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Friday, February 27, 2015

Random Answers to Random Questions

Yesterday as I posted to the blog, I remembered that last Friday there was a question about Artesian and I had never answered it!  Sorry about that, I’ll take care of it today, as well as answer yesterday’s comment question.

In knitting Artesian, on the first row of each repeat you place a lot of markers.  Then, as you work through the short rows of the repeat, you use the markers as turning points.  The first time through it feels kind of strange, but after I got a feel for what was happening, I realized that this was probably the easiest way to write and knit the pattern.  (As a side note, I’m not really using the chart at all for this because in this pattern, I think it’s easier to use the written directions.)  In order to make this easier to knit, there are numbered stitch markers available just for this pattern.  Right now though, they aren’t available, so the commenter was curious if I had some or how I was handling the marker situation.  I do not have the numbered stitch markers because I’m not a fan of stitch markers with dangly bits.  I like the way they look, I’ve just found that I don’t like knitting with them.  I prefer a simple ring type marker with no dangly bits.  I realized though that I needed some way to keep track of which markers were which in this project though, so I color coded them.  Markers 5 and 15 are red, markers 10 and 20 are white and all the rest are black.  This way, when the directions say to work to marker 7, it’s easy to find without counting everything, every time.  The other thing I did, that is not in the directions, is to put two markers at the marker 20 position.  Then, when I get to the point where I’m stopping to turn before marker 20, I move the second marker (it’s silver) to where my next turn will be.  I have to look ahead because I place the marker on the RS row right before the WS where the short row actually happens, but it makes it easier to just work to the marker on the WS row than counting “X stitches before Marker 20.”  This might not make sense to everyone, but it works for the way my brain works, and it’s been very helpful.  Actually, this whole paragraph probably doesn’t make sense unless you’re knitting Artesian.  Sorry about that.  (I’m really hoping this makes sense if you are knitting Artesian.)

Yesterday there was a question about checking to see if my light color for my project would felt.  I’ve heard before that there are some cream/white wools that won’t felt when the rest of the yarn line felts beautifully.  Apparently some of the bleaching techniques will strip the scales from the wool and it won’t felt because of this.  For my project, the white color is only used for the lace on the bowls and it doesn’t have to felt.  Only the gray used for the bowls needs to felt.  And no, I haven’t actually tried to felt it yet, I’m crossing my fingers that it will.  Also, I’m trusting in the Cascade 220 because it does felt well, in general.  I’ve never tried to felt it in white.  As a side note, Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride will felt in the natural/white colors, in case you’re looking for a felting yarn in a natural or white color.

I hope you have a great weekend!  We’re supposed to get more snow today and more freezing rain and stuff tonight and tomorrow.  It’s like we’re having our entire winter this week.  I’m ready for it to warm up a bit now.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Loopy Academy, Year One, Semester Two

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I finally started one of my Loopy Academy projects for this second semester!  This is the beginning of the felted project.  I know it looks like a hat, but it is actually the large bowl from Soft Porcelain Bowls (which are actually wool, not porcelain at all).  I’ll be making all of my bowls gray and the lace will be white.  The pattern calls for bulky weight yarn but I’m using two strands of Cascade 220 (worsted weight) instead.  I’ve actually cast on and started the medium bowl now, but didn’t see any reason to show you a slightly smaller hat looking thing in progress, since I’ve already got this to show you.

I chose this project because the bowls don’t have to be felted carefully to a specific size, like slippers would.  I have a HE top loader and it isn’t easy to stop mid-cycle to check and see how things are felting.  With bowls, I can just toss them in and let them go through a whole cycle (or two) and then reshape them.  That’s the plan anyway.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Sleeve is Born

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I got started on my first sleeve!  It’s very pink, just like the sweater.

In other news, it’s snowing here this morning.  We started out with more freezing rain earlier and now it’s switched to snow.  Maximus does not approve.  He keeps giving the weather dirty looks through the window.  Even Logan is moving pretty quickly to get his business finished outside.  Nobody likes cold and wet!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Getting There

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I’ve finished the body section of Alys and now I’m ready to start the sleeves!  This photo shows why blocking is so important on a finished piece of knitwear.  You can’t just weave in the ends and call it a day and expect it to look good.  I’ve found that blocking is especially helpful when I have to sew pieces together to complete a sweater.  Once it’s blocked, the edges stop curling (or at least curl less, depending on the fiber content) and they lie flat and smooth for me to seam them up.

In the case of this sweater, there won’t be any seams to sew up, but blocking will make the neckline and hem lie flat, and the front openings will stop rolling inwards.  It will also make the whole thing look more finished.  I’m looking forward to blocking this, but first, I need to do the sleeves.  Also, I can’t wear it until it warms up a bit here - the roads are solid ice this morning!

