Tuesday, January 31, 2012

lacy daze...

I just finished my prototype for the next design in the current Pattern-of the-Month/Serial Stuff series - I had promised a lace cardigan with a vertical shawl collar (see blogpost - ‘ideas, ideas' Jul 24/11) - now, I hope you realize, nothing is ever carved in stone with me...What really struck me with this design was the vertical shawl collar. I did see another episode of that show and I think the cardigan I saw was actually a dressing gown - she had been in a bad confrontation and was almost raped, managed to escape and it showed her later at home with this thing on, so that’s why I think it was a dressing gown - you know, something cozy and comforting....Anyway, it was the collar that really stood out - so my guest began with the lace stitch pattern - I like geometric lace and usually what I do is play around with something and see if I can expand it or whatever...
5 trial swatches later, I had what I wanted.
I liked the idea of a luxury fibre for this - I love some of the old yarns that are NLA (no longer available) and Forsell’s Naturell was a real classic - I had enough leftovers to do my test garment and OMG, I love it!! Changed the shape of it a bit - went with an exaggerated A-line for the body which creates these great ’points’ at the side seams. The collar/front/facings is fab!! I’m so pleased - it is knit separately from the fronts, but in one piece and attached very neatly on the machine - great techniques here, even if I do say so myself!! It was a challenge to figure out a way to get a nice fold line for the edge, in order to make the facing and collar in one piece, but it’s beautiful!
I am making the real thing using Cigno Super Kid Mohair (cream) from Yeoman Yarns - it’s a very fine mohair/nylon that is quite soft (not scratchy) but strong and quite a bit thinner than the finished look of the Naturell prototype - available from http://www.knititnow.com/ (US) or http://www.cardiknits.com/ (Canada) - so be warned - check your stash or order what you need - the Cigno comes on a 300g cone, but there is a ton of yardage, so 1 cone will do whatever size you want and the pattern is written for the gauge of the Cigno (25 sts and 40 rows over the lace pattern at T5) - if you happen to have some Naturell laying about, my finished cardy is 275g (T5 lace, 25 sts and 45 rows)...the pattern, called ‘Gossamer’ will be ready next week.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

out of steam...

my faithful old iron finally packed it in...OMG, what will I do? The poor thing was over 20 years old - she was the old breed, you know - BASO (before auto shut off). She sat on my ironing board, forever ready; once turned on, she remained on until I decided it was time for her to cool off - there was no four-letter wording, no coaxing, waiting, frustration building, water spotting...but, technology gets in the way now...I’ve already tried two other newbies, varying prices, to no avail. The new faces just aren’t the same - the new models are streamlined, they have no weight behind them, like they’ve been on a diet too long - and what the heck are all these dumb symbols? And white on white!!! like, who can see that even if they know what they mean??? so much for the T-Fal one - maybe I can give it to someone who never really irons...

It's been a traumatic couple of weeks but I found another candidate.
Next in the line-up is a Sunbeam (Turbo Steam Master Professional is her full name) - well, at least it has an actual on-off switch and it has the words: linen, wool, silk, cotton, syn - things are looking up...oh my! When I plug her in, she has nice lights that make sense!! Red means not ready - green for go - how much easier can you get? I’m half way there!! The burst of steam is really a burst of steam when I want it, not after I lift the darn thing up! This may be the start of a beautiful relationship!

Monday, January 23, 2012

year of the sleeve...

I was just reading that 2012 is the year of the dragon, well, actually the year of the water dragon and it sure sounds promising! You know, the Chinese astrology thing...
I’ve been thinking of 2011 as the year of the sleeve - I seemed to have had lots of sleeve issues in 2011 and was hoping that I’d left them behind...well, this new KnS project I’m on - I just finished my fifth sleeve!! And, thanks, I’m pretty sure I’m done now... The first one was perfect, and yes, it was the first piece I made - using my own advice to check the stitch pattern on a small part, made the sleeve first...but then, after I did the back and the 2 fronts, I decided that I wanted 2 repeats of the pattern for the sleeves, so proceeded to make 2 more sleeves (count ‘em, we're up to three, now!) the same length as the first.
Now, I’ll tell you, when I’m knitting for myself, I usually know what size I want and how it should fit. Here - I know, I’m making excuses, but - I’m making it for an unknown model who is supposedly a finished chest of 36", but taller than average - after all, she’s a professional model...they say to make the sample longer by 1 inch...
My original plan - it’s a summer cardigan, so I’ll make a short sleeve and for me, a short sleeve means to the elbow, and without really thinking it through, that was what I did here with the first three. When I got to the putting together, let’s face it, a finished 36 isn’t going on me, so I had one sleeve attached with one side seam done and tried it on...yikes, what was I thinking??? (the visuals, huh! sorry..)
But, I’ve really become attached to this stitch pattern, I love it!! Finished the two new sleeves, got them on and it’s perfect! I know I can’t salvage the sleeves unless I order more of this same colour, but we’ve been over this before - it photographs well, what can I say! But I will be making this again in MY size (and my colour)!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

