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Friday, January 29, 2016

Dear US Government,

Please stop messing around with the GPS satellites.  You're screwing up my run tracking app.

Thank you, PinkLemon

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Weaving

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I've gotten moving with the weaving again and I've done about 20 inches so far.  I'm putting those pink and green stitch markers you see on the right every five inches.  I've found that marking the weaving as I go makes me feel like I'm actually getting somewhere.  Theoretically, just rolling the weaving forward should mean the same thing, but there are black holes in knitting (where you just knit and knit and knit and you get no where), so I assume they exist in weaving too.  Although, now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever seen one in crochet, so maybe they're just a knitting thing.  Does anyone have any idea?

On a completely different note, KayT of the comments yesterday asked about the yarns I use for the mohair loops.  The Rowan Kidsilk Haze Stripe came in a pull skein, ready to knit.  The Shibuiknits Silk Cloud comes in a hank and I wind it using my swift and ball winder, the same way I do any other yarn (like Madelinetosh) that needs to be wound.  I haven't had any trouble handling the yarn this way and it knits up just fine.  I pull from the end in the middle as I knit, but I could just as easily knit from the outside of the ball if necessary.  Does this answer your question?

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Striped Loop

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I've gotten a decent amount knitted on my Striped Mohair Loop.  I haven't measured, but I think I'm at about the halfway point.  I will have to measure on this one, because unlike the Shibui Silk Cloud that has exactly the yardage needed for a cowl, the Rowan Kidsilk Haze Stripe, has more, so I can't just knit until I run out of yarn.  It's not a problem to have more yardage; I'm not complaining.  I just need to keep a measuring tape with this project.

My colorway is pretty subtle in the stripes department, but it will be interesting to see how the stripes work up in this cowl.  I am trying to get this finished up soon.  The spring semester of Loopy Academy should start next week!

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Look What I Found!

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I didn't actually lose it, I just haven't worked on it in ages.  I completed my eighth row of squares over the weekend, and I've already gotten the ends woven in!

For those of you who don't remember, this is my Meditative blanket, worked in medium to light toned, cool colored, fingering weight, superwash wools.  Each row is 24 squares long (slightly longer than Logan) and I honestly haven't decided if that will be the length or the width of the blanket.  I'll decide that later.  I do plan on adding borders, but I haven't decided what colors to use.  Since most of these yarns are Loopy Ewe Solids, I can always order more when I get there.

It had been so long since I worked on this project, that I had to look up the directions!  Once I had worked my first block, it came back to me pretty quickly.  Max immediately remembered what it was and started climbing underneath it.  I guess it's more than big enough for him.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

A Few Things I Have Learned

I didn't get my cutting done over the past weekend like I wanted to, but I did get it done yesterday.  As I was cutting out two more Bethioua tops, I realized that over the years, very slowly, I have learned a few things.  I also realized that it's possible that someone else could benefit from what's taken me years to figure out, so that's what today's blog post is about.  These are primarily sewing things, but they can apply to knitting too.

I learned to sew when I was growing up.  My mother taught me and I progressed through the usual learning projects as I got older.  I sewed garments off and on until college when I had to take a garment construction class as a degree requirement.  (I spent 3 years as an Interior Design major and this class was part of that degree.  I didn't actually major in Interior Design because I switched degrees to Art History, so that's what my degree is in.)  By the time I finished that class I was proficient enough that I could sew just about anything I wanted to, and if I didn't know how to do something, I knew where to look to find it.  After all that sewing, I almost never wore anything I made.  I might wear something once, but that was about it.  I enjoyed the sewing but not the finished projects.

As I was finishing college, I got interested in quilting.  I took a class and learned how to make a simple quilt (log cabin).  After college, and a move, I worked at a quilting shop and eventually became the manager.  The majority of the sewing I did was piecing.  Quilting is a completely different animal from garment sewing but I learned two thing really well:  my cutting became much more accurate (thank you rotary cutter) and I learned how to get a perfect seam allowance.  Shortly after we moved away from the quilting store, Caleb came along and I realized that sewing on the machine wasn't possible when I was holding him and it woke him up from naps.  That's when I really started knitting. 

Learning to knit, I followed the same learning curve many knitters do, working from simple, garter and stockinette stitch projects, to projects with shaping, textured stitches, cables, and lace.  Eventually, I realized that some of the things I was knitting, I wasn't wearing - kind of like my previous garment sewing projects.  This time though, I started thinking about why I wasn't wearing my hand knits.  This was the beginning of me figuring things out! 

