Tuesday, May 27, 2014

the RTR lace cardi...

I love it and so did my girlfriends! In fact, they both called dibs on it when I don’t want it anymore – funny, they have noticed that I’ve been making longer sleeves on things lately so I can give them away!

Not sure what the real appeal of this design is, because they loved it before I even put it on. Is it the colour? or a combination of the colour and the lace pattern? I guess I’ll have to make it again in another shade just to see. What I really like – the way the back looks, although on the next one, I’m going to make the yoke a little deeper. The slight flare below the waist is very nice. I also like the side view where the back looks slightly longer than the front – I didn’t really plan that, it just happened - it’s because I did the angle shaping on the back side of the front/side panel. I’ll make the front a little narrower, so the front lace panels just meet at the centre front instead of the overlap thing although that’s quite okay… and I’ll fix the front edge cast-on – it worked okay for the bottom edge of the front and sleeve, but went a bit wavy on the vertical drop…

Monday, May 26, 2014

zipper for the black and tan hoodie...

2 zips - which one to use?
Some extra notes on that…I did make sure to put my 10 cm yarn marks on the front edges to help with the zipper placement – it makes a big difference – to figure out the proper length (measuring it after the prewash came to 60 cm) – I pinned in a 50 cm that I had, matching the yarn marks with 10 cm on the zipper and it’s easy to see that  a 55cm is the right length.
chalk markings at 10 cm increments

When I went to the zipper store (lol – if there really was such a thing!) they had both a beige zip with gold metal teeth and a black one with bronze metal teeth – wasn’t sure which would look best because I sort of had in mind to make the bands in the PBT so it would be the same color placement as my original Omega. I bought both in the name of research, I hope you appreciate it. Now at home, in front of the PBT band, I think the black zip works best so I’m going with that.
I put the same incremental marks on the back side of the zipper as the yarn mark points on the front of the garment, using a blue chalk pencil…
For the zipper placement on the front band, you want your sewing line to be right on the T10/fold row so the fold row can still do it job of folding the band in half, but also marking your sewing line. I sewed at 3 for the stitch length, not the longest but not tight so that if it needs to be ripped out, it’s fairly easy – I did use black on the top thread and white on the bobbin so you might be able to see on the underside where the stitch lines are – click on the photo to enlarge it – the top thread should match your zipper tape colour because it does show on the inside of the garment but the bottom colour  ends up inside the casing.
start like this
move the pull behind the foot
When you start sewing the side with the actual zipper piece, have the zipper piece part way up so you can get close to the edge of the zipper teeth. Then after you've gone 4 to 5 inches up, pause with the needle down in the fabric. Lift the zipper foot and move the zipper piece back to the portion already sewn - this gets you past it without making your sewing line go wider to get around it...
stitch second side in same direction
So hang the right front – make notes of where the yarn marks are so you can match the other side. Hang the  male end of the zipper, garter stitch side, wrong side facing you...look back to 'Naturally', blogpost, April 10, '14  for the first set of notes....Oh, yeah, I made this hoodie a size larger than the original because it is a heavier fabric and I thought with the pockets, it needed to be a bit bigger.
Note to self – stop using that 4 ply wool for waste yarn – it felts when you wash it and is a b*%%#@ to remove…

Friday, May 23, 2014

why re-invent the wheel?

Back in February, I mentioned re-knitting Hoods Up using 2 colours because I didn’t have enough of any one colour – well, what was I thinking? (forehead slap!) Omega - it’s a two-colour hoodie  design already (Serial Stuff 4) that I’ve had a ton of compliments on, so, just remake it with the Honiburd cotton!
That’s the best thing about using a charting device – I have the shape already, and I actually did make a swatch in the black.  Often, different colours can have quite drastic differences in the gauge, especially black cotton because of the way it is dyed and, especially standard gauge work because it is finer and the gauge is more crucial than for a mid gauge or bulky garment.
As you can see, I went with black and the paper bag tan. All I have to do is put the new stitch and row gauge into my KR11 and I’m ready to go. I do want pockets on this one – my original Omega is WCD, very fitted, and I didn’t do pockets, but I’ve often thought I should add them, so with this one, I’m adding them in a way to eliminate having to sew them on as patch pockets. I made the pocket from Hoods Up – same number of stitches and rows because it’s the same yarn, but instead of a fixed edge cast-on, I just cast on waste yarn and ravel cord (to have open stitches at the bottom edge) and knit the pocket - two of them actually, one in reverse of the other -  removed on a garter bar and set aside.  Knit the front up to the same row as the top of the pocket. Took the front off on another garter bar, rehung the corresponding pocket at the centre edge, put the front back on and continued to knit.
To join the bottom of the pocket, make the hem band same as in either pattern and hem it - band finished and right side is hanging on the needles. The bottom edge of the pocket - hang it starting from the centre edge and then hang the bottom stitches of the front on top. Pull both/all through band stitches, manually knit the loose row and chain off. The centre edge of the pocket gets joined in the front/zipper band and the only hand stitching to do is that last little half side of the pocket before the slope – so much quicker and neater than hand-sewing-on in any method! And it matches the more sophisticated finishing methods of  Omega  but I will go with the zipper technique from HU!
KR11- Silver Reed Charting Device
HU – Hoods Up
WCD – Wool Crepe Deluxe
PBT – paper bag tan

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

what to do? what to do?