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Plans

After the success of my first Wiksten Tank (I’ve worn it several times already), I decided I needed a few more.  Not only does this work really well with the Featherweight Cardigan but it’s cute by itself too and will work that way when it’s warmer.  In anticipating warmer days (we’re having freezing rain right now and already have accumulation on the roads), I decided to do a few tanks in Liberty of London’s Tana Lawn.
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I did some figuring with the pattern pieces and realized that if I used a solid white cotton batiste for the bias edgings at the neck and arms, I could get a tank from a single yard of the Liberty.  Since the underside of the prints are lighter, and that’s where the bias edging is, white would work with most of the prints.
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I ordered three different prints, and while the first two (above) are pretty traditional Liberty of London, the third (below) doesn’t seem quite as traditional, but I just loved it!  My Alys sweater in the Pop Rocks color way will go with the top print really well.  It actually matches the dark pink in this third print, but I think that with everything going on in the print, pairing it with a hot pink sweater might not be the best idea.  I’m not trying to injure anyone’s retinas with this!
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Just in case anyone is looking for some Tana Lawn, Fabric.com is where I got mine and it’s slightly cheaper than full retail.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Artesian

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I have done six repeats of Artesian so far, and started my seventh.  Sometime in the second repeat I started understanding what was going on so it's actually moving pretty quickly at this point.  I’ve got enough yarn to keep going for a while, but since I’m not trying to make this blanket sized, I’ve got to keep an eye on how big it’s getting.  I need to put an extender on the cable so I can stretch it out full length and make a decision.  Also, I’m really looking forward to blocking it.  There is a mesh lace pattern that should open up quite a bit after blocking that doesn’t look like much of anything right now.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Follow Your Arrow 2, Clue 4B

For Clue 4, I decided to use version B.  (For the record, if you’re curious, I’ve worked ABAB so far.) The final clue comes out today (it’s actually sitting in my message box in Ravelry right now), so I’ll only have one more decision to make about this shawl!

Do you want to see it?


If you don’t, then now is the time to wander along someplace else in the Internet.


I’m fixing to show you 4B!


Last chance!



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This was an interesting clue and I like the way it fits under clue 3A.  I’ll be back with this project once I finish knitting it and get it blocked!

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Friday, February 13, 2015

If You Look Very Closely

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…you can see the beginnings of the cable edging at the lower hem!  I’ve just got to do a few more repeats of the cables, bind off, and the body is finished!  Sleeves should go pretty quickly and then I’ll have a finished sweater!

In addition to working on this sweater over the weekend, I’ll also be finishing up Clue 4 of Follow Your Arrow 2 (I’m working 4B), and I might even get some of my Loopy Academy yarn wound!  I should probably get going on that.  On the other hand, the final clue of Follow Your Arrow 2 comes out Monday, so I could get that finished and then start Loopy Academy, Semester 2.  Oh, the decisions I have to make!

I hope you all have a great weekend, and Happy Valentines Day!  (If you celebrate it - Mickael thinks it’s a fake holiday, made up by women and the chocolate industry, but since he spoils me year round, I don’t worry too much about Valentines Day.)

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Another Sewing Project!

I’ve been really enjoying sewing lately!  Also, I need to clean my sewing room and sewing from stash is one way to do that, although it’s slower than just folding fabric and putting it away.  Hey, what can I say, it makes sense in a PinkLemon kind of way.
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Last night’s project was a Schoolhouse Tunic made in Birds and Blossoms Shroom from Birch’s Eiko collection.  The pattern was well written with great directions and the tunic went together without a hitch.  I made the tunic length (there’s also a shorter “shirt” length) and plan to pair it with leggings or tights and boots.  Obviously, there will also be a cami underneath it - that’s a deep V neck!

This is the first time I’ve used Birch fabrics and I really like it.  It’s an organic cotton and not only is it super soft, it has a little more drape than a usual quilting cotton (which is why I decided to use it for a garment).  It ironed up quickly and stayed pretty wrinkle free, even as I was sewing it.  I don’t think this is the last time I’ll be using Birch fabrics.
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Here’s a detail shot of one side of the neckline.  I think most store bought clothing tends to have more topstitching than hand made clothing.  Once you get comfortable with topstitching (it takes practice), it’s really pretty easy to do and I think it adds a lot to a garment.  The pattern calls for some topstitching, but I added a second line of edge stitching just because I’m that kind of crazy.

I did the cutting for this project Tuesday afternoon and we got the Boden catalog that day.  Look what I found there!  The neckline is a little different, but it’s very similar and the rest of the shape is almost identical!  I thought it was funny to find something so similar to my current sewing project in ready to wear!

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

It’s So Pink!

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And it’s bigger than it was the last time you saw it!  Also, it’s pink.  Pop Rocks is such a great pink.  I think I need some caffeine.

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Monday, February 09, 2015

Follow Your Arrow 2, Clue 3

For Clue 3 of this MKAL I chose version A.  It added a lot more texture to my shawl!

Clue 4 was released this morning and the final clue will be out in one week!  I can’t believe how fast this has zipped by.

My shawl picture is below, so if you don’t want to know what Clue 3A looks like, don’t scroll down!



Spoiler Alert below!



Turn back now!



Last chance!



