Friday, May 24, 2013


you’re really not going to believe this…I am unraveling a sweater and going to reknit the yarn! Did you hear me? MAO is unraveling…yes, it’s the truth! Why, you ask? Well, it’s not because there is a shortage of yarn at my house, trust me – sure there are the odd Lego starship and princess castle pieces on the yarn shelves, but really, I still have plenty of good, quality yarns. And, I just finished up my KnS project for #187, which is a zippered jacket and wrote an article on zipper installations in knits and it got me wanting to do another zippered project for me – I don’t get to keep the KnS one.  ;-(
Here’s the thing. I’ve been wearing my casual hoodies to death lately and my totally favourite one of all time, ‘Hoods Up’ (photo of KJ wearing) from No 22, Autumn ’02 – that’s 11 years ago and I have really worn that thing – is still okay, made with beautiful red Honiburd Cotton 4 ply, but getting on the shabby side. It has some totally cool techniques, with the seaming on the outside which gives nice detail on the shoulder and top of sleeve and the zipper method is really neat – you actually sew the zipper on a band with the sewing machine and then attach the band to the garment on the knitting machine which makes the machine sewing invisible – I didn’t do that for the KnS one because it doesn’t work well for the heavier gauges.
Then, I have this other sweater in one of my all-time favourite yarns, Yeoman’s Indigo Denim cotton 4 ply in the dark wash – I had remade the man’s vee neck, ‘Faded Favour’ from No 39 ( Winter ’06), rashly thinking I needed one of those for myself (when the yarn was still available and I had a couple of extra cones), but it was a pullover and I had briefly forgotten how very seldom I wear a pullover. I did wear it a few times initially and washed it a couple of times, but it has been languishing in my closet for some time. Boy, I really am going on and on – it’s like I haven’t talked to you in weeks!
Now, unraveling it is one thing - I’m secretly hoping for a distressed look – the original was tuck stitch which simulates a seed stitch, using the knit side as right side and you can see a bit of fading on the top outside part of the stitch. I’m going to knit the new ‘Hood’s Up’ in stockinette, but I can’t really cheat like I have been doing lately on my swatches – sure, I’ve used this same yarn in stockinette – Nate and I had matching ‘In Da Hood’ hoodies back in No 37 and 38, but those swatches were knit in the raw cotton, knit slightly looser to allow for the inevitable shrinkage, washed and then gauged (then the garment is too big when finished, but works out after the laundering to do the shrink – hope you’re getting all that!). This yarn is already preshrunk, so I should make a new swatch but I won’t have to worry about laundering it ahead of measuring. Yeah, you caught that ‘should’! Now I’m really cheating – when I unraveled the sleeve, I left the hem and rehung that. Now, based on my expertise, gathered over years of knitting , instead of knitting at T8 which is my usual stitch size for this yarn, I’m dialing down two dots and using T7. for this which I figure will compensate for the pre-shrunk factor, and again using my vast experience, I figure I can plug 30 sts and 42 rows in as a semi-close gauge.  Now, doing my little ‘cheating at swatches’ thing from back in (see  April 2008)  where I just hang markers on the first 60 rows for a swatch check-up, I get going on the sleeve. After I get so far, I can measure the pretend swatch and re-adjust if necessary!
Heh, heh, haven’t lost my touch!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

snow days...

really? snow in May?
I thought April was bizarre enough – we had a snowstorm on the 19th of April that shut down the entire city and that was the 4th storm of the month! I’m sure we had more snow here in Thunder Bay in April than we had in the entire winter…and then to wake up on the 4th of MAY to this??? Oh well, it has to stop sometime and what do you do in the mean time? Knit, of course! Anyway on the 19th, I figured I may as well make myself a spring jacket – nothing else to do, so I pulled a cone of red Bonita (100% mercerised cotton, 4 ply weight) off the shelf and proceeded to knit, using my new technique of no swatch needed because I’ve used this before…plugged in my stockinette swatch numbers from an old stockinette Bonita pattern and used my ‘Side Steps’ mylar pattern – I have worn the khaki wool one many, many times and always get compliments on it – I think it’s because the button/button loops catch people’s attention. It’s easy wear, throws on with jeans or a skirt and just goes, casual or dressed up. It is a sideways knit cardigan,  made A-line by adding gores or darts from the bottom edge to just under the bust and it is a quick, easy knit - you can do the body/sleeves easily in a couple of hours and finish up the bands the next day. I figured doing it up in the red would work well for spring, if it ever comes, but I knew I’d have problems matching the red for buttons, so I used black for the chains in the front and neck bands so black buttons should work and it does! While I was sewing on the buttons and loops, I thought, hummm-m-m, maybe here’s something I should say or tell you – if you already know, okay fine, but – I sew on the top button first and then do the bottom one, making sure the top and bottom of the garment line up properly with the other side. Button up both and stretch out the garment between – then do the next one from the top, the next one from the bottom, alternating, buttoning and smoothing out in between. This way, you’re making sure it all lines up and will lay flat and even in the end. I find this works better that starting at the top and working down or worse, just measuring the distance between…
 Happy spring!