My Knitting Life

Fast and Easy Blocking

I need to finish this project in a hurry, but it is in serious need of blocking. Here’s a trick I do whenever I don’t want to plunge my project pieces into water and wait 36 hours for them to dry.

Put a towel (or two) on the floor, smooth it out, and then pin your pieces out to the dimensions listed in the pattern. Pin, pin, pin. (I was seriously hoping the squares on the towel were 1″ square, but that would have been too easy!)

Take a spray bottle and mist the pieces to your satisfaction. It’s not necessary to soak them, but they should be something between slightly wet and fairly wet. (Sorry, describing degrees of wetness is not my forte!)

I pinned and misted these around 4:30pm this afternoon, and hope to be able to sew the seams and do the finishing starting tonight or early tomorrow morning. What pattern is this, you ask? It’s Lexie (link takes you to Ravelry) by Elsebeth Lavold. If you like this yarn, you can buy it here: Quixotic Fiber You need 3 or 4 skeins depending on the size. I’m sure this LYS would appreciate your business!

My Knitting Life

Bang Out a Sweater Finished—for now

My February Bang Out a Sweater came to a screeching halt when I ran out of yarn. New (and different) yarn came, and it is slightly more yellow than the original yarn. Mind you, it’s a different kind of yarn. But since I’m joining the new yarn slightly before the outward turn of the turtleneck, and since the turtleneck is a ribbing with the sweater body being stockinette stitch, the difference in color is not noticeable, even to me. Well, maybe I can see it a little bit.

Sweater Problems

Mind you (again) that I am a little more than ticked at Dale of Norway (Dalegarn) for no longer distributing their most excellent yarn here in North America. Add to this the fact that the pattern is a little wonky, the knitting of this sweater was a trial. The sleeves are set in with a sleeve cap (think of a sewing pattern on a shirt with a large and curvy part on top), and the shoulders of the sweater came out super-wide. SO, when I sewed in the sleeve, the whole area looked like a mistake at best, or something one would wear with football shoulder pads underneath.

My knee-jerk reaction was to throw everything away. BUT…I let the sweater sit for a week, and while I thought of some options. Here’s what I came up with:

Option 1

Sew the sleeve deep into the shoulder where a set-in-sleeve usually sits (ahem, pattern writers and editors). This would bury that extra drop-sleeve fabric. Then I could cut that part off (HEAVEN FORBID!!!) and reinforce the seam with my sewing machine. I’ve steeked and cut and sewn before, but I wasn’t willing to cut this sweater. My fear was that the seam would pucker and ripple, and then I really would have donated it to a thrift store!

Option 2

Ignore the issue and join a ladies football team and hope their uniforms have eight-point Norwegian stars on them.

Option 3 (the option I chose)

Treat that extra-wide shoulder as a modified drop shoulder, measure how long the sleeve should be, and unravel the sleeve cap until the sleeve made a modified cap. That means I took off about 5+” of the sleeve cap making the shape of the top of the sleeve look like a very shallow bell curve.

It worked! I ironed the devil out of the sleeve seam (using a damp washcloth and “wool” setting on the iron) to help it lay flat. While I had the iron out, I also flattened the duplicate stitch with the iron and the damp washcloth. All of this happened Monday and Tuesday evenings since it’s already mid-March and Wednesday was slated to be snowy, perhaps our last snowy day for the year, perhaps my last chance until next winter to wear this!

The “For Now” Part

It’s finished…for now.

Because if I ever see two skeins of Dale of Norway Falk Color 0020 (any dye-lot) for sale, either on eBay or Ravelry, I’m snatching it up and re-working that turtleneck, all in one color, and on one size smaller needles (US 3).

The sweater looks retro, like something that a skiing grandma would have kept in her cedar chest. It’s slightly yellowed and aged looking because of the yarn color which is perfectly suited to the design and my modifications.

DONE! (For now)

Free Knitting Patterns

Off Piste Cable Sweater

A few years ago I bought a 6 skein set of gradient yarn at a fiber festival in Idaho Falls. Those skeins sat around and I admired them, but now in my motivated state to knit up the yarn that I have, I started to knit this yarn in a few patterns, but none of them seemed right. So I decided to just start knitting a sweater, without having a pattern. You can find the link below to this pattern. It’s really more of a formula for making a top down sweater.

Off Piste Cable Sweater Link:

off piste cable sweater pattern

Interested in this yarn? I bought it from Blue Savannah. Check out her offerings on Etsy!

Free Knitting Patterns · Home Projects Patterns · My Knitting Life

Diminutive Placemats

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New kitchen needs new placemats. But any placemats that I own are so large that I can’t fit 4 of them on our table or kitchen island without overlapping. So I went shopping for placemats, but they’re all HUGE! And I couldn’t find any that I liked. Additionally, they’re all pretty expensive (times four)!