I realized that I was approaching knitting (and previously sewing) in a completely different way from the way I approached my wardrobe and everyday garments.  I was a pretty confident knitter and I wasn't really intimidated by challenging patterns, so when I saw a knitting design that had something new in it, that I'd never tried, I jumped in and started knitting.  This was great for stretching my knitting skills, but I realized that I never stopped to wonder if it was something I would actually wear.  Once I actually slowed down and started thinking, I backed off from a lot of complex, heavily textured patterns.  When I saw a new pattern I started asking myself if it was something I would buy to wear.  I'd already gotten pretty good at buying clothes that worked for my personality and life style, but I wasn't thinking about these things with my knitting.  I'd also finally realized that there was no point in spending the time and money on things I wasn't going to wear.  Taking the step back to really question things before launching myself on a new knitting project meant that I started knitting things I would actually wear!  Most of my knitting now is simple stockinette and or other basic stitches with really great shaping or details.  I don't choose the most difficult patterns out there, I choose things I'll actually wear.  When I started sewing again recently, it was time to apply these thoughts to my sewing.

I needed to take another look at what I actually wear.  My closet is filled with casual clothes.  Primarily jeans and t-shirts with a few dresses and skirts thrown in.  Now I like my t-shirts, these aren't oversized obnoxious vacation style t-shirts.  They're solid colored and they fit me just right.  They're perfect for pairing with cardigans and scarves that I've knit.  I have them in many colors, both long sleeved and short sleeved and even some 3/4 sleeved ones.  I don't wear a lot of wovens and I don't wear a lot of prints, except my Wiksten tank tops in Liberty of London, but those are small prints.  It makes sense that if I'm going to sew, I should probably sew things I actually wear.  I think that the fact I've not only made and worn my Wiksten tanks and Bethioua shirts, but made and worn multiples of them, means I'm finally on the right track.  It's fun to look at fancy dress patterns, but I just don't wear enough fancy dresses to justify spending my time on them.  I need to sew the basic, workhorse things I grab again and again.

There's another thing that I've had to learn to do when I start a sewing project and this one is really tough for me.  I've been working really hard on buying the right fabric.  I'm not talking about the fabric type or weight - I'm fine with that.  I'm talking about buying prints, or in my case not buying prints.  I have to remember that even though it's really boring to buy solid colored yardage, that's the kind of thing I need to be buying in order to make solid colored tops, which is what I wear.  I have to step back from the large floral print with the cheetah background and the sparkly pink with tiaras printed all over it.  I've had to learn to buy fabric for actual clothes I'll actually wear, not because it's an amazingly beautiful design with brocade zombies on it.  I've also learned that when I do buy a print, I need to stay small scale.  The Liberty of London prints are perfect this way.

Finally, the last thing that has made a difference in my sewing is that I've gotten better at it.  I cut everything out with a rotary cutter now.  I'm much more precise and after all the years of quilting, I'm comfortable with one.  I've never been great with scissors, so why mess with them?  I've learned how to finish the inside of the garment like ready to wear, and I'm learning how to work with knits (they're not as hard as I assumed they'd be).  I know this sound crazy, but after 30 years or so of sewing, with side trips into quilting and knitting, I'm finally making things I actually wear!  And just in case you wanted specific examples, I've worn a Bethioua top four times in the last week and I'm planning to wear one today when I get dressed!

I know this is a long and rambly read, but I hope I can save someone else some time and effort of having to figure this out on their own.  Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Progress

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My Pink Dexter is coming along nicely!  I've made it past the point where the sleeve stitches are put on holders and now I'm knitting on the body portion.  I did start alternating skeins just after the texture part of the upper body.  Occasionally I don't need to alternate (like my blue Dexter), but most of the time with hand dyed yarns, it's best to alternate.

With both cardigans and pullovers I like to switch skeins in the underarm/sideseam area.  I could use the end of the row on a cardigan, but I've found it can make picking up for buttonbands more difficult later.  Also, if the tension is even a little bit off, it will show at the end of the row (because the end of the row is one of the front edges), while it's much more subtle at the sideseam.  I switch skeins on right side rows on cardigans.  With a pullover, since you're knitting in the round, you can switch skeins every round.  The other thing I do when I alternate skeins is to start alternating partway through the first skein.  This way there is more overlap between skeins since I start Skein 2 about halfway through Skein 1, then Skein 3 begins about halfway through Skein 2 and so on.  I also hold back a bit from the skeins used in the yoke, divide that in half, and use it to begin the sleeves.  Again, it helps with blending the colors.  Once you get the hang of alternating skeins and figure out how to manage two at once, it's not hard to do!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Fuzzy Stripes

