Monday, November 28, 2011

Word of Advice

Don't knit a patterned item when you are getting tired!

Ask me how I know - I think I have ripped out my new sweater at least five or six times. How could I not see that the pattern was shifting over a stitch half way up? I was beginning to wonder why I kept getting this wrong when it finally dawned on me. Each row begins with either knit 5 or purl 5 stitches, then it becomes either knit 4 or purl 4 for the rest of the row. If you are watching tv while doing this, it becomes very easy to knit 5 at some point across the row rather than 4 and then the whole pattern becomes skewed.

Grrrr ..... and I said I wasn't a perfectionist - guess I was wrong.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Pants - Starting a Plan?

There is no doubt about it, once you SWAP, you tend to think in terms of wardrobe combinations. Not that I am planning on making 11 pieces that will all coordinate, but one garment completed does get you thinking about what to wear with it. Items are no longer made in isolation.

These pants are made with my now-favourite pant pattern, Plenty of Pockets from Saf-T-Pockets patterns.

I like this pattern for a number of reasons: first, they fit me well; second, they have a contour waistband which is so comfortable (unlike straight waistbands that don't sit at my natural waistline); and third, the waistband is finished off with binding. I always appreciate this last feature when I put these pants on; they actually look nice inside!

The first time I ever made a contour waistband was about 15 years ago, in a jean skirt pattern by Palmer/Pletsch. A contour band is curved to sit just below your waist, so that it rests on your high hipline. Therefore it is curved and narrower at the top, thereby requiring a facing. The extra fabric and double interfacing gives the band stability and it doesn't roll, as traditional waistbands tend to.

If the serger thread appears blue to you, that's because it is. Don't thread your serger at night, when navy thread looks black.
The binding on the waistband facing is a cotton print, that was a favourite dress last year. The good news is that the dress is now too large and will be donated.

I have made this pant pattern up at least six times now - in cotton, wool, and this version in rayon/poly/lycra that has good drape. And I was pleased to trim 1/4" off all side seams this time around. Having finished these pants, I might sew up some red boiled wool into a quick jacket.

But first, plaid flannel pyjama bottoms for the grandkids for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Next Project

I couldn't wait to finish the last sweater because I had this one lined up. A short sleeve little sweater just right to wear over soft dresses. Now to find a rayon batik similar to the one in the photo. I can see the style of dress, but the fabric might be harder to find. Guess I didn't stash enough from when I had the fabric business!

I knitted and unraveled this about five times before I got the hang of the pattern. I guess I can't watch a movie and count at the same time. There are a couple of mistakes but this is the back and the mistakes are near the ends, so they won't be visible. And I never considered myself a perfectionist. (Correction, I must be a perfectionist, because I just ripped it out again to start over, as the mistakes were bothering me.)

The yarn is a very soft soya cotton called Sublime. I wanted to knit with a finer yarn than my previous two sweaters, so asked Louise at LK Yarns for what I should pick. She took me to the middle row of her store and said this weight and began to advise me on what to pick. But my hand reached out and touched this yarn and the decision was made immediately.
LK Yarns is a delightful shop in the Hydrostone area of Halifax. Louise began years ago with a small area within Sears. Everyone thought she was selling Sears yarns and they were surprised by the price and selection. Not your usual acrylic wash and wear stuff. She stayed there for years, then moved into a renovated store in a small strip of shops in north end Halifax. The shop has high ceilings with the heating ducts visible, old wooden floors and everything speaks antique and cozy. I love the shop and now that my knitting has resurfaced, I will be in there more often.

I knit slow, but I do so enjoy it these days. Something about sitting in the evening with my husband. Last night, we had a fight discussion of something I had read on a blog. I dislike arguing, but Nick calls it discussion and he loves it. Somehow I have to find the balance in there.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Knitting, Not Sewing

I haven't posted here in ages, for two reasons. One, no sewing going on, due to illness and my "mojo" has vanished. Second, I have developed a fondness for knitting.

First it was the flu, then came viral bronchitis, which is still plaguing me. This saps all energy; this morning after raking leaves, I was done in and had to take a nap. And I am not someone who takes naps.

Hopefully this bug will be gone soon, although the doctor said her patients are complaining of 6-8 weeks to get rid of this thing. Much coughing is done, particularly at night, which means broken sleep. But enough of complaining.

I finished the sweater above and the pattern calls for knitted buttons. I made them but don't like them, so will look for some pretty ball buttons at the store next time I go. It is a very easy pattern, done in garter stitch and knitted on circular needles. I have decided that I won't knit on circular needles again, it is too heavy and bulky to be enjoyable. I much prefer smaller pieces on straight needles. And what's the difficulty with sewing up a side seam anyway?

If anyone has advice on blocking sweaters, please let me know. I am hesitant to do this but I know it needs it. I just don't know how much steam I should use and how much I should press the sweater. The yarn is a wool/acrylic blend - mostly wool. And I guess I can call this jacket #7.

The pattern is from Cascade Yarns, I think I wrote about it in a previous post. If you are making this pattern, be aware that it calls for way too much yarn. I have two full skeins left over and, since I bought it in Maine, I can't return it. Perhaps I will be knitting some scarves or hats in the near future.

I do have some sewing plans afoot. I cut out a pair of pants in black RPL a few days ago, but haven't got around to doing anything except putting them on the sewing table. I hope to get in there sometime this week, energy permitting. Till later.