Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The gauge grinch strikes again

I've been busted! Another daughter has joined Ravelry. Neither of them has posted much yet. DD Julie has a blog (link on my sidebar). I really enjoy seeing what she's doing. Now I'll have to use generic names for any gift projects, especially for them and their families.

My sweater sleeve grows slowly. Many of you know the feeling. Knit, knit, knit, measure. No change! Knit, knit, knit. measure again. I have done all the increases that I calculated. The sleeve is still too narrow and shorter than expected. Check the gauge on the sweater body in the lice section. I wish I had measured the gauge of the swatch before washing. I think the yarn relaxed after its bath. Refigure using the new figures. I've almost finished the "extra" increases and the sleeve width looks good. I'm at 16" long and close to the 20" circumference that I aimed for. Lice will continue until 19" and then the zigzag pattern like the yoke peerie. The sleeve will be worked straight after I finish the increases. I'll count the rows of lice to make the other sleeve match.

I have a design commission with a June deadline. I'm going to make 2 children's sweaters out of sock yarn. Thursday is my day off. I'm thinking it's time to wind the yarn into a ball and start swatching. It'll be a break from the small needles. I'm using 2.5 mm needles for both the sweater and the socks. Actually,that's wrong. I can't go up much in needle size or the fabric will be too loose, maybe US#2/2.75mm. I plan a boy and a girl sweater in related colors.

It snowed again. The weather can't make up its mind. We've had a lot of warm days this winter, so the snow has not piled up as it does some years. We have 8" on the ground right now. No school today, since most of the snow fell overnight. By Sunday it should get above freezing, and melting will commence. Dog and I shoveled the front walk instead of checking out the neighborhood. This morning, we made a path one shovel wide. This evening, we widened part of it. In the morning we'll finish the front walk. I hope our plow service comes tonight. Most of the snow fell after they plowed last evening. Calls have been made, but the snow remains.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

D is for.. sweater again and more

My ABC Along entry for D is dishcloths. Cotton dishcloths are much more sanitary than sponges. They're fun to make and easy. They make great gifts. My hairdresser is still raving about hers!

The body of the sweater is ready for steeking. I just need to finish a sleeve to know how long to make the sleeve steek. The sleeve is about 10" now, but each row gets longer for a while. The finished sleeve will be about 20 1/2" long. A long way to go, and lice pattern is not as interesting as the other patterns. The upside is that 3/4 of the rows are just knit in one color. This is working well for the sleeve increases. I'm increasing every 4 rows and the lice pattern is an 8 row pattern. I am putting the increases in the row before the lice. It's a lot easier than increasing in the pattern at the wrist. When the sleeve reaches the target width, I'll work straight up to the shoulder seam.

What is all that stuff on the top of the sleeve? The sleeve is too big around for the dp needles, so I added a circular. There are 3 dps and one circular on the sleeve right now. I really need a 2nd circular, which is on order from KnitPicks. The side marker is where I started on Sunday morning. It helps to know how much progress I've made. It is on a circular earring finding. The other marker is at the start of the increases and makes it easy for me to count how many I've done.

DH and I celebrated a wedding anniversary. We've survived another year together! Sometimes this surprises us how long we've been together. We went out for a nice dinner in a place we haven't eaten in for quite a while, an Irish place called Jimmy O'Neill's. We both had corned beef and cabbage.

My portable knitting project is socks for DS. The yarn is Regia 4 fadig Short Color in greys. The leg pattern is a k2, p2 variation adapted from Charlene Schurch's Simply Sensational Socks book. I'm working the heel flap on the first sock. I like to keep a sock on the needles. I'll be doing men's socks this year. I knit for all the women for Christmas gifts. This pair may be a birthday gift.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Norwegian sweater and other stuff

Adult size sweaters knit with fine yarn take quite a bit of time! I've finally finished the 61 row yoke pattern for my Ethnic Knits Norwegian sweater. I then started the peerie pattern exactly like it was below the larger pattern. ARRGGGGHH!! It should have been mirrored. At least this time it was only 2 1/2 rows. Next are the sleeves. After I knit one sleeve, I can sew the steeks. I'll know exactly how wide the top of the sleeve is. I'm doing a "Cut and sew" neckline. I'll baste where I want the neck to be, machine stitch and cut. The raw edge will be enclosed in the neckband. Here's a better view of the yoke pattern.

