Monday, October 17, 2011

button tricks

I’m finally getting around to doing the buttons for ‘Granville’ - I wanted 3 or 4 large buttons just at the top but large buttons seem to be very hard to come by unless you have access to a good button shop which I don’t - we’re down to the local Fabricland as virtually the only source for buttons - even Wal-Mart doesn’t  have them any, not much  to choose from. And, when you have an off-colour like this ‘mushroom grey’ it’s really limited. Even discounting the size I wanted, it was tough - pewter was the closest thing, but size-wise the largest I could find were 7/8"/23mm - not big enough. I did find some reasonably-priced large black ones, but they are pretty boring and black buttons would limit what I could wear with it...I had some pearly grey buttons that were big enough and sort of the right colour, but they're really ugly and cheapened the finished look...what to do?
What to do? I didn’t want to wait for my next trip out of town to maybe get lucky, so I put two buttons together! The trick - line up the holes for sewing, of course and with my trusty, hot-glue gun, put a dab of glue on the bottom button, press the top one in place and hold for a second or two...
Most buttons are not totally flat, either top or bottom and, the bit of wax/glue makes a cushion between - what I did was...on a piece of Styrofoam, pin the buttons with two darning needles to align the holes and hold the buttons in place. Angle the needles out slightly so the top button can be pulled up to apply the glue and then quickly press down to flatten and set. If you mess up, it let cool completely and use a flat blade to pry apart, pick the glue off and try again...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

told ya I was fickle...

Today, I’m test knitting the next POM for November - it’s a raglan cardigan - so my favourite tool today is the adjustable 7-prong tool. The raglan shaping is emphasized by using a wider decrease - I like the outlined 6 to 5 - yes, it is a little more work, but after all - most of us are knitting for ourselves and if you’re not going to do the best for yourself, who’s going to? And if you’re making it for someone else, you should still be doing the best!
I’m actually making this one for my daughter - yeah, I know, there’s been quite a few times when I said that and she never actually got the sweater, but now she lives here and she reads this, so she’ll know... also, she’s a bit taller than me and needs a longer sleeve, so I’m working that (but it is quite nice even with the sleeves pushed up)... making it in black WCD - I already have a new black WCD cardigan and tank - that lace remake of the cover of No 20 that I did a few weeks back, so I don’t actually need another black WCD cardigan, but this is a really nice design...
Anyway, back to the decreases and tools...the decrease is what I call ‘outlined 6 to 5' which means that from the edge, pick up #6, put on #5 and then move the last 5 in one space. The decrease is on the fifth needle from the edge and by putting the decreased stitch (#6) down first, it outlines or emphasizes the decrease. So, it is very helpful to have a 5-prong tool to move the 5 stitches in one space at one time, rather than having do it with a 3-prong and a 2-prong. I do have this 5-prong tool that someone gave me - I decided to give it a try, instead of my usual adjustable 7-prong... used it for the back and cripes! talk about feeling like I had 2 left hands or something...I kept getting hung up on one needle or worse, dropping the doubled stitch - I did not remember this being such a pain on my original red and black.
Went out to my Zumba class and thought about it - came back, got out the 7-prong tool and compared them - well, the tips of the 7-prong are nice and flat and they are relatively flexible. The 5-prong is very stable but the ends are thick and not as nicely tapered...
Changed to the 7-prong, with 2 pushed in, of course, and whipped up both the fronts, not a snag or dropped stitch in either piece!
Just a simple trick with the adjustable tool, after you select the needles or arrangement you want, press the prongs on a flat surface to even them out and holding flat, tighten the screw to hold them in place. This will align the prongs and make the transfers go much smoother!
Boy, I must have been upset - can’t find that 5-prong thing anywhere!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

one of my favourite things...

When someone asks me what my favourite of anything is, I usually say whatever I’m currently using and it changes frequently - does that make me fickle? Or indecisive? I don’t think so - I just like to like lots of different things... Anyway, I thought I’d share my current favourite tool with you and, coming off the intensely ribbed garment that ‘Granville’ turned out to be, maybe you can guess - aw, it’s okay, I’ll just tell you - it’s my special DETT - that stands for double eye transfer tool - you get one with your ribber and it’s used to transfer stitches from the main bed to the ribber or vice versa. Now, you may not know this, but not all DETTs are created equal and I don’t mean for different gauges - I have a small collection of these little gems - here’s a scan of 4 of them, all for standard gauge - check out the shapes of the tip (some are more pointed and if you happen to drop a stitch, the narrower, flatter tip makes it much easier to snag that l’il bugger before it gets away); the size of the hole and how close it is to the end ( the smaller hole closer to the end tends to hang up on the hook of the needle); some have a groove running from the tip, through the hole and out the other side; and on my favourite, notice the flat spot in the centre of the tool. I love this thing!! The others are all a round rod with the ends flattened. The flat spot on this one seems to stick in your fingers better and makes the flipping of stitches that much quicker because the tool is not rolling on you. So, next time you’re going out to a seminar where they may have Passap tools for sale, look for one of these - that’s where I got it from, a Passap dealer - Newton’s may have them - I’m going to call ahead and reserve a few extras...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Here’s me - impressed!

I’ve almost finished up ‘Granville’ - the knitting anyway - still have to darn in a few ends, do the buttons (that was holding me up - deciding what to do or use) and give the final wash, dry and press, but speaking of press, I’m so impressed!! This thing is so pretty and the details!! Worth every second I’ve spent on it! I’ll do the final and give you a photo later in the week. This one is for me!! The current issue of Knit’nStyle finally arrived - impressed again! My ‘Cable Gal’ hoodie looks really nice - the photos in the magazine do it justice and they had enough space to put 5 photos - count ‘em, FIVE - oh wait, the one on the back page is a repeat of the large one... maybe it’s just a new format - some of the other patterns got 4 different views can check back in this blog (July 8, 2011 - a true oxymoron) and see my flat photo - the hood turned out really great and they - KnS - have a couple of good shots of it - I’m so proud - the editor just forwarded me an email she received from a reader (she did put her real name):
Subject: Mary Anne Oger's patterns
Hurray for you! I love the addition of Mary Anne Oger's machine patterns included in the magazine. Although I do knit some sweaters, I also love to interpret them onto the machine. The articles inspired me to purchase yet another machine, the LK150, which Mary Anne is so fond of. I used to get her "Knitwords" magazine and miss them, but am so happy you brought her on board. Pls include more. The pattern in this new issue of the alpaca cable sweater is fabulous!
Thanks again,
CH, Montana
The time line is still hard for me to adjust to - I am sending off my next garment today and you won’t see it until #178 which is due out late January - I promised them a beginner series but decided to add a few extra details for the more adventurous knitter - the yarn is City Tweed DK from Knit Picks and I love it - the colour (it's actually a little darker than this photo, called 'desert sage'), the tweed, the blend (55 merino wool, 25 superfine alpaca and 20 donegal tweed) good yardage (50g-123 yds) and really good value - completed the finished chest 36" garment, swatches and some left over with 10 balls - you’ve got it! I’m impressed, again!
OMG, I just realized, I think this is the first pullover I’ve made in over a year and you know it’s not for me...