Monday, June 29, 2009

I never saw a purple cow..

But I did see a rainbow sheep.

I was at Woolfest at Lake Farmpark, teaching knitting. I had a lunch break to visit the vendor area. There were cute llamas. There was roving and other spinning supplies. I don't spin! There was hand dyed yarn, but I have so much yarn.

The sheep was picture worthy. Two sheep were dyed with Kool Aid, and one was sheered. If this were a sheep to shawl competition (it's just a demonstration), the dye would need to dry before carding and spinning. There isn't time in competition conditions to dye it the same day and have it dry. I saw a carder, two spinners, and a weaver, all Farmpark employees. The weaving looked like this.

The teaching went well, only 3 students per class, so they got person attention. I taught beginning cables and using two hands to knit two colors. Came home to update the class description and make some minor changes to the handouts.

While the students worked, I knit on the next birthday sock. I messed up the heel decreases and started again after lunch. There was less talking in the afternoon and more concentration.

Today I got to knit in reverse again. The foot was too wide, so I decreased some more. The yarn is Kroy 4-ply and is thicker than a lot of sock yarn. I'm calling the pattern Bamboo.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The socks are finished!!

After finally getting the heel flap correctly centered, and on the correct number of stitches, I had to turn the heel. It took 3 tries!!! Part of the problem was splitty yarn. It took more concentration than usual, but after that, it was clear sailing until I reached the toe, and the end of the yarn!

I raveled the toe of sock #1, removing about 1/4". Finished sock #2, and went back to sock #1. I almost made it. Yes both socks are a little shorter than planned. Socks stretch. I finished the sock with some charcoal yarn of the same brand.

I never thought that with a 459 yard ball of yarn I'd run short. Those 84 stitch legs eat up the yarn.

Next up is a July 5 birthday. I've started those and they will be simple. One of the sock Knitters Anonymous challenges for June is to design your own. I'm recycling a pattern I used for DH. I knit his in a sport yarn and never published the pattern. This time its navy sock yarn.

I also have a July 18 birthday and 2 more later in the month. I'm not sure they all will get socks, even belatedly.

I'm teaching 2 classes Sunday at Lake FarmPark wool fest. Cables and two-hands two colors. Should be fun. I'll try to take photos at the event.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sock progress and problems

Knitting is funny. Most of us have been at that point where we knit and knit and knit and the work doesn't get any bigger. Then we knit some more and we're there (or have gone too far). I've had a couple of these moments on this second sock.

First I counted the cable crossings on the first sock to know how far to knit the leg. I though I had only a few rows to go, but really I was one cable crossing short. Six does not equal seven. There are 10 rows between crossings. When I finished the correct number of rows, the legs matched. Yah!

I cropped out a close up of the gadget I use for cable row counting. There are 10 rings between each bead. If I need a different number for another project, I can use the number I need. I can go above 10 by using both sets of rings. It makes such a difference on dark yarn. I do double check when the light is good. The hardest part is making sure you're picking up the next ring in the correct direction.

I divided for the heel. On this sock of 84 stitches, 40 of them are used for the heel. I had the heel flap done and was doing the short rows for the bottom of the heel. One needle had 2 stitches more than the other....all the way down to where I divided stitches and counted wrong!

I'm back on track, and the rows seem to take less time to knit. Who'd have thought that 2 stitches per row made such a difference. It does help that the TV is not on. I keep sort of watching it, which slows progress.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Shawls and socks and more.

Knitting progress was slowed considerably by a black shawl. The yarn is Aussi Sock. I still need to write the pattern. It's on the to-do list for today.

I delivered the shawl to the yarn company last week at the TNNA industry show. I saw lots of people and made some new contacts for design. I have to be careful about over committing. I still have a sewing business to run.

I did pick up a book at the show. New Twists on Twined Knitting by Laura Farson. I've taken a class on twined knitting. This book uses the technique with two colors. There are hats, mittens and scarves. Since the technique makes a double weight fabric, there are many things it's not appropriate for. It's a Martingale publication.

Now that the shawl is done, I can spend time with a pair of socks that were started in early May for a May 19 birthday. I'm at the heel on the second sock. The pattern is from a vintage book, knit as written except for the 10 1/2" leg. Yarn is Trekking.

I've also been crocheting dishcloths since before Easter. One is now finished. These will be Christmas gifts. Lighting is bad in this photo.