Life has been fairly quiet this week. I got up earlier than usual Thursday morning because it was time to see my doctor for a physical. Early appointment to get it over with means a really early dog walk. There was a light dusting of snow which looked like it had a sprinkling of glitter on it. The street lights were still on and it was beautiful. I saw the same thing this morning for a short time when the sun caught the snow just right.

We went to a hockey game Thursday night. Our Lake Erie Monsters won in an overtime shootout. Sunday I made white chili in the crockpot, using left over turkey because DH doesn't like chicken. I cooked the dry beans in the microwave (cover with water and cook for 15 min.) I've been doing this since I burned beans in one of my pans.

We have a new little neighbor. Mike and Sarah, our new neighbors snuk a baby boy into their house when no one was looking. Well that's not quite right. The baby was actually delivered by the nieghbor across the street, who is a midwife. She was working at the hospital when delivery help was needed. I had a white baby set of sweater, hat and booties on the shelf, so wrapped it up and took it over. I wrapped it in the Sunday comics, since both parents work for the newspaper. No pictures. I forgot to take them when I sewed the buttons on just before package delivery.

Speaking of sewing, I do have pictures of a couple of projects from work. A light blue dress with black sash and black binding on the top edge was taken in to be smaller and a sparkly crystal organza overlay was added. Mom loved how it looked when she picked it up. It was hard to sew neatly, because of the plastic sparkles on the fabric. My machine sewed through them easily, but the bumps made the seams wobbly. You can see the shiny bits as diagonal lines in the fabric.

Another project was a performance dress for a 15 yr. old violinist. She has been my customer for at least 4 years. She does a lot of solo work and needs age appropriate long dresses. It doesn't help that that she's petite. I think she's shot up to almost 5 feet tall now. This dress is black stretch velvet with a stretch lining. All went well except for the zipper. I finally basted it in by hand before machine sewing. A non-stretch zipper and a stretch fabric with nap made a bad combination. I also made a long sash in off white dupioni silk. It's about 7 feet long. She can tie it around her waist with a big bow and still have the ends go down to the dress hem. If she wants, she can wrap it around twice and knot it for a similar effect.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

C is for...,

In the ABC Along, C is for cardigan. This is one I designed for south West Trading Company. Main color is Karaoke, accented with Fur Real. It is worked sideways with modified drop shoulders.

My teaching trip to Pittsburgh went very well. I had fun. I bought a little at market. I also connected with a yarn company that I have designed for previously. Finally got to meet the real person. I will be designing some items for the TNNA show in June. He wants to use sock yarn for garments.

I did have some trouble getting home. It was very windy. Luckily, I was driving Sunday afternoon, not at night, but the weather alternated between fog with wispy snow and sun glare. The drive was more tiring than I expected.

At work on Friday, before I left, I got to install a new phone. I had a very basic wall phone which quit ringing so that I could hear it. I bought the replacement at Target for $5.99. I'm sure it won't last 20 years like the first one, and I don't like the sound of the ring, but it works. I was able to use the same wall plate to mount it on, so that's good.

I also got to repair my iron. I have an industrial iron with a bottle like an IV. This is what it looks like now. The valve between the bottle and the tubing broke off when I went to fill the bottle. This left a hole in the bottom of the bottle. You know what water will do then!

I called my repair guy, determined that he had a replacement bottle and would be in his shop. Then I called DH and asked him to go get it. It's great to have a retired guy to run errands for you. I was back in business in an hour or so. I've tried to show a close up of the connection. There is a blue resin filter in the bottom of the bottle. When it turns brown it needs replacing. This keeps the inside of the iron clean.

Ive also been knitting on my Ethnic Knits sweater. I had to do the top peerie pattern 3 times, because I hadn't figured correctly to center the yoke pattern and the peerie pattern was coordinated with it. I had the diamond points centered on the zigzags. I've got it now and and working on row 12 out of 30 which will be repeated, so 60 rows and more of the peerie. It goes faster at this point because I'm anxious to see what it will look like. It now measures 16".

