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Thursday, July 24, 2014

I’ve Been Sewing!

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Last week I spent an afternoon cutting things out.  I don’t enjoy cutting very much, maybe because of the permanence and my tendency to do things upside down and backwards.  It worked out well though, just doing a bunch of cutting in one day and now I can just sew.
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One of the things I cut out, was four more of the Medium Sock Sacks.  I did this pattern once, and I love the size and the center zipped divider.  This time around I used fusible interfacing for a bit more stability, and I added a wrist strap.  I don’t often use a wrist strap around my wrist, while I’m knitting, but I do love them to hook around a finger as I’m carrying my stuff around.  I could use the drawstrings, but having a wrist strap just works better for me.
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I got two of the bags all finished yesterday.  These are both in my Sherlock fabric from Spoonflower and for lining I used a black and gray jacquard print from Hobby Lobby.  I was able to sew both of them with black thread, which is why I made them together.  (The other two bags, waiting to be sewn, need blue thread.)
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Here’s a shot of the wrist strap I added.  If you’d like a tutorial or directions, let me know in the comments.
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The inner divider is zipped, which makes it nice to hold the little accessories we need for knitting.  The medium size is actually large enough for a shawl and a pair of footie socks.  According to the pattern, the small size is meant for socks and the large size for a sweater.  The pattern designer is a knitter, so I don’t doubt that either of the other sizes will work just as well.
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You can see the little snap tabs just above the zipped divider - those are yarn guides!

This is a great pattern!  The kind of thing that looks like it would be really involved (at least to me), but once you start sewing it up, you realize it’s not that hard after all.  The finished project is also super functional, for a knitter at least!

I’m going to get the other two sewn up soon, so if you want details about the wrist strap, leave a comment!  Am I the only one who likes to coordinate my project bags with my project colors?

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Stash Busting

Sometimes I go up to my stash to find something and I end up forgetting what I went for, and just trying to sort and organize the stash.  The larger project quantities don’t bother me nearly as much as the little leftover balls of yarn from finished projects.  Those bits seem to reproduce like rabbits!

Over the weekend, I began a project that might help to use up some of those leftover bits.  I use fingering weight yarn for socks and shawls, and over time, I’ve collected quite a few little leftover bits of it.  It takes 100 grams (actually less, since that’s how I’ve gotten all these leftovers) for a pair of regular socks for me.  Mickael’s socks take about 150 grams or so.  Most fingering weight yarn is sold in 100 gram skeins (a few come in 50 gram skeins), so the new skeins are off the table for this project, which is fine - this is to use up the leftovers.  I’ve found that the footie socks take just under 50 grams of yarn, so anything between 50-75 grams is going into a pile for footie socks.  If it’s under 50 grams, its part of this project.
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What am I making?  A few weeks ago, I ran across a free crochet pattern for the Meditative Blanket.  It’s made of squares and it’s join as you go.  I learned in The Babette, that sewing a bunch of squares together takes me several years, so if I can join them as I go, I’ll be ahead of the game.  The original blanket made by the designer is in a subdued, soft color scheme.  I’m just using leftovers, so mine kind of looks like clown barf.  I’m hoping that the more colors I use, the better the colors will play together.  I know that tends to work out pretty well, and it will make a soft, lightweight blanket either way.  So I’m embracing my inner Molly Weasley and using up all of these leftovers.  I have no clue how big I’ll make it.  It’s all of nine squares right now.  I’ll just keep going until I think it’s big enough.  If I run out of leftovers, I’ll set aside until I can make more socks and get more leftovers.  Here’s my Ravelry page for the project if you’re curious about more details!

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Camp Loopy Project 2 All Finished!

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I’ve finished, blocked, and added the clasp to my Camp Loopy 2014 Project 2!  This was the Storyteller Hoodie Pattern that I worked exactly like the pattern called for, except I didn’t work buttonholes on the front band.  I used the Jul Venetian Hinge in black instead.  I’m thrilled with how this came out and I can’t wait for the temperature to drop this fall so I can wear it with jeans!
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Here’s a back view so you can see how the hood hangs.  Fun Fact:  a top or jacket with a hood draws the eye upwards to the hood and distracts from your butt.  I know a lot of people don’t want to knit hoods because they never wear them up.  I don’t ever wear them up either but they’re cute and they do that smoke and mirrors distraction thing so I love them.  See?  I bet you didn’t even notice Fifi’s butt!
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Since this was the first time I’ve used a clasp like this, I thought I’d show you how it works.  I will definitely be using this (and some of the other styles) again.  It comes in a bag, fully assembled but with no directions.  (It’s pretty self explanatory and I didn’t feel like it needed directions.)  The leather of the clasp is soft, with no rough edges, but it has enough body to hold its shape.  Above, you can see the front view.
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Here’s what it looks like from the backside.  The leather washers that are included are a thicker leather than what’s used in the clasp, but they are still finished nicely with no rough edges or corners that might snag yarn.  As you can see, the thing is attached with screws, so you’ll need a standard screwdriver to install it.  You can also see the backside of the screws in the center of this photo.
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In looking at the clasp, it seemed like the screw shafts were a bit long for my yarn and there would be a little bit of “play” between the clasp and the washers.  A wiggly clasp seemed like a recipe for pilling and needless wear and tear on my project, so I cut some additional washers from some wool felt I had.  I used off white because that’s what I had.  I just cut around the original leather washer and then cut an X in the center.  I cut two felt washers for each screw since I wanted to eliminate wiggle room.  You can see the felt washers, the leather washers and the screws with one half of the clasp in the picture above.
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I had tried on the vest before I started to decide where to place the clasp, and marked the top edge with safety pins.  This made it easy to place each half of the clasp and gently wiggle the screw shafts between the stitches.  You can see the back side of the vest above, with the screw shafts poked through from front to back.  It was very easy to shift the stitches around the shafts so there was no damage to the yarn.  Also the shafts are polished smooth on the outside, so there’s nothing that will catch the yarn.  The shafts will completely contain the screws themselves so the yarn can’t get snagged on the screws.  I think the design is very well thought out and the finishing of each of the pieces is well done.
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The next step is to place the two felt washers and the leather washer over the shaft and then close the whole thing with the screw.  The two felt washers took up all the remaining space so once everything was reassembled, there was no play or wiggliness.  (This is the most accurate photo color wise of the yarn, in case you’re curious.)

