5.31.2010

Lion Neck Cardigan, to ruffle or not?

One of the main reasons I bought the book Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard, is due to this pattern. The model is on the beach looking free and easy, the sweater is oversized and comfortable looking yet complimentary to her figure. And we must always bear in mind that sweaters in books are worn by models, the average size now being a 2-4 US but they actually would prefer a 0. Well as we know, everything looks cute smaller!

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Never the less, I decided I had to have this sweater. I frogged a ill conceived hoodie from 2 years ago. Of course I had lost all of the yarn info, so I had a mystery amount of it. Slightly bulky with 6 balls I cast on without fear. Since it was top down I hoped I could alter it, if I needed to.

Thank goodness for Ravelry, I read all of the helpful comments of those that had gone before me with this pattern and took note.

The sweater took off at a great pace. Before I knew it I was on the sleeves! I decided to try to get it done before the week was over!

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One sleeve almost done!

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Both sleeves finished! Syd is helping me decide how long to make the body.

Yarn used: May have been Manos, (possibly) SILK BLEND
70% MERINO / 30% SILK, The yarn is yummy.

History of Manos here

For more into on Manos listen to Deborah at The Savvy Girls Podcast Episode 23 she did an interesting interview with the company representatives.

Gauge: 14 stitches in 4 inches

Needles: Size 9, circular, I used my Denise set to enable me to add as I needed. Pattern calls for a 40”cable. You don’t need one that long. It does make it easier to try on the sweater while knitting the collar, but you could easily move stitches to yarn.

Alterations:

1. I made the sleeves longer, the pattern calls for a 3/4 length sleeve, although the model is wearing a full sleeve.

2. I changed the cuffs on the sleeve to a traditional k2, p2 repeat. I didn’t think the k3, p1 had enough definition.

3. I made the front wider, to close in the front. Try it on and gauge for yourself, I only added 5 increases to each front edge to make it able to close all of the way.

4. I changed the bottom of the sweater to a k1, p1 repeat, hoping that this will be smooth and not pull in. I’m a pear, say no more.

5. I was worried that the neck ruffle, while being it’s best feature could backfire at the bottom. So I worked a number of short rows to taper this ruffle, making it closer to a shawl collar. FROGGED, I’m not really a ruffle person. I think it would work with the ruffle with a different yarn, or gauge.

6. Collar modification: Total shawl collar, I used a series of short rows to make the collar and even decided to add buttons.

Shawl Collar, I picked up stitches as called for in the pattern. Place marker (pm) about 4 stitches into picking up the sides, (4 stitches from the back stitches), work 5 rows in k1, p1 pattern.

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See tutorial from Cat Bordhi on short rows and wrapping stitches, this video show how to wrap both knit and purl wise, she also shows how to hide your wraps.

She also shows how to hide your wraps on purl wise short rows

Begin short rows: (you begin using just the neck stitches and gradually use a few more to develop the gradual increase for the collar) *work in pattern to 2nd marker, work in pattern 3 stitches further, wrap stitch, and move marker to stitch before the wrapped stitch. Turn and continue in pattern until you get to marker on other side*, *repeat*. Try on as you go to see how big you want your collar to be. I repeated my short rows 8 x’s.

Now resume knitting in pattern for entire collar and sides. Until you are about 1/2 inch from your final width of the collar and front band. Now include your button holes, (if you want some), mark the location of the button holes, then bind off two stitches (I used two stitches, but judge how many you need by the size of your buttons you are using) at each location. Next row cast on two stitches in the same location.

Button row tutorial from knittinghelp

Now you are ready to continue knitting in pattern for about 1/2 inch, then bind off in your choice of methods. I used my favorite the 2 stitch I cord bind off. (from stell66)

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Yay!! I’m very happy with the collar! Although I would like to try this pattern again with a different yarn, and try the ruffle.

019 Only this much yarn left!! I was sweating that! I think this will be a wonderful, cozy fall sweater. It is very warm (OK it’s over 90 here) and soft.

On to the next sweater! I’m now looking at the Slinky Ribs sweater, long sleeve, (thanks Blueberries, Art and Life blogger!) Maybe we can knit this one together!

May your knitting needles fly as fast as Dragonflies….

5.27.2010

Crochet Free Form Bird Houses

I’m on a mission to reduce my stash. I was trying to come up with a good project for some bulky yarn I had. Sitting outside, enjoying watching some birds nesting in my last years knitted bird houses (see pattern 1 and 2), I decided to attempt a free form crochet bird house.

I decided to base it on the little finch nesting boxes I use to have for my caged birds.

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Begin with some bulky yarn and a fairly large crochet hook, I used a K size.

Chain 4 and join with slip stitch.

round 1; Sc 7 times in loop

round 2; Now 2sc in each stitch

round 3; sc, 2sc, repeat

round 4; sc all around, spacing in 2sc 3 times evenly

continue round 4 until your base of your bird house is the size you want.

