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Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Finished Cardigan

Aki cardigan 
This is the Aki Cardigan.  The designer, Ambah O'Brien, is the featured designer for the First Quarter ESK Knit-Along.  I thought it was a great little cardigan and it's the kind of thing that's perfect to toss on with jeans and a cute top.  The pattern is written for two strands of laceweight weight yarn, but notes that you could also use fingering, so I grabbed some Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Worn Denim that had been carefully preserved in my stash since the color was discontinued, and started knitting.

When I got to the point where the sleeve stitches are separated from the body stitches, I knew I had a problem.  Since the pattern was written for two strands of laceweight, the gauge was figured for two strands of laceweight.  If you substitute fingering weight, you can easily get stitch gauge, but you probably won't be getting row gauge, which is a very important part of top down raglan shaped sweaters.  Two strands of laceweight is lighter (weight wise) than fingering weight, even when knit at the same stitch gauge.  Also, singles are denser and heavier than plied yarns even when they're the same size finished yarn.  What this meant was that even though my stitches per inch was exactly right, because of the weight of the yarn, I had far fewer rows per inch.  My yoke was way too deep and since nobody wants saggy armpits, I had to frog.  Fortunately, because of the high number of rows per inch the pattern calls for, there are some plain, non-increase rounds built into the raglan shaping.  When I restarted, I did some math (gasp, faint) and figured out that things would be pretty much back on track if I eliminated these rounds.  I double checked these maths against the shaping of the Ravello pullover (which is also raglan shaping and is designed for fingering weight) and soon I was moving forward again.  Measuring carefully as I went this time.

Once I'd gotten things figured out, the sweater moved along very quickly.  I would like to note that this is not a complaint about the pattern - the pattern is written correctly as long as you knit with two strands of laceweight, as it's written.  The problem I encountered was due to the change in yarn weight which due to knitting physics caused more changes to the pattern than I originally planned for.  But in the end, I survived, I have a cute cardigan and if I ever knit this pattern again, I'll follow the directions and use two strands of laceweight!

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

I Made A Wrap!

Almina wrap 
A couple of weeks ago the Almina shawl pattern was released.  As soon as I saw it, I bought it and by the time I went to bed that evening, I had sorted my skeins and wound them.  I just loved this design - the pattern, the size, the texture, the worsted weight yarn - loved it.

I used almost four skeins of Malabrigo Rios in Aguas (which is why the skeins had to be sorted - there are more blue greens in the first skeins) and the project practically fell off the needles.  To block it I just steamed it with my iron and it's about 72 inches across the long side.  I know I could make it bigger if I throw it in the wash (superwash will relax and grow), but I haven't committed to that yet.  I might wear it a time or two and then decide.

It was a fun, fast knit and I'm really happy with the finished wrap!

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

A New Blanket

Granny goes large 
I've finished my Granny Goes Large Blanket!  It took just over a year, which is pretty quick when you take out the four months or so that I was unable to crochet due to my shoulder injury.  The pattern is free and except for adding a few more rounds (I added eight or ten rounds, I counted but I can't remember what the number was now - I crocheted until I had just enough yarn for the edging), I followed it completely.  It's made in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in the worsted weight.  Cotton Fleece is 80% Cotton and 20% Wool.  I used a 4.0mm hook.
Granny goes large
Granny squares (which is all the center of the blanket is) tend to twist and kind of rotate.  This is because of the way crochet works.  In order to keep it square, every round I swapped which side was the right side, meaning every other row actually switches direction in the way it's crocheted; and I also changed starting corners.  Doing this worked and the blanket lies flat and square - about 72 inches square when it was all finished!

I'm thrilled to have this finished as I think it's going to be great around here this Spring.  A cotton (mostly) blanket should be perfect for Texas!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Relax Two - Finished!

Relax two 
I've finished my second Relax pullover!  I've been wearing my first one quite a bit, so it's good to have a second one for the last few weeks of winter.  This one is knit in Hue Loco's Vintage Sock in Dodecahedron which was the exclusive anniversary color for The Loopy Ewe this past year.  This was the first time I've used Hue Loco and I was very impressed - the speckles and dye colors knit up surprisingly consistently.  Even when the stitch count changed, the pattern of the yarn colors stayed the same.

I have one more set of skeins in my stash that are specifically for another Relax, but I don't plan to start it immediately.  I'm going to get my Sipila finished and then I need to start my Q1 KAL for ESK!

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Monday, January 07, 2019

First Finished Project of 2019!

Luna Loungewear pajamas 
I made pajamas!  This is the cami with the optional shelf bra and the shorts from Love Notions' Luna Loungewear pattern.  I made them in some Art Gallery knit I had left over from a dress I made a couple years ago.  I've got fabric for a couple more sets, but I'm going to sleep in this one for a few nights just to make sure I don't want to change anything.  I tried them on when I finished them and I think they're just about perfect.  This is my first time using this pattern brand and I found them to be easy to use and the directions were well written.  (Full disclosure: I love print at home patterns and actually like putting them together.  I think it's easier for me psychologically to make alterations, knowing that if things go wrong I can reprint the original pattern and start over.)