It was very easy to assemble the clasp and once it was all attached, it hangs nicely without pulling or drooping.  The screws might be a bit long (which is why I added the felt washers), but if they were shorter, I might worry about them unscrewing and coming out.  I’d rather have to add the washers and know that if the screws loosen, I’ll be able catch them and re-tighten them before they come all the way out. I wouldn’t use this type of clasp on any project lighter than DK weight because while the clasp isn’t particularly heavy, it does have some weight to it.  I also wouldn’t use it on anything knit at a really loose gauge for the same reason.  When I wash the vest, I’ll remove the clasp and reattach it when the vest is dried and blocked.  I will also be using more of these and the other designs on future projects.  I love the look of it on the finished project.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

All Finished!

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I’ve finished my Camp Loopy Project 2!  It needs a blocking and I need to add the clasp, but the knitting is finished and the ends are woven in.  I ended up doing the sleeves like the pattern called for after all.  This was a fun and fast project and I enjoyed working with this yarn (Malabrigo Rios).  I’ll give this one more post when it’s all blocked so you can see it looking less rumpled and lumpy.

On a different topic, I never know when Mickael is paying attention or not, but apparently he did notice my tank top muslin.  He seemed a little concerned as to why I made a tank top out of tractor fabric and exactly where I was going to be wearing it.  I’m definitely getting my money’s worth out of that fabric - both for fitting purposes and for freaking out the husband.  Good times!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I Made A Top!

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I whipped this up yesterday evening!  Isn’t it cute?  OK, it’s technically just a muslin to double check the fit of the Wiksten Tank before I make it in my nice fabric.  Yes, those are tractors in the snow you see there!  (Actually, they’re giant tractors in the snow - seriously, they’re almost as big as the house!)  I found this cotton at 50 cents a yard and knew it would work for testing things.
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So to double check the fit on the pattern, I cut out the XS tank and sewed up the shoulders and side seams.  I didn’t use French seams like I will on the final version, I just used the serger (and it took less than five minutes to do), then pressed it.  Finally, I trimmed down the seam allowances from the neckline and armholes so I could see where they would hit.  Once I tried it on, I was able to see what needed adjusting for my body.  I’ll be raising the front neck a bit (it scoops down closer to my bra than I’m comfortable with), and I’ll be making this adjustment to the back neck - it gaps out a bit.

I know making a tank top seems silly, but around here they’re useful practically year round.  At this time of year, they’re an obvious choice, but even when the temperatures drop, they’re great for layering under cardigans.  I like the A-line shape of this tank and I think it will look cute with skinny jeans.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Edgings

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I got the front/hood/hem band on!  Obviously, the whole thing could stand a good blocking, but that will wait until I’m completely finished.  I still haven’t decided on the sleeves.  The pattern has little short row, cap sleeves, and they’re cute, but I could also just work bands in the armholes and call it a day.  I had originally thought about making the sleeves a little longer (I’ve got yarn), but I’m liking that idea less and less.

Obviously, I’m a bit indecisive this morning.  Caffeine will probably help and then maybe I can get this finished (and blocked!)

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Monday, July 14, 2014

A Hood!

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I finished the hood of my Storyteller Hoodie!  I’m also past the required yardage for this second project.    It feels good to be this far along, this early in the month.  The provisional cast on will come out when I do the hem/front/hood band.  (Those white strings you see are from the provisional cast on.)

I got my Project 3 yarn in the mail Saturday, but I’ll wait to show you that until closer to the start date.  This year’s projects have all been pretty wide open as far as theme for each month’s challenge.  It’s made it very nice, both to pick a project and to find yarn for that project.  I can’t even begin to imagine how much work it is to organize this every year at Loopy Central, but they do a great job, and at least from this end, the whole thing comes off looking very organized.

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