angled with attitude...

Thought I’d put up these photos so you could get a better look at this cardigan. This is ‘Angled with Attitude’ the Pattern Of the Month for January. You can click on the image and enlarge it for a close-up of the details. I have to admit, the earlier photos - the ‘flats’ from Jan 5th, the cardigans weren’t quite finished - the buttons are just laying there and the fronts weren’t stitched down. You might notice I used only one button on the ‘willow’ version

The accompanying article has notes on decreasing methods, raglan shaping, garter bar techniques and a few notes on choosing your size and how much yarn you need. If you’d like to purchase the new series, get it at www.knitwords.com


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

purging and stuff...

I had some technical stuff - telephone/cable/internet service changes- to take care of which meant moving stuff around in my office - always a slightly traumatic experience - cables and phone lines getting rerouted here and there means moving things that have been in place for a long time - good excuse to carry it a bit further and purge a bit - get rid of stuff I’ve been meaning to but have been putting off...I went through my yarn stash and came up with 3 large boxes of stuff I’m never going to knit - I took the easy way out and called Lucie, from our local machine knitting club and asked her if I could donate it all to the club - they could use it however for some sort of charity fund-raiser - she said yes and by the time she got here, I have 5 boxes of stuff!! Oh, this feels so good! Now I have room on my shelves for more - new colours, new yarns and I don’t have to feel guilty about not using all that other stuff!

I just checked the Knit’n Style website - http://www.knitnstyle.com/ -
 the new issue is out! And they didn’t use my title for the new series (W5) - oh well, no big deal - I guess it was too out-there for them...but anyway the new issue is available and early again!! Kudos to them - I am working on my #180 garment - I think it’s for the August issue that comes out maybe in June??? - I’m doing a summer cardigan with a hand-transferred lace border, using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece DK in peridot which is a nice mid-green shade. I love this yarn. It gives nice definition to detailed stitches and is perfect for the border pattern. Needles are left out of work for a few rows after the transfers and then are brought back in on every other row - pretty easy to do and I like the wide-open effect - after several swatches to nail the edging combined with the border lace, I just need to work on the closures/buttonholes...
The swatch at the top is a 14 stitch repeat with a picot hem, similar to one I did on the standard gauge machine a few years ago, but this yarn doesn't do well with the picot so I played a bit and decided the chain cast-on was more effective, altered it to a 12 stitch  repeat - I'm happy!

Friday, January 13, 2012

yarn shortage anxiety...