There wasn't anything particularly difficult with these.  I was a bit concerned about the knit binding/straps, but I pressed some folds into the binding before attaching it and my coverstitch machine finished them off beautifully.  I didn't do the fly front on the shorts and I also didn't add the drawstrings.  Since Max sleeps under the covers, I've found drawstrings on pajamas to be "distracting" to him (which is a nice way of saying he tends to lose his mind in the middle of the night and attack my pajamas).

I actually really like knit cami's with shelf bras to use as layering pieces, not just pajama tops.  I love them under cardigans and even under an oversized pullover like the Relax sweater they're great for keeping the drafts out!  Unfortunately, it's difficult to find a good color selection of cami's in stores right now.  For the cami portion alone, I'm pretty sure I'm going to get my money's worth out of this pattern.

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Monday, December 31, 2018

Sew Together Bags And A Recap of 2018

Sew Together bags 
I've been sewing.  I made six Sew Together Bags this month, some for gifts, some for me.  I heard about this pattern a few years ago, thought it was an amazing idea, bought it, downloaded it, and haven't done anything about it since then.  Periodically I would sort through fabrics and try to decide what to put where, but I never really got anywhere.
Sew Together bags 
This year, I decided to make some for gifts and figured I'd make myself a couple as well, for a total of six.  I sat down with my piles of fabrics and some post-it notes and figured out (and marked) what was what.  I had the pattern, the link to the sewalong, and an insane number of zippers (the company at that link sells a set of the long zipper and the three short zippers you need for this bag in your choice of colors - NAYY).
Sew Together bags
I separated the fabrics and zippers for each bag into their own ziplock bags so I wouldn't get confused.  I realized I could sew three of the bags with white thread and three with hot pink thread.  This meant I could use assembly line techniques and not have to change thread too often.
Sew Together bags
Some of the bags have the same fabric in each pocket lining, some only have one fabric.  Some of the bags use different fabrics for the interior and exterior side panels while some bags just used one.  Cutting out took an entire afternoon, but I stayed organized and kept each of the bag parts together.
See Together bags
I quilted all of the exteriors with a 1cm grid (my sewing machine is a Pfaff - metric markings), and after trimming them down once they were quilted (quilting can make a piece of fabric draw in, so for projects like this, you cut your pieces bigger than necessary, quilt, and then trim down to the correct size as listed in the pattern), I was ready to go.  I was also 12 hours into the project and hadn't even started the actual construction yet.
Sew Together bags
I used a combination of the pattern directions and the sewalong directions to put the bags together.  I also used this tutorial for zipper tabs on the interior pockets.  I think it makes the zippers look neater and it reduces bulk as you sew it.
Sew Together bags
When I did the binding, I sewed them on by machine first and then turned them over and stitched them down by hand to finish them.  For the long, top zipper bindings, I only did hand stitching along the bag.  I machine stitched both sides for the ends of the zippers where they make little handle loops.  I felt like this would make them more secure.
See Together bags
While this is definitely not a beginner pattern, I didn't think it was difficult either.  There are some fiddly bits and being comfortable with your sewing machine makes it easier to get through these.
Sew Together bags
This was not a fast project, but I enjoyed it and I think the fact that all six of the bags are different kept it from getting monotonous.  Everyone who got one of the bags seemed really happy with it and I hope they get lots of use!  (By the way, I just have to add that in the bag in the photo above, the zipper at the bottom is a color called Monster Snot Green.  I can't tell you how happy it made me to be able to use this and also how weird it is that this color really works well with so many of the Kaffe Fassett prints.  Best zipper color name ever!)

On a completely unrelated note, since today is the last day of the year, I went through my Ravelry notebook and took a look at everything I've knitted or crocheted in 2018.  I only counted finished projects, but here's the count:
  • 4 pullovers
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 4 pairs of footie socks
  • 2 shawls
  • 1 scarf
  • 1 cowl
  • 1 blanket (the Meditative Blanket was finally finished this year)
  • 3 tentacles
  • 5 hearts
  • 11 stars
  • 4 leaves
  • 2 narwhals
  • 1 Cthulhu

I didn't knit a single cardigan last year, but I did make a lot of weird little things.  I currently have another crochet blanket in progress (Granny Goes Large) and two pullovers on the needles (Relax and Sipila).  Those won't be finished until after the new year.  I'm hoping for fewer injuries next year and I'm guessing I won't knit as many weird things, but there's no promises (seriously, who makes three tentacles and a Cthulhu?)

Hope your New Year is amazing and I'll see you there!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Sipila Pullover

Sipila pullover 
I finally finished the body of my Sipila pullover!  Even in its unblocked state, you can see how oversized it is on Fifi (it's designed to be oversized, but that means a lot more knitting).  After I took this photo, I actually started the first sleeve, and then I discovered that knitting stranded colorwork on the nine inch circulars that I usually use for sleeves isn't a good idea - I can't keep my floats long enough.  I'll be doing a bit of frogging today and then I'll knit the sleeves on double points like a civilized person.

Live and learn, right?

I'm trying to get this and my other current projects wrapped up by the end of the year.  I don't know if I'll be able to or not, but that's my goal.  I like to start a year with fresh projects!

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