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Now just sc all around until the house is deep enough to make you happy. Then sc across, turn and go back stopping just short of your beginning of the row, (this is the entrance of the bird house). Continue sc back and forth until the house is tall enough to suit you.

Now fold the top together and sc across the top. Yay, Now chain a length and attach on each side to hang your house with.

016 I made these in all wool.

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Ready for someone to move into! Yay, someone, yet unsighted is moving nesting material in!!

5.22.2010

Imagine a perfect sweater

I saw this pattern in Knitty Spring 2009 and fell in love with it! The simplicity and style. {rav link}.

I had some beige 100% wool yarn and decided to use that instead of the cotton it calls for. And then something happened…..see this post, I wanted color, bold beautiful living color!

OK, I had the pattern and the yarn, now ready to cast on! I knitted my gauge swatch, like a good girl should. Ready to go now.

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Studying the pattern  I kept thinking, it looks a little boxy, I’ll add a little shape to it, maybe some decreasing around the waist…..and I do so wish it was knitted  “in the round” sweater.

My first sweater attempts were comical, several looked like they were made for Quasimodo, my next phase consisted of neck problems, I couldn’t get my head into the neck or the neck was x rated. I was apparently knitting for an entire sideshow.

Then I discovered Elizabeth Zimmerman!  Amazingly, I could knit sweaters to fit, and I loved it! Like a good mystery, you have all of the info (no important information with held) and the end falls into place nicely, with a twist or two, so it’s not predictable. I was in love with making sweaters!

That durn Gauge is the most important element in knitting, it cannot be overemphasized! This is a good site to explain gauge.

On Plurk on day, I was lamenting my dilemma of how to fit the sweater when Diva Knitting (website here), suggested a top down pattern!! Thank you! I found this online, “The Incredible Custom Fit Raglan Sweater”.

I used that, and unearthed a book I had ‘Knitting from the Top’ by Barbara G. Walker.  Book and internet source in hand, I’ve cobbled a pattern together.

Knitting from the top down is great! While loving knitting in the round EZ style, she knits from the bottom up. When knitting from the top down, I can try it on as I go. and adjust. So far I love it, and would make more sweaters in the method.

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The peace sign about half way done, soon to start the body and put the sleeves on stitch holders.

013 Sleeves on stitch holders, peace sign almost done. I feel the urgency of finishing as the morning dog walks are cool and the leaves are starting to turn.

Well fast forward to May, yes the sweater “rested” for a bit.  But when I picked it up, it was a quick knit to finish the sleeves and the body.

Adjustments I made:

1. Used the Top Down method, see above references, for a better fit. Including some body shaping.

2. Being a “pear” I was afraid of the rolled hem on the bottom of the sweater, so I changed it to a k1, p1 hem.

3. I used the I-cord bind off on the neck and sleeves, the neck the 3 stitch I-cord and the sleeves the 2 stitch. I found these on You tube. This is my new favorite way to bind off! Thanks to iknitwithcatfur for her I cord bind off tutorial video (3 stitch I cord), and stell66 for her 2 stitch I cord bind off tutorial video.

Here it is all done!046

I love the pattern and how it turned out!

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And by the way, look at how long my hair is! Now to anyone having long hair they will laugh, but my hair hasn’t been this long since the 80’s. Thanks to the Henna, of course I didn’t fix it for the photos, so better photos to come!

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Shows the front peace sign.

I’m happy with the fit!!

On to the next sweater….

5.21.2010

Featured Etsy Seller

The featured Etsy seller is Handmade by Sandi, from Suffolk, Virginia.

Below is by Sandi:

I learned how to crochet from my mom, many years ago (too many to count). I loved making hats and scarves for family members, as well as crocheted stuffed animals for children.
In 2006, after starting chemo treatment for breast cancer, I crocheted myself little hats and skull caps to keep my head warm - even in bed!
With the completion of my treatment, and my energy level coming back - I decided to pay it forward, by crocheting hats for other cancer patients. What a wonderful feeling to give back for all the help I received!
I love the feel of soft yarn, when I am working with it, as well as wearing a finished item - makes me feel hugged, and you will too - when you try one of my scarves or hats.
Of course, I also love to sew, and create items that make life easier.
In addition - I love to wear earrings - and I'm always trying new styles.

Some of my favorite items:

Pink Coffee Cozy with Flower $10.00

coffee cozy

GO GREEN Water Bottle Sleeve $8.00

water bottle

Boo Boo Bunny - Soothe Away Those Owies - Block Cube Included $4.00

booboo

Along with many, many other items in her shop. Check out her blog, The T Shirt Lady

5.18.2010

Knitting podcasts and stash busting

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I have had some spare time lately to catch up on my knitting! I’m trying to do some major stash busting. Listening to my favorite knitting podcasts always makes for pleasant knitting. Look at my sidebar for a list, for my old favorites, but I have found quite a few new ones that I love. I’m always looking for new podcasts.