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My newest Mohair Bias Loop is progressing nicely.  I apologize about the picture, the sun doesn't come up before blogging around here right now.  Also, it's cold outside.  Not like New England cold, but North Texas cold, and I'm cold (which has nothing to do with the picture, but maybe my iPhone is also cold and tired).  Max is cold too and he's started something new to get warm.  When he climbs into bed (he sleeps under the covers with us), he rolls onto his side and puts all four of his cold, little feet against my belly.  Once they're warm, then he cuddles in normally and goes to sleep.  This is something he's started in the last week or so.  Hopefully when things start to warm up around here he'll stop using me as a toe warmer.  Maybe I should knit him some socks!

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Weaving Project #3

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I'm so creative with my project names around here, aren't I?  I got the loom warped again and started a new project.  This one is another scarf using the 12 dent heddle (12 threads per inch).  Scarves are perfect for two skeins of sock yarn, and I do have a few skeins of sock yarn!  Both skeins are Fleece Artist Kidazzle yarn.  I'm using Topaz (the semi solid) as the warp and Beach House (the multi color) as the weft*.  I'm trying to remember to take a picture of the yarn unwoven so I can see how different dyeing techniques weave up, but I forgot to get the photo before I warped most of the Topaz.
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I know I want to finish the scarf the same way I did the last one, so I've already hemstitched the beginning of it.  I've only gotten a little bit woven, but now that it's in the loom and ready to go, I can work on it pretty easily here and there in between doing other things around the house.  (On a completely unrelated note, the colors are more accurate in the first picture, they're very washed out in this one.)

*Just in case you're curious, the warp threads are the lengthwise threads that are put into the loom and then rolled onto the back beam.  The weft is what gets woven back and forth across the warp.  As the weft is woven, I roll the cloth onto the front beam and advance the warp so I can keep going.

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Weaving and Sewing

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I finished my second weaving project yesterday.  I actually got it off the loom on Wednesday, but I had to finish the ends and wash it before I could count it as finished.  My goal for this project was to really work on my selvedges (the edges of the weaving) and get them looking neater.  They aren't perfect, but I'm getting better!
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As I was weaving, I put little markers in my weaving every five inches, just so I could see my own progress.  It worked much better than blindly just weaving away and having no idea how far I'd gone or how far I had to go.  I wove 85 inches, but I haven't remeasured since I got it off the loom, washed it and ironed it.  I know the warp fluffed up (so did the weft) and I'm assuming it did draw in some, but I keep forgetting to measure it.  I finished the ends with hem stitching and then made twisted fringe.  It wasn't particularly fast, but I like the way the scarf looks finished. The fringe measures five inches long.
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This was a fun project and I enjoyed watching the colors work together.  I've got a couple more pairings of sock yarns for more of these in my stash!
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I also got another Bethioua Top sewn yesterday afternoon.  This time I used a gray and white stripe knit with some metallic silver.  I got it for a steal at Fabric.com, so I figured even if I completely messed it up, it wasn't a big deal.
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I've never sewn with stripes so this was a new thing.  I did cut everything as a single layer so that I could keep the stripes straight.
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I didn't get the stripes matched on the raglan seams, but they match on the side seams, and I like how they come together in the back yoke.  The silver metallic is pretty subtle, and unless the light hits it right, it looks like a gray and white striped top.  I'm happy with the finished top even though my stripes don't match on the raglan seams.  I almost never stand still anyway, so it probably won't be super noticeable (or that's what I tell myself anyway).

I hope you all have a great weekend!  I've got fabric for two more Bethiouas that I'd like to at least get cut over the weekend.  I'd also like to get the loom warped again. 

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Another Loop

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Yes, the Mohair Bias Loop is back!  When I was setting up the project in Ravelry, I counted and I think this is Loop #5.  It's at least Loop #5, it might be Loop #6.  How many loops do you have to knit before you have a problem?  We won't talk about that, although I have noticed lately that I've been both knitting and sewing multiples of patterns I like.   On the other hand, if I find something I like in a store, I tend to buy several in all the good colors, so maybe this is just the same thing.

