. I attended a seminar in Seattle where you were conducting a number of the classes a few years ago and started subscribing. I really enjoyed those classes and the subsequent magazines. I have a grandson younger than Nathan and all the 'boy wear' patterns knitted to your instructions have been a great success. It is not easy to find knitwear patterns that the younger generation is keen to be seen in and the sizing is just spot on. As are all the adult garments I have tried.
I wish you all the best for the future. You will be missed!!’

‘Rumour is going around that you are closing up? Say it ain’t so!! I was just going to send in my renewal and get the two I missed….sigh.’

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Last year, I was in the USA on the anniversary of Woodstock. I was amazed and intrigued by the number of people sporting their tie-dyed shirts - you could tell some were new and some looked like originals, the wearers included, if you know what I mean. Anyway, since then, it seems to me there has been a revival of tie-dyed stuff, some good and some not so good, some psychedelic and some subdued.
I have always been a fan of random prints and batiks but they can be hard to come by. I made ‘A-shirred’, (the pattern is in No 53) in a raw silk yarn  (Yeoman Yarns Silk Bourette) that only comes in the natural colour, with the idea that I was going to get creative and somehow paint/dye/embellish/whatever and do something to my finished garment as my statement on the influence of tie-dye stuff.
Kelly Ripa on the morning show has been wearing this lovely dress by Michael Kors that is a very subtle abstract print blend of pale blues and greens, more pastel-y than I prefer for myself but I found it very attractive. I wasn’t sure what I really wanted the finished product to be, other than an experiment. And I figured, what the heck? if I didn’t like the result, I’d go buy some more ‘Rit®’ and over-dye it (VBG)!!
A couple of good friends who sounded like they knew more about it than I did, took me to a craft store to shop for supplies. After reading labels and debating among ourselves, I ended up with this tie-dye kit (it is actually called ‘Tie Dye Kit by Jacquard, for use with natural fiber fabrics’ - which my friends both seemed to think was a good brand) and a bunch of kids’ paint brushes in various sizes that I could use to ‘paint’ on the dye. The kit chosen, was supposed to, we thought, have red, yellow and blue powdered dye that, in theory, I could use to mix any colour I wanted. At home, reading the ‘fine print’, I had turquoise, fuschia and yellow - yes, those true psychedelic colours!!

Well, undaunted, this morning, with no home-dinner dates planned, I jumped in!

A couple of weeks ago, I had purchased a new grill and while unpacking it for assembly, I realized I could use the plastic bags the pieces were packed in as filler for my dyeing project, so I saved them all - there was one big enough to put over the top of my round dining table for protection. I had an old padded tablecloth, previously ruined in a past experiment (No 32, Leaf It To Me) - that time I was using fabric paints and working on dry fabric, but this one was a wet job. I began by soaking the finished garment, my original tension swatch, and an extra hood - the first was too short and I’d made the second one without having to unravel it. The garment and swatch had been laundered already, but the extra hood had not - I don’t know if it made a difference, but washing out whatever sizing, wax, etc wouldn’t hurt. The kit included a packet of ‘soda ash’ to pre-soak the items to make the dye hold better. We had chosen this type of kit/dyes, because there seemed to be no need to ‘heat-treat’ the final thing. So, while the items were soaking for 20 minutes in the soda ash, I began mixing colours and soon realized nothing much is going to take the turquoise (a colour I loathe) out of turquoise and there was not a great amount of each coloured powder. So, after messing and mixing with tiny, weeny dibs, I came up with several colours, shades of greens, blue, brown and a pinky-red, to experiment with on the swatch and felt that I could live with them.

I stuffed the extra hood to plump it up and practised a bit - I had this vision of sea anemones - I don’t even know what they are, but that came to my mind - that I thought I could manage to paint on my sweater. I’ll admit, it was a fluke - my brush dripped on the first try and I drew a line to connect the dots....

Anyway, I stuffed the garment with plastic bags, I even blew up some zip sandwich bags - that worked really well - because the garment was wet, and I didn’t want it to bleed through, I wanted each layer/side to be separated, stuffed the sleeves as well - then I began painting my vine-y anemones - I thought it was really cool how the colour bled and aura-ed at the edges and I was pretty psyched as the project progressed - the plan was to be able to leave this thing to dry undisturbed for 24 hours, so I had to make sure no portion of it was overlapping - as I finished a sleeve, I wrapped it in plastic so I could manouevre the whole thing, flip it over and work on the back without worrying that the sleeve would infect another part... how’s that for confidence - I actually started on the front - well, really, I had planned to start on the back and work out the kinks - who cares what you look like when you’re leaving anyway? - but in my hurry to begin, I forgot...

I’m finished, pretty happy and tomorrow, I’ll let you know...