Saturday, February 29, 2020

what would MAO do?

The back is next, and I need to decide what’s what for the hem. Luckily, I have a closet full of my past life. Even though fairisle has not been a big portion of my repertoire, I can pull out several examples of just what I’m looking for. Wouldn't you know, all short-float, two-colour fairisle jackets! You have to take my word for it or look them up in the back issues of Knitwords!  
From left to right: Paisley Print (green/black, had matching fairisle skirt #42), Herringbone (red/black, #52), and Print It (gold/black, #46). And, way back in #30, there was Tailor-made in #30, an all-over fairisle for the look of a print fabric with solid contrast lapel and collar, all knit to shape, along with an article on planning and knitting your fairisle so the edge stitches were knit in a solid colour that could show on the outside edges, with details for punchcard, electronic, Silver and/or Brother, and/or Designaknit! wow! She went all out on that one!
Anyway, the gist of it - I chose the hem from Paisley Print  (it’s a no-band look from the outside – didn’t want a solid stripe across the hipline!) which is basically an every-other-needle for the back side of a hung hem, a row across of chainstitch which fills in the empty needles, eliminates the picot-look and makes a straight line of the turn/fold of the hem. It’s really the same hem technique that I used on Manfriend’s pullover on the LK150  back in December – on that, it was reversed to show the purl side which sort of looked ribbed…#9 from Band Practise; Hem with Chain Stitch, pg 98, The Handbook for Manual Machine Knitters (both by Mary Anne Oger, aka MAO).

Anyway, my hem works great, got the Back knit and AFTER taking it off the machine I saw that just around the point of the underarm shortrows, somehow DAK decided to switch the colours…what the??? Does it have something to do with leap year?? Arr-rr-r-rg-g-g-h-hh!!

I’m going to spiralize some zucchinis!

Friday, February 28, 2020

knitting diet...

That’s what this is! You might think that means I am limiting my knitting, but knitting is the new cardio to my diet – it keeps me busy, out of the kitchen and out of the fridge!
Both sleeves are done. Notice the first one is cast off with the brown and on the second one, that beautiful, shortrowed line is beige (heh, heh, big self-pat on the back!). The cast-off will be inside the seam and won’t show anyway, but if I did feel like it was wrong and noticeable, I’ll rehang it and re-knit in the beige, just for the heck of it! I used the opposite colour to give a better idea of which colour I wanted for the bands (did settle on the beige from this experiment).
Think I'll give up on that third shade (gold) – limiting it to the two colours, beige and brown, will make it more versatile, I believe. And it turns out I have virtually the same shade of tan/beige in a mercerised cotton that will work nicer for bands and edges than the alpaca. Not that there is anything wrong with the alpaca, but in general, alpaca is soft, does not have good memory or great stitch definition so for edges and bands and buttonholes, a firmer yarn like mercerised cotton will be more serviceable.

Monday, February 24, 2020

my process...

Gather up all the yarns in selected colour family. Toss in a few accessories for added inspiration and let it percolate. Knit a few swatches to try out the stitch patterns to get a feel for the proper direction.
Here’s the thing, you don’t want to waste the ‘good stuff’ swatching, use the ‘it doesn’t matter/throwaway/giveaway/never use anyway’ stuff – another way to diminish that stash! ;-)
Swap the yarns halfway through the swatch so you get a better feel for the background versus the print. Stand back and look at it. Hold it up in the mirror – you will spot anything wrong or that you don’t like quicker that way.
Settle on the yarns and stitch pattern. Knit a sleeve without a band – you can add it later and still not be committed at that point. The sleeve looks pretty good - my ‘final’ stitch pattern was 40 sts by 60 rows and I realize I could tweak it forever. Make a few adjustments and before knitting the second sleeve, I ‘shuffle’ the stitch pattern – I don’t want anything matching here because that will take away from the idea of skin print, in my mind anyway.
Notice, I’m now calling it ‘skin print’ – leopard would technically have three colours…hope you don’t mind ‘cuz I don’t!