I've been doing a little sewing for my self, but have nothing to show yet. I'm trying to work on it for 1/2 hour a day. I'm making a blouse and will retire a number of older things. I'm trying to relax today. Next Sunday, I'm teaching knitting all day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I've been busy and I finished some things

On the sewing front, I was asked to make a wrap skirt from an elastic waist skirt. Also it needed to be a little shorter. The purple skirt was the example. I removed the waistband from the brown skirt and took out the elastic. I cut the skirt and lining down one side and finished the edges. The lining was sewn to the edge to keep it in place. The remaining skirt was stitched to its lining a couple of inches from the top and the excess cut off. This fabric made the new waistband. As an after thought, I should have gathered it slightly to better fit the customer's hips. Ties were made from the original waistband and a buttonhole was made at a 45 degree angle for ease in wrapping.

I finally finished my black shawl. I still need to write the pattern. The yarn is Aussi sock, 2 1/2 skeins. Needles are US #6/4.0 mm. I delivered it to the yarn company at the trade show Sunday, only a couple of days late. It's a trapezoid shape worked form the long edge to the short. The edging is worked sideways picking up from the edge in a defined manner. Fancy photos will be taken later this week and inserted in the pattern.

I've been working on a pair of socks since early May, or not working, because of the shawl and sewing deadlines. This is how far I am now. They are for a May 19 birthday. He'll get them when they're finished. Yarn is Zitron Trekking Pro Natura in a denim color. Needles are Knit Picks Harmony US# 1.5/2.5 mm. The pattern is vintage, adapted to the target foot. I didn't knit 10 1/2" legs.

I went to TNNA on Sunday, met lots of people, saw lots of things, got some ideas for new projects. I only came home with one book this year. I'll write about that soon.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Skirts are finished

The Spanish skirts are finished. Skirt #3 took almost 1000 inches of ruffle fabric, edged on both sides. That's 27.5 yards of fabric run through the rolled hem foot. The customer is very happy! Part of the reason for the yardage amount is that the fabric was thinner, so the gathering foot gathered it tighter. The dress form does lean, the result of a fall a long time ago.

I finished my green socks Sunday night. I've been writing about skirts instead of socks. The pattern was interesting. I like entrelac as a technique, but I don't think I'd knit these again. They are too fiddley.

I keep knitting the shawl. Black lace forever.

Today I got a box of sock yarn from Plymouth yarns. I need to contact them to see what they have in mind.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Another day, another skirt

I'm actually sewing three skirts, but the last one isn't as interesting, so I'll probably just show a finished picture. This is skirt #2, which I'm to copy and make in her size.

I use paper table cloth for many of my patterns. I was looking for plain paper, but could get a roll of this and it actually has 1" squares. This is the pattern piece for all the skirts. The yellow sticky note has ruffle information, as in how wide,and how long, so I know how many pieces to cut for a straight ruffle. The third skirt has two straight fabric ruffles. Originally the skirt top was too wide, so I altered the pattern. The skirts are all 8 gores. Today's skirt is shorter, so I just folded out the top part.

The stripes are cotton hem facing. I tried sewing the stripe to the edge of the hem and turning it up to the outside. It had too much sizing to ease in nicely, but I left it the way it was. The upper stripe is edge stitched to the skirt at the top, leaving the bottom edge loose. A line of stitching keeps the fold folded. I attached that after the inside ruffle.

You can see a little of the skirt in this picture. Under the paper are 16 pieces of ruffle fabric. Each edge is 48". That's 768 inches of ruffle edge or over 21 yards. All pieces were sewn together, seams serged, edges serged, turned once, and stitched. I flipped the ruffle back so you can see the edge. I misfigured the inner circle, so I gathered a little in attaching. The original had the same problem. Each skirt section had two ruffle sections. I could have just sewn the ruffle on and cut off the extra as I did on skirt #1.

Copy complete and shown with the original.

I have been doing a little knitting, but I'll show that tomorrow. Mostly I've been shawl knitting and there isn't much to show.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Skirts for Spanish dancing

The last few days I've been sewing dance skirts for a customer. Skirt #1 needed red fabric added under the ruffle for a fake petticoat. She also needed some bloomers.

She needed three skirts made. The floral skirt is like the black one, but 2" shorter and only one ruffle. By the way, could you line the ruffle so the other color shows when I dance? Start with an eight gore skirt in the proper size.

Cut yards of ruffle. Edge top edge of ruffle with rolled hem foot.

Close up of rolled hem foot. this is a great tool, but works best on straight edges. I sure have plenty of that here.

Next step is to attach the lining and understitch it so it will stay put.

Next step is to gather the ruffle. A special foot is helpful here too.

By stopping fabric movement behind the foot, the ruffle is fuller.

Here's what the foot looks like.

The ruffle lining was stitched to the ruffle below the gathering line. The edge was serged before attaching.

Next comes attachment. I usually ease the gathers so that the thinner spots thicken up. The finger behind the gathering foot eases up at times to move the fabric and the gathering is loose there.

Sew the ends of the ruffle together and the skirt is finished. The pink will show as she dances. You can see in the flat photo how close tot he edge it is.