Just finished up knitting my third cardi for the POM - talk about cutting it close - I made it to test out the final pattern and to see how far a 500g/2000m cone will go... the first 2 were my size, so no problem, even with making bands and collars a few times, I had plenty leftover without having to ravage my swatches, but on this one, I’ve made a size larger and added an extra 2 inches to the length of the body and the longest sleeve version - I’ll confess, same yarn, didn’t make a swatch...so I didn’t have that to fall back on, but as I was making the second front, I was thinking ‘contingency plan’ in my head - you know, how would this look with, maybe a navy or black collar and front bands? Fortunately, we won’t know, but it was close!
Here’s my quick course on how to salvage a running-short-of-yarn project.
1. Get a good scale that will accurately measure small amounts. I have an electronic postage scale that is good up to 5 lb/2.2 kg.
2. Get the KNITWORDS index which will quickly help cross-reference other patterns using the same yarn and find the amounts used for comparable designs. This will give you an indication of how far the yarn should go. Keep in mind some stitch techniques use more yardage than others. For example, allover plain lace will use less yarn than stockinette, while a tuck fabric will use significantly more (1.5 to 2X more) than the same size and shape in stockinette.
3. Keep notes of your own projects and weigh each piece before assembly. Having this information is invaluable. I can usually tell from the weight of the back how much more I will need - approximately 2.5 to 3 times that again at least for front, 2 long sleeves and finishing (if back weights 130g, multiply by 2.5 = 325 g more needed) . If the back is done and you then realise there may be a problem, there is still time to revise the design and reduce the amount of yarn required. Changing the neckline, opting for shorter or more-fitted sleeves and the type of bands used for finishing are three ways of conserving.
4. If in doubt, start all pieces with waste yarn instead of making the band. This gives you the option of choosing bands that will consume less yardage or perhaps, using a contrast colour for the edges. Though it will change the finished look somewhat, at least you won’t be in the impossible situation of abandoning the project midway through the final piece. Unravelling and re-knitting an entire project is not my idea of the good life.
5. If you need to re-use the yarn from a laundered or steamed swatch, it will be virtually unnoticeable when incorporated into the bands, after the final garment has been laundered.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

a new pattern-of-the-month...

I have a new standard gauge set of designs for the pattern-of-the-month. The subscription means that you pay $25 in advance (one time) and then each month for the next 3 months (January, February March) you will get the new pattern with the techniques article emailed to you in pdf format. The subscription can be purchased now and the first pattern will be emailed on the 15th of the month. It’s easy to purchase from our website, (go to http://www.knitwords.com/ - refresh your browser if it doesn’t come up right after the opening page). You can use Paypal OR visa or mastercard through Paypal.
If that doesn’t work for you, you can send a check/cheque or money order, along with the order form (found at the bottom of the bookstore/back issues page - click on the appropriate icon and print out the order form, make sure to provide your correct email address, and write in NEW POM, please).
The pattern for January is a raglan cardy (A-line) with lots of options - a really cute collar/neckline with buttoned closing at neck only (optional of course!), opposing facings (inside or outside) instead of bands for the fronts which takes away the ‘sweater’ look and 2 sizing/fitting options - one for ‘busty’ gals like me and the other for less ‘gifted’ figures. The accompanying article has lots of techniques for raglan decreases. I’ve made mine using Forsell 4 ply Pure New Wool - check out http://www.knittinggallery.com/ . - they still have some colours or Yeoman Yarns Sport from http://www.knititnow.com/ or http://www.cardiknits.com/  can be used.
For February, the pattern will be a lace cardigan with vertical shawl collar - my take on something I saw on a tv show (see blog, July 24/11, ideas, ideas...).
The March pattern will be a double bed design, a simpler version of ‘Granville’ (see blog, Granville, Sep 27/11 and before and after).
Hope you like them - keep checking back here for more updates!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

knitwear, 5 stars!

Went yesterday to the movies to see ’the girl with the dragon tattoo’ - I’ve read all the books and enjoyed the first two immensely - the third one, not so much - I thought there was too much recap and not enough new Lisbeth stuff, but that’s just my opinion - it was okay, just not as good as the first two...I did see the Swedish movie version of the first one and was quite disappointed in it for several reasons which I won't go into because this isn’t really a movie review although this new version is very good!!
One thing that really interested me was the knits - Mikael/Daniel Craig had several, very masculine sweaters - they were mostly cardigans but some were hard to tell - one was a charcoal ribbed raglan with shawl collar, another lighter grey one with cables and he had a fluffy, mohair-ish thing in a very dark colour. The older girlfriend/most-time lover (can’t remember her name off-hand) had a great, long cardigan with ribs and pockets that looked elegant and sexy in a work situation and, his daughter, who only appeared in a few frames, had a very interesting lacy mid-gauge sweater with large holes that I definitely wanted a better look at. The movie takes place in Sweden and it seemed to be cold and damp there so maybe that’s why all the knitwear and everything was quite dark, but I will be renting the video as soon as possible and hopefully watching it at someone else’s house where they have a really big screen and picture in a picture or whatever so I can enlarge the knits! will let you know how I make out!
Oh, yeah, Happy New Year!