Friday, February 21, 2020


You know how you get that bunch of ‘news feed’ highlights from Google or whoever? If there’s a fashion thing or a food thing I am usually tempted to click on it. The other day there was a spring fashion forecast for sweater jackets, and you know I clicked! There it was, my dream sweater! Why you ask? Hello? Mostly because it was a leopard print! But the article went on to say how the cardigan, sweater jacket or knit jacket (my life is flashing before my eyes!), ties in with the current menswear-inspired trend - like, is that ever not a trend? That particular blazer sweater/cardigan connected through to Nordstrom with a price tag of $150.  
That isn’t happening, but suddenly, I’m all-fired up! I could make that! Not that it would be exact, but I start by analyzing the situation.
The fabric is a 3-colour jacquard if it’s actually a knit fabric (the close-up does show it, the yarn is quite fine and likely done on one of those fancy industrial machines and involves cut and sew, not my favourite technique) which I’m not going to do but how about a 2-colour fairisle print with the third colour for bands or edges? I have a skin print 24-stitch punchcard pattern that I designed back a zillion years ago and never made anything with. I’ll dig that out and experiment a bit, making sure it’s a short-float repeat. I am using DAK for this.
The notched lapel is making it seem more complicated that it needs to be with facings and all that…I really love the shape and fit of my brown lace jacket, Pocket Change from Feb/March 2018, especially the collar and yoke idea.
And I do like my camo jean jacket - yoke, collar, etc. too! I got a really short haircut again and the collar idea works better for me in that situation!
How about a solid, stockinette yoke, print collar edged with the contrast/yoke colour with print body, hip length? And some sort of pocket of course! This could be my ‘Pigeon Forge’ new garment – so excited! It’s just a month away! Hope to see you there and show off!

BTW, did you catch those knee socks Karlie was wearing on the tuxedo revival challenge on Project Runway? Solid grey colour but one only had a couple of narrow stripes on the calf, like on a varsity jacket sleeve…I can see that in my future! But gosh, I’ll need to order more sock yarn – I have no solid colours! It’s a vicious circle this knitting business!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

the good stuff...

Save it for good? Why do we do that and when is good? I have two full (and two part) cones of this tweed yarn (Forsell Rutland Tweed Exton) that I just love. Over the years, I have used this colourway (ivory base with flecks of gold, grey and black) several times but never managed to get a finished garment for me, but I still have the yarn. A few times recently, I’ve looked at it and said, no, not yet! Admittedly, I’m at the point where I’m also saying, don’t need anything new and, what’s that all about? Yeah, I’m not going out and spending money unnecessarily but what gives? Why shouldn’t I have a new poncho? I did make several last year for my female family members and kept wearing my old one from 20 years ago and I’ve seriously wanted a new one so why not?
For the new ones, I added a hood and pouch pocket – and
called it Thunder Bay Poncho
I was seriously tempted to make myself a red one (another couple of cones of pure new wool that have been saving for good!) but got through last spring wearing the old tweed one and then forgot about it.
The sad reality, most of my yarn stock is stuff I’ve been saving for something special and I know I have far more that even I can knit through!
Here’s me, going in, making a start with the good stuff!

P.S. maybe I never told you about this before…this EasyCut thingy – I have one stuck on every carriage I've ever owned. I did get that new machine last year and I’ve been seriously missing the thread cutter…it took me this long to find my very last one and install it. You can still get them at
Tell ‘em MAO sent ya!

Monday, February 10, 2020

tickety boo...

Did I mention to keep the little weigh scale close? Weigh the yarn/colour before and after knitting so you know exactly how far it goes. On the Back, with this method, I could figure that 56 rows of the oatmeal, 112 sts wide took 100g so I was confident I would have enough yarn to complete the body and sleeves at least. For each of the colour amounts, I'll take my chances, and the hood was totally optional at this point!
Plate or not? This yarn has a heathery, tweedy colour and texture so the slight variations in the dye lots are not apparent. I chanced it and didn’t plate, and it all looks fine, adds to the heathery effect. If working with solid plain colours I would have plated that to avoid striations and definite colour change lines.
Trust your swatch! When this was done, put together and ready for the wash, before doing the zipper, I was debating options for regifting it to someone who was maybe 6’3 instead of the 5’10 man I planned it for because it was HUGE!  No lie, it went from 78 cm from top of shoulder to hem, down to the finished 66 cm I had planned! The reason you make swatches and wash and dry them before measuring! Notice the photo in the previous post, with the zipper just laying on the back, the zipper looks like it will be too short. In the washed/finished garment, the zipper actually goes up into the hood about 1 inch...I was afraid to shorten it too soon and then decided it was okay like that!
Used the same method for zipper installation that I had on ManFriend Hoodie, but I did have to do it a second time – the first one was drawing the front up too much – the difference in the gauge of the machine! The first time, after pinning in the zipper and putting it on myself (like I tell you to) it was all ripply and bunchy. Ripped out the knitted stabilizer edges that are added horizontally up the front edges, re-knit them, adding 10 stitches, so the front edges really were not gathered in at all, re-pinned the zip and that was the trick! Finished, it looks good, I’m happy and he loves it! Even commented on the colours! Another win-win!