Thursday, April 19, 2018

you'll never guess...

I’m making an afghan! And yes, it is for a very special person – my son Derek. I helped him last year to renovate his living room. It’s quite modern and sleek looking. He has this grey leather sofa bed that doesn’t exactly say comfy, cozy, and I thought he could use an afghan to soften it up. He has always liked alpaca and I have a bunch of left over cones of Forsell’s Naturell in shades from black, through grey, beige and ivory with peach thrown in as an accent – he already has a couple of pillows in cream and peach-ish shades. My original idea was to do a sort of log-cabin quilt motif using tuck stitches and had made a swatch where I rehung each piece/next colour the opposite way, so the knit side/purl side added texture. When he saw it, he liked the colours and textures but thought it would look too folk-art for his desired aesthetic! I said I would work on the design. Dodged a bullet there as it was extremely labour intensive!  
To be honest, I started this back late last fall and was hoping to get it done as a Christmas present, but it was easy to put off. Now, getting back home without a real to-do list, I figured I’d tackle this now and get it done (remember my new year resolution about procrastination?).
I did make several swatches before but somehow lost the paper that I recorded the info on so, although washed and pre-shrunk, they are somewhat invalid but I was experimenting with tuck patterns that would give me texture, extra width and bulk up this thin yarn, so I had a row of plain with maybe 3 tuck rows – now it all made sense – if I double the length of that 4 stitch X 4 row pattern, there will be lots of texture and 2 rows of stockinette that I like the look of and I can use that as my division between colour changes. My pattern is set up so it begins and ends with one row of stockinette – I am turning the work between colour changes so the clean row of stockinette at the end allows for a plain row to use the garter bar to pick it off easily. After the turn, I am using the next row to fix in the tails on either end by ewrapping them so I don’t have to go back and darn in later, just trim them. And, I don't have to be continually re-reading the pattern - it is working continuously!
Oh yeah, I also weighed my cone before and after knitting the 180 sts width by 56 rows so I know I need 20g for each stripe.
 Seven shades, seven stripes. Cast off. Hang the side selvedge and repeat. This is definitely long enough – I’ll make at least one more panel the same and attach it the opposite way…

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

have pillow, will travel...

You know how one of the best things about doing a road trip is being able to take your favourite pillow with you. In the past, even though I do it, I’ve always been somewhat embarrassed to be seen carrying that pillow into a hotel. I just returned from the Spring Fling in Peru, Indiana, put on by Charlene Shafer and the Knit Knack Shop. The drive home was through pretty wicked snow/blizzard conditions, but I made it safely. We had a fun time at the seminar and Charlene gave me the perfect gift – a beautiful Vera Bradley bag just the right size for my pillow – I’ll never feel awkward again!
Everyone loved Ozark and Pocket Change, my two newest projects. Charlene and her family put on a major event – there was something for everyone and it was so much fun renewing knitting acquaintances and meeting new ones. I had a blast and I hope they invite me back!
A shout-out to Barbara P, we’re all thinking of you, fingers crossed for a speedy recovery!
P.S. Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of my first blogpost – who knew I had so much to say! Hope you've had as much fun reading as I've had saying!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

finishing touches...

You might grimace at this, but it works for me! installing the pockets can be a bit of a pain – do you hand stitch? with yarn or sewing thread? who’s to know? Based on my previous experiences, I used the sewing machine and just top stitch them in place! 
Now, you do need to have a fairly good match on the sewing thread. Taking the swatch pocket to the store is a must but you can’t trust the lighting, so I always get two options and then judge at home. I stitched on the swatch to check and felt confident in my selection. Pinned the pockets where I thought I wanted them, sort of in the centre of the half front, over the double stripe, and then put it on. Wasn’t quite right. I found moving them almost to the side seam looked better. I really like how it breaks up the lines and adds to the detail. Took all of 10 minutes to stitch them in place, using a relatively long, straight stitch, following along the inside of the chain stitch edging.
I made the belt, knit tubular, and hand made loops at each side seam at waist level to hold it in place. This may be abandoned at some point, but I had to try it. I like the whole thing, especially the sleeves – that little bit of bell shaping feels nice, kind of feminine, and I like the way it snugs up to the elbow. The way the fronts overlap just right and fall nicely without opening wide as I wear it, makes the belt is rather unnecessary and I prefer the line of the whole garment without the belt. The weight of the longstitch facings is perfect!