Anyway, I cast on last night because I needed a brainless, portable project after finishing the socks.  The yarn is Rowan Kidsilk Haze Stripe in Chiaroscuro.  It's a gray with muted blue green and plum stripes.  You can kind of see a light stripe developing at the top of the knitting.  The skein is twice the size of a regular Kidsilk Haze Skein, so you only need one skein for a loop.  I thought the stripe effect from the yarn would be fun on the bias, so we'll see how this works out!

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Finished Socks!

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I've finished my Cosmic Honey Badgers!  This was a great pattern - mostly stockinette, but an occasional round of pattern.  The yarn was great too.  Unless I get any surprises when I wear them, I'll definitely be using Madelinetosh Twist Light again.  I also think this was a good pattern for the speckled yarns they produce.  I will always love Madelinetosh's tonal solids (like Ink and Carnation) and their subtle multicolors (like Cove and Grenadine), but the speckled yarns like this Cosmic Wonder Dust are fun for simple socks.

I think this is the first time in several years that I've knit a complete pair of socks in four days, so it's nice to know I can still do that (you know, if I had to, in an emergency or something).

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A New Cardigan

In addition to yesterday's socks, I started a new sweater for 2016, since finishing my Pashmina Dexter last week.  In fact, I started another Dexter - this time in Madelinetosh Dandelion in Carnation.  This is my first time using the Dandelion base, but I'm liking it.  It's a singles yarn, very similar to Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, but it has 10% linen in it, which doesn't take the dye and which blooms slightly, like little dandelion puffs.  I think the linen also adds some drape to the yarn because my swatch seems to have more drape than it would if it was TML.  I also think Dandelion has a slightly larger diameter than TML, it looks more like Malabrigo's Mechita size wise.
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Since I was so happy with my first Dexter, I decided to do it again and knew it would be faster to just do the second right after the first.  This one will be more of a spring Dexter than the blue one, and if I knit fast enough, I might be able to wear it this year!  Logan helped me wind the skeins into balls and he did quality checks on them - no bacon inside.
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As I was using a new yarn base, I knit an actual gauge swatch.  I know, it's shocking, but I lived through it, and actually washed it before blocking and measuring.  No surprises there, I got gauge on US 5's (3.75mm), same needle size I used for the Pashmina Dexter.
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I've just gotten started with the yoke, but you can already see the texture on the fronts and back starting to emerge (the sleeves are stockinette).  On the Ink Dexter, the color is so dark, it's hard to see the texture - you can see that it's not stockinette, but it's not clear what it is.  The Carnation color (unfortunately discontinued by Madelinetosh) is light enough that you can actually see what's going on.  Even though I'm using the same pattern twice, the finished cardigans will probably be so different that no one will ever realize it was the same pattern.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

New Socks!

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Since I finished my cardigan and socks last week, I got to start new projects for 2016 over the weekend!  Naturally, I cast on some new socks.  These are Honey Badgers, but I'm only working the leg chart after the ribbing, not the hole-y-er cuff chart (I promise this makes much more sense if you are looking at the pattern - it's free).

I'm using Madelinetosh Twist Light in Cosmic Wonder Dust.  This is a new base for me and I'm really liking it.  I like Madelinetosh Tosh Sock, but I'm not crazy about it for socks.  I've never had a problem with it wearing through in the socks I've made with it, but it just doesn't feel as tightly twisted as it maybe could be for socks.  I love it for shawls and scarves and sweaters though.  The Twist Light is more tightly twisted, has more plys, and has some nylon in it for strength.  I'll have to see how it wears, but at least as far as knitting, it's very nice.  I got this skein from Eat Sleep Knit and something tells me, I'll be back for more of it!

Obviously, I've already knit the first sock and have started on the second.  I don't think this pair of socks is going to take too long to get finished!

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Friday, January 08, 2016

Finished!

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I've finished my cardigan!  This is the Dexter cardigan knit in Madelinetosh Pashmina in Ink.  It was a fun knit and went pretty quickly, although it got put on hold while I whipped up some Christmas knitting.  I will definitely do this sweater again, in fact I already have yarn for a pale pink one in the stash!
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I ended up picking new buttons yesterday.  My original buttons were rosewood and they are beautiful, but they weren't quite right for the sweater.  I actually found some matte plastic buttons that were the right color!  The tricky thing with Ink is that it's not really a navy blue, but it's definitely not a royal blue either.  I usually go for pearl or metal buttons, but in this case the plastic buttons seemed to be exactly what the sweater needed.
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In addition to getting the Dexter cardigan all finished, I finished my Christmas socks last night too!  These are Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight in Comfort and Joy.  I just did plain stockinette socks with the Fish Lips Kiss heel for these.  They were fun and I love how they look like peppermint sticks.  I'll be putting them away for next Christmas!  This also means I've finished all my 2015 knitting - on to 2016 projects!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  It's supposed to get cold here so I plan on cooking a big pot of soup - Pioneer Woman's Tomato Soup to be exact!