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In an attempt to solve this problem, and since I like the stuff that I make, I thought I would knit some smaller placemats. They’re 12″ x 16″ (as opposed to the usual 14″ x 20″). I have one placemat finished and three to go. I used Lily’s Cream ‘N Sugar yarn in Earth Ombre colorway. They’re machine washable too, unlike many I saw at the store. I like the ikat looking print that the variegated yarn automatically made.

Here’s the pattern for you!

Diminutive Placemats

Baby Patterns · Non-Knitting Projects

Houndstooth Heaven

Subtitled: How to Upcycle a Sweater

I was in a thrift store a few years back and saw what I affectionately call an “oops” sweater. You know, the kind of sweater where someone didn’t believe the “dry clean only” directions?! In fact, I found three of them, so I bought them with the well-meaning intention of doing something fabulous with them. Several years later I am just getting around to working with them. Here are all the items I made with one sweater:

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Much of the sweater body went to make a custom computer case with leather details (I also bought a leather skirt at the thrift store that day–smile). Actually, I finished this right after buying the sweater. The sweater sleeves went to make some water bottle covers and coffee travel cozies. And my feet are showing off the me-sized slippers. I modified a pattern from Purl Soho (here’s the LINK) by sandwiching some plastic canvas between the bottom pieces, blanket stitching it all together, and then adding a back strap. Instant warmth! Or, maybe several hours of sewing and then the warmth.

As for those sweet little baby slippers, I used another pattern from Purl Soho (Felt Baby Slippers). I cut out the pattern pieces with my pinking shearers, pinned them together, and then hand sewed them with sock yarn and a running stitch. Maybe 2 hours tops to complete. You can also check out this patternLINK for baby shoes.

Yeah, I’m not going to be doing this again, except for the baby slippers because they’re so cute! And to be honest, I feel like a super-dork in my slippers, but a warm super-dork!

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My Knitting Life

End of an Era (or, It’s Not Done Until You’ve Blogged About it)

Blanket on chair

Here I present the end of an era. It’s the end because I started this leftover sock yarn blanket in the fall of 2008. After almost 9 years, a lot of changes have happened. It’s inevitable. The kids grew up, we moved almost across the country, went from a house to a condo, and now we own e-bikes, for crying out loud! Change happens! It is time to knit other things. Or, finish other things, because of the way my year went, with teaching almost a full schedule at school, and then throwing teaching 3 graduate classes for SLC teachers on top of that! I have about 5 projects that are mostly finished, but need a little more attention.
Back to this blanket-afghan-throw thingie. I wasn’t sure how big I was going to make it; I was just enjoying the process. But 8.5 years later, I’ve decided to finish. And by finish, I mean, squaring it off, not adding any height or width to it, and most importantly, edging it in i-cord! The edging, you see, is like a stopper; it prevents me from adding more rows. Smart, huh? Done.

Blanket on wall

But at the end of this crazy-sock- leftovers-turned-into-a-blanket era, I have a crazy urge to come up with something else “scrappy” because I’ve still got a small tub of sock-yarn leftovers. Maybe in a year I will have a new pattern to show.
I briefly entertained the idea of putting this on Etsy for a ridiculous sum of money. I was thinking something over $2500, just to see if anyone would “bite.” But that’s cheap. Way too cheap. I calculated my labor at $10/hr (hey, I’m a skilled knitter!), 30 minutes per block which takes into account tucking in loose ends and knitting the i-cord edging. So, with 380 blocks @ 30 minutes per block, that’s 190 hours. Multiply that by the $10 per hour, and the labor cost on this blanket is around $1900.  That doesn’t include the yarn. And it takes a lot of sock knitting to accumulate a great variety of yarn. (That was my excuse, anyway). So, the next time someone knits something for you, they don’t do it to save money or time. They do it because they LOVE you!

For now I’ll just sit on my balcony on cool mornings and enjoy the warmth of this throw.

 

Free Knitting Patterns · Free Sock Patterns

Diamond Array Socks

About 15 years ago, I came to the happy realization that I was equally comfortable with purling as with knitting. I’m not sure why it took so long. But I remember as a child I would always finish with a purl row if knitting stockinette stitch, so that the next time I picked up the project, I would do so willingly because I would be on a knit row. Every project was subject to this rule. Hated purling. Doesn’t everyone, at first?

Brick Pic

But lately I’ve begun to realize how beautiful the knit stitch looks as it travels along in a field of purl stitches. Texture. One of the features that makes this craft of “knitting” so beautiful. Perhaps I should call myself a “purler” instead of a “knitter”!

So, here’s my latest free pattern offering, Diamond Array Sock Pattern, with a cute but true little story at the beginning.