Monday, November 25, 2013

my favourite minions...

I have never knit an earflap hat – well, actually, I don’t think I’ve ever machine knit any hat. So, where does one start?  A few weeks back, I mentioned that Valery, a newbie mk-er from San Diego had told me she was knitting earflap hats and they were selling like hotcakes every time she took them into her workplace. She gave me her pattern source, which was a bulky machine pattern from the San Diego mk guild site (Knitten Buds) and I used that as a starting point (thanks Valery and thanks Knitten Buds!). Went to Michael’s and Wal-Mart in search of minion-coloured yarn – it should be a bright, lemon yellow, I think – suitable for the mid gauge machine.
When I checked on-line, minion hats are mostly crocheted, and since I’ve spent most of my machine knitting career trying to get the crocheted-look on the  knitting machine, felt it only appropriate that I do that again. The eye is the big challenge because it is a circle and knitting a circle is not the easiest thing. If you haven’t seen the movie (Despicable Me 2), the minion is a small cartoon character, bright yellow in colour like a big jelly bean on legs, with one or two eyes, wearing goggles (that’s the way I see them anyway) over the eye(s) and dressed in denim overalls with black hair varying from a single tuft to individual sparse strands.
So, back to the circle for the eye/goggles – I thought the chain cast-on would make the outside nicely so incorporating my ‘outlining the patch pocket’ idea – did the chain (35, 42 ns) in gray, knit 1 row and then took it off on waste yarn. Using white yarn, cast on ( 5, 6 sts) and shortrow a circle, hanging a chain stitch from the edging on every row, graft it together and Bob’s your uncle! a minion eye! For Nate, I used a brown button – he and minions have brown eyes. Rhiana, she wanted 2 green eyes to match her own.
I made the original pattern – it turned out too small of course, but gave me the general idea. After adjusting stitches and rows, the size was okay, but I didn’t like the top of the hat being gathered into a circle so I reworked it using the ‘decreasing evenly across the row’ several times that results in a spiral top – this is good – probably not what you’d do if you’re wanting to mass produce but I’ve got the time for my grandkids! (and a mid gauge garter bar! nah-nah-na-na!) I did the earflaps in a denim-look yarn  to simulate the minions’ jeans and added hair – put a tuft on Nate’s and for Rhiana, I unraveled some black WCD from a steamed Boondoogle swatch that had some lovely kinks for curls…
anybody want the pattern? here's the link to the PDF…

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

comfy notes for Cindy

I was going to title this, ‘notes for anyone wanting to raglanize Comfy’  but I’m not totally delusional – heck, if no one knit the original…
band pulls up at bottom
Anyway, making the ribs – it is a right side facing band, hence the RTR thing after the band is knit – the band needs to be turned to match with the side-away lace pattern and I do like the row of garter stitch ridge you get from the RTR, adding a nice detail between the rib and the lace – it also hides the gathering – oh, I forgot to say, you’ll need more stitches in the rib to match the width of the lace pattern, due to the A-line shape – it was okay in the original version to use the same number of stitches for the band as for the lace fabric, because it was a shorter, boxy cut, but on this one, I added about 10% for the bands so they wouldn’t draw in, especially on the hemline. Also, on the front bands, have 2 end needles on the ribber to make a nice finish at the outside edge of band – this one shows same distribution  overall and notice how the band pulls up at the end – to prevent this, I remade the band (see below left) and put more stitches for the hem and neckline (12 sts) instead of 9 as in first one…

BTW, the neckline will be hung at the left end (right side facing) to attach the buttonhole band, so, space the holes from the right end of the band in order to have one in the neckband area and it be at the left end after the RTR. Make the buttonholes so the B stitch from the diagram is on the centre non-tuck stitch – just because I had to make 4 bands doesn’t mean you should have to! And I probably don’t have to remind you to cast on with waste yarn for the ribs before going into the main yarn…
Now, when you’re knitting the lace and shaping the raglans, I still used the 6 to 5 decrease from the ‘Rich Raglan’ pattern and cancelled the patterning inside that area so there are no lace transfers in the outlined decrease –  actually for the most part, I stuck to cancelling the transfers to 12 sts from the decreased area at least - use your own judgment, just to make sure there isn’t an odd single hole where the pattern isn’t allowed to begin a new repeat because that just looks weird.
Other old KW  lace patterns that would suit being raglanized – ‘Borderline’ from No 25 and   ‘Frame of Lace’ from No 17 – they are both knit using cool bands which could still be employed with the new raglan and they both use Yeoman Yarns Cannele – shortened up, 2 cones of 250g will do!! I have  2 cones of a chocolate brown, a pretty jade green and a nice, icy blue…

Oh, I got Vickie’s skirt finished up and in the mail; made 3 pairs of socks for gifts for my trip to Toronto last weekend; found my old tension swatch for ‘In the Tweeds’ and made patch pockets for it; and got a minion eyeball KNIT (more later)!
BTW – by the way
KW – Knitwords magazine
RTR – remove, turn, rehang
MAO – Mary Anne Oger
LMAO – laughing my ass off!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

love seeing my name in print!