My KnitStyle editors sent me an email to say I would have King Cole ‘Kingfisher’ Merino Blend Aran to use for my next project, an aran-style pullover – oh, I’m sick! who are they kidding? kingfisher? it’s peacock, people!  in all the world there is no worse colour – I would even use pink! I begged, pleaded and whined for any other shade, but no! the yarn Nazi has chosen and I must use the peacock blue.
we want to stick with the teal because we haven't used it lately, it is in stock and is a popular color that will show off the cables.’
Notice how they are now calling it teal? I’ll still hate it!
I must calm down and knit as much neutral stuff as I possibly can before that  arrives…
Should I be making another 1rt raglan for my sister-in-law from Toronto ? My sis, Jan, from Toronto,  is coming to visit in June and can take it back with her and save me the postage…
But the RTR lace…OMG, it’s beautiful – I’ll get a real life photo later in the week to show you – I’ll make it again with some changes – tell you about those then.
In my foray down memory lane last week, I found my first experience with longstitch – issue 1, Lady’s Zip jacket – it was actually my first attempt also at what was to become one of my favourite ingredients to Knitwords magazine (I always thought of it as a recipe or formula for what was going to be in each issue) – I took one of the Passap submissions and Japanese-ified it. Mary Pona had sent in a man’s zip front jacket in 4 ply wool – the body was a double bed pintuck pattern with an allover pattern and the sleeves were plain longstitch and sure enough, I did use the ribber side as the right side because Mary did…

I loved Mary Pona's Man's Jacket, knit on Passap, and knew that owners of Japanese knitting machines would like to make it, so I've made it as close as possible, changing it to a lady's version. The Pintuck rib fabric does not match the Passap technique exactly as the Japanese machine does not have the  ability to pattern on both beds, but this is fairly close. It is a double bed fabric with a pintuck in pattern, made by the back (knit) bed slipping or ignoring stitches, with the front (rib) bed knitting always. This makes a thick warm fabric in 4 ply wool. The sleeves are knit in longstitch. For my waist length jacket, I've changed the bands to 2X2 (2X1) rib to add a bit of stretch in the waistband and cuff and omitted the armband.  Mary's method of putting in the zipper is brilliant and was easy to do although I've added instructions for attaching it on the knitting machine for those who do not have a linker.
And I hadn’t realized that I changed that zipper technique so much – it’s the one I revised again for Hoods Up

Checked my stash, looking through fresh eyes – 4 ply wool is too heavy for TGW cardi, but I may have something else that should work… swatch of Rutland Tweed… this could be it!

Friday, May 16, 2014

I make a deal…

with myself – let me explain. When there is something to do that needs doing but I don’t really want to do it, I try to combine it with something I do like. So I do some of the bad stuff and then some of the fun stuff…I have to finish writing my KS pattern for #194, the December/holiday issue - already mailed off the garment and I’m engrossed in this ‘RTR Lace Cardi’ I’ve been playing around with – it’s turning out awesome and so much more interesting than pattern writing but the deal is, I’ve got to finish the pattern today no matter what.
I have all the pieces of the cardi made, except the last half of the shawl collar and I’m dying to see how it all goes together. So the deal is, I get to join one more piece then I have to finish another segment of the pattern – I know I’m cheating a bit – I did one shoulder and one back/side seam before getting back to the pattern, but it’s only noon…and I just have to finish up the sleeve details, add the stitch chart and finalize the schematic, air-knit one size…
Got the pattern done! and most of the cardi finished up! I’m loving it and already planning a re-knit! You might notice I added a yoke in the back - I thought it would stabilize the shoulders better and I changed my stitch pattern a bit in the shawl collar from the back - I think I'll add pockets and maybe for the next one, add a vertical dart in the front to shape it in a bit more...
Last night, I took my box of Knitwords #1-24 down with me to watch TV  - I know that doesn’t read right – the magazines are not going to watch TV -  I’m going to look through them while I’m watching TV.  I was searching for a particular technique that I’ve used forever and wanted proof that I have told it over and over – couldn’t find it but what a fun time I had reading the ‘reasons to knit’ pages, looking at the models, seeing if I could remember all the names and who was who and oh, gosh, I forgot all about that…

Thursday, May 8, 2014

moving on...