Thursday, February 7, 2008

How to Make a Silk Purse...

...out of a sow's ear. One of the challenges of a dressmaker is to finish work a customer has started and had problems with. I did a fairly good job with a sweater this week. My elderly lady might have planned to hem the bottom, but with bulky yarn, I'm glad she let it roll. She asked me to sew grosgrain ribbon to the front edges of the sweater, which had no front bands on it. I suggested bands, since she also wanted buttons and buttonholes.

The top of the sweater is a real mess. She used worsted weight yarn for this and pulled her strands too tight. She loves it and I kept my mouth shut. The colors do work well together, and the sage green worsted yarn is a very close match for the bulky. It does affect how the bands lie in places. I used the 2x2 ribbing from the neck and sleeve cuffs and the roll from the bottom for a quite nice band. The buttonholes are yo, p2tog because of which side they were worked on. The buttons are large enough to hold securely.

She bound off all the ribbing from the wrong side, using knit stitches. This now matches the purl side of the rolled edges. We won't discuss holes where she accidently made a yo and picked up a stitch in it next row, leaving a hole, or the knots on the back and the ends too short to weave in. She didn't ask me to fix those. She didn't want to pay me.

My Norwegian sweater is about at the armholes. It's 13" from the hem, but will grow tonight at the LYS knit in tonight. I'm working to 14" before starting the yoke patterns. There is no armhole shaping on this one. Just an armhole steek. I checked my Olympic sweater which is made the same way, and the top of the sleeve is 10" wide, so that's the measurement I'm aiming for. I have plotted my sleeve measurements, stitch counts and decreases. I charted my yoke pattern and figured the small peerie pattern I'll use above and below it. I'm going to try to steek the neck opening. I've figured what I need and where for the neck opening.

I'm off to Pittsburgh tomorrow (Friday) night. I'm teaching at the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival Saturday morning and Sunday morning. Cables on Saturday and Fair Isle on Sunday. At the market, I'll be looking for circular needles in 2.5 mm. The ones I'm using for the Norwegian cardigan are 100 cm long. I'd like some shorter ones. I'm also looking for fingering weight wool to coordinate with the dark green of that sweater. I'll have quite a bit left over and may make a pullover.

I'll have dinner with DH before I go. We're having warmed up roast beef au jus, with potato etc. Saturday night he has hockey tickets and will go with our son. Dinner at the game. The Dallas cheerleaders are performing at both intermissions. Sunday night I'll be home again.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Life Moves On

At work, I've been sewing some things I can show. I made a customer a wool long (to the ankles) dress. She loves it. The dress form does tilt a little bit.

I've also finished making 20 tops for a local high school show choir. They'll wear them with dark jeans. The black band at the bottom will cover the jeans waistband so that they don't need matching belts. These kids sing and dance!

My main knitting project is a Norwegian sweater inspired by a new book Ethnic Knits.

There is a knit along, yahoo list and blog connected with
this. You start with a headband as your swatch, because you are knitting stranded colorwork in the round and this way you test the pattern, swatch, and end up with something useful. I just swatched, because I have done a fair amount of stranded knitting and didn't know who to gift a headband to.

The sweater main color is fingering wool from Candide acquired in a guild swap. The blue is the same yarn left from another project. The celadon is fingering weight merino from a local yarn store. I didn't have much choice of fingering weight wool that wasn't sock yarn. I guess the internet will be my friend for the next time.

You can see 6 stitches (of 351) that will be steeked of cut to make this a cardigan. I'll certainly try a different arrangement for the next progress picture. It does show off the neatness of the sweater inside well. The dotted pattern is called "lice", which means lights. I think of it as stars in the sky. It's simple 4 stitch, 8 row repeat. I'm making good progress at almost 9" but need 14" or more before I start the yoke pattern.

For those of you who want a better view of the little black dog in last post. Check out the Quilted Pleasures post in the sidebar. DD has better pictures and also the Woolrich coats and hats she bought at Target for both of her small boys.