Knit’nStyle #189 is out! It caught me by surprise!
Something happened and I did not get my usual comp copy of #188 until about a week ago and then got a second one of the same issue the next day - I had complained and I think what happened was the usual one was delayed for some reason and then head office sent me a new one. Then only a couple of days later, there’s another envelope from head office and I’m like, what the? another one, really? – turned out to be #189! pretty exciting! Our new editor, Cari, actually mentions me in her editorial and says she wants to make my project, ‘Stormy Weather’! OMG!! she admits to being a machine knitter, too!
Truth be told, I’m not always happy with what they do with my garment (it's the control freak in me), but I’ve learned to live with it. Most times, I don’t really have a hard time parting with the sweater because they usually choose the colour and it’s not always what I’d like, but for this one, I did choose and I LOVED it!! It looks gorgeous –  okay, the model is 6 ft tall (Cari told me that) and the sleeves are a little short, but no biggie – they’ve styled it well and there are several photos of it – not just mine, they’ve done this to all the projects, which is good. This is the transition issue, where Penelope did the planning and Cari did the photography and layout – good job!
Then, I hear from Lea-ann at Knitting Today – she’s organizing a knitalong for this project – I think I’ll have to join! I’m already planning to do mine as a jacket, with a full zip front. The yarn (Plymouth Yarns Linen Concerto) is a little pricey, but well worth it – it has a beautiful sheen, more colours than shows up in the photos ( charcoal and grays as well as the pale blue and denim – my colourway is called  #73 indigo) and drape so if you’re looking for something a little more special that just your regular hoodie, check it out – Lea-Ann has it on her Facebook page which you can link to from the bottom of her webpage, – click the Facebook symbol and it will take you there!
I have an article in the same issue, ‘Planning Color Placement with Self-Striping Yarns’ and they kind of cropped one photo a little too much – I had 11 balls of yarn to start and I photo-ed them all so you could see the difference in shades on the outside of the ball – and the photo shop person  cropped it to only show the centre 6 or so, so here is my original – now you need to get the magazine to see what else I’m talking about! And here is my close-up of the zip placket - it totally encases the zipper and finishes it off very neatly, I think.

-Mary Ann (I’d like to buy a vowel) Oger

Saturday, November 2, 2013

who needs Sudoku?

To keep your brain active? if the rest of the world knew about machine knitting!! OMG!
Recently I had the opportunity to spend some time with my friend Cindy who’s made ‘Rich Raglan’ (Serial Stuff 2) three times, three different colours – all three looked great and she was asking me if she could make another because she loves the shape and fit of it and it really does flatter her figure – she says the raglan shaping takes all the guess work out of fitting shoulders and sleeves and she prefers the fit of the raglan. She probably thinks I’m going to be like Stacy and Clinton and say, no you cannot have multiples! But no, I’m okay with, if something works, stick with it. I have made it twice, the red with black trim and I did a solid French navy and I would also like another one or two!
So I came home thinking how could  we adapt some sort of stitch pattern to the raglan shape to make a bit of variety. I always thought that a raglan needed to be in plain stockinette because the angled shaping between the body and sleeves would mess up patterning and look mostly terrible in seaming.  But I got stuck on the idea to find a way to incorporate a lace pattern into the raglan.
I’ve loved my ‘Comfy’ (KW#28), worn it a lot and always get compliments from strangers – the stitch pattern has large areas of stockinette in it already and I thought with a little planning, it might work okay as a raglan. Now, I told you a while back that I had just realized that I do not have a white cardigan and conveniently, in checking my shelves I happen to have two cones of Honiburd 4/2 cotton, the same yarn as ‘Comfy’- not that I’ll need two, but I’m just saying…Also, the bands on the original cardigan are totally cute and I’ve meant to re-use that technique. 
So, I pull out my  No 28 magazine and look over the pattern and my heart stops – crap, I owe that DAQ lady in San Diego an apology!! Somehow  in the magazine layout, the tuck stitch pattern for the ribs is missing! WTF? well, it’s obvious that no one ever tried to knit this pattern! Huh! well, sorry! (better late than never, I guess!) Here is the stitch pattern for the tuck rib bands – it’s 12 sts X 4 rows – centered at 0/N1 cam at 0 or left needle position 12.

The gray squares should be knit stitches and the white are tucks and because it is 1X1 rib, there will be 3  every other row tucks on the main bed and 3 knit ribs – it really is pretty…
I could make this a really long, tedious story, but I’ll stick to the end result - I think it works!! I’ll finish up and post the results!
Meanwhile, I did get Vickie’s skirt put together and done – just need to get out and buy some elastic for the waistband. I’m working on my next KS project in between pieces of this white lace raglan – TTYL!