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Friday, February 06, 2015

Loopy Academy, Freshman Year, Semester Two

My yarn for second semester finally arrived!  (It took its time getting here, but it’s here now.)  First semester of Loopy Academy was all about specific projects:  a cowl, a hat, and a pair of mittens.  This second semester is all about specific techniques:  stripes, slipped stitches, and something felted.  There is still a 175 yard minimum yardage per project, but as long as the projects use the specific techniques, you can knit anything.
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So, here’s my plan:

  • Stripes:  Alice Caterpillar Mitts in Loopy Solids Charcoal and Smoke with the ruffle in Shibuiknits Silk Cloud in Lumen (at bottom, horizontally)
  • Slipped Stitches:  Endless Love Mitts in Loopy Solids Charcoal (at left, vertically)
  • Felted:  Soft Porcelain Bowls in Cascade 220 Gray with lace in Natural (at right vertically)
I will have to adjust the pattern for the Alice Caterpillar mitts because they’re written for DK weight yarn and I’ll be knitting them in fingering weight yarn.  I don’t think I’ll make the yardage minimum in the DK weight.

I’ll be winding yarn this weekend and starting something!  (I haven’t decided what, just yet.)  I’ll show you Clue 3 of Follow Your Arrow 2 on Monday since I’m still knitting on it.  Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, February 05, 2015

More Sewing!

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I don’t know if you remember or not, but a very long time ago I made a muslin of the Wiksten Tank to check the fit.  (It wasn’t made out of actual muslin.  It was made from some quilting cotton with tractors all over it.)  I tried it on, figured out what needed adjusting (the back neck), adjusted the pattern accordingly, and then did nothing more.

Fast forward to yesterday and I got out some tencel that I’ve had in my stash since Caleb was two years old and made myself a Wiksten Tank!  I know it looks black in the photo (it’s still pretty dark here this morning), but it’s actually a very dark, blue green.  If there was a navy equivalent of blue green, this is it.  I almost ended up using black thread (which probably would have been fine), but I finally found the exact color in thread.

This is a pretty easy pattern, although some of the finishing might be more than a beginning sewist* might want to tackle.  It has French seams and a bias bound neckline and armholes.  The pattern has a small, front pocket, but I skipped that.  Total time, from pressing the fabric before cutting, all the way to having a finished tank, was just under three hours.  I think I could cut down on that time on future tanks because I’ve done it once now.  Also, working on such a super dark color at night taught me that I need better lighting in my sewing room!  I think this tank will be great to layer under all those cardigans I’ve knit, but I’m thinking about making a few in cotton lawn to wear this summer.

*I think the actual term for someone who sew is “sewer” but that reminds me of a sewer which is one of the Top 5 Places I Don’t Ever Want To Be, Ever.  (Yes, I have a list.)  I prefer the term “sewist” although I suppose you could use seamstress, but that sounds like someone who knows a lot more about sewing than I feel like I do.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Sewing!

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Yesterday I made the last two pairs of shoe bags.  These two got set aside because they needed white thread (versus the black thread I used on all the others over the summer), and I just hadn’t gotten back to them.  Mom embroidered the squirrels on the fabric for me.  Ironically, I do have the kind of sewing machine that will do the big, fancy embroidery, but I just don’t use it for that.  It also does regular sewing just fine, and that’s what I use it for.  My mom has always enjoyed using the embroidery part of her machines and she’s really good at it too, so I appreciate that she’s willing to do the occasional embroidery for me!  (I supposed it wouldn’t have killed me to press them a little more before their photo shoot.  Sorry!)


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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Alys

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I got back to work on Alys last night and have gotten a couple of inches past the underarm area.  Despite the fine yarn and the small gauge, this really does move along pretty well.  It’s not as fast as a worsted weight cardigan, but I don’t expect it to be.

I've started alternating rows with the second skein.  I’m nearing the end of the first skein so I knew it was time to start working in the next one.  This has slowed me down a tiny bit, but at this point I’ve alternated skeins enough that it doesn’t take too much extra time.  I’m changing skeins at one of the underarms, on every right side row.

In other news, Maximus has found himself a new hobby - knocking over trash cans.  Between this and his lightly striped tail, I’m starting to wonder if he has raccoon DNA in there somewhere.  He is seriously a very strange cat.

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Monday, February 02, 2015

It’s Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day everyone!  I’ve always loved Groundhog Day.  It’s such a fun, silly holiday.  When we lived in Northern Virginia there were groundhogs in the area.  They always seemed to be hanging around by the side of the road, eating dandelions or something.  I remember the first time I ever saw one.  I had no clue what it was.  I knew it wasn’t a nutria (we had those in south Louisiana) but I had never seen a groundhog before.  They’re kind of cute little guys, doing their little groundhog thing.  We don’t have them here, or at least they don’t hang around by the side of the road if they are here.
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In the spirit of Groundhog Day, or rather Groundhog Day the movie, or at least repeating things, I give you my Artesian.  I’ve finished five repeats!  I knit on it last night while I watched The Walking Dead marathon.  I did catch the halftime show of the Super Bowl and I loved the dancing sharks!  As we’ve discussed before, I’m easily amused.

I hope you have a lovely Groundhog Day!