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Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Random Things on a Wednesday

So there were some odds and ends of things around here, but none of them was quite enough for a blog post on its own, or it was just plain weird.  Today we're going to cover these things.
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I will begin with my new running shoes, and quite possibly the most beautiful shoes I've ever owned.  The really cool part of these shoes is that they did the shoestrings to blend with the shoes, so they start in the lemon lime color, blend to aqua and the fluegalbinders are purple!  I've been running in Brooks Ghosts since I switched out of the Vibram Five Fingers to regular running shoes several years ago and it's always exciting to see the new colors every year.  Maybe it's just exciting to me.  Moving on...

I signed up for Pinterest over Christmas break and have had SO much fun pinning things!  I've found several recipes for dinners and last night I made a microwave mug cake.  There was much excitement as to whether it would work or be edible.  I didn't take a picture of it, but if you search Pinterest for microwave mug cakes you will find all sorts of recipes and pictures of them.
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I realized that I never showed you the finished quilt I made!  This was part of Caleb's Christmas gift and he was very happy about it.  You'd think you'd only get a grunt or something out of a 15 year old boy, but Caleb really loves anything I make him, whether it's a little amigurumi or a quilt or afghan.  He's just happy I made him something and he takes care of his handmade things too.  Definitely a knitworthy kid!
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Here's a closeup of the quilting.  Once again Sheryl at Hedgehogquilting.com did a lovely job.  She did a raindrop or water drop type of pattern which is just perfect for his quilt.  When you have a quilt top with lots of angles and points, it looks best quilted with curvy lines.  Finding a quilting design with curvy lines that wasn't feminine and would work for a teen age boy wasn't really easy.
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Finally, there was a question about the size of my loom so here's a shot of the whole loom on its stand, with a 78 pound Golden Retriever for scale.  This is the Kromski Harp Forte 24 inch on the Kromski stand.  From front to back it measures about 26 inches and from side to side its about 30 inches wide.  I could drop the front of the loom down on the stand (I think, I haven't tried it) and make the whole thing more vertical to store it.  There's a group on Ravelry called Rigid Heddle Weavers that has tons of information on sizes for all the brands, and they just know a lot more than I do on the subject if you're looking for more information.  Also, I just noticed that the colors in my weaving match my new running shoes!

Well, I think that about does it!  Oh, one last little random thing:  I have the Misfit Shine activity tracker and while it claims to be waterproof, I hadn't tested it until Monday when I accidentally left it in my fuzzy running tights and threw them into the washing machine.  I found it when I was putting clothes in the dryer and it works perfectly!  So, if you're looking at activity/sleep trackers, take a look at that one.  It's a more simple tracker, but I think it looks better than the Fitbits and I don't have to wear it on my wrist.  I usually end up just clipping it to my bra.  (TMI?)  When I do wear it on my wrist and I knit, it thinks I'm running!

Oh, and just FYI - none of the products/brands I mentioned are paying me.  These are all my own opinions.  If anyone wants to give me money, I'm open to discussion...

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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Dexter

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I am almost finished with the second sleeve of Dexter!  I'm on the ribbing, I just ran out of time last night.  Once I do get this last sleeve finished, I've just got to do the neck band, block and add buttons and it's ready to wear!  I'm really hoping I can get it finished this week.   Fun fact:  I like to knit sleeves on my small, nine inch circular needles, but I can't stand purling on them.  I guess it has something to do with my hand position and those needles have no place to put my hands.  Once I get to the ribbing, I have to switch to double points, which is why you see those at the lower edge of the left sleeve.

I'll get a photo of my loom tomorrow for Robby H of the comments.  I also have some other random things for tomorrow, but probably not quite a finished Dexter!

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Monday, January 04, 2016

Weaving

Last year I bought a rigid heddle loom.  I had avoided looms for years because Mom has a couple and they're as big as pianos, but not as pretty.  I'm sorry if you are a weaver, I just don't find floor looms attractive.  Anyway, I kept seeing some handwoven things on Ravelry and I really liked the look of them.  They were just simple, plain weave wraps, but honestly, I prefer plain weave to many of the fancier weave patterns.  I kept being drawn to the idea of weaving, but kept resisting because I didn't want a big floor loom.  I know they make smaller ones you can put on a table, but they're not any better looking.  Then I found rigid heddle looms.  They're much simpler than floor looms, both technically and visually.  Some of them fold up and can be packed away.  This sounded like a much better idea to me.  So I got one.  (I got a 24 inch Kromski Harp Forte if you're curious.)