I have put the good wife cardi aside temporarily – I was having running-out-of-yarn anxiety before even starting and decided to move on to another project that’s been on my mind.
I had an RFD (request for design) from KnitStyle for the Feb ’15 issue and they didn’t like my submission – yeah, I know, what’s up with that? – well, actually maybe I’m being too sensitive – it wouldn’t be the first time! In response to my lace cardigan knit in cotton, they replied 
‘did you mean this for 195?  That's the Feb/Winter issue, so projects tend to be warm & cozy.  Perhaps this would be better for spring/196.’  
Okay, so I was caught up in the moment and wasn’t really considering winter – I re-submitted an alpaca pullover with an aran/cabley  look and they said that was okay.
But I really wanted to work on this one (foot stomp, pout, pout!)!
So what’s stopping me from making it anyway, just changing it up a bit and doing it on the standard gauge and keeping it for myself! heh, heh, heh! I feel better already! and I do have a lot of std gauge yarn, just here and waiting! Bonita(from Knitcraft), it is – mercerized cotton in a 500g/1850 yds cone that is like the machine knitting deal of the century – one cone that retailed for less than $25 with great yardage that will make an entire lace garment! Not bragging or anything, but I’ve got 4 cones of the natural colour – I figured it was good to stockpile because I can make something and then dye it the colour I want…uh, back to the task at hand….
2nd try...
I liked this but turned sideways, it goes in one direction...
My plan is to make a longish A-line cardigan with a hand-transferred lace panel on the back, shoulder width and then make a front/side panel in one piece (stockinette), so any size of the cardigan body could be made in 3 pieces – lots of times, for larger sizes, the back needs to be made in 2 pieces and seamed in the centre. And then there will be a shawl collar of the lace, knit horizontally with no facing because the lace would look okay from either side...

better because the 'circle'
of lace is same either way

tried out the shortrowing - doesn't
work in the purl stitch...

 So, why hand-transferred, you ask? Well, it did start from the mid gauge design and that would be hand transferred because there is no lace carriage. And I did, at first, contemplate doing something with the lace carriage, but when I factored in the purl stitch rows (RTRs) and the shortrows to make the A-line shape I decided that hand transfers would be easier than trying to re-program the lace carriage every time and worrying about turning off the electronics each time as well…


Thursday, May 1, 2014

what’s another word for…

Long stitch or half milano, according to ‘A Machine Knitter’s Guide to Creating Fabrics’ by Susanna W Lewis, Julia Weissman – a really good book, BTW, but unfortunately, you do need to read – it is not for beginners but if you’re the type to want to experiment and learn more, this is a valuable resource. Again, unfortunately, it is out of print – I got my copy from a ‘friends of the library’ sale for $1 (ridiculous) about 15 years ago and have read and perused and used it many times. Actually I met Susanna once, a long time ago, she was very nice and even pretended (I think) to know who I was…
On page 108 (not listed in the index under half milano or long stitch), it says ‘one row rib/one single bed row’ and the diagram indicates the single bed row as being the front/rib bed which would be the Passap version of it. The Singer/Studio chart gives settings for the single bed row to be knit on the main/back bed. What I didn’t know was the stockinette row is referred to as the backing row, but I was thinking of it as the right side of the fabric because it (the stockinette side/side away) looks smoother and flatter – oh well, not to worry, it’s not like the machine knitting police are going to come here and tell me I can’t use that side if I like it better! Oh, I think I just got a new acronym – MKP – I love it!
More importantly, back to the book, it also says if this fabric tends to curl during knitting (again, I think that is something that could only happen on a Passap that knits without weights, because during knitting double bed especially, on the Japanese machines, we have too much weight on it for it to curl! duh!) make the SS (stitch size) on the MB (the patterning bed) one-third to one-half number larger. Translation, experiment with stitch size – it’s not necessary to have the same number on each bed and in fact, I loosened the stockinette row (maybe too much)and found that it just started messing up.
Main thing to remember with this (or any knitting),  if you’re having trouble with the swatch – change something – if it’s hard to knit and you’re constantly having to fix something that went wrong you’ll never get a nice garment completed, especially if your swatch is stiff and tight.
So, looking at my initial swatch after washing, I decided that the stockinette row on the main bed did indeed look better and that maybe T4/4 was a little too loose. I liked the double stranded stockinette at T8.
My swatch here, I fixed the cast-on edge, used a couple of rows of the racked cast-on (after waste yarn of course), then did T3/3 longstitch with the MB knitting the single bed row, threw in some stitch markers to see what stitch gauge was coming up (30 sts to 10 cm) – this one looks pretty good after washing. Then did T2/6 just to see what would happen – it began messing up at the edges, not knitting off properly on the stockinette, changed back to the T3/3 – works beautifully!
Onward and upward!