Rarely do I not get inspired after listening to several of these, whether it is a new yarn, shop, pattern or even problem that the podcasters are talking about. I always get excited and think “I can do that!”

Look at the Ravelry list of Fibery Podcasts!!

Here are some new podcasts I’m listening to and loving! (if I haven't made a comment, I haven’t listened to an episode yet)

Round the Twist (video podcast)

Let’s Knit Together (video podcast)

Sticks & String (only listened to one so far, an Australian bloke, who is so far very interesting and nice to listen to)

Stash & Burn (love it)

Bark N Knit

Stitch It 

Electric Sheep

Knitting at Night

The Savvy Girls (these girls are so funny)

Brass Needles

Sassy Pants Knitter

CraftLit (love it)

Belle Of the Ball 

Spin Control (a totally radical podcast!)

Double Knit

It is nice to hear someone natter on about yarn and knitting. My husband and I share a mp3 library. One day he came home and said, “how do you listen to women talk about yarn for an hour?” I just looked at him and said, “Nascar?”. OK point made. Although I love Nascar myself.

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5.14.2010

Stash busting with hats

I’m on a mission to finish as many UFO’s as possible and stash bust.

Hats are a great way to quickly knit up some misc balls of yarn. Put them away now for gifts when the weather turns cool. They are great for “to go” knitting, small enough to fit into your purse or bag, and fun.

I had some bulky yarns, and my crochet needle out from my Laguna Sun Hat, so I created this hat! I think it turned out super cute and it was fast. I used the Sun Hat pattern with bulky yarn, I would like to try it with cotton also.

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Someone suggested jute or hemp to make a Laguna Sun hat, in my yarn bin I found some long forgotten hemp that was originally meant for a basket, (it has been a LONG time since I made baskets). It turned into a super cute hat!

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I added another bulky yarn to the left over yarn from this hat and created this slouchy hat on big needles knitted flat.

010 Here is the beginning, and I just knitted along in a k1, p1 pattern until I was almost out of yarn and then did several rows of decreasing until ran out of yarn, It didn’t turn out quite like I wanted, but it is cushy and warm. On size 17 needles it was soon time to seam up the side and put it on.

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My next UFO is a hoodie knitted in the round, after a day of puzzling over the notes I made, and knitting, I ended up frogging it! I don’t have the info on the yarn anymore so I’m not sure how much yardage I have. So I decided to cast on for a sweater I have been looking at in Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard, the Lion Neck Cardigan (rav link), it is a top down pattern, so I’m hoping to be able to “make it work”! I’m knitting the sleeves and the ruffle last, in case I have to modify it.

5.06.2010

Cat’s Paw Lace scarf

 005I had one ball of Kid Seta sitting in my UFO box, I’m trying to get my UFO’s done and do a stash blast.

Using this cute pattern for a super simple lace Cat’s Paw Scarf, I had cast on quite some time ago. After getting it back out I quickly finished it up, but was dismayed to discover that I didn’t have enough yardage, (had I used some on something before?) to make it long enough for a scarf.

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Instead of frogging it and looking for another pattern, I decided to graft the ends together and make it into a cowl.

I found this great tutorial on grafting for garter and stocking st. from Sarah Bradberry, it comes with a Kitchener video from Letico.ca, which always helps. On the grafting topic, my husband came home the other day with a copy of Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2010. It has an in depth article on grafting that is worth taking a look at. Long and detailed, it made my head spin a bit. A beginning knitter might give up on the article, but if you keep going by the end of the article you are ready to graft any item in pattern. It actually approaches the idea by teaching how to chart your patterns to graft, worth the price of the magazine.

038 After grafting, it turned out the perfect size for a cowl and one more UFO done! Yay!

5.01.2010

Laguna Sun Hat

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I bought this kit 2 years ago and am ashamed to admit that it has been lounging on a shelf since then. After getting it out one morning, I had half of the hat done in 3 hours.

I like the fit so well I am planning on making this hat again, in cotton, or even wool. It has a great shape.

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I don’t usually like to buy “kits” but I bought this one (from OneFineYarn), it come with the pattern and 10 balls of Adriafil Reflex.
Adriafil Reflex is unique material that reminds us raffia. The hat will amazingly hold the shape and no brim support is needed.

Yarn specs: 59% rayon, 41% polyester; 25g/59 meters each ball; made in Italy.
Hat is crochet using yarn doubled throughout and crochet hook I/5.5mm.
Pattern provides instructions to create a hat to your own measurements. (this is the great part, my hat fits “perfectly”!)

I used crochet hook I, and ended up using 6 balls, I have 4 left and think I will make a smaller brimmed sun hat.012

Now I’m ready to walk dogs and work in the yard.