Last week I finally finished my first project, which was a piece of woven fabric using Cascade 220 for both warp and weft (same color for both), that I'll use to sew a throw pillow for the sofa.  It's not fancy, it took me forever to weave (because it was super boring), but I learned a little about warping and weaving and it got me started.  I'll show you the finished pillow when I get it sewn.
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Saturday I warped my second project (I've been using the direct warping technique) with the yarns above.  They are a set of mini skeins from SpaceCadet and I started with the darkest blue on the edge, went through the blue greens to the turquoise in the center and then back to the darkest blue, so that the warp was symmetrical.  Being handdyed, the colors have some variation and aren't just flat.
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For the weft I'm using this.  It's Western Sky Knis Aspen Sock with Nylon in Ali.
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You might remember a while back that I attempted to knit socks with it.  It was way too crazy, so I frogged it and set it aside.
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Fortunately, it's working really well in the weaving.  This will be a scarf and I'm really concentrating on getting my selvedges neat and even.  Both of these yarns are fingering weight so I'm using my 12 dent heddle.  I cannot tell you how amused I am by watching the colors play together as I weave.  It's fascinating!

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Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year!

I've got a couple of new tops to show you for the new year!  They're actually made from the same pattern, but it's not the Wiksten Tank this time!  I know, you're in shock!  I found another pattern!  Feel free to take a moment and catch your breath.
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This is the Bethioua Raglan Top.  When I saw the pattern, it looked like the kind of thing I tend to wear, and it didn't look too difficult either.  I haven't sewn knits in at least 20 years that I can think of, so I didn't want to get too crazy right out of the gate.  This is a bamboo rayon and Lycra jersey knit that Mickael said was as soft as kitten ears.  Yes, it's really super soft, and drapey.  Since it's a knit it's naturally stretchy, but this has Lycra added so it's got some serious bounce.  Like if Tigger, a bunny, and a slinky had a baby and someone gave it an espresso (don't ask me to explain the biology of that, just go with me here).  Since there was no way I'd be able to cut it with scissors without it bouncing right off the pattern lines, I just cut it with my rotary cutter like I do the Wiksten Tanks and pajama pants, and pretty much everything else I sew.  I use some weights on the pattern and just carefully freehand the cutting.  I'm much more accurate on the rotary cutter than I am with scissors anyway.
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The pattern worked up quickly.  I used my serger for 99% of the sewing and it was just so very well behaved!  Once you've had a serger that's demon possessed, getting one that works properly is constantly amazing.  I might have given it a hug at one point.  There are shoulder darts to help with fitting, which was interesting.  You don't often see darts in knits, particularly casual knits, but the finished shirts do sit well on my shoulders, so I guess they're doing what they should do.
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The front of the shirt looks like a standard raglan, but the sleeves continue across the back to make a yoke.  This looks really cute if you do some color blocking, but I just went with one color fabric per shirt this time around.
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My second shirt is a cotton interlock print and was much easier to work with.  I didn't time myself the first time through, but I was able to do all the sewing on this one in 45 minutes except for the hem.  I also got it from Fabric.com, but they're sold out of it now.  It's a Valori Wells print and they might have it in different colors.
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Here's a close up of the print.  It's very soft, but not as silky as the gray fabric.  The cotton also has more body and less drape.  Even though I made both shirts from the same pattern, in the same size, The difference in fabrics affects how they hang.  The cotton print one kind of looks more "sweatshirty" than the gray one.  The gray one, since it drapes more, skims over the body closer and looks dressier.

The only thing I did with my regular sewing machine was the hems.  I used a double needle and it looks almost as good as a hem on a coverstitch machine.  (If you're wearing a t-shirt right now, take a look at the hem.  On the front are two paralell lines of straight stitching, and the back looks like a serger stitch.  This is what a coverstitch machine does.)  I'm going to be keeping track of my knit sewing this year.  I wear more knits than wovens, so I really should sew more knits than I do.  If I can get comfortable with sewing knits, then a coverstitch machine would be a good investment.  If I find I don't really enjoy sewing knits, then I can just serge the edge, turn it up, and hem it with the double needle.

Happy New Year and have a great weekend!

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